When Plans Don’t Work

Planning isn’t one of my natural strengths, so the Holy Spirit has helped me grow in this area over the course of many years.  I’ve come to appreciate that if I want to accomplish big dreams, then it’s important to develop some plans and structures for these dreams to become reality.  So what happens when the plans don’t seem to work?  Then what?

In the Gospel of Mark, I’ve been reading about how Jesus healed people, often not according to the human contrived plans, i.e,  the Syrophoenician woman whom Jesus calls a dog, the 4 guys who break through a roof to get a paralytic in front of Jesus & the blind guy whom Jesus spits on for his healing.  It seems to me that Jesus almost never follows our human plans, so it begs the question:  why plan?

When you have plans to seem to go awry, maybe these ideas could be helpful:

  • plans help us think in constructive steps to achieve goals & dreams.  No planning = no progress
  • planning with prayer is a massively helpful combination
  • consider Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”

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Living in the Old or New?

Our church building is in the process of moving locations & it’s an interesting experience living in this “half-way between” place.  I feel like I’m in limbo a little bit because of the new place not being entirely settled & some of my stuff is still in the old place.  Furthermore, I have lots of memories associated with the old building & no memories or notable experiences yet with the new building.  We are also still having services in the old building, but the new building now houses all of our offices, so that’s where we do the day to day work during the weekdays.

This reminds me of what Paul says in 2Cor 5:17 about being in Christ & a new creature with the old things having passed away and new things have come.  There are times and experiences when I find myself living in my old, flesh nature, even though I know in my heart that I’m a new creation in Christ.  Let’s continue to move into and occupy our new nature that Jesus has purchased for us.  Here are a few possibly helpful ideas to consider:

  • don’t bring the old furnishings to the new creation:  stuff that’s broken & dysfunctional doesn’t need to continue in our new nature living.
  • celebrate and embrace:  be sure to celebrate & honor the past, but wholly & fully embrace the new creation / nature that Jesus has for you now!
  • keep moving into the new creation:  there were a few weeks when I procrastinated moving stuff out of the old building for various reasons.  From this lesson, I’m learning that it’s important to keep looking & moving toward the new creation that Jesus has made me to be.

Feel free to pass this along to your friends / family who are navigating this journey to be more & more like Jesus!

PS – here’s my latest youtube video that’s short, fun & encouraging!

Changing for the Good

Do you know someone in a transition time or find yourself in a season of change? Maybe you’re experiencing a transition in your job, your kids might be going back to school so, you might be starting school yourself or you could be experiencing a variety of other changes. Seems to me that life is more about change than not changing – the goal is to navigate change to be good & not harmful. Here are some ideas that could help:

  • Focus: keep your eyes on Jesus full stop; change can be overwhelming when we don’t keep our heart set on knowing Jesus more no matter what we might be going through
  • Flexible: sometimes changes force us to reshuffle our priorities & adapt to new situations & ways. Being rigid doesn’t help facilitate the adapting we might have to do
  • Fun: keep some levity around you; a healthy sense of humor can help change be less traumatic

My dad always said, “Every change with Jesus is a change for the better.” Sometimes in the middle of change its difficult to feel like it’s positive, but let’s trust that Jesus is the author & perfecter of our faith, helping us in every change!

changing seasons

It seems like most of America is going through the seasonal change from Spring & moving into Summer – often one of the more popular seasonal transitions 🙂 My family & I are looking forward to the long & hot days of Summer, playing in water features at various parks, taking walks in the cool of late evenings, the crisp morning greetings and doing all of the sun burn avoidance rigors.
As I think about changes of seasons, it seems to me that life is full of such changes. We go from the season of being school for 12+ years to having a full time job. We go from being single to being married or back to being single. We go from having no kids to being responsible for someone who we love more than we eve thought we possibly could.
Seasons change – and they did for Jesus as well. He changed from being a carpenter to being an “informal” Jewish teacher with thousands of fans. Jesus went from being full blown popular to being one of Jerusalem’s most hated convicts in less than 7 days.
Seasons change & it seems to me that we grow the most as humans during the changing seasons rather than the static seasons 🙂
Have a weekend filled with joy, peace & grace 🙂

harvest is a result of growing

 Among other things, Fall tends to remind me of harvest & harvest is the results of planting, watering & growing. In this Fall season of harvest, I’m noticing some interesting harvests in my life, that are coming as a result of making choices to change & grow (not always the easiest decisions).

