Creating a Family Mission Statement

If you’re like most people in our culture, you find yourself running from one thing to the next. One writer called this the whirlwind when everything is flying around you, and you feel like you are just barely keeping your head above water.

We feel it with our jobs, finances, kids activities, marriage, health issues, aging parents, the list goes on and on.

We have a picture in our minds of what our lives should be like, those around us expect what our lives should be like, and many of us feel like we aren’t even keeping up, we’re falling behind.

I think the way forward is through creating a family mission statement, a “rule of life” for your family.

Why?

One reality is that 1 decision makes the next 1oo.

If you think about the process of getting out of debt or losing weight, that simple decision begins a domino effect. Now, instead of eating that second dessert (or dessert at all) or buying something on credit “because it’s a great deal” you now take a step back because you’ve already decided to get out of debt or lose weight.

The problem for us is that we struggle to make that one decision. We’re afraid of missing out, falling behind, not having as much fun or we just get caught in the whirlwind of life.

That’s why a mission statement is so helpful. It is a decision ahead of time to live intentionally.

Katie and I went through this practice several years ago. To help us, we each reach through Patrick Lencioni’s book Three Questions for a Frantic FamilyYou can read my review of the book here.

You need to know this up front:

  • This process is incredibly freeing.
  • There is no right or wrong mission statement. It is your life, your family, you get to define it. So don’t compare to others.
  • Lastly, future generations are affected by this statement because it will define how you spend your time, your money, who you are friends with, where you will worship Jesus, etc. Your grandkids will feel the effect of this statement and if you don’t have one.

Why do this?

If you don’t do this, you and your family personally wander around aimlessly. How do you make a decision when both options seem good? Without a mission statement, you guess and hope you are right. With a mission statement, choices become more natural. You are also able to evaluate things more clearly.

Let’s get started.

Start by listing out what God says about family and you. This should include things like accepted, loved, worthwhile, beautiful, well pleased (proud of), etc. The reason you start here is many of us are chasing after this, yet we already have this in Christ.

Start by listing all the things that describe your family. Not what you hope your family or life is, but what you are, who you are. What is important to you? What matters most? What things will you fight till the death on? This list should be exhaustive. You are listing everything you can think of. Words like creative, intentional, fun, athletic, etc. This can be hard because as you are listing out words about who you are and sometimes because we’ve lacked intentionality, we don’t like who we are. If you want to put in words that describe your hopes as a family, so changing your narrative, do it. This is your statement.

Now, start paring it down. Are there words that mean the same thing or can be combined? You are looking for about 3-5 words to describe your family or you personally. This is the beginning of your statement.

Then, think through 3 – 7 words that describe your values. If you have kids, these are words that describe the things they’ll know when they leave your house. Yes, you want them to know 73 things, but they probably won’t remember them all. Our family landed on gracious, generous, hospitable, learning and laughing. Why? That’s what we wanted our kids to know and what we wanted to be about as a family. Notice, there are a lot of things not on that list, and that’s okay with us.

Now, put it all together in a short sentence, you want it short enough to fit on a t-shirt if possible so you can remember it.

Now, here is how this statement can be helpful right now.

Having this statement decided will also help you make decisions about what is most important for your family to accomplish over the next 2 – 6 months. What one author calls “The rallying cry.” Sadly, most families do not have this. Each person knows what it is, but they haven’t agreed on it and aren’t moving in the same direction. This might be getting out of debt, dealing with a health issue, a learning issue for a child, your marriage. It is, outside of the usual things your family does, the one thing you have to do in the next 2-6 months for your family to go to the next level. Accomplishing this would mean a whole new ballgame for your family.

Once you have your “Rallying cry” what do you need to do to accomplish this? List all the things it will take.

Got it.

Okay, now share it with a close friend or two. This can be incredibly scary. Ask them to listen as you read it and give feedback. Are the words you used to describe your family, what your family is? Do they see a different value system than you do? You want to pick close friends for this.

