Category: FOR HIM

Title--Man2Man: In the Image of God

Written by R.A. Goodnight

(All verses from ESV unless otherwise noted.)

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image’ . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Genesis 1:26, 27

Found in the opening statements of The Bible, these two verses have serious significance. It explains our origins and the origins of everything around us. It gives us clarity into God’s view of human sexuality when confusion seems to abound (I am not just referring to the “male and female” part of the verse). And, when these verses are understood in a more complete manner, it gives us insight into how we can have a satisfying and meaningful life.

I believe that when considering the creation account, many only think of the natural image that God bestowed upon us. This is how they would define “made in the image of God,” that like God, we have head, shoulders, knees and toes. Physiologically and emotionally we are like God, as similar as flesh can be to spirit. And this is true, we were made in the natural image of God. But there is so much more truth in these verses than only this.

Along with the natural image, we were also made in His moral image. What does this mean? In the beginning, prior to the corruption of sin, God gave us the ability to see choices and decisions as He did—to know the difference between right and wrong. It was as if His standard of morality was part of our DNA, and through that, He gave us the ability to choose good and to do good because we were good. (Genesis 1:31) That was until the fall. This ties in closely with the third way that we are in the image of God.

God chose to make us in His political image and to use humans to be the means by which His current creation as well as future creation would receive His blessings. 

God also created us in His political image. No, we are not referring to Democrat vs. Republican or any other politicized human definition. What we are referring to would be the original reasons that God brought us into existence or, simply put, our original purpose. Further, we are referring to the abilities He gave us to fulfill that purpose (such as His moral image, to tie the two points together). Let’s unpack what it means to be made in His political image some more.

The first truth that I find of interest is that God Himself chose life (our theme for 2020). Originally, there was nothing—we were nothing. But God chose to bring forth life from nothingness. What does God do next, or more importantly, what does He NOT do next? Once His creative works were done, God could have chosen to be the primary means by which His creation would be taken care of and blessed. What do I mean? He could have named the animals Himself. He could have cultivated the Earth beyond Eden Himself. He could have chosen to directly create all future generations of mankind Himself. But that is not what He did.

To the contrary, God chose to make us in His political image and to use humans to be the means by which His current creation as well as future creation would receive His blessings. The scriptures state that He blessed us, humans, and then commissioned us with a purpose. We are His representatives on Earth, the stewards of His creations. We were chosen to take care of the animal kingdom. We were chosen to take care of the Earth itself. We were chosen to be the method by which mankind would continue to grow, to bring into existence future generations of life and introduce them to God. The same as a political entity today would represent the government who sent him/her, we are God’s ambassadors. We are equipped to fulfill our original purpose with His natural image, His moral image and His political image. (Genesis 1:28-31; 2:5, 15, 19-20) Yes, God chose to bless and protect life through life—through me and you. And His purpose for us has not changed. (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17) That truth resonates through time and helps us understand part of our purpose. The question becomes, how can we live up to the image in which we were made? How can we fulfill our original purpose, as we represent God, and choose life as He does?

The first and foremost way is that we must choose the truth even when it is difficult. Why did I choose truth as the first way? Because the lie (the opposite of truth) was the first weapon used against life. Not a rock, not a sword, not a gun—a lie. (Genesis 3:4, 5) If we struggle to even side with truth, any other steps we attempt to take will be difficult. Remember what we discussed regarding being made in God’s moral image. It is true that we are currently under the influence of sin and have lost that perfect moral image. But, through the influence of the Holy Spirit, God has restored to all humans (not just those who follow Him) a measure of the moral image. (Romans 2:14, 15) He has given us, even in this life, what we need to side with truth and choose life.

We are equipped to fulfill our original purpose with His natural image, His moral image and His political image.

Beyond that, there are many practical ways that we can choose life. There are several good groups right here in Tulsa doing some great work to be ambassadors of God. Any of these groups would welcome help. In this edition of the magazine are several articles regarding The Demand Project. This is a group of folks, that in some of the rawest ways possible, are reflecting the image of God and choosing to protect life. If there is any cause that we could get behind, the combating of human trafficking should be an easy one. This group could use your training, your brain, your time or your financial support. (www.thedemandproject.org)

Another group in Tulsa is Restore Hope. The principle ways Restore Hope supports life is: hunger reduction, homelessness prevention and emotional and spiritual healing. These are practical ways that our community is being impacted for good. Beyond financial support and food donations, this group is looking for fellow ambassadors of God to help with receptionist work, food pantry help, or even prayer volunteers. Check out their website for other ways that you can help (www.restorehope.org)

In conclusion, Paul reminds us, “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Corinthians 3:9) Do you see yourself and a worker alongside God? You should, but you should also see this as a great privilege to be able to work alongside The Creator of life itself, to be a means to bestow His blessings upon others. Let’s take our original commission seriously. As we move through 2020, I challenge each of you to pick one of the great charitable organizations in Tulsa and get involved. For God . . . for Christ . . . and for life!

TITLE: Winners' Wisdom: Fact or Fiction?

Written by Jim Stovall

To date, I have written over 40 books. Approximately half of them are fiction and half are non-fiction. I’ve heard it said, “All autobiographies are fiction, and all fiction are autobiographies.” As I have continued to examine this thought, I believe it to be correct.

When I write novels or movie scripts, they invariably come out of experiences I have had in my own life. While I may change the time, place, or people involved, I draw upon experiences I have had in the past. On the other hand, when I, or any other author, writes non-fiction, our best efforts to deliver facts, statistics, and reality are colored by our own perspective. It is vital for us to remember that whether we’re in an educational setting, reviewing the news of the day, or conversing with a friend, the information we are receiving is filtered through the source. Even indisputable facts can vary as one individual may think a specific detail is critical so they highlight it while another individual overlooks that same fact believing it to be insignificant.

My late, great friend and colleague Paul Harvey was one of the most trusted voices for news here in America for several decades. His broadcast was called Paul Harvey News and Comment. While he endeavored to always separate the news of the day from his own opinions, he explained to me that simply by determining which stories to include in his newscast or which item he would present as the lead story, he was inevitably imposing his thoughts and opinions on his audience. 

Today there are so many sources from which we can receive information or news, it is vital that we evaluate not only what was said but who said it and why they might hold that perspective. 

