Tag Archive | The Power of Agreement

Did you see my touchdown, Daddy?

Recently, my son Dr. Ronnie Phillips, Jr. wrote this blog, and I wanted to share it here today. With the football season in full swing, I thought it was a great time to share this word…

My first love was the sport of football.

I grew up idolizing Deon Sanders, Warrick Dunn, Derrick Brooks, and Coach Bobby Bowden.  I got to meet Coach Bowden as a 12-year-old boy in Orlando at the Southern Baptist Convention in front of 40,000 people. My father was able to arrange this special time for me and I’ll never forget Coach Bowden’s words to me. Crying my eyes out in awe, I said “Coach Bowden you are my hero and I would like to play for you.” He said, “keep your grades up” and then he said in his southern twang, “Boy, why are you crying?” Coach Bowden then said something I have never forgotten: “Boy, what your daddy does is a lot more important than what I do.” I got to meet with Coach Bowden two more times, and my children got to meet him the year before he retired, when he spoke at Abba’s House.

Football teaches you many life lessons, and very few make it past the high school level. I have been running a football league and have coached youth football for the last 9 years. I have had the privilege to coach my boys, win some championships, coach some outstanding players, and share my faith with many people. There is no other sport that compares to football, in my opinion. It is a sport of sacrifice and leadership for the purpose of teamwork.

Football in grassAll three of my boys play football. They are all pretty tough, but my youngest son Ryce (6) plays flag football because he was born with some heart issues, and we are holding him out of contact as long as we can. Last night, he scored a touchdown in his game. He has scored many because flag football offers that opportunity to many kids, but I haven’t seen him play much because I am busy coaching my middle son Reid’s (9) football team, as well as running our local football league. Before Ryce went to bed last night he said, “Did you see my touchdown, Daddy?” I paused and went back to my childhood, and remembered how I cherished the times my dad would get to see me play. My dad didn’t get to coach me or come to practices like many of these over zealous parents do today, but occasionally he would sneak in and be watching (or yelling) from a safe distance. My friends would always say that I played better when he was watching, and they were right. All my boys have asked me questions like that one.  I responded to Ryce’s question last night by saying, “Yeah buddy, I did. You did great!”

I was reminded of the fact that our Father in heaven is always watching our faithful deeds. He sees what we do for Him, both in private and in the public arena (Matthew 6:4), and rewards us for our faithfulness. Christians are the children of God (Galatians 3:25-27), and we all long for our Father’s approval and affirmation. Thank God we don’t have earn His approval. He loves us, affirms us, approves of us, and is looking on with love in His heart when we serve Him. Sometimes, like Ryce, we wonder if He is watching. I’m here to tell you that He is watching, and He is proud of those who serve Him.

Ronnie preachingI now do what Coach Bowden said was the thing more important than football. I do what my father taught me. I preach the word of God and tell people about Jesus Christ. I believe my dad is the greatest expository preacher of the gospel still left on planet earth, and I have studied many great preachers and theologians. Although I am grown and have a teenager, I still light up when I get a text from my dad after I preach. It is not his style to compliment me directly although he does sometimes. I got a text a few weeks ago from him after I finished preaching on a Wednesday night. He was watching and I didn’t know it. He simply texted, “Masterpiece, son. Excellent!” I guess you never grow out of how that makes you feel.

For those of you who have never experienced the love of a father, you can through Jesus Christ by faith.
God’s love is free (John 3:16). His grace is free (Ephesians 2:8-9).

His approval, however, comes through faith. Abraham had to hold onto the promise of God by faith. He had to be patient with God and eventually offer this promise (Isaac) to God as a sacrifice by faith. Abraham was not perfect, but he was a man of faith that was approved by God. If you need approval from God, accept Him by FAITH, love Him by FAITH, and believe His promises by FAITH.

