Why I Got Mad at My Wife and You Do Too

Using My Mistakes to Make You Better

The other night my wife Corrie was doing laundry and discovered something that had a stain on it. After searching the laundry room she discovered that she didn’t have what she needed to properly treat the stain. So she asked me to go to the grocery store and pick it up.

I did. Walked in. Went straight to the correct aisle. Looked at the detergents, but couldn’t find the powder version she requested. They had powder in every other name brand, but not the one she wanted. So I found the liquid in that same brand. It said “Stain Remover” on the front. I paid for it, and returned home.

When I walked in, Corrie immediately noticed that I had liquid instead of powder. She said, “I don’t think this will work. I needed the powder.” I calmly responded, “They didn’t have powder. I looked ‘EVERYWHERE’. They had it in other brands, but not this one.” She replied, “I’m pretty sure they did, I was just in the store earlier today.”……

This is the point in the story where I started acting like a child. In no uncertain terms I told her it was insulting that she didn’t believe me when I told her it wasn’t there. I said if she was so sure it was there she could go look herself…(or something like that. I don’t exactly remember.)

She remained calm and just said, “I think you may have been looking with the detergents, but the powder would be with the stain remover. Did you look there?” (I had NOT looked there)

I grabbed the liquid bottle, walked back out the door, drove back to the store, told the guy I needed to exchange it, walked to the correct aisle, passed the detergents, found the stain removers…and there it was…right where she said it would be.

I came home, tail between my legs, and apologized to my wife for acting like an idiot. She was so kind the whole time it made my behavior even worse.

I don’t tell you that story to demonstrate my ignorance about detergents. That’s painfully obvious.

I tell this story to ask us all a question.

Why do we get so upset about being wrong?

I know Corrie loves me. I know she knows I’m not perfect. So why did I take a posture that she was insulting me for being wrong, when I was, in fact, wrong? She wasn’t even upset that I got the wrong kind.

Why do we lash out? Why do we lie to cover up our mistakes? Why do we get so angry?

Most of the time I think we act this way out of our insecurity. Other times it’s our pride.

What if you took 2 minutes and evaluated your recent similar reactions to the one I just described? Why were you so upset? Drill down beyond your behavior to the motivations that caused your reaction.

Maybe these 2 minutes will save you embarrassment, hurt, and a necessary apology next time.

Spring 2017 Coaching for Lead & Campus Pastors

An Affordable Way to Grow as a Leader

I have previously written about my involvement in coaching for Pastors and church leaders. I have been on the receiving end of some incredible coaching over the years that has made me a better pastor, husband, father and leader.

Last year I began serving as a facilitator for Next Level Solutions, out of Next Level Church in Fort Myers, FL. Pastor Matt Keller has a heart to help Pastors and created an amazing model of online coaching that still facilitates relationships while providing practical content and invaluable access to their team. Next Level was recently named one of the fastest growing churches in America, but what I really love about them is that they have spent a little time at every size while growing from 14 to over 4000 in attendance.

Their level 1 coaching, “Making the Jump”, consists of 7 online sessions meeting every other week where we discuss things like:

  • The S-Curve of church growth
  • The health of the leader
  • Practicals for leading staff and volunteers
  • Tools for evaluating your Sundays
  • and so much more!

I have a new group kicking off on February 15th and I would love for you to be involved! The cost is $350, which comes out to just $50/session. However, if you are a church planter, church revitalizer, or a pastor of a church under 75 I have a discount available for you.

Just fill out this form to let me know you’re interested or to get more information. I’ll follow up to answer any questions you may have or to get you all the necessary info to get registered.

Your Niche’ Can Be Your Noose

Why What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

If you were to ask me what, more than any other factor, has been most detrimental to my progress as a leader in 15 years of ministry, I would say “personal preference,” and it’s not even close.

I know what I want, and I want it now.

When I chose pastoring as my profession, I entered with set ideas and preferences about the “kind” of church I wanted to build. Some of those preferences changed over the years, but like a good pair of sweatpants, most of those originals likings have stuck around. Not only are they still around, but I would go as far as to say they have been the driving force of a lot of my success. The same applies to you. If you’re smart, you double down on the unique qualities about yourself that stand out to others. Your preaching style, relational ability, singing voice, etc. The danger comes when our comfort and preference keeps us from growing into the next season of leadership God wants us to experience. Let me show you.

