We LOVE the Huang’s!

We LOVE the Huang’s!

Hate the Dodgers. Absolute LOVE our brother-in-law Donovan!

Hate the Dodgers. Absolute LOVE our brother-in-law Donovan!



  1. Being given the opportunity by my church to take a 3-month sabbatical.

  2. Being gifted additional financial resources from my church to enjoy during the sabbatical.

  3. Resisting the temptation to be pulled back into certain ministry situations which I became aware of.

  4. Watching the Pastoral Team lead the church well (especially in the adversity) in my absence.

  5. Receiving encouraging emails/texts from the pastors and leaders of the church.

  6. Being free (for the most part) of the emotional weight and responsibility of shepherding people’s souls.

  7. Being free of the responsibility of/for the “results” and “success” of the church.

  8. Having six different preachers fill our pulpit in my absence—four from our church and two church planters in Oakland.

  9. Seeing giving increase in my absence!

  10. Seeing Jesus build His church without me!

  11. Seeing our next church plant Core Team gain momentum.

  12. Receiving several future preaching invitations.

  13. Enjoying many moments of feeling the tangible presence of God during private praise and worship unto him.

  14. Realizing early on into the sabbatical that even a sabbatical is not “the answer.”

  15. Letting go of the guilt that comes along with being blessed with a sabbatical of this nature.

  16. Vegging out on multiple movies/series/documentaries on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

  17. Being available to assist as an assessor for the Acts 29 US West Network.

  18. Finishing the final draft of Only God.

  19. Receiving endorsements for Only God from leaders I respect and admire.

  20. Making tremendous progress towards the publishing of Only God.

  21. Hearing that Only God will be available for pre-order in January 2020 and will be officially released in February!

  22. Thinking of, creating, and designing several ebooks to be given as free pre-order bonuses for Only God.

  23. Having the time to invest in working on my creative ideas, especially for the book launch.

  24. Being able to sleep in…often.

  25. Enjoying nice, quiet, long walks with my wife and Merritt.

  26. Receiving a Playstation 4 from JR so I could play video games.

  27. Playing video games for hours and hours and hours without any condemnation from my wife!

  28. Enjoying many uninterrupted hours of reading multiple fiction and non-fiction books.

  29. Building our friendship with the Huang’s through our trip to Disneyland.

  30. Watching and investing time with the Huang kids so Chris and Cori could go on a getaway.

  31. Eating Brazilian BBQ with my entire immediate family.

  32. Enjoying Xiao Long Bao with the Yim’s.

  33. Enjoying Korean BBQ with the Kim’s.

  34. Enjoying Peruvian with the Stites.

  35. Catching up with the Hung’s over Chicken and Waffles in their new home.

  36. Making shoe deals at Sole Supremacy with JR and enjoying a Japanese lunch together.

  37. Purchasing and selling several Air Jordans.

  38. Getting approval to sell shoes on the GOAT app.

  39. Enjoying yet another Warriors run in the NBA Finals.

  40. Going to a Giants game with Spencer and Peyton.

  41. Going to my first Giants/Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium with my siblings.

  42. Re-connecting with Chris Jensen—a great leadership coach with the Table Group.

  43. Rest, Relaxation, and Refreshment at the Acts 29 Global Gathering.

  44. Worshipping God with 1000+ church planters from around the world.

  45. Watching my wife thrive in her work for Acts 29 US West and Acts 29 Global.

  46. Hearing from God, very clearly, about emphasizing His worthiness as an enduring motivation for living righteously during my next season of ministry.

  47. Having Christopher and Brittany advocate for Rebekah and I to extend our trip in Italy through our wedding anniversary.