Romans 4:23-25 (GWT)

But the words “his faith was regarded as the basis of his approval by God” were written not only for him, but also for us. Our faith will be regarded as the basis of our approval by God—each of us who believe in the one who brought Jesus, our Lord, back to life. Jesus, our Lord, was handed over to death because of our failures and was brought back to life so that we could receive God’s approval. ~ Romans 4:23-25

Ryce needed my approval. We ALL need God’s approval. Does the Father see what good you do? You bet He does!

I recently watched the movie Woodlawn about how a city was transformed by the faith of a young chaplain (Hank Erwin), Christian quarterback (Jeff Rutledge), and a dynamic running back (Tony Nathan). Two high schools were transformed by FAITH, two destiny’s were changed by FAITH, and a city was transformed by FAITH. Racism can end by FAITH. Our nation will be great again by FAITH. You can be saved by FAITH! I encourage you to go see Woodlawn and pray for unity in our nation. There truly is only One Way!

…Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~ John 14:6

Ronnie and Bobby Bowden

A young Ronnie Phillips and Coach Bobby Bowden.

For more information about Dr. Ronnie Phillips, Jr. and his ministry, please visit www.ronniephillips.org

The Tear-Stained Pathway Into His Presence

The phone rang as I stepped out of the shower. As I picked up the receiver, I heard the voice on the other end say, “Mr. Phillips, your wife, Paulette, has been in a little fender bender.” I dressed quickly and jumped in the car.

As I crested a hill on the main highway, I was unprepared for what I saw. Through the rain, I spotted my wife’s little convertible, now a twisted mass of metal. An ambulance stood waiting, and workers were trying to free Paulette from the wreckage. The smell of gasoline was heavy in the air. I tried to get close to the car but was held back by emergency workers. I was frustrated and felt helpless knowing she must be desperately hurt and I was unable to offer comfort. However, God had provided someone at the scene to do that for me. A fireman, at the risk of his own life because of the potential for an explosion, removed a window from the car and climbed in next to Paulette. He covered her with an asbestos blanket, held on to her, and spoke life into her. It was his job to watch her carefully and keep her talking to be sure she wasn’t falling into deep shock.

Twenty-five agonizing minutes passed before the firemen and the Jaws of Life freed her from the car. And we didn’t know it then, but it would be six months before her crumpled body would allow her to return to a normal life. As I ran to Paulette’s side while they hurried her stretcher toward the ambulance, I remembered clearly hearing her say, “Thank You, Lord!” I know that in the midst of that tragedy, God was there, and He provided a wonderful young Christian fireman whose presence comforted my wife in that dark hour. His heroic presence was the touch of God. She felt carried in the Father’s arms.

Paulette returned home from the hospital after two weeks, but life at home was difficult. We had to rely on our extended family, our amazing church family, and heavily on the Lord to carry us through each day.

When tragedy strikes, we find ourselves in need of the assurance of God’s presence more than ever before. To that point in my life, I never needed the Lord more than I did in those first hours and days following her wreck. It is no coincidence that our ascent into the most secret place with God can occur during times of great heartache and tragedy. Tears have a way of driving us from ourselves and into His arms. Who hasn’t cried out in the dark night of the soul for comfort that can only come from Jesus? Expect to find the pathway to His presence stained with the tears of thousands of heartbroken saints before you.

Isaiah, the court prophet, cousin and confidant to King Uzziah, thought he had it all. His cousin king, although a leper, had given the nation peace and hope. Isaiah’s own ministry was one that sternly laid down the law to God’s wayward people. He had angered them, calling them stubborn, ungrateful children, and even went as far as to compare them to “rotten, stinking grapes”! (See Isaiah 5:4.) Surely God was pleased with Isaiah’s obedience in ministry. He surely had the ear and heart of his cousin, King Uzziah. Isaiah is like many of us. When you read the first five chapters of Isaiah, though inspired, you feel that something is missing in his life. There is a lack of hope and only a vague hint of what God is actually up to. Isaiah 6 gives us the turning point—an amazing “alone” experience with God that is vivid and clear.

