Gifted and Lifted

Mark Mabry

Gifted and Lifted gives world class talent the chance to elaborate on questions of faith. The goal is to help the rest of us tactically use faith to improve in business, sports, the arts, and life in general. Host,

Mark Mabry, is the creator of the acclaimed photographic exhibit known as "Reflections of Christ".

All Episodes

I was asked to speak at our church for the Mother's Day service. Honest, I've never been so nervous to speak before. There are so many heartbreaks all around Motherhood... so that's exactly what I spoke about.  The value of heartbreak.  This is the audio from the talk... I added a little bit scoring... because I just like music. (Makes me not sound so flat).  Happy Mother's Day! 

May 10

27 min 57 sec

This woman.   How was she so magnetic that she STOPPED JESUS IN HIS TRACKS?   Background. Just two days ago,  Jesus road in Triumphantly, like a conquering hero, turned over the money-changer tables, and told them that Caeser’s currency wasn’t God’s currency. He stayed there at the temple, surrounded by enemies, teaching and calmly answering venom with truth. Jerusalem was about to erupt.   Somehow, late in the day, HIS VERY LAST PUBLIC DAY, something caught His attention.   If this was a fairy tale, and Jesus was a knight, then this might be end of act two. Where he gets to the castle see’s the unknowing bride-to-be in the tower… and remembers why he traveled this far.   IT WAS HER. The pauper widow.   Jesus couldn’t have seen her, BUT HE SENSED SHE WAS THERE. So Jesus left the arguing men and walked up the steps alone, where He could see into “The Court of the Women”.    He sat down.   The courtyard was exposed. There was a long, obvious walk to the trumpet shaped donation boxes. Some people liked carrying their large donations through the courtyard for all to see. But she didn’t. In fact, her gift was only two mites. The minimum legal donation.   He called His disciples to Himself…   “… this poor widow has given more than all those who have given to the treasury.”   She was carrying THE RIGHT CURRENCY, and so much of it that it bought the attention of God Himself…   My goodness, what was she carrying besides two mites?   A broken heart.   She was carrying a broken heart.   And why is a broken heart the currency of the God’s?   Because it’s the physical, mental, and spiritual sign of us HANDING OVER OUR WILL to him.   The loss of her husband didn’t break This Woman’s heart. It set her up. She could easily have been the bitter widow. Her poverty didn’t break her heart either, it let her double down.   A fallen world gave her painful chances to choose faith, it gave her precious perspective.   Anger distracts us from exploring what God can do.   Is there a prayer more powerful than this,   ‘God, here are the pieces of my heart. I don’t know how to put them back together. But I think you do. I’m resisting anger, pride, and hopelessness. I’m turning to you.’   Amen.           Sidenote   This is a pretty bold take, even for me.   I had to ask myself, Mark, are you saying that nobody can break someone else’s heart?   What about getting dumped…?  yeah, it stung. But did you let your heartbreak to Jesus and change,  or did you choose jealousy and sarcasm to guard your heart.   What about when so and so gossiped?  Did you fire back? If so, your currency was revenge.   Or Did you let the gossip die with a private conversation and frank forgiveness? That’s the currency of a broken heart.   What about this and that failure or injustice as an adult? Did you keep fighting long after righteous anger had expired?   I’m not arguing against grit. Jesus’ was more tenacious than anyone… ever. But look at His tenacity. It came after expressing His broken heart to His Father… again and again.   “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors… THY kingdom come, THY will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.   “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour…   “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will , but Yours be done.”   That was how Jesus prayed. He was just handing over His broken heart over and over again.   That is what a broken heart sounds like.   The world will provide the weaponry that bloodies us to the point of heartbreak.   Let me rephrase that, the world will use weapons like depression, anxiety, injustice, dishonesty, racism, abuse, untimely death, and abandonment…  to force our hand.   Either Will we choose to protect and  delay the heartbreak with anger, jadedness, hardness, cruelty, jiltedness, jealousy, callousness, cynicism, or pride…   Or will we allow those same weapons to help us get to the sacred state of heartbreak.   Will we let our Savior turn evil into good, like He did for Joseph in Egypt, the woman at the well, Mary magdalen, the woman taken in adultery, and Saul of Tarsus.   We don’t alway knows when Jesus has pressed pause to climb the stairs and watch us…   the pauper widow never noticed Jesus watching, and he was close  enough to see how little money she had in her hand.   Think she knows now?   I’m Mark Mabry.                  

Feb 1

5 min 56 sec

Imagine it’s Christmas 2020. We all wake up in matching jammies and do stockings, breakfast, anticipation…  and then mom and dad  (you now) walk into family room to verify that Santa came. But the room is empty.   The kids are around the corner bouncing, waiting for you to give the signal.   You stand there stunned, staring at each other.   Unable to wait any longer, the kids fly around the corner squealing.   They see the room and the squealing stops. Thinking it must be a game. They start searching around. They run to the back window, no trampoline. To the garage, there’s no new bike. Hmmm.   Eventually the kids walk back in and notice the real concern on mom and dads’ faces.   You’re speechless. For 10 years as a parent, you’ve been able to muscle this miracle into existence in a household of “believers”, some years it took help.   Overcome by confusion you sit on the floor and cry, “But, I, I swear… didn’t we…?” For lots of reasons, you can’t finish the sentence.   Every year on the fist night of Passover, Jews gather in families to retell the story of Moses parting the Red Sea to save Israel. It’s a beautiful meal. They leave the door open and a place at the table for Elijah, just in case he comes to announce the Savior.   For me, the tragedy of Christmas is that while billions of Christians celebrate the birth of that very Savior, our Jewish sisters and brothers suffer ridicule, persecution, and even holocausts while waiting for Him.   Christ was born quietly in Bethlehem, but they were so hung up on how things were “supposed” to go, that they not only missed it, they raged.   Back to you, in a puddle on the floor. Your sweet kids huddle on top of you, crying too, but not for Santa. You’re taking this turn of events way harder than they are…   Suddenly your 6 year-old squeals with excitement and runs to the glass door in the back… where a homely little stray mutt noses the window, begging to come it. They all run to the window!   He’s not what you expected from Santa, but he’s perfect.   Forget the Christmas list… open your eyes. This is Christmas. The thrill of hope.   A reminder keep our eyes innocent and unjaded by the times.   Because we don’t know what salvation is going to look like.     Sidenote…   I considered making this story a little longer. I thought about letting mom and dad rage a little bit, letting them be on the phone with cops or maybe even arguing with each other about who forgot to do what… finally late in the day to watch their babies in the yard building a house for the dog, naming him, and feeding him leftovers…   But it would have been overkill to make my bigger point.   We all will eventually open our eyes and see the gift.   When the prophet Zechariah knew the attitudes of the Jews and knew that they would likely miss the gift. Indeed they would for a time… but God comforted him in a vision. Yes, he saw thousands of years of blindness and pain, healed in this moment… Someday, the Jews will finally know their Savior…   “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.   “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”   Somehow, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess… that the babe of Bethlehem was the Savior all along.   I’m thankful that God has opened my eyes enough, during my short life, to believe that Jesus is His Son…   My prayers lately have been different. I’m trying to cut through the wants and the “Christmas lists” that have burdened my faith since I was a little boy.   “Please do this… save me from that… fix her… punish him…”   I just want to know that when the God I pray to “doesn’t do this, doesn’t save me from that… refuses to change someone else… and blesses my enemy…” I want to know that He loves me. I want to lay my worries on Him with real faith.   In other words, I just want my eyes to be open. I just want to see His Hand in this whole thing as much as He’ll let me, right now.   He can do that y’know.   I’m Mark Mabry   Merry Christmas                      

