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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Tribute to Dr. Thomas Lloyd Garrison & Dr. Kenneth "Hutch" Hutcherson

In case you haven't figured it out yet, life is an incredible journey that has little to do with you and me, especially as a Christian. It has left even some of the greatest individuals; God's direct instruments pondering (Luke 2:19,51). He baffles the wise by human terms, and executes His greatest monumental actions through culturally irrelevant individuals. Yet His fingerprints and handiwork are unmistakable. Our effectiveness requires authentic selflessness.

Merry Christmas to all of my friends and supporters of The Firstborn Son, Inc. and non-profit Family Legacy Builders. Your existence is an incredible gift to us, never mistake that fact.

I sit here in the Alaskan frontier on this wonderful Christmas day 2013 in the midst of the whitest Christmas I have seen in a long time. The short Alaskan days barely allow the sun to touch the tops of mountain peaks approximately 7000 feet above our heads, and it quickly dips back into the night shadows. I share this scenery with my family and some wonderful family friends as a warm fire burns, twinkling lights, and Christmas is surely in the air and eyes of  the children. I am amazed by how Christmas has represented diverse defining moments in my life.

At the sovereignty of God I have been allowed to see a vast variety of Christmas settings in my life time. Here are a few...
·         As a boy ('70s & '80s) in Liberia and 100 degree weather, Santa (Old Man Beggar) did not fly his sleigh delivering presents (sorry Westerners). Instead, little boys would dress one as a mask dancer and it was more a "trick or treat" approach, gathering gifts (food and money) and never tricking patrons. Definitely not the jolly old boy.
·         In the early '90s and latter teenage years Christmas bore more of an aroma of death and evil. We sat homeless in the palava hut (gazebo) of a little village, doing our utmost to prayerfully remember the celebratory birth of Jesus Christ. Yet the stench and aroma of death and lawlessness by the existence of a vicious civil war and drug induced rebels ruled the days.
·         My college and early adult years in the USA found me a great distance from my immediate family in Africa, and praying for the funds to make that once a year Christmas phone call. Yet as the commitments of college basketball would allow, I drove through the snow packed roads for hours to spend the time with my guardians Lloyd & Marge Garrison and family.

Humble & Irrelevant Births; Incredible Gifts
Luke 2:7-8 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a [d]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.

This Christmas also bears another significant and monumental time of reflection in my life. I find myself forced to reflect upon and honor the lives of (to this date) two of the top three significant men in my life. Both Lloyd Garrison & Ken Hutcherson have gone to be with the Lord (2003 & 2013 respectively); Hutch departed within the last week. Here are excerpts from my book (The Firstborn Son: a Curse, aGift, or a Calling) about these men:

Dr. Thomas Lloyd Garrison
Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Lloyd Garrison in 1944
" I have to interject and tell you how great a man of faith Lloyd Garrison was (he has since passed on). Lloyd was an old Texan that moved his family to the northwestern United States without a whole lot of promise of material gain that man could offer. But he was amazingly influential in the planting of over twenty-five to thirty northwest churches throughout his years because his promise was from God. He would go out daily and knock on the doors of people in his community to genuinely tell them about the love of Christ and his desire to have them come and visit his church."
Marge (wife) & a part of the family at a grandson's wedding

Dr. Kenneth "Hutch" Hutcherson
Dr. Kenneth "Hutch"Hutcherson
"In that time, I have watched Hutch live the Scriptures uncompromisingly literally for the world to see. While other pastors are content to live inside the four walls of their comfortable churches and allow biblical values to be politicized and eroded, I have seen this man stand up and hold firm to the unchanging Word of God. I have seen his vision for no-charge or free adoption take up root against the big business that it is. I have seen the life of my friend and brother effectively producing lives and soldiers for God’s kingdom repeatedly.

Hutch & family at daughter's graduation
Regardless of all those wonderful accolades mentioned above, nothing of Hutch’s has impacted and influenced me more as his life in the last couple of years. I have watched my brother go through a harsh and severe bout with cancer and display truly unwavering faith. He is very much aware to what extent the possible outcomes exist, including death. No man faces those possibilities without the thoughts. However, his countenance stays strong. He made a profound statement that has impacted my life forever. For those of us who have intimate dealings and understand the man that he is, as well as his passion for the Scriptures, we say “Wow!” He once said, “You’ve watched me live for Christ. If that is where the cancer takes me, I’ll show you how to die for Christ.” With Christ indeed all things are possible. I can’t wait to see the new and renewed Hutch as he beats this cancer.

That is a view into the circle of influence that engulfs me..."

These are both men in my life who came from extremely humble beginnings as I too am fortunate to be a product. Lloyd came out of the plains of Texas. Hutch was raised in Alabama, the hub of the racist southern United States in its peak era. He was raised as a child with rage against Caucasians and told "The only good white person is a dead one."

However, as He did in the reality of Christmas, the most significant event in all of world history, only God takes the most humble births and irrelevant characters or constituents in order to submit His most masterful offerings to mankind. God chose that Christ would be born in a filthy manger (regardless of how beautiful our nativity scenes), then He chose to make His initial disclosure on the arrival of such timely event to irrelevant shepherds in the field rather than lofty kings and nobles of that culture.

In my opinion, God has done the same with Drs. Garrison and Hutcherson. He has done incredible work, and made world renowned impact with men very few have had the true pleasure or privilege of knowing, or understood the magnitude of their lives on this earth. I am referring to the fact an athlete like Lebron James has close to 11 million twitter followers thirsting for his superfluous life events compared to the critically important life lessons offered by these great men. Both men deeply understood however while the work was surely their honor, never the glory. That is God's!

Glory to God...Peace among men...He is pleased
            Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men [g]with           whom He is pleased.”

As I read the scripture and the words uttered by the heavenly host during the proclamation of Christ's birth, I am dumbfounded. It said God the Almighty is pleased with sinful men who He had to send a sacrificial lamb (Jesus) to save. As an emphasis to this proclamation, and with the common intent and expression of His pleasure, in Ephesians 1:9 "He made known to us the mystery of His will...purposed in Christ." In Christ God desires the best for men. We are His prime creation, and with whom he bears a key desire to restore righteous fellowship.

In examining intimately the testimony and lives of each of these men (Lloyd and Hutch), being sure to test it by the word of God, it is no doubt God is pleased. At the time of Lloyd's death, several years ago and similarly in recent days following the departure of Hutch from this life, the words and sentiments expressed by the many whose lives were impacted by them is absolutely phenomenal. It has left an incredible number of us awestruck as we observe the effectiveness of their ministries. Even arch enemies soul search for remarkable words of honor at the impact of losing them to the cold grip of death.

