The Light

The Light

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Jesus (Matthew 5:14-16)

Let’s face it: this world is quite confusing these days.

People have all sorts of opinions about what’s good and bad, what’s right and wrong, what we should do and not do, etc.

When the world seems dark, our typical reaction as Christ-followers is…

We blame the dark for being dark.

You know, I think God is pretty smart. When Jesus described the church and His followers as “the light” it was not on accident.

What is “darkness”? Darkness only exists in the absence of light.

Just one tiny spark lights up a completely dark room.

So, is it more helpful to blame the dark for being dark? Or is it a better question to ask where the light is?

When the world seems to be getting dark, let’s make these commitments:

#1 – Let’s blame ourselves.
If we are living out the Gospel as the people of God, the world will be full of light. If it’s not, then it’s our fault. It’s that simple.

#2 – Don’t get mad at the world for being the world.
The Church and the Gospel are intended to be instruments of healing and restoration, not blame and condemnation. “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:17

#3 – Make a difference in your own world.
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

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How can we more fully be the light Jesus wants us to be? Leave a comment below and share you thoughts:

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Three Ways To Listen To Our Sermons

Three Ways To Listen To Our Sermons

One of the most common questions I get is:
“How can I listen to the message from this Sunday? We’re going to be out of town, and I don’t want to miss out on it!”

That’s a huge compliment.

We work hard each week to prepare messages that we think will be life-giving, meaningful, and relevant to your life right now. The fact that so many of you connect to them is a powerful testimony to what Jesus is doing in our church!

By Tuesday morning, we’ll have the message from that Sunday posted online.

Each week we provide several ways for you to connect to the messages we’re sharing on Sunday (or reconnect if you were with us).

Here’s how you can listen:

#1 – Access past messages through the Vortex Church app on your iOS phone or tablet, Android phone or tablet, Windows phone, or Amazon Fire.

The Vortex App is the best way to find our most recent messages, consolidated into one, convenient place. Once the app loads, it’ll load directly to the “sermons” tab.

The great thing about the Vortex App is that you can watch our latest videos, my blogs, and check out for upcoming events all in one place.

To get the Vortex Church App, visit:

NOTE: Make sure you enable “Push Notifications” so that we can send you important updates. We did this during the ice storm this past weekend and it was very helpful.

#2 – Subscribe to our Podcast.

Our podcast is going to become an interesting way for you to interact with the messages, because we’ll be providing exclusive content on it.

We’re planning to do some Q&A and sermon follow-ups posted mid-week that will only be available on our podcast!

There are THREE ways to subscribe to our podcast:

  • iTunes: If you’re an iPhone, iPad, or just iTunes user, you can find our podcast in the Apple Store by searching “Vortex Church Sermon Audio” and selecting “subscribe”.
  • Stitcher: Stitcher has become a popular podcast app, and you can access our podcast through Stitcher now. Again, just search “Vortex Church Sermon Audio” and subscribe.
  • Podbean: Podbean is an industry standard host for podcasts, and we recently relocated our podcast over to them. You can find us on podbean at: – just select the “follow” button!

#3 – Listen directly from our website.

Our website has been a constant source of information for our church, and we’re thankful that many of you visit it frequently.

To find the catalogue of our sermons, starting with the newest and working it’s way backwards, visit:

From the website you can stream the audio, download the messages, and often download the notes as well.

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Is there any other way that we could make the sermon audio more accessible for you? If so, tell me in the comments and we’ll work on that for you!

3 Ways To Do Facebook Right As A Married Couple

3 Ways To Do Facebook Right As A Married Couple

The data is overwhelming: Facebook is having a negative impact on marriages.

Let me be up front about this: It’s not Facebook’s fault. Facebook can be a wonderful supplement to your existing relationships. It can help you connect with people you love but don’t get to see regularly. It gives you a chance to share your life with people you don’t see or talk to regularly. When used properly, it can be valuable.

The Facebook problem is a symptom of a greater disease: we’re not doing married right.

At Vortex, we’ve spent the last few weeks examining God’s blueprint for marriage, and we’ve all been challenged, convicted, and changed by what Jesus has been teaching us. If you haven’t been with us, I encourage you to give those four talks a listen to: – blueprints audio.

