Biblical Living, Purpose

Worth The Wait

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

Do you ever wish you would have come built-in with the ability to be super patient?
Frankly, I can’t say that I do. I’m not a very patient person, but than, I’m not sure I know many very patient people to compare myself too. Maybe that’s wrong and I’m just confused, but no matter, the reality is that we all struggle in the area of patience.

Purpose

Update Your STOP DOING List

How many things are you doing right now that someone else would want to do? In your business, in your ministry or even just in your personal/family life?

Think about it.

There are a million things you are involved with and have to get done but how many of them could you hand off to someone else?

Biblical Living, Family

The enemy of great relationships is busyness.

You simply cannot be “too busy” and enjoy the thrill and fulfillment of wonderful relationships.

I say that on a day when my schedule will take me from when my alarm clock sounded at 4:45AM until around 9:00PM this evening. Tomorrow looks about the same and what I find in moments of scheduling like this is that while I might be productive, I am not fully engaged in the relationships that matter most to me.

If held over a long period of time, your most valuable and significant relationships have no choice but to suffer. There is just no way you can sustain these two levels of trajectory and velocity.

The only way to do something like this is to inject a lot of moments of focus to relationships as much as the busyness.

I’ve had to learn this the hard way. But really, don’t we all? Let me ask, what way of learning is easy? I’m not sure any of us really wants to learn the easy way, we prefer the difficult. It’s in the difficult that you learn the most.

Relationships are the most valuable thing in your world. Nothing compares to a great relationship and nothing is more definitive than the loss of one. And yet so often we end up treating them like they are unimportant and disposable right up until we realize the huge mistake we have made.

You cannot afford to lose relationships! Good people, good friends, are too few and far between and you can’t afford to let any go! But it’s deeper than this too. The relationship you have with your kids, the one you have with your spouse, those are predominantly the ones that pay the most.

Why?

It’s because we make the tragic assumption that they will always be there.

We erroneously assume that they are okay with the way we are choosing life and that they understand that’s what’s going on is what is needed most.

My wife sent me a note recently and graciously cautioned me about the velocity of my life. She helped me open my eyes to where I was allowing things to slip and slide. I’m so grateful to be able to see the concerns before they become unalterable.

Where is your life too busy right now? What can you do to adjust your schedule to be more relationship friendly?

Experience, Rest

Three Days of Adventure

These past three days have been the best of our lives!

That’s a pretty sweeping statement to make considering “our lives” encompass 16 years of history, but there is just something so incredibly wonderful about spending concentrated time with my best friend.

After the way this year started with Crystal’s sickness and being on complete bedrest for 7 weeks, I felt that we had been robbed!

My good friend, Aaron, preaching about John 10:10 this summer during our series, One Thing, and in it, he hammered on the reality that “the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy…” and I literally felt that our adversary had stolen so much from us. We were powerless to do anything about this burglar, as if he had marched himself into our home in the middle of the afternoon with all of us standing around. Without even masking his person, he sat down on the couch, grabbed the remote out of Grayson’s hand, started watching some ridiculous show, like Game of Thrones, and demanding that we bring him sweet tea. He stuck around for weeks in the same position just making demands of us and sucking the very life from our existence!

We’d hear him laughing and carrying on at night when we were all trying to rest and recover from this awful experience. He just wouldn’t go away!

We’d try to make those neat phrases to make guests know that their time to stay had passed. You know like, “well,we’ve got to get dinner together”, and “thanks for stopping by, it was so good to see you again,” but he just wouldn’t take the hint.

Why is it that we try so hard not to offend the devil when he is literally ROBBING us!

Finally, I saw what was going on, came to reality of what was being taken from us and I began to demand that he get the hell out of our home, and the hell he was getting out was himself!

I began praying that the Lord make him pay recompense x100 for all that had been taken from us and those around us.

He had stolen so much time.

He had stolen energy.

He had stolen opportunity.

He had stolen experiences.

He had stolen moments of life change at our church.

NO MORE!

To this day, I still pray that the Lord would bring back what’s been lost. That He would make the devil pay and pay sorely for all that’s been taken. I pray that we’d recover X100 what was taken in medical expenses.

I pray we’d see X100, people accept Christ because of it.

The devil wanted us out of this church, this role in leadership and influence and because of that, he’s going to pay, sorely, for all he thought he’d get away with!

