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‪reck·less /rekləs/ adj. without thinking about the consequences. rash, heedless, impetuous, impulsive, daredevil, audacious, madcap‬

Category: Cabin

I am a Thief. 

I am a thief.
This is difficult for me to admit to myself, let alone to anyone else. I’m not the only one that knows it. I don’t want to be. I don’t like it. In fact, I hate it. It feels constricting, suffocating and like I want to die.
No, I don’t really want to die… the point is that being stuck is debilitating and it robs you of joy, peace, happiness and all the good things of life. I don’t like being robbed. Especially, of the things in life which give it the most meaning and purpose.
I am a sarcastic, cynical and somewhat cantankerous human being. This makes it difficult to be around me sometimes. It is an interesting scenario, being robbed of your joy, because it causes you to rob others of their joy as well. You become a thief. I don’t like being a thief even more than I like being robbed by one. The other day, I came to the realization that it is time to check myself before wrecking myself. It is time for me to get a handle on my inner child and find what has robbed me of my joy, my peace, my happiness and my tranquility and serenity so I can stop robbing those around me.
I am a straight-forward kind of dude and I don’t put much stock in the whole life-force/energy thing we each have. However, I have seen firsthand how we can rob each other of joy, happiness and peace. I have been a thief of those things. When our personal experience is missing those them, we will rob others to of them in order to have them in our lives. Sometimes it is on purpose and other times it is unintentional. But it happens. I have done it… recently.
As humans, we grapple at anything that can/will fill the various holes we feel in our lives. At our core, we are fallen, sinful creatures who have selfishly rebelled against our God and creator; so it makes sense we would rob others of their joy in a feeble attempt to find joy for ourselves. The problem is, your joy can not and will not ever be my joy. Your joy can not and will not ever fill the hole in my life needing to be filled by joy.
And so, I selfishly attempt to find my joy by robbing you of yours and as a result leave a swath of pain, hurt and broken relationships because of my selfish attempt to fill the hole in my soul. I’m not the only one. Many of us do it. Sometimes, we don’t even realize it. At this very moment, I sit on the back patio of a lake house in North Carolina praying to God to find my joy… more specifically that he will be my joy. That God will re-orient my heart and my mind to him. That he will renew them into something new focus on him, his glory and his kingdom and not be focused on my selfish, sinful self. As I sit here, I feel very convicted of how I have allowed Satan a foothold in my life, a foothold of sarcasm and discontent (sarcasm isn’t inherently sinful, it easily leads down the path to the dark side though). I ask God to renew a right spirit within me, his spirit within me to be a man, a husband and a father, after his own heart. I ask for my joy and peace and excitement for life to be restored.
I am sitting at a lake house on the men’s retreat for my church. I came on this retreat with the sole purpose of getting my joy back, getting my focus back. Of remembering who I am before God and how he expects me to live and lead those he has trusted me with. On Sunday, we started a new series of sermons on the parables and we began with the parable of the sower. As I am reading and studying that passage this week, I find I have become the thorny soil. I have a solid foundation and root system in Jesus Christ, yet I have allowed the worry of life to choke out my walk with Christ. I have allowed other things to distract me from my Savior. I have become distracted. I have become like Peter as he stepped out of the boat to walk on the water… afraid, unfocused and distracted. I love Peter. 12 dudes in the boat and he was the only with the balls to get out on the water and walk towards Jesus. 11 dudes in the garden and this joker was the only one who pulls out a sword and says, ‘If you want Jesus, you have to go through me!’ Neither time did any of the others dudes make an outward sign of moment towards Jesus. Peter was impetuous and premature. But at least he did something. He was crippled by fear… not until later, when he denied Jesus 3 times. Which sort of brings us full circle on Peter. While being singularly focused, he was also distracted and unfocused. I am Peter and Peter is me.
They say the first step to fixing the problem is to admit there is a problem. I have a problem. I have become distracted and unfocused and allowed God to be shifted from the center of my life and as a result I have become a thief. As I have lost my joy, I have robbed others of theirs in a feeble attempt to have it for myself.
God, un-distract me.
Focus me on you once again.
Re-orient my life around you.
Renew my first love.
Become my joy again.

Retreat-ing

I love this… not the backing down from a conflict, but taking time to retreat away from the normal day life and re-engage to take a Sabbath and rest up to plan ahead for the future.

