Saturday, May 2, 2015

What Should I Do?

As a Pastor, Relationship Coach, and over-all Spiritual Adviser I am often asked, "What should I do?" in any given situation. The reality is, you can't always know just how things will turn out, especially if it's involving others. You don't know what they will ultimately do. Most people, if not all people go to the marriage altar fully committed to and believing that they will be together forever. At leasts that's the plan. I mean who, unless nutty, goes to the altar thinking, "If it lasts a year that's cool!" No, we all were thinking, "Till death do us part!" (Then when things get off course the thoughts enter of cutting the brake lines of your spouses car.)

I cried laughing at the movie This is 40, starring Paul Rudd (actually a High School friend of mine) when they talked about thoughts of killing each other and how would they do it; he said, "I'd throw you in a wood chipper!" She said, "I would poison the cupcakes ... so you would die slowly and peacefully." So funny!

All that aside, What Should I Do? is a great question we should always be asking ourselves, all through our entire life! Let's not get stuck, especially if you are in an unhappy place. Why stay in a bad place in your relationship? Why not change it up? Go get needed counseling! Do something you've never done before? Ask different questions? Ask even the tough questions you are afraid to ask.

The harsh reality is that often we don't know just how good or bad our decisions are until we are living in the results of them. Right? You think he's the perfect one, or she's the perfect one ... then 3 years later ... ugh! The annoyances! Ugh! The hard work begins! Or 3 years later you are just so thrilled about your choice of partner! That "perfect job" that seemed like a Golden Opportunity, doesn't seem so golden in 12 months, or maybe it gets even more golden. Sometimes you just gotta go for it! Jump and see if you fly or fall.

I'm currently reading a book, From Zero to One by Peter Thiel and he says that what often keeps people from achieving greatness is being too "risk-averse" meaning, scared to jump! Scared to try something new ... fear of failure. I've been there. But I've also been on the other side when you do jump, and hope to fly, but you fall. At those times, you get back up and look for another place to jump off again.

Just a side note here in case someone is reading into this post; I am not saying that if you are married and feel as though you are falling to just jump out of the relationship. As you know I am a firm believer in marriage and giving it every shot you can possibly give it before ever 'jumping off' from your commitments! Just to be clear IF you are thinking about getting divorced I highly recommend postponing it at least 3 - 6 months to work on yourself AND your relationship with a Coach, like me, or whoever to save it.

Trust me here, I work with a lot of divorcees and most of them wish they would have given it more of a shot before running the other way. There are a lot of reasons for this; no one wants to be considered a quitter. Especially if they quit without some valiant effort to fix it. But if there is valiant effort and it still ends, you will sleep better knowing you gave it a real shot! Make sense? I'm telling you this only because it will save you from so much guilt, shame, and self esteem issues!

In closing, so how can we make the best decisions when asking the question, "What Should I Do?"

1) Pray/Meditate on it. (Ask God for guidance)

2) Seek advice from friends, family, and professionals. (Those closest to you)

3) Look at the evidence. (What are the facts telling you?)   

4) Do the necessary research to get answers. 

5) Jump!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Making Long Distance Relationships Work

Long distance relationships can be difficult, and if that is your current relationship reality keep reading, I've got good news; There are a few simple things you can do to make it work and you probably already know what they are.

First, I have to say that being in a long distance relationship in this age of crazy-awesome technology is far better than back 30 years ago, like when I was dating and all we had was the United States Postal Service! Gesh, I'm old! Ha ha!


7 Things To Make A Long Distance Relationship Work

1) Trust

This is the MOST important element that must be present for a long distance relationship to work, and work well. In fact, this may be the most important element needed for any relationship to work well and be healthy. Without 'trust' there will be constant discord in the relationship. Suspicions run high in relationships where trust is not present.


2) Communication

Text, email, phone call, messenger, letters (the old fashion ones). Of course communication is important in all relationships, but especially when you are far apart it must be intentional and frequent and consistent. Never leave each other hanging!


3) Daily Updates

Now with texting, facebook, snapchat and every other social network you can keep each other updated on the little happenings throughout the day. This keeps your partner in the know with each facet of your everyday life.


4) Be quick to forgive.

No one is perfect, so give your partner a break and be quick about giving forgiveness! You will need it soon enough, so be generous in giving it!


5) Be quick to say, "I'm sorry!"

I was taught growing up we should always be quick to say, "I'm sorry" especially if and when you are the one in the wrong. Make amends! There is nothing more toxic than bitterness, or holding a grudge. Apologize when you are wrong.


6) Trust

I believe there is only one option when it comes to trust, you give it until it is broken. When it is broken, then you must rebuild to a place of trust again (if you chose to walk that road), but that may take some time. And it will definitely take some hard work, oh, and patience!