A few day’s ago I shared “5 ways to do Facebook wrong”, so I thought it might be nice to follow it up by giving a few suggestions on how we can get it right…

#1 – Kill the idea of privacy.

In a healthy marriage there are no boundaries of privacy. I realize that statement flies in the face of what most of us practically want, but it’s God’s design not mine.

If you have individual accounts, your spouse should have the username and password for you account. If you’re generally posting the same things, you might want to consider having a joint account. It’s not enough to follow them, because (as with any social network) there are activities that happen out of the view of the following public.

If you have a problem with the idea that privacy needs to be killed in your marriage, reflect on this with me: As Genesis 2 closes, after God has created Adam and Eve then united them together in the covenant of marriage, the scriptures tell us this: “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25) As the first (and prototype) married couple, they were so intimate that not even a millimeter of clothing was going to separate them.

#2 – Celebrate and honor your spouse publically.

My wife taught me this important lesson:
It’s quite nice to have flowers waiting for your wife when she gets home. It’s altogether meaningful to show up at her workplace with those flowers and honor her publicly in front of the people she spends her days with.

Facebook gives you a venue to celebrate and honor your spouse publically.

You might be thinking: “I don’t know what to celebrate. I’m really disappointed in my spouse right now.”

Let me suggest that honor works a lot like the cork-in-the-bucket principle. Honor your spouse, as you believe they can be, not as they are. The more you honor them, the more water goes into the bucket. The cork rises to level of water. In the same way, our character often elevates to the level that we’re honored.

#3 – Create technology-free times & zones.

Here are three times you don’t need your phones (or Facebook):

  1. When you get home from work.
    Make the choice to put the phone down and have a conversation regularly when you arrive home. Taking fifteen minutes to communicate will set your evenings up for success.
  2. When you go to bed.
    This is a struggle for most of us, but studies show that exposure to the brightness of the screens actually hurts your sleep. This is again one of those important moments where conversation is unexpected and needed. The absence of distractions could also benefit your intimacy.
  3. When you’re on a date.
    My wife and I have had a rule: When we go into a restaurant to eat dinner together on a date, the phone’s stay in the car. Dating is all about facilitating intimacy, and intimacy is bred in conversation. Don’t rob yourselves of that.

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What did I miss? What’s helped you do Facebook more successfully as a married couple? Leave a comment and share it with us!

5 Ways To Do Facebook Wrong As A Married Couple

5 Ways To Do Facebook Wrong As A Married Couple

Facebook is a wonderful thing. That is, until it’s not.

The purpose of social networks is simple: to connect people to other people. Social networks weren’t necessarily intended to create relationships, but were designed support the relationships we already have. Facebook is great at helping you find that long lost friend from high school or that friend you played sports with growing up.

If you’re married, the way you relate to people other than your spouse is vitally important to your marriage. In 2011, one study showed that Facebook was named in ONE THIRD of divorce filings. That simply means that many of us are doing Facebook wrong.

If you’d like to do Facebook wrong too, here are five suggestions:

#1 – Check Facebook while you’re spending time together.

There’s nothing that says, “You’re valuable to me” like keeping your head down and staring at your phone. So… Take your phones to bed. Take them on dates. When your spouse tries to talk to you, just politely nod your head and ignore them. After all, you’ll post a picture of your meal with the hashtag #datenight, right?

#2 – Seek emotional support from your online community first.

You had a bad day? Tell Facebook first. You need some prayers? Ask Facebook first. Let your spouse learn about what’s happening with you by reading your posts like everyone else does on Facebook.

#3 – Shine a spotlight on your spouse’s failures.

Nothing says, “I love and honor you” like airing your dirty laundry publically!

Everyone makes mistakes, right? So when your spouse blows it, why not make it public knowledge by sharing it with your 734 friends on Facebook? Engage in an ongoing conversation with sympathizers about your plight, and make sure to tag your spouse so they can follow along!

Think about it, if you’ll tell Facebook that, what are you telling your friends at work?

#4 – Create posts to get the kind of attention your spouse should be giving you.

Everyone loves the “feel sorry for me” posts, right? Here’s an example: “I’ve had a bad day and no one seems to care.” That’ll get you attention and let everyone else know your spouse isn’t paying you the attention you deserve!

