Category Archives: story

In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day!


In A Pit

“What if the life you really want, and the future God wants for you, is hiding right now in your biggest problem, your worst failure, your greatest fear?”

This is the tagline of the book by Mark Batterson, “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day.”  The book is based on a biblical character named, Benaiah.  He once chased a lion into a pit while it was snowing, and killed him (2 Samuel 23:20, 21).  With this in the background, Mark writes nine chapters on this simple verse in the Bible.  Simply put, this book is fantastic if you are struggling with confidence or fear about a decision in your life.  The stories that Mark shares are a true encouragement to get out there and chase after your dreams.  The book is filled with great one liners and inspiring stories, all designed to help you be courages and take some initiative and chase your dreams.  Or a lion.

The downside to the book is that it seemed a little on the repetitive side.  After all, it’s hard to write on nearly any topic with only a one-line story as inspiration.  At times the book felt like it would have made a great article or series of blogs, but not necessarily a book.  So you need to be ready for some repetitive language and some concepts that will repeat themselves.

Overall, this is a great book for those needing that extra nudge of encouragement to chase something in their life.  I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

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What I Was Waiting To Hear!


Exponential Conference

I really enjoy going to conferences.  There are so many amazing stories to hear and it’s great to see God at work across the nation and world.  I almost always leave refreshed and excited to go and chase all kinds of crazy ideas.  That’s what I love about conferences!

However, there is something that I have been waiting to hear.  It is overlooked at almost every conference (at least the ones I have been to).  It is a topic that goes beyond missional, attractional, traditional, denominational, non-denominational, small-group driven, purpose driven (should I continue?), etc.

My point is this; there is an issue that goes well beyond all of these methods and styles of doing church.  I have been waiting to hear someone at a major conference say, “It’s not about any of this stuff.  It’s more about whether or not you’re Godly.”

Well, I finally got what I was waiting for.

I sat in on a workshop by Matt Chandler, lead Pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, Texas.  It was obvious that God had given him a very specific message to say to me.

His message was this…

Why are you trying to be Francis Chan?  Why do you want to be the next Rick Warren?  Why are you striving to be Matt Carter or Dave Ferguson?  God loves you for who you are right now!  God doesn’t love the future you more because ten years down the road, you will have a big church like some other guy.  God loves you right where you are, right now.  Stop trying to be everyone else!

He basically asked us, “How well do you understand and apply the Gospel to your own life?”  And you know the answer to that question by asking five others (I don’t have all five unfortunately).  Questions like; are you violent towards sin?  Are you utmost in your own affections?  When you screw up, do you run away from or toward God?

The questions were pointed and direct.  He was passionate and animated.  He got off track at times in order to do more than stick with notes and fit into a conference workshop box.  He was preaching.  He was preaching the Word of God and he was bringing the Gospel to a room full of pastors.  And I was so excited that someone was finally saying what I had been wanting to hear.  The difference was that Matt Chandler says it far better than I ever could.

My goal in life should not be to become the next big-church pastor.

My goal in life should not be to be the next main session speaker at a conference.

My goal in life should be to become Godly, holy and more like Christ.

I was so excited to hear someone release me from the pressure of being like one of those guys on the stage.  That’s not what I’m here to do or become.  I am here to do the will of the Father who has given me a task to do and has given me exactly what I need in terms of gifts, talents, background and education to accomplish just that.

Thank you Mr. Chandler, for saying what I have been wanting to hear so desperately.

Thank you for allowing God to use you to preach!

If you haven’t heard Matt yet, I would encourage you to do so.  Beyond a God-given talent to preach, he has such an inspiring story of strength and faith.  God is using him in a big way!

Easter Traditions!


On Friday night, I called my kids up to the living room.  The only light in the room was candle light.  I read some Scripture (John 13) and talked about the night before Jesus was crucified.  Yes, I know Friday night isn’t the right night for that, but I had a late meeting on Thursday.

I told my three children about foot washing and what it means to be a servant to others.  Then I went around the room and washed all their feet.  Then, I washed my wife’s feet.  I didn’t expect it, but each of them took turns washing my feet.  It was a great experience and opened up some great conversation, at least from my two oldest children.

Then, I read to them about the Lord’s Supper from Matthew 26.  We talked about what the Lord’s Supper is and why we have communion each Sunday at church (Acts 20:7).  We had grape juice out and some crackers.  Some of you might not agree with my next move, but we talked about how communion reminds us of Jesus’ crucifixion and what He did for us.  Then we all drank some grape juice and at the crackers.  It was a special night and I wanted my kids to understand what communion is and who it is for.

