Navigating the Seasons of the Soul – Fall: The Season of Transition

This week, we are not doing our normal “kickstart blog,” we’re doing something a bit different. Instead of using the blog as a recap of Sunday, we’ll use it an extension of the message from Sunday. So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

We continued our series”Catching Foxes” with our Kfirst community. Our focus has been on what the Word of God says about our emotions. This past Sunday, we looked at the seasons that our emotions can go through.  And we’re taking days this week to specifically focus on each one of the seasons.

(Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

Fall: The Season of Transition

This is my personal favorite; I love September-November. From the blazing colors of the trees, football, ciders mills, and football. But as we start to rake leaves and put on our hoodies and jackets, we realize that change is coming.

It seems these moments of change/transition happen when, it seems, everything in our lives is going kind of smooth and stable. When the “norm” is altered, we find ourselves feeling shaken up. I mean, if we’ll all admit it, we are creatures of habit. We like a flow that we are used to; a pattern of life we can control and/or predict. Yet transition is something we all face.

Generally, there are two types of occasions that can trigger a “Season of Transition”:

  1. Developmental Transitions – These natural changes we ALL go through (adolescence , early adulthood, midlife, empty nest, etc)
  2. Life Events (Moving, job change, health challenge, adopting a child, etc)

Change happens, but “transition” is the deeper work. William Bridges says,

Transition is the natural process to which someone dies to a new life.”

You and I cannot do well in a transition unless we recognize that something is ENDING and we are willing to LET IT GO because of the new life/journey ahead. That time of “letting go” can be both stressful and excruciating as we step out of our comfort zones into a new season of life. It’s for this reason that the primary emotions of this season is fear/worry/anxiety.

Bridges goes onto say, “(in transition) we are disoriented because our identity is being challenged.” In the “Fall” season, people might say something like, “I don’t even know who I am right now.” The “Fall” challenges the basic sense of who we are. Why? Because we’re afraid it will be the end of us.

In the season of fall, you need to ask yourself some KEY QUESTIONS:

  1. What is it time for me to let go of?
    • Maybe God is wanting to transition you to marital health, but you need to let go of some selfishness in order for your marriage to transition.
    • Perhaps God has been wanted you to get rest, and for that transition, you need to let go of some busyness.
    • Could it be that God wants to close a season at a job or a ministry in order to prepare you for a new season?
  2. What is over now?
    • Name it. Write it down. Be specific. We will never be able to embrace new beginnings if we don’t loosen our grip on what is done. I think of Isaiah 43:19 where Israel couldn’t perceive the “new season” because they were so focused upon the situation they had been in.
  3. What am I learning?
    • I need to constantly learn and relearn that my identity isn’t about a job, a role, or title. My identity is grounded in THIS: I am a treasured child of the Most High God. Life will shift and change, but that will never change.
  4. Who am I trusting?
    • Everyone on the planet goes through change. But the differences with followers of Jesus is that we can choose to trust God while we are IN transition. The very essence of our faith is to trust God, not just when things are stable, but when the winds of change are blowing.

The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your lifeThe Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go (transitions), both now and forever.Psalm 121:5-8

If you are in the season of transition (Fall), be at peace knowing this: God knows you’re in transition and He will “stand beside you” in it and “watch(es) over your life” during it.  If you are in this season, remember our final lessons from Sunday.

  1. You were meant to process your season, not be possessed by it. 
  2. Don’t get so consumed with the next season you missed the work of your present season.
  3. Unnecessary pain results from remaining in a season long after it changed.
  4. Your season is not your story; it is a chapter in His beautiful story for your life.

Love you all. Tomorrow we look at “Winter,” the season of loss.

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “St(X)ry” #uneXpected

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

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Yesterday, we continued our Christmas series at Kfirst called”uneXpected.” Everything about the Christmas story was completely uneXpected. A pregnant virgin. A King born in a cave. Shepherds experiencing angelic announcements. Wise men bowing before a peasant child. Nothing about the birth of Jesus was what anyone really eXpected…

…but it was exactly what we needed.

We brought a prayer for the month of December that was born out of Luke 1:38-39, “Lord, help me to be humble enough to CATCH what you say & CLING to Your instruction so CHRIST is seen in all I say & do.” (Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

Have you ever had something happen to you that made you think you had to abandon everything you planned? What you may be experiencing is not the end of your story but the end of a “season” in your story.

Yesterday, we read out of Matthew 1:18-25 as we studied Joseph. Of the little we know of him, we catch what may be the most important thing about him: His Motives.

Yesterday, we read out of Matthew 1:20 as we studied the interaction of Joseph and the Angel. The message of God to Joseph came to him at a time of frustration and failure, a place of hopelessness and heaviness. The news of his soon-to-be wife being pregnant was enough to devastate everything he envisioned. It’s why we said yesterday:

From this simple portion of scripture we see three thoughts:

  1. Everybody needs to encounter God for themselves.
  2. You can’t live for God by yourself.
  3. Every day is a decision: Live by faith or sight.

