Monday Kfirst Kickstart: #MYCHURCH week 1 “Everyone is Significant”

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.

image1-1

January is about “newness.” Whether we are talking about a new start, new life, new opportunities, or just new vision, a new year naturally directs our focus forward into endless possibilities.

And its every January where we celebrate the newness of what God has in store for Kfirst  community as we kickoff our annual #MYCHURCH series.

Yesterday, we focused upon one of our values which states, “Everyone is Significant.” And we believe that the cross and resurrection of Jesus is proof of that.

The first chapter of John brought our focus upon how that truth helps us to form healthy habits. And when we establish healthy habits, they lead to holy moments. In John 1:35-42, John the Baptist connected with to those around him and pointed them to Jesus. How? Through relational equity. Those in his community trusted in him because of the relationship of integrity he built.  The more you grow relationships, them more potential you have for impacting lives. He grew enough equity that when he pointed out the Messiah, people knew they could believe him.

How can we build “relational equity”? Two ways:

  1. Love people where they live.
  2. Tell people what you know.

When we form the healthy habits of loving people right where they’re at AND telling them the story of our journey, we have great potential for holy moments of impacting them. Our response of love mixed with the authenticity of our stories help build bridges from the Kingdom of God into people’s lives. (Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

Our messages are for Monday and we need to put action to what the Lord is speaking. How can you begin these healthy habits this week? How can you begin to build relational equity with? How can you show the love of Christ in your sphere of influence? Who can you speak encouragement into? This is how we can respond and be the church Kalamazoo needs.

Also, if you’re looking for a scripture reading plan to go along with our message, check out this one.

Love you all.  See you this Sunday as we continue our series.

BTW: Here’s a song for your week’s playlist.

Pastor to Pastor: Master the Mundane

Every day I get to wake up and do my dream job. It’s not necessarily how I envisioned my life as a child (or a teenager for that matter), but it has become what feeds the passion of my soul. I think that’s really what the “dream job” looks like. It’s that fit, that situation, where you are where you are (1) passionate about where you are at , and (2) that place challenges you, on a daily basis, to grow on every level.

Within this vocation, I’ve discovered that many, if not most, pastors don’t feel the way I do. Instead of a calling, you feel sentenced. And to leave what you do leaves feelings of disobedience and failure. So you endure what should be a joy.

I hope I can help in some way today.

I’m a pastor who has a burden for pastors. I think that burden has been birthed in large part to my own pastoral hurts, struggles, and (even more so) mistakes. You and I may be in different church scenarios, size, and/or surroundings.  And because of that, you may feel isolated in what you’re dealing with.

I understand the weight of expectation (and, consequently, wish I handled it better).
I understand being in the hospital over anxiety and/or chest pains.
I understand the feeling of letting down your congregation, staff, and family.
I understand emotional breakdowns that debilitate you on every level.
I understand the how 1 critical comment/letter can devastate you in the midst of a plethora of encouraging words.
I understand what it’s like to resign because of frustration.
I understand when people are hearing what you are saying but they miss your heart.
I understand not being able to shut down your mind so you can sleep.
I understand what it’s like to be accused of something I’m not guilty of.
I understand what it feels like to hear your kids say they miss you (and you haven’t traveled anywhere).
I understand pouring into someone only to see them destroy their life.
I know what it’s like to stare at a blank page not knowing what to preach.

As therapeutic as it is making this list (kinda wanted to write more), there’s a point to all of it. It’s to let you know…

You’re not alone.

But amidst of all of the flurry of everything that encapsulates ministry, there’s one significant lesson (of MANY lessons) I’ve come to understand. It has been a guide to help get some sanity (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually)

Master the mundane.

Find/discover a routine that will facilitate health and well-being for you and your family. It’s hard to expect the church you lead to be healthy when you, the pastor, refuse to be healthy. And health, in large part, comes about when you master the mundane. I’m not talking about throwing some kale into your lunch every now and then. I’m talking about strategically shifting the “mundane” (schedule, routine) to a place where it facilitates productive pastoring instead of it mastering you into a place of ministry monotony.