  48. Attending/supporting a church service at Inspire Church.

  49. Attending/supporting a church service at Bay City Church.

  50. Buying our first house!

  51. Receiving miraculous financial provision from God to go towards the down payment.

  52. Being financially supported by friends and family members to help make the purchase of our home possible.

  53. Working together with my wife to move out of our home in Oakland.

  54. Receiving our full deposit back from our landlords and maintaining a relationship with them beyond the move.

  55. Getting our July rent back, not having to pay rent or our mortgage in August or September!

  56. Working together with my wife to move into our home in San Leandro.

  57. Working together with my wife to paint the rooms in our new home.

  58. Enjoying the Patty Melt at Whataburger in Texas.

  59. Having a great experience at the shooting range with Rebekah’s family in Texas!

  60. Traveling to several cities and making great memories in Italy with Rebekah over the course of 25 days!

  61. Going on runs in 3 different cities in Italy.


  63. And the many other great eating experiences we had while in Italy.

  64. Enjoying many reflective conversations with my wife about our life and marriage.

  65. Enjoying times of reading the Scripture and praying together with my wife.

  66. Celebrating our birthdays and 15-year wedding anniversary in Italy.

  67. Having the financial resources to purchase Louis Vuitton Italian leather dress shoes for myself and a purse for my wife.

  68. Finding the perfect gifts in Italy to bring back to some of the important people in our lives.

  69. Being in town to see my nephew get baptized.

  70. Being in town to see my brother-in-law get married.

  71. Seeing my wife deeply grateful for these 3 months that we’ve been able to spend together in this way.

Praise be to God for His grace and kindness in my life. “I’m so unworthy, but still you love me. Forever my heart will sing of how great you are!” To Him be all the glory, honor, and praise!


You don’t need to have been on a sabbatical to create a list like this. What are the experiences, moments, blessings, difficulties, and relationships from God that you are thankful for from the Summer of 2019? I encourage you to invest at least 30 minutes thinking though and writing them down. Come up with at least 25. Or, feel free to share a few of God’s blessings towards you in the comments below. I’d love to celebrate with you.

God is worthy of the gratitude and praise that will be stirred up within you as a result of your remembering!

Please, don’t neglect doing this. God is worthy!

#708 - THE NEXT 3 DAYS

My Air BnB in Houston with Amazing Architectural Design!

My Air BnB in Houston with Amazing Architectural Design!

Today is Saturday, September 7.

On Wednesday, September 11, my wife, pup, and I will board a plane in Houston, Texas for Oakland, California. When we arrive, it will mark the end of my 3-month sabbatical, and the beginning of a fresh season of ministry.

With that in mind, over the next three days, I have the privilege of being in an Air BnB all by myself, with no distractions, to start strategizing and preparing for my return.

Here are the things I absolutely need to get done in the next 3 days:

By the end of Sunday:

  • Write a list of things I am grateful for from my first extended sabbatical experience.

  • Complete my outline for the 4 sermons I will give at the Living Stones Men’s Retreat next weekend.

  • Complete my outline for the 5 sermons I will give at the North Hills Middle/High School Retreat next week. Send discussion questions to Pastor James.

By the end of Monday:

  • Think/pray through sermons series ideas through the end of 2019.

  • Write outline for my first message back.

By the end of Tuesday:

  • Set work/personal goals for Fall 2019.

  • Set work/personal daily rhythms for Fall 2019.


When it comes to simplifying your personal life...

Simplify your wardrobe by having less clothes.
Simplify your home by having fewer things.
Simplify your schedule by having less commitments.
Simplify your finances by having fewer expenses.
Simplify your relationships by having less conflict.
Simplify your phone by having fewer apps.
Simplify your faith by having less doubt. 

When it comes to your professional life...

Simplify your management by having less direct reports.
Simplify your success by having fewer goals. 
Simplify your processes by having less steps.
Simplify your training by having fewer expectations.
Simplify your day by having less distractions.
Simplify your productivity by having fewer objectives.
Simplify your communication by having less messaging. 

Do less. Have fewer. Achieve more.



I heard Andy Stanley say this in a sermon. The thought is simple, but it is quite thought-provoking. 


We all want to be liked. So, in an effort to be liked, we, often times, hide things about ourselves that we believe aren't likable. The problem is, because we aren't being fully honest, the version of us that people ending up knowing and liking is a false, "cleaned-up" version of ourselves. In other words...

