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Books Christians Like

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LogoIn the past I have recommended Christian resources from time to time that I have found beneficial. I love to read and I know many of you do to. So I am proud to announce a new website that just launched: Books Christians Like. The site is still in it’s infancy, but I have big plans for it.

It will have several functions. It’s main purpose is to connect people with good Christian resources and enjoyable books to consume. We will track deals on Kindle, so you will know whenever they go on sale! In the future, the site will expand with reviews and news about upcoming releases and such.

You can go check out the site at www.bookschristianslike.com. You can also like our Facebook and Twitter page for updates! I hope this is a resource that you can benefit from. Happy reading friends!!!!!

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Changes At Walk Good

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Walk Good MovedLate last night we made the move to a new server. Today, I tried to make that known but there were a few hiccups here and there with the transition, mostly because I am inpatient. All seems to be well now and we are unpacking those annoying cardboard boxes and settling into our new pad on cyberspace. You probably won’t notice too many changes as of now, but we have some exciting plans for the future that this new place will allows us to unfold.

The downside is, there have been many people that “walked with me” by subscribing to updates at the previous location. When we made the transfer those old subscriptions are seemingly lost. SO, if you want to keep receiving updates by email then just come subscribe the same way you did before. To those that followed me on wordpress I hope you find us on Facebook, Twitter, or subscribe to our RSS feed!

I cannot thank you all enough for doing life with me as we all learn what it means to walk good. Thanks, and sorry for the confusion and growing pains this morning.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.

Josh

HELP!

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This marks the 200th post for Walk Good! It is also the most traffic that we have generated in a month. Thanks to everyone who visits, we set a “new rodeo record” for visitors in the month of November. Those of you that are faithful to read, comment, share, and encourage, I cannot thank you enough!

This blog has grown into an important part of my life. It has become a part of who I am. It has helped me grow in areas that I have long wanted to grow. It has forced me to think about life, God, relationships, and the big questions about existence. It has also developed into somewhat of a ministry. I get incredibly encouraged when my thoughts or life experiences impact others. I am thankful when God can use something that I so greatly enjoy. It has truly been a blessing to get to pour out my heart and thoughts through this medium. It has been an even greater blessing to have you read them and share your experiences as well.

This short post today is to communicate two things. The first is a heart of gratitude. Thank you for walking along side me as we struggle to learn what it means to “walk good.”

The second is to ask for your help. I have had people ask what they can do to help me “grow this ministry”. There are several things that you can do that would be greatly appreciated.

1. Like our page on Facebook
2. Follow us on Twitter
3. If you enjoy a post or find it relevant share it with others
4. Leave your thoughts so we can learn from you
5. Pray for this ministry

Thank you so MUCH. You are all a blessing.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

How To Make This A Better Year. Satisfaction Guaranteed.

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It is a new year, fresh and brimming with opportunity. The slate is wiped clean. Last year’s shortcomings and faltered goals are history. We look onto the next 365 days (it’s a leap year yall) with anticipation and hope. What does this year have in store? No doubt it will hold its share of highs and lows. As the Counting Crows (never figured out why they were tallying black birds) use to sing, “Maybe this year will be better than the last?” Not that last year was bad. No sir, 2011 was an amazing year, but I think we can all agree that we hope 2012 is even better.

So how can we make this year better? Let me share some wisdom with you from Chuck Swindoll. He has experienced life in a pretty amazing capacity and offers us some insight into what he has learned. I heard him share this at a conference several years ago and it has stuck with me. I believe, if we apply the following five principles, 2012 will be better than the previous year.

  1. Whatever you do, do more with others and less alone.
  2. Whenever you do it, exercise quality not quantity.
  3. Wherever you go, do it the same as if you were among those who know you best.
  4. Whoever may respond to your ministry (or career or whatever it is you do), keep a level head.
  5. However long you lead (in whatever capacity that is, we all lead in some form), keep on dripping with gratitude and grace.

So there you have it. Nothing complex here. Let’s keep it simple in 2012. I hope that this year we find ourselves walking good. I pray that we seek God’s wisdom and tread carefully and experience the blessings that come from obedience.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

What would you add to make this year better than the last?

The Number 1 Post of 2011

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This was by far the most viewed and shared blog of the year. It is from the Facebook Friday series and is entitled “Sweeter Waters?”. I think this blog resonated with so many people because we are aware that we must fiercely guard what is valuable to us. I hope we watch over our own hearts with all diligence and help guard the hearts of the one we love.

