Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's Your Move

What if you were sitting on the edge of a chair and you had to make the hardest decision of your life? Maybe your head is in your lap. Maybe your eyes are closed and your chin is resting on the palm of your hand. Maybe you're against the back of your chair and you are relaxed in some odd way. If you were sitting on this chair, what would your position be? What would you be thinking about? It's your move...

-I can see an old man sitting in a weathered recliner who is coming close to the end of his days. He reviews his years of life and wonders if they were all worth it or not. He wonders if what they say about the after life is real or not.

-I see the young man sitting at the last seat of a bar, the night before his wedding. As his buddies throw back the drinks and have a blast; he considers what his life will be like tomorrow. He won't be at the bar with his buddies, he'll be with his life long partner that he vows to love forever. He wonders if marriage will be what he expects or not.

-I see myself sitting at the end of a hospital chair; awaiting the arrival of my first son. I can imagine my nerves being on edge, but having to stay calm and protected. I can see the feet of the people at the busy hospital moving past me, unaware of my thoughts. I wonder if I'll be able to be the father I hope to be or not.

And finally, I see opportunities. A new year almost always brings forth a new sense of excitement, but it might also be heavy with a lot of fear. I have many memories of the past six years or so and can think of all the new years. There are a few options to consider when starting a new year. Either you need to make some big changes to fix what you have done wrong or you need to stay consistent in the ways that have gone right. It's your move. Even if new changes come up, if things are going good overall then apply the similar ideas that are working. If there is anything we can take from the examples above it's this; stop worrying about your years past and move forward, enjoy the remaining years of your life. Of course life will change if you get married, but it will change for the good and make you a better person for it. And finally, have faith that the Father of all will teach you how to be a father to a little one. Overall keep a strong sense of FAITH in this new year. He is faithful and just, and will never give us more then we can handle.

"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong."  
-I Corinthians 16:13

What's your move this year?
Pray. Think. Act. And have a great New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Help My Unbelief

 "Immediately the boy's father cried out and said, "I do believe; help my unbelief."
Mark 9:24 (NASB95)
My struggles over the past few days have been that of my unbelief. Not in God, not in my Lord, Jesus Christ, but in myself. It’s an unbelief that questions, “why does God really care or want to help me?”

Right now, to be honest, my only problems in life are money problems. I have no health problems, my family has no health problems, we have food to eat, a roof over our heads and yet I still have unbelief. Why would God care about my money problems, when so many people in the world have problems money cannot fix?

I am thankful that my only problems are money related, but this is where questions lie within me. Why, if I am doing the things God is asking me to do, would He allow me to struggle in this area more than any other? Why of all the things of the world to worry about, do I focus on money?

God wrote about money more than any other topic in the bible, besides love. 
He said in 1 Timothy 6:10 (NASB95) 10 "For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s". 

Maybe this is where I am. I am grieved over something that doesn't really matter in the spiritual world. Maybe I have placed money in front of God and that’s why He has me deal with the issues I face, just to see which I choose, Him or money. Yesterday, I chose money. I worried to the point of making myself sick. Today, I replace my money with God and I will focus on the one true God. The God of my life and I hand it over to Him. And I pray “God, I do believe, but help me with my unbelief”.

Is their unbelief in your life? Take the focus on that problem or issue, give it to God and place Him in your focus once again. And ask him to help you with your unbelief. Build your relationship with Him and all other problems will seem to fade away.
This has been a guest post by author JodyBurkeen
Founder of Man Up Gods Way

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lost in Love

 It was 1979 and Air Supply was at the height of their game. Their song “Lost in Love,” was an instant hit, and it seemed everyone was hooked. At the time, I could not comprehend what being “Lost in Love” was all about. Sure, it was a great song and for many still is, but the fact that I would have to let every guard down in my system scared me. Perhaps, it was the macho in me which did not allow me to expose my heart and feelings in such a way. As men, most of us are not reared to feel this way and to allow experiences like these to penetrate us. I thought I needed to slay dragons and rescue damsels in distress, not lose myself in love.