In a podcast interview with Carey Nieuwhof Craig Groeschel said: “When you find a quality or practice in a leader who is ahead of you, pay attention to what makes you uncomfortable about their leadership, and you will have identified where you need to grow.” Dang Craig!

Have you ever gotten to know or observed a leader ahead of you and been bothered by things that go against your personal preference?

  • Does it bother how much the pastor of the larger church talks about money?
  • Does it bother you how all the worship leaders look young and trendy?
  • Does it bother you how honoring the church or staff is towards the pastor?
  • Does it bother you how Spirit-filled or non-spirit filled the services are?
  • Are they too direct with their team?
  • Do they make too much salary?
  • Does the youth pastor not spend enough time with the students?
  • Does the children’s pastor use fun more than scripture to teach the children?
  • Is the facility too big, nice, or expensive?
  • Does it bother you, you have to go through their assistant to reach them?
  • Does it bother you they don’t handle pastoral care (visits, calls, etc.)

Once you identify the bothersome practices and preferences of a leader beyond you, chances are high you just identified your biggest potential for growth.

All leaders have strong opinions; it’s almost a requirement. Leadership requires a core conviction to drive a vision and mission down through the organization. The danger is when our opinions and preferences become our niches’.

Often the thing we think is our niche’ is really a noose holding us back from going to the next level of leadership, It’s hard to admit and even harder to change because our niche’ helped us get to where we are. Our small corner on the market is our identity and the single biggest factor for our success to this point. You’re the funny guy, the yelling preacher, the soloist, I get it. People love you. You love you.

When you get to this point you have a really difficult choice to make, one sadly many leaders choose not to make; are you willing to give up your preference in order to grow to the next level of leadership? It’s an important question because what got you here won’t get you there.

I’m an ISTP from the Myers-Briggs Personality Profile quiz (If you haven’t taken the quiz you need to. Click here to take it.) ISTP describes me with spooky accuracy, but it also gives me a convicting revelation. Only 3.1% of people in the world are ISTP’s, which means (in general terms) 3 out of every 100 people prefer what I prefer, and 97 people out of 100 disagree with me at any given time. The most popular Myers Briggs profile is ISFJ, 13.8% of the world’s population fall into this personality category, meaning even the most popular preference is only shared by 13 out of 100. This may explain why the average small church built around preference is less than 80 people.

What do you love about yourself? Go ahead and admit it, no one will know but you. Do you like the way you preach or sing? Do you like saving the day as people’s hero? Do you like being a critical thinker or perfectionist, or identifying the flaws in ideas? Do you like being unorganized? (Silly to say I know but how often do unorganized people say things like, “I know here everything is in all this mess,” or “I need it a little chaotic to be creative.”) Do you like that you worship from a hymnal or wear jeans to church? There a million little idiosyncrasies and preferences that have brought you to your currently level of success and leadership. There’s nothing wrong with them unless you want to grow. If you want to grow you’re probably going to have to lay them at the altar.

To be clear, I’m not talking about changing your identity. You can always care for people; you just have to figure our new scalable ways to care. You can always preach, but you have to figure out ways to reinvent your preaching. What you can’t do is keep trying to put new wine into old wineskins.

Learn to say “for now” instead of “never” it will save you a lot of humiliation in the future. This is just how we do it for now.

Admitting your self-percieved strengths are actually hindrances is the apex of self-realization. Most can’t grasp it, but if you’re willing to lean in instead of pull back from new ideas outside of your comfort level you will likely experience a new season of growth reserved for only those brave enough to lay down their preference.

The Best Thing You Can Do This Week

You have probably had an advantage over the last 2 weeks that you might not have for several more weeks or months.

That advantage?

For most people it was a few days off from work for the holidays. Why is that an advantage, you ask? Because it keeps you from doing your job. Said another way, you aren’t working “in” your job. Let me explain.

The greatest enemy to strategic thinking, planning and evaluation is the constant grind of doing your job. There are emails to be dealt with. Phone calls to return. Meetings to attend. Presentations to prepare. You get the idea.

But to truly be effective, you need to do something different than work “in” your job. You need to work “on” your job.

