Mentoring: Who Are You Investing In These Days?

This is Josh and his son Luke. Josh and his wife Shana are in our community group. I love these pictures. (Pay special attention to the one of Luke…he’s busy!) Cheryl at first said I couldn’t post it on the Internet, but I couldn’t resist breaking a rule. I think the two pictures are hilarious. Like father like son…

I love investing in young fathers…

Our community group is full of great ones…

Recently Josh had a career decision to make. He wanted to wrestle through it with me. He actually took my advice. He honored me greatly, not by taking my advice, but with a text he sent me later, which said, “You are my new mentor!” He probably was joking, but he doesn’t know how much that comment resonates with me.

Years ago I solicited a mentor. He agreed to mentor me on one condition; that I would in turn mentor others. I’ve been attempting to obey that commitment I made to my mentor ever since. I cannot tell you how those times have blessed my life!

Do you have a mentor?

Who are you investing in? Who is investing in you?

What have you learned from the process of mentoring?

What To Do When Questioning Your Abilities

Next time you question your abilities to pursue your God-given vision , consider the story of Moses:

Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” Exodus 4:10-13

Moses was used of God to do incredible things for God’s glory, yet Moses, more than many leaders I know, questioned his own abilities. He lacked confidence and would have probably never volunteered for the job. His reasons might have been:

  • Past failure
  • Fear
  • The task was overwhelming
  • He was intimidated by the Asker
  • He felt unqualified

What’s your excuse for not obeying the vision God has placed in your heart? Is it really a valid reason?
Perhaps you need to do as Moses did…walk by faith, not by sight.

The problem with desiring normal…

I talk with people consistently that are looking for some sense of normality in their life. Often they express that sentiment by saying something such as, “I just wish life could be normal for me sometime.” Have you ever said that statement?

What I have come to understand from experience is that life never rests long before some new highs or lows appear. The problem with desiring normal is that normal seldom looks like we expect normal to look. I’m wondering if normal may be more our reaction to life, than the circumstances we experience in life.

Perhaps the better goal is to learn to balance our lives amidst difficulties, good and bad times, triumph and tragedy, and the feast or famine the world in which we live tends to experience. In fact, I wonder if learning how to balance our emotions between the extremes isn’t the normality we are seeking, rather than periods where everything is calm. When we learn to live in the joy of every moment, normal may seem more attainable.  (Consider what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-13)

What has your experience taught you? How would you define the “normal” life?  Is your life “normal”?

Setting Ground Rules for Your Marriage

One concept I have been an advocate for is setting ground rules for your marriage. Let me illustrate what I mean with a personal example.

It didn’t take long for Cheryl and I to realize that one of us avoids conflict and one of us actually enjoys it. If you read my blog at all you can possibly guess which one of the two I am. As a result, of this in our personalities, if Cheryl and I had a disagreement, she would quickly disappear to the bedroom. She always went to be early on days we had an argument. (Yes, pastors have those also.)

Since I believe in obeying Scripture in my home, and knowing I’m commanded not to “let the sun go down” on my anger, Cheryl and I decided that we need a rule in our marriage that we will handle disagreements before either of us go to sleep. Sometimes that means I have to “break the ice” by offering forgiveness, sometimes she does, but if we are going to obey the rule, we have to at least agree to drop any anger we have towards each other. We may settle the issue later, but we try not to go to bed angry. We have a rule!

I have often been asked how these are enforceable. Honestly, they probably aren’t. If the need to enforce them is your issue, your marriage may have bigger issues. The idea here is a mutual submission to each other (read more about that idea HERE), where both spouses agree that obeying these rules will make the marriage work better. It’s a shared agreement to behave in a certain way for the good of the marriage.

Please understand, I am a grace guy. I usually rebel against a bunch of rules for the sake of rules. The goal of our marriage, however, is for “the two to become one flesh”. We are trying to build a marriage that honors and glorifies God, but because we are two imperfect beings, we had to agree to comply with some basic understandings (rules) to help make that happen.

Do you need to set some ground rules for your marriage?

What rules would you need to have in your marriage to keep your marriage heading in the right direction?

What are some ground rules you think would be good ones for a marriage?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Has Your Direction Stolen Your Identity?

We are in a series called Identity Theft at Grace Community Church. There are some things in life that have stolen from us the people we thought we would be. Last Sunday I spoke about how the direction of our life, or lack thereof, can be the culprit in stealing our identity. Have you lost your way? Watch this message to help you get back on the right path.

For more thoughts on having a life plan, click HERE.

4 Principles for Getting Back in the Game of Life


I meet so many people that have been injured by failure, hurt or disappointment, to the point that they refuse to take a chance again. Jesus used parables to teach life applications. Recently one of Jesus’ parables reminded me of some important principles regarding life’s difficulties and the process we go through seeing our dreams come true. I realize Scripture has only one meaning, but for me this parable has a new application.

The parable is Mark 4:26-29

Here is the encouragement I received:

Plant – One important step after a failure is to get started with life again. You have to at least plant something. Many times people never get started again pursuing their dreams. It’s impossible to harvest a crop you never planted.

