Tag Archives: dating

Easter the Great Love Story

“Dad, I’m in love and I want her to be my bride.” “Tell me about her.” I remember the first conversation I had with my Father about you. It’s a moment that has never diminished in excitement for me. I look back and laugh at the fact that I am more in love with you now than I was then. “Well Dad, I must admit she’s not perfect. Actually, she’s dying and will never be able to reach me. But I can’t stop thinking about her. The very thought of our separation consumes me. How do I win her over Dad?” “I know who you speak of, they are as dear to me as they are to you. There is only one way. You have to bear the very thing that is separating the two of you. You have to give your life in place of their’s. Son, to take on all of this mean to be separated from me.” When I heard these two things I realized, the breadth of this task and that you were worth all of it. To be separated from my Father. I always knew what this meant, but the reality of the agony is beyond comparison. Even greater was this pain to being beaten. You have to understand the intimacy of my Father and me. I have be with Him from the beginning, when He started I was there, and when He finishes I will be there also. We never do anything apart from each other, and I had to be forsaken by Him. The one thing that got me through it was the thought of you. I look back on those three days with pure joy, because I knew that I would be able to invite you into what my Father is doing. That you would be able to do greater works than I ever could. “Son, the only way for this to work is for you to overcome death.” “I know. I have a plan for that too.”

Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on Sunday morning,just at sunrise, they went to the tomb.On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” Mark 16:1-3 NLT

The plan to win your heart has been in place for eons, and it’s never changed. To become everything that is keeping you from His Love. To take what you deserve and replace it with what you can never earn. Today you may feel the Jesus wooing your heart, but there is something in the way. Here is the truth when they went to the tomb, they also wondered who would move the obstacle in their way. Just as the stone was rolled away for them, so also is anything you may feel is in your way. You don’t have to be good enough or straighten up. This is Love, ready to fight for your heart before you have reciprocated. He is inviting you in. Not into just an empty tomb, but resurrection power. All you need to do is invite Him in. Admit that you have a sin in your life and repent. Believe that Jesus is your savior. Confess that He is Lord of your life. Don’t worry about the all rules. Love and be loved, and listen to His voice and obey it.
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Open Letter to Singles

Stop writing open letters to your future spouse. You marry the person so you can share things that you can’t share with the rest of the world. If you’re willing to share these thoughts intended for your future spouse with the world, what else are you willing to share? As we wait on the gift of being able to share here’s is how I would aim to be single. There are two types of single people. Single and loving it or single and hating it. If you’re single and loving it, then I write to you in hopes that you’re loving it for the right reasons. If you’re single and hating it, then I write to give you hope. You are single for a reason. Learn that reason and have a happier life. There is selfishness in our life that we tend to ignore. We don’t want to let those parts of our flesh die. What I’ve learned from being in relationships (dating, post-dating, friendship and family) is that they will draw those things out of us. In a healthy relationship, those things get called out of and you have help in the battle. Your selfishness will kill your relationships. This is especially true with marriage and children. Now my point is not to make your goal in life to be “marriage material”, but to live up to who God has called you to be. Yes, singleness is a gift, but it’s not an excuse. If your friends have seen your worst and not called you higher, then you need better friends. They are not being friends, but being tolerant. If you feel called to be single, be willing to make people jealous of your singleness. Be a great example to others of how to love well. Jesus was single, but He was also desirable. He is the greatest example of who a husband should be. Clearly He knew how to navigate thirsty people without hurting them. There are wells inside each of us that need to be filled. There is one that thirst for eternity and Jesus is the living water that satisfies its thirst. But there are other wells for relationship and purpose. The well of purpose is only filled by you doing what you’re designed to do. The well of relationship is filled with friendship and family. And a well especially to be filled by your spouse. The depth of these wells are up to you, and being single is your chance dig deep the well of your marriage’s beginning. As unmarried christians we tend view singleness as the season of finding the right person. A wise man told me that dating without intent is practice for divorce. Without intent you get together until the benefits run out then you go your separate ways. I would add that dating with too much intent is practicing for divorce as well. I was ready to marry every girl I was interested in. I thought I was being honorable in doing so. Honorable to the girl, maybe so. Honorable to God and the call He placed on my life, not so much. I was fully committed to girls that I was not supposed to be committed to. The gift of singleness is not happiness up until you find a date or marriage, but to fully engage with what God has placed before you. It is being able to go to coffee without planning the wedding. It is being able to lead and serve without expectation. It’s being able to genuinely tell the opposite sex that you love them without them thinking it’s weird or you want something. Where the motives of your actions come from love and not manipulation. You don’t need to impress someone for them to really love you. Dating should be an invitation to join with you in what God is already doing. Willingness to risk rejection to make the invite can only come from the security of sonship. Don’t wait until you’re married to stop being selfish. Who you are before marriage will be who you bring into it. The truest gift of singleness is preparation for marriage, whether on this side of eternity of the next. The gift of singleness is not a ticket out of marriage. Don’t miss your opportunity to get yourself together before you multiply or step into eternity. The gift of singleness is something you offer your spouse at the altar. What have you saved and prepared to offer them, and ultimately Jesus. Thus the gift of singleness is the sacrifice of marriage without the benefits. Do you still accept this gift? What we need to be asking ourselves daily is, how can I be a living sacrifice today? Blameless and holy, worthy to present myself at the altar. We will all present ourselves to Christ, but some will also present themselves at the altar to a spouse. I know what I offer will never measure up to what I receive, but all the more I will cherish the gift. For I aim to offer my very best. The best I have is all of me, seeking to become more like Christ.

