Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • Yesterday was such a great day for me and at Revolution
  • After 3 weeks off from preaching (2 that were planned and 1 that wasn’t), I got to preach
  • I love that part of my job and miss it when I don’t do it
  • I wrapped up our series Breathing Room with a very personal sermon on how to balance work, life and relationships
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here 
  • So excited though for what is next for our church
  • My wife Katie and I will be teaching the next 3 weeks together as we kick off our series Beautiful
  • The more I read on women and body image, the sadder I get because it is so far away from what Scripture says about women
  • Body image, modesty, thinking rightly of yourself and those around you, treating each person correctly is something men and women struggle with
  • Yet, the truth of how we are to live in this area is laid out in the very first verse about men and women in the Bible
  • In fact, it is one of the most used and quoted bible verse, it is one that most people know and yet very few actually believe
  • After we finish Beautiful we will kick off a 4 week series called Fight
  • So excited to talk about manhood for 4 weeks
  • I get to do a wedding this Friday night
  • Love being a part of the beginning of a couple’s life together
  • The party of the reception isn’t a bad thing either
  • Started reading Simon Sinek’s new book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, really good
  • I loved his first book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
  • His new one is a little slower than his first one, but then his first one was pretty ground breaking
  • Still a good one though
  • I realize that doesn’t sound like a great recommendation
  • Just finished working with an editor to finish up my book proposal
  • This has been a long 2 year process to reach one of my life goals
  • We’ll know soon enough if it is going anywhere
  • Say a prayer for Revolution as we kick off Beautiful on Sunday
  • I believe these next 3 weeks have the potential to be incredibly freeing to a lot of women (and men)
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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • The weekend that was my weekend was crazy
  • Definitely a reminder that you have no idea what a day or weekend can hold and how one moment can change everything
  • Saturday afternoon, the kids were playing in their rooms and all of a sudden I hear crying, Gavin walks out and says his arm hurts
  • It should’ve hurt since he broke it
  • Thankfully his adrenaline kicked in so there wasn’t any blood curdling scream
  • We hopped into action, got him the emergency room, spent all night at the hospital as he had surgery around 8pm
  • Needless to say, right now feels like I am sleep walking through life
  • Just a draining weekend on all accounts
  • Because of this, I ended up not preaching
  • The timing is totally God’s providence as we are using a series from North Point and had the ability to simply show the next sermon by Andy Stanley in the series
  • I’ll be honest, I was torn
  • It’s something all men feel
  • I told one of our elders who was with us Saturday night at the hospital, “The irony of feeling torn between working (preaching on Sunday) and being with my family is what my sermon is about this coming Sunday.”
  • He told me it would make a great illustration
  • If you missed yesterday as we looked at how to find Breathing Room in your finances, I’d encourage you to listen to it here
  • We are also kicking off a brand new series in 2 weeks called Beautiful
  • This is the first time geared towards women
  • Super excited about the content Katie and I will be sharing, but also some of the creative stuff we’ll be doing for it
  • Before the craziness, Katie and I got to have an awesome date night on Friday night
  • We went to Time Market to spend some tim reading, drinking coffee and hanging out
  • Such a cool place
  • While sitting with Gavin in the hospital, we got to watch some good football
  • The nurses were stunned at how much he knew about football
  • They even gave him a football to hold
  • Might be an obsession we share
  • Speaking of that, thankful for the teams that won yesterday because I think there will be some killer games next weekend
  • Shaping up to be a good super bowl
  • Started reading Simon Sinek’s new book Leaders Eat Last last week
  • So far so good
  • His last book was incredible
  • Well, off to start a normal week and (hopefully) preach this coming Sunday
  • Say a prayer for me and my family if you think of it
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Control Your Own Destiny

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Yesterday was week 17 of a thrilling NFL season. As a Steelers fan, I could hardly believe that we still had a shot at the playoffs after starting 0-4. While it was disappointing we didn’t get in, and one of my sons did cry about it, but it got me thinking: football is easier when you control your own destiny. 

The same is true in life.

It is easier when you control your own destiny. 

Yet, so many people don’t.

Here’s what I mean.

We allow others to dictate what is important to us. What we spend our money on. What things our kids sign up for. Where we vacation. If we exercise or not or have an overall healthy lifestyle. Others dictate how we run our calendars, work habits, and even emotions.

For many people, very little of what they do is what they want to do.

Which leaves them tired, burned out, stressed, lifeless and ultimately, playing catch up instead of walking into the playoffs of life.

