Body Part Sends Message to Rest of Its Body

https://youtu.be/ShwUMFlLAzQ Open Letter to the Local Church

Composed from Oct 18 to Dec 6, 2020

Dear Church,

My name is Daniel Fenton and I am a Church Body Part.

When I was in my teens I wondered if I had truly been saved from my sins as I had done what my brothers had done as a five year old and prayed a prayer with my Sunday School Teacher. My uncertainty drove me to settle the matter and I made sure of my acceptance of the gift God gives in Jesus Christ. From that day forward I have been a member of Christ’s body, the church.

Like so many others, the concept of what church is was dimly understood by me. Assembly and participation was clear but what we are wasn’t.

Circumstances have caused me to dig deeper and gain a better knowledge about this and if it can help you, I share thoughts and situations and helps with you, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Let me ask these two questions first:

1. Do we know who we are?

  1. Do we really understand the concept of being a church?

The Bible uses three words more often than any other to describe us.

We are described as “ a flock of sheep to be cared for”.

We are also labeled “The Body of Christ”.

We are His “Bride”. Here’s a side question to ponder…..As His bride, how are we to be, act, behave and appear?

Let’s discuss the body. Please consider some things about this body, He has made us. The Word says, We are a body ‘built up together and fitted together by Him”(Jesus).

Just as Paul the Apostle reminds us in I Corinthians 12, we all make up different parts of the body.

WHY? So that we can function wholly for God.

There are feet for moving, hands for helping, abdomens for feeling and some of us make up parts of the head in this body. Paul mentioned this part of the body by using the analogy of “eyes for seeing” and “noses for smelling” and “ears for hearing.”

I can hear some of you now…..”Whoa, whoa,whoa! Jesus is the Head”. I know….many times I too had that same thought. But the meaning is different than that of a body part. With each instance where Jesus is referenced as “Head”, note,that it is emphasizes “Position of Authority”….not a body part with a significant function.

Just to reiterate….Some people have the picture of the spiritual body of Christ being like Jesus is the part on top of the shoulders and we, the church make up everything else below that point. This is not the case,

The reason Paul uses body parts is because he’s making a simple way for us to understand ,that each one of us serves a special part in God’s work and plan . But this can only happen in conjunction with the other body parts.

Through the Holy Spirit, God provided a way for us to function as a body functions for the purpose of glorifying Christ and displaying His bride. The church often today becomes the “Church of I” but We were designed to be “The Church of We”. Only in unity can the world see who we are.

Why is this important, Church? Because without this foundational understanding, we miss out on living our lives in ways that supports and builds up Christ’s bride.

Not only is it important to know our own individual functions within the body but we need to have an understanding of the other body parts that are reflecting God’s message to the world of His grace and gospel. Yes, without properly functioning as God intended, the effectiveness of the body of Christ to share the gospel will greatly be hampered.

Why am I addressing this and trying to help you understand our body and it’s function for God?

More and more, a scattering of “body parts” or “sheep” occurs with God’s church.

There needs to be a starting point of reconciliation (a gathering in or uniting, if you will) today, of believers who are meant to be included and functioning within our body for it to be whole. I would dare say we have fallen to pieces and this saddens me greatly.

You know that verse in II Cor. 5:19 where Paul says, “….God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself…..entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”?

Everyone knows that we, Believers, are commanded to share this message but…..We also know that it is God who brings people to salvation. We, by doing this, are acting in obedience , therefore giving us joy when we see God perform His saving grace. We participate in reconciling people to God.

However, just as there is reconciliation for salvation, there is reconciliation commanded for those who make up the church. The Scripture tells us to be unified as a body for the sake of edification ……..so that we build up the church. Things like: Forgiving one another. .. Restoring back to the church…Removing fellowship from someone to create a desire for them to return. Things like that are just a few.

It also needs to be emphasised that the parts of the body, mentioned by Paul, were not “positions of authority within the church” but were “functions” empowered by the Spirit of God for the express purpose of developing a growing church, a unified church and one that demonstrated a bride in her glory before her future husband, Jesus Christ. She is to be an attractive in this world, noted as special, who, with a great attitude and poise, is worthy to be married to the Creator of all.

So, who makes up the church? Is it Believers or members? Are they one and the same?

Two terms are readily thought of today when that question arises.

Universal Church?

Or

Local Church?

What is the meaning of these two terms?…..And what conclussions might be drawn from this part of our discussion?

Most people would agree that The Universal Church is all those believers, living and dead, who have received God’s gift of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, God’s Son, from the time He established the Church till we meet Him in the air. We all make up the Bride of Christ. Agreed?

So that leaves us to define the The Local Church . Really it is “A practical localized organization” God designed for His Body to function in a manner, so that areas all over the world could have a place where the Church can grow, be managed and flourish in an atmosphere of loving leadership and guidance. In essence, each local church should be a reflection of the beautiful bride that Christ purchased for Himself on the cross. Does the world see this in us?

It’s interesting that marriage between a husband and wife is a picture of the way things should be between Christ and His Bride. Paul shares this in Eph.5:25-27

God is placing great importance on what we display.

So, are we functioning as Christ intended, Church Family?

What responsibilities do we have in this Body and what are our responsibilities to others within our local church? This leads us into the topic of membership.

That last question….who are the “others” in the church? Does “membership” determine the answer to this question? I apologize up front because this requires examination which might feel uncomfortable but by all means is necessary.

Membership

We all like to belong, be a part of, feel connected……”Membership has it’s privileges” is a saying most people like.

However, for our church, I’m afraid, that instead of “membership” unifying us as a body for His glory, it has unintentionally become a means of separation. The consequences are tragic to all of us and to our effectiveness within our body and the picture we display to the world around us.

I believe it has caused us to lose some of our friends and family to the world and the evil one because of the “loose connections” it develops as a side effect.

“Membership” today has become the “legal word” we use. It defines the right or ability for someone within an organization to make decisions or vote upon matters that have physical ramifications in regard to property and expenses.

Unfortunately, this kind of membership places significance upon position…. and not upon function within Christ’s body.

James, the Apostle, spoke against this in chapter 2, where preference is given to one who is “rich” versus one who is “poor”. Most people find that “position” bring “status” and status determines “richness or poorness”.

Where “membership” aught to be about the unifying aspect of our local body of believers, it has become more about the place of assembly, the property and assets associated with it.

Of course, the problem arises that “a form of membership” within a group of people, so named for an organization, for the above necessities, is needed.

