endings for beginnings – thoughts for another new year

29 12 2012

I’ve never found new year’s resolutions particularly helpful, and this is the time of year that many people are thinking through what resolutions they want to make for 2013, another new year that is only days away. This is not to say that I do not set goals…my life revolves around goals and lists of things to do 🙂 What I find challenging, and think most of us do not do well, is to intentionally think through things that we need to END, in conjunction with things that we want to BEGIN.


One reason I think people struggle with new year’s resolutions is that they are often additions to an already full life. (I am not saying this is true of every resolution, but quite a few!) So after a few weeks, or maybe even months, the new goal is squeezed out by the patterns & behaviors that are already entrenched in our lives. The last one in…the first one out! It seems that in order to have new goals (or resolutions), we need to intentionally end some old goals, patterns, or behaviors. In the language of a horticulturist:

Pruning is a process of proactive endings…
1. Healthy buds or branches that are not the best ones,
2. Sick branches that are not going to get well, and
3. Dead branches that are taking up space needed for the healthy ones to thrive.

(Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud, pg 15)

This has been a challenging thought bouncing around my mind lately. See, there are probably many good things that are part of my life, but if they are not the best things, then they are draining time and energy and resources. Wow! I hadn’t really thought about this with such intentionality before! Here is a little more food for thought:

When we fail to end things well, we are destined to repeat the mistakes that keep us from moving on. We choose the same kind of dysfunctional person or demoralizing job again. Not learning our lessons and proactively dealing with them, we make the same business or personal mistakes over and over.

(Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud, pg 12)

A challenging thought for me as I stare down the few remaining days of 2012!

So what do you need to prune for 2013…a necessary ending for a new beginning?


What is “ministry?”

22 04 2011

Perhaps there are many answers depending on the emphasis or perspective. Life has forced me to move beyond the traditional-official roles usually considered (despite moving into one of these myself), and here is what I see…

…a guy who forestalls “vocational ministry” so he can love on and grow with his family

…a community of people loving on a family through the unthinkable – death

…a guy hanging out in a coffee shop just so he can meet people and form redemptive relationships

…a couple going through a rough time yet committing to working through the pain and insecurity and frustration with no easy roads out

…a girl & a guy, married, who purposely adopted a couple of children with reactive attachment disorder (RAD) and love them with all the love they can muster as they are grounded in Christ’s amazing never-let-go-though-you-reject-me love

…a guy loving on heart-broken and desperate people finding solace in the drink in front of them

…a family who adopts an ethnically-different baby because he is worth loving…and they find he changes their lives more than they his

MINISTRY is not just what the “professionals” do…it is not just what takes place in a church or organized “Jesus group”…it is not just the description of the duties of a religious leader.

MINISTRY is people loving God and neighbor…taking faith steps as a result of radical Christ-centered thinking…these are “everyday” people yet they are anything but every day people…these are steps outside the traditional Christian ways and they are paths within the Traditional ways…it is love, mercy, grace, kindness, and sacrifice poured out, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute…when you have to force yourself because all that is returned is contempt and pain and rejection…it is painful and messy and expensive…and it is the conscious decision that it is worth it because of the shed blood of the One, who did not stay dead (for he was more than just “mostly dead”), but rose from the grave…without this hope I have nothing for ministry, in whatever form or role!!

What do you think ministry is?

it happened…

15 01 2011

I was riding down in the elevator on my way home on friday and caught a glance of myself in the mirror…

…it’s happened. maybe it’s because i hit 3-0. i don’t know…but i realized that i have turned in to a “business professional.”



13 01 2011

one of the absolutely fascinating things about having kids is watching them develop. for me it is not so much the “milestones” that are reached as it is the unpredictability of what comes next…what is the next thing they will learn or discover. i didn’t notice it at first, but luke has a budding imagination. he is stepping through the doorway from concrete to abstract, and it is awesome and a privilege to experience it with him! tonight i walked past his room and heard him carrying on a dialogue as his 18 wheeler truck careened off the play table to the carpeted cavern below. several sports cars were damaged, but the truck survived just fine 🙂 it was inspiring…so much so that i stopped reading early tonight and just sat, letting my mind wander, slipping out into the fields of imaginarium…

it is worth it if you have a few minutes you can spare!

better days to cherish

8 05 2010

It is the weekend. It is the morning (started a bit early)…cool air, birds chirping, coffee in hand, watching Luke be adorably cute…I am home with family…the semester is over…


these are the days to cherish

24 04 2010

It’s Saturday. The sun is shining, temp is mid 70’s, and I am home with the family not doing any studies. Ahhhhh. It is so refreshing!

So, we thought we still had a baby boy…having to rethink this 🙂

weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen!

18 02 2010

…and off we go on the journey! I’m in the thick of my thesis research and, well, it’s a blast and its a drag all at the same time. Some of the reading can be a beating. I mean, if someone would just write what I want to say, then I can refer to them and be done with it! No, instead I have to try and piece various peeps together to basically say…”see, I’m not the only one who thinks this!” Why can’t I be “an authority” on the matter?? And then there is the blast…I mean I did we did pick the topic, so it is what I am interested in! Oh yeah, in case you forgot, something along the lines of “An Evangelical Comparison of Biblical Demonolgy and Mayan Spiritism.” Anyway, I have to have the bulk of the research and a written outline of my paper done by March 15…it is looming up ahead (cue impending doom music)

I am also taking another journey, with the Sunday School class. We are traveling back to the time of the Early Church to study developments in Christian thinking. What a great series, huh?!? I’m sure into it!!! As I was prepping the intro, came across this great quote about studying Church history:

Studying church history…is like being at a Bible study with a great company of people who thought about those questions that were bothering you and others.
— Alister McGrath

Isn’t that great?!? So, we are joining a bible study of Christians from the first 5 centuries of Christianity. The main focus is to look at how they contended for the Christian faith (see challenge here). As our faith is bombarded, how do we respond? Let’s take a gander at how the early brothers and sisters responded…