- Getting this up a little later than normal
- I’m trying out a new Monday morning (post-preaching) routine
- If it works like I hope it will, I’ll blog about it
- Yesterday was a rough sermon to give
- I like to to preach sermons that are more exciting, uplifting and challenging
- Preaching on Samson from Judges 16 is such a cautionary tale to look at
- But yet so important because no one thinks they will do anything to wreck their lives
- But, you are always one choice away from wrecking your life
- If you missed yesterday at Revolution, you can listen to it here
- It was heartbreaking talking to people after church yesterday and hearing story after story of how someone wrecked their life and they got caught in it
- We had our newcomer’s lunch yesterday
- Love hearing how new people find our church and how excited they are about Revolution
- I talked to a church planter this morning that is in the hard season of planting, that season that seems dreary and it seems like nothing is working or growing
- It was a good reminder to enjoy the seasons of growth
- And that both seasons are evidences of God’s grace
- So excited for the next series at Revolution called All In
- Can’t wait to spend 4 weeks looking at how the world, a city, a neighborhood, a family and a person are changed
- Simply by one person going All In
- Shared about one of the best leadership books I’ve read over the weekend
- If you are a leader, you need to check it out
- Taking Katie to look at a photographer’s gallery tonight
- Pretty excited about how she is opening up to use her gifts and creativity in this area
- Love seeing that blossom in her and how many people want her to take their pictures
- Always exciting when other people think your spouse is as awesome as you think they are
- Going to support some friends and their adoption fundraiser tonight at Chick Fil-A
- If you can, come out to the one at El Con Mall from 5-7 and help them bring their 2 sweet little girls home from the Congo
- Landed on what I think will be an awesome series to kick the fall off
- We’re going to do a series on objections and complaints people have about Christianity called Why I’m Not a Christian
- Going to hit some hard and controversial topics
- Should be fun
- Time to get to it
- Til next time…
I was talking with some pastors the other day and the topic of burnout, being too busy and doing too much came up. This seems to be a common thread among people, no matter what they do.
Here are some of the things they asked:
- How do you know if you are close?
- Are there warning signs that you are getting too busy?
- How do you know that your busyness is not just a season, but becoming a way of life?
I know in my life, there are warning signs when I am doing too much or taking too much on. Sometimes I adhere to them and make changes, other times I bulldoze through and pay the price.
Here are some warning signs to be aware of:
- What is normally easy is now hard. This is one of the first things that happens. For me, it centers on preaching, sermon prep, reading leadership books. Whenever I find myself not feeling motivated in one or all of these areas, I know I am past the point of running too fast in life. To combat this, I take periodic breaks from preaching (I try to not preach more than 10 weeks in a row) and I work in books that have nothing to do with sermon prep or church ministry to give my brain a break.
- Sleep is hard to come by. For many Americans, sleep is hard as it is. We go to bed too late, we don’t take enough naps, spend too much time on technology and get worked up. I try to get to bed by 10:30, I try to not look at social media or texts after 8pm so that my brain is able to take a break. I’ve read studies about how using a smartphone after 9pm can be harmful to sleep and productivity. If you have to take sleeping pills, watch TV to fall asleep or find yourself going to bed at midnight or staring at the clock at midnight, you need to work on your sleep.
- It is hard to get going in the morning. Some people are morning people and can’t wait to get going, others are not. I’m not a morning person. But, when I find myself having a hard time getting going in the morning, needing multiple cups of coffee to stay awake or to focus, that’s a warning sign. Think about this morning, how hard was it to get out of bed? The harder it was, the closer you are to burning out.
- Motivation is hard to come by. It is true that you are more motivated and alert at certain parts of the day. For me, it is first thing in the morning, which is why I reserve that for sermon prep and not meetings. It is when I am most creative and I need to give that mental time to the most important part of my job: preaching. When I find that motivation not there, I know I have a problem.
- You get angry fast. When you are tired, you tend to get angry fast. Your fuse is shorter with those closest to you: family, friends, coworkers.
- You use things to calm down. This might be food, sex, porn, exercise, drugs, smoking, alcohol. While these things calm you down and all of these are not necessarily sins, when used to calm us down or help us relax or sleep or “take the edge off” we have a problem. If you think, “I just need ____ to calm down or feel better” you have a problem.
