It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere

This past weekend at Parkview Christian Church in the Chicagoland area I shared this message about many world religions. Including Christianity, Jehovah Witness, Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism and Scientology.

If you have have been told by a friend or family member or thought to yourself …

  • As long as your a good person, you’ll be fine.
  • All paths pretty much end up at the same place.
  • All religions are basically the same.

I want to encourage you to watch this 40 minute message.

Truth > Sincerity


What Happens When Your Passions & God’s Purposes Collide?


Shout out to @DCCowan and The Crossing Church in Las Vegas for this high definition description of what can happen when your passions and God’s purposes collide.



I have a passion for global missions, children who are hungry and photography.


And when you combine those passions with my entrepreneurial tendencies and God’s purposes … you get Eat Art!


Together we sent hope and over 30,000 meals to hungry kids through the Eat Art Show at The Crossing Church on one single weekend!


If you would like to host an Eat Art Show at your church or business and begin artfully ending hunger, we would love to partner with you.


You get the art, and the kids get to eat.



IMG_5520  IMG_5505

 At The Crossing Church we sold out of all the images we sent for the Sunday art show!


Here are a few of the images people purchased that sent thousands of meals to hungry kids.


Welcome HomeA nearby faraway place.
Ko Olina, Hawaii
Ko Olina, Hawaii


doortoheart50percent logoAntigua, Guatemala
Zuma Beach, CA
Zuma Beach, CA
Antigua, Guatemala
Antigua, Guatemala
Table For Two
Table For Two – Dominican Republic

One big lesson from the first Presidential Debate


As I watch the debate tonight I see a difference that I have not seen in other debates leading up the Presidential election this year.

You are always on screen!

I understand in other debates there were more than two candidates, so the camera cannot have all candidates on screen at all times. But hello! Tonight both candidates are on screen all the time. You cannot smirk, roll your eyes, cough, look down, laugh, look condescendingly or show anger over anything.

The camera is always on Hillary and Donald.

And not to freak anyone out, but Jesus says in Luke 12:2-3 the camera is also always on our lives.

Who you are in private is just as important as who you are in public.

Integrity has been defined as what you do when no one is looking.

Maybe the biggest lesson I can take from tonight’s debate is to remember that someone’s eyes are always on me, and I need to act, react and live in a way every single day that honors Jesus and respects others.

The Greatest and Suckiest Day of the Year


One week ago we dropped off our oldest child, Ruby, at college in Southern California.

One of my close friends was also dropping off his daughter, and I love his description of the experience …

I knew that dropping off Ruby at Hope International University would be an emotional experience, so in the week leading up to the “drop off” I asked several friends who have been through this already how to navigate this emotional moment.

The following are some amazing bits of advice from friends and also a few that God taught to me along the way …

1. Buy stock in kleenex. @DaveStone920

Dave’s advice meant I could count on some tears, but what I didn’t count on is how, why, when and from where the tears would come. When standing with Ruby in her dorm room, I really thought that would be THE moment!  But I didn’t have to reach for the kleenex until listening to a faculty member I’d never met talk about how “your kid is growing up.”

I also had more tears in the precious seven days leading up to the drop off than in the last seven days since she has been out of the house. I guess that brings two pieces of good news to parents …

  • The anticipation is the toughest part in some ways.
  • Things do get easier as the days go by.

Tears are important.

I am pretty sure that we do not grieve or celebrate as much as we should. Life goes so fast, and there is always something coming “next,” so we bulldoze our emotions to get rid of both the highs and lows in order to maintain our composure.

All this does is leave us with < experiences.

And less than experiences lead to weak memories in the long run because we have not really lived in the moment.

So embrace the tears and realize they signify your presence in the moment.

2. Don’t try to fix every problem. @Drew_Sherman 

From the moment we arrived at Ruby’s dorm room everything did not go as we planned or dreamed. The girls were trying to figure out the layout of the room with four roommates while getting input from all the parents as well, and it turned into a stressful situation.

As time passed, the parents were getting more upset, and the girls were getting more anxious.