Here are 4 things you can do to control your own destiny:

  1. Decide you will. This is the first step of anything. If you are struggling with an addiction, you have to identify it and decide this is the time to change. It is the same with your destiny. Make a conscious choice to control it and put things into place to keep this true in your life.
  2. Accountability and systems to make it happen. You may need to have a friend hold you accountable with this. You might need to put some systems into place. If you have kids, keep the activities they do at a time to one. Not 4, but one. Keep the extra things you do to one. Will this keep you or your kids from having a well rounded, experiential life? I’m not sure, but that isn’t the goal. Who cares if they play 5 sports or do dance, horseback riding, cello lessons and soccer. Oh, you care? Someone else cares for you? Then read point #3.
  3. Identify the fear, idol, or desire that causes you to give away your destiny. This drives so much of what we do. We talked about this yesterday at Revolution. The fear we will miss out or not matter drives so much of what we do and the choices we make with our calendar, money and lifestyle. Stop it. Identify that this is a lie and identify the truth. The person who is driving this in your life did not die on the cross for you and rise from the dead to set you free. Jesus did. If you have trusted in this, you are approved. Your destiny is set. Which leads to the last one.
  4. Trust that God’s destiny is better than what someone else can come up with for you. Approval in God is hard to believe sometimes. The idea that I am approved as a follower of Jesus because of his death and resurrection is hard to believe. I can’t be more approved in him. There isn’t some approval waiting around a corner that I haven’t experienced yet. Because of this, my destiny is set and secure. This is a daily practice of reminding myself of this. Believing my destiny is secure and it is better than what I could come up with or the person(s) driving me right now.

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Al Mohler on Must Christians believe in the virgin birth?

For some, the belief that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin is nothing less than evidence of intellectual dimness. One writer for the New York Times put the lament plainly: “The faith in the Virgin Birth reflects the way American Christianity is becoming less intellectual and more mystical over time.” Does belief in the virgin birth make Christians “less intellectual?” Are we saddled with an untenable doctrine? Can a true Christian deny the virgin birth, or is the doctrine an essential component of the Gospel revealed to us in Scripture?

The playoff scenario for my Pittsburgh Steelers.

So, you’re saying there’s a chance.

Aaron Earls on Make sure what you share on social media is true.

It can happen to any of us. It does happen to almost all of us. We see a story online that shocks us and seems just true enough. Normally, we check things out before we share them, but this is so unbelievable we need to get the news out as soon as possible. We post it on Facebook or retweet it. Before we know it, others have shared the story. Only then do we find out the truth – it was fake.

Mark Steyn on The age of intolerance.

Joseph Parker on An essential manly movie.

In creating the “essential manly movie” category, it is impossible to exclude Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. It stands as the quintessential Roman tale, its epic scale towering above that of other stories within the genre, namely The Eagle, King Arthur, and The Last Legion. All these were good (sort of), but Gladiator hit all major points of Roman culture while providing a story which highlighted the character of man torn apart by the politics of the age. So, this movie came out over eight years ago. What else can be said? Plenty and you can quote me on that.

Mike Myatt on 15 traits of great leaders.

While much has been written about the traits and characteristics that form great leaders, the truth is that leaders come in many different varieties…there is no one-size-fits-all formula for leadership. That said, all good leaders possess certain core qualities, and great leaders simply develop said core qualities to a higher level than their peers. Put simply, a leader’s shelf life will be equal to their ability to leverage their leadership traits through solid execution, and influencing their constituencies in alignment with the corporate vision with values.

