What is your priority in life?

Pay attention to advice and accept correction, so you can live sensibly. We make a lot of plans, but the Lord will do what he has decided. Proverbs 19:20-21 CEV

The magnificent Northern Wisconsin leaves change their colors this time of year. The beauty is reflected onto the lake I've known since birth. I am staying at our family cabin in Northern Wisconsin as I write this blog. My brother and I are the third generation to own and care for this cabin. My grandmother bought the cabin over 55 years ago as a way to keep the family together following my grandparents' divorce. It's easy to become nostalgic here. Tragedy, divorce and pain have been part of our family narrative for as long as I can remember.  I am easily reminded of all the changes and seasons our family has endured as the surrounding memorabilia tells the life-story of our family experience.

This cabin has also candidly captured some of my best memories. I can hold onto them like precious pages of a rare manuscript. When I am here, I can remember early morning fishing expeditions with my dad and uncles. I can certainly bait my own hook but I could never get my hand around the wiggly fish to release it from the tiny jagged edge. I always needed help and someone was always there to help release my 4inch fish from the hook. I have some fond recollections of late night kick-the-can games, s'mores by the fireside and swimming competitions that included neighborhood kids and my cousins.

I am not afraid to tell people who know my story that I am the prefect testimony that God still does miracles. I've chosen to write my story in a way that is contrary to my family's narrative. I can tell you with all seriousness, I don't know who I'd be if God hadn't intervened into my life.  It was very tempting to accept the narrative that seemed to be written for me in stone by my ancestors. But, God provided a different story line for me and I accepted it. Authenticity and humility have been my stark companions because being a pastor has its rewards and challenges around people who can help remind you who you could've been.

This week we can discover together why our family must be a priority in our Christian life as we learn how to integrate God onto the pages of our manuscript. I've included some points to mull over here to prepare you for hearing the Word Sunday.

  1. The core of every family is our relationship with God as individuals first and then as a family.
  2. We must protect our family from negativity and the most important way to teach the next generation is by example.
  3. Responsibility and discipline help the next generation grow in wisdom and keep parents from embarrassment.
  4. The next generation will become what we work together to make them.
  5. The Church can be a place where we share the burden of leadership and responsibility as we recognize the awesome task of creating a Godly family which has eternal significance.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13 NIV

Who may be waiting to hear your story?

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. John 16:16 NIV


Christianity began as a small group of people who followed a Rabbi. The small group of people told stories about their Rabbi to their families and friends. They invited others to come and investigate their Rabbi for themselves. More followers of the Rabbi were created and sent out to tell their story. The followers of the Rabbi spoke to people in the surrounding villages, along roadsides and as they visited the cosmopolitan center of Judaism, Jerusalem. They didn't stop in Jerusalem. They expanded their influence through Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.

The Rabbi's early followers wanted others to know how life could be different. They wanted others to know the freedom, power and grace they could experience even in the presence of the dominant world power of the Roman Empire. The perilous early days of Christianity were filled with persecution. But, the explosive growth of Christianity is credited to a pattern of disciple making. The pattern emerged through the conscientious selection of other like-minded Christians to equip others to influence the world for the Kingdom of God.

It's about multiplication.

Jesus is our leader and supreme example of how to influence and invite others to follow him. He selected individuals and invested his life into them over a period of time. Peter, James and John represent Jesus' inner circle. They experienced Jesus' miraculous power, love and forgiveness first-hand. Jesus also invested personally in the lives of nine other disciples. The twelve, also known as the Apostles, were his witnesses and the Church was founded upon their intense commitment and leadership. Jesus entrusted seventy-two leaders with the special task to minister in pairs to the regions of the Roman Empire villages.

There were 120 believers gathered in the Upper room when the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost. They were faithful followers and became equipped by the power of the Holy Spirit to do great things for God's kingdom. Large crowds followed Jesus and then the disciples. However, large crowds were not the central focus of Jesus. Jesus poured his time, teaching and patience into a small group of followers that they might influence others to reach the broken world with a message of hope and reconciliation through knowing Jesus Christ.

From simple believer to a connected, devoted and generous follower

Real Kingdom change occurs when followers of Jesus take their role of disciple making seriously. Obedience isn't a word many of us like but it is crucial when working for God to meet his goals and purposes. Consider who taught you the foundations of our Christian faith and coached you to grow from a simple believer to become a disciple of Jesus. Who may be waiting to hear your story? Who may need your special type of mentoring or coaching? Who could benefit from hearing about the power, love and forgiveness Jesus offers right now? The result will be that God is glorified and we produce the fruit that will last. Pay attention to the investments you make this week in the people close to you. May you decide to make a personal investment in someone that produces eternal results.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15