There is a word that I am increasingly hearing when I do marriage counseling: Facebook. Currently, the best statistic I can find reports that Facebook is involved in approximately 20% of divorces. What? Yes, you heard me right. Facebook is involved in about 20% of divorces. Facebook is a direct portal for infidelity. Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy Facebook. My wife and I both have accounts. It is great to stay in touch with old friends and be involved in other people’s lives, but every good thing can be used for destruction.

Currently, about 1 in 5 men and 1 in 6 women will have an affair at some point during their lifetime. Many of these will be done through social networking sites, especially Facebook, due to it’s massive amount of members.

There are some relationships that will fall victim to infidelity regardless, but Facebook has definitely opened the door wider and made the path more convenient for people to cheat on their spouse. Why is this? Facebook has made it much easier to keep in touch with “old flings”. Chances are good that relationships from your past are a member of the social networking giant. Communicating with others via Facebook can be done discretely. It is easy to justify relationships on Facebook, and things can start innocently enough. After all, what is the harm of looking at someone’s pictures, chatting, or catching up? A lot actually. If your spouse is in the dark, it is a problem. Casual talking and flirting have high potential to lead to seeing the other person and/or a physical relationship. It is also important to remember that research shows that emotional affairs are just as damaging as physical ones.

So for those of us that are married, how can we protect our relationships? I think we first need to remember that none of us are above temptation. We may be tempted to think other waters are sweeter, but they always turn out sour. When a marriage is struggling, it is easy to think that finding someone else will end the problems. However, the problems simply follow a person to the next relationship where they are met with compounded problems. It is also easy to idealize past relationships, because we have a tendency to remember the good and forget the bad.

When it comes to my marriage, my wife and I have no secrets. We have each others passwords to every online account. We keep all things out in the open. We also set boundaries. Neither of us message members of the opposite sex unless the other is aware. We keep an open line of communication about our relationship. We talk about things that are uncomfortable instead of stuffing them down. We check in to make sure the other person’s needs are being met. We are not naive enough to think our marriage is above temptation, so we are proactive. We try and be vocal about how much we care about one another openly. We also make sure to keep God in the center of our relationship.

No marriage is perfect. Just like anything else in life, marriage is hard work and can be exhausting at times. You definitely get out what you put in. If we allow our relationships to drift and start to neglect our spouse, it is important to remember that there is always another person out there who will be more than happy to provide our spouse with attention.

“I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable.” – G.K. Chesterton

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Best of 2011 – Number 2

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This post is ranked number two in 2011 and was originally posted in November. It is a part of the Apologetic Wednesday series and is titled “A Public Apology.” It is a post that really resonates within my heart because even though Christians serve a perfect being, we remain imperfect.

Sometimes Christians do bad things. It is the sad truth. Can I make a confession? I am a Christian and I have done things that are wrong. I have hurt others, said things I should not have said, had thoughts that should not have gone through my mind.

Let’s face it. Sometimes Christians can even be mean, judgmental, hypocritical, condemning and a whole lot of other nasty adjectives.Yes, Christians can be a crummy lot at times. Christians can even get on my nerves at times.

I have heard people make statements such as, “Why should I embrace Christianity? Look at how Christ’s followers act.” That is a legitimate concern, and I can understand where people are coming from when they say such things. Christians have messed up through the ages (Inquisitions and Crusades) and still mess up today. We need to ask though, is it fair to blame God for the mistakes of his followers? You see, Christians are still humans. They have the same problems, evil desires, and fall short just the same as non-Christians.

Just because Christians mess up, does not taint who God is. All of the events in history where Christians behaved badly go contrary to the teachings of Christ. The Inquisitions, crusades and other horrible things done in the name of Christ go counter to what Christ taught. Christians today who are judgmental, hypocritical, condemning, and so on, are not living out what Jesus taught. Jesus taught love, humility, service, giving, and compassion.

When people become Christians, they don’t become perfect. They still mess up and have problems. This is the beauty of Christianity. God loves us in spite of who we are. He doesn’t love us because of who we are or what we do. He loves us because of who He is. If believers are walking in Christ you should definitely notice a progressive change for the good. You should be able to see love and compassion in their lives. I realize this is not always the case, and for that I am sorry.

Don’t let a bunch of broken, fallen, sinful people called Christians keep you from knowing the God of the universe. So, if you have ever been hurt by a Christian and this left a bad taste in your mouth toward God, I am sorry. I would like to apologize for myself and my fellow Christians. I am sorry about the time you felt judged. I apologize for the times we come across as hypocritical. I am sorry about the time you were devalued and looked down upon. I am sorry for the guy on the side of the road with a sign that says “God hates gays.” I am sorry you experienced abuse from the hands of a Christian. I want to personally apologize for any maltreatment you have ever received from a Christian. Please, forgive us.

