Slaying spiritual dragons

12790987_976258302411821_6552811498123989529_nblogSome may be wondering why the name change? Dragon Slayer? Really? What does that have to do with anything?

Sit back and let me tell you. God has been doing some wild things in my life, yet the journey has been, and is, brutal. The giants set in my path have been shooting flames in my directions, licking at my heals, sometimes scorching, sometimes doused by little pools of water. Ultimately I have been watching God’s grace overtake my life in odd ways. Some people would describe it at torture, but I have to be thoroughly honest and say even though it hurts, I know God is growing me for a much greater purpose. No I don’t believe that daily, but in general I do.

In the last year alone:

  • My parents house burned down
  • My grandfather died
  • My Dad died
  • My association with Godly men I love and respect came to a screeching halt
  • My association with Godly men / bikers I love and respect resumed
  • My marriage has been constantly attacked and on the rocks
  • My family has been under grave spiritual attack
  • My Disciple brothers and bros have also been under heavy physical and spiritual attack

This is merely a list of generalizations due to individuals’ privacy being at stake. The point is life has been chaotic. I wake up daily tired, not wanting to fight, discouraged, and beaten down by those around me. It is not all bad though! There are those who pick me up, dust me off, and put a sword back in my hands. Then there are others who hold my arms up in the midst of battle like Aaron did for Moses.

The truth is my sword is constantly swinging, and it takes so much effort to stab the dragon through the gullet when you risk breaking your sword on the iron strong scales.

A week ago I was riding down through Maricopa to Gila Bend. It is a gorgeous ride, full of twists and turns, sharp bends, some rough road, and small up and down hills. Lets just say I was in a bit of a mood, feeling a bit ornery. The bike was crankin’, throttle wide open, adrenaline  pumping, and all I heard was wind and some screaming Cobras. I had reached my place, come into a dimension of spiritual silence. Now I could think. Its like the noise level at that point drives out the noise in your head. Out of nowhere I just started swinging my sword, crying out to God, rebuking principalities and powers of evil, begging God to draw near, seeking answers, and commanding legions of angels to protect and fight with me. I was particularly praying for the angel on my bike!

I refuse to let the dragons of this world swallow me whole. Its amazing the spiritual power we have when we hit that dimension of being able to commune in the spirit with God our Father. That can be a quiet prayer closet, or on a screaming bike at 100 mph. God will meet us where we are at, without ever changing who He is. He simply asks us to search and know His heart. When you know your warrior companions inside and out, you never have to question if they will slay dragons with you or not. Likewise, God is always going to be there already claiming victory over any dragon long before we slay him.

Be blessed.

GOD IS GREAT 888

Is God really in control, or am I?

The subject matter of today’s My Utmost for His Highest (below) is personally a huge challenge for me. I’m a “plan B” kind of guy, always having a plan or strategy of escape. With so much going on in our family’s lives right now, it’s easy to look for the next step or plan. The reality is we must wait and be patient, listening for the still small voice of the One who loves us and has promised to meet our every need.

I can tell you from personal experience that resting in a place of complete surrender to God’s work and will in my life is the most incredible and scary thing I have ever done. In doing so he has asked me to do some very difficult and somewhat insane things. But as I look back and see the miracles in my life that have come to pass and the opportunities I have been presented with, because of my willingness to surrender my fears and ambitions, it blows me away. You would think it would be so easy for me to do it again, but the truth is that it is even harder to wrap my mind around such a concept, particularly now that I have a family to think about.

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest
Look Again and Think
01.27.2015

Do not worry about your life… —Matthew 6:25
A warning which needs to be repeated is that “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches,” and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us (Matthew 13:22). We are never free from the recurring waves of this invasion. If the frontline of attack is not about clothes and food, it may be about money or the lack of money; or friends or lack of friends; or the line may be drawn over difficult circumstances. It is one steady invasion, and these things will come in like a flood, unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the banner against it.

“I say to you, do not worry about your life….” Our Lord says to be careful only about one thing— our relationship to Him. But our common sense shouts loudly and says, “That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, and I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.” Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing yourself to think that He says this while not understanding your circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things to the point where they become the primary concern of our life. Whenever there are competing concerns in your life, be sure you always put your relationship to God first.

“Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). How much trouble has begun to threaten you today? What kind of mean little demons have been looking into your life and saying, “What are your plans for next month— or next summer?” Jesus tells us not to worry about any of these things. Look again and think. Keep your mind on the “much more” of your heavenly Father (Matthew 6:30).

Faith conquers fear

oxen-yokeThis is a very bitter sweet post for me to be writing tonight. The irony is staggering in all actuality, but what an amazing opportunity for me to stare the greatest of enemies in the face, and charge head on?

So a couple of days ago, I was browsing through my XM radio and stumbled across a sermon. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I listened to the entire sermon because it was by someone I am not a fan of at all. But I will digress. The point is that the topic caught my interest and left me thinking some deep thoughts that sound so basic, yet they are mind shattering when you implement them into the reality of your life.

Faith conquers all fear. Fear is the absence of faith. The truth of the matter is, it does not make any difference which one you embrace, they have the same working property. When you embrace either one, you give it the right, the authority, to take root in your life, and the outcome will be affected whether you like it or not.

This story was told:

There was a guy who had a bad habit of worrying about something bad happening to him. He was at work one day, and the boss said everyone could leave early to attend a birthday party for one of the foreman. This guy was about to get out of the frozen box car he was working in to leave as well, when he came to the startling reality that the door had closed and he was trapped inside. For hours, he screamed and banged on the door until his voice was horse and hands were bleeding. He was very aware he was in a box car freezer and he became consumed with fear that he would freeze to death. Hours went by, he only got colder and colder. He found a piece of cardboard and road these words: “It is getting so cold. These may be my last words.” Sure enough, when the crew got back to work the next day, they found this guy in the boxcar, dead. According to his autopsy, he had frozen to death.

But…this was a huge mystery. You see, the temperature in the boxcar was only 61 degrees.

Shocked? I was too. You see, when you give in to fear, you allow it to play with your mind, which will play with every other area of your life. His fear became his reality. It consumed him, robbing him of both faith in being found, and ultimately his life.

All you need to do is pick up your Bible. It will not take long before you start reading promise after promise from God. I am not going to give you examples. Why? Because it is each individuals duty to seek our own relationship with God and to find His promises for us.

When we implement faith into every scenario, not only do we allow it to take root in our lives, we are also relinquishing our fears to God and basically telling Him that these are not our problems, they are His. So lets say something bad or awful still comes to pass. Do we give up on faith? Not at all. If you were able to look back at the bigger picture, you would see that God can take any circumstance in our lives and turn it into something far more amazing than we can imagine.

You are probably wondering why this is such irony for me to be talking about right now. Well, if anyone had any reason to fear right now, it would be me. For three years I have sacrificed for my family in ways you cannot even begin to imagine. Tomorrow, the fate and totality of my small little family will be in the hands of a judge. The final judgement will be made, and it could make us whole, or shatter what little we do have.

Here is the greatest part! I am not afraid! God has given our family so many promises! Not only of a future, but of a mission, even a ministry. In fact, I am confident in these promises and the future.

God has been so faithful in my life. He does not set us up for failure. He does test our faith, but explicitly asks us to trust him and leave our biggest fears in his hands.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

Mark Driscoll, Me, and Psalm 51

Mark Driscoll is the latest news in the media for scandal reports. How utterly shocking. *tongue-in-cheek* What saddens me most is to see how many “Christians” are bashing on him just as hard, if not harder, than the media.

Grace seems to be a lost art in Christianity today. What happened to helping those that stumble, fail, or fall down? Where is the lending hand that extends the love of Christ? Shame on you if you are one of these people.

I am not really a Mark Driscoll fan personally. But one thing does stick out with him that needs to be openly admired. He is bold in his approach, and he does not sugar coat his faith or the Bible. In fact, He might just be a little too bold. I commend that in him. He does not hide behind the skirt tales of legalism.

