A Tribute to Craig Jutila

The urgent prayer request by Venture Christian Church was unexpected. The tragic news that followed not long after left all of us in shock and disbelief.

Craig Jutila met Jesus and their son, Blake, in heaven on December 26th. Initial reports suggested it was a snowboarding accident, but later Mary shared that the autopsy report found a sudden heart attack was the cause of his passing.

My wife, Cailey, and I share a special friendship with Craig and Mary. It all started when Mary agreed to have coffee with Cailey while Craig was speaking at a CPC event in Orlando about 8 years ago. It was almost an instant friendship. Their relationship led to Cailey and I volunteering to support Craig’s speaking and EmpoweredLiving for the next 5 Orange Conferences in Atlanta.

 

 

Craig initially coached and mentored us in our KidMin and FamMin roles. Both of them poured into us, professionally and relationally. Craig took extra time out of his schedule to guide me in preparing my notes for 3 sessions at a conference in Kentucky 3 years ago.

Craig was the life of the party. And if there wasn’t a party, that changed when he arrived. His personality…MAGNETIC! And as a couple, Craig and Mary are the most humble, generous, trusting people you could ever meet.

And I mean ‘trusting!’

I helped Craig with broadening his Twitter and blog platform for a couple of years. My involvement required me having access to his Twitter account. I remember vividly our phone call when I was just starting this partnership. Craig very nervously said, “You know, I’m trusting you with my career right now. You literally have the power to destroy me with one wrong post!”  Then we laughed.

Did I mention generous? They had us stay with them back in August after illness prevented us from flying back to WA from a leadership training we were in town for in Compton. And yes, we always volunteered to support them at Orange Conferences. But they would manage to take us out to eat, buy coffee, and give us warm ‘Thank You’ cards with various gift cards enclosed. They really just loved blessing others.

And while I’m on the topic of the Jutilas blessing others, they wrote a book together. It’s titled, ‘From Hectic To Healthy: The Journey To A Balanced Life.’ 

hectic

This is one of the most authentic, open, and painful books on marriage and ministry you will ever read. For that reason I encourage you to do just that. Please read it! Carey Nieuwhof also recorded a powerful interview with Craig on the topic of ‘When leadership ruins your family: How to live and lead differently.’ If you’ve never had the privilege to hear Craig speak, this would be a wonderful way to experience his heart.

Craig’s passing has caused me to reflect on my own life. He was an incredible, loving husband and father. He was a faith-filled, obedient child of God. He took what the Lord gave him and ran with it. And if you knew Craig, he probably ran with a lot of ideas/callings before God actually released him to (alluding to Craig’s self-disclosed ADHD behavior). His energy and creativity were contagious.

Craig was at the height of his personal life and ministry calling (in my opinion). Why? Because the platform and range of influence God had given him was constantly growing and changing. I have tried to model my public speaking style more after his creative energy than anyone else over the years. Now he’s telling stories and entertaining all of heaven. What a sight this must be!

Lastly, to Mary, Cameron, Alec, and Karimy I offer this prayer.

May you be blessed by the tangible feeling of Jesus’ loving arms wrapped tightly around you in this time of heartache. Lord, bless this beautiful family’s season of mourning with support, quiet time, joyful memories, laughter, comfort and strength. Amen!

 

 

In Loving Memory

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3 Tips To Implementing Strong Social Media Boundaries To Protect Your Marriage

If you’re married or engaged and one or both of you are active on Social Media, take a minute to watch this short video. I’d love to hear what you think, especially if you’ve done anything similar in your relationship.

 

Join the discussion and LEAVE A COMMENT below or connect with me on INSTAGRAM.

For specific questions about your marriage, email me brentdumler@icloud.com  

May God bless you with a fulfilling, happy, and long marriage together!

Join the #Identify3 Challenge

Needing a change of PERSPECTIVE this week…this month…this year?

Sometimes all we need is to modify our ATTENTION for our perspective to obtain clarity.

Try counting your blessings each morning. Like, REALLY counting them.

List them.

Acknowledge each blessing from God.

Challenge yourself to identify 3 ‘different’ blessings each day for a solid week. You will have a list of at least 21 unique, freely given blessings by day 7. Then, take time on the 8th day to give special thanks to Jesus for each of them.

And even if you’re not a follower of Jesus, that’s OK!  Simply recognizing the GOOD THINGS in our lives is something everyone should be able to do.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I’m going to do this myself!  Comment below if you’re going to accept the challenge too.  Also consider sharing this post wherever you are on social media.

Use the hashtag #Identify3 with your posts. 

To get you started well, enjoy this music video by Rend Collective! (they’re amazing)

 

Connect with me on Instagram. That’s where I spend most of my time.

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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4 Important Ways To Make Your Marriage Last

Marriage requires work.  You’ve heard that before, right?  Well, on this day exactly 26 years ago my wife and I both vowed a lifetime of love and commitment to each other.  After 26 years I can tell you that it takes a lot more than work to keep a marriage alive.

It requires L.O.V.E.

