Moms are the True MVPs

My family and I are all huge sports fans. My wife and I watch ESPN together as we fall asleep at night and as we wake up in the morning. Recently, a young man named Derek Rose won the coveted MVP award in the NBA. If you watch his speech, you will see that he can barely speak for weeping as he thanks his mother for her sacrifice and love for him. Of course his mom is sobbing as she watches her baby boy fulfill his dream, but also as she hears him take the opportunity to acknowledge her and the sacrifices she has made to make his dream come true.

Let me share with you about five different types of mothers that have been a part of my life.

My own physical mother: My parents divorced when I was a young boy and I chose to go and live with my mother, Carole. Things were extremely hard for us financially and I watched her work three jobs at once to provide for us. She worked hard and sacrificed to take care of me. She was determined to give me the best life that she could provide for me. We didn’t have much from the world’s view but my mom loved me unconditionally. We have always been very close and have a great relationship to this day.

My mother in law:
Bernice was not very fond of me whenever I first began dating her daughter, Vickie who would eventually become my wife. I have won her over through the years though and I dare say she loves me as if I were her son. She has sacrificed through the years to help our family and she is the type of woman who would give you her last dollar if you needed it. Let me just add that Paula Deen has nothing on my mother in law, she is a fantastic cook!

“Adoptive” mother:
What I mean by this term is that sweet older lady that God sends your way as a church member, neighbor, co-worker, etc… who claims you and “adopts” you. We have a friend named Ms. Robbie in Memphis, Tn. who is my adoptive mother. Ms. Robbie refers to me as her son; she has loved me and treated me like a physical son. If I need anything, I know I can call her and she will do whatever she can to help me. She has been a constant source of encouragement in my life. Sometimes these women may not even have children of their own, but God uses them in that motherly role to many around them.

A new mother – my daughter in law:
I can’t tell you what joy I have experienced as I have watched Whitney through her pregnancy. I smile as she updates her facebook status declaring her love for this baby boy that she has not even held yet. Isn’t that an amazing thing – a mother’s love? She is already hopelessly in love with baby Finn Flockhart and has never met him! I know she is going to be an incredible mother and treasure this little boy who will arrive next month!

The mother of my six children – my wife:
Anyone who has known Vickie Flockhart will tell you that she is an incredible mother. If you have a conversation with her, it won’t be long until she is telling you about her 4 sons and 2 daughters. I am not sure if our kids truly realize all that she has done for them through the years.

Imagine all the diapers she has changed, midnight feedings for 6 babies, runny noses she has wiped, meals she has cooked, laundry she has done, homework help, book reports that SHE wrote the night before they were due, etc…a mother’s work is never ending and most times there is no acknowledgement or appreciation.

All of our kids played sports and Vickie was the chauffer to get them back and forth to practice 99% of the time. She was in the stands for most of their games and she was and is their biggest fan. I won’t go into detail but let’s say she has had a few serious discussions with referees! Our kids are adults now but when they are involved in a sport, their mother is still in the bleachers cheering them on.

My kids were taken to church as soon as they were born. It was not uncommon for me to be out of town preaching on Sundays, but my wife would load up an 8 yr. old, 6 yr. old, 4 yr. old, 2 yr. old twins and an infant and get them to church. She taught them Bible stories, she sang songs about Jesus with them, she taught them how to pray and she taught them how to tell other people about Jesus. Vickie strongly feels that a mother’s greatest missionary opportunity is to her children as they are growing up and she was dedicated to raising children who loved Jesus.

I will be honest enough to say that the “intense discussions’ my wife and I have had through the years are usually about our children. I am ‘the hard one’ and she is ‘the soft one’ so I like to think we balance each other out. Our six children have no stronger advocate then their mother and she defends them like a mama grizzly bear.

Make sure that you treat your mother, mother in law, adoptive mother, new mothers and the mother of your children like MVPs…not just on Mother’s Day but every day!

Intimacy With God – Part 2

Today we will pick up on where we left off yesterday as I discussed, Intimacy With God.  I want to share with you the process that I use. It is not a formula or a ritualistic act that I follow. It is a delight and a joy because spending time with God is the most important thing that we can do as Christians…it is vital to us.

I love to read so I begin by reading the Word of God first. I read a chapter each day in the book of Proverbs. I have been reading the Proverbs for over 20 years; they are full of wisdom and direction. Then I read another chapter from a book in either the Old or New Testament. I ask God to speak to me about two or three things out of those scriptures… is there a promise to claim; is there a sin I am being warned to avoid; is there a command to obey? I meditate on God’s word and most of the time, I read everything twice, I read slowly and I read it out loud.  I do this because I really want to get God’s word into me.

