Just Keep Knocking!

One in 10.  That was the average.

I was really discouraged.  I had been working incredibly hard to get this business off the ground.  We had 2 toddlers and no income other than what I hoped to generate with a start-up sports marketing agency.

MacLean Sports Marketing was a complete unknown in the world of professional sports.  The promotions I created were also unknown.  I was a huge long shot to succeed.  In fact, even my best buddy at the time bet against me,

“Who’s going to want to buy those things?!”  And he came from the world of professional sports marketing.

However, I had no other options.  This was what the Lord had “forced” me into.  He closed every other door and told me to start a business creating and selling game day promotions to pro and semi-pro sports teams.

I know, I know – I thought the same thing, “You’ve got to be kidding me!?!”

So there I sat at a make-shift desk in the 500 square foot cottage on my in-laws farm that Anne and I now found ourselves living in.  Every morning Anne would have to get the boys out of the cottage so I could work in quiet to make phone calls and send emails on my brand new Digital computer with 4 Megs of RAM – cutting edge technology at the time.

Day after day I would knock on the doors of pro teams to sell my wares.  Multiple times I would have to knock on their doors just to find out who I needed to speak with, then many more calls to actually have a conversation with the person who had the power to make decisions.  Emails, phone calls, emails, phone calls – over and over again hundreds of times.

Amidst the myriad of attempts to connect and the dozens of pitches I experienced the odd success.  Yes, finally a sale.  I made sure I called my buddy after each sale to let him know he was wrong!

My conversion ratio was 1 in 10.  Every 10 pitches I would win 1 contract.  And those pitches took countless contacts just to get my foot in the door.  Lots of “knocking” on their doors.  I couldn’t give up knocking – that was not an option.

This was it.  I did not have a plan “B”.  This had to work.

It’s amazing how motivating desperation can be.

I read a scripture recently that reminded me of this season in our lives decades ago…

Jesus was teaching the disciples about prayer.  He tells the story of a man who goes to his friend’s house at midnight to ask for some bread to serve to someone who has come over after a long journey.  His neighbour tells him to go away because he’s already in bed.

However, the man keeps pounding on the door.  He just keeps knocking.

The neighbour finally gets up and gives him the bread.  Jesus points out that the neighbour didn’t necessarily give him the bread because he’s his friend, but because his friend wouldn’t stop knocking on his door!

Jesus then says that we need to do the same with God.  We need to keep knocking.  We need to keep asking.  We need to keep seeking.

Ask!  Seek!  Knock!

What have you been seeking the Lord for?  What have you been asking for?  How are you knocking on God’s door?

Are you growing tired of seeking?  Are you giving up after a couple of knocks?

Jesus is inviting us to boldly and persistently pound on heaven’s door.  Jesus is encouraging us to passionately persevere and ask our Heavenly Father for our needs.  But in particular, Jesus is encouraging us to ask for the Father to give us the Holy Spirit.

Don’t be a timid door knocker.  Don’t give up after a few knocks on the door.  If we’re going to get hold of what the Lord has for us, and for others through us, we need to boldly keep seeking, keep asking, and keep knocking.  Don’t give up!

We don’t have an option.  We don’t have a plan “B”.  We must be desperate for God’s provision in our lives.

Be bold!  Just keep knocking!

Luke 11:8-13

“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.  So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Hebrews 4:16

 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Acts 4:31

“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

Clarity of Purpose

Happy New Year!

Do you have a New Year’s ritual of some kind?  Beyond the celebrating, beyond New Year’s Eve, is there something you’re intentional about to mark the New Year?

New Year’s is a time when we can take a look back at what was, and look forward into what could be.  More than simple New Year’s resolutions this is a time to be intentional about the coming year.

I have a bit of a ritual of sorts I implement on New Year ’s Day.  I head out on a prayer hike with the Lord.  We talk about the previous year – mostly me expressing gratitude for the Lord’s great goodness and His good greatness.

We also talk about the coming year: my hopes, my desires, my reservations, my fears.  I then ask the Lord what the theme for the coming year is: what He wants me to focus on for the coming year.

When I get home I pull out my journal and my planner from the previous year.  I review what happened in the year.  I write in my journal a summary of the year in numerous categories, and compare this year to last year.  I then write about what I believe the Lord is saying to me about the coming year.

Lastly, Anne and I spend some time praying together for the coming year and for each other.

