5 Clever Ways I Find Time to Exercise


I’ve written before about my discipline of exercise. Honestly, it has to be one of the keys to me being effective in life and leadership. I can tell the difference in productivity when I exercise and when I don’t.

I talk to busy, stressed pastors every week and frequently I ask them how they are staying physically fit. Most have been trained and are more disciplined in their spiritual life, but the reality is their physical life is impacting their health…and…if its not now, it will someday impact every other part of their life.

As much as it depends on me, I think it is important to take care of our health. But, I’ll admit, working 50 or even 70 hour weeks at times makes it difficult to fit exercise into a packed schedule.

I’m purposeful enough though that I’ll find a way.

Here are 5 clever ways I find time to exercise:

Work on the elliptical. A few times a week I go over my notes for Sunday. Why not do it while I exercise? I sometimes write blog posts while dancing, I mean moving, on the elliptical. (Posts like this one.) It takes practice to balance, but now it’s a great way for me to kill two birds. One stone. What do you have to do that is a routine for you, but you could do while exercising? Anything? Be creative.

Exercise on lunch break. One problem for me is eating three full meals a day. I can’t do it these days and maintain my weight. Sometimes my schedule dictates three meals, because many of my meetings are done at these times. I’m bad at resisting food when I have it in front of me. On days I can, I try to grab something light, fast and healthy and hit the road or gym.

Walk to talk. Weather permitting, Cheryl and I take walks together almost daily. It allows us to catch up on the day, debrief the week ahead and enjoy exercising together. I’ve done this with staff members too. If you have an extended talk…walk.

Mental breaks. If I’m stuck in my thoughts, I can almost always spur myself if I exercise. The break in schedule always pays back dividends beyond the apparent loss of time. This is especially true during the most stressful weeks. (By the way, this means I’m always ready with clothes at the office or in my car.)

Prayer time is a sweating opportunity. I can pray when I run. Some can and some can’t. But if you can. Why not?

Again, I realize the value of exercise for my life…for the quality of my life…and so I’ll make time for it. You can find time if you are creative and disciplined with your time.

(By the way. This principle works for anything you value. Prayer. Bible reading. Relationships. We find time for that which we value most.)

Have you found any clever ways to work exercise into your schedule?

I’m open to learning new ones.

When You Can’t Seem to Find Your Purpose


The other day someone said to me, “Pastor, Sorry I haven’t gotten involved in the church yet, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing right now. I can’t seem to find my purpose.”

I hear that kind of thing often. In this case, it’s been five years and the person is still waiting. Doing nothing. Inactive. Waiting for that “purpose” which may never arrive with this manner of search.

Here’s a good principle when seeking purpose in life.

Sometimes you have to work a purpose to find a purpose.

I hear from people all the time who can’t seem to find their place.

In church. In work. In life.

They want to know their purpose. Their unique role. Their calling.

But they never seem to find it.

So they wait on the sidelines. They make excuses.

Never seeming to find their purpose in life. What they do best. What they were meant to do.

My advice.

Try something new.

Do things. Explore. Test. Experiment.

Do honorable, good, helpful things.

But just do something. Try lots of different things. But do something.

You’ll do some things well. Some not so well. You’ll fail. You’ll succeed. You’ll have fun. Some not so fun.

Along the way you may just find a purpose.

Life purposes seldom fall from the sky. Mostly they are discovered in the process of discovery. How you are wired. How you are gifted. Where you have passion. Where God wants to use you most.

Sometimes you have to work a purpose to find a purpose.

5 Reasons We Attend Church While on Vacation

destin beach

As you consider your vacation this year, I want to encourage you to find a church wherever you are and visit.

One of the first things Cheryl and I do when we go out of town is look for a place to attend church on Sunday. We’ve had some incredible experiences attending other churches and its one of our favorite parts about vacation.

I know many pastors who look forward to some weeks they don’t have to attend church. I have often been asked if we are legalistic because we don’t take a vacation from church while on vacation. Do we feel we “must” attend church in vacation? Is it because I’m a pastor?

Absolutely not. We feel no obligation. It’s what we want to do.