Dec 2020

5 min 53 sec

There was no room in the Inn, so Joseph made a spot for Mary to labor in a cave where the animals were sheltered. It was all the Inn Keeper could offer. Soon, Jesus was born. Maybe that night, Mary found the strength to take her baby outside to look at the sky. “Look buddy… see the stars?” Woah, she might have thought-looking up- I’ve never noticed THAT one before.  That’s called light, Jesus. See the Light? “Jesus”  she may have whispered again, finally putting that special name to a tiny face lifting Him to nurse for the first time. “Take… eat… little guy. This will give you life,” Because Who better than Jesus’ Mom to teach her Son to sucker those that stand in need of sucker. Watching him eat she might have reached her hand under the blanket, counting 10 little toes, and 5 fingers on the little hand that rested on her chest. Then looking back at her baby… “You’re perfect.”  Then looking back at the little cave… maybe she saw a strong, but worried, husband trying to keep a cow and three sheep away from the little feed box… the one where they would lay The Baby as soon as he was fed. Did she see him gather fresh straw and use his outer robe for a baby bed. Joseph, she might have said to herself, feeling a surge of love for the humble man would raise the Son of God. After eating, did the Baby roll his eyes around… and look back up at Mary, before falling asleep in her arms? “Joseph”, she might have whispered with the hint of a smile. “He’s asleep.” Joseph would quickly walk over to help Mary over to put her baby in the manger.   But when he approached, she may have said, “hold him, Joseph.” Like a first time dad, Joseph’s unsure eyes would meet Mary’s. “He loves you,” she might have said as he apprehensively picked up the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.   Together they might have laid him in that manger, maybe even a little grateful at this point to be outside, not in the crowded Inn.   After all that’s been said, perhaps the old inn keeper had an inkling that this couple needed to see the heavens tonight.   And just maybe, the heavens needed to see them too.     Sidenote,   Although he passed away ten years ago, I can still hear my Grandpa’s voice every Christmas Eve reading from the King James… “And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Ceaser Augustus, that all the world should be taxed…”   This year more than ever before different parts of the story are sticking out to me.   Like that the Son of God wasn’t born at home in Nazareth, with family, safety, and a midwife…  because of taxes and a census.  That’s weird. Cause I’ve requested extensions for much less than childbirth. But the Roman’s were oppressing the Jews, yeah, there was no getting out of paying that money on time.   God’s people spend a lot of their time oppressed… and where the Bible stops our history books fill in the gaps.   Right now though, to me though, there’s mysterious hero.   The Inn Keeper. More specifically, the last Inn Keeper, because surely Joseph didn’t just knock one door and settle for the little cave where the animals were fed.   Looking backwards it might be easy to criticize that Inn Keeper who sent the expectant Mother Of Our Savior and her husband Joseph down the road to sleep with the animals.  But for all we know, He was doing exactly what God knew He would do in that spot.   Often what we see as an obstacle to the plan, IS THE PLAN.   (For more on that thought, read some of Marcus Aurelius, who IRONICALLY was a Roman)   I’ll repeat the idea though, because it’s the thought today.   The obstacle to the way, is the way.   Our Father in Heaven, wasn’t opposed to announcing His Son. He told the Shepherds, Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, Wisemen in the East, and prophets for 4000 years in the Old Testament. The prophecies were memorized by those very Jews in Bethlehem!    However, God does seem opposed to telling us exactly how everything is going to go down.   That job loss, the injury, the girl or boy that steals your heart right after you swear off love to focus on your career…  or the one breaks it just as you were licking envelopes for the wedding invites. What about the early baby? The bankruptcy. The disease. The divorce. The Unexpected death.   God’s plan doesn’t look like ours in other words, “My ways are not Thy Ways”.   So let’s replay this…  you be the Inn Keeper.   You’re sitting in your room and an angel comes. “Greetings Friend’ says the angel, ‘I just wanted to drop by and let you know that The Son of God is currently in His Mother’s tummy riding on top of a donkey with her husband. She’s going to have the baby any day now. They’ll be knocking at your door in about 30 minutes. Also, please, don’t put anyone out sir. The stable will be a  fine birthplace for the Redeemer of Israel.”   So why didn’t He tell the Inn Keeper? Because, like us, he would’ve cleared the place out and scrubbed it top to bottom… and rolled out the red carpet. Like us, he might’ve thought to correct God with our good intentions.   God’s plan wasn’t to make the birth safe, sterile, or comfy, His plan was to let His Son descend below everything from the get go. And for two of His most loved children Joseph and Mary to become more like Jesus in the process.     God is in the details of our lives. Orchestrating.   Thanks for listening.   I’m Mark Mabry                        