So that brings me back to the last three days. It had been my plan for a while, and I believe the Lord just gave it to me, that I should surprise Crystal with a trip away, just she and I. No agenda, just time together. So I did.

I told her to block off three days, don’t plan anything!

I lined up my parents to be at our house to hang with the grandkids. They were already traveling in the area and it wasn’t much for them to plan a few days to be with the kids. So graciously, the took me up on it.

Over the last three days, we’ve had nothing but fun and acted like kids. We’ve come to HGTV Mecca: Waco, Texas, where every woman tries to dress like Joanna and somehow the single word, Magnolia, has healing power.

We rented a convertible and cruised down the Texas freeway with the top down for 90 miles.

We’ve laughed and spent lots of time just being together. and eating, lots and lots of eating. Tacos and BBQ and coffee, and tacos.

We stayed in a tiny house village, which to my surprise, is incredibly fun and was actually one of Crystal’s bucket list ideas!

We drove to every antique store we could and browsed for hours for rusty, stained and ancient metal, photos and newspaper articles!

It’s hard to see that experience in the past now, but for me, for us, it was a step in recovery and celebration that where the devil sought to destroy, the Lord is using to move faith forward.

I say all this to make you a little jealous. 😉

I also say this to help you see that the devil is a liar, cheat and a thief . He’s always going to try to steal and I just can’t help but wonder if he’s pulled up a chair in your home. You’re serving him your dinner and wondering why there’s not enough food for your family! Why there’s not enough time in your day! Why there’s not enough worship in your life! It’s because of that dang thief and he’s sucking the very life and joy out of you!

It’s time to put an end to the burglary.

It’s time to recognize that the longer you let the liar take up space on your couch, the more your relationships suffer, the more bitter you become and the less like Jesus to look at the end of the day.

Let’s start a new program, we’ll call it something genius, like Neighborhood Watch because there is a thief in the neighborhood and he is relentless in what he’s out to steal, kill and destroy!

Experience, Family, Rest

The Best Yes Life

Photo by John Volante on Unsplash

It’s not that I consider myself as old or getting too old, but that I am learning the value of every day. The thought occurred to me as we closed the year and began the new and the thought that so many seem to characterize their lives- thank God that year is over, this next one is going to be so much better.

For some, that is most certainly true. I know some people of whom last year was marred by so much loss. They lost friends, family, possessions, relationships, careers, money, some literally they lost the works and, undoubtedly, they are grateful to see a year scared by such loss appear in the rearview mirror. But for other, for the ones who just endured a few consequences of bad decisions, for us to see that in the mirror should not bring relief, it should bring a sense of anticipation. You learned! Learn to love learning!

The thought that so captivated me was the reality that one of the only years of my life is now over. Time, in my mind, is suddenly becoming finite. I am painfully aware of the fact that my days are limited. My time with opportunity to affect change around me is pre-determined.
The moments I have to love my children are not limitless.

Because of that new found truth, I determine to live the Best Yes Life. I have a few best yes’s that I can enjoy and the rest, I’m just not going to worry about.

I don’t want to get to the end of the year, look back and see a history of missed opportunity. I want to look back and see a well chosen story that is marked by sweet memories of Best Yes’s.

I want to see my children laugh, smile and be thrilled by time together.

I want to date my wife like we just met.

I want to put my canoe in the water every week (that it’s warm enough) and enjoy the peace and tranquility of being outside, alone, with God.

I want to choose time over treasure realizing that the treasure may actually be found in time.

Experience, Family

Christmas Memories

It’s the best time of the year, isn’t it!

Like you, I’ve got a thousand Christmas memories. Not from a thousand Christmases, but at least all those memories.

Traveling to Grandma’s house when I was my son, Austin’s, age and the thrill, and stress, of being around so many family members. Driving Grandpa’s tractor to plow snow out of the driveway. Opening presents on Christmas morning with my cousins and uncles and then dinner, oh the dinner!
And that was just one Christmas.

There were so many others.

Most of them Grandpa and Grandma came to us, wherever in the world we were living at the time. We always had some project to work on with Grandpa. Several years he brought us a tractor and we’d put it together and test it out. It was awesome.
When my brother was older, the project became is 1969 VW Bettle he was restoring. It was a sweet Bug when it was done! And it was marked by so many memories that all of us put into it, wrenching that thing through so many problems but all memories.