If that doesn’t work, you can go for the “I’m unappreciated” post. Here’s an example: “I cook and clean and take care of the kids. Don’t I deserve a ‘thank you’?” I’m sure you’re friends will give you a thank you!

Or… if you’re not feeling very attractive, post a picture that you feel makes you look good. If you’re a guy, go shirtless (if you can). If you’re a girl, a good #TBT to a beach picture where you’re in some swimwear should do. Then let your friends remind you that you are attractive!

#5 – Flirt with somebody.

Find an old fling, then like or comment on everything they post on Facebook. You could mention friends from work in your posts, tell how funny they are, or share how they’re so emotionally supportive. When someone you find attractive seems down or hits a rough spot, send them a polite little ‘pick me up’ message to remind them you care!

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I hope you’re not doing Facebook wrong, but many of us are. Getting it wrong is having a seriously negative impact on many marriages.

Getting Facebook wrong isn’t a disease; it’s a symptom of a greater problem. That disease is a lack of honor in our marriages.

Wives, honor your husbands as the person you want him to be, not as the person he is. You’ll see him in his most fragile and vulnerable state, and your response to that will play a huge role in your relationship. Honor nourishes that character of a man. As you honor him, watch him grown.

Husbands honor and protect your wives. Don’t humiliate them because of the failures. Don’t act in a way that makes her feel less important. Guard her heart and position in your life.

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What did I miss? How else can we get Facebook wrong?

Freaky Family – Part 2

Freaky Family – Part 2

Normal isn’t working, especially in our families.

Think about it… What’s normal look like in our families?

  • Disconnected: Parents and kids don’t talk, don’t share, and don’t have relationships and are living alone under the same roof.
  • Overcommitted: Kids have two-hours of practice and three hours of homework and parents are exhausted just trying to keep up.
  • Debt: Kids playing with (and breaking) expensive toys that parents paid too much for on a credit card that will continue to be a financial burden for months to come.
  • Unloved: With increasing commitments, overwhelming stress, and vast distractions our kids are leaving the home to look for love and finding it in places we don’t want them to.

Do you want a normal family? I don’t.

In my last blog I shared ways that every family needs to be different. I’m convinced the six things I shared are absolutely necessary for every family.

Here’s the tension about being different:
When the Holy Spirit leads us there is no cookie cutter kind of different.

Today I’m going to share some topics every family needs to thoughtfully and prayerfully approach, because without a plan we’ll live outside of God’s design in the default of normal.

Prayerfully consider how your family will approach these topics:


There’s no simple answer to technology these days.

For parents just a generation ago the question pf technology was answered as simply as “How many hours of TV will you let them watch each day?”

These days we need to consider television, tablets, laptops, phones, internet access, social networks, and how they all work together.

Here are few questions you need to have answers for:

  • At what age will your kids be allowed to own certain kinds of technology like tablets or laptops?
  • How and when will they be able to use them once they have them?
  • Will you restrict their internet access with a filter? Will you record their internet activities with a monitor?
  • How old will your kids be when they get a cell phone?
  • When will you let your kids have social network profiles? How are you going to monitor them?
  • Will you have technology-free nights as a family to encourage more interaction?

These are important questions to answer NOW.

In the heat of the moment, as your kids grow older and normal families do what normal families do, the pressure will mount to be normal when there is no family identity that’s created around a different plan.

If you haven’t identified your unique brand of freaky, you’re kids and your family could become victims to normal.

I learned this lesson coaching football. Before the season starts, a good football-coaching staff will go through different scenarios and decide what they will do when they get to that moment. They do this so they can look at the problem objectively, without the stress and influence of the moment. The benefit of this approach is simple: when decision has to be made, the decision has already been made.

Technology isn’t evil and it can be a powerful tool, but when it thoughtlessly consumed it has a devastating effect on family culture. Your prayerful approach to technology will have a powerful impact on your family.

For further reading, I’d suggest “Alone Together” by Sherry Trukle.

#2 – MONEY

You don’t have to look very far to see the evidence that we’re raising kids that have no concept of money or financial management.

The greatest reason this is happening is that we, as parents, can’t manage our money. We’re living beyond our means, buying stuff we don’t need to impress people we don’t even like, and going in debt at an unprecedented rate.

