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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Beauty Comes out of Brokenness

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We just spent 10 days on vacation in San Diego… And there were predictable, smooth, and wonderful days.

We were able to soak in the sun and enjoy God’s beautiful creation at the ocean and in the tide pools. We were able to start reading “The Narnia” series as a family, do a puzzle and eat amazing food. We were able to spend a day at sea world and Lego land.

Now we are going to ruin it.

By deciding to adopt, a 4 year old, from a different country, we have intentionally decided to send our family from a place of predictability to triage. Overnight.

Truth be told I have been afraid of the transition now that it is finally becoming a reality. Adoption is beautiful, but it is born out of loss and abandonment. For Judah Mamush to become a part of our family he must lose 2 languages, a culture, country, food, smells and sounds that are familiar to him. We do not take that lightly. There will be a grieving process that we will walk through with him and we don’t know what that will look like. It has scared me.

I am certain of one thing: we felt very specifically called to adopt, and although I know that call does not mean that it will be easy, it will be beautiful; whether on this side of heaven or the other. Praise Jesus that he is constant and our feelings do not need to control our reality.

As He is prone to do, God has reminded me of his presence and that he will hold and guide us through this.

Because our 4 kids who are at home with us were having a hard time with me leaving, friends of ours drove me up to Phoenix for an early morning flight. They are in the process of adopting internationally as well, so we had much to talk about on the way to the airport. Things that I have thought through, but won’t know how they play out until we have Judah Mamush home… Like how will he react to our routine, will he get along well with the other kids, when will we start taking him out of the house to church and the grocery store, have we found him a barber, how will he/we deal with the fact that we are a transracial family, etc. We have tried to educate ourselves to the best of our ability, but there is so much unknown.

I used the curbside check-in, it was a breeze. The attendant was African-American, he asked why I was traveling to Ethiopia, I explain. He asks if we have a name for him. Yes we do… And then he pulls out his name tag and tells me that we can use his name Jamal… It means beautiful. He got so excited and said he was proud of me and to enjoy my trip. It was such a lighthearted exchange and brought a smile to my face, after having tucked in 3 crying children the night before.

After sitting at the gate for a while we realize that our flight is delayed by a few hours, this is not a big deal for my travel plans because I will be staying overnight in DC before leaving in the morning for Addis. Many people were annoyed, but in God’s providence I got to sit and talk with a women who was born in Ethiopia and moved to the states with her parents when she was 9 under political asylum. We talked about the changes that have taken place in Ethiopia over the last ten years, but we also talked about the adoption. Her words were a balm to those places of anxiety. As I travel a peace is washing over me. I know that there will be a time of transition and a road to complete restoration in our family…. But isn’t that always to work of a family, of a mother. To help our children to see themselves as sinners and try to help them find their true identity in Christ, instead of their past.

I join in prayer with all of you parents who are facing a situation that is hard. I love that God sees the end, and we can trust him to that; while taking steps each day, enlightened by his word and prayer to get there.

Sometimes all we can do is trust God to be good, pure and right and take that next step in the direction that we feel he is calling us in. And so I step onto a plane to travel across the world to bring home our baby.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • This weekend was the moment our family has been waiting for for the last 4 years
  • Katie left on a plane yesterday to go to Ethiopia to bring Judah Mamush home
  • Here’s an update
  • I’m so excited for him to join our family
  • And for Katie to come back home
  • I had a guy today who said, “Must be excited about a break from your wife”
  • As nicely as I could I said, “If I was excited I wouldn’t have gotten married”
  • Because of coming back from San Diego on our family vacation on Wednesday and getting Katie ready to leave, I felt out of sync when it came to preaching today
  • When my week isn’t normal it makes preaching hard
  • Ironically, I got more comments about today than most recent sermons
  • Go figure
  • If you missed it, you can listen here
  • Had a great week in San Diego
  • I love family vacations and the change of pace they bring
  • So many fun memories
  • Can’t believe we are almost done with the book of John at Revolution
  • I’ve loved preaching through a gospel
  • Can’t wait to start 1 Corinthians in January
  • Going to cover topics like divorce, spiritual growth, dating, sex before and outside of marriage, homosexuality, spiritual gifts, healing, speaking in tongues, heaving, hell and the afterlife
  • Should be fun
  • Say a prayer for our family as Katie is traveling
  • She will be exhausted and need supernatural strength as she travels home with Judah
  • Pray for the transition of him joining our family and all that will mean