Then the greatest thing happened …

The parents (and 7 younger siblings) were all challenged to LEAVE THE ROOM and let these four girls work things out. So we did. We all went out and sat in different parts of the lobby. And it took the roommates about 15-20 minutes to work out what the parents could not work out in two hours!

Parents …

  • We want our kids to grow up and mature at college.
  • We need to let them fix their own problems.

3. Write letters.

In a digital world letters seem so old school. But that is exactly what makes hand written letters so valuable and prized.

I wrote Ruby three letters with the following dates, and I put them under her pillow:

  • Letter #1 – Open tomorrow morning … after you have made it through the first night!
  • Letter #2 – Open one week from today.
  • Letter #3 – Open one month from today.

Sitting and writing these letters before Ruby left allowed me to process how I might be feeling and actually gave me confidence and balance to lead in the drop off moment as I had already spent some time processing and handing the future to God.

I also am certain that these letters gave my daughter good moments of “future anticipation.” There are words coming from her dad tomorrow that somehow help provide dexterity for today.

I also trust that the words I wrote 1,7 and 30 days in advance will come into Ruby’s life at just the right time.

Parents …

  • Your words matter.
  • God will use your imperfect words for His perfect purposes in your student’s life.

4. Say everything you want to say and have the magical moments before you get there. @GeneAppel 

My friend Gene advised that their “on campus” drop off time was not full of magical, perfectly emotional, life altering moments. He advised me to go ahead and make space the week before the drop off for magical moments and conversations to happen.

Such good advice.

When we got to the day of the drop off our anticipation was at an all time high.  Much of the anxiety melted away as we watched our daughter come alive on the college campus.  We stood in a long line for checking in, getting keys, obtaining a parking pass, lugging boxes, hanging pictures, setting up printers, excursions to Target etc etc etc …

The drop off is not a moment full of margin … it can be chaotic.

Therefore, the advice to make room for magical moments before the day of the drop off is so wise.

One of the things we made room for is a family dream session. We have done these together for the last 7 summers. (You can read all about leading a family dream session here.)

Here is a picture of the top of our paper. It’s not rocket science or artistic! It’s just an extremely effective way to get the family talking and dreaming.


We spent two hours sharing …

  • An emoji that describes how we feel right now.
  • Our spiritual and relational goals.
  •  Our dreams.
  • A personal word that we want to describe this semester.
  • A family word that we want to characterize our family this semester.
  • And words we would use to describe the other members of our family.

This is where the margin was created.
This is where the tears flowed.
This is where the happy, sad and meaningful words were spoken.
This is where we laughed.
This is were we prayed.

This is where we got the magical moments and margin we needed that were not going to happen at the drop off.

5. Do something immeasurably fun ASAP!  @preacherwalling

We drove from the campus of Hope International University to a Coldplay concert!

This was good for our family because it kept us from going home and sitting on the couch and being sad about an incredibly happy thing! We were glad for Ruby. This was an amazing day that we had been working toward as parents for 18 years! If she was not moving into this season of life, we would be sad and concerned.

So as she celebrates … we celebrate!

You obviously don’t have to go to a concert, but do something to celebrate.
Do something that makes you smile.
Do something you enjoy.

Parents …

  • If you still have another child or two at home … do something they love.
  • For the past few weeks the focus has probably been on their college-bound sibling. Let the focus for the next few hours be on them.
  • Do what they want to do.
  • See what they want to see.
  • Remember what lights them up, and then save up and make arrangements to make that happen.

For our son, Cole, that was Cold Play at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.


After an exhausting day on the college campus and hours of sitting in traffic, it was rejuvenating to see Cole light up as Coldplay took the stage, and we celebrated together.

I am thankful for good friends who offered helpful advice for one of the greatest and suckiest days of my life!

3 Differences Between Powerful And Perfect Talks

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.59.31 AM

Over the past six months, I have consulted with churches and communicators about the effectiveness of their messages.

Some messages are incredibly powerful, and some are not, which leads to the question, “What is the difference between a perfect message and a powerful message?”

Let me answer this question through these lenses:

  1. My experience in preaching
  2. My experience in coaching communicators
  3. How a congregation of people accepts a communicator and his/her content

– A powerful talk comes from a consecrated life. 
– A perfect talk can come from either a pure or polluted life.


