Can I Have A Warning?

Imagine you are late for an important meeting. It’s not your fault; there was a storm in the middle of the night that knocked off the power, and your alarm clock didn’t go off. It could have happened to anyone. Unfortunately, it happened to you, and in the worst day possible.

You zip out of your driveway and zoom down the street. You know you are speeding, but you are really watching out for children as you slow down for the stop sign and punching the gas pedal. You think to yourself, “If I can make up 10 minutes I won’t be late and everything will be just fine.”

Regrettably, this is just not your day. You come to this realization when you see blue lights in your rear view mirror. It’s a cop! And he pulls you over.

As he walks up to your car you are just hoping he will give you a……

Ticket? No way! No one deserves one of those. You want a warning! Even though you knew exactly what you did was wrong. Even though you consciously made the choice to speed through your neighborhood and cruise through the stop sign.

Kids are no different. Last night Jackson was pestering me about a piece of software I am buying for our company. It comes with a program that he will get to use to record the computer screen. He wants it to record videos for his new gamer YouTube channel, where he goes by the alias “Stinky Gillespie.”

Because Jackson is 10 years old his patience level isn’t very high and he has gotten into a bad habit of pestering to get what he wants, and pouting when he doesn’t. Because I understand how important consistent discipline is, I told him he wasn’t going to get the software until next week. After explaining why he was being disciplined he asked me, “Can I have a warning?”

You see, we all want a warning before we are actually disciplined. The problem is, if all a cop or parent did was to give warnings, there would be no real danger of discipline. With that gone, there is no real need to change behavior.

Warnings are best when given in advance, but you have to have consistent follow through if the warning isn’t heeded. Giving four warnings in an angry tone of voice is just an empty threat

Tips for effective warnings:

  • Remain calm
  • Tell them what they did wrong, and what will happen if they continue
  • Use the phrase “This is your warning”
  • Discipline the next violation quickly and without emotion, or
  • Praise the changed behavior an hour later so they not only avoided discipline, but received praise

You can give a warning after you have discipline, but this should be done sparingly. It’s called grace.

Tips to giving grace:

  • when you know you reacted emotionally with announcement of discipline
  • When grace will create a change in the heart and behavior
  • When they haven’t received grace from you in awhile

Grace doesn’t mean you never discipline; it simply means that you are withholding it to give them the opportunity to make the necessary attitude adjustment.

In case you are wondering, I gave Jackson the warning, and delayed the discipline. I am proud to announce he didn’t waste the opportunity to change his attitude. In fact, I have to go; he just woke up and got into bed to snuggle up. I need to go praise him.

It’s Not What You Thought

Marriage isn’t about having your dreams fulfilled. It’s more about realizing, through loving someone else more than yourself, that you had limiting dreams and something better is out there.
Marriage also shows us that to experience those better dreams, you have to let go of the old ones that have created these unrealistic expectations. It’s a lot like becoming a Christian. Many of us had all these ideas of what we were going to do for God. These amazing adventures that He was going to bless and use for His purposes. Only to find that there was a different plan; a better plan.  

But to live a complete life we have to be willing to give up the old limited dreams we have been dreaming for years for this new unknown path. 

When you boil it down, both relationships require faith in God. Without it you are just left holding on to the limited imagination of a child instead of living via the unlimited imagination of our creator. 

It can be a bit scary at first, but much like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, you get used to it the “Geronimo” part. Not that each jump isn’t still intense, but you get used to free falling knowing that you will land safely on the ground. 

And much like a para trooper knows after he safely lands: once this mission is over there will be another one that requires yet another leap of faith. 

So, stop expecting life to get easy; it was never intended to be. 

Instead, find someone like minded to marry so that when you jump they are jumping with you instead of being dragged out of the plane kicking and screaming. 

Because then you have to make a choice between jumping and not jumping, and marriage was intended to create more missions and adventures in life, not fewer ones. 