The Beginning of The End

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I am on the LONG journey to finally pick up our son, Judah Mamush. The process of adoption is almost over, but the journey of integrating Judah Mamush into our family is just beginning.

The last two weeks have been a mix of emotions…

Earlier in the month we watched as a group of families who were a week ahead of us in the process be screened and clear embassy quickly; we anticipated that we would hear from the embassy right after them. If you know anything about international adoption, you know that it is anything but predictable and smooth. It was two more weeks before we heard anything from the embassy, and those two weeks were excruciating.

We were planning our trip to San Diego (which we had moved from the summer because of traveling to Ethiopia the first time), and waiting for any morsel of information from the embassy. Finally, we got word that our case was being screened and they were requesting a birth relative interview, this is not uncommon when there is a living birth relative, but it took a while to schedule an interview with him, because our agency couldn’t reach him by phone because of the remote location where he lives. After scheduling the appointment we decided to purchase tickets in anticipation of clearing and traveling the following week.

That decision ended up paying off, but was riddled with high emotion as we found out the embassy was booked almost solid because of holidays… Thankfully they took pity on us and scheduled a visa appointment that would work with our prearranged travel plans.

Josh and I started this journey of adoption in February of 2010… Just shy of 4 years ago. There are so many people and memories during that time. It has been a humbling experience having to ask people to help us accomplish something that we could not have doe on our own. So many of you have given time, money, stuff, prayers, and well wishes.

I still remember, one of our first small groups prayed over the initial paperwork, many of you worked at one or all of our rummage sales- sorting, selling, translating, folding, boxing, unboxing. Through this journey we have adopted Nehemiah, who we brought home from the hospital and straight to our MC! We we able to bless a local widow in tucson with a house facelift while raising funds for our adoption. Your support and love have been heard and felt.

Especially during these last few months as the wait from meeting Judah Mumush to picking him up has been gut wrenching. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

The journey is not over… We will still need your prayers and support. This next step I our journey will be riddled with educating ourselves and those around us how to best show Judah Mamush what a family is, and how that is played out within a community of believers.

Thank you for your part in our journey. We are closer to the end and the next step.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind-dump

  • Yesterday was a super long day, but a really good one
  • It started off with some MC leader training
  • Really excited to see more and more people stepping up to get involved and wanting to be leaders at Revolution
  • One of our big prayers is that by January, our MC’s will double from 10 to 20
  • We continued our series Jesus Changes Everything yesterday and looked at John 1:35 – 51
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • I talked about how Jesus does not call us to ask him into our hearts, pray a prayer or make him our personal savior
  • Instead, He calls us to follow him, to make him Lord
  • The implications on this are enormous
  • A couple of books that have been hugely helpful to me in this thinking are J.D. Greear’s Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart and David Platt’s Follow Me
  • Booked our summer vacation this past week, so excited about a week in San Diego with Katie and the kids
  • I can almost hear and smell the ocean simply by typing those words
  • Yesterday we had another newcomer’s lunch
  • It’s amazing to me that we’ve had 4 of those in 2013 and so far have had almost 80 newcomer’s at them total
  • Unreal
  • So excited for the NFL draft this weekend
  • The NFL draft signifies that the NFL season is almost here and I don’t have to hear about baseball and basketball
  • They move too slow for me
  • Tomorrow night I’m speaking on the U of A campus at a ministry called EPIC
  • I get to talk with college students about self-control
  • Should be a fun night
  • I’m trying to remember the reaction I would have to someone talking to me about self-control in college
  • I’d love to hear what you would tell them if you were talking to them
  • Leave a comment here
  • Katie and I are also trying to nail down our final fundraiser for our Ethiopian adoption as we just got out “on-deck email”
  • Stay tuned for how you can help after we put more details together
  • It is crazy to think that by the end of 2013 our agency thinks we’ll take 2 trips to Ethiopia and bring our child home
  • Exciting and scary all at the same time

