All posts by David Flores

About David Flores

I’m a football coach trapped in an I.T. administrators body. My beautiful, kick ass wife Anna and I have three great kids; daughters Iliana (beautiful, smart & insightful) and Natalia (beautiful, smart & thoughtful) along with my son Emiliano (smart, strong & outgoing) best of all, we all love Jesus (that’s called speaking truth). We make our home in Corpus Christi, Texas and when I’m not spending time with family or at Church Unlimited’s Westside Campus with our other family, I enjoy playing with technology, networks and algorithms. I also enjoy music, audio recording, learning / practicing leadership and managing projects.

FAVOR given one, is meant FOR many.

Sometimes when God is inviting us into His work, we are called to places where our positioning doesn’t seem to make sense. This has something to do with the way God wants us to perceive His ways. Whenever we are called into what He is doing, there will always be a heart check involved. That check is the  product of our faith. Are we willing to go to places that are not inviting toward our physical, spiritual, emotional or psychological comfort? That is the question obedience will always ask.

In recent months through a series of unforeseen events, the Lord has sent me into some frontier areas of life. The Holy Spirit has been inviting me into something new. Essentially, He is asking me to follow at the cost of leaving some of the many less challenging areas in my life. He has used these areas to build the capacity He needs in me to take on our meaningful work together. I’ve learned that the pragmatic solutions to problems in my life all have to do with the countenance of favor in my life. God’s favor over me was never meant for me, but rather for us. Favor has to take on a posture of what it means for everyone around me and at the moment, it has to do with the life of my older brother.

You see, as His-story and my story begin to interweave it is becoming more and more clear that God’s greater design for the favor I have been gifted with is to see how I will choose to steward it. It all comes down to choices doesn’t it? What will become of these gifts? My spirit senses that He is opening the door of adventure into the unknown. A place where my favor can become of real benefit to the Kingdom. A place that invites the dangers and pain of putting my heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into something that has the high possibility of breaking me. But, if it is indeed His work, it has the promise of seeing an old dream of freedom for a place and people I believe He wants me to help. So in the spirit of the prophets of old, to the Ancient of Ages I say, “Here I am Lord”.

This weblog will chronicle  my obedience, wins, and loses. I invite you into the journey.

Photo Source: reddit.com

Chasing Wild – Part One | Become Good Soil

Had to repost this recent weblog by Morgan Snyder. It speaks clearly to a very primal God space that exists in every man. Enjoy!

We pierced the veneer of outside things. We suffered…and had grown bigger in the bigness of the whole. We had seen God in all his splendours, heard the text that nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man. – Sir Ernest Shackleton

The arrow flew intuitively, almost of its own volition. For that moment, my bow and I had become one. Upon impact, the bear whirled on his hind legs and thundered back into heavy cover. I was deep in the wilderness of Colorado’s high country, in dawn’s early light. Little did I know, the adventure was just beginning.


Many years ago, a hunting mentor spoke these formative words: “Luck is the combination of preparation and opportunity.” Never before had the relationship between opportunity and preparation been more apparent to me than on that crisp September morning.

Needless to say, the idea of “getting lucky” has taken on a whole new meaning. In the field, I consider it over and over again: “Luck IS a combination of preparation and opportunity.” Mostly, the preparation is our portion, as students of the land, the animals, and ourselves. Opportunity is largely up to God. We train and we trust. We train that we might be ready, and we trust that we are sons of the Living One who has our best interests at the center of His soul, all the way, all the time, whatever the outcomes may be.

My hunting pursuits began over 15 years ago. I didn’t grow up in a hunting family or in a hunting culture. Far from it. Argyle socks filled my drawer, and my wild adventures were confined to small pockets of untamed land gridlocked in a maze of suburban sprawl. God’s wooing drew me into wilderness and hunting, the prize of which is much more primary than meat in the freezer (though that is a high value in our family culture).

Wilderness,  and chasing wild in its infinite forms, has become the central context for my validation as a son and my initiation as a man.

As this hunting season drew near, my good friend Brian and I drew a pair of rare and coveted archery tags and the dream of harvesting an elk and a bear on the western slope of Colorado. I was going in for three days prior to Brian’s arrival, both for final reconnaissance and, more importantly, for the time of annual solitude with God that my heart craves. Heading out in my truck, I began praying and consecrating the trip, connecting my heart with the Father and sloughing off the shroud of stress that the previous days and months had cinched around me, then settling in for several hours of open road.

