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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Comments and questions are welcome below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

Movements Toward God

Watch this music video by Rend Collective.  My personal insights follow below.

I pray the lyrics to this song meet you where you are in life today.

 

I simply LOVE this worship band (family). ¬†I appreciate their hearts for worship and Kingdom Ministry. ¬†Because of their obedience to God’s call on each of their lives, I’ve been encouraged and strengthened through some significantly challenging seasons in recent years. ¬†In fact, one of my favorite songs (My Lighthouse) is the reason we have a developing lighthouse theme in our home.

Check out this verse from the video…

I wanna stand true
No matter what’s new or comes through
I can’t stand still
Whatever hits I’ll keep making movements to You

As a believer in Jesus, this is what I hope to be true of me.  That whatever hits my life, whenever it occurs, I will be able to continue making movements (progression) toward my God.

Would you consider sharing this post with someone you know this week?

 

Comments, prayer requests, and questions are welcome below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

 

3 Things To Do In The Middle Of Your Troubles

If you’re anything like me, when I have trouble or stress in my life all I want to do is eat, complain, and remain as inactive as possible. ¬†Hey, I’m just being honest. ¬†Can you relate?

Lately, God has been leading me into a particular season of prayer. ¬†It’s been one of seeking his heart and hearing his voice. ¬† Life hasn’t necessarily been full of trouble or difficulty recently, but it has presented a lot of busyness. ¬†And if you’re like me, busyness has the tendency to distract. ¬†Auto-pilot becomes a natural and sub-conscious state of being.

When we come to realize that we are in this ‘funk,’ three key actions will aid to reset our priorities and improve our spiritual mental capacity.

Romans 12:12 reminds you and I to “Rejoice in hope,¬†be patient in tribulation,¬†be constant in prayer.”

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Here’s what we can take away from this one powerful verse.

  1. Rejoice in hope – That’s right, we have real hope in the promises of God. ¬†His word is reliable. ¬†And whether we can feel him actively involved in our circumstances or not, we can be reassured in the hope that we really do ‘know’ that he is.
  2. Be patient in tribulation – In our pain, misery, and distress we can easily allow ourselves to become anxious. ¬†But God’s word instructs us to be patient. ¬†For me, this is a kind reminder that life comes in seasons. ¬†They all come and go. ¬†Sure, some last longer than others. ¬†But patience allows us to chill out while God is doing his thing. ¬†He’s not oblivious to your current state of life. ¬†Release your stress to him and trust.
  3. Be constant in prayer – ‘Constant’…meditation is what comes to mind here. ¬†Prayer doesn’t always have to be kneeling in a dark closet (I’m not sure I’ve ever even done this). ¬†I would suggest that ‘constant in prayer’ simply means to remain in a state of continual awareness of God’s involvement in our lives throughout the day. ¬†My prayer life totally changed once I learned how to remain mindful of God’s presence around me throughout my entire day…AND once I learned the habit of talking with him in the midst of that presence.

So, try this today.  Write it down.  Ask a friend or spouse to join in this quest with you.  Claim your joy in the hope we have in God, move patiently through the season you are in, and saturate your days in prayer.

Comments, prayer requests, and questions are welcome below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

Pause, Priorities, & Purpose

Do you ever feel like the picture below?  Too many things (projects, ideas, tasks, relationships) going on at once?

balance

Me too!  There are seasons in all of our lives when we need to work really hard and multitask through it all to accomplish something.  But, there are also other seasons in which we need to PAUSE enough to evaluate our current PRIORITIES to make sure we are still on course with our PURPOSE in life.

Sometimes this means temporarily giving up things we enjoy to put more focus on the most important things.  For most of us, this moment becomes pretty obvious once we take on one more thing that threatens the balance of all of it.

Recently, my wife and I decided to take a huge step of faith and co-write our first book!  It will be about living a life of faith and healthy service in the Church while continuing to nourish a thriving marriage and home life.   Personally, I am also working, finishing up my Sociology degree online, and starting a church leadership consulting ministry.

Unfortunately, this means I need to take a break from blogging for a while. ¬†This blog is more for me than anyone else. ¬†It’s been like a journal. ¬†But for those who read it, I do encourage you to stay connected with me on social media. ¬†I’m much more active in these places anyway. ¬† The book is scheduled to be complete by the first part of 2017.

Follow me at Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Enough about me. ¬†What about you? ¬†Is your current balancing act going well, or are there ‘plates‘ as risk of crashing to the ground?

Please comment below or interact where you saw it posted.

 

photo credit: http://www.lcius.com 

 

 

3 Keys To Effectively Discovering Your Next Calling

Do you find yourself lost, confused, or even frustrated with your current season of life?  Be honest with yourself.

It wasn’t until recently that I became vividly aware that this was true of me right now. ¬†But I also realized that this felt negative. ¬†Why? ¬†Since when did being honest with ourselves become a bad thing?

I’m reading an insightful book right now by Gary Barkalow. ¬†The title: “It’s Your Call: What Are You Doing Here?” ¬†A perfect read for this confusing season I’m in. ¬† Here’s a quote I read that got me thinking.

