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Jimmy lived most of life questioning why his dad left him at such a young age. But he was convicted and compelled by the gospel to love and pursue his estranged father in an effort to extend forgiveness and reconciliation.

A Father’s Love

My parents went to church, and my grandpa was the pastor of our church back home. During one of the mid-week services, my grandpa was up preaching and he asked the congregation, “If you died tonight, where would you lift your eyes up?”

And I started asking myself that same question. God started showing me how much of a sinner I actually was. He showed me, in a small way, my own depravity and my need for Him. I remember crying out to Him, “God, I want you to save me!”

Right then and there, He called me by name and He saved my soul.

After that, a really sweet thing took place (I call it sweet now, but it didn’t seem sweet at the time)…

A couple days later was a Sunday. My mom, my sister and my grandmother decided to go to the mall. Then, at the last second, I decided not to go with them. They came back later, and I remember looking out and seeing my mom crying in the back seat of the car. Then, I saw my grandma crying, and my sister crying.

My grandma walked up to me and told me that they had all caught my dad cheating on my mom with another woman at the mall.

I remember being so angry at that moment that I wanted to punch a hole through the light post that was standing next to me.

But then, in that same moment, I was reminded by the Holy Spirit that I’m different. I’m changed. I’m saved. And I actually need to forgive my dad.

But that just wrecked me! At the same time, I was so angry at my dad! I didn’t want to forgive him. He hurt my mom!

Still, at that moment, I realized that I needed to forgive him.

A little while later, he came back to the house. My mom and dad were arguing – screaming pretty loud. The only thing I could think to do was to pray.

I really wanted my dad to leave. I just didn’t want them to argue any more about this situation.

I mean… I was just in the sixth grade!

So, I ran to my bed and prayed. I asked God to just make him leave. Then I heard my doorknob turn and my bedroom door crack open. I heard my dad’s footsteps come through my door. The only thing I could think to do was to scream, “Daddy!”

He looked at me and the only thing I could say was, “Daddy, I love you.”

I said those words, and my own flesh and blood—my dad— looked me right square in the eyes, and just turned and walked out the house. He didn’t say a word.

That just broke my heart. I began to weep.

But, then God reminded me that I didn’t need my dad’s love.

I am loved by my Heavenly Father!

And that was all I needed.

All the way through high school, I continued to pray for my dad. When I got to college, I just stopped caring. In fact, I stopped praying about it.

I met a young man, who was in choir with me, and he asked me about my testimony. After I finished telling him my story, he asked me, “When was the last time you prayed for your dad? Actually, when was the last time you prayed for y’all’s relationship?”

I just sat back and said, “It’s been a long time.”

So, I went back to my dorm and said, “OK, Lord… I want to start praying for my and my dad’s relationship. I know it’s not good right now, and I want it to change. I want to know my dad more.”

After that, I began to call my dad. I’d call him almost every day. Many times, he didn’t answer the phone. And many times, he didn’t call me back. And there were many times when he would talk with me. And at the end of the call, I would say, “Alright Daddy… I love you.” And he wouldn’t say a thing. He’d just hang up the phone.

This happened for many years. But, I continued to pray for him and pursue him. I just kept running after him.

I actually wrote a couple songs about how I felt during that time, and how my mom felt, too. And, at one point, I actually sang one of the songs to him. I could hear my dad crying on the other end. I could feel the hurt within him. He began to repent to me. He said, “Son, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all the things that I’ve done.”A Father’s Love

When we were saying goodbye, I said, “Daddy, I love you.”

And he actually said, “I love you”, back to me.

It touched my heart so much to hear those words.

And after that night, he actually started calling me! He was calling me even more often than I was calling him. He even would tell me he loved me without me saying it at all.

I look at all this, and I can clearly see how God has reconciled our relationship, and I see the Gospel in that.

I can see, through this story, how Christ has continually pursued me.

Oddly enough, I’m glad that all this stuff happened. Because, if this hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be the man who I am today. I would not know Jesus as well as I know Him if my dad had not done the things that he did. The times when my dad wasn’t there, I learned that my Heavenly Father was always there. He would always provide when my dad wouldn’t provide for me. When I needed somebody to tell me that he loved me, my Heavenly Father would show me how much He loved me in so many different ways!

