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map my life!

Hey all! So, in the past month, we've packed up the rest of our home in Anchorage and moved down to Marysville, Washington. We said goodbye to our St. John family and started our hello's to our Marysville family. We spent a week in Bend, Oregon with my parents while my husband drove the UHaul through Canada. What a month!

As we start to create our new normal in Marysville, we're learning how to keep our non-air-conditioned house cool in 90 degree temps. We're quickly trying out all the playgrounds in town with the 3 year old. And we've discovered a great feature on the maps on our phones. All you lower 48 residents likely already knew this. We type in the address of our destination and we're given a couple possible routes. Then we started noticing it would tell us where the traffic congestion was! Now we spend most of our time wondering how Google knows this, but we are grateful.

Now I find myself, even on short trips to the store, looking for the fastest and smoothest route. That got me thinking about how I spiritually and emotionally map out my life. I would LOVE to type in my destination (like making new friends or adjusting to a new church community) and have Google tell me exactly how to get there. For some reason, our human nature continues to focus on the end goal, when we keep learning over and over that the journey there is the whole point.

For example, I love dreaming about setting up a new home - surfing Pinterest and looking for ways to create a sanctuary of peace and joy in our home. But when it comes to actually driving to the store, making a decision, swiping the credit card and putting it in place, that part never quite plays out in my head like I thought it would.

Friends, where is God inviting you to focus on the journey and not the destination? Where might you want to release the outcome on the destination?

For those of you in a season of dark red, congested, frustrating, bumper to bumper traffic - may you feel and know God waiting with you.

For those of you in a season of bright green, smooth sailing, all is well life - may you feel and know God moving with you.

Here's to this new journey!


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Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

99 sheep

Reading Matthew 18:10-14 on this cloudy Anchorage summer morning. Parable of the Lost Sheep. A guy owns 100 sheep. They belong to him. These sheep are loyal and depend on their owner for everything. But then one wanders away. I wonder if this sheep wandered on purpose or accident?

The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

When it comes to our connection to God, some of us may wander on accident. Or on purpose. 

We wait for someone to rescue us. Bring us back. Make it okay. But we have to turn towards the one rescuing us. God will leave the other 99 sheep…