Monday Morning Mind Dump… [Late Edition]

mind dump

  • It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted my mind dump.
  • A lot has happened in that time.
  • Hence, the late edition.
  • We spent one week on vacation in San Diego and last week Katie and I were in Florida for the Acts 29 pastor’s retreat.
  • While it was nice traveling, it was nice coming home.
  • There are a ton of things happening for me right now: finishing up the rough draft of my book (which is due August 1), hiring 2 staff members at Revolution, planning our fall sermon series (Multiply on 1 Timothy and Waiting on God on Habakkuk), working behind the scenes to improve our systems of MC’s and elders as Revolution continues to grow.
  • All good and fun things.
  • I was reminded today why every pastor needs a coach after I talked with mine.
  • Having someone who can help you crystalize what you are thinking, give you pushback to improve something is so helpful for a pastor.
  • Doing the wedding of a couple in our MC this Friday.
  • Always love being a part of weddings.
  • The only problem with weddings in Tucson is everyone gets married an hour away from me on the NW side of the city.
  • The timing of the Acts 29 retreat could not have been more helpful for me.
  • This summer is all about how do we continue to grow as a church and stay healthy (or get healthier in certain areas) to shepherd and care for everyone God sends us.
  • Honestly, this is the most excited I have ever been about Revolution.
  • It is also causing me to dive deeper and deeper into prayer which is a good thing.
  • In some ways I feel like I did when we planted the church almost 6 years ago.

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Help Me Write my Exponential Talk

book

I’m speaking at Exponential East in a couple weeks on the topic: Transitioning your church from small groups to missional communities

The goal of my talk is to share the story of Revolution and our transition and help churches understand:

  1. Why they should transition from small groups to missional communities.
  2. How to make this transition (or any leadership transition).
  3. What are the steps in this transition that must be made.
  4. And help them have a plan on what to expect personally from this transition.

If you were sitting in this seminar or have questions about it, what would they be? If you’ve made this transition or are in this transition, what would you tell leaders thinking about making this transition?

Leave me a comment here, on twitter or facebook or shoot me an email. I’d love your feedback.

 

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You’re One Choice Away from Wrecking Your Life

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Last night I watched on twitter as the news of Pastor Isaac Hunter became public. He was a megachurch pastor in Florida who resigned because of an affair and on Tuesday night, tragically took his own life.

I was immediately filled with sadness for this man, his family and his church. I’ve never met him, but I can’t imagine the pain they are going through. How do you adequately explain this to a church? How do you help people struggling with faith who see their leader take this path? How do you help his kids understand why he cheated? Why he killed himself? How do you console his wife in the midst of the affair and now a suicide? For his parents, having to bury a child, something no parent should endure.

Here’s why this hit home for me:

  • Isaac was 36. I’m 34.
  • Isaac had 3 kids. I have 5.
  • Isaac was a pastor. I’m a pastor.

Many people will get up on their high horses in this situation, questioning his character and salvation and faith. The reality is, we are all like Isaac. We are all one choice away from wrecking our lives. 

Every moment, we are one step away from ruining our marriages, career, calling and reputation.

I remember a few years ago when the story was of Gary Lamb and his situation. I sat there with Katie and we talked about how to make our boundaries stronger in our marriage.

Don’t get on your high horse. Situations like this should bring tears and humility. They should cause us to stop and imagine what happens if we make that dreadful choice and wreck our lives.

I’m always amazed at professional athletes and their willingness to try and cheat with PED’s, get caught and lose millions. They are playing with fire. So are many others in smaller ways, but in equally damaging ways.

Remember, you are one choice away from wrecking your life. 

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An Inciting Incident (The Thing that Kicked Your Life into Gear)

Last night was our Christmas Eve service. One of the things I talked about came from the book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller where talks about what he calls “An inciting incident.” An inciting incident is something that happens in a story to change a character. The inciting incident is how a writer gets a character to do something.

If our lives are stories (as Miller points out in his book) and God is the author of our stories than all of us have inciditing incidents that happen to us. Moments in our lives that change the trajectory of our lives forever. Things that happen to push us forward, to jump of a cliff and take a chance, things that make us get up and do something.

