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Breaking the Barriers
Overcoming Adversity and Reaching Your Greatest Potential
By Jason Frenn
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BREAKING THE BARRIERS offers three foundational pillars to equip readers for overcoming the most difficult obstacles in their lives. These three pillars teach readers how to:
-Take on the character of God the Father
-Take on the wisdom of the Son
-Take on the discipline of the Spirit.
Through dynamic stories of people who have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, and the powerful example of the author who has overcome great adversity in his own life, this book shows readers that God is on their side and desires for them to fulfill the dreams and purposes he has placed in their hearts.
Copyright © 2009 by Jason Frenn
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Scripture quotations marked NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
The "NIV" and "New International Version" trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked The Message are from THE MESSAGE.
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Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
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First eBook Edition: August 2009
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THANK YOU, God the Father, for loving me enough to send Your Son and for showing me Your heart so I can truly see what it means to be made in the image of God.
Thank You, Jesus, for rescuing me from the chains of sin and for showing me Your wisdom and perspective on life. When I meditate on all You have done, I am left speechless by Your example.
Thank You, Holy Spirit, for breathing life into me and guiding me through the mountains and valleys of life. You are a great Comforter without whom we would all be without hope. Thank You for the strength to live each day with meaning and significance.
Thank you to my four ladies: Cindee, Celina, Chanel, and Jazmin. Blessed am I among women! Every day I thank the Lord for giving me the privilege of being married to such an outstanding woman and having such great daughters.
Thank you, Steve Larson, for being the first set of eyes for this book and burning the midnight oil to be the voice of reason and clarity. Thank you, Doug Brendel, for taking a close look at this manuscript. You have a gift for putting pen to paper, and I appreciate the input, edits, and guidance you invested.
Thank you, Don and Maxine Judkins, for believing in the call of God upon our lives. You have proven yourselves faithful over the years and have become great examples of what it means to serve the Lord. Thank you, Richard Larson, Channing Parks, Robert Frenn, Roberta Hart, Mike Shields, and Paul Finkenbinder, for your outstanding support. You've graciously shared your experience with the world in the pages of this book.
Thank you, Anne Horch, for seeing the potential in this work and in me. You are one of the finest and most talented editors in publishing today. God has given you a fabulous gift, and you use it for His glory. It's been my honor to work with you! Thank you, Rolf Zettersten and the entire FaithWords team, for pouring your talents into this book. You've done a fabulous job transforming a document in my computer into something people can read everywhere.
Thank you, Steve Harrison, for your friendship and for helping me communicate my message more clearly. Thank you, Roland Hinz, for going the extra distance and helping me reach a greater audience. I thank the Lord for your wholehearted dedication to reaching as many people as possible.
Thank you, Chuck Colson, for the encouraging words. You are deeply appreciated for your dedication to godliness and your commitment to Christ. Thank you, Robert H. Schuller. So many times my family needed a word of encouragement, and you were there—personally and ministerially. Thank you, Zig Ziglar, for being such a great inspiration to me from the time I sold business forms through my development as a minister. Thank you, Chip MacGregor, for the encouragement to keep pressing on. Your talent, humility, and accessibility are very refreshing in this day and age. A special thanks to Mari-Lee Ruddy, Melodee Gruetz macher, Steve and Karen Rutledge, Karine Rosenior, Joe Class, Rick Cortez, Rick Zorehkey, George Wood, and everyone else who took precious time to help me develop the message of this book.
Laying a Solid Foundation
HEAVY RAINS and intermittent fog made driving the "Mount of Death" difficult and scary for missionary Richard Larson. He was following a passage through one of the most treacherous mountains in Central America at nearly eleven thousand feet, but he couldn't see it—there were no streetlights, the rain was coming in sheets, and the only way he knew he was still on the road was by watching the taillights of a large truck thirty yards ahead. Where the truck went, Richard followed. Suddenly, without warning, the taillights disappeared. After a few seconds they reappeared. Somewhat puzzled, Richard continued following for several seconds and then, alone in his car, he heard a voice say, "Stop!"
Immediately, he slammed on the brakes. Brought to a halt at the precise location where the truck lights momentarily disappeared, he was astonished by what he saw. His vehicle had stopped just short of a precipice. The entire road had disappeared. The heavy tropical rains had pounded the mountains and caused a huge landslide. A thirty-yard section of the road vanished into a huge ravine that continued down a forty-five-degree slope several hundred feet below. Apparently the truck driver had veered sharply to the left, where an older provisional section of the road remained against the mountainside and led around the washout. For a few brief moments his taillights had vanished from Larson's view. Because of the mysterious voice the missionary heard that night in 1966, his life was altered forever.
