Top Blog Posts for December

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In case you missed them, here are the top 10 blog posts from December 2013:

  1. Christmas Music You Should Own
  2. The Best Books I Read in 2013
  3. How to Make Christmas Special with Your Kids
  4. When Pastoring is Hard (And 3 Ways to Survive)
  5. Accountability
  6. The Five Stages of Discipleship
  7. Almost the Best Books of 2013
  8. Christmas is Over, Now What?
  9. You’re One Choice Away from Wrecking Your Life
  10. What’s Happening in 2014 at Revolution Church

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • Hard to believe that Christmas is in only 2 days
  • Hard to believe I can stop listening to Christmas music in 3 days
  • Oh wait
  • I do love this week of the year though
  • The presents, the excitement of our kids, the lack of sleep I’ll get from wrapping things and putting things together after they go down
  • But most of all, I love the days off and the downtime with my family
  • I am glad that this year we basically did all our shopping online
  • So much better than braving the stores and the craziness of that
  • Yesterday was a great day at Revolution Church
  • We wrapped up our 9 months series on the book of John
  • So much in that book and I love how it ends in chapter 21 and the message that Jesus isn’t finished with us
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here 
  • I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for the coming year at Revolution and what we’ll cover
  • This week though, we are kicking off a series I have been waiting for us to do for almost a year called Breathing Room
  • I really believe this series has the potential to change a lot of lives and families as we look at how to have breathing room in our finances, relationships, work and life
  • So many people want this, make resolutions about this but never get anywhere with it
  • I’ll also share some ideas on my blog this week about how to make resolutions that you will stick with
  • I tend to be a driven person, but have also learned some things on hitting goals
  • Well, I’m off to the race that is the next 2 days before Christmas
  • So excited to see my kids faces on Wednesday morning and celebrate our first Christmas with Judah!

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • I love this time of year
  • The parties, gifts, spending time with family and friends and Christmas preaching
  • Love it
  • Starting to love Christmas music more and more
  • It helps when you listen to it non-stop from Thanksgiving to Christmas
  • If you’re looking for some good Christmas music, here is a list of our favorites
  • Yesterday, we had lunch with someone who has been to Revolution 5 times and they brought 4 first time guests with them
  • The first time guests were so excited about finding a church
  • Love it
  • Then, we had our staff and elder Christmas party last night
  • So much laughter
  • Can’t believe who I get to lead with
  • In the background I kept checking the Steelers score only to find out that apparently we still remember how to play football
  • A little late
  • Winning now only screws up our draft pick so we need to keep losing
  • We dedicated Judah at church yesterday
  • Christmas has taken on a new meaning for me as an adoptive dad as I think about the relationship of Jesus and Joseph
  • It was really special
  • I’m posting my “best of” lists this week
  • So hard to go through and make my favorite books and albums of the year
  • Stay tuned for some good stuff
  • Yesterday was a killer day at Revolution
  • I got to preach on the resurrection from John 20
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • One of the things I love about preaching theology like that is how it stretches me as a communicator
  • Things like the resurrection are true, beautiful, overwhelming and the answer to so many struggles and questions we have
  • Yet, so many sermons and books make it too academic and not life changing
  • You have to bring the logical and emotional arguments to theological preaching
  • Read a killer leadership book over the weekend called Catalyst Leader
  • Highly recommend it
  • So excited for this coming Sunday at Revolution
  • We’re wrapping up our series in John and I am preaching on one of my favorite passages in the entire bible: John 21
  • Then on December 29th we are kicking off what I think will be a life changing series for a lot of people called Breathing Room
  • Then, we are going to do something we’ve never done before: a woman series and a man series
  • Going to be killer
  • Time to get to it…

How to Make Christmas Special with Your Kids

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The holidays are special. Things are busy. There are parties, gifts to buy, cards to send, food to make and eat, and memories to be made. Kids will be off of school, parents will be off from work, Christmas specials will be on TV. There is a lot that is different in the month of December.

And, if you plan ahead as a parent, you can make December a special month. Here are some ideas:

