The Joy of a Long Time

This week we asked the people of Fellowship Church to share pictures with us over social media to use in our 15 year celebration this Sunday.  Those pictures have made me smile and laugh.  Seeing the smiling face of people who we have lost made me sad.  Seeing people who have moved away made me nostalgic.  There are a lot of emotions and feelings one deals with when they look back at life.   It helps you gain some perspective about your journey.

As we head into our 15 year celebration weekend the emotion I feel is joy.  Over the years I have heard pastors sound bitter and jaded about the church and I have heard churches sound jaded and bitter about their pastors and their mission.  That always saddens me to hear and to see.

We are celebrating a milestone this weekend.  This is not a destination.  We are simply pulling over at a historic milestone and taking a picture.  I cannot tell you right now if we are stopping at a beautiful overlook or whether we are in valley as a church right now.  We will only be able to answer that question accurately when we look back at this vantage point from the one further down the road.  I know this much, though, I am glad I am on this journey.

The joy of a long time is found when you stop seeing the time it takes and you see the treasure invested.  The Kingdom of God is like a treasure buried in a field and when found it is worth selling all you have and buying that field so you can own that treasure.  It is priceless.

They joy of a long time is found in being able to enjoy many different types of times along the journey.  We have experienced highs and lows, successes and failures, embarrassment and encouragement.

The reason so many people lose the joy of long journeys is their unrealistic desire to enjoy every second.  Long journeys are not always enjoyable.  They are exhausting at times, yet exhilarating at others.  If you are not enjoying a long journey among the people of God, I encourage you to stop trying to make every moment better than the one before.  Stop living that way in your marriage or with your kids.

Live in the moments not for them.

This principle has allowed me, and Fellowship, to ride out tough seasons and celebrate the best seasons.  The best of moments and the worst of moments all come and go.

Take time to remember the moments along the way.

Stopping and celebrating and remembering is a great discipline.  Look back and see what God has done.  It is interesting how some of the most difficult things are celebrated later as the most meaningful.  As Fellowship shared pictures, I was encouraged by how many favorite memories are pictures of hard work in the Kingdom of God.

Never get stuck trying to relive a moment of the past or you will miss the moments of the present and future.

Many Christians lose their passion for the Lord and His Church, not because of the Church or because of change, but because they decided they wanted to experience something again instead of experiencing something new.  When they were not able to experience again what they had loved in the past it robbed them of the ability to love what they were experiencing in the present.  Quit asking God to do what He has already done again and ask him to do whatever He wills.

My last piece of advice is simple but important.

Have fun.

Enjoy people and projects.  Let your emotions be embedded in what you do.  Smile with people.  Laugh with people.  Cry with people.  Have fun when you work and when you play.

The joy of a long time is not found in the big moments but in the small ones.  It is not the result of one’s greatest successes but in the totality of all the moments.

We would love for you to celebrate our 15 Year Anniversary with us at either of our locations this Sunday at 9 or 10:45 AM.

You’re Invited!

confetti

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full…” (John 15:11, ESV)

God loves to celebrate. 

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to come away from a thorough reading of the Bible- both its Old Testament, and its New- drawing any other conclusion.  Consider just a few examples…

  • In Genesis 1-2, as God creates the world in which we live, there is a palpable sense of delight in everything He does. He creates the sun, moon, and stars- and calls them “good.”  He creates the oceans, mountains, plants, and animals- and calls them “good.”  He creates man and woman “in His own image”- and calls them “very good.”  He presides over the first wedding celebration in history, between Adam and Eve- an occasion of inexpressible joy.
  • Throughout the Old Testament, God prescribes for His people festivals throughout the calendar year, each designed to draw His people’s affection and attention toward who He is and what He has done. Most notable among these is the Passover, the remembrance of God’s radical, rescuing work of His people from slavery in the Exodus from Egypt.
  • The Psalms are filled with exuberant expressions of praise and thanksgiving before God. Consider just one, from Psalm 150- “Praise the Lord!  Praise God in His sanctuary, praise Him in His mighty heavens!  Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness!”
  • In The Gospels, Jesus consistently paints a portrait of a God who throws a party each and every time a sinner turns from his or her rebellion to receive God’s gift of salvation. Parables like that of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son in Luke 15 reveal the heart of God to celebrate in a unique and unhindered way.
  • The Revelation looks ahead to a fantastic future in God’s presence for all who have trusted and surrendered to Jesus as Lord. John’s vision in Revelation 21 is nothing short of stunning- “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and God Himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore…”

