Real Love|Real Life


I am still in awe of what happened 22 years ago on March 1, 1997.  The moment you stepped into the sanctuary at Peace Lutheran Church in Greenview, Missouri the whole place turned to see the most beautiful woman, but I was the fortunate one who would get to see you every day for the rest of our lives.  Still to this day your beauty captures my heart and attention.

Our love story starts really began 42 years ago when you were only five years old, and I was just three.  You and your mother began praying for your future husband.  The prayers were offered continually while you all lived in the State of Washington.  What we didn’t know at the time is that we both lived in the same state, but God sure did, and He began to orchestrate our first date many years later in the State of Missouri.

The two of us were solid in our stance to wait on God for the very best and to not move in any direction until He revealed His plan for our lives.  We both graduated college and began down the path He was leading us.  We were only three miles apart from each other, our steps never crossed.

October 4, 1993, while I was a Children’s Minister at Sunrise Bible Church in Sunrise Beach, Missouri.  The church had a special meeting with Rod and Cheryl McClain.  It was during that Sunday evening service that Rod asked me a question.  He said, “Do you want to get married? ” I answered, “Of course I do.”

What he said next would lay a solid foundation for Real Love|Real Life.  I was encouraged to throw away any mental lists that I had in looking for a spouse and replace it with three spirit-led directives.  This amazing couple then asked to pray for me for my future spouse.  They warned me ahead of time that God had used them many times to pray for this and within a year most would be married.

Step One: Ask for a mate who loves God more than they love me so that they can love me.

Real Love|Real Life has its foundation in the author of love and life.  Our marriage started in Him, stays in Him, and will end in Him.  We both know firsthand that if it wasn’t for the love of God at the center of our marriage that we would be a statistic of divorce and not a celebration of marriage all these years later.  The God kind of Love continues to be the dependable source of our relationship.

Step Two: Ask for a mate who is a Soul-Winner.

Real Love|Real Life is consumed with eternity.  Our marriage needed to be more than just about the two of us but consumed with His plans and purposes.

John 3:16 TPT says, “For this is how much God loved the world he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.”

I will never forget you and I planning our wedding ceremony.  You were adamant that Jesus Christ would be represented in every aspect. Your passion and love for music were expressed throughout, and each song pointed our guest to Him.   It has been our desire throughout the years to keep our marriage pointing the viewers towards Him.

Step Three: Make sure that you and your mate are not unequally yoked.

Real Love|Real Life will take the time to make sure there are common pursuits in the future.  Our mutual pursuits included family, ministry, and children.  You had just graduated with your degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, and I had just become a children’s minister after college.

When I think about the three common pursuits of family, ministry, and children, I see them as the three pillars in our marriage that define our past and continues to determine our future.  We intentionally made family our goal.  Our pursuits in ministry have remained focused on children.  When we were unable to bear children of our own making, we were led to adopt three of the most amazing daughters, a grandson, and another grandchild on the way.

Real Love|Real Life has real moments.  These moments could have destroyed our marriage.  Instead, our determination to place our FOCUS on HIM instead of our mistakes have defined our marriage.  We started with the perfect wedding, the perfect honeymoon, the perfect first house, the perfect first several years.  Then it hit, what was perfect wasn’t so perfect after all. We focused on what tried to destroy us:

*Infertility crushed the dream of having Steven Charles, Barridee Denise, Christel Irene, and James Michael.

*Poor Money Management cost our business and has led to so many other issues.

*Lost Hope caused our focus to be taken off of Him and onto what we were good at and it magnified our issues.

*Failure to Communicate opened the door to our separation and kept us from the reality of our need to openly discuss with each other about our failed expectations.

Today as we celebrate 22 years of marriage, I am reminded of the day you came home from Ashes To Beauty conference with Encounter Ministries.  We embraced for the first time in years.  It was at that moment that God supernaturally healed our marriage from the things trying to destroy us.

The very next week we had planned to go to Hope Restored in Branson, Missouri to prove that we should no longer be married.  We expected to make it the last ditched effort to assure ourselves that our marriage couldn’t be fixed.  But GOD knew better, and we spent the next 5 days discovering His plan for our marriage.

Real Love|Real Life are the few words that come to mind about our marriage.  Happy Anniversary to My Most Wonderful Love and the greatest woman that I know.  Your an inspiration to me and I thank God that before we were even born, He had a plan for our lives, and even our marriage.  What the enemy meant for our destruction, God has turned around for His Glory.

Occupy with Purpose


The word “Occupy” caught my attention while scrolling through a social media post.  As I began to research that word, this phrase rose up on the inside of me: “Occupy with Purpose.”  I grabbed my handy digital Strong’s Concordance to find out what this word was all about.  In Greek, it means to busy oneself with. 