Why is that an important issue? Because however we address money, we pass that on to our children!

“Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.” Proverbs 13:22 (NLT)

Here are a few questions that it’d be good to talk about and pray through:

  • As a family, will you give your kids an allowance or have them work for you on commission?
  • Will you help your kids save for their first car or will you buy it for them as a present?
  • Are you going teach your kids to give and save before they spend?
  • How are you going to help your kids understand and feel the dollar value associated with their purchases?

I hope you’re with me on this… I don’t want what’s normal for my kids financially. Since we don’t want normal, we’re going to have to be different, and that different is going to be far better!

For further help on this matter we suggest, “Smart Money, Smart Kids” by Rachel Cruze and Dave Ramsey.


I believe that there is great value in the immense offerings of extracurricular activities today: youth sports, martial arts, competition cheer, dance, music lessons, gymnastics, art lessons, and the list goes on and on.

As a kid I feel like I benefitted from the competition of youth sports. I learned how to win and lose, how to work for something, and that it’s ok for other people to be better than me at things. Those are powerful lessons!

What’s changed drastically since I was kid is the amount of time needed for these activities. What was one practice and one game a week has turned into three or four practices and two or three games a week. That’s a significant change in the level of commitment for our time!

Here’s something that you need to understand about the emergence of all these options: someone is making money off of providing these options for your child. These organizations will put the pressure on you to make decisions for your child and their level of commitment.

Let me remind you of something:
As a parent, no one can commit your family to something except you.

Even with their increasing commitment, I think that many of these options can be wonderful things for our kids.

Here are few questions you need to prayerfully and thoughtfully consider:

  • How much time are you willing to give for each child for an extracurricular activity?
  • How many nights will you commit to be home each week?
  • How many activities can each child be involved in? During each season? During the year?
  • How much money are you going to invest as a family into these activities?
  • How are you going to balance your other commitments and your commitment to these activities?
  • When there’s a conflict between your commitments, what takes priority?

Here’s why these questions matter significantly:
You’re teaching your children what matters in life in the way you navigate these options. The way you spend your time is a value statement to your children.

If you give their secondary activities primary importance, you’re teaching them to find value in the wrong places. That’s normal, and we don’t want to be normal!

Eternally… If we don’t teach our kids to find their ultimate meaning and significance in Jesus, we’ve missed the point entirely.

For further reading, we’d suggest “Boundaries” buy Cloud & Townsend.


There’s never been more ways to connect to culture.

We can watch TV shows on Netflix and Hulu. Listen to albums on Spotify or download them from iTunes. We can stream movies over the internet.

With all of that access comes the good and the bad. The freedom of the internet has given a rise to a remarkable amount of uncensored media, and the dangers that lie there for our kids cannot be understated.

There are few things questions that find more basis in the Scriptures than how we interact with our culture.

In the Old Testament, God created a different culture in the nation of Israel. They stood out. They were different. They had different customs, and through that difference God created their identity.

By the time Jesus shows us, that difference is primarily defined by distance: the God-followers stayed away from those who didn’t follow the religious laws. That wasn’t necessarily how God wanted it to be, so Jesus showed us a different way.

Those “God-followers” called Jesus a “friend of sinners”, because Jesus closed that gap and lived with those who were far away from God. (Matthew 11:19)

Here are a few questions to prayerfully consider when it comes to media and culture:

  • Will you watch movies with your kids or let them watch movies for themselves?
  • What kinds of ratings will you let them watch? At what age?
  • Will you have conversations about what they watch and listen to?
  • How are you going to stay connected with the music they listen to?
  • Are you going to stay away from mainstream culture as a family or are you going to be a part of mainstream culture?

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These conversations are going to make a huge impact at creating a family identity, and where that identity is strong your kids will be strong.

What did I miss? What else do we need to talking about?

Freaky Family – Part 1

Freaky Family – Part 1

Perhaps you’ve noticed… Normal is not working.

For the last few weeks at Vortex we’ve been focusing on the kind of different God wants us to be. Since normal is not working, we need to be “FREAKY”.

In my last talk I shared this quote:
“Where family identity is strong, peer pressure will be weak, but where family identity is weak, peer pressure will be strong.” – Greg Gunn

Our families are ground zero for teaching our kids that different is not just ok, when the Spirit of God leads it, different is BETTER!