Dec 2020

7 min 32 sec

Hi, welcome to the podcast. I’m mark mabry.   Today i’d like to read and elaborate a little bit on a recent instagram post where I introduced a new piece of art  that depicts the raising of a 12 year old girl from the dead.   We’ll pick up with Jesus preaching in Capernaum.   Jesus was getting huge in Capernaum.   One day a packed crowd was waiting for Jesus to speak, when an ‘important’ man interrupted the moment. The man was ‘a ruler of the synagogue’.   The interruption was Nothing new. (Jumping ahead of the crowd is the timeless privilege of people with status)   Pharisees and scribes always did this…   and it was fun to watch how Jesus dispatched them by exploiting their pride.   Anyway, The well dressed man came forward. His name was Jarius.   Jarius walked closer to Jesus, and in An Unexpected twist…   FELL AT Jesus FEET AND WEPT.   He cried, ’My daughter is dying. Please Master, come and save her.’   Jesus was never moved by status, but always moved by humility, so He went with Jarius.   The curious crowd followed.   Jarius made way for Jesus through the streets. With each step, The pace of his Jarius’s walk seemed to say  ’Hold on sweetie, dad’s coming,’   But Jesus took His time along the way to heal a woman who touched His robe. Then he paused even longer to hear her voice look into her eyes. “Your faith has made you whole.”   Jarius’ daughter’s clock was ticking. Then the bomb dropped.   A servant found Jarius, he said “Thy daughter is dead, trouble not the Master.”   What? It can’t end like this… Jarius had brought Jesus his lowest…. most broken self…   He had nothing left to give.   Jesus, touched him,  “fear not, believe only, and she shall be made whole.”   Believe. Only.  As if to say,  ‘Son, this next part is too heavy for you. I got it from here. You’ve shown me enough… just believe.”   At home, Jarius’ friends and neighbors laughed at Jesus when he said ‘the maiden is sleeping’. So Jesus excused them all.   Believers only beyond this point.   Jarius was wrung out. I see him kneeling by a little bed with his wife… maybe some brothers and sisters.   Jesus raised her.   But was that the only miracle?   Jesus THE GREATEST AMONG US descended BELOW EVERYONE… to lift us up from The Cross. To draw all of us to Him.   Excluding Jesus, is there anyone more powerful among us than the popular person who willingly breaks before the Lord? Who loves Jesus and all that goes with it. The charity. The kindness. The selflessness.   She who falls on her face in front of a crowd and brings Jesus home to skeptical friends… like Jarius.   That kind of condescension is Christlike.   That is the person who see’s miracle after miracle.         I felt like Jarius’ status in the community was important in this story…  because status is a set up.   We have seem to have less sympathy for rich people, good looking people, gifted people, or successful people.   I mean, it’s definitely a little funnier when sunglasses-guy backs his new Beemer into the light pole at Costco, than when a struggling mom with 3 little kids in a used mini van does it.   The Jarius story challenges those among us who are prone to judge popular or rich people… more harshly.   Think it was easy for Jarius to fall at Jesus’ feet and basically beg in front of that huge multitude of people that knew him as the powerful guy in the Synagogue?   The scribes and pharisees and hypocrites… those are Jarius’s people. What will they say when they find out Jarius was bowing to Jesus of Nazareth? Could it cost him his ruler of the synagogue gig? What about that house that was big enough to have a bunch of people at it in a few verses?    Think it was easy for Jarius to patiently wait as Jesus took his time walking through town healing someone else’s, non emergency blood issue, while his own daughter was critical…   Jarius was used to people jumping when he said jump. How about keeping it together when he finds out that she had died while he was stuck in the crowd…?   Yeah, status is a set up, a set up for Jarius… Because status Is a trojan horse full of pride.       Status ads degrees of difficulty to a humble Christian approach to life.   (That’s my best line and a big part of my point, so let me repeat it)   Status ads degrees of difficulty to a humble Christian approach to life.   Let’s look at Jesus Himself.   How did Jesus win the hearts of women and men starting with Adam and Eve all the way down to you and me.    Hint. It wasn’t because God gave Him Authority or a title, which He most certainly did… it’s all we read about in the Old Testament and the first few chapters of each of the Gospels. It’s  God saying, “This is my Son” “your savior” -  to Mary, then Joseph, to Simeon and Anna, to the Shepherds, to the Wisemen, To John the Baptist and the people who watched him baptize Jesus and heard the voice and saw the dove. But so what?   Imagine if God had said all that and Jesus didn’t end up being, well… perfect.   A title by itself only gathers brown-nosers, not sincere followers.  Authority and power are not the same thing at all.   Jesus has power because he won our hearts. JESUS won OUR HEARTS BECAUSE HE DESCENDED waaaaayyyyy BELOW his birthright as a god… GIVING EVERYTHING HE HAD TO CLAIM OUR OUTCLASSED, less popular, LESS BEAUTIFUL, GUILTY SOULS FROM HELL.   HE WENT LOW- TO UNBREAK OUR GREEDY, LUSTFUL, JEALOUS HEARTS… EVEN THOUGH HIS HEART IS PERFECT.   HE HUNG ON THE CROSS BRUISED AND NAKED AND BLOODY TO save ME AND YOU-   WHO IN TURN DO ALL WE CAN TO PRETEND LIKE WE’RE NOT BRUISED AND NAKED AND BLOODY TOO.   THAT’S WHY JESUS IS THE MOST POWERFUL BEING EVER…   We love him, BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US.   I LOVE HIM.   BECAUSE HE gets low TO LOVE ME FIRST… AND ASKS QUESTIONS LATER.     Back to status for a moment.   When someone throws off the glory of the world at risk of losing it all, like Jarius… Jesus seems to notice.   Sometimes there are actual real life consequences… watch how the world tolerates acceptance speeches that vaguely say, “I’d like to thank God”   but notice how awkward it gets when someone famous says, “I follow Jesus Christ”. Just ask the actor Chris Pratt, or  boxing champs Manny Pacheo or Tyson Fury, or Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow or drew breeze.   I have a front row seat to see what happens to Lifestyle, Fashion, and Fitness influencers on Instagram when they ‘come out’ as practicing Christians… Often they do it on the same day they are sharing a piece of my art that hangs in their home.   Almost Immediately their follower count drops, then the comments start. “Stay in your lane” “I used to respect you…” “How can you be so intolerant?” “Ignorant” “Naive”. Other Christians will even dig back into their feeds and criticize them for previous posts that, in their minds, don’t live up to a “Christian” standard.   Are you serious?   I’m not famous, but You don’t have to dig to deep to realize that I mark mabry, am a christian hypocrite many times over… especially when you consider that I write about Jesus every day. Just ask my wife and kids. That’s my set up!   So I’m inspired by the humility and faith of popular people who, like Jarius, fall at Jesus feet in front of the crowd. Because, on the flip side, supporters that stick by them end up loving them more than before. The connection is deeper… and frankly, it gives God another opportunity to bless their enterprise.   People with status don’t have an obligation to be public about their faith any more than our mailman does.   And that’s what makes it so powerful when they do it.   AIt’s proactive humility. They’re not compelled to be humble.   And so it is with you and me in our own successes…   the more we can redirect the glory of the world toward our God and be the servant of all, the more we can identify with Jesus….    Because that’s what Jesus did.     I’m Mark Mabry   Thank you          