Next, I enter my prayer time. I begin with what I call, “Confess Up.” I quote I John 1:9, I John 1:7, and Romans 8:1. I confess my sin to God, agree with Him about my sin and name anything in my life that has grieved God or caused Him hurt. I don’t want anything to hinder my relationship with God.  Psalm 66:18 is a strong reminder “not to regard iniquity in my heart.”

After this time of confession, I get “Filled Up” with the Spirit of God. Ephesians 5:18b tells us to “be filled with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:16 tells us to, “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” The Spirit of God is not an it and not an energy force, He is a person and that person is power. I have already confessed anything in my life that would grieve or hinder the Spirit of God, so now I am asking to be filled afresh and anew that I might walk with Him in power as I face life, and that I will bear the fruits of the Spirit as shared in Galatians, Chapter 5 and verses 22 and 23.

Next, I get “Dressed Up” as we read about the spiritual battle and the armor of God we are to wear in Ephesians 6, verses 10-18. I get dressed in every piece of the armor – I pray each piece over me in place to protect me as I prepare to fight the battle of that day. As soldiers gear up for their physical battles, we as Christians must be armed and ready for the spiritual battles that will come each day. Be ready!

I then move into a time of “Intercession” where I intercede (pray on behalf of other people). I pray for my wife, each of my six children, my daughter-in-law and my unborn grandson. I pray for other family members, friends and other needs that I am aware of.

From there, I have a time of “Worship” where I just praise God and tell Him how awesome and wonderful He is. Take time to adore Him and bless Him. He is worthy, let’s make time to tell Him so!

I end with a time of “Thanksgiving” where I focus on just giving Him thanks. Reflect on all of His blessings, His love, provision and protection. We are so guilty of asking for everything in the world and neglecting to share our thanks with God. I thank Him for everything I can think of, including the time that He allowed me to have with Him and the intimacy that I was privileged to share.

I want to encourage you to make your quiet time, your devotional life the priority in your life.  It is not only the most important thing that you do, but it is vital for your spiritual growth and health as a Christian. I challenge you to be intimate with God. It will change your life!

INTIMACY WITH GOD – Part 1:

Today I want to share with you about intimacy with God. Psalms 42: 1-2 says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?.” I love this passage. David is saying that he is thirsting for God, hungering for God. I hope that it is your heart and your desire to want to be in the presence of God; to have a devotional life – to read the Bible and pray; to be intimate with Him.

There are three ways to enter into God’s presence: 1) Prayer 2) The Word of God and 3) Worship.
Prayer is simply talking to God, the Word of God is God talking to you as you read the Bible. Worship is the act of adoring and blessing God. It’s not just singing, it does involve music whether you sing a hymn, a chorus, listen to a CD or music praising Him. I encourage you to choose the one out of these three that gets you the most emotionally involved and excites you. There is not a right or wrong answer to this. Some people just enjoy praying; others get lost reading the Bible and others just love to sing or listen to music praising God. Which one do you enjoy the most? I always begin by reading the Word of God because I love to read, then I move into praying and then I move into worship. You just need to choose the one that gets you emotionally involved first because you want your quiet time to be a delight, not drudgery, duty or discipline. We are talking about being intimate with the God of the universe – the one who died for you. You want to be emotionally engaged in this time with Jesus Christ. So begin with the one that you enjoy most, then on to the second and then the third one.
I want to encourage you if you are a seasoned Christian, and you are already enjoying great quality time with Jesus to add a few minutes to your devotional time. Be more intentional throughout your day.  If you are just beginning this journey and launching into spending time with Jesus, I want to help you by telling you to begin with five minutes a day. Let me give you a few little hints to start this process.
First of all, I encourage you to have a time of preparation. Practically, that means you need to be physically and mentally alert. Some of you are morning people but others are “night owls.” I prefer morning, I am alert, fresh, and my mind is ready so I always have my quiet time first thing in the morning. My wife Vickie is the opposite, she prefers night time. She stays up until 1 or 2 am and feels that she is at her ‘best’ at night so for her to have her quiet time in the morning would not work well. Determine what time is best for you and make sure that you are physically and mentally alert.
Next I advise you to select a time and a location and keep that consistent. For instance, if it is at 6 am in the morning, then try to keep it around 6 am daily. If it is in the afternoon, keep it in the afternoon. Keep that specific time and then focus on finding a specific location. I have a chair that I have had for many years that is in the sitting area of my bedroom. I use that chair every single day. I read, pray and worship in that chair every day. Even as I write this, I think of that chair and I know how it feels and even what it smells like as I kneel  there so often.
Intimacy with Jesus…thirsting for God. The number one priority of the Christian life is spending time with Jesus Christ.  It is vital for a healthy, growing relationship.
Tomorrow I will share my detailed process with you.