Communion

Then, we went into the dining room to have supper.  It was a good segway into the next part of our evening.  After dinner, we made “empty tomb” cookies.  It’s actually amazing how they are hollow inside.  If you want the recipe, you’ll have to ask my wife.  We made them together and talked about different parts of the Easter story.  Smashing up walnuts we talked about how Jesus’ body was broken.  Putting some vinegar in the cookies we talked about how Jesus was offered vinegar to drink on the cross.  We added salt and talked about the salty taste of tears and the people who were crying when Jesus died.  It was really cool.  I’m hoping to make stuff like this a Rodda family tradition.

*On a side note, I even let my oldest son watch a few scenes from The Passion of the Christ.  I thought he was old enough to see a pretty accurate image of what the crucifixion was like.

I don’t remember a lot of Easter traditions in my family.  We probably had some, I’ve just forgotten (I know, I’m a bad son).  I’m looking forward to sharing cool moments like this each Easter with my family.  I pray it helps them develop a strong connection with how important Easter is and how it is much more than an Easter bunny and candy.

Does your family have any Easter traditions?

I’d love to hear them.

Please share in the comments.

Take The Real Man Challenge!


Let’s just be honest, many men don’t truly value their wives.  Let me be more honest, I have not always valued my wife the way God expects me to.  For that, I am eternally in debt to my amazing wife.

My guess is that most of you who read this blog have probably heard a song by Bruno Mars called, “Just The Way Your Are.”  I’m not necessarily a fan of Bruno Mars personally, but I truly enjoy this song and wish that all men felt this way about their wives.

Bruno Mars

I want to challenge every man out there who has a spouse, is engaged or who would like to be married some day; when you have a wife, cherish her, love her, sacrifice for her, die on the side of a mountain for her.  It doesn’t matter to me if you are on to your second or third marriage (or more), but if you will love your wife the way God intends, you will see your marriage bloom into something amazing.

Ephesians 5 offers some guiding principles.  Some people take offense to them.  Men believe they can never live up to them.  But let me tell you where God stands on your marriage.  God says this in Ephesians 5:25-27 (Message)…

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church-a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness.

Your love for your wife should reflect the love Jesus has for the church.  Jesus died for the church!

Your love for your wife should make her whole and complete.  Does your love for her leave her feeling as if she is whole and complete?  Or does she feel like something is missing?

Your love for your wife should bring out her best to your family and the world.  How do you speak about your wife to your friends, neighbors and co-workers?  Is she the “old ball and chain?”  Or is she so much more than that to you?

Your love for your wife should bring out the best in her.  If something isn’t right, don’t blame her first.  Look at yourself and ask if you’re doing everything in your power to bring out the best in her or are you putting her in no-win situations.

Your love for your wife should have her looking holy, blameless and radiant to everyone on the planet.  Can you say that you do that for your wife?

This passage is a great challenge.  I believe that if men took it on fully, they would find the most satisfying and rewarding relationship with their wives.  Everything would change if men would follow through on their role in the family.  I wish I could say that I have lived this perfectly.  I strive for this standard, but often I fall miserably short.

I mentioned Bruno Mars because I think that men (and women) go into a marriage or relationship thinking the other person will change.  We often view the other as a project or someone we can fix.  And when that philosophy doesn’t pan out, we give up.  The relationship ends.  And in many cases, the lives of those involved will never be the same.

So I’m posting the Bruno Mars song (I can’t vouch for comments on YouTube nor can I vouch for the ads).  You should listen to it.  Bruno isn’t perfect either I’m sure, but the words say a lot about how men should look at their wives (not other women walking by, by the way).  And at the risk of sounding sacrilegious, I have even imagined Jesus singing this song to the church.  When the church is on its game, smiling like Jesus knows we can, the whole world takes notice.

God has given you a helper, men.  And when you treat her the way God expects, you will not experience a better relationship with anyone, ever, on this planet.  So get out there and love your wife like you’re supposed to.  Sacrifice for her.  Bring out the best in her.  Never leave her.

Girl’s Weekend!


For my wife’s birthday, a couple of her friends surprised her with a weekend away.  They headed off to Richmond yesterday and are having some girl time.  Time my wife really needed.

So it was up to me to pick up some slack.  I picked up the slack by having fun with the kids.  You didn’t expect me to clean did you?

Anyway, we had a great time yesterday and are planning some other good stuff today.  Check out this video from our little adventure yesterday.