After Isaiah’s dear cousin died suddenly, Isaiah felt his life collapsing. The hope that had sustained him and the promise of ministry in a peaceful Jerusalem that kept his eyes looking ahead seemed to evaporate. Tragedy is like that. Normally, it will either drive us to God or cause us to run away from Him. But Isaiah made the boldest decision any prophet ever made. He decided to charge into God’s presence! Isaiah turned purposefully toward the temple of Solomon, the three-room structure that housed God’s presence. Beyond the outer court, beyond the candlelit holy place, Isaiah knew there hung a thick veil. Beyond that veil, God promised to be present. However, the rules were clear—only the high priest could step behind the veil; anyone else would be struck down by God! Even the high priest could only enter the holy of holies once a year!

Isaiah came to the place of absolute self-abandonment, just as each of us must approach God. Death no longer mattered to Isaiah. He pushed his way past quiet worshippers and astounded priests to get to God. Isaiah needed help and hope, and had come to the end of his own resources. He was now a candidate for a miracle. He pressed past the veil into the holy of holies. The fearful protesters behind Isaiah no doubt backed away in fear, certain that this crazed man was walking straight into death.

There in the holy of holies, lit by only the Shekinah glory of God, Isaiah did die, in a sense. He died to himself and all of his own ambitions! In this bold step, I believe Isaiah gave up on Isaiah! He met Yahweh, and nothing else mattered. God was in that place, high and lifted up, with His unmatched glory trailing behind Him like the train of royal robes billowing behind a sovereign. Angelic worshippers surrounded the throne crying, “Holy!” The place shook with the voice of the angels. Isaiah 6:1–4 paints a vivid picture of the scene that Isaiah saw when he stepped inside the holy of holies:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.

At that moment, Isaiah had no choice but to die to his flesh and ambitions. “Woe is me…” he cried, in an expression that could be also translated, “I am doomed!” He understood that even his own mouth, the mouth of a man of God, was unclean. Angels brought cleansing fire to touch his preaching lips, and his life was transformed. Soon he heard the voice of God crying for volunteers to carry His message. “Here am I, send me” (Isa. 6:5–8) cried the transformed Isaiah.

No man can see the Lord and continue living like nothing ever happened! No, the old life will be burned away and a new life will begin. Isaiah stormed into God’s presence in the middle of his pain because he needed answers, comfort, and help. The New Testament puts it this way:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. ~ Galatians 2:20

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. ~ Galatians 5:24

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. ~ Galatians 6:14

In the secret place of God, we come to the end of ourselves. We come as a bride to take on Jesus’s name and nature. When we are willing to die daily, Jesus says to us:

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” ~ Luke 9:23–24

 

~ from the book, The Power of Agreement
by Ron Phillips and Ronnie Phillips, Jr.
© 2014 Charisma House Book Group

Agreement at Work: #ALSIceBucketChallenge

For a couple of months now, I have been mentioning my new book (co-written with my son Ronnie), The Power of Agreement. We have appeared on numerous TV shows, radio programs, and magazine articles discussing how agreement with God and agreement with each other is the key to Kingdom living, and opens the doors of blessing in our lives. God Himself understood the power, positive or negative, that was contained in agreement when He stated (in reference to the building of Tower of Babel)…

If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. ~ Genesis 11:6

Well, unless you have been living on a secluded desert island for the past couple of weeks, you are seeing these principles play out right before your eyes.

Exhibit A: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

imageYou cannot venture onto social media for 2 minutes without seeing a video of someone getting a bucket of icewater dumped on their head. The ALS Icebucket Challenge has become one of the most successful fundraising campaigns in recent memory, raising awareness about the horrors of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). From July 29 to August 22, the ALS Association has raised more than $50 million through the Challenge. As a point of reference, during the same period last year, they raised approximately $2.2 million. Actors, musicians, prominent business people, and politicians (including former president George W. Bush) have joined the ranks of “the rest of us” and can be seen taking a bucket of icewater over the head, all for the sake of standing in unity for a cure for those afflicted with this awful disease. People from all walks of life, religious persuasions, ethnicities, and social statuses have come into agreement and said this is something we can all get behind.