- You don’t laugh as much or have fun. This is connected to what we’ve already said, but if you can’t remember the last time you laughed and had fun, that’s a problem. When you are tired, the last thing you have energy for is fun or community.
- You have pulled back from community. When you are tired, especially if you are an introvert, the last thing you want is to be around people. Ironically, one of the things that can be the most helpful to warding off burnout and helping to bring you out of unhealthy patterns is community, being around people who care about you.
Only 2 weeks left in our series Fight and you don’t want to miss either of them.
As we continue this week and look at Judges 16:1 – 22 we see how our choices matter. Most of us make decisions everyday: what to eat, who to spend time with, what to buy, what shows or movies to watch, what to read or what websites to visit. We make these decisions often with very little thought about how they will affect our lives.
Yet, every choice impacts another choice.
Which leads us to a simple truth that we will unpack this Sunday: you are one choice away from wrecking your life.
The question is, how close are you to that choice?
If you or someone you know struggles with making right choices in their life or keeping boundaries in their life, this is a great week to bring them to Revolution.
Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.
Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.
Bryan Loritts on Stop sharing and preach.
There’s just something in us that stiffens its back when it comes to authority, and this is a problem of biblical proportions. If you have a problem with authoritative preaching you would not have liked Jesus as a preacher.
Tiffany Cooper on What your pastor’s wife would like you to know.
I want you to know that, in some ways, being a pastor’s wife is no different than being a doctor’s wife or a teacher’s wife. There are sacrifices that must be made and challenges that accompany every job. Just like you, I love my kids, I like spending time with my husband, I feel lonely and overwhelmed sometimes, I need encouragement, I doubt myself, I try my best, I want to enjoy God and know His pleasure, I struggle, I desire relationships with other women, and I don’t always know the answers. I want you to know that I need and desire everything that you do. I want you to know that I am often leading, planning, administrating, or hosting. Most women look to me to carry the conversation, initiate a relationship, answer questions, or create solutions. I want you to know this, not so you’ll think I’m something special, but so that you’ll know that I appreciate when other women allow me to not lead. When others show interest in me or take initiative in ministry, it is refreshing to my soul.
Thom Rainer on 8 of the most significant struggles of pastors.
Many pastors struggle with expectations by church members of their spouses or children. Others struggle with finding time for their families. Many pastors’ families struggle with the “glass house” syndrome.
Kevin DeYoung on The red letter nonsense.
The unity of Scripture also means we should be rid, once and for all, of this “red letter” nonsense, as if the words of Jesus are the really important verses in Scripture and carry more authority and are somehow more directly divine than other verses. An evangelical understanding of inspiration does not allow us to prize instructions in the gospel more than instructions elsewhere in Scripture. If we read about homosexuality from the pen of Paul in Romans, it has no less weight or relevance than if we read it from the lips of Jesus in Matthew. All Scripture is breathed out by God, not just the parts spoken by Jesus.
First impressions are important as a church and this is strategic resources for you to invest. Your guests deserve it … they risked a lot to come to your church and you should reward them.