Once you feel confident, put the mission statement and the rallying cry in a place where you will see it on a regular basis to remind you and keep you on track. For our family, we discuss our mission statement as dinner and how we lived it out that day. It is an excellent reminder of what we are called to as a family.

Prayer is Helplessness in Action

Paul Miller in his book A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World said: “Prayer is bringing our helplessness to God.”

In many ways, prayer is helplessness in action.

But that’s the difficulty.

For us to pray, we must admit our helplessness. We must acknowledge that we don’t have it all together, that on our own we are weak, lost, helpless. 

For some of us, this is easy to do, but for many of us, this gets to the core of who we are.

We are raised to be self-sufficient. We have been taught from a young age that you can’t trust anyone, count on anyone. Why? We’ve been betrayed, cheated on, hurt, abandoned. So, when we pray and talk about our faith in God, this is in the back of our minds.

It makes sense.

But Jesus tells us to pray to God our Father like a child, to ask like a child.

If you think about a child, a few things come to mind: they are relentless in their asking. They are focused on the present, not the past or the future. They have confidence that the person they are asking can come through for them.

But we don’t do this.

Have you ever stopped to ask why?

Recently a friend of mine gave a great talk on prayer to pastors on five reasons pastors struggle with prayer, but I think it applies to everyone:

1. We think we should be better at this. We should be able to handle it. We should be able to figure it out. We think we should be able to get through the day without asking for help.

And we don’t pray because we think we should be better at praying, so we beat ourselves up about how bad we are at praying.

2. We’re afraid of vulnerability. We’re okay with social media vulnerability, “I’m the worst mom ever, well that happened, here’s my pile of laundry, here’s my messy garage, here’s my failure.” As long as we decide the vulnerability, we’re okay with it, but to be known we have to vulnerable.

Vulnerable is sharing needs, but it is also sharing who you are and sharing weakness.

Tim Keller said, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”

3. We like to look competent. If I have a prayer need, I don’t want to say it. I want people around me and God to think I’m qualified and have my act like together.

Remember: Prayer is helplessness in action. 

This is why our favorite prayer request in a group is “unspoken.”

4. We’re hurting, but don’t want to admit it. I don’t want to admit that I’m in pain or having difficulty. We don’t want to share that our marriage hurts, our kids don’t listen, and we have trouble forgiving or trusting God.

Have you noticed how praying about something, asking someone else to pray about something makes it real? It is the moment of truth because

5. We’re cynical. Deep down, many of us hedge our bets with prayer. We don’t believe that God will come through. This is why many of us aren’t generous and don’t give back to God. We need to hold on to some money just in case it rains, and God doesn’t show up with a big enough umbrella.

How do children pray? They are honest; they recognized that they are a mess, that they need help, and they didn’t stop. Have you ever noticed that children never stop asking? They are convinced they will wear you down. God invites us to pray like that, yet few of us do.

I came across this the other day that I think sums this up:

 

 

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Second Chances

Second chances are tricky.

We all need one. We all want one. But we’re also convinced it isn’t possible for us. The guy down the road, the person we read about online, our co-worker or sibling, but not us.

Some of us think a second chance is wishful thinking. You have no idea what I’ve experienced, what I’ve walked through and experienced. Josh, you don’t know what I’ve done or what’s been done to me.

Some of you think you don’t deserve a second chance or to rebuild something. Many of us walk around thinking we are getting what we deserve.

Some of you think, what’s the point of rebuilding or starting over. My life isn’t so bad, it isn’t great or amazing, but it could be worse and by doing that we often minimize our hurt and pain.

But rejecting those things, minimizing those things, pretending they don’t exist, doesn’t take them away; it just keeps us from moving forward.

The reason second chances are so hard for us is that we have to look back to go forward.

We like looking ahead.

In the rearview mirror of our lives are painful situations, hurt, betrayal, abuse, addictions, divorce, career changes, bankruptcy, embarrassments, mistakes, the list goes on and on.