Now certainly all of life isn’t a party- not in this broken, busted up, sin stained world in which we live.  Of course there are many reasons day in, day out to mourn, grieve, and weep.  As writer Cornelius Plantinga laments in his classic work on sin, things “aren’t the way they’re supposed to be”- not the way they were when God created them all “good,” and not the way they will be when He one day restores them in full.

That being the case, there is still great value in learning how to celebrate what God does, as God does.  The pain wrought by sin is undeniably real, but it doesn’t get the final word in God’s story.  The way I see it, there are two primary benefits what we might call the “discipline of celebration…”

1- Celebration helps us to remember what we need to remember.  We are a chronically forgetful people- and based on what we read of God’s people in ages past, this is no new phenomenon.  Taking time to celebrate God’s great character and good works direct our hearts and minds to that which we are so naturally prone to neglect.  It can be so easy to get caught up in everything that is going wrong in our lives and in the lives of those around us.  But when we do, we neglect ultimate reality– that there is God in heaven who still reigns in perfect holiness and love, and who has invited us to share in that perfection through His Son, Jesus Christ.  What news could be better than that?!

2- Celebration helps us to be renewed where we need to be renewed.  Just as we are naturally prone to forget, we are also prone to grow weary.  Taking time to celebrate has a motivating effect that reminds us, “It’s worth it to persevere.  God hasn’t given up on me, and neither will I give up on Him!”  For example, celebrating salvation fuels obedience in evangelism; celebrating transformation fuels investment in discipleship; celebrating impact fuels engagement in mission both near and far; and on and on we could go.  The point is this- Celebration isn’t just an end unto itself; when done rightly, it actually leads us into more reasons to celebrate God, and join with Him in His good work!

As you’ve probably heard by now, we are celebrating a major milestone in the life of Fellowship Church this month- 15 years!  We are gathering this Sunday afternoon following our Worship Gatherings at both locations to share a celebratory meal together and remember God’s goodness to us over these years.  Here’s the message that we want to communicate to you as we share in this celebration- God has been faithful in our past, and we believe that He will continue to show Himself faithful as we seek after Him in our present and future!  In other words, the best is yet to come!

It is my hope and prayer that you will make a point to join in the celebration of who God is and all He has done through this faith family over the past 15 years.  I am confident it is going to be a special, memorable time for all of us.  At the same time, though, I want to challenge you not to let the celebration “terminate” on itself- because I believe God is just getting started in and through the people of Fellowship Church.  There is still such deep need in our community and in our world, and God has clearly called and perfectly positioned us “for such a time as this” to “bring (the) real life in Jesus” that those near and far are longing for (even if they don’t know it yet!).  Do you want to be a part of His continuing story of faithfulness?  Let’s start by doing one of His favorite things to do together- celebrating.  See you Sunday!

How Can You Know Your Teenager is Growing in Christ?

Desire to be free

Parents, don’t you love teenagers?? Your teenagers, other people’s teenagers (maybe), you know you love them! Right? I am not a parent, but I have been in youth ministry since I was 18 years old and I have also been a teen. This generation is one of the most unique, most creative yet most distracted generations we have had and my desire to reach them must come in different methods. The gospel however will never be altered, never shaken, and always should be the foundation to every generation. I personally believe that the teenage years are the most pivotal when making a decision to follow Jesus forever.

