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What Is Good?

What Is Good?

Have you ever noticed that if you ask the wrong question, you get the wrong answer? 

Your friend asks you to stop by and pick up some frozen strawberries. You stop by a clerk on your way into the grocery store and ask, “Pardon me. Do you know where the strawberries are?” The clerk points you to produce where you find the boxes of strawberries.  You buy them and head on your way. When you finally arrive at your friend’s home, you find out that you have the wrong item. You have fresh strawberries, not frozen ones! What seems like a slight difference can have a huge impact. 

Think about the questions you’re asking in life. 

Could it be that you’re asking the wrong questions, and that’s why you’re getting the wrong answers?

One of the questions we are commonly asking is: What is good

Good is a good question, but it’s often the wrong question. 

Let’s put this in context.

Think about your kids. How many times have you caught yourself asking, “Will this be good for them?” Or “Is this good for their future?” Or maybe, “Is this food good for their bodies?” 

You might be doing this for yourself as well. Perhaps you’ve asked, “What’s a good goal for me this year?” Or maybe you’ve defended your behavior by saying, “Hey… This isn’t a bad thing that I’m doing. It’s a good thing. Why are you upset with me for doing a good thing?” 

There’s a problem with good.

Lots of things are good. 

Kids are good. Work is good. Friendships are good. Money can be good. 

Good things aren’t bad. They’re just not best things. 

Often we lose our lives to good things and neglect the best things.

That’s the problem with good. It’s not best. 

Maybe it’s time to start asking God what’s best instead of what’s right. Be careful, though. This isn’t a light-hearted prayer. This is a prayer that evokes significant movement and change in our lives. 

When we start to identify what’s best, we’re forced to say “No” to many good things.

Good isn’t bad, but “good” is the enemy of best. 

Maybe it’s time to stop asking God if this or that is good for your kids. Maybe it’s time to start asking God what’s best for your kids. And… If you respond to God’s best, it’ll require you to say “no” to many good things.

Under .02% or all kids involved in athletics will become a professional athlete. Every kid will stand before Jesus one day. Which one is best… participating in travel ball or being wholly committed to a church family? If you have to choose: Choose what’s best, not what’s good. 

Let’s stop asking “What is good?”. There’s a better question and that question is “What is best?” 

If we start asking that question, lots of things will change in our lives, our families, our hearts, and our environment as we align our lives to God’s best! 

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What is something GOOD that you need to sacrifice for something that’s BEST? 

It’s Just A Season

It’s Just A Season

Every year we take one of the first portions of the year and dedicate it to prayer and fasting. It’s our simple way at Vortex to put God first as we enter in a new season. 

It’s interesting because, essentially those 21 days is a season within a season, a moment within a more significant, grander moment. 

There are lots of seasons within seasons.

I probably enjoyed this year’s fast as much as I have any to date. My wife and I worked as a team. It really elevated our levels of communication at home. We were continually trying to figure out how to make it work, and I really believe it helped us along the way! 

I’ve grown to enjoy the pursuit of being healthy. Our diet post-fast won’t change dramatically. We’ll have some options when it comes to meat, but we’ll still be regularly eating pretty clean. 

There are things I missed, but not that much. I’d say this is the first year that I haven’t had an “I desperately need to eat THIS THING after the fast is over.” 

As the fast neared its end, I’ve mourned it a little. 

This season within the grander season of a new year is coming to an end. 

That the thing about seasons: Seasons start and they end. 

There are seasons we live in for a long time. Some that come for just a short while. Some are pleasant. Some are quite difficult. 

But… all seasons end. 

If you’re in a season that’s been pleasant, rejoice. But… Also, know it’s going to end. There are less pleasant circumstances coming your way. Don’t let that take away from your joy in this season, but also don’t let your guard down. This season is going to end. 

If you’re in a difficult season, know that this to will not just pass, it will end. You are not trapped. It will not be this way forever. It’s a season, and seasons change. 

So, embrace that. Embrace that your season will change. 

Embrace that the pleasure may not last forever, and that’s ok.

