Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “I’ve Got More Inside of Me” #DreamsAndDrama

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

Sunday, we started our fall series at Kfirst. Every September, we study a specific person in scripture and this year we’ve landed on Joseph.

He’s a brother sold into slavery. A slave who faced trials and temptation. A prisoner innocent of any crime. A wise man, full of integrity, elevated to a position of influence amongst his enemies. This is the story of Joseph.

Sunday, we continued this “dreamer’s” story. Now a few years later, God has not just blessed him, but he’s blessing others because of their proximity to Joseph. It is here where temptation test the dreams and the character needed to carry those dreams.

Check yesterday out either from the website or from the Facebook livestream:

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • Our character is an essential attribute to measure the health of our relationship with the Lord.
  • The quality of your character should match the level of your calling.
  • What God placed within you is greater than what you face around you.
  • Temptation is at its highest when you are at your lowest.
  • Sin dwells at the intersection of desire and opportunity.
  • Put the life of Christ into action BEFORE the times of temptation.
  • Stop living life with the safety on; Activate your walk with Christ.

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: Here’s the new song for you from Sunday.

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “There’s More to This” #DreamsAndDrama

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

Sunday, we started our fall series at Kfirst. Every September, we study a specific person in scripture and this year we’ve landed on Joseph.

He’s a brother sold into slavery. A slave who faced trials and temptation. A prisoner innocent of any crime. A wise man, full of integrity, elevated to a position of influence amongst his enemies. This is the story of Joseph.

Sunday, we established this “dreamer’s” family background. How his father (Jacob) grew up, how his father found his wife, and how that affected they way he viewed the family set the stage for how he treated Joseph. This 17 year old found himself seeing a God-given dream yet living at the bottom of a pit.

Check yesterday out either from the website or from the Facebook livestream:

 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • God gives us a dream of “what could be“ to meet us in the nightmare of “what is.“
  • Don’t translate the lack of man’s validation as “God’s rejection.”
  • Resilience grows in the wake of rejection.
  • The darkness isn’t where dreams die, it’s where they’re developed.
  • I refuse to attend the funeral of a dream God has given me.

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: Here’s the new song for you from Sunday.

 

A “Yesterday Marriage”: 5 ways to help your marriage to not live off of re-runs.

Of all of our differences, Anne and I don’t really walk in agreement with the concept of re-runs.  We both love shows and enjoy watching them together.  But re-runs are a different story. I can only think of one show series in the past 17 years of marriage in which she’ll entertain the re-runs. But other than that, she watches a show and moves on.  I am her polar opposite.  I thrive on re-runs.  M*A*S*H, The West Wing, Taxi, and Whose Line are just a few I can’t get enough of (not to mention I’ll watch old football games…she totally doesn’t get that).  I love the nostalgia of it as well as the opportunity of passing great shows onto my kids.  Cammi loves a few of them (Saved by the Bell, Cosby Show).  Ethan shot down most of them after 5 minutes of the first episode. (Macgyver, A-Team, Battlestar Galactica).

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Re-runs take you back in time (without a flux capacitor).  Even just hearing theme songs, you can picture yourself in another time and place.  Things seemed much simpler…less complicated. They can even provide you with a sense of security.  Unfortunately, instead of enjoying the reflective nature of nostalgia, we tend to make it a place to live.  

This is a dangerous place for marriages.  I call them “Yesterday Marriages.” They are couples where someone (or both spouses) are living in the past.  They have the inability to move forward because they are living off of the re-runs of their marriage.  You can’t change your marriage living on re-runs. 

5 ways to help your marriage to not live off re-runs: 

1. Drop your subscription to unhealthy storylines.  Anne and I are Hulu and Netflix people (this blog isn’t sponsored by either).  The reason we subscribe to them is they provide us with the entertainment we desire.  Some of you are subscribed to attitudes that are unhealthy to your marriage. By “subscribe,” I mean you know you are doing it but do nothing about it.  Lack of action is an action in of itself.  It means you are welcoming it. Bitterness, negativity, ingratitude, and the like are attitudes that are designed corrode any sibilance of joy in your marriage. They’ll create storylines that are unnecessary.  Drop your subscription to that storyline and move on. 

