Obedience Through Shutting My MOUTH!

“Hold your tongue and do not share openly what you are doing right now.” That was the impression I heard from the Lord.

I remember I was out for a run in early January, when I knew the Lord was telling me to not say a word about what he was doing accept for my immediate family and a few select people who I knew would pray for us, but not try to solve the problem for us. This was a tough challenge from the Lord for me, because when presented with a problem to solve I WILL find a solution. And with this directive he took one of my greatest problem-solving skills away…networking to find a solution. I left my job, didn’t know what was next, and I could not utilize my network to find the job he had for me. I had to give up all control on this one, risk being viewed as lazy for not looking for a job, and put it into his hands.

As the weeks ticked by this directive became increasingly difficult for me because people knew something had changed and some asked questions. One such instance came up in the beginning of February, not very long after hearing from the Lord about moving mountains. A previous salesperson for a vendor that I had previously worked closely with reached out to me to see what was going on. In a moment of weakness, I shared with him that I had resigned and was looking for the perfect opportunity.  He shared with me a potential opportunity and put me in contact with one of the hiring managers. My mind immediately went to work researching the company, the people, the culture, everything I could find out about this company. My mind desperately wanted to believe this was the door the Lord was opening, and I would see this season come to a quick end with the perfect job. I scheduled a phone call with the contact, and we had a great conversation that ended with an agreement that I would apply for a specific job and she would get the process rolling. That all occurred on a Friday afternoon and that same evening I spent the time walking through the application process and submitting my resume, cover letter, etc. 

Saturday was spent consumed by the thought, “This is it, the season is coming to an end and I will have a job soon!” This is a gift and a curse that I have had to learn to control and discipline over the years. When presented with a problem, my brain will be consumed with it until it is solved. This is good when I can impact the problem, but when I cannot do anything about it, my brain will continue to focus on the problem…that’s the curse. I woke up Sunday morning and as the family and I were getting ready for church, I received an auto email from the company I applied to.  It was one of those canned and artificially sympathetic emails letting me know that I was not chosen for the job. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? I just had a great conversation, we discussed having conversations with a few more members of the team and before any of that could happen, I was told I was not the right fit???

I spent the following few days trying to understand what happened, reaching out to my contact and receiving no response, and just generally trying to process what in the heck happened. I remember waking up and going for a run a few days later and hearing my Father’s whisper again after being completely consumed by the opportunity for the last four or five days and forgetting about him. “Scott, I asked you to not talk about this and try to come up with a solution…I asked you to leave this in my hands.” I had allowed doubt of what the Lord had spoken to me a few weeks earlier and my desperation to provide for my family financially, get in the way of what I knew the Lord had asked of me. I had gotten distracted and wasted time and energy that could have been focused on what the Lord had called me to do: run, write, and serve. And just like our amazing Father, full of love and mercy, he allowed me to walk down the wrong path for a few days so I could remember that the best solutions occur when we submit to his will and allow him to go to work on our behalf. This was approximately the 777th time I have had to learn this lesson.  Father, I lay myself and my family at your feet…we are yours…have your way!

Just a few observations and challenges as I read through this post again. I love to talk and be in conversation with people regardless of the topic. Let’s just say it is hereditary. Like all gifts and strengths that we have, we must learn discipline. We use our gifts and talents to serve, to love, to encourage those around us. When we use them for our own purposes and our own desires, we end up never realizing the fullness the Lord intended in our lives. This was a season where the Lord was asking me to be disciplined and to keep my mouth shut, he wanted me to focus on him and what he asked of me during this season.It was a lesson I needed to learn AND he was not going to let me out of the season until it was learned.

I want to encourage you to evaluate your gifts, are you using them to serve others? Is the Lord asking you to commit those gifts to him and his service completely? We will only discover the fullness HE has to offer us when we fully submit our gifts to him…and sometimes he ask us to fully give up the gifts we carry for him…that is where we have the opportunity to profess he is the Lord of our life with more than words…

Blessings, go and serve with all you have!

Scott

The January 27th Run

January 27 was a Thursday like any other; I woke up early, put my running clothes on, and went out for a run.  Up to this point there had been many hours of prayer and focusing on what the Lord was calling our family to, but not many answers had come our way.  This particular morning the Lord would change all of that and challenge my faith in a pretty big way.

As I was about mid-way through the run, I heard that familiar small voice whisper to me, “Scott, faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.  What mountain would you like me to move?”  I remember feeling incredibly humbled when I heard this.  My only response was, “I want to know my calling without a shadow of doubt.  I want to walk in confidence, but humility.  As far as what I do, I want to do only what you want me to do.  I want the desires of your heart not mine. I trust your desires more.”  Over the years I have learned that when I take on things myself, when I try to meet a desire of my heart without prayer and petition before the Lord, I fall down hard.  I was tired of trying and failing on my own…and my heart’s desire at this point is to only do what my Father asks me to do and only say what my Father asks me to say…just like my Savior Jesus, my example.  