Embrace that the pain won’t endure. There will be pain. Use it. Let it motivate you to take the next step in your journey towards this season. 

This truth is both comforting and challenging, but at its heart, it is ultimately liberating! This gives us permission to find joy in this season, whether pleasurable or challenging, because God is in control and it’s just a season! 

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What season have you been going through? How does the knowledge that this season has a beginning and ending change the way you approach navigating through the season? 

How To Have Lasting Friendships

How To Have Lasting Friendships

Statistically, you probably can count your friends on one hand. The average American only reports having two close friends. You could’ve lost a few fingers in an accident and still count your friends on one hand if you’re living the average life.

This is a huge deal.

You probably think you don’t have time for all this. You’re too busy for friendships. As one of my friends recently said, “I barely have time for my kids and wife. How in the world can I keep a friend?”

It’s an issue of life and death.

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The Basics Of Friendship

The Basics Of Friendship

Friendship is an enigma wrapped in a riddle.

My friend Bob used to say that about things that were confusing. I don’t really understand it, but I get what it means. It’s a confession… a confessing of complication and confusion. It’s as if you’re saying, “This topic is so convoluted and difficult to understand that we can all have different opinions on it and all be right.”

Understanding friendship is like trying to nail down Jello (that’s another one of my favorite sayings from Bob… he has a lot of them).

Here’s a very simple principle for when things seem convoluted:
When things are confusing, go to the Bible for timeless wisdom.

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Why They Aren’t Your Friends Anymore

Why They Aren’t Your Friends Anymore

We’ve all experienced it…

We made a friend, got close to them and shared our hearts and lives, only to months or years later to look back and feel like we’ve lost them.

For many of us, that perspective is filled with pain. We hurt in the loss. It’s hard to open up to someone, and it’s even harder to feel like you’ve lost that connection after being vulnerable and loving someone.

The truth is we don’t have to hurt because there are often practical reasons why they are not your friends anymore. Here are just a few…

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They’re Not Your Best Friend

They’re Not Your Best Friend

How many best friends do you have?

My son Klay has about fifteen. He uses that term very freely. If you’re playing with him and it’s going well he’s probably going to tell you, “You’re my best friend.”

He’s not being manipulative in his use of the term. He’s just very situational.

I’ve noticed the same thing among adults. We have lots of “best friends”, and I don’t really think the culture of friendship we’re creating is very good for us.

“Best friend” is a very sacred title.

It implies that someone has significant influence in your life and that you, inversely, have great access to theirs. A best friend is someone who knows you inside and out, with all the ugly and broken. A best friend is also someone you can find rest with, simply be who you are, and be fully accepted for that.

We don’t stumble across those friends often.

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What I’ve Learned About Friendship From Planting A Church

What I’ve Learned About Friendship From Planting A Church

In January of 2012, my wife and I started working towards planting a new, life-giving church in Albemarle, NC. It was a scary, exciting, and faith-filled journey. We left behind a city we loved living in, friends we loved doing life with, and a church we’d given years to build.

I thought planting a church was all about church.

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Lead Me

Lead Me

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1

To respond to that question, Jesus then shared a model prayer that demonstrated a progression of perspectives that could and should change the way we pray today.

As Jesus closed out the prayer, He ends with this request, “And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:4).

Temptation represents a real challenge to the life Jesus wants to build in our hearts. Here are a few observations from this verse that should impact how we pray:

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A Gift To Regift

A Gift To Regift

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1

To respond to that question, Jesus then shared a model prayer that demonstrated a progression of perspectives that could and should change the way we pray today.

Over the past few blogs, I’ve offered perspectives on this prayer, and what Jesus is teaching us today through it.

Jesus prayed, “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” (Luke 11:4).

I think this one of the most difficult verses in all the Scriptures.

Let me make two simple observations from this verse for our prayer life today:

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He Wants To

He Wants To

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1

To respond to that question, Jesus then shared a model prayer that demonstrated a progression of perspectives that could and should change the way we pray today.

Jesus prayed, “Forgive us our sins” (Luke 11:4).

There are two things that we need to assume before we can pray with that perspective.

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