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Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in Inspirational | 0 comments

Stressed?

I was about 10 years old when I saw my first caulk gun. My dad was working on a bathroom in our guest house. I watched wishing I could be more helpful. Early the next morning was my opportunity. I woke up early, found the caulk gun and got to work. Unfortunately, caulking is not my strong suit. I made a mess. Big gobs of caulk were everywhere. I also didn’t know what to caulk. I caulked the window sill, the toilet, basically everything with a crack.

It was miserable work. I was no good at it. It was tiring and unfruitful. Then, at the end of the day, waiting for approval of my efforts from my dad, I discovered the truth. He had already finished the job the day before. All I had been doing was wasting my efforts ruining an already perfect job!

What about you? Are there things you’re busy doing that are adding stress to your life and producing no results? [Tweet This]

Here are a few thoughts to help depressurize your life. I’ll post more on each idea the next couple of weeks. (Follow my blog via the email subscription on the right side to make sure you receive all the latest posts)

3 Thoughts to Help Depressurize Your Life [Tweet This]:

1.) You be You

There is nothing that will free you of stress like simply choosing to be the person God made you to be. Conversely, there’s nothing quite as stressful as trying to be someone else. A few years ago, Pastor Ed Young released this video at Creative Church Conference. You may not realize it, but this is an area quite a few Pastors struggle in, finding their own voice among so many talented church leaders. If you have 4 minutes, see how Pastor Ed Young challenged us to depressurize our lives 🙂 :

http://youtu.be/LQcp-J-3njw

My caulking job was wrong on so many levels. On the most basic level, though, I was stressing out trying to do something I wasn’t equipped to do. How many of you could say you’re experiencing stress trying to be somebody God hasn’t equipped you to be? God made you uniquely you. You can rest in that and discover the stress-free world of being yourself.

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2.) Focus on Simple Obedience

There is also something freeing when you realize there are things you can’t accomplish on our own. In fact, like my caulking job, there are some things that are already perfectly done for you. Your attempts to add to that work are only adding gobs of mess…and additional stress to your life. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He spoke these words: “It is Finished!” His work on the cross has accomplished so much all by itself. Jesus also said that our “righteousness is as filthy rags”. Our attempts to add to His work are pointless.

Rather than living your life trying to prove your righteousness by works of your flesh, what if you rested in the work He has already done? What would that look like? I believe it would look like a life of simple obedience to Jesus. And trust me, simple obedience is SO less stressful than legalism. Find out more about simple obedience in posts soon to come.

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3.) Expect Fruit

Many people expect that their life is going to be made of hard work in exchange for little fruit. Week in and week out, they don’t expect the fruit of their labor to be significant. The truth, though, is that you and I don’t have to settle for that. Unfruitful, unproductive, toiling labor was a result of the fall of man, dating back to Adam and Eve. But, Christ came to turn all of that around. Today, we can expect to enjoy fruit from whatever He has us put our hands to. Changing your expectation may just be the thing that breaks the power of stress and pressure off your life.

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Have you experienced stress and pressure? Tell me about it. What ideas help depressurize your life?

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Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in Generational | 0 comments

Need more Affirmation?

Need more Affirmation?

A few years ago I had the privilege to speak at a night service in my parent’s church, the church I grew up in. While I was preparing my message, I felt an impression from God to use the opportunity to publicly acknowledge my dad as the great father, mentor and role model he’s always been for me. I shared how his words of wisdom had paid huge returns in my life, and how his example as a servant leader in church had shaped the way my siblings and I are committed to our own church.

For me, the result was a really powerful moment in our relationship. When the service was over my dad showered me with words of blessing, affirming me as a speaker, as a young father, and as his son. Because of our personalities, it’s not easy for people in my family to affirm one another, but that moment was a special one for me. I really saw how honor can open the door for affirmation in a powerful way. [TWEET THIS] As a result, our relationship grows stronger than ever.

Are you frustrated, looking for more affirmation? Do you think practicing honor can help?

