Men, Let Us Quit Holding Back

Modern drive-by ministry makes we want to vomit.

Okay, there. I said it.

The church ought to be challenging people. We ought to be calling ourselves to higher levels of service to accompany a deeper knowledge of the Lord. That’s not what seems to be happening.

Many churches behave as if they exist to afford you, the church attender, with the possibility of contribution with no sacrifice. Pay a bit of money, money that you can afford if we’re honest, and I’ll fly you halfway around the world to hand out water bottles with Bible verses on them to complete strangers that you’ll never see again.

Don’t forget the mandatory pic with some brown people for your social media account to confirm that you’ve been ‘on mission’.

I find no prescription for this in the Bible.

I find a prescription for community, for sending money, for church planting…

…and for adoption…all things that demand of you.

Guarded Affections

Let us dispense with the platitudes.

You keep some of yourself for yourself, as do I.

Whether it be time or resources including money—we reserve some of it for ourselves.

If I give all of my time to another, to anyone or anything, then I won’t have as much time left for myself as I’d like. We all wake each day with a predetermined idea about how we would like to spend our time. Some of you (us) jealously guard our time. We demand “me” time.

And if I gave all my money, I likewise wouldn’t have any left for myself. If I put my money toward anything other than me, then I’d have less to spend on, well, me. I may not be able to afford that new bass boat or Harley-Davidson. I may have to make do with my 2015 F250 and not be able to upgrade to that cherry 2019 Dodge Ram with a supercharged hemi.

If I give of myself too much, I may have nothing left for…me.

I can be generous. I have been generous. I’ll give to another. If a friend of mine has a need, I’ll be there, as long as that need corresponds with a convenient time for me. If a family member needs something, hey, I’ll be there, within reason.

Within reason…this is the universal caveat to much in the way of our generosity.

Don’t actually ask me to sacrifice.

The Kingdom

Isaiah likens the church to a tent.

As he prophesies about the growth of the church, he commands God’s people to stretch out the tent, to lengthen the ropes, to strengthen the stakes, driving them deep. As the tent is stretched, nearly tearing, those in desperate need of shelter can be pulled into the sanctuary of the tent where they find rest and protection. (Isaiah 54:2-3)

This is the kingdom of God.

This is the Church.

This is what happened to me. I was an orphan, Fatherless. Yet unknown to me at the time, the Father had set His affections on me in eternity past and one day nearly 14 years ago, He affirmed those affections and saved me, adopting me as a son of the Lord God on high, pulling me into the tent of His shelter.

I am His. For good. A son.

Now, imagine setting your affections on one in a similar manner, deciding to love them as your own, deciding to adopt, pulling them into the tent of your shelter. Sounds good until you start to notice how crowded it’s getting in that tent. Sure would like to have a bit more space for myself.

In the middle of the tent metaphor, Isaiah inserts this curious phrase, “Do not hold back.” (verse 2) “Spare not,” is another rendering.

Interesting that in the context of pulling orphans from their affliction, Isaiah feels led to exhort men to stop holding back.

He must know something we do not.

Truth

Fact: Adoption is a Gospel issue, not a social issue.

Okay, it is a social issue. Orphans never adopted suffer in life. Period. Homelessness, incarceration, addiction, pregnancy out of wedlock—pick an affliction and they almost all suffer it. Hardly any go to college and these are all real issues.

But the greatest issue is that they don’t know Jesus!

Scripture states it, reality bears it out. The most effective evangelist, by far, is a loving and engaged father. Children tend to inherit the faith of their fathers, or lack thereof. What of those who have no father?

Who will be the one to teach them about the Lord, to bring them up in the way so that when they are older, they will not depart from it? Will you be the one?

Scripture is intensely clear on the mandate for parents to make disciples of their children. What of the children with no parents to make them into disciples? The world and Satan will gladly make disciples of them, thereby relinquishing you of your obligation.

