JUST DO IT

I am a product of the '90s. My childhood was filled with VHS movies, yo-yos, and Nintendo 64. Those were the days of Starter jackets, Airwalk shoes, JNCO jeans, and No Fear t-shirts. But the brand that dominated that decade more than any other was Nike. Virtually every '90s kid had a t-shirt with the Nike Swoosh and the famous tagline, "JUST DO IT."

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It's such a simple phrase yet it's one of the most powerful taglines in the world. Just do it. I’m pretty sure that message made it beyond a t-shirt and into my subconscious, because I find myself living with a "just do it" mentality more often than not. I mean, if I go for it and fail then I'll end up in the same place as if I’d never tried at all. But on the other hand, if I go for it and succeed then I'll end up somewhere else, somewhere awesome.

One example of this is when I was in college and I discovered a passion for rock climbing. I spent a summer in Seattle, and that's what everyone does in Seattle. They drink coffee and climb rocks. So I became a rock climber. Shortly after I discovered this passion, I thought I'd try to make a career out of it. The only problem was I was not all that great at climbing. So I started emailing companies to see if they would sponsor me as an amateur rock climber. I got a few rejections, but one of them actually said yes. They put me on their "grassroots" team and sent me some free swag in the mail. I got a free pair of climbing shoes, stickers, a t-shirt, and some other random stuff. Clearly that wasn't enough to make a living, but I can now say that at one point in my life I was a sponsored rock climber.

Another example was about a year ago when I called a company that owns a massive, old church building in our area and asked them if they would give the building to my church. They said that it was for sale and that I could buy it for $2,000,000. I told them that I didn't have the money but that I would be happy to take it off their hands for free. They said no. So I emailed the president of the company. It's a big company, but I was able to track his email down. I sent him a proposal with the top 10 reasons why he should give me the building. He had his real estate agent call me and ask me to stop emailing him. So I did. For now. But who knows what may come out of it eventually.

The biggest “just do it” moment of my life so far was when I was trying to decide if I should quit my job, move my family, and plant a new church. We'd prayed about it. We felt called to it. But it was still a huge risk. There was a lot on the line, a lot to lose. Ultimately we decided to go for it, to "just do it,” and God honored that decision.

One of my favorite examples of the “just do it” mentality is Peter, the disciple of Jesus. Peter was always the guy to jump in and go for it. In Matthew 14 we read the story of how Peter and the other disciples saw Jesus walking on the water. They were scared. They thought Jesus was a ghost. But Peter decided to take a risk. He told Jesus to invite him out of the boat to walk on the water. Jesus did, and Peter climbed out of the boat. He actually did it. He walked on water. To this day, Peter is the only human being other than Jesus Christ to ever walk on water. Did he fail? Sure. But he also did something no one else has ever done.

At the end of the day, I want to live my life in a way that when I get to the end, there will be lots of great stories worth telling. Stories of success. Stories of failure. Stories of big risks and stories of God's faithfulness. Stories of walking on water and experiencing things everyone else thought was impossible. Those stories almost always have a “just do it” plot line to them.

So what about you? What are your favorite “just do it” moments? What’s your next one? What’s holding you back? There’s no better time than now to get out there and just do it!

Share The Good Things

Sometimes it can be difficult to live in a hyper-connected world. There are so many benefits that come along with advancements in technology, but there are some downsides as well. One of the downsides is that we are inundated with bad news. I can't get on Facebook or Twitter, I can't turn on the T.V. or radio, without seeing or hearing something heartbreaking. We see it all, from hurricanes to hate crimes, from terrorism to human trafficking. We are constantly being informed of tragedies all over the world.

Having access to bad news isn't always a bad thing. One positive is that it gives us an opportunity to do something about it. When we see the devastation from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma it can move us to give and to help those who were impacted. But on the other hand, the constant bombardment of bad news can also numb us to the problems of our world and sometimes even paralyze us. We get so overwhelmed by all of the negativity that we feel like there's no point in doing anything because we'll never be able to fix everything. I know that I've felt this way many times.

