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Healing through Serving

My Mom died and went to spend eternity with Jesus in September of 2014. It was a very hard time for me but God was with me. I don’t say that flippantly—I saw Him working in my life before, during and after to help me get through this season. His presence was tangible.

Leading up to this time, God had me working with Generous Giving to bring more Journey of Generosity’s (JOGs) to the Bay Area. A JOG is a 24 hour retreat where Christians gather to discuss, in a safe environment, generosity. I attended my first JOG in August of 2014 and then two weeks later, JOG facilitator training to be in a position to share this magnificent experience with others.

Five days before my Mom died, I met a new friend while serving at City Impact’s Adopt a Building program. Jojo was going through a painful divorce and needed someone to talk to. I felt honored to be able to minister to him.

Around the same time, my friend Nelson asked me to help him in a program to teach teenagers in the Bayview area about finances.

I could have opted out of all of these quite easily, but I felt led by God to serve. I began to sense a correlation between serving and healing. Could it be God’s plan that we help others while going through a painful season in our lives?

When we look at the last hours of Jesus life what do we see?

  1. Him feeding and then washing the feet of his closest friends. Matthew 26:26-29
  2. Asking God to forgive those who were crucifying Him. Luke 23:34
  3. Sharing salvation with the criminals on the cross so they could have eternal life with Him. Luke 23:43
  4. Making sure His Mom was taken care of by his closest friend John. John 19:26-27

I have no theological backing for this next statement but I believe it was God’s purpose for Jesus to continue ministering to others right up to the end in order to endure his darkest time on earth. In essence, to take the focus off of Himself and place it onto others.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

We know we are to be like Jesus. We may often think of this from a point of view of holiness, but we can follow his example when it comes to healing too.

I believe Jesus shows us how to deal with the great pain that comes into our life so we may finish the race God created us for, like Jesus did, like Paul did, like I pray you and I do.

What stories of serving through pain do you have?

time

100 Hours

We each have 100 usable hours, give or take, every week after we take out sleep and commuting.

Does that seem like a lot to you? Or not very much?

With most of us working around 50 hours each week, that leaves another 50 hours for the other priorities in our lives.

I struggle with this. Constantly.

It’s hard to give enough time to my relationship with Nicole, my son Luke, my stepmom and my mother and father in law, friends, church community, and taking care of myself physically. I also need a little down time so I don’t go crazy. I wrestle with how to fit everything in, and no matter what I’m doing, I feel like I should be doing something else. I’m constantly feeling guilt, shame and fear.

UGH!

How do you do it? What do you do in order to maximize these 100 hours every week, preserving and growing your important relationships, without losing clients, getting fired, ruining your marriage, or burning out?

I use the lineup  in order to keep me focused on what is most critical. It’s not perfect, but for me, although it has been a struggle, it has improved my most critical relationships.

But I know how easy it is to slip back into old habits. I worry I’ll go back to being crazed and confused, especially now that I am launching this blog. I just don’t know where the time is going to come from.

More coffee? Less sleep? Help!

My most important relationship, with Jesus, is at risk of slipping due to my busyness and my addiction to social media. I am not where I once was spiritually. I am getting too busy and having more and more trouble saying “no thank you.”

Decisions are hard, but I know you can help me. So, come on, give me your best advice, I want to learn from you.

Thank you for helping me out!

mom

The Beginning

God gave me life.

God gave me my Mom.

God took my Mom two years ago today.

Today I begin this blog in memory of my best friend who is now spending eternity with Jesus.

Hallelujah!

But life is very short. I want my life to count. I want your life to count!

I want to make a huge impact in people’s lives—in your life. I want YOU to make a huge impact in people’s lives—in my life.

One way I want to do that is through this blog.

I intend for it to be a community, based in the Bay Area, that is radically abandoned to Christ, connecting people who are living life the way He intended for us.

In my own life, I’ve identified the three key areas of focus as calendar, cash, and calling.

Calendar = how we use the time God has entrusted to us.

Cash = our relationship with the money and material possessions we are entrusted with.

Calling = our purpose.

I’ll be focusing most of my blog posts around these important areas of our lives, and opening up discussions about how we can all do our best to live in God’s will. I hope we can all help each other to continue to grow in the Lord by sharing our thoughts and ideas here on the blog.

Please join me…. the best is yet to come!