Here’s some transparency that I talked about with my mom this morn:  last year when I came back from Angola, I had a SERIOUSLY DIFFICULT time recovering in my heart from that trip.  Truthfully, that trip permanently changed me in a good way, but the process of that change was extremely harsh.  In contrast, my recovery from our Angola trip last month hasn’t been nearly as brutal as it was last year.  Here’s something that I think is a key difference for me between these trips:  last year when I came home, in many ways I tried to process the trip by myself & barely talked w anyone about it on a heartfelt level.  In contrast, this year, I’m way more open (by contrast) to talk about the trip, my experiences, feelings & observations.  I find myself being less independent than I was last year & it feels like I’m processing the trip in more healthy & constructive ways.

So I find myself growing in surprising ways – being less independent & more interactive.  And the fruit or harvest of this growing feels more healthy & less hurtful.  While independence can be good, strong & powerful, there’s also a toxic side that can be a blindspot of lethal magnitude.  Perhaps the operative word would be “inter-dependent” 🙂

My friend, let’s always chose the growing path because the harvests are worth the cultivation & process

a voice from the past ,)

Ok, right off the bat, please forgive me for not blogging since I’ve returned from Angola.  And here’s the honest truth:  when I come back from these trips where I connect with moms, infants, healthcare workers, etc who live on the frontlines of infant mortality everyday, coming home can sometimes be complicated.  This return, especially compared to last year, is less difficult emotionally for me, but is more physically difficult.  Please don’t interpret my thoughts here to be complaints because I’m deeply thankful to God for this absolutely magnificent honor of getting to love “the least of these”.  Nevertheless, my body is pretty worn down so I’ve been endeavoring to maintain my essential priorities that of course include nurturing healthy relationships with my family.

With all of that being said, let me also include that I had one of the richest times of the year with God yesterday morning – waking at 3am due to the time change.  We had some delicious fellowship meandering through Acts 3, when the beggar was healed at the temple.

I’ll get back into the blogging routine here & shortly we’ll be putting up some great pix from our Angola @savingmoses trip 🙂

managing transition

 Transition is the space between constants – its the “in between” time from a position of stability & constant to another position of stability & constant.  Presently, my family is in a transition season.  Today, was the kids last day of school so we are transitioning from the school schedule to the Summer schedule & everything isn’t just smoothy / groovy.  I forgot, until this morning, that the kids had a half day of school & suddenly everything became really complicated because both Reece & I had a relatively full work day.  I’m sure that everyone else manages transitions better than I do, but for anyone that may have some challenges managing transition, here are a few suggestions:

  • be patient:  time usually helps to smooth things out.  As such, I’ve found that it helps to throw in a bit of extra time for events and schedules during a transition season.
  • be gracious:  usually there are some rough spots that can occur in transition seasons.  My personal experience is that grace can really help to smooth out these rough spots – giving yourself & others grace helps to deflate some of the emotional stress that can go with transitions
  • be flexible:  transitions usually will have a few unexpected surprises.  Consequently, I find it to be super helpful if I can pause on being rigid and inflexible 🙂
  • trust God:  maybe this is one of the most important lessons / outcomes from seasons of transition.  If we make the decision to trust God, then during a transition time, we will be better equipped to keep our eyes on Him.  Ultimately, we are the most healthy in our mindsets when we keep our eyes and confidence on God.

Please feel free to chime in with more suggestions, as I always want to be eager to learn, grow & improve 🙂