Here are 5 reasons we attend church on vacation:

We love church. Church is the best part of our week. We don’t view church as an obligation. It is a privilege. We believe the church is God’s plan to make disciples. It’s our community. It’s where we find our best friends in life. It is a large part of what fuels us for the week ahead. Why would we take a vacation from that?

We get to worship without distraction. Honestly, Sunday can be a very distracting day for Cheryl and me. We are both busy with ministry obligations. On vacation we are freed to worship.

We get to sit together. Cheryl is beside me during the worship portion of the service, but she has never stood beside me while I preach…even as many times as I’ve asked her to. :) Actually, we did dance together on stage in one service. On vacation we enjoy being together for an entire service.

We learn from others. I love sitting under the teaching of other pastors. Cheryl never admits to anyone preaching better than me, but she seems to take plenty of notes when we are out of town. :) We also always go home with new ideas and renewed energy from attending other churches.

We get to encourage another pastor. We know how much we love visitors. On vacation, we get to attend another church, pray for the pastor, and many times meet and pray for the pastor and pastor’s spouse. Those have been awesome experiences over the years.

Please understand. I’m not saying you have to attend church when you’re on vacation, but don’t dismiss it too quickly either. It could be one of the greater parts of your vacation. (And if you’re ever in Lexington for vacation, come see us. Did you read my post about vacationing here?)

Do you ever attend church when you’re on vacation?

How to Follow My Blog After Google Reader

If you haven’t heard, Google Reader is going away. Quickly. It was announced a couple months ago, but it ends July 1, 2013. I was bummed, because I use Google Reader to follow most of the blogs I follow.

Many people follow this blog through Google Reader.

What to do?

Well, short answer…it’s easy. Case solved.

Sign up to have this blog emailed. Do that at the top right of my home page HERE. Just enter your email address and follow the instructions.

Sign up for Feedly. Do that HERE.

Feedly is a quick, couple minute transfer of your Google Reader blogs to follow them on Feedly. And, it’s free. I actually enjoy the layout better than I did Google Reader. My friend Michael Hyatt, whom you can trust much more than me on things like this, shares 7 reasons he’s using Feedly to replace Google Reader HERE.

Don’t miss the content you’ve relied upon. Act today.

Do All Dogs Go To Heaven?


Do all dogs go to Heaven?

It took me a while to write this post. We lost our sweet NaJe…our Yorkie…our overweight, 12 and a half year Yorkie…last summer. She was doing great, although she had slowed somewhat in the later years. We had just moved to our new city, and she loved it for the walking. One morning I was at work and Cheryl went to lunch. When Cheryl came home NaJe was not the same. She became paralyzed immediately…within the hour Cheryl was gone to lunch. We took her to the veterinarian as soon as we could. The Vet said it was a brain tumor. There was nothing we could do for her. It was one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever made and being with her at the end one of the hardest things I’ve personally ever done.

I know…it’s a dog, right? But she was our dog. She was part of the family. She was named for our two boys…Na…Nathaniel…Je…Jeremy. (Jeremy is the oldest, but NaJe sounded better to us than JeNa.)

So the question…

Do all dogs go to Heaven?

Believe it or not, I get asked that question. Very seriously. And, I understand.

Unfortunately, the answer is one that I can’t solve that for you. Not definitively.

I wish I could, but I am a Bible teacher. I read and believe the Bible as truth. I can’t make it fit my needs or desires. I have to take it for what it says. I can’t add to or take away from it. I know mankind is His highest creation. The Bible makes clear provision for mankind and Heaven. (If you confess with your mouth and believe in your hear that God raised Jesus from the dead you shall be saved.)

The problem is, I can’t definitively assure myself of any eternity for my dog or any dog. Or cat. Or hamster. Although I would think my dog would likely to get in if any animal did :).

I know this though. My viewpoint has changed in light of NaJe. I now recognize I can’t say dogs “don’t” go to Heaven. Can you?

All creation waits. “All creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.” The Bible says that. Revelation also says “every creature” pays reverence to the glory of God. Every creature. But, is that creatures created now or then. I can’t say. Will there be dogs in Heaven. I don’t know? For sure.

