Month: August 2017

The Truth About Adulting in the Workplace

The work you do matters, but your attitude at work matters even more. Whether you are counting numbers on a computer all day, teaching elementary students how to read, or working outside under the sun, when you step into your workplace you can choose to work with an attitude of self-pity or an attitude that worships God. One of my all time favorite scriptures is found in Colossians 3:23, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Here Paul is saying to commit your work, labor, or trade to God who is the master of your life. And as he adds the words “rather than for people,” he reminds us that while we have a boss in the workplace, he or she is not our ultimate boss. Part of adulting in the workplace is realizing that the work you do isn’t to please a boss or get a paycheck, but rather it’s an act of worship.  Jesus’s parable of the three servants in Matthew 25:14-30 …

Is Your Marriage Not Working? Work Your Marriage.

Weddings. Men hate them, especially when it’s their own; women love them, especially when it’s their own. Men watch the time at weddings, always worried they’ll miss their cue; women cry at weddings, which is another reason men don’t like weddings. Weddings are fertile ground for the unexpected. A ring is dropped and falls through the floor register, clanking its way to the furnace in the basement. In one wedding we had a “groomsman delay,” because he dropped like a fly right in the middle of the ceremony. In another, I called the bride by her sister’s name all the way through the ceremony. I know a preacher who unconsciously switches the initial sounds of words. At one ceremony, he asked the groom to place the ring on his bride’s finger and repeat what was supposed to have been: “with this ring I seal this vow.” Instead, he asked the groom to say, “with this ring I feel this sow.” I don’t know, but I imagine the mother of the bride wept while the men snickered …

The Darkness Can Never Extinguish The Light

So let’s talk about the eclipse for a second… I’m not sure what I expected to happen here in Carrollton, GA at 2:35 PM on August 21, but I know what actually happened wasn’t it. Most of our SoHills staff had been hanging out in the parking lot, watching the moon slowly move across the face of the sun, while sporting our trendy solar eclipse shades (thanks to Pack #2819). The sky was progressively getting darker and darker.  The temperature was dropping. The “eclipse music” was playing (thanks to Andrew Hicks). Right before it was time, we all ran to the other side of the building to get a better view of the sky line. And then… it happened! 95% of the sun was blocked by the moon! It was neat to watch the moon move across the sun. The glasses were definitely styling! The temperature drop was crazy. But the climax… the big moment for those of us not in the “path of totality” was, at least for me, disappointing. But in those moments …

Showing Love in a World of Hate

One of my good friends in the entertainment world, who I’ll refer to as D, could not be more opposite of me. D is a comedian with Second City, an avowed atheist, and his political and social views differ from mine to the extreme.  Yet, D is also one of the best examples of Christ-like love that I know. On many occasions, I have told him he reminds me of Christ and, in his own unique and eloquent way, he responds with, “The rebellious, loving, passionate, giving, authority-challenging, and mercy-to-the-poor side of Jesus I dig… it’s the “God” stuff I am not onboard with.” I am praying he comes around to this side as well. He has a huge heart for the hurting, the downtrodden, the outcasts of society. He routinely volunteers his time in shelters, hospitals, mosques, and with charities to show people they are loved and not forgotten. His heart has been desperately hurting recently regarding the growing racial division in our country. He is Caucasian, but often marches in protests and attends rallies …

Speaking the Truth Within Community

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. – Ephesians 4:14-16, emphasis added One common issue our counselees express in Biblical counseling is the feeling of being stuck spiritually. These believers usually read their Bibles at least occasionally outside of Sunday morning and spend time in prayer, but still feel as if they are not growing. I have been in that place, and so have many of my friends and family members. Often times, the underlying problem is a lack of biblical …

Love Does Alongside the Greatest Visionary

-written by J.J. Cole Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found.  I’ve found it’s the small things.  Everyday deeds by ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. – Gandalf, Lord of the Rings Earlier this weekend Christine and I did a family devotional with the kids titled “Sandcastles & Monuments.” We decorated rocks with markers, depicting how God has shown Himself to us in our lives.  Gabby drew a rainbow on one rock and waters parting on another.  Tyler drew a fireball coming down from the sky (go figure) and the Cross. It struck me how the kids so easily reached for these “monuments” in history where God acted, where God demonstrated that love does. The rainbow – His promise to Noah The Red Sea parting – His deliverance of the Israelites The fireball from heaven – His support of Elijah The Cross – His willingness to go any length to save us Throughout the Bible, we see God works …

3 Ways to be Intentional on Monday

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – 1 John 3:18 A few months ago we did a series called “I love Mondays.”  Let’s be honest… loving Mondays isn’t easy.  In fact, it almost seems human nature to despise Mondays. The weekend is over and it’s “back to the grind.”  We drag ourselves out of bed after hitting snooze far too many times.  We roll in right at 9:00 AM to an overwhelming list of things to do, a messy desk, a disgruntled boss, and the same mundane routine. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:2 Let’s intentionally do on Mondays. First and foremost, intentionally be positive on Mondays!  When we think about Mondays as I described above, no wonder we hate them! Philippians 2:14-15 says, …

If You Can’t be Kind, Be Quiet

“If you can’t be kind, be quiet.” This is a phrase I hear myself saying often to my children. I am trying to teach them that their words are important and they should consider their words carefully before using them. I don’t know about you, but this concept is difficult for me to live out, much less my school-aged children. I mean, seriously, how am I supposed to respond in kindness when the precious people in my house are hopping up and down on my last good nerve, a recent post on social media seems like a personal attack, or a good friend hurts my feelings with a careless remark? In those situations, kind words are not how my flesh wants to respond. When my emotions are on edge I tend to react very impulsively, giving little thought to my tone of voice or the words I’m saying. Our current sermon series is entitled Intentional Acts of Kindness, and I think “intentional” is the key word in that phrase. When something is done with intention, …

Are You Making God Famous? Listen.

Heath reminded us last Sunday that good listening has four components: Receiving Appreciating Summarizing Asking questions But I believe the most difficult step in the whole process is starting at the beginning—receiving. The actual receiving is not the difficult part, but starting there is. Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish (see Proverbs 18:13). In a race, false starts are not allowed. Starting 100 meters ahead or even just a single step results in disqualification. It’s a foolish thing to do. Spouting off before listening to the facts is not only foolish, it is shameful. It says to the person looking me in the eye, pouring out their heart, whether spouse, supervisor, child, parent, teammate, or neighbor, “You are not worth my time and effort.” I’ve done a lot of foolish things in life, but some of the most foolish are those times that I talked when I should have listened. Those times never produced gardens; always fields of weeds: hurt, strained relationships, bitterness, insecurity. Now, add to that, that …