Driving into the Arkansas River canyon and happily leaving cell coverage, I eagerly fired up the Scriptures on an audio app I’d downloaded, anticipating  my soul being rinsed clean and fresh during these precious hours of transition. I started with Psalm 1 and then moved into Psalm 2, and then…silence. The app just went out—so much for the grid independence the app promised.

But the verse that it stopped on was Psalm 2:8, which, in The Message, reads:

You’re my son, and today’s your birthday. What do you want? Name it. Nations as a present? Continents as a prize? You’re my son, and today’s your birthday. What do you want? Name it.

For a good 30 minutes, I brawled with the app, trying to coerce it into working, until finally it dawned on me what Father was saying: for this hunt—and not only for me, but also for Brian—this was OUR verse from Him.

“You’re my sons and this is your birthday. What do you want?” When I hit cell reception again, I texted Brian and shared the verse. “Happy birthday, buddy,” I texted. “Make sure you ask Father for what you want for this hunt. I’m starting to ask Him now.”

Hours later, I neared the spot we intended for base camp and felt my apprehension rise. I’d prepared for months for this bear hunt. I’d read several books on bears and trained my body for the backcountry through countless workouts on stairs and off-trail ascents with a 50-pound pack. With the exception of an eight-day backcountry filming trip, I’d shot my bow 55 days in a row, and I’d brought all my working knowledge and experience from past years—mostly failures and a few successes—to this hunt.

But this was a new level of apprehension. I knew I was pursuing—with only a bow and arrow—an animal that, if provoked, was far more capable of harvesting me than I was of harvesting it. Furthermore, this vast country was uniquely rugged and bear-enticing. Graced with undulating hillsides of ancient oak brush, this region attracts bears from up to 200 miles away. A hunting buddy who’d been there a previous year described that when the wind blew, ripe-acorns falling from heavily laden branches pitter-pattered like raindrops on the ground cover. Such prolific food offered ripe hope for an archery hunter heaven-bent on a close encounter.

Physiologically, this season in the high country for bears is called hyperphagia. Bears feed up to 22 hours a day, putting on as much fat as possible to sustain their hibernation during brutal Western Slope winters. With these optimal conditions, the collision between opportunity and preparation could come at any moment of any day.

The first morning, I hiked into a drainage to a secluded watering hole we had identified on the maps that we hoped would attract bears in the heat of the midday. Grazing leases for domestic cattle dominate this section of National Forest, and groups of cattle regularly shuffle through the drainages, feeding on grasses and also depositing endless cow pies. In the heat of the day, the stench of smoldering cow pies was noxious. I harnessed my senses and stayed as still as I could, settling in for hours of vigilance over the water hole. Between the heat and the stench and the still-lingering racket from the world inside of me, it was an appropriately challenging baptism back into the wild.

After five hours, I sensed movement and, out of the corner of my eye, glimpsed first sight of a bear. I was caught off guard as I’d seen so few bears in hunting situations before. This was a small bear, and I immediately registered it could be a cub. Colorado hunting laws prohibit harvesting a sow with cubs, and though I was tempted to draw my bow, I thought, If this is a cub, the mother is surely coming behind it, and I am not going to arrow a cub and end up with an angry sow hunting me. But if it’s not a cub, I don’t want to pass on what could be my only chance.

Feeling the pull of opportunity, I began to draw, knowing I had a fraction of a second to make a decision.

Here was the moment: I had this bear in my sights…and then discretion edged its way into my soul.

I lowered my bow, choosing to pass.

In my past as a bowhunter, I have at times been quick to fling an arrow. Quicker than I’d like to admit. And in recent years, I have specifically asked Father to grow discretion in me, that I might be quick to assess a shot but slower to release an arrow. I have learned the hard way: with both a bullet and an arrow, once it is released, it can never be called back.

As quickly as I decided, the bear moved on. Sure enough, no mother ever came, suggesting in fact it wasn’t a cub. (I have learned since it was most likely a two-and-a-half-year-old bear, which is the first year of independence for a young bear. Typically, two-and-a-half-year-olds are small and easily mistaken for cubs.)

Several days stacked up void of any more bear encounters as I covered mile after mile, boots on the ground, glassing and looking for both bear and elk sign. In drainage after drainage and hillside after hillside, I noticed that most of the scrub oak were completely barren: no acorns. Even the chokecherry and serviceberry bushes, though lush with leaves, were virtually naked of berries. The reality began to sink in: though this section is typically a berry and acorn bonanza, something was wrong. There was almost no feed. And without feed, there were far fewer bears in the area than seasonal population data suggested. (We later learned there’d been a Mother’s Day freeze that had decimated the acorn and berry population. Bears that typically traveled from hundreds of miles to feast in this particular section had headed to different country in search of food.)