Dec 2020

9 min 36 sec

I did an instagram post with a big long caption recently... I thought it was great (; But my wife didn't like it as written, only when I read it to her. I think she was right. So I punched it up a little bit and added some to it.  Thanks for listening...  Mark 

Dec 2020

8 min 35 sec

Last night I learned a lesson about value... here you go. Love, Mark

Jul 2020

4 min 58 sec

One of the more plain truths of life is that things and people are more beautiful when they are touched by Jesus. When it comes to people, a soul lit by Christ is easier on the eyes and the ears and more approachable. Things touched by Jesus become magnetic and alive. 

Jun 2020

4 min 36 sec

Yesterday my dear friend, Mike, texted me. “Clare really wants to be a hair stylist, so naturally…” Clare is 5 years old ... continued  Music by Clyde Bawden. Album: Life Song: No Regrets

Jun 2020

3 min 43 sec

Everyone on earth, including medical professionals, were diagnosing my son Bo with ADHD. #nobrainer it was like diagnosing a sumo wrestler as "a little chubby". But Tara and I were hesitant to medicate him at such an early age (11 years). So instead with bought some microphones and begged for a couple of favors from generous friends. The Dumb it Down Podcast was an overnight success with thousands and thousands of downloads. Turns out that the mic and Bo were like a fish and water. He's rebranding now that he's on the other side of a voice change. So I'm celebrating him today on my own podcast. 

Jun 2020

52 min 3 sec

I took a little time off to do some digging... here is what I found. -mark

Jan 2020

9 min 5 sec

A few months ago we moved to Nashville, in part, so my daughter could pursue her dreams of being a star in music. In the midst of the move we wrote a song that summarized the feelings and pressures of swinging big. Ava, 13, was sweet enough to sit down with me and dive deep into those feelings. Stream "this ain't the same old prayer" wherever you get your music starting Jan 5, 2020. 

Dec 2019

28 min 23 sec

Get ready to live like you mean it. Meet Mandie Sherman @shermanmandie, currently surviving and living all-in with Cystic Fibrosis. Pay attention to her takes on marriage, child bearing, and kindness. I can't wait for your comments! @itsmabry 

Oct 2019

46 min 50 sec

Several months ago I wrote an instagram post entitled “falling on your face”. And now, this morning I find myself in a unique position of getting to take my own advice. Let me read the original post real quick and then I’ll elaborate. The value of falling on your face. I love the story of the leper who jumped through the crowd and “fell on his face” to get Jesus’ attention. Specifically, I love the “fell on his face” part. The New Testament mentions at least two incidents of falling on one’s face. The second story feels little more complex. It was when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane discussing the “bitter cup” with His Father. Sensing the terror of the night and the following day, Jesus prayed with all of His might and then went a little further and “fell on His face” to give His will over to God. Today we meme the performer, the entrepreneur, the athlete, the salesman, the job applicant, or the nervous teenager DM’ing her crush for - "falling on their face" as if they somehow shouldn’t have even tried. Wait, What? No! We have it all wrong. Falling on your face gets the leprosy cured. Falling on His Face was part of Jesus saving mankind from hell. The privilege of falling on your face comes to the few who are not satisfied with their known universe. They are finally ready to step into the void- where God answers the good questions. The persecution and the shade thrown by the crowd is the devil’s way of making sure that too many of us don’t ever feel the transcendent power generated by falling due to exhaustion and then getting back up.   Look at the poise and focus of the performer who has ever bombed and then got back on stage. God respects #fullsend effort.   (and here goes the part that hit me this morning). If you’re thinking “I don’t have any dreams big enough to generate a face fall”… then there you go. Discovering your ministry is a wonderful opportunity to fall on your face while it’s only still between you and God. Think of how sincere your prayers will get. Think of how inspired your family will be by your guts and faith. Yes! #Sendit   Okay, now back to my story. This morning I woke up with a question mark In my mind.  The interesting thing about this question mark.  Is that it didn’t even have a question attached.  So I initiated my normal morning routine, Big glass of water, scripture study, permitting myself to chase random thoughts for a little while before I take in any media… kiss Tara and the kids, go on a run in the park. Basically, I was treading water until the question appeared in front of the?.  I was completely void of something to punch, or a concrete goal to lean into…. in other words I couldn’t put my finger on a specific problem to solve today. Let me get specific and personal, because it might help you in your own situation. Several months ago I was prompted to think about the effect of music more. The more I dug into that prompting, the more I felt like we needed to move in Nashville. However, the roadmap ended right there it’s as if God was saying, just get there and I’ll give you the rest of the map. Well the last few weeks were a little bit crazy and “getting here“ was emotionally a much heavier lift then anticipated. Still is. But this morning is the first morning that I’ve had the energy and the courage to face that blank roadmap. The hard part about a blank page is that even though you are completely willing to fall in your face and make an idiot of yourself in pursuit of something concrete, you still don’t know what that concrete thing is. And personally, If I’m going to fail publicly, I would at least like to fail at doing the right thing than fail (or even succeed) at doing the wrong thing. You see, For a believer, somebody that believes that God has a purpose for him or her, the blank page is both empowering and intimidating. We feel like we should be sprinting in a direction, In fact, we are willing to wear our lives sprinting in a God appointed direction, but what if the mission doesn’t require sprinting yet? What if it requires sitting still and studying and thinking, which is sometimes tough because it makes it even more awkward it looks like you’re doing nothing.  And looking lazy in front of those you love is even more daunting than falling on your face in front of a crowd. If I’ve learned anything over the last few years It’s that when My daily activities don’t align with my ministry, even if I’m 18 hours-a-day looking busy, even if I’m depositing checks… I leave a lot on the table. I am not fullfilled and in that condition I’m anything but inspiring to my family or myself. If I let myself get pulled into some pursuit of that doesn’t lift me out of bed in the morning with my hair on fire, perhaps I ought to check with God to find out if I’m even in the right Forrest. Because once we are sure that we’re in the right forest, it’s just a matter of drive  and energy to start chopping down trees. I hope this little thought might give someone out there pause to think about whether they are in the field or place that God intended… and that you might be empowered to stop “looking busy” for a moment in order to find your path.  