A long time ago, somewhere around the age of 16, my best friend Steve and I had an interesting conversation. I do not quite remember who brought it up, but this scenario will stick with me for the rest of my life. We were discussing prayer, faith, and our relationship with God. How many Christians have we met who make a relationship with God seem all hunky-dory?? At what point in your relationship with God do you show your true colors and “talk shop,” so to speak.

In my time, I have been accused of having a foul mouth. *horrors* So, when I talk to God, particularly when I am upset, why would I sugar coat who I am or my true feelings as if he is unaware? As Steve and I discussed our topic, we both realized something: being real with God, no reserve, is extremely freeing. Literally we talked about being upset and asking God, “What the F***…” on multiple occasions (in so many words). Talking to God out of pure emotion, letting yourself go all out in your expression, is being real with God.

All that to say this: I see that in Driscolls ministry. I am NOT saying that he does not have some flaws that should be scrutinized, but in all reality, who doesn’t?

Lets look at David in the Bible for a minute. In Psalm 51, he got real with God. He laid it all out with no reservation, no sugar coating, just raw emotion. He was agonizing over his sin with Bathsheba. I love the entire chapter, but I want to focus on one verse, verse 17.

“The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” (NLT)

 Somewhere around five or six years ago, I got a tattoo on my forearm in Japanese that says “broken spirit.” It was right after my encounter at the Crossroads Great Banquet #23. God broke me at that conference, as you can clearly see if you read about it. In fact, my whole persona was shattered. There was nothing of me left. It was not long after that, God had all the pieces gathered up, and was diligently putting me back together.

Ah! Restoration. Very key in this thought process. Look at Driscoll right now. He is a broken man. He laid his ego, ambitions, and life’s work aside and resigned for the good of his family, and what I pray is a time of restoration that God has for him. What excites me most about watching all this chaos with Driscoll unfold is getting to see the new creation, the transformation, and ultimately the future endeavors that God has in store for this man.

I do not believe God is done with Mark. He has something greater, even better than before. No it may not be a 14,000 member church, but it will be a beautifully refined man that has been forged and strengthened.

My prayer for Mark Driscoll is that he embraces the healing and restoration God has for him. That from his breaking, he will repent of the heart issues he has, that is only between him and God.

In my own life, I look for the same restoration and healing. God has had me like an iron in the fire for such a long time. Many times I have been heated up, shaped, and reheated. The evidence is the amount of grace, mercy and love that has been placed on my life.

There is never a point in anyone’s life that is “too broken.” BE BROKEN, and let God do the rest.