We want to talk about now and in the future.

But, as Brennan Manning says, the false self, the imposter, the mask we wear, begins the moment that we felt rejected, worthless, or unlovable.

If you’re like me, you can take me back to that place in your life. I can bring you to the classroom in the elementary school where it happened. I can see the school, the room, smell the chalk and hear the teachers voice. The moment I learned I was behind and not keeping up, that I wasn’t smart enough.

For you, it might be a car ride where you were beaten down verbally by a parent, a kitchen table where a parent said “I’m leaving,” it might be a soccer field, a bedroom.

Those moments are important because that is the moment we must return to so we can move forward in freedom.

Many of us don’t struggle to trust God with our future and with eternity, but we struggle to believe God with our present.

Throughout the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was commanded to built altars, to celebrate feasts to remind themselves what God had done, how God had protected and provided and how God had rescued them. It was so they would walk by a monument and be reminded, to tell the story. Whenever our family drives by one of the places that our church has met in, and our kids will say “hey, our church used to meet there.” What they’re doing is they’re reminding me, and they’re reminding themselves of the story that we have lived and how we have seen God be faithful in our lives

This is why our church does communion every week. It is why we celebrate baptism as a church because we forget and need reminding of God’s grace.

Brene Brown said, “To embrace and love who we are (and I’d add to say to see the change), we have to reclaim and reconnect with the parts of ourselves we’ve orphaned over the years.”

Leveraging Your Parenting

As a parent, you feel a lot of pressure.

Who your kids hang out with, their grades, future, safety, good choices, the list goes on and on.

One of the things that parents fail to realize is the power they have in their kid’s lives for good or bad.

I’ve talked before about how we are all vision casters in people’s lives, but that is seen most clearly in the lives of our kids.

Recently, I was reminded of this when I was preaching on Nehemiah chapter 3.

Nehemiah 3 is a list of names, but in those names, we learn some incredibly important things.

Nehemiah 3 lists the number of people who worked on rebuilding the city wall of Jerusalem.

What we know from the New Testament is that our work matters and that it is a reflection of our worship of God.

What does this have to do with parenting?

A lot.

Our kids learn things from us because we intentionally taught them or we passively taught them something.

In Nehemiah 3, we’re told that families worked together on the wall.

If work = worship, this is crucial for families.

We pass on to our kids how to work and how to worship Jesus.

In your family, do not miss the power of worshiping together.

Singing songs together, reading your bible with your kids, your spouse. Having them in church, in our kids and student ministries, serving, using their gifts, and sitting in the service.

Recently I’ve talked to a number of church planters of young churches and hear the same thing: Parents of teenagers dropping their kids off at the young church plant and then the parents go to an older established church. I do not understand parents and kids worshiping at two completely different churches.

Parents don’t miss this, you are teaching your kids an incredibly important lesson about what you think about worship, Jesus, church, and your selfishness when you worship at different churches. They aren’t missing it.

Another thing I’ll hear from parents is a different issue: but I don’t want to push God down my kid’s throat, they aren’t that interested. Which I get.

Think for a moment, do your kids love every vegetable you make them eat? If they’re like mine they don’t, but I make them eat them. I make them try food they don’t like or aren’t excited about because it’s healthy for them or I made it for them and I’m not making a bunch of different meals. You probably do the same thing and never once do you think, “I’ll bet they’ll never eat again because I’m forcing them to eat something they hate.”

Does your child love all the homework they have to do? Math? Reading? Science? Learning a language? Yet, you make them and you don’t think, “they’ll drop out of school because I made them do their homework when they were in middle school.”

Why do we treat worship and Jesus differently?

In your family, do not underestimate the power of your words and the vision you cast for those closest to you.

You as the parent spend more time with your kids than anyone and every study says you have more influence on your kids than social media, friends, marketing, and TV shows. Stop wasting it. It’s not our kids and student ministries job to grow your child spiritually, it’s yours. We’re here to help. Just like it isn’t my job to grow you spiritually. If the only time you open your bible and feed on the truths of God is with me on Sunday morning, you’ll starve.