But, I do know NaJe was God’s creation. She did exactly what she was created to do while she was alive on earth. Everything. She loved. She loved greatly. She loved passionately. She was a most loyal man’s best friend. I can’t imagine God wasn’t pleased with the example of unconditional love NaJe proved to be.

If any dogs went to Heaven…NaJe would be one. Probably you feel that way about yours too.

And, though I can’t solve the question for you, not definitively, I can’t imagine a perfect place without a dog like NaJe. But, then no eye has seen or imagined what God has created for us. Heaven will be perfect. I’m not sure I have really ever seen perfect as God intended perfect to be. Some day I will.

I also know this, as much as I entertain this question, I’m most concerned about your eternity. I am confident God will take care of His creation, but He’s given you and me the option to choose to be obedient or to rebel. Will you be in Heaven? Have you surrendered your life to Christ’s life? Do you believe that Jesus died on a cross, rose from the grave, and that by your faith in Him you shall be saved?

What do you think? Do all dogs go to Heaven?

(Opinions are welcome…I honestly don’t believe we know definitively, but please don’t write me your “theological” understanding based on what you “think”.).

7 Things I’ve Learned or am Learning About God

7 things I’ve learned or am learning about God:

Sometimes God opens doors simply to show me that He can. I’ve seen it many times. God seemed to provide an opportunity, only to later make it clear that’s not the right one for this time. It’s always though an encouragement than when He is ready He can and will make a way.

God’s plan for my life is always bigger than mine. Every. Single. Time. I have underestimated Him all my life. You’d think I’d learn.

When God stretches us we are never the same. God style elastic never goes back completely in place. He has stretched me so many times and each time I was forever changed. I’ve learned the places He stretches He also longs to fill with Himself if I will fully submit to His plan.

God has ways I have never even thought about. You don’t learn this one until after the fact, because you couldn’t script it if you tried. Hollywood couldn’t. But God’s ways are not our ways. Period.

God uses people I wouldn’t have expected. (People like me) It always bothers me when people dismiss others because of their past, apparent inabilities or even their current condition. God tends to make me eat my words when I do that kind of thing. God uses whom God chooses.

God allows the darkest periods of my life to produce the greatest light. Every major breakthrough in my life has come after a period of profound darkness. I’ve learned the best things I know about life and God through the most difficult seasons of my life.

God never gives up on me. In some ways, I feel like Jonah. I’ve never felt called to go to Nineveh, but I’ve resisted going where God called me to go or do at times. Sometimes for a season and sometimes only briefly, but I’ve run. I’ve stalled. In the end, God always has the final word. Imagine that. I end up obeying or my life is a mess until I do.

What’s God taught or teaching you?

Mother: The Word of the Day



Is there a sweeter word in the English language?



A word that comes with deep meaning and emotion.

Unconditional love.

Sacrificial giving.

Forgiving easily.

Striving to provide perfect environments for the ones she loves.

Incredible patience with little hands.

Strength beyond measure.

Always believing the best from her children.

A model and teacher of compassion.

Skilled for laughing at kid jokes that aren’t even funny.

Accepting of others.

Stability during chaos.

A tender touch but a hug that never lets go.


What do you think of when you hear the word mother?

Tribute to the Mother Who Has No Children

Happy childhood

I want to give a tribute to the mother who has no children.

I’ve always been sensitive this time of year to the mothers without children.

You know the ones.

They never had children.

For whatever reason.

Some never tried.
Some never could.

And, for some it’s a hidden pain they carry deeply. Deeper than any wound.

I’m reminded of Hannah’s pain in 1 Samuel 1.

They never had children, but they:

  • Care for others sacrificially, simply for the joy of giving.
  • Are willing to fight lions, tigers and bears (Oh my!) for the ones they love.
  • Have more strength than the average man when caring for someone.
  • Are taken advantage of because of their generosity.
  • Love deeply and unconditionally.
  • Strive to make the world a better place for those around them.
  • Always thinking of others and willing to put others ahead of themselves.

Sounds like a mother to me.

Many of them wanted to be a mother — but they never were given that blessing. And, motherhood is a blessing. Just as all parenting is.

They have no children.

But, they have a mother’s heart.

They may not have children — not in the natural sense — but in heart — they are every bit a mother.