It’s All About Japan!


Tokyo Skyline

I can’t even begin to comprehend how the people of Japan are feeling.  I won’t even begin to pretend I understand.  Because I don’t.  I don’t understand or comprehend what it must feel like to lose thousands (possibility of that number going up into the tens of thousands) of your countrymen in a matter of hours while nuclear reactors leak radiation into the air which will ultimately lead to a sad and painful death for some of the workers.  I don’t understand it, but I know it bothers me.  And I hurt for them.

One thing I do know, what’s happening there reaffirms for me that we were designed for so much more.  We weren’t created for this.  We were created for more.  For better.  For perfection.  For eternity.

I know that I’m not the only Christian hurting for the people of Japan or thinking about them constantly.  I also know that some people are waiting on the Pat Robertson’s of the world to say something ridiculous.  Well, they got it, but it didn’t come from Pat.  It came from this man…Reverend David Cho.

David Cho

The Reverend David Cho leads an Assembly of God church in Korea with more than one million members.  Before Pat Robertson could get his speech together, Pastor Cho had this to say…

Because the Japanese people shun God in terms of their faith and follow idol worship, atheism, and materialism, it makes me wonder if this was not God’s warning to them.

If you can stomach it, the rest of the article is here.

Let’s assume for sake of argument that Pastor Cho is right.  Let’s say that this awful tragedy in Japan, was done by the very hand of God and it is His judgment on their country for their idol worship, etc.  Let’s say that God appeared in the sky and spoke in all languages simultaneously to tell us all that the tragedy in Japan was His idea, His plan and that He would take all the credit (blame).  Let’s just say that everything I just wrote is accurate.  With that in mind, how do Pastor Cho’s comments help this situation in any way?  Even if we could say with 100% accuracy that this was an act of God’s judgment, do his comments help any of the dying and hurting in Japan?  Wouldn’t he be of better use if he mobilized his one million members to get to Japan immediately and make a difference for Christ in the lives of the Japanese?

Let me be perfectly clear, I, 100% do not agree with this man’s comments.  They are uncalled for and out of place.  They only add to the hurt and make Christians around the world look like self-righteous jerks.

Pastor Cho, from me to you, please don’t talk about this anymore.  Get down from your million-member pedestal.  Get involved in a messy world, as Jesus did.  Use your influence to share a message of hope, grace & forgiveness with the people of Japan as Jesus did with the woman caught in adultery.  Love those who are without hope the way Jesus did.  Don’t speak.  Act on the grace that has been given you.  You have that platform for a reason.  Please, don’t use it to add pain to the people of Japan or to hurt the cause of Christ.

What do you think about Pastor Cho’s comments?

Japan

Lent Day 1!


As a heads up, I probably won’t blog every single day for 46 days.  Let’s just go ahead and set that expectation up front.  If I tried that, I’d probably go crazy.

Charlie Sheen

Oh, come on.  Not that crazy!

However, I wanted to make note of a couple of things about my first day without social media.

1) Only one person sent me a txt to ask if I was going crazy or not.  Honestly, I’m hurt.  I really don’t know if this is a good or bad thing.  Oh well.  Thanks for the txt to check up on me, Tom.

2) “Your focus needs more focus,” a line from the newer “Karate Kid” movie (I like the original better).  In an effort to have more focus, I have a new office area in my bedroom.  So today, armed with my new whiteboard of knowledge and wisdom, calendar, new notepad, laptop (minus social media) and a few other goodies, I set out for the day.  Well, not to be proud but, I conquered today like Arthur conquered the sword in the stone.  Like buttah!  =)  Don’t tell my boss.  I don’t want to get his expectations up.

3) By the time I deleted bookmark folders, apps on my phone and even my new Facebook browser (Rockmelt), I realized how much time I spend on social media.  Day one wasn’t even over and I was already disgusted with myself.  I enjoy social media, but need to be more disciplined with it.  I posted about that awhile back as well.

4) When you replace your social media time with time with God, you will be surprised how much of the book of Deuteronomy you can read.

5) This is obviously a spiritual journey for me.  You might not do Lent, might not care about it and it might just not be your thing.  But today was great for me.  Simply replacing time on Facebook with time being focused on God and realigning myself with Him, was amazing.  I was very aware of God’s presence in my life today.  Sometimes, I get so wrapped up with the things I think are important, that I drown out what’s most important.  I hope all 46 days are like this.

1 down, 45 to go.  This is going to be one cool journey.

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