As I continued my run I heard the Lord whisper again, “Scott, you have faith greater than a mustard seed, mountains will move for you.”  As I heard those words and continued to run, I remember struggling with the ability to dream of the mountain…what mountain did I really want the Lord to move?  I do not trust my own desires, I only trust His, and I needed him to show me.  I kept running and processing and found myself dreaming about my perfect job. I remember my heart softening and a desire to serve washed over me.  The Lord was helping me shift my mountain away from benefiting me to moving a mountain that would impact others.  The thought popped into my head that I wanted the opportunity to return to an older project that I never had the opportunity to finish…I wanted to refocus that project and see it become successful so it would be a blessing to two specific leaders at the company.  My desire was to serve two people I had a lot of respect for and see the fruits of their leadership be successful.  I knew that through this the Lord would provide greatly for our family at the same time and allow us to continue down a road of generosity.  I remember asking the Lord to open the door and remove any barrier in the way so the mountain could move.

I rushed home and wrote the experience in my journal.  But then the inevitable happened…doubts arose, the flesh attempted to seize control, and temptation came marching in.  We MUST be diligent and stay disciplined and know the enemy is crouching at the door and waiting to pounce at the most opportune time. Usually, for me my most vulnerable times are when I hear specific direction from the Lord, the enemy creeps in and whispers lies, “what you just heard and envisioned is all in your head…it will never happen.” I have to remind myself the battle belongs to the Lord and all I have to do is follow His steps.

Easier said than done…

Blessings,

Scott

Three Things

During the week prior to my last day of employment, I was out running early in the morning and I heard very specific instruction from the Lord.  My running time is sacred to me as it is typically early in the morning and a quiet time for the Lord and I to connect.  My typical rhythm is to get up early, grab a cup of coffee, read and pray for a little bit, and then head out for a run.  It is a peaceful time where I can focus on the Lord’s voice.  As I was running that morning three words kept echoing in my mind and I knew that was the calling the Lord had for me during this season: Run, Write, and Serve.  As I was processing those words, my brain was quickly defining what each thing meant and how it would play out.  Only until I was ready to let go of what I thought it all meant was the Lord able to get ahold of me and teach me a few lessons.

RUN…I love to run, and I really didn’t know what this meant, so I committed to run more and ensure I spent as much time with him in my running shoes as possible.  The more I ran, the clearer the direction became.  I needed to sign up for and run the Cowtown Marathon on February 27.  I signed up and got to work creating a training plan to ramp up my mileage so I could run 26.2 miles.  The training went well, but as I put more miles in on the road, I was able to process the season and ensure I was taking the necessary time to connect with my Father and hear His voice and direction.  It also gave me the opportunity to rest my brain and really focus on what I was learning and experiencing in this season.  The more I was training the greater sense I gained that this training and culmination of running a marathon was the time period of the current season.  I truly felt as though the marathon weekend was going to be a tough run, one where I had to leave everything I had on the course, but it would also be the gateway to the Lord blessing the next season.  

If you have ever run a marathon, you understand there is nothing you can do to prepare for the race except take every training run as it comes, one at a time.  You simply keep checking off the runs from your plan and don’t worry about which ones felt good or bad, because they are all adding to your ability to finish the 26.2 miles at the end of the training…you MUST trust the plan.  Leading up to the race people kept asking me, “are you ready?”  I don’t think I have ever felt ready for a full marathon, but I have prepared, and the rest is in the Lord’s hands.  That is what he was showing me…you train, you prepare, you submit to his plan and all you can do is take one day at a time and trust in Him that the outcome will be exactly what He wants.  That was our reality…we were trusting in Him that our leap of faith would result in exactly what he wanted…all we could do is take one day at a time in faith.

WRITE…I thought this was all about blogging the season the Lord had for us, but it was so much more.  During this season I had the opportunity to teach a Wednesday night men’s class at church.  It is a class that I have gone through previously, so it has been a ton of fun going back through the material, adding to it what the Lord has for these men and spending every Wednesday night with them.  We have been able to build up and strengthen each other, seeking the Lord and understanding His identity for each one of us.  This season has been so timely to this class because I have been able to teach from a place of having to put all my faith and trust in the Lord for direction and provision.  Secondly, the Lord called Danielle and I to start and lead the small group ministry at our church.  This too has been very timely as we have had the extra time to develop out a strategy, training plan, and recruit potential small group leaders.  It has been so cool to see how the Lord operates when we walk in obedience…He makes the time for the initiatives He wants to be a priority, all we have to do is walk the path of obedience. 

SERVE…I always want to learn from situations and apply those lessons to my own life.  This part of the calling was no different.  I had my own thoughts on what this looked like and honestly, I thought I was going to need to keep a calendar for the opportunities that would arise.  I sought out opportunities to do “handy-man” work, miscellaneous projects, clean-up, really anything that people who may not have a carpentry skillset needed done.  The thing that baffled me is there were very few of those projects.  I was incredibly thankful for the projects that came up around our church which I was able to serve and accomplish, and it allowed me the time to serve my family in additional capacities and give them a break from normal life.  I have some mixed feelings on this subject; I am not sure if it was the Lord directing me to focus primarily on my own family or if it is the fact that our society is so crazy independent, and we do not know how to ask or accept help.  The biggest lessons I learned out of this portion of the calling for the season was:

  • Do not be discouraged when the Lord calls you to do something, and the opportunity does not present itself.  Be faithful to what He has called you to and keep seeking.
  • Serve your family well.
  • Be willing to ask for help and allow people to help you.
  • Do not allow perfection to get in the way of allowing people to serve.  They may not meet a standard you have or the perfect project you want, but they are a willing servant trying to answer a call.