In a similar way, as Christian men, some of us have difficulty relating to Jesus, our Savior, and allowing ourselves to be “lost in love” with Him. How can we, Knights of the Round Table, allow this to happen? Sure, we love to worship, pray, go on missions, preach, and anything in between; but surrendering? It is subversively foreign to us. Fairy tale books tell us that we live happily ever after, not loving and surrendering ever after. It is at this point that we have to submit to the Holy Spirit to efficiently do His job in us, in teaching us to be softened. It is like having an open-heart surgery experience with Christ. Salvation is just the beginning of the adventure. We need to allow its course to continue changing us from our old self to the new creation He desires us to be.

Jeremy Riddle, in his song, Sweetly Broken, captures this “lost in love” experience, not with a woman, but with Christ, Himself.

“At the Cross,
You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees,
and I am Lost for words,
so Lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken,
wholly surrendered”

So many of us men are so afraid to be sweetly broken, to be lost in love and surrendered to a Jesus who wants to capture who He is in us. Perhaps, we think this is going to chip off our armor and take away part of that knighthood that we so dearly protect.  But in doing so, we allow a pure and untainted love to overwhelm and cleanse us; and define who and what we are destined to be. I know it's not easy to get to this point when time is the last thing you may have. Monday Night Football, your friends, your work, Twitter, Facebook, of course your wife or girlfriend, and finally the kids, if any, demand your time. So, time to fall in love with Christ, although it may be our desire, is the least to get your precious time. Know this; everything or anyone is going to vie for your time. If you do the Christ thing first, you may end up having more time than you know.  

Are you ready to prioritize your time and 
fall in love with your King?

This was a guest post by Rick Cubas! 
Rick is the director of the SkyWay Leadership Group in Texas.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Three Men at the Wall

Nineteen boys had found a town
But none could enter in.
Perhaps too young, the boys were told
To "come back as grown men."

Twelve feet high, cemented sky
No soul could overlook
These solid walls were built so tall
By Words from that great Book.

"Let's go back home, let's sleep a while
Until we're old and tall.
And maybe when we come back then,
They'll let us past that wall."

So sixteen left along their way
With a lie inside their minds:
That manhood simply happens
By the passing of the time.

But try they did, the three who stayed,
These boys did try again.
Their child-like faith kept telling them
That they should not give in.

Their yearn for knowledge yet unknown
Beyond these sturdy walls,
No matter all the times they failed,
The boys kept standing tall.

Three years now passed
But unaware those days had slipped so fast,
One bright and fine and hopeful day
These boys – they finally passed

The roadblock that had tested them
And inflicted so much pain.
But on the other side, the boys now realized
They had changed.

Mature and strong, wise and bold,
Men they had become
From persistently pursuing
The very challenge they begun.

Now sixteen came, impatient boys
No different from the past
Older, taller, lazier
But nothing more than that.

"You cannot pass, you cannot pass,"
The gateman spat again,
"Please, little boys, why don't you come back
When you are grown men."

Confused and angry all these boys,
But what else could they do?
But sadly turn back home to where
"To wait" was all they knew.

Beyond these walls, I'm not allowed
To share what's hidden there.
For that is only known to men
Who’ve actually traveled there.

But one thing I assure you,
Those three were satisfied
For they had not believed in lazy, childish, boy-made lies.

This town it still exists.
I cannot tell you where.
But if you truly seek it first,
I'll probably see you there.


This was a guest post by Peter Choi! Peter and his friends founded "The Weekend Press
to inspire individuals to follow their dreams and encourage creativity. Check it out!

Friday, December 14, 2012


When I was growing up, my father and I used to race go karts. To be completely honest, this is when life felt like it actually started. We started racing when I was around 14 years old. Up to that point, most of the activities in our family were done, well, as a family. I had competed in other sports like basketball and baseball, but they didn't compare to racing with my dad. In basketball I had 4 other guys around me and we tried to move in one motion. We were led by a good man, our coach, and he did his best to bring us together as a team. This was a great time period of learning how to work together and take orders from an older man other than my father.