- What a week
- Yesterday was one of those sermons that is hard to preach but is part of the series because it is the next passage
- This can be one of the blessings and curses of expository preaching
- I preached on the riddle Samson told in Judges 14-15
- I’ve been loving the deep dive we are doing into the life of Samson
- Definitely challenging me as a man
- If you missed yesterday, you can listen to it here
- I announced yesterday that we have hired a search firm to help us find the right leader
- So excited about what this means for Revolution Church
- I was asked why we’re hiring a search firm and the answer is simple, “This position is too important to get this hire wrong”
- We have needed a full-time, high capacity leader in Planet Rev for a couple of years
- I’m so grateful for Jennifer Ingram and the team she leads and how they have gotten us to this point
- I also love seeing the excitement among the leaders of Planet Rev about the possibility of what this leader will bring to our church and the families we serve
- Please add this to your prayer list
- And if you or someone you know should be considered for this role, please let me know
- I am really excited about the next series at Revolution called All In
- We’re going to spend the 4 weeks leading up to Easter looking at how to change the world and make your one and only life count
- I’m hopeful I can get back to doing Crossfit this week
- Definitely have missed that over the past week after my procedure
- Last monday I got a vasectomy, so that totally changed how I normally do things
- Hopeful that this week will be more normal and routine
- I like my routine
- If you are a leader, I recently read two books you have to add to your list: People Pleasing Pastors by Charles Stone and Hacking Leadership: The 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close and the Secrets to Closing Them Quickly by Mike Myatt
- Both books are off the charts good and are easily the two best books I’ve read so far this year
- My agent is meeting with a publisher today about the next step in the process for my book
- Say a prayer as this is an important meeting
- This step has been over two years in the making and I’m so excited about how close it is
- Love all the excited and reports I heard about Rev Up’s disciple now weekend
- Mike is doing an awesome job with our students
- Say a prayer for me, I’m starting to work on my Easter message this week
- Excited for it
- We’re kicking off a series that day called Change and will look at the things we long to change but why we never do
- I’m praying it is a series that frees people up to find life, not a list of rules
- If you’re curious, we’ll be going through Galatians for Change
- Time to get to it
Within Acts 29, a lot of leaders talk about the leadership lens of prophet, priest and king. The idea of using the offices of Jesus to talk about how people see things, how they best work and relate to each other. At Revolution, I find this to be a helpful way to know what a leader is like, what I can expect from them and how they will react in a situation.
The broad overview of these are:
- Prophet: Tends to be big picture, visionary, bible person. They love to talk about where things are going. They love reading, preaching, theology. They only need a verse to be right. They ask a lot of “why” questions. In preaching, they love doctrine and can get lost in the weeds. They will preach from a letter whenever possible or throw in some Old Testament history or wrath of God just to keep everyone a little scared. They will take 6 months to preach through Jude or Philemon and will happily spend 10 weeks on 3 verses in Romans to make sure everyone gets it.
- Priest: Tends to be shepherding, caring. They want to make sure that everyone is being taken care of, cared for and is connected. They worry a lot about feelings and how people feel about something. They ask a lot of “who” questions. In preaching, they love stories. They love to preach from the gospels and talk about how things feel. They will sacrifice doctrine to talk about how something feels. If they do say something difficult to hear or are confrontational in a sermon, they will quickly say something to soften the blow and give a verbal hug to the congregation.
- King: Tends to think strategy and steps. They help to move a vision to reality. Often, they are very organized, detailed and financially minded. They ask a lot of “what and how” questions. In preaching, they love logic, things that add up at the end and steps. They love steps. A sermon is not complete without a next step (or 15), every point starting with the same letter, but it is clear.
These are just broad strokes.
On a leadership team and in a church, all are needed. I am high on the prophet scale with some king thrown in. I need priests around me to make sure that everyone is cared for, but to also challenge me in how I am shepherding and caring for people. I need kings to help make my visions happen. I often walk into a conversation, listen, throw out some vision ideas, get people pumped and then walk away. I need a king to walk behind me and say, “Okay, that one thing will never happen, but here’s how we can do those two things.”
While these lens help to live out of our strengths, they also make it easy to sin.
Broadly, I’ll hear leaders say, “I’m not very kingly” as a way to excuse their disorganization or financial carelessness. Or, “I’m not very priestly” as an excuse to not meet with someone or do any counseling. Or, “I’m not much of a prophet” as a way to be wishy washy in their theology or have no vision for their church. All followers of Jesus are called to be like Jesus, which means we are to be growing as prophets, priests and kings (Numbers 11:29; Acts 2:16 – 21; Romans 12:1 – 2, 15:14; Ephesians 2:6; Hebrews 4:14 – 16; 1 John 2:20, 27; Revelation 1:5-6).
Each lens though, can lead you to sin (and often you will not see these as sins because it is how you are wired). Here’s how:
- Prophet: You are always posting your opinion on Facebook, twitter or your blog about gay marriage, eating, diets, vaccine’s, adoption, games. All you need is a verse or a scientific study and you are good to go. You are determined to win and be right, because, well “you have a verse.” You can miss the people because you are so infatuated with your vision and end up not caring for the people God has sent you to care for or the people who are supposed to help accomplish the mission because you are so focused on “out there.” The prophet also tends to be pretty legalistic and loves rules. You look at a priest and wonder why he wastes so much time on meetings and can’t confront anyone. You look at a king and get frustrated that he can’t see the big picture, he only wants to talk about the steps to get there or why something isn’t possible and you question his faith and salvation.