Can a balance of sorts be determined…. that can unify the church while meeting the requirements of the law regarding church property and finances? Yes, it’s possible.

Church Family, Before speaking of this, let me address a more pressing concern.

Though the membership issue is problematic and may lend itself to almost an excuse for which to separate ourselves, I believe a deeper root problem causes the division we are experiencing in many of our churches today.

This is “A lack of love”.

Remember the words of Jesus, when asked what the greatest commandment was? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

You may be thinking…….Neighbor? People?

Why did Jesus say “neighbor” versus using the word “people”? Because neighbors are those individuals with whom we have a common interest or bond. As in the Good Samaritan Story…..It is also those individuals who share kindness with us. Not all people meet those qualifications.

How does love and Neighbor apply to us in the church?

Distorted teachings of the great LOVE chapter in the Bible have left many Christians believing it is mainly for couples and marriage. But please understand, Church, The love spoken of in Corinthians 13 by Paul needs to be expressed in an attitude of compassion and care as we exercise the gifts or functions toward others in the body of Christ. Our motivation needs to stem from the love we have for God and others as we interact and accomplish life together as Christ’s bride.

Consider this beautiful passage written for the church, Church Family.

Galatians 6:1-9 Gives us these instruction, “6 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression,you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 or each will have to bear his own load. 6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Church,

Demonstrating our love to each other is vital for us to be in unity and perform the mission God has given us.

Now most people when they identify a problem want to fix it pretty quickly. But I want to connect with you and see if you experience feelings that would make a “Fix” more meaningful. So, before I suggest my thoughts on meaningful membership within the church today, let me express observations that have been made over the past 10 months that magnified my conclusions about membership.

In light of the Covid 19 Pandemic, changes have taken place to most areas of life including that of the church. We, having the Spirit of God, are not immune to the adversity that He may gift us with but we are empowered to magnify Him in the midst of our struggles.

I am afraid, that to the detriment of each other and of Christ’s church, we have failed to operate as a unified body that Christ intended for us.

How many people have not been able to attend services because of the current conditions that have plagued us these past months?

I have not attended services mainly because as someone who is self employed, when I have to stop working, I do not get paid. The risk of having someone in the assemble “Test positive” and those who might have come in contact with the individual be mandated to quarantine for two weeks is not something I am ready to adhere to.

Other may have compromised health issues and this is keeping them away too.

Can we name these people who are not attending besides me and my wife? Who are they?

Do we know why they have not attended?

Are they members or just attendees? Are these questions important? Of course they are. If we care for those in our church, we will seek out the answers from them and be an encouragement to them.

I often get the impression that there seems to be an expressed importance on “Being there for the church” …….but are we “the Church” there for our member(each other)?”

The Pandemic has helped me make some observations regarding our church of things that ,with change and adjustment, may bring unity to the church despite the circumstances we share.

Please Church Family,

Understand that my observations (and sometimes the reactions to them) are making me feel left out, discouraged and unwanted. However, in thankfulness to God for the abilities He’s given me to express myself in words, each area of concern will be balanced with an option for change. May God’s will be accomplished in our Local Church. Others may feel the same way. Let this be a time of reflection, prayerfulness ……and perhaps a call to action.

Let’ me take you through a “Covid Time Line” if you will.

  1. Prior to the shut downs, I had been pursuing membership again at our church. I had been a “member” for 17 years up to 2010 when concerns caused me to ask to be removed. Over the 10 year period, I have come to the conclusion that there is an importance to be a part of a local assembly. The importance of being able to function and build up God’s church, as each one of us have that responsibility, has been greatly impressed on me. I spoke with the leadership and moved in that direction. Membership classes were supposed to begin but then Covid showed up. I asked within the first couple months of Covid, if membership classes could be conducted via the internet. I looked forward to this. I was told we would “Wait till this was over”….. Who knew? “Zoom Video conferencing” or similur venues can be used for membership classes and other important gatherings where discussion is essential. Seeing others and participating together while maintaining safe distances can be quite beneficial. Side note: I don’t know why it is…. but there seems to be an unwritten rule within the church today, that if one wants to seek membership, then they themselves have the responsibility to pursue it. Membership classes may be announced from the pulpit but no one is asking regular attendees for the commitment to become a member. I want to challenge your thoughts on this. I believe all members within the church (not just leadership) should engage with others within the church and encourage them to make a public commitment of their membership to our local body.
  2. “A LITTLE PIECE OF PAPER EACH SUNDAY” Routine is good and helps create a stable environment with the church but when the “shut downs” occurred, so did the regular sharing of information by means of the weekly bulletin. Even when you could not make it to church before the pandemic, that small piece of paper connected us in a major way. As a child needs to hear from their parents, as an employee needs to hear from his boss, a church needs to hear regularly from their leadership. Restart the “Weekly Bulletins” which were part of the norm before Covid interrupted our lives. Include a digitized version and shared again on a weekly basis….Publish them on Sunday mornings so that those attending and those attending from a distance can receive it about the same time and have something in common. (It is unifying.) It was good to know what deacon was on call for the week and to have a small list of people to pray for. …… Plus, upcoming events helped us all stay better engaged, informed and connected. You’d be surprised how this weekly document makes people feel more like they are included.
  3. I know that connecting with others voice to voice was greatly reduced. We have heard very little from others in the church. If we are a body that is living in unity with each other, then it is important to talk with each other. How can we pray for each other, as we are instructed ,if we are not talking to one another? Call each other regularly…..or more-so! Great lengths went to putting a “Church Directory” together. Let’s encourage it’s “designer”(Thank you Linda N-E) by using it to bring us together. Nothing shows you care much more than when you are willing to take and share your time by calling or stopping by to speak with someone………. “Running into others and chatting is nice and ok but I am asking you to be proactive with those God has placed you with as a body.” Most people will agree…..Deliberate time spent is most meaningful.
  4. We have heard it said, “A church that prays together, stays together.” Cliche? Is a midweek service important to the Bride of Christ? A reminder to pray is good but who do we pray for? What do we pray for? Who in our body needs encouragement? What praises are there to be thanking God for? An email here, an email there, for one request or another…. but what about engaging together and developing a large list…a great list? One that has requests and praises. A body of 100 or more people certainly has at least 100 prayer requests needed each week…..At best I have noted maybe five requests in a week besides forwards of missionary letters. Do we really believe in Prayer? God loves to hear from us…..He wants us to be imitators of Him and Jesus took time to pray. There in scripture is a major emphasis on being together with other believers in this activity. How can this take place given the mandated separations that exist? We can be known as the church that prays together. The flock may be scattered and can’t make it to the church to attend because of Covid but it can be brought together. First way would be by sharing a list of prayer requests with the flock. Then add ways of joining with each other in groups either digitally or by voice. Include ……..don’t just make this available to only those who can attend.
  5. “The calm before the storm.”—– That time of great quietness that gives a person a sense of nervousness that bad things will soon follow. Through much of the first five months of the pandemic, the lack of information being passed through to the congregation, regarding what the leadership within the church is/was doing……whether they were planning together/working together on things for the church…..this silence was difficult for some. It is like a child who wakes up at 6AM, listens for mom and dad but only hears silence for several hours. It’s not lack of faith but a lack of feeling secure that sets in. Church Family—-You leaders, The church has ears…..Speak peace and security into them. Distance and separation does not have to be an obstacle to providing security to the flock. Frightened flocks scatter and do not reproduce. Secure flocks provide an abundance. Imagine being a military member overseas with your family back home. You may not be there but you will make every effort to encourage them and fill them with hope and security.
  6. We need to be careful that we place priority on the Bride versus the Building where we assemble. The building is important because it is a place to be together but is it more important than the body? Are those “body parts”, (other members of your flock) that can’t make it to the services, less important than the ones who attend? How often do the members of Christ body feel unwanted and like a person on the outside looking in? Should these things be? How can we make everyone feel part of the service or the body in whole? a. We can make sure, that for those who can attend on line, that it will be an inclusive experience for them. How? Make sure the video is clear and audio is good. For announcements, pass a mike or make sure to repeat clearly what is said from the floor. Many things not spoken into a mike are hardly heard in a broadcast. Imagine a very deaf person in your audience trying to hear the announcements and they can only listen through a headset. They are experiencing exactly what your virtual audience is. b. Acknowledge your virtual audience. Find ways they can share with the rest of the church during announcement time. The analogy about the body can be useful hear because I want you to think for a moment about your internal organs. You can see them, right? But they are still a part of you and help you do what you need to do. Just like you can’t see your organs within your own body, still let those people you can’t see in your church know your appreciation by sharing with them. These suggestions are for you, Church body…..Not just the leadership. They are body parts too. We have the responsibility toward our brothers and sisters in Christ for the sake of edifying each other. Just as God reconciles the world to Himself, we believers can show the world that we reconcile one another back into fellowship together. Send the message that God’s people clearly are more important than our buildings of worship.

