Biblical Living, Leadership

Jif or Peter Pan?

Photo by LI Chengxi on Unsplash

I get so paralyzed when I’m up against options. I’m not talking about big dynamic ones, I’m talking about the everyday ones you find in the grocery store. When my wife sends me to the store to get 5 things, I get stuck in the bread aisle wondering what the best option, Jif or Peter Pan! What that girl does with 20 minutes in a grocery store would be half a day for this poor boy.
I just get overwhelmed!
What if I make the wrong choice? My biggest plague is trying to save 15¢ so I’m always calculating options to see which is the best price!

And that brings up another huge ordeal. Why is it that we feel that the will of God must be cheap or free!? Tell me I’m wrong!

Biblical Living, Leadership

Lessons on Leadership- Faithful Followers

Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

Are you a Rebel?

How about a Maverick?

Doesn’t your mind immediately race to Top Gun when I say that!?

It did for me when I first heard someone describe me as a maverick. What does that mean, to be a maverick? When you describe someone by that term you are saying they are unconventional or independent. In other words, what ever they say, you’re doing the opposite!

Biblical Living, Lessons for my crew

Someone Else

One of the most powerful stories in all the bible somehow falls at the feet of someone so insignificant he doesn’t even deserve the credit of our knowing his name!

1 Samuel 17- the infamous David and Goliath. It’s a story that every little boy has reenacted at some point in their childhood and why the slingshot became so popular.

I remember the days when I was so young. We lived out in the country where our nearest neighbor was a horse pasture away, through a forest and across a valley. My brothers and I could get lost for days in the woods that surrounded our double-wide mobile home. It was probably the worst house we ever lived in, but man, we were in heaven with all that we were surrounded with. It was a boys dream!

Almost daily, we would don our camis and disappear into the woods for hours on end, creeping along somewhere building lean to’s and makeshift forts in our wilderness. We fought battles so fierce in those woods, the world has never heard the likes of the foes we fought in the mountains outside of Albuquerque, NM. One of those battles had to have been with the Philistine Army and the fated Goliath that must have stood 20 feet tall…ministerially speaking.

We would take our sling shots and marbles or bb’s or rocks or whatever projectile we could find and become that hero so young.

We all glamor in the honor of the hero. Everyone of us has, at one point or the other, stood in the shoes, sandals, or stilettos, of that hero and envisioned ourselves taking their place for that magical moment. But none of us have ever envisioned becoming the nameless sidekick that made it possible.

You know the story, even if you haven’t been in church, you could tell it well. The army of Israel, under the leadership of Saul, is camped out with the opposing army of the Philistines camped on an opposing mountain top. Each occupying the prominent position high up so that each has the upper hand in hopes that the other will make the first move.

For days this goes on but with the caveat that the Philistines have this gruesome warrior in their arsenal moving out daily to taunt that army, just sort of testing them, poking at them, hoping to anger them into making a dumb decision.

David has three bothers in the mix. He’s the youngest of 8 and therefore, by default, he wins the lucrative job of loving the sheep. It’s must be like taking out the trash at our house. Which is funny because it’s the easiest of jobs. Not so for shepherding! That would have been the worst and most difficult.

I’m sure with David in the family, he’d love nothing more than to be occupying that front line stance along with the rest of the ferocious army that was really good at taking naps during this part of their story. No one had the courage to line up and face this mighty foe.

Daily, David was out in his field focused on the sheep. Caring for them. Fighting on their behalf, when the need arose. These sheep were not just part of their livelyhood, I’m sure in some strange way, they had become part of the family.

Two years ago, my wife took it into her own hands after demanding for years that we get a puppy. She found her little love, called it a therapy dog and raised some cash to buy a Tea Cup Yorkie. Hardly a dog, but now after almost two years, I can attest, that dog is part of our family. There’s just something about an animal that can occupy a place in your life that you didn’t think possible.

For David, I think, somehow those few sheep had gotten into that place of care.

