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I hate moving. The packing and sorting. The pain that develops in your back. Taking a part beds just to put them together again. Maneuvering objects through doors and hallways that are bigger than a those doors and hallways. PIVOT! I hate moving!

Two weekends ago my family and I moved to a new house about 3 miles away from our old house. Since being married 9 and a half years, this was the third time my wife and I moved. The first two moves it was just us, no kids and all our stuff fit into a 8X12 foot pod with plenty of room to spare. Three kids and a full house of stuff later, we rented a 26 foot truck and filled the thing… twice!

Even though I hate moving it reminded me of a few very important lessons.

1. I can be too easily attached to stuff. Not our stuff, the stuff we packed in boxes (although that’s true as well). But the stuff that made up our house. There are certain things that I LOVED about our old house that we don’t have in this house. There were certain updates and newer appliance that were really nice and gave the house a bit of a trendy feel even though was a fairly old house. The house we live in now (even though it’s a great house) isn’t quite the same. The cosmetic features of it are a bit more old and worn out and as I sit writing this at our kitchen counter my eyes are drawn to all of the things that are less than perfect. And saying good-bye to those things in our old house reminded me…

2. It’s far to easy to compare. It’s easy to look at what other people have and what we used to have and think we’d be happier with different stuff. The latest model of this. The newest update of that. If only I had _________, then I’d be content. For me, comparison is often rooted in being overly concerned with what other people think of me and ultimately steals my joy. Comparison breeds anxiety and takes our focus off of what’s truly important, people. Because ultimately…

3. People make places. This is what I’ve been most thankful to remember. As I left our old house for the final time I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I stood in our kitchen and thought about all of the people who had been in our house over the 6 years we lived there – the groups we hosted, the parties we had, the holidays we shared and the relationships that developed. I also thought back to the day we brought each of our three girls home from the hospital and all the joy and laughter we shared as our family has grown. As I shut the door behind me for the final time, I was reminded that we have the potential to do the exact same thing in our new home as we did in our old home.

A home isn’t meant for the purpose of impressing people. Apart from the basic necessities, it’s a place to share life with people. It’s about opening your doors and simply inviting others in with the hope of sharing in meaningful relationship.

I know it’s cheesy and cliché, but it’s the people not the place (or the stuff for that matter) that make a house a home. I look forward to sharing our new place with our family and friends and hopefully make some new friends along the way. I trust that there is much about life that we will learn while living in this place and that when the day comes when it’s time to move again my heart will be equally full from the experience of living here.

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“It’s never too late.” So the saying goes.

So many of us have dreams of different things that we would like to do or accomplish in this life. Learn a new skill. Pick up a new hobby. Run a marathon. Write a book. Start our own business. Etc…

However, when we look at our already busy schedules, it seems impossible. When we see the finished product of someone else’s work we naturally think, “I could never do that.” Or we think that the right season of life to have pursued that dream is behind us and we missed our opportunity. But those are just excuses and lies we tell ourselves to avoid taking the risk of trying something new.

The truth is you do have the time, you just have to find it. You are able to do it, you just need to keep at it. And there is no better time than now.

Today I want share with you a musical project that my wife has been working on for the last year or so. It has always been her dream to write and record music and with the help of some good friends she’s done it!

It wasn’t easy. It took sacrifice. With a growing family of three young kids, there were plenty of reasons to think, “Not now isn’t the right time.” But at the end of the day the price of NOT doing it was great than the sacrifice it required.

I am so proud of her for not giving up on her dream and want to encourage all of you to check out her EP titled My Beginning at NoiseTrade.com. It’s free to download and I think you will find her songs to be thoughtful, honest and true.

Happy Listening! It’s never too late!

 

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One story that is strangely encouraging to me about life and ministry comes from an interaction Jesus had with a dad whose son was overtaken by an evil spirit. (Mark 9:14-29)

The father brought his son to Jesus’ disciples hoping that they could cure him. After many attempts the disciples resigned to the fact that they couldn’t do it.

At this point the father turned to Jesus and asked, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus said, “If you can? Everything is possible for one who believes.” To which the father responded, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”

I find this story encouraging for two reasons.

1. The disciples failed. I hate failing. Who doesn’t? There is nothing worse than being confronted with your own limitations and inadequacies. Whether in your job, relationships or in personal goals, failure always hurts. Especially after having had some success, failure can leave us deflated and questioning whether or not we should continue.

At this point in their ministry the disciples have a reputation for healing people. Earlier in Mark’s gospel Jesus gave them authority and power to drive evil spirits (Mark 6:7). And they’ve proven they can do it. But in this situation, they can’t and they’re confused by their failure.

As a pastor, sometimes I find myself believing I am not allowed to fail.  I’m supposed to have all the answers and always know what to do. Sometimes I find myself believing I’m supposed to lead with decisive courage and strength and never second guess a decision. But the truth is, if these guys who walked and talked with the living Christ didn’t always get it right, why should I think any different for myself?

The truth is, when I live and lead with the mentality that I can’t fail, I assume the belief that ministry success is about me and relies on me. In a strange way, failure brings a measure of freedom when it causes us to throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus knowing that He can do the things we can’t.

2. The father doesn’t believe. The word that comes to mind when thinking about the father in this story is hopeless. After having cared for his needy son for years on end, I can imagine the father is worn out and overwhelmed. Knowing that Jesus’ disciple have a reputation and ability to heal, he probably experienced a measure of hope thinking things for he and his son could be different.

After living in a difficult situation for an extended period of time, having hope that things might change can be dangerous. Each time you believe things could change, only to discover they don’t, further cements the belief that your situation is beyond repair. You start to believe you are destined for this reality for the rest of your life. The more this happens, the more you grow guarded and skeptical.

On the heels of another failed attempt for change, the father comes to Jesus wondering if he also is unable to do anything for him and his son. Hence his statement, “…if you can do anything.”

When I desire for situations in my life to change, I find that I look other places before I come to Jesus. I seek out advice from friends. I do research and weigh my options. Often, only after I’ve exhausted all other avenues do I come to Jesus for help. Typically by that point I’m half-hearted in my belief that Jesus can and will help.

But what I find most encouraging about both of these interactions is, even though Jesus is a bit harsh in his response, He still says yes. Jesus’ help isn’t dependent on how successful we are or how strong our belief is. Jesus helps and heals because he loves. Earlier in Mark’s gospel Jesus says, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

No one sets out to fail or have weak faith, but even still, Jesus is willing even when we fall flat on our face or give up and throw in the towel.

Where have you seen Jesus meet you in your failure and unbelief?

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