This week I promised to share two blogs with you. The first (this one) is going to cover the ways that every family needs to be freaky. The second (coming on Thursday) is going to share with you a few things each family needs to pray through to consider.

There are certain things EVERY FAMILY needs to do different. We need to create a culture in our families that shifts from what the rest of the world has. We don’t want normal for our kids, so let’s create a family culture that’s different. That difference is going to provide them the basis to resist peer pressure. It’s important!

Here’s how every FREAKY FAMILY needs to do different:

  1. Your family needs to make serving God a priority.

For most families, serving God is an abstract idea. You might say things to your kids like “You need to keep God first”, but how do you practically show them how to do that? You do that by first serving God yourself, and then by getting them to serve along with you. One of the most common factors in teenagers translating into church-attending young adults is the fact that they served in the church as a teenager.

Parents, make sure your kids know that serving in church is a priority. It’s actively demonstrating that you are participating in God’s mission. You’re committed to doing something to help others. When it’s time, get them involved with you. You’ll find that serving provides a real connection God’s mission for your family!

  1. Your family needs to make conversation a regular part of living together.

The greatest tools that you have to influence your kids are your time and your words. Your words will not matter if you don’t give your children your time, so make sure that you’re devoted to giving them regular blocks of time.

Deuteronomy 6:7 gives us several windows of time to capitalize on conversation: bedtime, dinners together, and travel time. It’s important to figure out for your family when you’re going to focus on each other and as a parent you need to force conversations.

Conversation is vitally important today, because with the emergence of such a technologically rich culture we’re seeing young people that have such a hard time conversing with others. Lead them at home to understand the importance of talking to one another.

  1. Your family needs to make giving a priority.

Giving is the antidote to materialism and selfishness. I don’t know if your kids are like ours, but I’ve never had to teach my kids the word “mine”.

The world we live in is much more concerned about acquisition than it is giving. The more we have, the better we think our lives could be. However, many of us find that way of living to be broken and unsatisfying. There is no satisfaction in the pursuit of material wealth.

Jesus warned us: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

There are two ways we need to make giving a priority. The first is that our kids need to know that we, as a family, are giving to God. They need to see you buy groceries and clothes to appreciate how much they cost, but they also need to know you’re giving. The second way we do this is by teaching them to give from the money they get in life.

Giving will fight against the normal materialistic desires most of us live with!

  1. Your family needs to make church an important part of your week.

We all need to be taught and instructed. We all need to be convicted and respond to God work in our lives with repentance and restoration. We all need a Pastor and a church family. That’s for you as a parent and for your kids as well.

Your kids need to see that you have been convicted and they need to hear you repent. They need to see that you experience truth and do the work to apply it to your life as well. Your kids need to know that you find value in the relationships that your church has leveraged for you.

You kids need to see that because they will need that in life as well.

  1. Your family needs to make the Scriptures a regular part of our interactions.

What do you tell your kids when they’re afraid, when their hearts are broken, when they’re unsure about the future, or when they’re doubting themselves? Most of us provide our opinions. We tell them we love them, and that it’s all going to be ok.

What if we learned to make the Bible a part of those important conversations? 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

If we’re going to raise kids that run to God first, who seek His opinion above all others, we need to make the Scriptures a central part of our conversations at home!

  1. Your family needs to pray together.

There are coming moments that don’t make sense, moments that will be difficult, painful, and confusing. If we have not created a family culture to turn to Jesus, where will we turn when those moments come?

Your family needs to pray together regularly. You need to pray to Jesus to thank Him during the great times. You need to praise Him during the victories. You also need to pray during the difficult times. You need to seek His guidance together. You need to ask Him to heal you when you’re wounded. You need to worship Him even when life doesn’t make sense.

A family culture that turns to Jesus first one that’s powerfully different.

We need to embrace different at home, because normal just isn’t working. The difference between our family culture and the world will not be a liability for our kids; it will be an powerful asset. Truthfully, these differences may be the few things that provide the kind of platform for our kids to be those that stand up and chase Jesus relentlessly.

On Thursday I’m going to share a blog that will give you a few things to consider doing differently within your family. These won’t be for every family, but they will be for some! Check back for it on Thursday!