As we, men, worry about being inconvenienced, every year tens of thousands of children nationwide turn 18 and ‘graduate’ the system to a life of hopelessness. As we idly dither about with various trifling pursuits, thousands come of age and assuredly will never know the Lord.

But that Hemi sure is sweet.

More Truth

I cannot adequately describe the need. It is that vast.

I cannot adequately describe the cost. It is that vast.

Nothing will stretch you out more spiritually than bringing a child not your own, particularly an afflicted child from the system, into your home and loving them as your own. I have done nothing harder than foster and adopt my sons.

I have done nothing more valuable.

Preaching, teaching, evangelizing, ministering to my congregation: all take a back seat to the ministry of adoption. And I have my sons! I cannot imagine my life without them. Would I have left them to languish for the sake of my comfort or my standard of living? At one time, the answer would’ve been a resounding, ‘yes!’

Several years ago, I held two-month-old Max in my arms, begging God to take him from me.

I’m too old God. (I was 42)

I can’t do this God.

I don’t want this God!

But he wore me down, God and Max. As I pondered his solemn brown eyes, the still soft voice of the Holy Spirit whispered continually into my ear, “It’s not his fault. It’s not his fault.”

I crumbled like tissue paper.

Three years later, I am privileged to call this little guy my son.

Brothers, let us stop holding back. Your hemi will one day be no more. Your home will one day be a pile of rubbish. All that you lust after will all come to naught. The heart and soul of an orphan though, here is eternity.

Men, let us stop holding back…let us adopt.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

Men, Let Us Quit Dabbling in Minutiae

Sorry, not sorry, for the gender-specific, non-inclusive language of this work but…
…the future of our nation depends upon our men, our sons.

That is a fact.

As such, we (men) ought to quit dabbling in minutiae.

Not as they seem…

A couple of euro-beatniks illustrated this point.

My friends Ron, Luke, and I were working in Lima, Peru at Heart of Christ Ministries, an amazing ministry that teaches the Gospel to impoverished children in the slums of Caja de Agua. Each evening we’d retreat to a local hostel for some rest.

South America is rife with travelers and backpackers. The Andes Mountains make Peru a favorite and I’ve seen legions of them, Europeans in particular. One evening, we were hanging out in the common room of the hostel when two young travelers entered, a young man and a young woman. They could’ve been typecast for their role, complete with dreadlocks, shabby clothes, and a distinct laid-back vibe.

The man began to strum a guitar as we struck up a conversation. A German, he had toured in a band before deciding to take a year or two and travel. He wanted to ‘find himself’ and have time to discover life, or something to that effect.

I found this fascinating. I could scarcely imagine such freedom. My friend Ron was not as impressed.

“What a waste of time,” he uttered in disgust later.

“This young man needs to get serious about life and quit hiding from reality and responsibility.”

“Pitiful.”

Well, then.

A clear call…

From first to last, God’s voice resonates from Scripture concerning His will for your life.

God desires that you pastor your family.

He desires that you make disciples of your sons. Period.

God’s original command to the couple were to that end. God commanded the man to know his wife in the most biblical sense of the word and to raise up their children as disciples. This was the original revealed plan for God’s people to spread across the earth. (Genesis 1:28)

The Fall soon corrupted every relationship and once the relationship between God and man was severed, men immediately set about their own way. Thus, children are born out of wedlock. Fathers neglect their children or walk away entirely. Instead of abrogating the original plan, the Fall strengthened the urgent need for fathers to engage.

As our sons are born into sin, they desperately need the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the most effective evangelist is a loving and engaged father. Reality bears this out.

Children tend to inherit the faith of their fathers, or lack thereof.

This is a fact.

Scripture speaks to this with the urgency and frequency with which God commands men to make disciples of their sons.

God gives us the great Shema, the great declaration of faith. “Hear O’ Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4) And then…teach these things diligently to your children. Talk about them all time, while you’re walking and standing or sitting or lying down. Write them on the walls of your home. Whatever it takes, but teach them.