So when Jesse, David’s father, comes to him and says, Son, I want you to head out to the battlefield, take some cheese sticks and juice boxes to your brothers. Find out how things are going on the front lines and just make sure your brothers are okay. David’s first thought goes to his flock and who is going to care for them while I’m away on this mission?!

As we continue through this story, we come across this line that you’ve read a time or two before, David obeyed his father. He got up early the next morning and left someone else in charge of the sheep. 1 Samuel 17:20 CEV.

With that line, my mind races to questions like,
what if there was not someone else?

Who might have been this nameless assistant?

Do you understand the ramifications of this nameless partner?

What I see in this story is that if there had not been someone else there would have been no David and Goliath!

The entire course of biblical history could have/would have looked vastly different all because there was no one to watch the flock freeing David to face the giant on a the valley of a battle field.

This simple story teaching me a super valuable lesson.

There always needs to be someone else!

What I gather from this story was that it was a no brainer. David didn’t have to think twice about who this person needed to be. It was a given. It was his back up for when he needed relief or just a shower. There was a backup. A second string. A trained confidant who could step in freeing David to focus on something else.

No matter what position you occupy in life, there should be a someone else just beyond your peripheral. For some jobs this looks totally different than others.

For me, in the church world, I see opportunity everywhere and all I need to do is find the someone else that I can pour into preparing them for the moment when the Lord calls me to something else. Maybe not for a permanent place but for a moment.

I don’t want to spell this out for you in too much detail and so minimize how the Lord could be at work in your season, situation or opportunity, so I pray that in this moment, it becomes painfully apparent how this might work for you.

I believe that the Lord has some form of greatness planned for each person. Clearly not king level greatness as he had for David, but something that results in life change for people. He is a God who constantly points toward life change. That takes people and lots of them. People who are devout and devoted to understanding their mission and opportunity to help as many as possible learn to love the Savior and his sacrifice.

Jesus himself said, The harvest is huge and ripe! But there are not enough harvesters to bring it all in. As you go, plead with the Owners of the Harvest to thrust out many more reapers to harvest his grain! – Matthew 9:37-38 TPT.

It’s time to get creative. Where could you be working in someone else? There are things you look at and loathe while someone else would be honored at the opportunity just to be involved.

Biblical Living, Lessons for my crew

Master the Minimal

Photo by Pawan Sharma on Unsplash

It was 1998 and as hot as ever. There is something microscopic about living under the midsummer sun on the plains of Kansas. It was hot and we loved it. Every day we were met with a new something to get into to get in trouble with.

At the time I was working at a Landscape startup with friends of mine. We were all 16-17 years old and were having the time of our lives and getting paid to do it. We had these lofty dreams of being able to drive tractors and haul big loads of whatever to wherever, but it never came. Probably because we were 16-17 year olds and shouldn’t have been trusted with anything!

The nursery where we worked was stocked with thousands of plants and trees that all needed water every day. Because of the very hot summer we were in, they all needed water multiple times every day.

Every day I hoped for something new.

It never came.

Every day was the same. Arrive at 7AM and water the plants.

After lunch.

Start over again.

That’s all we did.

All day,

every day.

Water the plants.

It was so very minimal, it became excruciating.

That is until one day the boss called and said, hey load up a bucket load of whatever and take it along with a something to this address and get it planted.

Never in all my dreams did I ever get so excited about a job with responsibility. I had to drive a company truck and he wanted me to load dirt with Bobcat. I had no idea how to drive a Bobcat, but I was never going to tell anyone that. I’d figure it out one way or the other because suddenly, the minimal I had mastered was paying off and I was trusted with greater responsibility.

From that point on, something began to change. I’d stay faithful with this job for several years before moving on to something else and at one point, the boss left me in charge of his operation while he was away a few days.

It leads me to the story of David and Goliath. Such an amazing Bible story and one so full of childhood aspirations. Every boy wants to be that hero even just for a moment, but before we see David launching stones at Giant’s foreheads, we see a boy who has mastered the minimal in his world–shepherding.

