Category Archives: Random Matters

To Forgive… Or Not To Forgive

It was hard for me to figure out what I’d write about this week.  For many weeks my mind has been focused on the Fight Club “kick-off” and now that it’s over I feel like taking a bit of time just to chill before it begins.  The problem is that my “chill” tends to quickly turn into complacency if I’m not careful.   Fight Club will officially begin tomorrow and I’m ready…. well part of me is anyway.  The other part of me knows the challenge it will be, yet it is so needed in my life.

I’ve been trying recently to make peace with someone in my life with whom dissension has come between us.  I’d like to say my efforts went well, but they did not.  I desire not to cast blame, it almost always takes two to cause conflict.  I just want to talk briefly of our need to forgive and to try to be a peace with others.

Unforgiveness is poison to the innermost parts of a being.  Pride is the root cause and causes  a reluctance to forgive someone.  It is self-centered way to live life.  I’ve been both the one who refuses to forgive and the one who is not forgiven.  Unforgiveness is a horrible thing.

Before this chapter of Fight Club begins I wanted to rid myself of any bitterness and unforgiveness.  Mark 11:25 states, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven may also forgive your transgressions.”  In Matthew 6:14-15 we are told almost the same thing, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly father will forgive you.  But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

I’m sure we are all familiar with this basic Biblical principle, but how many of us ignore it?  I have many times.  It feels good to forgive, and some of you need to humble yourself and both forgive… and seek forgiveness.  Remember this, if someone refuses to forgive you… that is between them and God.  All we can do is assure that we are in right standing with God so that our prayers will not be hindered.  We worship a God who always forgives when we ask… we should do the same.  We forgive for ourselves, so that our prayers and connection to God is not hindered.   Blessed is Best!!

 
Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Try Again

Let me try this again.  My first attempt at writing a blog this week failed miserably as my wife nicely told me it basically stank.  I’ll tell you why she was right.

There are times in my life when I’m so purposeful in my relationship with the Lord that I’ll not take a step out of my bed until I’ve first focused my mind on God by thanking him and spending even just a moment in prayer.  Other times (for seemingly no reason) it is all I muster to force myself to read a quick devotional or look at one verse while sitting on my throne.

My brother Ed Martin shared a scripture with me last week that stuck me in a way as to make me wonder if I’d even ever heard it before.   Mark 9:24 states, “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said ‘I believe; help my unbelief!”

In the context of the story the disciples had just failed to free the boy of the spirit and so the father seeks out Jesus to heal his son.  In verse 23 Jesus tells the father. “If you can!…. All things are possible for one who believes.”  The father immediately responded that he does believe but asked for help of his unbelief.

Do you ever feel like that?  Do you pray about things…. believe things to be so but then struggle with unbelief?  I do.  It helped me to know that my brother Ed does too.

I was in a funk that day last week and by opening up to a friend I was blessed from his insight.

Anyway, back to why my first attempt at a blog stank and I had to try again (hopefully you’re not sitting there thinking “it was actually worse than this one”).  When I try to do things on my own I’ve got nothing.  I was not “feeling it” if you know what I mean.  When I woke up this morning (for whatever reason) I basically just skimmed through my devotion and failed to even crack open my Bible.  I tried to force something onto paper in hopes of “getting my blog over with.”

I’m trying to step up and be the man I’m called to be but my mind is too easily troubled because I fail to believe and trust in God as I should.  This causes me to stress,  and neglect the things that are most important to me in my life.  Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.  This time I spent some time in the Word and prayer before I tried to even type a letter.  Thank you God for being there to always let me try again.

Prepare to Fight!!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Storm Chaser

A few weeks ago much of the east coast was to receive a huge blizzard.  Talk of 2 feet of snow combined with winds of 50 mph permeated the news waves.  New York City was temporarily shut down due to the impending “Snow-apocalypse.”  The pressure system roared across the the land taking dead aim at our surrounding area, we were all clearly in the cross-hairs… and then NOTHING!  How different things would have been had we never paid attention to the forecasts.

