Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Making the Most of your Time

I am not the best person in the world at managing my schedule; I am sure they are people out there that do it much better than I do.  I am also not much of a person that likes to plan everything out but I have had enough times of entering meetings I wasn't prepared for, walking up to pulpit to preach messages I hadn't put enough study time into and missing out on family time due to work/school related circumstances.

The bulk of what I am about to share came about because of a catastrophic event that happened while I was in leadership.  May 2009 was the craziest ministry month of my life!  I found out that the founding lead pastor of the church I was high school pastor at was resigning due to a moral failure.  That meant that my responsibilities increased pretty much over night to help the church survive the blow.  Thankfully I was registered to take two classes that summer at Tozer Theological Seminary and one of those classes was Christian Spiritual Formations with Dr. Bill Randall.  Bill took some extra time with Charity and me to help me understand the need to make the most of my time in this situation of our lives.

Since then I have made some tweaks to how I make the most of my time but I do my best to schedule all my time to make sure that I am accomplishing what I want to do with my life (and what I feel God has called me to do).  If you need some help with your calendar can I encourage you to follow these steps:

When I first started planning out my calendar I would put in my weekly work duties, school requirements and pretty much everything else that I thought was super important.  That worked for about six months until my wife said: "Where is there time for me?"  That rocked me and revealed to me that I had selfishly been forgetting about my family while trying to keep the church alive and finish seminary.  Now that we have been doing this for over three years I start out my week with planning family time.  This includes taking my kids on a date, having a weekly date with my wife and making sure to block out some big chunks of my week for family time.

Now that you have taken some time to have a date with your wife, spend some time with your kids, make sure you are home for dinner or to be home for a family lunch once a week look for some time for yourself.  In his book As for me and my crazy house Brian Berry talks about how important it is for you to be a healthy leader by slotting some "Me" time.  This could be going fishing for a few hours on your day off, getting a coffee one morning or hitting the gym a few nights in the week.  This is vital to your personal health so make sure when you plan your week out you get some time in there doing some things that are going to make you happy and healthy.  There is a unique balance in this part of calendaring; I have learned that there are weeks I can get more time for myself and there are weeks that I have to fight for it (be prepared).

When you planning out your schedule make sure that you look ahead, a few months, to know what is coming your way.  Put big things on the calendar way ahead of time so you can make sure you are ready for them when the time comes!  If you have a mission trip coming up and need to schedule some team meetings this is the place to do that!  Our Community Life Pastor just emailed me with the dates for our Men's Retreat that is February and I immediately put that on my calendar.  It is unfair for you to call meetings the week of and expect that everyone will be able to attend.  When you think ahead it shows the people you are working with that you care about them and value your time.

My wife and I love to vacation!  This means that when we are doing our calendar we are looking for a place to put a get-a-way in there.  Now this doesn't always happen and its not always Hawaii (though I wish it was) but it could be thinking ahead to visit your family who lives a few hours away.  Thinking ahead also gets your mind out of the weekly grind to accomplish your dreams!

This can be the more difficult part of making the most of your time but this is a very important piece.  If you know that you are preaching this Sunday in Big Church than you need to carve out some big chunks of time to message prep.  Maybe you have some reoccurring weekly meetings that you need to prep for or you would like to get lunch with a key leader; this is the time to do that.  Figure out what needs to be done this week and put it on the calendar; then when you get a reminder about it you know its time to start working on it.

Also, when you do this leave some margin.  Leave some room between meetings so you are not rushing from one meeting to the next.  Leave some margin so if a parent calls and wants to talk you have the freedom to make that happen.  Leave some room so you can meet with an intern or catch up with a fellow staff member at the water cooler.

The way that this works best for me is to sit down on the couch on Sunday night for about an hour with my computer open.  I make sure that Charity and I get some time to talk through our week, then we talk through the month and finally I fill in my work week.  If you choose to start doing something like this give yourself some grace as you figure what works best for you.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our New Home

I have been wanting to put up a picture of our new house for the last month but life has been a little busy as we are landing in the Bay Area.

Most of you know but if you didn't hear we accepted a call to Central Peninsula Church in Foster City as the Campus Pastor.  We moved into our new place August 17th and are loving it!  The house (its actually a duplex but we only share a garage wall with our neighbors) is about half the size as our Vegas house.  Initially Charity and I looked at our house as a landing place and figured we would move after our year lease was up but that mentality has changed.

We love our little house!  It fits us perfect (minus the one bathroom).  We have a great front yard, amazing neighbors, live on a quiet street and its only 7 minutes from our church.  Thanks for all your prayers for our move! Come visit us!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Confessions of a Pastor: August 2012

August 2012 is done and gone but my confession from that month is still very fresh in my mind.  I don't think that anyone would blame me for this confession or think I am a bad person but it is something that I am wrestling with.  See when I first gave my life to Christ I felt like I had some great times in prayer.  I would spend sweet time in the morning with God; sitting on the floor with my composition journal and writing out my prayers.  That pretty much continued into the first couple years of marriage but once we had children everything changed!  Sleep was done, quite mornings were done, and well... it just changed.  Now I am not saying the change it bad but it sets up the stage for my confession.