Be Perfect As God Is Perfect

Perfectionism is a dangerous path that always leads to disappointment and depression. Why?  Because perfection, as mankind defines it, is impossible to obtain. 

Perfectionism is about control. It’s not that different from cutting, drinking, doing drugs, or obsessive compulsive behavior.  Peoeple who struggle with these dysfunctional behaviors all desire control. 

The reasons why they need to control their environment can be vastly different. Usually there is something in their lives, or in their past, that they couldn’t control, so they latched on to a certain activity to control something. 

Perfectionism can also have many beginnings, and it is important to understand those beginnings so the perfectionist can eventually confront those lies. But before that can be done effectively the perfectionist has to come to terms that their perfectionism is a part of the problem, and not a real solution. 

This can be extremely difficult, because their whole life their perfectionism has been reinforced.  Our society just loves a perfectionist, because their desire to please is so easily manipated.  A perfectionist’s environment passively exploits and enables perfectionism, and those involved may not even mean to:

  • The parents who lavished praise on the child with straight A’s and passively sent the message that B’s were not acceptable, even if it was the child’s best work to earn it.  
  • The parent that paid for homeruns in little league, and sent the message that singles and doubles weren’t enough, because they weren’t praised with money or words. 
  • Being described as “the good child” because they didn’t ever get into trouble, do drugs or have premarital sex. 

Perfectionism is encouraged and enabled when performance is the defined of “good” or “acceptable.”

Churches are some of the worst enablers of perfectionism when they equate godliness with performance.  

Here’s a verse that is commonly misused:

“Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:38

The Greek word for perfect has nothing to do with performance or measuring up to other people’s standards. The Greek word is teleios and means:

  • brought to its end, finished
  • wanting nothing necessary to completeness
  • perfect
  • that which is perfect: consummate human integrity and virtue, or when used in defining men: full grown, adult, of full age, mature

God isn’t saying, “Measure up to my standard of performance!”  When you look at this verse within the totality of scripture God is saying:

“Be complete in me.  Do what I created you for and gifted you for. Be mature and stop striving after the world. Be you, because you are amazing just the way you are. 

Avoid sin because it hurts you, those around you and our intimacy.  If you do sin, repent; so relationships can be restored. 

Go out there and live, love and laugh.  Know that when I gave you a new nature you became complete, lacking in nothing!

Make mistakes, and keep learning. Fall down and get back up again. 

Use My truth, for when you side with truth you are always right, and My truth is the highest form of truth there is.

Walk in your completeness, your acceptance, and your perfection as you continue to grow and mature. 

Hold on to nothing of this world, as it is not your home. Do not crave its praise or its possessions. Your blessing aren’t here, they await you in heaven. 

Everything you have here on earth is simply a resource. Give to others through the resources I have provided you, for that is exactly why I provided them. 

Stop focusing on you. I have already completed you. Only focus on how you  can love those around you. 

Be willing to suffer for what is right and rejoice when truth is spoken or lived out.  Delight in me and you will have all that you truly desire:

  • Contentment
  • Fulfillment
  • Peace
  • Joy 

And more…”

Your works mean nothing. They don’t bring you perfection, only God can do that through salvation and the new nature. 

If you owned all the money in the world and you kept working to earn more, you’d be a fool. You already own it all. There is nothing more to earn. 

In the same way, if you are in Christ you are already perfect. There is nothing left to perform, only a perfect life to live…..

What Is Good About Good Friday?

  It’s Good Friday.

This is the day we remember what Jesus did for us.  A day to reflect on what he willingly suffered and endured.  He wasn’t forced.  He wasn’t coerced.  In fact, it was what he came to earth to do, 33 years early.  It was the culmination of his purpose here on this planet.

