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.

Subscribe to the blog Here and never miss a post.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

From Pastor to Barista

Well, it’s been 28 days since my last post. ¬†I hate that. ¬†But that’s what transition tends to do, right? ¬†It can throw our daily routines and normal practices off track. ¬†If we’re not careful those things will not realign. ¬†This can lead you and I to a place of¬†unhealth and confusion.

I want to share with you 3 discoveries I have made since transitioning from a Campus Pastor to a Barista…and since moving from GA to Colorado Springs just 9 days ago.

Routines are easily disrupted during transitions | Before we moved, I had a solid morning routine with God and my wife (Cailey). ¬†I would have my coffee, spend really good time in God’s word and prayer, and then pray with Cailey as she headed out the door for work. ¬†I was also going to the gym regularly. ¬†We enjoyed doing life with an amazing community group on Friday nights. ¬†We had a crazy-awesome church. ¬†All of that has been tossed in the air and fallen in scattered pieces all over the floor. ¬†I’ve had to be very intentional about locating all those pieces and reorganizing them to fit the new life I’m in now.

Transitions will almost always make you question your identity | I think there is proof of this in a previous post I wrote as part of my processing journey. ¬†Nearly 6 years ago I left a spiritually-devastating situation at a church and moved across the country (yep, we’ve done this before) as Cailely became the Children’s Pastor at an incredible church in GA. ¬†I wallowed in my own pain and pity from the prior church hurt for seven months. ¬†Shortly after that, I started working at LifeWay bookstore. ¬†After being in full-time ministry for the majority of my adult life, working in retail again really challenged my integrity. ¬†By that, I mean my identity was placed under a high powered microscope. ¬†I didn’t know it at the time, but God was doing a work in me. ¬†He was preparing me for my next season in ministry (even though I had already told him I was done). ¬†This time I was more prepared. ¬†I’m much more confident in my identity. ¬†I’m still a pastor (at heart and in calling), but I happen to also be a Barista at Starbucks. ¬†Leadership is influence…and I simply know that God has me where I am to be an influence and reflect him. ¬†One final comment on this one. ¬†I love podcasts. ¬†It was a real blessing as we traveled for 5 days to Colorado as I listened to an episode by Lewis Howes. ¬†He was interviewing Brad Lomenick on his new book. ¬†Wow…I was blown away hearing how Brad had gone through his own transition and identity issues after stepping down from leading Catalyst. ¬†His book¬†is next on my reading list for sure!

It can become easy to get self-centered | Really! ¬†For example, I have a new job (so does my wife). ¬†I have just moved across the country (so has my family). ¬†My emotions are all over the place most days (so are my family’s). ¬†See what I mean? ¬†If I’m not careful, I will neglect my place of husband and father. ¬†The very real challenge is recognizing when I’m focusing on myself and then to intentionally reach out to them. ¬†I’m still figuring this one out.

Don’t get me wrong. ¬†I’m not an expert on this topic. ¬†I’m still growing through this new season…and I know there will continue to be more as long as I have breath in this life.

Can you relate to any of these?  How have you weathered through these seasons in the past?

Today, may the Lord bless you in whatever changes you are going through. ¬†Remember, they are never pointless. ¬†God has a purpose, and it’s usually going to shape or grow you for something. ¬†Look at it as training camp. ¬†You want to be prepared, right?

Comments are always welcome.

 

Jesus Is NOT Really The Reason For The Season!

The reason for the season? ¬†Who are we kidding? ¬†We’ve made Christmas into what we want it to be.

It’s about spending, receiving, time off from work, consuming too much sugary treats, and plenty of stressful running around.

img_0251

The point I’m trying to make is Jesus isn’t just the reason for THIS season. ¬†He’s the reason, the focal point, for every season of our lives.

For those of us who are believers, we already know this. ¬†But with the heightened awareness of ‘Christian themes’ during this holiday season you and I have a unique window of opportunity to expose lost and hopeless people to the gospel.

Have you ever received a gift you would never have thought to ask for, but afterward realized it was indeed of great value to you?  For some, Jesus is that gift.

They are missing something in their life…they simply are not aware of it!

May we (the Church) do all we can this Christmas to expose those in our community to the unique and unimaginable gift that is Christ Jesus.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!  Psalm 96:3

Photo credit: vesteaevangheliei.wordpress.com

3 Keys to Staying ‘On Track’ During the Holidays

photo credit: library.austintexas.gov

If you are reading this post right now you are probably feeling very similar to how I’ve been feeling over the past three weeks.

‘Off Track’

Maybe you know someone who is inundated with life stressors. ¬†Pass this post on to them. ¬†Here are 3 keys to staying ‘on track’ during the holidays.

1) ¬†Stop – When I am feeling like everything is in disarray, the absolute worst thing I can do is accelerate forward with the hope of hitting a few big ‘to-dos’ on my way. ¬†When you recognize that life and/or work are getting cluttered, slam on the brakes! ¬†Trust me, stopping everything for a few hours (or even a whole day) will not cause a calamitous event in the universe. ¬†Zebras will not lose their stripes. ¬†The IRS will not deposit $1,000,000 to your bank account. And yes, you will still be willing to pay $5 for a cup of coffee. ¬†Take time to pray, go for a walk, get a needed nap,

2) ¬†Focus – Use Evernote (or an actual note pad) to jot down everything you feel has been dropped. ¬†Those work tasks you haven’t touched in about a month. ¬†The family dinner you still need to make happen. ¬†The reading you need/want to do because……dang it, that material simply doesn’t pop into your head when you wake up in the morning. ¬†Next, prioritize this list and put it in your calendar (I learned this from Jim Wideman). ¬†This is the planning phase. ¬†Don’t….I repeat…..don’t make this too difficult! ¬†Keep it small and clear.

3) ¬†Restart – Now, take a big breath and let it out s l o w l y. ¬†Set yourself DOABLE goals each day and pace yourself. ¬†Celebrate the little victories, and give yourself some grace when you drop the ball…..it happens!

Now, when things begin to get ‘off track’ again…..revisit #1 above.