Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Battle of Self-Discipline

Self-discipline. It's not something I like, nor am I always good at it. I'm probably like many of you. If there is something I like or enjoy, I am quick to get after it. But if it interferes with my agenda, well...

My latest battle with self-discipline is health-related. I was diagnosed in September with type 2 diabetes - my A1C test was off-the charts! I'm taking a little magic pill every morning, and then I eat three meals a day and test my blood sugar twice a day. I have to record every item I eat and report to the doctor regularly. My doctor wants me to get my A1C numbers in the "normal" range by mid-January.

The problem is - I LOVE FOOD! And, of course, I love the wrong foods! I've had to significantly change my eating habits. I have to discipline myself to reject the temptation to eat those things I know are bad for me. I have to do it now because I haven't done it all my life. And if I don't want to have serious health problems down the road, I have to make these changes. That means no cheating!

Self-discipline is something many of us struggle with, in all areas of life. Are you struggling with anything in this area? Are there changes you have to make now in order to be where you are supposed to be in your life? We need to pray for each other in this area. In doing so, we will be carrying each other's burdens, and in doing so, we will fulfill the law of Christ.

Friday, November 27, 2009


If you know me, you know I'm not the truly sentimental type. But I do need to give thanks. We were blessed to have our daughter, Sarah, and our son-in-law, Adam, and yet to be born Micah, home for a week (they chose to leave San Diego to spend the week before Thanksgiving in Indiana!). As I left the Indy airport after dropping them off this morning, I reflected on how special this Thanksgiving really was. We had our entire family home with us for the holiday! It's been a long time since we were all together. So I am thankful for my family, as well as God's provision that allowed us to be together this year. (Sarah just called from Dallas, TX, to say they had completed the first half of their trip home - I miss the three of them already!)

I'm also thankful for great friends. Our ministry has given us friends all over the United States as well as several places throughout the world. I'm blessed to have good friends who allow me the privilege of staying connected with them. Some friends have been by our side for over 30 years, some more recent, but all are very special to us. My life has been enriched by their influence.

If you haven't done so yet, please let someone know you are thankful for their influence in your life. It may come at just the right time for them, and you will be glad you did!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Missional Intentionality

Earlier today I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with a pastor friend who is also in the military. During the course of our conversation, he said something that was so profound that I asked him to repeat it so I could write it down. He said, "Soldiers in high conflict areas share fewer personal problems than those in relatively low conflict areas." I asked him to flesh that out for me. He explained that military personnel in high conflict areas don't dwell on personal problems or issues because their primary focus is on the mission. They cannot afford any distraction that might jeopardize their own safety or the safety of the others in their unit.

Well, it's obvious (I'm writing about it) that it got me to thinking. I believe my friend's military observation may be a universal truth. As a pastor and church leader for nearly 30 years, I've observed a number of different churches either first-hand or from a distance. Those churches that are truly missional - they are focused on a ministry that is "others-driven" - tend to have fewer internal conflicts and problems than those that are more inward-focused. I've observed something similar in lives of individuals. People who are focused on others tend to complain less and do not have many of the personal or relational conficts that those who are more self-absorbed seem to experience.

Moving past looking at others, I need to make sure that I am focused on the mission Christ has given me. I am responsible to lead others entrusted to my care with missional intentionality. I am trying. How about you? Where is your focus?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tragedy & Prayer

I recently reconnected with some friends from a previous ministry assignment. We had a great time of getting caught up on each other's families. A few weeks later, a terrible tragedy took place in their lives. Their grandson (age 27) shot and killed his estranged wife in front of their toddler son. It came as a tremendous shock to all in the family. I've spoken to our friends about their pain and shock. When things like this happen in a small town, everyone knows and it's hard to get a moment of peace outside your home.

I'm asking for prayer for the family as the toddler is in the middle of a custody battle. I won't go into the details here, but suffice it to say that there are parties involved in this dispute that really can not provide long term, quality care. We need to pray for Max, who at 16 months is in great need of godly parental influence. We also need to pray for his dad, Tyler. While the judicial system will mete out the punishment for the crime he has committed, there is more at play. Tyler's soul is of great value to God, and we must pray for his salvation. His soul is worth redeeming! Please pray!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I was driving to a teaching assignment with IWU when I noticed something moving from right to left. There, in broad daylight (1:00 in the afternoon), a deer bolted across the road. And while the deer was about 200 yards ahead of me, my first reaction was to slow down. But then I surveyed the situation. To my right was a wide open field - the nearest tree stand was at least a quarter of a mile away. On the left side of the road was a large corn field; a great place for the deer to feed and to hide. While it's not unusual for us to see deer crossing the roads or standing in fields in rural Indiana, it is unusual to see one making such a bold break in the middle of the day. So I began to think, "What made that deer do what it normally wouldn't do? Was there a disturbance in the woods (kind of like a disturbance in the force - sorry, I couldn't help myself)? Did this deer have a death wish?"

But then I took it a step further. What influences in our lives cause us to do things we wouldn't normally do? While we could take that down a negative path, I'd rather venture in a positive direction. What kind of disturbance does it take for us to do the things we should do as Christian leaders? Do we naturally feed the poor, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless? Do we naturally influence our associates in spiritual matters? Do we obey the call of Christ easily, or do we have to have a "disturbance" in our lives to live like Christ in our world? Perhaps I need to be disturbed more than I have been, or than I like to be. Perhaps I need to pray for more disturbances in my life...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why Area 51?

Well, I was challenged by some friends to start blogging. I have resisted this move for a lot of reasons - I don't have time, I don't want to waste time, etc.

But earlier today I had a huge brain cramp. I was doing some district work and failed to attach a document that I had promised to send the individual. When it finally dawned on me an hour later, I sent him a new email. It then hit me: I'm 51, and my brain is an area that supposedly doesn't exit!

On a serious note, I'll be sharing some ideas from time to time that I hope will be helpful to others. I look forward to your feedback.