Your Work Matters

Think about where you spend the majority of your time. For most of us, that’s at work. If you’re a stay at home mom, you stay home. That’s the majority.

Then, the other places. Church, the gym, neighborhood, classes, meetings.

How do you make yourself more useful or effective there?

How do you spend your time on the things that matter? The things that you’re designed to do?

Many of us would like to get better at those things but often struggle with finding meaning in those places.

We wonder, what impact do I make in my life? Do people feel my presence or know I’m there when I’m working?

The reality is though; God cares deeply about our work. Our work for many of us is an outgrowth of our calling and purpose in our lives.

Our work is a reflection of our worship of God.

Some would even say that our work = worship.

You see this if someone is fair, lazy, a workaholic or balanced.

How we work matters to God because it reflects what we believe about God and what matters most in life.

Recently, I preached through Nehemiah 3, and when you open it, you see a list of names and the work they did to rebuild the city wall around Jerusalem.

Some of the work sounded glamorous. Some worked on the valley gate and the fountain gate. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? The fountain gate. I bet the valley gate was beautiful in the valley. I wonder if there was a stream?

But some worked on the dung gate. How do you think that assignment sounded?

The reality is, someone had to fix it. Otherwise, the wall would have a hole in it.

In a church, work, family, someone has to do it. Why? It needs to be done.

In our family, like yours, someone has to empty the dishwasher, take the trash out. Do my kids love that? No. Do they get paid for doing that? No, they do it because they’re part of our family.

In the same way, at your work or your church, that needs to be done, and you’re there.

Here’s a question I hear a lot: What do you do if you haven’t found your thing yet?

Much of the time it comes from a longing for our lives to matter and to have a purpose, sometimes it comes from jealousy and envy we have of others.

A lot of times, we don’t do anything because we’re waiting for our thing.

Here’s an important principle in life and leadership: Do something until you’re doing your thing.

Should we try to find the thing we’re passionate about doing? Yes. But often we learn that thing by doing other things, things that maybe we aren’t gifted at or passionate about doing.

We learn we love sales or teaching through trying things out. We find we are creative or task-oriented by doing things. The first time I stood in front of a group and spoke I was terrified, but I was exhilarated during and after the experience.

Here’s a principle that applies whether serving at church, reading your bible and praying, dating your spouse, time with your kids, building a business: Something is better than nothing.

Right now, you aren’t able to do all that you want to do, but you can do something.

Start there.

In those two principles, we often find why and how our work matters and how to make the impact that God calls us to.

Without Unity, Everything Crumbles

We know unity matters.

It matters in companies, churches, teams, and relationships.

Without unity, everything crumbles.

While we know this, we don’t spend a lot of time on it.

We often assume it will happen and when it does happen, it will stay that way.

But, like a car, unity and alignment is something you have to pay attention to and work on.

Your car through use will go out of alignment.

Any relationship will go out of alignment. Any team will go out of alignment.

Alignment and unity only come through effort.

If you lead anything, one of your jobs is to be on the lookout for misalignment and deal with it as quickly as possible.

Not only does time bring misalignment, but also so does a crisis.

Families see this happen when unemployment hits; one child is the problem child, so all the energy gets pushed to the child who needs it. Without realizing it, parents focus on fixing that one child while the compliant kids get neglected for a season.

This happens in marriage. Both people have a vision for their future, their family, what their marriage will be like. The problem is when they have different visions. They each start working towards their goal, and you’ll hear things like, “we aren’t on the same page anymore. I don’t feel like they’re behind my goals and dreams. I don’t think they even know what’s happening in my life.”

One author said Visions thrive in an environment of unity. They die in an environment of disunity.

