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An Open Letter To My Sons

An Open Letter To My Sons

JUST OVER EIGHT YEARS AGO, AN X-RAY TECHNICIAN POINTED TO THE LARGE SHADOW THAT I THOUGHT WAS MY HEART. The softball-size mass was wrapped around my superior vena cava, choking off the flow of blood and oxygen throughout my body. My entire left arm and hand was 20%...
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How To Keep Your Cool In A Nation of Brats

How To Keep Your Cool In A Nation of Brats

Is it just me, or does it seem like America has become a massive middle school of children without manners? No one seems to be able to have a civil discussion anymore unless everyone agrees on every point. Gone are the days of diplomatic disagreement – and it’s killing us. When people don’t get their way, they scream, holler, stamp their feet and shame opponents. It’s nonsense, for sure – but this is also what America has become. How can you keep your cool in a nation of hot-headed brats?

SOCIAL MEDIA OVERFLOW

Social media, texting, and email allow people to express themselves in ways they would have never adopted just a few years ago. But they do far more: they enable poor behavior. They’ve become breeding grounds for passive-aggressive behavior. A passive-aggressive person is someone who is nice in person, but who often resorts to underhanded, mean, or divisive behavior by other means. Email, texting and social media have become tremendous enablers for people to say and do things without tact, diplomacy, kindness and love. Are they signs of the times? I think so.

Jesus said that one of the characteristics of the world just prior to His return was an “increase in wickedness.” He said, “Because of the increase in wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). Is the world’s chilling wickedness being exacerbated and accelerated by social media, texting and email? I think it is. If you’re not careful, you your love is going to become icy, too.

” . . .we become like the people we spend time with.”

We are being bombarded every moment of the day with sensory stimuli that has no accountability when it comes to being kind. Think about it: social media, texts and emails are all designed for fast self-expression. It’s all about speed, not diplomacy. This has created a huge problem for all of us. The chickens have come home to roost.

THE CHICKENS HAVE COME HOME TO ROOST: We are seeing the negative impacts of emailing, texting and social media on a large scale basis.

HEAT UP YOUR RESISTANCE

In order to combat bratty behavior, you need to be on your toes, alert, and vigilant against your own love growing cold. Remember that hot food begins to cool down the moment it’s taken out of the oven. Likewise, your love and good manners will also wane – unless you take deliberate steps to keep it hot. So, what’s a person to do in order to ensure you don’t go along with the growing crowd that is absolutely wrong when it comes to manners, kindness and love?

The Bible says that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Since we become like the people we spend time with, the most practical thing you can do to make sure you don’t behave like a spoiled brat is to spend time with God. He’ll rub off on you – and that will make you rub off on others.

You can cultivate your prayer life and Bible reading – but don’t just delight in the time you spend doing this. Get heaven-bent on putting what you’re reading into practice, immediately, in your own life. We have thousands upon thousands of Christians in America – but in the Book of Acts we see that it is the spirit-led Christians who are the movers and shakers of culture. Spirit-led Christians are the ones God moves through with consistent power. We need to rediscover the power of the Holy Spirit.

You and I need to not be satisfied with simply knowing Jesus Christ as Savior. We need to pursue spirit-led, spirit-empowered living. This is only possible through consistent prayer and Bible application. (Forget your Bible reading program if it isn’t leading you to applying what you read).

Yes, America has become a nation of brats. We’re like a group of middle schoolers without manners, and it’s time this nonsense stop. How about being part of the solution to our nation’s decline?

Spirit-led, spirit-empowered living is exactly what you need at this time in your life. It’s what our nation needs, too.

Now, it’s time for your thoughts. What can you do to be a person of manners in “Middle School” America?

 

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. For more about me, click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or to explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

The Book of Acts #18: The Christian Compliance Myth – When It’s Right To Defy Authority

The Book of Acts #18: The Christian Compliance Myth – When It’s Right To Defy Authority

Click Here to Download

Does the Bible really teach that Christians must submit to authority no matter what? Set yourself free from one of the biggest lies undermining Christians with this powerful message that’s sure to ignite your life for God. It’s message #18 in our series through the entire Book of Acts, called “How Christians Live.”