Strong’s continues to define occupy as trading, exchanging, and leveraging one thing for another to make a legitimate gain.  It clearly is not “playing it safe.”  Luke 19:10-28 gives solid examples of those who occupied with a purpose and the one who played it safe (out of fear).  The outcome is motivation to be fully engaged with the twenty-four hours given to you each day.

We live in a severe day and time.  Things are happening and changing at a rapid pace.  Many are not aware of or prepared for the return of Christ.  Far too many times we have hidden behind the mask of “playing it safe” to avoid being bold about our purpose in Christ. Amongst all the changing happening around us, it’s time to turn something over and manage each day with the intent of turning a profit for the Kingdom of God.  

Matthew 6:23 says ” But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

How can we “Occupy with Purpose” and become fully engaged with the process?  Why not consider a few steps:

  1. Divert your attention:  It is easy to have your focus on me, myself and I.  With all the responsibilities that fall on your plate each day, it’s easy to be focused on what is right in front of you.  Yet, at some point, we must divert our attention from that which has our focus and place it upon Him.  Diverting doesn’t have to be an all-day event.  It starts with intentional action.  No one can do this for you.  It has to be your decision. 
  2. Invade your day: Jesus spent each day here on earth with a keen knowledge of His divine purpose.  Every second of his day was spent applying His time to turning a profit for the Kingdom of God.  He exhibited a healthy balance of His 24 hours.  This included proper rest, time spent with His Father, and in relationships with people.  Invading your day requires an action plan on your part.  It’s more than time management.  Consider invading your day with purpose.
  3. Conquer in all battles: Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Living life fully engaged with your divine purpose attracts enemies and battles.  Not everyone is convinced of your ability to busy yourself with. Fulfilling your divine purpose will include others, but it won’t be determined by their opinions of what you can or can’t do.  Conquering means you’re in it to win it.  Joshua was given the mandate to possess the promised land.  He didn’t accomplish that by “playing it safe.” He aggressively went after the battles with the sole intent of winning.  No matter your struggle, don’t give up the fight to win.
  4. Capture a legitimate gain: We can’t ride the coattails of another person’s victory.  There must be a profitable gain every day.  1 Corinthians 9: 25-27 in The Passion Translation says, “A true athlete will be disciplined in every respect, practicing constant self-control in order to win a laurel wreath that quickly withers. But we run our race to win a victor’s crown that will last forever.  For that reason, I don’t run just for exercise or box like one throwing aimless punches, but I train like a champion athlete.  I subdue my body and get it under my control so that after preaching the good news to others I myself won’t be disqualified.”  Keep track of your gains by writing them down and then repeating them back to yourself in the midst of conquering in battles.
  5. Inhabit actual places: We have all been told that this is my space and that is your space and don’t mess with mine.  That is the motto of the one who is playing it safe.  “Occupy with Purpose” requires us to “catch one’s eye!”  If a shiny object can stop your whole routine, why can’t one person fulfilling their God-given Divine Purpose catch the eyes of others?  When you inhabit actual places by boldly doing what you were called to do safe players will drop their mask and invite you into where they need help.  Allow God to ignite a passion within you that captures the attention of a world in desperate need of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

These five steps are not the only solution to occupy with purpose, but they can be a start to the journey we each take with the 24 hours given in a day.  Let it be our desire to be fully engaged by diverting our attention, invading our day, conquering in battles, capturing legitimate gains, and inhabiting the places we come in contact along our journey.

Follow Your Dreams

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Dreams, Dreams, and More Dreams

Genesis 37:5-6 says, “Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.  He said to them, Listen to this dream I had.”  The story doesn’t stop with a dream.  In fact, for Joseph, he had another dream.  When he shared it with his brothers, they hated him even more and when he shared it with his father, he rebuked him.

With confidence, I will say that at some time or another you’ve had a dream.  The dream was impactful to you.  Maybe that dream gave direction in your life or it helped you pursue an idea.   I have found that dreams come and they go.  However, they are the kind of dreams that you have had when you’re asleep.  The dreams that Joseph had were not dreams from a pizza he had the night before.  The dreams he had were the kind that gave purpose to his life.

The dream I am emphasizing is the one that God has placed in you to fulfill your destiny and purpose.  Ephesians 2:10 in The Passion Translation says, ” We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One.  Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it.”

I can vividly recall the first time God placed His dream for my life in me.  I didn’t even know at the time that God existed.  Yet, I knew it was what I was supposed to do.  The dream was to become an author.  I wanted to write a book.  I was only 9 years old.  Just like Joseph, I shared that dream with someone who took what I said and twisted it into something that caused me to avoid that dream for over 29 years later.

