Bop bop bop, another one bites the dust! In the click of a mouse, my mind starts to play the song. 6 years, 13 of 15 debts paid. The intensity grows. It’s exciting, but it also makes me reflect on where we have come from. I often think back over our ten years of marriage and think “man, I wish we had started this earlier.” But you can’t get bogged down in the should haves or the could haves. There is absolutely nothing you can do (until I finish my time machine that is!) So until then, I look at the fact we may have made mistakes but we are correcting them. We have had many victories since we made the decision to get out of debt and learn God’s ways of handling money. We…it hit me. We have been successful be cause we stood up and said no more. We decided to work on this together. We worked the budget together. We operated as one.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. -Gen 2:24
Whether it is finances, children, the future or how the front yard should look, getting on the same page as your spouse makes the process easier. Talk with each other, make a plan together and then work it together. That way when one of you is tired and wants to give up, the other is there to help push forward. Remind each other why you are doing it.
If you are single, find a trusted friend, a confidant. Some one who can be honest with you, that shares your beliefs. They will be your accountability partner. When you need to make big decisions in any part of your life, they are a sounding board.
God has blessed me with a virtuous wife. I would not be the man I am today if Jenn was not beside me. We may not always get things perfect, we still make mistakes. But we always look to God and strive to be what he wants us to be. Two scriptures stand out at me when I think of my family. Joshua 24:15 and Proverbs 31:10
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 NKJV
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth [is] far above rubies. – Pro 31:10 NKJV
I’m not a big fan of Halloween. I know there are ton of people who are. Tomorrow we’re going to have an event at our church to hand out candy to the kids in the neighborhood. Yes, I’ll wear a costume. No, I’m not excited about it.
Many Christians get into the debate of the ‘evil’ of Halloween every year. Arguing its roots and spiritual significance and its ties to paganism, witchcraft and such. I’ve seen about 40 Halloweens in my lifetime, and I’m yet to see a séance or spell cast on October 31st. What I have seen is a ton of candy and some interesting costumes over the years. I’m not going to argue about what the day means. It is what it is and what it has become: a day for people to dress up in a costume and consume overpriced small bars of candy until they’re sick.
Here’s the number one reason I’m not a big fan of Halloween- I don’t enjoy pretending I’m something I’m not. It brings me no joy to put on a costume, look in the mirror and pretend, for one evening that somehow I’m going to be able leap a small building with a single bound, or have some occupation I’ll never have. Call me cynical or a curmudgeon, its not my thing.
This is my thing- seeing people become who God has created them to be. Watching someone turn from depression to joy. Witnessing a life with no purpose to a life with purpose. Being a part of a life that has no direction to a life with clear direction. Watching people put on a new self that will change their life all year long, not just for one day.
Here’s my nugget for the day- Dress up if you want. Enjoy the fantasy of pretending you’re a superhero for a night. But don’t miss this- If there are parts of you that you don’t like or wish you could change, realize that God isn’t in the ‘pretend you’re different for a night’ business. He’s in the ‘change you for the rest of your life’ business.
Let today be the day he changes you forever, not just for one night.
To be fair this goal started earlier than New Years it started around July of last year. That was when Travis Willis taught me how to be a twitter ninja. On January 1st I was well on my way (about two thousand twitter followers) to my New Years resolution goal of 10,000 followers for the Faith and Victory twitter account. As of this post @FVChurchAuburn reached the 10k follower mark (most of them in some way professing to love God). To me, it’s a pretty awesome accomplishment. 10,000 is such a huge number. I’ve always been a numbers guy. Big numbers are exciting to me (nerd alert).