- Priest: You are often willing to sacrifice doctrine, holy living and confrontation in an effort to keep the relationship. Your first priority often is the relationship and the person and will let them keep walking in sin as long everyone feels good. You have a tendency to burn out because you can’t say no to a person or a meeting. Every request that comes in is an urgent thing that must be handled now. Every crisis you jump at. You tell yourself you are needed, that you can save this person or fix that situation and will sacrifice your health, your marriage, your kids, their heart (because you won’t confront them) all to save someone or a relationship. You struggle to trust that God can save and fix them and are content to just do it yourself (God is really busy any way). You look at a prophet and wonder if he has a heart or a soul the way he talks about people. You look at a king and wonder how she can be so organized and can become frustrated at how everything has to fit on the bottom line or fit into a budget line.
- King: You tend to think about the bottom line and ask how everything affects the bottom line. You are willing to sacrifice visions if they cost too much or relationships if take away from other endeavors. You are organized, detailed and a rule keeper and consequently if something is messy or doesn’t fit in a box, you skip it. This includes relationships. You strive to keep things in order, so new ideas or things that seem new or out in left field are off the table. You look at a priest and wonder why they are so disorganized, always late. You look at a prophet and wonder why he can never come up with a detail to his plan.
As I said, a leader and follower of Jesus is to grow in all areas to be more like Jesus. A healthy leadership team needs to have all three represented to push on each other and to keep the church functioning in all areas. But our blind spots as an individual or church can keep us from being who God created us to be.
- Yesterday was off the charts at Revolution
- This series on manhood has simply been one of my favorite series, although Beautiful was a close second
- Yesterday I preached on the battle we fight against sin, temptation, negative emotions and addictions
- I’m blown away by the example that Samson is for us of what not to do
- Loved all the conversations I had afterward as people continued to wrestle with things
- I think for many people, the pain of being chained to something is so great, they just feel like they can’t move forward
- Always shake my head at the guy who tells me porn isn’t a temptation
- Let’s say that’s possible
- If you missed it, you can listen to it here
- I also have a long list of books, websites and other helpful things here to help you fight temptation and sin in your life
- Not overly sad that the Olympics are ending
- We barely watched any of them
- I’m a bigger fan of the summer ones
- It also means we are canceling our cable until the NFL rolls around again
- For the first time since starting Crossfit, I’m taking a week off from lifting this week
- It will be interesting to see how my heart and emotions deal with it, but I think it will also be good for my body
- I have my next coaching appointment this week with Brian Howard
- I’m already seeing the payoff to this
- Pastors, if you don’t have a coach, you should get one
- Started a book over the weekend that you should read if you are a pastor
- It’s called People Pleasing Pastors
- Good heart work for pastors
- I can’t remember if I said this last week, but I’m going to Indonesia for 8 days this summer
- Really excited about how that will change my viewpoint
Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.
Too often a church service is themed theologically, without consideration for the mood emotionally. But getting the mood right is very important. If you don’t, the sermon and the rest of the service won’t align for a journey, but collide like a car wreck.
Rosaria Butterfield on You are what you read.
Michael Hyatt on How millionaires manage their time.
I’ve been lucky enough to interview over 130 millionaires. They know the value of their time, and use it to the best of their ability. I’ve curated the top tips on their time management to help you have more time to work, and more time to play and be with your family. So how do you stay productive when faced with a seemingly endless to-do list? Here are four awesome tips for greater productivity, straight from the millionaires themselves.
- Question 1: What is Our Mission?
- Question 2: Who is Our Customer?
- Question 3: What Does the Customer Value?
- Question 4: What are Our Results?
- Question 5: What is Our Plan?
Church plants are becoming increasingly popular and in the midst of all there is to do, getting your children’s ministry off the ground can tend to slip under the radar. Here are a few practical tips for starting a children’s ministry in your church plant.
