Posts Tagged: Family

That Vibrating Demon

What is the vibrating demon? Well for me it is my iPhone. Yes, I know a phone really is quite a necessity in ministry these days. Why? I’m not sure, considering millions of pastors did quality ministry without ever needing to answer a phone, and millions after them did quality ministry without ever needing to answer a text. Yet, here we are, they are for some reason a necessity of ministry; but still for me at times my iPhone is the vibrating demon.

I say vibrating demon because my phone is almost always silenced due to my career being in a constant cycle of meetings and so it vibrates to get my attention. And I am ashamed to say that I respond faster to my phone than I do my wife, my kids, maybe even God. Why? Because we are driven by the immediate and not by what is truly most important.

Well, the other day something happened and I have decided I will no longer let the vibrating demon control me.

I had about an hour free in my afternoon before needing to head out to our school for a meeting and I decided to run home quickly and check in on the family. When I arrived home my wife and kids were hanging out by the pool, don’t hate me because God has called me to Pastor in California 🙂 I sat down on one of the pool chairs, set my phone down on the end table by the chair, and began to talk to my wife. After several minutes of conversation my 4 1/2-year-old and 2 1/2-year-old boys came running over to me and started asking excitedly, “Daddy, Daddy will you swing us?” I told them to hold on while I finished talking to Christina (my beautiful wife) and then I said, “Ok.” My 2 1/2 year old loves to help me get up. Whether it is standing up from a chair or getting out of bed he loves to think he is pulling me to my feet. So he begins to tug on my arm and as I am getting up I reach down and grab my phone. Landon and I take about two steps towards the swing and then he stops me, and in a very serious voice he commands me, “Put that in your pocket Daddy! Put the phone in your pocket!” I looked at my wife and she gave me a look that communicated, “How cute” & “I’ve told you so” all in one. Then I looked back at Landon, he was serious we weren’t budging ’till I put the phone away. He hasn’t learned the pocket doesn’t stop the distraction, but in that moment I learned the phone needs to be turned off!

I would rather be fired or asked to leave my church because people don’t feel like they can get a hold of me than to ever have my boys think again that the vibrating demon is more important than them. If my 2 1/2-year-old has already figured out the distraction the vibrating demon is to his Dad, how is he going to feel as a teenager after years of that instrument of ministry and others taking away his Dad’s attention?

So tomorrow in the morning, when I am with my boys the phone, is going off…not just on vibrate…not just in the pocket…off!

Pastors (and all parents really) if you feel like your phone is a permanent extension of your hand due to calls, texts, twitter, email, Facebook,  your kids, and your wife feel it too, so turn it off!

There are enough demons out to get us and our families, don’t let the vibrating one that you have control over be one of them!

My 2011 Goals

So I think I am finally ready to talk about some of my goals for 2011.  ALL of us should set goals!  Why? 

  1. Goals help bring clarity to our lives.
  2. Goals help us to prioritize.  Many of us spend way to much time doing nothing, not because we are lazy, but because we lack direction. 
  3. Goals build confidence.  Even if we don’t achieve our goals, if we honestly work towards them we will find we have done far more than we thought we could and that will build-up our confidence. 
  4. Goals written down are more likely achieved than just hoping we accomplish something!

What to know when you are setting goals:  They should be SMART!

  • S-specific
  • M-measurable
  • A-attainable
  • R-realistic
  • T-time bound (trackable)

So here are some of my goals for 2011:


  • I will memorize the 100 scriptures every Adventist should know by June 1, 2011.  (I got these scriptures from my friends at the ARISE/Lightbearers.
  • I will read through the book “Desire of Ages” as part of my morning worship.
  • I will not miss Visalia Seventh-day Adventist Church’s House of Prayer two weeks in a row.
  • I will meet with my prayer partner weekly.
  • I will make one lost friend and lead them to Jesus in 2011.


  • I will eat supper with my family at least five nights a week.
  • I will be home to put my boys to bed at least three nights out of the work week.
  • I will pray daily with my sons and my wife.
  • I will go on at least two dates a month with my wife.
  • I will plan 1 family vacation.
  • I will plan 1 romantic get away with my wife.
  • I will preach a maximum of 40 Sabbaths in 2011.


  • I will drink 90 ounces of water per day.
  • I will complete p90x (I’ve completed day 1 twice, I started over to have my rest day on the Sabbath) by April 22nd, 2011.
  • I will run a minimum of 3 miles at least 3 times per week.
  • I will run two half-marathons.
  • I will eat vegetables and fruit every day.
  • I will stop using cow’s milk on my cereal in 2011 (I love all my dairy people out there, but I’ve gotta do it, and don’t tell, but I’ll still be eating cheese:))  It is only bought for me now, since Dayton has switched to Almond Milk.


  • I will read at least one work related book a month.
  • I will weekly write this blog!
  • I will work to develop stronger communication skills with my staff and elders, I will have them evaluate me at the end of the year to see if I achieved this goal.
  • I will seek the counsel of my mentors and advisors monthly.
  • I will learn the ARISE curriculum for giving 1 on 1 Bible Studies.
  • I will develop and preach my own evangelistic sermons by April, 2011.
  • I will provide “text” hand-outs for my sermons weekly.
  • I will seek to find a volunteer that I can work with on weekly powerpoint presentations for sermons.
  • I will work with our team to develop a strategy for growth groups/small groups.
  • I will start and teach our membership class at least once a quarter.
  • I will find a small number of folk I can disciple.  Jesus discipled in small intimate relationships.
  • I will train 50 members of our church to be Spiritual mentors of new believers that join our church.

Personal Growth and Development:

  • I will complete levels 1 & 2 of the Spanish Immersion Language training tool.


  • I will golf with my Dad monthly (and hopefully get good again:)).

I pray all of you will think about your year and set some goals, I believe that you will find that you can achieve more than you ever thought possible if you will just set goals, even if you write them down and never look at them again you are stil almost guaranteed to accomplish more than if you had written nothing down.

One final note on goals: Notice above everything starts with “I will” that is simply because that is the easiest way to state something in the positive.  The reality is that “Only God can” & “Only God will”.  You see “I can” on my own accomplish several of the tasks above on my own, but they will be far short of bringing God glory if “I do” instead of “Jesus doing things through me and in me…” And ultimately I don’t want to take away any more from the Glory of God in my life than I already have thus far.  So pray for me as I pray for you!





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