Can’t Sleep

It’s about 20 minutes past midnight and I can’t seem to fall asleep. Now, I know that for some of you, 12:20 AM is actually still pretty early; not for me. I’m an “early-to-bed, early-to-rise” kind of guy.

Tonight, I’m having trouble sleeping. Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with any of my children keeping me awake. Truth be told, I can’t really complain because I rarely have trouble getting rest. And with three kids ages three and under that’s a pretty big accomplishment!

For some reason tonight, I just had the overwhelming urge to get out of bed, read my Bible and pray. At the risk of sounding “unspiritual,” this doesn’t happen to me a lot. I like to read my Bible, pray, memorize Scripture and read other books during the normal hours of the day. But tonight, God has just burdened me.

I’m burdened for my family. Not because anything is bad or wrong, but because if I don’t pray for my wife and my kids, who will? If I’m not the priest of my home that God calls me to be then I’ve failed at my most important job in life!

I’m burdened for my church. Again, not because anything is bad or out of place, but simply because God has given me a huge responsibility to “shepherd the flock of God.” This is a privilege that I absolutely love and enjoy, but it comes with great responsibilities and duties.

I’m burdened for me. I don’t want to settle in my life; in any part of my life. I don’t want to settle for a mediocre marriage. I thank God for my relationship with my wife and treasure her as a precious gift from God. I don’t want to settle for a casual, cursory relationship with my kids. I want to be a huge influence in their lives for the cause of Christ. I don’t want to settle in my ministry. Being a pastor is one of the highest honors of my life and I will never be satisfied with the status quo. I love my church and thank God for the opportunity to serve Him at Crosspointe.

Simply put, I want everything that God has for me in every area of my life. I want to do everything I can to accomplish all that I can for God with the time that He has given me upon this earth. Life is too short, the stakes are too high and eternity is too long to let one more moment slip by.

God knows…

God led me to read in Proverbs the other day and I was simply amazed at how this entire chapter dealt with almost every area of my life.

First, verse 1 deals with our ministry here. We must lead with integrity if we are going to build trust. One of my goals for ministry the first year or so at Crosspointe is to build a foundation based on trust. A “good name” and a good reputation is more desirable than great wealth or sliver and gold!

Second, Stephanie and I are participating in the Financial Peace University on Wednesdays here at Crosspointe. Verse 7 tells us “the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” Just the other night we were working on a budget for this year and looking at how to reduce expenses so we can give more. God’s Word speaks right to that issue here in this chapter!

Third, we’ve been really challenged lately in raising our children. I never knew I had a temper until I had kids! We’ve been discussing all sorts of issues about teaching and training our kids and here in verse 6 the Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

God’s Word speaks to us in any and every circumstance we encounter. It’s not accident that God led me to Proverbs 22. This one small chapter deals profoundly with three major issues in my life right now. Value God’s Word, treasure His teaching, don’t miss your time with God each day. Make Him a priority in your life!

The Sermon on the Mount

I just started reading Matthew in my daily time with God and I am just blown away by the Sermon on the Mount. Not only is this the greatest message ever preached, by the greatest Messenger, but its content is completely radical and revolutionary.

You will notice a recurring theme throughout Christ’s sermon. Over and over again He says, “You have heard that it was said…” In other words, Christ is correcting some misunderstandings about God and the life of a true Christian. Jesus elevates the discussion well beyond the outward actions of an individual (murder and adultery) to the inward attitudes of the heart (hatred and lust).

What would our Christian life be like if we no longer depended on what we “heard” or what others “said;” and instead, depended solely upon what Christ had said. Wouldn’t there be a radical shift if Christians stopped comparing themselves to other Christians and instead compared themselves to the teachings and actions of Christ? What if churches no longer compared themselves to other churches but measured their effectiveness by the standards of Scripture?

I do believe there would be a fundamental change in our lives and in our ministries. And maybe that’s just what we need!

What I’m reading…

Currently, I’m reading a great little book by Stuart R. Levine entitled, “Cut to the Chase…and 99 Other Rules to Liberate Yourself and Gain Back the Gift of Time.” I like to read business books along with topics on theology, inspirational and church related (and I’ll throw in a classic here and there). While I never would say that business and church are synonymous, I do believe we can learn some universal principles that apply to almost every situation. This book has lots of good ideas. As with anything, eat the meat and leave the bones!

I’ve really enjoyed this book for a few reasons:
1. There are 100 chapters in a book that’s 207 pages. Small chapters are awesome! It makes me feel like I’ve read a ton when I tackle ten chapters in one sitting. 🙂
2. It’s intensely practical…and I love practical. OK, I don’t have anything against Max Lucado or Philip Yancey. I’m sure both of these men are great guys and love God; but I can’t stand their writing. It seems that they use a thousand adjectives to make a simple point. This book says what it wants to say quickly and succinctly.
3. This book is helping me focus. When I read it, I’m able to take a step back and examine our organization, look for areas to improve and take some time to think. Sometimes, when you’re so close to the organization, you get myopic and inflexible. I like the fact that I’m able to focus and, at the same time, see more of the big picture.
4. It helps me with me. Don’t get me wrong, I love books that focus on churches, evangelism, missions and theology. But occasionally, and probably more often than not, I need books that teach me to be better. I could read a hundred books on how to make the church better, but I don’t believe it would happen if I don’t focus on making myself better. There’s no way I could lead at a higher level or focus on being a better pastor if I don’t read books that help me grow.

OK, that’s enough. Man, you’d think the guy paid me to push his book…certainly not the case. After reading his book you would think that I would know how to “cut to the chase!”