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Preacher on the Run…

Faith, Family, Ministry, and Everything in between

Feature Friday (03/22/19)

Self-control. It’s funny how a desire that comes so naturally (control) can be so difficult when paired with the adjective (self). Control is something we desire so much in life. We want to control our schedule. We desire to control our workflow. We want to control results. The desire for control seems to come naturally to us, that is until what is needing to be controlled is our self. Nothing has taught me more about self-control than parenting.

I caught my son one day smashing to bits an older toy of his with a stick. My immediate response was, “stop”. But then I engaged and asked the obvious question, “Why are you destroying your toy?”. To which my son replied, “It isn’t working like it’s supposed to.” What was at the core of this situation? Control. You see my son in realizing he couldn’t control the toy as he desired, ultimately lost his control in the process. But I had to go deeper.

Why was he responding like this? What made him think it was ok to utterly decimate his toy in such a violent fashion? Why did he lose his self-control in this manner? So I asked him and the response I got crippled me on the spot.

“Dad, when you were fixing the lawnmower the other day and it wasn’t working, you started hitting it just like this“… Wow! Crippled. Humbled. Shamed. Yet accurate. It was at that moment I realized that if I wanted “The Simplest Way to Teach My Kids Self Control“, I would have to start with me.

This is the crux of the issue and heart of the article Jon Acuff writes over at Parent Cue. It’s funny and humbling how the age-old adage, “more is caught than taught” holds true in every form of daily life.

Enjoy the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Trym Nilsen on Unsplash

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Feature Friday (03/15/19)

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Peter Drucker is quoted on this statement often. Honestly, I love and hate the quote. Not necessarily because of the quote itself, but because of how frequently it is used, yet infrequently it is lived out. As someone who is constantly trying to grow as a leader (yet failing at it every day), I have realized the importance of culture, yet have so much to learn on how to create or change it.

Culture is one of those curious and nebulous words that packs so much punch, but we often don’t know why. Culture is kind of like love – it’s hard to define and completely wrap the idea up in a few words, yet we know it when we see it. We know when we have been a part of a good family or culture. We equally know when we have been a part of a bad family or work culture. And yet as a leader, I am finding it more and more difficult to put into words how to create, change, and shape the culture in which I find myself and lead.

Into this void steps Vanderbloemen and an article titled “20 Proven Ways to Improve Your Church Staff Culture“. Don’t be fooled, while Vanderbloemen aims the article at shaping church staff culture, the principles are transferable to business, community, or even family living. All you have to do is simply change the nouns a bit.

So enjoy the article, change your culture for the better, and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash

Feature Friday (03/08/19)

Made in China. It seems that most things are made in China these days. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against China. But it does appear that most of the things I have bought that say “made in China” seem to be made, well, rather cheaply. They bend, rip, tear, or break easily. They just don’t seem to measure up to other robust products. But I guess that is what you get when something is cheap…a cheap reality.

The same can be said for things in the church world. If all you want is a one-hour a week experience to check a box or “feel closer to God”, then you can find it. Unfortunately, you can find it far too easily in the American church. What is the cause of this “cheap” reality? While the contributing factors are many there is at least one that I believe adds to the cheapness. A cheap understanding of membership.

Stephen Kneale writes a powerful article where he states, “since we made membership a more stringent affair, we have found it has done nothing but increase the desire of people to join.” His point, people will see membership as whatever you make it out to be as a leader. Stephen’s challenge is this, “Make Your Membership Count for Something“.

Don’t settle for the cheap “as seen on TV” stuff this weekend. Spend the time, energy, and effort to be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Aidan Bartos on Unsplash

Feature Friday (03/01/19)

“I’m done!”

I still remember speaking those words as our coach headed out of the room. The tension and turmoil had been brewing since the middle of July, it was now early September. Our football team was not performing and having the success expected. Guys on the team were getting frustrated. The coaches were frustrated. And a serious divide was about to take place.

One day during school I heard from 3 seniors that they and a number of underclassmen were going to “protest” coach and the antics going on, by skipping practice and meeting up at one guy’s house. I met them in the parking lot after school, we carpooled to the house and began playing pool and talking about all our frustrations. A few minutes later we got a huge surprise.

Our head coach had driven over to the house, came in the basement where we were and told us all that if we wanted to play on the team this year to get back to practice immediately. Two guys walked out immediately, the rest of us stayed and the coach told us to turn in our uniforms and gear tomorrow. And as he walked out I murmured…”I’m done”. I walked out on football that year. I never thought I’d return to play the game.

 

I was bitter, angry, and just plain disgusted with the idea after a horrible experience. 

 

Recalling that ordeal helps me understand the heart and have sympathy for those who have decided to be done with the church as well. However, there is a great difference between leaving a football team and leaving the church, which is why I recommend Carey’s Nieuwhof’s article “A Response to Christians Who Are Done with Church“.

If you are someone who has given up on the church. Someone who was harmed, hurt, or just frustrated by the church in the past. An individual who has totally said, “I’m done” to the church. I encourage you and plead you to take a moment and read the article. If you are someone who knows a few people like this, do yourself a favor and engage the article to love a friend well.

I would love to hear your response and interact with you, so feel free to leave a comment below. And I do hope that you would consider rejoining the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day this weekend.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Feature Friday (02/22/19)

Losing! No one likes to do it. No one plans to do it. And I have yet to meet someone who enjoys it. However, it was a large portion of my formative years. For 4 years of my sports career losing was normative. Over 4 years of high school football my school accumulated records of 2-8, 0-10, 0-10, 5-5. My cumulative record for high school football was 7-33. Not impressive. But glad that I am not alone.

Losing is horrible, but when you have others with you it’s at least bearable, most of the time. The one time that losing is unbearable even on a team is when you are the one to blame for a loss. While I am not a proponent of saying one play or one player wins or loses a game, the reality is some plays or players role has a much more visible factor in winning and losing. Such is often the case for kickers in football. Such was the case for Cory Parkey of the Chicago Bears in the 2018-2019 NFL playoffs.

Cory’s situation is a rough one and yet I think much can be learned and gleaned from the scenario. Most vital life lessons and character qualities are forged in the midst of loss, not realized through victory. These qualities are the ones I want to teach my children, which is why I loved and highly recommend Dan Andros’ article “Why I’m Telling My Sons to Be Like Bears Kicker Cory Parkey“.

If you are trying to grow children with character rather than just winners, check out the article. And as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

Feature Friday (02/15/19)

“That was a bad decision.” I have said those words far too often in my life. As a boy, I said it after thinking I could be the one to dive closest to the wall of the pool, only to find out the wall was closer than I thought. A bloody head and a few stitches later…” that was a bad decision”. As a teenager, I said it after thinking I could take a corner on a backroad in winter faster than the speed limit. After sending a mailbox 50 yards down the road and coming to a stop…” that was a bad decision”. But making a bad decision has not only been relegated to my younger years.

As an adult, I have had plenty of days when I have had to admit to myself and others, “that was a bad decision”. I have had to do it in marriage, fatherhood, and leadership. It is never a fun realization or conversation, but I have tried to say it less and less because I am trying to make fewer and fewer bad decisions. I think anyone readily admits this and every leader desires it.

That is why I loved Aaron Buer’s article “4 Tools for Better Ministry Decisions“. While Aaron writes primarily to a church leader audience, the tools he lists are useful for anyone and everyone. These tools will help you make better decisions as a spouse, parent, co-worker, employee, manager, and leader.

I hope you enjoy the article, put one of these tools into practice and as always enjoy the Lord’s day with the Lord’s people.

Photo by Francisco Gonzalez on Unsplash

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