Thursday, July 30, 2015

No Shame!

The truth is... sometimes we just can't do it, whatever IT is! There is no shame in that, even in the face of the standard 'you can do anything you put your mind to' talk which is true sometimes, but not always.

I couldn't do this on my own, you know, get healthy. I have needed my team around me to get to a new place. You'll notice I didn't say lose weight because I know I can lose weight and not get to a healthy place. I've done that before only to end up in the same unhealthy condition.

For the 1st time in my life, I am driven to be healthy and I've needed help from my health coach, Dan Valentine, my extended support network of advisors and my wife, Cynthia, who has been living this way for a while.

Here is what a typical dinner meal looks like these days. You know what? I totally enjoy it; preparation, taste, variety and not to be ignored, results!
You CAN do it, but sometimes you need help. No shame in that.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Far From Sick

Healthy? That has never been a goal of mine until recently. After an appointment with my doctor toward the end of last year, I started to reconsider. Sent away with a few (low dosage) prescriptions for high blood pressure with the inevitable onset of diabetes not far behind, I was gently told all my issues were within my control. But the 'slap in the face' happened when I saw my official medical record online, and it listed the facts about what I had become.

Obese. 

The dreaded "O" word.  Not long after... I started my health journey. For real.

In the past, I have 'gotten healthy' where I cut back on soda or pizza and exercised but never to the point of breakthrough.

I needed a Breakthrough in my health. So, with the help of a friend of mine and my faithful, patient friend and wife, Cynthia, it began. It was difficult hitting the trail; but in a very short time I could tell this experience was going to be different. And it has been. Breakthrough is happening.

People have asked me if I am sick because that's why some folks lose a good amount of weight. In fact I fully expected that to be my story, and I've had moments when I thought that would be just fine. You know, do a short gig in the hospital; have a not-so-near death experience; lose 100 lbs and recover while getting my act together. Kind of like resurrection.

More like Stupid.

So I do look different, but I am not sick. I am very well. I am very alive. I am very active. I am revived. And I do feel resurrected, but because I made a life-changing decision not because I let my life just happen. For me, a stepping-off point was needed.

Because that's all it takes is a decision and some resolve, but most importantly in my experience, a network. I would love my network to be your network if you are ready to make a life-changing decision.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Refresh!

(This is a re-post. It disappeared some time between last week and now.)

We are so thankful for the prayerful support of our friends and family over the last few weeks and months. We feel energized by your prayers and words of encouragement throughout this massive life transition.

After I announced my resignation from my role as lead pastor at Hope City-Southgate on Sunday April 13th I began to release day-to-day responsibilities at the church. It was strange detaching from the people and activities that had become so much a part of our lives over the last 2.5 decades. I preached two more times right up to Mother’s Day weekend when we hit the road to explore ministry opportunities in three states, in three state capital cities.

We met excellent leaders in dynamic churches and were welcomed with open arms at each stop. We were blown away by their generosity and the affirmation we were given by leaders/pastors who are among the finest in the US. When it was said and done we had three offers on the table. One offer was to plant a church while the other two were associate/campus pastor roles at very strong churches. We had decided we would not seek out a lead pastor role outside of church planting.

We returned home to South Bend in time for our final Sunday at Hope City-Southgate on June 1st. Again, we were blessed and affirmed beyond our expectations by so many of you that have loved and served along with us in ministry. Numerous friends and family made the trip to celebrate with us. It was a fantastic send-off.

Honestly, the whirlwind of emotions and options right in front of us presented a really good problem for us. But it was stressful. Where would we go? Is it time to go? We could have easily said yes to any of the offers based on the excellence of the people inviting us to their table and the exciting possibility of starting a new church or joining a growing church. All were amazing opportunities that we genuinely got excited about.

So Cynthia and I went to prayer and had numerous conversations. Not all of them were productive. We also spoke extensively with our family and trusted mentors over questions surrounding the next leg of our journey. But the more we considered what it would cost us in terms of leaving home, family and starting over, Cynthia and I became very aware we just needed more time before making such a major call for our lives. So we decided to pass on all of these opportunities to give ourselves a grace period to get to a place of peace concerning the days ahead and the possibility of relocating. God willing, we can foresee ourselves returning to church ministry at some point in the not too distant future.

We really need to dust off and work on separating from that which has become second nature for us over the last 25 years. Don’t misread this as bitterness or anger directed at the church in general or our beloved church family at Hope City-Southgate. We love the ‘local church, flaws and all, and will continue to engage and support the mission of the church. We have an opportunity to hit the refresh button on our life and get to level ground as we consider future possibilities. We will do just that.

For now, we will remain in South Bend, take some time to catch our breath and work jobs in the telecommunications industry for friends that understand and honor our calling as church leaders. I will continue on with my local chaplaincy work and we will make these days count and enjoy the journey even though it's different than what we expected it to be 30 days go. I am excited that my availability will be such that I can take speaking opportunities as they come my way.

Both of us are excited to now prioritize our lives around our family and trying our hand at some new stuff. We are excited and doing well.

Once again we are so grateful for your friendship, support and understanding. And although we will remain in the area it's time for us to embrace a new way of life away from full-time church ministry… at least for now.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

He's just a good man!

The guy on the left is my father in law, Johnny Bullard. I call him "Lucky Pup" but we won't get into that right now. He often embarrasses the dear woman on the right, my mother in law, Jackie. He has a tendency to speak before he thinks and say things that are not politically correct. He isn't complicated or lose much sleep over others' opinions of him. If he has to use the toilet everyone will know about it because he likes to announce such things. But he will literally let a stranger take a shower in his house with no notice. But we won't get into that right now either. 

There are many things my Dad is not, but what he IS makes him an amazing Father. He loves people and he loves God. He thinks he has the best family in the world even though we all know we couldn't possibly be as talented as the tales he tells about us. He will sing a song upon request in the middle of a crowded room at the top of his lungs. "Bullfrog" is his favorite. Just ask him to sing it sometime in the church lobby or at Meijer. He will recite Psalm 34 at the drop of a hat with tears streaming down his cheeks, but will fight past it while looking you square in the eyes. It's awkward, but so beautiful. He can't help himself. He's just a good man and a great dad. Hey Pup... from all your kids and grand kids, I want to wish you the very best Father's Day ever. We love you. You're irreplaceable.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Been a minute...

Buenos Aires 2012

Hello! It's time to revive this blog... New season for me so I will be using this again. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Change of Pace

“It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll. This is how God does things.” Donald Miller

At times I just have to pull out my regular pattern and rhythm of life. Cynthia and I have learned to love Chicago because it forces us into a different mindset. It's just a totally different groove. I hear God in the city in ways that refresh my thinking and faith. The surroundings also refresh how we see one another... Seeing each other in a different light, so to speak. I feel really blessed to be able to do this from time to time.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Dance with Her!


Daddy gets the first dance! We held our first Daddy-Daughter Dance last Sunday evening at Southgate. Here are a few pics...