Posts Tagged life lessons

132 Pictures

I had lunch with a guy today and he said something that really got me thinking. His name is Bob and he was telling me about a video that he made for a family friend whose young adult son had died unexpectedly. The video was pretty basic — just a series of pictures set to music.

As Bob told me the story he said something like, “It’s amazing what is important when your life is reduced to 132 pictures. There aren’t a lot of pictures of your report card, SAT score, cars, big houses, or stuff like that. When your life is described with 132 pictures what matters are pictures of people that you loved and served.”

Scripture says that life is a vapor (James 4:14). Your life and mine will, someday, be reduced to 132 pictures. Don’t waste it.

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GCA Seminar Day 4

This is the fourth post in a series of recaps from the GCA Church Planting Seminar (click here for part 1, part 2, and part 3).

Session 10: Planning
This session helped us begin to implement all the previous things we had been working on and set key milestones that will help us get done what needs to get done before we plant. It’s both encouraging how much we have already done and discouraging how much there is to do. We’ll try to hold these plans loosely as they will surely change.

Session 11: Priorities
For this final session, anticipation was high. All week we had been told, “Don’t leave early. Make sure you stay for the last session, it’s always the best.” We were not disappointed.

In this session, Dr. Steve Childers (President of GCA) presented his “Eight biggest mistakes…that he can share publicly.” The gist of this session was that personal spiritual renewal and health is far more important than some version of of earthly “success” in church planting. This was a sobering session that caused both Molly and I to really think seriously about what lies ahead. Here are a few of the key takeaways for me:

  • I have views of what “success” is and most of them are illegitimate and not based on faithfulness to God’s call.
  • Joy comes from who I am in Christ, not what I do for Christ.
  • At the root of my frantic propensity to overwork is usually the sin of pride and an exalted sense of my importance in the kingdom of God.
  • Goals are things I can influence and control. Desires are things I cannot. Therefore, I should work toward my goals and pray for my desires.
  • God’s goal for my life is not merely to serve him, but to know him, love him, trust him, glorify him and enjoy him. God is not a means to another end–he is the goal of everything.
  • God loves me. Really. A lot. “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
  • I need people who don’t just tell me how to live and do ministry better, but also point me to the truth of the gospel.
  • I can choose to be content and enjoy life now, or I can put my hope in “I’ll be happy someday when…” and never actually get it.
  • I have an amazing wife who needs to be treasured and not sacrificed to the idol of “success.”

As you can tell, this was an impactful session. We’re so thankful to EVBC for sending us to this seminar. We learned a lot and were truly refreshed in many ways. May God be your joy and may you know the power of his amazing love.

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Lessons from Defensive Driving Class

Yesterday I spent my morning at Defensive Driving Class and, no, it wasn’t just for fun. I got a speeding ticket a few months ago, and this class seemed like my best option. I have to say that the class was much better than the last time I took it (shorter and more multi-media). My fellow speeders were a diverse bunch and none of us wanted to be there. Made for some interesting observations and lessons that I think translate into the rest of life:

1. Everybody has a “good reason” why he or she messed up. I felt like we were all part of Shawshank Redemption, where the inmates prided themselves on the fact that nobody was guilty. Whether it was because of stupid people on their cell phones, bad drivers that forced people into difficult situations, or speed traps (my personal excuse), everyone had a reason that they weren’t as bad as their ticket indicated.

2. Everybody is defensive and self-justifying. The morning was filled with the kinds of questions that tell you that people didn’t really want the answers as much as they wanted a platform to publicly share their excuse. It wasn’t enough to feel personally justified for our law-breaking behavior; we needed to make sure everyone else knew how good we were.

3. Impactful teaching requires an authentic life behind the words. The class was taught by a loud, self-confident former truck driver from Chicago who clearly knew all the correct driving rules and the many reasons not to speed and wasn’t afraid to condemn those of us who were speeding (“You people need to learn…”). However, both through a personal conversation, it was clear that he was a perpetual speeder dealing with road-rage problems who scoffed at the idea of really driving the speed limit. As a result, the lessons seemed hollow and fake. It was a reminder to me, as a teacher and preacher of God’s word, that my teaching is only as impactful as the life behind it.

All of this reminds me about my need to believe the gospel day by day. Only through the gospel will I 1) have the freedom to admit that I am as bad as I am, 2) lose my need to impress others with my excuses, 3a) have the power to live a life that is authentically changed, and 3b) admit my failures and shortcomings in my teaching rather than give off the appearance of sham holiness.

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