Win Your Community Back

One top definition of ‘COMMUNITY’ online is this:

– a unified body of individuals with common interests living in a particular area.

But I have a question. How can these individuals KNOW if they have common interests if they don’t actually KNOW each other? Furthermore, If we don’t KNOW each other we can’t really be UNIFIED, can we?

I love this quote about community by Erwin McManus:

“The more isolated and disconnected we are, the more shattered and distorted our self-identity. We are not healthy when we are alone. We find ourselves when we connect to others. Without community we don’t know who we are…

When we live outside of healthy community, we not only lose others. We lose ourselves…Who we understand ourselves to be is dramatically affected for better or worse by those we hold closest to us.”

I believe this to be true in my own life. And this is a huge part of what our Missional Community is trying to model here in the Yakima Valley. We can and should get to know our neighbors next door (this was a thing once upon a time). Offering random acts of KINDNESS to complete strangers can be an amazing experience, for them and US. It doesn’t have to be awkward or impersonal.

CHALLENGE: Introduce yourself to a neighbor near where you live. Take them cookies or brownies. Explain that you simply want to know who your neighbors are. Then, watch their reactions! We live in a cul-de-sac and have done this with about half of our neighbors so far. ALL of them have been welcoming to us and almost refreshed by the interaction. Two of them actually asked my wife and I into their home for a few minutes!

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The Gift Of Joy

Blessing OTHERS with the gift of JOY, and dropping the need for their approval, is actually a gift to OURSELVES as well.

“These things I have spoken to you, that my JOY may be in you, and that your joy may be FULL.”

John 15:11

Go ahead and read the first 10 verses prior to this to learn what ‘these things’ are that Jesus was talking about.

And something I discovered about this? It’s MUCH easier to make others smile than it is to get them to think highly of you.

Who Disciples You The Most?

Note:
This is NOT a political post!

This is a quote from a sermon by guest speaker Yemi Mobolade while we were visiting our former church in Colorado Springs recently.

yemi

His message was actually on the issue of race and how we wrestle with it in the Church today. But I took it more broadly. When I heard him say the words above (in the first service) you could hear a pin drop in that large auditorium. That told me something.

Yemi had just gone to a place of discomfort and social unrest among the people of God.

And it got me really thinking. More than the political LEFT & RIGHT in popular news media, what other INFLUENCES & VOICES do you and I allow to DISCIPLE us more than Jesus?

Is our worldview concerning race, sexual orientation, environmental issues, human trafficking, wealth, abortion, marriage, etc, etc, etc. MORE shaped by the voices, books, and media in our society OR by the Word of God?

For those of us who call ourselves disciples of Jesus, it SHOULD be the later.

Then, why is it NOT the case so often?

Hey, I struggle with filtering my influences like most of us. I guess I just wanted to share this quote to stir up some challenge and thinking. This quote did that for me.

Great message, Yemi!

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God Ideas

Another great quote from Mark Batterson in his book, Whisper.

Can you relate? I know I can. Whenever I’ve had good ideas in the past, God presents His…and WOW!

And it’s not a matter of His vs. mine.

It’s the fact that they’re GOD’s. End of discussion. He simply speaks and galaxies continue to form for thousands of years!

I’m only into the 1st chapter of this book and it’s already challenging me (in good ways).

I Need Your Input

I’ve been blogging for over 10 years now. It has become primarily an outlet for creative thought for me personally. On occasion it has also been a source of inspiration to my readers.

Lately, however, I have noticed that the level of influence and interaction I receive on content I share on social media has become far greater than the same content I share within a blog post.

So this is what I’ve been wrestling with. Should I simply stop blogging and then invest that much more effort into getting the same creative messages out there directly via social media posts?

Would you please help me? Take 60 seconds to CLICK HERE and give me your honest feedback.

Thank you in advance. And if I do make this transition be sure to stay connected with me where I’m most active. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter….all at Brent_Dumler.

change

 

Empty Nesting & Time Zones

IMG_5663I have a love/hate relationship with watching our kids grow up!

In our 26+ years of marriage, our family has moved over 20 times.  And 5 of those have been large moves across the country.

Why?

One word.  ‘Adventure.’

What I’ve discovered as Cailey and I are quickly becoming empty nesters is that our kids are taking on the rhythm of life they were raised in.

Take exhibit A (image to the right).  This is the new world clock on my phone.  As of this week, this now represents the 3 time zones our immediate family live in.