1 John 4:10
1 Corinthians 7:7
Ephesians 1:4

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Love you…Like the Church

Okay ladies, take a load off. You’re worth it. Here is why I write today. I’ve heard girls say they desire to be loved as Christ loves the church. They want to be a woman worthy of that kind of love. Do you realize what you’re asking of me as a man? And what your are requiring of yourself? Christ died for His love. That’s a tough one to chew on. From both the male and female perspective. It is a far to easy for the enemy to twist this.

For the women. You put this mantle on yourself that you have to be worthy of someone giving up their life for you. Now your worth is determined by what someone is willing to give, rather than what has already been given. Your worth is not determined by the value of a man’s sacrifice. You have to understand this. Christ came when we were still sinners. He chose the unworthy to be His only love. We are made worthy because of His love, not loved because we are worthy. So what happens when your man decides to be selfish? If your worth is tied up in his sacrifice, your going to have a bad day. You’ll be in constant need of sacrifice. Needy people aren’t fun to love. This is why Jesus was sent in the first place. God knew the daily sacrifices of Israel would never satisfy Him. And also why Israel turned away so much, they grew weary of sacrifice. But God, in the greatness of His love did not ask a sacrifice of us. Instead He gave Himself out of His love. Now we give ourselves freely to Him out of love through faith.

For the men. “Is she worth me giving my life up for?” Now we’ve put a standard on women that they feel they have to live up to. No wonder women have a tendency to have self worthy issues. We are on the lookout for the perfect Spirit filled Christian women, that is worthy our life. Is your life worth her perfection? Does your life satisfy the perfection of Christ? Lets say you find the perfect girl, and you give your life to her. What happens when you see her flaws? Now you’ve given your life to imperfection. What does that say about you? This girl you thought was worthy of your life is flawed, what worth does your life have now? Here the question we should ask. “Am I willing to give my life for this girl, flaws and all?” Our sacrifice should be out of love for the girl, not for what she brings to us. To give our life freely with no obligation. That is the goal.

Women, find your value in who you are not what a man gives you. Until you can receive without owing you’re not receiving, but in debt.
Men, find your value in who you are not what you can offer women. Until you can give something without obligation you’re not giving, but lending.

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Dating Strangers

When I was 22 I got this idea, I wanted to go on a date with a complete stranger. I set out on a mission, find a girl I don’t know that’s not crazy and ask her out. It’s harder than its sounds. All the sain ones usually don’t date strangers. So the key was to ask without being creepy. It’s difficult when you’re up against stranger danger engrained in people by their parents. I found someone though. She was on Instagram, I followed her for a while (creepy right?) and she seemed to be a cool person. I saw that she was going steady with God and she lived close by. So I gathered the courage to ask, I sent her the message (while trying to sound the least creepy). I explained what I was trying to do and left it in her hands. It turned out she had a boyfriend…..whatever (at least post a picture of him). Well, that was that. My little dream of dating a stranger was gone. Oh how little I knew of God’s faithfulness. Not two months after that I was caught by surprise. I met another strange girl (that didn’t come out right). We met after church and hit it off immediately. I asked her to coffee the next night. We ended up not even getting coffee, we got pizza and popsicles instead (pizza is a bad choice for a first date by the way). I didn’t realize till the end of the night, but I was on a date with a stranger. It’s turns out it’s much easier than it sounds.

As christians we put a massive weight on dating. We don’t want to date anyone unless we are going to marry them. If that is true, I hope you’re ready. You’ve got one shot to make this right. It’s not impossible. You will have to make sure that your heart is ready and have really good timing. I know of a few people who have been able to do so, but I can’t say they weren’t interested in other people up until they met that person. When they did meet, they were ready to make a move. But not everyone is like that, in fact most of us aren’t. We want to date only one person ever, but how do we know unless we know you know? We don’t have to listen to the christian faux pas that dating more than one person in your lifetime is shameful. Because if you date them you have to marry them. I’m sure that’s in Leviticus somewhere. The truth is it’s okay to date people, learn from these relationships. Here’s another fun fact, you don’t have to only have dating relationships with the opposite sex. You need those key friends that are the opposite gender, learn from these relationships. Men and women think and understand differently…..mind blown! Do you really expect to enter into your first dating relationship, marry the person and not run into differences? Especially if you only hang out with the same sex as you, and then you enter that relationship. For all you know the signals you’re reading from that person are completely opposite of what you think they are. Some people really do just want to be friends with you, be open to that. Go ahead date some people, but don’t date everyone. Dating is risky business though, and there are safe ways to take those risk.

