The Piece Of ThanksGIVING We Often Miss

I would argue that most of us tend to view Thanksgiving as a time of enjoying the bounties of life with those closest to us. The copious platters of turkey, stuffing, and pie serve as reminders to us that we really do have much to be thankful for.

This approach, however, limits the full opportunity that Thanksgiving provides us. thankful-quote

Thanksgiving is also a designated time of GIVING ‘thanks.’ It’s being mindful of those things that we subconsciously take for granted. And the ‘giving’ aspect of Thanksgiving is meant to be the verbal recognition of these blessings to the people who are connected to them. Additionally, being mindful of all that we should be thankful for actually works to prevent entitlement. Pastor and author, John Ortberg, put it this way.

“Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation.”

This is so true! When we view life as a gift, rather than something we’ve earned, it’s more difficult to grow big-headed egos. David expressed it this way in Psalm 9:1.

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”

Here are 3 practical tips for exercising gratitude.

  1. Search the internet for a new passage of scripture or quote on gratitude each day. Then, meditation on it for 2-5 minutes.
  2. Jot down 3 things you are thankful for in your life and post it on your fridge or next to your coffee maker. Make a new list each week.
  3. Thank someone, no matter how small it might seem, each day for how they contributed positively to your life.

What would you add to this list? Comment below.

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3 Steps To God’s Will For Your Life Today

Have you ever found yourself in a season where life just sucks? And then God tosses an image like this out on your Facebook feed. prayer

 

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus FOR YOU.”  1 Thess. 5:16-18

 
It’s important for us as believers to recognize these 3 ASPECTS of God’s will for us provided here in 1 Thessalonians.
 
  1. Rejoice ALWAYS – Meaning, be glad. Look for the joys of life that are all around us but often difficult to notice.
  2. Pray WITHOUT ceasing – Having a constant mind of prayer throughout the day helps to strengthen our faith. It keeps us focused on God more than our circumstances. It reminds us that we need him. Lastly, it encourages us not to give up praying for things that we’ve been asking God about for a while.
  3. Give thanks in ALL circumstances – It’s easier for most of us to give thanks to God when life is pleasant. But when things really stink it requires a ton of effort to be actively thankful.
 
So, why are these 3 things such a high focus for God’s will for you and I?
 
As our father in heaven, he truly wants for us to be happy. Continual prayer is needed to maintain our relational connection with him. And a thankful heart keeps us grounded and hopeful.
 
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t actually going to post anything this morning. But this image on PRAYER caught my eye as I was scrolling through FB. My wife had posted it. She’s awesome. Anyway, we’re currently in a very difficult season and walking through mental health struggles with one of our adult children.
 
The most frustrating part of it is that there is virtually nothing we can do to FIX their situation. Nothing we can do to take their pain away. All we can to is be present, offer a thousand hugs, and be a sense of security and safety. We also pray a TON.
 
While I say ‘all we can do,’ those things really are powerful. In all actuality, they really are ENOUGH. But as a parent it doesn’t feel like it.
 
Nevertheless, I choose to focus on these ACTIONS today…tomorrow…and the next day.
 
How about you? Do you wrestle with these? How can I pray for you this week?

 

 

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Garrett Surprises His Sister For Her Wedding

Two months ago, our oldest Son (actively serving in the US Navy overseas) had his orders changed. Originally, he was not going to be able to attend his sister’s wedding in January. But that changed…and we never told her.

Mostly because, well…it’s the military and we know that things are always prone to change.

Well, flying home from his duty station is very expensive and we hadn’t budgeted for it due to original orders preventing him from coming. So, we put together a GoFundMe to see if we could raise the funds.

Wow!!!  God has been so good to us over the past 25 years of doing ministry all over the country. Friends and family really showed up in a big way, raising $1575.00 in just 6 DAYS!

gofundme

Enjoy watching the REVEAL VIDEO below. We took Kelcey and Luke to coffee and had Garrett hiding in the back room to bring out their coffees. She was in shock.

 

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!

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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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.

 

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