But recently I started doing something new. It's been really good for me, and it's helped me change my focus and my mindset. So I wanted to share it with you and encourage you to try it out. O.k., so here's what I've been doing...

When I see something good, I share it. If I'm on social media and I see a story that's encouraging, I share it. The other day I saw an article about how churches and faith-based organizations provide the bulk of disaster recovery in the aftermath of major natural disasters. It was a really inspiring article so I shared it on my Facebook page. Whenever I see good news, I am trying my best to notice it, to acknowledge it, and to share it with someone else. It's not limited to social media though. I am trying to do this in my conversations with friends and family. When I'm at the coffee shop or the grocery store, when I'm out on a run or at the park with my kids, I am looking for something good to share. And the rule is, when I see it, I share it.

 I saw this awesome sticker on a friend's water bottle so I shared it on Instagram.

I saw this awesome sticker on a friend's water bottle so I shared it on Instagram.

I've been at this now for a few weeks, and I've noticed a pretty big change in my focus. I'm finding that the more I do this, the more natural it becomes for me to look for the good things in life. At first, I had to really work to find something positive to share. But in only a few short weeks, I'm seeing good news everywhere I go. Most often it's little things. Like yesterday when my son was crying and my daughter gave him one of her favorite toys to help him calm down. When I saw her do that, I stopped and told her how proud of her I was for being kind and generous. When I see something good, I share it.

The truth is, I still see the same amount of bad news that I've always seen. That's not going to change any time soon. But looking for good things and then sharing those things has actually made me care more about the bad things. Here's why. Because when you know how good life can be, you want that good life for those who don't have it. Searching for good doesn't mean you hide from the bad. It just means you refuse to let the bad keep you from finding good, sharing good, and doing good.

So ... what about you? What good things have you seen lately? What good things do you need to share? The world is desperate for some good news. So go on. Share yours with the world.

What Do You Really Want?

Over the last two days, I had the privilege of hanging out with several other church planters in the FEC. This morning we began our time together by studying the passage from Mark 10 where Jesus heals a blind man named Bartimaeus. If you are unfamiliar with the story, you can read it here.

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Mark 10:46-52 NIV)

Near the end of the passage, Jesus asks Bartimaeus a profound question: "What do you want me to do for you?" As we were studying this passage together this morning, my church planting coach asked all of us to stop and answer that question for ourselves. I don't know if I've ever done that before. I mean, I've asked God for lots of things in my life, but I don't know if I've ever looked at this passage in a personal way before. Like, what if Jesus were to ask me the same question. "Chris, what do you want me to do for you? What do you really want me to do for you?"

How would I answer?

How would you answer?

What if Jesus asked you the same question?

What would you say?

This question has been consuming my thoughts all day long. It reminded me of when I first started out on this church planting journey and I wrote a blog about my prayer for that year. It came from this quote from a Jewish theologian named Abraham Heschel. He said, "Never once in my life did I ask God for success or wisdom or power or fame. I asked for wonder, and he gave it to me."

Today, I was reminded of that prayer I prayed at the beginning of this wild ride and how God has been so faithful to answer that prayer. Now here I am six months in, leading a healthy, growing church, and yet the answer to the question hasn't changed. I want Jesus to give me wonder. I want to be amazed by God. I want to be blown away by what he does and how he does it. I want to be in awe of God. I want this for Pine Hills City Church. I want this for the city of Fort Wayne. I want to experience this in my own personal life. I want to see this in my family. I want to see it in my marriage. I want to see it in my kids.

I am asking for wonder. That's what I want. That's what I want Jesus to do for me. Not success, not wisdom, not power, not fame, not fortune, not influence, not anything else. Just give me wonder.

And I am believing that God will continue to answer that prayer.


So how about you? What do you want Jesus to do for you? What do you really want?