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I have said a lot of stupid things in my life. Many of which I’ve said right here on this blog. Things that have gotten me in hot water, cold water, and dry with no water.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the trajectory of my life, how I’m spending my time, and where I want to point. As I’ve thought back over the years, there are things I realize I’ve never said that have significantly shaped who I am. God’s changed me through generosity, community, laughter, my son, my church(es), and my own leadership journey.

Sometimes what’s not said is more important than what is said. And there are things you’ll never say, either.

I’m not a gambling man, but I’d put good money on the line that you’ll never say any of these things. And if you find yourself saying them, stop it.

10 things you’ll never say

I wish I hadn’t been so generous.

Nobody regrets being generous. Even when your generosity isn’t well received, isn’t thanked, or isn’t noticed, the act of generosity changes you as much as it changes others.

Truth: You’ll never regret generosity.

Life would’ve been better if I hadn’t joined that small group.

You will have less “free” time in your life, more heartache, more burdens to bear, more mess to wade through, and more people to pray for. Life will be tougher. But you won’t regret joining a small group, because you’ll have people to journey through life with.

Truth: You’ll never regret investing in people’s lives.

My best friends? They’re the ones I never laugh with.

Get off the boring train, and start recognizing that laughter is a gift from God. You’ll grow more spiritually with a group of people that you enjoy being around than ones you dread meeting with.

Truth: If you don’t enjoy being around you, neither will others.

I wish I had spent less time with my kids.

And your kids will never say they wish that you’d spent less time with them, either.

Truth: Time with your kids is not time wasted.

I love to drink mediocre coffee.

No you don’t. Nobody does. Which is why when I have people over to my house, I serve the best stuff that I’ve got. Or I go get my hands on the best stuff I can find. All coffee is not created equal.

Truth: 1 cup of my coffee just might change your life. :)

I wish I had been less regular at church.

Your church isn’t perfect. Neither is mine. But being where God’s people gather to worship and celebrate the work of God is healing and life-giving.

Truth: Getting plugged into a local church will change the trajectory of your life.

“Leadership” doesn’t really have any relevance in my life.

No matter where you find yourself, leadership is playing a significant role. Sometimes it’s affecting you positively. Other times, negatively. Sometimes by its presence. Other times by its absence.

Truth: Focusing on your own leadership development isn’t a waste of time.

My life is much more lovely because of my cat.

Nope. It’s not.

Truth: I hate cats. So do you.

I wish I had not gone on that mission trip.

I wrote about it here, but my life was shifted when I traveled to Costa Rica. Others’ lives were shifted because I was sick for part of the week, too. Whether you go on a trip out of your country or across state lines, you won’t regret the time away from work or the money it cost you to get there.

Truth: Going on a mission trip will mess you up in the best way possible.

Children’s ministry? That’s a waste of time.

If you say this, expect to not be a pastor very long. Or expect your church numbers to dwindle quickly.

Truth: When you invest in children, you are investing in the life of the Church. For today and tomorrow.

Anything you’d add? 

 

27 things I’m thankful for

Ben Reed —  November 22, 2012 — 2 Comments
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image credit: CreationSwap user Rich Aguilar

This has been a tough year for us. Transitioning churches, cities, and completely overhauling our relationships has been a tough row to hoe. And we wouldn’t have made it but for the grace of God. We’ve found that God’s grace often comes packaged as friends. And occasionally coffee. :)

27 Things I’m Thankful for

1. God’s not done with me yet.

2. God’s grace is still for me, not just for everyone else.

3. My wife loves me, and still puts up with me. :)

4. My son’s an adventurer. I don’t have to teach him to live dangerously and take risks. I don’t have to push him be a boy. He does it naturally.

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Rex & the crab

5. I’m in a healthy, growing, vibrant church that’s open to change.

6. My job is challenging. Nothing worse than being in a mundane job where you coast and aren’t needed.

7. Our house will be done soon. We’re living with my in-laws. It’s awesome, but I’m excited about our the project coming together. Here’s what we’ve got now:

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our lot

 

8. My coffee station. It’s the little things, right?

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my office coffee station

9. That I don’t have to put up with cats. But you already knew that. Again, the little things. :)

10. To be in a job that I enjoy.

11. To serve on staff with a leader that I enjoy. Thanks Derek.

12. The burgeoning small groups team. We’re small, but scrappy. :) thanks Micha!

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13. The staff that has supported us in great ways. Especially Nick and Parker. And Calvin and Erica. Oh yeah, and Eric. Tony. Cyndi. Jason. Nate. Bill. The Dybas. Rog. Angie. Jeff. J Lo. Jeff. LT. Robyn. Lynne. Shannon. Brian. Shane. The Lamberths. Amanda. Todd. Henry. Julie. Andrew. Heck, you can see them all here.