And when we step out in faith, our faith intersects with God’s faithfulness and miracles begin to happen.

What changes and challenges are you facing? Are you in the middle of a tough season? If you are, I want to challenge you to submit the brokenness and frustration to God. The problem is not that God has abandoned us in our pain, but that sometimes we refuse to face it with him. Sometimes, we hold onto it and think it’s our “sentence” in life.

But, in Christ, the best is yet to come. And God hasn’t brought you this far, to bring you this far. There’s more to your story. There’s more, in Christ, ahead of you.

Our messages are for Monday and we need to put action to what the Lord is speaking. Give God what is heavy upon your heart and ask the Lord to give you the vision to see some steps of faith to move forward in faith and not sight.

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 Saturday as we step into our Christmas Eve Service!

My Marriage is Terribly Inconvenient!

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I’ve been married 16 years. I love being married and I can’t imagine life without Anne.  We have had some great times and moments. We laugh a lot together. We have two fantastic children and we are blessed to serve in an amazing church is their pastor.
But I’ll say this is of my marriage:  It can be terribly inconvenient.
If I were really honest I have to tell you that when I got married, I thought marriage would be way more convenient than what it’s been. I thought my needs and wants would be fulfilled on my terms (in the way and timing I want).
I think I came in a marriage with a pretty good understanding of the commitment I was making. I had a great example in my parents. I knew, somewhat, what to expect. I knew what I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife.  But after all these years I can say that I know beyond a shadow of a fact:
Marriage can be terribly inconvenient.
When I look at how much I’m supposed to love my wife…(Ephesians 5:25)
When I realize how I am supposed to forgive…(Ephesians 4:32)
When I’m tired and don’t feel like doing what my spouse wants me to do…(Galatians 5:13)
When I want to hold onto bitterness because I’m entitled to it…(Ephesians 4:31-32)
When my spouse wants give time I feel I don’t have…(1 Peter 4:10)
When my spouse’s preferences I’m the complete opposite of my preferences…(Philippians 2:4)
When I can’t have something just because I want it in that moment…(1 Corinthians 10:24)
When my responsibilities are infringing upon my fun/relaxation…(Ezra 10:4)
… I realize once more that marriage can be terribly inconvenient…in light of my selfishness.
This is where so many people trip up. People feel that convenience is required and absolutely necessary for there to be tranquility in the home. But when I look over vows for marriage…
I take you to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
If you understand them well, they warn us that there are seasons ahead that are not always going to be conducive to the life that we want or, sometimes, even dreamed. I like what Ecclesiastes 3 says…

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

We have to realize that within the covenant of our marriage, the seasons of life doesn’t lean toward convenience AND, therefore,   convenience is not always necessary nor is it required. Whether it’s what we watch in TV, see in a movie, or read about in a book,  we can be seduced by sugar-coated marital stories that our convenience must always come in the play when it comes to our marriage. We think that everything has to be about “ME.”  \
But sometimes when it comes to marriage covenant, convenience is not necessary.
I think it’s time for husbands and wives to step up and suck it up. It’s time for us to get past the mindset that the world revolves around what’s convenient for me and get into the mindset about what is necessary for the marriage.  As I say often in marriage counseling, “you don’t go for the win for the ME… You go for the win for the WE.”
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I recognize how hard you work. I recognize that some of you are tired. Selfishness is like Nutella…it’s way too easy to indulge in. Your wife/husband was not called to be convenient to your wants. Your marriage should not be built about what’s convenient for you. Again, I look at the way Jesus responded to us. Think about it, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus cried out for another way. Why? Because the way he needed to go was not convenient for him. The way of the cross was painful.  The journey was not easy. But because of the joy set before him he endured the cross. He had a covenant of love with his people. And it is through that covenant we need to understand our covenant toward our spouse.
Marriage involves a lot of sacrifice from BOTH husband and wife.  Healthy marriage thrives on mutual servanthood brought together in the love and covering of Christ.  We lay aside ourselves for our spouse. We live out sacrifice together as husbands and wives…
…and sacrifice is never convenient.
It’s time to step aside from the drive of convenience.
it’s time to lay down selfishness.
It’s time to be a marriage where the TWO strive to serve in the ONENESS of marriage.
Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

2 Minute Devos are back: Ecclesiastes Day 1

September is all about diving into the book of Ecclesiastes.  Watch the devo and read the scripture for today:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

2 Minute Devo Series: Book of Matthew Day 15

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Welcome to our 2 Minute Devos.  This month we’re going through the Book of Matthew.  Take the time to read through the passage of the day and listen to the 2 Minute Devo. 

Matthew 14

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Death of John the Baptist

14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, and he said to his servants,“This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife,[a] because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. 10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, 11 and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Jesus Walks on the Water

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way[b] from the land,[c] beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[d] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret

34 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

2 Minute Devos: Crash – Day 23

Welcome to “Crash”…3 things to do every day:

Glorify God.
Pray over the daily prayer point.
Pray for the lost.
Today’s Scripture: 1 Peter 1:6-7

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

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