At one point, I called my dad and said, “Daddy, I don’t want you to say a word. I’ve just got some things that I need to tell you. God has used you in a great way – to push me to want to know Him more. And, I’m closer to God because of you.”

The next day, my dad called me, and said, “Okay… it’s my turn. Let me tell you something, and I don’t want you to say a word…”

And he went on to say things that I had never heard him say before. He told me how proud he was of me. He told me how I pushed him closer to God.

I see now how God has used me to display, in a way, a part of the Gospel in my dad’s life.

Reconciliation.

I’m thankful that God has reconciled our relationship. And to this day, me and my dad are really close. I look forward to the day when he calls me to tell me that he is saved, and I’m not going to stop praying for that!

I want God to call him by name.

The Austin Stone Story Team is a community of artists who tell stories of gospel transformation. We are photographers, writers, editors, filmmakers, and musicians on a common mission to use our gifts for His glory.

(By The Austin Stone Story Team. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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A Manly Interview with Darrien Hodson

What up, guys! On our Friday shows, we normally just have me flying solo, but today, we’re going to do something a little bit different. I have one of the most manly men that I have ever come across in my life, and he is going to talk to us a little about being a man. So, please introduce yourself… what’s your name?

Darrien Hodson.

MIKE: Is it true that you are my nine-year-old son?

DARRIEN: Yes.

MIKE: Awesome. So, Darrien, let me ask you a few amazing questions. First, what’s the greatest Pokemon in the world?

DARRIEN: Dialga.

MIKE: What does Dialga do?

DARRIEN: He’s a legendary Pokemon.

MIKE: But, of course. Okay, what’s better: Pokemon or Mindcraft?

DARRIEN: I won’t answer that question.

MIKE: (Laughter) Okay, so Darrien, you’re going to grow up to become a man. Why do you want to be a man?

DARRIEN: Because I want to grow up to be exactly like you.A Manly Interview with Darrien Hodson

MIKE: Hopefully you do that better than I do! So, what makes a man A MAN? What do men do?

DARRIEN: They’re helpful, kind, generous. That’s pretty much all I know because I’m not a man yet.

MIKE: Okay. Let me ask you this, buddy: Who are some of the men in your life that you look up to? Who are men that you think are really cool and you want to be like them?

DARRIEN: My principal, Mr. Seacrest, you, my two older brothers… that’s pretty much all… basically my family.

MIKE: I know of a few others, so I’m just going to suggest a few. What about Grandpa? Ben? Ryan? And then, there’s Micah, Andy… the list goes on and on. So, of those guys we named, what did they do that you look at and say, “Hey! I want to do some of that!”

DARRIEN: They are polite, funny, careful, and care much about their families.

MIKE: Cool. So, since we love Jesus and we talk about Jesus a lot in our house, tell me, why do you follow Jesus?

DARRIEN: I follow Jesus because… well, first, I didn’t really know about Him until I joined this family. And then, you took me to church and I sorta liked it. And, Jesus sounds like a cool man and so I sorta wanted to grow up to be like Him. I want to be polite and do the good stuff that He does.

MIKE: So, what are some of those good things that Jesus does?

DARRIEN: Well, He is very generous. He saved a lot of lives. He is very, very outgoing. And He’s not afraid of anything.

MIKE: So, do you think you could be a man and not follow Jesus?

DARRIEN: Yeah.

MIKE: What would that look like?

DARRIEN: Well, I don’t have to follow Jesus to be good. I could be good without following Jesus by being polite, helpful, generous, outgoing, and brave.

MIKE: Okay. Now, when you add Jesus into that mix, does it make it better?

DARRIEN: Yes.

MIKE: So, what about following Jesus makes life different?

DARRIEN: Now that I believe in Him, I can trust Him and do more things than I could before.

MIKE: If there was somebody that asked you, “Darrien, how do I become a man? How can I become a man who follows Jesus and does good things?” What advice would you give them?

DARRIEN: Well, I would tell them, “You should be polite, be helpful, be outgoing, brave, strong… and basically anything that is good.”