Blog #5 coming soon.  My heart’s desire is that our transparency with this season of our lives will encourage you to seek and follow the Holy Spirit in your life.  Stop, listen, make sure you have those you trust and love around you to do the same, and walk in obedience as the Holy Spirit guides.  It will be difficult but rewarding!

Blessings,

Scott

The Last Day

The last day at my job was January 4, 2022.  It was a good day, but for me personally it was a little difficult.  There is always difficulty in passing from one season to another because oftentimes the people in those seasons change.  Some relationships are maintained, and others are left behind because they were established and rooted around the things of that season.  It is always a little difficult for me to work through that dynamic personally because I love people and I want relationships to last forever.  Due to the way I am wired, I do not automatically differentiate between relationships and friendships; they are often one and the same to me.  I love people, I love to serve people, and I will give what I can to a relationship or friendship.  I have had to learn over the years that there is a difference between the two and I cannot be the only one maintaining the friendship.  Thus, the difficulty I have moving into new seasons.  

I must trust the friendships that are meant to carry on will be carried on by both parties and the ones that are not meant to carry on…all you can do is transition really well and honor those individuals to the best of your ability.  It does no one any good, to burn bridges and hurt people over seasons changing, but often we do exactly that.  With transition comes the temptation to air your grievances and tell people what you feel, but in the end that benefits NO ONE.  I loved the people I worked with over the last 3 years, they helped me gain back my identity in my Father, and we were all part of one another’s journey.  To journey together on this path of life is one of the greatest gifts we have been given…I am a firm believer we do not take this as seriously as we should.  We were made for community, and we were made to walk this life together; relying on and serving one another.  I am SO thankful for the people that were in my life at this time, they were placed in my path by the Lord.

The hardest part of the Lord’s calling during this season has been my fear of being completely honest with people and why Danielle and I were making the decisions we were making.  There is always a fear about when you hear from the Lord and take a step of faith that people will think you are crazy or mistaken.  We (including myself) often judge people based on our own life situations, experiences, strengths, weaknesses, etc. For example, one of my spiritual gifts is faith.  All of us are called to walk in faith, but I believe some people have been called to walk in a different type of faith (1 Corinthians 12:8-10), a spiritual gift of faith.  I am by no means comparing myself to these people but think of Hebrews 11, all these individuals walked in the spiritual gift of faith.  God told them to do something, and they jumped off the proverbial cliff and said yes.  This is part of the lens that I view the world through and if I am not careful with it, I will judge others by it.  I see someone who has an opportunity to do something great if they would just step out in faith…but what I do not understand is that they were not called to take the same risk or leap of faith I am.  In doing so, I misjudge their faith as weak, but the reality is, it is simply NOT what their calling is.  This is where my own fear comes into play.  I am keenly aware of my own frailty so when I take a leap of faith, I do so with the fear of being misjudged by others.  So, I do not tell the full story of what the Lord is doing in our lives, which quite possibly is not allowing others to encourage us or to be encouraged.  One of my friends so clearly communicated that it is often our gift that will crush us if we allow it to.  This is why I must continually run back to the Father for assurance and strength.  

There is a lot of freedom in following the Holy Spirit and his direction, but it is also when attack comes from the enemy, and we are at our most vulnerable and exposed state.  The next day I woke up, immediately trying to fill my 8-5 day with “work.”  I was striving to feel valuable, to accomplish something, to prove myself, and all the Lord wanted me to do was rest for a few days.  Over this period Danielle and I had to be very intentional about spending time together in prayer with each other and on our own.  I worked hard to maintain a very consistent time early in the morning to read the Bible, study His Word, and spend time in prayer and worship.  I had to be super conscious of thoughts and emotions running through my head because our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the dark forces of this world.  In all transparency, this was a battle I needed to be exposed to and needed to fight through. The Lord used this period to help me learn to discern between what was actually happening and a fabricated emotional story my brain was creating.  The valleys of attack are the greatest opportunities of learning that we have; embrace the suck, learn, and stay on the path the Lord has for you in obedience…the end result is more wisdom, patience and confidence in the Father.

One little addition as I read through this post again…we must never underestimate the power of our feelings. If they are left unto themselves they will lead us down destructive roads; destroying relationships, opportunities, etc. Our feelings will deceive us, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). For those of us who are “feelers”, this is a great asset because your empathy is a gift and can be used to listen and encourage. But if you allow your feelings to drive you, then you will end up, isolated, lonely and often put the blame on everyone else. Times of transition are a time to remain guarded, staying firm in TRUTH. Paul encourages us in Philippians to dwell on what is noble, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely, and what is admirable…this goes for our words too…we are to be the light of the world and shine, that means my words MUST speak life.

With so much confidence I speak this…you were created for a purpose! That purpose includes having a positive impact on those around you, go…and make a difference.

