“Every leader functions on two stages–the front stage and the back stage. The front stage is the public world of leadership. The back stage is the private world of the leader. There are many resources to help you succeed on the front stage. But who is talking to you about you and your backstage life?
- prioritize matters of the soul
- develop healthy spiritual practices
- address problems that lead to burnout
- create a healthy rhythm in your life
- craft a healthy leadership culture
- develop better systems in your church
- move toward an unhurried life”
From the book Replenish by Lance Witt
At the age of 60 I had a personal goal to take a six week sabbatical from my ministry responsibilities at Discovery for the above mentioned desire.
However, real life would not allow that to take place.
Then, an idea of a partial sabbatical took shape and here is how it worked.
Discovery church here in Prescott has developed and been given some amazingly gifted and talented people.
Seven of them responded to my request to speak on Sundays and each brought such a rich and diversified message.
Something besides giving me the much needed break came out of this as well.
Over the seven weeks I noticed something I have never that experienced.
Each speaker showed our church what our actual theology was and that was powerful to witness.
Here are a few quotes and statements from the past seven weeks.
Week 1 with Keith Dionise
“Jesus is the continuation of the story of God.”
“We need the Gospel to transform the heart, to grow with our relationship with God.”
“Jesus is coming back…..Without this truth rooted in our heart we can be discouraged.”
“In our everyday practical life we are living one of four ways: our hearts are hardened to the word of God, we recognize the word of God but do not accept it, we accept the word of God but not the reconciliation, & we accept the reconciliation of God.”
“Without having a foundation of faith, we can become a skewed in our beliefs.”
“God doesn’t want us to have a piece of him, he did not sacrifice his son for this, to deny him is to deny the work he has done for us.”
“We are not here to reinvent the gospel … we are here to let the gospel will reinvent us.”
Listen to the sermon here:
Week 2 with Helen Jackson
“As mother’s we are not given a manual. Our manual for life & reference is the word of God.”
“The Bible gives us instruction for birthing, marriage, family & anything else we may encounter in our lives.”
“We can say that we love God, but if we don’t read the Bible, how do we know how to love him?”
“We live with God & he lives with us, he is a personal God.”
“In our times of trial & trouble we can sometimes question God’s direction. The Bible can help answer our questions, & define God’s character.”
“We eat everyday, food is our body’s fuel. The Bible is no different, it is the food for our spiritual body. If you don’t fast for your physical body, why are you fasting your spiritual body?”
“Sometimes the message we feast on can be undesirable, & other times it can be pleasant, but remember no matter the message it feeds our spiritual being for the better.”
“To glorify God is to bless God.”
“We can glorify God by our character & our actions.”
“God did not create us for him to be our pleasure, he created us for HIS pleasure.”
“If you want to live for God & have a relationship with him, you cannot live without his word, the Bible.”
“It doesn’t matter where you are in your life, God can use you.”
“In today’s world, people are feeling beaten up, all they want is hope. God IS hope, he is faithful, present, giving, generous, & good. He will give direction, just read it.”
Listen to the message here.
Week 3 with Maureen Simpson
“Never pass up an opportunity to break bread with someone who you don’t know. A new relationship & possibility to share the story of Christ may arrive from that occasion.”
“Live with intentionality with the people around you everyday. You do not need to be blood or have any other connection to any one person in order to serve selflessly.”
“Do not take for granted your availability to serve, worship and live as you do in America, because not everyone has that opportunity to do so.”
“The relationship of Christianity isn’t meant to be just for us, but to be given away & shared with others.”
This message is not available online.
Week 4 with James Dufour
” I have not even read the entire bible and yet I have been ask to preach it.”
“Ephesians 6 tells us to “stand” three times.”
“I’m so excited for the next best book in the bible.”
“The belt of truth holds us together.”
“All of us are fighting a battle.”
“Our righteousness is found in Jesus.”
Week 5 with Jason Dyer
“If we are only trying to please people, then we are not servants of God.”
“Deep down we all seek validation & approval.”
“As Christians we share because of our love for others. Regardless of what others may think of us, we must never miss an opportunity to share God.”
