So… It’s Trump

All conventional wisdom has been thrown out the window and Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president. Barring a complete collapse, Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat nominee for president.

As someone who has always urged people to be responsible citizens and VOTE… the question just may be… what now? (It is for me, anyway.)

Russell Moore had some thoughts on “the lesser of two evils” approach.

Living in Minnesota, it honestly doesn’t matter how I vote because this state has been solidly “blue” for decades.

Some thoughts:

  1. It won’t happen, but the media (lazy cubicle-dwelling Twitter followers that they have become) needs to knock it off talking about the “evangelical” vote like we all think the same. It’s becoming ridiculous.
  2. Major Christian outlets need to do the same. Evangelicals don’t vote in “blocks” any more. It’s silliness.
  3. We don’t get to vote for Jesus. (And, thankfully, Jesus doesn’t need our vote.)

We live in shifting times. Trump and Sanders have both exposed real issues in the electorate. There are large numbers of people being ignored when it comes to getting things done in government and while I seriously doubt the Republicans and Democrats will “get it,” there is a seismic shift that is happening in this cycle. They would do well to pay attention.

I seriously doubt they will.

For believers, we need to learn new paradigms. If you are 40 and over, it is needed NOW. I have been trying to prepare people for 15 years, but I’m one small voice. Maybe now we’ll pay attention. Hopefully the Church isn’t as dense as the media or the standing political parties.

Voting is important. How that shakes out for me… well, I am not sure I’ll get it figured out too soon.

Getting involved is even more important. Not just in running for office, but being involved in what is going on at the local level. What is important to your neighborhood? What will bless your city? How can we extend the hand of Christ to the community around us in a way that BLESSES?

Isn’t it time to be better about what we’re FOR rather than what we’re against?

Tough days are ahead. We need to get Spirit-anointed minds in gear and see what the Spirit has ahead in some uncharted waters.

Questions on influence

In the past week I’ve been looking back (again) at the voices that have influenced my life as a minister, as a believer, as a person.

Two big questions:

  1. What are the top 5 books that have deeply impacted your life as a leader and/or believer?
  2. Who are the top ten influencers in your life?

I am challenged in both questions to keep my numbers DOWN. I can list so many more books and so many more people.

Who is helping YOU grow in life? How is that happening on an intentional basis?

Where I find my passions

Taking time to reflect on what is vital in life is important. We need to set aside time regularly to reflect on what drives us internally.

What brings passion to my life? What makes me want to get up and get at things in life every day?

Recently reflecting on what drives me right now, and rejoicing so deeply over what is going on in our church and ministry, I jotted down a couple of things that get me up every day.

  1. My family. Our boys are grown and gone. Two are married. We have one grandson. (Have I told you about him?)🙂  And when I reflect on my family, on where my wife and I are in life, I am filled with joy. I watch young men do life and see what God is doing in them. I have wonderful conversations with my wife and enjoy much more time with her… and I am driven every day to pray for them. I am filled with joy every day seeing what is happening in their lives.
  2. My church. Our church has turned a major corner. We are in a new day that is magnificent. What is ahead is exciting and fun. It’s hard work. WOW! Is it hard work! But joy-filled work that will yield harvest for the Kingdom. We will see more churches planted. We will see the Spirit touch our city. I want my story to be “written” showing my deep love for the church where I get to pastor.
  3. My city. I love the Twin Cities. Winters drive me nuts (except for this last one), but it’s not all about the weather. It’s about the people. Where our church is… well, I really love that part of the city. I watch people do incredible things in that city. They work hard. They love people. They make the schools better. They make the city better.

I can wake up every day with a driving passion to help my family, my church, and my city thrive. The Lord has gifted me with these precious passions. Where I feel his presence and empowerment most is when I am doing something in those three areas. This is where I want my “story” to be known. This is where my passions lie.

Heroes of the faith

Turning 50 was wonderful. That lasted, what, 20 days?

Transitions are tough, and at 50 I just hit a transition I knew was coming, but still hated to see. One of my great heroes of the faith is retiring. Dr. Gordon Anderson announced his retirement as president of North Central University today. This is my alma mater and also the place I currently serve as an adjunct professor.

Those who know Dr. Anderson only as a college president know a good part of him. I was incredibly fortunate to know him as TEACHER. Dr. Anderson was on the faculty during my time as a student. He was tough, knowledgeable, passionate, and deeply hungry for teaching others about Jesus. I took classes I didn’t need to take just because Dr. Anderson was  teaching them.

He also got me hooked on Calvin and Hobbes. In fact, that may be his greatest legacy. We were in a class one day and somone asked about some papers we had handed in and had not received back as yet. Dr. Anderson replied, “Sorry I didn’t get to that yet. I was somewhere over Russia the other night and couldn’t get to it. Well, at least I THINK it was Russia. My transmogrifier doesn’t have windows.”

To that point I had only heard of Calvin and Hobbes, but enough to recognize that term. I read Calvin and Hobbes the next day in the comics… and was hooked for the length of the series.

When my wife and I had left North Central to start a new church in my hometown, we found out he was the morning teacher at a Bible camp about an hour away. We went over for a couple of days just to listen to his morning teachings. It was so great drinking in his wisdom once again!

After the last morning session we could attend, we were talking to him and nervously asked if we could take him to lunch. It was nerve-wracking for us. He was our hero. Did heroes even EAT?

He graciously accepted our invitation and we had about a two hour lunch talking life, ministry, and so much more.

Transitions happen. This one is significant. I am so deeply thankful to the influence of this incredible man of God. I am so deeply grateful for the professors I had during my time at North Central, and so deeply grateful for Dr. Anderson’s influence on my life as a teacher of the Word.

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The big 5-0

In a few days I will be 50. FIFTY. 5-0.

49 has been good. It’s been a great year.

Our family has added a daughter-in-law. We also celebrate our first grandson.

It’s been a great year.

Our church has made a big leap of faith, moving from it’s old facility into a new building and we’re trying to get all permits lined up to get a coffee shop built. It’s an intentional step to keep blessing our community and it has stretched us. God is bringing favor to us.

On this particular birthday, I am going to do something I try not to do very often, especially on this blog. I am going to ASK for something.

The coffee shop has been trying to gain some traction in funding to make sure we have every possible cost covered and then be able to add some nice things right from the start if possible.

For my 50th birthday, while I don’t ask for gifts or presents, I would like to impose on you and ask if you would give to the coffee shop GoFundMe project. It would mean a lot to me personally.

Make it the “FIVE” project, if you like. Give in increments of 5.

$5, $25, $50, $500… you get the idea.

It would mean a lot if on my birthday (January 1), there was a new surge in funding for the coffee shop. 2016 will be a year of ABUNDANCE. It will also be a year of HARVEST. Would you consider helping me get it off to a great start? Click on the highlighted link above and consider giving. As you give, also please consider passing along the link in your social networks.

THANK YOU!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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