Photo 2I completely debated even posting about this. But, there are some things I’ve learned over the years, been thinking on, and figured today was as good a day as any to share them. First off, only a handful of people know, but I’m having surgery today. It’s nothing major. I’m having outpatient surgery… on my ears. Since age 13, I’ve had tunnels, stretched, or plugged earlobes. I’m not even sure now why I started doing it. After awhile, going bigger was the quest. So… I kept going. My ears were each stretched to 1 1/2 inch holes in each ear lobe. I apologize now if some of you are having to sit down thinking about that happening to your ear. Ha. The process didn’t hurt; it happened over years and years.

About 2 years ago, I looked in the mirror getting ready and realized, I had no idea why I started. But, I knew why I had kept them in. I knew exactly why I had not gotten rid of them up until that point.
It was selfish reasoning.
It was me centered.
It was childish at best.
Narcissistic at worst.

I was chasing cool.

“You should come to my church, our pastor has big earrings!”
“I look different than other pastors.”
(internally) “I’m fighting against authority.”
“Man, that’s so cool that you have those in your ears and you work at a church.”
“Your kids have such a cool dad. Look at you.”

Let me say this, I don’t think people who have piercings, tattoos, colored hair, etc. are thinking this internally across the board. I’m sure some do, while others don’t. My tattoos are about family & faith. I know exactly why I have each of those. But, my piercings were a sign of pride, cool, and all about, well… me.

So today I’ll be heading in to have a very talented doctor put my ears back to a place where there are no gaping holes. No more trophies on my ears being worn to be all about myself. No more badges of pride to say, “Look at me. I’m the cool pastor.” And, I want to be as transparent as I can about the lessons I’ve learned in this journey.

Doing Things All For Me Takes Away From Jesus: When I do things rooted in my carnal joy for attention and looks, it takes away from the God I follow. I don’t want to be about that. If you follow Jesus, you shouldn’t want that either. Taking this step removes a road block in my personal life. Something you can ask yourself, “What things do I do, say, or hold on to that are really a trophy of pride?”

He’s About Changing Hearts, And That Means Mine Too: Hanging on to things like pride, attention on myself, and being cool isn’t about an honoring heart. I don’t think over the years I’ve been overtly trying to be sinful with my hanging on to the piercings, but it was an internal battle worth handing over to him. He needs my heart. Anything getting in the way of that should be purged. A question for you to ask, “How does God want to change my heart? Am I willing to surrender to that?”

Jesus Didn’t Chase Cool. Cool Doesn’t Change Lives: I can be the coolest Christian/husband/father/pastor in the world, but if there is something getting between myself and God, I won’t be 100% for Him, for my wife, kids, and the people God has called me to serve. What changes lives is relationships. A two way street of being open, honest, and loving through whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. We won’t always be able to lead people to surrender, but we must try. And cool doesn’t ever come up as a factor in the Bible on how we share Jesus. So, we cannot chase it. Ever. Ask yourself, “What things am I chasing instead of God? Why am I doing that? What needs to change?”

When Our Hearts Are Open To Follow Him- His Blessings Follow: In our family, we’ve been on the verge of some very cool things, but wondered why it wasn’t happening sooner? With Forefront, we’ve watched new people pouring in each week, baptisms happening, lives being changed, and we’re on the door step of a building project that God keeps opening doors to. But, there’s an underlying feeling of, “What things need to happen for God to blow the doors off?” Well, it takes an entire church to get out of God’s way, honor Him through living lives completely for Him, and serving/giving/living completely for His mission. It means every one of us looking inside and seeing what needs to happen. One of those things for me was this. It might sound silly. But, it’s the silly little things that Satan uses to creep in, grow, and get bigger than any of us ever imagined. He’s the master manipulator. Some things to ask yourself would be, “How is my heart? What inside me needs to be cleansed by an amazing God? How am I getting in the way of God’s blessings?”

I have the procedure at 4pm today.
It’s small, but I’m kinda nervous.
I’m scared of doctors (no offense docs).
Pray for my nerves as I head out.

And, I’ll be praying for you.
Praying that you won’t chase cool.
That God will be enough.
That whatever little thing that has grown into a monster will be purged.
That God will get the glory.
He’s amazing.
He’s the biggest support you have.
He’s the giver of new life.
And, on top of all that, I think He’s pretty cool too.

**Note: We bumped Dan’s week to preach up to accomadate this surgery. He’s going to do GREAT this Sunday. You do not want to miss it! Also, I didn’t want to preach a sermon with people staring at whatever stitches, bruising, or whatever it will look like after they do their thing. It would take away from what God wants to do in our worship to Him. But, I’ll be there hanging out, giving hugs, and worshipping with all of you. I love you guys (and gals). See you Sunday! And don’t forget… share with your friends the love of Jesus, invite them to experience God Sunday, and BRING THEM WITH YOU! Cannot wait to see what God does in all of our hearts this week!