It is so simple and obvious that I feel stupid writing about it. On the other hand, we all (including myself) must be pretty ignorant because it is a pattern which populates the stories that surround us on a daily basis. We have no shortage of news around devastated homes, marriages, and friendships. Further, this is definitely not an inside the church versus outside the church type of reality. The truth is that we see an unfortunate steady flow of implosion stories within the church.
We have a conversation at our newcomers gathering at Crossings Community which I have not experienced in the other churches where I have been involved. There are probably many who would find it crazy to have such a conversation with new people who have not yet committed themselves to the church.
We explicitly tell people that they are going to get hurt by others in the church and at some point will probably get hurt by one of us in leadership. We go out of our way to tell everyone that it is not an ‘if’ situation but a ‘when’ situation.
There are many triggers that can quickly turn a good day into a not so good day. We all have different things that can push us over the proverbial edge. Matter of fact, you probably have a list of things that can send you into a downward spiral. That list probably changes based on every environment of your day. If you are with the family, there are most likely things that the kids can do that may incite anger, frustration, or despair. Wives, I’m sure there are those things your husband does which can completely alter your mood in an instant.
Even greater than the things which can come and go during the regular happenings of the day… the unexpected health news or job loss can be devastating. There are things that we face in life which have a significant impact on us and our home. We have all walked through those times and may even find ourselves in the middle of one of those seasons today.
You are probably sick of hearing about resolutions by now. Personally I do a lot of ‘resolution’ type thinking throughout the year. I am constantly evaluating and re-evaluating, tweaking and adjusting, and looking forward at adjusted goals based on lessons learned. I really enjoy this thought process because it fuels growth in all areas of my life.
Since ‘resolution thinking’ is constant for me I do not take the time to write down new ideas each January. However, I do make it one of my intentional inventory seasons because it is such a good time to make adjustments in personal and ministry life. I know that your life probably looks different and that constant evaluation may not be a neurotic tendency that you share with me.
As crazy as it is to say, it is that time of year again. Our kids just have a few more days of school before they begin their Christmas break. We have our lights on the house, the tree is up, and we were wearing shorts this weekend – gotta love our Houston climate. Christmas parties and concerts are in full swing. Christmas shopping is an obvious objective for so many who are filling the roadways each weekend. It is that time.
During the Advent season we enjoy the rhythm of looking ahead towards Christ’s return. I have learned to love this season and I look forward to it each year. When we talk about the return of Jesus it invariably sparks some conversation about those who claim to ‘prophesy’ the very moment of that return. This has turned into a thriving market in the Christian marketplace. It seems that many of us really love reading or watching as so-called prophets or experts tell us when this world will come to an end.
Honestly, we have such explicit clarity on these things. The scriptures do include ideas that will mark the final stages of life before the return of Jesus. Yet it is also crystal clear that no one will know the moment or expect the timing of Christ’s return (Mt 24:36). Although not the purpose of this writing today, we should understand that those who claim to know or predict the end have placed themselves firmly in the ‘false teacher’ category as they are attempting to do exactly what the Bible indicates cannot be done. This should create a considerable concern in us when we hear these things.
I’m not sure if it is a product of age or just my natural neurosis, but I find myself getting more and more forgetful. I could share countless examples of this growing reality. First, it is a regular occurrence that I walk into a room of the house with fervor, obviously on a mission, and arrive in that room to find myself standing there wondering why it was that I needed to go into that room.
Second, of many, would be the moments that I call someone (by the way, I hate to talk on the phone) and I hear a familiar voice answer which finds me having no earthly idea why I would have called that individual. Surely you have experienced this as well… depending on the person, I will either have to engage in a little improv or I will have to let them know that I have no idea why I just made the phone call.
This is the time of year where we hear about being thankful. We get to see all the lists of what our friends are thankful for through their social media megaphones. From the seemingly most thankful, we get to see things they are thankful for everyday. It is a pretty common family tradition for many to gather for a Thanksgiving celebration and all share one or two things for which they are thankful. Many of our children who are in school will talk about thankfulness with their teachers in some fashion as well.
I think being thankful is an incredibly important value to embrace. I honestly really enjoy Thanksgiving. The actual day is usually positioned in the week where I am able to enjoy spending a low key day with family. For that, I am thankful.
Tuesday and Wednesday of this week I have the great opportunity of teaching a group of church planters who are participating in a training program through the Houston Church Planters Network. They are in a residency which carries them through a training process before they are sent to various locations around Houston to begin new churches. It is a blessing for us at Crossings Community to participate with this program financially, prayerfully, and in training.
If you live anywhere around our home state of Texas then you have noticed the hints of weather change. We have suffered through another summer and the joys of breaking a sweat during the walk from your front door to your car. We can only let our kids go outside for short little bursts and they still come in smelling like a wet dog while being completely exhausted.