“Wiping out is an underappreciated skill”

Everyday Life

Relentless wave

Yesterday I let many people have a glance behind the veil of ministry and into my life.  The word of the day was ANXIETY.  Immediately my phone began to ring, my social media took a boost, and my heart became burden, but yet full.  On the other line was a consistent struggle of a lot of skeletons in the closet.  There are so many people who deal with this on a daily basis, and there was somewhat of an inkling of hope for people to hear a pastor have a similar struggle.  It is always so surprising to me that people often think though I am called by God that everything else just falls in line. This is so far from the truth it is somewhat humorous. But one thing I did take away from yesterdays conversations, is everyone is looking for that relief, that change of pace, that answer that solves what is keeping them from living a full life.

I explain my anxiety like this. If you have ever gotten out in the ocean and tried to surf this will be easy for you to understand, and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for! I remember the first time I paddled out on a board in San Diego California; it was a Thursday night in Cardiff. It was picturesque! Your surfing career begins with a little judgment and a lot of upper body strength as you paddle against the wreck less chaos of waves coming your direction. This is where undertows are your friend and your lifesaver! I learned to surf like I learned to ski. Or like I learned to manage my life, I just paddled out! There is a point in surfing where you begin to feel the wave pull you into it, as it prepares to spit you out. In this moment you make a choice whether you begin to paddle with or against the wave. But in that moment, if it is just right, you don’t have choice. You have committed, and it is time to jump up and take on the challenge, or become swallowed up by an endless beating, wave after wave after wave.   Anxiety is like this, there are moments where I begin to feel it pulling me in, and sometimes I ride, and sometimes I take an endless beating. But I have learned over the many years that this has been apart of my life that standing and riding has such a better outcome than trying to just paddle through it.

But even the best of us who have managed this for sometime, go out on days we have no business trying to surf, and misjudge where we stop paddling and we sink. We sink to a bottom of an unforgiving ocean, only to see a light at the surface that seems impossible to get to. But I write today to tell you to take heart, relax, and don’t fight it, you will emerge again, you will take a deep breath, and you will conquer this. It may take a community to help, it may take a family that holds you up, or it may take some sort of medical relief. I have tried all, and I haven’t conquered this yet.

But I write to you, because I refuse to let the devil win, by me dealing with this alone. This too will bring God glory, this too will make me stronger, and this too will be lived in front of you so that you know you are never alone. None of us are. So I am an anxious person, but first and foremost I am a child of God, and I will decide how I am defined, and I will be hopeful knowing that nothing, not even my chemical imbalance will separate me from my God.

Thank you for all your love and support. And for those of you who have reached out with a similar struggle, my prayer is for you always!

What Kind of leader are you?

Uncategorized

Crown of a king

 

I often think through what type of leader that I want to be, and what type of leader that I am.  I exist somewhere in between this gap of reality. Here lately I can’t get this concept out of my head.  

‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,

‘every knee will bow before me;

every tongue will acknowledge God.’ 

Romans 14:11

 

There were many differences between Jesus the king, and other kings but one is the reverence of the throne.  See in what I know about kingdoms, is that normally there would be a leader who sits upon the throne, who demanded respect, who demanded reverence, who demanded loyalty.  Then there was Jesus, who never demanded anything upon his authority, who never threw his holiness, his kingship, or the height in which he was at anyone.  

 

I feel that a major part of my calling is to help people get to this prophecy, that every knee will bow, and  that every tongue will confess.  But there is a difference here.  See a normal king demands this type of respect and my king deserves it.  The choice is yours for some time, but how much more precious will it be to bow because all that He has done for you, and through you.  You will bow, you will confess, but will it be because it is demanded or deserved?  

 

There is something that draws me to this idea as a leader.  I can be the leader that is respected or the leader that demands respect.  There is a difference, and all I want is to be the leader who points others to a king, to a savior, who has taught me everything I know about how we should lead.  Who has given me more than anyone else can, or will.  Do my actions point to what he has done?  Will you bow to his love, or fall to your ignorance.  Either way every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess.  

 

That sinking feeling

Community, Ministry, Thoughts

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There have been many times in my ministry where I have gotten to this point, and yesterday was another one of those days where I evaluated who I was, what God has called me too, and how I was going to make it through.  

See this page has been an avenue where I have spoken candidly on Life, ministry, and all the grey in between.  That “Grey” is the bleed over from both compartments in my life, who I am as a Pastor and who I am to the rest of you.  Many of these posts never make it live, but nonetheless these are my thoughts.

See often times whether when I was in the corporate world or now in the church world, people have approached me and exposed their souls to me.  Which for a moment is kind of a relief… since this is something that my title has required from me for some time.  So for that moment its like we connect, we know what each other is going through and we for a second are on an even playing field.  It’s nice.  Well then other times it feels like I am a lifeguard perched in my tower. Over this sink hole.  Looking for the one, the one I am here to help bring salvation to.  The difference here is when I jump in to assist, there is too many to help, too many to bring to the surface, or to the edge.  In fact for a moment it’s like saving someone who is drowning, the natural reaction is to bring you to their level instead of you raising them to yours. And for that moment my calling feels like it’s to the bottom of the pool.  Hurt, Wounded, Broken, Hopeless, Lost, Dead.