These are some of the ways we can restore relationships again in our church and move toward maturity within our body. You, Church, have been blessed with other ideas too and God is pleased when we work together to build up His Bride.

Returning to the area of membership, let me offer these thoughts.

But first listen to this analogy.

You know how, when you were born, you were included as a citizen in your country?

Rights that came with being a citizen gave you a place in this world. A place where you have representation, privileges and benefits that outsiders do not have.

Most countries have a document called a constitution like that of the United States which includes a list of rights given to the citizens of the country and it lays out rules and responsibilities to support the rights we have.

It is clearly understood, that even though someone is a citizen, certain privileges may not be exercised unless the citizens have met some or maintained some qualifications.

For Example: Our children are citizens too …..but until they’re eighteen, they are not allowed to participate in the electoral process. Also, some citizens have lost this privilege because of illegal activities they’ve been a part of. Some do not have the mental means to be part of this process any longer. And of course, there are others who choose not to participate in the decision parts of our societies but that does not make them a “non-citizen”.

Our citizenship, no matter what our state of mind, age or condition we are in, does not change.

In like fashion, when we were Born Again into God’s family we became citizens of Heaven. We became children of God. And again I remind you, Church…….we became the “Bride of Christ”.

Comparing Christ’s church to a country, where we believers are all a part and are like citizens within, we can make an application to membership and decision making.

First (Like Citizenship) let’s consider General Membership:

  1. There are Three Critical Parts of Membership. A. Repentance with Acceptance
      B. Testifying
        C. Being Baptized by Immersion

        From the youngest who can understand, to the oldest who may not be able to communicate but others can attest to them as part of Christ’s bride……These are those who can be general members making up the General Assembly of Church Members. By meeting these general conditions “Members of the Local Church” will have a common connection with each other. It will encourage spending time with one another and unify our body. Age and ability to attend services need not be requirements for these members to call our local church, “Home”, Their Spiritual Family…..”Their Church.

        When we stipulate this membership beyond these three areas, people often will not fully engaged, feel accepted or wanted nor will they feel included. Like a sheep that is away from the flock these individuals are in danger from the Devil and the World to attack, harm, discouragement and withdrawal from fellow believers. They’re spiritual growth often is stunted. Maturity does not occur. Reproducing new believers will seldom happen. And many times they are caught away to false beliefs and become enemies to the Church.

        Take a few moments. Do you know anyone to whom this has happened in your circles? Most people can think of one or two.

        Church Family, This is happening and has happened to our friends and our own families. With the wisdom of God and the Power of Christ we can change this. Are we ready to be reconciled to each other?

        Change, to the extent mentioned above, may not be something to be accomplished immediately or may not happen at all with your local church but it can be considered.

        Can we stimulate membership and unity despite some of the negative effects of standard membership standards? Sure.

        Starting with the core members (those meeting regularly and the leadership within the local church), work can begin from edifying from within and encourage and be an example to those individuals so they can reach out to those previous attenders encouraging them to join together, be a part and share their gifts.

        Encourage the members and remind them of their position in Christ and His love for His Bride. Allow humility to do it’s work and be thankful for the reconciling God has given you. Pray for one another.

        Get to know each other in a deeper way so that you can carry and share burdens. Encourage membership among those you see in church and those meant to be part of our church.

        How?

        Who do you talk with at church on a regular basis before and after church. Are they a member? If not, do you know why they have not made the commitment to join? Are they waiting to be invited? Most people like an invitation. Some people don’t even know that membership is important. I hope that what I shared at the beginning of this message helps you understand that the part you are in the body is very important and is needed……Just as what the other parts of the body do too!

        Just a word of Caution or insight….Remember, if you are spending time with and talking to someone, you will both be influencing each other negatively or positively. If they are influencing you one way or the other, would it be ok to influence them toward obedience and maturity? In light of this, it is OK to bring up the topic and encourage them toward being a member versus just being an attender. When they are connected with the Local Body, then they are able to exercise the gifts God has given them for it’s completeness.