How do you know if you have disunity or misalignment at work, church or home? Here are some ways:

  • People attempt to control rather than serve. You will start to hear about their needs and desires, no one else does what they do, as much as they do, is as essential as they are. Marriage very quickly becomes a list of what someone has done or not done, and this becomes a weapon.
  • They will manipulate people and circumstances to further than own agendas. You will start to hear about them and their friends who have issues. Disunity, criticism, is a virus that quickly grows because we are attracted to negativity.
  • They will refuse to resolve things face to face. They will avoid the people they have a problem with. They will opt to talk about you with others instead of to you.
  • They will exhibit an unwillingness to believe the best about other people on the team or in the family or the church. We live in a suspicious culture. We’ve been trained that if you don’t look out for yourself, no one will. That people are always taking advantage of you or working the system. Sometimes they are, but many times they aren’t.

One way I’ve learned to move forward it to choose trust.

One of our values as a church is to choose trust. You can choose trust or suspicion in every relationship. You do choose trust or suspicion in every relationship.

One will destroy any relationship, suspicion, or it will grow it, trust.

Right now, you have a relationship where you are choosing suspicion, and you need to choose trust. This is often, what leads us down the road of disunity and misalignment.

In choosing trust, ask: Am I believing the best about others; choosing trust over suspicion and giving the benefit of the doubt?

How to Beat Distractions at Work & Home to Reach Your Goals

Distractions are everywhere.

The New York Times reported, a typical office worker gets interrupted every 11 minutes – yet it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task.

So, learning what distractions are and training yourself to avoid them is crucial to success at work.

It isn’t just at work though.

Distractions rear their ugly heads at home, and they keep us from the most important relationships in our lives.

So, what are the distractions at work and home?

Your phone.

Social media.

That latest app or time wasting game.

Clutter.

Multi-tasking.

Noise.

Hunger.

Email.

Kids activities.

Regrets over past mistakes.

Worries about tomorrow.

Slack and trello.

Binging on TV.

Andy Stanley said: Regardless of the nature of your vision, or visions if you are not careful, you will get distracted. The daily grind of life is hard on visions. Life is now. Bills are now. The crisis is now. Vision is later. It’s easy to lose sight of the main thing, to sacrifice the best for the sake of the good. All of us run the risk of allowing secondary issues to rob us of the joy of seeing our visions through to completion. Distractions can slowly kill a vision.

So what do you do?

The reality is, you can’t plan for distractions but you can do your best to minimize them.

You can and should do things like turning your phone off, turn off email and text message notifications. You shouldn’t have social media notifications on your phone. Schedule when you do your email and when you don’t.

But if you do that, it won’t guarantee you won’t have distractions.

So what then?

Here are two questions that help me navigate my day and accomplish what I need to:

What is most important to you?

This question is something you need to determine every day, whether it is at home, with your kids, at school or at work.

Each morning, I lay out the 3 most important things I need to accomplish each day.

This helps me to focus my time and energy.

Most of us allow other people to determine what is most important for us. Whether that is a school, a boss or a spouse. Sometimes this is out of your control, but often it is not.

What do you have the energy for?

The reality is, it might be essential, but you may not have the mental, emotional or physical capacity for it.

Each day for me is different like it is for you.

I have more energy on some days than others. Those are the days I plan my most important work.

Grieving Losses in Life & Leadership

Terry Wardle said, “Ministry is a series of ungrieved losses.” I think you could expand that to say all of leadership and life are a series of ungrieved losses. 

The reality for many of us is that we have lost something.

We have lost loved ones, we’ve been left and abandoned in relationships, we’ve had jobs come and go, dreams come and go. You started a business or a church that you expected to take off, but it didn’t go as fast as you’d like or at all. You expected kids by a certain age, certain kinds of kids at that, but it didn’t play out as you expected. Marriage was supposed to be a wild ride, but the wild ride you got is not the wild ride you thought you signed up for when you said: “I do.”

Losses.

As they stack up in life, many times, we fail to grieve them.

We shrug our shoulders and say “that’s life.”

Or, we think that other people have it worse.

