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mom

Words matter.

After my Mom passed away I found a short letter she had written to me. Although I don’t know exactly when she wrote it or why she didn’t give it to me, nonetheless, it touches my heart every time I read it. In it, she expressed how proud she was of me as a son, as a husband to Nicole, and as a person. She used the words, “What more can a mother ask for?” And she reminded me to always put God first. I believe the Lord made sure I found the note.

Words matter.

I need a constant reminder of this.

I need to practice this all of the time.

Recently I deeply hurt a friend with my words and I didn’t even know I was doing it. We had grown so close that I would make fun of this person in jest, not even thinking about the words I was saying and how they might be received. Levi Lusko, Pastor of Fresh Life Church says the following about words: “Words are powerful things. They can build up and tear down. They can unlock potential and they can crush spirits.” Proverbs says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (18:21). I have apologized and I am trying to learn from my mistakes. I have so much to learn.

In Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica he wrote: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Mom was a great encourager to me. I try to be an encourager to others but fall short when I let my pride—wanting to be funny and make people laugh—overshadow my desire to encourage. This too I have to change.

Part of my Mom’s legacy is encouragement. On this, the third anniversary of her going to Heaven and spending eternity with Jesus, I want to try and encourage you with my words. Although I miss her greatly, her legacy lives on with this blog which I started one year ago today. I’m celebrating this first anniversary! All of you have been an encouragement to me, and this blog has helped me immensely, letting me synthesize my thoughts and culling them into one central place. It has worked as a healing place for me to give and receive encouragement as we all drive towards living the life God created us to live in Christ.

I am still convinced the best is yet to come and although life is full of challenges, I know Jesus is my greatest encourager and corrector, my ultimate source of joy, love and wisdom. I know that whatever pain or suffering we are currently going through, He loves us perfectly (John 15:9), and we are His treasure (1 Peter 2:9-10). ALL will be worth it, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

My prayer for us is that we can encourage one another, learning together to live the life God created us to live in Christ.

How are you doing with giving and receiving encouragement?

encourager

Who’s Your Teammate and Encourager?

Chris was my friend, teammate and encourager the year I was MVP of my T-Ball league back in 1982. Although I lost contact with Chris, I still look back at our friendship fondly. I remember Chris as humble, happy, always friendly and a very good T-ball player as well. He was a great teammate and I know I would not have been MVP that season if I did not have him by my side.

Who is by your side? Who is the Chris in your life? Do you have a friend who is humble, happy, always friendly, an encourager and on the same team as you?

Life is meant to be lived in community. From the beginning, God modeled the idea of community through the Trinity of God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus.

Jesus also modeled friendship and community.  He had three close friends—Peter, James, and John. “And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves” (Matthew 17:1).

Among those three, Jesus also had a best friend, John. “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” (John 19:26).

They supported Jesus, though not perfectly, to help Him accomplish his mission for His life.

They were on the same team, not always humble, happy nor friendly, but they were with Him and for Him and always willing to support Him. If Jesus needed community in life, don’t we all?

Whom do you have in your life as a friend, teammate and encourager, and how have they supported you to live the life you were created to live in Christ?

surrender

My 5-Part Surrender

I am a stubborn person, and God didn’t have an easy time with me. For years my progress as a Christian was three-steps-forward, two steps back. Finally after many years, I allowed Jesus to be CEO over my whole life—but believe me, I am still always tempted to wrestle control back from him!

Looking back over the last several years, I identified the five major components of my surrender. They were:

  1. I prayed for God to send strong Christians into my life to help me with my marriage. As you can imagine, my stubbornness was affecting my marriage as well as my spiritual life, and I knew nothing would change until I addressed it.
  2. God answered this prayer in the form of recreating my community to be what He wanted, and I forced myself not to fight it.
  3. By becoming involved in this new community, I learned about humility, grace, love, what the Bible says and how it applies to my life. Without the right community, I don’t believe I would have surrendered. I am far from perfect, but I’ve had a definite change of heart and mindset.
  4. The next step for me was moving from “believing” to “doing” which took faith and the continued reliance on the community. They stayed by my side, praying for me and encouraging me on the path God has set for me.
  5. This all led to me slowing down, to stop quenching the Spirit of God by striving so hard all the time. I’m learning to let Him lead me.

Even though I have less net worth and income than I once had, I have freedom, fascination and a lot more fun than I have ever had. It appears God wanted to make significant changes in my heart, and this took adjusting my net worth and income. This has been scary at times, but God is my provider and He will never leave me nor forsake me.

Getting the calendar portion of my life more in line with what God wanted allowed me to get the cash category more in line with what God wanted. When these two were more in line with what God wanted, this allowed the Holy Spirit to speak deeply to me, and whisper things I could have never have dreamed about. I believe now I am stepping into the calling God has on my life.

