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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Most of the time, my mind and heart are focused on pushing forward – never being satisfied with the way things are and where I stand in my relationship with God, in my family life and in my work.  I approach my leadership with the church in the same way – we cannot sit and stagnate, we must constantly being looking forward and pressing on toward the goal for which Jesus has called us.

But every once in a while it hits me.  I serve a loving and compassionate God who occasionally tells me, “Why don’t you just sit a minute and rest in me.”  Unfortunately, it takes discipline for me to do that but when I do, it is amazing!

I also need to remember that God has given me a wonderful, caring, supportive and totally hot wife whom I love with all my heart and who loves me.  And beyond that, God has  blessed us with three amazing young men for sons.  While I am not the husband and father that God wants me to be all the time, I am trying.  So maybe for today, I need to stop trying so hard and just for a moment simply be present and offer thanks for a great family.

And as it relates to my work – my calling, I serve the God of the universe who has placed me in what might just be the best congregation in America.  Our people are loving, supportive, welcoming, outward focused and committed to pray for me as their shepherd.  What more could a pastor want?  I had one of these loving and supportive members approach me last week after the service and say, “You are exactly the person our church needs as our pastor.”  As I gave her a hug, it dawned on me and I told her, “This is exactly the church that God knew I needed too!”

Today, I am taking a break from thinking exclusively about how things should be (just for a minute) and thanking God for how the important things are in my life.  The result?  I am truly blessed!

How about you?  Has God blessed you?

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Best Part of the Trip

Back in the saddle and tired!  Have you ever returned from “vacation” and were glad to be home so that you could rest?

That is the story of our family after the last two days of our trip to Washington.  My final board meeting of the trip was on Wednesday last week and then we took Thursday and Friday to visit family and see New York City for all of 10 hours.  We caught a Broadway show and walked in the rain in Times Square (yes – rain!  It really didn’t bother us much to be out in the rain since we haven’t seen any of it around here in so long).  We ate some amazing Italian food at Carmine’s in Times Square and visited one of the largest Apple stores I have ever seen on 5th Avenue.

We were exhausted when we were done but we had a great time.  Honestly, the best part of the whole trip was having time to make memories with my family!

My favorite people on a visit to China Town in Washington, DC.

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This week has been crazy.  I have been attending the National Association of Church Business Administration conference in Washington, DC.  We wrap up today with our Board meeting.  The workshops have been fantastic and the speakers have all been top-notch.  I will be heading back home with some new ideas and even better, recharged and ready to get back at it.

But one of the other blessings of this week has been that my family could be here with me.  I have been in meetings all day, but we have been able to spend time together in the evenings doing some sight-seeing and eating some great food.  The Fourth of July fireworks show is one of the memories I will take from this place.  We spent it together on the lawn of the Lincoln Memorial!

It is always good to get away and recharge – but it is that much better when I get to do it with my family.

Be blessed today!

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This past Sunday was Father’s Day.  The plan for my family was to gather together at lunch.  I had some steaks marinating and ready for the grill and so the plan was to cook out and eat lunch together.  When I entered the church building on Sunday, it was a beautiful day.  When we exited a couple of hours later, the dirt was blowing so hard that it was difficult to see the car in front of me on the highway home – in fact, I am not so sure that I didn’t see a cow fly across the road in front of me at one point (OK, maybe that’s a stretch – but it was a nasty day).

So we altered our plan.  We all met at a local restaurant for lunch and we had the best time!  I don’t remember laughing that hard in a long time.  We sat there for over an hour just enjoying being together.  I am sure we created quite a stir in that place.  At one point I began to feel sorry for those around us because of the noise we were making and then someone said something else that brought more laughter and that feeling went away.

Thanks Jared, Ethan, Bryson (and Kristi) for making my Father’s Day grand – and memorable!

I love you all – and I cherish every minute God gives me with each of you!  I am so proud of each of you and humbled to by your dad!

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For the last several weeks, my youngest son has been asking me to take him to play golf.  I have been so busy getting started in my new ministry position and trying to get the house ready to sell that there hasn’t been much time – or at least, I have not made the time.

But today is the day!  Here in just a while, we will load up and head to the course.  I love to play but do not get the opportunity very often.  I am looking forward to the game, to the smell of the grass and the sound of the club connecting with the ball.

But most of all, I am looking forward to spending a few hours with two of my boys!  I can’t think of a better way to spend my day off!

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This past Sunday, part of the message I gave to our church family was one of the importance of training our children on spiritual matters.