I call this “zooming out.” This is pushing back from the routine to look at the bigger picture. Focusing not on the things that you need to do today or even this week, but the things you need to do in the next 60-90 days and beyond.

The problem is, it’s very difficult to work with this perspective sitting at your desk in between meetings. The crush of the urgent keeps you from truly being able to see all that needs to be seen for longer-term strategic thinking.

So, being off of work for a few days might just be the best possible scenario for your effectiveness this first quarter of 2017…if you’ll take advantage of it.

I realize there are things to rush back to, but what if you set aside some time this week to “zoom out”? Schedule a meeting with yourself at Starbucks for 3 hours one afternoon before this next week is over. Block out some time one morning and go rent some co-working space to help foster creativity.

Your success, and the productivity of your team, in the next 60-90 days could depend on your willingness to “zoom out” some this week and “work on it, not in it.”

The #1 Way to Be Successful in the New Year

Hi, my name is Jeremy, and I have a problem. I’m a cliche.

I get very nostalgic, and super motivated as one year is closing and another is beginning.

There’s just something about the calendar turning from one year to another that seems momentous. I realize the difference from December 31 to January 1 is the same amount of time as from May 6 to May 7, but it feels so much bigger…doesn’t it? I can’t be the only one.

So, as the year winds down I’m sure that you, like me, are contemplating some version of new years resolutions. Maybe you want to lose weight…again. Maybe you want to try to save money…again. Maybe you want to communicate better, get more sleep, invest in relationships, etc, etc, etc.

But, do you want to know the secret to being more successful in the new year?

Reflect on this previous year (and others before it) first.

I know, you think there’s no way it’s that simple, or you’re convinced you’ve done that before. But I would contend that if you are really going to be successful in the new year, you must understand what made you successful (or not) in the previous year. Why didn’t you lose as much weight as you hoped you would 365 days ago? Why isn’t your savings account more filled? Where did you go off the tracks with your plan to get more organized?

Until you know where you got lost, it’s almost impossible to confidently chart out a new course. You’ll just repeat the same behaviors as before.

So, before you make any “new years resolutions”, what if you created a list of “previous year reflections”? Things like:

  • I struggled to lose weight because I ate out with coworkers for lunch too much.
  • I didn’t save enough money because (see item above, or) I didn’t create and stick to my budget each month.
  • I failed to generate the number of business leads I needed because I filled my “free time” with too much Netflix.

A couple of keys for this to really work. First, you have to be honest. If you can’t be honest with yourself you’re just wasting your own time. Second, you have to own it. Notice that my examples above start with the word “I”. Even though I mentioned other people, I must own my decisions and shortcomings.

When I create a list like the one above then I don’t have to have vague, ambiguous resolutions about losing weight. Instead I have specific actions plans that change behavior. For example:

  • I am going to take my lunch to work at least 3 days per week in an effort to eat healthier and save money.
  • I will make 3 cold-calls every workday for every hour of Netflix I watch.

The goal is pretty much the same, but it’s specific, measurable and easier to hold yourself accountable.

Take some time over the next few days and look back so you can truly look forward with intentionality.

Go get ’em!

Dealing with Loss at the Holidays

This post appeared as an article in the December 2016 edition of AroundCanton magazine.

March 2nd, 2017 will be 6 years since my mom passed away after a two year battle with cancer. I remember the first Thanksgiving after she passed my uncle saying around the dinner table, “Her absence is no more real than when we are all together.” She never got to meet four of her grandchildren. She doesn’t get to see the excitement of all 8 grandchildren when they open presents or laugh with one another while trying to stay up late enough to “catch Santa”. The most wonderful time of the year is indeed still wonderful, even while we carry a loss in our hearts.

So how do you deal with loss during the holidays? Well, I’m not sure there is a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all process for everyone. However, I do think there are some common things we can all do to ease the pain a bit.

First, find ways to “include” those who are no longer here in your holiday schedule. Tell stories about them from family gatherings gone by. Make sure the younger generations know how important those who are missing were in establishing the traditions we enjoy today.

Second, don’t feel bad about feeling sad. Allow yourself room to grieve, especially in the first few years or holidays after they’ve passed. Grieving isn’t weakness, and is a natural response to loss. The healthiest thing to do is allow space to cry, talk or process your emotions.

