Category Archives: Chrisitan living

Attitude is Influence, and You Own It

Attitude will take you places others never thought you could go. Or, it will take you places you never want to go. Like the time I finally got mom to agree to let me rope in the high school rodeo. My bad attitude took me a step too far when I said, “But you know roping will lead to bull riding someday…” That statement tore to shreds my chances of ever rodeoing while I lived under my mom’s roof.

(Photo credit:

Attitude is especially important when you realize that, even when you are not trying to influence others, your attitude will do the influencing for you. Attitude is an issue of ownership; either you own your attitude, or your attitude owns you.

Either you are intentionally influencing others, or unintentionally influencing others. You never get the results you want by going out there and just wishing for the best. So, to get the best results, you must plan to influence others for the best with a positive attitude.

Your attitude is infectious. Your children will see things as you see them. They’ll see themselves they way you see them. Your view will be their view.

This all sounds well and hokey. But the implications are huge. Ever complained about your job to your spouse? If you ever choose to complain about your job to your spouse, do not count on him or her to try to convince you not to complain about your job. In other words, as you see your job and talk about your job, is the way your spouse will view and talk about your job. If you can’t buoy yourself concerning your job and get through the rough patch you’re facing, then you can’t expect someone else to, even those closest to you.

Your spouse will likely be supportive and encouraging at first, because that person cares about you. But the seeds you sow will determine the harvest you reap in the long run. If you’re an adult then you likely spend a significant time at work. The worst thing for your relationship is for your spouse to always feel like you are under-appreciated and mistreated by those you work with, especially is that is not actually the case.

The way my wife paints what I do to my children is extremely important. I have a career that takes me away from home at odd times for long hours. I have suffered my share of legitimate issues and had gripes that were warranted, many if not all of which I have shared with my wife. I have had times when I was really down on my job and I made it known at home. Following times like that, it takes a long time and a lot of effort to get my family back in a good place with what I do.

When my oldest son was much younger, he could not understand what I did or why I was gone for hours at at time. This was especially true when I was working as a crisis counselor, studying for a msater’s degree, and completing an internship at the same time. But whenever I was gone, and he asked about me, my wife would tell him, “Daddy is gone to help a kid.” So if he had a chance to tell what I did, that’s what he would say. It meant the world to know she was painting me in the best light during the long hours away from my baby boy.

The people who care about you most, your family, feel for you if you’re having a tough time. So make sure that you are presenting everything appropriately, with the right attitude.

If you put down your pastor, don’t expect your kids to respect him.

If you tear down your spouse, don’t expect your kids to respect their mother or father.

Air your struggles and grievances in person or online, and see if the institutions you actually respect and hold dear, in spite of the present circumstances, will be respected or held dear by anyone else.

You own your attitude… or else, your attitude will own you. You’ll be freed by your attitude, or held captive by it. You will liberate others with it, or you’ll tie them down. You’ll get a boost of wind in your sails or you’ll seal your fate, based on your attitude and how it impacts those closest and most important to you.

For sure, each person owns his own attitude. But your spouse or children’s choice of attitude may be forming based on inaccuracies you present in your attitude. In other words, if your life doing the things you do does not truly stink, stop presenting everything as that way.

Decide to be an intentional influencer for the best by the attitude you choose to develop.


An Eye-of-the-Storm DadStory

On what do you reflect when you experience tragedy like Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath?

Hurricane Harvey is beating down on the coast of Texas, and parts further inland at this point, as I write this. I sit in comfort and safety in my home in Tennessee, praying and considering what we can do to help. I realize in the midst of this that I have so much I’m blessed with, so much to be thankful for. But I also realize that I’m missing some things. It takes times like these to realize that:

I’m not prayerful enough. Tragedy brings about a renewed interest in reaching the Almighty, as it should. It also points out that sometimes my prayers are too few or too petty. Prayer is more than cliché; its significance is greater than that of a slogan. Prayer moves mountains, but oh, how dependent I seem to be on my own strength!