14. The work I get to do with Steve Gladen and the Small Group Network. It’s awesome.

15. Being in a job where my gifts are maximized and my heart and mind are challenged. I know I kind of said that already, but I’m super thankful. So it bears repeating.

16. The countless small group leaders that have made it a point to encourage me in this transition.

17. Our family, that we’re living with. They’re so gracious.

18. My family, who has been so supportive of the craziness that has been our life over the past few months.

19. Grace, with whom we spent 5 amazing years.

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20. Chad & the rest of the staff team at Grace, that were incredibly gracious and supportive of us as we made the hardest move of our lives.

2!. Good friends like David and Tony and the Anthonys and the Wolfes that have come to see us in Hendersonville.

22. Guys in my life that mentor me from far off. Thanks Ron.

23. My buddies that helped me move. Thanks John, Tony, Brad, Brandon, and Byron.

24. Friends that have still stayed in touch, even though I’ve moved. Thanks Jesse, Michael, and Peter.

25. Chocolate chip pecan pie. With a piping hot cup of good coffee.

26. Our Clarksville realtor, who helped us sell our house in 3 days. Thanks Jackie.

27. Our Hendersonville realtor, who showed us that it’s possible to be patient with a young couple as they look through 50+listings…only to end up buliding something new. Thanks Jeff.

What are you thankful for? Anybody you can thank, and tag here?

 

My top 3 books for 2011

Ben Reed —  December 12, 2011 — 11 Comments

image credit: Creation Swap user Jamie Current

I’ve read a lot in 2011. And there are three books that rose to the top for me.

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

This is an old book, but it’s still unbelievably applicable today. Because relationships are still vital to whatever you do, whether that’s at work, home, or church. This book oozes practical wisdom.

2. Small Groups with Purpose: How to Create Healthy Communities, by Steve Gladen (blog)

I know, it’s niche. But it’s good. If you’re overseeing small groups, this book is gold for you. Steve has laid out the method that Saddleback Church has pioneered in launching thousands of small groups. And he’s broken it down where churches who are much smaller can learn from the principles that Saddleback has used.

3. Sticky Teams, by Larry Osborne

Our staff read through this book together and it was so, so good. Osborne packs this book full of the wisdom he’s learned in leading his teams of staff members at North Coast Church. If you’re a team leader, or plan on being one, especially in the church, this is a must-read.

Question:

Have you read a must-read this year?

 

 * image credit: Creation Swap user Jamie Current

 

I lost my voice on Sunday, and still haven’t been able to get it back. I’m able to squeak out a whisper most of the time, but that’s about all I’ve got.

Why is it that people feel the need to speak softly to me now? As if somehow their soft voice mimicking my hoarseness makes me feel better. Or makes the conversation go more smoothly. Maybe they’re doing it consciously, but honestly, I think it’s an unconscious reaction much of the time.

I see the same thing in other areas of life. We take on characteristics/attitudes/quirks of those we spend time with. We begin to laugh at the same jokes. Use the same illustrations. Care about the same things.

Whether consciously or unconsciously, we are easily influenced by those closest to us. Which places an even higher priority on finding friends who will help us to grow in our faith, instead of taking steps further from God.

I’ve lost my voice. And if you spend much time around me, you may lose yours, too.

 

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…you can walk into church without anybody knowing you

…you leave church without anybody knowing you

…you’ve backslidden

…you want to grow in your faith

…you want to help others grow in their faith

…you need a place to serve

…you need a place to grow

…you need a place to belong

…you’re curious about God

…you don’t even know where to start

…you are a new believer

…you are a mature believer

…you are divorced

…you have children

…you cannot have children

…you “have it together”

…everybody else knows you don’t “have it together”

…you have a great family

…your family is rotten

…you don’t have any family

…you have lots of friends, but none that share your values

…you don’t have any friends who encourage you

…you don’t have any friends who hold you accountable

…you don’t have any friends, period

…life has fallen apart

…you know life will soon fall apart

…you have lots of free time

…you don’t have any free time

…you don’t have parenthood figured out yet

…you don’t have marriage figured out yet

…you don’t have singleness figured out yet

…life is tough right now

…you find that living the Christian life is difficult

…you erroneously think living the Christian life is easy

…you can never seem to think of things to pray for

…you have a house (or apartment) that can seat more than 2 people

…your story is still in progress

What would you add to this list?