This week my brother Casey sent me an amazing article about Ryan Leaf and his life experiences. What was so amazing about the article is that it was Ryan Leaf writing a letter to his younger self. If you want to read it just click here you won’t be disappointed. But it made me think about what if I were to write a letter to my younger self and what would be the things that I would want to share. Here are just a few of the highlights that I would share with my younger self:
- Don’t let what people say about you or to you determine what you see in yourself.
- Just because they are people that go to church doesn’t mean that they represent Jesus.
- Know that when you experience heart break that it is leading you to the woman that you will spend the rest of your life with.
- Just because there is a job that you want doesn’t necessarily mean that is that job that you need. God’s vision for you is bigger then your vision for you.
- Enjoy the process and don’t always look for the next step.
- Remember that your accomplishments are not in what you do but who you do them with in life. There are three kids in your life that will change you and grow you more then you will ever know.
This is just a little of what I think that I would write to a younger Scott Bloyer. What are some things that you would write down and tell your younger self if you could? Looking back is always a good thing, just remember to not stay there. (Share one of your bullet points here.)
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) 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.6 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?
Ok so I have to say that I am not a fan of Pokemon Go. But it is making people crazy and I am not going to lie, I love the idea of this game for parents and their kids. So I was thinking that we should list some very simple tips for playing Pokemon Go with your kids:
- Make sure that you are dressed for the adventure. If you are going to be outside a ton then make sure you are dressed for where you live. Also make sure that you have something to drink while you are out and about. Who knows this might be something that you can assign to one of the kids to handle. Give them some ownership for the adventure. But ultimately wear good shoes, don’t want those dogs to get tired.
- Don’t worry about catching duplicate Pokémon. Whenever you snag a new Pokémon, you may notice you will also earn candy and stardust. Both items will help level up your characters to make them stronger. With enough candy, you can also evolve your Pokémon into something bigger and more powerful. Any duplicates you transfer to the professor net more candy. So those extra Pidgeys will come in handy.
- Eggs are a good way to snag more Pokémon. When you visit a Poké Stop, you can earn Balls to capture more creatures or Eggs. Players can stick an Egg in an incubator and birth their own Pokémon. All you need to do is once the Egg is inside the incubator, you must walk to complete the process. Now being dressed for the adventure will be worth it.
- Have your phone charger ready always. You sure don’t want the phone to die while you are on the adventure do you? So play with the kids and let them know that with out the phone the adventure stops. So make it fun for how you get the phone on the charger and off when you go hunting.
- The way you toss the Poké Ball is important. When you capture a Pokémon, you flick the Poké Ball from the lower end of the screen toward the Pokémon to catch it. The better the toss, the more experience points you earn. You can even toss a curveball to catch them with flair. A green circle expands and shrinks when you hold down on the Poké Ball before the toss. The wider the circle, the greater the odds of making a catch.
- Beware of your surroundings. One thing that I have already seen is people wandering around without an awareness of what is going on around them. So a good idea would be to have some one as your safety guard through the whole adventure. In fact this also might be a good time to talk with your kids about being aware of people around them when they are walking to and from school, or playing with friends, or walking to practice. Make this a teachable moment about safety.
I think it is important to know that the family that plays together stays together. I also think that a family that attends a church together has a stronger bond then they will ever know. If you want to know more about a church in Aurora, CO then just click here and find a place for you and your family. Don’t let the adventure stop when you are not playing Pokemon Go!
So this weekend I had someone invite me to come and see a car that was in our parking lot. We walked out the front door and the person pointed out the car in the parking lot. My first thought was ok nice car but that is not the make or model that I get all fired up about, I let them know that I am a mustang kind of guy. But then the person drew my attention to the license plate that was on the car. There I saw what had got the attention of the individual.
This is the actual license plate that was on the car. This is not fabricated or changed in any way to make this an interesting picture. For those of you that don’t know we are a church that is in the great state of Colorado where I am a native. A place where it is currently to legally purchase marijuana. Now I don’t intend for this to be a place where we argue about what should be or not be legal. We live in a state where it is legal and I have to live in that reality as a leader. So the person that pointed out the license plate then asked me this question, “What should we do about this?”
My answer to this question was simple, “Make sure they have a great parking spot and they have a good time.” With that answer I saw a look of confusion for a minute. But then I went on to explain what I meant. My answer and my prayer was that this person felt comfortable enough to come and be a part of our church so I wanted us to live out, “It’s ok to not be ok, but God doesn’t want you to stay that way.” I wanted the person that came in this car to understand that they can come here and be cared for and encouraged in their faith journey. Then I wanted the person to know that pointed out the license plate that God is going to be the one that is going to change a life. So we should be excited that this person was with us and hearing about the radical grace of Jesus.
We were not going to run them off because of their license plate because just down the row was another car that I knew the owner was dealing with porn, I knew that there was another car on the next row where the owner was dealing with mental illness, and I knew that there was another car on the other end of the lot that was in legal trouble. The only thing different about this car was that their license plate was letting us know what was going on in their life. So we were going to simply pray for this person, pray that Jesus was going to impress upon their heart about a relationship with Him, pray that this person would experience life change because of who he is and not because we pointed out their license plate. So my encouragement to you is to look in the parking lot, look and see not the license plates but who are the people that are there to be cared for and reached with the radical grace of Jesus? Who knows maybe you need to start with your car.
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?
So yesterday at Elevation we had a baptism celebration at Elevation. It is one of the things that we do that amazes me that I get to be a part of. As a church family and team over the last four and a half years we have celebrated 194 people getting baptized. The baptisms are amazing as we see husbands, wives, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and friends baptize the people that they know have taken the step of saying yes to a relationship with Jesus. There is nothing more amazing then watching a little boys face as he looks up at his dad after he comes out of the water. I get emotional when I see a spouse that is getting the chance to baptize the person that they are staying with for the rest of their life and eternity.
But then you get to hear the stories of how and why they said yes to a relationship with Jesus. You get to hear about the struggle, the mess, and many times the hurt that lead them to realize their need for Jesus. But then you also get to hear the stories of how families lead in the area of faith, about how students knew that it was what the knew they needed to do, and amazing stories of a life of faith and growth. No story is ever the same and no baptism is every the same because of what is happening in that persons life.
What I am excited to think about though is the stories that I have yet to hear. I am excited about the faces, the families, and the friends that we get to take pictures of baptizing those that are making their life with Jesus public. Who knows maybe you are one of the stories that we are going to get to share.
This weekend was another awesome experience at Elevation. But you may be wondering what makes it an awesome experience? Well, I am glad that you asked that question. Here are just a few things that made it an awesome experience:
- We had four people say, “Yes to Jesus”. That means that they took the ultimate step in their spiritual formation as a follower of Jesus.
- We had our Dream Team together before anyone even showed up for church. They sat together, they prayed together, and they took communion together. Why? Because great teams know what you are to do to prepare for a great day.
- We had four people attend the Discover The Church Team Workshop and see what it means to be a teammate at Elevation. Each story of how they came to be a part of Elevation was so inspiring.
- We were able to celebrate with being a part of the launch of Front Range Christian Church in Castlerock, CO. We even spent time praying for them and their team as they seek to reach people for Jesus.
- We also started a new series, “Mr. & Mrs. Better half”. A relationship series that is challenging us to become better when it comes to the other people in our lives.
It is our hope and prayer that we will be able to share some exciting news about Elevation and in the coming days and weeks. There are some things that are happening that you are just going to be amazed to hear about. Stay tuned.