Friday, January 27, 2017

If I Could Share Just One Message With You . . . This Is It.

You can tell a story with your life that's worth celebrating.  The question is, will you?  This is a message I shared at Solace Church last year and I believe it accurately reflects what I believe to be my life's message.  I'd encourage you to take the time to watch it and allow it to sink in and begin to affect change inside of you.  You can tell a story with your life that's worth celebrating.

Please, please please don't squander the life you've been given by just "getting by".  That's no kind of life to live and there are too many people you can affect for you to just get by. You can tell a story with your life that's worth celebrating.

You can get started living out a great story right here.

Friday, January 20, 2017

4 Good Reasons and 3 Poor Reasons To Change Churches (Living in Alignment - Part 6)

Let's pick up this conversation about alignment and finish it today.  This is part six of six.  Just to recap, the main idea is this.  When we are aligned in various areas of our lives, we're going to be healthy, when we're misaligned, we're going to be unhealthy.  Once again, think of your car. If the wheels are aligned properly, the ride is smooth and you get maximum life out of your tires. If the wheels are misaligned, the ride is rough and your tires wear out prematurely.  Misalignment = pain.  Alignment = full functionality.  If you have not yet read the previous posts in this series, take a few minutes and scroll down and do that.  
Before we get into this, let me disarm your initial argument.  If you are reading this with the posture that says you don't need a church to be a follower of Christ, I want to say I agree 100% with that statement.  With that said, I want to tell you that you need to be very connected to a church for two reasons.  First, you need those people.  How very arrogant of you to think you can progress in your relationship with Christ without others to sharpen you "as iron sharpens iron."  Second, those people need you.  If you're withholding yourself from the local church because you don't think you need it (which is wrong anyhow), you're also withholding the gifts God has given you from those people  Do you think God gave you spiritual gifts for your own benefit?  How very selfish and shortsighted.  

So, l almost hesitate to write about this because I don't want you to hear what I'm not saying.  I'm not saying that church shopping (or church hopping) with a consumer mindset is ok.  It's not.  In fact, it's a huge problem and we need much less of it.  But, what we also need less of is people staying for years, and even decades, in a church that they are never going to engage with.  So, what I am saying is that if you're a follower of Christ, you have a responsibility to find a church that you fit with so you can contribute in the ways God has gifted and enabled you to contribute.  If you are feeling like you may need to find a church that you fit with better, here are four good reasons for you to make a move . . . 
  1. You don't agree with the doctrine in major areas.  This is fundamental.  If you think your church is not practicing a Biblical expression of faith, why would you stay?  But, be careful.  There are essential beliefs and there are non-essential beliefs.  Don't get stuck on something and call it a doctrinal difference when it's really a difference of style, which brings us to the next reason it may make sense to change churches. 
  2. You can't respect the style.  Notice I didn't say you "don't respect the style."  "Can't respect the style" means you've tried and, as much as you want to fit with this church, you can't get your heart engaged with the way they do things. Not every church is for every person and that's ok.
  3. You can't respect the pastor or some key leaders.  Same as above.  This implies that you've tried.  This one usually has something to do with a character issue or lack of growth on the part of the leader. However, please be careful that you've not fallen into a "holier than thou" mentality.  I've been there and it's ugly.
  4. You believe the Holy Spirit is leading to go somewhere elseThis is both legitimate and way over-used.  If the Holy Spirit is really leading your elsewhere, embrace that and be up front with your pastor or church leaders.  If it's really just some other reason, be honest about that too.  

On the flip side, here are 3 poor reasons to make a move . . . 

  1. You are experiencing conflict with someone at the church Mature people don't run from conflict. They face it.  Read Matthew 18:15-17 for some instructions. 
  2. You feel like the church is not meeting your needs.  Here's where the consumer mindset kicks in.  You're going to have to really check your heart here.  There are times when it's truly a case of #2 in the list above, but "the greeter didn't shake my hand" or "the pastor forgot my name" are petty and immature reasons to leave. 
  3. You're the one that's been distant or uncommitted. Generally, when you feel distant from your church, you can find the cause of that distance by examining yourself. Here's the principle that's at work.  What you make a priority, you will feel connected to.  Have you been faithful in your attendance, giving and serving at your church?  If the answer to any of those is no, you've found the root of your feelings of distance.    

So, to get spiritually aligned with other followers of Christ and the right church, you need to begin by taking responsibility for your own experience at your current church.  If you believe you've done that and it's still time to leave, make sure you leave with honor and respect.  Don't just stop showing up.  Have a conversation with your pastor or someone on the staff and explain to them your reasons.  At the very least, you've shown the honor and respect you should.  And who knows.  You may find, through that conversation, that the impossible situation you see is not so impossible after all.  

