Pain = Purpose

“Saddle up your horses; we’ve got a trail to blaze. Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace.”

These are the epic opening lyrics to the corny Steven Curtis Chapman song entitled “The Great Adventure.” It’s cheesy and full of over-the-top backup vocals, but the lyrics still ring true – regardless of the hairstyle of lead singer.

The song says this:

Come on, get ready for the ride of your life
Gonna leave long-faced religion in a cloud of dust behind
And discover all the new horizons just waiting to be explored
This is what we were created for

Saddle up your horses; we’ve got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace
Let’s follow our leader into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other – this is The Great Adventure

This is so true. I love it! “A life like no other.” Doesn’t that sound good? It does to me. Today I feel like I live a Great Adventure-style life. A life so far past anything I could have ever dreamed I could live. And you know what? It has nothing to do with money, status or success and everything to do with fully accepting my purpose and my pain.

This is the life I believe we are all called to live! When we fully embrace grace and fully release our guilt, then we’re embarking on a great adventure that will take us to places we only dreamed we could experience. It will place us perfectly in the path of a stranger who needs just what we can offer. It will give us talents we can use so effortlessly people will think we’re part alien. When you find yourself in the middle of God’s great adventure of grace, you’ll feel like you’re dreaming a dream so pure and perfect it could only come from a perfect Creator.

The adventure of grace is where we belong. It fits around us like a perfectly stitched set of footie pajamas. You slide into it and life just seems to make sense around you. Ego and pride seem meaningless, worry and doubt seem like wastes of time, and the solitude you used to despise becomes a welcome home. When you step into the grace of Jesus Christ, the world begins to make a lot more sense. Your life begins to make more sense; your past begins to make more sense.

Your pain will begin to make more sense.

Yes. I said pain.

How can a great life – one that makes perfect sense, that is filled with meaningful and significant relationships, that basically fits like a glove – have anything to do with pain?

For starters, pain is a universal affliction no human is privileged enough to escape. Every person who has taken even a brief tour on this planet has experienced pain at some point, and until we pass away, we will continue to experience it. We cannot escape pain. We can’t run from it, pay it off, ignore it, move away from it, yell at it until it cowers in submission, shop it away, drink it away, snort it away, eat it away, or push it away. Pain hits all of us. For most people, it hits us hard, it hits us early, and it keeps on hitting.

But it doesn’t have to keep you bound forever. Pain can be made purposeful. Pain can be the fuel that God uses to initiate the rescuing of your lost dreams.

Over the past several years, as I’ve journeyed through my own personal battle with pain and walked alongside hundreds of others, I’ve seen a theme in those who find a way to overcome and those who don’t. For the latter, it sucks. I hate it. I can’t stand to see someone hurting and feel useless. I want to put my hands on their shoulders and just scream, It doesn’t have to be this way! There is hope! You can have your dreams back!

But for the former, the pathway to peace is a beautiful journey that starts with a powerful word that changes everything. Hope. Hope gives you the courage to claim your pain, stare your past in the eyes and refuse to allow it to determine your destiny any longer. When you put your Hope in Jesus you begin to realize that there is nothing you can’t overcome and no past mistake that He won’t use to fuel your future. God will use your past pain to become your perfect purpose.

Addiction can’t stop you

Depression won’t slow you down

Anger begins to slip away

Hurt becomes forgiveness

Resentments bring new opportunity for growth

Hurts fuel your progress

Pain becomes purpose

Pain is a common ailment for humans. But we don’t have to let it steal our dreams and God given purpose any more. Claim your pain for what it is: experience. Claim your strength in the one who will never fail: Jesus. And let the new found HOPE in your life begin to change everything!

—-

This is an excerpt from my second book, Hope Changes Everything. To read more on pain, dreams and the purpose God has for your life pick up the book here…

Doubting Lance

I must admit, at times I doubt. I doubt my calling, doubt my ability, doubt my ideas. Doubt my writing, my influence, my impact.

I doubt myself.

I often feel insignificant and crazy for thinking that what I am doing well sustain me into the future.  That I could actually make a living helping people find freedom from addiction. These feelings grow and I begin to think to myself, I must work harder, plan more intensely, think more creatively. I begin to slowly take back the faith I’ve entrusted to God for so long—the faith that changed my life–and slowly convince myself that my will is better than God’s will.

Doubt can be a scary thing. It’s a slow, progressive curse of living in a fallen world. And recently I’ve experienced it a lot.

As life will do, it’s thrown some trials my way the past few weeks. It’s knocked me off my comfortable little seat and challenged my faith. As this has happened, the future has seemed more and more foggy, daunting, and scary–feelings that have brought about a good deal of doubt in my spirit. First, I doubted myself, then I doubted my ability, then I doubted God. And when that started to happen the enemy had a stronghold and tried to take over.