        Exercising our gifts is important and matches God’s design for the Church. Jesus did His work as a servant and we are to follow His example.

        If we are called servants of God, should we not be serving? Have you ever heard the term, “sittants” of God? I don’t think it even in the Scrabble dictionary and I know God didn’t design us to sit and absorb sermons.

        There is Joy in Serving Jesus and that other old song says, “Trust and Obey, for there is no other way, To be Happy in Jesus, But to Trust and Obey”….We are to acknowledge God in everything and obedience to His Word brings about actions that bring us favor with God. When we are in favor with God, then happiness occurs, making His Bride very attractive.

        Paul says the mystery of God is Christ and the Church. It is a story of we……not me. Individually we can accomplish some but designed us as body parts, so that in unity, together, we will fulfill God’s will.

        Let’s not let an independent spirit keep us from this task.

        Let me close out my discussion regarding membership structure with a couple conclusions:

        1. I believe, that when it comes to making decisions (voting included) and leadership positions within the church, that special qualifications should be attained by qualifying general members. Qualifications for members with voting and leadership privileges, within a congregation, can be established, meeting legal requirements. Therefore, not jeopardizing the unity within the body gained by inclusion with the general membership. Think again of citizen and voter in a country.
        2. I believe we should earnestly and immediately seek to create an “Environment of Inclusion” to help our junior members and senior members remain functioning parts of the body, thus building up of the church. I will emphasize this once more. If a person is not a member until they can vote or no longer a member if they can’t vote by reason of separation, then they are indeed in a dangerous position……..For who is there to walk alongside them and encourage them as brothers and sisters in Christ? If they (our children and our loved ones) are captured away by the evil one, may it not be on the part of our neglect, through the systems we have allowed in place, to be the reason for their departure from the Faith, Christ and His Bride.

        The constitution is a document designed to express the belief system and to be an object or reference for the stability of and for an organization, so that it can continue or complete it’s mission. Amendments can be made to clarify or make improvements.

        Church,

        Most people get up in the morning and go through a ritual of putting on cloths. Some call this “getting dressed”. We do this to be found acceptable and inviting when we go about our days. In my regular reading of scripture there are two to three passages that talk of a type of “Spiritual Dressing”. How we are to cloth ourselves spiritually if you will. Collosians is a wonderful book in the Bible for the Church.

        Let’s look together at a portion of Colossians Chapter 3

        Colossians 3: Starting in verse 12….””12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

        Please note what the Apostle Paul includes for us in this passage about our attitudes, our connections with others, our feelings to be peaceful and how we are to communicate with each other.

        Now, go back to verse 14. See the three words, “put on love”? Centered in the activities of our lives and the interactions with others, we are to actively “dress” ourselves with love.

        Brothers and Sisters,

        I remember a Pastor friend of mime preaching once how, “Love many times is messy.” Folks, it does takes more time. Love takes a conscious effort to include it into our motives and activities. But it is Beautiful and shows the character of God. The tail end of verse 8 in I John Chapter 4 tells us, ”…God is Love.”

        Out of concern for the well being of the local church, along with my own spiritual needs, I have taken considerable time to compose this message for you. I hope that the words, thoughts, concerns and suggestions will be a means to encourage and build up our Local Church. I love you and care that we be unified and that the Glory of God is expressed in a manner so “The Bride of Christ” honors our Lord Jesus and displays His love to the world. By this, be reminded to actively exercise love.

        VOTING FOR THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS–CAN A BAD PHRASE STEAL THE ELECTION?

        “Most people have heard the phrase. But does it spill from my lips?”

        “What stirs within me at the very thought? Disgust? Pain? A going against my conscious or religious beliefs? Sadness? Frustration? Anger?”

        These very feelings cause many people to forfeit their voice at election time. They loose their choices because they reject a person. Could we be promoting the theft of someone’s vote by sharing this phrase?

        Is there still hope for the election process? I think so. It’s time for a new understanding. A different point of view. A perspective that makes sense.

        Will the right words spoken stop the “Vote Thief” in it’s tracks?

        Everyone knows that a vote is an expression of your choice……your opinion on display …….but the weight it carries, can possibly bring about the change you want.

        You know how the importance of “having a choice” has been instilled in our personal philosophies? For women it was called “Freedom of Choice”, promoted years ago by the media. This resonates with most people because they care about those things that affect their personal lives.

        Whether politics or personal matters, if you have a choice about the things that affect you directly, you want to express your input.

        For example, Dr. George tells your mom that you have cancer. The treatment he recommends means an operation, radiation and chemo treatments. 76% are likely to recover and the cancer stays in remission.

        “There has got to be a better way”, you think. So, you ask mom to seek out a second opinion.

        Dr. Schylur reviews your case and tells her about another option. Only 5% of the cases survive. But in two days you’ll feel your old self again and you can live your remaining time to the fullest.

        Now your mom has a choice: Vote for Dr George or Vote for Dr. Schylur . No! She’s not choosing one or the other…..Hey Wait! You have a voice in the matter too, don’t you? Of course you have input…..Your voice shares your vote. Based on your vote, along with her’s, a decision will be made.

        You may like one doctor more than the other but what are the votes choosing? Hopefully , it’s going with the long term health, even if in the short term you have to be very sick. The overall and long term effect of your decision is what really matters. In the end who cares if one doctor is overbearing and abrasive or that the other one has the best bedside manners ever…….The choice to live as you desire is what will be your overriding vote.

        So today, in America, many would have us quit thinking and focus on the elected person. Not even consider the standards, policies and overall health of the country that can remain intact or be uprooted and altered if they are elected.

        This is the evil twist conjured up the phrase, “Voting for the lesser of two evils”…… taking a situation and making people, who have the right and responsibility to vote regarding the direction of proper living and good social practices, and making them feel guilty because the person that best represents their ideals is less than perfect and might even be quite repulsive.

        A vote in our type of government matters less about style of the person and more about where their leadership will take us.

        Look beyond that elected official and consider what the future holds. Consider their accomplishments ….not just the ideals they speak. Do they and the people they promote keep their word? Do they have a record of getting things done or is their record that of “promise, after promise, after promise”?

        Thing about this,—-for those who believe in a Good God, “Unless you can also vote for God, you will always be voting for the lesser of two evils. ”

        Let’s throw that thinking and phrase away!

        GET RID OF THE GUILT AND VOTE!

        We do not have to feel guilty because the person we are voting for is not like us in every aspect. Ask. Will a vote for this person, if they win, bring us closer to good ideals we believe in or further away?