Oct 2019

8 min 11 sec

This one is a personal story with a personal lesson. I feel like it would be beneficial to share it here. Enjoy! Mark

Oct 2019

13 min 20 sec

This week my son left home, but first I wanted to get his take on the last 19 years. What were his big takeaways? Where did I fail/succeed as a dad? How was his relationship with his siblings?  I struggled with whether to publish this or just transcribe and keep it in my journal. It's a bunch of personal stories, but I also feel like there may be some useful moments.  So enjoy!    mark

Sep 2019

26 min 31 sec

Pulling the trigger. Sometimes it’s the toughest part of an otherwise sure shot. There are times we feel compelled to say something or do something that feels bold. Challenge a friend to change. Commit to a difficult course of action. Turn ourselves in. Or change our mind about something. The biggest question around pulling the trigger is ‘what is inspiring this?’ The simple answer, to a believer, is God or the devil. But sometimes those answers are so broad that they cause more confusion, so we need to break it down even further and talk about the tools of God or the tools of the devil. Again, I’m only talking about the tools used to make us do or not do something bold.

Sep 2019

11 min 53 sec

Do you think that parents had to shush their kids when Jesus ministered to children? I don’t. When a moment is especially heartfelt and the spirit is there, the kids naturally focus. Even babies. In other words, there’s a different between the social norm called “RESPECT" and the spiritual concept called “REVERENCE.” True reverence is awe and longing to be in the moment, it happens to us somehow when the spirit is there and love is pouring out of someone onto a group or individual. Respect is walking quietly under parental threat because something is wrong and reverence can’t be generated.   If we want reverence happen to our kids, let’s give them something long for, something that feels good to their very core.   Wake up Sunday morning, full of the pure love of Christ, kids will be drawn to it. If dad or mom “feel” different, the kids will catch it. Reverence will happen. Respect will be a non issue.   In that condition, church every week will be a life changer.   "God wants a child's heart and a grownup's head” –C.S. Lewis

Sep 2019

3 min 1 sec

"We all break down" was how I started my instagram post this morning. I feel like the topic deserves some elaboration. If you'd like to see the original post, please find me @reflectionsofChrist on Instagram. 

Aug 2019

3 min 32 sec

What does your work say when it lands on your audience? Does a meal taste better when it's made with love? Does art hit you harder when it was created in a certain spirit? Does a book speak more loudly when it was written with inspiration? Yes.  BUT only to the right audience.  I believe there is a spirit to your work, but that spirit will only be familiar to those ready for it.  Enjoy,    Mark  

Aug 2019

3 min 54 sec

When was the last time you were steamed at a leader of your church, company, family, or team? It might be worth taking a moment to ask yourself this one simple question.  This episode was inspired by Professor Anthony Sweats new book entitled "Seekers Wanted"    Enjoy    Mark  

Aug 2019

4 min 21 sec

Have you ever wondered how to best share your sacred feelings on social media? ... without it blowing up in your face.  Anna Macfarlane @Annaistheworst @kidsaretheworst @thingsaretheworst coaches some of social medias big players on how to move their message to the masses.  Her takes on authenticity are aimed at someone working on growing their influence on instagram and also applicable to someone just wanting to stay in touch with their friends on social.  She is the only person who as ever effectively made the case, at least that I've heard, for "staying in your lane".  Please enjoy about $10k worth of free consulting courtesy of Anna Macfarlane.  Mark PS– Just to keep it real, I spelled "worst" wrong (worste) and had to go back and edit this whole post! 

Aug 2019

44 min 3 sec

Sometimes losing is good. Not just "good for us" as in "getting beat will humble me", but I'm talking about having a bad idea or choice thwarted.  We all lose.  How we view and respond to that loss is the key to our forward momentum continuing, and to our long term success.  Enjoy this First Thing Mark

Aug 2019

10 min 43 sec

We all act different when someone is watching. It's just a thing. Did you know this thing has a name? It's called "the Hawthorne Effect". Google it.  Today I wanted to discuss how we might use it to help ourselves and those we love to live better.    Enjoy!    Mark

Aug 2019

9 min 17 sec

Do you ever feel like you're in a corner? out of options? The only thing that makes it a corner is the angle from which you're seeing it. PERSPECTIVE is the beginning of how we approach anything. In the realm of tools that help us gain perspective is perhaps the super tool... the Holy Spirit. This morning I felt like talking about how to see with the Spirit.  Enjoy!    Mark  

Aug 2019

9 min 36 sec

Why does "clever" offend me a little bit? Let me tell you the story of a guy who taught his computer to compose music that fooled the experts into thinking it was Bach... in 1981! This is The First Thing on the Gifted and Lifted Podcast. 