It means setting some big goals can be accomplished with a little follow through. I’m just a regular guy (aka not famous) that is an associate pastor of small church (350ish) in Auburn Washington. The only reason that many people follow @FVChurchAuburn is because I worked at it almost every day this year. I set a goal. I wrote it on my marker board. For me this is a recipe for success. I know that if I write things down I am ten times more likely to follow through with it (even daily chores). Let today be your day to set your sites on whatever you want to accomplish. Make sure to write it down (even if it’s just in the comments section of this post). I would be even more excited to hear about your goals and when you complete them. (tweet me or comment below)
It also means Faith and Victory Church has a voice in the twitter universe. I’m not a person who likes to tweet what I had for breakfast. I’m also not a person who is clever enough to wow people with my words. I tweet about the things I care about and the things my friends care about. If you follow @FVChurchAuburn you’ll get a good helping of FVC Blogs, Doug Bursch (@fairlyspiritual), Bogdan Kipko (@Bogdankipko), Absolute Ministries (@ABSOLUTEHouse), Answers in Genesis (@AiG), and anything else that interests me. If you have something you think I should be tweeting about let me know. I would love to promote anything Christian related that you or your friends are doing. If you are on twitter retweet some blogs or sermons that I post. It’s part of the fun.
Last but not least it means that I’ve learned a few things along the way. If you are a person who would like to get into twitter for your business or cause or ministry and don’t know where to start let me know. I can help you get started.
Love you all. Have a blessed week
Back in August, Kate had a dragon boat race up in Victoria, BC. I was not assigned to any team, so I volunteered to steer for teams who didn’t have a steersman. On the second day of racing, a team approached me and asked if I would steer for them. I’m always glad to help out. This particular team was very strong and fast, one of the best teams competing in that regatta.
We all loaded into our boats for a five boat heat. The race course is in the middle of Victoria Harbor with the spectator stands some 500m away from the starting line. The finish line is right in front of the stands. I was steering, in Lane 3, for one of the top seeded teams, so this is going to be a competitive race. The top two teams would advance to the top bracket finals. The starting horn blares, the adrenaline is pumping, and we got off to a great starting surge.
Here’s what Kate experienced. “About a third of the way into the race, I was horrified to see boat 3 swerve out in front of boats 1 and 2. Clearly, something was wrong with Dave. He’s never lost control of a boat. The hundreds of people in the stands gasped. There was lots of chatter about ‘Boat 3 lost control! Boat 3 lost control!” Everyone saw the same thing. Everyone saw boat 3 lose control and swerve in front of the other boats.”
As we were heading toward the finish line, the officials commanded my team to stop. My team and I were very puzzled as to why we had to stop. We hadn’t done anything wrong. However, the assertion was I had lost control and had crashed into boat 2. Everyone saw it. Everybody could CLEARLY SEE WHAT HAPPENED. Once up at the dock, the officials deliberated for over an hour.
The truth of the matter was not even close to what it seemed. Just before the crowd saw my boat veer left into lane 2 right in front of boat 2, boat 2 actually veered right and struck the back of my boat about bench 8 (approximately ¾ of the way back). At that time the back 4 benches had to quit paddling since boat 2 was in their way. These racing boats are 44 feet long and getting hit in the far back side coupled with losing nearly 40% of the paddling power on that side, caused the boat to suddenly veer left. From the stands it looked like I had lost control, but in reality, I was the one who was hit. From my perspective, I never lost control and had done nothing wrong but with all the chatter and finger-pointing, I was beginning to doubt myself. I nearly quit steering for good – I felt so bad and no longer felt confident in my ability.
Fortunately, the drummer who sits in the front of the boat facing backwards, caught it all on video (which is rare). She was wearing a Go-Pro camera on her head for that race and the video confirmed beyond a shadow of doubt that boat 2 moved into my lane and struck us on my left side. It was the collision and loss of power on that side that caused the boat to veer left not that I had lost control and caused the collision. In the end, my boat did end up in lane 2 but not due to anything I did wrong.
I’m sure you can think of times when someone judged you and they didn’t know the full story. I even have even heard an ordained minister say (and he MEANT it), “I can judge others because I’m right!” Of course, we all think we’re right when we’re judging others. Just like in the race, everyone in the stands was convinced that they were right when they thought I had lost control. I believe when Jesus tells us not to judge, He really means it. If we can look honestly, into our own hearts, we truly have NO ROOM to judge others. Matthew 7:3 says “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
One of Kate’s friends told her this story. “Many years ago, I was living in base housing at a naval base. It’s a tight-knit community and everybody pretty much knows everybody else. We had a new officer and his wife, Cara, and small children moved in. The officer, Tim, had to travel a lot, due to his high level position. Every time Tim left town, another man moved in with Cara. The first time it happened, the base housing was lit-up with surprise and gossip. But, then when it continued to happen, people became very concerned about the family as Tim was a high-ranking person in the community.