Sieze the Day

Robin Williams’ character in the movie, “Dead Poets” says, “carpe diem, seize the day boys; make your life extraordinary.” That is great advice. Carpe Diem is a Latin phrase that means, ‘seize the day.’

Too many of us are living ordinary lives instead of the extraordinary life that God has for us. I am not talking about rock star status or saving 10 children from a burning building. I am talking about seizing the day and making a difference in people’s lives. What do you need to do to seize your day?

Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 16 tells us to “redeem the time because the days are evil.” There are two words in the New Testament for time; “chronus” – clock, time or measured time and “charos” meaning season of time or opportunity, fixed point in time. The word in Ephesians is ‘charos’. We must seize the opportunity that is in front of us…seize the day, the moment, the opportunity.

It is one thing to talk about what you are going to do or what you are going to accomplish. IT is quite another to actually do it; to reach that goal; to finish that project; to start writing that book. Make today count! What task will you accomplish today no matter what? Seize the day! Act on this moment. Go do it!

Here are four ways you can seize the day today:

· Organize

Clear your desk, clear your mind. Have a well-organized, highly systematic approach to get that goal, project or idea done.

· Prioritize

Remain focused on what’s important. Do that one thing that will give you your desired results.

· Optimize

Remember, time is a gift. You must make excellent use of your time.

· Synergyze

Create chemistry with those who can help you and you can help them. If your dream is big, you’ll never be able to do it alone. And more than likely, you will discover people with the same goals as you. Create powerful interpersonal synergy.

Let me encourage you to seize the day. Make your life extraordinary. Life is too short for the ordinary.

You Got a Second?

Laertius Diogenes was a 3rd century biographer of the Greek Philosophers. Though I don’t agree with a lot of what he said, I love his quote, “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.”

How do you spend your time? Is your day wasted away with non-essential things? Do you struggle at the end of the day wondering where the time went? Do you find yourself in a state of panic most of the time, trying to complete a project or keep up with never ending appointments?

Every second is important. Every second is unique. Every second is fleeting. Use your time wisely. Are you making the most out of one of the most precious gifts of life…time? A.W. Tozier said, “when you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.”

What about your family? When is the last time you made ‘real’ time for them? Have you dated your spouse lately? If you don’t make the time, it won’t happen. What about that quality time with your children? Trust me, I know about this – I have six children! I can remember bringing each one of my kids home from the hospital as newborns…changing diapers (okay, maybe not many!), the cute little onesie pajamas with ‘feet’ in them, having those babies grab hold of my finger with their little hands, hearing them say “Da-Da” and the countless other memories that are so awesome! Then before I knew it, my oldest son was married and in June, I will be a grandfather. Wow, where did time go?

Ovid said, “neither the wave that has passed can be recalled nor the hour which has passed return again.” Hey, you got a second or are you too busy trying to find that lost piece of information or pursuing the American dream or surfing the internet. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” The time is NOW for you to make a change in how you approach this issue of time.

Here are my top 5 suggestions to help you deal with your time:

1. Make a list of the things that only you can do. (things that cannot be delegated) Prioritize them according to your purpose in life. There should never be more than 4 top priorities in one day.

2. Create a not to do list. Drop some things – don’t do them anymore!

3. Schedule everyday – everything! Put on the calendar date nights, family nights, alone time, everything! If you don’t handle your schedule, someone else will and time will disappear.

4. Guard your time on line – email, Facebook, Twitter, etc…You will be surprised to find how much of your time is spent on these things.

5. Review all of your work at the end of the week and then plan for next week!

We don’t need more time, we need to manage the time that we have more effectively. Why don’t you make time right now to begin practicing these suggestions that I have given you. You got a second?

