Sometimes You Just Need a Donut

I have to be honest with you: I’m not loving life right now.  It’s COLD. Oh so cold. No more football for like 260 days.  We are in this season of waiting on God to tell us what’s next.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a very blessed man.  I have an OUTSTANDING wife and awesome kids.  We have some great friends we get to do life with.  But you know what? I’m cranky.  I’m tired of being cold and being a stay at home dad.  Blah. 

And that’s ok.  You see, we all get cranky at times.  We all get sick of the weather and where life has us in certain seasons.  We want Spring to come or we want that baby to be born NOW (so said my wife when she was 9 months pregnant) or we want God to fill us in on what he’s got planned for us.

And so I wait.  For Spring and warmer weather.  For God to lead me to the right church to be their pastor.  For whatever comes next.  But often God is doing the most work when he seems to be silent.  It is in the midst of pain and waiting and the long winter that God changes us.  We are like a seed that is buried in the cold, dark ground.  That seed needs that time in uncertain darkness before it matures and is ready to grow and bear fruit. (…or vegetables if I was really going to be true to the metaphor.  But I like fruit much more than vegetables and who talks about bearing much vegetables??)

But today? Today my OUTSTANDING wife brought me a donut.  Because, even when you are trying to be healthy and lose weight, sometimes you just need a donut to help you make it through another day.  And I will continue to trust Jesus and know that he is good.  Because he created donuts.  Oh- and also, because he loves me and he knows what I need, which is often different that what I want.  Sort of like donuts and a weight loss plan…

DD Blend 004

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

comparison1There I was, at the gym, pumping iron, and feeling good.  I was lifting more weight than I had ever lifted before in my life! And then it happened.  I looked over, saw some skinny dude racking up the weight on his bar, and lift more weight and pound out more reps than what I could do.  All of a sudden, I didn’t feel so good about myself anymore.

This morning, I was swimming laps and feeling great that I could do 150 yards without stopping when I get lapped by some grandma swimming next to me.  All of a sudden, I didn’t feel so good about myself anymore.

So far this year, I’ve lost 33 pounds and 4 inches off my waist.  It has taken a TON of hard work and dedication and sheer willpower.  I feel better about myself and I feel a lot healthier.  Then, I hear that a friend lost 75 pounds in 3 months this summer.  All of a sudden, I don’t feel so good about myself anymore.

Theodore Roosevelt said that Comparison is the thief of Joy.  I could not agree more.  It is so easy to get discouraged when you look at the blessings in others’ lives and when you compare your “progress” to what they have been able to accomplish.

I think that for those of us who are pastors, it may be even worse than some other professions.  We feel great that our church has grown by 15% this year…until we hear about a friend’s church that has grown by 150%.

The truth is, we are all on different journeys.  God has a plan and a story for each one of us.  Let’s choose to not compare where we are on the journey with others who have a different path to walk. God wants to transform us more into the likeness of Jesus.  Let’s fix our eyes on Christ, cheer each other on, and choose to not compare ourselves to others.

When Life is Uncertain

Things don’t always go the way that we think they will.

Isn’t life like that though? We make plans and then life throws us a curve ball. We don’t get into the college of our dreams. That guy or girl you thought was “the one” laughs at you when you ask them out. Out of nowhere, you get handed a pink slip and you are left wondering what to do next. We wonder, where is God in all of this?

Have you ever prayed and felt you’re your prayers were going nowhere? That maybe you were just talking to yourself? Have you ever thought- what’s the point of prayer? Am I praying so somehow I can change God’s mind? Have you ever wondered if God still does miracles today?

One thing you can be sure of is that there are few things you can be sure of.

So the question is: how do we have faith when we are facing a crisis, when we are looking up at those hills of life- those mountains we have to face? What do we do when the weight is just too much and we just can’t deal with everything that is going on in our world?

Now, more then ever, as our faith begins to stutter, as our faith begins to go, where we need to go is God’s Word.  Because all of the stories in there were birthed out of times of extraordinary darkness and extraordinary uncertainty.

God’s Word is filled with stories of people facing uncertainty and discovering that not only is God not absent, but he is often diligently at work accomplishing His will in this world and in the lives of those he loves.

You might say, “well, that’s neat. That’s not going to help me get a job, or that won’t help my relationship with my kids, or that doesn’t make me healthy and whole.”

Although that doesn’t change your circumstances, we can see that…

although life may be uncertain, God is not uncertain, and He still has the whole world in his hands.

Our world may be turned upside down and our future unknown and although life may be uncertain, God is not uncertain, and He still has the whole world in his hands.

We know this firsthand.  Two months ago our world was rocked when our baby girl came out not breathing.  Those all those times, He helped us trust Him and put our faith in Him. God healed our little girl and he was faithful to be with us even in those dark days of waiting to find out about little Rebecca.

Although life may be uncertain, God is not uncertain. We can put our hope and our trust in Him.