For every day he spent leading those few sheep along the hillside in search for more food, he was probably so tired of these seemingly meaningless moments. He had to entertain himself with whatever he could. Mastering he sling shot, playing a harp, writing, killing things, he did it all while he was alone watching sheep.

Eventually he became very apparent about the importance of mastering the minimal. For when he is finally confronted with this enormous beast, he’s got something big to fall back on.

You see, this isn’t his first enormous beast.

The writer of his story reminds us that when a lion or a bear would attack the flock, he would rip it apart. Clearly this happened multiple times and, for the life of him, David can’t just quite remember how many beasts and of which kind have attacked his precious flock.

Greatness comes in our lives. Sometimes larger than we ever would imagine but rarely when we plan for it to come. It comes through our willingness to master the minimal first and being faithful with the few so eventually we can be confident with the few more.

I am all for being aggressive and manhandling what I want to squeeze out of life. I don’t believe we are products by chance of our surrounding circumstance. I very much believe that there are times in life when we need to grab the bear by the throat and control life, but before that happens you must be willing to humbly master the minimal.

What’s your minimal story? How did you come to master it and where has it taken you since then?

Biblical Living, Experience, Family, Lessons for my crew

Time to say goodbye

Typically, I’m not much of an emotional guy, but I’m finding, as I grow older, that there are many things that are so close to my heart. When it becomes time for those things to move on, there’s something of a piece of you that leaves along with it.

Over the past year, Crystal and I have contemplated selling our home. I was always against it, she was never consistent 😏. For a long time now we’ve prayed about owning a piece of property that was secluded, reserved, raw and a blank slate where we could continue to grow our family. There is nothing inherently wrong with the house we own on any level. It has been a wonderful home, that is, after we worked so so hard to get it in a livable condition again. When we first bought this place, it was a complete disaster. But years later, we’ve transformed it into a tremendous home that will bless any family that will own it from this point forward.

I think the thing that becomes so emotional to us is two things. First, the fact that we are leaving here with no defined timeline as to when our next property will be ready.

Second, that this place is something of a Bethel location for us for all the moves of God he has accomplished through us. I’m not sure if that fully translates, but it’s a Biblical relatable found in Genesis 35. We’ve seen the Lord work in so many situations, and not that this location had anything to do with it, it’s just that this location now bears the memorial marks of that movement. We can sit here around our firepit or on the back patio, or around the kitchen table and remember the greatness of our God as he answered prayer after prayer after prayer and added blessing on top of blessing.

But here’s the important thing…

There is more!

Don’t get hung up on the physical idea of more. I’m not specifically speaking of more in terms of tangible resources you can put in your hand. I think so many times that’s where we digress and become overly selfish. This more I’m speaking of relates to the experiences and adventure the Lord wants to carry us through. More for our family resonates around how much more we can see the Lord work through us and into the lives of those around us, including and especially our kids. We want to be able to lead them into places of unique tension.

What’s that mean?

Movements of faith are always faced with elements of uncertainty!

If we neglect to lead our kids into what faith feels like in this season of their lives, how will they know what to look for when faith rests on their shoulders alone?

I can point back to so many situations in my past where I literally felt the tension of faith.

Hebrews 11:1, such a familiar passage. Quotable by so many people. Lived and fleshed out by painful few.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1 NIV

What we are certain of is that the Lord is miraculous and full of wonder. What we are filled with faith for is that the future is as bright as the promises of God as seen as experienced in the past!

Biblical Living, Experience, Family, Lessons for my crew

What have we learned?

Months into this strange season we are living right now, and we’ve gotten far enough to track some metrics on our progress. These are peculiar days we are living! Who’s going to argue with me on that?

When in your imagination did you ever think you’d see a fight over toilet paper in a grocery store?

When in your thinking did you ever imagine you’d be told by the government that you should not leave your home for any reason unless absolutely necessary!?