And maybe they do, but if you’re like me, by saying those things, you are attempted to shield yourself from the pain. You also minimize the impact those losses have on you and your life when we say things like that.

For us to move forward in life, for us to see God redeem all that is in us, we must bring all that in us. We must face all that in us and all that is a part of our story.

Yes, God redeems all that in us and sets us free, but many of us hold on to losses, hold on to pain or regrets or mistakes and so we never experience the life God has for us.

I was talking with a guy recently, and he said he was afraid to face what was hidden in his family of origin because he wasn’t sure what he would find there.

He would find losses.

When we face losses, it is at that moment, that we decide whether or not we trust the goodness of God.

Is God still good when life doesn’t go as I thought it would?

If I believed that God called me to start something and it slowly fizzles out, did I hear God correctly? If so and that was God’s plan all along, how do I feel about that?

Many times, we want to blame God, and He can take it. Or, we’ll play the role of the victim.

When we do that, it makes sense, but it also keeps us from having to face our pain or even deal with it. As the victim, it is their fault out there. My spouse, parents, child, economy, elders, staff members. They caused it. They did it.

And maybe they did, but it still happened, and you still have to face it.

The ones who move forward whole (notice I didn’t say unscarred) are the ones who grieve those losses.

But how?

While I’m still learning this process, here are some things that help me:

Name what was lost. What was lost for some of us is a dream, a hope, a goal.

Maybe you lost your innocence by having to grow up too quickly. Perhaps it is a loss of purpose and meaning. It might be the loss of identity or relationships.

We have all had loss but rarely do we name them.

Not naming them gives them the power to take away in our lives.

Attach a feeling to that. How did that loss feel? I realize that this might be an obvious question but think for a moment. It is more than anger.

Most of us (especially Christians) are not very good at grieving, but it is a crucial part of maturity.

Recently, I named a loss I experienced and told a friend, “I’m sad about that.” Which for me is an enormous step because I can’t think of many times I’ve said I was sad about something.

Ask God what He wants you to know about Him through this. Each moment, good and bad, easy and difficult, are invitations from God to know something about himself and something about ourselves.

Don’t rush through this and miss this.

God is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).

If we don’t do this, not only will we miss the freedom that is found in Jesus, but we will make people in our future pay for things people did in our past. This will keep us from living and enjoying life and leadership. It will keep us from trusting and experiencing community because “we know how this story ends.”

The One Thing that Can Destroy Your Dream

Have you ever watched a person or a team reach a goal? It is one reason we love the stories during the Olympics or why we cry at the end of Miracle or Rocky. 

Have you ever been to a 50th wedding anniversary? The excitement, passion, and love the couple has for each other is incredible.

On the flip side, have you ever watched a person give up on a goal? Maybe give up on losing weight, decide that school was too hard, that their marriage was too far gone? It is sad to watch someone give up.

What is the difference? I believe it is one thing.

All of us have a vision for our lives. And many times, we unknowingly destroy it on our own or let someone else do it.

If you look back on a failed vision or dream, you might be able to see it.

Think about a relationship that ended or on its way to ending. What killed it? It started somewhere; one thing led to the entire downfall.

I know what you’re thinking, “Josh, one thing can’t destroy everything.”

But the reality is all dreams and goals that are missed and destroyed go back to one thing.

Every leader you have ever loved or loved to follow had it.

Every relationship you were in that was healthy had it.

Every leader you have not loved to follow lacked it.

It is the one thing that separates them from others.

That thing is moral authority.

Moral authority is the one thing you can’t live without if you want to see your vision or dream come to be. Without, your influence is short lived.

Moral authority is the relationship other people see between what you say and what you do.

According to Andy Stanley, Moral authority is the result of a commitment to do what’s right. Regardless.

No amount of skill, charisma or talent makes up for lack of moral authority.

Moral authority and integrity are the same. Integrity is being whole, not being divided.

We’ve all seen people with moral authority lose it.

But how?

Guardrails

To build moral authority, you have to set up guardrails.

