Archive for the ‘Dreams’ Category

My mom was a HUGE William Shatner fan. As a kid I remember her watching Star Trek every night it was on and I was left to endure Captain Kirk’s reflective monologues on a regular basis. The only high light of the show for me was when the crew was “beamed” anywhere. You remember, they were teleported down to a new planet and then back to their ship. I was amazed by the idea of being able to just show up somewhere without having to take the time or the effort to actually make the trip.

My life balloon was deflated at the age of seven when I was told that no you can’t actually be “beamed” up or out or anywhere for that matter.

Still, I think the frustration still lingers for many of us  that want to go somewhere without having to take the necessary steps to get there.

We want a short cut…….an easy button. We want to play without having to pay.

For example: we want a deeper walk with Jesus, but not have to invest the time with Him. We want to be a writer, without the work. We want to lead without having to learn. We want to go global with our faith without having to go across the street, (Insert your desired short-cut here.)

Sometimes this comes from just plain laziness. Other times it’s something much darker……fear.

Fear: of failure, of something not being what we’d thought it be when we get there, that we won’t have what it takes or of how it might effect other areas of our life.

There could be a million combinations of why we we’re not embracing the process that God wants to take us on to get us where He wants. But here’s a not-so-well kept secret: if we got our wish to avoid “the work” we’d be miserable. Why?

You’d  have no story to tell.

An ending is only as interesting as the story that takes you there. Our lives are no different. The challenges, the effort, the work, the process, it’s all the adventure……the good stuff in the middle of our story. To avoid it would mean you could never mentor, never be able to reach back for a much needed overcoming moment in your story for the encouragement to endure your present.

The “becoming” doesn’t happen when you arrive, it happens in the journey….in your story.

There is no easy button. There is no way around the hard stuff. It’s part of becoming.

Pray. Decide. Then get busy writing the story that God has meant for you.

Let me hear your perspective. What “work” are you being called to? How are you overcoming the temptation to avoid the work? Share below.

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Have you ever had a difficult time ending something? It could have been moving past a dream, a relationship, an employee that wasn’t contributing, a strategy or program that wasn’t working, a way you’ve always done something. This last month I started our Elder board on a journey through a book by Dr. Henry Cloud, “Necessary Endings”. In it Cloud discusses some of the obstacles that keep us from “ending” these things in our lives. Sometimes it’s because we don’t want to face reality, maybe we don’t want to admit defeat or maybe it’s just because we don’t know how. Cloud points to pruning in a garden as an example of what happens when we don’t prune the things in our life or organization. These situations end up draining energy and resources that are needed else where so there can be thriving growth.  For a Christ follower Jesus is the vine and He points to the “Vine Dresser” our heavenly father who desires to “prune” what is not helpful or necessary in our lives or in the life of a church.

As a pastor I’ve seen churches be so in love with their strategy that they could not “end” it when it was clear that it was not working. Pastor and author, Andy Stanley, states that “we should be in love with our vision but only infatuated with our method. I don’t want to be that leader that can’t see when something needs to end.

I’ve asked our elders to go on a journey with me over the next few months to pray and think through any areas that might need to be “ended”in our lives personally or in our church so that we can thrive.

What about you? What areas in your life are you holding onto that just need to be ended? A friendship, relationship, an employee that does more harm than good, a dream, a goal, a strategy? My prayer is that God would give us the courage to do what’s needed.

Pruning is painful, but necessary,

Nathan

It would be an understatement to say that from time to time I get tunnel vision. This is where I can only see that which I am seeking and nothing else matters. My life ends up being like a kid that’s only consumed with the next ring on the monkey bars. This is nothing new when it comes to men and even more so for those in leadership.

Jesus himself is recorded during His earthly ministry as traveling with a group of followers to do ministry in Jericho. Along the way a blind beggar begins to cry out to Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” Those followers that were with Jesus began to scold the beggar, telling him to shut up. But, he began to yell all the louder. Jesus stops the entire love train and tells those with him to bring the man to Him. Jesus asks the beggar, “what do you want me to do for you?” The man answered, “I want to see.” Jesus tells the man, “Your faith has made you whole.” The Bible says that, “immediately the man regained his sight and rejoiced and begin to follow Jesus.”

What might look like just another extraordinary healing in the ministry of Jesus actually is a reminder of what matters in ministry. Those that are in ministry are always on the way to “Jericho” by that I mean their God breathed dream, their next leadership destination, their God given destiny. I can’t really scold the followers of Jesus that tell the man on the side of the rode to shut it, because I’ve been just like them. Maybe not in the literal since, but I know what it’s like to be consumed with doing good work that I’m blind to the priorities of God.

A lot of things can get ignored when we become tunnel visioned on “our next big thing”. Here are a few of the victims that I’ve hurt with this disease: my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, my staff, my church family, and people along the journey that didn’t seem in my mind to fit in with my next big goal. Jesus puts the brakes on this leadership conference to remind those that are following Him what he really values: the rejected, the refuse of society, those on the fringe.

It’s not about hanging out with Jesus and being associated with him so that we can exalt our Kingdom. It is about being his disciple and being like him. Maybe being like Him means putting down the habit of feverishly reading every leadership book that comes out for a while and picking up people that matter to Christ.

My life is not about the next destination, it’s about the journey. If I stay consumed with making Christ’s priorities mine, my steps will be ordered to my God dream and that God destiny. There always we’ll be another Jericho in the distance. Let’s maybe think about the destitute.

What about you? Have you ever fallen in to the “tunnel vision” trap? I’d love to hear your story below.