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What did I miss? How should every other family be freaky?

Parents: Do This With Your Kids This Christmas

Parents: Do This With Your Kids This Christmas

I remember lots of things my parents did at Christmas. I remember them helping me write letters to Santa, our meals together, and conversations.

I remember some of the presents my parents bought me at Christmas, but when I actually put what I remember in perspective to many years of presents, I remember very few of the presents my parents bought me for Christmas.

The moments we share with our kids during important seasons (and Christmas is important for a kid) leave a lasting legacy.

I’m afraid that if we choose to anchor our legacy in the gifts we give our kids, we’re providing a rather inadequate anchor. It doesn’t matter how extravagant your gifts are, they will eventually break, be lost, or be outgrown. They’re not going to last.

But this Christmas we can do something that will last.

As Christmas Eve came to a close and we prepared for bed, each year my parents each read us a story before bedtime. It was the same story every year. My dad read the classic, “The Night Before Christmas”, and my mother shared to us about the birth of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke.

If you make this Christmas all about gifts, you’ll miss the chance to capture these moments and leave a significant legacy to your kids.

There are a lot of other things we make Christmas about. Most of these things are all good things: our family, community, our kids, and traditions. The problem with them is they are bad foundations.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told a story about foundations (Matthew 7:24-27). If we build our lives upon anything other than Jesus, no matter how good it is, that foundation can be destroyed. Our families, our traditions, and our gifts make bad foundations, but Jesus makes a great one!

At Christmas you can give your kids something that can’t be taken away from them, something that won’t break, something they won’t outgrow: Jesus.

This Christmas find a practical way to make Jesus the center of your holiday routine. Your kids won’t learn it from what you say; they’ll catch it from what you do together!

Here’s a few practical suggestions to make Jesus the center of your family’s Christmas season:

  • Find a few children’s books to read with your kids that tell the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Kids love being read to, and it’s very healthy for them. So why not harness that and use it to share Jesus with them?
  • Never underestimate the power of conversations. At least once a week during this Christmas season have a conversation before bed about the meaning of Christmas. Give your kids a chance to ask you questions!
  • Share the Bible with them. The birth of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are powerful ways to share to real meaning of Christmas with our kids.
  • Create traditions that have nothing to do with gifts and everything to do with Jesus. Family prayer time, communion, and church events can be powerful ways to capitalize on legacy building during this season.

Whatever you do… Don’t let Christmas be simply about presents. I love presents, but they aren’t as wonderful as Jesus.

Jesus is what Christmas is all about, so let’s make it that way!

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How are you practically making Jesus your central experience this Christmas?

It All Starts Right Now

It All Starts Right Now

Too often we define our lives through big moments.

When we define our lives through big moments, our lives look a lot like this:

  • I’m a follower of a Jesus.
  • I’m married to Amanda.
  • I’m Adahlae and Klayton’s dad.
  • I graduated from South Stanly High School and Lee University.
  • I’m the Lead Pastor at Vortex Church in Albemarle, NC.

The problem with that sort of perspective is that big moments are one of two things: either the culmination of a journey or the start of a new one.

I’m pretty sure that we think about our legacy a lot like we think about life: we think our legacy will be found in the big moments.

That’s not true.

I have a friend who, as a single mom of four, worked two jobs for four years to put herself through college so that she could open the door to a better life for her little family.

Her graduation was a big moment. It was not her legacy, though.

For four years her kids saw her make sacrifices, stay up late to study just to get up early with them, learn to say ‘no’ to unnecessary expenses, work hard at her jobs just to come home and work harder, and simply pour her life out for them.

That was her legacy. What a profound legacy to give a child.

You see… we’re building our legacy right now.

Moments add up to become monuments. Life happens in the moment, and it’s in those moments that our legacy is forged.

So, what are you doing with right now?

It’s an important question to ask, because what you’re doing right now is something quite special: it’s called life. Life is active; it’s the culmination of the choices that you’re making. Let’s be honest about it too… we don’t want a life that’s just Netflix and naps. We want a life that’s significant, one that makes a difference.

Whatever you spend your time on, is what you’re buying to make a life with, and your life is being spent to purchase your legacy.