As a blind person myself, I’ve often thought of the old fable of the three blind men touching an elephant. The man who felt the elephant’s leg thought it was a tree while the man holding the elephant’s trunk thought it was a thick rope, but the blind man feeling the side of the elephant thought it was a wall. All three men were giving their perspective of the same elephant at the same moment, but their individual perspectives totally alter their thoughts and ideas. 

We tend to want to think of facts as true and universal. In reality, they are constantly changing and must be evaluated based on the eye of the beholder.

As you go through your day today, separate facts from fiction, but always look for the underlying truth.

Today’s the day! 


Jim Stovall photo

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by email at Jim@JimStovall.com; on Twitter at www.twitter.com/stovallauthor; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor.


TITLE--FAMILY FUN: Princess Fun for Everyone

Written by Teresa Goodnight

Did you know we have a host of lovely princesses right here in Tulsa? They are part of a wonderfully charming business called “My Little Dollhouse,” where parties and playdays are always on the menu. From spring break and summer camps to actually booking a princess (or princesses!) to come right into your home or party venue, this group offers some of the most amazing fun Tulsa has to offer. Plus, they have parties that handle different levels of service up to and including a full service blow out with mom never lifting a weary finger!

For years, I drove by the location just west of 91st and Harvard. Why hadn’t I checked it out before? I wasn’t sure, but with my daughter’s starfish birthday (that’s talk down under the sea for 5 years old) on the horizon, I decided it was time to give them a call. When we walked through the doors—both of our jaws dropped in sheer delight at the playful venue. My little one exclaimed “I can’t wait for my party. I just can’t wait.” In hindsight, booking it earlier in the day could have stopped the incessant pleading from the time she woke up until the two p.m. party time we chose arrived!

Location. Location. Location!

Realtors use it for the right neighborhood to buy. But, of course, it is even MORE important for that special birthday event. Duh! The whole atmosphere is just pretty in pink. With costumes, a kitchen with tea sets and cakes, a nursery (pretend one of course!), and a cute little stage for the princesses to do their own fashion show once they have completed their equally darling little princess makeovers—it is just the perfect venue. To my surprise, they also had costumes for young princes (or superheroes of course!). Had I done a little more research, we could have invited the boys to join the fun.

Having been a head of events for many years—President’s Clubs from Monte Carlo to Maui, my expectations for a party are usually far beyond the event at hand. I was known for annoying attention to the finest details. So, when the staff from My Little Dollhouse offered me their option for planning and hosting the entire party—I was truthfully a little skeptical. I hadn’t been inside yet. However, I was also so busy I couldn’t see straight.

So, I gave in. My Little Dollhouse has a simple website. I clicked about 5 boxes. I wrote in a little of my daughter’s princess-style expectations. Then, I just turned it over to them. Exhaustion and opening a new business pushes a perfectionist to make different decisions. It wasn’t comfortable, but it was easy. Then? Their emails started to roll in.

Beautiful Surprise

They reached out to confirm party details and to make sure they understood my little princess’s dreams for her party. The emails were fashioned in fairytale form, with playful wording. I read each one to my daughter as we started building the excitement for her party.

Just a few days before the big event, we received an email confirming details, and listing out all the details planned for the day. Honestly, I had been so overwhelmingly busy—I didn’t even realize all that would be taking place. I quickly texted the moms to let their daughters dress comfortably. They would be selecting princess attire, having their hair, nails and light make up done—and would end that part of the event in a little fashion show. The moms and I all delighted in the thought of how much fun our daughters were getting ready to have!

Party on Princesses!

The party did NOT disappoint. The little fashionistas rocked their walks on stage. Opportunities for little girls to practice their special moments on a stage empower them to accomplish bigger goals at more serious events as they grow. It’s a confidence building exercise I just love. You should have seen them. They turned on their sparkle. Then, the princesses coronated my daughter with an official princess crown, a scepter, and a sash; she was so happy she could hardly stand it. All the little girls cheered.

Then, the party got wild. The princesses led our little princesses in a rendition of “Let it Go,” where they did motions for the girls to imitate as they sang. You might have thought they practiced for weeks when they belted out the chorus. It was just fun to watch (and record!). They were just delighted!

We selected cupcakes with rainbow frosting, pepperoni and cheese pizza (the go-to faves for preschoolers!), and apple juice and water in the tea set when it was formal teatime! They can even have a photographer on site to take photos to share with families after the event.

When it was time to leave, the princesses handed out goodie bags my daughter selected for the attending princesses. There was no question when looking at their sweet little faces, thanking us for inviting them—they had a magically fun day. My Little Dollhouse would be etched in their memory of fun for quite some time to come.

The best part for me (other than not lifting a finger)? The delight on my daughter’s face over dinner that night when out of nowhere, she declared her thankfulness for the best birthday EVER!

Friday or Saturday Play Time Fun

After talking to the cheerful manager, Samantha Cathey, I knew we would have to add some Friday mom and daughter play days at 11 to our schedule (or grandmas of course!). It’s an hour of fun with a little princess and mommy as they play or do a craft project. They offer free coffee or tea for moms while the little ones play. Other days, they offer princess play dates. I’m pretty sure my laptop and I could get some work done while the little one plays her heart out in the back. Better still, I’m betting I could dive into a book I’ve wanted to read and just can’t find the time to enjoy.

Summer and Spring Break Camps? Really!!!

Samantha decided to drop the camp bomb on me. I couldn’t believe I had missed this too. They do their own camps in the summer and spring break or they can send the princesses to help you host your own! After all, who wouldn’t want a day with a princess or two from nine until noon? Princesses can be dropped for a seriously fun morning at My Little Dollhouse, while mom heads to the spa! (Kidding.) (NOT KIDDING! Did you see Hand and Stone opens in May? Summer camps can be for everyone! Hello!) Churches or schools wanting another idea for summer camps can hire the princesses and promote their events to create fun times (or recruiting times for private schools!).

Have Princesses. Will Travel.

These princess teams will come to your home or party venue and bring the same kinds of service right to your door. Rates vary from $75 on up, depending on the level of service you would like. It’s such a fun idea to think of having a princess right in your party spot (or event!) of choice just in case the venue doesn’t fit your specific needs at the time.