For me, my inciting incident happened in 2007. It happened between a church in Wisconsin and church in Florida that propelled us to Arizona. Without those two churches (both really bad experiences) I don’t know if we would have moved to Arizona and started Revolution.

At the time of an inciting incident, it is often uncomfortable, painful and something you wish would end. If it wasn’t like this, it would not create any change in your life.

For us, we were on staff at a good church but we weren’t happy. We knew that there was more for us to do, that God had a different place for us. It was uncomfortable, hard to keep going and we wanted to throw in the towel. When we explored this with other leaders at the church, it led to an uncomfortable exit. Looking back, I understand why it happened and it was the right thing, but at the time, it was horrible.

Because of the way things happened, it caused a lot of pain and depression for me. I didn’t even want to attend church, let alone work at one. It caused a lot of pain for our marriage as now we were looking for new jobs. The worst part about a bad leaving at a church is the pain it causes. Christians have a way of hurting each other in pretty horrible ways. But that is a different post.

Looking back though, we would not be in Arizona without this experience. We also would not have had the energy and courage to get Revolution off the ground, as well as the stamina to do what needed to be done without this. It caused us to look at our lives, what we believed about God, our calling and how it all fit together. When things got hard when planting Revolution (and church planters, it will get hard), we were able to look back on the time leading up to that moment and know, life could be harder.

Last night, we closed out the sermon on the mount by looking at Matthew 7:24 – 29. Jesus talks about two men. One of them builds his house on the rock and the other builds his house on the sand. What is interesting and what you won’t hear in most churches is that both men got pelted by the same storm. Just because the one guy built his house on the rock does not mean he got out of the storm. He still went through the storm, just like the guy who built his house on the sand. The difference is only one got through it.

We can say til we are blue in the face that we believe in Jesus, but a storm reveals what we believe. Storms and pain have a way of revealing what is really in our hearts. Inciting incidents have a way of revealing who we are and what we are all about.

2 Years Ago Today

It is crazy to think that 2 years ago today we arrived in Tucson.

It has been a journey that we did not expect and one I’m not sure we would have signed up for if we knew how it would go, but one that I would not trade for anything else.

The last 2 years:

  • We have seen God move in ways that we have only dreamed of
  • Our daughter is almost 4
  • Gavin was born here
  • Ashton will be here any day
  • We have gained so many friends and lost some (this has been the hardest part)
  • We bought our first house
  • We sold a church building
  • Went through a massive transition which led to the birth of Revolution church
  • We have watched God grow Revolution from 20 to 80 in 5 months!
  • I have lost 65 pounds since moving here
  • I did my first wedding
  • And my first funeral

So, a lot.

One of the things I do periodically is go back on my calendar and see what I was doing a year ago, 2 or 3 years ago that day. It is such a great reminder of what God has done, how he has moved, what he has brought me through, what he has taught me.

What I’ve learned:

  • I have thicker skin than when I moved here
  • I am more and more passionate about making it hard to get to hell from Tucson
  • I am preaching every sermon like it is my last, holding nothing back
  • The responsibility of being a lead pastor is overwhelming, one that I don’t take lightly
  • It keeps me awake at night as I think about what God thinks of my leadership and the idea of being held accountable for Revolution. One leader said, “being held accountable to God scares me more than what anyone else thinks of my leadership.” So true
  • I am more committed to the mission of Revolution than ever before, my leadership mantra is “the mission wins”
  • Who you put around you makes you who you are, I have learned this the hard way
  • God cares more about Revolution than I ever will
  • There really are only 2 or 3 things I am good at when it comes to what I do at Revolution
  • God has sent leader after leader, and person after person at just the right time to Revolution
  • God really does know what is going on, he is not surprised
  • The sovereignty of God is the greatest comfort to following God
  • I am pastoring a church that I would attend

The last 2 years in some ways have been a blur and in others have drug on. There have been incredible highs and unbelievable lows. But from where I stand sit right now, the view looks great.