A spiritual practice that will erase the lies

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the lies that fill my head become INTENSE!

I know they’re not true. But, when they’re dropped inside my head, one after the other, gosh! INTENSE!

And, it doesn’t stop with the lies. All of a sudden, the comparison game starts. And then that is INTENSE!

Then, out of the blue, I wonder if someone is unhappy with a decision I made and then that becomes INTENSE!

And then, the lies get lonely, so they start to attack and then it’s a version of INTENSE that made the first round look like a pony show.

EVER BEEN THERE?

Honestly, this happens to me in waves and seasons. It doesn’t always happen. It’s not always super INTENSE.

But, there are seasons where it is crazy bad and just when I think it’s done, another wave of lies come over my mind!

I’m reminded about things like:

  • I’m not smart enough to lead a church.
  • My church would grow faster if I were a better leader.
  • My kids are getting the short end of the stick and they deserve a better dad.
  • My wife deserves a better husband.
  • I start comparing what God is doing at my church to other churches.
  • I start to believe the lie that says I’ll not never get healthy and I should just give up.

I don’t know what lies fill your head, but I would bet they’re just as debilitating.

So, instead of letting my mind dwell in the depth of those lies, here is a spiritual practice that brings a tremendous amount of peace to my mind and thoughts.

Filling my my mind and heart with scripture

Here is a great passage of scripture that reminds me to stop focusing on the lies and to focus on the truth of scripture.

Romans 12:1-2 (message)

 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

 

Fix your eyes on Jesus

Can imagine, as a Jesus Follower, if we actually did that and if we really took those words seriously!?! Just imagine the life change in us that would happen. Just imagine the change in our families lives and friends.

New glasses

Today I get to go to an optometrist. Actually, my wife, Bekah and I get to go!

And, I am excited!!!! 

Get this and I’m not proud of it! My wife hasn’t had new glasses since 2007 and I’m not much behind her. And, our Church, Thrive Church, came together and blessed us with a terrific Christmas gift of new glasses for the three of us!! Just so humbling!!

Everything will probably change for me as I get new glasses. Ok, not everything, but a lot will. My eyes and what I will be able to focus on is about to change dramatically. I squint a lot right now. I struggle to read things far away. Shoot, I struggle to read things close up! But, that’s all going to change.

And, that will make life better. Unknown

As a Jesus follower, the author of Hebrews 12:2 encouraged us to fix our eyes on Jesus to focus on Him. Focus on how He lived and to live our lives in the same way.

Here’s how the message version says it…

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. 

In 2015 I’m doing everything I can to keep my eyes on Jesus.

To focus on Him. To Live like Him. To be Him to as many I can. To be as focused on my life mission as He was.

 

My biggest hurdle in 2015

2015 is looking pretty darn good.

Which, to be honest, 2014 will be tough to top! I had a great year in 2014. It wasn’t easy by any means and actually it was one of my toughest yet, but it was a great year.

The only negative I can muster up about 2014 is…my health. I mean, leading a church…especially a super young church is not easy. We dealt with a ton of not so fun moments, financial stress, growing pains and leadership challenges. But, even with all that, 2014 was great.

It was just my health.

My back surgery was so much harder than I ever thought and it took me a long time to bounce back. In fact, bending is still a constant struggle and the pain from that is still not fun. The simple act of getting out of bed or putting on socks, yeah, these are extremely painful tasks for me!

I miss running. Playing basketball. Swinging a baseball bat or a golf club. Wrestling with my boys.

So, for me, that pain and struggle has given me excuse after excuse to let my weight go. The discipline of eating well, while dealing with the pain is just something I flat out failed at in 2014.

That’s my biggest hurdle for 2015.

I just can’t continue to live the same way. But, changing, like everyone knows…well, that’s hard! Actually, hard doesn’t even cut it. Its a ridiculously hard battle and I am way down deep in the hole. I’ve tried to change for months and each time, well, I fell back into old habits.

Every time in the past, I have been able to work out. I have been able to run. This time, I just can’t.

So, here I go. This is my biggest hurdle to 2015 and one that I’m ready to take on.