But, how do you as a parent know if your teenager is actually growing in Christ? I want to give you some ways you can look for this growth with an accumulation of my personal experiences as a teen, from what I have observed as a youth pastor, and parents descriptions to me in what they have also seen in their own teen’s growth.

8 Ways you can know your teenager is Growing in Christ:

  1. Your Teen will Ask Questions about God’s Word – When I was 15 and Christ got a hold of my life, I never hesitated to ask questions about what God revealed to me in His Word. I would walk into my parents room at 11:00 o’clock at night, wake them up, and ask a question. I would get to the church earliest enough on Wednesday nights just to bask in the wisdom of my youth pastor Steve Spence to grow spiritually equipped in the word. Curiosity of  God’s word is a sign of growth. Psalm 119:9 says “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.”
  2. Your Teen will Desire to be a part of the Church at a Certain Capacity – There’s a reason I say CERTAIN capacity. As a youth pastor, it’s hard to say this because this means not every youth will be involved with the youth group. It’s just reality. However this does not mean the Teen is not growing, serving, or loving their church. The Ten Commandments do not say “Thou Shalt not neglect your youth group worship service and groups!” However the scripture does say “Do not neglect the gathering of the saints” in Hebrews chapter 10 verse 24. An involved teen in the church is a teen that has been influenced in the right direction and is seeking to be an influence. Your teen will make being a part of the church more of a priority than anything else.
  3. Your Teen will Display a Different Attitude towards their Siblings – While this statement is nowhere near perfect, there will be some level of maturity and love coming from a brother or sister to their siblings. Growing up, my brother Daniel and I practically hated each other. When we both got older, my senior in high school, we developed an incredible friendship. I was even best man in his wedding. I always talked to him about the gospel and wanted to be there for him when he struggled. Your older son or daughter, even sometimes begrudgingly will love their younger siblings by spending time with them, taking them to their favorite activity with the intention of influencing them towards Jesus. Once again, they will still fight, still annoy each other, and still act like they hate each other sometimes, but that is a sign of sibling tough love rather than a lack of maturity in Christ. Even Jesus got annoyed of His disciples! Jesus called Peter Satan! I have been called Satan by my brother multiple times!
  4. Your Teen will Begin to be more Honest with you (if you make your EAR available) Sometimes teenagers just want an ear. I believe teens don’t think adults or even their parents understand where they are coming from because as adults, we want to spit wisdom or advice without “really listening.” However, I have observed through conversations with teens, they just want their dad or their mom to be an ear! Sons want fatherly advice and daughters want emotional momma support.
  5. Your Teen will Feel Uncomfortable about the Sin they See and Hear at school by Peers – I use to come home upset or even vent to my dad or youth pastor about the things I saw and heard at school. My urge to preach when I was 17 was God birthed but also because I wanted to see a generation of students grow up and not waste their lives. I would weep when a teenager died of being ran over by a truck because he was drunk and fell asleep in the woods (true story). It would break my heart to see guys at school treat girls with disrespect and as objects. THOSE kinds of convictions will be evident in your teen. They will choose “not to conform to the patterns of this world but will be transformed by the renewal of their minds” as Romans 12:2 says. Sins of peers will disrupt a teens soul because they know sin is a waste of time and life. No Christian teen wants to see other teens suffer because of sin choices.
  6. Your Teen will be Convicted about Disobeying You – A teen who is pursuing Jesus and understanding to “Honor their Father and Mother” will show respect and apologize when they have wronged you. I believe that is a way the Holy Spirit intervenes when they have mouth-offed to you for thinking they are right. I have seen it in teens attitudes on Wednesday nights at Youth Group, being disrespectful but then apologizing later because of their defiance. I believe a teen under conviction will show respect and die to their selfish pattern of disobeying you.
  7. Your Teen might start Caring about God’s will for them more than Your Will for them – I have no idea what it’s like to have a son or daughter and want so bad for them to take the direction I feel they should take. No clue! I can only dream and imagine. You may have the perfect-set-trust-funded-scholarship-will for your teen. However, God uses teens in incredible ways, in ways that you may have not prepared for them. I have observed that when a teen catches fire with a passion to pursue Jesus, they will discover an adventure and the only thing that could be in their way…is you. If your teen is talking about going into ministry, starting a non-profit, starting a bible study at their school very early in the morning, switching colleges because they felt the spirit of the Lord legitimately tell them to go where no one else will to share the gospel…support them! It is a good thing to notice your teen caring about God’s will and not wanting anything in their way to obey it. Give your teens direction, help them prepare, but let them go. Trust me, God is up to something in their lives!
  8. Your Teen will Challenge YOUR faith – I want to encourage you parent as well as challenge you. Your whole point as a parent is to equip your family and nurture them to follow Jesus.  If you are being challenged by your teen in your own faith, your teen may just be growing as a leader! One of the most humbling things I have ever heard my pops say to people, knowing how Godly of a man he is, saying “Derek is the spiritual leader of our family.” Are you challenged by your teen’s walk with Christ that it may just be pushing you further into Christ as well? Can you brag on them to others and humbly admit, that your teenager just might be changing your life?