What is your surrender story? How has it led to more fun and stepping into what you were called to do?

givingtuesday

Giving Tuesday

I love that we have a “Giving Tuesday.” It’s only been around since 2012, and I think it’s a fantastic addition to our holiday lineup of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and all the rest.

What a concept – a day in which we focus on giving to causes that are close to our hearts. We can give to those who need what we have, which not only helps them, it changes our hearts. Giving freely and generously can move us closer and closer to God.

What a cool thought: A people united, on one day, across the world, stopping to give. It’s a movement I’m happy to be part of!

What if we kept the giving going? What if every Tuesday was Giving Tuesday? What if it didn’t feel like an obligation but a privilege? I know many of you already give intentionally and regularly. But a reminder never hurts. Let’s think about how we can make giving an even more integral part of our lives.

Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than receive.” I think we all understand what he meant because of the way we feel when we’re able to give something of value to help someone else.

Did you participate in Giving Tuesday this year? How does “giving” fit into your life on a regular basis?

gratitude

Getting into the Christmas Spirit

Here we are again—the holiday season. Thanksgiving is here, Christmas is coming, and we’re supposed to be full of joy and gratitude. Or at least act like we are!

But I’m not feeling it. Have you ever struggled with this? I have an awesome family and a great life, and  I’m grateful—but I always have a hard time getting into the “Christmas spirit.”

And even when I do, I find it easy to get overwhelmed by the commercial aspects of the season and the overwhelming social requirements. (Christmas parties! Christmas shopping!) I need reminders to focus on the simple ideas of family and gratitude and Jesus as the “reason for the season.”

So this year I’m doing something about it! And I’m inviting you along for the ride.

*30 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude During the Holidays*

My team and I have created a free giveaway. It’s a downloadable PDF of 30 scripture-rooted actions we can do between Thanksgiving and Christmas to help us improve our gratitude this season.

Some will be reminders; some may even be brand-new ideas. My hope is that we’ll take some action in the next month to become more grateful.

Sign up to receive my blog in your inbox at greghurley.com (sign up on left, or if you are on your phone, at bottom of page) and receive this awesome gratitude giveaway FREE!

Here’s to a better Christmas Season, unlike any we have had in the past, full of real gratitude!

But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)

question

What do I want?

Right after Nicole and I got married, we started fighting a lot. Mostly about money, but also related to what we should be doing (calendar and calling) and how we were going to do it. Little did Nicole know that she had married a big jerk!

During this rough time in our marriage, I came up with one statement that I would repeat when we began to argue. I was having trouble winning these arguments (many men might be familiar with this), so I gave up and said:

“I don’t care where we live, what we do for a living, or how much money we make. I just want you, me and any children we have to be Christ-followers.”

That was in 2006.

That is still the theme of my life today. Although I struggle with this, it’s what I want—with one addition.

Not only is it my fervent wish that my family follow Christ, my desire has expanded to everyone else as well. Everyone! It’s my prayer that we all would live as God intended.

That’s a big, audacious prayer. But I think God loves those kinds the best; especially when they are in line with His desires too.

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

How about you? What do you want?

When you look at Paul’s life, was He confused as to what He wanted? “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Powerful!

How about Jesus—confused? No, of course not, He was never confused. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

Super powerful!

God.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Perfect!

My prayer is that we would seek God in order to know what we want; and that we would ask God for those things, no matter how outrageous, with full faith that he will answer.

grump

I Am a Grump

Being raised an only child, when I was growing up everything revolved around me. Even when I was older, this continued, and I often felt frustrated when things didn’t go my way.

This is a battle I fight to this day. It gets worse around my birthday, November 13th, and continues until college football crowns another champion for the year.

So this year, I’m changing the game plan. Instead of focusing on myself and my issues, I am attempting to be strategic and do the following:

  1. Focus on things above. “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth” (Colossians 3:2).
  2. Seek God’s Kingdom first. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
  3. Think of others more than myself. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

How?

An event to kick off the holidays.

On Facebook, I have created a page that says the following:

I am turning 44 on November 13 and I need your help. During the Christmas Season, every year, I get the blues and I act like a GRUMP! On Sunday, November 13th, join me at Yerba Buena Gardens from 1:30-3:30 pm. There are 4 things that would make me happy (not 44).

– Give me a hug

– High-five me for making it to age 44

– Consider throwing the Frisbee with me.

– Bring a small gift card ($5-$10)

If you want to join, put it in the comments and we look forward to seeing you then!

What I plan to do with the gift cards is give them out to strangers during the next month, sharing with them that this gift is from God, and that the greatest gift ever is Jesus.

I hope you can join me this Christmas Season as we learn to be more and more like Christ.

 

 

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.