With love and blessings,

Scott

Proverbs 16:9

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

December 13th brought us to a breaking point. Danielle and I had a lengthy discussion that night that ultimately led us both to fully surrendering to whatever the Lord wanted. The one thing we knew for sure is that we couldn’t keep operating in the same way we had been. Emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually, we surrendered to whatever the next step would be and God, in his faithfulness, honored that surrender.

On the morning of December 14th, we chose to walk in obedience and faith.  I woke up at my normal time around 5:30 am and was sitting in the chair reading my Bible and praying.  I distinctly remember reading 1 Kings 19:19-21.  It is the story of when Elijah met and called Elisha to follow him.  In short Elisha sacrificed and cooked his provision (12 teams of oxen) and fed the community.  In obedience and faith, he followed the Lord by going with Elijah.  This was the beginning of Elisha walking in his calling as a prophet, but it came at the cost of letting the past go.  I remember as I was reading and processing the passage, a very strong impression came across me that it was time to resign, and I needed to do it that very day.  Danielle woke up and sat down on the couch next to me and before I was able to tell her what I thought we needed to do, she looked at me and said, “today is the day you need to resign.” My mind was instantly flooded with amazement, fear, faith, excitement, and a host of other feelings.  Danielle and I made a commitment to each other at the beginning of our marriage to walk in unity and not take major steps without independent confirmation and this was it…  

That was the beginning of a new season for our family.  I went to work that morning, drafted an email, texted Danielle several times to make sure we were really doing this, and resigned from my job.  I resigned without another job, without Danielle and I being able to execute on our financial plans that we had put in motion for the next 12-14 months.  We had been in this place before we moved to Texas. It’s a scary place, honestly. But God had come through for us before, and as we were then, we were again confident that this was the direction he wanted us to take.  I truly believe this was the Holy Spirit saying, “Test me.  Test my faithfulness and see me open the floodgates of blessing,” (Malachi 3:10).  I believe the Lord was asking us to bring him our best and most valuable things to his throne…it started with our house and ended with my job.  We often interpret this as a 10% of our income, but this time the Lord wanted EVERYTHING!

It was a large step faith, but in all honesty, that is where I am most comfortable.  My challenge comes in when our steps of faith are not understood by those around me, but that is often what faith is.  Faith is walking the path our Father has for us, and it doesn’t always make sense from a worldly perspective, but it teaches us to be secure in him and not the opinions of others.  It also brings significant battles, great lessons, and amazing blessings…some of which we will never understand while we are on this side of Heaven. 

Blessings…stay tuned for post #3 coming soon,

Scott

Transition Coming…

Over the next series of blog posts, we will tell the story of the last few months for our family.  The Lord has called us to take a series of faith steps that were a little uncomfortable but as usual, come with some great lessons and blessings.  Our hope is that these will be an encouragement for you to “seek the Kingdom of God above all else,” as we so imperfectly try to do. 

I remember last spring I verbalized the thought that maybe we should sell our house.  The house had been built for us 3 years prior and we loved it.  It was open and bright, we all had our own space, and we felt at home.  But the market was and is super strong, and it would allow us to capture the appreciation and buy some property away from all the busyness that has become Forney, TX. I mentioned it to the family, and it was received like ice on a sensitive tooth. So, I backed away and tucked it back in my mind for a later date.  

Fast forward to last fall and that feeling of transition settled in my heart.  I knew the Lord wanted to do something, but I was unsure of what it was at that point.  For the past 3 years, I had been walking through a season in life of getting healthy and establishing my identity in my heavenly Father after walking through some pretty toxic situations.  The Lord had used the people around me and the company I worked for to help me gain a confidence and an appreciation for how God made me and what He created me for, just like he does for each one of us.  I had just walked through a season that allowed me to explore my skill set, my gifts, the things I do not like to do and/or have no talent to do. That was a season I am eternally grateful for, and the many people I worked with…it was a significant blessing!  Looking back now, the Lord was getting ready to springboard our family into a season of operating within those strengths, taking lifelong lessons and applying them to our family. 

Last October, through a lot of prayer, we knew it was time to let the house go and sell it.  We knew it was a blessing from the Lord and needed to be obedient in using this tool to achieve the goals and mission he has called our family too. We walked out of the first weekend on the market with 7 offers and ended up closing about 30 days later.  It was a huge blessing but also where the struggle began for me.  I went, day after day, of doubting this was the right path.  I DID NOT want to let go of the house…I loved the house, had grown attached to it, felt like we were settled, and quite honestly it had become a source of pride for me.  Interesting enough this was not the struggle with Danielle, her struggle was probably dealing with my doubt which is unusual in these cases.  To make it more stressful and add to my doubt, closing continued to be moved back due to lender and buyer issues, but in the end the Lord had His way and we closed. 

We were able to quickly find a house to rent while we allow the Lord to show us the next step to take.  We hired a moving company, and the process went rather smoothly except for moving from a large new house to a smaller rental house that was not cared for as we do.  Honestly this is when we hit another valley in the path.  We had one day to get into the rental and clean…when Danielle walked in it reeked of animals and the upstairs carpet was literally greasy from someone’s pet.  Some tears and frustration later, the carpet was replaced, and the house was soooo much better.  There were other minor adjustments and struggles, but in the end the Lord was faithful as always.  

