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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Come apart before you come apart

I’m not sure who made the statement first, “Come apart before you come apart.” I’ve seen it attributed to Vance Havner and Jan Petersen. It is generally based on Jesus’ instruction to his disciples in Mark 6:31 (KJV). Regardless of who said it, it is wise advice to heed.

As I was hiking in the Quabbin Reservoir during a staycation, it dawned on me that this was my first real break in six months. I’ve been running since early February when I went to New Zealand for my daughter’s wedding. Since that time, I have preached, taught, counseled, mentored, gone to Russia, performed several funerals, led, planned, preached and taught some more … week in and week out without a break. I took a planning day a couple weeks back, but then again, I was still thinking and planning, so that didn’t count as a break.

The past two days, I have done some hiking at the Ashley Reservoir and the Quabbin Reservoir. This weekend, my wife and I will visit Niagara Falls. (Seems like water plays a major role in this vacation.) While it is a nice break, I’m not completely unplugged because I’m answering email, thinking about next week’s leaders’ meeting, and doing work for my Regent Class. I’m not sure pastors can ever completely unplug and stop thinking about ministry. But at least I’m not preparing a sermon or a lesson, so that is something.

One thing I realized from both my planning day and my hikes is that I need to be more intentional about finding activities that will refresh and renew my spirit.

Next week, I’ll hit the ground running and press on towards the holidays.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2017 in Personal growth, Scripture

 

Quabbin Reservoir

As part of my staycation, I spent some time at the Quabbin Reservoir today. Quabbin is the main source of water for Boston. I visited the Visitor’s Center, walked across Winsor Dam, walked to the top of Quabbin Tower, and hiked in to the Dana Commons from Gate 40. Dana was one of four (?) towns relocated to make way for the reservoir. The day started out gray, but the sun broke through and it was a beautiful day.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2017 in Massachusetts, Photos, Quabbin Reservoir

 

Ashley Reservoir

As part of a staycation, I went for a hike this morning around the Ashley Reservoir (or at least part of it) in nearby Holyoke. It was a bit of a gray day, but still a beautiful, peaceful place.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2017 in Massachusetts, Photos

 

Failing to connect the dots

It is always surprising how few people understand the connection between the choices they make and the consequences they experience. Everyone thinks they will be the exception to the rule. They disregard the law of the harvest.

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2017 in Baby Blues, Personal growth, Scripture

 

Trials, Tests, & Training Wheels

I am a fair weather biker. I have a 45-year-old ten speed bicycle I ride a couple days a week when the sun is shining. I don’t ride in the rain and certainly not in the snow. On days or seasons when the weather doesn’t cooperate, I find other forms of exercise.

My typical biking route is a 6.3 mile circuit in my neighborhood. I don’t aspire to ride in the Tour de France simply because I don’t have time to train for such a race. I content myself with riding for exercise. To be a serious, competitive biker requires graduated training over a long period of time.

The same is true of spiritual growth. In Deuteronomy 8:2, God explained how he used tests during Israel’s years in the wilderness to help them grow and mature.

And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.

Scripture explains that God uses trials to teach us about himself and to test our commitment. Exodus 14-19 covers a span of three months. The Passover occurs on the 14th day of the first month (Exodus 12:18). Israel leaves Egypt and encounters an obstacle at the Red Sea a few days later (Exodus 14). Three days after the Red Sea, they arrive at Marah, where the water is bitter (Exodus 15:22). On the 15th day of the second month, the people complain about the lack of bread and meat (Exodus 16:1-2). One week later, they complain about the lack of water (Exodus 17:1). A few days later, Amalek attacks (Exodus 17:8). A few days after that, Moses’ father-in-law Jethro arrives to give him some career advice (Exodus 18:1). They arrive at Mt. Sinai three months after leaving Egypt (Exodus 19:1).

At each location, God tested Israel. He uses the trials to reveal something new about his character and attributes. He uses the events to see whether or not Israel would be obedient. He uses the trials to help Israel grow up and mature. The nation progresses from God fighting for them to the nation fighting with God’s help.