Here are a few things knew he would endure, and what we are celebrating today:

  • Jesus knew he was going to be abandoned by those he loved and trusted the most
  • Jesus knew he was going to be beaten beyond recognition
  • Jesus knew he was going to be ridiculed
  • Jesus knew his closest friend would deny even knowing him
  • Jesus knew his friends and others he loved would be scattered, confused and afraid
  • Jesus knew we was going to physically suffer
  • Jesus knew that he was going to die an excruciating death

Jesus knew all of this, and more.  Yet he chose to go through with it.  Why?  Because it was necessary for him to pave the way for us to be forgiven and spend eternity with him.

So, what can we learn from this, other than God’s love for us?

Expect to suffer in this life, and expect to endure it.

In John 15:20 Jesus says: “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”

Being a follower of Jesus shouldn’t make you popular to most people.  Those you minister to will love you, but many others, even from within the church, will hate you.  Just like the Pharisees hated Jesus.

Expect to give up everything in order to follow Jesus

In Luke 14:26 Jesus warned us: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.”

It’s a trade: your life on this earth for eternal life with Jesus.  You have to give up chasing this world, and chase after him!  Be sure of this: If you are holding on to something in this world, God will require you to give it up.  Not because he doesn’t love you, but because you cant serve two masters.  You can love God AND love this world. (Matthew 6:24)

Expect others to not understand

Most people who claim to be Christians are more like church attenders.  They won’t understand your commitment to follow Christ.  They misinterpret Luke 9:23 to mean that they have to deny that they can earn their way to heaven, instead of understanding that they truly have to deny themselves and any attachment to this world.

Just like Jesus, at some point along this journey you will be standing alone. People will disagree with you, or even oust you from the group you used to be included in. It’s during these times that you will have the opportunity to grow and increase in your faith.

Expect that good will come 

So, what is so good about Good Friday? I’m glad you asked!

Jesus went through the worst of w worst, but proved a spiritual principle that we find in Romans 8:28. ALL THINGS work together for good for those of us who stay on the path.

Right now, things might be looking bleak, but redemption is on its way.

It’s Good Friday; a very Good Friday! We have a lot to contemplate, a lot to be grateful for, and proof that as long as we remain faithful, everything will work out for good!

Is the end near?

I never thought it could occur in my lifetime. I couldn’t believe our nation could crumble so quickly.

But, when Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for making promises, I saw the beginning of the adoration needed for the Antichrist to take power.

With the love of Islam growing exponentially, and the lack of response to their atrocities, I see the terror required to instill enough fear for people to give up their freedom in order to be protected.


The biggest piece of the puzzle has been the growing apathy of the Christians. Maybe a better term would be “church attenders” or “bench warmers.”

Because the church controls the “purse strings” surrounding a ministers family, truth is seldom preached to its fullest.

Popular topics are explored over and over and over.

The church has been on “milk” for so long they don’t even recognize meat.

Parents have failed to teach their own children. They turned the education of their children over to a liberal government and relinquished their responsibility for their spiritual training over to an apathetic church.

We are so poorly prepared for endurance of any kind that we wrap our faith around a pre-tribulation theology to avoid any need to endure.

The church has been lied to that the blessings of God are earthly, and because of that church attenders are attached to (bound to) the things of this world.

The church lives every day as if eternity doesn’t exist.

Most Christians couldn’t name 5 ways to build true treasures in heaven, and if they could, they couldn’t in good conscious say they focus on that on a daily (or even weekly) basis.

Spiritual warfare is not truly taught, but rules are.

I can’t tell you if the end is near, but for the first time in my life I believe it’s possible.

When troubles really come, the church is prepared to fold.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Marriage is a real challenge. It’s never what the movies make it out to be. Conflicts aren’t resolved in 90 minutes and the problems of this week can often build upon the problems of last week.

Having children doesn’t fix a marriage any more than getting married fixes our self esteem problems. In fact, adding more people into any equation will often result in more confusion, not more clarity.

