Growing in the Knowledge of Your Weakness

A week or so ago, the Evident Grace leadership team met for our annual New Year’s dinner.  This is our yearly time to celebrate all that God has done in our lives and at the church, while also getting some much-needed fun time with each other. 

After dinner and dessert, Amy and I gathered everyone together.  We had taken the time to write out ICNU cards for each person there.  An ICNU is when you encourage people by telling them, “I see in you _______.” It’s an opportunity to affirm and encourage people about what you see in their lives or what you see God doing in their lives.  This initiative comes from author Dave Ferguson and his book “Hero Maker”. Learn more about both at http://www.heromakerbook.org/.

After that, we put names in a basket, and everyone drew one.  Then, anonymously, we wrote out ICNU’s.  We then gave them to each person, and they read theirs out loud.  It was a powerful time where people read what others saw in them. 

I was admittedly curious as to what someone would say about me.  I opened the card and read, “Gordon, I see in a leader growing in the knowledge of his weakness and his need to depend on the church.”  

My first reaction?  Disappointment.  I wanted to be seen as strong, and faithful, or maybe even…Godly.  I wasn’t ready for, “growing in knowledge of my weakness.”  But upon reflection, isn’t that we are called to do?  Doesn’t the Bible say…

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

I realized that pride had snuck in, wishing they said something different. Ultimately, I’m thankful for this.  Of course, I want to grow to be strong, but if others see God in my life in this way, I can trust that God is faithfully pouring our His sufficient grace to me.

So, don’t despise the knowledge of your weakness.  Instead, thank God for its recognition, and trust His grace.

If you would like to pursue this thought more, I recorded a podcast about it.  You can find the link to your favorite podcast platform to listen to it at:

https://anchor.fm/thisisgonnahurt/episodes/Episode-46—Growing-in-Weakness-as-an-Individual-and-a-Leader-e2v9dl.

Gordon Duncan

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

 

Control Your Mind, Body, and Time to Be in Control of Self from the 25 Biblical Laws of Success

I recently read the, “25 Biblical Laws of Success” by William Douglas and Rubens Teixeira.

To be honest, I usually avoid these types of books because “success” books from scripture often horribly misuse the bible to meet the modern day expectations of business and life.  But I was challenged on this approach, and I will be honest, I loved this book.

While it is not completely free of the aforementioned trappings, it does a good job of looking at the biblical principals of work and effort (there are many) and appropriates them well.  I was specifically struck by the simplicity and practicality of one well-known passage.

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Douglas and Teixeira make these observations about how we approach work, life, and serving God.  To accomplish that which we are called to…

Run like a winner (“in such a way to get the prize”)

Make sacrifices (go into “strict training”)

Have faith and trust (“not running aimlessly”)

Behave in an intelligent and objective way (“not fight like a boxer beating the air”)

Take charge of yourself and have self-control (“strike a blow to my body and make it my slave”).

They go on to say:

“Learning to control your mind, your body, and your time is to be in control of yourself.  Those who don’t control themselves first are in no condition to control anything else.” (108, “25 Biblical Laws of Success).

How true are these principals?  They are true in our service to Jesus and gifted through the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  They are true in athletic training.  They are true in marriage, parenting, and the workplace.

Our goal in these things?  Trust our security and power in Jesus as we seek to honor Him in all things.  If you get a chance, check out the “25 Laws”, and let me know what you think.

Gordon Duncan

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Real Change in Your Life Podcast

Gospel Rich Books wants to tell you about today’s “This Gonna Hurt” podcast.

In this episode, Gordon talks about how to make real change in your life. In light of the passing of a friend, Gordon considers what the steps of change are in our lives if we want to make real, positive change. He talks about:

Opportunity
Rationalization
Restraint
Inspiration

If light of what Gordon mentioned in the podcast, if you need help for drug or alcohol addiction, you can find that help at www.recovery.org.

As Gordon mentioned in the podcast, if you would like to become a podcast patron, you can do so by clicking
www.anchor.fm/thisisgonnahurt and clicking the “support this podcast” button.

Thanks for listening. If you want to find out more about what Gordon is up to, check out his website at www.jgordonduncan.com.

Thanks for listening.

Bouncing Back When You Miss Your Goal

Preparation is everything.  Controlling what you control is essential to performance.  But you can’t control what you can’t control, and in that, there are so many lessons to learn.

