Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Live It

One action is more valuable than a thousand good intentions.

I know….I didn’t even give you time to prepare for that one, I just hit you with it. But my whole blog today is a little spontaneous and a bit of a spiritual rabbit punch.

I’m sitting here reading a place in Luke where Jesus is teaching and speaking the wisdom and truth of God when all of the sudden a woman calls out and says, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you!” Jesus stops, pauses for a moment and says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

What???... Maybe the most influential statement on obedience to God in all of scripture. He literally said the favor and blessing over your life is richer and more prolific by merely DOING what you read in God’s word than if you had given birth to the savior of the world.

Jesus was relentless in his teaching when it came to this issue of ACTION. He knew it was and is what separates advancement from abandonment. Let’s have a moment of truth shall we? No dream comes true by itself and the measure of a person is not in his dream but in his action.

I have never heard of anyone stumbling onto something big while sitting down. A quaint poem written by a late poet from northern Kentucky simply says, “Sitting still and wishing makes no person great, the good Lord made the fish but we must dig the bait.”

I’ve been preparing today for my message on Sunday, as I do every week. And every week people trek out to listen, but the true test of the message is not the listener walking away saying, “What an inspirational set of concepts and ideas.” The true test of the message is what Pilate declared and asked the Jews, “What shall I now do with Jesus which is called Christ?”

Some people indeed find life as well as the Christian experience empty not because there is nothing to it, but because they put nothing INTO it.

THE DEVIL DOESN’T MIND YOUR PROFESSING FAITH JUST AS LONG AS YOU DON’T PRACTICE IT. The truth is most of us are educated well beyond the level of our obedience, but it is in obedience only, where what we hope for becomes reality.

Mark twain once rightly noted, “Thunder is good but lightning does the work.” You got that right. Every time we hear truth and refuse to do it we allow a form of deception into our lives because no matter how we slice it if we agree and declare it to be true and don’t do it the cold hard fact is we really don’t believe it.

There have been hundreds if not thousands of books written about the Secret of Success but I believe people secretly don’t want to really know the secret of success because deep down they suspect that secret may be HARD WORK.

I heard one man say, “I’m not afraid of hard work, I can lay down right next to it and sleep like a baby.” While that may be humorous, refusal to work the vision means the death of the dream.

I am haunted by an image of me standing before God and seeing the lives I could have changed but didn’t simply because it required some extra effort. Nobody gets everything right every time and the great news is God knows that.

The scripture never reprimands the soul for failure after all this is what created the advent of GRACE. What the scripture addresses is never trying, never doing and never attempting.

My question for you this week is what is it you know to do but are not doing? Has God put something or maybe someone in your path or in your heart and you have not acted on it? Miracles happen ONLY when we move.

I told God seventeen years ago if he opened doors and would help me I would go anywhere, anytime and do anything for Him, that’s why next week I’ll be blogging from Prague in the Czech Republic while I’m there preaching and teaching to 150 Pastors from Budapest, Hungary and Poland.

God has a dream for you, friend. Don’t be afraid to say yes and run hard after Him, trust me when I tell you you’ll be glad you did.

As always take 20 seconds and tell me and the others who read this weekly blog what you think.

Thanks for participating and I’ll see you next week from Europe.

All for Christ,
J. Mark

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I believe that more problems in this world have been caused by the weakness of good than by the strength of evil.

Evil proliferates not so much because of the wicked but because of the weak who disagree with it but do nothing.

THE TIME IS ALWAYS RIGHT TO DO THE RIGHT THING. The true measure of a person is found in his height of ideals, the breadth of his sympathy, the depth of his convictions, and the length of his patience.

The book of James in the Bible is so powerful simply because it’s so practical. The point of the moment of truth today is found in this book of wisdom when it says, "To the one who knows to do the right thing and doesn’t do it, to him it is a sin.”

What does it mean to be a person of excellence? Well, I am certain there are as many definitions out there as there are people who read this weekly blog, but let me share with you what it means to me at this particular stage of my life and walk with God.

To me it’s about sincerely seeking what is true and right, and what is just and pure. It is a quest for the heart and mind of God and a deep longing for His thoughts and ideas about everything in my life from my relationship with my wife and children to the ministry and responsibility to which He has called and equipped me for.

And once I am convinced I know His heart on these issues…..DOING IT WITHOUT RESERVATION OR HESITATION. To stall or hesitate means to question His authority in my life and to entertain the vain ideology that perhaps I know better than Him.


It is a great day in a man’s life when he discovers that God is far more concerned with him being Holy than He is with him being happy. Don’t get me wrong the two are not mutually exclusive but the world would have you believe they are.

The mantra of the world is “Live only for yourself” and their theme song is “If it makes YOU happy, then do it.” How utterly empty and decaffeinated the life lived only for itself is.

True happiness is only found in holiness and holiness is simply about following the Fathers purposes and plans for our lives. True success has really nothing to do with the amount of money you have or where you live or what you drive. Success is peace of mind that comes from knowing you did your very best and left nothing in the bag in your pursuit of God and His will for your life.

With God’s grace I have settled, determined and concluded that I will not be a dropout, a cop out, or a holdout but through his strength I am determined to be A SOLD OUT. When you stand for what’s right, then you win, even if it seems like you “lost.”

I seem to remember a scripture here….hmmmmm…something about losing one’s life to find it, you remember it don’t you? Jesus did his best to frame the picture of what a life lived sold out to God would look like and He is our ultimate example of TRUE SUCCESS.

I read this quote 3 days ago and have come back to it several times since. Richard Huseman said, “Be driven by excellence. To be driven by excellence we must ask one important question: Have we demanded enough of ourselves, and by our example, inspired those around us to put forth their best effort and achieve God’s dream for their life?”

Oh God, help me….let my life matter to and for someone else, but ultimately for you. Take a few seconds and leave a comment, your words encourage me and others as well.

Until next week, when you know the right thing to do, JUST DO IT.

All for Christ,
J. Mark

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Those who expect nothing are never disappointed, and those who never try anything never have to deal with failure.

But what kind of a life is that?

Trust me, anyone who is currently achieving anything in life or ministry, is simultaneously risking failure. It is always better to fail at doing something than to excel at doing nothing. I don’t care how mangled it is, a flawed diamond is still more valuable than a perfect brick.

I have somewhat of an obsession with studying and observing great leaders in life and history and I have discovered that one of the differences between average leaders and excellent leaders is how they perceive and respond to failure. In fact, there is a distinct correlation between spiritual maturity and how quickly one responds and rebounds from failure.

People who are spiritually less developed seem to have a tendency to hold on to their past failures longer than those who are stronger in their faith. Here is a huge moment of truth for you….FAILURE IS JUST A SITUATION, NEVER A PERSON.

Paul Galvin, at the age of thirty-three, had twice failed miserably in enterprise. Then he attended an auction of his own storage-battery business and, with his last $750, bought back the battery-elimination portion of it. This part later became a little side-venture called MOTOROLA. Upon his retirement in the late 1960’s, he advised his company in his last address with these words, “Never fear mistakes, you...will…know…failure, but it is not a force to be feared but rather a fact to be faced. The mistake-riddled life is much richer, more interesting, and more stimulating than the life that has never taken a stand and believed for something great.”

I read these words and something inside me screams…bring it on! God holds in reserve His greatest power and favor for those who jump in water over their head and dare to strive for things beyond the safe and comfortable places.

The man who invented the eraser had the human race pretty well figured out but I try to always keep in mind that there is more lead in the pencil than eraser at the top. As long as I write more than I erase I’ll eventually complete the novel. In other words, always focus on what’s left not on what you have lost.

The book of Ecclesiastes offers this instruction, "In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider.” Translation… whenever you fall, pick something up while your down there. The only true failure is never learning from your mistakes. The key to truly being free from the stranglehold of past failures and mistakes is this: LEARN THE LESSON AND FORGET THE DETAILS.

The enemy never wants us to remember the lessons, his goal is to get us trapped and bogged down in the details of our failures. The secret is to gain from the experience while not allowing the experience to dominate your life. I have fallen down and I’m sure I will again, it’s a part of dreaming, pressing, building and striving. But what I know is that my CALL is always greater than my FALL.

What about you, tell me what you think. I had some great responses last week. Take 20 seconds and leave a comment so someone can benefit from your thoughts and encouragement.

Thanks for reading and participating and I’ll catch you next week.

All for Christ,

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dream On

Have you ever said something or done something that you thought would excite people and be well received only to be shocked and devastated by a flurry of negative response?

I’ll bet I just got an amen from somebody, somewhere.

I sincerely strive for wisdom in everything I do, especially in dealing with people and leadership as a Pastor. But I have also come to understand that there are some unavoidable trials and companions to visionary leadership that must be accepted.

One of those is the fact that not everyone will always be excited about your dreams and the vision that God gives you. It doesn’t mean they are bad people, it just means that sometimes not everybody gets it. The key is to understand that criticism is a normal occurrence that always surrounds dreamers and to not allow the dream to be surrendered simply because some negativity is present.

At times, ingratitude and criticism are merely prices you pay for leaping past mediocrity and daring something others are not doing. Jesus healed a man and changed his life forever, but because of the time in which he did it, he was horribly criticized. In another place He heals ten lepers only to have one return to say thank you while the other nine continued on their way ungrateful for His time and effort.

Learn this lesson well, if you move with God you WILL be critiqued and questioned often, however, no one can ever make you feel average without your permission. Whenever God calls you to leave His mark you will always attract erasers but it doesn’t matter as long as you stay the course.

I love the Celtic proverb that says, “It is useless for sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism, if the wolves refuse to participate with the legislation.” What it means is, nothing will change no matter who says what if everyone doesn’t agree and participate.

It is unrealistic to think everyone will always agree or see the same value as you do over what God is calling you to do. Let me give you a scripture you ought to put in your heart if this blog is ringing your bell, Romans 12:18, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Notice the words, “IF POSSIBLE.” If there were not legitimate times when everyone won’t be in agreement than God would have never included these words in scripture.

Just because everyone doesn’t catch your vision or see it your way does not mean their wrong and it doesn’t mean you’re wrong. It simply means God has given you a journey that doesn’t include everyone. What makes it hard is that we secretly wish everyone would go with us but they won’t and shouldn’t.

God has a journey for them and we should pray and hope for His perfect will to be done in there life. Agreeable disagreement is a sign of tremendous maturity and health. It is the mark of Godliness and confidence in knowing what He has called each of us to do.

Besides, if criticism had any real power to harm, the skunk would have been extinct by now. Be confident in what God has spoken to you and don’t take things so personally when everyone doesn’t leap for joy at your dream. If you are persistent you will finally get where He wants you to be.

Remember, through perseverance, even the snail reached the ARK.

Does this ring true with you? Take 20 seconds and leave a comment. Give me some of your thoughts on the subject.

God Bless and I’ll see you next week.

All for Christ,
J. Mark