Wild Hogs and Living the Adventure

Adventur“Women are often attracted to the wilder side of a man, but once having caught him they settle down to the task of domesticating him. Ironically, if he gives in he’ll resent her for it, and she in turn will wonder where the passion has gone. Most marriages wind up there. A weary and lonely woman asked me the other day, “How do I get my husband to come alive?” “Invite him to be dangerous,” I said. “You mean, I should let him get the motorcycle, right?” “Yep.” She shrank back, disappointment on her face. “I know you’re right, but I hate the idea. I’ve made him tame for years.” Wild at HeartJohn Eldredge

Every Man Needs an Adventure to Live, a Battle to fight and a Beauty to rescue – John Eldredge

I don’t include the above quotes because my wife made me tame.  I did! — I lived out of duty and responsibility – because that’s what I thought good godly men did.  I have come to realize that I need adventure to make my heart come fully alive and live as the man God has called me to be.  The adventures that I enjoyed as a young man have been calling me back.  Things like hunting, fishing hiking have all begun to make my heart come alive.

I recently went wild hog hunting with a knife.  Not a gun but a knife!  A good friend of mine and I went to Chappy’s Outfitters in Moore Haven Florida for an adventure that I will be telling my grandchildren about.  We got four wild hogs that day, two each.  The third hog was in a dense Florida thicket which was so dense I could not see through.  I could hear six dogs barking and the hog grunting and squealing.  My friend could see through the thicket and what was going on.  He said “quick find a tree to hide behind he may be coming our way”.  My adrenalin and heart were pumping but thank God my pants stayed dry.  The adventure of that day made be feel alive.

Is this enough?  If the only way I can live the adventure is chasing wild hogs – me and the hogs are in trouble.  I could live the rest of my days and never chase a hog and be ok.  The adventure that I could not live without is the journey that I walk with people each day into the thicket of their lives.  Entering into lies the enemy has planted helping them understand who they are in Christ. Hearing the pain of how the enemy has tried to distort truth and love and leading them to freedom that can be found in the unconditional love of Christ.  My role in the Kingdom is to help people find a new path, a new place, to live in wholeness.  This is the adventure that I would get up early and stay up late for.

To find our role in the Kingdom and live it fully alive as his beloved children – this is the adventure that I think God wants for us.  We have to be willing to risk and be inconvenienced.  You can’t play it safe.  The adventures that I have come to enjoy in the woods again have opened my heart to more.  I want to live fully alive.  I want to live a life that makes people ask questions about a God that is fully alive and present in my life.

How about you….are you longing for more or just playing it safe?

Mark Carpenter
TJM Leadership Team

Give It Away

Presently, I’m reading the book “Letters by a Modern Mystic” by Frank C. Laubach.  The book is simply his entry journals from his time in the Philippines from 1930-31 when he was attempting to modern mysticlive in a conscious moment-by-moment relationship with God.  His aim was to literally be thinking about and/or talking with God each and every minute of his day regardless of what he might be doing.  I would highly encourage you to go pick up a copy.  I’ve provided a link at the bottom of this entry that will take you straight to this book on Amazon.  Anyway, let me get to what I want to share from this gem.

As I was reading today Laubach’s entry for June 1, 1930, he made a statement that was incredibly simple, yet crucial for a vibrant relationship with the Father and non-negotiable if we are to make a difference in the lives of those placed in our path.  Here’s the passage:

“This week with its failures and successes has taught me one new lesson.  It is this: ‘I must talk about God, or I cannot keep Him in my mind.  I must give Him away in order to have Him.’  This is the law of the spirit world.  What one gives one has, what one keeps to oneself one loses.  Do you suppose that through all eternity the price we will need to pay for keeping God will be that we must endlessly be giving Him away?”

After reading this and re-reading this several more times, I began pondering what my typical day looks like in relation to my awareness of God throughout my day and how much I give Him away.  I wouldn’t say I’m a complete failure at this, but sadly most of my days are spent simply surviving the day, living in a much smaller story than I was meant to live.  But I’m intrigued by same question Frank Laubach posed….”What would it look like if I were in constant, minute-by-minute communion with the Father.”  Heck, what would it look like if it were just hour-by-hour….if I made a concerted effort to think about and talk to God just once every hour of the day.  My guess is that my world would be much different, less stress, less worry, more joy.

I’m convinced that my world would be drastically changed and that is a good thing.  But what I believe would be  impacted most, would be those around me.  Think about it!  If we were to be continually focusing our thoughts, motives, actions, and hearts on God, the lives of the people around us would be transformed.  How would I parent differently, how would that impact my relationship with my wife, what about the high school students I teach each day, and most importantly, how would my life impact all the people that come across my path that are hurting and searching and crying out for hope, something to believe in?  The implications are huge…the stakes are eternal!