Anyone can give a perfect talk with enough practice and content development. And I have seen this happen: A perfectly crafted talk from a very experienced and sadly polluted and unconsecrated communicator. A perfect talk comes across very pleasant, entertaining and polished.

It carries information but does not lead to transformation.

I’m not saying that every apparently perfect talk is being delivered by an unconsecrated and polluted communicator. There are many very gifted, surrendered, consecrated communicators who deliver perfectly timed talks.

It’s strangely possible for a talk to be perfected either by our own human ingenuity and/or through God’s divine presence and power.

A powerful talk on the other hand comes from a consecrated life. This is a person who is working to present themselves as pure, not perfect, as they stand on the stage. When this happens I believe there is a mystical and intangible thing that occurs:  God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, causes people to trust the communicator.

And this “trust” trumps content and a perfect presentation.

In other words, the talk does not need to be perfect when God is in it.

The interior world and life of the communicator is just as important as the depth and relevance of the content.

– A powerful talk comes from the inside.
– A perfect talk comes from the outside.


It’s all about where the message originates.

If the message from a communicator is fully “borrowed” from another communicator, it often lacks authenticity. It is a message that comes from outside their own world. It may appear perfect in the moment but it often lacks long term power.

If the message delivered is from inside a communicator’s world, there is typically an originating moment that birthed the message, and this brings conviction and power.

That is not to say one can’t borrow the message of another and experience power. But I would say that any message that you hear that affects you deeply should be lived with for months or possibly years. It should be digested and metabolized into your own life before sharing it with others.

I am a firm believer that when it comes to messages …

A good illustration from your own life will always trump
a great illustration from someone else’s.

Our lives as communicators should be so authentic and real that we have relevant and recent material from our own lives to share with others.

If our most recent stories of God working are from someone else’s life or our lives 3 -4 years ago … we might need to rethink the vitality of our everyday lives.

– A powerful talk is often lightly rehearsed.
– A perfect talk is often overly rehearsed.


I have a confession to make …

I spent more than 5 years of my life overly rehearsing the messages I preached. I would preach the weekend message 8-12 times before I ever got up to preach the message live to the congregation.

Over time this brought about two undesirable consequences …

  1. I was already bored with the message LONG before I preached it.
  2. I was no longer trusting the Holy Spirit to empower the message because frankly I had the message memorized and perfected.

Today I study, prepare and pray very hard
and preach my message one time before I go on stage.

This rhythm works for me as a communicator, and it insures that I am not presenting perfection.  

I am stepping on stage prayed up and prepared but also DESPERATE for the power of God to inhabit and bring power to the message.

My minutes right before I go on stage these days sound something like this …

“God, you better show up today! Thank you, Father, for this opportunity to speak to these people. Thank you for giving me time and energy to prepare … But God, if you do not show up and empower this message … I am sunk. God, change whatever you need to change and please bring your power to this presentation. Let these people remember You not me.”

I would rather experience a powerful message over a perfect message any day of the week.

The battle inside me as a communicator is to surrender my own desire to be perfect for a message that is powerful.

3 Tips For Transitioning Pastors


In the past few months both Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant have announced their retirements. Peyton Manning, in his press conference, referred to the number 18 he has worn on his back for the past 18 seasons. “There’s something about 18 years – 18 is a good number,” said Manning. He also uttered the words that everyone already knew …

 “You don’t have to wonder if I’ll miss it. Absolutely I will.”

Today I spend much of my time coaching pastors in transition / succession seasons of life in ministry. It is a tough season indeed, and eyes often get wet like Peyton’s did as he talked about stepping away from pro football.

Several pastors who have been at a church for 25-35 years have asked how I can possibly understand what they are going through. I then share with them my story of launching, leading and then handing off Discovery Church in Simi Valley, California.

Four years ago I transitioned away from a church that I had launched and led for ten years.  It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life.

I often ask pastors … “Is it easier to hand off a 10 year old kid or a 35 year old kid?”

And the answer is … they are both hard!

It is very difficult to come to the realization that one day we will all step away.