People Pleasing Pastors
I get asked by a lot of pastors or church planters how I structure my week and when I do things. I have tried systems and using an ideal week, but no one system has really fit my style the best. I’ve kind of blended things together.
While this won’t be as neat as a laid out calendar, here are principles that I use (not in a particular order):
- Determine what is most important. This is something that Brian Howard helped me with. Determine the top 8 things for your job and then determine how long those tasks will take and how much time you want to get give them. Stick to that.
- Do what is most important when I’m most awake. For most people, this is the morning. Reserve this time for the most important thing on your list of 8 things. For me, this is sermon prep. It is when I need the most brain power, need to be the most alert, so I do this then. During this time, turn off social media, email, your phone and alerts.
- Check email twice a day. Email is a destructive, helpful, necessary force. It is great but can be a time sucker. Do whatever you need to do so that you check email only twice a day, at lunch and then right before you leave. What if someone calls or stops by your office and asks, “Did you get my email?” Say, not yet, I’ll check it in an hour. You may want to put an auto response to let people know what time they can expect a response, but don’t let email control your day.
- Take breaks every 90 minutes. This is helpful. Every 90 minutes, stop what you are doing and walk around, stretch your legs. This helps to move your blood, wake you up, and bring more creativity to the task you are doing.
- Make meetings matter. Meetings are also necessary but can be a huge time waster. Here’s how to make meetings matter: stack them back to back so you get into meeting mode, always know the agenda of every meeting you go to (it is amazing how many meetings you could skip or could be phone calls if the agenda is clear), keep meetings to no longer than 90 minutes (at 90 minutes your brain is toast so end the meeting for your break).
- Nothing before my sermon prep. Or your most important task. On the mornings I do sermon prep, I have no meeting before that. If I do, I’ll spend the whole sermon prep time thinking about the meeting I had. I want to wake up with a clear head and dive right into my sermon.
- Stick to hard deadlines. Everything has a deadline and an end. My sermon needs to be done at a certain time. Make a deadline for the end of your day and get out of work on time. Nothing is worse than things being passed til next week because you mismanaged your time or getting home late because you didn’t prioritize. Think about what happens the day before you go on vacation, you get everything done. Now, do that every week.
- Everything that is important gets put on the calendar. No matter what it is, it gets a minute on your calendar. I get asked how I motivate myself to workout, one answer is that it is the next thing on my calendar. If something is going to get done, no matter what it is, it needs to have a minute on your schedule, otherwise, it will get passed.
- Start with bible reading. First thing in the morning, meet with Jesus. This changes the mood and feel of the day.
- Then, spend 1 hour on reading for yourself. If you can work it into your schedule, read to grow for yourself. Read books that push your thinking on the gospel, leadership, theology, church, being a man or woman, whatever you need to grow in. Again, if you want to grow, it needs to have a space on your calendar.
- Love the first week of a new series
- I’ve been excited about this series for months
- I love the story of Samson, what it tells us about men and what things snare men to make them fail
- So many lessons in his life
- There was an unexpected moment at the end of my sermon yesterday when I was talking about identifying your kids stories and blessing them
- Something that is lacking in our culture for sure
- I got so worked up
- It wasn’t in my notes but the feedback to that moment was overwhelming
- If you missed yesterday, you can listen to it here
- Over the weekend I started reading Tim Irwin’s new book Impact: Great Leadership Changes Everything
- So many applications to the series I’m preaching right now
- Love when that happens
- If you’re a leader, you should definitely pick this book up
- I don’t know about your family, but mine has been pummeled by the cold and flu going around
- Katie has been sick for almost a week now
- The worst part of this is how your family comes to a screeching halt because of it
- I’m starting a new round of pre-marital counseling today
- Really excited about this couple
- They’re in our MC and in leadership at our church, so it should be a fun few months
- I’m excited because we’re having a preaching lab this week with the goal of raising up more communicators at Revolution Church
- Love seeing new guys stepping up and using their gifts in this area
- Watching the winter Olympics makes me realize how much better the summer Olympics
- I love the sports, but the summer sports are just more fun to watch
- Back to it…