Most of our moves, and all 5 of the big ones, were related to doing ministry.  And it wasn’t ever as simple as going where employment was.  There were always multiple options for us to choose from.  I guess we’ve just firmly believed in listening to God carefully and stepping in faith in whichever direction He sends us.  We’ve modeled this lifestyle to our kids, so it should not surprise me that we now have a 21 y/o son living in Colorado and a 23 y/o son serving the next 3 years in Guam with the U.S. Navy.  Our other two kids currently live at home, but who knows where they will end up in the next year or two?

 

All that said, here are a few lessons I’m learning about watching our kids leave our nest and become highly independent adults.

  • Our direction and influence in their lives must look different than before. It also needs to be OFFERED, not GIVEN.
  • Their life choices are THEIR life choices. Their career, family, lifestyle, and overall worldview isn’t going to look just like mine. Those are not wrong or right. They are simply going to be different…unique to the person they are becoming.
  • It is fun watching them discover ADULTING along the way. But this is a spectator sport. We must not interfere in game play when we’re on the bench. And guess what? Our kids will determine if and when we come off the sidelines, not us.
  • Lastly, I love the fact that our kids still TALK to us! Now, I’m not so naive to claim that they tell us everything and they know all there is to know about Mom and Dad. But we still share our ambitions, worries, victories, and basic joys with each other. Cailey and I call that a win for our family.

Our family is far from perfect. We’ve even been told we’re entertaining at times (that’s not always a compliment). But our kids genuinely love each other, and deep down they know that their parents love them.

Here’s to family, life transition, and simply going with the flow!

 

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How To Weather The Seasons Of Life Like A Boss!

Ha, that title is the EPITOME of click bate (and I do hate click bate).

I’m not weathering my personal current season of life like a boss, so why would I even attempt to write something like this for anyone else?

Easy.  I’ll give you two reasons.  1. This isn’t really for you.  It’s for me.  Writing helps me process my thoughts, mood, and ultimately my actions.  So there!  2. Confession.  Yep, sharing my own shortcomings will hopefully keep me humble, and might even encourage someone else along the way.

So, with that….

fall

For many of us, changes in the four seasons require certain behaviors from us.  Here are a few examples.  Our clothing changes depending upon how warm or cold it is outside.  One season may call us to shovel snow or put de-icer on the driveway.  At other times in the year cutting the grass or raking leaves might be in the cards.  And the list goes on.  There is very little, if anything, you and I can do to avoid these types of elements.  We are forced to make modifications to accommodate the particular elements of each season.

winter

The seasons of life are absolutely no different!

We must look ahead, prepare, and sometimes expect the inevitable challenging elements.

spring

Take empty nesting, for example.  As much as I knew it was coming, it felt like it came out from nowhere!  This is still a challenge, even though it is going really well.

In the past 6 months, my wife and I have:

  • Relocated back to our home state of Washington from Colorado. (with two of our kids, plus a fiance’)
  • Begun discovering what leading a Missional Community looks like.
  • Started adjusting to military life with a son in the Navy. (he’s shipping over seas next week)
  • Getting used to another son living away in Colorado.  It’s hard when they’re not close.
  • Discovered the health and beauty of doing bi-vocational ministry in our community.

summer

In all of that, here are a few ways we have tried to weather these seasons like bosses!

Community | Authenticity changes everything.  Plus, God created us to live in community with one another and with Him.  To support and encourage each other.

Meditation | Prayer, or often simply sitting in the Lord’s presence.  In this current season, sometimes all I can do is sit quietly by myself and think about Jesus.  Sitting with Him while doing nothing is so therapeutic!

Exercise | Even when we don’t feel like it.  My wife and I go to the gym 5-6 times each week.  We’re not always excited about this, so it is helpful when we hold each other accountable to go weather we feel like it or not.  The key here is simply to remain active somehow.

Talk | With each other.  For us, this has made our marriage even stronger.  We share our real anxieties & pain with each other.  I realize this is a significant struggle for most men, but trust me.  Your marriage will advance to a level it’s never been before!

Journaling | I use Evernote and blog.  If you prefer the old fashioned paper and pen, try getting yourself a nice Moleskin tablet.

In the end, all seasons come to an end so that new ones can begin. The Bible reminds us that there is a season for everything, a time for every matter under heaven.  This should encourage us when we are in a dark season that better days are coming.  Likewise, it gives us advanced warning when things are sailing smooth that …

What about you?  What season are you in, and what have you found to be helpful to weather it?

OR….which of the items I mentioned above tend to be challenging to actually implement?

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