You Never Know: One day can make a huge difference. The hard part is that you don’t know if that day will be tomorrow, next week, six months from now, or five years away. Half the battle is hanging on. Not giving up.
Reading for Children: If you have a child anywhere between 6–10, consider having them read/listen to The Boxcar Children. The series today includes nearly 160 titles, and our son of eight years is listening to them in order on Scribd. He loves them!
Are you a perfectionist? It might actually be keeping you from getting things done or pursuing something of interest. If you Google some articles on this, you will quickly see a link between these three phenomena: Perfectionism > Procrastination > Paralysis.
Scripture Memory: This is a Bible verse that I am memorizing right now because it provides so much insight as to what pride really does to the human heart: “In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God” (Ps. 10:4). Am I seeking God? Truly seeking? Is God in my thoughts every morning, afternoon, and evening?
Every Pastor Needs a Counselor: If I ever pastor again—which I have no plans of doing at the moment—then I would have a counselor that I meet with once per month. I would want the counselor to remain the same so that I could “build a history” with them. During good times and bad, I would meet with the counselor. During easier, more fulfilling stretches and during difficult, “I-want-to-quit” stretches, I would meet with the counselor. In other words, there would be no cancelling the month’s meeting because I feel like everything is going well. Every month, without fail, I would meet for an hour. I think this is a “must,” and I would not pastor without this practice in place. If I was being offered a position on a church staff, I would require this as part of my salary package. I would want the church to cover it. If they didn’t feel that this was important or a wise use of money, then that would be a red flag concerning the church and their leadership.
Become an expert: If you read about a topic for 15 minutes a day for one year, then you will probably know more about that topic than 99% of people in the world by the end of that year. What do you want to be an expert in? What would you like to teach your kids? What do you want to know more about? Can it translate into a side hustle? Just a little bit of discipline and focus can go a long way.
Want to publish a book? You might be too undisciplined and lazy. Make a change. Quit making excuses. Read this post by Chad Allen: “How to Get a Book Published”
Try going an entire day without saying one negative word (yes, this includes complaining). Solomon was no idiot: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV).
Theology: There is an important distinction in theology that can help make sense of lots of different issues. It is the distinction between “common” and “special/saving” grace. Both of the following articles are brief reads but extremely helpful. Why not be an educated Christian?
Confronted with Jesus: My wife and I are currently reading the Gospel of Mark. In my own spiritual life, I had this sad yet strong hunch last week that I needed to be confronted again with who Jesus was and is. When we don’t return again and again to the Gospels, we will do little more than craft and image of Jesus that is socioculturally bound. I want to ensure that the Jesus in my thoughts and the One that I am following is not:
Concerned only with my personal relationship with Him (evangelical Christianity to a large degree in some places)
There is more to Jesus.
The Letters of C.S. Lewis: I am currently reading through Lewis’ letters when he was approximately 23 years of age. In a letter to his father about the death of an influential teacher in his younger life (Kirk), he writes of death: “I have seen death fairly often and never yet been able to find it anything but extraordinary and rather incredible. The real person is so very real, so obviously living and different from what is left that one cannot believe something has turned into nothing.” Of course, Lewis was not a Christian at this time, so one should not be surprised by the “turned into nothing” which is colored with traces of nihilism. But the first part struck me: “extraordinary and rather incredible.” Since losing my dad in a tragic event, time and time again I have been struck with an overwhelming and almost unbearable sense of: “I cannot wrap my mind around the finality, the absence, the quietness, the deep and irreversible lost.” Gone. Just gone. That is all. That is it. A lifetime of stories, hopes, dreams, pains, etc., extinguished in a flash. I cannot make sense of it. I cannot get my mind and heart fully around it.