The wisdom literature, the Psalms and the Proverbs, resonate with God’s call for fathers to disciple their sons, to raise them up in the way of the Lord that when they are older, they won’t depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Paul exhorts us, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesian 6:4) We are commanded, exhorted, encouraged, and equipped to accomplish the primary commission God has given us, to make disciples of our sons. They are desperate for this.

The slow death of our nation is a distinct reflection of our collective failure to make disciples of our sons.

So for God’s sake men, let us teach them!

The minute you die, the world will begin the process of forgetting all about you. Don’t believe me? Who was the most popular or richest man in your town 30 years ago? Twenty? That man is dead and buried. Gone. Forgotten.

The only true legacy we have is our sons.

Our children are not a hindrance or a nuisance. They are not an obstacle to overcome. The Psalmist tells us that our children are like arrows in the hands of warrior. They are our inheritance, our reward. (Psalm 127:3-4)

Embrace it. Embrace them.

A hard truth…

Let’s put first things first.

One must first be a disciple before one can make a disciple.

So as men, let us put the proverbial cookies on the bottom shelf. We’re men, correct? So we can speak candidly and frankly without worrying necessarily about feelings and such.

Are you a disciple of Christ?

Are you a follower of the risen Lord Jesus?

Have you confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead?

Have you been saved?

You were born into sin, a rebel against a holy and righteous God. And He is angry at the sin of men. His wrath abounds and it had to be satisfied. As such, Jesus drank the full cup of the fury of God’s wrath at Calvary, serving as a substitutionary atoning sacrifice for all who would believe.

Do you believe?

Be real. I didn’t ask if you went to church, if you were raised as a Christian, if you did good things or were a good dude. Do you believe? Are you a disciple, seeking to live your life as a Christ-follower?

If not, you have infinitely more pressing matters to concern yourself with.

If so, amen!

Let’s talk about making disciples of your sons.

Our various pursuits…

While our sons die in the streets, we fathers tarry in the trivial.

Ron was talking about experience.

How many men spend their lives pursuing experience? Legions of aimless young men pour themselves into this pursuit, fleeing God’s call as a man. They travel, hike, backpack, seek out adventures, bungee jump naked from a hot air balloon, strapped to a motocross bike and a gnarly set of snow skis.

Experience is their god, adrenaline their drug.

Garbage.

While we waste time with such vain pursuits, the enemy remains busy destroying a new generation.

As we work 80-hour weeks, the enemy is just as busy making his own disciples of our sons. Pop culture, friends, media: we’ve entrusted the disciple-making of our sons to these and others and they are more than willing.

And don’t think the church is going to make disciples of them. Or your wife. That’s your job. Ever wonder why most kids brought up in this manner walk at the first opportunity? It’s because we have failed.

We put our stock in our vocation. Position is our drug.

Accomplishment is our god.

Excrement.

The acquisition of stuff governs us, motivates us. If only I had a bigger home, a better truck, a boat, a jet ski, a whatever. If only I could save up enough money to retire. Ahh, the holy grail of men, fiscal security.

“I work hard so they’ll have a better life.”

Really?

Leisure. College football. The internet. An endless array of dalliances distracts the most vital person in a son’s life, his father.

Two easy benchmarks readily indicate reality, the clock and the Bible. We ought to spend time with both, our sons and the Bible.

It’s the only way. All others lead to only death.

Parting shots…

Don’t hear me say that work is bad, or taking care of your family.

God calls men to work hard, to provide for their families. Don’t hear me say that any of that other stuff is bad, in and of itself. I love the Ohio State Buckeyes as much as the next guy, but what about our sons?

Do they sit famished for discipleship while we neglect them for other pursuits that ultimately have no lasting merit, no eternal significance.

This is the issue.

Confronted with such truth, what then will you do?