Saturday was the Rivanna Marathon.  My preparation was the best I could hope for.  I set multiple PR’s (personal records), and I felt mentally ready.  I felt that my 12 weeks of training brought me to the starting line ready.  I was going to improve my Boston Qualifying time and set another PR.

However, with 2 minutes and 56 seconds until race start, I knew something wasn’t right.  I immediately felt my body change.  I wasn’t feeling my best.  Five miles into the twenty-six, I found myself struggling at a very normal pace.  Again, at mile, nine, I felt the same.  My heart rate was in the 94th percentile in 98% humidity.  Heart rate and heat are not something to mess with.  I’ve never DNF’d (Did Not Finish) in ten years of racing.  I wept for what I had lost.

I went to the doctor soon after getting home, and he diagnosed me with an infection and prescribed some meds.  The rest of the day was pretty painful, physically and emotionally.  I do have a Boston Qualifying time, but with Boston, that doesn’t always guarantee you a spot.  That means that if I don’t get in when registration opens this week, I’ll have to qualify again in another race and hope for 2020.

There is a lot to learn from missing my goal.  I won’t profess to have processed everything already, but I have thought about it a great deal.

You Can’t Control What You Can’t Control.

There is nothing I could do to prevent this infection.  It.just.happened.  There was nothing I could do.  It was as if God just said, “Not today.”  I’m not bitter.  God is good and gracious to me in so many areas.  Any other emotion would only lead to bitterness.

Use Your Disappointments. 

I’m motivated to meet this goal of running in the Boston Marathon.  I’m committed to it and know that if it were easy, everyone would run it.  Boston is elite.  It takes more than even your average marathon.  And while training for 12 weeks and not meeting a goal is frustrating, I won’t allow it to be crushing.  It’s going to be motivating.

Set Incremental Goals Along the Way.

If I don’t get into Boston 2019, Boston 2020 will be a long way away.  I will need incremental goals to keep my motivated.  Things like running a half and setting a PR.  Placing top 3 in a race.  Becoming a better swimmer.  These small goals will keep me motivated as I go after the big goal.  Without it, I might lose drive.

I know that not everyone likes running.  Running is my drive.  But all of us face disappointments.  Every goal worth attaining is going to have obstacles.  Making our will stronger than those obstacles’ is not easy.  But hopefully, by implementing the above tips, especially when you experience a setback, will help you meet that goal and move onto your next one.

I goal into more details about all of this in my podcast www.anchor.fm/thisisgonnahurt.

Thanks for listening.

As Gordon mentioned in the podcast, if you would like to become a podcast patron, you can do so by clicking www.anchor.fm/thisisgonnahurt and clicking the “support this podcast” button.

Thanks for listening. If you want to find out more about what Gordon is up to, check out his website at www.jgordonduncan.com.

 

MIddle School, Back to School, Anxieties, & the Gospel

Our youngest is navigating middle school.  This is her second year, but her first without a sister, as my oldest two are now in high school.   Whew, we are off to a tough start.

Let me just say that my youngest is awesome.  She is super creative and energetic, but her highs are high and her lows are low (isn’t that all of us?). 

As we head into the third week, a very common challenge has sprung up:  gym.  As a kid, I was fast, but that didn’t earn me much in gym as I was like 4 foot 3.  I was picked on, and I hated the whole locker room.  As best as I can tell, the lack of a close friend seems to be the culprit in this case. 

As we headed to school, Em’s just didn’t want to go.  Since there is a 10 min gap between dropping off my high schoolers and going to the middle school, I took the opportunity to try to soothe her.

We talked about David and King Saul in 1 Samuel 24.  This is the story about David cutting off the corner of Saul’s robe while David hid in a cave and Saul relieved himself (for real).  As soon as David cuts of the corner of the robe, he immediately repents.  He runs out to Saul, lies prostrate on the dust, and confesses his sin. 

How risky!  Saul wants to kill David, but David knows that he has disrespected the Lord’s anointed and sinned.  The two leave in peace, and we have a great testimony about how to interact with authority, loving our enemies, and an example of repentance.

Em and I talked about his.  I ask her if anyone in there is her enemy.  She says no.  Then we talked bout how to bless the people in her class.  We come up with this plan.  She is going to begin the class by praying for herself – praying that God would sustain her when she is miserable in gym.  Then, she is going to look at each person in the class.  She knows their names.  Then, she is going for God to bless each one of them.  It will take most of the class to get through every person’s name and to pray for them.  Then, she is going to pray for herself again.  My encouragement is that I am sure that God will bless her if she is praying that God will bless them. 

