Tuesday, September 21, 2010

one year. reflections with sorrow

Sunday Sarah and I shared with our church some of our reflection of this past year with sorrow.  I love that she and I were able to do this together.  It was good for me to have her next to me.  

Here's a copy of what we shared.
Text.  (Some of this won't make sense to you if you read it.  But it works for me when I preach.)

As difficult as it is at times to share our sorrow with other people and allow them into the story with us, I believe it is so important for us (and others) to do so.  So we talked.  And we cried, some.  I think I would have been a weepy mess were it not for Sarah sitting next to me.  I felt solid with her there.

Sarah, William, Kate & I are spending the entire day together tomorrow. 
Tomorrow marks 1 year since Annie died. 

Getting to tomorrow has been difficult for me.  The past couple weeks have been sad ones.  I've felt like I have been more sad -- or sad in an entirely different way -- than when we first lost Annie.  It has certainly been hard for me.

But life keeps clipping along.
Here is how strange our life is.  On the day we commemorate the anniversary of our daughter we are preparing for our new baby.  We plan to spend some time at Barnes&Noble tomorrow so William and Kate can buy new books for their coming sister.  It's crazy.

But stuff like that has been the story of this entire year.  As sad as we have been we have been blessed to have our kids around us.  They have literally kept us moving.

Thanks to all who have been with us this past year.  Thank you for praying for us and loving us.

Thank you for loving Annie.
I love her too.

"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
       he rises to show you compassion.
       For the LORD is a God of justice.
       Blessed are all who wait for him!"
Isaiah 30:18

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Leader's Constant Companion

Yesterday God used a message from Craig Groeschel at The Forum webcast  (here) to impact my thinking and my perspective on ministry.

Leader’s Constant Companion: Pain
As a result we flinch and are hesitant.
As a result we lead so as to avoid pain.

Purposeful Pain exists.
It leads to good results.

So often, the difference b/t where we are and where God wants us to be is the Pain we
are unwilling to endure.

Increasing our Pain Threshold.
3 Areas:
1) Increase our threshold in enduring unjustified rejection and criticism.
The quickest way for us to forget what God thinks of us is to become consumed
with what people think of us.
What is God calling ME to do.

2) Increase our threshold of pain in making the hard decisions.
The “bottom line” is too valuable for us to not make hard decisions.
Make hard decisions early…the longer we postpone them the harder they get.
Good leaders know there are times that you have to tell people (even your friends)
“this is going to hurt me more than this hurts you”.

If there is a painful decision facing you.  Step into it.  Grab it.  Make the decision
God is leading you to make.

3) Endure the pain of pruning.
John 15, true vine-gardener-prunes
If you blame yourself for the decline, one day you’ll take the credit for the
God may be cutting some things away in preparation for things to come.  There
may be times God prunes and we don’t understand.  He understands—and yet he
doesn’t tell/show us, yet.

There’s one promise in ministry:  God will break you.
Push through the pain.  There is more in you.
God wants to do more in you that you can ask or imagine.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My wife is surprised I'm here too...

Regardless of my absence from this blog, I do plan to be here again.
Some of my throughts will make it here...eventually.

Tonight I can't be bothered, though.

But before I go let me tell you about a cool resource.  I'm tuning in again tomorrow to this amazing FREE webcast.

(Earlier today I tuned into messages from Erwin McManus, Craig Groeschel and Patrick Lencioni.  Three of my faves.  Tomorrow another fave, Andy Stanley.)

If you miss it this year, get on their email list and catch it next year.  What a gift.