Yesterday was that day for me.  There are so many people around me that need a hand up.  No matter if it is self induced or not, they are drowning and screaming for help.  And I hurt individually for every one of you.  And I can’t get you out of my mind.  But the message is the same.  

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Though you think this is about you, or them.  The encouraging but hard truth is, its not.  In fact it’s not about me either and in these moments I feel helpless too.  

It’s about a fight, a battle, a victory, a defeat, but not about us.  Take heart though things seem lost, He is salvation; He has overcome the very world that holds you back.  And though everything in you says you are alone, your not.  And in these moments, I am beyond thankful I am not either.

I’m sorry, but this to shall pass.

What is the Goal?

Bible, Community, Everyday Life, Group Life, Leadership, Thoughts

Community

Community has been well-defined by many people over time.  In fact, we almost have it down to a science on how to create and decimate community within our churches.  But over the last several weeks I have been pushed to answer the question on, what is our end goal?  The problem with this question is there is a long-term ultra spiritual answer that I can quote several verses in the Bible, (take a deep breath) or I can simply quote the theme song from an american sitcom that began the same time I entered this world, “Where everybody knows your name!”  So my friends the goal of group life whether you call it a small group, a community group, or  even a life group, is to create a sense of belonging.  When you feel like you belong, accountability happens, and no matter if times are good or bad, care happens.  When people have other people to count on, the sense of belonging catapults them to a new chapter in their life, where they begin to experience the abundant life John 10:10 speaks about.  No matter the leader, no matter the strategy, if you can create belonging in your communities, then you will begin to see a movement that changes the face of your church.

 

Since the beginning

Thoughts, Uncategorized

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Since I have started here at Crossroads Church God has reminded me so much of just how broken people are.  In the midst of a falling economy, of a broken family, and in the absence of morality lies the very thing that I’ve been called to reach, the lost.  In Luke 15 it is very apparent where Jesus stands, and where His heart is by the stories that he tells.  Whether it is a Shepherd leaving his flock for the one that he loses, or a father welcoming his long lost son back into the family, Jesus makes one thing clear, everyone counts.  I have come to find that my story in which I was once ashamed of is not unfamiliar to the masses.  In fact God has used my story to relate and comfort others and remind them that even in the times of strife and uncertainty He is certain.  I once heard someone mention that God still works in the meantime.  I know there are many that are in a place of hopelessness right now, but John 16:33 says “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”  Stand on this truth today.

How do you process that?

Uncategorized

The Hike With Hope team and I just returned from Delicias, Honduras a day ago and I have been trying to process what took place ever since.  Leaving the country is shaky, leading a team without knowing the outcome is scary, but seeing the hope and love of Jesus Christ rejected is without a question the hardest thing a man can witness.  When I launched Hike With Hope, I will admit, it was probably too soon and somewhat of an underdeveloped idea.  But still something told me the time is now.  The idea was to take hope to the hopeless and love the forgotten all around this world.  Did I ever think we would actually get the opportunity to do such a thing?  Still not sure, but we have, we did, and we will.  God has blessed us beyond measure and has provided more than I can imagine.  But we spend 90% of our time preparing for the 10%, and that 10% is hard and heavy.  This last week we saw God move and develop the seeds we planted last time.  It was unbelievable, and so rewarding.  But this week we also caught a glimpse of a bondage so strong that has made truth become relative for so many.  The picture was painted when a lady spoke to Gerardo one late afternoon saying, “You and your Americans can’t buy us with rice and beans.”  At first it was so discouraging, because if you know me then you know I am very careful in leveraging anything for the gospel.  I have always been very aware not to present an “if you say this prayer I will give you this” type attitude.  But this wasn’t about me or the team, it was about religion.  Religion has warred on for sometime now, battle after battle, with people arguing over who’s right and who’s wrong.  I guess for once I was hoping that we could spare the battle of who’s right, and not “fight” to “win” but “love” to “change.” Not that I think I am wrong, because I know Jesus is the only way.  But until these people know I care, they don’t care what I know.  But here is the great part, the only way they will ever trust us is through Christ, and through their own(Benigno).  Benigno, the man who stood in the shadow of a giant(Catholicism) last time we were there, has developed truly into a man of God.  He is gentle, persistent, and in love with Christ.  This is what sets him apart.  So though religion paints a brutal fight once again, we have a man on that side who stands for hope.  And that is our chance, that is our hope, and that is what we are in this for.  Though there were a few and may always be a few who live so sceptical, there are and were many who were just so thankful to see us.  With no rain, water has been harder to come by, without water food has been scarce and without these essentials this village has grown weary.  But we will learn from Benigno, and have a gentle spirit but persist in hope that change will come, and that we will see love grow and a new mountain for them to stand firm upon.  Thank you all so much for making this last week possible.

From me to you.