We All Need Rest

There are many types of leaders and most must take time away to be refreshed to continue the charge.

As men, we tend to think we have things under control. We don’t know how to ask for help.

This holds true for many men in Christian leadership, as well. We feel if God called us to lead men He must clearly trusts us meaning we need to suck it up when we get weary.

He tells us, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others .” (Philippians 2:4) With that can promote a lot of pressure. If not careful, we can tend to take on others’ burdens.

God also reminds us to, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). We tend to put others’ needs before our own.

We forget that Jesus periodically went off on His own to pray. He took time for rest and reflection so He could continue His mission.

When tending to your sheep “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.“ (Philippians 2:3) I know you are doing just that. I simply want to remind you to take care of yourself too.

Jesus also instructs us to, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)

It’s okay to rest gentlemen. Jesus says to us, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31)

God has you! “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Let’s not forget to lift each other up and ask for encouragement when we need it.

I thank God for you men. Just knowing you are out there leading other men helps me know I’m not alone. You aren’t either.

I thank God we have each other. I will be praying for you.

Be encouraged brothers.


Please… Do Not Fly Solo

February 19, 1993 I surrendered my life to Christ. That is more than thirty years ago. Wow! How time flies.

How? I went to a men’s retreat. Hungover. Yes. I was a big drinker. For more than twenty years before my surrender I drowned my fears and failures with alcohol.

I had totaled three cars in those twenty years and I was court ordered to Driving School twice due to multiple DUIs.

It was only through God’s grace that I did not kill myself. Or worse. Killed someone else.

The miracle in my surrender was how Jesus immediately took my addiction away and He set me free through His grace.

I was now longer desiring beer which was my alcohol of choice. I was able to drink it, but I found myself only getting halfway through. I no longer felt it was a sin to walk away.

My insecurities were still intact, but I was no longer able to numb my pain with a six pack.

In its place God put a five pack of men in my path. Geoff, Bud, Jim, John and Tony all encouraged me and walked me through bible verses giving me the courage to walk with Jesus. Pretty soon I was sipping on His Word every day and growing in confidence.

It was God’s grace and love through this band of brothers that I have a relationship with Jesus today.

Thank you Jesus and thank you to the men that invited me thirty years ago to that Men’s Retreat.

It is because of you five men that today I pray every man finds a brother in Christ to walk this journey with. Jesus wants you #freein23

Men… there is no reason for anyone to fly solo. God wants you as a pivotal part of His plan. He doesn’t want to see you get picked off in the dark.

Get plugged in. Find a group near you at http://www.Facebook.com/GodsCarolinaMen. #aimingtoconnectmen

It could save your life.


Lord, I Need You

This post is designed as a devotional.

I surrendered my life to Christ on February 19, 1993. I showed up at a men’s retreat hung over and God freed me from alcohol that night. He did not free me from numerous other addictions. For reasons He knows better than I do. Most likely to insure I never forget that He loves me and wants me to always rely on Him.

Lord. Thank you for Your promise to give us rest. I am weary from trying to face my fears on my own.

Please help me face the demons in my life that I have been tolerating for as long as I can remember. Demons that I have allowed to derail Your plans for me. Teach me to leave them at the foot of your cross. And leave them there.

Thank you Lord for Your promise to preserve us in Matthew 11:28 telling us, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Thank you Jesus for Your invitation to learn from You and Your promise that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light.

Thank you Jesus for inviting me to come to You. Not to religion. But to You so You can teach me Your ways. Amen


Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29


All of us need rest, and Jesus promises to give it to us when we find our rest in Him. He will not scold us for being weak or scorn us for being foolish. He promises to gently and humbly refresh our weary souls. The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible


What Kind of Rest Does Jesus Give? Desiring God


Guided Prayer & Meditation. Matthew 11:28-30 The Meeting Place



Matthew 11:28-30 (Part 3) Calvary Chapel Ontario


Come Unto Me Esther Mui

Lord I Need You Matt Maher

Come To Me (Live) Bethel Music

Give Him A Call

It has now been 24 days since North Carolina issued their “Stay at home” order that has quarantined more than 10 million people. (Stay at home orders by State)

My wife and I have been honoring that order even though we live just over the border in South Carolina.

Our church in North Carolina has been streaming every Sunday for four weeks now.  I thank God for their service. It has been a technical challenge for the Pastors and the Worship Team, but they have been dedicated including Easter Sunday.

communion SCCC

Communion Service at home. (Click on image and advance to see how the elements were administered)

Some would say we are attending the Church of the Living Room. Some of our friends may be going to St. Mattress of the Springs or Bedside Baptist.

