Week 1: Monday #KfirstReadingList

There’s something about having a “reading list.” Usually, around the end of the school year, we see people posting about them or hear people talking about them. Of all of the books we want to soak up, the Bible is at the top of that list. At Kfirst , we believe that scripture is not just helpful for following Jesus but necessary. It stretches our thinking and challenges our living and it clues us into the heart of God and directs our paths. In July and August we’re hosting a summer series called “Reading List.”

Each Sunday, we’ll introduce a new chapter to focus on while equipping you to daily “soak it up” throughout the week. If you’ve never read the scriptures, this is a great place to start. If you’ve never read the scriptures as a friend, a couple, or a family, this will be a great opportunity to begin a new trend (visit Kfirst’s media to listen).

This week’s passage: John 3 (click to read)

Monday’s challenge: Sit down in a quiet place with your bible, your journal, and a pen. Then, read the entire chapter for this week and highlight what stuck out to you. Get a pen to underline or circle; grab a highlighter to use. What should you look for?

  • Key words/phrases.
  • Repeated words.
  • Themes.
  • Who is speaking/listening?
  • Location of the interaction.
  • For a next step, read the chapters before and after (for context).

When you are done reading, reflect on what you’ve learned. The bible calls it “selah” (pause and reflect upon what you just read). Allow the Holy Spirit to bring out parts or portions of the chapter that He wants to challenge you with. Perhaps you keep going back to something you underlined or maybe there’s a word that your heart can’t let go of. Maybe the chapter stirred some emotions and questions. Those items you’ve noted are what you should take to the Lord in prayer and, perhaps, to some conversation time with someone else.

Lastly, respond with your life. What does your day/week look like putting this week’s passage into practice? How has this passage challenged you? What does the chapter compel you to do? Let this week be a place where the Word get’s rooted in our lives by being more than a reader of the Word but a doer of the Word.

Love you all. It’s gonna be an amazing Monday.

BTW: Here’s a song for your reading time.

 

 

My Marriage is Full of Crap; 5 ways to make fertilizer for the future

From the get-go, let me say this: Storms don’t discriminate.  They’re equal opportunity givers.

Like the word “crap” or not.  Every one of us have that/a word we utilize to describe a moment that didn’t suit us.  It could encapsulate an entire event or the immediate feeling about the situation.  We all have our “word.”  You may be more sanctified than me (most likely), but  “Crap” seems to be the one I settled on years ago that seems to be a family fav.  For those of you already offended by the word, you’re probably wondering when the blog about the “looseness of words” is going to happen.  But that’s another blog for another time.

22 days from now, Anne and I will celebrate 17 years of marriage together.  And after our 20 years of being “Dave and Anne” (dating and marriage), I can say, our marriage has been full of crap, or more descriptive, crappy situations. There have been moments of disappointment and displeasure.  Frustrations and faults.  We have annoyed each other and let each other down. We’ve seen embarrassment and hurt.

Yet here we stand.  I don’t say that out of any semblance of pride. I humbly recognize that which the Apostle Paul recognized,

I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 NLT

Some of you see the “crap” that has happened and you feel alone.  Even though in your head, you know others deal with it, but your experiences make you feel you’re on a desert island…alone and stuck.  Maybe you’re like me and as you watch things transpire, you feel like a failure because you could’ve/should’ve prevented it from happening. It’s frustrating but tough moments are a part of life you can’t always forecast. But you can do one of two things:

1 – Wallow in the crap.  We can just sit/live in the frustration and disappointment. The filthiness and smell of failure can be your new identity.  We can walk around reeking like it because we refuse to leave it behind.

or…

2 – We can take the “crap” life throws at us and turn it into fertilizer.  You and I can look at a “set-back” and use it as a “set-up” for something amazing to happen.

One of my favorite professors in college used to say, “You need to have 50/20 vision.”  The scripture he was referring to was a passage in Genesis spoken from the mouth of Joseph.  You want to talk about “crap” happening to someone.  He was betrayed by family.  Sold into slavery.  Lost a position of authority out of a false sex scandal. Jailed. Forgotten in obscurity.

Yet when all is said and done, he stands on the other side of a lifetime of letdowns with these words to the very family who tried to destroy him,

Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good. Genesis 50:20

The moments happen.  Those unplanned and unforeseen moments that we never thought would happen to our marriage blindsided us.  Nobody plans for disappointments.  There’s not a single one of us who walked the aisle of our weddings wishing that we could have frustration in our marriage.

But it happens.  You are human.  You married a human.  Humans are messy.  “Crap” is going to happen.  But you have the choice: wallow in it or see it with 50/20 vision.  See it from a place where God can use it to fertilize growth for the future.

Here’s a few tips for you to get 50/20 vision of the “crap” that happens…

1.  Guard your responses. The book of James tells us, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” This is a 3-part message by itself. Don’t be reactionary. Take time to ponder and process what is taking place. See past the surface into the deeper issues.  Perhaps your spouse isn’t trying to hurt you purposely, but he/she is acting out of her themselves. Take a moment to listen thoroughly, carefully choose healthy words, and calm your temperament.  