Third, don’t feel bad about feeling happy. You aren’t dishonoring their memory while you laugh and celebrate with those around you. Free yourself from guilt and enjoy the moments you have with the special people in your life.

Finally, make sure you tell the people in your life what they mean to you. For many people, Christmas is a time where they will give and receive words of affirmation and love more easily than perhaps any other time of the year. Don’t allow another day to pass without them knowing that you care, that they are special to you, and that they matter.

In the Bible, Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” My prayer for you this holiday season is that the Lord will comfort you through those around you, even as you mourn those who are no longer here.

The Power of “The 1”

This past Sunday I spoke out of Genesis 18 about the story of Abraham negotiating with God about the salvation of Lot and the “righteous” before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra. It was my contention that Abraham cared less about the 50, 45, 40, 30, 20 or 10 that he was asking God for than he cared about “The 1”: his nephew Lot.

You can listen to the message HERE.

Well, here’s what I didn’t know…

A guy in our church, Rick, has a guy he has coached baseball with over the last few months for their sons. Rick’s friend has experienced some personal tragedy during the time they’ve known one another and Rick has offered to pray for him and his family. Last week while they were talking Rick was trying to encourage his friend regarding some of the things that were happening and his friend said, “I just need what you have. You have something different and want that.”

Rick responded, “well then you need to come to my church Sunday.” And his friend said he would. Sunday rolls around and his friends does indeed show up. Rick admitted to me later that he was nervous because he didn’t know what songs we were singing or what I was going to be speaking on, and how his friend would respond. His friend stood with arms folded during the first portion of worship. I came up during a “pastoral prayer” moment and encouraged everyone to turn and tell their neighbor that God loved them. So Rick leaned over and told his friend who “kind of snickered.”

Later I started my message and our guest services team had passed out a penny to everyone in attendance. So as I’m talking about God valuing “The 1” everyone is holding 1 cent. Later I asked this question of those in attendance in each of our 3 services as they held their penny, “whose salvation are you begging God for?”

Rick’s friend leaned over and asked, “Rick, who’s your 1?”

To which Rick replied,

“You are!”

They both began to cry. Eventually their tears were more than either of them could control and then we all prayed.

Rick’s friend handed him the penny after church and said, “since I was the 1 you were praying for I guess you should keep this.” Rick took it as a reminder to pray for his friend everyday this week and he invited him to come back to church this coming week. His friend said he would.

Rick would later tell me, “this is one of those amazing stories you only hear about…and this time I get to be part of it.”

Living a life that seems “different” to those around us.

The power of an invitation.

The work of God in the life of “The 1.”

Who are you begging God for?

Burned Out Pastor’s Wife

Over the past few days many in the church world have been consumed talking about the resignation of Pastor Pete Wilson of Crosspoint Church in Nashville, TN. In case you haven’t heard the news, he announced to his church that he was “broken”, “tired” and “needed rest”. Since then people have called it “burnout.” Most have called it a brave move to confess something to thousands at his church and perhaps hundreds of thousands through social media what most of us in ministry are too afraid to admit has or is happening to us.

While I see the bravery, when I watched the video I was also thinking about something a little differently than most people. As he stood on that stage in vulnerability to walk away from something that was once a dream so deep in his heart and now had exceeded his wildest expectations I could only think of one person: his wife.

I have sincerely prayed for Pete Wilson’s wife and children over the past few days. I couldn’t even tell you their names (sadly enough) but we share a common bond. I may not be married to someone who pastors 1000’s but my husband is a pastor. Like her, and like many of you, to some I am the nameless wife of the guy who preaches. I understand the weight and the burden that is carried behind the doors of a pastor’s home and my heart goes out to her. She will probably never read this and may not be experiencing these things right now, but I’m sure she has before…and maybe you have too.

You’ve probably heard the old saying “behind every good man is an even better woman” and though I don’t know if that is entirely true I can speak from the heart of a pastor’s wife to say that for almost every burned out, burdened, tired pastor, there is a wife wrestling with some of these same issues, and others, without as much support. I realize pastor’s wives may not carry the same weight of their husbands, but we do carry a weight, and it’s often overlooked or minimized.

