MY ONE WORD for 2016

The "What If" Question I Never Planned on Asking

For those that know me well or follow me on this blog, you probably remember me proclaiming my word for the year at the beginning of 2016. “What if?” I know that’s technically 2 words, but when you hashtag it – it works. #whatif.

I’m a dreamer and a doer. I love to have my head in the clouds, but there are also times when I just put my head down and get stuff done. It’s a unique tension in my life that I’ve learned to embrace. There have been so many wonderful “What if…” moments this year that I could fill all of 2017 with blogs to inspire what if’s in your own life. However, this is NOT that kind of POST.

This post is not about all the “what ifs” that got me pumped up, it’s about the ONE “what if” that had me jacked up for almost 10 months of this year.

What if…my heart never recovers?

I almost wish I was speaking emotionally or metaphorically about lost love or dreams that were crushed because of circumstances (almost – because I do understand that this has happened for people who struggle with this question and I don’t want to minimize their experience nor would I wish that on anyone). No, I’m speaking about the very real, odd shaped, irreplaceable muscle that pumps the life-blood through our bodies. MY HEART!

Sex Songs and God

Have you ever heard a sex song and thought of how awesome God is?

Is it just me?

I admit, I find the strangest things sometimes and equate them or find a connection to God. Maybe it’s a movie’s ability to describe the root issue of sin in our lives, or a song’s ability to connect my emotions to a phrase that becomes an anthem, or even just something from a book that was intended to tie the author’s points together but instead, connects me to a better understanding of the tension we feel in life and faith.

Again, I know I’m weird. I embrace it.

Here are some of those lyrics.

Verse 1
You know just what to say
(S#*t that scares me!)
I should just walk away
But I can’t move my feet
The more that I know you
The more I want to
Something inside me has changed
I was so much younger yesterday… (oh)
Chorus
I didn’t know that I was starving till I tasted you
Who needs butterflies when you give me the whole damn zoo…
Closing Bridge
The more that I know you the more I want to…

I don’t know what this song means to you. These words may only speak about a physical act of love in your mind, however I see them as a much more deeply rooted core feeling of desire, want, and need that ONLY one person can fill.

Many years ago, some friends of mine took two Psalms and wrote a song for our church. I’m not really even sure if we performed it more than a couple of times. It’s was titled “Taste and See” after Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the lord is good.” It was a song about our soul’s deepest desire for God

Verse 1
Oh my soul, it yearns for you
How my heart, cries out to the Living God
It’s birthed in me, this desire I cannot hide
How I need, this fountain you’ve invited me to
Chorus
Taste and see, I’m overwhelmed by your goodness Lord!

It may just be me, but I can’t listen to Hailee’s song and stop at just the image of satisfying a sexual desire. There’s something so much larger in me that is STARVING for something GREATER than this world has to offer. The more of Jesus I get, the more I realize my need for Him. The more He satisfies my soul, the more I realize how great my need for Him is!

Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the lord is good.”

God, I didn’t know that I was starving until I tasted You!

The Fear of Reflection…

We fear many things in this life, but one that I’ve personally encountered over this past summer is the FEAR OF REFLECTION.

Reflection is simply that time of pondering over, asking questions of, and interpreting things internally. Some people do this through meditation. Some make this a daily part of their prayer life. Some do it as a deliberate practice when considering a major decision. Others simply are forced to do it when something goes horribly wrong and are working to assess what happened and when.

But I’ve noticed in conversations with people that taking time to reflect and ask personal questions (to ourselves) is not something they WANT to do. There is a FEAR that shows up that they didn’t even realize was there.

  • A Fear of what they will find when they stop moving.
  • A Fear of what they will hear when they stop talking.
  • A Fear of what they will feel when they stop rising to meet the expectations of others.
  • A Fear of what answers they might get to the questions they need to ask.

Where Are The Christian Intellectuals?

I read an article recently in the Washington Post that posed a fascinating question that targeted a tension I feel when engaging in political discussions and current cultural issues.

The question – “Where are the Christian intellectuals in the public square?

The article does a good job predicting the reasons that Christian perspectives are no longer a part of the world’s stage in these discussions. However, no matter the reason why – I do agree with the overall argument that there is a vacuum right now in our discussions when we don’t have (fill in your preferred historical Christian leader) presence involved. Is there a voice of faith that can challenge the status quo?

I also read a report about the recent 20/20 episode entitled “The Girl We Left Behind.” It is the tragic story of Kayla Mueller who was an ISIS hostage in 2014-2015 for 18 months. This story was told by those she encountered while held hostage. I was proud of ABC’s willingness to air the testimony of fellow prisoners who spoke about Mueller’s faith in God and the way that it effected her attitude and hope during the abuse, torture, and rape she endued while being held hostage. Do her actions speak loud enough for anyone to hear?

The Top 5 Takeaways From My Sabbatical

Blog post from blog.thejourneyonline.com on August 10th, 2016.


In case there are some people in our church who missed the memo over this past summer, I recently partook in an 9 week Sabbatical and spent my 10th week (transitional week) participating on our Journey GO trip to Peru!

As with most of my content, I struggle to be brief. I would love to have coffee and spend a few hours with each and every one of you to share what an amazing time this sabbatical has been for me (and for my family) but that’s just not possible.

