YOU and I are loved by our Heavenly Father. Our IDENTITY is grounded in that loving relationship. Meditate on that truth today.
I hate New Year’s resolutions! The problem is that they are usually too big (and vague).
Lose 100 lbs. Run a marathon. Write a book. Blah, blah, blah.
I learned a long time ago that small, incremental changes in behavior lead to more sustainable accomplishments. So my plans for 2017 are going to change throughout the year because I plan to have many small goals that will be checked off as they are met, thus being replaced by new goals.
I am a huge fan, however, of focusing on just One Word for the entire year. One Word that provides constant encouragement and reminds me of what I’m supposed to be striving toward.
Making my plans for 2017 is one thing. It’s a good thing. But remembering that my effort alone is not going to be enough to succeed. I must lean into God and ask him for accountability.
My One Word, then, for the next year will be to REACH!
Reaching requires stretching. It can relate to reaching a goal, or the the effort in striving toward something. As it relates to the Proverbs passage above, I must constantly remember that it is the Lord who is lifting me up to help my reaching connect with my intended target or goal.
I have found that focusing on just a couple of goals at a time works best. So here’s what I plan to begin with.
Start eating much healthier with intentionality
Stop eating in the evenings
What is something you need to START and STOP? Comment below. Also, don’t miss another of my posts. Click HERE to subscribe!
I don’t know about you, but I have a TON to be thankful for. The majority of 2016 has been extremely challenging for me. The Lord, however, has his hands in all of our ‘challenges,’ usually in ways we are not immediately aware of.
Take a quick look at these two scripture passages:
The issue of Praising Him in everything has been on my mind lately. It’s been in my devotion time, and it was the topic of our Chapel time at work this past Friday.
Here are just 2 benefits to keeping our blessings in mind every day.
So, do you want to experience less anxiety caused by the things that worry you? Would you like to have more of an optimistic outlook on life? If so, start counting your blessings and praise the one who is the true source of all that you and I have to be thankful for.
If you are interested, here’s the Praise Challenge for all of December. Every Monday identify 5 blessings in your life. Then, simply pray over them and praise Jesus for them each day of the week. If you want, you can even post them on social media to encourage others to jump in too. If you do, please remember to use #PraiseChallenge on each post. Each Monday we will identify and share 5 new blessings to praise Him for.
How does that sound?
This December, may you be blessed in your search for all the ways Jesus really is actively taking care of you.
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If you’re like me, you are completely fed up with all the negativity and immaturity that has saturated this Presidential campaign. Sometimes I feel like America is the laughing stock of the rest of the onlooking world right now. But worrying ourselves crazy about things that you and I have absolutely no control over does nothing to remedy the problem.
There is a plethora of highly opinionated bashing and slanderous commentary on Facebook and other social media platforms about this election. It’s nauseating! And this isn’t even where we should be focusing our attention.
For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. – Ephesians 6:12
Did you hear that? Our ‘battle’ is NOT against any particular political candidate or party. It is ONLY against the spiritual forces. Our personal conduct, posture, and prayer life will ultimately determine not only the direction of America, but the validity of our witness of the name of Jesus to those around us.
For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18
What is temporary? This ridiculous election. And what is unseen? Our Lord Jesus and the spiritual battle that has ALREADY BEEN WON!
Watch this music video by Rend Collective. “Worship is our battlecry in the midst of the fight. At His name (Jesus) every giant will fall.” So who is YOUR giant? Is it worry? Clinton? Trump? The unknown of tomorrow?
To all of us who call ourselves ‘Believers’ and truly follow Jesus, I challenge us. Vote well and with a good conscience. But pray harder, and intentionally reflect the character of Jesus throughout this entire election. Stop the negative posts and comments online about how you ‘feel’ about a candidate. In stead, post a prayer for America. Reflect hope, integrity, and faith in a way that highlights Jesus and not this political circus.
Who am I going to vote for? Well, my ballot will reflect one of the candidates. But my vote ultimately goes to Jesus. Though I do not put my trust in our President, Congress, or Senate, I do trust that God is in control and I will pray for those elected to office whether I support their political agenda or not.
Will YOU accept this challenge? Please leave a comment below.
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I spilled the beans the other day at work. No, I ‘literally’ blew coffee beans all over the place while trying to suck them out of the espresso hopper. What I didn’t realize is that someone had left the vacuum hose attached to the wrong end, blowing beans into the air and all over the floor and counter. It was quite a scene.
Where certain sayings come from is fascinating to me. So, I looked up Don’t Spill The Beans and found this popular source of origin.
A popular folk etymology for “to spill the beans” claims that in ancient Greece, applicants for membership in secret societies were voted upon by having the existing members drop beans into a pottery jar. Those who approved of the potential new member would signal an affirmative vote by adding a white bean to the jar. A black bean indicated a negative vote. The story goes that on occasion, when the jar was accidentally knocked over, the beans poured out and the vote was revealed prematurely. Somebody had “spilled the beans“.