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…

mind dump

  • 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…

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • What a great thanksgiving weekend
  • We had a packed house on Thursday of family and friends
  • Love hosting a big party like that
  • Even though my Steelers lost, they played hard
  • Can’t believe we lost 4 starters in 4 plays at the end of the game to injuries
  • What our season has been like
  • Yesterday was a great day at Revolution Church as we had my friend Jack Schull from Elements City Church come to preach
  • He did a great job
  • Love the relationships we are building with other churches and the unity among pastors that is started to grow in Tucson
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • I have been moved by the generosity I am seeing in our church during this season with our Christmas offering and our partnership with Magee middle school (where we meet)
  • If you haven’t given to our Christmas offering, you can do here 
  • We want to raise $10,000 to give away and fight sex trafficking in our city and plant churches and help bless Magee middle school
  • Read 2 incredible leadership books over the weekend: Leadership as an Identity and The Heart of Leadership
  • Excited to go and spend Wednesday with the other Acts 29 Pastors in Arizona
  • Love to be praying with them, sharpened by them and hear how God is moving in their churches
  • I’ve been reading John Stott’s book The Cross of Christ as I prepare to preach on the death of Jesus this week
  • Overwhelming when you consider all the angles of why Jesus died
  • And how I put Jesus on that cross and how clearly you can see my sin in the people who literally put Jesus on the cross in the gospels
  • We are not having a service on Christmas Eve this year
  • Instead, we will do a Christmas service on December 22nd about how to pick up the pieces of your year
  • You definitely don’t want to miss it as we wrap up the gospel of John that day
  • Not having a service on the 24th gives our volunteers a break and allows families to spend the time together
  • We will hand out materials to do the final advent reading as a family or individual on Dec. 22nd
  • On December 29th we are starting a brand new series that I am pumped about called Breathing Room
  • It is going to be an incredible 4 weeks as we talk about how to find breathing room in your life, schedule, work, money, with your family and health
  • Perfect way to start the new year
  • So many great things happening in the next month
  • Time to get at it

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?

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • Such a powerful day at Revolution yesterday
  • I talked about how God is able to turn our sorrow and pain into joy
  • We finished up the day singing this song, such a powerful moment
  • I am always blown away by how we plan our sermons so far in advance and yet, every week, they are so relevant to where our church is
  • Love how the Holy Spirit guides like that
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • Had a great early elder meeting today to finalize our 2014 budget
  • So excited about some of the things we are hoping to do in 2014
  • Lord willing, we will begin planting Revolution Church | Midtown in the fall of 2014, launching officially in January 2015
  • And then, planting our 3rd church by January 2016
  • Big prayers
  • It was really cool having AJ lead yesterday and be able to pray for those who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces
  • Having a current serviceman pray made that moment special
  • I’m preaching to the students of Arizona Christian University this week
  • Really excited to be on their campus and part of their chapel service
  • Not sure what I’m speaking on yet, adversity or prayer
  • Maybe a combination of the two
  • My Steelers finally showed up yesterday to win a game
  • Although, my fear is they will become the worst kind of football team, good enough to not make the playoffs but not bad enough to get a good draft pick
  • Yesterday, we had a newcomer’s lunch
  • Always love seeing how people find Revolution
  • Someone came because someone from our church had a good witness on their HOA website and discussion board
  • How cool is that
  • Been listening to 3 new songs from Elevation worship this morning
  • So good
  • Me and some guys from my MC are going to see the new Thor movie this week
  • Pretty excited for some guys time and a good movie with lots of action

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • Yesterday at Revolution was a special day
  • Not only because of what God did and continues to do, but also because for what it meant to me personally
  • Our church turns 5 this coming Sunday and remembering where our church was 5 years ago is hard to imagine today
  • Every church planter knows that the week before you launch is one of the most intense weeks of their lives
  • The fact that God brought us through it, made us stronger and has grown us to where we are is evidence of his grace towards us
  • It is going to be an awesome day to celebrate this coming Sunday
  • We’ll be baptizing people, sharing about what God has done in the last 5 years and looking towards the future as we look at how God has a place in his family for everyone if we simply “Come Home”
  • Yesterday was an intense day as far as the sermon topic goes
  • I preached from John 11 on Lazarus being raised from death to life and looked at why God allows pain and suffering, where God is when that is happening to us and what those things tell us about God’s character
  • An all around intense day
  • You can always sense that as a pastor, the weight that people are carrying as it relates to the topic
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • Friday night was a fun date night
  • Katie has been getting more and more into photography and is great at it
  • There’s a good chance you’ve seen some of her pictures on this blog or her Facebook page
  • We headed up to La Encantada to scope out some places to shoot and for her to practice on me
  • I told her she should’ve gotten a better model
  • After that, we headed to Blacno for dinner
  • So good
  • Spent the weekend reading an advanced copy of Pull: Making Your Church Magnetic by Bob Franquiz
  • Pastors, pre-order this book and start reading it when it comes out next week
  • It has so many helpful nuggets in it
  • Yesterday was painful in that I had to watch my Steelers play like a Jr. High football team
  • Horrific
  • In the end though, football is back so that is awesome
  • We are praying a big prayer this week that we will hear from Ethiopia about our embassy date when we can bring our son home
  • We’d appreciate your prayers with us in that