I have been a pastor since 1996.  During this time I have felt the negative effects of stress many times in my life. One of those times was very serious for me.

It was 4 days before Christmas of 2001 and Lauren was due to give birth to our second daughter any day.  I was madly preparing for a wedding that was taking place the next day.  I also was preparing for the two services that I was leading on Sunday. Needless to say, I was stressed!

I hadn’t felt well all week but then it escalated to having incredible pain in my chest and arm. To make a long story short, I ended up in the hospital for 4 days because I had virus attack my heart.

My immune system was weakened because of the stress that I had put on my body. I was discharged on Christmas Day (Merry Christmas!) and our daughter Sydney was born 4 days later. As a result of this incident I was off work for a month and then I could only go back part-time for several months.

I wish I could say that I learned my lesson about killing my stress from that experience but I didn’t.  In May of 2007, I ended up on a 2.5 month medical leave as a result of stress and other issues.

Then in 2009, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  Because of this I have to be even more aware of my stress levels. I have to admit that it is a daily struggle for me. There are still times (more times than I like) when I allow stress to get the best of me.

The truth is that stress kills many marriages, ministries and the people who lead them and if we don’t kill it, it will eventually kill us! WebMD says that 75–90 percent of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. Deadly stress is an all-too-real reality for the typical pastor.

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A Franciscan Blessing

April 20, 2015 — 3 Comments

Franciscan Blessing

I don’t know the origin of this Franciscan blessing but it is definitely counter cultural.  I admit that is not the typical blessing that most people seek in life.  Most of us want the exact opposite.  We want comfort.  We want to be stress fee.  We want peace of mind.  We want everything to be unicorns and rainbows.  Why would we ever want discomfort?

Francis understood most clearly that if our joy in the Lord is to be authentic it must lead to compassion that flowers into action.  May this uncomfortable blessing open you to a more profound life.

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funny church bulletin bloopers

Church bulletin typos can be some of the funniest things you’ll ever read. Here is a collection of funny church bulletin bloopers that I have compiled for your enjoyment.

Funny Church bulletin bloopers

Warning: This post may force you to thoroughly examine every church bulletin, hope and even pray that your church has a funny typo or mistake and may lead to uncontrollable laughter. However, despite all of that, this post will also give you an appreciation for editors and the people within your church who catch the mistakes before they become printed and distributed. 

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spiritual pathway

Our individual uniqueness means we will all experience God’s presence and learn to relate to Him in different ways, in ways that correspond to the wiring patterns He Himself created in us.  We call this our spiritual pathway.

It is great to recognize our spiritual pathway (to discover what yours is go here) but how do we use this information to help us experience God’s closeness?

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spiritual pathways

Spiritual pathways have to do with the way we most naturally sense God’s presence and experience spiritual growth.  Our individual uniqueness means we will all experience God’s presence and learn to relate to him in different ways.   We all have at least one pathway that comes most easily to us.  We also have one or two that are the most unnatural and require a lot of stretching for us to pursue.

There is enormous freedom in identifying and embracing our spiritual pathway.  We don’t have to beat ourselves up or feel guilty because of what is not our pathway.  We can focus on relating to God in that way for which we were made, while at the same time recognizing our need to stretch in certain areas that don’t come so naturally to us.

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Money is a limited resource for most of us (unless of course you are BIll Gates or Mark Zuckerberg).  Since it is a limited resource we must discern how we spend it.  We must discern what is going to bring us the greatest satisfaction with our discretionary money: Should we spend our money on experiences or things?  According to some recent research the answer is experiences.

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slowing down

Slowing down is very difficult for the average person.  We live in a culture that pushes us to our limits.  I would argue that most of us are living at an unsustainable pace.  It’s insane what is considered normal today. Our whole life is spent running from one thing to another.  We are always tired and we are not experiencing true rest. This is not the way to live life!  We need to slow down but that is easier said than done.

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