Most parents realize and believe it is their responsibility to make sure their children are trained spiritually, but few actually take steps to do anything about it.  The majority of parents leave this task to the church.  The church is responsible to help and to partner with the parents, but if the sole source of spiritual influence is the church, then our children are in trouble.

Parents, it is time to be more involved personally with the spiritual progression of your children.  I know this is intimidating but start small.  Make sure to pray with them – and let them see you praying and reading in your own personal time with God.  Read scripture with them and discuss it.  Anyone can do it – it just takes time . . . quality time.

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Last night I promised my son I would get burritos for breakfast today.  So, this morning I made my way to our favorite breakfast burrito establishment and got in line in the drive through to place my order.  As I sat there thinking about my day, I noticed the sun beginning to rise in front of me.  I also noticed the trees standing between me and the sun.

The direction of the sunlight caused every branch of every tree to standout like a dark shadow making each twig visible.  As I examined the picture in front of me, I realized how intertwined all the branches were – including the branches from different trees – all mixed together.

In another week or so, these trees will be covered in leaves and will offer shade and shelter to birds and squirrels.  They will begin to work to put oxygen back into the atmosphere.  They will serve as things of beauty.  In short, they will continue to serve the purpose for which they were created – all the branches working together – intertwined.

As I sat there contemplating this sight, I was reminded that I was looking at a picture of community – community as God intended it.  Each of us as believers are part of a community.  We may come from different branches and even different trees, but we are all intertwined.  The routine of our daily lives leads us in and out of each others’ paths.  God intended it this way.

God also intended for this community to serve a purpose.  As a community of believers, we are to offer comfort and security to a hurting world.  We are to work to influence our world for the better.  This community should be a beautiful picture of what God’s love is all about.

Community is a group of intertwined believers, working together to fulfill what God intended.

How active are you in God’s community?

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I have been thinking a lot lately about how connected we all are through technology.  It is not only a part of life but a real benefit – most of the time.  But sometimes we need to set it aside.

It is spring break here and my boys are out of school.  So, for the next couple of days I am unplugging.

I will be back with stories to tell on Monday.

Be blessed today!

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Did You Hear That?

Did you know that the average speed of an American person’s speech is 120 to 140 words per minute?  Now if you live up north, it is probably a little faster but if you live in west Texas, the rate is 9.  OK, just kidding – we do speak a little faster than that in west Texas.  Having grown up here and lived here most of my life, I can say from experience that most west Texas folks talk a little slower than the average.

But, did you know that the average number of words per minute that a person can hear and comprehend is 300?  Now I went to school for many, many  years (just ask my wife), but I can tell you that math is not my strong suite.  But even with that being the case, it would appear that we can hear and comprehend at about twice the speed of normal conversation.

You may be thinking, “So what?”

Here is my point – when we are carrying on a conversation, our minds often wander while the other person is talking.  Since we can comprehend faster than the other person can speak, we have a tendency to begin to formulate what we will say next while the other person is still speaking.  We have a tendency to jump ahead and try and determine what the person is about to say or is trying to communicate.

What this normally leads to is miscommunication due to our lack of really listening to the other person.  James 1:19 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  The importance is placed on the listening.

Think of all the problems that would be solved (probably before they even become problems) if we would focus more of our attention on truly listening and hearing the other person.  Instead, we often jump to conclusions and build our own assumptions without ever really hearing the other person.

Following Jesus is about relationships – having a relationship with Jesus and also having relationships with others.  The writer of James reminds us that if we are to have meaningful relationships with others, we must learn to listen.

Concentrate on listening today!

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Hey, You Awake?

Growing up, my brother and I shared a room.  There are lots of stories I could tell about pestering and the like, but one memory that comes to mind is long after going to bed hearing the words, “Hey, you awake?”  And then a conversation would begin.

Now days, I often wake up for no reason in the middle of the night.  Typically this happens somewhere between 4:30 am and 5:30 am.  I have come to believe that it is God’s way of saying, “Hey, you up?  Wanna talk?”  I normally lay there and pray and find that many times I doze back off.  But if I will get out of bed, I stand a better chance of staying awake and actually having a time of meditation and prayer.

Today, I was lazy and just stayed in bed.  But I lay there for an hour (before actually getting up) and talked to God.  I realized in that time, that I don’t pray for my family nearly enough.  So I prayed for Kristi for a while, then I prayed for each of the boys, one by one.  It was a blessed time.

So just a reminder today – don’t pass up an opportunity to talk to God.  And while you are at it,  pray for your family – they are your biggest blessing from God!

Have a great weekend!

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