Is it real? Yes… different, but this is our new reality.

It has been weird not being able to fellowship with our friends at Steele Creek Church of Charlotte. Being as relational as I am, I miss it.

Some folks are keeping their home groups intact by meeting on Zoom. Some are doing bible studies by way of video conferencing. That’s impressive.

Our home group hasn’t met since mid-March. I miss them.

isolationThis is a weird time. It is easy to become so isolated that you forget there are other people out there.

Our friends become characters on TV like; Hotch from Criminal Minds and the Reagan family on Blue Bloods.

Our perspective of the world is blurry. Our sense of reality is not real. It feels like we are living in a bubble.

How are you surviving your quarantine? How are you spending your time? Who are you connecting with?

time with GodEven my time with God has dwindled. You would think that since we are sequestered to our homes that we would spend more time with Him, but it is really easy to fall into the traps of the enemy through distractions like Netflix and games on social media or our phones.

A friend of mine put it beautifully in her blog entitled Call Waiting. A graceful reminder that God is always available through prayer.

My prayer today is that we all find time with God. He is not punishing us with this plague. He really just wants to spend time with us.

Give Him a call.

give Him a call with text

Empty Parking Lots

Easter Sunday is here and we are all in our homes… alone…due to the Coronavirus. Or so we feel.

empty lotOur church parking lots are empty, but remember, so is Jesus’ tomb.

Easter reminds us that He is alive and because He is alive, He is with us every minute of every day.

To help you with that reminder, here are a few songs that I find helpful to renew my spirit. Listen to my Easter Playlist or find your own mix. Just don’t let the enemy tell you no one cares that you are home alone. That is a lie. We are all here together… in Spirit and in His Truth.


Today is the most important day for a Christian. It is because He rose from the dead that we believe. Otherwise we are just another religion.

If you are not a believer that Jesus died for you and that he rose from the dead, please consider reading the Book of John.  Here is a good summary in two parts (Chapter 1-12 and Chapter 13-21). If nothing else, remember that he loves you and always will.

These songs are not listed in any particular order. Enjoy these individually or listen to them on my Easter Playlist.  Note: If interested, check out my Music Playlist for other great Praise & Worship music.

The Lord’s Prayer performed by Andrea Bocelli


Forever performed by Kari Jobe


We’re You There performed by Michael W. Smith


Glorious Day performed by Casting Crowns


Because He Lives performed by Alabama


He Is Alive performed by Third Day


It Is Well performed by Kristene DiMarco


What A Friend We Have In Jesus performed by Larry Ford


All My Hope performed by Crowder


Jesus Paid It All performed by Newsboys


Thank you Jesus for sacrificing Your life on the cross, delivering us and by doing so insuring we are never alone.

Easter Is Coming

We all know that Easter is coming and signs of Spring are blooming everywhere.

Coming out of the dark and cold of Winter is energizing with the sun shining brighter and the days getting longer.

Yes, we may celebrate Easter with a Reese’s chocolate and peanut butter Easter Bunny. These reminders are woven into our daily lives as soon as the first petals appear on the Cherry Blossoms.

For me though, this time of year is a great time to reflect on the Cross.

What we tend to forget is how we got here and who saved us.

Jesus Christ was anticipating our freedom and our salvation as Easter drew near. He was excited for all of His believers knowing that we were being given the gift of eternal life.

He also wanted to show His love to the entire world so He chose to extend forgiveness and to offer everyone salvation.

He chose a brutal death in a brutal time in history. Why not by “guillotine” or “lethal injection?” Those methods are much quicker and much humane then wearing a crown of thorns and experiencing excruciating beatings, scourging and suffocation.

Luke’s depiction of the crucifixion (http://bit.ly/2VngHXI) captures the agony of the Cross much like The Passion (http://bit.ly/2CZoHa2) does of the scourging Christ took at the hands of the Romans.

The fact that Christ chose to surrender himself to go through this hell is just another example of how much He loves us.

Considering what Jesus went through and how He suffered for us, please remember how He forgave us of our sins, was ridiculed in the process, and surrendered Himself to our Father in Heaven.

And on Easter Sunday morning celebrate His Resurrection because He rose from the dead and today He is alive seated at the right hand of the Father until the day He returns.


Glorious Day – Casting Crowns

Carry My Cross – Third Day

Forever – Kari Jobe


What is scourging?


So now what?

So the Easter holiday has come and gone, lent has passed, and my bracket is done. Now what?

