Christian Living

Dear 2012

Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

Philippians 3:13-14

Dear 2012,

We, the undersigned, are ready for you. 2012 will be better than 2011. Not that we’re ashamed of 2011… we just want 2012 to be different.

Rejecting apathy – For too long we’ve been defined by our apathy. We come to church to listen and not change. We engage Scripture to learn and not make a difference. We apply biblical truth to our hearts but not our blocks. We wait for the church to do something so we can feel good about funding it. We hire experts to teach our kids because we’re too busy doing nothing important.

Apathy will not define us in 2012. We’re done talking about what we are going to do. We are done dreaming. We are done crying about what hasn’t been done. And we won’t wait for a program to do what we can do on our block. We don’t need a tax break. We don’t need a sermon.

2012 will be known as the year of being Good News in our Neighborhood.

Foregoing aestheticism – Sure, we didn’t live 2011 in the desert eating locusts. But we were way more reclusive than we wanted to be. When we were home we hung out in the house or in the backyard. We spent time with our family and deepened friendships with people who aren’t on our block. We were reclusive. We were loners. We defined ourselves by how we lived and not how we impacted our community.

This year will be different. We will be social. We will be a front porch type of neighbor. We will not just have our little circle of friends chosen by a shared hobby or faith. Instead we will choose to be different. Our relationships will be defined by proximity, not affinity. We recognize that Jesus told us to love our neighbor and we will stop trying to redefine the word neighbor to fit our comfort level. And we recognize that Jesus has us living where we live for His purpose and not our own.

2012 will be known as the year of being Good News in our Neighborhood.

Living as the best neighbor ever- Yeah, we saw opportunities in 2011. And we blew it. The elderly neighbor who lost her husband. The person who hired a gardner to weed because they were too busy. The latch-key-kid who sat at home all afternoon waiting for her mom to come home from work. We saw it. We heard about it. But we didn’t do a darn thing about it and we’re sick of feeling guilty.

This year we’ll go from observer and shoulder shrugger to opportunist. Our neighbors will know that they can depend on us. We will rearrange our schedule to serve. We will stop being busy at the church so we can be the church on our block. We will know their names and they will know ours.

2012 will be the year of our neighbors knowing we are Good News in their lives.

And finally- We will rally others because Good News spreads fast! We will lay aside petty differences for the sake of our neighbors. We will let forgiveness and grace reign. We will become block uniters instead of block dividers.

This year will be marked by it’s impact!

Making 2012 count,


Leave a comment to join me. Feel free to add to the letter, too. 

Christian Living

Five ridiculously hard steps to a better you

Tim is right. There is a whole lot of lying for the sake of SEO in blogs these days. While there might be five easy steps to creating a Facebook page for your business, there aren’t five easy steps for everything.

Becoming a better you is ridiculously hard. I know it not from issuing advice but from walking through a few difficult seasons in my own life and finding success, happiness, and satisfaction on the other side.

Here are five ridiculous hard lessons I’ve learned towards become a better me:

  1. You often have to say no to the wrong opportunity when you have no idea when the right one might come along. For me this has meant, several times, shoving off into the great Lake of the Unknown with no idea if I’d end up where I needed to or have the financial resources to keep going.
  2. Sometimes you have to do things you are dispassionate about in order to get to things you are passionate about. Sure, I probably look like I’ve lived a storied life. But I’ve had jobs I hated. And I’ve done countless things I hate in order to finance what I love. Walk around any art museum and you’ll see that most of those people didn’t become famous until they were dead. All of their life they did work they hated to pay for the work we adore after they are gone.
  3. Being the smartest person in the room is not nearly as important as being the hardest worker in the room. Some of my friends joke with me that I never sleep. That’s not true. But success has never come easy for me. Any success I’ve achieved has been the result of ridiculously hard work. And today’s success only got me here. To get somewhere else I’ll need more and more hard work.
  4. You can’t figure it out on your own. When I make big decisions on my own I usually make a mistake. But when I take the time to add plurality to my decision making process I make wiser , better informed choices. That’s a frustrating, personal, slow, arduous, and humiliating experience. It’s not that I don’t know what’s best for me. It’s that I’m so “in it” emotionally that I have a hard time seeing the bigger picture or asking the really obvious questions of myself. Left to my own, I make a decision and then generate a full-proof construction to justify my decision.
  5. Failure is not the enemy. Failing to see the opportunity in everything is. Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” We consider them both genius’ but maybe they mixed their natural born intelligence with a unique ability to fail well better than their peers?
What are some ridiculously hard lessons you’ve learned on your way towards success? Let’s learn from the wisdom of the crowd by sharing a comment. 
hmm... thoughts

Run Your Moobs Off

Yes. I just went there. Seinfeld jokes never go out of style.

Moobs – Unsightly man boobies.

Forget all of that Biggest Looser emotional stuff about being fat. “I don’t want my kids to know their dad is fat. I want to live longer. I need a new strart.” Yada. Yada. Yada. That’s all just TV psychobabble to me. If it works for you, awesome. But that show just makes me hungry. I love that there is a commercial during the weigh-ins so I have time to refill my ice cream bowl.

One thing I hate about being out of shape is where all of those extra candy bars, slices of pizza, and cheeseburgers end up. The belly, the butt, and for me… my upper chest. Blech.

And since I have the kind of friends who aren’t shy about pointing out my moobs I figure it’s probably time to do something about them.

So the last couple of weeks my running mantra has been: Run your moobs off.

Sure. It’s a bit crass. And surely it’s not Oprah approved. But it’s silly and makes me giggle and work hard at the same time. Right now, I’m about halfway to my initial goal of running a 5K without stopping and with just 5 weeks to go… I have many more hours of running my moobs off to go.

No easy way out

Whether I’m around professional golfers or big-time Christian leaders– one thing has been clear: It’s not merely that they are talented. It’s that they took a little bit of talent, a golden opportunity, and out-worked all of their peers to become the best.

The same thing is available to all of us.

Some people look at successful people with jealous eyes. They think, “Surely, they just got lucky.” Probably a little bit. But they also took the good fortune of an opportunity and made something out of it. Whatever their specialty is they have worked harder and smarter than you have.


Whatever your goal is… there’s no easy option coming.

For me, right now, it’s to run this 5K. For you? I don’t know what your goal is. But I do know this one fact:

You’ll just have to run your moobs off.