This weekend, I have the privilege to be at a cabin in Gatlinburg with Jim, John & Steve (the guys I’m on staff with at H2O) to fish, hang out and plan the rest of the year for H2O. We are gathering around casting vision, planning, praying, fasting and inviting the Holy Spirit to intimately be involved in the next steps of H2O.

I am very excited to be in this process. I am excited to be on this team with these dudes. Being a part of a team that values each other and being in our lives together, speaking the Gospel into each other’s lives and genuinely care for each other.

When you live and pastor in Florida, there is no better place to refresh, reload and plan ahead than the mountains.

Pray for us this weekend as we draw closer to God and closer to each other. My desire for this weekend is to not just come away with a better handle for where we are going as a church, but I hope to grow even closer to these dudes that I partner with each week to serve God in Orlando at H2O.

One of the biggest questions we are wrestling with is how to effectively implement a concept called missional communities. We are attempting a dramatic shift in our philosophy in our life groups. We are going to effectively kill our life groups and starting something new. I have the unique opportunity to beta test this concept in my life group right now. This can be the single most important shift we make in the life of H2O. I wanna talk more about missional communities over the next few weeks.

But for now, know that I’m suffering in the mountains where the trout are plentiful and the camaraderie is excellent.

Camp

The boys and I are at middle school this week at North Florida Christian Camp. We started the week off right by running late to get here. It has been raining all day and the dirt road coming into the camp was a 1.5 mile long mud bog the front tires on my Dodge Neon are practically bald. I had to bomb down the road just to keep from getting stuck! It was a blast! Honestly, I wished I still had a SUV so that I could have hammed it up a bit.

After finally getting down the road to the camp we got situated into the ‘bunk house’ all by ourselves. This is going to be great for me and the boys. We will use this time to bond, relax and have a great time. The photo below shows us watching Kick Buttowski on Netflix using my tech that I brought to use for my missions presentation. So far, the boys are loving being here with me.

I have been praying for this summer for months and this week of camp for awhile. I feel like this is going to be a very good summer for us in the support raising department. Before we went on vacation, I had 3 successful appointments that led to 3 new ministry partners. This week we are the missionary at camp and I will be speaking to the 127 middle schoolers here about H2O Church. I also intend to share our work with the adults that are here too in hopes of getting some of them to come aboard with us.

This is going to be a good week. Thank you, God for allowing me to be here.

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More Things than the Eye can Count

Leaves.

I hate leaves.

I grew up in a house that had 7 giant pecan trees on a half acre lot. It was an 1850 built plantation house for 150 acre pecan plantation. If you know nothing about pecan trees, know now that in the fall they drop an amount of leaves that can only described as ‘well more than you can imagine’ (thank you Star Wars). One of my all-time favorite movie lines involves leaves. The movie starred two governors to be… guess the movie, actors who became governor and describe the scene, in the comments section along with the best reason why you should win and I will send you a surprising award. So here’s the line:

Person 1: When the big man was killed, its blood was on the leaves.

Person 2: If it bleeds, we can kill it.

Now, let’s try to pull this back to reality and the subject at hand. When I think of leaves, I think of an obstacle that seems almost too big to overcome. Getting ready to go on vacation can sometimes be like this. Today we are preparing to leave for a week-long trip to Georgia. And it has been a busy day trying to get everything prepared to be gone for a week. Busy, busy, busy. Add to the chaos Orange County Public Schools scheduled this as a teacher work day.

As I made out my To Do List fro the day it seemed as insurmountable as those God-awful leaves back home. Here I am towards the end of the day with most of them accomplished. I am happy. This is the most least-anxious I have ever been prior to a trip. I tend to turn into an arsehole when trying to leave and get all jerkified. Not today. We will leave when we leave. This insurmountable task list is dwindling… which is good cuz so is my energy. The best way to enjoy the trip is to enjoy the process of getting ready to go.

Anyway, I’ve put off finishing the last little bit to get us ready long enough (I had to search my iPhoto library for a photo of the infamous house. You can see several of the referenced pecan trees and even some of the hated leaves.)

527 Oglethorpe Ave.

Next time you read a post from me, it’ll be from a cabin nestled in the north Georgia mountains as I escape reality and spend a few days alone with Ronda.

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