So what are some other things the church can get behind?

What are those things that, in spite of our differences in theology, we can come together on and make a difference in the world? We may never totally agree on dispensationalism, worship styles, or methods of baptism. But can we set aside our differences about such things to come together on issues that are going to make an eternal difference in the destinies of the people in our communities, countries, and world? What are some things we can choose to agree on, and find agreement with God about, that will affect those around us?

imageAn intriguing question? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

Here’s some thoughts from Jesus to help you start the process…

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;  I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ~ Matthew 25:31-46

 

 

 

 

The Deception of Diversity

A recent poll revealed an interesting statistic regarding sexual orientation in our nation. A Center for Disease Control and Prevention poll reveals that, when asked regarding sexual orientation, only 1.6% of American adults self-identify as being gay or lesbian, and 0.7% as bisexual.* Yet, the LGBT lobby has become one of the most powerful political lobbies in America.

So, why is that?

Consider this story from the Bible…

      Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth. ~ Genesis 11:1-9

God created unity to be a powerful force, but misguided unity can be just as powerful. By His own admission, He knew that, in order to thwart the prideful plan man had devised, He would have to create confusion and disunity. God knew there is great power in agreement…

If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

By confusing their languages, it brought the building of the Tower of Babel to a screeching halt.

If we take the above statistic and plug it in according to the population of the United States (317 million), that would mean that there are approximately 7,291,000 people who claim to participate in an LGBT lifestyle. Now, contrast that with the fact that there are between 75-100 million people in the United States that claim to be Christians.

So why does the LGBT community seem to have a louder voice than a Christian community more than 10 times it’s size?

It’s all about unity.

Consider a beehive. Science tells us that, in the course of an individual bee’s life, it will produce 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. However, an average beehive will produce 60 lbs. of honey in a year. Bees “know” that it is not about the individual bee. It is about the entire community working together to complete the task — queen, drones, and workers united for a single task, with everyone performing the function they are made for, not concerning themselves with what they are not meant to do.

The liberal idea of diversity is killing our nation. Liberals think that, in order to be diverse, we must accept everything — unacceptable or not. It is the idea that I must unquestioningly throw my support behind those things that are contrary to my convictions. We have seen it recently in the infamous Hobby Lobby case: The idea that, in the name of anti-discrimination, and “women’s rights“, a family-owned company must sacrifice their own faith-based convictions on the altar of political correctness and diversity. Liberals choose to ignore that real facts (that of the more than a dozen types of birth control Hobby Lobby offers their employees, the only one in question was an abortifacient that ends the life of a fetus), as well as the inherent hypocrisy of a law that, in the name of anti-discrimination, discriminates against people of faith. You cannot sacrifice truth for diversity. You cannot claim to be positively diverse simply because you have a bunch of differing opinions, races, and ideologies. Lack of a distinctive is not constructive diversity… it’s just randomness.

True constructive diversity is different elements working together for a common purpose or good. If a football team was made up of a bunch of punters, you could kick field-goals all day, but you probably would not get close enough to make one. If a baseball team was made up of a bunch of outfielders, who would pitch the ball? In sports, a team is made up of a diversity of talented individuals who all serve a common purpose in differing capacities. A Swiss watch is a precision timepiece made up of a diversity of useful parts, all working together. However, if those parts are not aligned and set up correctly, all you have is a box of junk. An orchestra is a vast array of instruments — some brass, some wooden, some stringed, some percussive — that, when playing a Prokoviev concerto in unity (not to be confused with unison), creates a beautiful, dynamic, and emotionally moving sound. Remember, unison is everyone playing the same part. Unity is many different parts working together for a common goal. World War II General George Patton once said…

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.

So why is the church not more of an effective voice in our society? Why are we the largest, yet most ignored group in America?

Lack of unity.