        The outcome is what you are voting on. Voting can be but does not have to be an endorsement of the candidate. You can dislike the person you are voting for but for the overall good of the country, feel proud to make your choice heard with that person’s name

        Someday, we may hear, “Vote….For your life depends on it!”

        The Names on the ballot are equal to the Yeses or Noes in the life you want. Whose names will you say “Yes” with this year?

        .

        Doing Business Normal….Not Weird

        You know those feelings you get when you start a new venture and things are different?  There’s excitement and nervousness all balled into one.  That’s normal and I get it.

        However. there’s a number of businesses out there that go way beyond leaving those feelings and force someone like me into becoming “one of those guys.” 

        You know the type  The Man with an Agenda and you’re the target…. I mean…..Somehow I have got the job now to convince you to my way of thinking and join my venture….. because there’s nothing like it.  If you don’t agree with me, I’m supposed to say, “Next!”

        Yuk!  I don’t like it.  I don’t mind lists but now I feel like I have to force myself to make one, with the express purpose of getting you to say yes or no……You know? To partner or move on.

        Something about this process just seems to give me the willies and I’ve gotten so uncomfortable with the whole approach that I just stop doing it. Have I quit? Mentally no, but if you judged me by me activity it would sure look that way.

        I WANT “NORMAL!”   NO, I don’t want to stay the same but I do want to grow better in many areas of my life.

        The benefits of these businesses are great and the residual potential is highly possible. The ones with influence do it really well. I want what they are achieving but I am not a man of influence……at least not yet.

        So, how do I conduct business in a normal fashion that makes a win win for those I share my business with and me, to create the position of freedom in my life that I so long to have?

        Should I stop here and let us both wonder if that is even possible or should I share my thoughts?

        What Does God Want From Me? A lesson From Nicaragua

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        The Church—-An open structure with a new foundation laid for an enclosed place of Worship.

        All of our lives are built on a foundation.  The question that must be asked is, “Is my foundation that I’ve built upon, one of truth or one which will deteriorate over time?”

        The foundation for the Church we build in Los Hernandez, Nicaragua was in place before we arrived and began to build the rest.  This is like our lives.  God has already made a firm foundation for us to build upon but He also gives us the choice to do so or not.  Some will choose to build upon things they believe are sufficient.  However, if it is not from God they will suffer loss.  It is so important to accept Jesus as God’s Gift of Salvation.  Jesus is the only foundation that will last and His words are secure.

        Jesus said that those who built upon the words he gave would have a firm foundation so that when the storms come they will remain.  Storms always come.

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        If they did not build upon His words, then they were doomed to disaster when the storms arrived.

        The foundations built in these locations of Niaragua would typically be build to stand a couple feet above ground level.  This allows the water to not hurt the building when the rains come and flood the plains.

        This is the Church we built for the small community.  The Pastor oversees two churches in the area and travels miles on his bicycle with his wife riding on the cross bar so he can serve his people.  KIMG0841Part of our team went to the town of Tempelon and built a small home for the pastor.  Understand, when I say small we are talking about a structure about 10 X 15 feet.  The chapel was about 20 x 30 feet.

        Being a person who is in construction,this was hard not to build like I wanted to.  It was different to have to do things differently than we would do back in the states.  I learned to respect the “Nicaraguan way” of construction and allowing them to make the choices how their building was to be constructed.  I learned to follow the direction of those in charge.

        So, where is the lesson?  The Lesson is one word.

        Obedience.

        When I set aside “My way” that is Obedience.  This shows humility.  God says that He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.  Following the direction of those leading the project and doing what was needed gave me the confidence that I was in the center of God’s will.

        I am an analyzer in life.  When approached about “what my purpose is”…..I WANT to answer that.  I want to run after my desires…..BUT what does God want from me?  OBEDIENCE!

        When I Obey I please God.  In Ecclesiastes 12: 13+14  it says,  “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

        It has been said that the Bible is open up for interpretation but some, things are very clear that interpretation is not needed.  God requires obedience and humility.

        I remember the story of King Saul in the  Book of 1 Samuel 15:22 (NASB)  22 Samuel said,  “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,  And to heed than the fat of rams.HPIM5256

        Saul was given specific instructions and he chose to go against God’s requirement so, he retained what he thought was the best of things he had been instructed to destroy.  I have often done this too.  I go ahead with something that is important to me and yet God does not want me to do it.  I reason that I can just give some of it to Him and He will be pleased.  I have even said, “Sometimes it is easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.   But……Does this please God?  Anytime forgiveness is given there has been a sacrifice on someone’s part for it.  I love God for His forgiveness but I don’t need to keep “dipping into the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross” to enjoy it.  Here I learn God shows that Obedience is His plan and desire for my best in life.

        Obedience is a great act of Worship.  KIMG0866KIMG0869When I obey God, I am trusting Him that He knows best.

        Being in Nicaragua with the team (including my wife, Tina) from my church was a great experience but the best part was to learn the importance of Obedience.

         HPIM5378  The Theme verse we had for our Team was Ephesians 6:6,  “ not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”  (NASB)  We wore it on the sleeve of our shirts but I pray we will wear it continually on our hearts.

        I obeyed by going,  I obeyed in my service.

        I thank God for His way, His Word and the trip to Nicaragua.  God is Good!

        My Path to a better me starts with and leads to God.

         

        MKMMA- Week Fourteen–A Departure Determined From Within

        Cessena 182 model

        With a grateful heart, I thank you for letting me be a part of your life and sharing in the changes within mine.  I have loved so many things regarding the Master Key Mastermind Alliance.  From learning to clearly develop and concentrate on my desires to controlling negative thoughts, that so harshly has worked to prohibit my goals; I have established persistence and habits that are tools to build myself as well as weapons with which to defend my positions.  Learning to think, to focus, to make thoughts fire together, to positive affirmations, to cards that remind me of my successes, to learning to share my heart to the public that benefits them, to learning that I have a choice as to Hug the Kettle or dream my dream…….These have moved me to be a better me.

        Thank you for all the positive encouragement and guidance along the way.  To Mark and Davene and my personal guides, to my friends who remain as such and always…. and to the new friends I have made within the alliance, Thank you.  What you have given me and what I have gleaned from this MKMMA experience to the present, I am most grateful.

        With sadness I’ve arrived a point where I can no longer remain in harmony with the Alliance.  I did not expect this to happen and was surprised.  A couple things occurred within the week, prior to this event….. but it was when I read Scroll IV I knew I must make a decision.