THIS IS A MESSAGE I THINK EVERY CHRISTIAN NEEDS TO HEAR, and I’m glad I was able to deliver it this past Sunday. For too long, Christians have embraced the lie that we must submit to authority no matter what. The Bible actually teaches Christians to do the exact opposite at times, and this message addresses exactly when and how. If you like this message, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the previous few messages as well, because they all deal with how a Christian lives when truly filled with the Holy Spirit.

Say goodbye to fear. Humble courage is the need of the day!

What do you think? WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. For more about me, click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or to explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

An Open Letter To My Sons

An Open Letter To My Sons

JUST OVER EIGHT YEARS AGO, AN X-RAY TECHNICIAN POINTED TO THE LARGE SHADOW THAT I THOUGHT WAS MY HEART. The softball-size mass was wrapped around my superior vena cava, choking off the flow of blood and oxygen throughout my body. My entire left arm and hand was 20% larger, spongy, and pale-blue, thanks to a blood clot caused by the cancer. The thought of saying good-bye to you as your lives were just beginning was brutal, with a force more ferocious than a tsunami. Boys, the past eight years have been the best I’ve had – because they are bonus time. They have allowed me the beautiful privilege of seeing you grow, not merely in age but also in character. There is no greater gift!

KEEP CALM AND WALK WITH JESUS

Boys, the world has gone crazy – but you must keep your heads. It’s filled with people more concerned about themselves and their agendas than they are with one another – and certainly more than they are of God – and it’s undoing our society. You must not be like everyone else, because the great majority of people are missing what life is really about. You must not follow the crowd. You must ensure you’re living in such a way that the crowd looks to, and follows, you. Make sure you don’t get this backwards.

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold . . .”

If you’re not careful, this world will undo you. It will confuse you about manhood, twist the truth about God, and deceive you into believing that happiness comes from things rather than loving God with every atom of your anatomy. You must be constantly be on the alert, because life left on auto pilot will have you looking, acting, and feeling just like the crowd. Sons, the crowd is wrong — and it is getting larger. But do not be afraid.

Jesus said, “‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’” (John 16:33). If you walk with God, nothing can overtake you. 

Jesus, in speaking of the world condition prior to His return, said, “’Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold’” (Matthew 24:12). In other words, boys, God is calling you to be among His minority in a world where the majority is marching in the wrong direction. But they aren’t just marching; they are celebrating. This, my sons, is tragic – but you must keep your heads.

 

BIGGER THAN YOU

If God spared my life for a purpose, He did not do it so I could preach, teach and write for the world, but for you, my handsome sons. My one goal in life is to help you excel in your love and enjoyment of God. My prayer and passion is that you love Him more than I do, and to love people as the expression of that love — as you keep yourself from becoming like the majority.

The more you allow God to fill you up, the more you will realize how unsatisfying everything else is.”

It’s a delicate balance, loving God and people. To succeed, you must be intentional. It will not develop on its own. There are a million and one things in this world that will seek to deter you from this, the real purpose of your life — but you must resist them. You must be diligent in protecting and cultivating yourselves into men whose hearts are fixed on God and heaven-bent on helping others be the same.

Boys, I’m here for a purpose and that purpose is far bigger than my life and well-being. You must understand that the same is true for you. Do not let this world press you into its pattern. Run hard after God and you will find that the things that would otherwise distract you from life’s greatest pursuit will have little, if any, attraction. The more you allow God to fill you up, the more you will realize your fullest potential. That, my sons, has value — forever.

My precious sons, I’m here for you, at least for a little while longer. As long as I have the precious privilege of pouring into you, I will live the purpose of my life, which is to help you truly live yours.


Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME:
Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. For more about me, click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or to explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

COURAGE NOW (Time to Conquer Fear)

COURAGE NOW (Time to Conquer Fear)

COURAGE IS HARD TO FIND THESE DAYS. AT LEAST IN THE REAL WORLD. It’s easy to find heroes and underdogs in movies and books, but try to find it in real life – in our own lives – and it becomes evident that fear is winning the day. What America needs is a resurrection of courage. If you’re like me, you need a massive infusion of courage in your life, now and every single day.

I recently delivered a message at the church I love called
Fear Pressure,” and I think if you give it a listen while
exercising, driving, or doing whatever, it will help cultivate
courage in your life. Click here to listen, and let us know
what you think.