There are most likely more than 8 ways you can know your teens are growing in Christ! However I pray these 8 will get you started in evaluating your teens life as they seek Jesus! Join them in that journey!

Bring

“Bringing it” is natural for some people.  I’ve coached 100’s of kids through the years and can tell you that some kids will naturally “bring it”.  You do not have to tell them to go hard at it in a game or practice.  They are full speed ahead at all times.  There are some kids, however, that are completely unaware there is a ball, a game, or other people in the world.  They are more interested in the shapes of the clouds in the sky than the ball that is about to hit them in the face.

When a coach tells a player to bring it, she is telling her players to bring themselves – all of themselves.  It is a call to give maximum effort and full attention to the task at hand.  God has called us to bring it in following him.  The call to follow Christ is by definition not half-hearted.  If you are half-hearted, you are not a follower of Christ.  We are called to love the Lord our God with ALL of our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Either you bring it or you don’t come.

When Jesus told a few men, “Come and follow me” they left everything and followed him.  He told them he would make them “fishers of men.”  That seems a little odd to most of us.  These guys were called to catch men.  Yes…and so are you.

What does that even look like?  In John 1 Jesus calls his first disciples and they immediately go and bring others.  John the Baptist has 2 disciples he tells about Jesus is the Lamb of God.  They go and follow Jesus.  One of them is Andrew.  Andrew brings his brother Simon – aka Simon Peter.  Then Jesus calls Phillip.  Phillip brings Nathaniel.  Andrew and Phillip brought Simon and Nathaniel but it is Jesus himself who speaks to them revealing to them the truth of who he is.  They do not believe simply because their brother and friend believed.  They have their own encounter with Jesus that causes them to believe, but they would not have encountered Jesus without an invitation.  Andrew and Phillip “brought it.”

Be a Bringer!

This is the first of the 4 Core Actions we are challenging Fellowship Church with in our current BEYOND ORDINARY series.  God has called Fellowship Church to express the Great Commission to bring the Good News to all the world in this way.  We exist to bring real life in Christ to Ascension Parish and Beyond.

We are all called to be bringers.  We are commanded to proclaim the Good News.  We are exhorted to make disciples of all nations.  We are instructed to be the witnesses of Christ.

Bring people to Jesus and Jesus to people.

The disciples of Jesus bring Jesus to people over and over again in the Gospels.  They also bring people to Jesus.  Simon Peter was used by God to bring many people to Jesus and Jesus to many people.  It all began, however, when Andrew brought Simon.  Andrew might be remembered as Simon Peter’s brother but he was also his bringer.