MIKE: Who did you learn that from? Who taught you “how to be a man”? Who are your “man teachers”?

DARRIEN: You.

MIKE: Ahh… shucks.

DARRIEN: Tylie, Micah, Ryan, George, Andy, Grandpa… a lot of people who are men… and some women.

MIKE: Women taught you how to be a man?

DARRIEN: Well, they taught me how to be polite.

MIKE: What are some dumb things that men think are important but we either don’t really need to do or shouldn’t do?

DARRIEN: Women.

MIKE: Women are dumb??!

DARRIEN: No!

MIKE: Then, what do you mean by that?

DARRIEN: We shouldn’t think about women in inappropriate ways. Because, that basically means that we only think about how they look and how rich they are. We need to look at them of how strong, beautiful, and brave they are… things that are encouraging, not just like… “Hey, you’re pretty!” and that’s it.

MIKE: I totally agree. Because they are sisters, they are moms… they are our family in Jesus. And that’s why men protect women, right?

DARRIEN: Yup!

MIKE: And are we real men if we treat women bad?

DARRIEN: Nope.

MIKE: So, we are protectors and providers, and we support and help out. So, what would you tell a guy if he doesn’t treat a girl right?

DARRIEN: You’re a bad guy!

MIKE: Very powerful. Are there any questions you’d like to ask me?

DARRIEN: What’s it like being a man?

MIKE: What’s it like being a man? Umm… It’s a lot of responsibility because other people depend on me and because I want to be a good example for you, your brothers and your little sister. I want to show you what it’s like to be a man, but I also want to show your sister what it’s like to be loved by a good guy and a husband. So, I need to love mom right, so she sees what’s going on. I need to make good choices that are not just about me, but about you guys. It’s also cool because I’m hairy and I can make funny shounds with my butt and my mouth and..

DARRIEN: Okay… you just crossed a line a little!

MIKE: It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s awesome. I wouldn’t change it for anything else. I love being a man!

DARRIEN: How do you become a man? Especially a man like you?

MIKE: A man like me? First, you make a whole lotta mistakes, then you pray to Jesus and ask for help!

DARRIEN: Okay… maybe I should ask someone else!

MIKE: Yeah, probably! How do you become a man? You make “the tough decision”. Meaning, if something is easy – like lying, cheating or stealing – but something might be tough – like telling the truth or being generous and caring and taking care of others – you choose to do the right thing, even though it may be tough. When you see something that needs to be done, you take care of it. Because, that’s just what you do. For me, it also means that I follow Jesus because Jesus gave me the ultimate example of what being a man looks like. So, it’s tough. Being a little boy is easy, but being a man takes some work sometimes. You know what I mean?

DARRIEN: Uh huh.

MIKE: Alright… last question. Who is a better singer/rapper/producer/MC: Bizzle or me?

DARRIEN: You suck. Bizzle!

MIKE: (Laughter) Don’t ask a question if you can’t handle the answer! Well, son, I love you. I’m proud of you. I’m very excited to be a part of your “Manhood Journey”. And I pray everyday that I am a good man to lead you and our family. Thanks for helping me, and all the other guys out there, learn to be a man!

DARRIEN: Can we do this again?

MIKE: Maybe some other time! Any last words of advice? Any final words for all your fans out there?

DARRIEN: You guys should know that I am pretty majestic with my words and actions.

MIKE: True story!

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Unorthodox Nicknames

Have I told you that you are beautiful?

Yes I know it’s an odd way to start a podcast to a man. But it’s the question I ask my daughter everyday.

Now to be honest its not always the same question… I change it up a little each time something like, “Have I told you how smart you are?” or “how strong” or “how caring you are”. And no matter if I have told her how smart, strong, beautiful, brave she is her answer is always the same. “No Dad, you haven’t told me.” And then I start my showering of praises.

Baby girl you are so beautiful that God stops looking at everything in nature to watch you dance and sing. Babe you aren’t just beautiful on the outside but your heart is so beautiful that you make everyone you know feel better about themselves. Do you know that God made you perfectly the way you are? He worked hard to make you perfectly unique and special.

