Count The Costs


calculatorThis is something that is part of my job very often. If an inspection comes back with needed repairs, the buyers are trying to count the costs of repair. They will often ask the seller to contribute to the costs of repair because they didn’t see these issues when first looking at the home.  An inspector discovers rotten wood, issues in the crawl space or attic and these are often important issues to be fixed.

I made a decision at a very young age to follow Jesus and I’m still deciding to follow Him even today. I don’t believe that you make a decision to follow Him and then never revisit that decision. As I’ve grown in my faith, I discover more areas of my heart that have not been surrendered to Him. Jesus taught about counting the cost to a large crowd. I’m pretty sure the crowd got a bit smaller after His words about the cost of following Him. Check this out…..

25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ (Luke 14:25-30 NLT)

At first glance, this seems like an impossible teaching. Other places in scripture, we are taught NOT to hate one another, but to love one another. Jesus uses very strong language to speak about commitment to Him. I believe, He’s NOT asking me to hate my wife, children, mom, dad or anyone. He’s telling me that I must love Him first and I must love Him more than any other human on the planet. My goal for many years has been to expand my love for the Lord and expand my love for my family. I have learned that there is a lot of room to grow in this area. I believe that my love for my family and other is deeper and more expansive BECAUSE of my profound love for the Lord. I’ve learned to love from following the Lord.  He didn’t teach me to hate. He did teach me about commitment and responsibility.

I have counted the costs of following Jesus and it’s a no-brainer. The rewards for following Him far outweigh the costs. He also promises eternal life which is a promise in a league of its own.

Pressing On!


Own It


Praying ManOne of my pet peeves is when someone is responsible for something and it goes badly and they look for others to blame instead of “owning it”. Taking responsibility is sometimes hard, but it’s a sign of maturity. The blame game is easy and the rules are very relaxed – just find someone else to place blame for the issue instead of the person who should own it. For example, if I get pulled over for speeding and I was speeding, it’s not my truck’s fault or the officer’s fault for doing his/her job – it’s on me for driving over the posted speed limit.

I believe that taking responsibility or “owning it” is a sign of humility. It is me admitting that I messed up and I will take responsibility for my behavior. Confession is good for my soul. Check this out…

 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10 CSB)

The Lord knows me fully. He knows everything I think. He knows everything I say. He knows everything I do. He knows when I lay down and He knows when I get up. He knows what I’m doing next. He knows what I did in October of 1969 even though I might not remember. He knows all there is to know about me, yet He forgives me and chooses not to remember my sin. I am profoundly grateful for His grace that compels Him to forgive and forget. I have much more to gain by confessing my sin than by denying my sin. I think it’s good to own it as soon as I’m aware of it. His grace is enough to forgive the biggest sin and He removes it from me. I may still have some consequences to pay, but the debt to the Lord has already been paid. When I own my sin, His death covers it in the present tense.

I’m grateful for this arrangement, because without His grace, I’d be doomed to hell many times over.

Pressing On!


Leadership Intercession


Abstract Silhouette PrayingI’m thankful for leaders over the years that I could learn from as they walked out their faith. I can bring up pictures of leaders who have influenced me tremendously and some of them may not even be aware of it. Other leaders that I’ve followed, I’ve had the opportunity to tell them personally about how they influenced me. Some leaders who have influenced me have been family; some have been ministers and some have been hardworking business owners. One of the things that all the influential leaders in my life have in common is that they are prayer warriors. They prayed for others and me as I grew up. I’m so thankful for their “leadership intercession” on my behalf.

Nehemiah comes on the scene some 100 years later than the first exiles return to Jerusalem. The first wave of exiles was rebuilding the temple as well as the walls of Jerusalem. They were meeting some resistance and word got back to Jeremiah, who was still in captivity, but serving in the king’s presence. When news of this hardship reached Nehemiah, he began to grieve and intercede. Check this out…

4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said:

‘Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.

10 ‘They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.’

I was cupbearer to the king. (Nehemiah 1:4-6; 10-11 NIV)

There are times the most important leadership activity that I can do involves intercessory prayer. I can talk things out until I’m blue in the face. When I talk to the Lord I’m bringing Heaven’s Resources into play. I’m still learning the value and the power of prayer in any given situation.

I think leaders should pray more intensely than others because of the weight of the responsibility of the leadership position. I also think that prayer really changes the heart of the one praying. Prayer opens the way for humility to enter and pride to exit. I believe a humble leader is way more effective than a prideful leader. It’s hard to be full of pride when you’re praying for the people you’re tasked with leading. Nehemiah is such a strong example of servant leader in his position as cupbearer. He also was a strong intercessory leader before the Lord through his humility and intense prayer on behalf of his people. I want to lead like that. I want to intercede for the people I’m blessed to lead.