As I prepared for Brian’s arrival, I realized the likelihood of harvesting a bear this year was plummeting. Discouragement crept in like a slow-moving winter storm. I’d spent six years accumulating preference points and six months training for what perhaps was the hunt of a lifetime, and I would very likely go home empty-handed.

In the darkness of the third morning, I headed to explore another remote drainage. Praying and worshipping under the flume of the Milky Way and the unwavering stance of Orion, my perception of God’s presence heightened. I felt our Father’s nearness, His overwhelming kindness, and His unfaltering leadership over my life. Quickly, my soul ignited with presence and I knew I was receiving the greatest treasure of any hunt: an overwhelming awareness of God Himself that often prevails after several days in the context of wilderness and solitude. This kind of encounter with God is the ultimate prize of backcountry hunting.

Then I heard these words from a Father to his son, from my Father to me, as his son: “Son, I invite you to let the primary mission of this trip be to help Brian harvest a bull.”

The clarity of Father’s voice in that moment provided joy-filled reorientation: the discouragement vanished as the path of Life was illumined. Everything in my soul shifted from the pressure of strategizing about arrowing a bear to ease and joy in the abundant goodness of my Father. I knew the Father was interacting with me and inviting me to chose love for my friend Brian, and to love Brian’s dad and his brother, who also had highly prized hunting tags. He was assuring me that while my day would come in the fullness of time and in His abundance, I could relish coming through for Brian. (Brian and his dad had both patiently invested 16 years of preference points and cashed them in for this particular opportunity.)

By then, the first light of day was brilliantly coloring the horizon, and in this intimate space, I sincerely felt like it was being painted just for me. A deep sense of peace now pervaded my hunt: I had my orders for this mission. I consecrated my motives afresh to God, and as Isaiah said thousands of years ago, set my face like a flint (Isaiah 50:7).

Brian would arrive shortly, and the second chapter would unfold. Little did I know that giving my yes to the Father on that September morning would bring far more than I was prepared to handle.

Oswald Chamber says this,

The call of God can never be understood absolutely or explained externally; it is a call that can only be perceived and understood internally by our true inner-nature. The call of God is like the call of the sea—no one hears it except the person who has the nature of the sea in him. What God calls us to cannot be definitely stated, because His call is simply to be His friend to accomplish His own purposes. Our real test is in truly believing that God knows what He desires.

The call of God is ever being whispered into the place in us that truly wants to receive it. The writer of Hebrews suggests that God is enticing and disrupting us so that, in His goodness, He can become even more the Author and Finisher of our story (Hebrews 12:2). Where is it that God is inviting your willingness to let Him author you into a story far better than you could ever ask for or imagine? Where is it your Father is asking, “Would you give me your heart and follow me?”

What is your wild and how is He inviting you to chase it?

To be continued…

Source: Chasing Wild – Part One | Become Good Soil

Community

Community is by design, what we are all wired for. COMMON UNITY among a group of people is a beautifully splendid thing. It is also a very rare thing. You see, God knows that the common unity found in community with Him and those around us is the best place to be. It’s where life is found. It’s where we as people are strongest. That’s why deep down, it’s what we all desire, what we are all chasing after even if we don’t know it yet.

But why is it such an elusive thing? In my life I have found community on a few occasions, some ending in glorious destruction, others still alive today. Those that live are the ones that even through time and space thrive and well up memories of wondrous days gone by and too the hope of glory ahead.

The thing about community is that it’s a delicate balance of spontaneity, order and most of all, hard work. The early days of finding a group of people that are genuinely happy to know you and you’re genuinely happy to know are the magical days where intrigue and commonality rule the day. It’s a time of getting to know one another and allowing at times vulnerable insights into one other’s lives. Inevitably these days are numbered, relationships are forged, friendships solidify and life in real community begins.

I remember my final year in college a community was formed in a really diverse group of my classmates. We were all tied by the common bond of a capstone management course that was well rumored to be the end all and be all for college of business students. It was a time when we were all in the mists of leaving lives of extended adolescence and entering adulthood. We were equipped with our new found knowledge of business and we were set to conquer the world. We spent countless hours dissecting existing corporate strategies and financial data in order to formulate our own greater and more lucrative mock plans for America’s greatest companies. It was indeed exhilarating to each of us as dreams of corporate domination danced in our heads. Needless to say, it was fertile ground for some great relationships to begin, and indeed one did. I met and fell in love with Anna in that community.

