Living the crazy life that God has given me!

My Life

Crossroads at Kiowa,CO

Kiowa

Ever have one of those weeks when you are just not sure about where you are going or what you are doing?  Am I the only one who has ever felt this way?  Well a week ago I just felt overwhelmed and unsure of what I needed to do next.  So I got up and worked out, finished reading a book on leadership, and then I went for a ride.  I didn’t know where I was going I just pointed the bike east and rode.

I was riding east on E. Qunicy Rd and I went until I ran out of pavement.  Then I took a right and just went south not knowing where I was going to end up.  It was a perfect day, there was a cool breeze the sun wasn’t to hot and I was able to just soak in the rolling view.  For me this was an amazing time where I was truly seeking God and having a great conversation with him as I rode along.  I was really seeking to know and hear what God wanted for me at this time in my life.  What I didn’t know was that I was on the Kiowa Bennett Road and I was about to be smack dab in the middle of Kiowa population 723 as of the last census.  Now I am not proud to say this but as a Colorado Native I didn’t have a clue about Kiowa. When I entered into the town there was not a city sign in site, so literally  I had no clue where I was.

So I pulled into the first gas station I could find.  My legs were a little stiff from the being on the bike for awhile and I needed to take care of some business and it was exactly what you think.  So I struggled into the Sinclair Gas station to find out where I was and to go to the bathroom.  As I entered I was greeted by Nasime the man that was running the station.  I asked him where was I?  “To which he responded well sir you are here.”  I said, “I know that but what town is this?”  To which he responded, “You are in Kiowa and Jesus will always help you.” I said, “Great thanks!” as I stepped into the bathroom.  But my mind was still processing what he had said to me.  So when I was done I stepped out and asked him what he had just said to me.  With a big smile, Nasime said again; “Jesus will help you all you have to remember is to trust Jesus.”

Now I was so taken back to what he had said that I thanked him handed him my card and walked out the front door with my mouth wide open.  I had been praying that God would let me know what I needed to do and from the mouth of Nasime it came.  TRUST JESUS! Don’t do anything, don’t go anywhere, don’t try to figure it out, just TRUST JESUS.

Maybe this week you need to hear this, TRUST JESUS.  I don’t know what you are going through I don’t know what you are struggling with, I don’t know what burden you are carrying.  But I want to encourage you to TRUST JESUS.

Proverbs 3:5–6 (NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.Seek his will in all you do,and he will show you which path to take.

What do you need to trust him with today?


Eddie Hall Deadlift!

Eddie Hall

So this last week strongman Eddie Hall completed a one rep of deadlift of 1102.31 lbs. and then as soon as he put the weight down collapsed. In fact if you want to watch the video of him completing this life just click here and watch. This is a guy that all he does is train and train and train for this event and when he completed the lift it totally drained him.  Why is that so many of us think that we can work harder and harder with out thinking we will fall?

So here are a few things that we each should think about when it comes to avoiding the big let down after the big lift:

  1. Make sure you know your own ability.  To many people think that they can handle more and more when it comes to their lives.  But ultimately it is really way more then they can handle and because it is more than they can handle they collapse under the weight.  They collapse in their marriage, with their finances, with their friends, and maybe they collapse physically.
  2. Make sure that you take time to rest.  After Eddie made this lift he ended up having nosebleeds and passed out.  His body let him know that it was time to rest.  Some people are being told by their bodies through stress, anxiety, chest pains, and other symptoms that it is time to rest.  So what do you do to rest?  I like to ride my motorcycle because you can’t answer emails, you can’t except phone calls, and you just go.  I take naps on Sunday afternoons, after a long Sunday morning.
  3. Make sure you take time to recover.  This is different then rest.  Rest should be something that you do on a regular basis, when it comes to recovery this should be through out the year.  Here I will put it this way, VACATION.  That’s right you need to take a vacation that is all about recovery, do nothing, lounge away, without any schedule.  If you don’t take the recovery time through out your life the rest will just help you limp along and not function at your best.

These are just three simple things that if you are wanting to be able to life the big weight in life to do. One of the other things that I know is helpful when it comes to maintaining the ability to lift big and well in life is being a part of a church community. There you will find other people that can become your lifting partner in life.  You can’t lift big weight all by yourself it will just crush you eventually. For more information about Elevation just click here.


Carrying to much?

refrig and dolly

So yesterday as I was heading to the airport with my wife and daughter to fly out to an event that I was going to speak at something caught my eye.  We were sitting at an intersection that we always go through about three to four times a day and there was a man on the corner with a refrigerator.  That’s right a refrigerator all by himself on a dolly.  Then as we pulled up the light changed and he painstakingly hauled the refrigerator across the street to the other side, but when he got to the corner it got stuck.  So he worked and worked the refrigerator up on the corner as all of the cars in the turn lane waited and honked.  Then once he got it up on the corner sidewalk he paused caught his breath and then hauled the refrigerator down the street to some unknown destination.