At some point someone in the marriage might start thinking something like, “This isn’t what I thought it was going to be.” Eventually the question of “Should I stay or should I go? will come into their mind.


That is a good question to tackle. If you are debating that question yourself I would encourage you to try to remove emotion from your assessment. If you aren’t questioning the longevity of your marriage, I encourage to answer this question ahead of time so you can apply the answer without having to figure it out amid a plethora of emotions.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Are your beliefs based on truth? I constantly hear people say “I deserve to be happy?” Or “God wants you to be happy!” I don’t think God is against happiness, but nowhere in scripture does God promise happiness. Peace, joy and contentment are there but not happiness. Believing this lie will lead you to justify a quick exit instead of forging ahead and working things through.

2. Are your expectations realistic? Reasonable means that most people would expect it. Realistic is determined by the person you are expecting something from. Based on their behavior over the past 1-6 months, what consistency have you seen in their behavior? That is what you can expect.

If your expectations don’t match your spouses recent pattern of behavior, then you are being unrealistic. If your expectations aren’t realistic, then the insanity you are living in is partly your fault.

3. Who should pay the price for your decisions? If you believe you have a right to be happy then you are at risk of allowing your children to pay the price for your happiness.

If you weren’t forced into the marriage and chose to bring children into it, then their stability comes before your happiness.

I don’t agree with raising children around domestic violence, but the vast majority of divorces are about the parent’s happiness and not abuse.

4. Stop the tit for tat syndrome. Your spouse’s bad behavior is not an excuse for yours. Yes, you are in pain, but you need to work through that instead of getting even.

5. Are you really doing all you can? Once our focus adjusts from our “right to our happiness” and onto contentment and the stability of our children, other options emerge. Look for them as if it was important to discover them, because it is!

6. Your marriage influences generations. You aren’t just fighting for your happiness, you are training generations how to handle difficult situations. Maybe you weren’t trained well, but that’s no excuse. It’s now your responsibility to change your family’s pattern of dysfunction.

7. Grieve. Realizing your marriage isn’t going to be what you had hoped is heart breaking. Because it’s constantly around you it can be the most difficult grief process you’ve ever encountered. Grieve the loss of your dream, and learn how to be content in a new reality.

8. Get help. If you are struggling, get help.Don’t be a minimalist in your search; seek it until you find it!

The answer to your question is best found not in your rights, but in your responsibilities.

Your decisions have longer lasting effects than you realize, so choose wisely.

Do We Really Love?

Endurance. We don’t have it; we can’t do it. As a member of Generation X, I can honestly say this is our weakest link. You Generation Y folks aren’t any better. This is a major problem, because if we don’t endure well, how can we say that we are able to love?

Does anyone really know how to love?

When couples are unhappy, they swap out spouses, or cheat, or lust in their hearts and minds. It’s more like we infatuate everyone, or lust everyone.

Do we really know how to love? Or do we just love each other like we love pizza? When we desire it we proclaim our love for it.

Desire isn’t love, it’s lust. It’s fun. It’s pleasurable, but it’s not love.

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV)

Love is about protecting the other person, not obtaining your selfish desires. It means you trust them with all of you. It means you hopefully trust in them, even in bad times. It means you patiently endure the difficulties as you both learn how to apply the truth.

Love isn’t fun. It’s not the emotional high portrayed in romantic movies or the feeling of lust you have as you desire to be intimate.

Love is found in the sacrifice of earthly pleasure in order to give something of significance or to meet the simplest need of another human being.

Love is the commitment to be tortured and yet remain faithful. Love is the total abnegation of yourself for the benefit of another, even if it’s not reciprocated.

Reciprocation makes love easier, not easy, but it’s not necessary in order to love.

Please stop telling me how much you love someone when you aren’t willing to sacrifice your entire existence for them. Please stop telling me about your lust and pretending that it’s love. Because when you do it is like watching a seven year old swearing with a cigarette in his mouth. It just looks sad and pathetic.