Well it appears to me that all of those are simply opportunities to get spiritual. They heighten our awareness of what we perceive is important to God or they replace God with religion or a worldly passion. Instead of Living On Target. (by Pastor Kelvin Smith > http://tiny.cc/vkzuuw)
For me, going to church on Sunday is like half time of the big game. It is time to regroup, get built back up, and be encouraged to go out there and do it again. For me we are called to be “the church” every day; all day. Why? Because “we are the church” and we are here to help all in need around us, not just a select few.

Now, I have a personal relation with Jesus. You can too. God doesn’t want us to come by for a visit. He sent His son to die for us because He wants to spend time with us. He created us to be in relationship with Him. He is my friend, my helper, my Deliverer, my Savior.

We are not designed to go it alone. The world tells us “we can do it ourselves if we put our mind to it.” When you ask Jesus into your life, the wall between you and God comes down and the promise of Jesus is your’s. He said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Religion cannot alleviate your loneliness. Beliefs can’t do it either. Only a person can do that; a person who will never leave you, never forsake you, no strings attached. That person is Jesus Christ.

We might like to think that our lives are all about us, but the reality is that all of our choices in life influence not only us, but the people around us. In the end our lives (and deaths) speak loudly of our love for, or rejection of, God.

Having troubles? God, our Father is standing there ready to help as only He can, but we have got to release any bitterness that is making our burden so much heavier. Why carry that load? Your Father wants to trade your troubles for His grace.

Yes, it’s a lonely world out there. And yes, you may walk on Lonely Street again? But the day you come to Jesus Christ is your last day alone. God never looks away from us or ignores us. He is always there watching over us and working things out in accordance with His plan. You may even feel that He is chasing you. He is, because He loves you and He wants you. He doesn’t need you. He wants you.

Once we come to know Jesus, it becomes all about Jesus and not about us. “Us” gets us in trouble. We are our own worst enemy in many cases. When you make choices with Jesus in your life He intercedes and helps you make those tough decisions. Remember, He will never leave you.
Easter is the greatest day in a Christian’s life. Without His resurrection we are ALL lost. When we invite Jesus into our hearts, repent of our sins (and we all sin), and surrender our lives to Him, we are assured life… not death. By simply believing that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead, we are guaranteed eternity with Him in heaven.

Won’t you consider giving your life to Him and begin living every day… all day with peace and harmony? If you are willing say this prayer. Either aloud or quietly in your heart. Be open and honest and say…

“Jesus, I am lost without you. I am sorry for my sins and want to follow you. I believe you God that you sent your son to die for my sins. I surrender my life to you and ask that you live in my heart. Change my heart. Thank you Jesus.”

If you prayed this, know that you are now a new believer in Christ. Your past is your past. That means it is behind you and there is no need to look in the rear view mirror.

Now, get connected with a local church. Remember, we are not wired to go it alone. There are people that God wants to connect you with all day… every day.

May His peace be with you and I’ll look forward to seeing you in heaven if not before.

In fact, maybe I’ll see you at half time. Go Saints!

Where was Jesus on Holy Saturday?

Sometimes I wonder when the Bible has gaps in time and isn’t very clear what really took place. Like Jesus’ childhood between His visit to the temple at age 12 (Luke 2:41-51) until His ministry started at age 30.

So what actually took place on Holy Saturday? (the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday)

Was this a day of rest for Jesus where He lay in a tomb? Or was He in a fight with Satan in which He clearly defeated death?
The only biblical reference to what happened on the Saturday in between Jesus’ death and resurrection is found in Matthew 27:62-66. After sundown on Saturday—the end of the Sabbath—the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pontius Pilate and asked that a guard be placed at Jesus’ tomb to prevent His disciples from removing the body. They remembered Jesus saying that He would rise again in three days (John 2:19-21) and wanted to do everything they could to prevent that. We know from the succeeding accounts that the Roman guards were inadequate to prevent the resurrection and those who returned to the tomb Sunday morning found it empty. The Lord had risen.

What is your take?

Reference > http://www.BibleGateway.com (pick your translation of choice)

V-Day 2013

I get asked a lot if I like my job. I always reply with an emphatic “Yes!”

Once in awhile we all have experiences on our jobs that make us feel good. Because of the nature of what I do I am really lucky to have a gig that makes me feel that way a lot.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. For us guys that generally means an excuse to get our wife or girlfriend flowers or candy or both. Valentine’s Day is also a great opportunity to share your emotions with her, which she loves.