Here are some thoughts to help take ownership over the mundane/routine/schedule…

Please be a spouse. You married a human; you didn’t marry a ministry.  In efforts to build a great ministry, far too many pastors have chosen to sacrifice the most important relationship outside of their relationship with Jesus. Connect daily. Date often. Laugh together as much as possible. Be intimate consistently. Pray endlessly.

Be a parent. Some of the most sobering words I have heard over and over from older ministers regarding lost time with their children: “Someone else could’ve led the meeting/preached the message/counseled the person…being on the sideline was more important than being in the pulpit.”  Don’t get me wrong, this is my vocation, but the heart behind the comments to me was a matter of priority that was missed. You’re kids need to see that they are the most important children in your congregation. It’s not about showing favoritism (as in spoiling them with entitlement). It is about making sure they know they are a priority to you.

Set a pace. Take care of yourself. Build both rest and exercise into your schedule. We have far too many ministers harping on congregations about inner and outer health when they refuse to practice what they’re preaching. Because of so many evening appointments, almost daily, I will build a run into my schedule. It gives a good break PLUS I use it as time to spend in prayer. I can put more, but I’ll let you read the blog I wrote for Converge Coaching on the subject.

Be in the community. Have a presence and connection in the community where you live. It’s way more simple than you realize. Frequent the same venues and develop relationships without wearing your sandwich-board sign that says, “I’m a pastor.” (Note: if you ask for a pastoral discount ANYWHERE…turn in your credentials.) I’m in the same coffeehouse every morning (on my day off, I still stop in). I go to the same person to cut my hair. I have a favorite place for lunch. Relationships in the community is currency and far too many pastors are relationally bankrupt. Jesus only had a bit more than 3 years of ministry, yet he spent much of that sitting at tables with people who were not welcome in church. That should challenge us all.

Have a social network presence. This is where most of your congregation lives and connects, why not have an online presence? But here’s what i’ll say about it: Have fun and don’t be “that person” who people groan at when they see your name in their feed because of the negativity. My social network philosophy: encouragement and amusement. Look for the fun and inspirational. Let your congregation know your human and have a life AND you have fun. Use social network to pray over people. Send messages of encouragement when you see people come across your feed. Just don’t add to the mess by being that snarky pastor who post more critical blogs from Christians about Christians so that we can be “better Christians.” Be a breath of fresh air to the social media feeds of the people you are connected to.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

Don’t be a slave to a schedule of ministry no one can live up to. Master the mundane. Get control over your schedule and breathe a breath of health into your routine. Get a healthy grip of what your calendar looks like and watch your, your home, and your ministry transform.

Love ya pastor!! I believe in you because I believe in the One who called ya. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

The 15-Minute Marriage: Marriage Transformation One Minute at a Time

I’m a sucker for infomercials. They can memorize me by their loud hosts with their crazy contraptions. And if the host has an English accent, they can practically sell me anything (I have issues). 

Most of these advertisements have a certain amount of easy actions to take.  
– 3 seconds to a fruit smoothy
– 4 steps to set it and forget it
– 5 decisions to feel better about yourself
– 2 steps to hang…whatever it is you want to hang

What I don’t want you to think is that I’m giving you a “formula.” What today’s marriage blog is about is simple actions to produce healthy habits in a Christ-centered marriage. And my thought today: 

If I can help someone consistently (every day) dedicate 15 purposeful minutes of their entire day to their marriage, I believe they’re marriage will be completely transformed. 

Take a look…I’ve given you 15 items that take 60 seconds or less to accomplish.  But these minute-long action steps are laced with deep seeded health. 