7) Trust

Refer back to #1 & #6





Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Rest for the Soul

I was speaking to someone the other day who used to be a pastor. He said he lost his family, his church and is driving a delivery truck now all because he didn't take time for himself and his family. He said, "I worked all the time, and I didn't know how to slow down or say no. I was trying to be the 'pastor' everyone wanted. I tried to be all things to all people all the time and I ended up losing myself and my family in the process."

I do not think this "busy thing" is unique to pastors. I think this is a problem we all face in culture today, especially with the use of all the wonderful technology, which is a blessing AND a curse. 24 hour connectivity is great for those who need to get a hold of you, but isn't good for the soul.


Take (1) day of rest, a sabbath - Exodus 20:8–11

It's important to have (1) day you cease from your work. Do what you love to do. On that day do only what refreshes you, builds you up, encourages you and makes you smile. Make sure to surround yourself with people who make you laugh, smile and feel good about life.

I must warn you, guard this day with your life! And invite close friends and family to hold you accountable to it. People will try to steal it from you, not intentionally of course, but it will happen. You are often the only one who can stand guard over your life, do it with all diligence! Your Soul will be glad!

I read an amazing book that touches on this topic even more, called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, and I did a review here!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter 2015 Reflection

I always enjoy Easter. It's when you can expect to see the whole church family on the same Sunday. It's like a huge "church reunion" of sorts. And this year was no different. The parking lot was full, the pews were packed, the energy was palatable, and most importantly the presence of God was powerful. Watch it HERE!

SPECIAL THANKS to all the wonderful, kind, compassionate and committed people at Mercy Church who served to make the day a success! You are the best!

Notes from Easter Message:

MEMORY VERSE: Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

MAIN TEXT: Luke 23:26-43

1) God hasn't FORGOTTEN you.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 “... anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. (NLT)

2) You are FORGIVEN.

Romans 3:23-24 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” (NLT)

3) God wants you to live FREE.

Romans 8:1-3 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.”

4) NEW life is available through JESUS.

Romans 6:4 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

(All Scriptures are New International Version unless otherwise noted)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

You Are Invited

Sunday, April 5 - 10:00 am

If you are in the Kansas City area I would love for you to join me at MERCY CHURCH for our Easter Service. Following the main service we will have an Easter Egg Hunt on the west lawn of the church for the kids!

Happy Holy Week! 

MERCY CHURCH
7457 Cherokee Dr.
Prairie Village, KS 66208
(913) 390-1200

www.mercychurchkc.com

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Russia

Hi to all my Russian readers! I just checked my stats to find out that I have almost twice as many people in Russia reading my blog posts as I do in the United Stated of America! And I haven't even been to Russia, yet! I am unsure if this is an anomaly, or legit. If you are in Russia and are reading my blog please COMMENT, thank you!

I would love to come visit Russia and speak! Thank you for reading!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

My Childhood Pastor - Phil Hollis

Rev. Phil Hollis
(April 23, 1950 - March 13, 2015)

Yesterday my childhood pastor died in a tragic motorcycle accident in Topeka, Kansas. Pastor Phil is responsible for my spiritual growth through my critical years of elementary and junior high school. I remember sitting in the adult service playing with my Matchbox Cars while listening to Phil's sermons. He is one of just a couple people, outside my family, that made a direct impact on my life which led me to becoming a pastor today. I would consider him my father in the faith.

I gave my heart to Jesus back in 1976, when I was just 7 years old, in the small Assembly of God church in Stanley, Kansas named Faith Chapel where Phil was pastor. He was very passionate in his relationship with Jesus. He would often go door to door around the church inviting people to church.

My dad served as the worship leader, and my mom served as the pianist under Pastor Phil's leadership at Faith Chapel for 5 years. It was a joy watching my parents serve as volunteers in key leadership positions in the church. Then many years later Phil's two kids, Jason and Brandon Hollis, would join me in starting Mercy Church in Kansas City, both playing critical leadership roles.

Pastor Phil would often tell me, even though I was just a little guy, that God had big plans for me and that one day he believed I would grow up to be a preacher.

The story I am going to share now is nothing short of a gift from God to me. I have been preaching a series entitled, To Infinity and Beyond at Mercy Church this month.  This week the theme is Living Beyond Yourself which is about the importance of leaving a spiritual heritage. While preparing for the message I called Pastor Phil to let him know how much I appreciated his investment in me as my pastor as a kid growing up. We ended up reminiscing about those early days in my life, 1978 - 1983. I hadn't spoken to him at any length for many years previous and getting to talk just two days before his passing was a gift. Pastor Phil, thank you for those minutes on the phone, you will be missed!

Please pray for Phil's wife, Sheila and his boys Jason and Brandon Hollis and both their families!