Today, Richard and Janice Larson are still missionaries and have accomplished more than the pages of this book could contain. Their oldest daughter, Melodee, along with her husband, Larry, served as missionaries to Mexico City for more than fifteen years and have had a great impact on the entire country. The Larsons' oldest son, Mark, is the vice president of a tour bus company that chauffeurs celebrities of every walk of life. He was privileged to drive President George W. Bush in the campaigns leading up to two presidential elections. Cindee is their third daughter. She is an ordained minister, general presbyter, a children's crusade evangelist, and a mother of three. She happens to be my wife. Steve is the youngest son. He graduated from law school at the top of his class and worked as a law clerk for the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., hearing cases from all over the country. He is currently working for a prestigious law firm in Newport Beach, California.
What might have happened to the lives mentioned above if Richard Larson had not listened to the voice telling him to stop? What might happen to your life or the lives of those you care about if you do not heed the signs in your path? Perhaps God is trying to get your attention. Maybe He is telling you to stop. Why? Because He wants to give you a clear mission and keep you from being derailed. God wants your direction to be crystal clear and has no desire for you to crash into a ravine. Therefore, it is important for you to choose God's divine course, to make His course your own.
Richard Larson had one moment to change his direction, and he seized it. When such a moment to change your direction presents itself, it's imperative that you respond immediately. Perhaps the moment for change is here, now.
This chapter focuses on three important steps that prepare us for the journey. These steps include accepting Christ as our guide and source for direction, accepting responsibility for our own decisions, and accepting the fact that God loves us unconditionally. Completing these steps will help us lay the right foundation upon which we will build three essential pillars. Toward the end of the chapter, we'll take a brief look at these pillars and how they empower us to break the barriers we face. Then, in the chapters that follow, we'll explore each pillar in depth.
THE JOURNEY STARTS HERE
The first step in laying a solid foundation to break the barriers, regardless of what they may be, is to have the right guide. There is nothing worse for a navigator than to have the wrong coordinates. Or imagine having the wrong map. Our ability to navigate the turbulences of life is vital, but we commonly try to do so without proper instrumentation. We need a compass. It must be accurate. It must be reliable. It must be fail-safe. Why? Because our lives depend on it.
A few years ago, my wife and I attained our scuba-diving certifications. As divers, we must be able to navigate in zero visibility through strong currents as well as at night. This is possible only with an accurate compass. A good compass can guide you through the most turbulent storms, treacherous terrain, and foggy conditions. It always points north.
The Bible is the main compass of life. It is the most reliable guidance device in the history of the world. No book has helped as many people move in the right direction as God's inspired masterpiece. It's the playbook of life. The Bible contains God's inspired spiritual laws and guidelines that help us live healthy and godly lives. It too always points north. And it will be our compass throughout our journey together as we break the barriers preventing us from moving forward.
CHRIST: TRUE NORTH
Christ is the central figure of the New Testament, and many of the prophets of the Old Testament foretold His coming. When the authorities of His day asked Him who He was, He responded in John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (NIV). Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. The only way to get to heaven is through Him. He is the door. He knows the way. He is the perfect guide.
In my travels around the world, I have counseled many people. I have discovered many trying to navigate life with a broken compass. The way they see the world is contorted. They are confused and disoriented. Lost and vulnerable, their compasses carry them sideways or in circles.
In some cases people have confessed to me they wish they had never been born. Or perhaps they envy the lives of others. When they look in the mirror, they are not pleased by what they see. They do not feel satisfied with the way they are developing as people.
Because of their seemingly powerless state, they have feelings of helplessness, depression, alienation, and loneliness. Eventually these feelings bubble over, especially when the day comes to a close. When the room is filled with silence, when all the noise of the day stops, when no one else is awake, that is when the pain becomes overwhelming. That is when the anguish overshadows them. Negative self-talk takes over. It begins to pound in their heads.
At such a moment, we all need relief. In the midst of the storm, we need direction. Sooner or later, we all need a compass. Sooner or later, we all need help. Sooner or later, we all need God. When we think life has no purpose and isn't worth living, God steps into the picture and offers to become our compass and guide. When the turbulence of life overwhelms us, He shines His love upon us and parts the clouds. Just when you think you are not worth anything, God says you are worth the price of the death of His Son.
Turning your life over to Christ is the first step in the right direction. Allow Him to be the compass and guide you need. Allow Him to give you the tools to navigate your life. If you accept the offer God makes you, the light will shine again. You will come out of the tunnel. The clouds will part. The turbulence will subside. You will break the barriers. Remember, a life connected to the right mission has purpose. Knowing Christ gives you the right mission.
THE BUCK STOPS HERE!
