My family and I are enjoying the Florida sun for a well needed vacation. See you next week!
Here’s the latest installment of my sermon series on Ephesians:
Medal of Honor Goes to Soldier ‘Who Held the Line’ – This is what a hero does.
Jesus is for Losers – A needed reminder from Tullian Tchividian.
Nine Reasons Men Should Stay Away From Porn – Read this guys!
Can Neuroscience Help Us Disciple Anyone? – Amazing merging of science and theology!
Eight Ways to Help Your Pastor Have a Good Vacation – True words Mt Vernon!
Last Sunday we came to Ephesians 5:18 in our summer long series on Ephesians and its famous command to “be filled with the Holy Spirit.” In simple terms, here’s what that means:
When your pastor goes out of town on vacation, is it okay to cheat on him and visit another church? I’ve had a unique experience the past two weeks at Mt Vernon. I guess it’s a summer thing. I met a very nice lady two weeks ago who said this was her first time at our church. She went on to say that her pastor was out of town that Sunday so she wanted to come check us out. Her church was more traditional and she likes contemporary, but she feels obligated to her home church. But once the pastor left, she split and came over to ours for a Sunday. Then this past Sunday I met another couple who said this was their first time at Mt Vernon. They told me they’ve been in Columbus for years, and they just seemed to ooze “churchiness,” so I went out on a limb and asked them, “Is there a particular pastor in town I don’t need to tell that you’re here today?” They sheepishly looked down and said, “Well actually, we go to So and So Church here in town, but wanted to try Mt Vernon.” They sat on the back row so that if they saw anyone they knew that would rat them out they could bail.
I guess it’s part of our church shopping culture today. Visiting another church when you’re in a committed relationship with another is like cheating on a loved one. The funniest part about the whole thing was that I saw the lady from two weeks ago the following week in town. We immediately recognized each other, and there was this awkward moment where we had to decide whether we would acknowledge each other in public. She checked to see if anyone from her home church was around. It was as if we were two people from a spiritual one-night stand unsure how to speak to each other the next morning.
Now in all honesty, it felt pretty good to be the pastor of that church that other people wanted to come and check out. That is, until, I got on Facebook later on that day and checked my newsfeed. One of the families who has been coming to our church the past several months (but who had missed the past few weeks) had just posted, “Loved the service and can’t wait to go back!” — at [Another] Church. Thank you, humility.
QUESTION – Have you ever cheated on your pastor when he went out of town?
The mood was set perfectly as I stood up to preach Sunday. We’d just been led in worship and our hearts were ready. Bob (our worship pastor) had prayed a beautiful prayer and the bumper video set a solemn, reflective mood as we were about to dig into the book of Ephesians. And then I forgot to take my microphone off mute, leading to those few awkward seconds when no one can hear you.
Realizing that I just broke the mood with my mess up, I had three options:
1. Blame it on the tech guys. Never a good option.
2. Try to pretend it never happened. Only it did happen, and everyone knows it. Pretending like it didn’t makes things weird.
3. Own it. Get them to laugh, even at your expense, reset, and get right back up on that horse.
Here’s my mess up, in all it’s glory:
I should probably put something sentimental here, something like ‘there’s always peace and joy in the house,’ but that would be a misrepresentation of reality. I’ve got four kids ages 7 and under. Sometimes there’s more crying than joy (especially when more than one of them gets going at once!). To be completely honest, parenting four young kids is exhausting. I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way, but my kids wear me out. Robin and I try and trade off nights to actually sleep (one of us gets to sleep, the other gets up with the kids if needed). In reality, Robin gets up a lot more than I do. Last night was my night to stay up. It was a typical night, getting up four times (three times with our infant Elle and once to stop a four-year-old trying to sneak into ‘mommy’s bed’). It can be exhausting at times, but I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s. I love how my life has unfolded.
Here’s the greatest thing about having four kids: you get over ‘you’ real quick.When you’ve got four young kids, the amount of ‘you’ time is laughable. I used to play golf a lot, then I had kids. I used to be able to watch whatever I wanted on tv. Now it’s a steady diet of Barney and The Wiggles. Robin and I used to be able to go out and eat whenever we wanted. We laugh at the thought now.
Our schedules revolve around nap time and bedtime. Even something simple like getting the family dressed and ready for church is a herculean effort. There is always another kid who needs something from the refrigerator, another diaper to change, another baby to be held. By the time we’ve successfully run the gauntlet and gotten the kids tucked in for the night, Robin and I usually fall down exhausted, coveting a full night’s sleep, knowing that one of us won’t get it.
Parenting four young children (simultaneously) is stretching, demanding, all-consuming, exhausting. And yet in the midst of this I find joy. I realize I don’t have to focus on myself to find happiness. As I empty myself out for the good of others, I discover a God who is ready to fill me up with a joy that never runs out. Once I get over me, I’m in a position to receive the blessings and joy and fullness that God promises me in Scripture. The trick is to remember that joy at 3 am when I’m changing a diaper while half-asleep.
QUESTION: How has parenting your children been a blessing to you?
Here’s the latest installment of our sermon series on Ephesians. Enjoy!
Balancing Justice and Mercy in Immigration Reform – A great perspective on this divisive topic.
Catalyst’s Brad Lomenick on Secret to Success – Great interview with the guy who helped build the Catalyst Conference, a conference I look forward to going to every year.
The Road to Jericho & the Border Crisis – Another strong perspective on the border crisis from the top Baptist mind on the subject.
The Pastor’s Wife Who Went Crazy – Amazing first-person perspective on mental illness.
Why Are So Many Christians Afraid of Hollywood Bible Movies? – With more and more Bible epics coming out, this is a good word.
BONUS Video – For the guys, a history of hair fashion over the past 100 years.
Watch this short clip to see Ephesians 4:20-24 illustrated as yard work can teach us an important lesson about our faith.