The dream that keeps you moving forward must be treated with great caution and care.  There is nothing more exciting than knowing what you were made to do.  Protect that excitement by developing a strong foundation in your relationship with God.  After all, He is the one who gave you dream, to begin with.  My favorite verses in the entire Bible are found in 1 John 5:14-15.  What stands out to me is that God hears me when I pray His will.

Joseph’s story gives us valuable insight into dreams that are to be pursued.  When dreams are from God, they come to pass.  We must be careful with who we share those dreams with at first, even with those who are closest to us.  I’ve had family members who didn’t agree with me becoming an author.  I’ve had friends who said it just couldn’t be done.  I’ve had instructors tell me it was impossible.  Each of their comments impacted my life and though I didn’t know better at the time, it caused me to delay becoming an author.

Joseph didn’t stop dreaming about his dream from the bottom of the well.  Those dreams ended up giving him hope in every hopeless situation he faced from that moment forward.  Habakkuk 2:3 says, “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end, it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

The reason why I said to protect and care for the dream that keeps you moving forward is for one solid purpose: God gave it to you!  When God gives you something He doesn’t take it back.  Believe that dream He gave you, for it will sustain you from the bottom of the well to the top spot in your life.  Your the one God knew would keep it alive!  Go fulfill the dream and purpose for which you were made.

I Gave Up!


” I gave up!”  After months and months of trying I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Sound familiar?  I tried, really I did try.  No one noticed.  I am not really sure that no one cared.  Then it resounded within me that something had to be done.  What should I do with all of this information I had obtained?  I was on overload and my mind felt like mush.

Today, in just one of my email accounts I searched one person’s name and had over 557 emails since July of 2014.  This didn’t count all the replies.  Each email contained ideas on how to make more money by doing this or that.  Each email had a link, a success story, and yet another method.  I finished spending a few hours online trying to see how I could do it again.

Learning is valuable.  However, there comes a point in which you have to start applying all that knowledge and do something about it.  

Two stories come to mind in regards to this point.  Last year I had a co-worker and great friend who froze right in the middle of trying to pursue their dream career.  Thousands of hours and money of course and they froze.  The pressure became so great that the thought of another semester of college made this person sick.  Information overload caused them to tilt.

The second story is very personal.  At the age of 9 I knew I wanted to write books.  When I was in Bible College the idea came to me for my very first book.  I had the outline and could even see myself helping train others with it.  The only problem I had was, ” I gave up.”  I kept those thoughts and ideas to myself and the outline stayed in the folder I tucked it into.

Life happened and before I knew it the desire to write had faded away, or so I thought.  In a short period of time, my entire life turned upside down.  My family was no longer a family and 1 of our 5 was gone to another place.  I had written the rough draft of my book right before this happened.  After completing it, life happened again, but this time it was my wife who was gone to another place.  When that happens no book seems valuable.  I set it aside and gave up.

True to my own word:

Learning is valuable.  However, there comes a point in which you have to start applying all that knowledge and do something about it.   

I found that I had come to the point where I had to apply what I knew and do something with it.

Here are 5 steps that I took to overcome, “I Gave Up!”

  • Dig Deep:  Look back to what was in you before LIFE seemed to define you.  It is there, you just have to peel back the layers. The deeper you dig into what is on the inside of you the more you will realize what has been set aside or buried.
  • Dust off the dirt:  I know what you are thinking, that is easier said than done and you are right!  It is always easier to say something than it is to do it.  However, when you have identified what it was that you buried, it has to be dusted off.  I took the finished rough draft of my first book and sent it to editors I knew.
  • Don’t Delay: I started this blog post today.  I was tired of gathering information and decided to do what I like, and that is to write.  Rather it makes me any money today or not.  I GAVE UP delaying.  You have to start.
  • Deepen Your Faith: For me, Faith in God is my key.  Hebrews 13:5 says, ” …For He Himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  This verse is an anchor to my soul.  It is deep within me.  No matter the outcome, God is Faithful.  Faith is defined as the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)  Rather your faith is in God or not, FAITH is a spiritual principle anyone can put into practice. How can you deepen you faith?  Start hoping for things you can’t see. My family may not be together, but it hasn’t stopped me from being one.
  • Do Something:  Today I set out to find a way to make more money.  I looked at emails, followed links, and even revisited three mentors websites.  Then I visited my website and this blog. I almost started to change up the way my website and blog looked and then, ” I GAVE UP.”  I quit trying to learn and started this posting.

The 5 things I just mentioned didn’t just happen today.  They are principles I have practiced anytime my mind feels like mush. Their things I do, when I need to do something.

I challenge you today to start doing what you already know to do and watch it make things change.


Barnes & Noble – Books, Textbooks, eBooks, Toys, Games, DVDs and More

I am excited to announce that my book is also available for purchase at Barnes&Noble and for The Nook.

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