Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • Ah Monday morning.
  • Pastor, if you got some criticism this morning like I did, just let it go.
  • Excited that this weekend is Memorial Day weekend.
  • I’m off from preaching this week.
  • So excited to have my leadership coach Brian Howard in town to preach.
  • He’s one of the smartest leaders I know and if you don’t already, you should check out his blog.
  • We’re going to take a break from our Galatians series this week and he’s going to talk about reconciling relationships from the book of Philemon.
  • Speaking of Galatians, it was awesome yesterday preaching on Galatians 2 and the topic of justification by faith.
  • Such a huge topic and so crucial to Christianity.
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here.
  • So awesome getting to meet so many first time guests yesterday.
  • After 2 years of working on the project, I signed my first book deal this past week.
  • So excited for the road ahead and to get the book out.
  • I started training with a fitness coach that is being hugely helpful for my mobility.
  • Of all the areas I’m weak when it comes to working out, it’s mobility.
  • If you don’t have coaches in your life to help you grow in your weaknesses, you will never reach your potential.
  • I finally finished the book What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done.
  • I’ll post a review this week, but in short, if you are looking for a book on productivity, this is one of the best ones out there.
  • Christian or not.
  • Really helpful.
  • Over the next 2 months we will have some up and coming leaders in our church preaching.
  • So excited about who God has put at our church and the gifts they possess.
  • I’m also really excited about my summer preaching break.
  • It’s a blessing to me, my family and to our church in so many ways.
  • Time to get back to it…
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5 Ways to Live When You’re Tired

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It’s the week after Easter. As a pastor, you are tired. Mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally and relationally.

There’s a good chance that you have been preaching almost every week since January 1st. The summer isn’t here yet, so you know it will be a little bit longer before you get a week off of preaching.

The problem is this: you have very little left to give mentally, physically, emotionally, relationally, but most of all, spiritually. 

In light of this reality, let me give you ___ ideas to finish the ministry year strong.

  1. Take care of your soul. Pastors spend so much time helping others that we often fail to help ourselves and care for ourselves. Read something soul stirring, something that challenges you and has nothing to do with leadership or your upcoming sermons. Read something just for you. Over the Easter weekend, I read John Ortberg’s new book Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You. Sometimes I read something from John Piper or  Charles Spurgeon. One of my favorite’s for this is Mondays with My Old Pastor: Sometimes All We Need Is a Reminder from Someone Who Has Walked Before Us.
  2. Take your day off. This can be hard to do after Easter. There are people to follow up with, new believers to disciple, people who need to get connected on a serving team or in community. There is a lot to do. You also have volunteers who are tired and sometimes, because you are so tired (and your spouse is tired) you are both on edge and not being at home helps to keep the peace and is easier on things. Don’t fall for that trap. Deal with the issues that come up at home, deal with the heart issues of delegating things. Know that you have all the time you need to accomplish all you want to accomplish. Notice I didn’t say, “all you need to accomplish.” You have time for your day off and accomplishing everything else, you just need to plan better.
  3. Plan your vacation well. You should be taking some time off this summer and when you do, don’t make the mistake of just showing up for vacation and hoping you relax. You need to plan it. How much relaxing are you going to do? I would challenge you to not take phone calls, look at emails, twitter, instagram or facebook. When we go on vacation I hand my phone to Katie, she changes all my passwords for email and social media and then we leave. It is great. I am able to engage with my family fully. Also, what are you going to read on vacation? I’ve said before that pastors need to read more fiction to let their brains take a break. Last year I read all of Daniel Silva’s books and this year I’m working through a series by Vince Flynn.
  4. Be prepared for your vacation. I usually try to take a retreat overnight before vacation. For this reason, I find that the first 2-3 days of vacation and my summer preaching break I am on edge, I have a hard time letting go of ministry, what has happened and engaging with my family. I try to get away for a night, spend time in silence, reading my bible, journaling through the past year, confessing sin, listening to the Holy Spirit about my heart. This is a time that is not sermon or vision focused, it is about my heart. By doing this, I am able to let go of many things that have weighed me down so I can engage with my family and truly rest in the summer.
  5. Spend time with friends or doing something you enjoy. Because of how busy the spring is for ministry, activities, and dealing with sickness, you have probably not spent a lot of time with friends or done the activities you enjoy. Maybe it has been too cold to get outside where you live and you feel it. Take some time for this. Call up those friends and make dinner plans. Set time aside for a hike, gardening, a bike ride or whatever you love that you haven’t been doing.