“Understand that the approval of “they” & “them”, doesn’t matter.”
“Do NOT seek the approval of man, you will only lose your way, because at the end of the day IT DOES NOT MATTER.”
“As a society we have been conditioned to a culture of “SELFIES”. Do not chase after the approval of man.”
“We are not called to donate & give for the acknowledgment & pride, when we give, give without saying.”
“A lot of us are caught up in seeking the approval of others & ourselves, that we are missing the real reason that we are here.”
“If you are struggling with the circumstances of your life & questioning your approval from God, remember, he GAVE up his ONLY son because GOD LOVES US.”
“God doesn’t only just love us, he cherishes us, we are valued by him.”
“No matter where we are at or what we’ve done, GOD loves us, because Jesus died for US.”
“Understand that God isn’t going to love a FUTURE version of yourself more than he loves you right NOW. ”
Listen to the message here:
Week 6 with Nolan Howell
“What is Biblical meditation: Finding an opportunity to have a time of quiet to focus on God.”
“Every time God gives us something good, the world finds a way to pervert it.”
“With Biblical meditation we strive to fill our minds’ with positive thoughts & strengthen against the attacks of the enemy.”
“When we meditate on God’s word, he is with us.”
“Meditating on God’s word renews our souls. It allows us to discover God’s will for us.”
“Meditation is not easy, it takes practice. All too often when we try to focus on God, the distractions of life can come rushing in.”
“Do not be intimidated by Biblical meditation, if you’re not sure how to begin, start by focusing on a specific scripture or think about all of the gifts that God has given you, & thank him for those gifts.”
“Remember to focus on what’s next, Jesus.”
“Be honest with yourself, we may look like we are put together, but we’re not. The reality is we’re a mess. We need his help, but we may not know what to say. Guard your mind & thoughts & invite God in, to meditate on his word.”
Listen to the message here:
Week 7 with Boniface Musyoka Nyamu
“God came down to rescue the people from the power of the Egyptians, & to bring them up from that land to a land that is good & spacious, to a land flowing with milk & honey to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, the Jebusites…..(.& the websites)”
“At times we may know who we are, but along the way we can forget who we are. Remember though that God will always remember who we are.”
“A mirror is a tool that allows us to see ourselves. We have many different “mirrors” in our lives that let us see our selves.”
“The people in our lives can act as a mirror in the way that they can reflect onto ourselves what they themselves see in ourselves.”
“Our jobs can act as a mirror in reflecting our outward successes to those around us.”
“Our cultural influences such as social media can act as a mirror in the way that they reflect our thoughts & public personification of ourselves to others.”
“The hardest mirror for us to look into is our past which shows us our mistakes & regrets.”
“The most important mirror in our lives is the word of God. We are a reflection of him. Walk towards this mirror.”
“We have to trust in the word of God. We have to have faith to walk through the hardest parts of our lives & trust that God will not fail us, that the past is gone, & that he is working on us.”
“We put so much pressure on ourselves in the different “mirrors” that we choose to look into. Look into the word of God & see your true reflection. We are not perfect, but we will see ourselves freely when we look into God’s mirror.”
“God is the light, the light of our lives & our future.”
“Through the other “mirrors” we can get distorted views of our lives & believe the lies these false mirrors reflect to us.”
“Our distorted views that we reflect cause us to question our worth, value & purpose.”
“These distorted reflections can give us a false identity. We are not here by mistake, we belong here. Our true identity is because God wants us here, & that he LOVES us all so much.”
Thank you all who contributed to this seven week journey.
My favorite devotional bible resembles a worn ball glove. Its front and back once-blank pages are lled with notes and thoughts compiled over the past couple of decades. I don’t carry it outside the house, due to its fragility and the treasures that reside in those pages.
While most of my reading today is in my Logos software, to return to the familiarity of those leather-bound pages brings a sense of anchoring unlike anything else. I can’t count the number of times I opened it in distress or weariness of ministry, and closed it with a renewed sense of God’s presence and power for the next step ahead. And those notes…
ose notes have coupled with God’s Word to be of great encouragement to me! All of us can identify with the Psalmist David, as he wonders to himself over his own discouragement. All too often, the greatest source of encouragement in ministry has to come from within. is is an awesome grace that God provides, through His Holy Spirit residing within us. We have to choose to receive it in those moments.