When you lie about who you are, people don't end up liking you, they end liking who they think you are. 

What a tragedy. If you are liked yet unknown, who are people really liking? 

For many years I have labored (I use this word because it hasn't been easy. It's always uncomfortable and many times embarrassing.) to live a life that is quick to reveal the most shameful, regretful, and unattractive things about who I am. I've done this for many reasons, but here are a few that quickly come to mind:

  1. I want to be free - pretending is a heavy burden to carry.
  2. I want to be healed - you can't receive healing for what you won't confess.
  3. I want to be trusted - people are typically only as honest with you as you are with them.

But after hearing Andy Stanley say what he said, there is another benefit to living an honest life before others...


If you find yourself dissatisfied with people liking a version of yourself that isn't real, I encourage you to open yourself up, in a real way, to someone you can trust. If they still like you afterwards, you can be rewarded with the joy of knowing they actually like you! If they don't like you afterwards, they will be exposed for never liking you in the first place! Better to find out sooner than later!


Maybe you haven't been working out like you committed to. You haven't been spending time with your kids or your spouse like you promised to. You haven't been eating healthy like you should. You haven't been keeping up with your spiritual disciplines like you feel convicted to. You haven't been using your creativity like you desire to. You haven't been managing your finances like you set out to. 


I was there just two months ago. It's embarrassing to say, but it was the end of May, and I hadn't exercised at all in 2018. Not even once! But, with the Oakland Half-Marathon less than 75 days away, I knew I had to start running again.


3 miles took me 34 minutes and 5 seconds. That is a pace of 11 minutes and 21 seconds per mile. I don't remember the last time it took me that long to run 3 miles. And it wasn't just the time. It was how I felt too. I was breathing heavy. I was aching. It was bad. 

On that day, I briefly wrote about it here, and decided that things needed to change. 

Over the next two months, I ran exactly 15 times. An average of once every 4 days. Not a super consistent amount of times, but consistent nonetheless. 

And after just running 15 times, I am proud to share that last Saturday (my 15th run), I ran 10 miles in 1 hour and 28 minutes. That is a pace of 8 minutes and 52 seconds per mile.


Though I'm older than I've ever been. Though I'm heavier than I've ever been. After just 15 times, I am faster than I've ever been!

The moral of the story is this:


With your health. With your relationships. With your disciplines. With your creativity. With your dreams.

Not 100. Not 50. Not 1. Not 7. But 15.

I think many times, we get overwhelmed by what is required of us to get "back on track." So we never do. We either overestimate how long it's going to take (and don't get started) or underestimate how long it's going to take (and quit too early).


Pick a discipline, pick a habit, and over the next month or so, commit to executing that habit 15 times. More may come of it than you might think!  

If you feel so inclined to, hold yourself accountable to what you're going to do 15 times by dropping a comment below! I would love to support you in your endeavor!


Today, just one hour before my dentist appointment, I flossed my teeth for the first time in a long time 

Why is this significant?

It reminded me of a very important lesson that can be applied to many areas of life, not just flossing your teeth.



I wish I didn't need them. I wish I was more motivated without them. I wish I could be committed in spite of them. But the reality is, I can't.

I need deadlines. 

Deadlines hold me accountable. Deadlines increase my sense of urgency. Deadlines set the boundaries for how I will invest my time. Deadlines keep me focused. Deadlines force me to prioritize.

Deadlines induce discipline.

The discipline to start. The discipline to persevere. The discipline to finish. Deadlines bring out my most disciplined self.

With that in mind, being that it is December 1, there is a deadline that is hanging over all of our heads: the end of the year.

How will you leverage this deadline to finish the year strong? What disciplines will the deadline of "by the end of 2016" induce? What will you complete by the time the year is up?

I encourage you to write a couple of things down and see if the deadline of the end of the year doesn't add extra motivation to complete something you've started. 


Failed goals.
Unmet expectations.
Frustrated plans.
Disappointing days.