Why would we do this?
Loved people love people.
Found people find people.
Saved people seek people.

If we do not forget who we were, what we were like, and how we were living when Jesus found us lost and saved our souls, we would never quit bringing those far from Jesus to Him and Him to them.

We do this by being faithful where God finds and where God leads us.  God finds us in one place in life but he does not leave us there.  Be faithful right where he finds you but be willing to go wherever he leads you.  Your geographical location might not change, but your circles of influence will.  Be faithful every step along the journey – and never journey alone – bring people to Jesus and Jesus to people.

I encourage and challenge you to BE A BRINGER!

FCers,

Be a Bringer this week.  Sunday we will be talking about “Keeping it real.”  Invite someone to come to church with you and tell them they can ask you anything about your faith and life as a Christ follower.  Put the keep it real action to the test this week.  Bring someone to the 15 year celebration on 1/29 or the flag football game on 2/5 or date night on 2/11.

Be a bringer.  Bring Jesus to people in your life this week and bring people in your life to Jesus this week!

Bring it!  Jesus is always worth bringing.

Don’t Call It A Comeback

trophy

At the end of every season in every sport comes what is commonly called postseason awards season.  Even if you’ve never watched a second of ESPN in your life, you can probably guess what it entails- so called “experts” declaring which players, coaches, and teams are worthy of recognition and celebration in this area and that.

Common awards include the Most Valuable Player (usually, this should be more appropriately named “The Best Player On The Best Team” Award), Best Rookie or Newcomer, Most Improved Player, and the like.  While this makes for spirited debate amongst fans and commentators, at the end of the day it doesn’t mean all that much- and even for someone like me who is an avid sports fan, I’m not all that interested in who wins what.

That is, with one exception.  I’m an absolute sucker for the stories of those deemed the “Comeback Players Of The Year.”  These are usually players that have undergone some trauma- perhaps a serious injury, or some off the field troubles, or maybe even just a long period of gross under-performance- who rise up unexpectedly to new heights of excellence in their field.  I, for one, think that these stories are absolutely riveting.

So with that bit of background in mind, I want to submit to you as we kick off 2017 what I am affectionally terming the “Comeback Word Of The Year,” a concept and practice that is going to rise from the cultural ashes to retake its proper place of prominence in our lives.  Ready for it……….?

Discipline.

Yes, you read that right- discipline.  Underwhelmed?  A little disappointed?  I thought you might be.  But stick with me here!

Unfortunately, discipline- especially as it relates to one’s relationship with God- has really gotten a bad rap over the years.  It probably conjures up images of crusty, cranky authority figures- parents, teaches, coaches, maybe even pastors- doing everything within their power to squeeze the excitement and enjoyment out of life and instead make you miserably burdened with seemingly arbitrary rules and regulations.  If that’s been your primary experience of discipline- especially spiritual discipline- in the past, I’m sorry.  Because the reality is, discipline- when it is understood and embraced properly- is a tremendous gift for growth, maturity, and flourishing in Jesus Christ.

I love how the now deceased Christian philosopher Dallas Willard defined discipline- “it is something I can do that, when practiced consistently, enables me to do something I cannot do.”  These are the kind of real life practices that the biblical writers have in mind when they command us, as they do in 1 Timothy 4:7, to “train ourselves for godliness.”  A few examples…

  • You may find yourself unable to effectively battle one or more areas of temptation in your life. The discipline of memorizing and meditating on Scripture can arm you with divinely inspired and empowered truth to call to mind when the tempter comes to lure you away.
  • You may find yourself unable to break free from an idolatrous, unhealthy practice like gluttony, unwise and impulsive spending, or over-indulging in technology or entertainment. The discipline of fasting can become a pathway to experience God’s grace and freedom from that snare.
  • You may find yourself growing in greed and what one author appropriately calls “possession obsession,” finding it exceedingly painful to part with “your stuff,” even in the face of others’ need. The discipline of generosity can become the key that unlocks for you the powerful joy of investing yourself in a Kingdom beyond your own- the Kingdom of God Himself!