One final word of caution. Even if you're leaving your church for a good reason, don't fool yourself into thinking that just leaving is the answer.  You must leave with a plan to find another church to connect with.  It's just like habits.  If you give up a negative habit and don't replace it with a positive one, you'll simply fill that void with another negative habit (You quit smoking and start over-eating.)  There's no win in that.  Neither is there a win in disconnecting with a church you no longer fit with if you don't complete the process and engage with one you do fit with.  Before you know it, your Sundays will consist of sleeping in, eating brunch and going to kids baseball games.  You'll feel the void and so will your family.  If it's time for you to leave your current church, it's also time for you to find a new one.  


Friday, January 13, 2017

Can I Share My Heart? The Heart Behind This Experience . . .

We've made a great change to this year's LifePlan Experience!  We've moved it back into Tulsa to open up more spaces and cut the cost very significantly!  It's the same life-changing process, but we cut a ton of the overhead costs.  Read on and see the details below, but first please watch this short video where I share from my heart about this upcoming experience.  

Who is it for?  

This if for you, if you are dealing with . . .
  • A major life transition
  • A move from success to significance
  • Yearning to know what God has prepared you for next
  • Burn-out and losing passion for your work
  • A desire to find a healthy life/work balance
  • Increased fulfillment and meaning in life
  • Alignment with who you are and what you do
  • True success, as God defines it, in your most important life and work priorities

What are the details?

When: March  23-25, 2017 (Thursday evening - Saturday early afternoon)
Where: Daily sessions at The Heart Church in Tulsa. 
Cost: $295 per person
Deadline: The deadline to register is Monday, March 6.  It's very likely it will fill up prior to this date, so move quickly.
Availability: Maximum group of 12 men (first come, first served)

Where can I get more information?

Below are two very helpful links that give you an overview and some more details:

One-page SLP overview
Three-page SLP detail 

How can I reserve my spot?

Just click here to register. Your paid registration holds your spot.  We're unable to hold spots with verbal agreements.  

You've heard it before.  No one plans to fail.  We only fail to plan.  The reason you've heard it before is because it's true.  I hope you'll consider this opportunity to put in the hard work to make plans for your life that will serve you, your family and countless others for many years to come.

Where In The World Are You Living? (Living in Alignment - Part 5)

Here we go again!  Let's pick up this conversation about alignment again.  Just to recap, the main idea is this.  When we are aligned in various areas of our lives, we're going to be healthy, when we're misaligned, we're going to be unhealthy.   Think of your car. If the wheels are aligned properly, the ride is smooth and you get maximum life out of your tires. If the wheels are misaligned, the ride is rough and your tires wear out prematurely.  Misalignment = pain.  Alignment = full functionality.  If you have not yet read the previous posts in this series, take a few minutes and do that now.  I'll put links below:

        Living In Alignment (Part 1)
      Living In Alignment (Part 2)
      Living In Alignment (Part 3)
      Living In Alignment (Part 4)

So, here we are in part five.  We've talked about alignment in our personal, vocational and family lives, but I bet you've never considered this one.  How about alignment with where you live?  Yes, I mean geographically.  Never thought of it before? Neither had I, until recently.  But as I look back over my life, I can see seasons in my life where I've been aligned and where I've not.  

Let's face it, we live in a really big country, a big world, for that matter, and many of us move around for all kinds of reasons. But have you ever considered that you could move someplace just to live in that place?  I had a friend who moved from Tulsa to Destin, FL a little over a year ago.  Granted, he wasn't a close friend and there may be more to the story than I know, but when I asked him what was there (work, family, etc?), he said they just loved it there.  That was it.  It really got me thinking.  And I hope this will get you thinking today.  I have two simple questions to ask you about where you currently reside. I'll let you draw your own implications from your answers.  

  1. Why do you live where you live?  Is it where you've always lived?  Is it where your family wants you to be?  Is it where your job transferred you?  Do you wish you were someplace else, but you're scared to explore what that even means?  Here's my opinion and you can take it or leave it.  Too many of us are living where we live because some external circumstance dictated it and we've never thought about what kind of geography actually feeds our soul.  That brings me to the next question . . . 
  2. What kind of geography feeds your soul?  Think about it.  If all regions are the same and it doesn't matter where we live, why did God create this world with so many different climates, topography and seasons?  Doesn't it make sense that some people are going to feel much more at home in the woods of the Pacific Northwest while others are going to sit in those same woods and dream of a Southern California beach? All regions are not created equal just like all people are not created equal.  No person or no region is better than another, but I bet there's a certain region that matches your temperaments and the season of life you happen to be in.  Just think about that a little bit today.  What kind of geography feeds your soul?
Am I suggesting you move?  No.  I'm asking you to think through a question that I don't believe many of us ever consider.  It may mean nothing to you today.  Or it may mean something much more. I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Leave a comment here or on Facebook.