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Since moving from GA to CO and from being a campus pastor to a barista, the word ‘transition‘ has been quite the buzz word in our home. ¬†This quote made me realize that I have been viewing this transition in my life as temporary…..a buffer if you will. ¬†But here’s what I’m slowing discovering (with the insightful help of my amazing wife).

Could it be that God isn’t planning to allow me to move into the next ‘official’ ministry position until I fully accept and own what he has me doing at the coffee house and in my family? ¬†Could it also be that there is an ‘unpolished mineral’ right under my nose today? ¬†My sense is that I’ve been straining and peering so hard into the future that I’m missing the gold mine of opportunity for ministry he already has placed me in.

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I absolutely love how Barkalow penned this.  It has definitely been true in my life.  How about yours?  Let me try to wrap this all up and offer you what I promised in the title.

Here we go!

1. ¬†Your next calling is now | God wants you and I to give our all to his Kingdom work today. ¬†Don’t merely get by until the next door of opportunity appears, glowing in gold neon and surrounded with smoke screen. ¬†That’s not always how he presents his calling to us (insert mild sarcasm).

2. ¬†Enjoy the journey | Sure, there are times of sharpening and molding of our character. ¬†But I firmly believe that when we are fully owning his call on our lives today…in this precise moment…he desires for you and I to encounter joy in it. ¬†Happiness that only the Holy Spirit can give. ¬†Pray for that. ¬†Ask him today!

3. ¬†Continue the search | This is so important. ¬†Most of us look forward to Spring while we’re in the Winter. ¬†And once we’ve tasted Spring, we can’t wait for Fall. ¬†Finally, it comes full circle when we are yearning for Winter. ¬†But wait, it wasn’t long ago that we were wishing for Winter to be behind us. ¬†It’s simple (I think). ¬†God longs for us to fully enjoy the ‘season’ we are currently in, while joyfully seeking him and his Word on the doorsteps of the season that is still to come.

He really is a good, good Father. ¬†How do I know? ¬†Because as I was writing this post in a Starbucks that song started playing overhead. ¬†I know, in Starbucks! ¬†Take a moment to quietly listen to the words of this beautiful song. ¬†And may the Lord speak joy and affirmation into your heart directly from his. ¬†“…and I’m loved by you…it’s who I am…”

It is the glory of God to conceal things,
¬†¬†¬†¬†but the glory of kings is to search things out.” – Proverbs 25:2

I’m Moving To Colorado Springs! What???

I have a Love/Hate relationship with change.  How about you?

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In the Fall of 2013, it was revealed at our staff retreat that my wife and I were going to step out of our staff roles at the time to launch the first multisite church campus of Christ Community Church. Fast forward to Nov 8, 2015. On this Sunday we announced that our campus would be changing our video teaching model to offer live preaching. Not only did this change not include my wife and I (change in leadership), we also announced that we were moving to Colorado Springs in 4 weeks.

This has all happened so quickly.  We really have seen the finger prints of God all over this…not only in our own lives, but for the health of the campus as well.

So, this is basically a journal entry reflecting on my thoughts with this transition:  What I FEEL vs. what I KNOW.

What I feel | There is personal loss attached to big life transitions. Loss of close friends, co-workers, family, culture, and familiarity.

What I know | There often needs to be loss if God is going to bless us with new blessings. It’s His way of making room for the new. I have seen this over and over in my lifetime, so I’m not sure why I don’t get more excited at the onset of changing seasons when they pop up.

What I feel | 18 months is too soon after launching a new church campus for the leadership to move on. Ok, it’s too soon for my comfort level. There, I said it. I really thought I’d be shepherding this body of believers for at least 3-5 years. And that was my problem. I presumed God’s intentions more than I should have.

What I know | God’s timing is always perfect and always better than mine. On God’s clock, late and early are non-existent. This is so comforting (and frustrating) to me.

What I feel | Its not fair that I don’t get to be a part of this local church body in its next chapter. I want to see it grow. I want to meet all the amazing, new people. I want to celebrate with the new believers and disciple them.

What I know | God’s calling on my life (and yours) is never about fairness. And it is not about our personal wants. It is, however, always about obedience, faith, and a larger Kingdom purpose than my own little world.

What I feel | I worry about how my kids will weather through this change. Our 2 oldest are staying in GA, while 2 of our boys are moving with us. I often think, they did not ask for this life of ministry….constant change and moving from place to place.

What I know | They are only mine for a season and for the purpose of training them up in faith and life. Ultimately, they are The Lord’s. When we dedicated them to Him as babies, we were placing them in His care. As they have grown older, I have had to constantly re-visit those moments and ask myself a question. Do I truly mean today what I meant back then? Thankfully, the answer has been ‘yes.’ But I do find myself constantly rededicating each of them to God’s care and providence. This is mainly for my own sanity.

What I feel | If I’m going to be really authentic here, I’d have to admit that I’ve said to God (more than once) that I didn’t ask for this calling of ministry in my life. I’ve often thought what it would be like to go to church at the same time as everyone else does. Or how it would feel not to have to live completely by my calendar. Or not having the heaviness of knowing so much of the pain and struggle many of our church members are¬†enduring each week.