My Little Dollhouse has a whole host of services. I just never realized all the ways they could partner with families or businesses. They can come to businesses for events from story time with princesses to a little tea party event on site. Business owners should seek out ideas on ways they can partner up. If you’re hoping to have an event for moms or even both parents? Invite the princess team to the event to entertain while you can gain the full attention (or moment of rest!) for the moms and dads. They have so many creatively fun ways to partner with you to make any kind of event a success.

Behind the Scenes

My Little Dollhouse isn’t amazing by accident. The owner, Christi Rowland, bought it just over four years ago. She’s a former stockbroker turned teacher at Augustine Christian Academy. She loves teaching, but it was easy to see how much she also loves attending to every little detail of the parties for the girls. It’s really a family affair, as her daughters, Caroline and Emma, have been actively involved in the parties and events from the beginning. They both attended Augustine Christian Academy as well (Emma is still there!). They have been Christi’s inspiration and her right arms in making little princess dreams come true over the years.

My Little Dollhouse participates in charity events because they truly love giving back to their community. They sent their princesses and some princes to an event for foster children, who sadly don’t get to have many amazing birthday parties moving from home to home. Samantha said, “Those kids. To see their reactions to such a fun event. Wow. It’s just worth it.” I couldn’t agree more. To have hearts to reach out to these children navigating such a tough journey are exactly the kind of hearts we love to support at Community Spirit.

Put Your Dollars to Work

As you know, at Community Spirit, we love to encourage readers to use their purchasing power to make an impact. Utilizing Christian owned businesses, who are using their gifts to make a living while also making an impact for Christ—it’s such a win-win. Families like the Rolands have amazing values they share in a playful environment with our children. Kindness, compassion, and love abound as you share in their wonderful world. So, we strongly urge you to turn into the parking lot. Take a peek inside and meet the Rolands or their staff. Try out a Friday or Saturday playtime. Then have them relieve you of the stress of your next party to plan. We couldn’t have been happier with ours!


SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR YOU:
Mention COMMUNITY SPIRIT and you will receive
$25 a party booked by September 1st, 2020.

TITLE: Rise&Shine: Everyday Christian Obedience

Written by Mike Henry Sr. — Follower of One

As Community Spirit Magazine draws attention to the problem of human trafficking, I wondered how to draw a parallel for marketplace Christians. Human trafficking is an extreme sin we must defeat at any cost. We must support The Demand Project and other organizations and pray for victims and any wrapped up in this horrible lifestyle.

But is that all? What else can workplace believers do to cooperate with this effort? We’re often constrained by our commitments and our obligations. But are we limited to prayer and financial contribution? Can we do anything at work? Do our actions at work matter?

Full-Time Ministry

We can live our faith at work without leaving. Most ministry activities require us to get away from work. We leave work for a Bible study or a service project. Many donate their vacations to go on a mission trip. When we return, the ministry is over.

But we can minister to others by living our faith at work, too. Once you decide to be a missionary to your workplace, your view of work changes. You become a full-time, funded missionary to your workplace.

Extreme Comparisons

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes several shocking parallels to attract our attention to the pervasiveness of sin.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”  Matthew 5:21-22 ESV

In this two-sentence comparison, Jesus blows our mind. Do you remember the first time you read this? After a while, Jesus’ words become just another statement. But he wants to give us an ice-cold shower about the evil in our own hearts.

Manipulation at Work

If Jesus gave that sermon today, to what would he compare to the abuse of porn and human trafficking? Might he start with little white lies and manipulation? Maybe Jesus would compare Hunan trafficking to gossip or a white lie? Would it be overstating our accomplishments or sucking up to our bosses? Could it be that “spinning” the facts to complete a deal equates to human trafficking the same way getting angry at someone equates to murder?

Sure, this comparison is extreme. But what can we do about this problem at work?

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14 ESV

A Servant’s Response

First, we can make others aware. Do anything you can to help others see this problem in our community. But beyond that, in our workplaces, what can we do? What of we commit to love and serve others at work instead of treating them as a “resource” or something we use. Jesus asks us to love people and use things, but we often use people and love things.

What does loving others at work look like? Would we:

  • Stay late to help someone else rather than just saying we’ll pray for them?
  • Encourage and serve others instead of gossip?
  • Thank more than criticize?
  • Do an excellent job even if it means we have to work longer hours or miss some church functions?
  • Make time for others?
  • Learn more about our coworkers to pray for them better?
  • Give our own time and money to a coworker in need?
  • Obey Jesus and trust him enough to wait until he prompts our coworkers to ask?

What if we lived more intentionally around the people we work with every day? What if we commit to obey Jesus in whatever he calls us to do, at work or at home? If we obey Jesus more, will our actions at work make a dent in the human trafficking problem? We need to trust Jesus and obey him where we can. Where we can support the effort against Human Trafficking, we should. Where we can fight porn, we should. But even in our workplaces, we can’t give ourselves any slack. Every place we obey Jesus matters. Where do we make excuses for ourselves? Where do we let ourselves off the hook?

Give Ourselves an A

In a small group setting a friend said he was a “low empathy” person. His statement was genuine and transparent, but we all laughed because he made selfishness sound so good. We had quite a chuckle until we realized that the label fit us too. We can all raise our empathy bar.

Do you have the guts to ask Jesus to show you where you grade your obedience to him on a curve? Then do you have the love for Jesus to act?

All Obedience Counts

Let’s support The Demand Project and every other person and organization in this battle. We need to fight evil in every setting. Often, the first battle is in our own heart and mind, and the second one is in our workplaces. Ask God to show you where you need to obey him today and do it. Even when we’re stuck at work, we can obey Jesus and our obedience matters.


Mike Henry Sr. is a technology consultant and the CEO of Follower of One, Inc., a global ministry to encourage every workplace Christian to serve Jesus full-time and make him known daily. Check out their website at https://followerofone.org.


Title--CORE: Our "Core" Is in Trouble

Written by Teresa Goodnight

I want to look at our Core a little differently this month. The main reason? Statistically speaking the “Core” inside our church is in a bit of trouble. It’s not what you think. Stay with me and I’ll get there.

Have you ever had those times when you feel like God is telling you something, but you just want to ignore it?

The Demand Project came up in almost every conversation I had with readers, advertisers or anyone associated with the magazine or who knew that we did the magazine. Honestly? Human trafficking is a topic that is so horrible that my mind doesn’t want to acknowledge exists. I feel like it’s something that happens far away from here—something that wouldn’t happen right here in the middle of the buckle of the Bible belt. So, to think that we needed to talk to The Demand Project was just something I didn’t want to consider.