Be encouraged today. If you’re feeling low, go for it— encourage yourself like David did!
Stay healthy in ministry!
Ways to encourage yourself:
• Talk to yourself about why you are discouraged. King David did it, so can you.
• Remain in His Word. Review personal notes. Re ect upon God’s past faithfulness in tough times; and realize God will do the same for you in this present di cult season.
• Save personal notes for future encouragement. If they encourage you now, they will again one day.
FORGE 2017 ON THE BANKS OF THE BUFFALO RIVER ARKANSAS
I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me.
12 Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.
– Psalm 41:11-12 NIV
What a great time with the men of Journey Church.
America’s First National River
Established in 1972, Buffalo National River flows freely for 135 miles and is one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the lower 48 states. Once you arrive, prepare to journey from running rapids to quiet pools while surrounded by massive bluffs as you cruise through the Ozark Mountains down to the White River.
Thanks for getting us there Jesse Quiroz.
Hey Discovery Church fam! Just wanted to update you guys on our epic LA trip. I believe Steve will also be posting this on his blog as well! First and foremost, I want to thank you guys for your prayers. We had a little trouble getting out of Phoenix but overall we made it safe and sound.
As you can see in one of the pictures because I look so dangerous and thuggish they pulled me away for a private security check which took an extra 30 minutes. After realizing we weren’t terrorists, we managed to get through. However, before checking our gate… (which we should of done) we decided to feast. As you know airports are a little pricey so you usually want to limit your purchases. We take our time and fellowship for a while and then decide to head to our gate.
As we arrive at our gate we find out our flight has been delayed an hour and a half! This was a little frustrating just because the Chi Alpha leadership team was expecting Pastor Steve to speak to them that evening. So of course we decide to spend our time getting coffee and brownies. At this point we have probably spent more money on food at the airport then our actual flights! Finally, after more snacking we board our plane and courtesy of my disability we get the front seats with extra leg room. Of course I take the window and give Steve the middle seat.
After a smooth flight out of Phoenix we land in LA and meet up with this super rad guy named Mitch. Mitch drives like a true Californian and takes us fast and furious style to our destination. We arrive at a Christian missions center across the street from UCLA and Steve and I meet all of the leaders and of course the legend Winston Bui.
Winston heads up the UCLA Chi Alpha group and loves college football almost as much as he loves Jesus. And he really loves Jesus!! Out of the kindness of his heart Winston takes us out to the Soup Plantation with all of his leaders.
This place has some BOMB food and the worst part about it is it’s a buffet. As you know, food is an essential to Pastor Steve and I, so we chow down!! It was refreshing to hear all of their stories and to talk with them. Each one of these leaders have fully devoted their entires lives to Jesus and will make any sacrifice needed. After dinner our crazy driver Mitch and his wife took us back to our hotel room. Thankfully his wife was driving this time. We check in to our rooms and pass out quickly from our food comas. Old man Steve wakes up at the bum crack of dawn and young whippersnapper Andrew sleeps in way too late the next morning. (Typical) Steve decides to explore the beautiful botanical gardens at UCLA that morning while I’m still back at the room pumping out the Z’s.
Around 11 am Mitch picks us up and we go to Fox Studios.
We meet up with our friend Tim that we met the night before at dinner for a private tour of the place. Tim has been working at Fox studios for 8 years and he was able to show us all around the grounds.
We explored sets of Bones, American Horror Story, and Modern Family. Shows neither of us have seen, but we really enjoyed seeing behind the scenes! A very cool experience. We also cruised by the Fox Sports 1 building. (Ya that’s right Matthew Simpson)
After exploring for a few hours we head back to the room and Steve and I swap this time. He takes a nap and I explore the city. After my adventure and Steve’s power nap we head to the Chi Alpha building where we prepare to speak. After everyone arrives we engage in some student led worship. We could tell that the Holy Spirit was invited in this place and that he resides within this amazing group of students! After a powerful time praising God, Winston invites Steve up and Steve begins to share about US/Discovery church! He talks about his vision and what God has been doing in our lives. He explains that we explore, trek, hike, bike, climb, swim, roast marshmallows, camp, EAT, repel, adventure, and GET OUTSIDE… So God can get INSIDE.