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

  • After last week, I thought Revolution couldn’t be any more off the charts
  • I was so wrong
  • The crazy thing about yesterday was how exhausted I was
  • Saturday night was one of the roughest nights of sleep I’ve had in a long time, ended up sleeping less then 3 hours
  • I texted some leaders Sunday morning to be praying because of the energy I lacked and the concentration that seemed to always be out of my reach
  • Squirrel
  • God came through in a major way yesterday
  • In a passage like Ephesians 4:7 – 16 which is largely about church leadership, the excitement in our church to understand how our church is led, how it can maximize leaders and teams in our church was awesome
  • If you missed it, you can listen here
  • You can also read through the descriptions and questions associated with the leadership lens of APEST here 
  • Got to take Ava horseback riding on Friday for her 7th birthday
  • It was such a cool time with her
  • She looked so funny on that enormous horse because she is so tiny
  • Read a great book last week that I found really helpful in my sermon prep on leadership in a church
  • In case you are curious, I blogged last week about why Revolution Church doesn’t have a women’s ministry (or a men’s ministry for that matter), the responses are always interesting
  • It’s hard and annoying to believe it’s almost November and still 80 degrees
  • Not cool, literally
  • I’d appreciate your prayers this weekend, Katie is heading to San Diego for 3 days with some other ladies and I’m hanging with all 4 kids
  • Should be fun
  • I see lots of bad food and Pixar in my future 🙂
  • Hoping to finish up the study guide for our next series called Meaning on the book of Ecclesiastes that kicks off in January
  • Going to be an awesome time unpacking the things we give our lives to, the dreams that aren’t worth dreaming and ultimately what lasts and matters most
  • So, I should probably get to that

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Saturday Night Mind Dump… (End of Vacation Edition)

  • Awesome night tonight @ Revolution
  • It was great to go to church, do nothing, and just be part of our church
  • Every pastor needs to do that
  • You see things you don’t normally see because you aren’t “on”
  • I got some feedback from pastors on twitter about why I would go to Revolution if I wasn’t preaching
  • When we started Revolution one of our goals was to start a church we would want to attend
  • We did that
  • Paul has done an awesome job with this series
  • The creativity has been great
  • Love the conversation this series has sparked
  • A lot of people taking serious steps to get out of debt and make right decisions when it comes to money
  • Awesome!
  • Here are some things that Katie blogged about how we save money and shop on a budget
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to it here
  • We got back from vacation yesterday
  • This is where I got to start running from all week
  • This picture shows why I love being at the beach
  • This picture shows why I love vacation
  • While in San Diego I got to have lunch with Jim Johnson and then David Fairchild
  • Both guys really challenged my thinking about church and leadership from two completely different perspectives
  • When Jim’s book comes out, it will be a must read
  • We announced our next series tonight, so excited about this series
  • I have loved my break this month, but I am ready to get back and preach
  • I am so grateful to have the elders we do who have allowed me to have this break and the team we have in place so that everything runs smoothly
  • This week is the home stretch to finishing the writing of our Partnership class
  • Be on the lookout for this in August
  • This happened while we were gone, not cool
  • Some new tunes worth checking out:  Lost Ocean, The Drawing Room, and the new Future of Forestery & The Glorious Unseen
  • If you haven’t joined Revolution’s Facebook Group yet, you can do so here
  • Ashton “sat” up today
  • We have our small group tomorrow
  • It will be great to meet since we were off last week
  • It’s amazing how when you miss a week, you miss the people and the conversations
  • It’s time for bed
  • Getting up tomorrow and taking a long run
  • I see a 10 miler in my future

Saturday Night Mind Dump… (Vacation Edition)