I hope that you won’t let Christians keep you from knowing God. We mess up too. Forgive us.

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. – I John 4:8

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Best of 2011 – Number 3

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Today, we have reached number three in the countdown of the most popular posts in 2011. This post was first posted in October and began the Facebook Friday series. It is entitled “Addicted to Love.” Sorry for the picture, but sometimes you have to be shocked into hearing something.

Well, it is our very first “Facebook Friday.” This picture was inspired by all the tweens (and the not so tweens) who find it necessary to confess their undying love to the world for the person they met three days ago.

“Might as well face it, you’re addicted to love.” That seems to be the mantra our society chants. I mean, after all, “All you need is love” (bum bum bumpadum). Is the love that we are addicted to really love? We use the word for everything from, “I love to eat bearclaws from the donuts palace” (these are the nectar of the gods) to “I love my friends, to “I want to hop in the sack with you” (and I am not talking about a two person sack race). Love has become one word with a multiplicity of meanings.

The ancient Greeks (with all their brilliant philosophizing philosophers) were smart enough to know one word for love would not do, so they broke it down into four separate kinds of love: affection, friendship, romance, and unconditional love. Each of these types of love have their place to be used individually, but for a love relationship (I want to date you, marry you, spend my life with you love) all four must be present.

Think of love like a chair. Obviously chairs have four legs (I see where he is going with this). If one leg is missing you have a wobbly chair. If two legs are missing the chair does not stand. What we see in society are people trying to have relationships that won’t support themselves. They are trying to sit in a chair with one or maybe two legs. That just won’t work.

Mainly, we focus on the romantic form of love or more specifically the “I want to sleep with you” form of love. Then we wonder why the chair is broken and we get hurt. Can I be the voice of reason? We are trying to sit in a chair with one leg. That never works.

For lasting dating (remember, you marry who you date) or marital relationships, all four types of love must be present. All four legs must be there or it will be dysfunctional. Romance and affection are nice, but it eventually hits a cold season. If the unconditional love or commitment isn’t there you will find yourself jumping from one relationship to another whenever it gets difficult. If the relationship is all friendship, it gets dull without the romance or passion. If all that is there is the commitment, you will find that you have a nice (probably expensive) roommate.

Are you married? Work on cultivating all four types of love. Are you dating? Well stop trying to sit in chairs with one or two legs. I promise, it won’t work. Get four on the floor. That is how relationships are meant to be.

Might as well face it…we’re addicted to love. Let’s make sure it’s the right kind of love.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.

Best of 2011 – Number 4

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We are still counting down the most viewed blogs of 2011. This one is entitled: “I Done Been Pooped On.” It is number four on our countdown and was originally posted in November. It is one of my great, not so great, memories. Kids teach us lessons we will never forget.

This past Thursday, Devon and I ran errands most of the day in Beaumont. We were heading to the mall (you can’t not go to the mall if you are in Beaumont) when we heard “the noise” coming from the back seat. Hayden makes this distinct grunt when he is in the process of making his special mud pie recipe. We get to the mall and Devon announces “oh boy, it is a cracker packer” (this is our term for a diaper so full that any wrong movement will cause it to shoot/squirt/ooze out of the diaper).

So,we go into emergency management mode. She grabs Hayden and I grab a diaper, wipes, and open the hatch to the back of our SUV. She lays him in the back, and we go to work like an EMT about to try and revive a patient. Devon makes one wipe, I grab the diaper and dispose of it in a bag. We are practically out of the woods. Before I could get another diaper under him, he decides to turn back on the soft serve machine and poops everywhere. I go to put a diaper under him and he poops on me. Devon moves to the other side of the SUV to get him away from the poop and he poops on her. So here we are, Hayden has poop all over him, I have poop all over me, Devon has poop all over her, and there are three rather large doo doo pies on the carpet in the back of my car. By this time, I am not frustrated. I am way past that. It was a pooptastrophe. We now refer to it as the poopocalypse of 2011.

So what did we do? We cleaned him up. We cleaned ourselves up. Then we walked through the mall poop free. Late that night, I cleaned the carpets in the car. We all laughed about it much later that evening. As Hayden was laying there, he was pretty helpless. It was pretty chilly that day, and Hayden was laying naked in the back of the car, covered in poop, shaking from the cold. He needed someone to clean him up.

On the drive home as I thought about this whole event, I couldn’t help but think about myself. God comes to us in the same way. There we are, covered in poop, and if we are willing, He cleans us up. He gives us a new set of clothes. Just like a Dad, He has compassion on us, and He wipes us clean. He shows us kindness if we let Him. I am so thankful that He cleaned me up. Now that I am clean and have a new set of clothes, I want to let Him know how thankful I am.

