Category Archives: Keeping it Fresh

We All Graduated

I don’t know how the stars aligned all at once, but on the same day that my son graduated from kindergarden I also finished my first “season” of high school ministry at ROCKHARBOR.  I went to the final two graduation ceremonies for different high school students in our ministry.  As I was driving home, it got me thinking about this last year.

First, I still can’t believe that I get the chance to live in Southern California and drive on the PCH to get from one graduation to the other.  That is something I hope I never get used to.  Sure I can’t afford to live down here, but it truly was one of the deciding factors of our life change last year.  I had always wanted to live closer to the beach…so I did.

Secondly, it sure is fun to be able to celebrate my son’s achievements by taking him to his favorite place on earth.  He loves Disneyland, and has been talking about the opening of Carsland forever.  It worked out perfectly that we went over there for about 3 hours, celebrated his face off with Disneyland food, a parade, and three Carsland rides.  At 4:00 he looked at us and said, “i’m ready to go home”.  Odd kid, but I have to appreciate that he knows what he wants.  He had had enough, and it was time to go, simple as that.

I am so proud of him and all he has done this last year.  It has not been the easiest year of school and to be honest there was much about his school setting that we would have changed if we could.  However, I watched him go from a difficult situation where he was crying every day before he went to school to asking about when he would go, sharing what he was learning, and generally being excited to be a part of the whole environment.  Add that to the progress he has made in different areas of math, writing, social skills, and overall growth.  We are so proud of Jackson and all he has done. He is a hard worker and makes the most out of life.

Though I am only 10 months in, this has been one of the most challenging years of my life.  Not much went the way that we expected.  If I back up a whole 12 months I can honestly say we had no clue we would be here on June 21st, 2012.  I have learned that I am much better at somethings than I believed I was.  In shaking up my patterns I have seen that there were parts of me that had become dormant due to routine.  I think I am the kind of person that needs new and different just for the sake of new and different.  What I had was great, but it had become old and the same.

God has been so faithful this past year.  He has not only continued to provide for us in unexpected means, but we have come to know Him in ways that I had not experienced in my life.  I have seen through the people we have met, the students in my ministry, and our church family that He desires a level of intimacy and involvement beyond what I have ever known or thought I could have.

More than all this, the past 10 months has become a sort of mirror for me to reveal both good and bad characteristics about myself.  At 37 I am still a work in progress and not nearly there.  As I said, there were just parts of my being a husband, father, friend, minster of the Gospel, and person that I had allowed to erode to a point of atrophy.  I would love to say that it is all fixed, however I know that is not true.  I would love to say that I had responded appropriately in all situations and circumstances this past year.  That also is not true.  I continue to take things too personally and put too much responsibility on myself.  I still find my identity in what I do rather than Who made me.  I believe that most of this is rooted in the best of intentions, however most of it is also replaced a depth of relationship with God that He desires for me.  I guess I still have work to do.

I believe that though I would not choose to repeat much of this last year, I am forever grateful that I went through it.  It shaped me, defined me, redefined me, and even invigorated me.

That is much of what graduation is, isn’t it?  To celebrate what you have accomplished and all the people who were involved in it.  I also look towards the future.  It is unknown and full of mystery but it is also full of promise.  It holds the potential to be life-giving and life-changing for all who are involved.

So turn your tassels with me, won’t you?  We are part of the class of 2012.


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What is Old Must Become New Again

I, like most everyone else by now have heard the song “Call Me Maybe”.  It has droned into my skull and the bubble gum-poppiness of it has already given me a cavity.  I, like most other people, were introduced to the song by watching the Youtube viral sensation “Harvard Baseball Team” doing their lip sync of the song.  From there my son got a hold of the song and is desperately in love with it (Thanks Erin Arnold).  He has the ability to overplay the best of songs, and this one doesn’t have a ton of depth so it gets old fast.  In showing my son a live performance of the song, I came upon Ben Howard doing his cover of “Call Me Maybe”.  At this point I am barely tolerating the song, however I love Ben Howard and all he does.  I have said I could listen to him sing the phone book and I would be ok with it.  What if he sings a teen pop song?  Check it out…

It got me thinking about life and the fact that much of what we do becomes so mundane.  If done over and over again it will get boring and stale.  However, regardless of how efficient I get, how much I delegate, or even how many staff I have (no paid ones right now by the way, so I am not bragging) there are still every day tasks I must do and things are that both repetitive AND good for me.  It is my job to put a new spin on them and make them new again.

I don’t do the same stuff with my kids every day.  They would revolt, tie me up, and overtake our family.

I change my ministry calendar often.  I have had the good fortune of not having many “Golden Cows” I needed to kill in my life.  Most of my youth ministries have been blazing new trails and I keep it that way.

Not that dating my wife is mundane, but what would happen if I took her on the same date every time?  Things would get stale.  So we change it up.  It is still a date, but what we do is different.

My devotional time with God is probably the biggest area I need to work on.  If I wake up every day and sit in the same place, using the same journal, doing the same thing, my relationship with God will quickly become stale.  It’s gotta stay fresh.  Walk, run, stroll and pray.  Read, have someone read to me, audio books.  Journal by writing, typing (Doogie Howser Style ya’ll), or even audio dictate (Siri will be able to do that soon!  For now there is Dragon Dictation).  Adding a little variety with a change in location will do wonders.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  That’s insane!  If we hope to grow, change, and evolve then we must keep our lives just as new and fresh.  Even with those things that seem old, there is hope that it can become new again.

What is it that has become overplayed in your life?  How can you inject new life into that which is old?  What sort of a change or twist can you make on the old, to where it becomes something you have never done.

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