Four days/dates after our first date I asked her to take a risk with me and be my girlfriend. At first she said she wasn’t sure. I got a text later that night that she was in. I was elated, I found my wife! Four days in and I’m ready for forever. We ended up dating for 3 months, and they were good. Definitely one of the better things I’ve done in my life. We had a lot of fun together and had lots of really awesome conversations. We both learned (me more than her) how to take each other out boxes that were created by past relationships. Everyone thought we were going to get married. We would’ve and been very content to do so. I really liked her and she liked me. Much to our surprise God had a better plan. All of our friends were very surprised as well. Why then would this seemingly good thing, that everyone was for, need to end? From the very beginning I knew we weren’t supposed to be more than friends, but I wanted more. I dove right in and I pursued her to the best of my ability. I believed my plan was better than the plan God had for me. It was good why wouldn’t it be God’s plan? So I ignored what I felt God was saying and we kept dating. The night before we broke up we had a worship night at church. I went to the back to get alone with God and he reminded me again that I needed to let her go. I told God “I surrender everything. But her.” STOP….wait did I just say that? Immediately I knew that wasn’t right. So I commenced to figuring out how to surrender to God and keep the girl. “Well, if I submit her to God and allow Him to lead her through me, then I’ll be more self-sacrificing and serve her more…yeah that’ll work. Okay God I’ve surrendered her to you.”

Alrighty then! To start, God doesn’t need me to lead her, He needs me to be obedient. I can’t lead her if I’m not obedient. She doesn’t need me for her to be led by God. God chooses who He leads through and as a man you don’t have to date a girl to lead her. Lead in obedience, if you’re not going where God wants you to go you’re going the wrong direction. Whoever is following you is going to go the same direction you are. Also, God doesn’t need more self-sacrificing people, He needs obedient people. How serving would I be if I led her down a path where the end goal was to keep her? I was willing to give up the plan God has for me to keep the girl. Obeying God doesn’t equal sacrifice, it may require a sacrifice but the result is victory. “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22 NLT) Will you let go of what you’re holding onto, to let God give you what He is holding for you? Good things are not always God things, and just because everyone is for it doesn’t make God for it. She is an awesome person and was an awesome girlfriend to me. Even so, she couldn’t be who I needed her to be, and I couldn’t be who she needed me to be. My walk is different from hers. Our paths collided yes, but they were not meant to merge. This is why there is so much bad traffic. All the right signals are being sent, but your destinations are different. When you assume someone is going the same place you are and you try to make them go that way, traffic jams happen. You have relational rubber necking. Your on your journey and someone catches your attention on the service road. You want them to get on the highway with you, when they really need to get to the store on that exit. Have you ever been in the car and you see someone cute drive by? They get in your lane and you little heart cries “DESTINY!” Well, the only way you’re going to meet them is to rear end them. Unless, of course you’re going to the same place. That’s a different story, and somewhat to my point. Just because you have similar driving patterns doesn’t mean you have the same destination. Unless everyone is going to the same destination you’re unable to carpool. Also no matter how good your destination is, does not mean everybody is meant to go there with you. Let not your heart be troubled, someone out there really wants to go where you’re going. Will you be going there or simply be on the side of the road waiting on someone to be your spare tire? No one wants to be driven all over. Get some fresh tires and get on the road. People will only join the journey that’s going somewhere. If a relationship is your destination let it be with God, not a guy or a girl. Don’t let gas money be the first thing you ask for in a relationship.

Your relationships are meant to raise the bar not lower your standards, both for yourself and those you’re in relationship with. When we broke up one thing she said to me was, “You certainly raised the standard for the guys I date.” Mission accomplished! If that cannot be said in the break up, its begs the question of why you’re dating. Not all dating relationship you have will be your spouse. In that case, you are simply a part of that persons journey before they meet their spouse. Be a force that pushes that person forward. I would much rather my wife date ten guys that treated her with purity and helped her grow, than one guy that does the opposite. A friend once told me that we to often pursue relationship for our own sake and forget to offer anything in return. What if we pursued relationships for the sake of the other person? If we put the other person first from the beginning, how much pain could we avoid? Are you willing to play the role God has for you in that person’s life without benefiting from it?