Aug 2019

5 min 15 sec

What does "home" mean? How can understanding and defining "home" embolden me to explore the world a little more bravely?  I'm adding a new segment called "First Thing" to the podcast. Basically, I'm going to share the first  that inspired me this morning. These little segments will be short, usually 3-5 minutes.    Enjoy!    Mark  

Aug 2019

7 min 42 sec

"Proponents of Evolution underestimate the strength of their own argument, and Creationists undervalue the brilliance of God." Perry Marshall is a multiple best selling business author and digital marketing consultant. His approach is aggressive and he credits his faith for that. Prior to moving into marketing Perry was an electrical engineer. In 2015 Perry published Evolution 2.0, where he dives into the chasm between evolution and creation. You'll love where he landed.  Please forgive the poor audio on this interview. My internet connection went awry just before we started, so it's a little splotchy, but still worth the listen.    Mark

May 2019

32 min 4 sec

Kate Hansen was an unlikely star at the Sochi Winter Olympics. She was one of the top Luge athletes, yes. But that doesn't usually land you on NBC nightly or on Kimmel, or get you tweeted by Beyonce.  The reason people wanted to see Kate is because she was able to see beyond the sports moment (not easy considering she had been completely focussed on being one of the best in the world for 11 years). The NBC camera's caught her dancing to Beyonce during warm ups and the world wondered how an athlete so young could keep it so cool.  We dive into her ability to keep things in perspective, talking about repentance, routines, and reinvention.  If you do google "Kate Hansen Dance" you'll have a great time watching. Hopefully the interview will help you realize that extreme work got her to the moment and extreme poise allowed her to enjoy it.  I'm thrilled to feature Kate as one of the Gifted and Lifted.  Follow her on instagram @k8tertotz and on read her thoughts at www.k8tertotz.com Thanks,    Mark @itsmabry

May 2019

38 min 51 sec

Denise Walsh is a retired clinical psychologist. She has dealt with prisons, alcoholism and abuse, in rural communities all over the world. She is a wife and mother of two.  She is an author and has written many books, one of which is ‘Design Your Dream Life.” She is an inspirational leader and teaches us how to find peace in the ‘here and now’, and how to find the beauty in things all around us, teaching us to be grateful, and to appreciate every aspect of life.  She believes in writing her prayers down. Denise also believes in meditating to help eliminate the stresses in life. She teaches us how to follow our gut instinct, knowing when it is God speaking. She helps people grow from where they are to where they want to be. Show notes   Mark introduces Denise Walsh. [0:12] Denise talks about saying yes, and designing her dream life. [4:26] Denise speaks about high school, giving her love to people who need it, and following her ‘inklings’. [5:33] Telling the difference between inklings and promptings. [7:57] An 18-year old travelling across the country as a camp counsellor. [8:32] Feeling peace and volunteering. [9:56] Meditation. [12:25] Denise’s ideal day, what she is reading and her daily journal. [13:59] Writing her prayers down. [16:04] Mark talks about writing his prayers down and going through tough times, and his prayers being answered.[16:49] Denise’s War Room and tough times. [20:53] Denise speaks about forgiveness in life and in business. [26:15] Personal responsibility, collaboration and partnership.  [29:00] Testing times with “Design your Dream Life” [29:57] A gratitude exercise. [31:57] Mark speaks about his life and being grateful.  [33:25] Seeing love every day. [35:52]   Books: “The Dream Life Daily Journal” “Design Your Dream Life” “Retire Your Husband” YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/LivingDreamTeam Podcast: “The Dream Cast Podcast” - https://www.buzzsprout.com/142177

Apr 2019

38 min 5 sec

“Once you cry, you feel comforted. I would really encourage people to cry things that they feel. Once you do that, that is where the Holy Spirit really works... it doesn’t mean that it changes the circumstances, it just means that you have comfort within those circumstances.” Candice Wiggins scored more points than any woman in Pac 10 basketball history while at Stanford . She was sixth woman of the year as rookie in the WNBA and also won a WNBA title in her career.  Candice describes the moment that she first prayed for help with basketball, while in the middle of becoming the first basketball player (male or female) to score over 40 points in two games during the NCAA tournament. What caused her to "cry out"? How can she tell when the spirit is with her? What are her methods for  maintaining a connection to God?   find her on instagram @candicewiggins2 or on twitter @candicewiggins show notes Show notes   Mark speaks about Candice’s achievements and feeling the Spirit immediately when chatting to her.  [2:35] Candice talks about her Dad, how they had no connection, and the negative impact he had on her life. [3:53] Candice speaks about her Dad’s negative influence just before her big game and reaching out to God that night. [6:00] Candice feels emotionally dead. [6:58] Mark talks about Candice’s quote. [7:29] Candice talks about Angels and God being with her during her big game. [7:53] Candice talks about signs and feeling the Spirit. [9:00] Candice encourages everyone to cry, and speaks about fasting. [10:00] Candice speaks about comfort. [10:30] The Holy Spirit process. [11:00] Crying, rejoicing, tears of joy and faith. [11:56] Candice talks about her game and playing for God. [12:59] Candice learns about her father’s story. [14:22] Mark and Candice talk about her fans and communication/feedback. [15:40] Candice talks about Israel, Greece and a strange question. [17:09] Life is shallow, but has depth. [18:25] Mark talks about Candice’s retirement letter. [19:08] Candice talks about her dreams beyond basketball. [20:33] Candice talks about tactics that strengthened her spirit, fasting and her faith. [21:54] Candice speaks about verses she has memorized. [23:52] Coaching basketball and being head of girls volleyball and basketball at Blair High School [25:00] Candice talks about being open about her faith in public schools, in America and in Greece. [26:13] Your dreams are worth something. [27:30] Mark talks about Candice’s commitment to God and the Bible.[28:33]  