The reason I do this is because at the age of 8 years old my beautiful little girl came home and told me, “Daddy I have fat thighs.” I thought, “WHAT? You are 8! Why are you even thinking about thighs?”

Some little punk 8 year old called my little girl fat.

At that very moment my mind flashed back to where I was when I got made fun of about my weight.

I’ll give you a second to go back in time and remember where you were when people had bad things to say about you. Was it your weight, height, color, gender, certain abilities? We all have them, these comments that stick in our minds that no matter how long it’s been we still hear them.

So I intentionally ask my daughter these questions because I want my voice to be the loudest voice in her head, not these idiots.

Another thing I started doing is waking my kids up speaking truth into their lives. These are little comments that I want them to start the day focusing on. Things like, “beautiful girl its time to wake up”, “Champ its time to win the day” or “Little warrior it’s time to fight the good fight”. I want their mindset to be that dad thinks I am beautiful, dad thinks I’m a winner, dad thinks I am powerful. I want them to start the day knowing someone believes in them and hopefully if they hear this enough then they will believe these things about themselves.

I know grown men who don’t believe these things about themselves. I know guys that every morning they wake up they hear a voice from their childhood telling them they are weak, useless, losers. How different would their lives be if they woke up with voices of encouragement, with a personal soundtrack of victory & success?

This isn’t self-help feel good guru stuff – this is Gods truth.

Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

The tongue has the power of life and death. I am not saying if you say the wrong words you are going to kill someone, but what you can do is kill some of their self-confidence.

When my kids first moved into our home we were talking about nicknames and what sort of fun things we were called. I told them growing up I was called Big Mike, Big Hod, Hoddy Doddy, and a few other silly names. One of my boys said, “I don’t have a nickname unless Fat is a nickname.” My heart broke for him. Since he was a chubby baby his family called him Fat-Fat. I guess calling a baby that might be ok, but a child who knows what that means is brutal. Years later this kid who is as strong as an ox and super athletic only see himself as fat.

Think very long and hard about the words you will speak over your others. Your words will give life or death.

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Unorthodox Vision: Everyman Needs to Have A Vision

Justin was raised in the church, baptized as a kid, and had an all-around healthy childhood. The only exception was that he thought Christianity was simply following a bunch of rules of do’s and don’ts. Couple that with the fact that these rules went against the stuff that teenage Justin wanted to do… and you have a recipe for rebellion.

Unorthodox Vision: Everyman needs to have a visionSo, when he joined the army shortly after high school, met his wife and began “adulthood”, he lacked any devotion to anything other than his own selfish desires… much less a relationship with God. Couple that with the scheduling of his wedding and heading off to basic training in the same week, and you have another recipe for disaster!

Here are just a few of the things Justin and I discuss:

  • Sent by the Army to the Middle East. The stress on their marriage became overwhelming.
  • Separated from wife and he knew it was his fault.
  • During this trying time, Justin finally turned to God. He prayed and felt that he was supposed to let go of control.
  • Their separation only lasted about a month, but that was all he needed to realized that he needed to begin the process of learning about himself, God and what God wants for his life.
  • They got back together and decided to find out if they really believed in God, or were they going to just go through the motions like he had done throughout his life.
  • There was a huge moment of freedom – freedom from guilt and shame – and for the first time he felt loved by God.
  • Justin knows that God has revealed things but he is still walking & learning.
  • How faith impacts his leading of men:
    • While away on deployment to Kuwait, he realized that he needed to start leading his sons into manhood… spiritually, not just as young men.
    • Began meeting with like-minded Christian men with similar goals.
    • Leadership of men began by leading his own sons.
  • Seeing other men not own up to their faults encouraged Justin to step up.
    • He realized that so many guys in our society are failing as men.
  • Now, he leads men to live up to what they already claim.
  • Where does Justin see the movement or “call to character” comes from?
    • Guys trying to figure out, “Am I enough?” regardless of what your purpose is, or even if know what your purpose might be.
  • Everyman needs to have a vision.
  • What can you do today?
    • You don’t need a five year plan. Begin with however far ahead you can see now. That may be today, next week, a year from now… just get off the couch and start!
  • Ask yourself, “What can I do today that can impact my vision?”
    • Call it a goal, a vision, whatever you like
    • It may be as simple as going for a walk, or working a full day and still having enough energy in your tank to invest in your family when you get home.
  • We need vulnerability and authenticity.
  • How do you get started? Start listening to the Holy Spirit. Seriously. If you’re a Christian, that is the same as “listen to your gut”.
  • Accept that the enemy will try to stop you.
  • Lean into the uncomfortable.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded guys
  • Justin’s favorite Bible Verses or story:
    • Caleb & Joshua: trusting God, not fearing giants
    • James: draw near to God & God draws near to us
    • 2 Timothy: we are not created to have a spirit of fear