Racing go-karts was much different though. It came down to my dad and me. We were the team and we had to depend on each other. In my first couple years of racing, it was about learning and having fun. Karts and motors weren't that expensive and we got to the track in our reliable Dodge Caravan. I didn't know it at the time, but my father was using this time to train and mold me. Each time I went out on the track, he made sure I was ready and told me I could do great. "Watch your speed around those turns." "Sometimes you have to go slow, to go fast." "Careful, the track is slick so get those tires warmed up first." He would give me a high five, fist bump or a hand pat on the helmet afterwards. He'd ask me if I was ready, I would nod, and he would start the engine up. I would sit there in the kart just staring at the track in front of me. Thinking about what my father had just told me; thinking about the last race and maybe what I did wrong; thinking about the fast kid and how I could possibly beat him this race. Out on the track, it was up to me. My father could give me the best kart, the fastest motor and finest equipment; but if I didn't drive smart, we would have nothing. My foot and leg would always be slammed to the gas pedal. Sometimes I wouldn't realize how hard I was pushing it down and would have to relax myself. I'm surprised the pedal never broke on me. In and out of turns; dust from the dirt track flying past me and my eyes never leaving the man in front of me. I'd finish the race, sometimes satisfied and sometime disappointed, and head back into the infield. No matter what, my father would be there to see my out of my kart. No matter what happened in the race, he would help me get the kart back to the stand and loaded up. No matter what, he told me I did a good job and raced a good race.

Affirm means to express agreement with or commitment to; uphold; support. I am reminded of a time the Father spoke to His Son in the book of Mathew: "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased". Our example of the father and son relationship is built upon love and affirmation. With just a few simple words, fathers were shown how to speak to their sons. As a son and soon to be father, this verse will be at the forefront of my thoughts. Just as my father affirmed me each time I went onto the track and got off the track; I want to make sure I affirm. It wasn't just about the speed, the sound of engines roaring everywhere or the thick smell of gasoline in the air; it was about a relationship, mentorship, sonship. I will always remember those days on the track and I even look forward to the day I can put my son in the seat, with Grandpa as the crew chief. 

We've all gone through affirmation at one point or another. 
Describe the process of your affirmation. Good or bad.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Boot Camp for New Dads

As some of you may know, my wife and I are expecting our first child come this January. We are very excited and also very nervous, or at least I am. We have been attending some pre-baby classes together that our hospital provided. Men, be sure to attend these classes with your wife and pay attention! No matter how good you are at changing oil or playing sports; this is a whole new ballgame. Get my drift?

Yesterday was my first "new dad" class. When we went to the hospital for the very first time months ago, there was a sign near the elevators with a pair of boots on it. I walked up to it and it read "Boot Camp for New Dads". I knew right away that this was a class I was going to need to attend. The program is sponsored by "First Things First Richmond"; a faith-influenced organization in the Richmond, VA area. 

The meat of the program comes from a national organization called "Dads Adventure" and they sponsor "Boot Camp for New Dads". It is the nation's largest program for fathers, operating in 260 communities across 43 states, the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force, and expanding internationally. Click on some of the links to see what is available in your area or to start your own class!

I really had no idea what to expect going into this class. I wasn't sure if I'd be changing diapers or watching some videos of births, but I felt it was essential that I had to go. There were about 20-25 other "rookies" in the group and there were 3 veterans with babies onsite. At first I thought these men had just scheduled to come to the class a little too late, but I was wrong. The class was from 9am-12pm and each hour was very well rounded. We went around the room and introduced ourselves and it took off from there. 

  • The first hour consisted of questions and topics led by the facilitator. He would ask the questions and the veterans would give their input on the topic and talk about their personal experiences. It was great to hear each one of them give their own opinions. They all had a slightly different take on how to do it, but they all worked. 