        Was it due to the value and the upcoming Paying Forward?  Oh!  Somehow, I wish.  I had considered my finances at points and wondered if there would come a time when that might hold me back BUT it wasn’t….. I was set for the PIF this time.  Christmas money was going to take care of this.  I looked forward to continuing…….. though if I had had to stop, I still had Greatest Salesman.  This was going to be the document in my possession that could carry me forward….or so I thought.

        Now, most people never agree 100% of what may be said or written…… and like myself, we choose to glean the good from what we hear and experience with Hannel’s writings and the other things we learn here.  Some concepts, I disagreed with, so I just mentally changed the terminology and proceeded forward.  Much has been so useful.  I wanted to gloss over the statements that referred to God as “The Universal Mind”.  To an extent, I would make sure that it was “God” in my thinking.  The attributes of both are the same—– being Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent.  For some, this course had brought a change of knowledge that there is a God…… where there was not one prior to this study.  The problem I see with the recent readings of Key 14 Paragraphs 18-24 in Hannel’s writings is that it removes God and makes Him just an impersonal force.  This is very difficult for me.

        When I read Og’s Scroll IV on New Years Day, I realized there were terms and ideas that I would be saying day after day, as our habit is, and these would be in direct conflict with what I believe and know about my God.  Thoughts from within told me not to deny Jesus.  Being one who loves God and wants to know more and more about Him, I read my Bible to a good extent.  The passage came to mind that says this, “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.”  (Bible Ref. 1 John 2:23)   How do I explain this?

        Within this course we have referred to Him as the Master Teacher and we have also been encouraged to follow His teachings.  His name is Jesus—-God With Us.  Shall I say that some things I will accept but other things I will not?

        The Creator

        God says Jesus is the creator. (Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 66:2, Colossians 1:16)  Do I say that “nature” made me?  Did I evolve over time?   No.  God said I was formed in the womb. If I had a manufacture tag, it would say, “Made in Heaven by God.”

        My Friend/My Relationship

         Is God a force?—–A collection of Mind and matter that moves with the collective thought of the masses?  No.  He is a personal friend of mine who created all that exists and made me for relationship with Him and others.  He uses prayer as His means of providing us an avenue of communicating with Him and in turn uses His Holy Spirit to communicate with us.  This was a promise from Jesus that He spoke about in the Gospel of John Chapter 16.

        My Choices

        The questions I ask myself is this, “Do I follow His teachings for my benefits or for His?”

        Humility–See, Jesus also taught by bringing a little child to himself and telling those around Him, that if they desired to be great in the Kingdom of God then they must become as the child…..A picture of humility…waiting on the parent. (Matt. 18:4) Jesus was humble.  He followed God’s examples and only did what His Father did– (John 5:19).

        Worship–All gods demand worship.  God himself accepts no other god and claims to be a jealous god.  “….for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”–(Exodus 34:14)  Jesus, the Master Teacher, claimed to be God.  He made a direct reference to being God by calling Himself  “I Am” (John 8:58) which was a declaration made by God in the Torah (The Jewish Law and record of history) Exodus 3:14.  Jesus was one with the Father and therefore was God.

        A Path–Jesus also made a powerful declaration.  He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No man (person) comes unto the Father, but by Me.”  (John 14:6)

        You see, when I say I am a “believer”, this means I believe in the God of the Bible.  But, “my belief” is only part of who I am. See, there is a part about “God knowing me.”  When I was a teenager I knew about God but it was when I believed that God had sent Jesus to die to save me from my sin, that I received the gift of salvation and became a child of God.  Being known by God is far more important than knowing about God and through Jesus, this is the only way.

        See, today, in church, my pastor was making reference to a passage where Jesus is speaking…Recorded in Matthew Chapter 7. He Declares, “21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”

        Lawnessness is those practices outside of God’s will and to be in God’s will one must be in relationship with Him through Jesus.

        Soon after Adam and Eve were made, God, out of love, gave them a choice.  The wrong was chosen and today we (the rest of humanity) live with the effects of that cause.  However, in His great love, He has always made a way to regain the intimacy He wants with us.  At first, it required the death of animals in the form of a sacrifice.  The most common one used was the lamb.  Jesus was referred to as the Lamb both in the Hebrew writings of Isaiah the prophet in Chapter 53.  And in the New testament writings by Jesus’s cousin, John the Baptizer, says, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”  (John 1:29)  http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-Lamb-of-God.html

        Jesus was the final sacrifice ever needed to satisfy the payment for sin.  As Jesus gives his final breath on the cross he yells, “Tetelestia.”   This has two meanings “it is finished and paid in full”  Jesus ended any work to have a relationship with God from then on out and the penalty was paid in full.  Belief and acceptance of this gift from God was all that was necessary to be in relationship with God.  Love started with God and by Him we can love.

        Hope was planted as a seed…… as Jesus was buried and now it grows and flourishes because He came back to life afterwards. Paul, who is quoted in Hannel’s readings of Key 14 number 25 speaking of Faith being substance, speaks in 1 Corinthians 15, of Jesus “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” There is and Herein is Hope!

        The Bible says that Jesus sits at the right hand of God and make intercession for us.  God is truly on our side.

        Jesus, the Master Teacher said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only son so that anyone who believes in Him (Jesus) will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)  St. John said in I John 4:10, ” We love Him because He first Loved us. In the Gospel of Mark. Chapter 8:34-38 The Master Teacher is speaking about denying one’s self.  In verse 36 he says, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (NASB)

        The Choice

        To have “choice” there must be more than one option.  To know the options one must hear about them.  As we have learned in this there is an effect for a cause.  Sin is the Cause and eternity apart from God is the Effect.  The Gift is the option—-a Cause you may accept and eternity with God is the Effect.   The Jesus, Master Teacher said this in John 14:1-3, “1. “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

        The Master Teacher wants us to be with Him for Eternity.

        Is my thinking narrow?  Perhaps….. by the standards of many today…… but when I consider that the amount of time I have on this earth compared to an eternity with God, this is liken to a drop of water in the ocean.  How can I commit so much concern to whether I am getting ahead versus letting others know of God’s great love for people and His desire to have them be in relationship with Him?

        My friends, I love you all and desire your best.  Thank you once again for letting me be a part of your lives.

        A friend of God,

        Daniel Fenton

        MKMMA– Thoughts and insights to the movie–Cool Runnings

        Ice castle 2010 with Tina and Brandon 003

        Cool Runnings

        Chasing an Olympic dream, four leave the Comfort of Jamaica and travel to compete in the Tundra of Calgary.  The Jamaican Bobsled Team.