This is just part of Justin’s story. You’ve got to listen to what God has done throughout his life to mold him into the man he is today. As Justin says, “Everyman needs to have a vision.”

Check out what Justin is doing regarding actions, honor and vision through Code of Character on Facebook: @CodeOfCharacter.

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God redeems broken things if we allow Him to work

Born addicted to cocaine into brokenness, Chris’ dad left, so his mom moved… he got saved at seven and truly believes God was with him ever since… even though he walked away from God.

Chris found brotherhood in youth football and followed that as long as he could. He was raised in a church that made him feel church was all about “Perfection or Punishment”. At 12 he realized he wasn’t perfect so he gave up on church.

At 12-years-old, he moved into a tent at his aunt’s house and started smoking speed. He justified drug use by thinking “at least I’m not drunk like my family”.

Bitter and angry about being poor. And mad that his father left him, Chris left football and dropped out of high school. And when he lost sports, he lost his identity.

At 18-years-old, he stole two cars and went sent to prison. Prison gave him the path and brothers he thought he needed. He was taken into a White Power gang and told who he was going to be and what he was going to do.

At 25, Chris looked in the mirror and hated who he had become. He got out of prison, got a job, got married and thought life was good. But when things got bad again, he thought smoking speed would fix it. He lost his home, cars, kids… everything. He even found out his wife was cheating on him. So, he dropped his kids off at his mom’s house and binged on drugs & violence for two whole years.

Chris then moved to Arizona to get clean. But instead, he relapsed, was arrested and ended up back in prison. However, according to Chris, “It was the best thing that ever happened to me”.

Chris “Came to the end of himself” and cried out to God. He was sent to a new prison, where he was called out by an older inmate. This guy told Chris that he was not living right, so he started getting mentored by the old guy.

After his sentence, Chris got out of prison for the last time and joined Along Side Ministries. He was mentored and walked with for a full year. Along Side helped transition Chris from prison life to civilian life. He was challenged to do the right thing after doing the right thing. “Don’t ever forget what chased you up in here.”

Then, he moved back to California and moved into his mom’s house – finally back close to his sons. Chris ended up living in the house of a friend that he had actually robbed years earlier. The family friend told him, “You are forgiven and we can see the change in you.” This family showed true grace, forgiveness and love. Chris finally found the church that would love him and accept him.God redeems broken things if we allow Him to work

Today, Chris wants to go into ministry and started pursuing his ministry degree. He volunteers at his church’s high school ministry. Also, he is working as a drug and alcohol counselor and a detox technician.

Chris’ life verse should be no surprise for someone who has faced death like he has: My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

As Chris puts it: God redeems all broken things as long as we allow Him to work. God is doing something with your past pain. And, God is a Good Father, if you have no dad… God can be that Father you desperately need!

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Unorthodox Big Dogs: Believe you are who God made you to be

I’m a “Dog Guy” – I have always loved dogs and always had dogs growing up.

Cats are lame.

Don’t even ask me about – fish aren’t pets, fish are appetizers.

The reason I love dogs are simple – they are loyal, loving, and compassionate. Dogs welcome you home, cuddle with you and they protect you. Shoot dogs are “Mans Best Friend” so if you want to be a man – you need to have a dog.