I would never assume to know all the conversations that have taken place over the years and months in the Wilson home. However I know some of the conversations that have taken place in our home. I’ve also talked to enough pastor’s wives that I know some of the conversations that have taken place in those homes as well.

This is not about bad husbands, because I am married to a great man who would never intentionally prioritize things over our family. He’s a devoted husband, a great baseball coach for the boys and takes our daughter out on dates. Many of the women I talk to are married to similar men. However, the demands of ministry and life often throw things out of balance for them and for us. Sometimes wives need to say hard things. Things like

“you’re not giving enough to your family”,

“the kids miss you”,

“you’re mentally and emotionally distant”,

“the things in the home are falling apart because of the time you are giving to the church”,

“your priorities are out of whack”,

“I miss you”,

“the oil hasn’t been changed in months ;-)”,

“should we just sell our beds and sleep at the church?”

These statements may seem harsh to some and even may seem unfair to certain readers but many times they are the cry of “pre-burnout” or full-fledged “burnout” from a pastor’s wife. I’m telling my husband the kids miss him, not too hurt him, but because of the burden I’m carrying for our children and the rhythm of our home and ministry balance as he pursues the calling of God on his life as well.

The church world talks a lot about pastoral burn out, but what about pastor’s wife burn out?

What do you do as a wife who is exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally? What do you do when you don’t want to attend another life group or talk about the church on your date night? What do you do when you don’t have anything else to give to a member who “just needs 5 minutes”?

The job of pastor’s wife is one of the most rewarding things I get to do. I don’t always get it right but I thank the Lord regularly for calling me and for calling our family to this incredible work. This post is not autobiographical, right now. But it’s no less sincere.

I have such a heart for pastor’s wives, so much so that it is hard to explain in words most the time. Whether they stay at home or work outside the home, most pastor’s wives also work hard for their church too (and usually for no pay). Often there are expectations that come with being married to a pastor whether the wife feels called to them or not. Things like women’s ministry, or worship or children’s ministry. Sometimes it’s meals with first time visitors, home or hospital visitation, decorating the church and so much more. At the same time they carry a heavy burden for their families, children, husbands, staff families, church members, etc.

There is a pressure we place on ourselves to make sure we are being enough, doing enough, and reaching enough. We want to make sure we are meeting the expectations of those around us. If we aren’t careful we suffer in suffocating silence.

So what do you do if you are married to someone in ministry and experience any of this?

First, take notice. Learn to be ok with not being ok and admit that you feel like you are about to lose it. I’m a very laid back person, but I always know when I’ve had about enough because I get emotional. Everything becomes a big deal, and I get short-tempered, even over little things. Others may notice mental and physical exhaustion and a desire to sleep all the time. Still others might notice a loss of joy in things you love most.

Second, find someone to talk to. I don’t know who that person is for you but I am so fortunate to be married to my best friend who tries his best to understand what I’m saying and feeling. For us, after 12 years of marriage, 4 kids, and 13 years of doing ministry together, I’ve learned it’s ok to show my humanity and my weaknesses to the person who claims to know/love me more than anyone else. Maybe you don’t want to express these burdens to your husband because of what he’s already carrying, but you have to talk to someone. Maybe it’s a friend, parent or sibling who doesn’t attend your church. Maybe it is a counselor. Whether you would classify yourself as an introvert, like me, or an extrovert like ALMOST EVERYONE AROUND ME, everyone needs someone to talk to.

Third, do some serious soul-searching. Be honest. Evaluate the fundamentals of your faith. Are you reading your Bible enough? Are you praying enough? Are you trying to please others more than you are trying to please God? Remember and ask the Lord to remind you why He called you in the first place.

Lastly, be ok with saying you need a break.  Women aren’t usually very good at this because we like to stay busy so people don’t think we can’t juggle all that’s in front of us. That’s not how God intended it to be. Be ok with needing a break. Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG) says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

So I’m praying for you today pastor’s wife. I’m praying that you feel a renewed sense of God’s calling and purpose for you. That today you find joy in Him. I pray that there is a return to the basics and to the goodness of God that at one time was enough to follow Him into this thing we know as ministry. I’m praying for your children and families. I’m praying for your marriages and your homes today.

I’m praying that you find rest for your soul.