I’m not saying I was Jonah. However, there did finally come a point where I felt like I’m either going to have to tackle this whale or the whale is going to swallow me.

Truth? Sex trafficking is very real right here—right where we are. I watched groups of arrests around our area. I saw nine people from my hometown of Sapulpa, Oklahoma be arrested for human trafficking. The fact was this—no matter what I believed about it, it was real. It is real.

When the Jason and Kristin Weis of The Demand Project said—“If your child has a phone or if they have access to the Internet—they are already targeted.” 

There are little girls and little boys who are suffering every day. Some of them have been sold into trafficking by their parents. I can’t comprehend that concept, but I’ve never been addicted to drugs. Some of them are talked into sex slavery unknowingly online with what feel like very innocent conversations between them and a random stranger on TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram or even Facebook.

When the Jason and Kristin Weis of The Demand Project said—“If your child has a phone or if they have access to the Internet—they are already targeted.” I shuddered being the mother of a five-year-old with an iPad. To think that someone would want to defile her innocence—imagining the tragedy that horrible experience would have on her mentally was more than I could handle.

This is the only interview I’ve done where I cried. Twice. I’m crying as I write this now. The thought of someone doing that to my baby breaks my heart. These are other people’s little babies. We have got to stop pretending it doesn’t exist and hoping to talk about more pleasant things. We have to stop assuming it would never happen to our kids. We have to support The Demand Project trying to restore these victims and teach how we can end the demand for this sexual product.

I am as guilty as you are. It’s just not in my Christian upbringing to think about and talk about these things. Just the things that The Demand Project folks said out loud to me made me uncomfortable. They made me realize that the kind of world our kids are growing up in isn’t the world I grew up in. It’s not as safe as it was. It’s just not. People have access to our children; however, we can’t just strip them of the Internet and strip them of their phones. But, we can become a very active part of what they are doing with them.

So much of this issue is for those of you out there like me, who want to live in a bit of a fairytale land that just isn’t real. It’s a great place because it allows us to continue to be “happy.” In our apathy we don’t have to participate. We don’t have to get our hands dirty. We just ignore it and assume that it would never happen to our children.

It doesn’t take much to fool a beautifully innocent child into believing that you, as a sex offender, are a friend and not a criminal. So only read this article if you want to wake up. If you’re wanting to continue on living out your 19??’s fantasies, then I would just put the magazine down. This isn’t for you. Do you want to know how to protect your kids? Do you care about helping victimized children suffering right here in our part of the world? Keep on reading.

Church-Pornography-Trafficking Link

Statistically speaking, if you look to your right and to the left in your pew at church—just over 6 out of 10 men and 1.5 out of 10 women are actively viewing pornography on a monthly basis. (Barna Group 2014) According to another survey by the Barna Group in 2016:1 in 5 youth pastors and 1 in 7 senior pastors use porn on a regular basis and are currently struggling. To be clear, that is over 50,000 U.S. church leaders.

Statistics show our “Core” is under attack. Part of the reason I had to go down this path was how many people I encounter inside the church who admit to pornography addiction destroying their marriage. Pornography addiction is seriously blowing up church families left and right.

Truth is, if you are watching pornography, you are 100% participating in the realm of human trafficking. You just are. How far you will venture into that land? Well, that is a really good question. Chances are, it will be farther than you ever imagined you would go. Marriages and families are destroyed. Pedophiles are created. Sexual addicts, who cannot get their needs met at home, find ways to go outside of the marriage bed for sexual satisfaction. After all, those paid to perform acts just do as they are paid to do (although not likely along the same lines as the fake stuff in the shows).

Porn is even attacking our children. Do you know most kids have seen pornography at school? If not on their phone, on someone else’s who pressures them to watch. If you think this stuff isn’t happening, Satan is really doing a better job than I’d care to admit.

Participating in any way with pornography essentially supports the horrors of sex trafficking. It’s taking part in an industry that creates the demand for these girls and boys to be pulled from their homes into a life that they feel they can never escape.

Keep thinking it’s not you. Keep thinking what you’re doing is fine. Keep thinking I would never be that kind of person. Better yet, keep thinking it’s better to keep it a secret. Satan LOVES that line of thinking. I’m guessing King David didn’t think he’d fall to sexual temptation when he saw his great warrior’s wife taking a bath and continued to watch. I bet Uriah wished David had been a bit wiser about sexual temptations since it cost Uriah his life. I’m also guessing that the man I was just told about who keeps a bucket under his desk because he can’t leave his desk to go to the bathroom from his porn addiction didn’t set out for that life either. It is kinda safe to assume he wanted more at some point. I’m thinking he probably had bigger dreams, but that’s just me.

The Church should not have these statistics for pornography addiction. As the Church, we can’t sit by and let this world of sexual sin and depravity continue to destroy our congregations. When an “innocent” viewing of porn invades the mind, it starts to unravel the barriers we have to protect us. It creates a new home where addiction brews in secret. Those “harmless addictions” become the focus of lives and the path towards destruction begins.

Porn is just one way to create the demand for human trafficking. They are definitely linked. There are also many others but together they are all the breeding grounds for sexual predators, broken marriages and broken families. It’s a realm where men and women can become something they never imagined.

This stuff is real. What we’re getting ready to talk about lands on us, as the Church, to hold higher standards of living in alignment with the Bible. The indifference of Christians on all accounts is probably the worst reality of all. I’m guilty of ignoring it. You might be guilty with me. We don’t have to stay there. We have to get in this battle where Satan is taking prisoners in our homes. We have to offer help to bring them out of their addictions. We might even need to help them understand (as men, women, and youth) that it’s actually NOT ok. It actually DOES lead to bad things.

As you follow along with Community Spirit, in our next issue, we will tackle porn in the church head on. We are going to be talking to a very well-known Pastor from Tulsa, who fell to the temptation of pornography himself. He’s going to get real with us. He has an incredible ministry to help those battling addiction. We are also going to talk to people who are in the midst of recovery. We want you to know it’s not just some crazy guy locked up by himself in the middle of small-town America. Trafficking, porn addiction, they are real and they are right here in our backyards.