Shortly after, he invites me up and I share my story with the students. I definitely felt God speaking through me and I continue to pray that he uses what I said to impact those students. After I shared the story that most of you have heard, Steve finishes it off and talks about having no limits. He tells a story about how he was extremely parched hiking in the canyon with his daughter and he asked for the river to be turned into blue Gatorade. Sure enough he finds a bottle of blue Gatorade behind a rock. Super crazy how God works!!
We both talked about so much more but those are some of the highlights. After service we all fellowship, eat more food and have multiple arm wrestling competitions! After the amazing service we head back to the hotel room where Steve passes out in minutes.
The next morning we head on our ways and thank God for such an Indescribable trip to the city. Thank you so much Discovery Church for praying for us on this Journey. Love you guys!
Here are a few more pics of our trip to UCLA.
Last week we invested a week on a sailboat our son graced us with in California.
It was a week of rest, reflection and letting go of somethings.
Vacations are great to get unplugged and get away.
They are a great time to experience the new and let go of the old.
It is great to reduce the amount of material things along the way in life…check out http://www.theminimalists.com
But I’m mostly thinking about the emotional baggage — the spiritual baggage.
Guilt, shame, and regret. Unhealthy attitudes, bad habits. Misplaced priorities. Impossible standards and unrealistic expectations — for ourselves and others. Unresolved hurt, bitterness, and unforgiveness. Prejudice, self-righteousness, complacency. Fear, worry, and negativity.
I actually got a box and put some “emotional baggage” in it and left it a garbage ben on the beach.
It was very freeing!
Here are a few scribbles and thoughts of stuff we should leave behind.
Jesus tells us to “shake the dust off your feet” Matthew 10:14
Our baggage weighs us down and hinders us from moving toward our God intended future.
Another story in the old testament tells of Saul binding behind his baggage – “When Samuel gathered all the tribes of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin was picked…Saul son of Kish was picked. But when they looked for Saul, they could not find him. 22 They asked the Lord, “Has Saul come here yet?” The Lord said, “Yes. He’s hiding behind the baggage.” 23 So they ran and brought him out. When Saul stood among the people, he was a head taller than anyone else. 24 Then Samuel said to the people, “See the man the Lord has chosen. There is no one like him among all the people.” Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!” 1 Samuel 10:20-24 (NCV)
Dust That Derails Your Destiny
Shake off the dust of Bad DAYS.
Shake off the dust of Bad DEEDS.
Shake off the dust of Bad DEBTS.
Two types of anger expressed in the Bible.
“Be angry and sin not” Ephesians 4:26
“Thumos” is anger expressed . “Perogismo” is anger repressed .
1. It Takes Control Over Me.
You tear yourself to pieces in your anger. Job 18:4 (ncv)
2. It Effects All Of My Other Relationships.
See to it that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:15 (niv)
3. It Damages me Spiritually.
Be angry and sin not …Do not give the devil a foothold Ephesians . 4:27
How To Leave The Baggage Behind
1. I Need To Forgive With A Positive Attitude.
2. I Need To Forgive Others Like God Has Forgiven Me.
3. I Need To Forgive To Release my Future.
We have No Future Without Forgiveness
“shake the dust off your feet” Matthew 10:14
“the washing with water through the word” Ephesians 5:26
“never let the arrows of criticism pierce your heart unless it first passes through the filter of scripture.” – Erwin Mcmannus
Leave some stuff behind and travel light.
This Sunday …The Yin and Yang of us.
Wow, over 35 years of marriage/love/hope/dissapointments and a ton of grace, Steve and Brenda have found balance and a way to to stay through it all. Join us Sunday Discovery Church for the story of three and a half decades of marriage, ministry and the art of keeping it together.
10:00 A.M. – Prescott College
wear your flip flops