“It was consistent. Tim would leave town and the ‘other man’ would show up. The ‘other man’ left just before Tim returned. They had their affair timed like clockwork…until that fateful day.
“The gossip mill was churning and finally a concerned fellow officer carefully talked with Tim and informed him that his wife was having an affair. Everyone knew it. The evidence was clear. He was deeply sorry, but believed that Tim should know. When told, Tim was puzzled and shook his head. He informed the fellow officer that Cara’s brother came to visit, to help with the children, every time Tim left town.”
It is easy to find fault with someone else and many times judge them for what we think they are doing wrong. However, many times we do not have all the facts and are dead wrong.
As Jesus said in Luke 6:37, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
“Don’t judge.” We hear it all the time and as Christians, we KNOW we’re not supposed to judge. But, we do it. It’s human nature (which is probably why Jesus told us NOT to do it!!)
The lesson is, don’t judge others. Our sinful and tainted perspective often does not align with the clear eyes of God, the only perfect and righteous Judge.
“I’m going to Gremmy and Goddy’s and don’t worry, I won’t miss you.” Not sure if that is what I envisioned hearing her say. But I guess when you raise an independent child, that is what you get. Today, our daughter left for a week on the ranch with the grandparents. I was very proud of her packing skills. She did it practically all on her own. My apologies to Gremmy and Goddy if we forgot anything.
She has been looking forward to this, ever since she finished potty training (which was not that long ago). That was the grandparents one condition – no changing diapers! So off she goes on an adventure to the farm. We were a little worried that she might get apprehensive about leaving, but nope – after a quick walk with Goddy and Lou this morning, she hopped right in her car seat, buckled up and started coloring 🙂
We are lucky she has two sets of wonderful loving grandparents, and she loves them all! Have fun P! – Mommy and Daddy will miss you…a little bit.
Ps. Thanks for catching the mountain lion before she arrived.
I have had a handful of people talk to me this week about struggles in their marriage- I thought it well to share a few thoughts on what I think it takes to have a fruitful marriage- You probably have some of your own- but these are mine.
1. Love God more than you love your spouse- If you remember every day that God is watching how you treat your spouse hopefully it will cause you watch what you say and how you say it. What you do and what you don’t do.
2. Talk to your spouse like they are your boss, not your employee. People hold their tongue with their boss, because if they don’t they get FIRED- learn to choose your words wisely with your spouse.
3. Spend Quantity time together- no such thing as quality time. If you have a hobby that keeps you away from your spouse- quit it. Find something you can do together.
4. Don’t keep score- Some YEARS, not days- YEARS one person gives 100% and one gives 5%. Sometimes its 50-50, sometimes its 23%. You can’t keep score and be happy. Do everything for them every day with no hope of reciprocation. If the only reason you serve is to get back, you’re doing it wrong.
5. Learn their love language and do it- Touch, gifts, affirmation, quality time, acts of service- there is something they like- give it to them.
6. Birds and the Bees. Fly them and let them sting. Often. Even when you don’t feel like it. Its fun and free. Hold hands. Kiss.
7. Learn to make your spouse laugh. Its hard to be mad when you’re laughing. Learn what makes your spouse laugh.
8. Forgive- give them the same grace you’d want for yourself. Realize that you aren’t perfect and love them in spite of their imperfections. Celebrate them!
9. Exercise and Eat well- You don’t need a body like a greek god- but take care of yourself and exercise so you can eat well. Hungry people are angry people. Non exercise people are depressed people. Exercise so you can eat what you want.
10. Don’t always live for tomorrow- Live now- Don’t say, ‘when this happens we’ll do that’ find a way to do it now. You could get hit by a truck tomorrow and wish you ate that ice cream in Hawaii today.
Those are my quick ten- what would you add?