They love like a mother. They sacrifice like a mother. They serve like a mother. They give — just like a mother gives.

And, if God were to celebrate Mother’s Day, I think He would include them in the celebration.

Because in God’s way of doing things, it’s always about the heart.

“Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

This year, as you celebrate Mother’s Day, don’t forget the mother who has no children.

While you’re at it, don’t forget the one whose mother isn’t here any longer. And, the one who has a hard story with their mother. And, all the others who as one celebrates — another weeps. Let’s be sensitive to the needs of others.

That sounds like something worthy to celebrate on such a wonderful day!

10 Reasons You Should Visit Lexington, Kentucky

visit lex

I moved to Lexington, Kentucky in the summer of 2012. You can read about the ministry assignment HERE. What I want you to know in this post is that you should come visit where I’ve moved.

Seriously. Lexington is an unknown (to many) jewel of a city. Lexington has small city charm with a big city atmosphere. Cheryl and I had traveled here before and I’ve been here for business interests in the past, but it wasn’t until we moved here that we realized how great a city this is.

Here are 10 reasons you need to visit Lexington:

Horses – We aren’t called horse country for nothing. And, horse country is breath-taking. Take a drive through the back roads. A short few minutes after leaving the city limits you are in the middle of incredible views. Keeneland and the Kentucky Horse Park are public use facilities. If you haven’t seen the beauty of horse country, start here.

horse race

Downtown – Lexington’s downtown is thriving. If you come for the weekend, arrive on Thursday for Thursday Night Live, where from April through October we have entertainment downtown. The Saturday Farmer’s Market is one of the best we’ve seen. In the winter we have ice skating. In the summer we have water parks. There is something for everyone each day and night of the week. Shopping. Eating. Playing. (If you choose to stay downtown, message me and I’ll give you my top choices.)

Restaurants – There are over 100 chef quality, locally owned restaurants in Lexington. Not to mention all the dives that are unique. I’ve been told there are more restaurants here per capita than any city in the United States. I can’t verify that, but I can say Cheryl and I are on a mission to work through the list, we’ve been here nearing a year, and we’ve got a long way to go. (That said, we’ve found some good ones. If you’re coming, message me and I’ll give some personal recommendations.)

Museums – We have art museums, children’s museums, history museums and horse museums. (Of course). There’s something for everyone.

Arts – We are on the Broadway tour. Can you believe it? Cheryl and I had season tickets this year. We’ve been to New York City. We aren’t missing anything here. We have one of the top orchestra programs in the country at the University of Kentucky. We have children’s theater. Our arts culture is organized, vibrant, and active.

Colleges – This is a college town and a college region. Cheryl and I have loved visiting the University of Kentucky and Transylvania are the better known schools, but we have a huge technical school and numerous lesser known, but equally impressive schools. Within driving distances there are great universities and colleges, such as Georgetown, Berea, Centre, and Asbury. And, colleges often brings sports, and we have plenty of it in Lexington. If you like college athletics, this is a great option.

Short drives – Within driving distance of Lexington there are more day trips than we can count. We haven’t completed them all yet. We can travel to Louisville or Cincinnati in an hour if we want big cities, or dozens of quaint cities like Midway and Danville for smaller venues. Drive a little further and you can find yourself in the mountains of West Virginia or Tennessee.

Baseball – Do you like baseball? My family knows ballparks and our Lexington Legends Class A ball club is one of the most fun parks we’ve ever visited.

Friendliness – Honestly, this is one of the friendliest towns we have ever visited.

Immanuel Baptist Church – Okay, this one seems self-serving, but it is my blog and I do serve at a great church. This church has been serving this community for over 100 years, with a great history, great people, and an incredible future. We are seeing God move in exciting ways. Come experience the energy at Immanuel.

Cheryl and I are well-traveled. We have often noted that there are a few cities where you will never meet anyone who doesn’t enjoy living there. Lexington is one of those cities. We’ve yet to meet one person who doesn’t’ enjoy this city. It’s easy to get to whether by road or plane. We have a great local airport with flights daily through most major carriers.

Come see us!

For more information, go to VisitLex.com.

Have you been to Lexington, KY? What did you enjoy most?