“Get some espresso and wake up.”

Cammi and Ethan

About Midnight, I was finally ready to go to sleep.

Then it happened. (dramatic pause)

An event that is all too familiar for parents. From the moment our children are born, an event takes place, frequently, that will interrupt sleep and delay your planned slumber for at least 20 minutes wondering if “the event” will happen again. It’s called: the bad dream.

Ethan came running into the room. It was apparent that he was not yet awake. He just kept saying, “Dad, help me…I’m gonna steal.” I’ll admit, I was a little confused. My reaction: I started laughing. He as babbling mostly unintelligible words and rubbing his eyes. I walked him back down to his room and laid him in his bed, yes, still mumbling about how he was going to steal. Some bad dream woke him up and sent him running to the safest place he knew. He has a definite fear of them. In fact, when we pray, he has me pray EVERY night for “no dreams.” I don’t know what’s on his mind that causes his dreams but he would rather not dream at all than, in his mind, risk a possible nightmare.

Cammi is a bit different. The battle in her mind takes place before she sleeps. For almost 13 years, she has been known to get out of bed before falling asleep complaining about “bad thoughts.” She is much like her dad. In the stillness of the night, her mind begins to ponder things lost in the business of the day. The mind gets consumed. The mind takes her places.

Both children prove an amazing point: The Mind is a powerful thing.

Proverbs 4:23 says “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (NLT) When I look at a parallel bible, every translation says “Guard your heart…” I looked up the meaning of this word and it says “inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding. To get some deeper understanding of the context, the Hebrew way of thinking says that the heart was not the seat of emotion. The seat of emotion was your intestines or in the KJV “bowels.” (That will make for weird Valentines cards.) It seems to me that this scripture is, more so, charging us to guard that part of us we carrying our will, fortitude, and understanding. We are to guard, protect, and watch over our minds. This is consistent with the translation of the word “repentance” when Paul uses it in Romans. Paul uses a word that we associate with our heart (giving our heart to Jesus, pouring out our heart to the Lord, etc). The word is really associated with our mind. It means, literally, to think differently afterwords. When we repent, we are asking for a change of, not our hearts, but our thinking. God knows that IF a person truly believes differently, then he will feel differently and then he will behave differently.

We are to protect that which, according to Proverbs 4:23, “determines the course of your life.”

For example:

My interpretation impacts my reaction – It’s not what happens to me that matters as much as how I choose to see it. That is tough for me. The way I react will determine whether the circumstance makes me better or bitter. I can view everything as an obstacle or an opportunity for growth. I can stay being a victim or a victor.

My beliefs impact my conduct – We always act according to our beliefs, even when those ideas are false. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you are operating on true information! Your convictions about yourself, about life, and about God influence your conduct.

My self-criticism influences my self-esteem – (This may be my biggest battle) We constantly talk to ourselves. Do you run yourself down with your self-talk? Or, in an effort to feel better about what you think, do you tear down others! Stop doing that: “As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

I know what my kids watch, read, or listen to affect what they think AND what they dream. It will determine their course…and their sleep.

It’s time to wake up!!!

Guard your mind! Get control of it!!!

Get the Word inside of ya.

Get your minds on the Lord’s perspective.

Why? If you believe different, you will feel different, and you will behave different. And when do you that, you will “determine the course of your life.” If you find yourself confused…if you find yourself with bad thoughts…if you find yourself with no vision…if you find yourself with “bad dreams”…

Follow Ethan’s lead.

Run to the safest place you know. Proverbs 18:10

(In case you needed some inspiration for waking up…my new favorite band All Sons and Daughters)

That’s all I have for today.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Like a boss

These three words haunt my home.

“…like a boss”

Why? Because my 9-year-old son attaches these words to everything he does.

  • “I just played Minecraft…like a boss”
  • “I just dominated dad in Halo…like a boss”
  • “I’m gonna go shoot my BB gun…like a boss”
  • (after shooting a target) “you see that dad…like a boss”
  • He now tweets #likeaboss @ethanbarringer

I’m sure he’d stop saying it if I would simply stop laughing every time he says it. It’s entertaining to me.  It’s annoying to both his mom and sister.  But this morning, “like a boss” got me thinking about one word: authority.

We live out daily that which has authority over our lives.  Our demeanor, attitudes, habits etc. all make “bullhorn” statements about who, or what, has the most influence in our lives.  Every day is a decision.  Joshua 24:15 challenges Israel, “But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve.”  I used to approach that as a one-time choice to live a journey of following the Lord.  It’s as if once the choice was made and, because of the one choice, everything just falls into place. Even though I made that decision so long ago, I’ve come to the realization that the longer I follow Christ I realize it’s not a once time choice.  It is a daily choice.  And daily I live out a life that reveals His authority.

TODAY I chose to trust Jesus with everything.

TODAY I chose to live out Jesus everywhere.

TODAY I choose to surrender “with all that is within me (Ps. 103:1)” entirely.

Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Cast off comes from two Greek words

  • apo meaning “from”
  • tithemi meaning “to put in place”.
  • Literally, the word means to remove from its place.

We are challenged to WAKE UP! The day is at hand. The night is gone.  Get up and throw off those old works and connections to the darkness that infected you.  They were once statements of declared authority. Get rid of them.

It is obvious when I have cut the grass.  I am dirty.  I am sweaty. I am covered in dust. My shoes are filled with clippings, and, according to Anne, I stink. Everything about me, including my smell, screams “Dave just cut the grass.” Once I shower, I don’t put the “grass cutting” clothes on. I put them away (sometimes I miss the hamper). I’m clean and I don’t want my connection to those filthy garments on me anymore.

Just like putting on clean clothes after a shower.  Put away that which has been soiled and infected.  In Christ you are now healed.  Now you are clean.  Those old authorities carry a disease that want to take you down.  As the Greek word says, remove them from their place….CAST THEM OFF!!!! Do it now, today, for yourself.  Put on something new and alive.  Put on Christ. Throw off the old dead stuff and get going.  It’s up to you!

As a teenager, I lived for a number of years thinking I could choose Jesus as my authority while not living it out.  It turned out to be simple “lip service.” I wasn’t living out what my words were saying. What will you choose to do with those “things” that want to approach you “like a boss”? God can cast away your guilt.  In fact, He is the only one who can do that.  You must determine what to do with the things that wrestle for your every attention.  They want back in.  They are hungry for authority.  You are entirely free to let them go since they no longer hold you with the power of shame and guilt.  But the decision is yours.

You are not a child who needs to be dressed and undressed.

You are a citizen of the Kingdom.

You have the authority and the power in Christ of removing what once held you captive.

God has opened the jail door but YOU must walk out.

Approach today different.  Today is the day, a new day to choose Christ.  Today is the day let Jesus in your life…like a boss.

Thanks for letting me ramble…like a boss.

Let the rambling begin!

If you’ve stumbled upon my blog…congrats.  You’re the first to find that which has not gone public.

I’m not sure who will read this…

I’m not sure who will connect…

Even as I type, a quote from The Matrix enters my mind

“I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world.. without you. A world without rules or controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

I’m not sure where this blog will go…

…But this is where it begins

It begins with simple ramblings of a simple man…

…a husband blessed beyond measure

…a confused parent still trying to figure out how his children grew up so fast.

…a pastor in love with his calling

And I hope that with a few strokes of the keyboard, in some way, shape, or form, to radiate the beauty of trusting Christ.  It’s “a world where anything is possible.”

I’m excited about this journey with you.

I’m excited to highlight what is taking place at KFirst.

I’m excited to journal my simple thoughts.

I’m excited to know if people other than my wife will read this

Thanks for letting me ramble…