2. Know your ratings; check your emotions. I’m an emotional guy and I believe that feelings are important. To have emotions proclaims our humanity. Yet, like anything in life, we are called to be stewards of our emotions.  A few weeks ago, I challenged our congregation to do exactly what the Psalmist does in Psalms 42: question your emotions. He questions his emotions 3 times.  Why? We base truth by how we feel.  I know this doesn’t apply to you, but my emotions change daily. I can be (not all the time) irrational.  If truth is how we feel, then truth shifts and changes based upon whether we had coffee, had sex with our spouse, or our NCAA bracket is going okay. Call your emotions into question and base truth upon who Christ is.  We are to bring truth to our marriage rather than allowing feelings/circumstances to dictate truth to us.

3. Shut off the drama.  We were meant to live in community/relationships. I believe God moves in community.  But that which God uses, Satan perverts. People that crave drama love to create it and feed it.  They’re easy to identify.  Look at what they post on social media. Look at what they reference whenever they contact you to you.  If they’re poking at your past and/or asking about business that isn’t theirs to know or be involved with, then they’re trying to get you to entertain “re-runs.”  Get some boundaries with them.  Draw some lines and shut off the drama.  They’re not propelling you towards health.  They are an anchor to you moving forward. 

4. Cancel the series.  Anne and I have mourned the cancellation of certain series (Jericho is one that comes to mind).  If you’re entertaining unhealthy thoughts of the past, then it’s time to stop subscribing to them.  It’s a choice.  Don’t tell me it’s not.  You may not be able to stop the thought from popping up in your head but you DO have a choice on how long that thought lingers. Lust, unforgiveness, comparing marriage, fantasies about having a different spouse are all networks that have not right being in your head feeding re-runs of what life “could have been.” Shut them down. Cancel the series.

5. New episodes cannot happen without new material.  You can’t develop anything new if you don’t do anything new. Marriages can’t move on from re-runs if there’s nothing new to work with.  Memories are created with opportunities.  Some of the reasons your marriage might be boring is, well, you are boring.  Get out and do something.  It doesn’t have to cost anything.  Anne and I enjoy taking walks (zero cost) and talking about our day (zero cost).  We love sitting on our bed watching shows together ($7.99 a month). New material for new memories doesn’t take much money if all, but it  Take a drive. Get some ice cream.  Be simple but creative.  Your spouse would rather you fail trying than fail to try.  Make time.  Your spouse is worth it. 

You can’t change the your world on re-runs.  It’s time to move forward.  Most people are looking for the fresh start because, in their mind, it’s the only place to start.  Instead of thinking you need a new spouse for a new start, start with a new you for your present spouse.  

Living on “re-runs” places a whole lot of trust in ourselves and in a fantasy world of “what could be.”  There is no promise in that.  But people just cast their marriage aside with empty hope, praying that the next time through will be better.  The problem is: you carry the same “re-run” issues into the next marriage.   1 Corinthians 5:17 says

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Instead of scrapping your marriage, scrap the old you and put on the new you in Christ.  Instead of placing your trust in you, place your faith in Christ and live life from that place.  What you will discover is the hope that we have in Christ moves our fixation off of us and our past, and places our focus upon who we are in him.  You need a fresh start and a fresh place to work from? Become new in Christ and let him, not your re-runs be the foundation of a new future for your marriage.

Don’t have a “yesterday marriage.” Get out of the past and see the future you two have together in Christ. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Unsubscribe: 6 things you should unsubscribe from your life.

I’m in a mode right now.  I have been cleaning up my email life by “unsubscribing” from all kinds of stuff.  Restaurants, retailers, and random businesses are the latest victims to my shedding off of my email weight.  It’s not that I am boycotting them.  I’m just done.