However, at our Partner Night on Thursday August 18th, I will be sharing in more details some specifics from my time away and how I believe it has impacted my heart for the mission and ministry of Journey Church!

Here are the TOP 5 Takeaways from My Sabbatical:

1) I’m Overwhelmed with Gratitude in God’s Plan. Leading Journey Church was never something I had planned to do. The God ordained movements and opportunities that facilitated my leadership here were the last things I expected, but am overwhelmingly grateful for them. I’m so grateful to not only be a part of this Journey family, but to also lead our amazing leaders as we walk towards the future God has for us! I’m still shocked sometimes that He decides to use me and my leadership for His purposes – and I never want to take for granted the call He’s placed on my life.

Romans 8:28  “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”

Surprising Story with Amazing Message

Can Hector find happiness?

jak-dogonic-szczescieSo, I don’t usually make it a habit of recommending movies, but every once in a while one just has to be talked about. Especially one I’ve never heard of.

One night while glancing through the “Recently Added” on Netflix, I came across Hector and the Search for Happiness. I really only stopped on it because I am a fan of Simon Pegg and after recently watching the last Mission Impossible – I’ve been on a spree of watching his old movies I enjoy (Hot Fuzz, How to Loose Friends and Influence People, The World’s End).

This movie is based on a book with the same title by Francois Lelord and is all about a psychiatrist named Hector who takes an epic journey while trying to discover what makes people happy! It’s a more serious film for actor Simon Pegg, and I really enjoyed him in it. His girlfriend Clara, played by Rosamund Pike, is also quite good in her role and I could have used more interaction with her in the movie. A relationship stunted by emotional barriers is the 3rd primary character of this story.

However, the BIG reason I think everyone should now see this movie is because of the questions that are asked 100x in the film.

“What makes you happy? Would you consider yourself a happy person? Where does happiness come from?”

Overcoming our Fear & Need to Control

Fear of the Unknown & Controlling the Outcome

I know you can picture it. She’s walking down a long dark hallway… slowly creeping with a latern/torch/flashlight in handtrying to find the exit. The black in front of her is overwhelming… she hears a noise and freezes! “What’s ahead of her in the dark?” we all think to ourselves. We don’t know.

This is obviously the plot of almost every horror and suspense movie, and one of these many scenes usually shows up in the trailers.

We FEAR the unknown.

This is a common thread that binds every human together, and it’s what makes the epic stories of courage and bravery so POWERFUL – overcoming that fear of the unknown (to get the girl, kill the bad guy, escape, win!)

‘The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.’ – H.P. Lovecraft

Too big of a topic to write about in one blog, I want to focus in on one aspect of this fear that brings tension as we live, work, and play in our everyday lives.

Controlling the Outcome!

Test the Uncommon: Reveal Unnecessary Tensions

What a new book is teaching me about #whatif

I’m enjoying a new (to me) book titled “4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris. I was inspired to read it after watching an interview with the author about a different topic, and people in the audience kept asking him questions about issues and questions raised in his book.

After realizing that the book is not a “slacker’s guide to life: how to get away with doing as little work as possible off get rich schemes” – I decided to read it. I don’t agree with every conclusion he makes or suggestion he offers, but it’s one of the first books I’ve read in a while where the author truly see’s life differently than I do. I like that.

I’m only half way through the book, but I can’t seem to shake a statement made towards the earlier part of the book that seems to be a common thread through all of the chapters.

“When nothing seems to be working, what is the cost of a little experimenting outside of the norm. Almost nothing… outside of the mental Olympics you will need to play!” – Tim Ferris

My ONE WORD #whatif

"What if" Unlocks the Power of Possibilities!

Failure

Every year, I choose ONE WORD that I feel God is giving me to use for the year to help filter my goals/resolutions.

2016 will be the year of “What if?”  #whatif

“What if?” unlocks the power of possibilities in your life!  It is the difference between almost doing something (which is nothing) and taking a step into your future.

With every #whatif possibility – fear will also show up.  Fear of the unknown…fear of being wrong… fear of failure!

However, if your goal in LIFE is to avoid FAILURES, then you have NO LIFE!

I’m looking forward to sharing more of my#whatif ideas, goals, and projects with you this year.  Stay tuned!

 

Never Again Lose 45 minutes on Social Media

"Lost Time is Never Found Again" - Benjamin Franklin

I went on Facebook to share a picture of Charlee with friends… and 45 min later I’m laughing at a video of a cat freaking out when a lizard sneaks up behind it!

I can’t tell you exactly what I did for that 45 minutes. I’m sure I’ve seen some post, commented on some friends stuff, maybe even shared something. But seriously… 45 minutes?

I don’t know what your goals or resolutions are for 2016, but I’m a pretty driven person. I’ve got HUGE dreams for 2016 and none of them are going to happen if I’m losing 45 minutes engaged in the never ending vortex of social media.

Don’t get me wrong – I love social media. I love the connectivity and I’m a huge fan of the multiple pieces of technology that allow me to access it during the day. However, I never want to be a SLAVE to my technology. It’s a tool. I’m in control of how and when I use a tool!

So here’s my solution for NEVER again losing 45 minutes on Social Media. I’ve already been doing this for the past week, and I’m about 90% successful so far.