Prior to heading out on my hike Anne and I talk about what we would like to receive from the Lord in the coming year.  Basically that which has been stirring in our hearts.  It’s usually what the Lord has been speaking to us about already.

This year we both had a similar stirring.  We’re asking the Lord for Clarity of Purpose.  We want to have great clarity in regard to why we’re doing what we’re doing.

We’re confident we’re serving the Lord in the work to which He has called us.  However, in the midst of the battles of life it’s easy to lose sight of why we’re doing what we’re doing.  We can simply begin to go through the motions and lose the purpose behind the work.  When we lose sight of the purpose for which we toil, we can soon lose heart, and stop doing that which God has called us to do.

Clarity of purpose helps us stay engaged and alive amidst the struggles of life.

Why do we do what we do?  Why bother?  Why continue?  Why keep paying the price to stay engaged and work hard at what God has put in our hands?

I must say, a key motivator for me is wanting to be able to stand before my heavenly Father and hear Him say, “Well done!  You’ve been faithful with what I entrusted to you – enter into my joy!”  (Matthew 25:21)  I want to produce much good fruit.

So what keeps me engaged is love for God.  And He challenged me on that this year.  When I asked Him about my Clarity of Purpose He simply said, “Love”.  I’m not that good on an aspect of that equation though.  We’re called to love God and love people.  My Clarity of Purpose involves loving people better, because I’m weak at that.

Three words define my “why” for my work:  Love. Lead. Live.

Why do I do what I do?  Ultimately to love God and love people.  However, I’m to love people so I can lead them into life.  Love.  Lead.  Live.  When I do that, I’m loving God as well.

At the end of the day, our “fruit” is measured in the lives of people.  Your purpose and my purpose involves loving people.  It’s not about bank accounts, boats, houses, cars, and worldly possessions.  It’s not about titles, status, popularity and power.  It’s about loving people with God’s love.

So how about you?  What Clarity of Purpose do you have?  He has great purpose for you.  When you have Clarity of Purpose your motivation and engagement is greatly increased, your impact is multiplied, and you can better persevere when things get tough.

I would encourage you to seek God for your Clarity of Purpose – it’s definitely worth your effort.

Matthew 22:37-39

Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

John 15:8

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

A Special Christmas Message

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the earth

The world did not know, it was the eve of His birth.

Many hoped and prayed for the salvation of man

For the promised deliverance of God’s holy plan.

The world for centuries have been bound by a curse

The burden known as sin from Genesis three sixth verse.


Adam & Eve had eaten from the forbidden tree

Now the world knew not what it was to be free.

The chains of sin bound all of creation

Mankind’s great need was for divine liberation.


Yes how Satan loves to steal, kill & destroy

But God’s plan for life began with a boy.

You see, man needed a sacrifice, an atonement for sin

So a relationship with God he could begin.

How the Father loved & adored His creation

But man’s sin caused a huge separation.


God required a sacrifice to cover man’s fall

To free man from sin once and for all

There weren’t many solutions, no there was really just one

God would choose to sacrifice His only begotten Son

Yes Jesus, God’s Son, would become as a man

He would represent God, be His glorious plan.


Yes He was God, but wholly man out and in

And though tempted in all ways, would never know sin

He would suffer and die and then rise from the dead

He would pay for man’s sin, suffer in man’s stead.

With God’s glorious plan Satan could hardly contend

By Jesus’ glorious sacrifice man’s captivity would end.


Now this is no fable, no nursery rhyme!

This is the glory of God’s plan, in the fullness of time!


All heaven was abuzz with this incredible news

To become a man, the Son of God would choose

The angels’ excitement was incredibly contagious

The Child to be born was the fulfilling of the ages.

The angels were amazed, “God made lower than us?”

No wonder there was such an incredible fuss.


They could hardly contain the joys yet untold

For in the Christ child God’s plan would unfold

Gabriel, Michael and all the heavenly host,

Could barely hold back their glorious boast.

They would shout and sing to make sure they’d be heard!

Oh how hard it was to wait for God’s Word!


Then finally it came, God said “Go with good speed

Shout forth with joy – Oh yes indeed!”

The angels were surprised to whom they should speak

To shepherds with their flocks, lowly and meek.

Gabriel took charge & told the shepherds not to fear

But to rejoice for God has come near!


Gabriel announced, “Good news to all men

The Savior, the Christ is born in Bethlehem.”

“A baby in a manger can surely be found”.

Gabriel said, as the Lord’s glory shone around

Then suddenly there appeared the angelic crowd

Singing praises to God, with such beauty – and loud!