You choose who gets to hurt you. Guard your heart, but you have to let people in at the same time. You have to be willing to show yourself knowing full well that this person can crush your heart. The key is finding someone who will guard your heart as well as you do. This means taking a risk, letting someone take your heart and hold it for a while. Will you do it intentionally? If you purposely let that person hold your heart you can more easily take it back. If you do it unintentionally that person will slowly get a tighter grip on you, and when you try to leave you’ll break it trying to pry it out of their hands. This is why it’s so dangerous to fall in love, who knows who’s going to steal your heart. If you feel as though you heart has been stolen and not won, then go get it back quick before they run off. Don’t fall in love, walk into love. Make the conscious decision. You don’t even have to be dating the person for them to have a grip on your heart. One thing I hate is the phrase “We’re talking.” What are yall talking about? Come on! Chances are you’re just buttering the other person up, either to get them to say yes when you ask them out or give them a reason to ask you out. Ladies if you have to convince him to ask you out, wait just a little longer for someone who can see you for who you are and still muster the courage to ask you out. Gentlemen if you’re not sure she’ll say yes, ask yourself “Is she worth the risk?” Quit talking about it and go on a date already. Don’t string the other person along, you’re stealing their heart and you don’t even know it. If someone has a grip on your heart and they have no idea who you are, let them go! Who has the tighter grip, God or someone else? When God has the grip on your heart you can trust Him. He has the most firm and gentle hands. He can hold you close and hold the enemy back. He’ll always pursue you and never pressure you. If you spend your time trying to convince them of who you are then your trying to win their heart by what you’re doing and not by what God’s doing. Have a little faith that God is doing a work in them that you can’t. And remember that God is working in your heart as well. It’s not always them that needs to make the change. The reason things aren’t going well and you’re not making headway, just might be that God is wanting to make some headway in your heart first.

Keep it a mystery ladies. The more I know about your body the less I want to know about your heart. You expect guys to want your heart but you offer your body first. If he can’t pursue the heart without the enticement of the body then he’s not really after your heart. You expect us to have clear vision and be leading you, yet you’re clouding the view. Trust me your body is fine, you don’t have to show me. The heart is the goal, it’s beauty surpasses the body. The body will fall apart but the heart grows in beauty daily. Men don’t want to commit to a body, they want to commit to a heart. This is why porn easily gains a hold in our lives, it negates the need to commit to a single person. We begin to not even see the heart when it walks by. Gentlemen, leave it a mystery. Be okay with not knowing what’s behind the curtain. What you take from her you’re stealing from her husband. Whether she’s a porn star or your neighbor, it being on the internet does not give you the rights to it. Even if you know your going to marry her, you’re not until you are. You have no rights to anything until you make a covenant. If you go with the intent to get behind the curtain, you’ll lose every time. Every time you walk away a piece of your heart is left behind the curtain. Don’t try to feel whats behind it either, until you can lift the veil don’t touch the curtain. The trouble comes when we commit to a body and later the heart is revealed. We’ve committed to something that will fall apart and so goes the relationship. I say this not to pigeon-hole the ladies into khaki skirts and turtle necks. But to let the beauty of your heart more exposed than your body. Guys, don’t let your heart be stolen by overexposed bodies. There’s hearts to be won, are you will to fight for them? Let’s talk about first. First are way better than agains. My first kiss gone, given to my first girlfriend. I don’t get it back. The more first you give away the less you get to share with your last. First are a precious commodity. They’re low supply and high in demand. The enemy is hungry to steal your first, he knows the more you give away the less you have to offer at the altar. Let me be clear, I’m not just talking about sex. Remember when you were an adolescent and thinking how awesome it would be to hold their hand? I’m talking about every first, first hand you hold, first kiss, first time to that one restaurant in that quaint part of town, and of course first time to have sex. The last one is the most precious of all, and the only one that falls under sin out of wedlock. Could you imagine being fully committed to someone, and someone has already stolen what you have the right to? We’re the ones stealing it! The more you give away, the more you take from your spouse. The only way can keep it all safe is not by locking it up, but by committing it to God. Trusting Him with everything, so when He says don’t give them that you listen.

We did break up after three months, but we kept the loss to a minimum. We were able to walk away from the potential rights of a covenant and into a continued friendship. We kept the heart the main goal, and when the trajectory of our hearts didn’t align we walked our separate ways. Still able to see each other and cheer for the other person as walk their path. This did not mean complete absence of heartbreak. Anytime you separate from someone on your journey they are going to take a piece of your heart with them. The key is what part of your heart do they walk away with and can they steward it well. Let people walk hand in hand with your heart, not walk all over your heart. Everyone is a stranger before you meet them. Will you introduce yourself?

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Love You…Like a Sister..

“Lord I pray for my future husband” I’m sure most single women have prayed that. The single lady’s prayer. To be honest us single men need it, cause prayer changes things and Lord knows we need to be more self-aware. Especially if we want to woman we’re praying for. The prayers normally will go towards character or loving kids. If we’re really serious about it, we’ll pray the we would the perfect person for them. Deflection at its finest. The honest prayer is that they’d be physically fit, be mature, and make enough money to go on adventures…but not too much money. Don’t want to be over zealous. Here’s some thoughts from a guy that might fit what you asking for, but hasn’t asked you out yet. Don’t worry he’ll ask, don’t be afraid to say yes. Also, he’ll ask. If he’s holding something in front of you that he’s not ready to offer you completely, walk away you’re worth more than that. The interest of a guy is not a reflection of your worth. Just because I see incredible value in you does not mean I want to date you. I’m not interested in giving half of my heart to someone. So I will not peak your interest beyond friendship unless I’m ready to go to the end of that street. If he can’t see your worth, is he worth your time? Cuteness does not stand on its own.