WHY ARE WE SO AFRAID?

The problem with today’s problems is that we hear about them all the time. Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with problems, problems, problems. No wonder we’re so fearful, so discouraged. It’s hard not to become apathetic in a world where it seems like there is so little the average person can do to turn things around.

“You need to start seeing your life as an unfolding drama where you have the leading role as the person who saves the day, rejects the status quo, and rises to a new level of exemplary courage.”

The constant barrage of negative news has conditioned most of us to sit down and shut up, comply with the status quo, and accept life as it is, rather than how it can be. Fear and apathy have become our default mechanisms. We tend to cave and cower because deep down we think we are powerless to change things. But is this true? I don’t think it is, and I want to encourage you to reject the lie that you don’t have the ability to change things, beginning with yourself.

 

Why not encourage others?
Share this on Twitter or your Facebook Wall

 

YOU, TODAY’S HERO AND UNDERDOG

WHY NOT YOU? Don’t dismiss yourself as the hero and underdog you can become . . .

Forget fiction, life is more thrilling. You need to start seeing your life as an unfolding drama where you have the leading role as the person who saves the day, rejects the status quo, and rises to a new level of exemplary courage. Why would I suggest such a thing? Because this is exactly what needs to happen if things are going to positively change. Every hero and underdog who ever arose did not accept the status quo as inescapable. Nobody is born a hero or an underdog. Heroes and underdogs are forged in the furnace of real life – and your life is unfolding right now.

“One thing you’ll learn about heroes and underdogs is that nearly every one of them was, at one time, a lot like you.”

The world is waiting for an army of heroes and underdogs, and you need to know that you’ve been invited to play your part. Reject the notion that you can’t live with courage. You absolutely can. You simply need to develop courage, in much the same way that a weight-lifter develops muscle or a marathon runner develops endurance. Courage can be cultivated – it can be cultivated in you.

 

KILL THE COWARD, CULTIVATE COURAGE

We live in an age where great podcasts are readily available. (Yes, you’re darn right we’re enthusiastic about our podcasts, because they are created for your benefit). Read great books about heroes and underdogs who really walked this planet. One thing you’ll learn about heroes and underdogs is that nearly every one of them was, at one time, a lot like you. Heroes and underdogs had to do the following:

  • Overcome their fears
  • Face seemingly insurmountable odds
  • Go against the flow
  • Embrace a vision for life that was bigger than their own interests
  • Decide that they were going to make fundamental changes in the way they live, to embrace a better life – not only for themselves, but also for others
  • Behave as if change were up to them, not someone or something else

If someone else could be a hero or an underdog, there is hope for you. You can be the hero or underdog we desperately need in America, today. The world is waiting for you.

Today is a great day to cultivate courage in your own life. The alternative is fear, and we’ve all seen what that can do. Isn’t it time to cultivate courage in your life? The world is waiting for you.

 

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN CULTIVATING COURAGE IN YOUR OWN LIFE? WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OUR READERS WHEN IT COMES TO COURAGE?

 

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. For more about me, click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or to explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

An Open Letter To The Church in America: Is God Is Giving Us What We Want?

An Open Letter To The Church in America: Is God Is Giving Us What We Want?

I THINK WE MAY HAVE PASSED THE TIPPING POINT. At best, we’re willing to tolerate God, but not hungry enough to dig into Him. We seem more enthusiastic about chicken and ribs at a summer barbecue. Even a casual look at America reveals this truth. If you’re a Christian, you know it’s true because it’s most likely true in your own life. It’s something I wrestle with as well. A great many of us seem to be rowing the same boat in the same direction, and it’s killing our nation. It’s time to stop the boat, get out, and seek another means of transportation. Christians, we’re in a very dangerous place. It’s time to head for safe harbor.

“When Moses watched the burning bush, I’m fairly certain he wasn’t thinking, ‘Dark Roast or House Blend?'”

I think God may be giving us what we want. It’s not what we need, but the reason we don’t have what we need is because we’ve convinced ourselves that our wants are more important than our needs.

Share your comments and encourage someone:
Share this blog with a friend. Just click below.

