Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What's next

I find myself constantly asking, What's next? Whether it's at church, school, or in our family, I always seem to be asking what is the next big project, what can we do to improve, what can we fix, where can we be better?

I have mixed feelings about this personality trait. Sometimes, I think it keeps me on my toes and excited about something new, but at the same time I feel like I am constantly finding myself disgruntled and frustrated with the things I am involved in.

Here are my thoughts about how this characteristic should play out in the 3 big areas of my life:

1. Family - I love fixing up the house and working on little projects here and there. But, I don't want to become obsessed and never spend time with my family because I'm working. I also think it's healthy to discuss with Tracy how our family is doing and how we can improve things like disciplining our children, family devotions, eating healthier, etc. But, I don't want to wish away the years. I want to enjoy each and every day with Wyatt and Avery and Tracy and take full advantage of TODAY! So, maybe, with the family, I need to be asking less of what's next and enjoying more of what's now!

2. Work - I think it's healthy to always be looking forward at work, but it's also important to take care of the task at hand. I think I have begun to prioritize my work efforts such that I am accomplishing my assigned task, my current job to the highest level of effectiveness. However, I do my best to incorporate some margin in my day so that I can spend time working on future projects, brainstorming how to be better and making sure that I am up on the latest developments.

3. Church - This is the one where I struggle the most. I feel like I am NEVER satisfied with the way we "do" church. I constantly have ideas in my head about how we can do things better and about how we can reach more people, preach more effectively, organize the ministries more strategically, etc. etc. I actually think it's really healthy to be asking what's next. I don't think, though, that it needs to come with an attitude of superiority or anger about what is happening at church now, just a realization of how we could do better and movement towards that.

We will never reach a state of perfection in any of these areas. And, I think if I ever get to the place where I say I've got it figured out, I probably will be the one who needs to change!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Obligation vs. Passion - Part 1

Picture this: We go to Heaven, we meet Jesus, we're tossin' the football with him one afternoon and hearing all about his time on earth. Then, He drops this bomb: I didn't really want to come to earth, make disciples, start the church, die and be resurrected and forever change the course of history. I did it because I was supposed to.

Ok, maybe that's too far? But that would NOT be fun to hear. What if your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend/dog told you (yeah, dogs can tell you things) that they didn't really LOVE spending time with you, they just did it because they were supposed to? I don't know about you, but that would pretty much mess up my whole world?

Sad truth is, a lot of people in church are doing things because they are supposed to, out of obligation, instead of doing the things that they are really passionate about. And, as a result, the church is not living up to its full potential.

So, what happens each Sunday or Wednesday is that someone shows up to serve in an area they are not passionate about. They count down the minutes until it's over and then leave, hoping that next week takes a long time to get here before they have to come back and do that thing again.

What if, when that person came to church, they were crazy passionate about what they were doing? They got there 30 minutes early to set up, they always ran out of time because they had so many things they wanted to do, they thought about that area of ministry throughout the week and prayed for the people involved.

How much could this change the church?

The big question - but if I don't do that "thing", no one else will do it!!! Who cares!!! Drop it!!! Go to your passion!!! Either that ministry is dead and dying anyways and needs to go the way of the dinosaur or someone who has been sensing a leading from the Lord will discover the need and step into their area of passion.

The truth is, most of the ministries and programs we have at church are not biblically required, so if we don't have a Friday afternoon Bible study on the book of Ezekiel, God will not punish us with a Mario-like assault of fireballs!

God HAS mandated that we make disciples, and the tool He has given us to do this is the church. We have been given a huge responsibility to be the church, and if we squander away our years in the church miserably following the routines or expectations of others instead of doing that which we are passionate about, we are wasting our lives and God's resources!!!

More tomorrow.......

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lip Dub

Fox 50 in Raleigh is having a contest for high schools in the area to complete a lip dub video for the chance to win $10,000. I am teaching at Southern Lee High School in Sanford and we completed our video recently and posted it on the Fox50 site.

The video is below and can also be found here. Voting will start on April 13!

Not Normal

I've always been the kind of guy who likes to be a little off normal. Sometimes, I actually make an effort to not be normal, other times it just sort of happens. If I completely explored what is it about my personality that makes me "not normal" we could be here for a while. So, we won't go down that road. But, one of the things that Tracy and I decided a long time ago is that we need to do things occasionally to break out of our routine, we need to be willing to be a little spontaneous and have a little fun.

So many times, we get stuck in our daily routine and just miss some really fun and incredible opportunities. So, Monday night, Tracy and her friends Valerie and Landis spent the night at the new Krispy Kreme store in Fuquay-Varina. They were about 35th in line, landing them a ticket for free doughnuts for a year!! Woohoo!!

I'm also trying to step outside of my comfort zone. This sounds a lot more boring and closer to normal, but I'm going to give it a go this year for planting a garden. I'm pretty excited to see how this works. We have an acre yard, so there's plenty of space, and I'm excited to see what happens. I'm going to grow tomatoes, peppers, squash and a few other veggies! Who knows, we may need to grow our own stuff to survive in the near future, so this might be good practice.

It's fun to try new things, even if I am horrible at gardening it will be a really great experience! I think we all need to take this approach sometime in our walk with the Lord. At church, many times we fall into a rut of doing the same thing over and over and fail to step out in faith to see what we might be able to experience if we are willing to try new things.

Sometimes, we struggle with whether the idea of what we are thinking about is an idea from me or an idea that God has planted in me. Here are a few questions to consider as you try to determine if God is leading you to do something or if it's just a hairbrain idea that you came up with when you weren't paying attention to the sermon one Sunday (these were borrowed from a pastor named Perry Noble):

1. This thing that you believe you are called to do by God will not contradict God’s Word!

2.
You can’t get away from this thought…it dominates your thinking and the more you marinade on it the more you feel like you might explode.

3. Godly people in your life affirm it. (Proverbs 15:22)

If the thing your thinking lines up with these three statements, go for it!! Don't be scared, don't be afraid of change or what people might say to you or about you, just follow the leading of God. He will lead your steps, he will lay out the path in front of you and lead you in His way according to His plan.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bringin' up old stuff - Ecclesiastes 3 & 4 - 2009

Re: Ecclesiastes 3 & 4

This book continues to confuse me and astound me all at the same time. One of the things that I am quickly realizing is that a life dedicated to Scripture will still be light years away from being able to fathom all that God is.

Yet, I am excited because of the way God uses His Word to encourage me. I am also seeing that my daily time in the Word is stockpiling ammunition against the sin that reigns in my mortal body. When I have not been in the Word, I find myself falling deeply into sin and not being able to pull myself out of it. And, it spills over into the rest of my life, I'm a better husband, I eat healthier, I work out more often, I lose weight. The Word of God is profitable in all areas of my life.

Today, 3:11 - It says that God has set eternity in the hearts of men. Wow!! Just last night, we met for our first meeting with Cynergy Church. And, a major point of our time together was to point out that we will expend a lot of resources in order to see people come to know Christ.

This is an encouraging passage, because it tells me that God has already set a recognition of eternity in the hearts of each human being (the word "man" meaning mankind or human). So, our job with spreading the gospel is that much easier, we're just like traffic cops. We are just waving our hands, pointing people in the right direction, towards Jesus. And, when they see Jesus for who He really is and put that together with the eternity that has already been set in their heart - they'll give their lives to Him and His kingdom and His name will be praised!

I'm excited about Chapter 5, it's gonna be sweet. But, I didn't want to read too much, I want to make sure I digest everything instead of just rolling through it.

I'm done.