The #1 Threat to Contentment

Imagine that your boss calls you into his office and says, “You’ve done great work and in return we’d like to offer you a 25% pay increase beginning immediately.”

How would that make you feel? Excited? Happy?

Now imagine that you leave his office and you’re walking down the hall back to your office only to overhear a coworker talking on the phone: “yeah, they said I’m doing a great job and they are giving me a 35% raise beginning immediately.”

How would that make you feel? Upset? Angry? Insecure?

Isn’t it amazing how quickly our emotions can swing from one extreme to the other? The only variable in the scenario above was the information received about your coworker. But that didn’t really effect you, except that you let it effect you.

It has been said that

“the number #1 enemy to contentment is comparison.”

Think about that. How much more content would you be if you didn’t compare your life with someone else’s?

Your house is nice, except it’s smaller than the neighbors.

Your car runs great, except it’s older than your sisters.

Your kid’s public school is fine, except your best friends’ kids go to private school.

Your company is growing, except it’s not growing as fast as the company downstairs.

Your church is healthy, but you aren’t seeing the numbers the Pastor on Twitter is seeing.

Whenever I’ve allowed comparison to steal my contentment here’s what I do:

  1. Intentionally and consistently find ways to thank God (and others) for what you have. You might have to “fake it ’til you make it”. Give thanks before you feel thanks. Don’t stop. It’s amazing how my whole perspective changes when I’m focused on what God has blessed me with.
  2. Pray that God will bless others more. I can’t resent what God’s doing in someone else’s life when I’m asking Him to do it for them. Kill your pride by praying for others to be blessed.
  3. Repeat!

Find contentment in the things you have and quit worrying about what others have.

Be content. Stop comparing.

Life Lessons – Part 2

I started writing last week about 35 observations I have made since turning 35 last month. They are in no particular order and you can read the first half of the list HERE. After reading both lists I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

19.  I should have learned more about money-management as early as possible. I was smart so I understood some things intuitively, but I didn’t spend enough time around lots of people and resources that would help me manage money better until I got a little older.

20. Things are just things. My friend Matt taught me this phrase recently. Before that I would have called this “Possessions only really matter in the moment.” What I mean is most of the things I “have” to have in the moment are just things in my house after a few days, weeks, months or years. There are things in storage boxes right now that I have not used or touched in months or even years that at one time or another was a “have to buy”.

21. I make better decisions when I’m not in a hurry. This could be applied to every area of my life, but when I slow down, weigh things out, remove as much emotion as possible…I just make better decisions.

22. Sleep is important. My mom used to tell me that our bodies heal at night while we sleep, so if we don’t sleep we don’t heal. I’m not sure if that was even scientifically correct, but it’s practically correct. I feel worse the less I sleep and it has a cumulative effect. I’m better in every area of my life when I’m sleeping well for long enough periods of time.

23. Kids grow up too fast. I don’t mean this in the condescending way it sounds to those younger than me. I mean it more as a dad. My four kids are getting older, faster. I swear. It seems like it was just yesterday that they were learning how to crawl, and now we are navigating devices, proper relationships, language, habits, and sexuality. I wish they would slow down.

24. Fear is real, but it’s fake. I know some people who have a very real struggle with fear and anxiety. It’s a real thing, and in no way am I belittling that. However, I also believe that fear is fake. Beyond a very small percentage of the things we actually fear, most of the things we are afraid of haven’t and even won’t happen. They are fake fears. They are the monsters under our bed, and yet they grip us and keep us from living fully free.

25. News agencies cater to our fears. I don’t watch the news on television anymore. I scan the headlines on my computer or phone, but not near as much as I used to. The reason: these companies make money the more they sensationalize the events happening around us. Many times they have become part of the story rather than just reporting on it.

26. God knew what He was doing when He created the idea of Sabbath. I talked about sleeping earlier, this is not that. This is the idea that I have intentional time in my schedule and calendar that validates this reality:

I am not what I can produce.

When I work non-stop it is actually rooted in an unhealthy place that doesn’t honor God. I’m better 6 days a week than I am 7 days a week because that’s the way God made me.