In Psalm 19:14 the psalmist says:

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

We aren’t after this just for our sake.  If we’re living out the mission of Jesus (to bind up broken hearts and set captives free), then our calling, our desire is that our lives not only impact others, but transform their hearts.  So, could it be that Laubach’s lesson really is at the heart of the Gospel?  Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-39 that the two greatest commandments were to love the Lord and love others.  So, we must give Him away to others and in turn that continually draws Him closer to ourselves.  Sounds accurate to me.

So, are you continually giving others Jesus?  Giving them love, forgiveness, grace, truth, boldness, compassion, hope?  This is the way to the heart of God.  How I long to know and live from the heart of God.  Let us give Him away!

Click to go get the book Letters by a Modern Mystic by Frank Laubach.

What Are You Hoping For?

Beauty awakens our heart with hope. After the dark dreary winter the colors of spring bring hope.  As the weather has been warming I look with anticipation for the daffodils to begin blooming.  The first colors of spring, a sign of hope that winter could be over. I know it doesn’t seem very masculine to talk about a little yellow flower but it is beauty in the midst of gray.  So much of our lives seem to be caught waiting for hope.  I have been pondering the thought – “Jesus wants to restore hope”.  Hope is defined as a confident expectation.  My heart longs and wants to hope but it feels too risky or vulnerable.  The thrill and joy of a hope fulfilled.  As I age and walk the journey I have come to realize it is not stuff that I hope or long for but a closer relationship with Christ is what satisfies my heart. My confident expectation is that He is with me closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24) and He will give me the desires of my heart as I delight in him (Psalms 37:4).

Mark Carpenter
TJM Leadership Team

Do you trust Him with your heart?

A couple of days ago I was doing my bible study and ran into the passage below.  The passage comes from Psalm 33 and I couldn’t help but think that if it resonated with me, then others would probably relate, especially other men.  I’m not excluding you ladies, it’s just that I’m a man and would never claim to understand how a woman thinks/feels.  That’s a blog entry for another day…actually, I just think I’ll leave that one alone.  Ok, back to the topic at hand.

Most of us men desire to be strong and come through, whether it be a trial we’re facing or a need that needs to be met.  The problem is that much of the time we rely on our own strength, skill set, ambition, effort, or you fill in the blank.  I don’t know about you, but for me this usually leads to headaches, frustration, anger, falling short, and a myriad of other things.  The bottom line is that on our own, we will always miss the mark.  Even on those rare occasions that a situation seems to turn out pretty good, there is still something missing.  I can’t help but wonder what all we must be missing out on by not inviting God into our struggle or predicament.  After all, the passage does state that “He’s ready to come to our rescue”.

This leads me to a crucial question: Do you really trust Him with your heart?  You’re probably saying to yourself, “well, of course I do”, but do you live that way?  When you’re faced with a difficult, or possibly overwhelming, situation what is your response?  Do you kick into high gear, racking your brain for a solution?  Do you immediately begin to panic and worry about it?  Does anger rise up in you?  Or does your prayer life suddenly get better as you plead with God to fix the problem?  (Sadly, I’ve done every one of these….still do at times.)  I’m convinced that most of us believe that God comes through for others, but we’re not so sure if that’s true for us.  When truly tested, our faith really wanes.  I’m not talking about our words or our demeanor or even our actions, but down deep in that place we’d rather no one see, we wonder if He’ll show up.  That’s why we work really hard to fix the issue or whine and complain about it or treat God like a genie in a bottle.

What if we walked this passage out everyday?  The end of the passage says,  “Love us, God, with all you’ve got – that’s what we’re depending on.”  Do you know what that would look like?  I’ll be honest, I don’t!  To let go of stuff and simply put it in His hands and trust that it’ll all work out is scary to me.  I like to be able to fix it, or at least see the path and where it leads.  But what I’m learning more everyday is that the Father only shows us the part of the journey we need to see for that moment.  Otherwise, it would cease to be faith wouldn’t it?  So, I challenge you to jump on this crazy journey of TRULY trusting the Father (believing things you don’t see) and allowing Him to love you with all He’s got because that’s really all we need!

Jason Carter
TJM Leadership Team

Psalm 33 (Msg)

16-17 No king succeeds with a big army alone,
no warrior wins by brute strength.
Horsepower is not the answer;
no one gets by on muscle alone.

18-19 Watch this: God’s eye is on those who respect him,
the ones who are looking for his love.
He’s ready to come to their rescue in bad times;
in lean times he keeps body and soul together.

20-22 We’re depending on God;
he’s everything we need.
What’s more, our hearts brim with joy
since we’ve taken for our own his holy name.
Love us, God, with all you’ve got—
that’s what we’re depending on.