Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • 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… [Lunch Edition]

mind dump

  • Hard to believe it is Thanksgiving week already
  • Things are pretty exciting for the kids and the prospect of putting up our decorations and tree soon
  • Judah will have no idea what is going on, so that should make it exciting
  • I’m sure we’ll spend the next month picking up ornaments all over the house
  • Yesterday was incredible at Revolution
  • I am blown away by the relevance of preaching long series through books of the bible
  • We’ve spent the last 2 weeks in John 17 looking at prayer through the prayer of Jesus and the response has been overwhelming
  • Yesterday, I talked about what prayer changes and tried to answer the question of when we pray, what happens, what changes because of our prayers
  • I had more comments from people about the sermon than I can remember in a long time
  • And, I got to pray with a lot people walking through bitterness and cynicism yesterday
  • If you missed either week, you can listen to them here
  • We got to have the Principal of Magee with us yesterday to talk about how we are partnering with the school on a food & pajama drive this Christmas
  • Love how we can partner with them
  • And we talked about how we are using our Christmas offering which kicked off a few weeks ago
  • We are hoping to reach our goal of $10,000 to bless others and move the gospel forward in our city
  • We want to plant more churches, fight sex trafficking in our city and nation, and bless the school that we meet in
  • Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve read two incredible books that I would highly recommend you read over the coming weeks
  • One was A Praying Lifethat I got a lot of ideas from for my sermons on prayer
  • The other is In Search of Deep Faith, which has been incredibly challenging and encouraging to my faith as I think about how best to stay connected to a faith that is alive and rooted in Jesus instead of feelings and wants
  • One of the traditions I love about Thanksgiving is that we grill our turkey
  • It is the only way to do it, so much better than deep frying it
  • Also, this year my Steelers play thanksgiving night against the dirty birds
  • We better win as we actually have a shot at the playoffs
  • Who would’ve thought after an 0-4 start
  • I’ll share this week some of the things I’m thankful for
  • I’d encourage you to write those things down, it is a great practice to give some perspective to your life and remind you of all that you have
  • I’m also excited about having some downtime and relaxing this week

Shouting So They’ll Listen

book

In his new book, A Call to ResurgenceMark Driscoll shares some eye opening stats about our culture:

  • 88% believe Jesus existed.
  • 78% believe God exists.
  • 73% believe in evolution.
  • 71% believe in karma.
  • 68% believe in heaven and hell.
  • 67% believe spirituality exists in nature.
  • 65% believe in angels and demons.
  • 59% believe Jesus rose from the dead.
  • 53% believe in the devil.
  • 46% believe in extraterrestrials, aliens, or UFO’s.

This is the culture we live in, work in, play in, and pastors, this is the culture you preach to each week.

So how do Christians tend to communicate to this culture? By shouting.

We don’t necessarily walk up to people and start screaming, although, I’ve seen people with signs stand on a corner and shout at people.

Have you ever seen someone try to communicate to someone with a language barrier? Americans when they encounter someone who doesn’t speak English, they talk louder. As we’ve brought Judah into our home from Ethiopia, we have a language barrier to overcome as he speaks little English and we speak very little of his language. Our boys, in an effort to get him to play with them or do something, simply talk louder if he doesn’t respond.

That’s what Christians do.

We don’t change what we are saying, we simply say the same things only louder and with more force.

Yes, but the message doesn’t change.

That is true. The gospel is the same. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. We never stop talking about the glorious news of Jesus’ sinless life, our brokenness and need for a Savior and how Jesus met that need by dying in our place and rising from the dead and sending us the Holy Spirit. We never stop talking about that.

But, we can change how we talk about that.

Instead of shouting, find common ground, a common language. Answer questions and needs that people have.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump… [Afternoon Edition]

mind dump

  • It has been a busy few weeks in our house
  • Today is day 9 of having Judah home
  • Still hard to believe that he is here and that our long journey is almost done
  • We’ve been blown away by how helpful everyone has been
  • Especially in bringing meals
  • If you’d like to do that, here’s a link to sign up
  • If you’re curious how things are going or how you can support and help us now that he is home, read this
  • Yesterday was a long day for me
  • Had church in the morning, which was awesome
  • Blown away by all that is in the gospel of John as we’ve preached through it
  • It is one thing reading through a book as you prepare to preach compared to preaching through it
  • Love how things line up and are relevant to my life and the rest of my church
  • If you missed yesterday as I talked about how God grows us through our pain, you can listen to it here
  • Last night, I performed a wedding for some good friends from Revolution
  • Love being a part of weddings
  • It was also Judah’s first big excursion and he did awesome
  • He loved all the lights and decorations they had up for the evening wedding
  • So much fun to sit, talk and laugh with good friends at the reception
  • I started a new workout program last week
  • I’m taking a break from the typical crossfit workouts and trying a 10 week strength program
  • Pretty excited to see how it goes as the results are supposed to be insane
  • I got through week 1 last week and needless to say, it was brutal
  • Pretty excited that this week is halloween
  • Why?
  • It’s one of the best weeks of the year to be on mission
  • For the only night of the year, your entire neighborhood will be outside, walking around and stopping at your house
  • What an opportunity
  • Here’s how you can capitalize on it
  • I’ve been working my way through Mark Driscoll’s new book
  • Tons of great content for leaders
  • Personally, I’m saddened by how he has handled himself in recent weeks, really undermines his message of unity he tries to put forth in the book
  • Look for a review soon
  • A mind dump wouldn’t be complete without mentioning my Steelers
  • Blown away how bad we are
  • Wow