Firing God ~ Jocelyn Zichterman

I picked up a book that a friend of mine recommended: I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichterman. The title of the book threw me off, but as I read the following Amazon review on it, I was intrigued.
A compelling memoir and account of the Independent Fundamental Baptist church and its shocking history of religious abuse.
Jocelyn Zichterman was born, raised, married into, and finally, with her family, fled the Independent Fundamental Baptist church. Founded by the fiery preacher Bob Jones, with several hundred thousand members, IFB congregants are told they must not associate with members of other Baptist denominations and evangelicals, with an emphasis on secrecy, insular marriages within the church, a subservience for women, and unusual child raising practices.
In I Fired God, Jocelyn Zichterman systematically details the IFB’s disturbing history, exposing a cult-like atmosphere of corruption, greed, and abuse. Having been initiated into its innermost circles, Zichterman knows that the gentle demeanor America sees in the form of the Duggar clan on 19 Kids and Counting disguises the truth about the darker side of the church.
With written documentation and sources so thorough that law enforcement has used her work as a foundation for criminal prosecutions, Zichterman exposes the IFB with revelations including:
  • The disturbing world of abuse within the IFB and doctors and teachers who cater exclusively to church members and fail to report physical and sexual abuse
  • The IFB-controlled Bob Jones University, which issues degrees of questionable value while making vast sums of money for its founders
  • The way the IFB influences politics on the local, state, and national level, and protects its abusive culture under the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion
After reading that, I was sold. Let me give you a little background on myself. I was born and raised in a very strict, fundamental Christian home. Although I did not endure much of what Jocelyn describes in her book, many very key concepts and organizations she talks about played key roles in my childhood that initiated many problems, struggles, and situations I would face later in life.
I was personally involved in “Dr.” Bill Gothard’s Eagle Mountain Training Center, one of his little prison/child labor camps for boys. His brainwashing indoctrination was constantly used during my 9 months there. The IFB cult mentality was rampant there. The deception, lies, and hateful conspiracies were actually the reason I was forced to leave there. What it boiled down to is I did not fit the “mold” and was made to look like the bad guy in a situation and was forced out. Thankfully, years later the truth surfaced.
Disclaimer: Nothing written in this review/post is done out of hateful spite or intended to hurt individuals. These are simply facts that molded me in many areas of my life. I bring them up as a way of identifying with Jocelyn, giving credit to much of her book.
The home in which I was raised was a good home. There is no doubt that my parents loved my 6 other siblings and I. What I must bring to light however, is that the IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) indoctrination and mentality ran rampant in my childhood years. Extreme forms of discipline, blatant hypocrisy, and the “break the child’s will” philosophy that Jocelyn brings into the lime-light were rampant in my family. To be honest, this post is not about my childhood. Very few close friends, mainly my wife, know the many details involved. Going public with those details is not a thought that thrills me, nor the purpose of this post.
Jocelyn exposes the blatant lies and deception of the cult. She clearly expresses how extreme forms of discipline such as brutal “spankings” are used as power trips for the adults and can lead to sexual molestation. Personally I have nothing against spanking, but not the way it was done during my childhood or how Jocelyn describes.
Her book does a great job of explaining how hard it is for a family to get out of the IFB cult. The manipulation, use of illegitimate “Dr” entitlements, and the strategy of blinding the eyes of its members keep people in the dark to services such as law enforcement, Child Protective Services, and other government organizations. Many people that are “high ranking” in the IFB community are nothing short of pedophiles, abusers, and crooks. Women are rampantly degraded and abused.
There are so many organizations she brings into the broad picture of the IFB. Bill Gothard, Bob Jones and his “university”, Pensacola Christian College, Quiverfull, and many more are mentioned and exposed. I am a member of several Facebook and Google+ groups that try to help those who have been exposed to these blasphemous groups, people and organizations. Please message me if you would be interested in getting involved with any of these groups.
The only reason I could not give this book 5 stars, is I do not agree with the author’s personal outcomes of belief. While I cannot fault her reasoning for them, I do not support them 100%. I would definitely give her book a 4.5 star rating! The content was exceptionally well put together and presented. I want to thank Jocelyn for her courage and ability to rise above the fundamentalism and the hardships it brings to expose to the world the mentality and bondage of Satan himself.
I am an avidly outspoken person for the exposure of the IFB and company (most specifically against Bill Gothard, ATI, and IBLP). On the same token I also believe in grace and forgiveness. Much I have left behind and forgiven, yet there is much out there that needs to be battled and exposed. That is where I feel posts like this are necessary.
If you are haunted or involved in any of these groups or others similar, I would like to encourage you to flee no matter what the cost! There are those that can help you, including myself. The “god” of these men and organizations is not the same God I worship and serve. I say that boldly and with no apology of offense.
Please do not hesitate to contact me.

Profound thought

“One of the most devastating lies that has been injected into the culture that we live in is that we came from monkeys. It’s devastating for this reason: When you get rid of the Creator you get rid of design. When you get rid of design you get rid of purpose. When you get rid of purpose you get rid of accountability, the responsibility to answer for your choices. When you destroy the concept of everyone giving an account to God for their life, then you have completely dismantled the fear of God. The fear of God, the Bible says, ‘Is the beginning of wisdom.’ There is a lot of talk today about no need for the fear of God in the church, because we’re born again and fear drives you from someone, instead of draws you near.” ~ Bill Johnson

I encourage you to visit Bethel Church’s website. Bill Johnson is a huge spiritual influence to me.

BAM!!!

Wow! Read this Facebook post I just saw. Talk about convicting! We are so comfortable in our daily American Christian lives. What do we really do in a day to enter the darkness of the world and shine the light Jesus gave us?
Be radical. 
Matthew 5:16 ESV
In the same way, let YOUR light shine before others, so that they may see YOUR good works and give glory to YOUR Father who is in heaven.
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