Pressing On!


Make Amends


four hands isolated on whiteThis idea is to compensate for a loss or injury. I’ve always approached making amends as part of owning or taking responsibility for my actions. I have learned to say the words, “I’m sorry” genuinely.

King David faces a situation where he needs to make amends with a particular group of people. Check this out…

1 There was a famine during David’s reign that lasted for three years, so David asked the Lord about it. And the Lord said, “The famine has come because Saul and his family are guilty of murdering the Gibeonites.”

2 So the king summoned the Gibeonites. They were not part of Israel but were all that was left of the nation of the Amorites. The people of Israel had sworn not to kill them, but Saul, in his zeal for Israel and Judah, had tried to wipe them out. 3 David asked them, “What can I do for you? How can I make amends so that you will bless the Lord’s people again?” (2 Samuel 21:1-3 NIV)

There are times when I’ve inadvertently hurt or harmed someone and I’m not even aware of it. I can’t do a lot about what I don’t know about. I can follow the “golden rule” and treat others like I’d like to be treated.

This story of what David had to do to make amends was a bit hard for me to hear. The Gibeonites ended up asking for the deaths of Saul’s sons to “pay” for what Saul had done. David complied and the famine ended.

I’m thankful for the Grace of God that came on the scene through Jesus. I’m thankful that my past sins are forgiven and removed from me. I’m also thankful that Jesus made amends between God and me. I couldn’t possibly do any of that on my own. I will walk through today in such a way that I treat others how I’d like to be treated, whether it’s the poorest person living on the street or a wealthy person who might possibly be full of him or herself.

I believe making amends requires humility first and foremost. Humility is a foundational characteristic to nearly every strong relationship.

Pressing On!


Follow Through

I’ve heard these two words in many instances. The first one is most recent when I was playing golf with my friends from college. My form is all off and I’ve embraced the fact that I’m a “hacker” rather than a golfer. One of the guys reminded me to follow through. I’ve also heard that in tennis although I’m pretty bad at that too!

Follow through is a good thing in many areas of life. In my role as a husband and Dad, I need to follow through with my family. Nothing screams out like rejection quite like a disconnected and irresponsible parent. In my work as a REALTOR, this is a very important concept. If I don’t follow through a lot of pieces of the process can go sideways in a hurry.

Moses had been given some detailed plans for the tabernacle (aka traveling temple tent) when was on the mountain with God the first time. I know he was grateful to have Joshua there to take good notes too. I’m at the place in the story when things are actually being built according to the plan. Check this out…

21 These are the amounts of the materials used for the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the covenant law, which were recorded at Moses’ command by the Levites under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron, the priest. 22 (Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made everything the Lord commanded Moses; (Exodus 38:21-22 NIV)

This was not a huge tent, but this was certainly a huge project for the people at this stage of the journey. There were some gifted people who really had to step up and serve. As Moses is describing the items that were actually being built, I was impressed by the follow through.

As I make plans for today, I see some follow through in my schedule. I need to notice my relationship with the Lord throughout the day and follow through with Him. I need to be aware that follow through is my “finishing strong” and keeping my commitment to someone else. I know there are new projects to begin today, but there are also many that need my attention to follow through on. My ability to follow-through takes detailed planning and organization. I’m taking a closer look at my “follow-through” today.

Pressing On!


Blame Game

Man holding rock with bible verse John 8:7Just about everyone I know is really good at the blame game or has been really good at it in their past. I’ve used phrases like, “I don’t recall you saying that”; “I’m not sure how it got there”; “I have no idea what you are talking about” – the list could go on and on. This word simply means I assign responsibility to another for something I’m really responsible for. Ouch!

As I’ve grown older I realize that the blame game really only works well in politics and sometimes with family. The mature response to blame is to be quick to take responsibility that is mine and genuinely ask for forgiveness. I don’t know anyone who’s perfect except the Lord. I make mistakes and misstatements all the time – I need to be quick to own my actions and my words. Check this out….

30 ‘Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live! (Ezekiel 18:30-32 NIV)


I think the Lord is pretty clear. He really wants me to be totally honest with Him, myself and everyone else. I need to take responsibility that belongs to me. I’ve had a 4-step process that I’ve practiced over the years when I “screw up” or make a big mistake.

  1. Take responsibility that is mine
  2. Ask for forgiveness
  3. Make amends
  4. Move on

I don’t need to be a participant in the blame game. I make enough mistakes without playing that game. I want show maturity and wisdom and own my mistakes. I want to be quick to repent and eager to show respect for others. I have so little time here on earth to prepare for my home in heaven.

Pressing On!