2. Be careful who you surround yourself with. Psalm 1 warns us to be cautious to not surround ourselves with people who are NOT going to have a healthy, Godly mindset.  But joyous living comes from surrounding yourself with the wisdom (Word) of God.  When we do, the promise is we will be like a like “trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”  I don’t care if the person is your BFF, if the person is all about telling you what you want to hear and/or what they selfishly want for you, you need to separate yourself from them during this season.  When the “crappy” moments of life hit, the wisdom (or lack thereof) you surround yourself with can make all the difference in the world.

3. Be a bridge builder. We’re always waiting for others to make the first move. Some say, “Time heals everything.” It’s a lie. Time, by itself, heals nothing. The only way to resolve conflict is to face it. God expects you to take the first step. He expects you to be the peacemaker. You make the first move. It doesn’t matter if you are the offended one or the offender.  Always see it as your move. It’s so important that God says it takes priority over worship.  Matthew 5:23-24 says, “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God” (NLT).

4. See what Christ sees. Potential is recognizing the future possibility.  It’s unrealized power.  This is the way Christ sees us.  He sees His power working in us and what can be done/accomplished through Him if we will walk in obedience.  NOTE: He doesn’t wait for our actions to begin to see who we could be.  He doesn’t wait for our obedience to respond to us.  Jesus reaches out when we don’t. He offers a future without us even deserving it.  Your spouse may look and act like a mess.  But if you’ll look in the mirror, you’re not going to see any less in you.  This is why we all need to see what Jesus sees. Always look past the surface and see the potential.

5. Love based upon His love and not yours. 1 Corinthians 13 has been read at so many weddings.  I’ve done it.  I’ve heard it. We constantly read it from the place of how we are supposed to love.  We really need to see it as a description of how God loves.  Us humans carry such a surface level understanding of love. It’s so dependent upon “what have you done for me lately.”  We fall “out” of love as fast as we fall “in” love.  Paul tells a Corinthian church who is struggling with an understanding of love, sex, and community that THIS is what God’s love looks like.  It’s not a circumstantial feeling.  It’s a daily decision.  And if we are going to reflect Him, we need to daily decide to respond to the world around us, especially our spouse, with His love. 

Crap happens to all of us.  Storms don’t discriminate.  They’re equal opportunity givers. But today you need to decide: Are you going to wallow in it? Or are you ready to turn it around to fertilize your future and launch your marriage towards health. 

It time to move forward and see God do amazing things. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Marriage blog: “Too busy: The art of abusing with neglect.”

Sobering moments.  There’s no other words for those times or events that send us back to earth to the real world we are living in.  This is what I read in an article that my youth pastor sent me.

Long story short (you can read it in its entirety here), a CEO was known for working insane hours. His alarm clock would go off at 2:45am and he’d be in the office at 4:15am, before returning home around 7pm.  I assume he was a coffee drinker and/or one of the greatest contributors to the rise of the popularity of “5 Hour Energy”.

He states,

About a year ago, I asked my daughter several times to do something – brush her teeth I think it was – with no success. I reminded her that it was not so long ago that she would have immediately responded, and I wouldn’t have had to ask her multiple times; she would have known from my tone of voice that I was serious.

She asked me to wait a minute, went to her room and came back with a piece of paper. It was a list that she had compiled of her important events and activities that I had missed due to work commitments. Talk about a wake-up call.

According to the article, the list she brought him contained 22 items.  These included her first day at school and first soccer match of the season all the way to a parent-teacher meeting at a Halloween parade.

And the school year wasn’t over.

busy

Can our spouses write us a similar list?  Can our kids?

You may not have the job demand of the CEO of Pimco.  You may have already forgiven yourself because you’ve compared yourself to the article saying, “at least I’m not that bad” and decided to do nothing about neglecting your marriage or your children.  But that’s exactly what the Devil would love for you to do.  Rationalize the neglect.  Just understand something: when you rationalize, you tell yourself “rational lies”.  Most couples are not determined to drift.  Drifting happens with neglect.

It doesn’t happen just from jobs.  We used hobbies, home responsibilities, friendships, our favorite TV shows, sports, and yes, even church activities as things to fill our time and steal precious moments away from the people who matter most.  If you look at that list, none of them are bad or even sinful.  But when the priority of them is a higher priority than your spouse or your children, you need to rethink what Jesus has called you to. Everything in our life has demands.  It is in our priorities that those demands are funneled and filtered as to not abuse our loved ones with neglect.

There is nothing that this CEO could have done about the past but repent.  Repentance is necessary.  But repentance is meaningless if it doesn’t change the trajectory of your life.  Your actions must lived out your contrite heart.

Ephesians 5:15-16 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Today is the day to respond.  Today is the day to stop the neglect.  You have seasons to enjoy with your family and the challenge of today from Ephesians 5 is to “make the best use of the time.”  The only way to do that is to approach it “not as unwise but as wise.”  And, outside of your relationship with Christ (which all healthy relationships spring out of), your family is the wisest relationship you can and should pour yourself into.

Got some regrets about the neglect?  Pour into your spouse.  Seek forgiveness with a repentant heart.  Let your life as a spouse and/or parent erase the lists that have accumulated from neglect.  Today, start a new story with them.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

2 Minute Devos: Crash – Day 11

Error
This video doesn’t exist
Today’s Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:8-9

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Crash Prayer Card 2