A Mother’s Heart (From a Husband’s Perspective)

If men are honest, we’d like to understand our wives, we try to, but we are often left scratching our heads as to what they need, what they want and what they are trying to say. While men love to stay in the world of logic and avoid emotions at all cost, women stay right at home in emotions. For men, it rarely makes sense and if you ask women, they will tell you it doesn’t have to make sense.

Over the last month, as we’ve shared with people what is happening in our adoption, waiting to bring Judah Mamush home it has been hard to describe the agony of what it feels like. I told one guy that we’ve discussed putting Katie on a plane so she can go to Ethiopia to be with Judah Mamush until he passes embassy and he said, “Josh, you need to stop trying to control things.” I said the same thing to a couple of Mom’s and they all looked they were going to cry.

While the last month has been hard for me, it has been different for Katie. In that time, I’ve learned a lot about my wife and the heart of a mother that hopefully will be helpful to other men (whether they have kids or not).

Here they are:

  • A mother feels differently than a father. While this is true of men and women in general as I said earlier, when it comes to parenting it is even more true. A mother feels the loss of something different than a father does. I miss Judah. I can’t wait for him to be here, to play soccer with him, teach him to ride a bike, to do things with him. Katie longs to hold him, to snuggle him, hug him and tell him that he is loved. To give him a feeling he has not had in his life, a feeling of safety, of belonging.
  • Be honest with your wife about your heart. While men often get labeled as callous or insensitive because we don’t cry or feel the way a woman does, it is important to be honest with your wife about your heart. A wife always wants to know what you are feeling, what is running through your head and heart. When we left Judah Mamush on our last day in Ethiopia, he was on the ground screaming and crying because he didn’t know if we were coming back, he only knew we were leaving. He doesn’t speak English so we couldn’t say, “We’re coming back.” Katie is on the verge of losing it and I did everything in my power to pick him up and not cry. I couldn’t even talk or else I would’ve cried. I am almost crying retelling this story. As we left and over the last month, it has been important to my wife’s heart to know of my heart, to know how it hurts, to know my longing as a father for my son. To not be the man and just bottle it up and with tough upper lip. That’s why a wife thinks her husband is insensitive, because he holds back. 
  • Distance is easier for men to handle. Men can handle distance in relationships because of how we handle emotions. We are able to compartmentalize things, get busy and forget about things because we are laser focused and don’t multi-task our emotions. I can go a whole day and not think about something that Katie has thought about all day while doing 15 other things. This can create a sense for women that their husbands don’t care or don’t feel. That isn’t it at all, it is just that we push it to the back of our minds so that we can do other things. If I thought about Judah the way Katie did, I would never get any work done. She can think of him, teach our kids, have coffee with someone, make dinner and still think of Judah and post something on Facebook that isn’t related to Judah.
  • Hold a woman when she cries, don’t ask questions. This has been one of our rules in marriage from day one. Katie has told me, “When I cry, just hold me and don’t ask why.” This is just solid advice for a husband, but even more so in the moments of parenting when you as the father can’t fix a situation or do anything about it. I can’t make the Ethiopian embassy go faster or look at our paperwork. I can’t send Katie on a plane to Ethiopia to bring Judah home any faster than it is going and that is frustrating.
  • A mother’s heart is a mystery. While I’ve learned some things, a mother’s heart is a mystery to me and will remain so. It feels and responds in ways I can’t even imagine. It longs in ways that I don’t. It aches in ways that don’t even cross my mind. It is a mystery, and yet, as a father and husband I am grateful for it. It forces me to feel in important ways. I can easily be tough and not emotional, but walking with Katie through this time, meeting Judah and holding him and then the agony of having to say goodbye to him has taught me a lot about being a father and the love God has for me.

My hope with this post was to honor my wife and the beauty and power of her heart as a mother. But to also help men know how to best honor, love, care for and support their wives and the hearts that beat in them. To encourage them to be a mystery, to have emotion and to handle things differently from men.

How we Spent our Time in Ethiopia with our Son

This gallery contains 23 photos.

Many of you have asked what our time with our son was like while we were in Ethiopia. In 2 words: too short, but in actuality we spent everyday with him at the transition home, usually twice a day for … Continue reading