“God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” – Romans 2:4

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Best of 2011 – Number 5

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Since it is the last week of the year, we are counting down the most viewed blog posts of 2011, beginning with the fifth most popular post.This was part of the Facebook Friday series entitled “Have Your Private Parts Become Your Public Parts.”

How recognizable is this picture? The “ever so casual, hold my camera from above, and lean over a bit, exposing my cleavage, but not focusing exclusively on said cleavage, so people will find me attractive, but not overly trashy” shot. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a picture like this on Facebook I could afford to have my own Island built somewhere in the South Pacific and stocked with a never ending supply of pastries (bear claw anyone?) and Diet Coke.

We get it. You have breasticas. Just like the other 3.5 billion women in the world. Just because you have them does not mean everyone wants to see them. I wish we could all understand the chasm that divides love and lust is vast. Ladies, you do not have to show skin to get attention. Guys, our lustful lust is crippling our ability to truly love and have a true connectedness with women. I work with so many men all the time having to untangle problems in their relationships because they never figured out how to love. They only learned how to lust. Lust promises something big and under-delivers in a colossal way.

I wish I could say it is only adolescents (with their crazy out of control hormones) that post pictures that devalue themselves. I wish it was only the teenage guys that have a lust problem. Truth is, this post applies to people of all ages. But surely Christians don’t struggle in this area? I wish that were the case. Brothers and sisters, lets get this whole love/lust thing figured out because it is killing our capacity to truly loved and be loved.

Speaking as a guy and a counselor, I know so many men that desperately struggle to keep their hearts pure. I can’t count the guys I have talked to who deleted their Facebook account because women (yes even Christian women) were posting pictures of themselves that made it easier to lust. Sure, when a man lusts it is his choice and his problem. I get that. But please don’t make it easier. My wife knows not to bring cheesecake home if I am trying to watch what I eat. It is my choice if I eat it, but that would be setting me up for failure.

Guys, what if we gave women the respect they deserve? What if we related to them as sisters. What if we worked to keep our eyes straight, our minds clear, and our hearts pure. What if we served women instead of serving ourselves?

I realize women lust too (as a matter of fact 17% of women struggle with a pornography addiction) but again, I am speaking as a guy. So ladies, please keep your private parts just that, private. Guys, don’t let your eyes linger. Maybe if we fixed this love/lust problem our lives would be different. Our relationships stronger. Our walk with God closer. Our ability to truly love intact.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. – Ephesians 5:3

Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed.
Josh

Disclaimer: I felt dirty posting this picture.

I’m just being honest. (Hey Ya)

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What do you call gossip that is factual, accurate and true? Gossip! Speaking harshly, critically, or negatively about someone else is still destructive even if it is, in fact, true. We see this so often and are guilty of participating ourselves at times. As if honesty gives us a license to verbally lacerate others to bits!

We use a false veneer of wordplay to hide the fact that we are ravaging someone else with the 4 inch slab of meat that rests comfortably between our molars. We say things like, “Well, I am just being honest”. “I’m not afraid to tell it like it is.” “I can’t help it if it’s true.” “If they don’t want people to talk about it they shouldn’t make stupid decisions.”

The fact of the matter is that anytime we talk about someone in a way that is anything but positive and affirming without them being present we are gossiping. We are being destructive. We are tearing down. If we have something negative about someone that needs to be addressed we either take it to them, or we forget about it. There is no gray area here. To do anything else is a blatant sin.

We even attempt to use Christianity as means to perpetuate gossip. “Please pray for John. He went on another binge and his wife found him in bed with another woman.” That isn’t a prayer request. That is distributing gossip in a palatable package. How about, “Please keep my friend John in your prayers. He is having a difficult time.” The end.

Gossip has one purpose only. To make ourselves look good. We have to tear someone else down so we can feel better about ourselves. This seems to make us feel good at first, but it is a carrot dangling in front of us on a string. We keep chasing it and never catch it. We keep destroying others, but never truly feel good about who we are, or what we are becoming. We would feel so much better if we stopped trying to feel better through destructive means and celebrated the success of other people. At the root of gossip is always jealousy. The only way to slay the monster of jealousy is to publicly celebrate those around us.

Also let us remember that listening to others spew venom about people is equally wrong. It is our job to stop it. If we don’t stop it we are condoning it.

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” This is such a lie fueled by the flames of hell. Words do hurt. Gossip destroys. Let’s not be a part of it!

Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed.
Josh

P.S. I realize that maybe 2% of people will get the Outkast reference in the blog title, but I figured why not.

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