There was a man in the Bible named Thomas who knew a thing or two about doubt. So much so that he’s become known as Doubting Thomas, which is probably the worst nickname in the history of nicknames. Thomas was a disciple of Jesus, which means he was in the inner circle and would have given up a great deal to follow Jesus. So it’s not incredibly surprising that when the man he had given his life to follow died, and rumors had begun to spread about his resurrection (something many of us would have never believed), he wanted proof.

I think we all would have wanted proof, too.

Well, one day Thomas was with his disciple friends and Jesus, as he does, suddenly just appeared inside the house where they were. This in and of itself would probably have been enough for me to believe he had risen, but Thomas wanted more proof. He wanted to see Jesus’ scarred hands and put his fingers in his side (which is a little weird, but whatever). What happens next is amazing and perfectly describes the character of Jesus and our heavenly father.

As Jesus appears, the bible says that, instead of rebuking Thomas and criticizing him for his doubting spirit, Jesus met Thomas right at the place of his unbelief and said, “Reach your finger here, look at My hands; reach your hand here and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

Jesus said, “It’s okay when you doubt. I understand. I can handle it.” Jesus loved Thomas and cared for him specifically and intentionally. It’s like He made a special trip from Heaven back to Earth just so Thomas could believe. How incredible is that?

Doubt is a part of life and has been around for a long time. The enemy patiently waits outside of doubts door, just waiting for you to crack it open. When you do he pounces and wants to pull you in and never let you go. But the beauty of God is that even when we doubt his supremacy and sovereign touch on our lives, he still pursues us. Seemingly making specific trips from heaven to earth just help us believe again.

Today may your faith by rich, full and alive. May you believe with everything in you that God has a plan for your life. That he has made a way for you to overcome the situation you find yourself. That no matter what place of doubt you’re stuck in, you would realize that Jesus is ready to meet you right there, reach out his nail-scarred hand, and pull you out of your doubt to help you believe again.

Replacing the Marks of the Past (Jesus Tattoo)

abc kamc jesus tattoos ll 131009 16x9 608 Tattooed Jesus on Texas Billboard Has Residents Talking

We all carry with us marks from our past. Scars from broken relationships and bruises from poor choices. We carry the pain from these marks, our sin, with us for years and years. Each day the guilt, shame and doubt grows heavier and heavier.

This video depicts the very feeling many us have, a life labeled by our past.

Wouldn’t it be great to clear these marks and start over? Clean! Rejuvenated! Free!

 Take 5 minutes today and watch this video to find out how to clear your marks…

www.jesustattoo.org

Just thought you should know…

Yesterday within an hour of each other, I received these two notes of encouragement. Check’em out.

Note 1:   Lance, I wanted to message you and let you know how inspiring it is to see you spending your life reaching out to others who are caught in the trap of addiction. I know you don’t know me, but a friend was telling me about your book and I have been following you on Facebook. I just felt moved to tell you how Jesus promised that in this world we would have trouble but take heart because he has overcome the world and everything in it. When they nail Jesus to the cross they nailed every addiction with him, but take heart I have overcome the world. I know you have found the true deliverance. It is only at the foot of the cross. I would really like to read your book and share it with others that are fighting the same battle. 

Your dad was a great influence in my life. He was very kind to me. I just feel like you must have his heart. God bless you in everything you do.

Note 2:    Lance, I know that we have never officially met, but I am drawn and blessed by the work you are doing, in the name of our Lord, to help the outcast, the ones most of society throws to the curb, ignored, and judged. Those with addiction problems, that may start from depression, anxiety, environment, etc….or however.

So, I will be praying for you and your ministry. I will pray that you will always put you and your relationship with our Father first…even before your ministry. I will pray that God with bless your words to touch the lives of others.

May the Lord bless you with courage, surrender, peace, joy and love beyond your wildest imagination.

Now, you probably notice one significant similarity between these two notes, did you see it? They are both written from people who have never met me. They both just decided that they would take time out of their lives and encourage someone else. How incredible is that? It blows my mind how gracious people can be.

To understand why this was so touching to me, you need to know something about me. I am a  “words of affirmation” type guy, that means that I feel “love or loved” by words of encouragement. So you can imagine how great it felt to read these notes. Especially as I am about to take off to lead 60+ youth all week at Falls Creek, something I’ve never done…

I am so thankful to these two wonderful encouragers. But it made me think, who am I encouraging? Am I taking the time out of my day to help someone else get through theirs? Do I need to write a random note of encouragement?