Mar 2019

29 min 45 sec

Ryan Moody is a world renowned fitness coach.  He speaks about overcoming his obstacles and becoming the 9-time world record holder in box jumps.  He speaks about his gift of faith and how he motivates other people to overcome their demons. He believes that in every limitation there is opportunity, and to never stop dreaming. You can find him on Instagram @theexplosivecoach.   Show notes   Ryan talks about his 9 world records. [2:15] Ryan talks about 50 inch box jumps at the Arnold Classic. [2:50] Ryan’s first injuries. [3:58] Neck and back injuries for Ryan. [6:17] Ryan addresses his purpose in this life, to connect to people and create belief in themselves. [8:00] Ryan discusses his physical adversities and overcoming them. [8:50] Ryan speaks about being raised as an LDS, his gift of faith, his belief in God, the reason for things happening in your life, and how he helps others. [10:00] Feeling the Spirit. [11:50] Mark talks about losing his faith and getting it back again. [13:45] Ryan speaks about fitness, nutrition and the relationship between God and yourself. [16:20] Ryan doesn’t recognise himself, starts to become more self-aware, and then finds himself again. [17:32] Ryan’s gift on connecting with people [18:54] Ryan meets Larry Gelwix, high school rugby coach and learns of his purpose and making a difference in people’s lives. [20:19] Ryan makes a difference in a young man's life. [22:08] Ryan’s further injuries and being hospitalised, almost losing his arm.  [23:35] Mental coaching from Ryan and developing a mental mindset. [27:07] Having a mental mindset is most important. [28:39] LDS mission in Portugal, another injury, paresis, depression and hating life. [29:46] Being positive and trying to believe again, while on lots of medicine and then making a choice. [31:50] Woe is me and finally accepting certain things. [33:30] Schooling in Utah and Crossfit. [35:39] Taoism, Buddhism, spirituality, Tai Chi, breathing and releasing, and following your breath [36:50] Experiment on Tibetan monks. [37:20] The Whiteboard mindset, broken down into three pieces.  [40:54] The more you think about something, the more you talk yourself out of something. [44:15] Mark speaks about bungee jumping. [44:31] Nike mantra - Just Do It. [44:59] Ryan talks about training - warming up, box jumps, etc. and how he still gets nervous. [45:19] People breaking through mental barriers. [48:00] Mark speaks about the whiteboard moment, commitment, Christ and Gethsemane. [48:45] Wounded. Ryan talks about the missionaries in 2016 and the terrorist attack on them at the airport. [49:45] Choosing to be a victim or to stand up and fight. [51:43]  

Mar 2019

52 min 58 sec

Will Tukuafu is an American football fullback. Will grew up in Salt Lake City with his parents and 15 siblings. After high school, he served a mission in Jamaica for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When he came back from his mission, he moved to Scottsdale Arizona where he played football for a Junior College. After playing one year at junior college, he moved to Oregon where he played football at the University of Oregon. Will played for the Seattle Seahawks in 2010 and also played for the San Francisco 49ers. Will and his wife Krystal are the parents of three children. You can follow him on Instagram @willtukuafu   Show notes   Will’s gift is to be charitable, his parents were an example him to be giving [2:30] Will and his Dad would cut lawns without people asking. When they didn’t get paid, his dad would say, “This is our Labor of Love” [3:40] “When I do show charity, it always comes back ten-fold” [4:20] Will has learned from his parents that although they may not have much, whatever they have they give. Give love and it will always come back. [4:40] Will always had an attitude of gratitude to be a playing football and being apart of the team [5:35] Will had a particular play where he knocked someone out. This guy was a heavy hitter and known for knocking people out. [7:25] Mark discusses how being willing to block something that hurts is an act of charity. [10:30] Will talks about his family. Will has 15 siblings, not including his first cousins who were taken in by his parents. [11:30] Will house growing up was small and cold in the winter as it lacked insulation, but was always full. Although the house was small and simple, it provided warmth to a lot of people in many aspects. [12:20] Will talks about his parents being examples of working hard and passing on work ethic to him as he learned to work from a young age. [13:00] Outsiders looking in at Will would say that Will’s gift is the willingness to do whatever it takes. [14:05] Will entered the NFL a little later than the average NFL player, so he understood from where he started he would have to earn his way and do whatever it takes [14:50] Will doesn’t really think about what “haters” have to say about him and tries to focus on the positive. “I am who I am. People have their opinion.” [15:30] Mark quotes a reporter that said, “Polynesians players are built for combat, built for football. The warrior spirit is within us, we love contact, we love people… we love the comradery… we are able to do whatever it takes to help our teams win.” [17:10] Will attests to the comradery and spirit of Polynesians on and off the field, doing whatever it takes for family and being faith oriented. [18:00] As a fullback, his job is to protect the running back regardless of who it is. Will tries to give it everything that he can. [18:40] His experience mowing lawns of his friend’s houses when he was younger in order to put food on the table for his family taught him that he needed to do hard things. It grew with him. [19:50] “One thing that embodies the culture is love and willingness to do whatever it takes for those you care about.” [20:15] When you act upon gifts that you are given by God, you are given opportunities to see more of your gifts and traits come out. [21:00] He has seen this in his life as it was unlikely that at 25 he would make an NFL team. [21:15] Losing his scholarship at BYU and starting over was a huge part of his journey and taught him to persist even when things seemed dark and hopeless. [21:40] When he graduated high school, he signed with BYU but deferred to go on a mission. He served in Jamaica [21:50] Will got his associates degree at a junior college in Arizona and got scholarships at division 1 colleges after 1 year. He chose to go to Oregon. [23:00] There were many trials he had to overcome, but there was a lot of blessings along the way. [23:21] During his mission during a study session, he was reading The Ensign magazine and saw a picture of a girl that he told his companion he would date when he got home from his mission. [24:00] When he came home from the mission and was in Arizona he met and started dating Krystal. He eventually realizes she was the girl from The Ensign. [25:00] Will has learned that everything has a rhyme and a reason. [26:10] When God gives us different obstacles and we do what is right, we are blessed, although it may not be immediate. [26:20] Mark asks Will “What is it like to play at a school you are too good to play at?” [27:20] Will says that it was a humbling experience. He had to buy cleats at Ross. [27:50] Will never had a mindset that he was better than his team, he just focused on getting to work. [28:30] The number one recruit was at Scottsdale with Will. There were coaches from everywhere coming to Scottsdale to see this guy. This was another blessing in disguise. [28:50] Getting offers from D1 colleges was big for Will, but having to play at a Junior College put a lot of things in perspective. [31:00] “The way things happen is the way things are supposed to happen.” Going through obstacles and experiencing many cultures shaped him and helped him go into the NFL. [31:40] Will talks about feeling the spirit. “The feelings of the spirit are warm, meek, peaceful.” [33:00] It is not only about looking for opportunities to help other people but allowing other people to help you. [33:55] When Will was at the 49ers, he was on the sideline and a teammate asked him to teach him how to pray.  [34:30] The player and Will go and pray in a back room where Will teaches him to pray. [36:00] His teammate offers a prayer and Will felt the spirit [37:30] Later on, that week they were doing a drill and his friend Vernon asks him to say a prayer on the sidelines. Vernon tells Will, “The Lord will bless you as you offer this prayer.” [38:10] The coach sees Vernon and Will praying. The coach tells them to “make sure you guys pray for the rest of us.” [39:15] Will has had a good relationship with his team when it comes to talking about faith and God. [40:40] His coach started a fund that was donated when they were late to a meeting, and the team would agree on what to donate it to. [41:30] Will felt strongly that the fund could help this boy, Tony, who had a heart condition. A prompting lead him to mention it to his coach as a cause for the fund. [42:25] The coach tells Will that the whole team needs to agree on this cause. [43:15] Will tells the team about the boy with the heart condition and using the fund to help the family. The team unanimously voted to use the fund for Tony. [44:10] Will realized God didn’t put him for himself but put him there to help other people. [45:30] Will agrees with Mark the God may have prolonged his experience in the NFL because he chose to follow promptings. [45:55] “It is not about me.” As long as Will strived to help other people, God would help and bless him. [46:30] “I know for a fact that I would not have made the NFL, played as long as I did, met as many cool people, or helped as many people as I have had I not listened to those promptings.” [46:55] Will recalls a time when he noticed a car broken down and stuck at a crosswalk.Will ignored the prompting to help the man, but because of his wife, he went back to help the man. [47:50] The car was a old heavy car, and Will knew that there was more than just him that was pushing the car. [49:50] Different promptings happen daily, but Will has noticed that you need to act on the promptings you are given. [50:50] Mark talks about maintaining flexibility in life. [51:30] “No one is perfect. We are all striving for perfection, and we all fall short.” [52:10] We are all on this journey to do what is right, and happiness comes as we do the right things. [52:40] Repentance allows us to have clarity, understanding, and love one another. [54:00] Will tries to understand and love people from different walks of life instead of judging them. [54:20] Mark talks about how repentance can change a culture, and further discusses the clarity and love that repentance brings. [55:40]