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Posted by on Apr 26, 2013 in Generational | 2 comments

How to Make Your Parents Better

How to Make Your Parents Better

make your parents betterCould your parents use some work?  Years ago I had a friend stay with me for a few months in my DC home. He moved to the area because he and his girlfriend were taking their relationship to the next level. He wanted to be close so they could spend more time together growing as a couple and she worked in the DC area. As their relationship progressed, it was important to them that they involve her father in the process. The problem was that she didn’t have the best relationship with her dad. He hadn’t been the best role model for her, was rarely present and they didn’t share the same values.

My friend’s girlfriend wasn’t sure how it would all turn out, but they agreed together to involve him in their relationship. He reported, “When we set to honor her dad by including him in our relationship, at first he was very abrasive, but in the long run, it was extremely healing for both.” Not only did their relationship improve, but the demand on him to step into this role pulled the best out of him and helped him become a better father. Now this couple is married with kids and they enjoy a fulfilling relationship with her father.

I’m noticing – even as a young parent – when my need for honor is met, it pulls the best out of me. When my daughter asks me questions about God and relationships and her heart is wide-open to learn from me, I get serious about what I say. I don’t take it lightly. I know that my words are shaping the belief system of another person. It’s a big responsibility. Many times I have to analyze my own motives and beliefs to make sure I’m giving the best response.

I think this is a universal response of healthy parenting. While dishonor may cause a wounded parent to exert control and irrational behavior toward a child, honor will often cause them to take a new posture. When a child communicates that they value their parents and they want to learn from them and have their input into their lives, parents will rise to the challenge. They’ll start weighing their own motivations and thought processes, searching for jewels of wisdom to pull from their own journey. Dishonor may cause parents to live defensively about the choices they’ve made, but honor will cause them to examine their choices and help their children make better ones (tweet this). When the relationship is no longer about parents fishing for their own need of honor to be met – when they are secure that they are valued – the weight of that position will drive them to be the best parents (role-models, advisers, confidants) they can be.

In what ways could your parents be better? How do you think honor could help?

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Posted by on Sep 27, 2012 in Generational | 4 comments

Should Every Generation Start From Scratch?

Should Every Generation Start From Scratch?

I think I’ve always held a pretty good external appearance of honor toward my parents and other figures of authority.  Growing up, I learned quickly how to say and do the right things.  My mom still tells me she never considered me to be dishonoring.  But I know in my heart that I’ve struggled over the years with believing that I know best about pretty much everything.  You may not think it’s possible, but I’ve even approached spirituality with a strong undertow of dishonor.

My parents are some of the most God-fearing people I know.  They’ve committed to live holy lives that honor God.  They’ve been faithful to each other and to raising a God-fearing family.  They’ve served in their church my entire life, supporting the work that God is doing there.  They’ve stood against empty religion and sought to share the genuine life-changing relationship that God has given them with others.  They use their gifts and their talents to help others find a deeper more meaningful relationship with God.  But, if you had run into me the summer before I went to college and asked me about my parents, you would have thought that I was being raised by faithless, compromising, religious wannabes who didn’t know the first thing about a real relationship with God.  In the midst of true revival in my own life, I stopped looking to my parents as sources of guidance and wisdom.  Over the years, I’ve realized that in many areas I was not benefiting from their input, but charting my own course.

Our culture celebrates the value of independence and self-reliance.  It’s almost perceived a weakness to seek out advice and support from others, especially your parents.  We make fun of children who live at home past high-school and we write-off the successes of those who build on the platforms and wealth they’ve inherited.  Faith, knowledge, wealth, wisdom…there have been times where anything that I didn’t come by on my own, I didn’t consider valuable.  A real man would have provided for himself!  Maybe you can relate.  I still struggle to place the same value on what I can learn from my parents, teachers and from my pastor as what I can come up with on my own.  The truth, though, is that we shouldn’t be starting from scratch with every generation.  I appreciate the confidence that comes from nurturing independence in children, but I’m also learning the importance of making sure we value the people God has given us to learn from.

What have you gained from your parents or other mentors?  How much value is it to you?

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