The second step in laying a solid foundation to break the barriers is to accept personal responsibility. This is where many of us fail in our quest to move ahead. Instead of accepting responsibility, many would prefer to blame others for their problems. We have become a society that casts fault. For instance, during an election each political party blames the other for the unacceptable conditions of the nation. Children blame their parents for raising them too strictly. Parents blame schools for poor education. Teachers blame the districts for insufficient funding. People blame governments. Governments blame other governments. And sooner or later, everyone blames God. We have become a world of experts at passing the buck, evading responsibility as if it were a disease.
Take being overweight, for example. This is a common struggle for many people. For twelve years, I was sixty pounds overweight, and my weight is something I continue to monitor very closely. I ate more than I should have because I couldn't manage the anxieties that haunted me.
If you struggle with your weight, I want you to know that I understand. Food is different from any other issue we may face. Unlike narcotics, cigarettes, and alcohol, we need food to survive.
To make matters worse, advertisers constantly bombard us with images to entice us into buying their products. When the forces of advertising, hunger, and emotional insomnia converge, it's no wonder so many people struggle with their weight. There are many different explanations for an overweight condition. However, we cannot shift our responsibility to something or someone else. When all is said and done, we are the ones who make the choice to purchase the product, open our mouths, and indulge.
If overeating is your barrier, you must make the choice to overcome it. You must take responsibility. Don't wait for someone to change you. Don't wait for the emotional chaos to stop before you take your first step. Don't put your hope in some miracle pill to give you a perfect body. Don't wait until your anxiety subsides or you feel that your life is in order. Choose to break the barrier and learn to work through the issues underlying your struggle.
Ask God for help, and with His help, you will overcome. Remember, regardless of the reason for your struggle, in order for you to break free from your destructive patterns, you must take responsibility, partner with God, and develop the self-discipline to take care of your body. Take responsibility today for your condition and ask God to help you live a healthy life. Shifting the blame hurts only one person: you.
The same can be said for those who are buried in debt. People blame their employers for not paying them "what they are worth." Or they blame their spouses for being compulsive spenders. Instead of being responsible and living within a budget, they cast blame on others for their financial problems. In their failure to get ahead, they blame interest rates, financial markets, or even the president. Humans are constantly looking for scapegoats for their failure to reach their financial goals.
Marriage is not exempt from the blame game. Many times, I have heard wives complain they are not content because their husbands do not make them happy. They assume their husbands exist for this sole purpose. Husbands fire back by claiming they are neglected, and as a result give themselves permission to engage in extramarital activities.
Instead of playing the blame game, spouses should recognize they cannot depend on each other for their own happiness. None of the marriage vows I've read state one spouse exists to make the other happy. Instead, spouses should love and cherish each other. When the dust settles, each person in a marriage is responsible for his or her own happiness.
It's amazing how our society blames parents for the errors their children commit when they become adults. If someone turns out to be a lawbreaker or a menace to society, the first thing we do is point to the parents. It's true parents carry much of the burden, and children must be guided. We can see the importance of nurturing and guiding children in their development toward adulthood. But when they are grown, they are responsible for their own decisions and actions. Many come from bad homes and turn out to be extraordinary people. Others come from great homes and turn out to be horrific people. Ultimately, the individual who acts is responsible. Just because people were raised in a home where there was violence, neglect, or abuse does not mean they must repeat the same behavior as adults. If they do, it is because they choose to do so.
The same tension exists in the workplace, where the boss may be seen as someone who exists for the sole purpose of standing in the way of the employees and saying no to every request made. Or perhaps sabotage by colleagues is perceived as the reason a promotion or a pay raise wasn't granted. Certain coworkers seem to be given favor while others remain stuck in a meaningless rut without an exit. The finger of blame and responsibility is always pointing at others.
At the end of the day, we need to ask the question, "Am I reaching my greatest potential?" Is your honest answer yes or no? I have some news: If we want to become all we are destined to be, we need to stop blaming others for our condition. We must take responsibility for our own lives.
Think about it for a moment. If you want to marry someone, no one else can marry that person on your behalf. No one can drink water for you. No one can lose weight for you. No one can build muscle for your body. No one can eat right so your body receives nutrition. No one can study so your brain will be filled with information. Can anyone breathe for someone else? Can anyone exercise for someone else? Can anyone sleep for someone else? No. Only we can do these things for ourselves. Therefore, if you want to overcome and become all you were destined to be, stop blaming others for your lack of advancement. Take responsibility for your life. Be responsible for the choices you have made. The buck stops here!
GOD'S LOVE WILL LEAD YOU THERE
The third step in laying a solid foundation to break the barriers is to accept that God loves you unconditionally. This is a simple truth: God loves you and wants the best for your life. Why? Because you are His child. You have been created in His image. What parent wants the worst for his or her child? What parent wants his or her children to suffer or stay stagnant? What parent hopes his or her child will turn out to be a loser? As parents, we want our children to grow, be healthy, and reach their greatest potential.
This is what the Bible says about you in Galatians 3:26: "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (NIV). Deuteronomy 23:5 states, "The LORD your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you" (NIV). Jesus states in John 16:27: "The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God" (NIV). Zechariah 2:8 states, "Whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye" (NIV).
My wife and I have three lovely daughters. Each one is unique. Each one is special. Each one is wonderful in her own way. They are not perfect, but when I look at them, my heart cannot help but melt. When they look at me with their big eyes and innocent expressions, they are no less than the apple of my eye. Why? Because they are my girls. They are part of me. A bond exists between us. Whether my girls are conscious of that fact makes no difference. Whether they are aware they have been formed in my image is of no consequence. We have a union no one can erase. This is an irrefutable fact. The same is true between God and us.
Genesis 1:26 quotes God as saying, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground" (NIV). Part of our genetic code comes from God. We were created in His image. Because of this bond, He loves us. He wants us to grow and flourish. We are His offspring, and in the same way that a child reaching his potential is a positive reflection of his parents, our progress in breaking barriers is a positive reflection of our heavenly Father. Consequently, He wants us to move beyond the challenges that keep us from fulfilling His divine plan for our lives. He wants us to break barriers.
THE THREE PILLARS
In order to overcome any problem, obstacle, challenge, or barrier, we must have the right values (the heart of the Father), judgment (the wisdom of the Son), and strength (the discipline of the Spirit). These are the three pillars that form a blessed and significant life, a life that reaches its potential. These pillars break barriers, no matter how large or difficult. They open a new world filled with significance, meaning, and potential.
These pillars are not a three-step program. Each one is essential and seamlessly connected to the others. If we embrace only one or two of the three, we leave a gaping hole.
The first pillar is the heart of the Father, a heart of integrity, godliness, virtue, and decency. In essence, it is the character of God the Father. This is the moral compass, or godly direction, we need to give us the right mission and help us align ourselves with why we are here. I will discuss the first pillar in depth in chapters 2 and 3.
The second pillar is the wisdom of the Son, which gives us the ability to be good people and to make good decisions in harmony with our mission. With godly wisdom based upon the mind of Christ, we judge every decision we make in light of our God-given mission. Many people are good, but few are good and wise. Wisdom helps us decide what we should do. Chapters 4 and 5 deal with the power of God's wisdom to break barriers.
The third pillar is the discipline of the Spirit, which supplies us with the strength necessary to put into practice good decisions based on godly character and godly wisdom. Many of us recognize what the right course of action is but don't have the energy and discipline to carry it out. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to complete the how to. Chapters 6 and 7 focus on this third pillar.
These three pillars together form what we need for a meaningful and significant life. And a meaningful and significant life is not wrapped in materialism, superficiality, or a false sense of success. True purpose, significance, and success come only when we live in harmony with God's divine purpose for our lives. As we fulfill God's purpose and live in the circle of godly direction, godly wisdom, and godly strength, we cannot help but break the barriers that try to hold us back.
Keep in mind: the principles we discuss must be adhered to in order to succeed. We cannot take a shortcut through them or find some way around them. I wouldn't encourage anyone to continue reading as if this is a three-step self-help book aimed at making him or her the most successful person on the planet in thirty days. Reaching your greatest potential isn't easy. It's hard work!
So where's the starting point? You can start right here, right now, just as you are. The following story illustrates that no matter who you are, where you come from, or what challenges you face, God loves you and will help you overcome the toughest barriers. He is your greatest ally!
WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?
In December 2003, I received a call from my crusade coordinator. He said he had spoken to a young man who wanted to come in and tell us his story. I asked if he knew anything about the young man. He replied, "All I know is, you'll want to hear this!"
When the young man came to our studios for the interview, he introduced himself as John. His interview with us lasted over an hour. I sat him down in a chair as our soundman connected the microphone and prepared the audio feed. I checked the camera and made a few lighting adjustments. We began recording. I remember he was sweating, probably because he had never been interviewed on-camera before. I handed him a towel to wipe his forehead. As I thought about what my crusade coordinator had said to me, I noticed the young man taking a few deep breaths. Looking back later, I realized my coordinator was right. What I heard that day had a powerful impact on my life. To this day, I consider the ministry fortunate to have recorded his testimony on video.
He handed the towel back to me and nodded. I said, "If you're ready, let's get started." I counted down from three, pointed to him, and said, "You're on."
He replied, "Uh, where do you want me to begin?"
I smiled and said, "Why not start from the womb?" He chuckled. That was the icebreaker he needed.
- On Sale
- Aug 13, 2009
- Page Count
- 256 pages