  1. Take a minute to thank God for your spouse.  Gratitude fosters humility. Thank God for your spouses salvation (or for providing a salvation for you to deliver to him/her). Then start listing things that you are thankful to God for in them. 
    • Here’s some ideas: his/her kindness, generosity, parenting, leadership, work ethic, great sex (yes, it’s okay to thank God for sex), ministry, tidiness, resolve, and patience. 
  2. Take a minute to send random texts during the day to connect or give a simple “I love you.”  A text takes a matter of 5-10 seconds-ish so this pans out anywhere from 4 (for slower texters) to 10 (faster texters). 
  3. Take a minute to think of a way to serve your spouse and put it onto your calendar so you don’t forget. It could be as simple as “load the dishwasher before she asks.” Remember: the little things matter.
  4. Take a minute to connect to your spouse with something that will make him/her smile. Doesn’t matter if it’s a meme you found on social media. Maybe it’s a video clip.  Get your spouse smiling.
  5. Take a minute to speak hope over your marriage. Read a scripture over your spouse and pray it over him/her.
    • Get a bible app. Usually it has a feature called “verse of the day.” Biblegateway.com has verse of the day too.
  6. Take a minute to encourage your spouse. One moment up building up your spouse can make a world of difference. 
  7. Take a minute to think of and initiate some quality time the two of you can do together. 
  8. Take a minute to pray over something important to your spouse.  How do you know what is on your spouse’s heart? Ask him/her.  Think of what they’re gonna think when he/she discovers that he/she is in your daily prayer. 
  9. Take a minute to physically embrace your spouse (especially if you’re not a physical touch person…it’ll shock him/her)Show PDA towards your spouse: holding hands, a touch on the shoulder, a kiss on the cheek, or pat on the bottom.
  10. Take a minute to think of a conversation you SHOULD have. A ten minute conversation can head off a ten-hour conflict
  11. Take a minute to ask God to reveal how you can be a better spouse. Let the Holy Spirit show you some areas of growth.  When He does, walk in obedience. 
  12. Take a minute to ask God to fill your heart with His desires for your marriage.
  13. Take a minute to appreciate your spouse.  Look at the world through his/her eyes and understand what they’re dealing with and going through.  It’ll help you connect and come along side of him/her.
  14. Take a minute to say “goodbye” the right way. When departing from your spouse, refuse to leave unless there has been an expression of love.  
    • Our habit, no matter our mood, we kiss and say “I love you.” When that doesn’t happen, we know something is up and needs to be dealt with.  Usually it’s my crappy attitude.
  15. Take a minute to address a need or situation at hand. Need forgiveness…ask. Need to grant forgiveness…give. Need humility…walk in it. Need to be listen…shut up. Need to be heard…speak up (in appropriate tones). 

That’s it.  15 minutes, that don’t have to be done all at once, will transform you and, thus transform your spouse. Look at that list and you’ll see: 

1 – Out of those 15, five of them center around praying for your spouse.  
2 – None of them put you in a place of superiority over your spouse but pure humility.
3 – Five of them initiate necessary conversation points that can dismantle assumption, confusion, and disagreements.
4 – Four of them put you in a place to think like and for your spouse.  That gets us to get out of our selfish mindsets.
5 – Lastly, none of them are dependent upon your spouse doing anything.  Let it begin with you regardless of whether he/she reciprocates them. 

I challenge you to  step up and add 15 minutes of your day to your marriage. I promise: try it for 30 days and if you don’t see change in you, your spouse, and/or the both of you, I’ll give your money back and pay for the shipping (sad reconnection to my previous illustration).  

Health is a simple things, not easy, simple.  It’s just takes one intentional at a time.  Ask the Lord for patience. Receive his strength.  Follow through His leading with obedience.  

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Happy wife… Miserable husband: 6 Reasons Why Appeasement Doesn’t Work

 

You’ve said it, I’ve said it: Happy wife…happy life. Call it nice.  Call it sweet.  I call it appeasement. It’s a conflict avoidance style that sacrifices your feelings, beliefs, or ideas in order to pacify or please the other person. To some, this seems like a noble identity to assume. After all, keeping peace and harmony in the relationship is important. But, is “giving in to get along” an effective method for fostering a healthy marriage?

Nope.