We’ve all heard the phrase, at least if you’ve been in the church world long enough, “You have to love her as a sister before you can love her as a girlfriend.” Well, I heard it a few times. It really didn’t make sense to me for a long time. First off, I don’t want to make out with my sister! Also I’m almost 101% sure my sisters don’t want to date me. So, I asked God what He thought about this thought process. I was walking in my backyard when He answered with these questions, “Conan, would you want your sisters to date a guy like you, and can you be a reflection of the type of guy you want them to date and eventually marry?” Talk about stopping in my tracks and really disliking those questions. But at the same time loving them. He wasn’t saying I disapprove your current position in your character, but I want you to advance your position into my character. Character development is not destroying who you are to be like Christ, but coming into the realization that you are Christ. His character is your character, development is letting your flesh that died when you came to Christ decompose. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) I had begun to come the realization that loving someone has nothing to do with sex. Bringing me back to the question of loving as a sister from a new angle. Can I love, pursue, and care for my sisters as I would do so for a girl that I wanted to date?

This came at a critical time for me and my youngest sister Juliette. I was a bad brother to her. Everything she did would get on my last nerve. This was because I only had a last nerve. I was mad at the world and took it out on her. I’m still not complete sure what was mad about, but that day in the backyard God stepped in to say don’t take it out on my daughter. I wasn’t a perfect brother right then, but God began to give me more nerves. I began to show fruit from the part of me that He was bringing to life. Bad fruit is a reflection of the dead parts of your old self that are breathing your air. Let God trim the decay, so your spirit can breathe life. I began to step outside of myself when I interacted with my sister. Seeing the situations from a new angle. No longer letting my frustration interact with her frustration. Seeing her for who she is in Christ and not as an annoying sister. Allowing me to call out Christ in her. Thus bringing clarity and not more frustration. When frustration is met with frustration the reaction in repelling. Which will destroy your relationships. When frustration is met with Christ, the reaction is conductive, or a transmission of impulses along nerves. You are able to transmit the impulse of Christ, where two different temperances meet to create the greatest possible reaction. Learning this lesson has brought a consistency in my temperance and helped with so many relationships, both with friends and girlfriends alike.

I lived with my middle sister Lacy for just over two years. We got along much better than Ju and I did. But getting along isn’t a reflection of the health of the relationship. My conviction on this came many years after the backyard. I found that I was sharing so much of myself with my friends, and almost nothing with the sister I was living with. This part of me was much simpler to bring to life. It was a placement of value that needed to be adjusted. Creating equal quality of time spent with her that I was giving to my friends. I say quality and not amount on purpose. A minute of refined time if worth hours of un-mined time. You can spend hours with a person still know nothing about them. These are the people you meet for the second time and you forget you met them, even though you spent the day together. The blame lies on the person who forgets, because you neglected to put any value on the time you spent with them. Value can only be put on time in the moment. With my sister it was allowing myself to be present in the moments we had together. Like the one night a week I was home or the few weekends I didn’t have plans. It’s saying you have value in my life, so I choose to make you a part of my social schedule. Not filling every moment that I was not alone with only my friends. Allowing her to see aspects of me that I was sharing with others. It is so easy to say, she’s my sister and she knows me, so I don’t need to share myself with her. But you only share what your willing to tell. I cannot make investments in my friends that I’m not willing make in my sister. Also allowing the moments for her to share herself. Not letting the community spaces of our apartment to be only filled with a community of one. This is a recipe for getting locked out, like the time she was locked out for 30 minutes because I was reading in my room. She got a doorbell after that. Separation creates space for isolation. Time spent together creates room for communication.

Through my oldest sister, Harmony, I learned the value of showing appreciation. She is a hella good cook and the most caring person I know. I remember having a conversation her when I was 17 or 18 about my struggles with porn. She didn’t skip a beat, she didn’t allow shame into the conversation and poured out the Love and Grace of the Father. Though I was a recipient of these things, it didn’t mean I received them well. Accepting a gift is not the same as receiving a gift, and saying thanks is not always showing appreciation. Being able to say what you appreciate is just as important as showing. What you offer in return is just as important as receiving it. When she has put time and effort into the care given, she has put a value on that time. How you receive will either enrich or devalue what is given. For me it was simply breaking the silence. Not only eating the food, but offering a compliment to the food. At the very least an honest opinion about it. Along with this, offering my talent to her as well. Being willing to hang her pictures and mow her lawn without expectations. Hopefully communicating to her that she is worth taking care of. I must apologize to her future husband, I’m pretty sure I set the bar pretty high. As well as for my other sisters, sorry guys.

As for my sister-in-law. I really didn’t like her at first, which made for quite the hilarious best man speech. There’s no such thing an irreconcilable difference. Yes we may approach things differently, but it boils down to whether or not the approach really matters to goal. Plus there may have been a sense of her stealing my bother I had to get over. The presence of difference is not a loss of love. You don’t have to win to come to a place of understanding. Her and my brother are one now, and if she was not around their would be a part of our family missing. In fact I only include the in-law part to help the you the reader understand. Loving her is loving my brother, and vice versa.

All of these lessons in turn have helped with my relationship with women overall. Being able to offer love without an expectation. As well as being able to make investments, offer strength, and be a brother without having to date them. Dating is not a requirement for loving. Saying you love a girl is not saying you want to marry her. Also the words “I love you” don’t need to be said for them to be communicated, neither is saying it communicating it.* Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10 (ASV) The goal in loving the women in your life should not be to marry one of them, but to raise their bar of what it looks like for a man to love. Communicating the care a husband is supposed to give. Make it easy for the sisters in your life to recognize if a man if worth spending the rest of their life with. If you can love a woman without any expectation of sex, how much easier will that make your marriage. For then you will not be showing the signs of love for sex, but actually loving your wife. Plus you’re wife is more than just the person you sleep with, why would you only love her for that. If sex is all you’re looking for in showing love, then you will never be satisfied. Then you are loving sex, and sex is not meant to be loved. But to be an expression of love. And abstaining from it before marriage expresses love just as much, if not more, as it does having it within marriage. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. ‭Ephesians‬ ‭5‬:‭25-30‬ (NLT) Christ gave up His life before He received His bride.

To my sisters, as you pray for your husbands. Ask that he loves his own body, especially those around him. That those around him are loved by him. If a man is despised by his friends, then he’s not worth your time. You will only like him as much as his friends do. Look for the man who will lay down his life for his friends, if he won’t do it for them he won’t for you. And you’re worth dying for.

To my brothers, give your life up already. Be bold and ask the girl you’re interested in out, you won’t get a yes until you ask.

*when you say “I love you” to a girl you crossing into emotionville. It’s a crazy town with lots a of one way streets and no u turns. Make sure both parties know how to navigate the map before you say anything. And know which roads are closed. How you say it is just as important as saying anything at all.

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Love Wins

I debated weather or not to write this. Should I take the dive into the deep end of this discussion? I tend stay away from the hot topics on my blog. They tend to go towards battles of he said she said. And frankly they usually have very little to do with why I write in first place. I write so that my generation will start to get their voice back, that the words I say might instill boldness and strength to those that read. Either to approach God with their questions or to take God to other people. My goal is not to pick a fight with flesh and blood, but against the enemy of our souls. Who has planted lies into our generation and our society. My goal in writing this post is to combat some of those lies.

I’m not interested in whether or not the Supreme Court made a right decision or not. That is beyond the scope of what I write today. I will not have a later post about it either, I’ll leave that to the political blogs.

I write first to the LGBT community. I’m sorry for the way some christians have reacted to the ruling, as well as to you as human beings. Will you forgive us? I love you and want to see God’s best come to fullness in you. It is not my place to tell you whether or not your lifestyle is outside of the will of God for your life. I am by no means better than you or less in need of a savior. It is my belief that to practice homosexuality is a sin. But by no means should it be magnified to something greater than any other sin. My list of sins is just as long as the next persons. I say that so not to deny the reality of my beliefs, at the same time not intended to push them on you. If I were to spend my life serving my church and community, but neglected to show you Love then would’ve failed. If I were to point out someone else’s sin, far greater my sin would be to not show them Love. So let me take a moment to pour out the richness of His Love for you.

My dearest beloved child,
How I long to be with you. You may not know me, but I know everything about you. I know when you sit down and when you rise up. I am familiar with all your ways. Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. For you were made in my image. In me you live and move and have your being. For you are my offspring. I knew you even before you were conceived. I chose you when I planned creation. You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I knit you together in your mother’s womb. And brought you forth on the day you were born. I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. For I am the perfect father. Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Because I love you with an everlasting love. My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. And I rejoice over you with singing. I will never stop doing good to you. For you are my treasured possession. I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. And I want to show you great and marvelous things. If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. For it is I who gave you those desires. I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. For I am your greatest encourager. I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. He is the exact representation of my being. He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. I have always been Father, and will always be Father. My question is…Will you be my child? I am waiting for you.
Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

At this time a lot of hurtful things have been either online or face to face. Possibly bringing up other past hurts. I want to step in right now on behalf of your father, mother, brother, sister or other close friend or family member or people in ministry or authority over you and say I’m sorry, will you please forgive me? I repent from the harm I caused you physically, I should not have touched you in such a way. I repent from the hateful things I said to you, I should not have spoken that way to you.

If you want a safe place to talk about anything that has been stirred up in the last two paragraphs please go here or here.

To my fellow church goers, I say it that way because I am unsure of your beliefs. I love you too. Please do not be lukewarm. Do not pick and choose what scriptures fit your belief for the day. Fresh and salty water do not mix. The bible is clear on this issue. If you say those scriptures are outdated, then you’re operating on a different belief system than Christ. Get with God about that one. Most of all do not use scripture to spread your hate. Love does win, but only if it fights. It is a beautiful thing when Love fights. But you’re fighting for souls not your belief system or the right to be right. The Bible is also clear on how we are to Love people. Do that and people will be led to repentance. It is not our job to get everyone to believe the same way we do, but to Love them.

Love Letter

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Unshamed

I’ve found myself lately putting greater value on certain sins than others. I have equated the value of the sin with the amount of shame that the enemy sends with it. The goal would be to not feel any shame, not to be confused with sorrow. To get to a place shame is not a factor in how we handle our sin. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16 (NLT) Why do we deny our healing just because we let some sin get in the way? With the “big” sins, like pornography or cheating on your taxes, there are incredible amounts of shame poured on you so you deny confession. With “little” sins, like a white lie or taking God’s name in vain, we feel little or no shame so we don’t even think to confess. In reality all sin is the same, whether you kill someone or you disobey your mom. It all separates us from God and is all equally important to confess. Your healing is far more valuable than the mask you think you’re hiding behind. Imagine how much easier your healing will be without heaps of shame on you, due to hiding and repetition. To be clear I’m not talking about physical healing, there are lots of non sin related factors that go into that. I’m talking about emotional and spiritual healing. Becoming one with the Father. Let’s not let the fear of our sins being exposed keep us from intimacy with God.

Most people don’t know this, but I was addicted to porn for 10 years. In fact I can only think of a maybe 25 people that did before this. Which in comparison is quite a lot considering most people will never tell anyone, sadly continuing their addiction as a result. I used to say to myself that I was grossly addicted to porn, but that is just too narrow of a word. Needless to say that porn is a gross perversion of a gift from God, this does not make the addict a gross person. It can if you let your addiction become your identity, this is what happened to me. I was voraciously addicted to it. The more I consumed it the more I wanted, I couldn’t get enough. What I didn’t know was that what I consumed was consuming me. In my mid teens I was a pretty witty kid, I am still today its just a bit dryer and sprinkled with dad jokes. But back then my ammunition was corse jokes, I became the master of “that’s what she said”. I got the laugh, but it came with a cost. I remember like it was yesterday. I was a part of a summer internship that my youth group facilitated. We were sitting in a technical college class room, when the girl behind me made a remark and I turned around cracked a corse joke. She didn’t laugh but gave me more of an “h’s are ew” response. I just turned around a thought to myself “yeah, I didn’t think it was that funny either.” Later that day I was in the restroom with a friend, no we didn’t intentionally go together. We were washing our hands when he looked over at me and asked “Conan, do you know what we call you?” “No, what?” Anticipating a positive remark. “We call you the pervert.” “Oh…why?” “Because of all your jokes.” My heart hit the soles of my feet. All that I thought I was instantly became a lie. Though I didn’t recognize at the time, the Father stepped in at that moment. I felt the tug on my heart, I knew exactly what I needed to change. The next youth service I found a guy that later became my first spiritual father. I walked right up to him and told him I needed to confess. We began to meet and my healing process began. I didn’t choose at random though, so be at peace. You don’t have to pick out of a hat who to seek help from and random guys likely won’t come confess to you. There was relational equity between us from serving together. Though it was not a lot of equity at the time it was enough. Always be building relationships no matter how lighthearted. My life was changed because of relationships.

As much as my addiction consumed me, so did my fight. My every thought became fight this massive sin. How I was going to beat it tomorrow. I was misguided where the fight really was. We are not fighting to beat evil, evil is already defeated. The fight is not to conquer sin, but to get in the presence of the Father. To be present with the Father is to be absent from sin, and vice versa. To surrender to His battle for my heart. Will you surrender to the God that has waged war for your heart. He has already beat your enemy. The battle is yours to win. Your battle is not with computer screens or magazines, but with principalities and spirits of darkness. His light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5 (NLT) The Father has already extinguished the darkness, it is our choice to walk in the light.

What had kept me from the light the most was shame. “I can’t come to God with this filth on me.” Wake up, God can’t see sin. In the same way that parents refuse to see when there kids are making poor life choices, He refuses to see anything other than our true identity. But to deny the existence of the bad choices would be bad parenting, in the same way He does not deny your sinful nature. He just won’t call you by it. Would a good parent call you by your bad choices? “Drug addict come here.” “Hello my cutting daughter.” NO! Not only are you ashamed of yourself, mounds and mounds of shame are dumped on you that way. This where wounds come from. Daddy does not inflict wounds, He’s a healer. He simply cannot see you when you sin. Its impossible for Him to be with sin, therefore when you’re in it He cannot be with you. Have you ever been in a room with someone and they’re not there? They’re on the phone or lost in thought. You’re both in the room but you’re not in relationship. They’re denying your presence in the room. This is what it means when He says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” God is always in the room, it is your choice to acknowledge His presence. To truly welcome Him in is to deny sins entry. When we sin we leave the room, the Father will be right there waiting anxiously for you to come back. But He still cannot see sin when you re-enter. He never sees sin enter the room, but sons and daughters. He sees righteousness and goodness and all the wonderful things He calls you. This is the first thing He says, “Where are the robes of righteousness I gave you? I had them tailor made for you.” Shame really does make you look fat, at least that’s how it makes you feel. When the prodigal son returned the father didn’t acknowledge the rags or the sin, but called for the best robe to be brought out. Grace is like the little black dress or tailor made suit. You look good in it and walk with that extra bit of confidence. One thing is required though, to put on the clothes you were designed for. You have to take off your bed clothes, take off the shame.