This situation seems a direct correlation of how I’ll often handle potential storms in my own life.  I tend to try to be the forecaster, running all the possible prediction models over and over through my mind till I make my final forecast.  Often times it is the “Apocalypse” scenario.  More often than not the storm never comes, but if it does it is rarely as bad as I had predicted.  You’d think that by now I’d realize that I’m a horrible forecaster and recognize the futility of my attempts to predict life’s “weather.”

What makes my attempts at forecasting so detrimental is that most of my time is spent looking and worrying about the pending storm as opposed to seeking and praising after my God.  This tends to leave me grumpy and living my days void of the joy and peace I should be experiencing.  Instead of being filled with a true revelation of God’s love so that I may share it with others….  I’m too busy storm chasing.

I could get all spiritual on you know and list all kinds of scriptures about the way we should be thinking about the “weather” in our life, I’ll not do that because I think you already know. You know the kind of man God has called you to be and you know where to find Him… you know where to find His promises and strength.  Stop trying to predict the weather and focus of the fight.  Stop measuring your preparedness on your perception of your own personal holiness, but instead focus on knowing God.  This is what God wants from us more than anything.  Stop looking at the weather, stop worrying about storms, start focusing on knowing God.  PREPARE TO FIGHT!!!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Not Always Easy

Christmas is not always easy.  I love Christmas now…. but for so very long I did not.   For so long Christmas was merely a time to “GET.”  Ironically, what was supposed to be a wonderful time of the year really wasn’t for me growing up.  It seemed to be a stressful time around my house and sadly I carried this mentality over to my family for many years.  It’s only really been the last few years that I recognized this (thanks to my wife) and have tried to make it different.

Tomorrow is a day of celebration like no other.  God…. the Creator of All…. loves us!!  It does not matter what you’ve done or even whether you accept it.  It is so easy to get all caught up in every thing about Christmas… that is not really Christmas.

This blog is primarily intended for men so allow me to draw a connection to what I’ve shared thus far.  Brothers, what memories and legacy are you leaving to your family about the meaning of Christmas?  When the day is over will they truly understand what it represents.  It represents that fact that no matter what happens in this world each one of us is loved more than we can ever imagine.  God showed this to us by sending us His Son and desires that we now share this same love with our families and those around us.  May we be this kind of man. Merry Christmas.  Blessed is Best!!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Man-Thanks

On the heel of Thanksgiving I just want to say “thank you” to the men that have been there for me.  Until recently, I tried hard to make it through life on my own without the camaraderie and help of other godly men.  Your counsel has been received and your prayers have been felt.  Just a year ago many of you I knew very little,  I kept you at least an arms length away from me.  You’ve accepted me as the imperfect man that I am, you have helped me by showing me that you are not perfect either.

About 2 weeks ago I had the honor of getting to share a testimony at the men’s retreat.  This was a big step for me because public speaking had not been an easy or pleasurable experience for me most of my life.  I was excited to share this time though because I knew God was speaking to my heart about something.  He had been revealing to me overtime just how important it is for men to be real with each other…. to remove “our masks.”  During this time He was convicting me of the mask that I had been wearing for so long.  I removed my mask that night as much as I could,  prematurely assuming it would be a catalyst to a level of spiritual maturity I’ve not yet ever attained.  A funny thing happened though when after the retreat it was as if I had taken 10 steps back in the wrong direction.

If you have not read 1st Kings 18 recently I’ll ask you to do so.  It is one of my favorite stories in the Bible as I can only imagine how awesome it would have been to be Elijah that day.  It would not have necessarily been nice to be Elijah the next day if you continue to read on into chapter 19.  There is a point to me mentioning all of this… If you have not noticed men we are in a battle.  If you’re hiding behind a tree or in a ditch somewhere you may avoid getting shot at.  If your goal in life is to just to avoid getting shot then congratulations.  But know this…. the enemy may not be able to sight his scope on you, but your wife and kids might likely be easy pickings.