Feb 2019

57 min 29 sec

For Kenzie, her faith is not separate from her yoga practice. In fact, her practice of yoga has strengthened her practice of Christianity. Kenzie talks about how yoga has changed her life and her mentality, and how she finds her place within the yoga community. She talks about dealing with social media in her life and using her platform to empower women. Kenzie is a force for good as she speaks out against pornography and stands firm in her beliefs. Kenzie breaks down stereotypes of what it means to be a yogi, social media influencer, and Christian, as she reconciles between the three. Kenzie Morley is a self-taught yogi Instagram influencer with over 380,000 Instagram followers. She is strong, flexible, and beautiful. She is a bit of an iconoclast in the world of yoga- she is a Christian, American patriot, wife and mother of three. She uses her large social media platform to take a stance as an anti-pornography advocate and loses followers as she speaks out about these issues. She is humbly impervious to criticism she faces, and her following continues to grow rapidly. You can find her on Instagram @yogoskenz. Also, check out her training program, The Fit Yogi Trainer https://www.yogoskenz.com/product-page/the-fit-yogi-trainer Show notes   Kenzie’s perception of yoga culture then and now. [3:54] Kenzie explains a “yoga challenge.” [4:33] What attracted Kenzie to yoga culture and similarities between yoga and her faith. [5:24] For Kenzie, yoga is a “solid relationship between the mind-body and the spirit.” Kenz talks about limbs of yoga. [6:24] Kenzie discusses how yoga changed her life and mentality, and discusses yoga’s empowering community. [8:44] Kenzie discusses being a mom in the yoga community. [10:53 ] Kenzie discusses her gift of teaching. [12:10] What others say Kenzie’s gift is, and what her critics say. [15:40] Kenzie talks about her patriotism and where it stems from. [17:58] Kenzie loses followers for posting religious, antipornography, and patriotism content. [19:10] How yoga has helped her faith and helped her to self-assess. The Holy Ghost speaks truth to your intuition. [20:00] If it is good, it comes from God. If you are confused, it is not from God. [22:20] Mark talks about feeling the spirit and makes faith-based decisions. [23:00] Kenzie talks about how she feels and makes faith-based decisions. [24:30] As a person with a big following, where much is given, much is required. [25:30] Be a voice for good, a voice of God and God’s will for you will be done. [27:00] Receiving inspiration for and supporting victims of pornography through her social media platform. [27:30] Creating a support page for women whose relationships have fallen victim to pornography.30:14 The self-evaluation aspect of yoga has made Kenzie a better Christian. A focus on looking inward instead of at your neighbor. [32:33] Asanas in yoga act as openers. The backbend is a heart-opener and makes you reflect on who you are giving love to. [34:24] Through yoga, Kenzie has been able to meet people that changed her life. [36:30] Only post things you feel good about posting, and what uplifts other girls and women, “I want you to feel good about your body because of what it can do, not because of what it looks like.” [39:40] “What I am wearing on my page is reflecting my message: That body image isn't everything.” [41:03] Modesty has to do with context, clothing, and the message you want to be perceived. It is where you find peace. [46:30] Is what I am wearing, and is what I am doing promoting a modest message? Is the emphasis on being provocative? What are you selling/putting the focus? This is about humility. Stop looking yourself as just a body. [50:10] The story of the crossroads: making a deal with the devil to get something that you want. [53:00] Kenzie discusses crossroads moments she’s come across with social media. [54:00] It’s the little things that matter. When we get busy the little things go, but they make up what matter, like reading scriptures every day. [56:50] Mark discusses Christian guilt vs forgiveness and letting things be when we aren’t perfect. [58:50] One of the most rewarding things about her Instagram page is her ability to inspire others. [60:10] As Kenzie anticipates hard decisions in the future, she decides now what her priorities in life are and how she will respond. [62:50]

Jan 2019

1 hr 5 min

Can applied faith help us outperform ourselves? Yes. In Gifted and Lifted, host Mark Mabry interviews world class performers about their relationship with God. You'll hear tactics and strategies for how to perform at a new level through faith. 

Jan 2019

4 min 15 sec