 

We are the ones who are largely to blame for the absence of God in our society, and have the nerve to express our anger at the world when the anger should be focused upon our own luke-warmth. Yes, we talk about God and we let everyone know the moment we’re against something. But are we really for God? Need I suggest the answer that you already find resonating within?

COULD YOU PLEASE PASS ME SOME JESUS?

It should be obvious that the American brand of “Christianity” and “church” is so heavily syncretized that it’s nothing at all like the distilled faith found in the Bible. So many of us are so adept at syncretism, “the combination of different forms of belief or practice, the fusion of two or more originally different inflectional forms,”[1] that we don’t realize “syncretism” is a synonym for the nuclear bomb mother of all sins: idolatry.

HAS SOMETHING OTHER THAN GOD BECOME YOUR “CONSUMING FIRE”?

We’re famished, but we keep feasting on anything other than Jesus. We love our smart phones, our computers, our television programs, our food, cars, houses, clothes, toys, sports, schedules and our reputations. It all amounts to our love for comfort and convenience more than the power and presence of God. Our love for God. And we’re okay with it. This is our problem.

All we’ve done is sprinkle a little Jesus onto the rest of our lives, a dose of spiritual, feel-good, hocus pocus in our efforts to get the best life we possibly can. We love the idea of Jesus dying for us – but hate the idea of dying to ourselves so that the life of Christ can flow through us. In the end, we aren’t at all living our best life possible. We’re settling for a mere shadow of what could be.

THE SIXTY-MINUTE MYTH

This week, I learned of yet another large church elsewhere in America that guarantees their services will be only sixty minutes long, that they offer contemporary music and a “fun” time for children. Brothers and sisters, are these really the things for which a churches should be known? Are we branding and marketing our music and lengths of services, primarily dispensing donuts and coffee, or don’t we have Someone far better to offer? When Moses watched the burning bush, I’m fairly certain he wasn’t thinking “Dark Roast or House Blend?” Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with great music (I play guitar), fun (I love to laugh) and a rich cup of coffee — unless we are more excited about those things than we are Jesus.

“. . . at the end of our days, we’re not willing to adjust our lives to the movement of God the way biblical characters did. No wonder we don’t have what they had.”

If a church is to be engaged in any “business” at all, it is to be engaged in the business of giving people the opportunity to meet the Maker of their Souls, the Creator of the Universe, the One Whose love is so potent it led Him to be beaten, spit on, and spiked to a tree. We’ve forgotten that the greatest need of the day is to give people the chance to be blown away by God so He becomes the all-consuming love of their life.

Believe me, as a pastor, I get it. If we don’t give the people what they “want,” we will never get around to giving them what they need. And what they need (what we all need) is Jesus, unfiltered. 2 Corinthians 3:16 says,whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” But we want to keep Jesus veiled, as if unveiling Him will drive people away. Our insanity is ironic, systemic and pathetic. I’m not saying that in a condescending way. I’m saying it with tears that don’t do justice to the way God must feel about our apologizing for His Son. God put His Son on display for all to see, but we think the better approach is to introduce Him in increments? Who is playing God in the American Church equation?

OUR PROBLEM IS OUR SOLUTION: WE ARE APOLOGIZING FOR JESUS WHEN WE SHOULD BE UNVEILING HIM.

OUR SOLUTION IS OUR PROBLEM

Our problem is our solution. We Christian leaders aren’t getting around to giving people environments where they can encounter Christ head-on in life-changing ways that will leave our syncretistic sweet tooth in the dust. Our approach isn’t helping people. It’s hindering them, significantly. If you’re a church leader, be careful you’re not just giving people what they want. Give them what they need, and what people need most these days is a soaring ascent into the presence of God.

If you’re just a Christian, and not a church leader, help your leaders break the cycle we all need broken. Help your church, and all her ministries, become environments where God can move with increasing freedom, power and purpose. Stop settling for mere donuts, coffee, hip music and fun activities. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with those things, they are, alone, no substitute for the presence of God.

FILLING UP ON GOD

We love the stories about Moses and the burning bush, David and Goliath, and all the other accounts where God showed up and saved the day – but at the end of our days, we’re not willing to adjust our lives to the movement of God the way biblical characters did. We want God to move in our timetable, at the flick of a switch we get to pull, having forgotten that God transcends time and our methods. And we wonder why we don’t experience the joy, deep sense of awe, and deeper movement of God like the people in the Bible? No wonder we don’t have what they had.