During this same time Danielle and I are establishing goals and setting the timeline to execute on those goals.  We knew job transition was coming and we did our best to establish what we thought was the appropriate path.  We had set three income goals over the next 12-14 months with the plan of me resigning from my job on December 31, 2022.  This would set a time limit for our family to execute on our goals and ensure we managed our family well financially, helping put us in a place where we were operating within the gifts and strengths of our family.  It was a solid plan, but was our plan, and not the Lord’s plan. 

Danielle had to remind me of a day in mid-November sometime where I out of the blue, like I often do, asked her a question, “what if I resign on December 31?” intentionally omitting the year and testing the waters for what her reaction would be.  This began a period of internal struggle for Danielle where she knew the Lord was doing something in our family, but she did not want to admit and follow the Lord’s plan for our family that maybe it was sooner than December 31, 2022. 

Blog 2 coming soon…

Blessings,

Scott

What More Do You Want?

This may not be the exact question my wife asked me but these words are still circulating through my mind three days later. We were in the middle of a very intense conversation and in a moment of brutal honesty a few questions rang out. “What more do you want? What will make you happy? The Lord has called you to do some very specific things and you keep looking for more.” I am so thankful my wife is willing to stand toe to toe with me and ask me the difficult questions.

In this season of life, the Lord has impressed on me three very specific tasks to focus on: running, writing, and serving. I am sure I am not the only one built like this, but my eyes are always open and looking for opportunities to improve, challenge myself, help someone, and 100 other things, but what often occurs is my focus is removed from the task at hand…I am given a mission to accomplish and I waste valuable time not focusing on the mission. I believe the Holy Spirit led my wife to ask me those very pointed questions, to inflict a wound that only He could cause and bring healing. My prayer for as long as I can remember is, “Father show me how I can serve you and I will do whatever you ask of me.” But, there was a blind spot which was preventing me from fully experiencing His joy in accomplishing the things he puts in front of me and most likely preventing me from experiencing all that He has for me and my family.

As I have been processing this lesson, I keep coming back to David before he was King David. David’s father sent him to the lines of war between Israel and the Philistines to take some bread to his brothers. As David arrived he heard the Philistine, Goliath, shout his usual taunts to the army of Israel (all this is found in 1 Samuel 17). David started asking questions around the camp about what the reward would be for the man who killed Goliath. I am sure the military men were trying to understand why in the heck there was this little boy who was not old enough, nor big enough to serve in the military asking these questions. As David stood in front of King Saul he boldly stated, “Don’t worry about this Philistine. I’ll go fight him!” Saul looked at David and said, “Do not be ridiculous, you are but a little pipsqueak! What makes you think you can fight and kill this GIANT OF A MAN who could squash you with his little pinky?” (1 Samuel 17:33, Scott’s Literal Translation)

What happens next is nothing but David hearing God’s call and giving the task at hand his laser focused attention. Saul tried his hardest to disuade him from proceeding but was unsuccessful. He even tried to give David the kings armor and sword to fight the giant. This whole story amazes me because I would have jumped on the Internet and researched how to kill a giant, watched a few YouTube video’s on the subject, read a couple books, maybe a biography on someone who had slayed a giant before, and then taken a couple classes on how to slay and kill giants. By the time I was ready, I would have risked my calling passing me by. David on the other hand threw the armor off, and put his faith in his Heavenly Father. He trusted the Lord had prepared him for such a day as this and he would walk in victory fully knowing the Lord was going before him.

David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!  And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”

1 Samuel 17:45-47

David’s faith and confidence is amazing to me. The Lord gave him a task, he did not allow ANY distractions, even ignored the advice of King Saul, and went to work bringing destruction to the giant that was standing in defiance of Israel. He marched out, spoke the Word of the Lord to the Giant telling him exactly what he would do and never thought twice or questioned his decision or stumbled…nothing more and nothing less. Flung a stone and cut the head off the giant!!! DONE!

Our calling, in most cases, will be easier than that one event in King David’s life BUT it is NO LESS IMPORTANT. In God’s bigger story, my mission and calling…your mission and calling, is just as significant. We all were created for such a day as this, to accomplish the calling the Lord has on our lives. No distractions, no tangents, no extra this or extra that, just what is critical to our mission!!!

Stop and think about all the stuff we do, all the time fillers, all the non-important things we throw into our day and ask yourself…Does this serve my calling? Does it serve the Lord? Does it serve my family well? If the answer is no, then throw it out and move on. It is time to answer the call of the Lord because we were all made for such a day as this!