Appeasement has never been an effective strategy in marriage (or parenting, or friendship…or, well, life). Don’t get me wrong, it’s good and gracious to be accommodating to the preferences of your husband/wife in various circumstances. Our first response should always be to serve. In strong marriages, both spouses understand both give and take. Servanthood is a mark of healthiness. But when one spouse ALWAYS GIVES and the other ALWAYS TAKES major problems are unavoidable.

Constant yielding to your spouse may appear to achieve the desired peace, but this peace, at best, is temporal and superficial. In reality, appeasement brings eventual harm to the marriage. 

Here are some of the reasons why…

1 – Replaces Christ as the center of the relationship. Instead of a relationship that pleases the heart of God, all actions are done to please the heart of the spouse being appeased. It’s through him we are created and he holds all things together (Colossians 1:17)

2 – Creates a one-sided relationship.  Constant appeasing one’s spouse will empower him/her to assume a position of dominance in the relationship. Appeasement makes one spouse inferior to the other. This creates an imbalance that will fracture the oneness that marriage was designed by God to be. (Mark 10:8)

3 – Removes the word “no” from your marriage. I’ve found that couples that have an issue with appeasement want to say “no” but just don’t know how to say it properly.  “No” is a very good word and keeps us in check.  Healthy marriages don’t look to say “no” but are not afraid to say it in a healthy edifying way (Romans 14:19). Without “no,” the whims and desires of the spouse are controlling the relationship. 

4 – Removes respect.  I find both the spouse that is appeasing and the empowered spouse lose respect for one another for different reasons. The lack of healthy servanthood erodes the opinion that each spouse as of the other. Romans 12:10 says to “take delight in honoring.” Appeasement keeps you from doing that. 

5 – Cultivates a spirit of fear. Appeasement replaces the heart of serving the needs of your spouse is with the anxiety of having to constantly attend to the wants (not necessarily needs) of the spouse.  That mindset will loom over the marriage creating an atmosphere that God never designed us to live in. (2 Timothy 1:7)

6 – Develops frustration. The appeasing spouse lives with unmet needs. He/she represses heartfelt feelings at the expense of legitimate needs. Unfulfilled needs have a tendency to re-emerge and manifest themselves in other ways – depression, anger, bitterness, resentment, regret, and so forth. Appeasement literally drains the joy of serving your spouse. (Galatians 6:9)

Appeasement doesn’t work. Like scratching poison ivy, it feels good in the moment but spreads faster than you intended to places you never wanted it to go. I’m not a proponent of shifting to the polar opposite of appeasement (which is domination…basically involves one or both parties striving to have their desires prevail). But appeasement will feel right in a moment but will erode what you are trying to build. 

Marriage is a daily walk of humility before God and our spouse. Don’t stop serving each other. Be willing to take a step a step back and ask yourself, “How full is the ‘love” tank of my spouse? Have I been more of a taker than a giver?” If we’ll be humble and honest as couples, we’ll see stronger and more fulfillment than we dreamed of while showing an example of Jesus to the world around us. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Slave to the Scale: 6 Thoughts to Help You Be Healthy Without Destroying Yourself

[My disclaimer to this blog: This article has high capacity to offend on deep levels if you lose the heart behind it. My heart is to tell MY story and not someone else’s. I’m not trying to point fingers but open you up to the struggle and temptation that I deal with that lies in ALL of us.]

I’m driven.  But the “drivenness” I have seems to have two sides to it.  One side is the passion I have for Jesus and the other side is the calling upon my life.  They are intrinsically combined.  I love what I do and can’t believe that I get to wake up every day doing my passion for a living.  I’m driven to do it, so therefore, I struggle turning it off. What I do is I break up my schedule throughout the day (by day I mean moment I wake up till I go to sleep) so that I can step away from the “vocation” and into rest/relaxation/health.

