finding meaning in the mundane

Category: Life (page 2 of 47)

Why I’ve given up on New Years Resolutions

New Years ResolutionsIt’s 2015.  How’s it going?  Let’s have a quick check-in…  How are those resolutions that you made just a few days ago? I’ll tell you what, it’s tough isn’t it?  Here we are less than a month in, and it seems like they are already slipping too far out of sight.  I bet by now that you’ve eaten someting you resolved you wouldn’t, called someone you said you were done with, or you choose your couch over the treadmill.

I don’t do resolutions.  In fact, I’m done with resolutions.  They alwasy feel like I’m trying to boil the ocean.  Someone once told me that we shouldn’t try to boil the ocean, it will never happen.  So, I’ve given up trying.  I’ve given up because I hate the way that it makes me feel when I fail.  I’m pretty sure that I have failed nearly every resolution that I have ever made.

That’s because I’m a broken, imperfect, flawed, human.  I am trying to figure out how to go through life and become all that God desires for me to be.  I’m trying to find my way, and help others.  My guess is that you are very similar to me.  Our stories are similar…

Eventually we burn out at the gym.

Eventually we stop eating paleo, vegan, natural, clean, or whatever variety of eating is the current rage.

Eventually we go back to whatever makes us feel good even though it hurts us.

Eventually we go back, we give up, we give in.

And that is why I’m so thankful for grace!  Grace is the unmerited, unearned favor of God.  The beginning of the year always reminds me of my need for grace and my constant struggle against grace.  I’m reminded of my need for grace because of all of the times that I fail my resolutions.  But I am also reminded of my struggle against accepting grace because my resolutions make it seem like I can accomplish something on my own.  If I check off all the boxes on my list, I will be successful and happy.  It makes me feel like it’s possible to be a self made man.

That’s why I gave up on resolutions.

But I haven’t given up entirely, just on resolutions.  In the beginning of the year I set goals, not resolutions.  Goals allow breathing room for grace to squeeze in.  I’ll share my goals with you later, but for now, how’s it going?  Just remember, you are human, and you are going to make mistakes, and slip up.  Don’t worry.  There’s grace for that.



Empowered: Available on Amazon

Great CommissionIt is with nervous anticipation that I announce that after several months of writing, rewriting, editing, and proofreading “Empowered” is available on Amazon.  I am truly excited to see the church engage in the mission of God right where they are planted.  I shared why I wrote this over here and here.

I keep asking myself this question:  What would it be like in our neighborhoods and towns if we all began to boldly live meaningful lives that pointed others to Christ and honored Him?  I hope that “Empowered” will help others find an answer to that question.  This is not a book written just for pastors or church leaders.  God wants to do some amazing things through all of us, and that means you!  He’s given you all that you need in order to accomplish that.

So, dream a little.  What could your town, your workplace, your home, your dorm, or your sphere of influence look like if we all engaged in the mission of God.   In Matthew 28:17-20, Jesus shares His Great Commission and it includes YOU…

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

So, what does this mean for you?  Let’s find out together in “Empowered“.


Choosing Joy Over Happiness

Have you ever heard something and felt like it totally resonated with you?  The other week I was having a particularly hard week.  I was watching as things around me were not coming together the way that I would have hoped, my schedule had me out more nights than not, and I had to press into a few difficult conversations.  It left me feeling anything less than happy.

While shuffling through my “Kings Kaleidoscope” iTunes radio station, I came across this song.  I immediately favorited it, and added it to my wish list.  The words and melody of this song needed to be one click away for me in times like the one I was describing.  I needed to be reminded of these great truths… Take the next 4 minutes and 37 seconds to listen to the lyrics of this song.

In my ebook, “Empowered” I take a look at how we should be growing in Joy.  Too often our culture tells us we should be happy all the time, yet scripture tells us we should be joyful.

Joy is the inner peace that says, this is good enough. Joy is not affected by the circumstances around you. Happiness depends on what is happening to you, joy does not. Joy cannot be and is not situational.

from “Empowered”

I love how Tifah Al-Alttas, the singer-songwriter frames the truths of that song with the melody.  It is real, and understandable.  It is as if she is saying, I choose to be joyful even though the melody of my life has been set in a minor key lately.  Listen to how Tifah describes the birth of this song:

The first time I played Joy was the night my father passed away.  He
had a short and painful battle with cancer.  My dad was not perfect
but he did the best he could with what he had.  A year before he died
he was diagnosed with dementia.  The day he told me he had cancer he
said it was a blessing.  To him, cancer was a better way to end his
story than a mind with no memory of his family or his life.  So as I
sat at the piano, the only place that felt safe that night to me, the
weight of loss hit my chest.  I remembered my eyes were blurred with
tears and I literally began to play the now familiar progression of
Joy.  I kept cycling through the progression and then, as if it had
already been written, I began to sing a different melody to a song I
sang in VBS as a child, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my
heart…” The truth is that I was terribly and profoundly sad.  The
reality of grief had not even entirely hit me yet.  But at the same
moment I had a deep sense of peace.  He was no longer in pain.  He was
no longer sick.  He was free from all his ailments and restored.
Although I still miss him, I know that God has weaved redemption
through death into my father’s story.  That brings me great joy.  It
was not until grief became a part of my story that I realized that joy
is not simply an expression, but an attitude and acknowledgment of the
deep peace of knowing a Savior.

read more about Tiffah’s testimony here…

Remember joy is not dependent upon your situation.  Joy is a choice, it is a way of life.  It is a decision that you make when you wake up to choose your outlook no matter what may happen that day.

Where in your life do you need to choose joy?  I know it isn’t easy, but it is an incredible free fall into the hands of our Savior, Jesus Christ.


Wondering together…

thinkingWhat do you wonder about?  Wonder is the desire to be curious or know something, it is this beautiful thing that God has allowed us to do.  Our minds are fascinated with exploration and discovery.  Thankfully we are not programmed robots that have no interest in the environments around us.  Take a look around you right now.  What’s going on around you?

I’m sitting in a cafe surrounded by a few old people, a young couple, a little boy celebrating his 1st birthday, and a woman that is clearly dying her hair.  She can’t be wondering ‘am I fooling anyone’.  Because let me pop that bubble real quick–You’re NOT!  Every person that you see has a different make up, and a different personality.  We like different things, not one of us is exactly like the other. Continue reading

Hurry Up and Slow Down

When was the last time that you didn’t feel like life was busy?  Elementary school, maybe?  Remember the summers when you would have to figure out what day it was by how long ago you went to church?  Not anymore… Welcome to adulthood- the era of busyness.  We live in an extraordinarily busy world.  Our culture values motion and movement.  There is not a lot of time allotted for stillness and quiet conversations.  Our calendars are pushed and filled to the max with the craftsmanship of a master carpenter.

There is not much that we can do to avoid the busyness of life.  Busyness is not a plague that you should avoid.  Busyness doesn’t always equal productivity, but it certainly can lead in that direction.  I’ve seen a lot of people who look busy, but really all they are doing is shuffling papers, or sending meaningless emails.  I call this making white noise.  However, there are those people who are busy changing the world with their motion and commotion.  I know many people like that.  In fact I work with lots of them.  They are some of the most incredibly talented people that I’ve had the pleasure of coming across.  They are working hard at what they do and that keeps them busy. Continue reading

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