For women, Valentine’s Day is very important. This annual tradition recognizes her as the beauty that she is. We validate the importance of her existence in our lives. We remind her that we cannot live without her (or at least we admit we would be a mess without her).

Yesterday was also V-Day. What is V-Day and why is it significant? It gives women (and men by supporting women) an opportunity to stake a claim and have their voice heard. (http://www.vday.org/about)

In 1994, a play called The Vagina Monologues, was written by playwright and activist Eve Ensler. This ground breaking piece of political theater offered the world a piece of art like nothing it had seen before. Based on dozens of interviews Ensler conducted with women, the play addressed women’s sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse.

Today, V-Day is a global activist movement that supports anti-violence organizations throughout the world, helping them to continue and expand their core work on the ground, while drawing public attention to the larger fight to stop worldwide violence (including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), sex slavery) against women and girls.

V-Day exists for no other reason than to stop violence against women. (http://www.vday.org/about)

One Billion Rising cites that one in three women and girls on the planet are raped or beaten in her lifetime. (http://www.onebillionrising.org)

On the 15th Anniversary of V-Day, a goal was set to have one billion women and those who love them participate in events to walk out, DANCE, RISE UP, AND DEMAND an end to this violence. One Billion Rising is a promise that we will rise up with women and men worldwide to say, “Enough! The violence ends now.” One Billion Rising asked every community to coordinate a Break The Chain event where local women (and men) could gather to RISE UP.

The Charlotte effort was lead by Brandy Stephens with Safe Alliance in partnership with the Mecklenburg County Women’s Commission (that’s where I come in). Brandy and Barbara Patterson lead the charge getting coaches, sound equipment and motivating their folks to come out and be one of those one billion women to rise. I helped by securing the location, Freedom Park, and getting the word out through email and social media besides just being a general support.

I work a lot with Safe Alliance (http://www.SafeAlliance.org) and other domestic violence service providers and advocates in efforts like this to raise the banner of “zero tolerance for violence against women and girls.” For me, any way we can get a life line out to a victim in the form of resources is a good thing. So many victims are held captive in their own home while being fed the lie that they are all alone and no one really cares about them. Well, I’m here to tell you that we are ALL here to help.

In the United States, we know that 95% of the reported cases of domestic violence or “intimate partner violence” it is men that are beating their wives or their girlfriends. (What is Domestic Violence? http://bit.ly/ovwvdn)

Did you know that on average; almost 500 women a day are raped or sexually assaulted in the United States. In other parts of the world it is much higher. For example, India reports one rape every 18 minutes.

From my perspective, we can save victims from their abusers all day long getting them to shelters or services. But if we do not address the men that are perpetrating these crimes we just promote another victim by letting him move on to another relationship.

Our problem men, becomes a need to learn how to speak up for ALL women and girls by calling out our brothers when they are inappropriate instead of ignoring it. Our silence is just as deadly because it condones their actions.

There is a myth out there that all men are the problem. If you account for our silence that may be in the neighborhood of the truth, but in reality it is closer to 20 to 35%; depending on who you listen to. What that tells me is that at least two out of three guys are not abusing their wives and girlfriends. We need to help those two men gain their voice as well. On a promising note, there is tangible evidence that more men are stepping up to the plate. That’s good.

Yesterday for me was awesome from a couple of fronts. One, I felt I was in my element.

Do you ever feel like you are right where you are supposed to be? So often I feel that God has placed me right in the middle of this issue supporting all women to simply bring a male’s voice to the table. It felt great yesterday to support those women and be able to apologize to them for all of the abuse they may have experienced at the hands of the men in their lives. (Not taking the blame for their abuse, but simply representing the two out of three that don’t abuse)

BTC Charlotte Yesterday I discovered that another role for me is to share my story. This is a challenge because it requires me to be vulnerable. That is not a very comfortable place for a lot of men. Looking back though, I can now see how God has personally exposed me to different types of abuse which has instilled the compassion that I now I feel for all victims.

I grew up in a very large family of eleven kids. Seven of them are sisters so I learned how to stand in line for the bathroom pretty early.

When I was ten, one of my sisters was 13 and in the 7th grade. She was coming into her own and getting out in her new Junior High School world. Her natural beauty radiated an air of sensuousness around her.

My parents were connected with the local Catholic diocese and invited a maintenance guy from the Catholic University to our house to help with a couple of projects needing repair. While he was working at our home he found an opportunity to take some liberties with my sister and clearly took advantage.

This was frightening for her and very confusing. Due to my parents’ inability to speak with their children about sex in a healthy way, they responded completely off base causing her even greater confusion. Instead of taking this guy out back and beating him within an inch of his life, they blamed my sister for being “too promiscuous” saying she brought it on herself. WOW!