For an "A-type" personality like mine, many times, these "bumps in the road" can be overwhelming and, at times, they can even be depressing. Discouragement can overtake me, and thoughts of quitting can begin to creep in.  

But what I've found is this: my frustration is usually at its' peak when I take my eyes off of my long-term goals thereby putting unnecessary emphasis and pressure on my short-term results.  

Craig Groeschel, Pastor of Life.Church says it this way,

You’ll very likely over estimate what God wants to do through you in the short run, but you’ll grossly underestimate what God can do with a lifetime of faithfulness.

In an effort to focus my energies on a "lifetime of faithfulness," I thought it would be a worthwhile thought exercise to think through the major roles in my life and write out specific long-term goals (and accompanying habits) that I can remain focused on and be faithful to even if the short-term results I'd like to see aren't coming to fruition.

By the age of 50 (in 16 years) I...

  1. As a runner, I run 10,000 miles. (50 miles/month; 13 miles/week) 
  2. A reader, I read, pull quotes from, and reflect on 200 books. (1 book/month; 100 pages/week)
  3. As a writer, I write 5,000 blog posts. (25 posts/month; 6 posts/week)
  4. As a leader, I have 3,500 one-on-one leadership development conversations. (20/month; 5 conversations/week)   

But enough about me.

How will you measure a "lifetime of faithfulness?" What are the simple daily disciplines that you will commit yourself to that, over the long run, will yield you the long-term goals you desire?

Determine. Commit. Act.

Your God-given potential awaits!


Usually the last person to be made aware of an area of your life where you have developed an unhealthy level of pride is...you!

Though everyone else is already thinking about it, talking about it, bothered by it, and concerned for you because of it, more often than not, you are the only person who is unaware of it. 

And for leaders in particular, this is a problem.

An inability to recognize and take responsibility for the areas in your leadership where you are prideful can:

  1. Cause your team to question your self-awareness.
  2. Discourage your team from approaching you about the issue.
  3. Undermine your ability to influence and impact your team.
  4. Have you removed from your position of leadership on the team. 

In an effort to prevent this from happening, here are 5 questions you can ask yourself to uncover potential areas where you may have an unhealthy level of pride.

In what areas of your life or leadership...

  1. Do you consider yourself an expert?
  2. Do you have a hard time admitting fault?
  3. Do you get defensive of when challenged?
  4. Do you invest the most time and emotional energy?
  5. Do you avoid receiving constructive feedback about?

If there is an area of your life or leadership that was the answer to all five of these questions, beware! This is very likely an area that is susceptible to unhealthy pride.

Identify it. Own it. Subdue it. 

The effectiveness of your leadership is depending on it. 

"Without the sovereign influence of God's extraordinary and immediate grace, men do very rarely put off all the trappings of their pride, till they who are about them put on their winding-sheet." Edward Hyde (1st Earl of Clarendon)


    Although social media, the Internet, and technology have made it so that helpful ideas, inspiring art, and genuine love can be spread like never before, it has also made it possible for spiteful hate to be broadcast, distributed, and felt like never before as well.

    Because of the technological advances (i.e. social media feeds) that are so readily accessible to us, everyday, the opportunity to experience a "hater" is exponentially greater!

    Haters that hate on your religious beliefs. Haters that hate on your political positions. Haters that hate on your lifestyle preferences. Haters that hate on your leadership decisions. Haters that hate on your parenting choices. Haters that hate on your career moves. 

    The critics are out in full effect. The "side busters" have seemed to improve upon their ability to "throw shade." The naysayers are just waiting by their computers just watching and waiting to comment on your next "wrong" move. The hate is real. 

    But though the hate may be real, how we respond is our responsibility.

    We have a choice.

    Anger. Resentment. Revenge. Argument. Or...exercise self-control.   

    Though you may have the perfect one-liner, zinger response to put your hater in their place, though you may have the tightest "clap back," though you may be completely justified in reciprocating the hate, the major thought I'd like to share with you today is simply this...

    If you criticize your "haters" in the same hateful way that they criticize you, you are perpetuating a disunity you should despise.