I could go on, but I think the point it well made.  Fact is, discipline opens a door to the freedom and joy of living like God intended when He created us for a relationship with Himself.  Godly, Christ centered discipline and freedom aren’t opposites at all; the latter is what Elisabeth Eliot called the “final reward” of the former!

It is critical to note here that discipline must always be understand through the lens of Gospel grace.  Discipline that is divorced from God’s saving work through Jesus leads to oppressive legalism- quite the opposite of freedom.  But the answer to this pitfall can’t be a laissez-faire life lacking in any order, structure, or accountability.  Instead, we must learn to build our practice of discipline on the foundation of the Gospel- rightly understanding that everything we do is a humble, grateful, obedient response to God’s gracious invitation to come to Him through Jesus.

We read Scripture because Jesus has saved us and invited us to know Him better.

We pray because Jesus has saved us and invited us to interact with Him intimately.

We serve because Jesus has saved us and provided for us the perfect picture of servanthood.

We give because Jesus has saved us and demonstrated that there is no greater treasure than following Him- and helping others to do the same.

So as we begin 2017, let me lob you a “softball,” a practical way to get started with giving discipline the “comeback status” it deserves in your life- We have put together two great resources that anyone at Fellowship Church can pick up and put into practice right away…

  • The first is our Bible Reading Plan, available in the Connection Center at either location or online here. This is a daily tool designed to help you get into God’s Word personally and apply it to your life.
  • The second is found within the first document, and is specifically in conjunction with our 15 Year Celebration and our Beyond Ordinary series on the Four Core Actions of life at Fellowship Church. It’s appropriately called the 15 Year Challenge, and provides you with eight specific practical challenges connected to our Four Core Actions.

My hope and prayer is that you’ll check these out today, and allow God to work by His grace and power within you to take you to a place of Christlikeness that you never thought possible.  Will you give spiritual discipline the opportunity to be the “comeback practice of the year” in 2017?

Your 2017 goals won’t matter…unless…

If you are a believer in Jesus- every goal you set for 2017 is pointless if your primary goal is not growing in your spiritual disciplines. We should long for the glory that is heavenly, keeping an eternal perspective.

Look at it this way- considering the most popular goal made at the start of every year.
The diet! A desire to lose weight is temporary. It won’t stick. It usually ends at King Cake season here in Louisiana. But- a desire to honor God with your body. That is eternal. That is the change and motivation we need. We don’t need temporary goals but Godly, spiritual disciplines. They are vital to experiencing God’s best for your life. They are crucial to fulfilling the proper Gospel-mission God has for you in your family and in your circles of influences.

Here are 7 reasons why spiritual disciplines matter:

  1. They reveal our heart. If we don’t spend time with God daily, that choice tells us something about ourselves. Perhaps we are more self-dependent than God.
  2. They strengthen the church. People who spend little time with God tend to spend less time challenging others to be with God. Their stories of personal victory are often more past tense than present tense. We want 2017 to be the best ever for Fellowship? It depends on you.
  3. The Bible is all about hope and life. We hear every week about the promise of resurrection and new creation, all the while wondering if even God can revitalize stagnant (or even spiritually dead) people. We need to be reminded regularly through the Word that God brings life out of death.
  4. They strengthen our faith. Reading the Word and praying are more than just disciplines; they are lifelines to the Father. Knowing that God divides seas, collapses walls, slays giants, and empties tombs strengthens our trust in Him. Talking to Him and recognizing He listens to our prayers magnify our wonder of Him.
  5. Prayer builds our relationship with, and dependence upon, God. When we pray, we express the truth that we cannot do in our power what God has called us to do. The reverse is also true- our lack of prayer is an expression of idolatry of the self.
  6. Disciplines don’t allow our circumstances to take the focus off of God. It’s the apathetic man or woman that is headed to destruction. Unless we are regularly focusing on God via study and prayer, then any trial we face will throw us into the wind.
  7. Disciplines help to turn our heart outward. It’s hard to read the Bible consistently without seeing God’s heart for our neighbors, friends and the nations who are far from God. The resounding message of the scripture is that the God who desires a prayerful, intimate relationship with us loves the world. We follow suit.