27. Everyone needs a mentor/coach. It’s no secret that I believe in coaching and mentoring. I have been a recipient and I’m now actively coaching pastors and leaders. You can read more of my philosophy HERE. But my life, leadership and ministry is better because of those a few steps ahead of me helping me navigate my own life. I have mentors as a husband, father, pastor, leader, writer, speaker, and more. I think everyone needs people like this.

28. “You can’t go cheap on toilet paper, peanut butter or underwear.” This was a phrase my mom said over and over when I was growing up. She would buy off brand all the time, but not in the 3 categories above. She believed the higher price here was well worth it.

29. My wardrobe got better when I just gave up control. For the first few years of our marriage I wore what I’d always worn. It wasn’t great, but it was comfortable and I could usually get Buy One Get One ____. At some point Corrie started slipping clothes into my closet and drawers and I didn’t realize it until I was getting complimented for clothes I didn’t remember buying. Eventually I just gave up control and I’m thankful for it.

30. With a good tool, and a Youtube tutorial video I can fix almost anything. Technology has made me an actual, honest to goodness handyman. In a stage of life where money wasn’t readily available I learned how to fix my hot water heater, leaking toilet, change my oil, change my brakes and rotors, and lay flooring in my house…while watching someone else do it on Youtube.

31. There is a difference between a cup of coffee and a “good” cup of coffee. I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was pursuing my Master’s degree while married, pastoring, and had young kids at home. My friend Jonny was staying with us recently and he made some coffee but it involved a process to make it and time to let it sit. That was a new experience for a guy who just hits the start button on the auto coffee pot. But it’s a shame both of these things are called coffee, because what he served me was something else entirely.

32. You are what you read. (aka “Leaders are Readers”). I’ve always loved to read. My brother always hated to read…until recently. Now he reads circles around me. But I believe that reading has set me up to be a better leader, writer and speaker, among so many other things. By continually exposing myself to outside voices, even those I disagree with, across a variety of genres, I’m better.

33. Hair travels. I noticed it in older men long before I started getting older, but there’s less and less hair on my head and more and more hair…

34. I failed to realize how much a compliment was worth. I have always been surrounded by very affirming people. My mom often led the way in this area for me. While I would say that “words of affirmation” is not my love language, I never really wanted for affirmation. After her death there was a void left that I didn’t realize until it was too late. My dad, brother and friends are still very affirming, but I’ve realized that I’m not as good at giving affirmation as I probably should be because I took for granted how much I needed it myself.

35. My brother is an idiot. I use the term idiot as a term of endearment, and I’m not even kidding. If I call you an idiot it means I really love you. My brother Jason is a huge idiot. Nobody makes me more angry, but nobody makes me laugh harder. Corrie knows when I’m talking to him on the phone because I’m either ticked off or laughing so hard I’m crying. I’m thankful for our daily phone calls.


Honorable Mention:

Once I started making this list I came up with more than I needed. So here are a few more that almost, but didn’t quite, make the list.

36. Early bird gets the worm. I’m an early riser, for the most part. But I have definitely learned that I am more productive the earlier in the day I get started.

37. Dry cleaned shirts just fit better. There’s a place by my house that dry cleans shirts for dirt cheap. Once I found this out I started taking a few shirts at a time to get dry cleaned and my clothes miraculously started fitting better.

38. A full tank of gas is overrated. I hate stopping for gas. It’s a pain to stop whatever forward progress I’m making to stand still and wait…So I run ridiculously low most of the time. There have been times (the exact number is not important) when I have run out of gas. Thanks to my friends who have helped me in these moments. You know who you are.

39. The quality of a good pillow. I knew I was getting older the first time I took “my” pillow on an overnight trip away from home. You just never know what kind of pillow you’re going to find in the hotel or friends’ guest room. There doesn’t seem to be much in between. It’s either soft as a cloud and my sinuses get stopped up or hard as a rock and my neck hurts the next day. So I travel with mine.

40. I swear stuff hides from me. I can be looking for something very intently only to discover that it’s not where I thought it was or told it was. Corrie walks into the same room and the thing magically appears. I’ve looked into the refrigerator for something and didn’t see it. I close the door. She opens it and wouldn’t you know it, the thing is sitting right on the shelf where I looked. It’s some kind of voodoo wife magic or something. I still don’t understand it.


Alright, now it’s your turn. What are some things you’ve learned in your years on earth? Which ones of mine have you observed as well?