The other side is obsessive. This is the ugly side to my “drivenness.”  I get obsessive over silly little things like foods and hobbies as well on things of greater importance like people’s opinions and my dreams/ideas. To let you into my world of obsession…  
– I get obsessed the church hasn’t grown enough. We’ve grown ahead of the curve BUT I can get caught up in pessimistic pastor mode.
– I get caught up in opinions and criticisms. When someone “wants to meet with me,” my mind obsesses over EVERY scenario it could be and, usually, it’s the one I didn’t think of. SMH
– Comparison with other pastors/preachers can plague my mind.  In Bible College, I was told, frequently, what I lacked as far as tools and background for successful ministry.  Not sure if those guys from the campus were trying to help me or hinder me. Who knows. 
– Preaching NEVER leaves my mind.  From the second I walk off the platform to forward planning, my mind is consumed in sermon illustrations, ideas, and future series.  I just want to give God my best and, therefore, I don’t let it leave my mind.

The list could go on.  But when I get obsessive,  I began to think that I’m not doing enough so I throw myself into unhealthy patterns.  There’s drive and there’s obsession. There’s “healthy initiative” and there’s an “all-consuming focus.”

About 10 years ago, I had an accident prepping for a youth retreat that sent me to the ER (me going to the ER as a youth pastor was no new thing).  Hearing how unhealthy I was (blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, etc) scared the crap out of me. I was also the heaviest I had ever weighed. Being 30 and having a conversation with the doctor of that nature was sobering.  I needed to do something.  That something began a repentant heart.  I was living like I was invincible…doing what I wanted, how I wanted, and ate what I wanted when I wanted.  I forgot that my body, life, marriage, and family were gifts from God.  I don’t own them.  I’m a steward of them and I lost the heart of a steward. 

I proceeded to make some lifestyle changes to my diet that included portion, accountability, and appropriate meal times. 6 Months and 50 lbs. later, I was looking good and feeling good.  I learned to celebrate every ounce lost.  My wife (home accountability) and friend (work accountability) were a tremendous support system (Anne and Leon, I can’t thank you enough).  Discipline and accountability were tremendous catalysts for me. 

image1 (2)14712589_10154587697903537_8991695514254972394_o

Enter “obsession.”

My drive was no longer about health.  It was driven by the scale. I would weigh myself multiple times a day and decide to eat in accordance. As ridiculous as that might sound to you, I was consumed in it.  I didn’t care about complements per se, I wanted results that I could see and appreciate. The scale was my master.  The scale was my measuring rod. As the scale went, so did my moral.  It was in a place of frustration and discouragement that the Holy Spirit cornered me with a simple scripture, 

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

I was a slave to a scale.  More specifically, I was a slave to results…a destination. My diet and living was no longer centered upon developing a healthy body (inside and out).  130 lbs wasn’t enough. I was consumed in the product it was producing. 

Again, I lost the heart behind being a steward and this scripture was the 2×4 between the eyes I needed.  

Here are 6 lessons I learned from serving the scale: 

1. My security is not and cannot be found in the shape of my body but in my identity in Jesus Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says, in Christ I am a “new creation.” In His presence I find the fullness of joy.  In my identity in Him, I find purpose.  He is my comfort and my safety. 

2. Jesus is my “true North.” Just like a compass always points toward North, my life (as best as I can) is lived in the direction of Jesus as the center.  His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. He’s love must be my filter for knowing Him, understanding his Word, and relating to others. This may seem strong, but being centered around anything but Jesus is missing the mark.  The bible calls it “idolatry.” Trust this person who served a scale of all things. 

3. I need to love myself.  Quit hating the one in the mirror. You need to see yourself “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God.  That reality doesn’t eliminate us as being stewards (see #4 for that), but it keeps the proper perspective we need.  The realized value we have from God helps us to love others. Jesus said the second greatest commandment was to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The more we embrace God’s value of us, we reciprocate that to others.

4. I need to see myself as a steward (be a manager of what God has given me).  It keeps me from letting my “successes” and “failures” consume my mind yet places healthy responsibility upon my shoulders.  I know that, as a steward, I can’t do it under my own power but by though “Christ who gives me strength.” 