        MKMMA Assignment:  Can I see the four tiny habits?

        1.  DMP backed by burning desire

        2.  Definite Plan expressed in continuous action

        3.  A mind closed against the negative influences that discourage the dream.

        4.  Masterminding with the” encouragers” who direct toward the plan and purpose.

        When I write MK in the body of this blog it stands for something I noticed that went along with the Master Keys.

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        The name(MK) Cool Runnings was self defined within the movie…… as if Mark J. had made input…..”Peace be the journey!”  I smiled to myself when I heard them say it.

        Early on, Irv, a Olympian “has been”, is discovered by the son of the man he wanted to develop into a bobsled athlete 20 years earlier.  Only after (MK) persistence pays off does Irv listen to the request of Derice.  Having long past run from his dream, Irv did not want anything to do with Bobsledding again.  Drawing Irv back to a dream unfulfilled, Derice challenges him saying, (MK) “I am your chance…….Take it.”

        A commitment takes place and one friend and three unlikely athletes, who are used to competing against each other, (MK)  join to make a new beginning for themselves.

        (MK)–The leader must be focused 100% of the time and is gifted with responsibility.  Sometime dreams are realized in leadership and at other times it occurs through following.  Derice was to focuse and his coach, Irv, knew that.

        As I watch I realized in the scene where they were trying to recruit members for the bobsled team that only a few remained.  It is common that others will not be interested in my dream and that is ok.  I press on.

        Money fails to be raise through sponsors but Derice continues to plan.  Irv says to Derice, “Does the words give up – Do the words “give up” mean anything to you?
        – Not a thing.  (Burning desire….Continuous action.)

        When the old sled is brought out for the team, three are looking at it in dismay.  Derice (MK) receives the sled with gladness and sees the dream fulfilled in it.  The leader will see by faith what others will miss.

        When confronted with resistance from the other bobsled teams, the comment is made, “Others are always afraid of what’s different.”  When we know what to expect from people, it is easier to navigate the negativity.  (my words)

        (MK)  Irv reminds Derice “Mind Clear” when he makes the run down the track.

        Yul Brenner, one of the team, has a dream.  To get off the Island of Jamaica and have a castle. One of his team, Sanka, mocks him and points out how silly the “queens castle” is for a dream. (MK) Sometimes, our discouragement will come from those close to us…….  A team mate, who Yul has despised to this point, comes to his aid with encouragement.  Standing up to Sanka, (MK) Junior states, “He doesn’t have to be.  All he has to do is know what he wants and work hard for it.  And if he wants it bad enough, he’ll get it.”  Hard work and desire.  “Look, believe me, Sanka…  the more Yul Brenners we got
        making it in this world… the better off this world will be, especially for Jamaicans.  Go ahead, Yul Brenner.  Go get your palace.”

        (MK)  The mirror scene,  “Now, look in the mirror and tell me what you see.
        – I see Junior.
        – You see Junior.
        Well, you want to know what I see? I see pride. I see power!  I see a *&&^$&$& mother who don’t take no crap off nobody!
        – You really see all that?
        – Yeah, man.”

        Encouragement one day (Cause) brings about (Effect) another day……His father comes to tell Junior to come home…Here is the response,  “Father, when you look at me, what do you see?  I don’t have time for games, Junior.
        Tell me what ya see!
        Please.
        All right, I’ll tell you what I see.  I see a lost little boy… who’s lucky to have a father who knows what’s best for him.
        No, no, no, no. You don’t know what’s best for me, Father.  I am not a lost little boy, Father.  I am a man.  And I’m an Olympian.  (MK…Notice the ‘I am’?)  I’m stayin’ right here.

        Sometimes we will have to pursue our dreams against the wishes of the ones who love us the most.

        Alliance moment  Great challenge come from within as Sanka speaks to Derice about being themselves versus trying to be like the Swiss Team.  “Well, the right foot for us is not the Swiss foot.  I mean, come on, Derice.  We can’t be copyin’ nobody else’s style.  We have our own style.

        Kissin’ an egg is no kind of style.  It’s the Olympics here.  It’s no stupid pushcart derby.
        Let me tell ya somethin’, Rasta. I didn’t come up here to forget who I am and where I come from.  And neither did I. I’m just
        tryin’ to be the best I can be.
        So am I.

        And the best I can be is Jamaican.  Look. Derice, I’ve known you since Julie Jeffries asked to see your ding-a-ling.  And I’m telling you as a friend…if we look Jamaican, walk Jamaican..talk Jamaican and is Jamaican…

        Being anyone who is not me, does me a disadvantage.

        (MK)  Irv failed when he made winning his all in all.  He reminded Derice, “If you are not enough without it, then you wont be enough with it.”  Love yourself and love the journey.   You will know if it is enough when you cross the finish line.  Finish and learn about you.

        Last thing I noted in this amazing movie,  The ones you love will be there for you when you win.

        Another segment in my Hero’s journey is being completed.

        I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy.

        Daniel Fenton

        MKMMA–Week 13–God At Work

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        My Story of Faith With One of My DMPs

        Worry or Concern is a feeling I often experience in the midst of wondering whether my desire will be realized or not.  I have learned in MKMMA that my feelings are the effect and thoughts are the cause…….. so….in order to change the feelings, I must change the thoughts.

        Part of my DMP states, ” On or before January 17, 2015 I build a chapel in Nicaragua.”  Just about the time the MKMMA course started, I made the decision to join a team of individuals who were headed to Central America for a week to help a small congregation.  I learned that I would need $1200 to cover expenses.  I told my wife that I was deciding to go.  I knew that I could contribute some but that I would need to trust God and step out in faith and ask others to help as well.

        It is a humbling experience yet my friend Rich, challenged me by asking, “If I was a millionaire, but was required to go ‘raise support’, would I do it?”  To that I said yes.

        Back about Thank Giving time, I’d raised about $350.  By December 2nd I was to have $700. to cover the airline ticket.  I did not and was worried.  I called my pastor and asked him about it.  He said not to worry but just make a decision.  I decided that, even though I did not see the money, I had made a decision to go and that God may have already taken care of things but……….. we just did not know.  I called Pastor back and let him know I was still going.  He was pleased with the decision.

        I came home from my vacation, made a “support letter” and sent it out to 25+ people I know.  Some had already given but I wanted them to have the letter too.