One of the reasons many people burn out is we don’t think through or work hard at rest and recharging. I think it takes more work to rest than it does to do anything else. We have to focus on it, engage it and let go of other things for it to happen. Rest, recharging, will not just happen. We will not just stumble into it. If you are a pastor, the fall that is coming up is too important for you to limp into it because you failed to make the most of your summer. Don’t make that mistake.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump… [Afternoon Edition]

mind dump

  • Just now getting this up.
  • I spent all day working on my computer as it decided to not work this morning.
  • Which now puts me about 7 hours behind schedule on Easter week.
  • Not cool.
  • As Katie and I often say, “I’m practicing sovereignty.”
  • Got to spend some extra time praying today and being reminded that God is in control of all this.
  • I continue to be overwhelmed by God’s grace to Revolution Church.
  • We continue to grow every week.
  • I looked out yesterday and thought, “Where did all these people come from?”
  • This week, we are going to put out every chair we have available.
  • Praying we run out.
  • Wrapped up our All In series yesterday and taught on the great commission and how Revolution does church.
  • I think most people want to know that their church has thought through why they do things.
  • Anyone who told me yesterday they don’t like something about Revolution, they followed by saying, “But it makes sense why we do what we do.”
  • I love talking about the vision of Revolution.
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here.
  • Blown away by all the people praying for Revolution Church this week and for other churches in our city.
  • Praying that it causes people to see their prayer lives go to new levels.
  • After so many weeks doing topical sermons, I’m so excited to kick off our series on Galatians on Sunday.
  • Expository preaching definitely is our bread and butter.
  • We’re also celebrating baptisms on Sunday.
  • Not to late to sign up if you want to take that step (you can do so here).
  • Spent the weekend reading the new book Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and Churches.
  • So many great things for pastors to think through and how to protect their church from drifting.
  • Yesterday was Judah’s birthday.
  • Hard to believe we only celebrated his first birthday with us.
  • It was super fun and he was totally overwhelmed.
  • Hope he felt our love in it.
  • I’m also going to write his birthday letter this week.
  • Lots of emotions in that.
  • If you haven’t made plans yet, make plans to join us at Revolution on Good Friday for The Stations of the Cross.
  • It is powerful.
  • We’re doing a Seder this Thursday with our MC.
  • Expecting to be stretched as an MC.
  • I haven’t done one since I was in Jerusalem 14 years ago.
  • Also excited to go see Captain America this week with the guys from my MC.
  • Definitely needed this week.
  • I’m behind, so back to it…
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When Romances Flops

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Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and countless couples went out for a night of fun and time together.

The reality though is that for many couples, the night did not go how they planned. Maybe the food wasn’t good, the conversation didn’t flow, they didn’t connect or worse, they had a fight.

Maybe sex was less than amazing.

 

If you do date night enough, you will eventually fight on it or it will not go according to your plan.

You can get angry.

Swear off date nights.

Yell at someone.

Or, you can try again.

Know that no matter what went wrong last night, you can move forward.

Maybe you couldn’t think of anything to say, you said the wrong thing, sex was not what you hoped it would be.

That’s okay.

Life does not end because of one bad date night.

On the flipside of that, when date night does go wrong, that is a great opportunity to take inventory of your marriage and determine if something is going on underneath the surface of your marriage that caused it to go wrong.

You could also try again tonight, except do date night at home and see how it goes.

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9 Reasons to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Every Week

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Recently, I was with a group of women and they were talking excitedly about going out for Valentine’s Day. When they asked me what Josh and I were doing, and I said we weren’t doing anything special that day because we don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day.

They all looked at me with a look that said, “Poor thing.”

The reality for us is that we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14th because 7 years ago, we began having a weekly date night, so Valentine’s day is less important to us.

As a funny way to answer the question, Josh and I came up 9 reasons we don’t celebrate it and instead celebrate it every week with a date night (some are his and some are mine).