Believe you are who God made you to beLast year for my birthday my family got me a little shy ball of fluff named Shiloh. Shiloh is a goofy floppy Great Dane that has the body of a horse but the mind of an ameba. She’s cute but she’s dumb. The day we brought her home she was 20 some odd pounds, uncoordinated and didn’t know her own strength. The moment Shiloh walked into our house she was greeted by Dizzy our 10 year old French bulldog who instantly jumped on Shiloh and showed her who was boss. The first few days of their relationship consisted of Dizzy dominating Shiloh at every turn. It didn’t matter if Shiloh started the fight or if Dizzy started the fight – Dizzy always finished the fight. Dizzy was faster, stronger, more experienced and to be honest a little meaner as well.

Well 18 months later, a few things have changed, but a few things have stayed the same. What’s changed was Shiloh is now 120 pounds, she’s over 6 feet long and she’s as strong as an Ox. Dizzy on the other hand is still the same size; still has the same amount of strength, but to be honest she’s lost a step or two in her old age. But what hasn’t changed is Dizzy still beats Shiloh every time they fight. Shiloh has no idea how big or strong she is, she still fights like she’s a baby.

Every time I watch my dogs play I watch Dizzy beat up Shiloh and I wonder when Shiloh is going to realize how much power she has and when she’s finally going to tackle Dizzy, rough her up and decide to be the Alpha.

It’s funny to see this attitude in dogs, but its sad to see this attitude in men. Just like Shiloh, men allow little annoying situations to beat us simply because we have let them beat us in the past. We live our lives small and refuse to accept that we are bigger and stronger than we give ourselves credit for. We allow past situations to beat us today. We allow names we’ve been called in 5th and 6th grade determine how we view ourselves today. We allow mistakes in past relationships to steer current relationships. These examples can go on and on and on.

I see guys who struggle with this and I think, “What are you doing? Why aren’t you facing these past demons?” And yet at the same time these guys are looking at me thinking, “Why don’t you deal with your demons Mike?”

So guys I want you to take a look at yourselves and ask yourself, “Am I the little man who cant overcome my situation or am I the Beast that will attack my situation and refuse to be manhandled by it anymore.”

It reminds me of 2 Timothy 1:7:

 For God does not give us a spirit of timidity, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

I know “Timidity” isn’t a word we use very often – or ever. The word means lacking self-confidence; shy or fearful and hesitant.

God says that we are not defined as Timid, but we are full of power, love and self-discipline. God the creator of the entire universe says we are powerful – and yet we want to play small. We want to shy away from your struggles.

I would love to tell you that I am living my life as powerful, but I get timid and shy away from my struggles every now and then. I let the voices from my past tell me I cant do this, I will fail, I will fall short.

If you are anything like me you know exactly when the doubt is going to creep in, when the fear is going to show up, we know this because it has shown up in the places at the same times our entire life.

It’s crazy to think that we choose to believe these negative voices more than the very voice of God that calls us powerful.

It’s funny to watch my big dog get pushed around by my little dog and act like she is tiny. But if anyone ever knocks on my door my big dog turns into a beast. She will bark at you and chase you out of my house. I guarantee that if anyone ever comes into my house uninvited, Shiloh will be 100% beast not little tiny dog. I won’t even need to stand up because the beast will take care of the threat or danger. And yet she still won’t turn and fight my little dog.

I know this attitude is the same in so many of our lives as well. If you come into my house you better have an invitation or I will stop you from getting to my family. I will do what ever I need to do to protect my family, my friends, my loved ones, or anyone else that God has put in my circle of influence. But even though I might be willing to face a man or two men or any other unknown situation I still don’t face the small things that are nagging me. I wont face temptation that still bring me down, I wont face the negative talk that goes on in my head. Why? I don’t know? Partly because I always let it beat me in the past, partly because I haven’t hit reset and started over.

Guys, we need to take some time and really listen to who God tells us we are. We need to see ourselves as powerful men designed and purposed by God. We need to stop listening to the old voices of past parents, coaches, teachers, bullies and anyone else that gets negative replays in our mind. We need to get to a place where we truly believe we are who God tells us we are.

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Make Your Right Now Matter

Right Now, RIGHT NOW! This very moment matters.

Too many of us are caught in what happened yesterday, last week and last year. While others are stuck worried about what might happen next. We get so caught in what was and what might be that we don’t live right now.

You know the problem with right now? It’s gone, it’s over, it’s done.