How about being told to wear a medical mask everywhere you go and in every interaction with people. How many places have you see where they put info stickers on their entrances indicating to hats, glasses or MASKS that now have to go back and change all those indications!? And how have robberies not spiked in the process because of everyone now sporting masks?

Everything is different and nothing is normal. But what have we learned?

We cannot allow this time and season to escape us without noting something…a thousand things, we’ve learned through it.

This really draws my mind to the really familiar passage from Ecclesiastes 3 where the author, presumably King Solomon, wrote about there being a time for everything we endure in life. We live life in seasons. Every year is broken into seasons. Our lifetime can also be broken into seasons, think about it. We think in terms of years, days, months, hours, minutes, but what if there is something larger at work with less defined and structured parameters?

The season of parenting

The season of honeymooning

The season of sickness

The season of having teens

The season of being a teen

The season of just married

The season of being married for decades

The season of career

The season of retirement

The season of education

The season of depression

The terrible two’s (you know, the years between 2 and 22)

The season of corona

Everyone of these seasons comes with a gift of learning. We can either learn something and grow from it, or we can try to kick our feet up and close off the world until it passes. Ironically, we see a great number of people trying to do that every thing with this season of Corona. They do the same with seasons they don’t know what do to with.

How many people have you seen that are just trying to make it through?

They’re trying desperately to make it through early parenting.

Make it through parenting a teen.

Make it through the career or job they currently have

Make it through the marriage

The problem is making it through is the un-communicated mirage that believes once we’re through, it’ll be better.

As I stick a pin to your glitter filled balloon, don’t hate me on the other side.

IT’S NOT GOING TO BE BETTER!

The only thing you’re going to receive on the other side, besides trying desperately to vacuum all that glitter, is bitterness from having an expectation that could never be realized.

Can I be so bold to tell you that you did this to yourself!?

Adjust your expectations

Sink yourself into the season you are in and own it like a boss.

I’m going to say something ridiculously profound utterly simple. You ready?!

No one knows how to get through the season they are going through until they’ve gone through it.

No one knows how to get through the season they are going through until they've gone through it Click To Tweet

No one in our generation has lived through a pandemic like this. NO ONE.

And honestly, even if they did, the one they would have gone through previously would have been drastically different.

We have go to drop the victim lifestyle and mindset that we are trying to adopt because of the season.

And honestly, that applies to every season of life you are blessed to experience.

Every season has its own blessings.

Every season.

Even the terrible ones.

It’s only through terrible seasons are you given the beauty and blessing of seeing the tremendous come through the terrible

Biblical Living

What I’ve learned in my trek through the Bible in 30 days

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I started this year with an ambitious goal. Maybe not ambitious to you or anyone you know, but one that I’ve never done before, so a goal of new territory for me.

My pursuit this year is one of intentional direction and seeking what God has next. I felt the best way to do that would be a super fast trek through his word, and so began my quest through the Bible in 30 days. I’ll end up a few days late because, you know, life happens.

Recently, I’ve seen a few stories of people who have abandoned their faith because of problems with the Old Testament. They say that they cannot trust a God who would go to such lengths to destroy rather than forgive and who seemed to be more about rules than relationship.
They are speaking through their ignorance and lack of first hand investigated effort. They see this through their perception rather than through their knowledge of investigated effort.

Biblical Living, Lessons for my crew

Xbox Chore Charts and 1Kings 12

the actual routine chart we used for the kids. Super colorful so no way to blend in!

Do you ever tire of having to tell your kids the same thing over and over AND OVER again?

It seems that no matter how often we tell them, they still must be reminded every morning to brush their teeth, make their beds, put away their pj’s and get ready for school.

I fully believe that if we didn’t do this same ritual everyday, they would never do any of it. It’s almost like they think, if I’m just quiet and don’t cause a disturbance, then maybe mom and dad will forget we have to go to school today and we’ll be able to play Xbox all day!