5. A shaped body doesn’t equate to a healthy life.  Fitting into a size doesn’t mean success. The amount of your love and the “size” of your serving matter more than your waist.  It doesn’t mean that shaping your body is wrong or sinful.  I’m a proponent of exercise. (1 Timothy 4:8, tells us it has value. But cultivating your identity with Christ (relationship with God) is a greater value.)  It’s all about the heart behind it that determines the depth of health.   

6. Living in community is a non-negotiable.  My congregation has to be sick of me saying, “the enemy works in isolation; God works in community,” but it’s so true. Accountability and connection helped me lose 130 lbs. as well as helped me navigate through getting released from “the scale.” If you are hearing tough medicine from friends and relationships, please head them.  If you are needing help, get into connection and accountability.  You’ll be better for it and healthier from the inside out. I love the word Paul gave to the Galatian church.  “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Let someone help you.  Speak up and let the Body of Christ BE the Body of Christ.

It wasn’t the easiest lesson to learn, but my focus and obsession upon Christ is a daily choice.  Every day I wake up and decide to follow Him. And part of following Jesus is doing my best to make decisions that will lead to a healthy life that points people toward Him. 

Celebrate Jesus. Keep your life centered upon Him.  And be a steward of your body as a gift from Him.

If you need a encourager in it, all you have to do is ask.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

The “Try”: 10 Things you should TRY in your marriage.

My wife married a sci-fi geek.  I’m not ashamed of it.  I embrace it.  Anne, not so much. 

In his endeavor to become a Jedi, Luke finds himself needing to get trained by the best.  It is here we get one of the most well-known figures in all of the Star Wars universe: Yoda.

For us geeks, his wisdom pours out in a fantastic line that is just as iconic as the character, 

“Do or do not.  There is no try.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ4yd2W50No

I’ve heard it used and stated in so many different contexts.  Why not?  It’s an amazing piece of wisdom used to motivate his young apprentice to take some actions-steps forward. A few days ago, I saw it tweeted in regards to sex in marriage.  My immediate first thought: 

Discouraging “trying” may not be the best marriage advice I’ve seen.  

So I thought I’d do the opposite.  I want to encourage “trying.” Why?

For the couple going through struggles, it’s the personal effort the two of you need to show each other.  It’s the extra “try” that screams “I’m not giving up…we’re going to make it.” 

For the couple going through a season of life where you feel you’re just “existing” together.  No fights, no scuffles, yet there is no fun and no passion. The “try” just may catapult you forward over the hump into a amazing season of refreshing. 

For the couple in a good place in life, the “try” can be an extra log to the fire.  The time to try something new and exciting isn’t when things are getting mundane or frustrating. That’s the worst time to try to get momentum.  The perfect time for the “try” is when things are great.  The momentum picks up and flows.  Makes me think when scripture says, “from glory to glory.”

Here we go, 10 things I want you to “try” in your marriage…we’ll start with a few simple BUT powerful tips but please don’t tell yourself “I’m not going to “try” to do any of these unless I’m in the mood.” It’s time to back away from what you need step up into the “try” for the sake of your spouse and your marriage.  

1. Try to smile.  Sometimes we save our smile for our kids, friends, and/or for the people at church.  We take our smile for granted when it comes to our spouse.  

2. Try to complement/encourage.  Sometimes we resort to “I’ll do it if he/she does it.” Or I’ve even heard this one, “He/she doesn’t deserve it.” Childish tendencies take over us sometimes.  What brings it out? Hurt.  This is a basic need in EVERY human. Hebrews 3:13 says to “Encourage each other daily.” If you don’t do this for your spouse, the enemy will use someone else to fill that need and NO ONE should out-encourage/complement you.  Step up and try it.

3. Try to surprise.  Get spontaneous. I’ll admit, my wife’s version of surprise is different.  She likes to know what it is before it’s “sprung” upon her. That way, she can prepare her OCD self for it and actually enjoy it.  I can’t push my style of surprise upon her and expect her to enjoy.  Find your spouse’s love language and get out of the rut.

