Choosing the Long Drive

I can get from my house to my office in about fifteen minutes. I can get back home in a little over twenty depending on the traffic. But every so often I take the long way home.

The long way is full of one lane roads, stop lights, slow drivers and low-speed limits. If I hit most of the green lights I can make it home in around forty to forty-five minutes.

So why would I choose the long, seemingly inconvenient way home?

Because my wife and kids deserve to have me fully present when I get home. They don’t need to compete with the day’s frustrations, stress, unanswered questions and unfinished to-do lists.

They deserve to have all of me the second I walk through the door.

The long way has become my “decompression chamber”. It’s my time to process the days events, think about the questions I didn’t ask and plan for the things I didn’t get done. It’s also my time to pray.

I wish I could say that taking the long way home was my idea, but it wasn’t, it was my wife’s. She was the one who told me she would rather me be home late and present than early and gone.

So that’s what I do.

I choose the long way.

I choose to slow down my life for just a little bit, in order to give my family one of the greatest gifts a Husband and Father can give his family…

Himself.

Be Bold, Quit Worrying About What Other People Think

It is a powerful thing to be confident in who God created you to  be. To understand that you were created for a unique purpose. To boldly walk in the knowledge that the only person who can truly define who you are and what you will become is the Lord.

Well meaning people will try to “help” you discover your purpose. They will try to nudge you in a direction you should go… the direction they think you should go.

Don’t.

Be confident in who you are.

Be bold in the gifts and talents God has given you.

Don’t let people tell you who you are or what you were created to do.

Most of us can’t see past our own insecurities enough to adequately discover what the people around us where created for.

We judge each other based on our own abilities, style, opinions and purpose. And if you aren’t like us, we don’t celebrate it, we want you to change.

Don’t listen.

Be yourself.

Pursue what it is that God has called you to do, and do it with all your heart.

Discover your unique purpose.

You have nothing to prove.

Be bold.

My First Three Hires If I Were Planting a Church Tomorrow.

1) Children’s Pastor
I think this is the most important ministry of the church and if not done well will kill even the most organized church, well funded church. (Keep the kids safe. Keep the kids having fun while learning about God. You reach the kids, you can reach the family.)

2) Communications Pastor
Yes, this would be my second hire. (If I had the money I would #1 and #2 at the same time.) We live in a world where right communication matters. Fortune 500 companies have been taken down by accidental Tweets, politicians have lost campaigns by one misworded email response, and 14 year olds have started mulit-million dollar global campaigns because they know how Snapchat actually works.

We (the church) have the most life changing message, but so often we don’t take the time to learn the best medium of communication, or what really needs to be said. (And no, you don’t HAVE to be on Tv.)

I think most of the time we let the cost (which is pretty minimal now) dictate priorities in this area and it kills us.

3) Executive Pastor
Most Senior leaders of any organization are usually great visionaries but are light on details. Having someone who lives for the details, someone who loves mapping the dots between A and B is essential.

BONUS HIRE: A good accountant.
It would be a good idea to have someone who understands budgets and say… tax law. You know, just to keep bills paid and pastors out of jail.

Goodbye My Old Four Wheeled Friend

When I was fifteen, my parents gave me my first car. It was a Saturn. I loved that car. My brother and I shared that car, had fun in that car, and if I’m totally honest, abused that car. (We were teenagers, that’s what they do.)

So ten years ago when my wife and I needed a new car, I saw another Saturn, and I knew I had to have it. And again, I fell in love with that car.

It was the first car we bought with our own money. The first car we picked out at a dealership. The first car that we spent hours sitting with a salesman negotiating a price. The first car my wife and I paid off together.

It has taken us on more road trips than I can count. My brother drove my 8 month pregnant wife the LONG and UNCOMFORTABLE drive from Orlando to Dallas while I followed them in a moving truck. We slept in that car when there were no available hotel rooms on that same trip because they were all full of people displaced from their homes by Hurricane Katrina.

I drove my first newborn daughter home from the hospital in that car. (Another very long trip even though we only lived three miles from the hospital… new Dads always drive extra slow on that trip.)

I have probably spent more money on repairs to the car than I paid for the car. And I imagine the amount of money spent on that car is numerically equal to a number of times I have defended that car to my wife when she (wisely) wanted to replace it with a more dependable one.

I loved that car.

But the time has come to say goodbye. I told my wife that I would drive it until the “wheels came off”. Well, almost 200,000k miles later, I practically have.

It has been a hard decision for me. The car died a few months ago and has been sitting in my driveway since. I know it still has some miles left in it, and someone with the know-how will be able to fix it up and use it. Unfortunately, I don’t have the know-how and my wife does not have the patience. So we made the decision to say goodbye.

Even after we made the decision, I have been hesitant.

Until last week.

Last week there was an unsolicited knock on our door. It was a young couple with two kids that are the same age as our two youngest. They saw the car sitting in our driveway and asked if it was for sale, and if so for how much. They were looking for a second car, didn’t have much money to spend, and didn’t care if it ran or not. He was a mechanic; he can fix anything.

I waited a week and then called him back. He missed my call, and when he did call me back he apologized for calling so late, but he and his wife were in church, “praying for a blessing”. (He has no idea that I’m a Pastor)

I told him I did not know how much of a “blessing” it would be, but if he wanted the car, it was his, he could have it.

And so today, when he gets off work, he is coming over with a trailer to take it away.

I was thinking last night and wondering why saying goodbye to this car has been so hard for me. It’s just a car. But as I thought more about it, I remembered a commitment my wife and I made when we were first married to never miss a Tithe or ignore a chance to give, even if it was a little, when the Lord prompted us to. I also remembered all of the times we had to decide if we were going to pay the car payment or another bill with the little money we had left any given month. But even though we only had the money for one, God would always provide for both. We never missed a car payment, and we have always been able to pay our other bills.

God always provided what we needed when we needed it.

The “Sermon On The Mount” has always been my favorite teaching in the Bible, and Matthew 6:31-34 has always been a foundation for me and has given me great hope: “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

So after today, we’ll be down to one running car. Can I replace it? Not right now. Do I have a plan? Not really. Am I worried? Not at all.

That car is more than a car. It is a blessing from the Lord. And now that car is going to be a blessing for someone else.

So, with all that said, today, with a heart full of joy and peace, I say goodbye to my old four-wheeled friend.

On Wisdom

Knowledge and wisdom are not the same.

We journey through life collecting all sorts of little facts. We learn all sorts of lessons. We gather all kinds of experiences. But that is not wisdom, that is just knowledge.

WISDOM comes when we take all the knowledge that we have accumulated, all those lessons we have learned, and APPLY it in a positive way to our lives. Knowledge is just accumulation. Wisdom is the application.

On Wisdom

Knowledge and wisdom are not the same.

We journey through life collecting all sorts of little facts. We learn all sorts of lessons. We gather all kinds of experiences. But that is not wisdom, that is just knowledge.

WISDOM comes when we take all the knowledge that we have accumulated, all those lessons we have learned, and APPLY it in a positive way to our lives. Knowledge is just accumulation. Wisdom is the application.