We can not find what we do not seek, and we will not seek for what we pretend to have already obtained.

Let’s stop pretending we are more mature than we are.

Only then will we begin to understand the void that we feel. Only then will we begin to seek the real solution. Only then will we be able to begin to grow up and mature. Only then will we begin to learn how to truly love.


As a former veteran law enforcement officer I subscribe to several law enforcement groups on LinkedIn. (You can leave law enforcement, but law enforcement never leaves you.)

Someone posted a question that simply asked, “What makes law enforcement officers brave?”

I thought I would share my answer with you:

Bravery is NOT the absence of fear, but the refusal to be ruled by it. And it’s not just the emotion of fear that has to be ignored. Bravery is the refusal to allow any of your emotions to rule you.

Bravery is when you know who you are, believe in what you can accomplish and act upon it.

Bravery is when the majority of the people around are emotionally responding to the circumstances and worry about what will happen to them, and you refuse to listen to or join the crowd

Bravery is when your values rule your decision making, when outcomes are not the primary focus of your life, but living life correctly is.

The result is that you wind up moving forward as the others run away. You suddenly do things that others think are impossible.

It isn’t the impossible you wind up doing, but the unthinkable or the unimaginable.

Bravery is doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, regardless what others think or say.

Bravery isn’t reserved for military personnel, firemen or law enforcement. It’s available to all.

Bravery can be found in the child who stands up for his classmate that is being bullied. It’s found inside the teenage girl who loses her boyfriend because she won’t have sex with him. It’s found in the man who loses his job because he won’t forsake his Foundational Core Values.

You will recognize it by the absence of selfishness and self preservation, and the appearance of selflessness and empathy in your life.

The question shouldn’t be why are law enforcement officers brave; it should be why aren’t you?

I See You!

I saw the movie Avatar with my father a few weeks ago.  I usually don’t like movies that get all the accolades, but this one was even better than the hype!  One of the aspects of the movie that I really liked concerned the Avatar people and how they related to each other.  They would greet each other with the phrase, “I see you.”

At first glance this didn’t seem like a big deal, but during the movie it was explained that the phrase doesn’t just mean that they physically saw each other, but they saw the person.  They saw who they are; their character, their talents, their weaknesses, the whole package. 

The phrase wasn’t said with a condescending tone, but with acceptance and respect.  They may not always agree with each other, but they understood each other and accepted one another.  I thought to myself, “Wow!  Who wouldn’t want someone to say that to them!” 

How amazing would it be to hear the people around us greet us in such a way that it told us that they not only acknowledge our presence, but our personhood.  To be seen in such a way that you felt understood and accepted.  That even though they may not agree with you on some things, that they respect your right to have those opinions and make those decisions.

Because we don’t usually acknowledge the people around us in this manner most people walk around thinking that they have to hide who they are, or at least certain aspects, from others.  Most people at some level think, “If they really knew me they might not like me.”  They’ve proven it by telling us things we have done to hurt them, or maybe they’ve made fun of us or talked about us behind our backs.

What’s truly sad is that most spouses don’t feel that they are truly “seen” by their mates.  They exist around each other more than they live with each other.  Many couples spend much of their energy trying not to upset one another.  Learning to understand each other, let alone accepting each other is way on the back burner if it’s on the radar at all.

What about our children?  Do they believe that we “see” them?  Or do they think we are just trying to control them, judge them, or do we simply ignore them?  Do you think they feel understood and accepted?

Take some time this week to really see your family.  Tell them all the wonderful things about them; their character traits, their talents, their gifts.  You can even let them know that you see some of their fears, but make sure you leave the conversation with them knowing that you accept them!

You might need to write some things down and think about it before approaching them.  It might even seem awkward to say those things to them.  I promise you, the more you say them the less awkward it will seem.  But don’t let that feeling of awkwardness stop you, because if there is one thing everyone desires, it’s to truly be seen!