Let’s make eternal goals- and be spiritually disciplined people of God in 2017 and beyond!

As time rolls by…

Time is a wanderer.  It wanders in and out of our lives.  We have enough time.  We have no time.  We have extra time.  We are out of time.  Time wanders in and out and up and down.  One day time is urgent and the next it is of no consequence.

Ephesians 5:15&16 says, “ Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” 

Wisdom allows us to use time well instead of being used by the wandering of time.  Time is not our problem, lack of perspective is.  Time is nothing more than a measurement.  The problem comes when we measure the quality of life by time instead of the quality of time by life.

Today I celebrate a marking of time.  On January 3, 1998, I married an incredible woman named Wendy Daniel.  19 years later it is my joy and privilege to live life with her.  God has allowed us some incredible adventures in ministry and life together and I look forward to many more.

January 6, 2002 was the first public worship service for Fellowship Church.  A small group of believers began a bold new work in the rental hall of an old fire station in Prairieville 15 years ago this week.  This small group of believers dived head first into the vision and dreams of a 26 year-old preacher kid.  We celebrate 15 years together and the humbling reality of how God has blessed our ministry together.

The celebration of time humbles me and challenges me.  I know I could have done more in my life than I have, but I also know I have tried to do well with the time God has blessed me with.  I want to encourage you to consider the following truths about time as we kick off this year and apply them to your life.

  1. Focus on being faithful not successful. Success without faithfulness is fraud.  Don’t waste your time putting on a show; spend your life pressing into serve.
  2. Do what you can when you can. Everything does not have to happen today; but something should.  Do not allow what you cannot get done today rob your of the joy of what you can do today.
  3. Time off is not time lost. Spend some time doing what refreshes you.  For some of us, that is a nice long run, for others it is anything but a run.  Whatever refreshes you is worth doing, but you do not live simply to be refreshed by God; you live to be used by God.  When you get done resting; get back to working.
  4. Don’t allow quantity to be a substitute for quality. Ministry and family do not always flow together smoothly.  Wendy and I have learned the art of quality.  30 good minutes together will outweigh 3 hours of being in the same room. 
  5. Manage your energy; not your time. Give your energy to the right things at the right time and you will have time to get it done.
  6. Enjoy the journey. This is one of life’s hardest lessons for me.  I am a type-A personality and am always driving toward better.  A life focused on better will make you bitter unless you learn to see the blessings of what is. “What is” is not the enemy of “what ought to be”; it is simply “what is.”  You can change it; it simply has not changed yet.  The key is learning to enjoy the journey as much as you do the destination.

Don’t take your eyes off the destination ahead of you – run the race marked out for you – but do not lose the ability to see the blessings of what is already all around you.

I am grateful for a wife that enjoys this journey of life and ministry with me.  I am blessed by a church that has allowed me the grace to learn from the lead.  I am no longer a 26 year old kid trying to lead a church but I am who I am because of those who loved me when I was…and every step along the way.  Thank you to all of you who are part of this ministry and life journey for your love, support, and grace.

I look forward to what is ahead but am committed to enjoying what is now.  I hope you are too.

Figure out the things that are worth investing your life and time in and then dive in head first.  Time is not the answer – perspective is.

 

Wendy,

Thank you for bringing perspective into my life time and time again.  Of all the blessings I have known in this world you are the most precious.  Your love inspires me, encourages me, and challenges me to be a better man.  Thank you for loving me when I am and when I am not.  I have indeed found “a good thing and obtained favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22)

Always and Forever, KJ