    Hurt people hurt people. And because people are hurt by hurt people, they go on to not only hurt the people that hurt them, but they hurt others as well. This should break your heart. 

    An environment of hate is really a product of hurt. 

    So decide today to be the one to stop the cycle in your sphere of influence. 

    Lest, you become exactly like the very person that is hating on you and add fuel to a fire you never wished existed in the first place. 


    Over the last year, I have very likely set more goals and failed to accomplish more of the goals that I have set than most of the people that I know! 

    For example: In regards to the amount of times I've wanted to post to this blog...I've failed. In regards to the amount of miles I've wanted to run...I've failed. In regards to the time I wanted to finish the SF Marathon in...I've failed

    So why do I even set goals every month and every year, if I fall short of them more often than not?

    I continue to set goals in spite of my inability to consistently achieve them, because the funny thing about goal-setting is this:

    I achieve exponentially more by setting and falling short of a goal than if I were to never set a goal at all. 

    Though I endeavored to write 5 times a week (over this last year) and only wrote 2 times a week, I know I wouldn't have even wrote twice if I wasn't aiming for 5 times!

    Though I endeavored to run 100 miles a month (over the last four months) and only ran 88 miles a month, I know I wouldn't have even run 88 if I wasn't striving for 100 miles!

    Though I endeavored to run the SF Marathon in under 5 hours (my previous PR was 5:54) and ended up running it in 5 hours and 17 minutes, I know I wouldn't have beat my previous PR by 37 minutes if I wasn't attempting to run it in 5 hours!      

    In other words: I'd rather set a goal and achieve it partially than not set a goal at all! Some achievement is better than no achievement!

    Quit perfect.

    Set a goal and pursue it. If you achieve it in its' entirety, great. If you don't, you will very likely achieve more than you would have if you never set it in the first place.


    When it comes to leadership, I am convinced that the most important person you will ever lead is yourself.  

    If you can't effectively lead yourself to accomplish your goals and objectives, how can you reasonably expect that you would be able to lead someone else to accomplish theirs?

    Those who see you as their leader are watching you, and if they see that you are unable to lead yourself, over time, their respect for you will decline and your ability to lead them effectively will eventually erode.

    With this reality of leadership in mind, one of the most important areas you must lead yourself in is...rest.  Because no one can rest for you, because no one can force you to rest, you must establish and execute, for yourself, a rhythm of rest.

    One of the greatest gifts you can give to the team you lead is your emotional energy, and if you do not have adequate rest, emotional energy will be something you do not have the capacity to give.

    Several years ago, I was "sold" on the idea of making rest a priority by Pastor Rick Warren when he outlined the following recommended "rhythm of rest."

    1. Divert Daily  - Every day break away from your work to do something you enjoy.
    2. Withdraw Weekly  - Every week take a full 24 hours straight to disconnect from your work entirely. 
    3. Quarantine Quarterly  (I added this one, and couldn't think of another "Q" word that would work!) - Though this wasn't a part of Rick Warren's plan, I recommend that every quarter you take 2-3 days to "get away" to think, plan, pray, rest, and do whatever else you need to do to recharge. I used the word "quarantine" because, as an introvert, I like the quarterly break to be in isolation!
    4. Abandon Annually  - Every year take at least a week or two and go on a vacation! Leave the laptop at home, set up an email auto-responder, put your cell phone away, and take this opportunity to remind yourself that your work, your organization, and your team will be just fine without you!

    If you're not yet convinced that establishing a rhythm of rest is important, I will leave you with this closing thought:

    If you do not choose to rest, your body will eventually shut down and force you to rest.

    The question you must ask yourself is, "Do I want my rest to be an intentional, proactive choice or a forced, reactive response?"

    Choosing the former will surely strengthen your leadership ability, becoming a victim of the latter will indefinitely cripple it.

    Choose rest.