This got me thinking about leadership in our churches. In almost all situations, we know that God works in the Light and the enemy does his thing in darkness. Way too often, churches choose to lead and do business in the dark. This comes in the form of secrete ballots for voting, allowing anonymous notes and emails to affect the staff, holding ‘unofficial’ side discussions outside of official meetings, and ignoring valid concerns of unhealthy trends within the congregation hoping they will eventually go away.
At a very basic level, these things create distrust, worry, and skepticism of the leadership and among the people in the church.
“The more a church can truly be open about everything, the fewer dark places there are for the enemy to succeed in dividing the Church”
Leaders, are there issues that you’ve been keeping from your church people under the excuse of protecting them? Imagine the new credibility you could gain from them if you were to allow them into the leadership struggles you are facing. Imagine what might happen if you allowed them to partner with you and the leadership of your church in prayer…together as a real family.
Don’t underestimate the strength and maturity of your congregation. Their purpose extends far beyond making coffee, paying a tithe, and listening to a sermon.
Open up to your people, spill the beans and watch God do his best work in the light.
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Well, it’s been 9 months since we moved to Colorado Springs from Georgia. There has been A LOT that has happened in that short window of time. This has been the most difficult stage of my life in 25 years of marriage and ministry…hands down! A few months ago I wrote a post about taking a break from blogging for a season. I’m still not blogging regularly until December, but I felt compelled to post this update.
Colorado Springs is amazing! It is beautiful, has very few bugs, and virtually zero humidity. I see the majestic Pikes Peak every day…multiple times a day. But simply living in a beautiful place doesn’t necessarily make the experience beautiful.
You see, when we moved to Colorado I left behind a son, an incredible church family, and a ministry career that had become my identity. I didn’t know it while traveling across the country in a 26 foot U-Haul truck, but I was about to spend the next 3 months lost, confused, and depressed.
First, the family unit split in two. We originally thought we were just moving with our youngest two sons. Then just hours before hitting the road our oldest child asked to move with us. This is her story so I’ll allow her to tell it on her own another time. But this is a huge reason God led us to Colorado.
Our oldest son had a career and friends in GA and decided to get his own place and stay there. My wife and I blessed his choice to stay, but I really struggled (honestly, I still am) moving without him. I guess it’s a natural part of the whole ’empty nesting’ thing….but it really sucks!
Once we arrived here, I began working at a popular coffee shop. Every coffee-lover’s dream job, right? I have also been working hard to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology online. After working there for about a month or so, I hit a wall. For 2-3 weeks I remember feeling anxious and emotional driving to work. There were even a few times I had to pray that God would strengthen me to overcome the flood of tears so I could perform like a ‘normal’ barista. Those tears were sure to come later in solitude moments in my bedroom. One evening here, another there…just me and Jesus. Real men do cry, so don’t judge.
It was in this brief season that I realized that I had allowed ministry (being a pastor) to become my entire identity. Loss of title, income, and the comfort of knowing a job well. When you’ve done nothing besides pastoring full-time for over 20 years it’s not the easiest thing to transition out of that world and into retail coffee at 45 years old.
Slowly, I began to realize that God had me in a new, very specific, season on purpose. First and foremost, I was to enjoy really being there for my wife and kids without the demanding work schedule of ministry. Second, He was aligning co-workers and customers at the coffee shop for me to interact with…to live my faith out for them.
In March of 2016 I had the honor of speaking at a Children’s Pastors conference in Kentucky. This was a true gift directly from the hand of God to me. He knew I needed this. I loved it! I got to share my ministry experiences with young leaders, and then encouraged them after each talk. This rekindled a fire for ministry in me.
Yes, we left an amazing church in Georgia, but God led us to another one. (we thought this would be impossible). My wife, Cailey, is serving PT on staff there now working with kids and equipping leaders. I am volunteering in the Connect ministry to help people discover a meaningful and fulfilling place of service in God’s community.
Most recently, the Lord provided me with a new job working with a medical bill sharing ministry. Another new experience, but I’m trusting God in it completely. Cailey and I have also begun co-writing our first book. We welcome your prayers with this.
What does He have in store for me in the next 5-10 years? I don’t have a clue and I’ve given up trying to figure it out ahead of time. I used to have this quote hanging in my church office. Now it is mounted above our couch in the living room.
This has proven to be true in my life and I’m confident it will be in yours as well. My Jesus is faithful, he knows what he’s doing, and he really does care more about my personal success and happiness than I ever can.
Here’s to another year of adventure, obedience, and remaining in Him!
Feel free to share this with someone who might be blessed by it.
Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.