blessed to be a blessing, annoyed because you’re annoying

You can become blind to things you see every day. Whether it’s the places you pass on the way to work or the items on your desk, if you see it frequently enough it can eventually hide in plain sight. One of the easiest ways to prove this is to have someone new over to your house. When they are sitting in your living room sipping iced tea just watch their eyes. They will scan the room, drinking it all in and if you look at what they look at you will see things about your own home you hadn’t noticed for a long time, if ever.

We never look at our own stuff with such careful scrutiny. We don’t need to, we can navigate our way through in the dark. That’s why a toy left in the wrong spot or a piece of furniture that’s been moved will always result in a banged shin when we go for a glass of water in the night. Even when the lights are on you can multi-task at home better than anywhere because you don’t have to pay careful attention to get around but can rely on our mental map of what we believe is there.

It can be the same way with our own idiosyncrasies and weaknesses. You can become blind to your quirks just through the sheer frequency of raw impressions. You are always around yourself. Those who are with you less frequently than you are (that would be everyone) see things about you that have become invisible to you over time.

One of the best ways to figure out what your blind spots are is to invert it and use other people as a mirror. What things do those around you do that really get to you? Is it when people interrupt frequently? Talk about themselves constantly? Chew loudly? Gossip incessantly? Your nerves reveal a lot about you for this simple reason, sins we struggle with always look uglier on other people. Chances are there’s some sense of conviction driving your high level of irritation. That’s why David was so ultra ticked at the dude stealing the poor mans sheep in Nathan’s parable–it struck a serious nerve in his life. Being consciously aware of what annoys you can help you discover what you do that’s annoying.

If you try and pay attention to this you will be shocked (and appalled in my case) at the things in your life that you do out of habit without really thinking about how you come across to others. And knowing is half the battle. You can’t ask God to change a problem that you don’t know is there.

Psalm 19:12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.


A huge weekend for America

If you haven’t heard the news, Harvest America is just days away. Greg Laurie will be preaching the gospel at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California and it will be simulcast to over 1,700 locations from sea to shining sea. In addition to these sites it will be going out to hundreds of thousands through webcasts and live radio coverage. This could potentially be the largest evangelistic event to ever occur in the history of the United States of America!

There is nothing this country so desperately needs as spiritual revival and I am so thankful that God gave this vision to Greg and the Harvest team to put this phenomenally massive outreach together. Especially as we move towards a presidential election, everyone is clamoring for hope and change; but the answer to our country’s problems isn’t who is living in the White House, but rather who is coming on a white horse–Air Horse One–I’m talking about Jesus Christ! We desperately need to consider our ways and turn to the Lord. And the only way that will happen is through the bold proclamation of what happened at skull hill–where Jesus died for the sins of the world–and that is exactly what Harvest America is all about.

At fresh life we are absolutely, flat-out honored to be a part of this event; both through streaming it on our two radio stations and by hosting Harvest America events in Billings and in the Flathead Valley. In my opinion Greg Laurie is the freshest and most powerful evangelist on the planet. The way God has gifted him to preach the gospel in a down to earth way is outstanding. I have had the opportunity to travel with him all over the country and serve with him as emcee at his crusades and it is a very special–Holy Spirit–thing to watch God use him in the lives of so many people, there is a serious anointing on his life. We are pinching ourselves that via technology we are able to effectively have Harvest crusades in Montana this summer! Outrageous.

We should all leverage our personal influence towards this event as well, through instagram posts, tweets, status updates and #harvestamerica hashtags this thing should generate some mega traffic and turn heads all over the place. You never know what God can do with even the smallest things we offer to Him in faith.

Get more details at harvestamerica.com, invite and bring people to attend and or watch online, and lets stand together with Greg and the whole Harvest team in prayer. (Ephesians 6:19)


This weekend at fresh life

Pastor Pedro Garcia, a good friend of our house and a brother in the faith, has come up from Miami, Florida and will be preaching at all fresh life worship experiences this weekend. His radio program Life Radio can be heard each week day in Billings and the Flathead Valley on Fresh Life Radio and this is his first time ever speaking on a weekend in Montana. If you have never heard him before, you don’t want to miss it–he is a white-hot communicator! Invite a friend and join us at one of our locations or online.

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don’t talk about yourself that way

I don’t know about you but I am my own worst critic. There is a definitely a healthy amount of competition for the title but I am painfully aware of my shortcomings–to a fault. My failures as a leader, a father, a husband and most importantly as a child of God are never too far from my mind and can easily consume my thoughts and rob my peace if I let them. I am a personal perfectionist. At times I am reticent to show myself the same grace and room to grow that I would urge upon anyone else.

Maybe all this doesn’t apply to you and it’s not a struggle for you. But if it is, here is something that has helped me. First of all you have to realize that this struggle I am describing, well at it’s core it’s a pride thing. Sorry, but it is. Holding yourself to a higher standard than you hold anyone else has got pride written all over it. You are made out of clay not iron. Stop being shocked and indignant that you are weak. Embrace it, humble yourself and receive the grace God wants to give you.

Most importantly you need to fire yourself from the role of critic and hire yourself as your own personal coach. I’m serious. And it’s a huge upgrade. Critics are worthless anyway. All a critic does is pass judgment on the work of another. There is no cost or sacrifice to criticize. You don’t have to be invested. Criticism is cheap. Coaches on the other-hand have something to contribute. Their job is to move a person or team from one place to another. There is a goal in mind. They are not just heaping scorn or praise on you for the sake of it but rather seeking to bring you to victory. Urge yourself on to the greatness God’s Holy Spirit has put within you.

You have to shift gears from criticizing yourself all the time and learn how to coach yourself towards where God wants you to be. Part of this will involve learning how to correctly talk to yourself. In my heart the voice of a critic often rises up; slamming my performance and condemning me for not doing better. But that’s not helpful. A good coach doesn’t sugar-coat a bad performance, and sometimes the post-game talk can be bitter medicine but it is never hopeless. It’s good to be broken over your sin but not helpful to wallow in self-loathing. So instead of merely tearing yourself to pieces, admit your failures and them spend time coming up with a plan for next time.

And next time you find yourself rising up in judgment against yourself remember something, you are the blood-bought son or daughter of the King of Kings. Don’t you dare talk about yourself that way!

Psalm 43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.


Last night’s party

For the record I just want to say that I am so thankful that I get to be a part of what God is doing in hearts and lives through skull church. It is always an enormous rush and a gift to get to experience the energy and anticipation and then watch as people respond to the message of what Jesus did for them at Golgotha. Amazing. I have had last night in particular circled on my calendar for a while because we were joined by one of my favorite bands, a group called Paper Route. If you haven’t been exposed to their music stop depriving yourself. They are super talented.

Here is the skull church August lookbook.