We major on the minors. We fight between denominations and church groups. Within our individual churches, we fight over craziness… the color of hymnals, our worship styles, the visions different groups within the church have for the church, parking spaces…

It’s time for the church to stop dying on hills of battle that don’t matter, and look to the One who died on the hill called Calvary. The life and example of Jesus should be the standard by which we all live. The Word of God should be the benchmark for how we relate and confront a society that is bent on removing His Presence and guiding hand from all memory. If we would stop trying to pressure the church down the street into our image, and instead join hands with others of differing styles but the same Lord, the Church of Jesus Christ could once again be a mighty voice for righteousness, goodness, and promise in a society adrift, without a moral compass or hope.

Unity is the beginning of revival! A Church in unity would be a force strong enough to weather any storm, and intriguing enough to attract the hardest heart to the love of Christ.

* http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/health-survey-gives-government-its-first-large-scale-data-on-gay-bisexual-population/2014/07/14/2db9f4b0-092f-11e4-bbf1-cc51275e7f8f_story.html

An Unexpected Stop on a Holy Quest

New MexicoCenturies ago there lived a young German monk. This devoted man took his holy orders seriously. His life was one of discipline. He had surrendered everything and viewed soberly the holy obligation of the church. Still, his struggling heart was empty. Finally, the young cleric decided that pilgrimage and penance was the way to God. He crawled up the high stairs in Rome where many made their pilgrimages, the staircase known as Scala Santa. Worn out and bloody from the journey, he still had no answer from God.

Returning home, the young monk was browsing in a library when he came across a complete copy of the Latin Scriptures. He was astounded, for he had never held the entire Word of God in his hands, in spite of years of Bible study as a monk. That day the light came powerfully to Martin Luther as one verse from God’s Word broke over his soul—

“The just shall live by faith.” ~ Romans 1:17

Luther knew that Paul had written those words, echoing the prophet Habakkuk, to the church at Rome. Now, 1,500 years later, the same truth that had become almost smothered by church traditions exploded in his heart. In that moment of revelation, Martin Luther had a profound conversion and filling of the Holy Spirit. He moved from religious ritual to a personal relationship with Jesus. Now, at last, his quest for life together with God was made possible by the journey to Jesus.

Luther went on to lead thousands of others to that same freedom!

Fast forward about 500 years…

Not unlike Luther, in 1989 I came to realize my own life had become one of religious works done to please God and to rise in denominational prestige and position. My early quest for life together with God had been swallowed by religious obligation. With a legalistic work ethic, I worked hard and achieved a measure of success — if nickels and noses were any measure in church life. Vacancy After twenty-two years in the ministry I found myself empty and powerless. My walls were lined with books I had mastered, a few I had written, degrees I had earned, and awards I’d received. Yet I had no close relationship with God. I had received His salvation, had dedicated my life to ministry, yet my soul was emaciated, starved for spiritual things. My pride in my knowledge kept me from talking about my hunger. I was opinionated and mean-spirited to those who didn’t agree with me. Being right was more important to me than being righteous. God graciously began to allow disappointment and difficulty to exhaust my flesh. I became so miserable that I could no longer stand myself, nor did I feel I could continue as a pastor. My life had reached critical mass… something had to give.

It was then that my life was overturned completely by what some call the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Up until that heavenly invasion, I had my faith neatly stacked into an orderly package. I believed that God did great things in the past and one day in heaven I would see Him. I was thoroughly orthodox and adamantly opposed the “mystics” who believed God could speak, act, and touch people like He did in the Book of Acts. Like a Pharisee, I had turned the written Word into an idol. I was a “Scripture expert” but a miserable failure at life.

AMotel Signt the moment I was ready to tender my resignation from the ministry, God met me in a hotel room in New Mexico. Oh, blessed invasion! Oh, divine disruption! I had a literal and personal awakening in the long night of my despair! God spoke to me, baptized me, filled me, and called me to an authentic relationship with Him. From that new relationship would flow a new ministry, wild and free like a rushing river. This experience was not an end but the beginning of a fantastic quest for intimacy with Jesus. All my life I have been in hot pursuit of an intimate life dwelling together with God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

—from The Power of Agreement
by Ron Phillips and Ronnie Phillips, Jr.
Published by Charisma House, © Copyright 2014

 

 

 

A Life In Disagreement

This week marks a milestone in my ministry. My son Ronnie and I recently wrote a book together called The Power of Agreement, and this week, it hit the bookstore stands.

