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What’s Your Hurricane? Find Your Purpose.

Have you  noticed how the good folks over at The Weather Channel get far too excited about hurricanes! You’ve seen them. Jim Cantore, standing in boots, winds gusting while reeds sway in the background. Alexandra Steele covering the action with eyes glistening. If you didn’t know better, you’d think they were giddy about some beach city on the verge of destruction.
Why are they so exhilarated?

They live for hurricanes!

This is what they got in the biz for; why they went to school. 85-degrees and partly cloudy doesn’t quicken the pulse quite like a Cat 5. So when there’s a tropical depression turned tropical storm turned hurricane, it’s no wonder that they go nut-burgers when the tempests begin to rage.

So what’s your hurricane? Do you have one?

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How One Word Can Transform Your Life!

One word can change the way you do everything. One word can refocus your attention, focus your energies and create a new outlook in an instant.

Since I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions, I decided this year that instead of picking one habit to incorporate, jettison, or enhance, I wanted to do something that would effect my entire life. I wanted something that would effect my church work, community leadership, reading, blogging, writing, speaking, investment in others, marriage, parenting, everything.

I chose one word.

One word to remind, inspire and focus my energies. The word? GRIND! (I know, it’s rife for humor as a word. I get it) Anyway…

Everyday Is A Grind

Grind reminds me that at any time when I feel a lull in enthusiasm or energy, there is something I could be doing – creating blog, sermon, or class content, exercising, returning e-mail, deepening and communicating my vision for organizations I partner with, investing in relationships with my wife and daughters, sharpening my mind or bettering my story-telling through reading and writing, or simply working on some unfinished project around the house. It reminds me that life is work, and to get the most out of it is a grind. All I have to say to myself is, “Grind!” And what was about to become a time suck – flipping channels, YouTube, worrying about something I can’t control, etc… – gets turned into opportunity moment. I then can transition into something that will actually benefit someone. Recently a friend asked me how I was managing to spend time with my wife and kids, say goodbye to friends, pack boxes, make arrangements for moving, blog, preach and launch a new venture. The answer: Grind! It’s my word. GRIND! reminds me that I can be making something in my life better.

You need a word too.

You need a word to agitate your laziness into action.

You need a word to give clarity to moments of fuzzyheadedness.

You need a word to keep you moving toward your goals.

You need a word.

What Happened To The 20-Minute Sermon?

I was slightly taken aback when one of our church members – a friend and supporter of mine – joked to her husband that she listens to me 40-minutes every Sunday. Trust me, no one knows better than I do when I stray over my allotted time. In fairness, my sermons are typically about 30-minutes, not 40. A co-worker complained to me once that a particular sermon was 38-minutes (I could tell she had only checked the time stamp on the podcast and hadn’t listened to it. There was more recorded than the sermon and she hadn’t been in worship to hear it the first time. That sermon was 30-minutes). However, she was right in that my sermons are longer than (1) I was trained to make them, (2) have typically preached them in the past and (3) than I grew up hearing others preach their sermons.

What’s more, I’m not the only one who is preaching longer. I examined the podcasts I listen to weekly and began paying attention to the length of the sermons.  I also paid closer attention to the communicators I watch online in the early hours of Sunday morning. In addition, I talked to local preachers and perused all types of church websites and I  noticed something: Hardly anyone preaches 20-minutes sermons anymore! As a matter of fact, recently we had  a family join our congregation only to leave a month later. When I encountered the husband one morning in BestBuy, he reluctantly confessed he left because of “the teaching.” Surprised by his bluntness, I stepped back. He continued, “Sorry, Pastor, It just wasn’t enough. I need an hour of teaching; 50-minutes at least.” Oddly, while attention spans in America may be getting shorter, sermons are getting longer. And there are 4 reasons why!

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Welcome To ‘The Vine Church’

A lot of friends and family have asked, “What church are you going to in Temple?” Until now, there has not been an answer to that question. I can tell you now that our community in Temple will be called, “The Vine: a church of Christ Fellowship.”

This is an excerpt from a piece I wrote for the Christians gathering in Temple to explain why I and other leaders became invigorated by the name, The Vine.

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First, this name honors who we’ve been. We have a historical and familial connection with churches of Christ. Many of us were raised in churches of Christ and many of our worship practices are connected to that historical denomination. We grew up going to churches of Christ camps and youth rallies. Some of us went to colleges associated with churches of Christ or sent our children and grandchildren to them. Our closest friends and mentors have belonged to this group, as have many of our mothers, fathers, and grandparents.

The Vine Church, Temple, TX

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Saturday Song 2/18/12

Saturday Song is a weekly feature where I share a song that is meaningful, touching or useful to me. I’m a music lover, always looking for great new artist. So  please share what you’re listening to with our community here. I want to know what you’re listening to, so I can discover what I should be listening to. Maybe one of your favorites can become a “Saturday Song.”

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Talking with one of the smartest college students I’ve known today, I was brought back to this song. Mumford & Sons, The Cave was the refrain at ACU’s High School camp, Kadesh.

 

What song has been speaking to you?

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