  • Listen to Christmas Music. I’m not a big fan of Christmas music. If you know me, this isn’t news. However, starting at Thanksgiving, we listen to it almost non-stop until Christmas. Why? It is a good tradition. The songs are about Jesus and my kids love music. I look for Christmas music we like and create a playlist that I load onto all our iPod’s and iPad’s so we can listen to it wherever we are. The kids listen to Christmas music as they go to sleep. This helps to change the mood of the month and communicates, this time of year is different. It has its own music. Here are some of the suggestions from our family.
  • Take your kids on a special daddy date. Every week I take one of our kids on a daddy date. We go to a park, go to Starbucks to get a treat and play a game or whatever they decide (within reason). In December, I like to do something special. Usually on that daddy date, I’ll take them to the store to pick out a present for their siblings. My hope is they will learn generosity and thinking of others as we talk about why we give gifts to others. This year, Katie is taking our daughter to see The Nutcracker Ballet as an example.
  • Record Christmas specials and watch them together. Kids love Christmas specials. At least my kids do. So, record them and watch them together. Here is a list of what is on ABC Family this year and when it is on.
  • The tree. Whether you go out and cut your tree down, buy one or have a fake one (like we do here in AZ), make putting up the tree special. Build it up, plan it, make your own ornaments, tell stories about the ornaments you are putting up. And, listen to Christmas music while doing it.
  • Do a special outing as a family. Some families go caroling, sledding. Some shop on black friday together. One thing we love to do is go to Winterhaven to see the lights on Christmas night. After a long Christmas day, it is great to get out of the house to walk around and look at lights.
  • Eat special (and bad for you) food. I’m a health nut about what I eat. At the holidays, I ease off the gas pedal on that. Eat an extra dessert. Have the same thing each year to create a tradition. At our house on Christmas Eve, we make Cream of Crab soup and have chocolate fondue for dessert. We don’t make it any other time so it is extra special.
  • Read a special book together. This year, we are working our way through The Chronicle of Narnia. We are taking extra time this month to read through it and it is sparking some great discussions about who God is, who Jesus is, what humans are like and why we need Jesus, and who we are like in story. Communicating the gospel to our kids doesn’t have to be difficult and we can use books and movies to do so.
  • Make hot chocolate. You don’t make hot chocolate a whole lot any other time of the year. This is when you do it and it feels extra special because of that. Load it up with marshmallows, whipped cream.
  • Celebrate Advent. As a church, we are celebrating Advent every week in our gatherings. In Planet Rev Sunday, we handed out a booklet for families to use with their kids. This year, our family is using a daily devotional Counting the Days, Lighting the Candles: A Christmas Advent Devotional. So far it is great.
  • Give your wife a break. Revolution Church closes its offices between Christmas and New Years so our staff slows down and has a break. During this time, I am able to give Katie some downtime, get out without the kids, take an extra coffee date with a girlfriend, take a nap. This is a great time for you to serve your spouse.
  • Slow down and be together. Years from now, your kids will remember very little about life as a child. They will remember however if you were there. So will you. Don’t miss it. Work isn’t that important. That party isn’t that important. Shopping for one more thing isn’t that important if it keeps you from being with those you love. I’ve been reminded recently by the illnesses of close friends of the brevity of life. If your kids ask you to snuggle or lay down with them, do it. One day they won’t ask.

What do you do as a family to make Christmas special?

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Christmas Music You Should Own

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I’m not a huge fan of Christmas music, but thankfully, there is some really good Christmas music out there. Here are some of the ones our family is loving this year:

Enjoy!

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Music Monday (A Day Late)

Normally I post things about music on Monday, but found this today and didn’t feel like waiting.

Because I’m not a big fan of Christmas music, when I find some that is good, I have to share it (that’s how you know if it is good Christmas music).

Here’s something new from Hillsong from their new album Born is the King

If all Christmas Music was Like This

Many of you know that I am not a big Christmas music fan. It is funny whenever I say this and the looks of, “How could you be a pastor and not like Christmas music?” Thankfully, that isn’t in the job description. I think secretly, there are more Christmas music haters out there than let on, they just fear being ostracized.

Anyway, a Revolutionary sent me this the other day and said, “This will change your mind about Christmas music.”

After watching it and laughing, Katie said, “That reminds of me something Gavin would do.”

Bam. Mind changed (or not).

Music Monday 12.6.10 (Christmas Edition)

Because I’m a huge fan of Christmas music (insert sarcasm). Even thought I’m not a big Christmas music fan (the shock since I’m a pastor), I do my best to make sure we have good Christmas music playing in the house this month for our family. So, I thought I’d share some great Christmas music out there and what we are listening to in our house this Christmas.

Free Christmas Music on Noise Trade: Sara Groves | Omaha Collective | Maeve

Christmas Albums worth having: Third Day | Sojourn | Mike Crawford | Kevin Max | Justin McRoberts Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 | Chris Tomlin

Here is a video of Coldplay’s song “Christmas Lights”

Here is a video of Train’s song “Shake up Christmas”

What’s your favorite Christmas album?

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Took a two week sabbatical from doing my mind dump on Saturday because I wasn’t preaching
  • It was so nice to get a break and to listen to some great sermons at Revolution
  • You can listen to Luke’s sermon here and Dave’s sermon here, they both did a great job
  • We kicked off our Christmas offering tonight, so excited to see how God uses this in the city of Tucson
  • Tough message on one verse tonight
  • It is hard to speak about joy, something that we are called to have, yet few people actually live out
  • I think at the heart of the discussion on joy is a discussion on faith and what we believe about God
  • In case you are curious about what we are preaching on after Philippians as we kick off 2011, you can find out here
  • To say I am excited about this series is an understatement
  • We had a creative meeting last night as we brainstormed ideas for this series and all I can say afterwards is that it is going to be a powerful series in the life of our church
  • Be sure to check out my Music Monday this Monday as I share the must have Christmas music this year
  • If you are as big of a fan of Christmas music as I am, you don’t want to miss it
  • In case you missed this story this week, here is a story of what God did in the life of one family through taking the 90 day giving challenge
  • Love how God proves himself true to his word
  • Had dinner tonight with some first time guests to Revolution, always blown away by how people find Revolution and what God is doing in people’s lives
  • Got to spend some time in Phoenix this past week and will spend some more time this week with some of the Acts 29 Pastors up there working on our leadership development plan for Revolution
  • So many good ideas about how to develop leaders at all levels, raise up pastors and church planters and how we will plant churches and sites out of Revolution
  • Going to get to hear Jeff Vanderstelt speak this week on the gospel, always challenging when he speaks
  • And I’m going to get to pick his brain over coffee, pretty excited to ask him about Soma and how they do things
  • Huge weekend in fantasy football, I’m fighting for the 1st place heading into the playoffs
  • And, tomorrow night is the biggest Steelers game of the year, the rivalry game against the Ravens
  • So, I need to get my sleep and be ready