I’m not prepared enough. Could my family and I survive a catastrophe of the magnitude of Hurricane Harvey? West Tennessee has its own challenges, even if we aren’t subject to hurricanes. I’m always a bit in awe of how ill-prepared I am for the storms that are likely to blow through our neck of the woods. Even more so that I seem to move so slowly to correct my ill-preparedness. How many of my human weaknesses could be remedied with a little action taken in a timely manner?

And, I’m not proud enough. Photos and stories of protests across the nation haven’t gone away entirely. But they have been shoved aside for photos of the best that humanity has to offer, as neighbors from near and far work to rescue and prepare to rebuild. It is a societal ill, even if it is en vogue at this moment, to be ashamed of our country, our people, and our values. Forget about proclaiming God’s judgment. If a storm helps me see the best in those around me, and inspires the best in me, then it is an act of God’s mercy.

My boys and I sing Ryan Stevenson’s song called Eye of the Storm. It was the first song I learned to play on guitar. It is a meaningful song, especially now. God remains in control through every storm. Having been through many storms in this life, I know that it’s true. Every passing storm shows how merciful of a God Jesus Christ is. And each storm offers us the opportunity to become stronger, more thankful, and better able to handle the next one. As tremendously devastating as Harvey is, it is just a storm. And recovery is just around the corner.

A Time-to-Adapt DadStory

(My little blonde shadow looks on as I race in the photo above.)

Have you ever experienced a challenge in your life that required you to adapt?

I picked back up on race training this week. The next race is a relay, Marathon for Memories, and I’m happy to have my wife and sons join me!

I attempted a 3-mile run at a 9 minute pace, which normally I would be able to do pretty easily. Not today. The last month has been consumed with training for the Tough Mudder 5k in Nashville that I ran last week. While I trained hard for that run, it was different than training for a regular 5k. Even though obstacles and exercises interrupt the run in an obstacle course race, it does provide a break from keeping a rigorous pace. So I was out of my usual element when I tried to run a straight 3.1 miles today.

Walking the last mile gave me a chance to reflect. It was just Monday that I ran with Julie, who is just starting her training for the upcoming relay. Playing as her personal trainer, I pushed her to cover distance without worrying how fast she ran. Could I swallow my own advice, even though a month or so ago I was running 5k in around 8 minutes?

Further reflection on my current state of racing preparedness was about the footing. I was training today on a dirt field road, the “war path,” as I call it. It was slightly muddy today, which made it even tougher than usual compared to asphalt. So recognizing that brought my level of concern down.

Aside from that, I’ve learned recently that when it’s time to quit, it’s ok to quit. That probably is not a positive sentiment with trainers, but I’ve never had a trainer. I’m better off for having gone the distance, even with significant walking, than I would have ifI had stayed inside today. Besides, I have a month, I’m in good shape thanks to my recent training, and it won’t take long to recover an 8 minute per mile pace, maybe even better.

The next challenge you face may require something more, or something different, from you than the last one did. It may be tougher. You may feel less prepared. But don’t stop, and know that God gives new grace every day.

You can’t curse the road you’re on, whether you’re on it by your own actions or at no fault of your own. You may be on the road you’re on due to your biological makeup and physical traits; you may have been put on this road intentionally or unintentionally due to the acts of others. But you’re on it, and you can be stringer because of it. Don’t be a victim of your conditions.

The choices you make, make you. It’s ok to recover and regroup. It’s fine if you need more time. All that matters is that you start again when you’re ready.

Just some thoughts from the road. I’ll be hanging out with horses and boys a lot over the next few weeks, so count on some stories from the corral and the trail. Also look for our fundraising page for the Marathon for Memories, coming soon.

Contact me at if you have a story to share, or if I can help in any way.

Why Social Conservatives Must Continue To Press on Issues of Conscience

There is a contingent of people out there who think that conservative Republican candidates should stay away from moral issues.