  • The second hour consisted of one-on-one time with each veteran. We broke into 3 groups and had free reign to ask any questions. From what were absolute essential items; to what was their schedule like; to how they assisted their wife with the baby. This was great information. 

  • The final hour consisted of what I'll call "straight talk" from another facilitator. He talked about the mother having the "baby blues" or depression and how to handle that. He talked a lot about crying babies and how we need to be very patient with them. And under NO circumstance are we to shake the baby! He mentioned safety tips; introducing the pets to the new family member; and baby CPR. Let's hear some of your best tips veteran dads. What worked for you?

Overall I was very impressed with the class. It was very professional and very well organized. They are able to pack a solid punch of information in a short amount of time. The veterans are the stars as they are hammered with question after question and handle it very well. I learned much more then I anticipated and walked away from the class feeling much more confident in my "new" daddy skills. As a point of mention, I want to say what my TOP THREE main things were as I walked away from the class. 

NUMBER ONE was communication. Communicate with the mother to be about as much as possible now and keep it up after the baby is born. It is absolutely essential!
NUMBER TWO was pre-planning. Pre-Plan now! Pre-plan before you head to the delivery room; before you allow visitors over; before you have family visit and more. This goes back to number one. 
NUMBER THREE was protection. You are the Protector and your wife is going to need you to step up! Whether it is helping her around the house; watching the baby and mother closely as others handle him; or making sure they are both safe and secure. It us your job to make sure this gets done! 

I look forward to going back as a veteran someday! Be sure to check out the website links above and support an awesome program!

So let's hear it veteran mothers and fathers. What is your best piece of advice you can offer rookie parents?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


First discovered in 1781 and finally perfected in 1783, tungsten became a material much stronger than your average steel. Despite its strong characteristics, it didn't play a major role until World War II. Its robust nature and very high melting point made it key in the arms business back then. Tungsten has also been called "heavy stone" and can also be called "wolframite". Just from those two optional names make it sound quite strong. Its modern day uses are a little more widespread though. Tungsten can be found in light bulbs, heating elements, rocket engines and on my finger.

As my wife were anticipating our big day (marriage). We, like all other couples, had to find our perfect rings. I had never really thought it was a big deal to find "the right ring". I figured it could be something that was simple and not flashy (my wife would agree that that is my overall style). No jewels, nothing shiny, just simple. I looked around without much effort and my fiancée (now wife) mentioned getting a ring made of tungsten. It sounded expensive, but I took it into consideration. She told me that the advantage with tungsten was it would not scratch. She also told me that if it something happened and they needed the ring off, they might have to take my entire finger. But, like any good man would, I avoided that point. My work involved using tools and handling materials on a daily basis, and the last thing I wanted was for my "investment" (ring) to get damaged only after a few years of use. I agreed on the tungsten, not flashy of course, and we made the purchase. I would go into her ring process, but I don't have the space :)

Why does all of this matter? A ring is on your finger to make a statement. In my case, it says "I'm married, so hands off", or something like that. I think most men wear them because it is a part of the process. But women wear them for much different reasons. There's is a very BOLD statement and they love it. When I look at my ring that I have been wearing for over six years now, I am amazed at how strong it is and how great it still looks. Tungsten is the real deal. Tungsten reminds me of myself and my marriage. The very, very minor surface marks are there from the years, but it still looks great. Life is full of "surface scratches", but we must march forward. We must have the weight of a "heavy stone" to not give in to the pressures. And we must have the tenacity of a "wolf" to make it past some of life's battles. When I look at my tungsten ring, I know that it is around for the long haul. It's not going to get heavy damage. It's not going to scratch easily. I want to be a Man of Tungsten for my God, my marriage and myself. The reminder is always there and I look forward to growing old with it by my side.

Ring Credit: This ring can be found at A great gift idea for the man in your life.