I wish all my community stories could end with such grandeur, but unfortunately things don’t always end so great. As I said before, I’ve known glory and glorious disaster. In community, ultimately life happens, people have confrontations, feelings get hurt and sides are taken, it’s just the natural order of things and there really is nothing to keep it from happening. So in healthy communities, the next phase of growth occurs. Direction and authority has to be given in order to keep the group moving forward. This can be a dangerous place. If members of the community don’t understand authority and vision, they will become overburdened and frustrated and most likely leave the group. For Christians this should be an easy one. The vision is always Jesus, the cornerstone that holds us the Church together. But often we can’t see the forest from the trees for the burden of leadership. Leadership has to bare the weight of keeping people moving forward and finding that commonality and dream ahead of the group. They have to enforce the rules that will keep the group safe from self-destruction and they have to do it all in the highest most diplomatic and service oriented way possible. Otherwise, they and the group will suffer. What most people don’t realize is this is often a very lonely and onerous place. Leaders often carry the weight of the community as both the shepherd to those who love them and wolf to those who don’t. The rules, authority and accountability to all are a heavy load and true leaders will always carry them with dignity and respect.

For those that have found community and have sacrificed self and submitted to the will of authority and that of the group, community is a beautiful place. It’s a place where those gathered have set aside their own personal motives and agendas for the good of each other. It’s a place where we can find like-minded people to help raise our families. It’s a place to go deep in heart to heart conversations. It’s a place to have your feelings hurt and then find forgiveness and steadfast friendship. It’s a place where your best friends call you out when you’re out of line because they love you and your family and they don’t want to see you hurt. It’s a place that feels like home. Find that community folks, it’s so worth the fight.

Exile.

For some time now, I’ve been in exile. I’ve had to sit a few opportunities out because either the timing was wrong or God has simply said, “No, you have to wait.”  I’ve come to learn something. There is a certain strength that is built in a man when in exile. Brian Hardin founder of dailyaudiobible.com and a mentor of mine put some perspective on this for me earlier this year.

Arguably the most quoted bible verse over the last few years has been Jeremiah 29:11, it reads:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

It’s a great scripture, no doubt. But like so many scriptures it is at times used and understood out of context. You see, in the context of this scripture, the Hebrew people found themselves in exile. It was a harsh enslavement in a foreign land under the authority of a demented king. Jerusalem was all but a faded memory. They weren’t going home soon, and when they did, it wasn’t going to be the same. That’s a hard place to be.

For men, circumstances of exile are often the times that define our story. Sometimes God has to exile us in order to  show us who we really are. It’s like, in order to give us His identity, we have to be stripped of what we have become by the terms of life and the world.

The challenge is, are we willing to be exiled?

The Hebrew people had to learn that in their exile, life had to go on. They had to plant fields, they had to teach their children, they had to work with what they had, where they were. It was in these times in the monotony of mere existence that God began to remind the Israelites of who they were. They were a people set apart as His own, a people meant to usher His son into the world.  In the same way, God uses exile in us to build the capacity He needs in order to take us where He’s going.  Therefore, in much the same way as He used the Israelites, God uses believers today as emissaries of His son Jesus in the world. As Christians we are the light of the world, it should be through our existence that Jesus is known. Exile gets us ready to move in truth and in authority. So I ask, what are you doing in your exile, are you letting God build capacity?

Doing Nothing?

Man, it just seems like more and more men are going off the deep end. It’s like every time I turn on the local news, we have another dad that fell and fell hard. Killing, hurting, shaking, bruising their kids, their wives. Our enemy the devil is winning and there is a ton of “good men” watching on the sidelines as if it was a Sunday afternoon in November.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

~ Edmund Burke

This quote has always struck a nerve with me, and I know why… I’ve, “done nothing” for far too long, it’s time to get in the fight. Do something. Good men, I call you to arms. It’s time to step up, engage and fight in prayer, practice, and in the community. The M46 Initiative is responding to this call. We’re believing in a big vision that will bring a shift in the spiritual war waged against all humanity. Turning the hearts of fathers to their children and the children’s heart to the father is a by-product of our individual relationship to Father God our model, teacher, strength and truth. We’re calling you into something much bigger than this ministry, but you have to embrace the process. You have to let God do what only He can do. To become a son, to become a father, to become a man after God’s own heart, you have to surrender your own heart first.

 

*Photo Credit