Tag Archives: School

5 minutes


I am by nature a relatively lazy person. Truthfully, I think we all have to fight this. I mean if I were given the choice of doing something I do in my every day routine or taking a nap, I think would always opt for the nap. I even find myself resonating with my 11-yr-old every time I ask him to do the simplest of task, you know like brush his teeth.  “Ugh. Right now?!?” And yet, it’s the procrastination, the laziness, the not wanting to stay ahead of the game that so often adds stress and frustration to an already hectic life. My wife and I were talking recently and she mentioned something she had learned once. A speaker had shared a talk about “five minutes”. Basically the person shared that if you were staring something in the face that you didn’t really want to do, but you knew it would take five minutes or less, that you should go ahead and crank it out. I know it seems overly simple, but it speaks volumes into our overly hectic lives.

We truly are over-scheduled people. We have work and school and church and rehearsals and practice and gym time and lessons. And somehow in the midst of all of that we are called to foster healthy homes and families and spiritual lives and do you see where I am going…? So sometimes we do need something as simple and as profound as “five minutes” to help us take back some semblance of order with our lives. In the 90’s there was a Christian record label called 5-minute walk. And 5-minute walk’s motto/vision was simple. They urged people who listened to their artists to begin to spend five minutes a day with God. Just five minutes; and see where it would lead. Now think about this for a minute…each person in their life has an average of 39,000,000 minutes. Of course some have much fewer and some have a bit more, but if we take out five minute increments from 39,000,000 it really doesn’t seem like that much and yet the impact could be huge.

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul writes these words, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16 And Ephesus was a very busy place at the time. It had the temple of Artemis and an extremely healthy guild trade system, while also being a port city for the Roman empire. So when Paul urges the believers there to make the most of every opportunity he realizes how busy their lives are. But maybe the same challenge exists for us today. If it only takes five minutes to go out of your way and be nice to someone; do it. If it only takes five minutes to write a hand written note to someone you know is going through a difficult time; do it. If it only takes five minutes to stop and pray for someone you know is hurting or someone that has hurt you; do it. I think we will all be amazed to see how profound of an impact five minutes can have on us and the lives of those around us.



Growing up in a relatively small town meant that life always seemed to have a rhythm. Your school year would flow in it’s given way. And then school would let out and that meant it was time for little league baseball. Of course, the only thing outstanding about my short-lived baseball career was my incredible ability to get from the dugout to the snack-stand before my teammates for my free snow-cone after each game. I remember the first time my family mixed up this rhythm because I decided I wanted to play basketball (I wasn’t too great at this either…most improved player three years in a row). Basketball was a winter sport though, and so it took place in the middle of the school year. And when I first hear the word extracurricular I actually thought it meant something in addition to church and school. You see, the center of my communal life wasn’t school, although that helped to provide the rhythm, but rather church…and I think that was and still is a good thing.

According to Merriam-Webster’s, the secondary definition for extracurricular is, “[something] lying outside one’s regular duties or routine.” And so I suppose my way of understanding recreational basketball in its regard to school and church wasn’t that off base. However, over the years I’ve begun to notice a cultural shift where extracurricular has begun to solely reference things outside of one’s academic career to the point to where church itself has come to be viewed as extracurricular. Before you get defensive, hear this; I don’t believe that church attendance is necessary for one to believe in God…but (there’s always a but). At the most vital moment in the life of the church, that is the beginning, we read this from the book of Acts, “All the believers were together and had everything in common…and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts‬ ‭2:44,47‬ ‭The power found in the life of the early church revolved around their shared life. And yet for many, church life has simply become an occasional appointment that they can check off their calendar so they feel as if they’ve accomplished something.

Within the manual of the church of the Nazarene, we have what we refer to as a church constitution (I know it sounds exciting). And within this constitution we affirm what we aspire the church of the Nazarene to be. It goes a little something like this, “[The church is] those persons who have voluntarily associated themselves together according to the doctrines and polity of said church, and who seek holy Christian fellowship…and the simplicity and spiritual power manifest in the primitive New Testament Church.” – 2013 Manual Church of the Nazarene. Did you see that? The church is those people who want to be together and see the early church’s power manifest in their lives. I hear people often complain about the disorder in their lives, the chaos in their schedules, the brokenness in their familial unity and their in ability to feel at peace and I will often look at their involvement in a local community of faith for a sign. The “simplicity and the power” of the early church was present because of their presence in each other’s lives. When the life of the church becomes extracurricular it often means that you’ve chosen to sacrifice something else. You have chosen to sacrifice people praying for you or senior adults hugging your kids. You’ve given up singing together words that remind you of your identity or eating with people who remind you the story goes on. And you’re missing out on knowing that you are a part of something bigger than your schedules, appointments, practices, performances, etc. that have taken over your life. Maybe we all need to find a healthy rhythm again. And maybe we need to find it with our fellow believers.




This last evening I got to witness something pretty spectacular. The school our two older children attend was hosting an open house and so we joined the throngs of parents navigating the hallways and classrooms to learn all about what are kids do for the hours they are away from us each day. We were able to meet our daughter’s teachers and hear about her progress, but my son’s teachers were indisposed. This didn’t seem to be a drawback for him though as he was free to roam about the campus. Little did he know, that I had been able to speak with one of his teachers earlier in the day and then last night I was able to observe her report in action.