As I watched this happen I was thinking first, how I could get out and help this guy with out getting run over and with out being late for my flight. Then the second thing that came to mind was why is there no one to help this guy to move this refrigerator? Why is he carrying so much of a load all on his own?  I thought that it was really interesting to see this since this last weekend at Elevation we talked about the need and call for community. We talked about “Relationships lead to community and community fuels maturity.”

It made me think about all the people that are involved in faith communities (churches) that are carrying to much on their own.  Whether it because of their own choice of not being involved in community by choosing to be that person who just shows up and never gets to know any one.  Or that they are involved in a faith community (church) that doesn’t make relationships a priority.  It burdened my heart to think about how we have so many people that say they are following Jesus but have made a choice to forget about the “One Another’s”.  Through out the New Testament there many “One Another’s” and there is one that I thought of when it came to the man on the corner with the refrigerator.

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NLT)

When did we start to think that we need to handle things all on our own?  When did it become ok to know of the struggle someone is having and to do nothing?  It is my prayer that today you will notice the family member or friend that is carrying to much, like the refrigerator and get involved.  Who do you know that you can help carry the refrigerator down the street today? Don’t miss out on sharing in the burden.


Aside

Christmas Eve Hurt

Lost Man

Last week we celebrated Christmas all over the world and for many people that meant going to Christmas Eve church services. As a pastor of a church I often think about how important that these services can be for people that during the season will come and check out church.  I mean if you are involved with volunteering at a church or on staff you have probably seen the investment that comes with getting ready for Christmas Eve.  There are decorations, there is lighting, there is sound, the right songs,  cookies, people dressed up for Christmas, and stuff for the kids.  All of these things are not bad and they can be important for what you are doing at Christmas time.  But this year I saw something that has challenged and changed my heart.

You see this year as we were all getting ready that night for Christmas Eve services at our church in Aurora.  There were things that really caught my attention you see we had some places that didn’t have enough volunteers, there were some places that didn’t have the right volunteers, heck can I be honest there were places that didn’t have any volunteers.  So as I was trying to figure out how to handle the volunteer issue I do what so many other pastors do in this case, I voluntold my son to help me out.  Which he did with out a question, ok maybe with one question.  Why? I told him that he is in the best place to make a difference during our Christmas Eve services.  These words were so true, more than I would have ever known.

You see we had a man show up right about the time I was getting ready to go on stage to speak that was high and very drunk.  We do live in CO so the high part is never a shock but the drunk part well that was hard for us all to see.  So I as walked on stage I saw one of our elders, my son along and his college friend start to deal with this man.  At least that is what I thought.

The truth of the matter is that they took some amazing time to care for this man.  What my son shared with me was that this man had just walked in because he saw all the people walking in and heard the music.  He told my son that he was feeling lost and so lonely that he thought I might as well walk in there.  My son, his friend, and our elder gave him something to eat (cookies are important), then gave him a cup of coffee, and talked with him.  Even helped him walk into the auditorium for a chance to hear silent night and watch the candles being lit, after he had fallen twice just trying to sit in a chair in our lobby area.

So when the service was over I came out to meet people and make sure everything was going ok.  Well the man had wanted to go have a smoke in the parking lot (nothing new at this church), so my son and his friend went with him.  Out there he shared with my son that he had been smoking weed all day and had been drinking with different people he knew all day. That he was lonely and just hurting. Then my son told me  the man then proceeded to vomit up the cookies and the coffee. All the while my son stood with him and made sure that he was ok, even patting him on the back as he got sick.  The man being very embarrassed, put out his smoke, hugged my son said thank you for listening and caring then walked away towards the street.  My son and his friend followed the man to the street making sure that he was safe as he disappeared up the street into the darkness.

My son came back and told me how bad he felt for that man and that he was sorry that they couldn’t have done more.

To be honest as a father and pastor I have never been more proud of my son, our elder, and his friend.  Because the truth of the matter is that in many other places and yes churches this man would have been seen as a problem and a nuisance.  But on this Christmas Eve he was cared for he was fed and he was invited in to see and hear about the birth of Jesus.  So what challenged and changed for me this Christmas Eve? I have always thought about making sure that we are prepared for the people that are coming to check out church.  But in all honesty I have never thought about the people that might literally stumble into our church.  So it challenged me to start thinking about the people that stumble in that are in need for something other then a church service, especially on Christmas Eve.  It has changed me because as I stood on the stage and talked about how the shepherds that came and found Jesus were the outsiders in the community.  We had the exact same thing going on right in our lobby.  It has changed me because I want us to think about how we can have Christmas Eve services for those that are high, stumbling drunk, and lonely this next year.  It changed me because of what an amazing man my son has become and how he cares for the people that no one else wants to care for in this world. It changed me because the elder of our church could have really been more worried about getting the guy out of the building instead of caring for him. He cared for him.  It changed me because my sons friend who I know is struggling with the question of faith watched faith in action.

If this would have happened at your church how do you think people would have responded?  What can you do next Christmas Eve to make sure that your community of faith is ready for the high, the stumbling drunk, and the lonely that might show up?


Why do I love my church?

Find out what I Love My Church.

Find out what I Love My Church.