What I know | While that all sounds appealing on the surface, I know better. Yes, ministry is demanding and hard. But (there’s a huge ‘but’ here), it is also rewarding beyond words. The innumerable experiences, tragedies, joys, challenges, victories, and relationships God has gifted me with….none of them would have come to be if I had said ‘No’ to His call on my life. I would have forfeited the past 24 years of partnership with God. The thought that I could have given all that away to someone else makes me cringe.

“This is God’s universe, and He does things His way.¬† We may have a better way, but we don’t have a universe.”¬† – Dr. J. Vernon Megee

 How about you?  How have you maneuvered through major transitions in life?  When have what you FEEL vs. what you KNOW collided?

This has been the quickest, healthiest, and craziest change in my life to date…..and I’m really looking forward to it!

Just Two Guarantees In This Life

Have you ever thought of life in general as a disappointment? ¬†Ever said, “Hey, I didn’t sign up for this!” ¬†Well, you’re not alone.

I have recently come to an eye-opening revelation about life.

This simple but scary revelation occurred to me as I was reflecting on my current season of life.  And it took me back to this well-known scripture.

 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.  РJohn 16:33 (HCSB)

Here’s what they are:

We will have challenges | We’re going to get a flat on the way to work…get into an argument with our spouse moments before teaching a session on marriage…not get the job we really wanted…or live with an illness that makes it hard to be joyful every day. ¬†We can run ourselves into the ground trying to discover the ‘why,’ or we can choose joy in the fact that we have a loving Father in Heaven to walk through it all with us. ¬†Perspective is everything!

God is always faithful to His promises | His Word is true and it can always be trusted. ¬†It is packed full of promises, instruction, and encouragement. ¬†He celebrates, hurts, and walks with you and I through it all. ¬†He’s never absent. ¬†Never uncaring. ¬†Never unfaithful. ¬†He’s your loudest personal cheerleader!

God’s Word is both our microscope into our life AND¬†the life-saving anchor for when the waves of life get turbulent.

Do you agree?  How has this been true in your life?  

Comments, prayer requests, and questions are welcome below.
You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

Are You Standing In The Way Of God’s Will?

Gods WillHow would you feel if Jesus referred to you as Satan?  Have you ever argued with God about where your life is heading?

Jesus had just gathered his disciples to tell them about his Father’s plan for salvation. ¬†He explained that he was to suffer and die, and then be raised from the dead 3 days later. ¬†This was God plan. ¬†But Peter didn’t like how this was sounding.

...And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ¬†But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‚ÄúGet behind me, Satan! ¬†For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.‚ÄĚ ¬†Mark 8:32-33

You see, he wasn’t literally calling Peter Satan. ¬†Jesus was telling him that his thoughts were not in line with God’s thoughts. ¬†Peter was allowing his human emotions and reasoning to create a potential roadblock to God’s will.

The crazy part of this story is that just moments prior to this, Peter was the first to verbalize Jesus’ identity the Christ…the Messiah. ¬†(Mark 8:29)

“There’s a difference between knowing Jesus’ true identity in your life…and not standing in the way of God’s will.”

Can you relate to Peter? ¬†I know I have in the past. ¬†I’ve even told God ‘No’ a couple of times. ¬†And like Peter, he has a stern but loving way of redirecting us.

What is God calling you to today?  And are you good with it?

Join the discussion, comment below.

Subscribe to the blog HERE.

Comments and questions are welcome below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

 

(background) photo credit: drawnmonsters.com 

The Dark Side of Ministry

photo by: deathstarpr.blogspot.com

Just before Summer kicked in to full swing, I was able to take a few of my key leaders to the FAM Conference at Azusa Pacific University in CA. ¬†Its a new conference…their first year. ¬†And what an amazing experience it was! ¬†So many great speakers were there, including Doug Fields. ¬†My wife and I were able to sit in his final breakout session. ¬†He started off the hour with this quote:

The dark side of ministry = always more to do.

Wait…there’s a ‘dark side’ to ministry? ¬†(that’s sarcasm) ¬†Ha, ha, ha. ¬†If you’ve been in vocational ministry for even 6 months you probably know what Doug was referencing. ¬†Work, work, work only leads pastors to neglecting their own health, family, and living life to the fullest! ¬†Look, when God commanded mankind to honor a day of rest he didn’t include a special clause that excludes pastors. ¬†We need rest too! ¬†The real question is are you ceasing to work when you must? ¬†Stop! ¬†I can answer that question for you…and I don’t even know you. ¬†If ‘most’ of your weeks in ministry (in and out of the physical office) consist of 50-65 hours, you are slipping to the Dark Side.

Its true, there IS always more to do! ¬†Always one more phone call to make. ¬†That important email can’t wait until morning. ¬†I really need to be the one to visit so-and-so in the hospital. ¬†Etc…..etc……etc. ¬†The examples never end.

The bottom line is this: ¬†There’s no shortage of work for tomorrow, but rest for today is a rare commodity!

I ask you, how can you be proactive to address this and remain healthy enough for God to use you to your fullest ability?