Yeah, that might sound a bit cliche’ but hear me out.  The way I see it, both husband & wife must practice giving L.O.V.E. to one another in four unique ways. See if you agree.anniversary couple

LOYAL – As defined by Webster’s Dictionary:  faithful to one’s oath, commitments, or obligations. Simply put, we enter into marriage sharing a mutual commitment that this thing is forever.  We’re not keeping separate bank accounts or signing prenups as a back-up plan.  Allowing the thought, “In case it doesn’t work out” to resonate in our heads is like keeping a divorce attorney on the back burner. When my wife and I got married, we privately vowed that no matter how rough life might get we would never verbally or mentally consider the word ‘divorce.’  If we are not saying “I do” to forever, then why would we consider saying “I do” to today?

OPEN-HANDED – When our hands are kept open, things are able to enter and leave freely.  Keeping an open-handed approach in marriage helps to prevent non-essentials (relationships, possessions, hobbies, etc.) from shoving our spouse out of the way.  My wife and I are both 1st borns and Type-A personalities.  You know what that means?  Yup, we both love getting our own way.  So we really work at this one!

VERBAL – Here we go.  ‘Communication.’  Probably the most commonly referenced word in premarital counseling.  If you ask me, couples don’t divorce because of financial hardship, disagreements, falling out of love, or even affairs.  Those are all byproducts of poor communication.  Work hard to talk regularly about your worries, blessings, plans, needs, and even insecurities with your spouse.  Vulnerability and openness builds an unshakable foundation for your marriage.

ENTERTAINING – I don’t care if you’re introverted or extroverted.  Have fun together!  Try new things until you discover what you both enjoy.  And be flexible.  Give a little….for the sake of connectedness.  Recently, our dryer went out.  So, my wife and I have been grabbing coffee on the way to the laundromat and calling it a ‘date.’  That’s not for everyone, but it works for us.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

What would YOU add to this list for keeping marriage healthy and vibrant?

 

Comments, prayer requests, and questions are welcome below.

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The Myth Of Balance (Book Review)

Until we take responsibility, we will continue to pursue balance and blame others when we can’t find it.  – Frank Bealer

Bealer book.001

I’ve been in church leadership for over 20 years, and I’ve experienced A LOT of dysfunction in the church.  The size of the church doesn’t decrease or increase the severity of the dysfunction either.  But I will say this.  The last 3 churches I’ve had the honor of serving on staff at were roughly 750, 1000, and currently 2000 in weekend attendance.  The dysfunction is the same.  It’s the QUANTITY that gets you!

But let’s not blame the church.  The church is made up of people (you and I), and it’s no different than a marriage relationship.  Problems are almost always connected to both sides.  That’s what I appreciate about this book.  It addresses the side leaders can have direct influence on.  OURSELVES!

I have been following Frank Bealer for the past few years and have enjoyed listening to his interviews on Carey Nieuwhof’s Leadership Podcast.  The Myth of Balance, however, elaborates on an entirely deeper level of Frank the leader, and Frank the husband/father.  He is authentic with certain ministry challenges, and if you’ve been in ministry longer than 6 months you will likely relate.  In fact, there were two points in the book which caused a knot in my throat (Don’t judge.  I’m more sensitive than the average guy).

Disclaimer:  This book is NOT for leaders who are hung up on ego and need to be NEEDED by the church.  It is, however, for those who are clearly called to making a difference in God’s Kingdom work while SIMULTANEOUSLY leading a healthy family.

Let’s get to the book.  Below is a short list of my favorite quotes from The Myth of Balance.

“Balance. It lives somewhere between unemployment and renowned success.”

“God never intended for us to sacrifice the family He blessed us with on the altar of the ministry He called us to.”  (read that one a couple more times)

“We often excuse our mismanagement of time, energy, and effort as just being busy.”

“Just because you FEEL overwhelmed doesn’t mean your work schedule is paralyzing you.”

WHEN THIS, THEN THAT… it’s coming to realize that exceptions in ministry are going to happen.  They always do.  So Frank offers a practical approach to planning for these exceptions.  Get a copy for you and your team HERE and discover your WHEN THIS, THEN THAT.  I promise…..this will create real growth conversations in your staff.

 

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

 

How To Date Your Spouse On A Budget

We’re so excited…Episode #1 of the new Hot & Cold vlog is in the books!

If you enjoy this post, please consider leaving a comment below and even sharing it on Facebook or Twitter.  We’re also taking suggestions for future topics.

Lastly, congrats to the winner of the marriage book giveaway!  We announce the winner in this episode AND have a fun, new contest for you.

The new CONTEST runs through Saturday, May 20th.  Details in this video.

Resource:  HomeWord, with Jim Burns & Doug Fields, is an incredible resource to marriages and families.  We cannot say enough good about the amount of helpful information you can find throughout this website.  Check it out!

Subscribe HERE and never miss another new post.

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(Our son, Garrett, composed & produced the theme music for our vlog. Contact us if you would like to have him produce something for your needs)