How often do we hear examples of this still today? It seems constantly that victims are being re-victimized by the system with the burden of proof being placed on them instead of holding the abuser accountable for their actions. In like fashion, my dad did not have a clue how to hold this guy accountable so he didn’t confront him. It was easier for dad to react unjustly to my sister because her sensuality represented something or someone that scared him.
rebecca-schaeffer Twenty years later, another glimpse of abuse came when I was working in the TV and Film industry in the form of stalking. My very first job at Warner Bros. in Burbank, CA was as a Production Assistant on a show called My Sister Sam. It was a sitcom starring Pam Dawber and Rebecca Schaeffer as her kid sister. The show only ran for two seasons.

Shortly after the series was canceled, Rebecca Schaeffer became a spokesperson for Thursday’s Child, a charity for at-risk teens. Later that year her stalker appeared at her door posed as a flower delivery driver. Twenty minutes after signing an autograph for him she abruptly told him she was busy. He took it as a personal affront and pulled a gun from a brown bag he was carrying and shot her in the chest. She died on the pavement in front of her new Hollywood apartment. It became apparent later that her killer had been stalking her since the inception of the show in 1986. Tragic!

All of us (men and women) need to address abuse in hopes of turning the tide of violence against women and girls. Will you help?

Please consider getting involved in your local communities. There are programs and service providers helping victims in shelters, court rooms, hospitals, in your neighborhoods, and in their own homes. There are so many forms of abuse that you can help raise awareness of whether it be domestic violence (“intimate partner violence”), sexual abuse, sex trafficking, or exploitation.

If you are one to pray, ask God to reveal where you may be needed. If you don’t know what you are called to do, He will help you figure that out too. If you think I can help you get connected somewhere, somehow then please send me a message on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MikeSextonNC or send me an email to Michael.Sexton@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov.

If you are being abused in your relationship please call for help. The abuse does not have to be physical to be criminal. It always starts with verbal and emotional abuse. Please find out what you can do to protect yourself and get to a place of safety in case it gets real dangerous.

HOTLINES: The National Hotline is 800-799-SAFE (7233). They can connect you with services anywhere in the country. In Charlotte call the Shelter For Battered Women 24-hour hotline at 704-332-2513.

The Women’s Commission can help you with understanding what you are dealing with, assess how lethal your situation may be, and help you set up a safety plan. You can reach them Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM at 704-336-3210.

For me, God’s greatest command on our lives is to love one another. When wearing those lenses the answer to this issue is an understanding that we are here to lift each other up. It is not about tearing each other down so we feel better about ourselves. In the simplest terms, that means we are here to help each other.

God has shown me that when I am stepping out in faith with Him, I cannot lose. With His guidance and protection, and my obedience to what He is asking me to do, He insures me that I am right where He needs me to be.

With that focus every encounter has a purpose. Every conversation is a divine appointment and that always makes me feel good.

For me, this gig is more than a job. It is my calling.

My Buddy Max

I have been back to work for nearly a week now after a world wind trip to Nepal and Bangladesh and I’m still dragging. My weariness is partly due to jetlag and mostly due to lack of sleep caused by a common cold and nagging cough.

My dog Max though reminded me this morning that my condition could always be worse. You see Max is a 16 year old toy poodle weighing in at eight pounds soaking wet. He is nearly blind due to cataracts, cannot hear a thing, and has to deal constantly with 12 pounds of constant terror in the form of a puppy named Ollie.
puppy 2
Just coming in the back door, Max has to negotiate getting past Ollie who has assumed the pounce position. Any opportunity to maul his older brother is fun for Ollie.

All the while, Max just does his thing. He waits until Ollie gets bored and flies past him before Ollie realizes he missed.

Max has not been the brightest bulb over the years. His brother Niko (who we lost last November) used to hide his own treats and then come steal Max’s. Niko used to let Max fetch whatever was hurled across the room only to have Niko take it from him just before returning it to the hurler.

Just the same, Max would just do his thing.
Puppy 24
What is Max’s thing? He is patient and he is a cuddler. Of all his personality quirks, Max’s greatest gift is his love. He gives it away like a bee makes honey. All he has to do is a few butt ups for a back scratch and the opportunity to snuggle. He waits and waits and waits. Then he just nestles alongside you insuring he has contact somewhere with someone.

How does this help me in my state of fatigue? Max reminds me that all God asks from us is to operate out of the gifts He has given us.

Max does that every day.

All day.