Written by Teresa Goodnight

It’s such an invigorating time of year. It’s crisp outside. Things feel new as the year breaks through. We start on our new path. We buy a new journal. Maybe set new goals. Then life rolls around. It doesn’t hit all at once. However, very slowly we ease back into our old ways. They’re comfortable. They feel less stressful. Truthfully, they feel just easier than these new goals. Most of us simply slide into failure. It just feels like home. Mmmm. Cozy. Not really though.

Familiar? It’s just easier to stay in patterns of thought and behavior than to turn over any kind of a new leaf. Is it any wonder, when we try to walk with God why we slip back into old sins? Find ourselves becoming less and less offended at our offenses? We dull and lull ourselves back into what feels the easiest. Same old same old.

Can we Change our Core?

As a reigning queen of the #EPICfail New Year, I know the pattern all too well. However, last year—I decided to do something about it. I made one big change. Just one. Funny enough, it wasn’t even at the New Year. It was at the end of November.

I’m sure it’s not a big deal to most of you. I hesitate to write it. But, my fellow Sodaholics will know my plight. I went from a few sodas per day to zero. Anyone who knows me knew that was just not ever going to be possible. Dr. Pepper was my end all be all crutch for a stressful day for over 30 years. I knew which states didn’t serve it and consistently offered a root beer when I asked (as if it were even close to the same!). I knew where to get it overseas in France, Italy, China—you name it. I could find it. I could easily distinguish between a Mr. Pibb and a Dr. Pepper for those who tried to pass it off as the same. I’m not proud. I’m just saying—it wasn’t an easy break-up.

I called it “When my Daddy took away my last Dr. Pepper.” (not intentionally but it became an extra funny part of my goal!) He literally held it for me at the hospital one day and I could not figure out where he put it. I kept asking everyone if they knew. It was funny. He didn’t intentionally hide it but it popped into my head as a fun way to stop drinking it. Why? Because I liked saying it. It makes me laugh. I also love to see him crack a smile in the corner of his mouth when I say he took my last one. I actually partnered him with me on the journey not really realizing what I was doing. It worked!

So, I’m sitting here a year later quite proud of myself. It’s certainly not a game changer, but it did prove to me I could do it. I can make changes. I can break difficult habits. My keys to success?

  1. Pick it. Pick one thing or just very few (2!). 2020 is about focus and we can’t focus with 15 goals in 15 directions. It just doesn’t work. Get laser-focused on a goal and stay on it.
  2. Plant it. Be really specific and plant that seed in your heart and mind. Don’t just decide “I’m going to be a better person in 2020.” Decide “I’m going to be a more financially generous person.” Or, maybe, “I’m going to read my Bible daily even if it’s just a verse.” General goals are nice, but they don’t give you specific plans for success. Plant the specific seed you want to grow.
  3. Present it to God. Get yourself what you need to grow the seed. Bring it before God. Pray. Ask for His help. Read what His word has to say about your issue.
  4. Partner Up. Ask Him for accountability partners (or a fun unintentional partner like my dad!). God uses others following Christ to help us get where we want to go. The “following Christ” part isn’t really optional. You need people who are lined up with God’s word to speak truth to you straight from the Bible. They pray with us and for us. They keep us challenged. They make sure we are staying focused. They nudge (or jerk) us back onto our path as needed. They are on board with keeping the seed growing with you.

Whatever you do, be realistic. Many make a list of resolutions as likely to happen as trying to get the Democratic and Republican parties to agree on their political agendas. Instead of making a list even the mightiest of willpower giants couldn’t accomplish, think a bit smaller. Few people can handle massive amounts of change. (Woohoo for those who can!) But if you find yourself reigning in my “#EPICfail” kingdom with your very own crown—why don’t you try a different approach?

Narrow down your list to a few things that simply must change. To reference Kristen Marie’s mantra “Choose Life.” Select YOUR one thing you want to change. Then, decide THIS thing will become a thing of your past (or these 3 THINGS for our overachievers who just can’t live within a limit (but please don’t overdo it if you want to have success).

Maybe this is the year that you want to “Choose Life” by becoming a giver. Write it down. Be specific as to what that would look like for you. Pray about it. Pray for a gardener, an accountability partner, to help you keep the seed growing. I told people I gave up soda. I made sure people around me knew my plan so they could watch me. I even brought my dad in on it, because I enjoyed the proud smirky smile on his face that he had been part of my little journey. Partners to keep you growing strong are absolutely a big factor in your success.

Then, start immediately. Set out to answer all situations you enter as the giver you want to become. Maybe you defined that as when you see a charity making a difference, you will pick an amount of money or time and just give it. Write it down. When the next one comes along—do it again. Write it down. Maybe challenge yourself with the number of times you want to accomplish your giving goal for the year. Then, take the opportunities in front of you (or seek some out!). When you look back at your list at the end of the year, you will find a sense of accomplishment along with the joy you received each time you succeeded. Somewhere along the way, your seed becomes your heart. It brings forth a beautiful change transforming you more into who God made you to be. It just becomes who you are. Then, you have a journal to remind you of the journey.

I know Dr. Pepper isn’t a big problem. Maybe for you it’s something a little more life impacting. Maybe you have a sin that has been kicking you and possibly your family, that you need to kick back. Maybe you have lost your patience with your family and need to find some grace again. Maybe your relationship with your spouse has been strained and it might be your fault. Maybe it’s a substance abuse situation. Maybe you have found yourself wrapped up in a porn addiction. The list could go on and on. Whatever it is—the solution isn’t THAT much different for a serious problem. You have to “Choose Life.”

Do you want to make a change?
Do you want to choose life? 

Some bigger problems have very specific accountability groups that can offer the exact kind of support you need—groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, for example. You can march yourself into an AA meeting and find a system proven to work. If it’s something like porn addiction, download a software system like covenanteyes.com and then find some accountability partners. Whatever you do “Choose Life” and get God involved in your decision.

These bigger items are better tackled with a team, but rest assured, you CAN beat them. You do need a team in your corner. God’s got the foundation. Build on it with Godly men and women who can help hold you accountable. Get real with them. (Check out Accountability Partners in this issue!). Trust me, you are not alone. You are NOT the only one facing that kind of problem. You just aren’t.

What you can’t do this year is try it the same ways you’ve tried before and fail.