I feel like my prayer life revolves around praying for kids to sleep

There I said it!  Now let me give you an average night for me.

While putting the girls to bed
Jesus please let my kids fall asleep 
Before I head to bed
Jesus please let my girls sleep through the night 
In the middle of the night when they wake up
Jesus please let my girls fall back asleep (and me too)
Basically I am sick of praying prayers that revolve around sleep so I am resolving to prayer for their salvation.  Charity and I are praying for them to understand the truths of God.  I have prayed for their husbands one day (that is kinda hard).  I am praying for them to make great friends that would point them to Jesus and for them to meet friends that they can point to Jesus.  I am going to pray prayers that are more important to the grand scheme of things and less revolving around my personal comforts.

So if you hear me complain about my kids not sleeping please remind me about how blessed I am to have these beautiful little girls in my life!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Forgiving the Unforgivable: Book Review

Title: Forgiving the Unforgivable

Author: David Stoop

Pages: 149

Publisher: Regal

Quotable: "The more we understand how much we've been forgiven, the more we are able to forgive." page 74

Recommendation: Great read, be ready to act

Forgiving the Unforgivable is a book that my counselor recommended to me (yep, I see a counselor).  Interestingly enough she recommended about four books for me to get.  I ordered all of them, from Amazon, and this is the only one that ended up at my house (Amazon said that my address didn't exist for the other three that I ordered at the same time).

This is a book that I read while on sabbatical when I took some solitude time to spend with God and work on my own issues.  The truth is I have issues; I have messed up and I have been hurt in life.  When I started reading this book I made it to the first Chapter and put it down only to pick it up eighteen months later and love it!  There were times, in Duck Creek Village, that I would sit on the couch, lay in the bed, sit by the fire and not be able to put this book down.  I had to "force" myself to put it down to process my emotions.

This book taught me some great things!  In my life I have a tendency to place the blame on others; in other words I like to make my problem your fault.  I have learned how unhealthy that is and have done my best to work on that.  Stoop has some actions plans in place on how to work at forgiveness better, understand the emotions involved in that, how to not forgive too quickly and overlook the problem.  This book requires action from the reader.  At the end of every chapter there are questions to ask yourself about the topic and how you can respond.  The bottom line is this is a great book but it will require action on your behalf if you read.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Sophie's 4th Birthday

It really seemed like just the other day we brought Sophie home from the hospital.  For those of you who have known us for a while you know that Sophie had a rough start in life.  See when Sophie was born, August 26th 2008, she has meconium aspiration.  Now that is a big word that most people so its easier to say that right before Sophie was born she pooped and inhaled it into her lungs.  Once she came out the doctor told that she had to spend 2 hours in NICU (Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit).  Two hours turned into two days which turned into six of the most difficult days of our families life; ever!

Thankfully after that incident we haven't really had any lasting effects with Sophie.  She is a healthy little girl who actually had two birthday parties this year due to our move.  Her Bay Area party included a handful of friends, lots of pizza and a fist-full of tokens to play on some games!  This is to you Sophie; I am blessed to be your dad.  If you read this one day please know that I love you so much!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Moving, a new house and other thoughts

We have officially been in the Bay Area for over two weeks now (and I haven't blogged once)!  The last couple weeks of our lives have been extremely busy.  On August 15th I finished up an almost eight year run of ministry at South Hills Church Community in Henderson, NV.  I have some great thoughts from that run of ministry that I will have to share in another post.

On August 16th I drove a 20 foot Uhaul to Foster City with all our house packed tightly in there with two the help of two great guys my Tundra made it safe and sound.  We were able to move in very smoothly thanks to the help of a handful of guys up here (I have no clue how people do life without a church family).

Shortly after moving in we went to "look" at the local SPCA for a suitable dog for our family.  I had promised Sophie that once I finished seminary we would get a dog.  Our hope was to find a medium sized dog that was between 6-18 months.  We walked all around the SPCA and most of the dogs were not able to be adopted to a family with young children.  Getting a little discouraged we turned the corner to find a litter of Chihuahua puppies.  Now Chihuahua was the last dog on my list but there was a cute little girl that grabbed the hearts of all our family.  We actually left to think about it and ending up coming back a few hours later to pick up Candy.  Candy really is the perfect dog for our little girls but she is also like having another child!

The following day I started my new role as the Foster City Campus Pastor at Central Peninsula Church.    The first couple days were a whirlwind filled with meetings, getting my office ready, more meetings, lots of coffee and some more meetings.  We officially introduced me to our church on Sunday August 26th and that was amazing.  My pastor, Mark Mitchell, prayed for me in all three services and I left feeling very encouraged and very humbled that God has chosen me to fill this role.

As always I appreciate your prayers and will do my best to blog more to keep you in the loop of what God is doing in our lives!