I’ll not judge whether you are hiding or fighting valiantly.  If valiantly…. thank you for your fight and example of the kind of godly man I need to become.  If hiding… step out from behind your blind and fight, but please don’t try to do it alone.  You have brothers in Christ that need you to join them as much as you need them to join you.  For those that have already joined in to fight with me… I’ll simply say thanks-man!   Blessed is Best!
Shared by Chad Hellenthal

This I Believe

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will

                            not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)   

My son Lucas was given a school assignment which required him to write about something he believes in.  His story is found further below, but I’ll first explain why this is so important and relevant to us as men and fathers.  This is what I believe…..

I believe that a father has a tremendous responsibility to raise his children in the knowledge and ways of the Lord.  For many years I failed to do this, although from the outside I’d claim and look like your average Christian.  My focus was on myself, not on instilling solid biblical foundations in my children.  My failure in this area has caused Lucas to face challenges he’d likely not have to if I had been the man of God I should have been.  It does no good to harp on these failures any longer, nor can they be used as an excuse for my son.  He is a young man now and must learn to follow God with a passion of his own.   This does not however alleviate me from my continuing fatherly responsibility to help him grow and learn about Christ from my words and actions.

I believe that a father cannot do this alone.  I’m thankful for my church brothers who have invested time in my son.  If you are a father, I hope that you may learn from my shortcomings and challenge you to avoid the mistakes I have made.  There is no better investment you can make than investing into the life of your children.  Your children do not need things…. they need you to show them how a real man, a man of God lives life.  Teach your children many things, most of all teach them of the wonders and strength of our Lord and Savior.  With great pleasure, I’ll now share the story that was written by my son.  He (like all of us) is in a battle everyday to do the things we ought, and not the things we do not want to.  It encourages me to know that my son is going to get up in front of his entire high school class and share this….

Guilty

What has been done can never be changed. The mistake I have made will follow me for the rest of my life. Prisoner in my own body. The graphite that repeatedly slams into my notebook as I sit in my cold room seems to send a grinding pain through the core of every bone in my body. The chilling drops of sweat bead along my brow until they finally fall upon the withered pages of my book. Slowly coming to the conclusion that my efforts are pointless, I release my pencil until it clatters upon my desk sending an enormous explosion of sound through the airwaves standing stagnant in my room, unbroken except for the air expelled through my dry mouth when I breathe. A thought runs through my mind, bringing along with it all of the possible accusations that I would be assaulted with. People, hate people like me. Knowing this to be true leads me to realize that I could hate you for the same reason, but together we must move past our transgressions.  It was our own lack of perfection, the love of hate as the entire humanity that led to this terrible crime for which we are all guilty of.  It is the worst crime ever recorded in time. I should serve my sentence, but I was acquitted by a stranger. I did not deserve this sacrifice.

I believe that I am guilty of the murder of Jesus Christ… and so are you.

This I believe.

But God demonstrates his own love towards us, in that while we were still

             sinners Christ died for US (Romans 5:8)

Blessed is Best!!

Shared by Chad and Lucas Hellenthal

IF

“IF…. you’d give up everything and become 100% committed to Christ…”  A friend of mine recently challenged me with these words. They’ve played over and over in my head many times since they were uttered.  He then spoke of the things God could and would do in my life…. “If.”

In the world of grammar, “If” is an example of a “subordinate conjunction.”  It implies that a transition must be made and that what follows is dependent on what precedes.  That is a complicated definition for such a short and seemingly simple word.  The problem however is that “if” is a huge word.  It has to do with that whole “dependent” aspect.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2nd Chronicles 7:14)

I’ve heard the scripture above many times.  Living on roughly ⅓ of an acre, I don’t necessarily think much of the need for God to heal my land.  However, He is referring to much more than the dirt beneath my feet responsible for growing my grass.   I’m sure you noticed the “If” at the very beginning of this verse, do you see what the “if” is dependent on?