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

Liberals…Conservatives…slaves to the god of confusion

We live in a sea of disparate voices.

Confusion colludes with superficiality to enslave a generation to the god of this world.

Confusion Displayed

Several months ago, a young lady contacted me requesting a visit. She wanted us to pray for her and her housemates, and to bless their home. They suspected a demonic presence had invaded their lives.

After trading a few phone calls, I agreed to the visit. Ami and I secured the assistance of a friend, met and prayed, and made the 20 minute drive to this particular home.

Confusion reigned.

Two young ladies and a young man welcomed us and we spent about two hours with them. “You called us, the church, so you know you’re going to hear about Jesus,” was my caution. They were perfectly open to hearing about Jesus.

“We don’t have a problem with Jesus.”

One of the ladies, the one who called us, ‘used’ to be a Christian but wasn’t anymore. The young man, an astute fellow, was fine with Christianity. He liked several different religions and Christianity was one of his favorites.

The other young lady, like an increasing multitude of young people, was confused as to her identity, who God made her to be. She had rejected the very foundation of her being, her DNA, the very fingerprint of God upon her life.

“If I became a Christian, will I have to change?” was her hesitant concern.

“If you become a Christian, there is no way you won’t be changed, for the better. That’s what God does. How that happens would be between you and Him.”

God is not a God of confusion. (1 Corinthians 14:33)

Satan is the author of disorder and discord, chaos and confusion.

Unfortunately, this home was a perfect representation of the contemporary proliferation of confusion. What an effective strategy! Satan has muddied the waters with the proliferation of competing ideas, inundated the market with a deluge of seemingly valid views.

Truth is concealed beneath a mountain of ignorance.

Confusion

Contemporary concepts of God, even in the church, have deteriorated to the point of being unrecognizable.

There is no God.

God exists, He just doesn’t do much.

God is my friend, the Big Man upstairs.

God is a grandfatherly type character that really just wants us young people to have a good time.

All roads lead to Heaven. Your concept of God is what matters. All people generally worship the same God. Just be a good person. That’s what matters. Do good stuff.

God wants you to be happy. He wants to empower you to the be the absolute best version of you that you can be. He doesn’t desire you to languish in poor health or poverty. Why would He? If you don’t have those, then you must lack a measure of faith. Please confirm your faith by sending a check in the appropriate amount. Message me for my PayPal info.

I’m spiritual, I just don’t go to church.

I love Jesus, it’s just his people I don’t like.

Jesus loves everyone and would like to just, you know, hang out and get to know you and he would never, ever judge anyone. That’s what these ‘Christians’ do.

More Confusion

Social justice is not the Gospel.

Gay rights. LGBTQ rights. Reproductive rights. Minority rights. Women’s rights. Immigrant’s rights. Civil rights et. al. will one day matter not.

#metoo, #blacklivesmatter, ANTIFA and all other ‘movements’ will wither and die.

Egalitarianism, multiculturalism, globalism, socialism, Marxism, secularism, environmentalism, humanism. All will be blown away as chaff in the wind.

Income equality saves no man.

Nor does gun control.

Still More Confusion

The 2nd Amendment is not the Gospel.

Your guns won’t save you.

Neither will any Supreme Court justice, or President Trump.

The United States will one day be a footnote to the annals of antiquity.

The NRA will cease to exist. The American Dream will fade into obscurity. You might as well burn an American flag. One day it will be as meaningless as the fabric on which it is printed. Support the troops while you can, certainly. They will bear arms no more.

Capitalism will die. Veterans will have no more benefits. Abortion will end, but not because of anything you’ve done. So will welfare, taxes, and every union. No reform required.

Please do not be confused. I believe in some of these things but…

…God is not a God of confusion.

Clarity

There is one true God.

He is Yahweh, the great I Am.

He is Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Rapha. He is El Shaddai, Adonai, Elohim. He is Abba, Father.