Love and blessings,

Scott

The Art of Failed Communication and an Unhappy Valentine’s Day

Communication is hands down the most important thing to Danielle and I in our marriage. I know, that is nothing new…communication, or lack of, has been the cause of many great marriages and the downfall of many failed marriages. For us, it has been so much more than just talking through issues or decisions, it has been a very intentional road of ensuring we do not harbor or hold any resentment for the other person. If something was done or said that offends the other person and that thing has the ability to eventually turn into something bigger, then you need to raise your hand and say something. Now, you MUST mix in a large handful of grace in the equation because we all do and say stupid things that need to be forgiven and moved past (mostly me). Danielle is amazing at this…me…not so much. That said, I am still learning 23 years of marriage later. And let me be clear, 99% of the time it is my own fault and stems from something that I did not clearly communicate or I just expected Danielle to put on her magic helmet and read my mind. As I write this, I find it kind of comical how much I do this. We know each other REALLY well; as Sidney so eloquently has said, “you two must share the same brain!” BUT, and I mean a big BUT, this does not mean we can read each others minds and know what the other person is thinking all the time…that takes good old fashion communication. And…remember, communication = a message sent (speaking) and a message received (listening).

So, now we go back in time to Sunday morning at church. I am sitting in my chair listening to Pastor Robert’s message about the fact that our “heart is the most deceitful thing there is and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9a). The funny thing is this very thought and idea was on my mind from our previous Wednesday night men’s group where we discussed this very topic. My mind began to drift away (because I have already heard this…why do I need to hear it again) from the message and I started to think about Valentine’s Day and what could I do for the amazing women who I have in my life (this will come back to haunt me a little later…I should have kept listening to the message). As I began to think about Monday night, I realized Riley (oldest daughter) would not be around because she and her boyfriend were going out. At that point I had the great idea of rushing to the grocery store after church to pick up salmon, asparagus, all the ingredients to make some yummy horse radish coleslaw, and the most chocolatey gluten free brownies I could find. That way once everybody got home from second service we could sit down together and enjoy each other’s company at the dinner table…and all my Valentine’s would know how much I loved them.

Error Made – Danielle did not read my mind and know the three of them needed to come home together right after church. I did not tell Danielle that it would be really awesome if all three of them came home after church because I was going to make Valentine’s lunch early. NO MESSAGE SENT!

As I was wrapping up dinner and getting ready for my family, Danielle and Sidney showed up at the house. When I inquired about where Riley was, I was informed that Riley was off with her friends to have lunch…because that is what teenage daughters do when there are not family plans. This is when the seed was planted in my mind and my heart began to deceive me. We talked, Danielle apologized, and I verbally forgave but continued to harbor feelings of frustration in my heart. Now I am going to speed this story up a bit because this is when the Lord began to work on me and get my attention of what was occurring in my heart…but as you will see I am slow and the heart is truly desperately wicked and works overtime to justify itself.

  • About an hour later, Riley shows up at the house feeling horrible about the entire situation. This was flat out blame misplaced. I explained to Riley that this was simply due to a miscommunication between Danielle and I (really just myself) and that she should not feel bad. This was wake up call #1 from the Lord, but instead of seeing it as a MY ERROR, I spread the blame to Danielle and I. My flesh was seeking to justify the state of my heart instead of taking full responsibility.
  • About an hour later I saw a Facebook post from a friend about one of my favorite books, Leadership and Self-Deception. Wake up call #2. This is a fantastic book and it planted a seed in my mind…”the flesh seeks to justify itself.” But that seed quickly fell on dry and parched ground, because instead…I read the post and commented that it was a great book. I am almost certain that in my heart, I was like “man, am I glad I learned that lesson a long time ago. I am so proud of myself for how I do not put people in a box any longer or allow my flesh to justify it’s own deceived thoughts. Man, I am such a great person now that I have read that book!” As for me and this mind…I need to reread books often because I am flat out dense, forgetful, and stubborn most of time.
  • Fast forward to bed time. We crawl into bed and talk through some remaining frustrations. Danielle asks if I wanted to pray together (wake up call #3), as we fairly successfully attempt to do every night, and I responded with a half hearted “yes”, because I knew it was the right thing to do. The whole time I was just stewing on the question of why Danielle didn’t ask me before she told Riley she could go out for lunch with her friends. Halfway through praying, I fall asleep and let the day go without dealing with the issue!!! That was dumb…
  • It is now Monday and Valentine’s Day. I am going to be super husband and dad, and go get cards and gifts for the best wife and daughters in the world! As I am doing this, I am consumed with the thought that men need Valentine’s Day too, why is it primarily about the girls? We need to know we are important and loved and valued and HOLY SELFISH THOUGHTS BATMAN…Alex, I will take “the heart is desperately wicked for $1000.”
  • Monday afternoon I have the thought that I need to run over to church for a few minutes and drop something off. I unexpectedly run into a brother and we have an amazing conversation. Honestly, he had no idea about 90% of the thoughts that were flowing through my head at the moment and most likely if he would have said, so how is your marriage, I would have responded with, “awesome, thanks for asking!” Instead, we have an amazing discussion, he SIGNIFICANTLY encourages me in the Lord and speaks the exact words this mess needed to hear and we pray together. Wake up call #4. But, I still have not figured out this whole thing stemmed from ME!
  • I run home and tell Danielle about this amazing experience I just had and then the crap hits the fan and now we get to confront Scott’s deceitful heart. Why does it take multiple people to say the exact same thing as my wife has been saying for it to finally click in my head? Why does the one closest to me, the one who loves me the most, feel the least significant? Why…because I allowed my heart to be deceived, I allowed my flesh to justify itself, I did not convey the message and expected my mind to be read, and because I did not listen when my wife was trying to apologize and encourage me. WAKE UP CALL #5, the final wake up call.