“Hark the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!

Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.”

Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies

With the angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem.”

Christ the highest heav’n adored; Christ the everlasting Lord

Late in time behold Him come, off-spring of the favored one.

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail th’incarnate Deity

Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel”

Hail the heav’n born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness

Light & life to all He brings, ris’n with healing in His wings.

Mild he lays His glory by, born that man no more may die

Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth

Hark! the herald angels sing. Glory to the newborn King!”

(Charles Wesley)


Oh what a time of praise they had

They could not remember when they’d been more glad!

They loved to shout, dance and sing

For the earth was now receiving her King

The joy and exuberance from heaven above

Was being expressed in God’s gift of love.


A son was given a child was born

That mankind need no longer mourn.

Eternal Father our Prince of Peace

There will be no end to His governments’ increase

What an occasion, join the celebrations!

For Christ Jesus has come to free all the nations!


Joy to the world man’s been given a King

Now let both heaven and nature sing.

Jesus, God’s son, came as man Christmas day

A tiny baby boy,  precious in every way.

At this time we remember the baby Christ Jesus

Let it also be known He’s the Lord who frees us!


He rules as Lord or Lords and King of Kings.

To Him all praise and majesty rings.

He is God come to man to show man the way

That right-living,  peace and happiness we could know every day

We can have abundant life that none does deserve

By making a choice Christ Jesus to serve.


So on Christmas day let’s remember God’s plan

That by sending His Son God was reconciling man

And by choosing to follow Jesus, who came from above

We can all know the abundance of God’s holy love!

The Light of the World

We were going down.

Down, down, down, down we descended.  We descended into the heart of the Canadian Shield the same depth as a 100 story building is high.  Over one thousand feet we were lowered by the freight elevator into the bowels of a nuclear waste storage facility.

Deep in the heart of the solid granite of the Canadian Shield is a nuclear waste storage facility where the radioactive spent cores from Candu Reactors are stored.  I was leading a field trip of grade 10 social studies students.  We were studying nuclear power and I thought this would give the students an exceptional experiential learning excursion.

And that certainly was the case.  Our guide gave us a tour we would not soon forget.

The cores are buried in chambers dug deep into the rock, then back-filled with silica sand.  We never got within the vicinity of spent cores of course.  That would have been very unsafe.  We did, however, walk through the long corridors leading into those chambers

It was in one of these corridors our guide gave us an experience that I will never forget.  When you’re that deep in solid rock there’s absolutely no light apart for that which is man-made.  Our guide asked us if we would like to see what utter darkness looks like.  Of course we responded that we would indeed.

It was at that point our guide turned off all the lights.

Darkness enveloped us like black ink.  I had never experienced anything like it before.  I held my hand in front of my face – inches away – and could see nothing.  It was total and utter darkness.  There was a physical nature to this darkness, it almost felt like a prison that now bound us.

Then, before we knew it, the lights were turned back on and the darkness fled.  The atmosphere totally changed.  When the light came, the darkness disappeared.

That is a picture of Christmas.

Isaiah prophesied about Jesus’ birth this way:

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”  Isaiah 9:2

Jesus said this about Himself:

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”  Mathew 8:12

Do you know why lights are such a significant part of our Christmas decorations?  Because Jesus came to break the power of the spiritual darkness that imprisoned the world.  Jesus came to bring light to those trapped in darkness – darkness of soul.

Isaiah 61, which is really the Constitution of the Kingdom of God, tells us that Jesus came to bring release from darkness for the prisoners.  Like my students and I were trapped and immobilized by the darkness in that nuclear waste storage facility, mankind was trapped in the kingdom of darkness, imprisoned by sin.

We were, that is, until Jesus came.

At Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ birth.  Lights are a part of our Christmas decorations because Jesus is the light of the world.  He came to bring light into the darkness.  Into your darkness.

What darkness do you need to invite Jesus into?

And do you know what?  When Jesus brings His light into your life, you become the light of the world.  You get to share hope with those trapped in hopelessness.  When we get hold of the light and Truth Jesus has for us, we become His ambassadors of light and Truth to our world.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”  Ephesians 5:8-11

So Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Christ, of Him bringing light into the darkness.  But He has said that we are now the light of the world, and we need to let our light shine before men.  So when you’re looking at all the lights this Christmas, think of the light that Jesus brought into our darkness, but also remember that you are the light of the world.

Turn your light on in people’s darkness.

You are the light of the world.

Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”