  • Here’s my mind dump, vacation style
  • We left Friday for San Diego and so far, the weather has been amazing
  • It is supposed to be a high of 78 while we’re here
  • It’s true what they say, “You don’t know how badly you need a vacation until you are on it”
  • We needed it
  • Here’s a picture of why I love vacation
  • Go here to see pictures from our adventures today
  • Katie has me hooked on french press coffee now, it is addicting
  • Heard tonight was a great night at Revolution
  • Don’t know about anyone else, but how awesome is it to have Paul on our team?
  • I’m continually blown away by the level of creativity that comes out of our creative team
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to the message here
  • Got a lot of great feedback about the TV evangelist video we made, I’ll post it when I can
  • Heard it was a great kick off to our brand new series
  • You don’t want to miss next week, it is going to be even cooler
  • Dave Ramsey will be talking about debt, something a lot of people have
  • Gonna get together a few times this week with Jim Johnson, he’s been a guy who has been challenging my thinking the last few times we’ve hung out
  • Tomorrow we’re going to church at Kaleo, love going to church on vacation with Katie
  • I don’t have to do anything but sit down and listen, really refreshing for someone who speaks a lot
  • Speaking of that, I am loving having this month off from preaching
  • I am really excited about preaching our next series in August
  • The lead pastor at Kaleo, David Fairchild is a guy worth reading and listening to
  • His ideas on tri-persepctival leadership are really shaping how we do and think about leadership at Revolution
  • If you missed our 4th of July BBQ/Baptism, you can see pictures here
  • While on vacation, I’m reading two really good books: The rest of God and Leadership Gold, I’ll blog some thoughts when I’m done
  • Saw this billboard today, definitely a reminder why we’re preaching on marriage and divorce this fall
  • Love our schedule for the week (wake up, exercise, lunch, nap, go somewhere cool, dinner, bed, do it all over again)
  • That’s a vacation
  • Now I’m getting back to it
  • Good night from 66 degree San Diego

Summer Break

This week starts my summer break. It has been pretty much non-stop for Katie and I for the last 18 months of getting Revolution off the ground. In the last year, I’ve had 2 weeks off from preaching, which is not anywhere close to what it should be.

I’m not looking for pity, it is the life of a church planter.

The last several months, a lot of things have happened to converge on one topic: longevity, endurance, how to make it to the end in ministry.

It started when Katie and I read Wayne Cordeiro’s book Leading on Empty, which is a must read for any leader. I was then starkly reminded of what can happen when a pastor does not take breaks and let’s himself burn out. It is hard to explain the physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, and mental work that pastoring is. The high’s are incredibly high, the low’s are unbelievably low. Being in people’s lives every week, walking with them, preaching is unlike anything else.

The problem is that it can consume you and overtake your life. Which is why God created sabbath, vacations.

So, for the month of July, I’m pulling back. I’m going to spend some extra time with Katie and the kids, I’ll be blogging less. We are spending 8 days in San Diego, just the 5 of us.

I will not be preaching for the next 4 weeks, although we will be doing some of the most creative and exciting services while I’m gone. The next series is going to be awesome. The problem with preaching too much is that Revolution can get tired of hearing from me, so it is good to have a healthy diet of different speakers, while I will still preach the majority of the time. In place of preaching I’ll be finishing to write our partnership class which I’ll be teaching at Revolution in August.

I’ll be back to preaching with a bang in August.

We’ll still be around, we’re rocking it at the baptism this Saturday (so pumped about that).

Right now, I’m reading Mark Buchanan’s book The Rest of God and honestly, while I do a decent job of sabbathing, I need to do a better job of entering God’s rest. Mark Batterson also just wrote a great blog on 10 ways to create margin. This stuff is so important for everyone, especially leaders.

The bottom line is that as a leader and pastor, if I burn out I’m not any good to my family, God or my church. I’m incredibly grateful to have an elder team that supports me not burning out, not enough pastors have that.

We’d appreciate your prayes in the month of July that we could rest, refresh, recharge and enjoy being together.