The problem is, as long as the other side is pushing the destruction of liberty, individual rights, and living by one’s conscience, I don’t think we have a choice.
The term “fiscal conservative” may be used to delineate someone who is about lower taxes and cutting spending, but may be more liberal on issues of morality. Of course, a fiscal conservative may also be a social conservative, and I would guess that most social conservatives are also fiscal conservatives.

But if you look around you, you will understand that the liberal left is all about moral and social issues. Christian business owners who try to abide by their consciences are demonized and ultimately ran out of business by the liberal left. Not for discriminating based on sexual preference, mind you. You see, the conversation is being depicted this way:

“Yes, I’d like to buy a cake.”
“Ok, but tell me, what is your sexual preference?”
“I’m gay.”
“Sorry, we don’t serve gays here.”

According to reports from one couple who refused to serve a cake for a gay wedding, Randy and Trish McGath served many gay people in one of Indianapolis’ hubs for homosexuals. They drew the line at participating in the confirmation of something they believed to be sinful. In other words, they acted in accordance with their conscience. If the man requesting the union cake had said, “Oh well, I guess while I’m here I’ll have a cookie,” I think they would have sold him the cookie.

Is it any wonder that Indiana is the latest hot spot in the war against religious liberty? Gov. Mike Pence is being excoriated for his unwavering support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which, according to the summary of the act, “Provides that a person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a state or local government action may assert the burden as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding,” and, “Allows a person who asserts a burden as a claim or defense to obtain appropriate relief.” Judicial recourse is the birthright of all American citizens, with people who are scalded by hot coffee or tripping over a bike in someone else’s yard raking in sizable settlements. As the 1st Amendment provides for the free exercise of religion, and the very real prospect of being victimized by the government continues to grow (see the numerous examples in this article), is it so out-of-bounds to affirm within the state what our US Constitution already guarantees?

It is no coincidence that in most of the cases where vendors have been taken to court fro refusing to serve gay couples, it has involved gay marriage. The issue is not judgement of one’s sexual preference, it is an issue of participating in the public ceremony that celebrates and confirms a lifestyle that is immoral. This self-proclaimed “gay Christian” blogger asks, “Will business owners who refuse service to gays/ gay couples be consistent in who they won’t offer services to? ” He goes on to say,

Will Christian bakers ask parents if the child they’re baking a cake for was born out of wedlock? Because that wouldn’t line-up with Christian values. Or will they ask those buying a cake if they’ve had an impure thought recently? Or used the Lord’s name in vain? Will a Christian wedding photographer who won’t photograph a gay wedding ask the heterosexual couples they work for if they sleep together before marriage? Because that’s against the Christian faith, too.

A conversation I had on Twitter regarding a printer who refused to print invitations to a gay wedding went in part like this:

Labels and epithets. All that critics of people of conscience can come back with.

Well, what can we come back with? I like the response of Jason and David Benham, real estate moguls who had plans for an HGTV show that ended up cancelled after speaking their conscience regarding homosexuality. They offered dinner to representatives of major gay rights groups and sent gifts to HGTV execs. David is quoted as saying, “Jesus loves all people, but he does not love all ideas.”

I hope we keep men and women in the church, in government, in business, and in education that will stand courageously on principles of morality and decency. If we lose the backbone to stand, we will lose our freedom to live our lives as conscience dictates, and find ourselves compromising where no compromise was ever intended.