    Though I could easily come up with many excuses why I couldn't and shouldn't run a marathon this upcoming July, I choose to focus on the reasons why I can and will:

    1. Beating my previous marathon times of 7:17 and 5:54 is a must. I am determined to run this one in 4:45.
    2. Training for a marathon gives me the opportunity to practice leading the most important person I will ever lead...myself. 
    3. Completing a faster marathon at 33 than I did at 24 and 29 would be very encouraging to someone like myself who is starting to feel older and older.
    4. Encouraging Spencer and AJ as they train and watching them cross the finish line, at their first marathon, is more fulfilling to me than completing my own.
    5. Challenging myself to accomplish something that is intimidating to me gets me out of my comfort zone is good for my personal development.
    6. Running long distances, like nothing else, strengthens my inner will and resolve. If I ever want to become a great leader, I am going to need major resolve.
    7. Enjoying the beauty along the various trails, breathing in the fresh air, and feeling my heart pumping as I run invigorates me and makes me feel truly alive.
    8. Learning lessons about life as I run has been very profitable for me. Running is a relentless teacher.
    9. Adding another medal to my collection is always rewarding!

    The beauty of well thought out, articulated reasons for pursuing a goal is this:

    When strong reasons are juxtaposed to weak excuses, excuses don't stand a chance!

    #446 - ABOUT EXCUSES

    If there is one thing you can count on never having a shortage of, it is...excuses

    Excuses for why you can't.
    Excuses for why you shouldn't
    Excuses for why you won't.

    Excuses to prevent you from starting.
    Excuses to keep you from continuing.
    Excuses to stop you from finishing.

    And the reason why you'll never have a shortage of excuses? Anything can be an excuse.

    Let me say that again just in case you missed it. If you are looking for an excuse not to do something, you WILL find one because anything can be an excuse. 

    Your age. Your race. Your socioeconomic status. Your parents. Your kids. Your education. Your religion. Your past. Your job. Your schedule. Your friends. Your President. The weather.

    When an excuse is what you want, an excuse is what you will find.

    My challenge to you is to not let the direction of your life be driven by your excuses. Do not let your future be determined by your excuses. Do not let your legacy be defined by your excuses.

    Instead, allow the outcome of your life to be decided by a much more powerful force...


    #445 - THERE'S MORE

    Are you challenging yourself? 

    To compete harder. To achieve greater. To dig deeper. 

    Are you challenging yourself?

    To create better. To persevere longer. To reach higher.  

    I encourage you on this first week of the second quarter of 2016, to make the decision to pursue a goal that will require you to push yourself to your mental, physical, vocational, or relational limits.

    There is more inside of you.

    More fight. More creativity. More value. More athleticism. More love. More contribution. More effort. More influence. More desire. More achievement. 

    There is more for you to accomplish.
    There is more for you to experience.
    There is more for you to conquer.

    But you must be aware,

    Your "more" is always at war with your "less."

    The war is real. The war is relentless. The war is always being fought.

    But you have a weapon - CHOICE. So, wield this weapon and choose "more."

    And do it quickly before "less" chooses itself.


    Whether you know it or not, there are a set of philosophies, values, and preferences that guide your behaviors day in and day out. These values will determine what choices you will make, what opportunities you will take, and what types of people you will choose to work with. In short, what you value will drive you.    

    With that in mind, after 33 years, I have finally come to the point where I am confident that I have identified the unique values that have been the driving force behind some of my best decisions, accomplishments, and breakthroughs throughout the years that I would also like drive me in the years ahead. It is my hope in sharing these values with you that you will be encouraged to invest some time contemplating and defining the values that will guide your life!

    1. AUDACIOUS FAITH - I will aggressively pursue what only God can do.

    From wholeheartedly believing the gospel, to getting married at 22 years old, to starting my own non-profit organization, to planting a church in the city of Oakland, my life has been and I pray will continue to be one that is marked by a great faith in the Almighty God. Though this type of faith has not always been present in my life, it is my intent that, from this day forward, I would live with a faith that believes that God can do things for me that I could have never hoped or imagined, faith that God can do things in me that I could never do on my own, and faith that God can do things through me that will have a lasting, positive impact on the world. This is audacious faith. 