4. Try prayer and devotions.  I know what you’re thinking: “Shouldn’t you have had this at #1?” I’m a pastor and I thought you’d expect that. Some couples, like me and Anne, have a hard time with doing “couple devotionals.” We tried it and it didn’t fit.  But the key is this: we tried it.  Now, we’ll pass on to each other books, blogs, and sermons  as we look out for the spiritual well-being of the each other. I love putting my arm around her at night and praying over her.  I love hearing her pray for me.  Our devos may be separate, but it’s morphed into us pouring into each other in a way I didn’t expect.  But it happened with the “try.” 

5. Try nudity. (I thought that would get your attention.)   We base so much of sex as a “mood” or “an act.” For those that push “the act” upon the other, you ignore the emotions/mood.  For those that are all about the “mood,” you ignore this necessary and beautiful act of marriage.  Bring the “try” into your bed.  Why? It’s humility; You’re not there for “you.” Try sex from the vantage point of your spouse.  The bed isn’t there to meet your needs; it’s there as a platform to meet your spouse’s needs.   Remember this: there is NO ONE else in the entire world that can meet this need in your spouse. It’s you.  

6. Try a date. Most couples know that dating each other is necessary…well, kind of.  This is so simplistic yet I find it’s completely ignored and taken for granted.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  It may not have any cost for that matter.  Anne and I like the simple walks together.  We’ve even taken our kids on walks.  The point was to have time together (which is Anne’s love language…that and Swedish Fish).  Try it. Ask your spouse out.  Plan out the day/evening.  Pour into their love language. 

7. Try to listen. A friend of mine gave me a quote I’ve used on my kids and I’ve needed to use in marriage. “Listen to me with your eyes.” Eye contact speaks so much to the person talking.  It shows more that singular focus.  It shows you are valuing them and their voice. Proverbs 20:12 says “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.” Get past “Elevator talk” in your marriage. Your ability to actively listen conveys the value your spouse needs from you.  

8. Try to forgive. The preach in me wants to just say “Just forgive.  Make yourself do it.” But I felt the Lord leading me to challenge you to “try” forgiveness.  Why? So many people are afraid to “try” it because of how it may be received and/or given.  Colossians 3:13 challenges us to “try”/step-out into it regardless of your spouse’s reaction.  The response of your “trying” isn’t your responsibility.  The forgiveness is. 

9. Try to be healthy.  I know we’re ‘merica.  We’re a nation of unhealthy activities with unhealthy food.  But this should’t be our excuse to develop healthy hearts, bodies, emotions, and spirits.  I’m not asking you to be a marathon runner. I’m not demanding you to become a vegan.  I’m asking you to take an honest inventory of your life and ask yourself, “Where can I get healthier?” The bible says, “the two become one.” If you are actively “trying” bringing health into your marriage (God’s word, healthy relationships, healthy food, exercise, etc) , you are setting your marriage up for potential success.  

10. Try ___________.  This is where you have to get your imagination going.  It’s about you knowing your marriage and trying something that may be new or it could be something that needs to be revived.  Get creative.  Talk with your spouse. Go after something today. 

Yoda had it wrong.  “Do or do not.  There is no try.” And unfortunately so many people don’t/won’t try.  This needs to be a new habit for this new year.  Don’t wait for you to be in the mood to “try.”  If that’s the case, it’ll never happen because it’s about you.  Get humble and get “trying.”  

Sometimes it isn’t really about the “what.”  Sometimes all that matters is you “tried.” 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

2 Minute Devo: What are you thinking Day 20

We’re focusing on what the Bible says about the “mind” and how that affects us.  Spend time on the devo and take a minute or two to ponder what the Word is challenging you to do.

Proverbs 14: 30

A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

You may already know that October is Breast Cancer awareness month. There is a group doing a special event auctioning three unique pieces of furniture. All the proceeds of the sale will go towards Breast Cancer awareness charities.
You can see the details here:
http://www.regencyshop.com/charity-auction.html