And His wrath burns in fury against the sin of men, as all men reject Him even though Creation testifies to His existence. Therefore, they are without excuse.

As such, I need a Savior. I need righteousness. I need that which I could never gain of my own accord.

In love, God sent His only begotten Son, Yeshu’a Mashiach, Jesus the Christ, the Son of Man, the Lamb of God, the Alpha and the Omega, the Firstborn over all creation, to be a substitutionary atoning sacrifice for the sins of all who would believe, and to propitiate the wrath of a holy and righteous God.

In grace, God sent His Holy Spirit to change my heart, to replace my heart of stone with a heart of flesh, to regenerate me, that I might believe…

…and believe I did. I repented of my sin, confessed with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believed in my heart that God raised Him from dead.

And He saved me, through no merit of my own, made me a new creation, breathed His life into me and imputed Christ’s righteousness to me as He imputed my sin to Christ. Forever more, when the Father looks upon me He will see the righteousness of Christ.

And as I walk in discipleship, grow in sanctification, I am ever molded into the image of Christ until I am glorified one day in death, as my faith finally becomes sight.

And one glorious day, He will return, the Lamb, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He will return, bodily, visibly, in power, to judge and make war. He will set all things right. The books will be opened, the dead will be resurrected, those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life to eternal life, those not, the unregenerate, to eternal destruction in the Lake of Fire.

The Heavens and the Earth will be consumed by fire and replaced by the new Heavens and new Earth.

May these truths destroy our confusion.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

In Transition: I’m a Veteran…Quick, Tell Me How Great I Am

Affirmation is a powerful opiate.

Facebook knows this.

So does LinkedIn and Instagram and Twitter et. al. I mean, they’re all the same people, but Zuckerberg and company long ago deciphered the secret.

Napoleon knew it too. “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon,” he remarked while being taken into exile on St. Helena.

The U.S. Army knows it. What men won’t do for a bit of colored ribbon.

How might we act when the ribbons run out?

Military Affirmation

At some point, most Army officers begin to look like Mexican generals.

I was a freshly-minted lieutenant on my first assignment, when our unit had it’s battalion formal. Like a good LT, I assembled my uniform and brought it to work for inspection. 1SG McCool was your typical salty, old-school First Sergeant. He examined my uniform, nodded his head, pointed to my whopping total of 2 ribbons, and coolly remarked, “You’re some kind of f***’n hero, huh, Sir?” before strolling off, leaving me in a pool of my shattered manhood.

But the ribbons came…in bunches over the years.

I recall my excitement upon receiving an Army Commendation Medal 12 months later as a PCS award for doing my job. Many had to settle for an Army Achievement Medal which is, you know, like one less. A second PCS generated another ARCOM and even a Humanitarian Service Medal for, you guessed it, doing my job.

The war opened the floodgates. Ribbons flowed like wine and the medals flocked like the salmon of Capistrano. Air medals. Meritorious Service Medals. And the brass ring of hubris, the Bronze Star: all awarded for…doing our jobs.

And men jockeyed for them. Buddies submitted buddies for ribbons. Soldiers in unusual occupational specialties sought to “get outside the wire” for a bit of excitement and perhaps a medal. Ground guys hitched a ride in an aircraft, “performed duties”, and received Air Medals.

The Pentagon even invented a badge, the Combat Action Badge, the epitome of every-soldier-gets-a-trophy, the requirement being that the enemy “engaged” you. That’s it. Define “engage.”

          “So let me get this straight, the enemy mortared the base and you want a Combat Action Badge.”

          “Yes Sir. I deserve it.”

          “I guess we’ll have to submit one for the other 5,000 soldiers stationed here.”

Entitlement replaced expectation, so powerful is the need for affirmation.

The military ribbon is a symbol of affirmation, never mind if accomplishments are real or imagined. If they’re on the rack, it must’ve happened. Throw in some skill badges, maybe Air Assault or Airborne, and bam! Looking good. Instant hero. Let the praises flow.