    2. STEADFAST GRATITUDE - I will intentionally find ways to praise God for both my blessings and my burdens.  

    I can't say exactly when it happened, but at some point in my life God placed within me an acute awareness for the importance of expressing gratitude to Him during any circumstance. Whether my car was being purchased or re-possessed, whether my bank balance was very positive or very negative, whether my endeavors were succeeding or failing, I was convinced that God was still worthy of my worship. I believe that God deserves our praise, worship, adoration, and thanksgiving not because our circumstances are good, but because His character is good. It is my commitment to remain in awe of God's goodness, mercy, and grace in seasons of plenty and in seasons of lack. This is steadfast gratitude.    

    3. SELFLESS TRANSPARENCY - I will boldly prioritize truth-telling over image-protecting.

    Very few things bother me like watching someone lie to protect their image. Very few things burden me like seeing someone live imprisoned by their inability to be honest about their faults, fears, and failures. Very few things break my heart like observing a community of people (especially Christians) being unwilling to relate honestly and openly with one another out of fear of what someone might think of them if they do. Though confessing sin, confronting offense, and calling out faithlessness may be uncomfortable, "The truth will set you free!" I am resolved to tell the truth about who I am and about who you are, regardless of the potential consequences. This is selfless transparency. 

    4. LIFELONG LEARNING - I will continually learn from others to exponentially increase my effectiveness.

    Awareness and honesty about what you do not know and what you cannot do provides the motivation for living a life marked by continuing education. Whether it be from mentors, peers, or even critics, I believe you can learn from anyone. And with the amount of podcasts, vodcasts, books, and other resources that are available online there is no reason why everyone cannot become a lifelong learner. I will not stop learning until I am done living. This is lifelong learning. 


    I have to admit. I've been distracted lately. Social media has become increasingly distracting. Opportunities outside of my job as a pastor have become distracting. Inner ambitions that have been dormant for a long time have awakened and have become a distraction. Even my past failures and mistakes have become a distraction to the job that I have been given. 

    With all of these distractions in my life, the truth is: hours have been wasted, energy has been diverted, and productivity has diminished. 

    But last night, I was reminded of one simple word that will drive, guide, and motivate me for the remainder of 2015...


    Instead of being sucked into the time-wasting abyss known as social media, I must focus. Instead of entertaining myself with other entrepreneurial endeavors, I must focus. Instead of wallowing in various forms of loss that I have experienced in recent months, I must focus.   

    And what is it, exactly, that I must focus on? LEADING THE CHURCH.

    I have been given a responsibility. I have been given an opportunity. I have been given a gift. To not focus on leading the church that I have been called to lead would not only be a disservice to the church, but, more importantly, it would be disobedience to God. 

    Leading the church is my occupation. Leading the church is my calling. Leading the church is my test of stewardship. Leading the church is the "one thing" that, if done well, will produce the greatest return for me in this life and the next

    Now, with all of that said, I probably am not the only one who needed to be reminded of the importance of focus. What about you? What is the "one thing" you need to focus on for the rest of the year. What is the "one thing" that you want to have momentum with going into 2016? What is the "one thing" that needs/deserves your attention?

    As you think about that, maybe this final thought will give you the kick in the butt you need to determine your "one thing" and focus on it:

    If you're not taking the MOST responsibility for the things that are uniquely YOUR responsibility, you're being IRRESPONSIBLE!


    Do what you committed to doing even if you don't feel like doing it. Do what you committed to doing because the feeling of having done it is way more satisfying than the feeling of neglect. Do what you committed to doing because if you aren't building the habit of consistency, you're building the habit of inconsistency. 

    It is your efforts compounded over time that will yield the results you are looking for. Every time you stop doing what you said you would do, the compounding process has to start all over again. Every decision to neglect your disciplines compounds failure not success.

    Something is better than nothing. Writing some words is better than writing no words. Exercising for nine minutes is better than exercising for no minutes. Eating one good meal a day is better than eating no good meals a day. Drinking some water is better than drinking no water. Spending some quality time is better than spending no quality time. 