When I was in high school I have to be honest, I did not love my church I didn’t love any church. I was at a place in my life where it was not a place where I felt I was welcome or even wanted. Not because of all the people but some of the people. But when you are in high school you make some generalized assumptions about people and places. (Not that adults do that at all. SARCASM) It took some very tough situations and some very caring people to get me to the place where I realized not only that I needed the church. But, that the church actually had a need for me. That through time I realized that “I Loved The Church.”

Now for some of us I may need to make a clarification. The church is not the building and it is not about religion. It is about Jesus and the people that come together that become the church through a relationship with him and others. It is a place where imperfect people come together to follow a perfect savior, Jesus. The church is not perfect because people are involved. But it will be some day when we all get together as a huge church and stand before Jesus.

But “I Love My Church”! Not because I am a pastor and not because I am a church starter. But because I am a follower of Jesus and I love to watch the church be the church. I love to watch people receive Jesus radical grace! I love to hear about how the church is serving people not because they have to but because they want! I love to see the church love on people even when it gets messy! I love to watch the church become a group of people that are willing to lead and multiply! I love when Jesus takes a hold and does what he loves to do through imperfect people to engage people so they experience life change.

I Love My Church, because Jesus loves his church.


Confession I am a Romantic!

george-marks-romantic-man-kissing-woman-s-hand

I am going to admit something that I know can really enable me to catch a lot of heat from some of the guys that I hang out around. (MMA Fighters)  But I am going to take this moment and use you for a little therapy.  Ready, here we go.

I am a romantic.

I am the one in our marriage that is planning the romantic events.  I am the one that is trying figure out how we can have really special moments. I am not sharing anything that my wife wouldn’t be willing to say isn’t true.  In fact when we were first married it used to really drive me crazy.  I mean I think that someone that knew Michelle and I really well bought her one of those books about being romantic. (True story) She has really changed since then, just saying. But I have always wanted to make things special.

So I want to share a few things with some guys out there that are not so romantic:

  • Think of her and not you. (A back rub can be just that.)
  • Find out what she calls romantic. (That means asking questions and then remembering, if you can’t remember then download, Evernote.)
  • Romantic does not mean expensive, it does mean personal. (Plan things that mean something to you both as a couple, took my wife to eat at the place where I proposed to her. Wrote love notes to her and placed them in her car while she was at work.)
  • Romantic means that she can show what you have done off to other women. (Ladies will probably deny this, maybe. But they want to be able to brag to the other ladies around them about what you do.)
  • Romantic means that you are setting the standard in your home. (If you are a dad of daughters then you are making it tough on the guys your daughters will date.  If you are a dad of sons then you are setting the standard for what they will do.)
  • Make sure that you are totally focused on her and nothing else. (There is a time for couple dates, pick a place to eat with out ESPN, and remember that you don’t have to tweet about it.)

If you want to share in the comment section other ways that you can be romantic that would be awesome. I just ask that you keep them PG at least. (haha)


At The Bottom?

Feeling at the Bottom

So this last week I have to be honest I was struggling with some of the things in my life.  I was not happy with where certain things in my life were going.  I was not happy with how I was feeling physically.  I was not happy with the sound that the bird was making outside the house.  I was not happy with . . . well you put it in there I was just not happy.  I don’t know about you but for me it was one of those poor me days.  I just want you to know that I hate you if you don’t know what I am talking about. (Just kidding, not really.)

So I just started looking at twitter.  If you don’t know what that is . . . then get out of your cave.  Maybe that is why you don’t have poor me days either, your hiding away in a cave.  (Just kidding, not really.)  While I was reading about all the great things that was happening in this church,  or all of the cool things that were happening in this persons life,  and about how this person got a new job.  I found one tweet from Catalyst that had a link to a video and there I watched a video that really spoke to me.  Check this one out!

http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/videos-for-pastors/170811-don-miller-on-the-greatness-of-jospeh.html

There I heard Donald Miller ask the question, ‘If God came to you and said it is going to work out great.  Do you think that you are going to have to go through a lot of hard times?”

As I listened to the rest of the video I realized that I was obviously not Joseph but I felt like everything was hard at the specific time.  That in my heart and my head I was wondering really if all that we were doing was worth it? For me I knew the story of Joseph and how his family had sold him off, that he was a slave that was accused of misconduct, and who spent many years in jail forgotten.  Until ONE DAY! ONE DAY he was brought in before the King and then ONE DAY he was put in charge of everything. (If you don’t know his story read here in the bible: Genesis chapter 37 – chapter 46.)

What I want to know is are you so tired of fighting, or are you so tired of being alone, or are you so tired of not having enough money, or are you just so tired that you feel that you are at your bottom?  You see there is going to be that ONE DAY.  But what if your ONE DAY is tomorrow and you quit today?  But what if your ONE DAY is next week and you give up on Sunday?  But what if your ONE DAY is next year and you quit on New Years Eve?

I want you to know that God is going to do what God is going to do, because He is God. I also want you to know that right now maybe as you look from the bottom of what ever it is in your life.  I want you to know that God is able to do something great.

What is that great thing with you? I don’t know God does ask him.

If you want to know more about what means to have a relationship with God then please feel free to contact me. Especially if you feel that you are at the BOTTOM.