This is going to sound petty, I’m tired of hearing notifications throughout the day that distract me for no good reason. I wasn’t even reading them anymore.  I was just tolerating them, discarding their info, and yet doing absolutely nothing about it.   

I’m taking back my email (even though most people don’t use it…most of my interaction takes place over social media). I’m done with superfluous crap that takes up time, attention, and screen space. 

So many of us are tolerant of ridiculous situations in our life that have claimed to much time, attention, and well, space in your life.  Like my ridiculous metaphor, I’m not asking you to boycott people per se.  I’m not asking you to unfriend/unfollow them (even though that’s necessary sometimes),  but it’s time to develop healthy boundaries in your life.  Proper boundaries aid you in keeping out unhealthy influences. They are about taking responsibility for our own lives.  Your marriage needs healthy boundaries.  Your kids need them.  Your personal life needs them.  Boundaries are necessary for a self-controlled, God-honoring life. And sometimes those boundaries are the necessary means to cut off the intimate connection to things/people who have no desire to help you but tear you down. 

James 2:1 (MSG)My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith.

I want you to cut the umbilical cord that these things/people have been using to feed off of your joy. Scripture says “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” The goal of these things/people is to control you!  It’s time to keep your joy and say goodbye to the stuff you don’t need.

Today is your day to unsubscribe to these 6 types of people:

1. The Critical.  Aggressive and deadly.   These things/people have something to say about everything and cannot be happy for anyone else.  Unless the idea and/or solution came from them, it’s not worth entertaining.  These type of people have something crass to say about everything…even if it’s a little jab.  They cannot help but be critical.

2. The Discouragement. From people, to news outlets, discouragement is everywhere.  Sometimes it’s not as aggressive as the critical. Discouragement’s M.O. tends to be a slow death to your joy.  It constantly whittles away at your joy.  Think of having a full pool.  The more you entertain discouragement in your life, the more it is emptying the pool out till you have nothing left but a hole in the ground.  An empty pool is purposeless.  And that’s what a lifestyle of entertaining discouragement feels like…purposeless.

3. The Drama.  People with drama issues love company.  Why?  Without the company of others, it’s just a one-person show.  And, usually, that’s a tough thing to pull off.  Drama sucks you in to not just a story-line, but desires you to take on a role.  To entertain drama in your life is like attending a casting call and your are the director’s favorite choice for the part.  Back away. Let the curtains close.  This part is not for you.

4. The Campaigner. Call them gossips and/or slanderers.  This is a close cousin to “drama.” The difference is, these are people who don’t necessarily want to pull you into the drama.  It’s just they can’t keep their mouth shut about information they’ve come across.  Like having poison ivy, they’re trying to itch what they have whilst spreading it around.   It feels good to get info.  In fact, you feel powerful.  But in the end, you wind up realizing what you possess not only poisons your mind, it poisons your relationships.

5. The Instigator.  They know what button to press.  They know when to press it.  Like Buddy the Elf in the elevator of the Empire State Building, The Instigator wants to press as many buttons in your life and then step away while you sit in your hurt, anger, frustration, and/or embarrassment.  These people want to start a fire without the responsibility of dealing with the fire.  They are relational arsonists.   Smokey the Bear says “only you can prevent forest fires.” I’d say, “Only you can prevent the spread of relational fires.”

6. The One-Upper. The “One-Upper” will never let you be in a place of joy because what you have doesn’t compare to what they possess.  You can’t share celebration points, success stories, and/or the blessings God has given to this person.  Why?  Because they’re prepared to squash it.  He/she cannot handle letting someone have something he/she doesn’t possess.  The catastrophic results to your life is the more your joy is stifled, the more apt that your joy will be completely blown out. 

I’m not asking you to stop influencing people like these 6.  Like you and me, they are candidates of the redemptive power of Christ.  Like you and me they’re imperfect and need to see the continual work of the Holy Spirit to help them ever single day.  But it’s time to unsubscribe to their influence. It’s time to stop giving them the time, attention, and space in your life.  As I said before, I want you to cut the umbilical cord that these things/people have been using to feed off of your joy.  Why? Because what influences affects “how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith.