It took 2 days, 3 other people, and an exasperated wife to finally get my attention. She asked me some very pointed and direct questions (a whole other subject). What will it take for you to be happy? Do you not know that your emotions, your joy and happiness effects the entire family, not just you? There are a thousand and one excuses, reasons, etc. but it all comes down to our heart is full of deceit and works overtime to justify its own actions. It will seek to blame others before it accepts responsibility for the circumstances it caused, which in this case was a very simple statement. “Hey babe, will you make sure all three of you come home after second service, because I would love to make a special lunch for all of you.”

I share this because it is messy. It sucks. We are all susceptible to being deceived, and it is my hope that our transparency will help someone, because that is what the journey requires of me. It is also a reminder to give my wife my full attention when she speaks and realize her words carry weight in our marriage. It should not take 3 other people to repeat a message that she has been clearly communicating to me for a while.

We must remember…

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places”

Ephesians 6:12

This battle is not between spouses and children, it is between the flesh seeking to justify its own evil actions and seeking to make everybody just as miserable as it is. But, there is so much hope and forgiveness to be found. Ezekiel prophesied in Ezekiel 36:26, that we would receive a new heart and a new spirit. Christ came to fulfill that promise and in him we are a new creation! We have everything we need to conquer the deception of the flesh…we simply need to be aware of the present battle.

I love you all and if I could summarize some marriage advice here…

  • Send message – speak
  • Received message – listen (do much more of this than speaking!)
  • Pray together
  • Make up (remember this is marriage advice, not dating advice)
  • Our heart is deceptive and we need Jesus

Scott

Exercising the Faith Muscle

Faith is a such a hard thing in our culture to grasp. We do not have many things in our lives that require us to have faith. We are blessed beyond our understanding with what we have at our finger tips. When we are hungry we go to a restaurant or the grocery store and by food, we stop at a gas station, insert our credit card and fill up our gas tanks, we go to the mall and have a thousand options of clothing we can wear and most of us already have more than we need. We have enough money to buy fertilizer to keep our grass green so that we are aesthetically pleased with our lawn, we care for our pets as though they were our own children. Simply said we are BLESSED beyond our comprehension.

By no means am I saying all this blessing is wrong. I am not trying to establish shame or guilt, all I am saying is that we are so comfortable in our blessing that we have forgotten it is a blessing. The danger of forgetting the blessing and the one that blesses us is that our faith muscles become weak. Faith is a muscle? Joseph of the Old Testament lived a long but challenging life. When he was young, when his faith may have lacked humility and his brothers took offense, throwing him in a well and leaving him for dead, only to be sold to slave traders and taken to Egypt. In Egypt he is thrown in jail for false crimes and accusations, only to come out of prison to lead the entire country through a famine, saving an entire people with the wisdom God entrusted to him. It was by faith that at the end of his life Joseph said these words, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (Gen 50:24). Joseph walked in this confidence ONLY by walking a life of faith and practicing the faith muscle often and seeing God show up. Do you think that he sat in the bottom of the well and was afraid, or was questioning what God was doing when thrown in a prison because he rejected the advances of a woman that was not his wife? My guess is Joseph felt a host of emotions running through his veins many times throughout his life, but one thing is for certain, “Faith inspired Joseph and opened his eyes to see into the future, for as he was dying he prophesied about the exodus of Israel out of Egypt” (Heb 11:22). The muscle had been exercised for a lifetime and it brought hope to his people.

Faith brings a roller coaster of emotions within me. When Danielle and I felt the call of the Lord to take a few significant steps in our life and our family, there was a level of excitement and anticipation of seeing God show up and do His thing. In the spirit of transparency those feelings come and go and are often replaced by doubt and fear. When the doubt and fear arise, then I have to pick up the “weights” and begin to pray, read the acts of faith and God’s response in the Bible. I have to serve someone else. I have to go out and run and spend some time with my Father to gain His perspective. Lately I have felt as though I have stepped off the mountain and am suspended in mid-air right now, simply waiting for the Father to move the mountain and plant my feet on solid ground again. That is the thing about faith, it REQUIRES us to put ourselves out there and in complete reliance of our Father in Heaven, because if it did not would it be faith? Is faith really faith, if there is not some level of discomfort? Is it really faith if the flesh does not revolt and have a fear of falling? As I ponder faith this morning I have been drawn to my wife’s favorite chapter in the Bible, Hebrews 11.

  • vs 7 – “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen in holy fear built an ark to save his family.” Noah practiced his faith in a crazy way!!! Who wouldn’t have thought Noah was a few sandwiches short of a picnic…or just flat out loony.
  • vs 8 – “By faith Abraham, when called to to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Hold on a second…Abraham moved his entire family and had no idea where he was going? Could you imagine doing that today? Sell your house, quit your job, and have no idea where you were going?
  • vs 10 – “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder was God.” This is flat out one of my favorite verses in the Bible! It is the cry of and the desire of my heart to pursue the things of the Lord. I know there is more and I will never settle as I know our journey of faith is progressive and as we are capable of receiving our Father will give abundantly. Abraham had a spark in his heart and soul that told him that God was worth the pursuit no matter the cost!
  • vs 17 – “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.” Abraham knew God would provide in the end, but do we not think that inside Abraham was in agony? By faith he walked the path regardless of his feelings.
  • vs 22 – By faith, because he had practiced all his life, Joseph prophesied to his people regarding God’s faithfulness to bring them out of captivity.
  • vs 23 – “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born” and then they put him in a basket and let him float in a massive river with crocodiles and pirahnas to be found and raised in Pharaoh’s home. I am sure Moses’ mother grieved and missed her son, but walked in faith regardless.
  • vs 32-34 – “How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions,  quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.”