Guardrails on a highway going up a mountain keep a car from going off the cliff. With them in place, you may crash, but you hopefully won’t die.

In life, guardrails are the decisions you make ahead of time.

For me, I have made decisions to maintain my moral authority. Things like how I spend my time, reading my bible, make sure I have accountability in my life, and people know about my inner world. This includes things like Katie having my passwords, setting up restrictions on my phone, thinking ahead about who I meet with, where we meet, etc.

But where does moral authority come from?

According to Stanley, Moral authority comes from 3 places: character, sacrifice and time.

Character

This means your life matches your talk; you are the same person everywhere in your life.

The person with moral authority is committed to doing the right thing.

Are you willing to surrender your life, career, marriage, purity, relationships to God’s way?

Your character is who you are when no one is around.

People are more convinced by what you do than what you say.

Here are some questions for you to see where your character is:

  • How do you respond when someone takes “your parking spot?”
  • How do you respond to slow internet?
  • How do you respond to critics?
  • Do you ever read social media and think, “these people are idiots?”
  • What do you do when you are done unloading your shopping cart at the grocery store?

Sacrifice

You will give something up for moral authority. Sometimes these will feel like losses and at other times it won’t. I remember when I got married at 22 and friends asked me if I realized I was sacrificing the “fun” single life of parties and trips (their ideas of fun). I shrugged because I didn’t see it as a sacrifice.

Any healthy relationship you see, you see two people who have chosen to give something up. It’s the only way forward.

We sacrifice all kinds of things. We sacrifice time with family for work, we sacrifice work for family time, and we sacrifice our bodies so they will look a certain way. The question isn’t if you will make sacrifices, you will make sacrifices to get what matters to you. The question is, will it be the right sacrifice and lead to moral authority.

This means you are willing to do the right thing, no matter what it means.

When you make a sacrifice for something you believe in, it gives you moral authority.

Time

Moral authority is built over time. This is our problem though; we want it developed now. Today.

Our culture is so focused on shortcuts. I got hit up recently by two friends about how to make more money, marketing ideas. We’re convinced there’s a shortcut somewhere, but there isn’t.

Moral authority is built over a lifetime but can be destroyed in a moment.

Remember: Moral authority is the result of a commitment to do what’s right. Regardless.

Be the Pastor God Created You to Be

It’s hard to be the person you’re supposed to be.

If we’re honest, the person we are, the person God is creating in us often seems mundane and ordinary. Nothing like the highlight reels we see on Instagram.

As a pastor, it is tough to be the person God has created you to be.

You can download the sermons of any other pastor (and so can your people). You wonder if you are measuring up; if you are faithful enough if you are pursuing the vision God has placed in your heart or pursuing someone else’s vision.

Compound that with voices in your church. Many of them well-meaning.

You will hear things like:

  • You need to be more visionary.
  • You need to be more shepherding.
  • You need to preach more in-depth (deeper) sermons.
  • You need to preach more topical sermons that are relevant.
  • You need to be more relational.
  • You need to be more strategic.
  • Have you ever heard of ________ [insert famous pastor]?
  • My last pastor did ____________.

And that is before you hear anything about your spouse, your kids or the direction of the church.

With all of those voices (don’t forget your taunting doubts), it is hard to be the pastor God has called and created you to be.

It took me a long time (and I’m still wrestling through it) to be comfortable with who I am.

Yes, I need to grow in my shortcomings. I need the gospel to plow through the pride in my heart.

But my church needs me to bring the gifts, talents, and strengths that God has given to me. Not the gifts, talents and strengths of the pastor down the road or the latest megachurch pastor flying up the iTunes chart.

That’s a hard lesson to learn and one that I wished I would’ve learned earlier.

If you don’t, you will end up chasing after people, trying to please loud people who don’t care who God has created you to be, only that you aren’t what they would like you to be.

So, be you.

God doesn’t need you to be the person down the street. He already has that one.

He needs and wants you.

That’s why He made you the way He did.