I would love your prayers for strength and courage.

My dream for every Thriver in 2015

I have a dream!i_have_a_dream_by_aners56-d3kx6uc

I have a HUGE dream for every person who calls Thrive their Church home in 2015.

It’s not a complex dream. It’s actually pretty simple.

And, I think it’s possible. So, here you go, here’s my dream. Well, actually, my dreams.

My dream is that every person who calls Thrive Church their home in 2015…

…Would fall deeply in love with Jesus.

…Would be passionate about prayer.

…Would search out God’s word.

…Would be Jesus to their family and to their world.

…Would be deeply concerned and care for the poor and the hurting and the needy.

…Would immerse themself in a Growth Group.

…Would become an irrational giver.

…Would use their leadership to influence others for Jesus.

…Would dream like they’ve never dreamed before.

Just imagine. Imagine how our lives would change. Imagine how our families would change. Imagine how our neighborhoods would change.

And, change for the better!

Let’s be focused on Jesus in 2015!! 

 

The Pastors I’m Inspired by and I’m learning from…pt. 1

Here is a list of the Pastors I’m inspired by and I’m learning from. If these Pastors have books, I read them. I watch or listen to their messages. I follow them on Facebook/Twitter. And, if they blog, I read that.

So thankful for this group of Pastors!

Here are the Pastors who blog regularly…

Perry Noble

Carey Nieuwhof

Mark Batterson

Mark Beeson

Ron Edmonson

Steven Furtick

Tim Keller

Here are the Pastors who don’t blog, but who write…

Andy Stanley

Bill Hybels

Jud Wilhite

Craig Groeschel

John Ortberg

I have absolutely no relationship with any of these pastors. I’ve talked with a few and stalked some others, hah! But, my next list are Pastors who are friends and mentors.

 

Proud to be married to such a Selfless woman

I am so Proud to be married to such a selfless woman.IMG_4073

We were talking last night, and in Thrive’s short existence, she’s never sat through the experience. She’s never heard and sang all the worship songs. Never heard one of my full messages. Never. Nota. None.

Why? Because we just haven’t had enough volunteers in Thrive Kidz for her to be able too leave that hallway. And, she does it willingly. She doesn’t have to do it, she chooses it. Just because she’s the Pastor’s wife doesn’t mean she has to serve kids, But, she does. And, she works tirelessly throughout the week to get things ready for Thrive Kidz.

Tracie and I have been married for almost 18 years and she’s always been selfless.

I don’t mean this in a mean way, but she’s so low maintenance its crazy sometimes. I can count on both hands the amount of times she’s had her hair done or her nails done. She never asks for jewelry, or shoes or clothes. I actually have to push her to buy stuff for herself. Again, not trying to be mean, but it’s annoying sometimes!!

She just always wants to make sure the kids and I have what we need. For 10 years, she has spent thousands and thousands of hours taking care of our PKU’ers diets and I just can’t remember ever hearing her complain about it.

One of the things I was most attracted to about her was her servants heart! And, that’s still the case.

I just don’t know how’s she done it over the years. Because I’ve served at Churches for the last 20 years, we have never gone to church together. (That’s change with Thrive because our whole family drives to church together at 630am). We’ve had a few pockets where we could sit with each other and actually drive to church together, but never really be a part together. If that makes sense. Again, I can literally count on both hands the amount of times we have sat together in church. Crazy!

Then, as babies have come along, she’s been on her own to do the whole ‘get the family ready for church’ thing.

There were years when our kids were really little and she was getting the special PKU diets all together, feeding and getting our other two kids ready and then bringing them all to church on her own. And, for 4 years, we had the privilege of being a part of a GREAT Church in Chicago…Willow Creek. It was a massive building and literally took 25 minutes to get all 4 kids in their classes and she did it alone all the time.

I talk with young couples now who have little kids and it’s funny to hear stories about how their lives come to a grinding halt when they have kids. It just makes me more proud of my wife.

She’s strong. She’s wise. She’s a hard worker. She’s in love with Jesus.

Again, not sure how I married so well!!