God is a great initiator, but eventually He needs us to respond. I think that time has come.

SYNCRETISM STINKS: IT’S TIME TO FILL UP ON JESUS – AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.

We can have as much God as we are willing to tolerate. I think it’s time we stop tolerating Him and begin calling out to Him to completely interrupt us so that we learn, once again (or perhaps for the very first time) what it is to love Him with all our heart, mind, strength and soul – and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

It’s time our lives underwent an extreme make-over that dealt syncretism a death blow. That make-over must be revisited moment by moment, day-by-day, on a personal level, to ensure it does not again creep in and take away holy ground once given to God. Then, when we come together in our churches, we may very well find the God who created the Church in the first place.

NEVER MIND OTHER PEOPLE. IS YOUR HUNGER FOR GOD WORTH A FOLLOW?

[1] Dictionary.com

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March, 2018. For more about me, click on the image or here. If you’d like to request an interview, or explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

Life is School: Pay Attention To Your Child Because Your Child Is Paying Attention To You

Life is School: Pay Attention To Your Child Because Your Child Is Paying Attention To You

LIFE IS SCHOOL, and if you have a child, you are their primary teacher, like it or not.The truth is that your children are watching you, and paying attention to you even if you are not watching and paying attention to them. Most lessons a child learns are not learned within the walls of a classroom, but from you, in the daily grind of life. This is the real classroom. Parenting is the most awesome responsibility this side of Eden. When you make the most of who you are, you improve the odds that your child will positively follow in your footsteps.

The public vs. homeschool debate is, in some ways, a mute point because every child is being homeschooled. Children watch how you interact with people – and from your interactions they will develop their own approach to mingling, conflict resolution, how to have a conversation and more. Your child watches how you handle stress – and by watching you they will develop their stress management (or mismanagement) skills. Your child observes how you use your time, money, and every other resource God puts into your hands. In other words, you are teaching your child how to live, for better or worse.

The fundamental question in child-rearing is this: Are you paying attention to your child, being intentional about how you are living so that what they learn by observing you is worthwhile and God-glorifying? If it isn’t, don’t blame your child. Start making changes with yourself, and you must may find that your child follows your lead.

YOUR CHILD IS FOLLOWING YOU — AND LEARNING FROM YOU — ALL THE TIME. IS HOW YOU’RE LIVING WORTH A FOLLOW?

You have already begun to teach your child about the following, and so much more:
  • The importance of the virtual world compared to the real world right before their eyes. How is your use of your smart phone, tablet, computer and television influencing your child? Do you look your child in the eye when talking, and when he/she is talking to you, or are you distracted by something else?
  • The value of money. Do you save, invest, spend carelessly? In watching you, what is your child learning about money? Does it grow on trees or come as a result of hard work? What are you teaching them about debt and freedom?
  • The irreplaceable value of time. What are you teaching your child about the most precious resource they will have, their time? Do you waste it or value it? Do you plan for meaningful times together, use a calendar and show them that time, once it is gone, never comes back?
  • Forgiveness and reconciliation. One of the biggest obstacles in all of life is created when we refuse to forgive people and pursue reconciliation. Are you a forgiving person, or given to bitterness? This one thing will be responsible for much of their happiness, or grief, in all of life. Do you want your child to be happy or miserable? Carefully consider, then, what you are modeling for your child about forgiveness and reconciliation.

The truth is that you child is watching you all the time. What are they learning? Even when you don’t realize it, they are watching you, developing their outlook on life, communication skills, financial strategy and just about everything — by watching you. Are you giving them good things to watch, so that you set your child up for success?

WHAT ONE OR TWO THINGS CAN YOU SIT DOWN AND FOCUS ON THIS WEEK IN YOUR OWN LIFE, START GETTING IN ORDER, AND IMPROVING? DOING THIS WILL NOT ONLY HELP YOUR OWN LIFE – IT MAY VERY WELL SAVE YOUR CHILD FROM A LIFETIME OF HARDSHIP. Remember, your child is watching you, and learning.

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March, 2018. For more about me, click on the image or here. If you’d like to request an interview, or explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

 

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