No NBA guard position is permanent. 

No NFL quarterback position is permanent.

And though Peyton and Kobe can still continue to be involved in the game in coaching, team office, ownership or television, their  role on the team changes dramatically.

It is the same with ministry.

No lead pastor position is permanent.

And though a pastor can continue to be involved in the church as an associate, consultant or lay leader, the pastor’s role on the team changes.

This is a difficult season indeed in the life of a player and in the life of a pastor.

As fans of Peyton Manning, many of us are glad he decided to step away from his role when he did. And though it was not easy, many would say it was the right move for him.

Here is Peyton’s emotional retirement speech.

In the church world I have seen lead pastor after lead pastor have real problems with transition.  I have great sympathy for them, and I do not judge.

But in my case I have personally transitioned away from a church where I invested more than a decade of my time, energy, money, life and family.

And because of that decade of my life … I get it!

It is incredibly difficult to end well.

Here are three things that make it difficult for pastors to transition well:


  • Identity Theft

Every pastor I have ever known, myself included, has wrestled with misplaced identity:  the notion that I am a “pastor” more than anything else in life. And if I lose that position of “pastor,” I lose who I am.

But the truth is, long before you were a pastor you were a child of God.

This is your identity.

And besides being a child of God, you are also a friend, neighbor, co-worker, parent, spouse, sibling and child yourself.

You were at least 7-8 things long before you were a pastor.

Your true identity is not about who you are but whose you are … a child of God.

  • Not Knowing What’s Next

Human nature says, “Do not let go of something until there is something else to grab.” Like this trapeze artist.

The reason so many pastors do not “let go” is they don’t know what’s next.

When you have “no next” human nature says, “Don’t let go.”

Conversely, when you know what’s coming tomorrow, it’s easier to let go of what you’re holding onto today.

And the greatest way to discover what you might like to do in the future is to look at what you have enjoyed in the past. Is there a way to leverage all your years of experience, knowledge and wisdom in the church world in a different role serving God’s Church?

My words to pastors facing transition would be to take heart.

God is not finished with you yet.

God has a great next in mind for you if you will just be ready and willing to listen, let go and jump!

  • Saul’s Armor Syndrome

Pastors in transition seasons of life often cannot fathom how their successor could possibly succeed wearing anything but their armor.  This is a centuries old issue. One that I have experienced first hand.

It is Saul trying to force his armor onto David.

There was a generational gap that caused Saul to see David’s leadership decisions as incomprehensible and even weak.

Even though Saul couldn’t see it…

David would lead.
David would fight.
David would succeed.

But he would not do it the way it had always been done.

One of the biggest hindrances to pastors making a good hand off is a faulty view that their “armor” of methods, techniques, philosophies, systems and strategies that have worked in the past will also be what is bound to work in the future.

The truth is this issue of “armor” is a generational battle in which the successor does not want to be weighed down by unnecessary encumbrances from the past.

This is not cockiness.

This is holy boldness.

This is the next generation leading God’s Church forward in faith.

It takes just as much faith for David to lead forward with a sling as it did Saul with a sword.

Pastors in transition … don’t be surprised when you don’t understand the methods of the next generation.

Make sure the person to whom you hand the baton of leadership has surrendered his or her life to the leadership of God.

Take a look at the previous victories God has allowed in your successor’s life.

Consider the lions and bears that have been slain with tools and methods that defy the conventional thinking of this world.

Consider the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in this person’s life.

And then be your successor’s biggest fan.

Be willing to watch and cheer the victory as your successor fights the devil with a sling.

And as you take off your armor … be thankful for the victories you’ve won and the protection it provided.

May God bless you, friends, as God leads you into new seasons of life and Kingdom building.


4 Things To Think About When Leaving Places & People


As our family makes final plans to move from Phoenix, Arizona to Huntington Beach, California this week I have used some of this weekend to consider what it means to leave a place and people well.

  • How you leave is how you are remembered. 

You can have an incredible season of life in a place serving people and still completely blow it in the end. I can tell you from experience … it could be five or ten years of faithful service, friendships and memories … but make no mistake:

Just like preaching and public speaking … whatever you say last is usually what people remember most.