Live According to Your Purpose

“The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder; a waif, a nothing, a no man…” Thomas Carlyle 1795-1881
Many people don’t have a clear sense of purpose and direction for their life. They don’t know who they are and why they are on this planet. Everyone needs a strong sense of purpose and mission. Do you know what you are supposed to do with the one life – the ONLY life you have to live? Every moment of our lives has value, and every decision we make either adds to our purpose and mission or takes away from it.

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. “ Paul understood why Jesus took hold of him…do you? Our task in life is to “lay hold of that which Christ laid hold for us.” My purpose is to make plain the gospel so that people can enter into a relationship with Christ and grow to their full potential. I love waking up each day knowing why I have been created. I have a spring in my step and a smile on my face because not only do I know my specific purpose, but I am living it every day.
What is your purpose? Who and what are you living for? When you know your purpose, you live with energy and passion. Knowing what is truly important and living that way is a powerful position.

What changes in your life are you going to have to make to live out your purpose? You are going to have to be more intentional in what you do with your time; what you say “yes” to and what you say “no” to. I am not saying that it is going to be easy because it’s not. Please don’t wake up one day and discover that you lived your life for years but not according to your purpose!

Here are some things for you to do right away:

1 – Discover your purpose

2 – Develop your purpose

3 – Deploy your purpose

Persevere No Matter What the Obstacles

Persevere No Matter What the Obstacles:
In Acts, chapter 14, we read where Paul was being stoned at Lystra. He was doing what God called him to do…preaching the gospel and seeing God do the miraculous. After a man who was crippled was healed, Jews from Antioch and Iconium stirred up the crowd and the Bible says they stoned Paul. Can you imagine having rocks thrown at you? (the physical kind) The Bible says in verse 20 that Paul got back up and went back into the city. Listen – be prepared – people are going to oppose you and will throw rocks at you. They may not be actual rocks but you will on occasion be knocked to your feet and even flat on your back. Do what Paul did; get back up! Go and continue what you have been called to do. Persevere no matter what the obstacles. I know it is easy preaching and hard living but let me encourage you to get back up!
Paul didn’t quit. People and circumstances will do everything to bring you down. You are going to want to throw in the towel. I speak from personal experiences, I have wanted to quit several times in my life. I love this quote by Booker T. Washington, ”I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.”
I love the story of Florence Chadwick. She was 34 years old in 1952. It was July 4th. The California Coast was covered in fog. Twenty-one miles to the west of Catalina Island, Florence waded into the water and began swimming toward California, determined to be the first woman to do so. She had already been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.
The water was numbing cold that July morning and the fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her own party.

Millions were watching on national television. Several times sharks, which had gotten too close, had to be driven away with rifles to protect the lone figure in the water.

As the hours ticked off she swam on.
Fatigue had never been her big problem in these swims –
it was the bone chilling cold of the water.

More than fifteen hours later, numbed with the cold,
she asked to be taken out.

She couldn’t go on.
Her mother and her trainer alongside in a boat told
her they were near land. They urged her not to quit.
But when she looked toward the California Coast,
all see could see was the dense fog.

A few minutes later, at fifteen hours and fifty five minutes, she was taken out of the water.

It was not until hours later, when her body began to thaw, that she felt the shock of failure. To a reporter she blurted out, “Look I’m not excusing myself. But if I could have seen land, I might have made it.”

She had been pulled out only a half mile from the California Coast! Later she was to reflect that she had been licked not by fatigue or even the cold – The fog alone had defeated her because it obscured her goal. It had blinded her reason, her eyes, her heart.

It was the only time Florence Chadwick ever quit.

Two months later she swam that same channel.
And again fog obscured her view. But this time she swam with her faith intact. Somewhere behind that fog was land.

Not only was she the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel, but she beat the men’s record by some two hours!

Persevere, don’t give up! No matter what blocks your view, no matter how many people doubt you, or who says you cannot make it. Persevere no matter what the obstacles!

Welcome to steveflockhart.com

Welcome to steveflockhart.com. Thank you for checking out my blog. Keeping with the Easter theme, today is the day of new beginnings. Today, not only do we launch steveflockhart.com but we also officially launch Over the Wall Ministries, a non-profit coaching and consulting ministry that also offers resources. (For more information, check out overthewallministries.com) God is truly doing some amazing things. Who would ever imagine as we started New Season Church with a group of 40 people that we would see over 1000 people accept Christ over the past three years and that we would have over 1400 attending church this past weekend for 3 Easter services! Today you will be able to view a video blog to kick things off and tomorrow, I will begin writing on issues that will be relevant to you no matter what you do, or where you are in life.