Every one of these people put their faith in a God they had never seen before, in full confidence they walked, knowing He was and will be faithful. Was it easy for them? I highly doubt it as they fought the same flesh and worldly reasoning that we do every single day. They understood that when you practice and work out your faith muscle, the muscle tears a little bit and requires healing, you fall down sometimes, but the Father is there to pick us up…the journey of faith is not easy, it is not painless, but it is required if we want to understand and grasp the complete goodness of our Father.

I struggle in this walk of faith daily, it is a battle of flesh and spirit; my spirit longing to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the flesh revolting and trying to instill doubt and fear. I was reminded in our men’s group on Wednesday evening that it is only through the fire that we are refined. It is only by submitting ourselves to the Father and being laid out on the proverbial anvil to be shaped and molded into the person He created us to be. The fire burns a little bit, the shaping is painful, but the results are worth every little doubt, burn, or scrape along the way. I know without a shadow of doubt that the Bible is true…I know that faith the size of a little mustard seed will move a mountain, and I know God will move mountains on our behalf when we step out in faith.

Get out there and exercise that faith muscle!!! Accept the pain and discomfort and KNOW THAT HE IS FAITHFUL TO YOU!

Scott

Making Time for Memories…

Since we live in the frozen tundra known as Texas…I know for all my family and friends in Michigan you laugh at me for making that statement, but literally we have nothing to move the snow or melt the ice. So it simply compacts on the road and makes for a nice layer of, smooth as glass, ice.

This morning we ventured out on the ice rink (aka the road) and tried to find a restaurant that refused to close so we could get coffee and some breakfast. After driving past our favorite spot we found a business that has graciously given us a free coffee subscription for the past 4 months. We slowly parked the truck, carefully got out, and proceeded to shuffle across the second ice rink (aka the parking lot) into the restaurant. We ordered our food and sat down in some nice comfortable chairs for a morning of coffee, bagels, and Mad Libs…let the fun begin.

As Riley (female person in the room) and Sidney (female person in the room) enjoyed their beverages and crunchy (adjective) cinnamon (noun) bagels (plural noun), Danielle (female person in the room) and Scott (male person in the room) enjoyed their yummy (adjective) avocado (noun), tomato (noun), spinach (noun), and egg white (noun) breakfasty (silly adjective) sandwiches (noun), oh and hot (adjective) coffee (noun) too. While we enjoyed our breakfast, we decided to rewrite the History of the World, as is so popular to do today…enjoy the highlights of this ridiculously (adverb) enjoyable (adjective) morning (time of day) with my crazy (adjective) family (noun).

At one time man walked on four feet (Part of the body, plural), spoke in violent (adjective) grunts, and did not know how to make a nice fire. Here is the story of the day that changed mankind forever (translated from the fat (adjective) cave-speak).

Caveman #1: It’s colder than Rome (a place) in this cave. Even my warmest platypus (animal) fur won’t keep my finger nail (part of the body) from shivering.

Caveman #2: If only there was a way to make the cold toilet (noun) warmer. (shockingly true! if only the Bos Proverbs had been written yet…”blessed is the second person to use the toilet in the winter months” – Scott Bos)

…a few boring lines later

Caveman #1: We shall call this magical flaming poop (noun) fire!”

The end

-The Bos Family

More Historical Facts…

Benjamin Franklin was not only a founding pickle (noun) of the United States…

Johannes Gutenberg was a German booger (noun) who invented the printing press…

Thomas Edison was a cranky (adjective) inventor…

-The Bos Family

And a few more facts…

“That’s right: Earth is shaped like a stubborn (adjective) ball! For as long as any turd (noun) can remember, it has been widely believed that the Earth is as flat as a Bagel (noun).”

-The Bos Family

This is evidence of two things. #1, If you make time as a family, there is joy to be found even when it is tough to get around and you may be stuck at home or in our case, within a mile of home. And #2, even in a family full of girls and 1 boy, it is evident that the mind of a boy will influence the minds of the more polished and proper girls. I promise all the adjectives related to…you know, poop and boogers, was not all me! haha.

Seriously, stop being so busy and take the time to spend with your family. You will NEVER regret spending quality time with your spouse and your kids…Danielle, Riley, and Sidney are my favorite people in the world, I love them with a my mushy (adjective) heart, and I do not take these times for granted because we simply do not know what tomorrow brings.

Have a little fun, laugh often, smile, and give each other hugs.

Blessings!

Scott

Note: since we (Danielle 99.9%) homeschool our girls, this 100% counts as an English refresher.