When we don’t live in the “now”, then we don’t give the appropriate attention to our wives, kids, family, ministry, or ourselves.

Right now.

As you read this, right now life is marching on. These moments you can never get back. I’m not saying stop reading… but maybe you should. Maybe you should walk away right now and go live your life. Because here is what I am willing to bet, each of us tends to lean one-way or the other.

Make your right now matter

Image: Emily Roper-Doten

We tend to get stuck in what could have been, what we didn’t do, our shortcomings. “If coach would have put me in, we could have won state.” We’ve all said an Uncle Rico line or two. If my band would have played that one show I would be famous now. If I would have made that one deal I’d be rich. If I… Then I… Yes we all have “those things” that’s life. My question is this: Are you going to live in the past, a past that will never change, or will you live right now?

The other group of guys out there is my type of guys. We are the guys that think, “If I can just get a few things in line, then I’ll be…” If I can get some more time then I can take my wife on that date night. If I ever get that time then I can start that dream project I’ve been thinking about. If, if, if, if… but we never get to then because we never take the time now.

I guarantee tomorrow is coming. But I can’t guarantee you’ll be ready for it because you aren’t taking the time right now.

Whatever we are doing, whatever we are engaged in, is going to prep us for what’s to come. But if we don’t let go of the past, if we don’t move on, if we don’t process “what was” then we will never be ready for “what is”. Our past will hold our tomorrow’s hostage.

This reminds me of the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

It’s coming. Tomorrow is going to be here. What are we going to do about it? What are we going to do to get ready for it?

Trust me, your kids don’t care that in six weeks, you are going to make time for them. What your kids care about is what you are going to do with them right now. Next time you see them stop, put down your phone, look them in the eyes and tell them “I love you, I am so proud of you”. And here’s why… Your daughter want’s to know she’s beautiful by the man who is defining what masculinity is. Your wife wants you to come home on time, not because she wants you to finish the list of projects, but because she wants to know she is valued and important. You know what else is important? You taking the time to get yourself healthy – mentally, emotionally, physically healthy.

You need to start doing these things right now. Why now? Because you didn’t do it yesterday and you aren’t going to do it tomorrow if you don’t start now. If you are waiting for something to happen, let me tell you, you are right. Something needs to happen and that something is you.

You know why I am so passionate and excited about this concept of “Right Now”? it’s because about two years ago I thought “It would be cool to do a blog, podcast and website.” Then I sat on my hands for two years hoping something could happen. Well nothing ever happened, until I decided I need to get started now.

Some of you need to start talking to your kids – right now!

Some of you need to quit drinking – right now!

Some of you need to say I am sorry – right now!

Some of you need to leave work early to be with folks who love you – right now!

Make your right now matter. Live in such a way you no longer look back and wonder “what if” because your right now is so impacting.

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is coming. So, what will your right now?

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Unorthodox Anger

Clenched fists, gritting teeth, tightness in my chest, eyebrows lower, lips tighten – I want nothing more than to explode and make someone else or something else experience what I am feeling.

Unorthodox Anger

Image: Dylan Brobst

We all know that feeling I don’t care what you call it anger, frustration, pissed off.

I’ve spent years angry…

I started out angry at my parents and teachers just because;

I got angry that I didn’t fit in but I wanted to belong;

I was angry that others made fun of me even though I tried to laugh it off;

I was angry that I felt weak even when I acted strong;

I was angry that I didn’t have what others had even though I mocked them for having it;

I was angry that when I tried I failed so I quit trying;

I was angry at myself for being angry all the time and not knowing what to do about it…

In my anger, I caused fights, I broke things, I said words I could never take back, I destroyed relationships, I scared friendships, I shattered trust, I lashed out physically and verbally at anything and anyone that was in striking distance.

You know what I learned in all my anger? I learned that no matter the situation, no matter the cause… I was the common denominator.

I wanted change, I wanted something different, and I wanted to see things happen in my life… But I wasn’t willing to face the fact that I was the problem.

See, anger wasn’t my problem

In Ephesians 4:26 we are told “In your anger do not sin”.

Now what we do with our anger…

In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Ephesians 4:26-31)

There is nothing wrong with anger… if we are angry for the right reasons and if we respond the right way.