        On Tuesday Dec 23 I contacted the pastor and asked where my amounts were.  He texted…….$585.  An e-mail went out from him that day, letting the team know that the total amount needed for the trip had to be in by Jan 4th.

        I’m concerned.   If I don’t raise the money, will I need to contact the “givers” and return their money?  Can I afford to pay off the non refundable ticket that I won’t be needing if I don’t go?  QUESTIONS ARE THOUGHTS TOO!

        ———–I HAD FORGOTTEN MY DECISION———  I spoke with Rich again just before noon on Christmas Eve day.  He encouraged me, and we prayed together.  I told God that even though I felt worried, I would trust Him to take care of this.

        About an hour later, I received a text that an anonymous giver had given $300 toward my trip.  Cool!  BUT…..$885 is not $1200!   Oh me of little faith!  BUT….Little is some faith and that is what I leaned on while looking to God.  Jan 4th has not arrived……God still has time.

        God is good.  He didn’t make me wait much longer.  A couple hours later I get another text from my pastor.  About 3:45PM the same day. It is addressed to 4 numbers.  It says, “Your trip is paid for $1200 completely covered”.  Thank you Father!

        I cried.  I text Tina, my wife, in the next room.   She came in, We cried tears of joy and wonder.

        Ask and you shall receive.

        I could have chosen to stop believing back when I didn’t make the deadline.  I would have lost.

        A reading in the Greatest Salesman states in Scroll III, “The Prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning, and it is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach my goal.  Failure I may encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road.  Never I know how close it lies unless I turn the corner.”

        I persist Until I succeed.

        As a gift of love toward someone I am praying for but do not know, I am posting the following video.  He is a brother to a friend I have in my network marketing business.  Paul has just been diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer.  He is 45. He has three children and a loving gracious wife.  Please watch his video and follow his requests.  As God has answered my prayer, may the requests of God’s children be answered in regards to Paul’s health and life.

        Thank you  and Merry Christmas!

        Daniel Fenton

        MKMMA–Week 12–EQUIPPED DARING STEPPING OUT

        Cessena 182 model

        Thank you Readers for the encouragement you have given me on this journey.  Your words are the hands that push me forward and pull me up.  Week 11 was extreme to say the least and I really appreciate and love each one of you.

        Week 12.  Almost over and it sure has been packed!

        Sunday came and with it was the web cast.  What an interesting one and fun one too!  By far my most favorite!  Learning about the senses from Mark and then having Trish teach about mental exercises get both side of the brain active while focusing on our DMPs and desires……these were great!  The Davene explaining about Bear Hugs Kettle and how we can choose our reactions of whether I let something continue to hurt me or I choose to enjoy things that build me up.   Very Good!  Top this off with the 30 to 60 Cards that Mark explains where I can remind myself twice or more each day that I am successful…..Reminds me of Og saying, “For what is success other than a state of mind.”  Usually if I goof up or someone criticizes me for something I have done I used to beat myself up with those thoughts.  I love going through these cards because it lifts me….I AM LIFTING MYSELF UP!!!!!

        Then came the end of the web cast and the start of an adventure……..Are you kidding me, Mark?   was a thought in my head when Mark said to go to a mirror and state my one sentence DMP outloud for the next fifty minutes.  Seriously?  I am in my back office and there are no mirrors there but it is dark out and there are windows.  Substitution?  No! Felt like I was cheating.  OK….Plan be…..Vanity mirror in drawer of bathroom……get back to office and not have to explain to family what I am doing (embarrassment avoidance)….That didn’t seem good either so like the Polar Plunge I jump right in the exercise, standing in front of the mirror in my bathroom after telling my wife I will be there a while.

        I start.  I read and look at myself.  I say it without reading and have to look at it to get it right.  I keep repeating, reading and repeating. In about twenty minutes I can repeat it with out reading.  I incorporate combination exercises while speaking my DMP to myself in the mirror.  Left knee up to right hand. Drop it. Right Knee up to left hand.  Drop it.  Right hand on left ear.  Switch. Left had on right ear.  Amazing the time flies!  Then, My mind challenges me.  About 35 to 40 minutes into this I begin to hear my head say, “But you don’t hav……..”  I cut it off and keep repeating my desire with enthusiasm and excitement into the mirror.  I feel like I am addressing a large audience and when I mention me, my hands are near my heart and when I mention others, my hands are spread wide.  When I mention what I earn, my hands return to my heart.

        I felt more confidence than I have enjoyed in a long time and this was good.  I didn’t have any tearful experiences but it was worth it.  Thank you for this challenge MKMMA!

        Tuesday was a special day for me.  I helped a close family share in the celebration of their father going to Heaven.  Those days of visiting him are gone now and I miss Norm.  He was 98 years old……. but about every two weeks Tina and I would go over and see Norm and Luella.  Norm share so many things (including jokes and word problems with me).  This year I helped him by using a friend, Rich, to put in a garden.  It was 36 old maple sap buckets filled with Norm’s 60 year old garden dirt and placed in three tables so that he could garden without bending over.  He loved to see things grow. Someday I will see him again and look forward to it.

        Wednesday ended in a way I couldn’t imagine from the beginning it had.  As you are aware as a reader, we became foster parents to two little sisters…..3 and 15 months about 15 days ago.  Sometimes it is not a “good fit” and the stress creates conflict.  Such was the case with this placement.  However I believe God’s hand was in this.  3PM I get a call from my wife that she is requesting the assigned time frame from Social Services to place the children in a different home.  I care for Tina and I want the best for her first….above all others.  I agree and say to go ahead.  In about an hour and a half we have a call the a family wants to come meet the girls and take them home.  That night before the people came, for the first time since the girls came to our home, the oldest one held my hand as I prayed before dinner.  That was special.  When the couple came and their daughter, the girls were very comfortable with them and went right to them.  Tina is relaxed again and I am fine too.  That was our first experience with Fostering and we will see what’s next.

        That same night me and another MKMMAer helped one of our MKMMA friends by giving him the “Daniel and Rip version” of the past Sunday’s webinar.  Using the notes and the slides, we filled in the blanks quite well for Rich.  We may not have had the eloquence and pizzazz of Mark, the fabulous Daven and the wonderful Trish but we got him up to speed and you should have heard him when we got to the part about going to a mirror for the next 50 minutes…….Funny….Sounded very familiar.

        Wasn’t sure whether I should or shouldn’t have done it but in part twelve line 4 it says, “Knowledge of your power: Second the courage to Dare; third, the Faith to do.

        Press On!