What about you? Does someone in your life need an encouraging word today?

Challenge: Bust out FB Messenger or open a new email and send someone a random note of encouragement. Tell them how proud you are of them. How you are praying for them. How you are believing in them. Build someone up today! Be an encourager! You could change someone’s life today with one note of encouragement.

Hope is Alive!

Life without Hope…

Last week I discussed how Hope and Air are a lot alike. How they both move through life surrounding us at all times. How they are necessary for us to move forward, constantly giving us momentum, energy and inspiration.

We also began to talk about what would happen if one of these essential elements of life wasn’t available. Specifically Hope. And that’s where we pick up today…

Have you ever really thought about what your life would look like without hope? Without the expectation that whatever you’re going through will ever end?

Without the feeling that life will ever get better?

Without the sensation of what’s to come?

Without the inner peace of knowing that better days are ahead?

Or even on a more basic level, without the expectation that you will be able to feed yourself again?

Without the thought that you’ll ever enjoy another event?

Without the hope for a weekend or a date or a fulfilling relationship?

Truly, a life without hope is a scary proposition!

The good news for those who may be experiencing a season of life with little to no hope, is that that season can come to an end today. Why? Because Hope is truly ALIVE!  Hope is here for you today and it’s free, its present and its available for you to accept it. Right now! Not in a few days, not when you start to be a better person, not after you finish 5 more self-help books, not next Sunday at church. No, Right Now!

Hope is a free gift God has given us through the sacrifice of His son Jesus. Jesus, God in the flesh, His forgiveness of our sins and the grace He pours out to us all is the true definition of Hope.

In the book of Jeremiah, the author himself writes a letter on behalf of God to a group of folks who are living in exile. These people are separated from the life they know, they are left hopeless to wonder if life will ever get back to normal. 

10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declare the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:11

God knew how challenging it was for these exiles to sit for years and years with no hope. He saw their hope dwindling, so He decided to send them some encouragement. A spark to hopefully re-ignite their hope. In today’s terms, God sent them an encouraging text or posted an uplifting word on their timeline.

For someone reading this today, I hope this blog is serving as that same spark. I don’t know who you are or what you are going through. But I pray with everything I have that today you will experience the freedom that comes from accepting the Hope that Jesus can bring your life. The hope that you do have a future beyond whatever it is that’s bringing you down today. A future that can be prosperous and rewarding, like the life you’ve dreamed of living.

It’s the peace you’ve searched for, It’s the never-ending joy you’ve tried to find from so many other things in your life, it’s the friendship you’ve always wanted, it’s the feeling that will drive you to be all you can be.

By trusting in Jesus and surrendering your will to His, this HOPE will become yours. That free gift will instantly show up on your doorstep.  This hope will change you forever!

A life without hope is a scary proposition. I know, I nearly died without it. But today I am fully alive, hope has changed my life and my hope is Jesus.

What is your hope?

Have you experienced a season of life without hope?

Freedom Reigns…

SOMEONE NEEDS TO HEAR THIS SONG TODAY! Whoever you are…. There is freedom out there. His name is Jesus.

 

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Lift your eyes to heaven there is freedom. (Lift your eyes) Lift your eyes to heaven there is freedom.

Freedom reigns in this place, showers of Mercy and Grace. Falling on every face, there is freedom. If your tired and thirsty, there is freedom. If your tired and thirsty, there is freedom. Give your all to Jesus (Give your all) There is freedom.  Give your all to Jesus, there is freedom.

Freedom reigns in this place. Showers of Mercy and Grace. Falling on every face, there is freedom. (Cause Jesus reigns… yes) Jesus reigns in this place, showers of mercy and grace. Falling on every face, there is freedom.

Freedom reigns in this place, showers of mercy and grace. Falling on every face, there is freedom. (Jesus my Jesus) My Jesus reigns in this place, showers of mercy and grace. Falling on every face, there is freedom.

Feel the chains fall away, Feel the heaviness all the weight. Jesus reigns. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom, there is freedom, there is freedom. (ohhh) Jesus (yeah) You reign, you reign (ohh-ohh) My God

Great is your faithfulness, Great is your faithfulness, Great is your faithfulness. Oh God to this generation all my life, All my life, Great is your faithfulness. We call the name tonight, Great is your faithfulness God. Great is your faithfulness (yeah-yeah)

Freedom reigns in this place, showers of mercy and grace. Falling on every (every) single face, there is freedom (all the grace I need Jesus) My Jesus reigns in this place, showers of mercy and grace. Falling on every face there is freedom.


Search LanceLang.com

Available Today!

Finding Hope Book

LanceLang.com Archives