It’s time to unsubscribe.  It’s time to take back your life.  

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

Marriage blog: Shut off the soap opera.

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I love friendships.  As much of an introvert as I like to think I am, I’ve grown to love people and the relationships that come from that. The greatest relationship, outside of my relationship with Christ, is what I have with my wife.  And if I’m not careful, I can allow other relationships to steal energy, attention, passion, and from my wife.

Bear with me…

I’m a stubborn movie-goer.  I will endure a terrible movie because, “I paid money and I’m gonna find some scene/part that is gonna convince me it was worth it.” I can be the same way with TV shows and even my sports teams (darn you Detroit Lions and my years of watching you lose).  For some reason, the little investment I made seems to be the reason I feel obligated to continue to feed that “thing” with my attention hoping the I’ll have some return on my investment.

In the end, whether with my movies or teams, I find myself feeling cheated. I feel used. There seems to be blocks of time I know I will NEVER get back.  But what do I still do? I keep running back hoping for better times and experiences.  But over and over I go back to these “things” that I know full well that will siphon me of time, money, and/or emotions while leaving me less of what I should.  The cycle of drama seems unending my life

You may make better movie/TV/sports choices than me.  But there are a number of you that chose to suckle upon certain relationships hoping they’ll feed you something worth the attention you’ve already invested.  In the end, they have drawn you into soap opera-like drama only to leave you in a place where you are less than what you should be.  You get drawn into drama that siphons emotion, mental, physical, and spiritual strength from you…

And when your mate comes to you, you’ve got NOTHING left for them.

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You marital communication dies down since you’ve exhausted your words on someone else.  Quality time is no longer desired because you want to be alone.  The marriage bed has far less activity because you don’t feel like you don’t want anything and/or you don’t have anything left to give.

You’ve been cheated. You’re spouse is being cheated.  You’re marriage get’s the leftovers of an individual disoriented from the motion sickness of the unending drama in other people’s lives.

If you are bringing their drama to the house…
If you find yourself obsessing over their facebook drama…
If you find yourself constantly fielding calls, texts, facebook messages, etc during dates and/or family time…
If your spouse is showing signs of jealousy over the attention you are giving others that he/she should be getting…
if you are engaging with them to the sacrifice of your marriage…

…then it’s time to shut off the soap opera.  It’s time to limit (or possibly cut off) their time.  They’ll survive just fine.

First, find your completeness in Christ. 

The main characters of your life cannot be them.  The main character of their life cannot be you.  I like what John the Baptist said in Matthew 3:11-12, the main character must be Christ. 

(The Message)“I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama—compared to him I’m a mere stagehand—will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out.

Our fullness comes from choosing Christ as the main character of the narrative that is our lives.  It’s from His fulness that He pours into our incompleteness AND it’s out of that place where we are able to help others. I believe we are meant to be contributors instead of consumers.  But contributing to people doesn’t mean that our marriage gets sacrificed because someone doesn’t know how to shut their mouth and control their emotions.

Second, draw boundaries. 

Again, I love people.  I enjoy friends. I love helping individuals. BUT…being a friend and a helper doesn’t mean we get allow people to abuse us with their drama.  Being a Christ-follower and friend doesn’t mean we don’t have boundaries.  There are times that Jesus was with the crowd.  Other times he went off with the twelve or even the three (Peter, James, and John).  Jesus even found moments where he’d get away from them to spend time with himself. Why?  Boundaries are places of safety and rest from the crowd.

Some of you need THAT rest; a rest from the drama of others.

Lastly, don’t stop being a helping hand to people.

Don’t stop being a contributor in life.  Don’t stop helping those who are hurting. Through the strength of the Holy Spirit, don’t stop pouring compassion upon others.

BUT….the only way you can be of help, while keeping a healthy marriage, is to keep the top priorities the top priorities.

The top priorities:

  1. Jesus
  2. Spouse
  3. Kids
  4. Everything else

Thanks for letting me ramble…