Anger has inspired men and women to do powerful things…

Because of anger, men fought for freedom.

Because of anger, men wrote laws and changed legislation.

Because of anger, men worked tirelessly looking to cure diseases.

Because of anger, men have changed the world.

But the difference between those guys and me… and I am willing to bet you as well.

They got angry about the right things and they did something with their anger. They didn’t get pissed about their ego or image. They got pissed about injustice about other people’s situations.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James1:19-20)

What God gets angry about isn’t traffic, getting cut off, waiting in line behind the person who decided to pay for their groceries in pennies. God is angered by His children being mistreated, by the widows who have been abandoned, by His Church turning a blind eye to the needy.

Guys, its ok to be angry… In fact I think God would want some of us to get angrier, but he wants us to do it for the right reasons and deal with our anger in the right ways.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Unorthodox Man! If you’d like to find out more about us, check us out at UnorthodoxMan.com. If you’d like to join our community and be a part of our conversation, find us on Facebook.

And, if you’re looking for other podcasts that can keep you inspired and keep you going throughout the day, check out my friends at ChristianPodcastCentral.com.

You will not be disappointed!

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Welcome back!

This week is actually part two of my conversation with my buddy, John Hintz. If you didn’t catch part 1, I really recommend you go check it out. Last week, we covered John’s life from his childhood up through around the age of 25.

And, this week, we talk about the part of John’s story where he realized that God was there. As John says himself, “This is my God Story”.John Hintz's story of redemption from abuse, alcohol and depression

Then, as we hear more and more of John’s life, we see how God shows up and everything kinda comes together, culminating to what He is doing now through John… it’s amazing!

If you have ever looked at your own life and thought, “I have no idea how God can ever use me”, then you need to hear the conclusion of John’s story and hear how God took a crazy, broken story and uses it for powerful change in many, many people’s lives.

We’re talking about abuse, alcohol, disease, suicide, and so much more… when it comes to growing God’s kingdom, God is greater than all that and more!

One of John’s favorite verses is Proverbs 27:17:

As iron sharpens iron,
    so a friend sharpens a friend.

And, as John’s friend, I can attest that this guy is sharp!

Check it out!

 

Thanks for listening to this episode of Unorthodox Man! If you’d like to find out more about us, check us out at UnorthodoxMan.com. If you’d like to join our community and be a part of our conversation, find us on Facebook.

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You will not be disappointed!

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Unorthodox Violence: An Interview with John Hintz (part 1)

Do you ever look back on your life and see God in the rear view mirror? At the risk of mixing a motherload of metaphors, you may not see Him while He’s alongside you, but when you look back in time, you can see how all the puzzle pieces of your life have been put together by God, Himself.

This week, we get to have a cool conversation with a buddy of mine named John. It’s going to be a little bit different – a two-part story – because John’s story starts at a very young age and becomes a story of brokenness, violence, drugs and worse… and then transforms into a story of redemption!

That’s the key: Redemption. It’s the theme that has run through John’s life.

In part one of his story, we hit on a few of his early milestones, including:

  • Growing Up In culturally divided Milwaukee
  • First Worst Memory – getting kidnapped
  • “Violence became a big part of my life”
  • Moved to the farm / parents divorce
  • Dad leaves: “You are the man now”
  • Looked for religion not God
  • Not fulfilled with Catholicism / Mom joins occult
  • Mom attempts suicide
  • Back to church
  • Public to Private School and back to Public
  • Mom remarried to a crazy, then kicked outUnorthodox Violence: An Interview with John Hintz
  • Mom’s new boyfriend Jim: lots of drugs, wanted to hurt Jim
  • Moved in with Dad – starts working & fighting in Dad’s bar
  • More drugs, tries to kill Jim
  • Walker’s Point six-week live in facility
  • Conversation with Dad
  • Enlists in Marine Corp
  • Military, wife, kids, leave military for law enforcement
  • Divorce, focused on kids… but more on work

To learn more about Mike’s Unorthodox life, Unorthodox ministry, and Unorthodox takes, check out UnorthodoxMan.com. And, to join the Unorthodox Community, visit our Facebook page.

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