It is the same with life.   

Your words and actions are amplified 30X in your last 30 days in a place.

How you act and react determines how you will be remembered.

This a sobering truth and reminder to …

  • Make peace
  • Assume positive intentions
  • Speak well
  • Be honest
  • Be loving
  • Be patient
  • Be generous

… as you leave.

  • Understand not everyone will understand.

Especially if you are a follower of Jesus … not everyone will always understand how, when, where and why He is leading you.

You will not always understand how God leads you!

And in a crazy way it’s not actually your job to understand everything God is doing or leading in your life. It’s just your job to be obedient. In addition, it is not your job to make sure everyone you know understands or agrees with God’s leading in your life and family. It is your job, however, to do the best job possible when discerning God’s plans for your future.

For most of us one of the major things that keeps us up at night is worrying about what’s next … what is coming tomorrow, next week, next month and next year.

The good news is there is Good News in the Bible.

Jer. 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

This verse states clearly that God knows the plans He has for you. And that’s great news!  That is great that GOD KNOWS His plans for you.

But what keeps most of us up at night is wondering how do I KNOW God’s plans for MY FUTURE?

Is it even really possible to know God’s specific plans for your life?

Here are three questions you can ask when trying to discern whether a direction is really from God:

  1. Have I taken time to pray, or am I rushing into things?

Sometimes we rush into decisions thinking …

  • If I don’t take this job
  • If I don’t marry this person
  • If I don’t make this move right now

I will miss this incredible opportunity.

And here is what I learned many years ago …

If God is in it … it can wait a minute!

 God is not sitting in heaven saying, “If you don’t hurry up and take this job, buy this car, marry this person or make this move – you are going to miss out … I can’t hold this together forever!”

So … slow down and take time to get away.  Be alone and pray.

  1. Do my friends and family agree, or do they think I am foolish?

Anyone who thinks they don’t need the advice of others is foolish.

When you are trying to discern God’s plans for your future, you should seek and listen to the advice of your friends and family.

However, here is what often happens …

Many of us will keep seeking advice until we find the advice we are seeking.

We must be willing to seek and LISTEN to advice even if it is not the advice we are seeking.

  1. Does this plan agree with scripture or contradict it?

God will never guide you to do something in the future that is opposed to what He has already said in the Bible in the past.

So, if you really want to know God’s personal plans for your future, here is the key …

Saturate yourself with Scripture.

And don’t read it and debate it.

Read it and obey it!

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.59.31 AMHere is a video (click on image to watch) from a message that addresses “Worrying About The Future” that I preached recently at Parkview Christian Church in the Chicagoland area.

  • You never show your own character so clearly as when you describe another’s.

When leaving places and people there will be those who take cheap shots at you.

Just be ready for it.

It usually has far more to say about the other person than it does about you. It is not easy for the people who are being  “left behind” even when they are very good people. And it is certianly never easy for comfortable and complacent people to watch others chase God’s dreams, be brave and live curiously!

It is far easier to stay in a safe place and critique
than it is to push away from the dock into some deep waters and create.

This is especially true in our socially connected world. Social media is like a petri dish for criticism, comparisons and commentary on the actions of others.

And there will be those who once stood by you who now want to grab your leg and trip you up as you try to step away.

Just remember … the way you speak about others says far more about you than it does about them.

Do not sell out your own character to publicly or even privately take someone down a notch.

One of my mentor pastors from years ago said …

“When you wrestle with a pig you both get muddy, and the pig likes it.”

Stay out of the mud.

Rise above.

Do not let a rough season of life characterize you for the next two months or years!

And realize the high road will never be the easy road.

  • Be thankful looking back and brave looking forward.

I am a nostalgic futurist.

Which means I am simultaneously looking back and dreaming forward.

When you prepare to leave places and people, take some time to look back.

Remember how good God has been to you.

And take some time to dream forward.

Remember that God has a perfect track record of faithfulness …
and He is not going to blow it on you!


What’s Next For The Clark Crew?