Here you go:

Vomit. Someone is bound to throw up (ie. our daughter last night) and ruin your plans.

Action. You will get more action if you celebrate Valentine’s day every week instead of once a year. Scientifically proven fact.

Little planning. Valentine’s day takes little planning. Roses, a card someone else wrote that you signed. Plan ahead and have a great date night.

Expensive. Everything is more expensive on Valentine’s Day. Everything.

Not enough. Celebrating valentine’s day, having a date night once a month or three times a year is not enough for your marriage.

T & A. You will get more of this with a weekly date night.

Irresistible. You will be irresistible to your spouse with a weekly date night. Also, find out what scent they like and wear that.

Never let your underwear drawer go more than a year without updating, keep it interesting (that’s just free advice and has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day but we needed another letter).

Everyone else is out on Valentine’s day. Plan a weekly date night and avoid the crowd.

So what do you do for a weekly date night? It doesn’t even have to be expensive. Here are some of our rules for date night and some ideas on how to do date night at home.

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History of Break-Up Songs

In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, here is the history of break-up songs (yes, they bleep out some words, but it’s still funny):

(HT: 22 Words)

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • So glad to be back on a normal rhythm and schedule
  • The last 2 weeks of holidays, family time, not preaching has been wonderful
  • But I crave routine and schedule
  • The last 2 weeks at Revolution for our Breathing Room series have been awesome
  • I have loved the responses so far
  • I’m pumped about preaching on how to find breathing room in our finances this week
  • This has definitely been a big part of my journey of faith and trusting God
  • Bottom line: how you handle your finances tells everyone the state of your heart and faith in God
  • Everything
  • Katie and I have been talking through the next 6 months of our lives, spring is easily the busiest season I experience
  • At the end of January and beginning of February, Katie and I are doing a 2 week series on relationships at the U of A
  • Should be fun interacting with college students on how to be romantic and friendly
  • Then we’re speaking at MOPS on how to fight well with your husband
  • Super excited about that
  • Then, we’re teaching together for 7 weeks at Revolution as we do our woman series Beautiful and our man series Fight
  • The spring is going to be unlike anything we’ve ever had at Revolution
  • That’s not overselling
  • That’s the truth
  • Over the holidays, Katie and I went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  • Such a great film
  • The cinematography was incredible
  • At the end, all I could think of was how much I wanted to go to Iceland and Asia
  • Breathing room in finances right?
  • For me, I want to travel, that’s what Breathing Room would give me in the future
  • Great weekend for football this past weekend
  • Since the Steelers are out, I root for good games
  • And thankfully the Bengals got knocked out
  • I got my tattoo finished this past Friday
  • If you’re curious about it, you can see some pictures that Katie took here
  • I’ve wanted a sleeve since I was 15
  • But I’m glad I waited
  • Time to get back it

Putting the Pieces of Your Life Back Together

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When we get to the end of the year, it can feel like a blur. 

The parties, shopping, exchanging gifts, getting everything done in hopes of taking some time off. Then, you look back on your year. Did you do anything worthwhile?

You may feel a sense of loss or pain for how the year went. You wonder where the year went. You hope that 2014 will be better but are unsure how. 

What do you do with that hurt that won’t go away no matter what you do? What do you do with that dream that never seems to happen? How do you handle your life falling apart while everyone else seemingly gets an easy path?

Does God love you less?

As we wrap up our series Made for Glory we will look at John 21 and see how Jesus sees us. We often talk about how we see God, what we think about God, but we rarely talk about how Jesus sees us and what that truth means for us. 

If you or someone you know struggles with feeling and knowing God’s love, seeing how God can put their life back together or how they can move out of the mess they are in, this is a great week to be at Revolution.

Don’t forget:

  • We are in the middle of our Christmas offering and this year we are using it to fight sex trafficking and plant churches in our city.  Click here to get more information and to give to it.
  • Mark your calendar for December 29th as we kick off a brand new series called Breathing Room. We’ll look at how to find margin and breathing room in our finances, work, schedule, pace and choices we make to find sustainable life.

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

Questions to Ask to Review 2013

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I’m reading The Catalyst Leader by Brad Lomenick and he has some great questions in it to review your year. As we are getting closer to the end of the year, I thought I’d share them with you.