After nearly 23 years, my ribbon rack looked pretty decent despite the fact that I really only felt as if I’d earned one, my Army Commendation Medal for being a rear detachment commander. No matter.

Pride is a powerful motivator, with the need for affirmation as a willing accomplice. It wasn’t the ribbons themselves, it was what they symbolized, the acclaim of men. And it’s effective.

Never mind what I’m asking you to do—deploy repeatedly and be absent from your family for years on end—here’s a ribbon. Now get on the plane.

Seeking Affirmation

Social media is a powerful influence in our society.

Affirmation is it’s fuel.

Consider the idea of ‘likes’, until a few years ago, a completely foreign concept. Harness man’s innate desire for the approval of other men, give them a platform for obtaining that approval via a tangible ‘like’ or even better, a ‘share’, and watch usage skyrocket.

Brilliant.

They’ve marketed affirmation as a commodity and like any commodity, some attempt to acquire it illegitimately.

You can buy ‘likes’. Did you know that?

I’ve always felt sorry for the stolen valor dudes.

You’ve seen these guys. They dress up in military uniforms, despite never having served or having served in a ‘lesser’ capacity, and then parade themselves seeking, you guessed it, affirmation.

An entire cottage industry exists in ‘outing’ these guys. Some veterans are so offended by the idea of ‘stolen’ valor—as if true valor could be stolen—that they confront the offenders and publicly shame them on the internet.

But men desire acclaim. It is natural to seek the praises of other men.

Men need affirmation, particularly in their vocation, from where so many find their worth in the first place.

A New Reality

In some ways, the civilian sector is harsher than the military.

The bottom line rules. The ability to generate revenue drives everything in our capitalistic system.

There are no service awards, no awards formations. You’ll not receive the acclaim of men by what you wear on your ‘uniform’. No one cares what you did yesterday, but what have you done for me lately.

For years, you’ve been told how special you are. You’ve been lauded for your sacrifice, honored for your service, praised for your commitment. You have the ribbons to prove it.

For years, you’ve received a healthy and regular dose of affirmation.

What will you do when that is no more?

True Affirmation

Let’s talk about acclaim.

As I have died to sin and self and been raised to a newness of life in Christ, I no longer serve myself. I do everything unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:23) Ultimately, I labor on behalf of the Lord. I love on behalf of the Lord. I father on behalf of the Lord.

As Paul writes, “we make it our aim to please him.” (2 Corinthians 5:9) We reject the empty and hollow praises of men, knowing that the fickle hearts of men often reject that which they have previously praised. We reject the need for worldly affirmation and rest in the promise of one day hearing the gentle words of our Father, “well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)

Knowing this, what more could I need?

I recall feeling similarly about football helmet stickers.

I was a decent high school player and our team awarded little white skull stickers to paste on our maroon helmets for good plays. At the conclusion of Thursday practice, the coach would assemble us and hand out the stickers in front of the entire team. Then, you could wear the stickers on your helmet for everyone to know what a standout you were.

I was decent, but not as good as Woods. He battled through a knee injury and missed the first few games of his senior season. His first game back, he killed it, terrorizing our opponents, worthy of more than a few stickers. I sure bet he was excited to start filling up his otherwise plain maroon helmet.

And sure enough, he received several stickers and as the coach dismissed us, I looked over at Woods who had casually dropped his stickers to the ground and was grinding them into the mud with his cleats in disgust. I was shocked.

Woods had no need for the acclaim of men. As my coach used to say, he let his pads to the talking.

May we all let our pads do the talking.

Now, if you’ll just share this post please and maybe even comment about how excellent it was, I’d be very appreciative.

In Transition: Series

Time and the Transitioning Warrior

I wanted a mission…

Veteran, It’s Not All About You (me)

Round is a Shape

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

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This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

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