Despite the incredible evidence portrayed by their work on behalf of God and for the good of their fellow man, nothing speaks greater of their work than the legacy of life each man has left his family. That legacy is evident in the love for God, family unity, and more that was surely instituted by the lives each man lived. Yet everything they did, the glory of it all points to and belongs to God.

We ponder in our hearts
            Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

We are all wondering why God will call home such effective instruments for His work on this earth, especially at such a time as this culturally. In my opinion, yes He is raising others to step in and fill the gap, continue the call. More importantly, a great observation in God's relationship and interaction with mankind centers on its disposition. We (humans) often have a need and urging to be the central and focal point of any activity we are engaged with. In far too many cases that sentiment drives us to a position of insecurity and feeling despised, or even rejected by God, or those we serve.

Mary was directly involved with the greatest event we choose to celebrate annually as Christmas. She had a personal conversation with an angel and messenger from God. Many of us would have felt God owed us the entire detail of His plan for mankind if He has chosen to involve us at such a level. Yet at multiple points through the scriptures it is revealed "Mary treasured...pondered them in her heart." A similar response from Mary occurs even as Jesus, her son, is in the midst of actions during His ministry she could not fully understand. 

Is this a question which haunts you at some level in your personal relationship with God? Are you wondering why God isn't providing greater details of His plan for your life, or the road on which He has you walking at the moment? Consider these two thoughts which will greatly enhance your effectiveness for God:
  1. The incredible sovereignty of God and how He works is greatly unlike human logic, temperament, and expectations. Quit fishing for logic.
  2. He does great work through us as individuals, but could choose to allow very few to know about it (as with Drs. Garrison and Hutcherson), because the glory is His, not ours.
It is amazing to see how each of these incredible individuals and critical male figures in my life, as well as the lives of many others understood so appropriately their purposes in God's mighty plan and work. It is my unquestionable prayer for you and I, as we celebrate this amazing Christmas of 2013 and New Year of 2014, would renew our perspectives on the humility God desires (Luke 2:7-8), God's pleasure & desire for man (Luke 2:14), and to Whom (not us) proper glory is due by our view of the story of Jesus' birth (Luke 2:19).

If you aren't already, please consider donating $8.99 per month to our non-profit organization (Family Legacy Builders), and very strategic work for such a time as this.Click Here To Donate!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In America, Share Your Faith & Family Values; Go To Jail?

There are many families in disarray today simply because someone in that lineage took a slight and seemingly insignificant slant from the truth. The item of focus for that slant might have also seemed undoubtedly minor in the grand scheme of life. The cost paid by the family today (possibly multiple generations later) is downright unbearable. Does this description fit your family? Are you on the cusp of taking a similar slant? How would you know, or avoid such grave error?

A. W. Tozer wrote: "The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him... [The Church] So necessary to the Church is a lofty concept of God that when that concept in any measure declines, the Church with her worship and her moral standards declines along with it... Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed, her practical working creed has become false. The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is; and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind."

Although he speaks of the church, Tozer only a couple of paragraphs later invokes a view and similar fate for the family as it pertains to generational parental responsibility. Was he inaccurate? 
  • In recent weeks the United Nation continues to consider the "Defamation of Religion" resolution introduced in 2009 by radical Islam within the OIC, if I recall correctly, aimed primarily at Christians. With regards to free speech and anti-oppression which the UN advocates as a main charter, it is appalling the thought is even considered. Yet a vote on this resolution is pending and the dialog continues.
  • There is a long standing feud in the United States, a nation founded on Christ-like principles by bible believing forefathers, concerning chaplains and the "defamation of religion" within the military.
What is our response to these issues? Why do we allow these conversations to linger? Have we given it any credibility, or is it insignificant? The evidence is in our actions...

In my opinion, the answer is simple (obvious), yet it holds a magnitude of grandeur in its impact. The answer or our proper reaction is propelled by our view of God as depicted by AW Tozer's comments above. However, I wish to add a couple of more thoughts from the Bible (book of Galatians). Why? Because the only thing that is true about God is what He says about Himself. The Apostle Paul is also warning believers who know the truth yet run the risk of embracing the "slant". As such consider this please...
  • We have erroneously created worthless and unworthy (idolatry) views of God the Almighty. - Galatians 4:8 But at that previous time, when you had not come to be acquainted with and understand and know the true God, you [Gentiles] were in bondage to gods who by their very nature could not be gods at all [gods that really did not exist].
  • We must be acutely aware of the danger of the slant in our faith and family values. - Galatians 5:9 A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church].
  • Christians are to view this issue in light of our submission to the flesh or Spirit. - Galatians 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.
  • We must know the evidences and understand what our adoration of the flesh looks like. - Galatians 5:19-21 Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 
At the end of it all this questions remains and will provide the answer and security we seek if answered correctly. Is our view of God grand enough and proper to ward of our natural (fleshly) invitations of destruction in our midst?

If you aren't already, please consider donating $8.99 per month to our non-profit organization (Family Legacy Builders), and very strategic work for such a time as this. Click Here To Donate!

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    Father-Shift Restores Fathers to the Fatherless!

    Far too often we hear rumors and reports of how the fatherless epidemic or our culture, nation, and our world (human trafficking, prostitution, child soldiers, etc) is too significant a cost to ignore or bear. In a previous blogpost titled "Cultural role model or a father figure to the fatherless?" I tackled this issue a little deeper. What is your contribution in the fight against this epidemic?

    If you haven't got your hands dirty yet in this matter, or even if you are already involved, I want to introduce you to a wonderful opportunity. It is as simple as this, do your part to bring a Father-Shift Conference to your city. It is a tremendous opportunity to not only raise awareness, but you will bring instant help and solutions to the wounded (father wounds), and support for those with the means to provide solution to the problem in so many ways.

    Here is a link to an article and interview that was featured on The Christian Post. Click here to read "Christian Leaders Combat Epidemic of Fatherless Families With Father-Shift". Then join the movement to do your part by inviting a Father-Shift Conference to your city.

    Monday, September 30, 2013

    Starbucks, Subway "Eat Fresh", & Successful Family... What's Common?

    I took a a remarkable trip this weekend, sadly without my family but purposeful nonetheless. Nestled in the midst of swampland, under frequent surveillance and monitoring via radio communication, sits a juvenile detention center for young men. Its occupants are within the age ranges of 18 to 23 or so. They possess unimaginable personal and family circumstances of all kinds which have landed them where they are. They are what many, including the guilty one who writes this blog, has one time or another called "Menace To Society". Yet they taught me a lesson for six non-stop hours that I could never gain in the presence of University of Oxford scholars.

    What's the lesson you wonder? We seek evil erroneously, or excellence and nobility in this fleeting life. Yet only one cord strikes a joyful rhythm every time we dialog. Its family! We, God's greatest creation (mankind), are created for family fellowship (Gen 1:26-28). Yes I knew that. But joy on the faces, the witty interactions, the expressions of warm appreciation, during and after a non-stop six-hour presentation on Successful Family Legacy to "so called" outcasts of society cannot be nearly matched. These were young men who daily ingest some of the worse anti-depressant drugs you can imagine for emotional stability. Yet not a single incident nor distraction of any kind ruled the day. Instead it was the sweet sound (discussion) of family. At the conclusion they all proudly received a certificate of completion.

    So what do Starbucks, Subway "Eat Fresh", & Successful Family have in common? In my opinion nothing. However we are now an official non-profit (Family Legacy Builders) in the state of Washington. The money spent for a stop or two at Starbucks or Subway "Eat Fresh" can easily create many more of the wonderful moments described in the paragraphs above. Besides being a tax-free donation for you to our non-profit, your $9 per month will go a long way in allowing us to conduct the Successful Family Legacy Seminar in prisons, churches, schools, and various communities across this nation. Click Here for some reviews by past seminar attendees.

    To donate, all you have to do is become a monthly member of our Successful Family Legacy community. Click here to enroll. The site and community contains a variety of great resources to enhance your life and family including audio of our flagship product Successful Family Legacy Seminar, monthly family legacy teleconferences, member-only Facebook community for support, and more. We are continuously adding and growing the list or resources.

    Below are two images which greatly motivate us and we pray would motivate you to join our team for improving families.

    Not so long ago (1960) the level of married individuals in the country was significantly higher than the current statistics. We are now establishing a clear reversal of the trends in favor of single parenting and cohabitation. The consequences for such actions are clearly destructive on so many fronts. Although these evidences are more impacting on the spiritual, moral, and generational (children) levels in my personal opinion, the financial aspect is significantly severe also.

    The image on the right side of these words is a clear depiction of the demoralization of our society. If marriage is declining and single-parenting and cohabitation is on the rise, then we have a serious problem. The country's current debt concern is evidence of a clear correlation to the poverty indicators the image portrays. The more we drive marriage out the more poverty we welcome.

    Please join our community and become a monthly donor to this incredible cause. We will love for you to join us in person wherever possible. Nevertheless, only by your prayers and your donations are we able to do the work. Be confident we are ready to work!

    Monday, August 19, 2013

    In The Crucible or Your Captivity?

    When in moments of intense suffering and uncertainty you are in the crucible with God or a captive of the devil. In the crucible or your captivity, either will impose pain but it's purpose rests in the eyes of the beholder. Both will produce a fate whose product rests in the selection of your master, God or the devil. Pray your choice is accurate for the sake of purification and refinement into something precious.

    This past weekend I had the tremendous privilege of speaking to several teenagers and young adults at a couple of juvenile detention centers. What a tremendous day and opportunity. From the start of my week of preparation it was obvious to me there was a battle raging between good and evil. I felt uneasy and restless. The devil surely intends on keeping his captives, while God the father desires to set captives free. My only remedy was to immediately call upon an army of prayer warriors to cover the full week with prayers.

    The battle is real and the day of the event only seems to solidify that reality. That morning as I literally began my setup for speaking to the young lives in the detention facility, my computer failed to boot-up. After multiple attempts, we prayed and I spoke without it. My travel to the next location required some extended time and I continually tried to boot-up my computer with no success. Upon my arrival at the next location I was immediately informed most of my audience would not attend due to the lock-down of several resident halls. An incident occurred that morning. The devil is intent on holding his captives.

    I asked my host if I could use his computer which was working perfectly fine as we commenced setup. Twenty minutes later, although the computer acknowledges the existence and installation of my external drive we could not locate my files. With the audience in wait, the solution required the use of a third and slightly remote computer in order to access my files. Finally, all of my tools were available as designed. Due to time constraints we could not engage in worship songs to prepare our hearts. With a short intro I began to speak immediately. The end result was approximately 70% of my audience stood to rededicate their lives to Christ and fill a firstborn son role for their family. Each person also committed to build a new personal and family legacy.

    The view and perspective of our personal crucible is powerfully critical at every moment we spend within. A crucible is a place or occasion of severe test and trial. A crucible is a place of intense and concentrated heat used to purify and refine precious minerals such as gold and silver. The juveniles had to realize their crucible (confinement) is for purification and refinement, not merely detention for their failures. As such, each person's fate or the product of the crucible is dependent on which master (God or devil) he serves. The same also goes for the legacy (family and personal) each detainee leaves, especially upon departure from detention.

    The Apostle Paul gives us an image of the ultimate end goal, the victor's crown in 2 Timothy 4:6-8. Paul also does a masterful job of revealing to us his personal crucible of shipwrecks, imprisonment, robberies, and more in 2 Corinthians 11:21-29. Mature Christians understand the purpose of suffering, while the world is confused about suffering as is revealed by King David's situation in 2 Samuel 12:15-23. David's servants could not understand his behavior of relief following the death of his child for which he had spent days fasting and praying for healing.

    We must allow our personal crucible, whatever it may be, to achieve its designed purpose with proper perspective, and in submission to the one true Master, God the Father.

    Monday, August 12, 2013

    Unfamiliar Truths: Build Successful Family Legacy

    This article is a contribution to the INNER PEACE PARENTING magazine August, 2013 edition produce out of Turin, Italy. The edition is a contribution of over sixty worldwide parenting professionals and The Global Presence Ambassadors of Parenting 2.0. Parenting 2.0 seeks to raise humanity collaboratively and consciously.

    Unfamiliar Truths

    Build Successful Family Legacy

    “Successful Family Legacy” is the comprehensive solution to the structural & social breakdown of society caused by the growing number of broken families.

    As a father and important community leader, Eli chose to engage in passive parenting of his sons Hophni and Phinehas. The sons’ grave abuse of Eli’s position and legacy saw them repeatedly take advantage of the people he led. Eli refused to impose strong consequences upon his sons for their behavior. His only response appeared to be conversations which carried no weight or merit. The evidence was his son’s refusal to obey his words or correct their behaviors. 

    When a behavioral concern is brought before some parents regarding their children, they expect a mere conversation is sufficient as oppose to a more decisive and necessary approach. These parents choose the proverbial “look the other way” response. Eli’s behavior resulted in the lost lives of his sons, himself, and consequently his legacy or family lineage.

    Passive parents produce a generation of tyrants and selfish adults. Overprotective parents produce a generation of socially and intellectually handicapped adults. There has to be a balance of authoritative engagement on the part of parents, and an embrace of submissive responsibility on the part of children.

    Here’s an observation. When it is time to lose weight we seek out a personal trainer or a diet regimen. The necessity of that decision lies in the need for structure, on-going evaluation, and accountability through the process. We write a business plan at the beginning of a promising venture for the benefit of clarity regarding the structure and purpose we pursue. Do we have a similar vehicle for creating our successful family now, and ushering our legacy of social behavior to future generations?

    My siblings and I vividly remember my father’s words in our moments disobedience or errors. Those words, especially to our mother who expected a stricter response, were “Let the children shoulder (handle) their problems.” He created an environment to teach personal responsibility and accountability amongst his children. Although memorable when dealt, his direct disciplinary actions were a last resort if we refused to correct our behaviors.

    Today in my home the common phrase is “Bambolos behave …”, or “Bambolos don’t cheat or lie.” As early as three years old our children begin to repeat that phrase and take ownership of the fact that family responsibility and unity supersedes personal happiness. We are committed to conduct ourselves in a manner which honors the family. Such a conviction must be first consistently demonstrated by husband and wife, mother and father, or adult leadership.

    Start today and implement a “statement of identity and vision”, a social legacy for your family.

    Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    New Website With More Family Building Resources

    The Firstborn Son, Inc. has unveiled a new and improved website targeting strategic growth with more family building resources. We exist to build strong families regardless of the aggressive anti-family challenges rumbling within the culture. Conveying the importance of successful family legacy in truth through stories, videos, statistical facts, speeches, and more will ensure lasting success is found and sustained for our families. Here is a unique taste.

    Liberians and Africans in general are notorious for teaching their young ones through fables and wise tales. Interestingly, these stories are told with animal and insect characters such as spider, dog, monkey, and more. There is a tale to teach against greediness whose plot portrays the spider, which once had a normal size waist, today has a tiny waist because of his greed. He committed to two feasts, at different villages, at the same time. Unfortunately he encouraged each village to pull on ropes he tied around the waist when the feasts began. You can imagine what happened. Moral of the story is greed will cost you.

    There is also a tale for teaching children to avoid deceit. In this plot the spider, generally noted for insincerity and cunning behavior, chooses the dog as his eating partner at a massive feast. Spider's plan was to eat most of the food the duo was given. Glancing at the dog, spider expected the dog's nose was actually his mouth and there was no way dog could eat at a rapid rate with such a small mouth. Spider chose to arrogantly leave for a potty break as the food was being served. He expected to return with barely any food eaten by dog and he would then devour everything rapidly. Upon his return all the food was gone. Flabbergasted, he asked dog "How did you do that?" It was at that moment dog opened his mouth and spider saw the true size of dog's mouth. Spider's deceitful plan cost him greatly when it backfired. That fable teaches kids to interact truthfully with their peers and others.

    Until recent years, and in some traditional cases still, history and truth has always been passed down through families and tribes orally. Villages would have an oral historian also sometimes known as the "Town Crier". His responsibility was to transfer accurate history of a people's past which is critical to the construct of their present and future.

    In the context of today's family, that strategically priceless  process of honoring our history, and subsequently constructing our present and future upon its truths is what we at The Firstborn Son, Inc term as "successful family legacy".

    At your new and improved The Firstborn Son website you will find:
    • A simple menu for navigating important pages (event, store, contact, etc.)
    • A rolling banner of selfless virtues critical to building and leading a healthy family
    • Featured Section: Entities we are serving soon (inspirational speaking, seminar, events, etc.)
    • Top Projects: Activities you can join us to serve and build strong families & communities
    • Client Section: Entities we have been honored to serve in the past
    We look forward to growing with and serving you for many years to come. Please explore and enjoy your new and improved website.

    Sunday, July 7, 2013

    Family Legacy Membership Community (2-Week Free Trial)

    In need of family unity, we must find a common purpose. In search of family harmony, we must find similarity. In search of promising viability as a family (growth through succession), we must design and implement a legacy for others to follow. Succession planning not only drives performance and results…but also ensures that families avoid pitfalls or risks (self-centered, abusive, role-reversals, victimized by unexpected challenges, etc.) that can inhibit success. All must be emboldened for every member of the family by the critical exemplary living of its leaders.
    Are you tired of hearing the "doom and gloom" discussions about the state of the family unit? Are you one of those persons who frequently stands idly by and points the finger at the situation rather than be a part of the solution? Have you been in search of a unique and proven approach to addressing what this "hoot & holler" is all about? Are you ready to promote healthy change in your own family challenges? We believe the proper understanding and execution on implementing a "successful family legacy" will address these cultural concerns and more. Take a 2-week "FREE TRIAL" of our membership community to see how we can affect incredible change together.
    There are a lot of resources here you can adopt and implement personally, as well as share with others in need. Here you will find, including much more:

    • Successful Family Legacy seminar audio & written content
    • Monthly conference calls with expert guests (live & archived)
    • Motivational speeches and presentations (audio & video)
    • A place to share your thoughts & questions in the community discussion threads

    There is much, much more to come as well. It is in moments when adversity strikes first and stares us in the face that heroes are discovered; they rise to the occasion. The challenges the institution of the family currently face require a sustainable and long term solution harbored in the implementation of successful family legacy. That is exactly the powerful impact many who are short-sighted and lost about the purpose and effectiveness of family desperately need.
    Take the 2-Week Free Trial and see what we are about, and why we are elated to have you as a part of this special Family Legacy Membership Community.

    Friday, June 21, 2013

    Exodus International or Mount Sinai?

    Written by Haedyn G. Bambolo (3rd grader - Fall, 2013)
    A couple of minutes ago I was reading a story (God, a Grizzly, & Me by Nikki Kronbergerabout my aunt's hunting adventure. A story about an incredible shot on a grizzly bear hunt. She has two kids and is my mom's best friend. She is an awesome aunt. Oh, and if you're wondering that she is my mom's sister, she isn't. She's a family friend. That's all for today from your local writer.
    (Click here for article: God, a Grizzly, & Me)

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THESE MOMENTS!! We awake to our mornings with an agenda on our hearts, but when we seek the heart of the Lord in prayer and devotion "He shows us His agenda!" Noting the recent headline news on the "apology" of yet another prominent spiritual leader in Allen Chambers of Exodus International, my flesh screamed "Go after this!" However, it wasn't for the right reason. Instead an even stronger God-filled urging arose within, and with some divine external help.

    Especially as a parent first and foremost, as well as mentors and other authority figures, :"What is your Mount Sinai Moment?" The day you realized that God has called you to personal account for delivering His word to your children. The day you realized that God does not live vicariously through a spiritual leader but has a direct, personal, fearful (reverent), yet favored connection with you. The day you realized that the fall of a spiritual leader should not discourage you. Their fall will never impact God's word in you if you have proper embrace & context of His truth. The day you realized the almighty power of God despite any situation.

    Why are we so highly disappointed?
    Why are we so highly disappointed or discouraged when we hear another prominent spiritual leader has strayed, or made a misguided statement? Is it because we are fearful of the impact it will have on God's work and His word? Or  is it something that reveals a negligence in our own lives, and consequently our children? I have evidence God's work has outlasted many prominent failures of men (Abraham, Moses, King David, John the Baptist, etc.) and it has never lost its power to transform the sinful heart. Therefore, my assessment is we are gravely bothered because there is an element of self-revelation about our own faults.

    What is your Mount Sinai moment?
    As spiritual leaders at any level, God's word points us back to the foundation of leadership in our home and family (1 Tim 3:1-5). It is amazing that while I sat pondering a message about Exodus International the Lord posed a gentle question to me. Ezechiel, are you aware of your Mount Sinai moment? Deuteronomy 4:10 specifies that God instructed Moses to bring the whole nation of Israel at Horeb, and He personally gave the law from Mount Sinai. The fire, smoke, lightning, thunder, sound of trumpets, voice of God were very shocking, terrifying and unforgettable for all present regardless of their maturity. It was so incredible and fearful that they begged no more should they have to endure that setting (Hebrews 12:19). God's authentic intention was and is this:
    "That they may learn to fear Me all the days that they shall live upon the earth; to reverence Him the lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy; to fear to offend Him by breaking His laws, so holy, just, and good, and delivered in such an awful and solemn manner.

    That they may teach their children; the words they had heard, teach them obedience to them, and to be careful not to act contrary to them; since that would bring down judgments upon them, and deprive them of the favour they enjoyed, of which they had seen instances."

    As I sat concluding my bible study time, and pondering what to write about Exodus International, my daughter approached me with the story she had written above and affirmed God's agenda for my response. It dawned on me how powerful an unspoken impact we have on our children, and why the Lord points us as leaders to the foundation of the family. There are so many things she (daughter) desires because of moments such as reading a story about her aunt, or observing the relationship of her mother and aunt. My daughter desires to be a writer because she watches daddy frequently engaged in that activity. What activities and habits (of God's especially) are you engaged in that your children desire?

    Friday, June 14, 2013

    Who is an Exemplary Father? What Depicts Exemplary Fatherhood?

    Once again father's day is here. As always, we desire to encourage fathers and families all over the world to live righteously for the incredible benefit of many generations to come. I am blessed to have a great father, not perfect, who taught me a lot of lessons as a powerful man. His power was not reflective of his physical strength alone (always enticing to a young lad or gal), but his fortitude in all situations even with life on the line in dangerous situations beyond his control. His stern images of courage against deadly opposition, humility in service to others, gentleness in baiting a fishing hook, esteem in the midst of dignitaries, and fearlessness to grab an escaping porcupine with his bare hands while we hunted (absolute truth) are all deeply engrave in my soul forever.

    It is frequently said, and I applaud, “The world would not exist without mothers.” Praise God the Father for His omnipotence and omniscience because neither would the world exist without fathers. You see, I am of the opinion “While mothers give life through birth; Fathers breathe life into us by their purposeful presence.” A significant representation; God the Father breathe life into His creation (man).
                    Genesis 2:7
    Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

    But stop and take a look around (our homes, neighborhoods, & communities), the lack of fathers suffocates the family, community, the state, the nation, & our world.
    • states 25% of Caucasian homes, 40% of Hispanic, and upwards of 65% of African American homes are single parent homes.
    • 96% of those single parent African American homes are fatherless homes
    • 75% of teenage pregnancy, 65% of suicides, upwards of 60% of incarcerated individuals are from single parent homes.
    • US Census Bureau Household demographics broken into five levels of annual income ($11K, 28.6K, 49.3K, 79K, 170K), 83% below poverty line (11K) are single parent homes. 80% of highest earners (170K) are married family homes. Do the simple math!!
    • Think internationally, “Gospel for Asia”, child sex rings, human trafficking, etc. the biggest culprits/perpetrators are men, and many of the victims are from fatherless homes.
    Journey with me for the next few minutes as we explore the word “FATHER”:

    F – Faith  A father must establish a life of faith in God, firm and committed. Regardless of the how the secular world feels there are many great dads who do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, fathering without faith in God is a grave mistake.
    1. Psalm 78:4-8 – Expresses a multi-generational blessing to be sustained because of a father's faith in God.
    2. Romans 4:2-3, 13 – Portrays that our fatherhood is justified by faith (incredible chapter for man & father to read)

    Too many fathers believe their accomplishments and human efforts justify and vindicate them as excellent fathers. Faith in God and the Lord Jesus Christ is the vehicle by which yours and my fatherhood is justified (Rom 4:23-24). It began with the father of righteousness long before you and me, and is proven for generational upkeep. Do not expect it to change for you and me!

    A – Abide  We must learn to abide (dwell, remain, stay, nest, nestle, etc.) in the Lord as fathers so that our dependents (wives, children, etc.) may abide in us.  When we abide somewhere or in something, we plan and desire to stay within indefinitely. Only after we have learned and understood the reality of abiding in the Lord can we truly create a similar haven in which others can abide.

    Let me steal from Oswald Chambers to make this point:

    I must take time to realize what is the central point of power. Do I give one minute out of sixty to concentrate upon it? "If ye abide in Me" – continue to act and think and work from that centre – "ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." Am I abiding? Am I taking time to abide? What is the greatest factor of power in my life? Is it work, service, sacrifice for others, or trying to work for God? The thing that ought to exert the greatest power in my life is the Atonement of the Lord. It is not the thing we spend the most time on that molds us most; the greatest element is the thing that exerts most power. We must determine to be limited and concentrate our affinities.

    "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do." The disciple who abides in Jesus is the will of God, and his apparently free choices are God’s fore-ordained decrees. Mysterious? Logically contradictory and absurd? Yes, but a glorious truth to a saint.

    What am I getting at here, for men especially?

    A man who abides understands the responsibility of being “Priest of his home”. Far too often we want to point our children to adore or idolize some famous athlete or historical figure, rather than the great men (their fathers) they see every day. The problem with that is education comes in the intimacy of life’s greatest lessons when we are most vulnerable. Our kids will never see those famous individuals in their most vulnerable moments, and as such that learning process is not authentic. However, they will frequently see us in our most vulnerable moments if we are authentic and seek righteous living. Abiding, in those vulnerable moments, provides the credibility we seek and need!

    T – Teach  I was a freshmen in high school and really began to garner national notoriety for my basketball ability. In arrogance that summer I made a choice of fooling around with my academics. My academic capability was nothing short of the top two students of my class. My father taught me a stern lesson by refusing to allow me to play for large club teams who had noticed me and were craving such young and promising talent. They came and pleaded with him frequently to allow me to play, and so did I. He said "No"! He inspired me to approach my responsibilities with greater personal accountability by his firm stance.

    Proverbs 2:1-6 portrays a father's advice to his son in search of discernment, knowledge, and wisdom from the Lord. Remember, teaching is a critical element of leadership!

    “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
    William Arthur Ward

    H – Heritage (or Legacy)  With heritage and legacy come a bestowed responsibility! Fathers (and mothers), there will be a family legacy left by design or default. In seeking to define family legacy, it is a term that is seldom used by family building professionals of our era. Yet, it possesses incredible significance at so many different levels of our existence. I am amazed at the neglect we portray for this critical bedrock of our communities as a people. The purest depiction of the transfer of family legacy I can offer is nestled in the beginning of mankind as detailed in Genesis 1:26-28. God the Father transfers His legacy to us and He expects us to usher it forward to each generation. Here is a list of the attributes which are present in His request. They are creation, propagation, authority, cultivation, occupation, blessing, empowerment, instruction, & reproduction.
    Throughout the ages the name of God the Father, or the effectiveness of His word has stood the test time unlike anything we can conjure up. His legacy or brand is a very recognizable one. What has been your contribution to its eternal value?

    a) Disappointing Legacy & Tarnished Brand

    b) Gratifying Legacy & Vibrant Brand

    Romans 8:15-17 states we have a rich Pedigree to protect.

    15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery[g]leading to fear again, but you have received [h]a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

    E – Exemplary  Exemplary fatherhood is immeasurably powerful even for disobedient generations, & ones unseen by you and I. King David provides us excellent evidence and example. 2 Chronicles 17:3-5 reveals for us King Jehoshaphat, the descendant of David, that the Lord blessed him because he followed in his forefather's footsteps. God even blessed generations who were blatantly disobedient after David simply because of his (David's) faithfulness as stated in 1 Kings 15:1-5. Are we exemplary enough that God would do the same for generations who follow yours and mine existence?

    Take note of David as a FATHER men (and women). He had all these attributes in strong alignment:

    a) He had absolute “faith” in God the Father

    b) He knew how to “abide” in God the Father. Heck he even danced…

    c) David the leader “taught” his dependents, mighty men, and nation to seek the heart of God the Father.

    d) David transferred a powerful “heritage” and legacy of responsibility before God the Father to his dependents.

    e) David lived and portrayed an “exemplary” life in God the Father before his dependents, and they caught the vision. They were blessed even when disobedient.

    f) David understood the “role” he filled in the much, much greater lineage of God the Father.

    R – Role  As fathers our role is to stand in the gap between the enemies of God the Father and our dependents (wife, children, etc), communities, state, nation, and world. How far are you willing to go, even to the point of shame, disgrace, or imprisonment, for the righteous protection of your dependents. Don't deceive yourself thinking it is yet to come because it is already happening. Our world and laws are at such a place right now where I have a seen a father (excellent home) jailed because of his desire to discipline a son who stole from another family. The father possessed a desire to deter a child who will no doubt end up as a prison statistic. Shocking; but true!

    Luke 15:11-32 – The father in the story of the “The Prodigal Son” provides us some incredible fatherly characteristics to emulate. Allow me to present a couple of different perspectives to this parable.

    A son’s (child’s) perspective

    a) Vs. 11 – Allow our children to fail and learn through adversity, more likely in latter teenage years and early adulthood. This son needed to learn by experience what I am sure was said to him countless times audibly by his father.

    b) Vs. 17 – A father of undoubted stability; the young son understood the security and dependability of his father

    c) Vs. 18 – The young son trusted in his father’s desire and ability to forgive. He had Wealth (a father's trust and compassion), even when he burned all his material wealth!

    d) Vs. 22 – A young son is remorseful of his foolish error and returns in “reckless” humility; “make me a slave”. Most of us would have returned not only expecting but demanding our “rightful” place at the dinner table.

    A Father’s perspective

    e) Vs. 20 – A father who is confident of the work he has done in his son expectantly awaits his return with bountiful compassion and joy (not happiness).

    f) Vs. 23-24 – A father steep in forgiveness and excitement, despite the humiliation he may have earlier felt, loved on his son. He did not say a single time to his young son “I taught you better than this son!” or "I told you what would happen!"

    g) Vs. 25-32 – A father grounded in heavenly wisdom.

            i. Pleads with, not scream at older son in arrogance

            ii. Honors and re-enforces the service and dedication of the older son, acknowledging his presence and joint ownership of all he possessed.

            iii. Solicits the partnership of the older brother in the restoration process of the younger son which has begun.

    Live well, live righteous, be strong for the sake of many to come after you rather than for selfish reasons. For such is the nature and calling of our role as fathers. Amen!!

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    Justice League vs. Heavenly Justice?

    I don't know about you, but as a teenage boy I lived for the world created by DC & Marvel Comics. I had to have my Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Incredible Hulk, Ironman and the rest. The title question to this blogpost presents a bit of a conundrum emotionally. I am a man and father now so the "boyland" characteristics and childish wants are no longer prominent in my being. However, there is no doubt the impact on my masculinity by the many years I enjoyed reading those action comics.

    My eight year old daughter, who is now an avid reader, I didn't realize until this morning while I was doing some research has already caught the comic book bug. Not knowing her dad was such a comic fan in his boyhood, and while looking over my shoulder as I worked on the computer, she exclaimed with joy, "Daddy I love comics, are you getting me some?" No wonder I didn't know she was a fan, she brought me a couple of her Ninjago graphic novels; yeah not nearly the visual fanfare and excitement of the DC & Marvel comic covers. I guess she reads a few others at school as well. I have no doubt by the time my son (now 4 years old) becomes a fluid reader he too no doubt will join the club. Here is the dilemma for you and I...

    Our world and culture has become a gravely more dangerous place for the tactical and deliberate dissemination of anti-family messages. More and more the evil and sinful messages of robbery, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, murderous massacres, and others (Grand Theft Auto, War of Warcraft, Call of Duty: World at War, TV's Modern Family, etc) have strolled into our homes and taken residence with our permission. Better yet our popular book dealers and book stores (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.) where we confidently let our children roam provide bountiful options of erotic comics and graphic novels for them to explore and acquire freely. How can I safely introduce my children to a world of comics so richly enjoyed by me in my childhood?

    As a blogger who is committed and prepared to valiantly stand in defense of healthy family, I want to take a moment to introduce you to Kingstone Comics. We recently conducted and interview with the company on our radio show Motivation with a Purpose. I am convinced you will find in them an incredible wealth for the world of comics and adventures allowing us to healthily transfer our love and passion to our children. Now if you were into Archie, Jughead, and the're on your own!

    Click here to listen to the Kingstone Comics Interview with our guest Art Ayris. There are some notable fellows of sound doctrine such as Randy Alcorn on board with their mission as well. You will like them as I am  quickly traveling a similar direction.

    Friday, May 3, 2013

    "Bold Faith", What Is It & Where Does It Come From?

    As Christians, we have the greatest motivations possible to live our faith boldly, an empty tomb and a risen Lord. Yet at times, we seem to be the ones most timid and afraid to live our faith boldly. Sadly I believe  most Christians equate living their faith boldly with arrogance. As such they refuse or fail to do what matters most when it comes to "bold faith", living a life of power and conviction in Christ. The apostle Paul gives us a great example in scripture out of 2 Tim 4 as he speaks of fighting the good fight and awaiting the victor's crown.

    Last Friday I was asked to speak at Bellevue Christian School on the topic of "bold faith". Not only did I choose to exemplify bold faith for all present, especially the teenagers, I felt it critical to emphasize what it means for their era and generation. I also provided hard evidence (credible & reputable cultural sources) allowing them to connect with my claims. Sadly the evidences hindering their abilities to live bold faith come both from the secular world and the church. Yes Christians, I said the church which is the body of Christ!

    What do you suspect I told them? I'll give you a hint. The book of Acts and chapter seven (7) has a lot to do with it also. They got the message and are enthusiastic, would you?

    Here is the video of my speech in two parts:

    Zeke Bambolo - JH/HS Chapel - April 26th, 2013

    Zeke Bambolo, Jr. - Q & A - April 26th, 2013

    Monday, April 15, 2013

    Kermit Gosnell, Abortion's Reality Kept Silent!

    When we misplace the sanctity of life, especially when we fail to confront evil, the reign of evil asserts itself so prominently. Regardless of how tough (intellectual power & intestinal fortitude) we may be, or if we have literally and frequently faced the reality of death (evil's ultimate prize), it upsets us and is sickening to observe man's capacity and magnitude when left unchecked. We must actively engaged evil with the only entity that always and absolutely defeats it, Truth!

    In fairly recent history, some of which you have probably heard of and some not, ordinary people have confronted evil with truth and won.

    1. Martin Luther King, Jr protested injustice everywhere he could.
    2. Leymah Gbowee and other courageous women ended the vicious Liberian civil war non-violently. Story told in the documentary "Pray The Devil Back to Hell".

    It requires us to be diligent and do our homework in discovery, and act upon the truth with which we are convicted as a result. Some desire to give the 'appearance' of confronting evil with truth in order to gain sympathy for an even greater evil by implementing a propaganda (lies) tool.

    1. Book: After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90's
    2. Evil for the sake of business & financial gain: Planned Parenthood's Evil Deception
    Such is another grave evidence of evil which stares us in the face involving the disturbing story of abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell is a Philadelphia doctor who is killing fully born babies and is also undergoing trial for the death of an adult patient. We must all familiarize ourselves with the reality of this evil and make our voices heard for the elimination of injustice. Do not hide behind the lie that you are "pro-choice" while you provide safe-harbor for evil to thrive. Nor should you hide behind the lie of refusing to allow others their rights although you disagree with their beliefs. Willing to face the reality or not, that is exactly what we do when we stand-by and do nothing in the face of evil.

    I believe in the power, resilience, promise, healing capacity against all odds, and the spiritual resolve which exist in the confines of healthy family. Our culture and society petitions us every single day by the acts of men and women like Kermit Gosnell to stand tall in the face of evil and say "No More!" We choose more frequently to coward while the lives of millions are lost. We convince ourselves we are not at fault, or we are powerless.

    In this post alone I have provided for you enough evidences of the opposing sides of evil and good which exist. There are countless stories all around us. I have also provided for you the truth about ordinary lives who have triumphed. Will you take the first step in a renewed or reinvigorated approach from this day forward by sharing this message and blog (conviction) with those you know? Begin now...

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    What Is Spiritual Discernment for Your Family?

    What does the word spiritual mean to you? How does your family define spirituality as a result of your leadership or existence? What is spiritual discernment for your life and that of your family?

    If you are not sure how to answer these questions I am not entirely surprised. While the dictionary definition of spiritual has not seen as severe a change, the cultural definition has seen a tremendous makeover. The definition of spiritual has always been consisting of spirit; not material; incorporeal; as a spiritual substance or being. The soul of man is spiritual (1828 American Dictionary of the English Language). It is no question the word spiritual has always contained somewhat of an out-of-body context in its definition. As a matter of fact, beginning with Christians and all other religious cultures spirituality is a sense of elevated enlightenment in the likeness of a supreme being. For Christians as I am, spirituality is a sacrificial act of service and worship before God whose merciful acceptance of our offering brings us the greatest joy (Romans 12:1).

    Christians understand we have a conflict of two natures which rages within us; the flesh and the Spirit. In my opinion, that is the signature of the Creator on mankind. As such, every human regardless of our belief systems struggles for a greater elevation, or to fill a void by our natural longing for that spiritual enlightenment (Romans 7:14-25). Christians understand that void can only be filled by God and we pursue spirituality to His end desiring to live in the Spirit at all times (Romans 8). Or else, the nature of our flesh dominates, oppresses, and suppresses us into a limited life of selfish pursuits.

    Therein lies the conflict we feel in seeking to define the word spiritual in our current cultural context. Do your research and ask those around you to define spirituality in their lives or their family. You will uncover definitions such as:

    • Self-discovery; who we are or want to be
    • Reaching beyond current limits
    • Connection to the supernatural (self-evolution)
    We now often define spirituality as separated from religion, and portrayed by a humanist evolutionary psychology with mystic and obscured traditions. We will often mix in a feel-good ritualistic ploy aimed at personal well-being and development. In short, spirituality has become a limited and empty selfish pursuit for personal happiness. Authentication of our selfish pursuits often culminate with a superficial attempt to grace the edges of the realm of others' material poverty, frequently blinded to our own spiritual and emotional poverty.