Year End Review Questions:

1. What are the 2-3 themes that personally defined 2012 for me?

2. What people, books, accomplishments, or special moments created highlights in 2012?

3. Give yourself a grade from 1-10 in the following areas of focus for 2012: vocationally, spiritually, family, relationally, emotionally, financially, physically, recreationally.

4. What am i working on that is BIG for 2013 and beyond?

5. As I move into 2013, is a majority of my energy being spent on things that drain me or things that energize me?

6. How am I preparing for 10 years from now? 20 years from now?

7. What 2-3 things have I been putting off that I need to execute on before the end of the year?

8. Is my family closer at the end of this year? Am I a better friend at the end of this year? If not, what needs to change immediately?

If this is something that is a struggle for you, this book: The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months is a great place to start. 

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Things I’m Thankful For

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Tomorrow is thanksgiving and then Black Friday and then Christmas will be here. In the midst of the holidays, it is easy to fly through them and miss what matters most. I thought I’d take a minute to share some things I am thankful for this year.

  1. My wife. It is hard to believe that Katie and I have celebrated 18 thanksgivings together from marriage and dating. It never gets old. Everyday I am blown away by her patience with me and our kids, the determination she shows in teaching them and her growth in godliness. She wakes up while it is dark out just to read her bible and pray for me and our kids and other needs. Her generosity challenges me everyday. She opens our home up to people, makes them feel welcomed and loved whenever they are here. I love being with her, watching her grow and do things and seeing how God uses her.
  2. My kids. It is hard to believe that I have 5 kids. While transitioning 2 new kids in the last 2 years into our family via adoption has had its challenges, the joys have far outweighed those challenges. Each night as we sit around the table as a family I’m blown away the noise our family can make. I’m also wondering what impact our kids will make in the world. God brought each child into our family for a reason, given us 18 years to train them and disciple them into adults who love Jesus and I can’t wait to see what they do with that. It is humbling and an overwhelming task.
  3. My church. Revolution Church celebrated 5 years this past September. Many churches don’t make it past year one. The things God has brought us through have prepared us for what is ahead. Today, we are stronger than ever before. Our staff and leaders are more talented, gifted and passionate than ever before. Our staff and elders are stronger as a team than we’ve ever been. We are healthier, financially stronger than ever and on track to plant Revolution Church Midtown next year.
  4. God’s protection in our lives and church. While difficulties come every year and I’ve grown to expect them in life, it is amazing to see how God protected us as well. Friends have moved out of our lives, people have left Revolution and those always hurt, no matter what. They are also reminders of God’s protection and his perfect timing. Looking back, I’m able to see how God moved in the perfect way. He brought Judah into our family at the right time.
  5. The Steelers play on Thanksgiving night. While I’m not sure they’ll win, the fact that they will play is a great way to end the day.
  6. My parents living close. My dad is one of my best friends and I love my mom. It was hard living apart from them for so many years and it is awesome having them less than a mile from our house. I love watching the relationship they have with our kids.
  7. Time off. Many pastors either don’t take time off because of ego or because their church won’t let them. I love that I have some down time this weekend and have a great friend preaching for me (seriously, he is really good and you don’t want to miss it). Thanksgiving also means it’s almost Christmas which is a little bit more time to catch my breath and enjoy my family.
  8. Homeschooling. This has become a serious blessing to our family. I don’t talk about it that much because what we do for our family works for our family and I don’t believe homeschooling is the only way to educate your kids. It works for us, our rhythm, allows to be together more and be on mission more strategically as a family. This past year has been a real blessing for that.
  9. Life changing books. Every year I read a ton of books and I’m on pace to reach my goal of 75 this year. I read 3 life changing books this year: Start with Why (the best leadership book I’ve ever read), A Praying Lifeand In Search of Deep FaithIf you want a book to read this month, pick one of those.
  10. A full house. Tomorrow, we will have a full house of family and friends. It never gets old having people into our house to enjoy a good meal. One of the things we want is to use our house to be open to people, to be hospitable. I love how our kids get this vision and ask who is coming over and how excited they get when people are here. A house is a gift from God and is meant to show people his love and grace. I’m hopeful that will happen tomorrow.

What are you thankful for this year?