“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:20-14 (NIV)

You have to answer, why are you wearing shame? This question cannot be avoided if you want shame removed. This is how confession brings healing. This question is not for the sake of the Father, but for you. The truest answer I can think of is that we forget who we are. Shame is what keeps us from coming to ourselves. We sit in the pig pen because we have forgotten who we are and who our Father is. So get up and run to the Father. He will run to you. Become alive again. Let your sin nature die, don’t let it breath the air your spirit is supposed to. Then begin to celebrate.

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Finding the Sparkle

I was recently faced with two starkly different situations. I was working with pictures for a set and one of them had two girls laughing. This thought crossed my mind, if they were the only two girls in the world which would you choose? I would’ve chosen to stay single. I know sounds pompous, but that is a loaded question based off a picture. I simply was not attracted to either one. The second situation was party where there were lots of single girls. That night I literally did choose to stay single. I was attracted to some of the girls there, but it was still only based off an outward appearance. I’ve pursued girls based off physical attractiveness and it lead no where. These two situations got me thinking.

How often do we settle because we think they are all there is? We put ourselves in a box of finding the person we’re attracted to and trying to make them fit the personality we want. Or finding someone with the personality we’re looking for, but we find them unattractive. What do we do? This conundrum makes me want to pull my hair out. Which side of the coin do we put the emphasis? Do we really have to go though life flipping this relational coin, until we decide heads or tails? (metaphor unintended) We can get so caught up in either one.

We are willing to set aside the physical if they just love Jesus with all their heart. If they’re passionate about what God is doing in there life, I can see past the warts. The trouble in this is that some days they aren’t going to be quite the Jesus you thought they were. Because you went after someone you’re unattracted to, bitterness has a greater chance to creep in. “Why am I in this realationship? I don’t like the way they treat me and I wasn’t even attracted to them to begin with.” This is not to say attraction can’t grow over time, but come on don’t settle. If your not attracted to them by the time you get married, there’s a good chance that attraction won’t grow. Don’t get caught in the lie that just because you find them unattractive that everyone else does too. You’re not the authority on who’s hot and who’s not. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Oh, here is where people will say “See past the outside to who they are”, and I agree, but it doesn’t mean you have to marry them.

The far more dangerous settlement is to set aside character for beauty. We think we can lead them into who there meant to be. I just thew up a little, because I’ve been that guy. Talk about immense amounts of pressure. Can you imagine having the responsibility of developing someone else’s character besides your own. Without the infrastructure of integrity in a relationship the greater the chance of compromise. Physical based relationships lead to physical results. Are you willing to risk what God has for you because of self fulfilled desire? God knows the desires of your heart. Don’t think for a second that He’s has someone for you to settle for. Second best is not in God nature, He created Eve just for Adam.

Take some pressure off yourself and your future spouse. Media advertises the unacheivable and porn steals our gift. We are told to look for perfection and find ourselves lost in the search. We try to make someone fit a mold when they are supposed to shaped by a potter. The gift is stolen in two ways, it’s unwrapped and given under the wrong name similarly it is given wrongly to the receiver then the giver is exposed. Pressure is removed by leaving the gift wrapped, or rewrapping, and allowing them to be themselves, even with the flaws. The beauty of getting to know people is, we get to see the heart of the gift before recieving the gift. Go after the heart not the body. Allow yourself to go after the heart of someone your attracted to, allow them to say no if they’re not.

A great example of this is when Jacob married Leah and Rachel. The bible says that Leah had no sparkle in her eye. I’ve heard that interpreted to mean that Leah either had poor eye site or wasn’t pleasant to look at. I would add that it could also mean that her eyes didn’t light up when she saw Jacob or she was unsure of who she was. We assume that Leah was attracted to Jacob and it was just not reciprocated. Let us assume that Leah was attracted to Jacob just as much as he was to her. They’ll never put a smile on each others faces just for walking in the room or should I say tent. Jacob will never be able to put that sparkle in her eye and he knew it, that is why he chose Rachel. The bible also says that Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. Leah and Rachel were sisters, chances are that they looked alike. I believe Jacob went after a heart and reaped the benefit of a beautiful body, he went after the one with the sparkle in her eye.

Have you ever looked at someone in the eye who lacked confidence in who they are? It’s near impossible, because they won’t maintain eye contact. They are afraid you see the sparkle in their eye. They are not afraid to show the sparkle, they just believe there is no sparkle. They believe that what they are showing is just a dim light and that is what will be seen. But the reality is that if they would really allow themselves to be seen there would be a sparkle so bright that darkness would never extinguish it. There is nothing more attractive than someone who knows who their heart belongs to and is willing to expose it. If we search through the lens of the heart rather than body or personality, someones sparkle will catch your eye and you will be willing to work 14 years just to let it light up your room or tent.

Jacob marries Leah and Rachel

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