Once you know how to be successful, the question really comes down to do you want to make a change? do you want to choose life? If you do, pick it, plant it, present it to God and get on down that road with some partners in your corner. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow to get it right. We are guaranteed that God will never leave us and never forsake us in Hebrews 13:5. He’s right there to take this journey with you—to kick the soda or to kick the habit before you kick the proverbial can. Just kidding. (Kinda). Seriously, not kidding at all. Some of these problems are very big deals and if you have one afflicting you, it’s absolutely time to make a change.

#GoDoBe

Written by R.A. Goodnight

MAN—LIFE IS OVER­WHELM­ING! Really. With the pace of life these days, is it any wonder that we find it more and more difficult to keep up with our careers, our family, and oh yeah, our relationship with God? As we feel more and more like a failure, our decisions can become easier and easier to make in the wrong direction. Thoughts like “I didn’t make dinner last week and it was ok. I’m sure it’s fine if I work through it this week.” or “I’m travelling to support my family. What’s this break to watch this show? I’m married. I’ve seen it all anyway.”

We’ve all heard about the slippery slopes. We know we’re supposed to keep our guard up. We also know we’re charged with being the leaders of our family. We know. We know. We know. It gets a little old hearing it quite frankly. When it comes to a thought like “Choose Life,” that abundantly fruitful life that Jesus offers, as appealing as it sounds, it’s actually pretty easy to choose differently. Truth is, Satan knows it.

Satan is a slithering monster waiting in the darkness to spring just the right trap on us to take us down. He watches our weaknesses. He knows where he’s hooked us before. It’s no different than going to your favorite hunting spot, where you’ve sprinkled out the zestiest corn for the longest time. Your prey comes in cautious. Then, they get used to coming into the haven of their favorite food. Their walls go down. They move slowly and comfortably into the space. Then, when they least expect it? You show up and take them down. Hard. Game over.

If you think saying yes to the little things won’t lower your guard, you’re just wrong. I’ve been wrong. I have heard story after story of men who absolutely love their wives ending up in an affair at work. They never intended it to go that way. They grew comfortable. The friendship blossomed. If you think Satan wasn’t working right in the middle of that mess—you are just kidding yourself.

If Satan can take down the leader—He’s got open game day on the rest of the family. The wife becomes emotionally off her game. The children wonder what was real in their family. Everyone is left hanging in the balance. Satan had a playbook. He knew. He wasn’t surprised at all. You played right into His hands.

Maybe you’re in the middle of one of His nasty traps. Get out. Maybe you are standing on the edge just about to tiptoe lightly into the ring. Run. FAST. Do not look back.

God can restore us. He can rescue our wives. He can teach your children great lessons through your mistakes as you show them how to walk back to God. Don’t let past or current failures be an excuse. They are an opportunity for everyone to grow. Lead them through that growth with God.

Choosing Christ and leading our family requires discipline. There is actually quite a hefty load placed upon our plate by our Heavenly Father. It’s one He’s willing to carry with us and for us if we let Him. He says His load is easy and His burden is light. However, when we aren’t really making “Choose Life” choices to choose Him, we are blocking the power God has for us. That power enables us to have that abundant life He has created for us. As the spiritual leaders of our households, we are also blocking that power from our family. We have quite a burden of responsibility. When we stray from God’s path, we take a lot of victims with us.

One area plaguing Christian men like the black plague is pornography. It’s attacking men everywhere honestly and it’s winning. It’s just so easy to access. Our tv’s brought It into our home. Our VCR’s/DVD’s and then computers brought it further and further into our daily lives. Then our pone gave us a private access point with the internet. It has become as easy as typo to land on a site full of pictures we can’t get out of our minds. It can start that easily if we entertain the temptation.

The thing about porn? It has so many victims. Porn is really a gateway drug. Once people are fully addicted, they might never have imagined themselves facing child pornography charges. However, it happens. It just went across the screen during the impeachment proceedings. There was a man, George Nader, accused of transporting a 14-year old Russian boy for sex along with his own child pornography. These are men who have respected roles and positions in our society. This isn’t just in the dive bar scene.

One topic we are going to address next in 2020 will be sex trafficking. It’s big and it’s everywhere. This threat is real. We see people like Jeffrey Epstein in the headlines. We hear of the complete travesty that was his life and his choices. We hear all sorts of very high-level, affluent male names being associated to this man and his island of debauchery. These are men of power and influence. Leaders in our nation and in other nations. Financial men we expect more of. Granted, there’s not a court case on the news, since the head of this ring was found dead in his jail cell, but there’s still a question plaguing everyone as to who was involved.

Those stories feel a bit far off. However, the stories in Oklahoma are right here. They are very real. Recently the number of cases being closed in the Tulsa area alone has our eyes wide open. There are customers driving the industry. People wouldn’t be selling children for sex slaves unless we had buyers—bug buyers. You can bet that pornography had a part in creating that sickening addiction. It’s not just for fun. It carries potential consequences of life and death for all involved—but especially the innocent victims. Don’t be fooled. If you partake, you are supporting the evil. It’s gotta stop. Let it stop with you. Get help. You don’t have to fight it alone. In fact, maybe you can’t.

In the 90’s, I heard Stephen Curtis Chapman share an accountability partner story. He was travelling quite a bit on tour. Back then, one of the most tempting places to pursue pornography secretly was in hotel rooms while away on business. It was such a known threat to men that Stephen had set up an accountability partner he could call if he felt tempted. One night . . . he made that call. He felt himself tempted. He picked up the phone and called his person. He told the person about his temptation. He and the person agreed that when Stephen returned home, he would ask Stephen if he had watched anything inappropriate. It worked. Crisis averted. Temptation didn’t win out. Can you imagine the road where it did win?

We don’t think of the big guys leading people in worship or leading churches as having the same kinds of temptations the rest of us have, but they do. We all do. Temptation is not saved for the weak. In fact, I would argue that it attacks the strong even more strongly sometimes. We are all in its path. Satan has his eye on each of us. He just needs us to crack the door to get his foot in it. Once in? He makes Himself at home.

Men. We are the leaders. We’re it. We have got to change our thinking and our priorities. We’ve got to do better. God won’t give us more than we can bear, but it is more than we can bear alone. He wants to be in the trenches with us. He is right there waiting on you to invite him in. Do it.

Start now for 2020 and “Choose Life.” Ask yourself every time a temptation pops up trying to steer you away from Christ, as the head of your household, is this a “Choose Life” choice? If that answer is no, and let’s be honest, you know when it’s no—then choose differently. Run away. Run towards that abundant life in Christ. You will be taking your family along for the ride with you. It will likely be the greatest choice you have ever made.