One of the Most Crucial Things the Church Must Get Right

We had a powerful move of God tonight in revival Saturday night. We started last Sunday, picked up again on Friday night and will concluded today. Last night, however, what stood out was a wave of prayer that broke out among our teenage girls in the church. It started with one, then spread as adults with a burden reached out to lay hands on and pray over several of them. I couldn’t help but have such a burden for these girls, praying for them and watching as others prayed as well. I felt God say to me something that I believe is one crucial thing the church must get right. I am blessed with godly women in my life. I was raised by one, and because of my mother’s prayers I am living for the Lord today. I married a woman who is my spiritual partner and who I have faith in to teach and exemplify the Christian virtues and convictions for my children that are lacking in too many homes today. My mother-in-law has always been a prayer warrior for my family, but lately she has been a crusader and a prophetic voice in my life as I have dealt with an illness that I desperately want to be healed of. This is my experience with godly women, how I personally know the significance of godly women. There are many others, I could go on and on. But to the point I’m here to make- the most crucial thing the church must get right is to keep these young ladies living for God. Because if this generation gets to my wife’s age, my mother’s age, my mother-in-law’s age, and are no longer living full-throttle for Jesus Christ, then we are lost. If they aren’t prayer warriors, and godly mother’s, and workers in the church as adults, then we’ve wasted such an opportunity and done a great detriment to the work of God. The world makes it such a challenge for our girls today. There is such an identity crisis as they see what the world thinks they should be and they hear what God says should be. We have to make it tangible for them, the image of a godly Spirit-filled woman, and make the benefits and significance of that real to them. This is a burden on the women of the church, and also the men of the church. When men are real godly men, and women are true godly women, our young people, young women especially, have true guides that will help them find themselves in Christ. Accept this as a challenge. Have a burden for our youth, especially our young ladies. Pray over them, accept them, encourage them, and instruct them. Understand what I’ve come to understand, that if we don’t do this, as a church, we have lost.

Provoked: A Call to Extraordinary Good Works

(Image via Twitter. An upside-down flag is a distress call. Orwell speaks for himself.)

I’m sending out a call. A call to extraordinary good works.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works… (Hebrews 10:24)

A provocateur of love and good works for the people of God is what I’m called to be.

Now, just what these good works will look like is getting harder and harder to say these days. Consider that people who live by their biblical morality are finding it more difficult to do so without intrusion. Good works might not look so good to people around us.

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)

Because our first love is to the Lord Jesus Christ, we obey Him in all things. If we seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness, then all these other things will be added to us. We can’t attract sinners by making them feel good. Our kindness will prick their hearts, and our refusal to conform to the world will be an assault to them.

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. (‭Acts‬ ‭4‬:‭25-26‬)

Our good will be evil spoken of, our love will be rejected. The heathen will rage.

Let us be sure that we are citizens of the heavenly kingdom, that needs no patriots to stand up for it, that is ruled by a righteous King and is in danger of no tyrant. Then let us work with all the power Christ has given us from heaven through His Holy Spirit within us, to knock aside every obstacle that would prevent the lost from coming to Him. His kingdom come, His will be done.

Jesus has won the war, but we can’t lose the battle. Lest you think I’m too political or earthly-minded as you read my exhortations, read how Jesus was in constant defiance of the political structure; John’s gospel in particular details many times the Pharisees sought to take Him, taking up rocks to stone Him, but He escaped. And how the apostles regularly testified of Christ before councils, declaring the gospel and exerting their conscience in the face of opposition and tribulation. And remember that Paul’s end-run mission was to go before Caesar in order to talk about Jesus. Paul exerted his right as a Roman citizen in order to do so.

Under an oppressive regime, our apostolic forefathers had no Congress or Legislature to appeal to for just laws. They did not have the right to vote for strong moral leadership. I’d like to think that if they had such rights and opportunities, they would have taken them in order to spread the gospel and obey their conscience in the Lord.

Make no mistake- the source of our rights and righteousness is not government, it is God.

For nearly 200 years in the history of the United States, our laws established justice based on the moral law of the Bible. Not simply because the Bibles said so, but because living by the Word of God works! People who murder innocent people should be tried and found guilty, then punished. As a pro-life man, I simply want out laws to condemn murder and our courts to try murder and convict those who are guilty. I’m not looking to government to legitimize life in the womb, God has already done that. I just call on our government to establish and enforce laws to reflect the fact that life is precious, intrinsically valuable, and worthy of protection.