Plant the right seeds – Remember, you will reap what you sow. If you have made mistakes, learn from them and plant new seeds. Head your life in the direction you want it to go.

Understand You Can’t Control Circumstances – The farmer can’t control the weather. You and I cannot control other people. Once we plant, we can’t control all the circumstances. You may have to take a risk again, even though there are few guarantees.

Harvest – Trust the harvest will come. If you head your life in the right direction, and wait on God to work His will, eventually you will experience success. Don’t let impatience keep you from waiting on God’s perfect timing.

Have you been holding back because of fear or worry? Maybe now is the time to get back to farming!

Take a Risk – Encouragement from Benjamin Franklin

Distrust and caution are the parents of security. Benjamin Franklin

I love the quotes of history. Some of the best wisdom has been around for the ages. Once while running in Philadelphia through the University of Pennsylvania campus, I noticed this quote embedded in the sidewalk. Running is some of my best thinking time and when I saw it, I instantly was inspired.

I think what Franklin was saying was that in order to achieve something in life that’s meaningful; you usually have to take a risk. Some of the best things in life will never happen without being a risk-taker. If we try to hold too tightly to the things we love because we are fearful of losing them, we may miss out on the best parts of life.  Whether in love, business, church, friendships or families, there is risk involved in seeing it succeed.

Are you playing your life too safe? Has your fear, distrust and caution caused you to retreat to a place of security? You can never protect you or your family completely from hurt or failure, and by limiting yourself to what seems safe, you may keep yourself from realizing all that God has for you. Be smart, stay anchored to God, but be willing to risk attaining the dreams you have in your heart.

Are you inspired? What’s your next move? Take one step forward today!

7 Ways to Offer True Forgiveness

Whenever I talk about forgiveness, the reminder of grudges, hurts and past pains seem to surface in people’s lives.  I will get emails, Facebook and Twitter direct messages confessing to scars and wounds being opened.  In fact, the reaction to the topic of forgiveness is so tender for many, that it draws me back to the issue frequently.

As believers, we are called to offer forgiveness, because we first have been forgiven.  Here are 7 principles for offering true forgiveness.

Reflect on your own forgiveness. The fact that God forgives us through His Son Jesus should fuel our willingness to offer forgiveness to others.

Consider the imperfection of others. Resist the opportunity for revenge.  Don’t hold people to standards they cannot live up to.

Look at your own plank.  You aren’t perfect either and probably don’t meet all the expectations others have of you.

Build positive learning experiences….even from negative experiences.

Release the burden of guilt that you are holding against yourself and others. Guilt absorbs a person’s energy.  Releasing guilt provides freedom.

Don’t avoid future conflict. It’s a part of life among imperfect people.  You will need to practice forgiveness many times in life. The more you practice the better you will become at offering it.

Set a new path. In freedom and forgiveness, learn from your experiences and live a life closer to the model Christ set for us; loving others as we love ourselves; forgiving as we have been forgiven.

Whom do you need to forgive? Is it a parent, friend, family member, ex-spouse, co-worker, boss, or maybe even you?  Do yourself a favor…with God’s help and grace, extend forgiveness today!

How Many Are the Years of Your Life?


Now Sarah lived 127 years; these were all the years of her life. Genesis 23:1

Sarah lived 127 years. That’s all. Period. End of the writing of her story on earth. Her memory would live on and we are still reading and talking about her today, but as far as altering her story she only had 127 years of days in which to write it.

Most likely none of us will have that many years to write our story. We don’t know how many until our story is fully written, but almost certainly it will be less than Sarah’s years.

One thing we have in common with Sarah, however, is that the sum total of our years on earth will complete the writing of our story or at least the impact we can have on writing it. The legacy we leave behind and the memories we implant in the minds and hearts of others will be determined by what we do with the number of years we have.

That is a powerful thought to me this morning. I am building lasting memories, my legacy. I am writing my story. The things my family remembers most about me, the results of my work and ministry and the treasures I leave behind will be decided by the way I live the total number of my years.

That is true of your life also. How are you doing? If the story of your life was on it’s final page today, have you written the story you wanted to write? If not, then what changes do you need to make?

Grab your pen and start writing a new chapter. Allow God to alter your path and head you to a better ending to your story if you need Him to do so. Evaluating your story now may help your final story be a better story than it would have been without that consideration.

What is one change you could make in your life to write a better story?

How to Have a Worry-Free Year

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…” Matthew 6:25

Do you want to live with less worries in the New Year?

None of us probably enjoys worrying, yet even Jesus must have recognized our tendency to worry, because He made it a point to challenge us not to worry.   The simple truth is that living worry-free is very simple in theory, but it’s the practice of doing what we know to do that is hard for us.  Still, in spite of the difficulty, are you up for a challenge?  Let me encourage you to follow these steps to a worry-free 2010.

Ask yourself two questions:

What can I control?

What can I not control?


Work to change that you can change.  (For more help with this, click HERE)


Let go of those things you cannot change.

Obviously it is easier to write than to practice, but let’s strive more this year to live more worry-free lives as we trust God more.  Let’s even be bold enough to ask God to do the impossible in our life.

What worry do you need most to let go of this year?