 

1 2 3 4 5
Scripture Exodus 14 Exodus 15:22-27 Exodus 16:1-36 Exodus 17:1-7

Exodus 17:8-16

Problem

Enemy at the Red Sea Bitter water No food No water Enemy attack
Attitude Fear Grumbling Grumbling Doubt

Confidence

Test

God fought for Israel God tested Israel God tested Israel Israel tested God Israel fights with God’s help
Insights about God The Lord is my strength The Lord who heals The Lord your God God is present among his people

The Lord is our banner

Lesson to learn

Depend on God for victory Depend on God for health Depend on God for daily needs Believe that God is present and cares for you

Depend on God for victory

What has God been teaching you recently? How has he been testing you? What do you need to do to learn the lesson and move forward?

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on August 27, 2017. It is part of a series of sermons on the life of Moses. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

Worshipping at the Downtown GetDown

This morning, the “Dave Krok Experience”–Dave, Jack, Ron, Jessica, Stephanie, Keli, and Lauren–one of First Central Bible Church‘s worship team played on the stage at the Chicopee Downtown GetDown. From 11:00AM – 12 Noon, they were the featured band on the stage in front of the old library. A number of FCBC folks were present to encourage and worship along with the team. Our presence led to a number of conversations during the concert and afterwards.

 

Chicopee Downtown Get Down

First Central Bible Church had a booth at the Chicopee Downtown GetDown, the city block party. We had free bags, a raffle for a gift basket, and pictures for kids to color that would be displayed at City Hall. Tomorrow morning, one of our worship teams will be playing on the stage.

 
 

Color war

Last night, Carol and I hosted a barbecue for the youth of First Central Bible Church. Part of the festivities included a “color war.” Robin D was able to get a couple of group photos, including Jessica doing a “hit-and-run” photo bomb. Great fun.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in First Central Bible Church, Photos

 

It’s not you, Pastor

It’s not you, Pastor, but … I need a change … I don’t feel connected … I’m not inspired … the Holy Spirit is leading me … I have different convictions about leadership … I don’t fit … I don’t agree with the vision … I don’t want to be tied to one church … the church doesn’t need me … but it’s not personal.

Why is it that when I hear someone is leaving the church and their reasons start with, “It’s not you, it’s me …” I immediately feel like it’s my fault. I feel like I just received the ecclesiastical “Dear John …” letter. “I think we should see other churches. Let’s just be friends.”

I guess my feelings fit in with Jim Collins “the window and the mirror” concept in his book, Good to Great. During times of prosperity and success, the leader looks out the window and praises the efforts of the people. During times of difficulty and challenge, the leader looks in the mirror and wonders what he could do better.

How can I lead more effectively? How can I inspire, encourage, and challenge people to grow? How can I keep the flock from scattering?

While I know my task is to focus on pleasing God rather than people, it still feels very personal when someone says, “It’s not you, Pastor, but …”

Ah, the challenges of leading a church. SIGH!

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Church, Ministry, Passion, Personal growth

 

Making your Best even Better

Book Review: The Potential Principle: A Proven System for Closing the Gap between How Good You Are and How Good You Could Be, by Mark Sanborn

Most of us would agree that we have not achieved our full potential. We would also agree that we aren’t sure how to find the path that will lead us to greater fulfillment. Consequently, we settle for good enough and go through life on cruise control.

Mark Sanborn’s conviction is that no matter what you’ve done so far, you can still become better. He believes that constant improvement is not only possible, it is a necessity. His latest book, The Potential Principle: A Proven System for Closing the Gap Between How Good You Are and How Good You Could Be, lays out a paradigm for growth.

Sanborn’s path to improvement, or “the potential matrix,” involves escalating performance, leveraged learning, deeper thinking, and insightful introspection. He spends one chapter on each concept to flesh out what he means. The means to improvement requires the reader to disrupt yourself, (re)focus, engage others, and increase one’s capacity. Again, he spends one chapter on each concept to explain what and how to do it.

As the author explains in the opening chapter, one of the keys to growth and improvement is the willingness to experience failure and discomfort.

One of the keys to continual improvement is the willingness to risk disappointment, to see disappointment not as a bad thing to be avoided but as proof positive we are aiming higher and striving to get better. I will go so far as to say that highly successful people are more often disappointed than are other people. They just don’t let disappointment bother them.

The author combines personal illustrations, biblical principles, interviews with business leaders in explaining his concepts. While the book is interesting, it would be most effective if read in conjunction with a coach, accountability partner, or small group who could encourage you in putting it into practice.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2017 in Books, Personal growth