#GoDoBe #ChooseLife


I would consider it a privilege to hear from any of the readers. Reach out to me, share your stories. man2man@omegaleague.com 
@omegaleagueman


Written by Teresa Goodnight

Featuring One of the Largest Collections of Classic VeggieTales, 3-2-1 Penguins, and Owlegories + a Collection of Kids Books such as the Amazon Bestseller— The Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids—Minno Provides Affirming, Faith-Based Content Curated for the 100 Million Americans who Attend Church Every Sunday.

When we find out about programs to help parents help our kiddos, we get really excited. We’ve interviewed experts like Dr. Everett Piper, as they discussed colleges being purposefully after the minds of our children. We’ve listened to City Elders, as they explain the assault on our children in the public-school systems across the country trying to shape their minds as early as possible. This is real and it’s happening now. It’s been happening but it is escalating. Rapidly.

Disney programming moved out of the morally sound realm, originally part of its DNA. Recent rumors around Elsa’s sexual orientation in Frozen 2 got our attention—and dropped our already dashed expectations for the media giant. We’ve heard countless stories of parents trusting PBS with programs like Arthur, only to find their children asking if they should marry a boy or a girl after seeing it on the formerly safe show. Just today at a birthday party, a parent shared that her parental control software program failed. She walked in on her kids watching an adult language show about a teddy bear (Ted), which included inappropriate language and content around body parts just not suitable for young minds.

If you aren’t scrambling for a safety net already, you might need to wake up. It’s a real threat. This isn’t news to parents trying to raise their children in Christ. It’s troubling dialogue without a great solution. UNTIL NOW!

Enter Minno. It’s a new, Nashville-based children’s digital media company offering Christian parents an alternative that is both entertaining and affirming. Minno features an ad-free, subscription digital platform with curated entertainment and educational choices the whole family will love—including one of the largest collections of Classic VeggieTales. Minno has a publishing arm in partnership with Hachette Nashville, with offerings such as the Amazon bestseller Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids, as well as Minno Life, a parenting blog with expert resources and voices for Christian parents. Minno aims to be a one-stop solution for parents and kids.

After receiving a press release on the new company, Community Spirit reached out to CEO and Co-founder of Minno, Erick Goss. He explained Minno’s focus. Goss said, “Parents are desperate to have spiritual conversations with their kids. If we give them some basic tools, we can help parents feel confident and have a sense of control. Parents are asking, ‘How can I connect with my children?’ So, we try to provide the catalysts for conversation.”

Goss went on, “Minno really wants to create teachable, winnable moments. So many parents really feel like the world is pushing against them. Parents feel they are in survival mode. We want to help them move from that mode into what does it mean to thrive and know the Holy Spirit is partnering with us. We want parents confident with discipling.” Goss added, “One thing we know, screen time is important, but off-screen time is also important according to children. We want to be a resource to families trying to raise their children in Christ. In addition to safe programming, we share books and things we recommend.”

Goss shared, “In addition to the programming, we created the Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids as part of the experience. Laughter Is the native language of children. The text is fairly narrative. Phil Vischer, Veggie Tales creator, is hilarious. We thought if we could take the best of what’s in the Bible with the fun tone of the Veggie Tales—put it in 52 selected Bible stories—Genesis to Revelation, we’d have a tool parents could really use.” Goss said, “The feedback has already been so positive.” He went on, “Parents have been commenting ‘I didn’t know this about the Bible. I’m learning this about the Bible.’” He added, “If it’s done in a really fun way, we can help families. We’ve even built parent connect sections at the end for more parental support.”

With a recent launch, Minno already has over 20,000 subscribers in over 40 countries according to Goss. He shared, “The reaction from parents reinforces and affirms the idea there are a lot of parents out there left behind by the media establishment that their stories and their kids are not on screen. It’s important kids can see kids like them. At worst God is a fairy tale. At best, He is irrelevant.”

The thing is—parents need partners, specifically those enabling protective barriers and discipleship of their children.

Our mall recently replaced an amazing play area that was blocked in with a new completely open area. Before, parents could come relax while their children played. It went from a relaxing break while you are shopping to a completely difficult situation to make sure your children are safe. It’s a very similar parallel to what has happened with children’s programming. Parents trying to guard the hearts and minds of their children are no longer able to sit them for a few idle minutes in front of a screen and just walk away. You have to be completely present. Completely on guard. It’s a lot.

Goss stressed, “Parents who care about their children’s faith are in a tough situation. While we attend church and have friends and neighbors who share our faith, the leading technology and media companies are fueling a content culture that is devoid of God and the importance of faith. Christian parents have more content choices than they’ve ever had, but fewer options that reflect their values.” Goss shared, “When you see media companies churning out more shows than ever but none of them reflect your family’s values you want to instill in your family, you are left with an impossible choice—not participating in culture or compromising what you care most about,” Goss said, “Minno resolves that problem, serving as a one-stop, trusted source and a partner in raising kids in today’s pluralistic, social, mobile and media-drenched world. Kids will see Minno as something fun to experience, while parents can feel good about the fact that our content is encouraging kids to deepen their faith and walk with God every day, at home or on-the-go.”

In the coming months, Minno will also offer parent’s guides on top-of-mind topics, family devotionals, and podcasts. In an increasingly secular world where faith and family values are often marginalized, there are few entertainment and education options available that parents can trust. 


Minno Distinctives

Minno—ad free, subscription digital video platform. Featuring the largest collection of Classic VeggieTales in the world and the best curated collection of Christian kids content anywhere that can be streamed or downloaded and watched on the go. Parents can try Minno for free by going here: www.gominno.com

Minno Life—a lifestyle blog full of helpful articles, family devotions, and printables developed intentionally to meet the needs of today’s families. Minno Life features curated content from expert thought leaders and parents in the trenches to offer the best in practical hope and help on top-of-mind issues such as spiritual development, education, social media, and culture. Recognized voices such as the team at Daystar Counseling Center—David Thomas, Sissy Goff, and Melissa Trevathan—are all featured contributors.

Minno Kids publishing—because Minno believes the Bible should be at the center of every aspect of living—including parenting—Minno Kids publishing efforts are anchored by the new Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids and also features a wonderful new collection of children’s board books, picture books as well as middle grade novels. 