As the Apostle Paul approached the end of his life, these words expressed his understanding the life he had lived was turning into a legacy…

“I am already being poured out like a offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8

It’s my hope that through Jesus, we’ll all live lives that purchase that kind of legacy.

It all starts right now…

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What’s the legacy your life is purchasing now? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

The Most Toxic Thing We Put In Our Mouths

The Most Toxic Thing We Put In Our Mouths

I read an article this week that stated drinking one can of soda a day can have the same aging affect on our body as smoking cigarettes.

It seems we’re always talking about that: what we’re putting in our mouths.

I feel sorry for eggs. Every other year eggs are bad for you. Then they’re good. Then they’re bad again.

We can never make up our minds about eggs.

Eggs are like that really annoying friend that will always come over and help you when you need it, but you never really want to call them because of how annoying they are. Eggs just leave us conflicted.

What’s in our mouths is important, because there’s no denying that our mouths are a gateway into our lives.

With all of effort to understand what’s healthy and what’s not, I’m afraid we’ve overlooked the most toxic thing in our mouths: complaining.

It doesn’t take much of a Bible scholar to know that the Scriptures are pretty clear about complaining:
Do EVERYTHING without COMPLAINING and arguing.” Philippians 2:14 (NLT)

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even need to look up the meaning to “everything” to understand that verse.

But we do it. We complain. Incessantly.

We complain about the weather.

We complain about the service and the food at restaurants.

We complain about the President and our government.

We complain about ourselves.

We complain…

Complaining is toxic. I really think it’s worse that drinking a coke. It will eat you alive on the inside, and you’ll never see it’s side effects coming.

Here are three toxic side effects to complaining:

#1 – Complaining Elevates Your Opinion Over The Truth.

You know what they say about opinions? Everyone has them. You included.

Sometimes your opinions might be right, but if you’re like me – they’re often selfish and just plain wrong.

Here’s a great example of how this works…

Around here we typically experience dry summers. I’ve often heard folks suggest during those dry summers, “It’s so dry. I like these sunny days, but we really need some rain. Why won’t it just rain?”

The Scriptures tell us, “This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs” in Philippians 4:19.

If the Bible says it, it’s TRUE.

So, if we needed rain (emphasis on NEED), God would give it to us.

The statement “We need rain” is just an opinion, and it disregards the TRUTH that God will provide for us everything that we need. When we allow our opinions about what we “need” to drive our thoughts and conversations, we’re complaining.

Every time we complain, we’re elevating our opinions over the truth.

#2 – Complaining Keeps You From Enjoying What You Have Right Now

Complaining is always born out of the moment.

Things aren’t right. I know it. It should be better. I deserve better!

At least… that’s what we think.

The problem with complaining is that you’re left in the moment, thinking about how that moment should be different, and missing out on what that moment really is leveraging for your life.

Use the same illustration above about weather…

If you’re complaining about the lack of rain, there’s no way to fully enjoy the sunshine.

More importantly… If you’re complaining about how dry it is, there’s no way to thank God for a sunny day!

Our lives should be constantly reflecting on the goodness that God has blessed us with right now, and complaining robs us of that!

#3 – Complaining Infects Your Heart

There’s a deep connection between the quality of our lives and what is going on in our hearts.

Jesus said, “The words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you.” (Matthew 15:18 – NLT)

Complaining is toxic and infects us with a negative, self-centered worldview.

Think about this: How did God punished the nation of Israel for complaining after He delivered them from Egypt and positioned them to take the promise land? He forced them to wander around in the desert until everyone that complained died off!

That’s pretty serious, folks!

If we’re going to be the life-giving church God wants us to be, we’re going to have to carefully guard our hearts and mouths.

Here’s two things to do combat complaining:

#1 – Intentionally Focus On What You Have Right Now.

It’s likely that you’re overlooking a lot you have to be thankful for. Set your opinions aside and embrace the moment that Jesus has given you. Choose to be thankful.

#2 – Address The Condition Of Your Heart First.

If you’re habitually complaining, the problem starts in your heart. So simply trying to stop complaining won’t work. Look into your heart, ask Jesus to show you what’s wrong, confess the sin, ask forgiveness where there needs to be healing, and let Him heal your heart!

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Are you struggling with complaining? How have you noticed it affecting your life? What do you need to change to protect your heart and your life from the toxic effects of complaining?

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