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasures hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up.  Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

Men… I’ll assume just by the fact that you’re reading this that you’ve found the treasure, you (like myself) likely fail to understand it’s full value.  Unless you are willing to go and sell all that you have to buy the field in which you hid the treasure…. you’ve failed to understand the significance of what God will do… “If.”

Please don’t think that God is literally asking all of us to sell all our possessions.  I will ask you though whether you view that which you have as your possessions or His.  What God needs is a 100% commitment from us in every area of our life.  I’ve not been able to do this yet in my life, have you?  What would happen if just 5 of us progressed beyond the “If?”  10, 15, 20… We’d impact our lives, families, and community so profoundly the ramifications are honestly indescribable.

I don’t know the exact commitment percent level in my life at this time.  If I had to make an honest estimate I’d say about 40%.  I wanted to say 50% but felt some conviction as I went to type it.  What is your level of commitment?  What needs to be resolved in your life to get to the other side of “IF?”   Some things have not yet been revealed to you, there are other things you know God needs you to let go of “IF…….”

Blessed is Best!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

The World Today

We grow up being warned to be careful about ever talking about religion and politics.  This blog is dedicated to religious writings, I’ll now venture slightly into the political.  Personally, I’m 100% Republican and Fox News is the only news channel.  I’ve had to learn limit the amount of news I watch or read because it tends to take my mind off the things I feel matter most.  As a professional educator however, it is important that I stay fairly current on what is happening in the world…. This is a fine line to walk as I can easily become consumed with the events of national and global politics.

The global events that take place are most important to me in their relation to end time Bible prophecy.  There are clearly events happening all over the world that attest to the truth of what is recorded in the Bible about end times.  Most recently, Russia is making many headlines as they cultivate division while simultaneously strengthening alliances with Muslim nations.  I’m no expert, but many Bible scholars agree that Russia will play a significant role in the Battle of Armageddon as they team up with Islam.

So why is all of this so important?  For me it serves to strengthen my belief in the Word of God.   The Book of Revelation along with several writings from major old testament prophets (Daniel and Ezekiel) give great insight into the events to come.  We are talking about things that were written and recorded thousands of years ago and we see them unfolding right before our eyes today.

At times I look into the eyes of my children and wonder if they will have the opportunity to grow old, experience such things as grandchildren and retirement.  In fact, will we?  I write all these things today to encourage you to dedicate more of your thoughts, time, life…. to things of God.  It can be hard to keep Him as the priority in our life and the foundation of our very existence.  You likely personally know more people in your circle of life who will go to hell then to heaven.  Does this concern you?  There may be sin in your life that prevents you from hearing God’s voice ask you to go talk to or pray for someone.  You may be so passionate about something that it distracts you from spending time with or serving God.  Maybe you have a strong personal relationship with our Lord but are reluctant to trust in Him enough to step out and do what He is calling you to do.

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers … what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4).

Have you ever wondered why God created us?  You?  It is not because He needed us, “The God who made the world and everything in it … is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything” (Acts 17:24-25).  Despite not needing us, God chose to create us anyway, out of his great love: “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). Yes, God loved us before he even created us. It’s impossible to get our heads around that idea, but it’s true; that’s what “everlasting” love means.

God is love (1 John 4:8), and because of that love and his wonderful creativity, he made us so we can enjoy all that He is and all that He’s done.  He created us to fulfill His eternal plan.  May we remember why we are here living the gift of life He has given us.  There are many instructions we can follow, may we understand and prioritize these 3 into our lives.  Blessed is Best!

1. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

2. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).

3. “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Care 2 Share

Why is it so easy to lose focus of the things that matter most in life?  It may seem at times as if we were placed here on earth so that we can work.  We have this precious gift of life and what do we use it for?  I’ve spent the last several weeks in eager anticipation of whether I’ll get a new position at work.  Updating a resume, applying for the position, hoping to get an interview, preparing for the interview, preparing for a second interview, waiting to hear the results…. I would tell you “God is in control,” and can back it up with scriptures, however the battle in my mind to not dwell on this matter reveals to me that I may not believe this as much as I’d like to think.  All the time I’ve spent thinking on this matter and it was all focused on “me, me, me, me, me.”

We’re all familiar with Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Or, how about “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).  There are so many things we all want from life… often times, way too many things.  It is easy to let the pursuit of these things distract us from what is truly most important in life.  God, family, work, this should be the order of our priorities.  And when at work and spending time with our families, God should still be the priority.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about 1st Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts honor Christ as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is within you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”  Are you prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is within you?  Can they see that there is indeed a hope within you?  When is the last time that you’ve led someone to Christ, shared Christ, or mentioned Him in conversation?  As always, please understand I’m not accusing or judging.  These questions are posed to you because they have been asked and revealed to me about myself.

I was blessed for the last 9 months to spend my days working in my classroom with a devoted Muslim.  This challenged me and provided an opportunity to grow spiritually because I had to be prepared to make a defense for my Jesus everyday.  We actually became good friends; I’d say that we both would attest that there is a kind brotherly bond between us, although not as “Brothers in Christ” (yet).  There is something about discussing God with someone that just seems to cause relationships to move to a deeper level.  It is for this reason that I’d say we are truly here on this earth.

The greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul.  The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39).  If we honestly believe that the greatest thing in life is God… if we tell ourselves that we want more of Him, sing of His glory and majesty, desire that our wives and children grow in the knowledge and wisdom of Him… Is it possible that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves by wanting this same thing for them in their lives?  Can we share the knowledge of the gift that we have freely received without being prepared to make a defense for Jesus?

I intend on exploring the topic of sharing Christ with men at another time.  For now I’d like to challenge you regarding your focus and priorities in life.  There are men all around you that need to experience the power of God in their lives.  I pray as I type these words that God will speak to you regarding this matter and provide opportunities for you to share the hope that is within you.  Let us not keep our gift to ourselves, nor may we disrespect it by allowing the things of this world to keep us from living the life that allows God to work in and through us.

Luke 11:33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.”

Don’t hide your light, trim the wick and burn brightly.  Seek God first.  Be prepared to give a defense.  Blessed is best!!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Heart Lights

images

I arise this morning with some sickness in my body.  This sickness placed a damper on yesterday but I refused to let it ruin my entire day.  My family was excited to decorate for Christmas and my wife expressed her desire to get a “real” Christmas tree this year as opposed to using our artificial tree again.  We got dressed and hiked around the tree farm until we found the tree that was perfect for us.  We then went to Lowe’s and searched for new lights since our old tree was pre-lit.  When we returned home the tree was put in place, wrapped in lights and the children begun to hang the ornaments. It was only 6:30 at this point but my body had exhausted any bit of strength it had.  I headed off to bed leaving my family to add the finishing touches.  This thought caused me some sadness, yet I was happy for all we were able to do today in spite of my sickness.

Before even taking a sip of my beloved coffee I had to turn on the tree to see what they had done.  It’s beautiful.  The tree illuminates the room as I sit here in otherwise darkness typing these words.  Christmas is not about a tree, the tree is merely a symbol of life and hope.  Christmas is about the birth of the Savior of the world.  Many of us know this already, although (like myself) fail to understand the true magnificent significance.  Sadly, there are countless more people who have not had their hearts opened to the true meaning of Christmas.

I’m now 40 years old and have had a tree in my living room every Christmas for as long as I can remember.  Why is this tree so much more beautiful than each one before it?  It really has nothing to do with the size, fullness, or decorations.  It has everything to do with the condition of my heart.  I pray that every tree hereforth continues to be more beautiful than the last.

For many of us, Christmas can bring back memories or hidden emotions we’d rather not have.  They can harden our hearts and blind our eyes to the true “Reason for the Season.” Like myself, most people probably don’t even know the extent to which this may have happened.  I’ll ask, “What will you see when you look at your Christmas tree this year?” After this morning I’ll never look the same again at our family Christmas tree.

Click on link below for a cool Christmas video (plays only on computer; not tablets or phone)

http://shortsbay.com/film/december

Luke 2:9-14

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”