Minno Store—which includes books, Bibles, and other resources from our children’s publishing program, aims to help families experience God together. From board books to middle-grade novels, Minno books help kids better understand what the Bible teaches and offers insights for living out their faith in everyday life. 

TITLE: Rise&Shine: Everyday Christian Obedience

Written by Mike Henry Sr. — Follower of One

As I write this article, I just read a devotional on Psalms 16:11 which says, “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalms 16:11b

I hope you agree. I hope you experience God’s joy when you’re in his presence. For many of us, we experience his joy when we worship, or when we’re around his people. We may see God’s glory in our family, or in nature, and experience his joy. We may find his joy in reading his word and prayer when we’re by ourselves or when we’re alone.

Do you often experience God’s joy at work? I think many of this magazine’s readers would say they do. But how often? More than once or twice a day? More than a few times a week? Once a month? Less?

I used to think my faith was a part of my life: the others being work, family, health and hobbies. But the more I chased after God, the more I learned my faith was the place where my life, work, family and hobbies existed. When I’m with God, being directed by God, I experience his joy. At work, my desires and fears called the shots. I avoided getting chewed out, or I worked to earn money or appreciation for my job. I wanted my career to matter, but I left God out of the equation.

But fullness of joy exists in God’s presence.

How can we manage ourselves into the presence of God full-time, even while we’re at work doing things we don’t like or working with people we don’t like?

“But Jesus answered them, My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

John 5:17

“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:”

John 16:8

“But when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”

John 16:13a

The entire Trinity works right now. When you can’t be at church, or in a quiet time, you can join God in His work. Years ago, Henry Blackaby and Claude King wrote a popular workbook (and a series of other books based on it) called Experiencing God. Their workbook prompted me to see God is active in every life. We just look for God working in others and join Him.

In every circumstance and any project, we can be present with God. In Psalm 139 we learn we can’t get away from God. “If I ascend to Heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” Psalm 139:8.

God is actively working in the lives of everyone you know and see every day. That includes the person who serves you coffee and the people who clean your workplace; the people you call on today and the person at the tire shop or the irate customer. God is actively working in your boss and your direct reports, peers, and vendors, too.

In the book Rare Leadership by Marcus Warner and James Wilder, they suggest that our brains only run on 2 fuels. Either our brains run on fear, or joy. When you can’t wait to leave work or get to the weekend, you’re operating on fear. When you look for God in everything you do, you experience His joy in every work. The work isn’t joyful but God gives us His joy in His presence. Some work is ugly. He knows. His mercies are new every morning. He has the joy we desperately need to live and work in a fallen world, in a fallen body, among other fallen people.

At Follower of One, we suggest 5 categories of activities we can do to be present with God at work. We call these the 5 daily activities:

  1. Pray—Ask God to put you to work in the lives of others.
  2. Appreciate others—Make God’s treasure our treasure. He died for everyone we meet.
  3. Know what you believe—Prepare to answer the question, “Why are you doing this?” or “Why do you follow Jesus?”
  4. Serve others—Go beyond what others expect of you.
  5. Speak for yourself—When someone asks, answer in the 1st person.

We have found that when people practice these 5 activities daily, they experience God’s joy moment-by-moment at work. Even in miserable jobs or difficult situations, we hear how God brings joy. His presence brings joy, and he’s at work.

God’s joy is available to us when we can pray, worship, study and share time with other believers. But that’s not all. God is a worker. If you want more of God’s joy, join him at work, and watch what happens.


Mike Henry Sr. is the CEO of Follower of One, an online community to equip marketplace Christ-followers in any line of work. Check out their website, podcast and videos at https://follower ofone.org.


Winners' Wisdom--Failing Forward to Success

Written by Jim Stovall

The only time failure is final is when we quit trying to succeed.  What would you call a basketball player who missed 9,000 shots, lost almost 300 games, and on two dozen occasions when he was called upon to shoot the winning basket, he missed?  You might call him a failure or a loser, but the world knows him as Michael Jordan—arguably the best basketball player of all time.

Temporary failure is a part of all success.  Winston Churchill was fond of repeating that, “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”  Great basketball players, including Michael Jordan, know that they are going to miss approximately half of their shots.  This never keeps them from doing their best and anticipating the next shot. 

For most people the most dramatic part of any basketball game is known as the “buzzer beater.”  This is when a player launches a last-second shot when the game is hanging in the balance.  If the ball goes into the basket, his team wins; and if it doesn’t, they lose.  I remember talking to my friend and mentor, the late, great legendary Coach John Wooden, and discussing the kind of players he wanted to recruit to play on his championship teams.  Obviously, he wanted great athletes with the size, speed, and skill to compete at the highest level; but Coach Wooden was much more interested in the mental qualifications of a prospect.  He pointed out that the best athletes don’t always win.  When I inquired about how he would determine whether a prospect was mentally suited to be a champion, Coach Wooden told me he was looking to recruit players who wanted to take that last-second shot.

A lot of great athletes compete aggressively throughout the game but shy away from taking the last shot.  They simply don’t want to deal with the pressure.  Players like Michael Jordan realize that pressure is a part of the game and a part of life.  It’s simply a matter of who is best qualified to take the shot and being willing to live with the results. 

In reality, any shot during a ballgame could be considered the winning or losing basket.  It’s just that the last shot holds a place in the spotlight.  Any single basket during the entire game could have made the final shot irrelevant, so it’s important for us to learn that everything we do matters—not just the last-second things we do before the deadline.  If we perform at the highest level in our personal and professional lives, we will avoid many deadlines and high-pressure situations; but when we’re called upon to take the final shot, we will step up and do what needs to be done knowing that sometimes we’ll win and sometimes we’ll lose, but there will always be another game tomorrow.

I heard a great baseball coach explain that the most important characteristic of a great pitcher is to have a short memory.  If a pitcher can give up a homerun, put it behind him, and bear down in order to get out the next batter, he will eventually succeed.  Success always looks like a series of victories with the inevitable defeats sprinkled among them. 

As you go through your day today, remember that failure isn’t final unless you give up.

Today’s the day! 


Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift.  He is also a columnist and motivational speaker.  He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK  74145-9082; by email at Jim@JimStovall.com; on Twitter at www.twitter.com/stovallauthor; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor.