A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NKJV)

By now we should be back  into a rhythm of life in this New Year. So how are your personal priorities coming along? Have you made every attempt to get your priorities in line to enable you to grow in your professional life?

One of my professors once told me. “To fail to plan is to plan to fail.” It is imperative for us to be intentional about our growth in all aspects of our life including our professional careers.

As we think of our professional life what has to happen for us to take it to the next level. I have discovered that being healthy both spiritually and physically helps me think and work better with other people. So may I suggest you develop a great spiritual habit of connecting with God daily. It might be via music, nature, Scripture, prayers, etc. Whatever draws you closer to Him in the journey of life you’re in at this moment. Secondly, take time to exercise. For us in the Army this should be a given but if you need motivation team up with someone who will hold you accountable for working out.

How about the mind? What are you reading or doing to challenge your thinking and stretch you? After graduating from Seminary I realize that there is so much more to learn. Personally I have enjoyed learning from great minds through books, DVDs, and personal contact. Every person that I have had the privilege of calling friends has been a great source of wisdom and insight. Who is your mentor right now? Who are you mentoring? Looking back in my life I can recall the great mentors that I have had and some of the people I have influenced. As we set our goals to becoming better professionals we must always be able to be mentored from higher, from our colleagues, and become mentors for our subordinates.

In a recent interview I was asked this question. Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years? What they were really asking was, do you have set goals for yourself? Have you thought of your future? Are you living out your purpose in life or just existing? God calls you to live your life to the fullest. Therefore, as you think through this year and the years to come note this one vital truth; God expects you to plan but He alone can make those plans succeed. So as you plan allow Him to direct them and enjoy a blessed life.

What is your personal philosophy on leadership? What steps have you taken to become a better leader and mentor? (Would like to hear from you on the comment section)




Men of Valor – Personal Priorities

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; Colossians 1:9

As I enter this New Year there are many unknowns awaiting me. Will I be promoted? What will be my next assignment? Will we get a new horse pet in our family? How will I do as a mentor and supervisor of other Chaplains? But more importantly are the questions dealing with life issues that matter most. How can I deepen my relationship with God, Spouse, Children and friends?

Just yesterday as I was waiting for my wife to finish getting some items at Wal-Mart I had the great privilege to ask our four kids what their priorities of life are and how would they rank them. I was blessed to hear their response.

As we set goals for ourselves both personal and professional we must understand that personal goals deal with the heart of the matter, relationships. If these areas are being affected in your life then your professional life will suffer.

So how do we go about setting goals in this sphere? It is important to have a paradigm to work from. I like to call mine the paradigm of priorities. Who matters most to you in your life and where do they rank in the paradigm? This simple truth will enable you to enhance and build your relationships in a powerful and impactful way.

Here it is – “Chappy’s Paradigm of Priorities”
First –      PERSON TO GOD

Every single one of these priorities are linked to one another and in the right sequential order. For instance, if you would like to be a better husband/wife it would benefit you to have a personal relationship with God. If you would like to be a better parent your relationship with your spouse must be your priority. Finally if you would like to succeed in your career or job you don’t do it by sacrificing your family and Godly values at the altar of success.

So as we were waiting for Evelyn’s text that she had finished in Wal-Mart the kids kept spitting out their answers there categories were similar First – God, Second – Parents, Third – Siblings, and Fourth – Friends. I have to admit some struggled with the last two changing their order but for a Dad I couldn’t be more proud of them. We decided that we would make it our New Year goal to continue to grow and deepen our relationship with God, family, and friends.

What’s your plan for this New Year? How would you accomplish your personal goals? Below are some practical applications for each of the relationships.

– God – Have a time set each day where you could read the Bible, reflect on it, and pray. What has worked for me has been, I use there AP version and take it with me wherever I go. They have many different devotionals that will enable you to deepen your relationship with your Maker.

– Spouse – Make time every week to have a date night with your spouse. Thursday nights have worked best for us. We love just getting out and having time alone for ourselves not to go over problems but to just enjoy each other’s company.

– Parents – Take time to spend quality time with each one of the children. Having four has been very difficult to do but I make an effort to at least spend some time each day with each of them individually. Some days you will have to make it up to one or another but letting them know that you care and love them is the most important. One parental tradition I have started since my kids where babies is praying with them and giving them a blessing before heading to sleep. Doing so has enable them to know that even greater than daddy there is a God who loves them more.

– Pastor/Occupation – Learn to be your own leader. In other words, create your own boundaries or others will do so for you. Allow those who you work for and those you influence that these priorities matter to you. You will be a better employee and boss for it.

More to say on the professional goals next year until then HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Men of Valor in the Manger – Jesus

Gifts unwrapped all over my living room. Kids enjoying their toys and it makes me wonder of the ultimate gift given to man.  There is not a gift we can give our family members that will compare to the gift given by our Heavenly Father.  For He gave us His very best, Emmanuel, Jesus, Our Messiah!  The wonder of it all is to vast for me to put into words so I will leave that to one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado.  In his writing you will read why Jesus is truly the greatest Man of Valor to enter our world.

Max writes:

It all happened in a moment, a most remark-able moment.

God became a man. While the creatures of earth walked unaware, Divinity arrived. Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb.

The omnipotent, in one instant, made himself breakable. He who had been spirit became pierceable. He who was larger than the universe became an embryo. And he who sustains the world with a word chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl.  God as a fetus. Holiness sleeping in a womb. The creator of life being created.  God was given eyebrows, elbows, two kidneys, and a spleen. He stretched against the walls and floated in the amniotic fluids of his mother.

God had come near.

He came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were unmanicured, calloused, and dirty. No silk. No ivory. No hype. No party. No hoopla.
Were it not for the shepherds, there would have been no reception. And were it not for a group of star-gazers, there would have been no gifts.

Angels watched as Mary changed God’s diaper. The universe watched with wonder as The Almighty learned to walk…

Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out.

Listen to him.

“Love your neighbor” was spoken by a man whose neighbors tried to kill him.

The challenge to leave family for the gospel was issued by one who kissed his mother good-bye in the doorway.

“Pray for those who persecute you” came from the lips that would soon be begging God to forgive his murderers.

“I am with you always” are the words of a God who in one instant did the impossible to make it all possible for you and me.

It all happened in a moment. In one moment … a most remarkable moment. The Word became flesh.  — God Came Near

Today is another moment in time.  A moment where God wants to enter your world.  Will you let Him in and allow Him to change your life this Christmas day?

MEN of VALOR – Seeking the Savior

This morning I awoke to the sound of my lovely wife getting the final preparations made for Christmas morning.  It brought back memories of the anticipated day as a child.  Longing for Christmas Day to come so I can finally get to the gifts.   Now as a parent the anticipation has changed.  We long to see the faces of our children as they seek after their gifts.  But have we lost the desire to seek the true meaning of Christmas?  Have we gotten so caught up in our gifts that we have lost sight of the true gift, Emmanuel.  I was reminded this morning thru the writings of Max Lucado of some Men of Valor who earnestly sought out their Savior.  He writes:

Simeon [said], “Can I stay alive until I see him?” The  Magi [said], “Saddle up the camels. We aren’t stopping until we find him.”The shepherd [said], “Let’s go…. Let’s see.”

They were earnest in their search. One translation renders Hebrews 11:6: “God … rewards those who earnestly seek him” (NIV) Another reads: “God rewards those who search for him” (Phillips) And another: “God … rewards those who sincerely look for him” (TLB). I like the King James translation: “He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Diligently—what a great word. Be diligent in your search. Be hungry in your quest, relentless in your pilgrimage… Step away from the puny pursuits of possessions and positions, and seek your king.

Don’t be satisfied with angels. Don’t be content with stars in the sky. Seek him out as the shepherds did. Long for him as Simeon did. Worship him as the wise men did.  Risk whatever it takes to see Christ.

God rewards those who seek him. Not those who seek doctrine or religion or systems or creeds. Many settle for these lesser passions, but the reward goes to those who settle for nothing less than Jesus himself.  —  Just Like Jesus 

One more day left before Christmas what are you going to do?  Can I suggest to you to be like these Men of Valor and seek after the Messiah with all your heart, mind and soul!  In doing so you will find that He will satisfy all of your desires.

MEN of VALOR – Wise Men

Matthew 2:1-2  After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem  2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

Let me first let you in on a little secret.  While we think of these men as part of the Christmas story, they were not present on that first Christmas. They didn’t arrive on the scene till well over a year later.

How many were there? Most assume three (gifts) and in the 6th Century someone decided to name them Melchior, Baltazar and Gaspar – but there may have been more. We don’t know.

Who were they? They were called “Magi” (our word magician).   It’s likely that these magi were descendants of the ten tribes of Israel that remained in Babylon after the time of Daniel. Many of the Jews did not return to their homeland but rather chose to remain behind in Babylon. There they were assimilated into the culture and probably adopted many of the religious practices of the pagans. So these magi may not have been very orthodox in their faith, but still, they were looking for the coming messiah. They took literally the statement from Numbers 24.17: “A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.” And so they searched the skies for hundreds of years looking for a sign that the messiah had come. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced and came seeking the one who was born king of the Jews.

Where were they from? Some have suggested Arabia – Babylon – Persia – We don’t know for sure.

There is so much about these men that remain a mystery even to this day. All that we really know about these men is that they were called wise men and were truly MEN of VALOR.

What life lessons can we learn from their wisdom that we could apply in our own lives today?

The first life lesson we can learn is that MEN of VALOR (WISE MEN) SEARCH FOR JESUS
It is possible these men may have traveled up to 1000 miles on their trek. In Matthew 2:16 we are told that Herod decided to kill all boy children 2 years old and younger so apparently from the time the star first appeared it took them almost two years to locate where Christ was. There search was a long and  diligent one. They would see their search through to the end.

Were they the objects of ridicule for chasing a star? Perhaps they were ridiculed, but if so, it didn’t deter them from their purpose. Was this journey costly? No doubt it was; they would need to provide food and lodging for that entire period of time. Did they ever grow tired? Were there times of sickness? Did they ever get discouraged? Did they ever feel like quitting? I suspect the answer to all these questions is “yes” – but they persevered.

Are you as determined in your spiritual search?  Are you willing to persevere no matter what? Are you willing to submit your will to the will of God? In your spiritual search for meaning and purpose, are you prepared to do it God’s way?

These MEN of Valor were willing to give it all to find the Messiah and once they found Him we learn our second life lesson.

When at last they had found the Christ, they bowed down and worshipped him. They presented him with gifts.

 A Gift Worthy of His Lordship – Gold for the King of Kings

 A Gift Worthy of His Holiness – Frankincense for the Priest of Priests

A Gift Worthy of His Sacrifice – Myrrh for the Ultimate Sacrifice

If you were in his presence today which gifts would you give Him?

As we celebrate Christmas this upcoming week may we learn the life lessons taught by these MEN of VALOR (Wise Men) and seek after our Messiah with all of our hearts, souls, and minds and in doing so may we bring our gifts of Sacrifice, Surrender, and Service to HIM who gave it all for us!

Don’t miss the Star of Light which is the Star of Life this Christmas Season!






And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Au-gustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quī-rini-us was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, (Luke 2:1-4 NKJV)

Being a father of four I couldn’t imagine what it would be like for Joseph that busy night in Bethlehem. He is returning because of a census issued by the Roman government. But the question begs to be asked.. Is he the only family member to return to his own city? I come from a large family so if we had a census in San German, Puerto Rico my whole family would take up the small city. So why is Joseph having to hang out alone in a manger with a pregnant wife?

A Man of Valor cares for the welfare of others more than himself. His family, if he had any left, may have still been upset at the fact that he was marrying a girl who was pregnant while they were still engaged and it wasn’t by him. Back in those days that action could have been punishable by death –stoning. Instead this Man of Valor was obedient to a dream that was given to him and took this lowly girl for his wife and actually didn’t have sex with her until she gave birth to Jesus.

It was a long trip from Galilee to Judea, around 70 miles. It generally would have taken a person 2 days and a half to do but can you imagine a pregnant woman? One in whom the child inside her is God, the Messiah! Talk about taking care of some precious cargo! I can only imagine what Joseph had to deal with on his way there. All the rest area stops, having to get food, making sure she felt as comfortable as possible. Then thinking ahead and longing to get to Bethlehem so that she could finally lay her head down on a bed and enjoy a good night’s rest.

When they get there it is chaos. Everything is full and no family to support their needs. How inadequate he must of felt. Mission: Take care of wife carrying the most valued gift to the Israel people and world, the Messiah! Looking everywhere he finds no place to accomplish his mission. He must have felt like a failure. So he does his best to make her feel as comfortable as possible and then it happens. Hoping for daybreak to get her settled somewhere safer and better God decides to enter this world of chaos and mess. Now this tired carpenter with sweaty brow from all the work of getting her in the manger and the animals out of her way becomes the father of the Son of God. How could it be?

Michael Card says it best in the lyrics of his song:

How could it be this baby in my arms, Sleeping now, so peacefully

The Son of God, the angel said How could it be

Lord I know He’s not my own, Not of my flesh, not of my bone

Still Father let this baby be, The son of my love

Father show me where I fit into this plan of yours

How can a man be father to the Son of God

Lord for all my life I’ve been a simple carpenter,

How can I raise a king, How can I raise a king

He looks so small, His face and hands so fair,

And when He cries the sun just seems to disappear

But when He laughs it shines again,

How could it be

Joseph a Man of Valor who gave self to make sure the mission he was given was accomplished. He didn’t understand it all but he was faithful to the calling to be the father of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, our Emmanuel.

As you consider the life of Joseph this Christmas, what are some things that God is calling you to do that don’t make sense to you? Are you willing to have faith in Him to do them? Joseph did because he placed his trust and faith on Emmanuel, GOD WITH US! May we do the same this Christmas and always!



Last night I had the opportunity to experience Christmas with my family and friends at the Billy Graham Library. It was awesome to see how God can use one Man of Valor to impact the world with the message of love found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Prior to entering the library there was a live nativity and I began to wonder how many Men of Valor were present that Holy Night and in the early childhood of this amazing Messiah. So in the few days prior to Christmas let us consider the MEN of VALOR in the MANGER.

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” (Luke 2:15 NKJV)

God could have chosen different men that night to come to worship. After all there were the Pharisees, Sadducees, and many Rabbi but He chose the meek and lowly, the Shepherds. Men of Valor, who were terrified when the angels arrived with the message but obedient when they left them with a mission to accomplish.

They personified one of the greatest qualities of Men of Valor, humility. Max Lucado writes, “You can see the world standing tall, but to witness the Savior, you have to get down on your knees. So while the theologians were sleeping and the elite were dreaming and the successful were snorting, the meek were kneeling. They were kneeling before the One only the meek will see. They were kneeling in front of Jesus.” – The Applause of Heaven

What is it going to take for us to slow down this Christmas season and kneel before the One who gave it all for us?

What lessons can you learn from the Shepherds that night?

As I was leaving Billy Graham’s Library last night I was impacted by the fact that this man’s message was simple and yet profound. God Loves You and if you respond to His calling you will never be the same! That was true for Billy Graham as it was for the Shepherds. Will it be the same for you this Christmas Season?