Before we jump into her report I need to give you a little back story. About a year ago my son was diagnosed with a reading/writing disability (a form of dyslexia). And we have worked with him since then on trying to be on par with his peers. Last year we made a good deal of progress, but we knew this was still going to be an ongoing struggle. The teacher I met with showed me his most recent reading scores and although he still isn’t necessarily where he needs to be, he has made incredible strides. But then she paused and said, “But this isn’t really the most important thing. Your son is a really good kid. He has a huge heart and he is always so encouraging to all the other students.” Cue my heart swelling with love and pride. Cut to that evening when I got to see it in action. Although he wasn’t meeting his teachers with us, we got to see him hugging, high-fiving, and talking to every classmate he saw like they were his long lost sibling. His classmates are drawn to him like magnets (now if he could only get that concept in Science).

Sometimes I think about how lucky we are with Jonas. He really has enriched our life from day one. And truthfully there isn’t any real secret to our parenting. I often hear this verse quoted in regards to parenting, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” – ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭22:6‬. But most often we think of this as instruction or teaching them what to do or not do and I think a better word might be model. If you want your child to be kind, show kindness. If you want your child to be loving, then love. If you want your child to be curious about the world, ask good questions. That which you long for, for your child to be should be modeled before them. I don’t say any of this from a place of pride, but rather from a place of accountability. We all have these models following us around. What are you modeling today?

get a life

Yesterday I bumped into a friend I hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to in a while. We were talking and catching up and then the inevitable question came up, “Well how are things going with you?” I gave the typical ‘good’, ‘busy’, responses and then reflected, “It’s funny, we thought we could have a life outside of the church…” And we both laughed a bit about it. But I haven’t been able to get away from that thought. You see as a pastor, my life is centered around the church. Even on my days off, its not really something you turn off. Our family schedule centers around the church. Our interactions inevitably are somehow based around the church and if you want to have a conversation with us, more than likely you will most easily catch us being involved in church-related activities. And honestly, I don’t think of that regretfully at all.

Paul was writing to the church in Colossae when he had this to say, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3 Let me clarify something really quick before we keep going, although I may have referred to a specific congregation/schedule/building above, we need to understand that the church is none of those things specifically. The church is a living, breathing, Holy Spirit birthed people of God who are collectively known as the Bride of Christ. So when Paul says, set your mind on things above, or your life is now hidden in Christ, he is redefining the way in which we go about our lives in the here and now. 

I think about all the things that vie for our attention and time these days. We have jobs, school, sports, politics, household chores, bills, play-dates, parties, gym time, etc. etc. and these are how we order our lives. But Paul asks us to set our mind on things above…How then do we do that? We order our lives around the church. And I’m not talking about being in the church every time the doors are open (although every pastor would appreciate that), but I am talking about ordering your life, your conversation, your rhythm around a living community of God known as the church.

One quick illustration of what this does for us. My wife and I recently were at the AT&T store getting her a new phone and the question came up, “Well, what do you do?” “I’m a pastor.” And all of a sudden we found ourselves opening up the door for a conversation, that led to a church visit, that led to this same individual possibly playing in our praise band for Sunday services. Now do all of us have this easy access point into conversations about church i.e. ‘I’m a pastor’? No. But if our lives our hidden in Christ, if our lives our ordered around the church, if our lives reflect our ultimate priority, then we will start to see God use us in new and amazing ways everyday. May you find your life hidden in Christ as you live out the calling of the Bride of Christ, the church today.

walk me in

Moving to Odessa has allowed me to reengage with one of my favorite activities; taking my son to school. I remember when he attended Pre-K right behind the youth building at our last church. Whenever the days were nice (so for about two weeks before school let out) we would walk to school. And then there were the car rides where we would pray and then rock out to something “heavy” like Mumford & Sons or Old Crow Medicine Show. Needless to say I have been thrilled to get this tradition added back into my daily routine. Since he has begun a new school, I have been walking him to class every day so far. And let’s be honest, I love this piece too. So on the drive in the other day, I asked him, “Hey buddy (that’s what I call him sometimes), do you want me to walk you in today?” “Yeah dad. I want you to walk me in all the time.” “All the time? Even when you are in High School?” “Yup. Because I love you dad.” Talk about a melt your heart moment.

Sometimes we refer to our Christian journey here on earth as a walk. And I think for the most part this is a pretty accurate analogy. I think the hard part for a lot of us is fathoming what it means to walk with/be in relationship with an infinite God as finite beings. Because of God being all around us, but not necessarily being physically tangible we have a hard time always being connected. But then I reflect on the words of the writer of Hebrews. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16. Jesus stepped into flesh in order to help us understand what it means to encounter the Divine. Not only that but He wants to walk with us in our trials and struggles in order for us to encounter grace and mercy at the throne of God.

I think about my son’s response before. I will always want to walk with him and help and assist him as much as I can. In fact, I am probably a breath away from being a helicopter parent. But I know that is not how love works. Love simply waits in the wings. Ready to be that hand to hold, that hug to give or that shoulder to cry on whenever it’s needed. God incarnate came to express that same love through humanity to us. He is ready to walk us through whatever life may throw at us. We just need to ask Him to walk us in and He will be right there with us. May you sense God’s presence walking you into life today as you never have before and may you be overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of our Heavenly Father.

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