Will she find new friends?  Will gym by enjoyable?  We’ll see, but the time will be redeemed if she blesses those that she feels alienated from, and that is a pretty sweet work of the Gospel. 

Middle school is tough.  Emotionally loving (and sometimes nudging) your kids is a challenge, but we trust God sustains our kids and ourselves as we seek to bless the world. 

Gordon Duncan

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

 

Solitude is the Fear of the Human Heart

Solitude is the fear of the human heart.

In the midst of celebration, our hearts want someone to hug, sing with, drink with, or even high five.

In mourning, we need everything from the hand that hands us a cloth to wipe our tear to people willing to sit with us in silence.

But what we want is presence.  And in presence, we find love.

When Jesus enjoyed His last meal with His friends, He told them that He was headed off to die. 

He told them that people were going to hate them. 

He told them that people were going to want to kill them.

But…

He promised that they would not be alone. 

Jesus promised them that He would give them that Holy Spirit.  They would never be alone.

This is the story of many people who love God.  In fact, this is the story of all who love God. 

Moses walked with God.

Joshua walked with God just as Moses did.

The disciples walked with Jesus.

And you have the Holy Spirit.

So, today, you are free to love God.  You are free to love others as you love yourself. 

And through the wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit, you are free not to be alone.

Gordon

Gospel Rich Books

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

New Blog & Podcast Ask, “Is There a Theology of Vacation?”

The New “This is Gonna Hurt” podcast is out, and this week, we talk about a theology of vacation.  You can find all the links on all of our platforms at This is Gonna Hurt.

In this episode we discuss:

Is there a theology of vacation?  Well, not specifically, but in all things, we should build a theology around what we choose to do or not do.

Scripturally, there is definitive theology of sabbath – the commanded one day of rest in seven.  I think this is perhaps the hardest commandment given.  We all struggle with God having a say in our life.  The moment He says He is the Lord of our time, our hearts rebel, but that is a topic for another day.

As for vacation, Biblically, most people didn’t have the option in their day because they lived in an agrarian or agricultural society.  Oh, you can take a week off, but animals don’t milk themselves and crops aren’t harvested without you.  Leaving for any extended time might mean the death of your sources of income.

Mark 6:31 shows us Jesus took time away for rest, but no one with integrity could find an American styled vacation in His three years of ministry.

Really vacations are about being a good steward of all that God has given you.  As Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

So, how do you approach vacations?  I want to offer a few tips, especially as I approach my vacation very soon.  Full disclosure, many of my thoughts here are focused on vacations with a family with children.  I’ll leave that theology to someone else, but I will offer that some of the thoughts might be helpful to singles and married with no children couples.  For the sake of organization, I’ve divided my thoughts into three categories:

Time Alone

Vacation offers some rare time alone.  How do you redeem it?  I would say three ways:  exercising, reading, and spending time with God.  You may not get those each day, but if your family schedule allows, take it.  If you have small children who require attention, swap out time with your spouse so you can care for yourself.  Don’t let vacation be permission to eat terribly and not move.  If so, vacations just become a time of regret.  Don’t neglect time with God.  You won’t have more time when you get back home.  And read for goodness sake.  Engage those eyeballs in a good book.  Your brain will thank you.

Time with Spouse

This one can be tough when you have kids.  If you can’t get away from them, steal a few moments when they go to bed or get up.  If they are old enough and responsible enough, take a walk without them.  Make that time purposeful.  Have times where you talk about what you need to talk about.  Have times where you talk about interests (what you are reading, etc).  Enjoy each other.  Sit beside each other.  Walk on the beach.  Just don’t let vacation come and go without a few moment to be refreshed with each other.

Time with Children

Making vacation fun for your kids can make vacation not feel like vacation to the parents.  But here is the thing, there will come a day when your kids can’t take vacation with you because their lives are full.   Have fun with your kids.  Play board games.  Play on the beach.  Play, play, play.  Read together.  Whatever.  Just make the time with your kids purposeful.

Hopefully, you and your family can get a vacation this year, even if it is small.  Take it seriously.  Plan ahead so you can relax.  And in the everything, give thanks to God.

If you want to hear more about this thought.  Check out the “This is Gonna Hurt” podcast where I talk about this very topic.

Gordon

Gospel Rich Books

This episode of the “This is Gonna Hurt” podcast is sponsored by Gospel Rich Books.  Gospel Rich Books offers a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog