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Category Archives: Overcomer

The Empire ‘Always’ Strikes Back!

One of the largest grossing films of all time, now surpassing the $538 million dollar mark! The story, the second in the Star Wars Trilogy, set 3 years after Star Wars pits again the villainous Galactic Empire leader, Darth Vader against young Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance. The film was the largest grossing film of 1980 and has since continued to rake in the millions and is now regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. When the movie came out it moved the bar up considerably where special effects were concerned. George Lucas became a household name and the ‘Trilogy’ established itself in American culture forever.

There is a mystical power known as “the Force”. It’s described as, “an energy field created by all living things that bind the galaxy together”. (sound familiar??!) Those whom “the Force is strong with” have quick reflexes; through training and meditation, they are able to perform supernatural feats. The Force is displayed by two opposing entities who are at violent conflict with one another. The Jedi, the ‘good guys’, who act on the light side of the Force, and the Sith, Vader’s evil empire, who use the dark side through fear, intimidation, and aggression.

It’s an epic story on the eternal battle between good and evil both here on the Earth and in the celestial realm. As a believer, it’s a battle that you’ve been swept into whether you like it or not. Just the movie’s title, The Empire Strikes Back, has a somewhat sobering and prophetic ring to it. It’s a great analogy of the spiritual warfare we face as believers and kingdom citizens. The spiritual comparisons in this movie are many. Darth Vader is a fair comparison to Satan although even at his very worst is no match for our adversary, the devil. At the end of the first movie, Skywalker and his rag-tag bunch of warriors win a hard fought battle against the forces of darkness. But there’s enough of the remnant of the Evil Empire left to start the slow process of building back, and ultimately assembling a formidable and potentially vicious deadly troop focused on the attack and destruction of the Jedi’s.

So yeah, just like in the movie the Empire always strikes back! You might as well get ready for it. They know your weakness. They know just how to attack. They’re determined to destroy you. But, take courage! You’re well equipped for this epic battle. It’s one you’re going to win! So, suit up!! Take up your lightsaber! You know, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God! Put on your helmet of salvation, and take up that shield of faith with which you can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one!

This battle is a BIG one!

Good luck, …..and may the Force be with you!

 

 

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They Forgot to Tell the Bumblebee!

Defying the odds. Don’t you just love to hear the stories of people who were put down, ridiculed, told they couldn’t make it, kicked to the curb and ignored….who got back up and proved everybody wrong. There’s no shortage of stories like that out there.

I immediately think of two Oklahoma boys with similar paths; Steve Largent and Wes Welker. *(You really should read their Wikipedia profile!) Both were standout wide receivers in high school but anybody will tell you that there’s a vast canyon between high school success and success at the college level. But these boys made it there, too. They made it, Largent at Tulsa University and Welker at Texas Tech *(only got a scholarship because another recruit dropped out!), despite all the experts telling them that they were both too small….and too slow. Of course, for any athlete, the next step from college to the NFL is an even greater stretch. Again, they were told, “No way”! (Welker-Undrafted free agent; Largent-4th round-117th pick!) If you’re even remotely a pro football fan you’ve heard, and probably watched these two. They both went on to, much more than, stellar careers, Welker with the Patriots and Largent with the Seahawks, all the while hearing the experts on Sports Center saying they couldn’t make it. When Steve Largent retired he held all major NFL receiving records including being the first player to record 100 touchdown receptions. Wes Welker led the NFL in receptions three years and was the first in NFL history to record five 100 reception seasons. He was selected to the All-Pro Team every season of his Patriots career. Largent was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, and Welker surely will be. Not too bad for a couple of boys too small…..and too slow!

That’s only the tip of the iceberg. There’s hundreds of stories like that out there not only in sports but in business, in music…and just life in general. Stories of people who believed in themselves and refused to believe what the, so-called, experts said about them. They found a way to be motivated by the negativity.

What about you? Who’s told you that you can’t make it? Who’s kicked you to the curb and ignored you? You’re created in the image of God; Created to succeed and destined for greatness, maybe not in the NFL….but more importantly in life!

Get back up, get your focus on the Lord and His plan for your life and let’s see what happens.

The laws of physics and aerodynamics say that there’s absolutely no way the bumblebee can fly! Body’s too big, wings are too short….there’s just no way!

They just forgot to tell the bumblebee!

*Tell me your stories of overcoming unsurmountable odds!

Audio Version:

Read these:

It Feels Good To Be “Believed In”!!

A “You Can Do It” Atmosphere

 

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“I Don’t Know How We’re Gonna Win….I Just Know We’re Going To!”

That’s the words that Dabo Swinney told his Clemson players at halftime of the NCAA Football National Championship in Tampa Monday night. Alabama, on a 27-0 run over the last couple of years, was the favorite pick by the oddsmakers. There were a lot of people who were pulling for Clemson but I don’t think many were willing to bet much on the game. The Crimson Tide has just been too tough. They’re athletic, big, strong, fast, intimidating and very well coached. Nobody has given them much of a scare for a couple of years. The closest anyone has come to beating Alabama came exactly a year ago also in the NCAA Championship by…..none other than the Clemson Tigers.

But the underdog Clemson Tigers believed! That’s what happens when  a coach,….and I’m sure an entire coaching staff, fosters confidence and a winning attitude. People want to follow a leader who thinks he’s going to win! They’ll follow someone who’s not afraid or intimidated by the conditions at hand; Someone who doesn’t cut and run when chips are down….or when the tide (no pun intended) is against them.

There’s a need for great leaders in the body of Christ now more than at any other time in history of the world. But it almost seems like there’s a vacuum; a fear or timidity to ‘stand up’ and really lead. The world is longing for those who’ll defy the odds, go against the traditional religious grain, ….if they must….and empower the multitudes to take their place in the greatest move of God the planet might ever see!

Somebody needs to stand up in the midst of the adverse conditions we’re faced with today and declare, “We’re gonna win…..I don’t know how we’re gonna do it….but I just know we’re going to!”

Oh, and Dabo’s Clemson Tigers…..they did what he said they would…in a dramatic 35-31 comeback victory….scoring the winning touchdown with 1 second left on the clock!

Some more football blogs:

All-Time Favorite Sports Franchise – Canadian, Texas Wildcats

Gun Fightin’, Pool Shootin’…and Bull Ridin’! …….and I Guess, Now, High School Football!

It Takes a Village to go Back to Back…..to Back to Back!

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Making the Best of a Bad Situation

One sure fire thing you can count on in life is the inevitability of problems. It’s universal, in fact, and no one’s immune! These challenges come in a broad variety including, but not limited to, physical challenges, relationship challenges, health challenges, financial challenges and many, many more. Problems come in all shapes, sizes and forms, some are temporary while others may last a lifetime. Some might have simple solutions without a lot of stress, while others can be life altering, and in some remote cases…..even life threatening.

The list of root causes of these trials we experience in life is not a long one:

  1. We may be experiencing hardship because of our own decisions/actions
  2. It could be the result of someone else’s actions
  3. Happenstance (Stuff just happens!)
  4. Demonic activity
  5. The sovereignty of God

Nobody likes problems; I’m no exception. But what if these trials of life afford us an extreme opportunity to grow spiritually, …and as a human being?? If that’s true, and I believe it is, maybe our problems are not as bad for us a they ‘feel’. Here’s a few ways to look at your dilemma, to help you ‘make the best of a bad situation’.

Your trials:

  1. Tests your faith; God wants you to ‘know’ the quality of the faith you have!
  2. Helps build character; Few things are more valuable! It’s simple; trials build character!
  3. Help to ‘mature’ us; It helps immensely to bring us into our true identity!
  4. It may feel like it’ll ‘break’ you…..but it has the potential to ‘make’ you!
  5. Reveals impurities. It helps to reveal our ‘blind spots’.
  6. Have great potential to uncover ‘good things’ in you that are waiting to be exposed
  7. Some of the Father’s best work in us occurs during these times!
  8. In times of ‘desperation’ we’re likely to consider God. The Lord is ‘there’ in the midst of your trials!!
  9. Conforming Value; It’s all part of us ‘being conformed into the image of Jesus’!
  10. Experience is a great ‘teacher’! Gives you experience to help others with similar problems.

So, you see, our problems hold some great opportunities if we can make the ‘stretch’ to look at them from a little bit different perspective. How you react/respond to your problems could very well determine the duration of them. They have the potential to bring out the best in us. And, …..your perception of how bad your situation is…..may actually be miles away from reality!

 

What If It’s Not to ‘Break’ You,….but to ‘Make’ You?

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Hell Fire, and Brimstone!

Hell fire and brimstone; that’s the term some use for preaching, or ministry, that threatens the listeners with the dangers of hell if they don’t turn from their wicked ways. It’s a style of ministry that, sadly, still finds its way in churches today. I’m not sure what the proponents of that kind of preaching think its merits might be. Personally, I don’t think much good comes from it. But you know, some people will make a decision based on their fear of hell, I guess, and I’m sure that decision is as valid as any other. It’s certainly not my style, and it’s not in any direction I’m headin’ towards.

I had a conversation a few years back with someone who commented about how much he liked that kind of preaching. He went on to say that people out there that are living in sin need to hear it in that ‘turn or burn’ terminology so they’ll, out of fear, run to God! I kinda got the feeling from this guy that he fancied himself to be pretty holy, and righteous, and that his own personal approach with his friends not walking with the Lord was the “hell fire and brimstone” method. I really wanted to ask, “Well, how’s that workin’ out for ‘ya?”, but I didn’t! But, I can make a pretty calculated guess…...It ain’t workin’! It also makes me wonder if the guy ever spends much time with the Lord at all.

The worst thing about that kind of ministry is that it conjures up a totally inaccurate image of Who God is, in the first place. That’s a pretty serious mistake, if you ask me. Here’s the thing; You and I will ‘portray’ to the world the “God we know. That’s just another good reason that each of us should connect relationally with Him as Father. If He’s been portrayed to you by one of these HF & B preachers you’ll believe He’s mean,‘unappeasable’ and out to get you. That would be a gross misrepresentation, to put it mildly!

The gospel needs to be presented in the ‘right’ way! It is, after all, “The Good News”! As we connect personally, and relationally, with the Father we’ll find the Truth that the Bible talks about.

It’s the goodness of God that leads people to repentance.

Check these out:

You Got to Me Too Late!

It Ain’t Just “Good News” …… It’s “Great News”!

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Don’t Tie the Ends Up!

When I say, “Don’t tie the ends up”, I’m, in essence, saying, “Don’t get so rigid in your current Biblical knowledge and understanding that you can’t change when presented with ‘new’ Truth.”  I’ve seen this happen a lot over the past 25+ years and it’s problem of the highest order. For a leader, such as myself, it can make change, transition and transformation come to a grinding halt for both the church, and individuals alike.

The church is known for rigidness in it’s particular doctrinal and denominational mindset. Don’t get me wrong, some of that can be good but it can also stunt the growth and halt the spiritual advancement of everyone involved. It has the strong potential to lock us into systems of thinking that will eventually lead us to boredom, staleness and exclusivity in our Christian walk.

The argument might arise as to how one can have a certain spiritual view today and then later totally change their stance on an issue. I actually think, in a perfect world, we should be doing that all the time. If we’re genuinely on a search for the truth it just makes sense to change when we get a better, clearer view on any subject. We all have ‘some’ truth….but none of us has ‘all’ the truth. We should be open to others’ perspective, give it a listen, weigh it out in light of Scripture, let it ‘marinate’ in our mind and spirit, test it in real life situations and pray about it. By doing so we’ll stay in a perpetual state of spiritual growth (as we should be!) and not high-centered in our own limited little, tunnel-vision view of truth.

There will surely be those detractors out there who would want to accuse me of compromise or being wishy-washy about the truth. I’ll be quick to tell you that where I am today…..is not where I’ll be a year from now. I intend to keep growing, changing, adapting and shifting based on my understanding of the Truth. I’m a learner…..and learners must be flexible and open to change. There’ll be plenty of times that the change won’t come easy…..but for the most part….it’ll be for the better.

Don’t tie the ends up!! I’ve given this advice many a time over the past 25 years. It isn’t always received with open arms. In fact, here in the ‘ol Bible Belt that kind of advice is often met with harsh criticism and some pretty mean-spirited indignation. But, it’s good advice.

Don’t be so locked into your little piece of the truth that the Holy Spirit, Himself, can’t break through the crust to enlighten you more. 

Check these out:

The Bible Does Not Have All Your Answers!

$$$ – Being a “Thousandaire” Might Just Be Better Than Being a “Millionaire”!

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Resistance Training

I’m far from a fitness guru….but I have been going to the gym several times a week for the past 10-12 years. It’s hard to tell by looking at me, though! In fact, in a conversation with a friend a couple years back I mentioned that I regularly go to the gym. He looked at me kinda funny, laughed a little smirky laugh and said, “Really”?!! … It kinda hurt my feelings.

But, seriously, going to the gym is something I do enjoy. I read a lot of fitness articles, get a half dozen health and fitness emails and blogs a week. I’ve always been ‘health minded’, so to speak, and I still enjoy learning about health and fitness issues. There’s a lot of information, and a lot of opinions out there. Occasionally there is conflicting information but for the most part it’s pretty consistent.

A good, balanced workout plan should have some cardio exercise such as running, walking or biking. But along with the cardio, one of the things that all the fitness experts agree on, for all ages, is the need to include ‘resistance training’ into our workout regimen. “Resistance training can come in various forms, the most common being the use of free weights (barbells, dumbbells), universal weight machines, rubber exercise bands or even our own body weight. There are significant benefits of resistance training including bone, muscle and ligament strength, improved joint function, increased metabolism and improved cardiac function. If we’re serious at all about our own physical fitness it makes sense to include some resistance training.

I’m thinking that our spiritual health and well-being should also include a good dose of ‘resistance training’. If you think about it there’s hardly ever a time that we’re not enduring some kind of unpleasant situation in our life. It might be a relational challenge, financial situation, dealing with a problem child or family member or it might even be a physical ailment. Anytime you’re going up against any of these things….that’s resistance. And, just as physical resistance training helps to stabilize and grow our muscles, these things we go through go a long ways in strengthening our faith and our overall spiritual life. As hard as they might be, going through them,….in the long haul they’re very good for us. We’re being conformed into the image of Jesus….at least that’s what the Book says. And the trials of our lives are critical in that process.

So, if you’re going to the gym and getting your body in shape…be sure and add some resistance training. It’ll be good for you! And while you’re going through the fires in life….don’t forget…..resistance training is vital for your spiritual health, too!

Pass these on to your friends if you like ’em!

Check these out:

What If It’s Not to ‘Break’ You,….but to ‘Make’ You?

‘Betrayal’ – Nothing Easy About It!

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