It is with much sadness but extreme peace that I share with you that God is calling the Clark family to transition away from Christ’s Church of the Valley. It has been an adventurous season of life as we wrap up 3 1/2 years of ministry at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona.

CCV has been an amazing experience for our family as we have watched God work in supernatural ways. 

Thank you for accepting and loving our family.

We are thankful for the time God has let us share together.

We have been inspired, stretched and made better by so many of you!

It has been a true honor to be part of the executive team, leading, preaching and serving God’s Church.

This June we will be moving to Huntington Beach, California.


Ruby will be attending Hope International University. She will place herself in an environment where God can grow her heart for people and challenge her comfort zones.



Cole will be attending Huntington Beach High School.  There he will be able to attend an amazing public high school and also an arts school where he can learn music, theater and journalism.



Rene will be taking care of all of us. She will also be launching a new blog and taking her “Bible Boot Camp” to the beach!



I will continue to serve God’s Church and people in a curious way.  I have always been a bit of a divergent personality … even before the movie. (You can read more about that in this blog post from a  few months ago.)

In this next season of life, instead of putting all my eggs in one basket, I plan to put eggs into three different baskets. These areas of service are all very important to me, and they all leverage my one and only life to grow God’s Kingdom and Church!

Here are the three baskets that I will be putting my eggs into over the coming months …

The Preaching Basket.

mepreachI will no longer be preaching at CCV, but I will continue to consult and preach on a regular basis at many amazing churches.  You can see a list of those churches on the Speaking tab of this blog site.

In addition, in this new season of life, my wife Rene and I really desire to do more ministry together.

We will be seeking opportunities where we can speak, write and serve God and His Church as a team!


The Leadership Basket.

logo-blackI will be leveraging my previous 25 years of church experience to serve the Church in the future. I will be doing this primarily through the Slingshot Group. I am leading the senior division in coaching and staffing with teaching pastors and lead pastors.

This gives me the opportunity to be a “strategic confidant” to pastors and coach Next Level Leaders and place them with Next Level Churches.

If you are not familiar with Slingshot Group, you can learn more about this amazing organization here.


The Art Basket.

EALogo-artfullyI launched Eat Art roughly 5 years ago, and it is never far from my heart. Eat Art is a non profit organization that is committed to Artfully Ending Hunger. Over the past 5 years we have been able to send hope and over 300,000 meals to hungry kids through the sale of photography.

I believe with everything in me that we can send 1,000,000 meals a year to hungry kids!  

In Huntington Beach there is an art fair on Friday nights on the pier. We will be seeking to secure an opportunity in that environment where people can purchase art and partner with Eat Art.

You get the art and the kids get to eat!

Friends at CCV … we love you!

May you continue to live a curious life for Jesus.

A life that stands out and points people to HIM.


3 Things That Could Sabotage Your Future Self


You are the most important and difficult person you lead every single day.

That being the case, here are three ways you can completely sabotage your future self.

1.Caring too much about what others think about you.


If you are doing big, adventurous, faith-filled and curious things, there will always be people who feel small around you. Your desire to live a curious life that is full of faith will illuminate some people’s desire to live a life characterized by safety. And they will belittle you as a result of their own insecurities.

Do not take this personally. This is often more about them than it is about you.

Not everyone has the same level of risk tolerance, and not everyone is at the same place in their faith.

Take careful inventory of your words.

Ask God to protect your heart and continue to bring clarity to you as you lead and leverage your one and only life.

2. Caring too little about what God thinks about you.


From heaven’s perspective you are a magnificent creation of the most high God. And there is no doubt that God has woven abilities, talents and gifts into your life that you have not even come to realize yet!

Little stuff that other people never even notice are things that God notices because He made you on purpose.

God recognizes and keeps track of every detail of your life.

One of my favorite stories to illustrate this truth is of the Statue of Liberty.

Oscar Hammerstein had seen a picture, a photograph of the top of the Statue of Liberty from a helicopter. And he said, “This picture reveals the intricate detail that has been sculpted on Lady Liberty’s head, her hair and her crown and all of those things at that angle which no one could ever see,” and he said, “I got to thinking that sculptor must have realized that never will anyone see the top of the Statue of Liberty’s head, since there were no airplanes or helicopters when the statue was set in place. But he spent the same kind of detail and care and painstaking craftsmanship on the top of Lady Liberty’s head as he did down at the feet and everywhere else that would be seen by everyone.”