    Consistency is your key. To unlock opportunities. To unlock potential. To unlock talent. To unlock closed doors. To unlock prisons of mediocrity. To unlock your treasures within. 

    If you neglect me, you forfeit your right to be great. 

    If consistency could speak, what would it say to you? Leave your comment below, I'd really like to know!


    Ever since I can remember, there has been one word that has driven me. Many desires have shifted and waned throughout the years, but my goal to achieve this has not. When nothing else could motivate me, this word did.


    Financial success. Relational success. Educational success. Occupational success. Social success. Spiritual success. Marital success. Physical success. I want to be successful in every area of my life. 

    Now though there might not be anything inherently wrong with desiring success in each of these areas of my life, what I have found to be a problem is defining what success actually is for each of these areas of my life!

    The definition of success, for all of these areas, seems to be an ever-changing, ever-increasing, unattainable, elusive target.

    There's always more money I can earn, save, and invest. There's always more and deeper friendships I can develop. There's always more degrees I can earn. There's always more accolades I can earn on the job. There's always more influence I can gain. There's always more of an understanding that I can have of my faith. There's always more of a sacrifice that I could be making in my marriage. There's always more weight that I can lose and more muscle that I can gain!

    And when I look at it this way, it's easy to get discouraged because it seems like "success" then becomes impossible to achieve.

    I so badly want to cross the "finish line" in each of these areas of my life, but I have no idea where the finish line is! I so desperately I want to "ascend to the peak" of each of these areas of my life, but from where I'm standing there is no peak in sight! I so anxiously want to "complete the assignment" that I have been given for each of these areas of my life, but I don't ever remember receiving any actual instructions!

    So what have I done to deal with my strong desire for something I have, for so long, struggled to define?

    I QUIT.

    I quit pursuing success. I quit desiring success. I quit envisioning success. 

    Instead, I have chosen another word to drive me. I've chosen another word to motivate me to my full potential. I've chosen another word by which I will measure the quality of my life.


    Day by day. Hour by hour. Moment by moment obedience to God's will for my life. This  is my desire. 

    As it relates to every area of my life, the key question is, "Am I being obedient?" 

    Am I doing what God is requiring me to do?  Am I saying what God is leading me to say? Am I going where God is commanding me to go?

    Am I being obedient to God's will? Am I being submitted to God's Word? Am I being cooperative with God's way? 

    These are the questions that matter to me now.  

    I'm resolved.

    I'm going to concern myself with my obedience, and let God concern Himself with my "success."


    As I do my best to get back into the habit of writing daily, today, I am reminded of a concept that I believe will serve me well in the coming months. I am reminded of a mantra that will encourage me to write especially when I don't feel like it. I am reminded of three words that will propel me towards consistency not only in my writing, but in other areas of my life as well.

    JUST. SHOW. UP. 

    As it relates to my writing, I need to just show up to the laptop and start forming sentences. I need to just show up to the iPhone (which I am currently on) and start typing away. I need to just show up to my desktop and start putting together paragraphs. 

    Though I may be tired. Though I may feel like I have nothing to say. Though I may have other things I'd rather do. For me to become the writer I believe I have the potential to become, I need to just. show. up. 

    But this doesn't only apply to me and my writing. It probably also applies to you and some area of your life that you desire to improve upon.  

     What is it for you?

    Do you need to just show up to the gym? Do you need to just show up to the practice? Do you need to just show up to the appointment? Do you need to just show up to the class? Do you need to just show up to the rehearsal? Do you need to just show up to the meeting? Do you need to just show up to the group? Do you need to just show up to the game? Do you need to just show up to the church? Do you need to just show up to the interview? Do you need to just show up to the audition? Do you need to just show up to the job?

    I encourage you to identify where you need to stop making excuses and start following through on your commitments and... Just. Show. Up.

    Because as far as I know, greatness has never been achieved by someone who was consistently absent.