    Would you like to understand and exercise true spiritual discernment? Listen (click show title) to this episode of the Motivation With a Purpose weekly broadcast with our guest Dr. Karl Payne. Dr. Payne is the author of the Amazon #1 Bestselling book titled Spiritual Warfare. He is also the organizer of the annual Worldview Apologetics Conference. Be prepared to pursue authentic spirituality hence forth.

    Friday, March 29, 2013

    What is Easter About For Your Family? How Can We Forgive?

    What is Easter about? Is it centered on the story of unmerited favor and forgiveness? Is it marred by the brutality which exists in the hearts of mankind, yet forever etched on the souls of  men by the unconquerable redemption and resurrection of Jesus Christ? How can we forgive ourselves and others for wrong and guilt which so effectively and visibly destroys us from the inside out?  I believe it is said the prisoner is the one who refuses to forgive. We must "Live To Forgive"!

    Jesus Christ gave us the greatest example the world has and will ever see by His life. He live a sinless and perfect life. He taught, loved, healed, and even fed natural and spiritual food. None of those items which are at the core of every human's existence was enough to ensure His embrace by all mankind even today. His mere existence should have been enough, but He went to the cross and was crucified also. Sometimes Christ's achievements appear unreachable in our flesh and blood daily struggles (Gal. 5:16-18). We inaccurately pursue schemes to reach/be God rather than embrace his free desires to reach us, only to be exhausted in discouragement.

    In our desire to restore healthy family relationships, forgiveness is all so vital. We can make incredible multi-generational strides by the powerful exemplification of forgiveness. In our Easter episode of the show Motivation With A Purpose which airs weekly on, my co-host Rich Hallstrom and I spoke with Dean Smith about his life and documentary called "Live To Forgive". Achieving what Jesus Christ accomplished by forgiving mankind may be out of reach. But Dean forgave his mother's murderer, his step-father. Could you? Click on the link (show title) above and listen to this remarkable interview.

    Tuesday, March 26, 2013

    Is Isolation Truly The Devil's Playground?

    I spent some time this weekend in Wenatchee, Washington. I spoke at a men's conference on the topic of isolation. My specific title was "Is Isolation Truly the Devil's Playground?

    Far too often when we hear of stories of isolation we are drawn to the stories with the "wow factor". Stories like Karp Lykov and his family who isolated themselves from civilization in the unforgiving and harsh Siberian wilderness for 40 years as told by The Lykovs in fear of religious persecution isolated themselves so gravely that they absolutely missed the occurrence of World War II. They were only discovered unexpectedly by Russian geologist conducting new mineral explorations by helicopter.

    Too often we miss the opportunity to properly decode messages we are receiving when it comes to isolation in our own lives. I am speaking of messages and simple truths which easily go unnoticed but are at the core of our destructive isolated lives. Did you realize this simple truth of women "confront to connect", while men "withdraw to resolve"? As a result, men have a greater tendency to disconnect and isolate (withdraw) themselves from their spouses, families, and so much more. Think about it, how much would that simple but powerful truth save you and your dependents a great deal of pain if you understood how to properly react to the natural tendencies we have been given by the Creator?

    The general definition of isolate or isolation is having minimal contact or little in common with others. From a biblical context, words and expressions which have been used to reference isolation include quarantine, imprison, desolate, seclude, wilderness, go away, went away, withdrew, withdraw, shut out, and exclude. As such, in order to define or more accurately decode isolation we face I thought it would serve our purpose best to explore the various faces of isolation.

    In such a pursuit, here are a few faces of isolation which are commonly in our midst and circles yet we frequently fail to notice them as signs of isolation.

    • Dysfunctional families (with troubled children) frequently exclude themselves in shame or are excluded by us.
    • Growing divorce rate and frequent geographic moves have left many elderly adults isolated. Middle-aged adults only care for parents when they stand to gain.
    • Individuals with disability and/or parents of children with disability (estimated 40%) have absolutely no connection with the community in which they live.
    • Andrew Solomon writes, "Syndrome and symptom cause each other: loneliness is depressing, but depression also causes loneliness." Who are the depressed in your circles?
    • Isolation marked family of teen who claims captivity. As in Mitch Comer's case, abusers often isolate themselves, their families, and their victims.
    • Dating and marriage relationships with controlling individuals often end in isolation.
    • Many spouses live in the same house, sleep in the same bed, but are absolutely isolated at the heart. This is frequently exhibited by comments which viciously cut to the core of the other.
    • Under the Kanun, an Albanian code of behavior that has been passed on for more than 500 years, "blood must be paid with blood." Many males live in self-imposed isolation for fear of death, and many families are practically killed off.
    Furthermore, in the biblical book of Ecclesiastes and chapter 4, King Solomon the world's wisest man gives us a look into the isolation man has imposed on himself due to a craving for vanity. He begins (verses 1-3) with claims that neither the oppressed nor the oppressor finds any comfort. While those who have passed on from this life are extremely fortunate, even more  fortunate and blessed are the unborn who have never seen this life, he said.
    1. We isolate ourselves in moments of jealousy and envy. (v.4)
    2. We isolate ourselves in idleness and laziness. (v.5)
    3. We isolate ourselves by misinterpreting busyness, especially in career, as success. (v.6)
    4. We isolate ourselves by becoming self-centered, greedy, & selfish. (v.7,8)
    5. We isolate ourselves with an arrogant and know-it-all attitude (v.13,14)
    Solomon then provides a few simple but effective reasons we ought to reject and avoid isolation:
    1. Many hands make light work (v.9)
    2. For the reason of support (v.10)
    3. Companionship in marriage and the warmth it delivers (v.11)
    4. For reasons of protection (v.12)
    5. With humility, even in notable brilliance (v.15)
    So is isolation truly the Devil's playground? In Luke 4:1-4, "The Temptation of Christ", note the strategies and tactics of the devil. These are the same strategies and tactics he uses with us and others who find themselves isolated such as the faces we discussed above. Note also the differences in our moments of isolation, than that of Jesus Christ. Satan will:
    1. attack when we are alone and potentially at our weakest point
    2. test and question the core of who we say we are ("If you say you are the Son of God...")
    3. offer up a fake of what we desperately need most (Jesus was famished)
    The usual difference between us and Jesus which will guarantee a victory over the attacks of the devil are:
    1. Was Jesus really isolated although we frequently think He was when reading this passage? No!
      1. He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit
      2. Jesus went into the wilderness seeking companionship with the Father
    2. When we isolate, we go it alone. We are prime target of Satan's strategy and tactics.
    The solution to isolation is "companionship", not only with God the Father, but also His greatest creation; mankind and those he has entrusted to us for fellowship and community.