Marriage needs no government to legitimize it. The Bible defines marriage as God established it- between one man and one woman. Our laws have recognized this for the majority of our history, because it is good for society. I call on our government to continue to do what is best for our society and continue to recognize the true definition of marriage in spite of the loud calls of a vocal minority.

These are but two of the issues we as Christians need to be beside ourselves about, to the point of speaking and acting out in every way possible. Endure the verbal attacks and name-calling. We won’t endure anything worse than what the apostles endured, certainly nothing worse than what Christ endured. Take the softball approach to winning souls? We don’t have time for that. We can stand for truth AND draw lost and vulnerable people to Jesus. Don’t think that it is impossible. Our stance may not be popular, but we stand for an enduring covenant that will not pass away, one to which all are called to take part.

The time has come for us to stand up for matters of righteousness that are at stake in the world today. If we the Church will not, who will? The crucial balance between pleasing God, reaching mankind, and enduring hardship, at such a time as this, is what makes for extraordinary good works in public life.

Justifying Love- Should Christian Parents Have to Defend Their Love for Their Transgender Child?

The worst possible experience in life is to lose a child. My heart is broken for the parents of Josh Alcorn, the transgendered youth who committed suicide last week. He left a note stating, “I have decided I’ve had enough,” not being able to reconcile living any longer with depression and disapproval of his transgender status by his parents. I am continually heartbroken for young people who get to such a place in life that they can no longer see a way to keep living.

Second to the tragedy of this young person taking his own life is the guilt his parents face, and will daily face, as they experience the blame from society for their son’s suicide.

I know little to nothing about daily life in this family, but I have experienced families in my professional work who are unable to get past a moral decision their child has made. Parents that are confused, self-blaming, angry, and desperate concerning their children’s actions can do harmful things. Hurt people cause hurt to other people. This is one of the hardest things to remember when helping others.

Parents unwittingly contribute to the despair their children feel at times. They still deserve the benefit of the doubt that they love their child and are doing what they feel is right. I have witnessed families in which the parents did not have their child’s best interest at heart, but this is largely not the case.

Carla and Don Alcorn are victims of the culture’s demand that love for someone requires complete and total acceptance of his or her choices and lifestyle. It’s a tragic and toxic lie.

Parents have a responsibility to instill values in their children. As a society, we are killing our kids by leaving it up to them to figure out right from wrong, good from evil. They are not equipped for that. I trust the Alcorn’s did so to the best of their ability. Sound spiritual counsel would have helped them walk alongside their son while maintaining the integrity of their values.

The one thing that seems to have been right was that these parents loved their son, which is exactly the thing that is in question by a culture that condones the transgender lifestyle to the fullest extent, at all costs.

The transgender and homosexual community have embraced Josh as their own and are raising a call to awareness and understanding for transgendered youths. Unfortunately, and in spite of the failings of counseling to “convert” homosexual and transgendered individuals, the message is that change is not possible and should not be sought.

It is completely false that change is impossible. The focus is on how it is impossible to change one’s sexuality. But that is not what is at issue. Conforming to the life of Jesus Christ is the issue.

Instead of telling young people to follow their feelings, how about we tell them to take their feelings to the Lord and see what He makes of them? Not prayer to change some imperfection (which we are are all plagued with in some form), but conversation with the One who is able to help us through every issue of life?

So a child losses his life trapped in a lie, and his parents will be the victims of a lie told by the same culture that told the first one- the lie that they couldn’t have loved their son without accepting him as a female.

I do hope the church world will wake up to the idea that Jesus can save people all by Himself, if we will just show Him to people in need, like Josh. We must wake up to the fact that we should assure parents that they have no reason to feel shame. They have every reason to pray for their sons and daughters until they are ready and willing to pray for themselves. And I hope all of us wake up and speak truth in a world full of lies that steal, kill, and destroy lives.