I remember the first Christmas Crystal and I spent together. Just married and still in college. We were dirt poor and I believe the roaches that took up residence in our home had more of a Christmas than we did. It was a very lonely Christmas and we missed our family so so much, but we made memories together.

Our Christmas in Mexico was super unique. Getting to learn Mexico customs of the holidays was strange, unusual and cultural. Sure there’s still the flood of materialism, but there’s a load of more intentional family moments and tradition that takes place. Tamales are a big deal around the holiday, much like Turkey are for us.

Now Christmas is filled with the voices of a thousand children, or 5 whichever ;), but it’s joyful, it’s wonderful, and it’s ours. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My favorite tradition is that all our family gets new pj’s for Christmas and together we watch a Christmas movie on Christmas Eve after we get home from our Christmas Eve services at Church. It’s truly a wonderful moment.

I get a bit nostalgic around this time of the year and find myself thinking back to all those moments and memories of years past. They are so good! They are filled with the faces and spaces of what defines us–good or bad.

Take some time this season, enjoy the moments a little bit longer.

Eat an extra cookie for old time sake, you know when you could and didn’t care. Engage with those kids, no matter who’s they are, as they make their first memories of the most wonderful time of the year. Who knows, maybe you’ll make their favorites list one day.

How about you, what are some of your favorite memories of Christmas?

Biblical Living, Purpose, Rest

10 Things you should say NO to RIGHT NOW!

Is your world as noisy as mine is right now? You find yourself clambering for quiet? You know it’s bad when all you want is a quiet space where you can just be still.

It’s no wonder why David wrote in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Literally, stop trying so hard and know how much I am capable.

Jeff Walker says, “Every yes must be defended by a thousand no’s”.

Biblical Living, Family

Go Watch This Movie!

Christopher Robin. (Ewan McGregor) with his long time friend Winnie the Pooh in Disney’s live-action adventure CHRISTOPHER ROBIN.

Yesterday I took some flex time to just be with my family for a few hours. Since my kids were out of school for the day and Crystal was super under the weather, I decided in advance that my best yes needed to be directed toward them rather than anywhere else.

That became apparent to me when I was putting my kids to bed Sunday night. Sunday was a whirlwind of a day. Church always does a number on me and I’m all but worthless on Sunday afternoon. I don’t leave anything on the table after I preach –you’re welcome– so when I come home I succumb to my post preaching hangover. Sunday evening we had a big planning meeting that was going to take hours. We came home to get the kids tucked into bed and my 11-year-old looks me in the eye over the rails of his top bunk and asks, “Dad, you working tomorrow?” I smiled and said, “nope, I’m hanging with you!” He said, “YES!” with exuberance and that made my heart smile and my face followed.

I needed to work. I never feel like I have everything done. Ever. Have you ever been there before? Like today and right now, you feel that way, don’t you? Me too.

So Monday, we declared it a together day. I had one short meeting I couldn’t break from, but the kids came too. Then we went out to lunch, just the kids and I. On our way home we stopped to get super necessary flu supplies for Momma who was really not feeling well. And we picked up the movie Christopher Robin. I thought they’d like it and Crystal had pointed it out to me over the weekend.

After dinner, we settled in to watch this sweet movie and I was blown away at the alignment of what I’ve been preaching these last weeks. From a world perspective, it declares everything I’ve been saying (but without the biblical relevance).

This Best Yes thing is a real problem! For me, I see it most in the eyes of my kids. They are desperately wanting to know us. They have no idea what’s coming for them as their years go by. I even get emotional and almost tearful thinking about that reality sitting here in Starbucks. We have this one opportunity that covers a measly 18 years to put a lasting impression on them and for a short period of that timeframe, they actually want our attention and interaction.

You need to plan a family movie night and watch that movie. Talk about it together, what you’re going to do as a family to “redeem the time”. Don’t lose these moments, this might just be your Best Yes.

Experience, Family, Rest

3 Strategies to Find MORE Time

There must be a place where things disappear. Some third dimension or other world where there must be a mound of socks the size of the Rocky Mountains. Maybe a slightly smaller mountain of pillowcases, I can never find the pillowcases that match after we’ve washed all 7 sets of sheets in our house for us and all our kids.