Charisma House (our publisher) recently featured an article by Ronnie in their online publication (www.charismamag.com).  I thought, for today’s blog, I would share Ronnie’s article with all of you. Enjoy!

“Can we agree to disagree?”

How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said it yourself? It’s a pretty popular saying, especially in the political and socially diverse environment in which we find ourselves today, but it’s a sad thing when all you have in common with another person is the fact that you disagree. Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, except they are agreed?” (NKJV). That’s kind of the million-dollar question—a question for which I had a resounding answer: Nope.

Growing up in the church, I had more than enough to disagree with. I’m not talking about theology, worship style, legalism or anything related to your admission into the pearly gates. My disagreements were far more simple and personal. As the son of the preacher, my disagreements were with unrealistic expectations placed upon me by those who thought they knew me by virtue of my name. My jumping-off point was with how “good church folk” treated my family (in particular my father) and the abuse we suffered at the hands of such people.

At the ripe old age of 23, I was mad at God, through with church, and living a life that in no way reflected my upbringing as a preacher’s kid. As a result of my poor decisions and the root of bitterness that had me firmly entangled, my relationships were strained, my marriage was a mess, and I was trying to deal with the pain, regret and humiliation of life by hiding inside a bottle. I was working my way up the corporate ladder in my secular job, but beyond that, everything else was crashing around me.

Yet in spite of the disagreements, fights, feuds and other assorted turmoil I had put my dad through, I still had to admit that he was my best friend. While I had done my best to push him away, my father, the son of an alcoholic-father-turned-church-deacon, knew what it was to be cast aside, knew the power and price of redemption, and knew that the best way to win over the object of your disagreement is with love.

Now, the problem with any disagreement is that the vast majority of the time, someone is in the right and someone is in the wrong. It pretty much went without saying that based on my lifestyle, I was wrong—although my dad would also be quick to admit he was not without fault. Still, I hung on to my bitterness and anger like a lifeline and refused to give an inch. I refused, that is, until I found myself on the bathroom floor—a total wreck—crying out and yelling at God. After consuming an inordinate amount of alcohol and a screaming match with my wife, I had collapsed on the floor of our bathroom late one night. Totally freaked out, she knew of nothing else to do than to call my father. I challenged her to do so, thinking he wouldn’t come. Ashamed and confused, I had no use for myself anymore. I figured he didn’t either.

In the middle of one of the darkest nights of my life, there was a knock at my door. It was my dad.

My initial reaction to seeing him was a hate-filled rant that quickly devolved into the cry of the prodigal. Once the angst-filled rebel gave way to the worn-down prodigal, the next couple of hours were filled with cries of remorse, tears of forgiveness, and promise—the promise of healed relationships and renewed commitment to my family, my heavenly Father and the calling He had placed on my life.

Someone smarter than me once said that the problem with running from God is that usually you end up running into Him. Living a life of disagreement with the godly people God has placed in our lives and being forever at odds with our gifts and calling will only lead to ruin and an up-close-and-personal view of the bathroom floor.

Is there happiness in disagreement? Sure. Even the Bible alludes to that in passages like Hebrews 11:25: “He [Moses] chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (NIV).

However, the momentary happiness that a self-serving life brings pales in comparison to the life lived in agreement with the call of God. Pleasures lose their luster. Riches lose their value. Prestige lasts until the next shiny new employee comes along. The only life that has any lasting, eternal value is the one lived for Christ.

Now, years later, I’ve left the parties with my friends for the peace and contentment of my family. I’ve given up the life of egotistical and selfish disagreement for agreement and harmony with my fathers (earthly and heavenly). I traded in the confinement of self-imposed loneliness and unworthiness for the wide-open spaces of promise and hope that only a life in agreement with God’s call can bring.

And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.