God has carved things into you that only He can see.

You were created by the oldest, most famous, skilled, loving Creator in the history of the world.

Believe what God says about you and don’t get fearful and fail to fulfill the purpose and plan for which you were created.

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

3. Living in the future and neglecting the now.


Leaders are built for the future.

But our faith, friendships and family are all requesting that we live in the now.

I can tell you from personal experience that one of the quickest ways to sabotage your future self is to live constantly in the future.

I would say to leaders that instead of “living” in the future you should be content to “visit” the future … but continue to live in the now.


The Up & Downside of Anger


Did you know that it’s not wrong or sinful to get angry.

You will have moments of anger enter your life. It is normal.

The command, specifically in the Bible, is not don’t ever get angry.

Paul says in Ephesians …

Eph. 4:26-27 – “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

The command is “in your anger” do not sin.

Anger is a neutral emotion.

Anger, of course, can be negative.

You are waiting for a parking space in the parking lot and you see a car with its taillights lit up! And you pull up close and put on your turn signal and wait and wait and wait.

“What are they doing in there?”

Finally, as they are pulling out and you are preparing to safely pull in … another car swoops in and steals your space.

And you lose it!
In the car … with your kids watching!

Anger can obviously be a negative emotion.

But anger can also be positive.

For instance, the Super Bowl is coming to the Bay Area of California in a few weeks. And did you know that experts say that many hundreds, or some would argue thousands, of young girls are being brought into that city for the sex trade industry.

That should make you angry.

Several years ago, in 2011, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told USA Today pertaining to the SuperBowl … “It’s commonly known as the single largest human trafficking event in the United States.”

There is what the Bible calls a “righteous” anger…

  • Children being mistreated and abused.
  • Poor being oppressed.
  • People misusing God’s name.

Friends, it is not wrong or a sin to get angry.

It is wrong and a sin to stay angry.

Eph. 4:26b – Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

The application we usually hear with this verse is in the context of married people not “going to bed angry.”

It is a good thing to stay up late and talk and resolve issues …

But there are also some issues in our lives and marriages that you cannot resolve in a few hours.

Because the anger a person feels at night is often not directly related to something that happened that day.

Here is something I have learned about anger in just the last few years …

Anger is a secondary emotion.

Anger is always a result or re-action to something else that has occurred in your life – it’s a secondary emotion.

Anger is like an iceberg where other emotions exist “below the water line.” They are not immediately obvious to you or other people. So what you are visibly angry about today … may have actually occurred days, weeks or many months ago and it’s just now coming to the surface.

You may have been “ignored” by a friend at school three weeks ago and it is just now coming to the surface today.

Your mom or dad may have “abandoned” you a decade or two or three ago and because of factors in your family, career or finances it is just now rising to the surface of your life.


So when Paul says “do not let the sun go down still while you are still angry”

He is saying … do not let today’s anger carry over into tomorrow and do not allow yesterdays anger to carry over into today.

Carry your anger as short a time as possible!


Eph. 4:27 – and do not give the devil a foothold.

When we allow anger to exist unresolved in our lives and when we carry it over from day to day, month to month and year to year these bites can turn quickly turn into bitterness.

And Paul says that we end up giving the devil a “foothold” in our lives …

The word “foothold” in the Bible is the Greek word “topos.” And it means to stake out a claim.

When we allow anger to exist unresolved in our lives … the devil stakes out a claim in our lives.

The devil owns part of your heart.

That is why Paul goes on to say …

Eph. 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I understand that this is not easy to do. There are some of you who have experienced horrific things in your life. It is incredibly difficult to forgive. And I would suggest the only reason you can even consider forgiving others … is because God has already forgiven you through His Son Jesus!

We have all been forgiven much.

And it is forgiveness that breaks the power and grip of anger in our lives.

Realize friends the Ups & Downs of Anger …

Anger is neutral, secondary emotion that is not sinful to have, but is sinful to harbor.