 

 

lineup

My Lineup

In 2010 I began doing research for a white paper to grow my business and create a niche for it. I interviewed executives and entrepreneurs, asking questions about how they balanced their career, family, and life’s challenges in order to finish well in life and not blow up all of their critical relationships. I also read books and dove deep into this topic in order to further my knowledge.

This white paper took me over 200 hours a great deal of money to complete.

I gained no new business from this white paper although I interviewed some of the most successful executives and entrepreneurs in Southern California. (I am really good at spending a lot of time, money and energy on a project and gaining no new business. Must be a gift.)

What I discovered is that we all have about 100 useable hours every week and how we use those hours will determine our destiny. Destiny is important to me and I imagine it is important to you. I tend to be all over the place with my time unless I have a path to follow and some lanes to stay in. So I’ve created nine categories that help me prioritize my time and energy.

If you’re into baseball metaphors, I like to I look at these nine categories as my baseball lineup—they’re my players. I want to score home runs—and I don’t want to get stranded at third base. So here’s my starting lineup:

Owner: Christ

Christ is the owner of the team I manage. I own nothing; I am His manager. The game I am playing is the game He wants me to play, at least this is the way it is supposed to go. No owner, no team, no team, no game, so Christ must be far and away the most important part of this team. At least this is what I think sometimes, if I played that way more often I would be winning more and hitting more home runs.

#1. Couples

For the first 6 years of our marriage, Nicole never felt like she was a priority to me. Our marriage suffered because of my insecurities and arrogance. This persisted even after I started reading the Bible in our second year of marriage and actively attending a Bible study. I am still working through a lot of stuff and will share with you in the next post just how bad it got. At least now I realize our marriage must be one of my priorities, and I continue to work on it.

#2. Children

While I am alive, no one else is better to be a Dad to my son Luke than I am. This continues to be a struggle while I work at home and attempt to balance my commitments to work, home, community, and spiritual life.

#3. Care for Self

Much like oxygen on the airplane, I have to first take in the oxygen so then I can give it to those sitting beside me, like my son and others about whom I care deeply. This means I must prioritize my own physical, mental and spiritual health.

#4. Cash

For me what this looks like is how I spend the first part of my day. I start out, though not perfectly, reading the Bible and then praying. This is my Christ time. I then, most every day, balance my checkbook (cash) and review my monthly spending plan, and look at my calendar of appointments coming up today and in the coming weeks. Some of this I do on my own, and some with my wife. This is currently working for us as a couple, though it takes a lot of time—we’d love to know what is working for you that might help us be better stewards of all that we’re given.

#5. Calendar

This is all about making the best choices in how to spend my time. Nicole and I have struggled so much with this. We argue and waste a lot of time over the calendar. (Ironic, right?) We are open to what you are doing, we will share what we have done. We’ve had some successes and we will share those with you in this series, as well as our fights, and hopefully we can encourage one another in this challenging place.

#6. Calling/Vocation

Just like #2-Children, the category of Calling will take on various levels of importance during different seasons of life. But even now while I’m in an active, growing, child-rearing season of life, I’m constantly trying to pay attention to God’s calling on my life and attempting to stay right where He wants me.

#7. Community

I think of community as many groups: People we help who will never repay us, friends at church, those we share passions with, neighbors, people who are close friends (think Peter, James and John for Jesus), those who will carry our casket if we were to die today. The list can be quite expansive, the idea, of course, is to live in community, as we cannot live the life we were designed to live without community.

#8. Care for Parents

Parents are important—God commands us to honor them and gives us the promise that when we do, things will go well. I was impatient, demanding and downright mean to my parents while I was growing up and they were alive. During this time, things were not going well for me. Hmm…..I had many major issues with this over the years, and I will share some of them with you. I messed it up and don’t have another chance with my own parents, but I can expand the meaning of this to include care for my Step Mom and Step Dad as well as Nicole’s parents and our Great Aunt and Great Uncle as well as other elderly people in our neighborhood.

#9. Designated Hitter

What other priorities would you like to include on your top ten list? For me, it is being in a Coffeehouse—this is my happy place. For you it could be cars, canines, cats, camping, college football or any other hobby/activity that you love that would help you not get stranded at third base. (Doesn’t even have to start with a C!)

How have you intentionally used your time to determine your destiny?

What do you think about this lineup?

Over the upcoming weeks, I will share struggles, arguments, failures, and successes, and I hope to hear some of yours. Let’s help each other better use these 100 hours we continue to receive every week.