Why We Should Stop Comparing Our Average to Everyone Else’s Awesome

I had the opportunity to preach last Sunday. I love when I those weeks roll around.

After our final service concluded (we have three every week), my production director asked me the same question we ask every communicator at the end of each Sunday: “Which message would you like to be the ‘master?’” The master message is the one that is uploaded to all our online portals.

We talked for a moment about each and ultimately decided the 11:00 a.m. message was the best of the three.

And that got me to thinking. Every week, all across the country, pastors and leaders are being recorded. But more often than not, there is a good deal of editing, re-communicating, and “let’s try that again” happening before it ever goes public. We watch these other preachers and teachers and feel both inspired by their message and intimidated by their abilities.

But we’re only seeing their 11:00 a.m. service. We’re only seeing their highlight reels. We’re only seeing their best. It’s like social media profile pictures and the 15,000 selfies that were posted while you read the word “selfie.” More than ever, we have the ability to only post what’s best. And with that, we are positioned like never before to be intimidated by others and convinced we aren’t good enough. In contrast, we seem to only remember our 9:00 a.m. message, where the crowd was still on their first cup of coffee and our production crew was, too.

When we only remember their highlight and our lowlight, we find ourselves in a dark place.

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Pushing Past Simple Gratitude

With Thanksgiving in mind, this is reposted from June 2014…

“Why can’t you be more grateful?!?!”

I hear this all the time from parents in our church, neighborhood, school… well, pretty much everywhere, including my own home.

Our children have so much. Virtually everyone we know has everything they need: clothes, shoes, food, and shelter. And they have all the non-necessities, too: XBOX, Wii, iPads, cell phones, bikes, and toys. I believe my entire street put a pool in their backyard this year – and I don’t mean the kiddie or above ground variety. You get the point.

As parents, our overflowing stuff plus limited gratitude drives us to demand gratefulness from our families.

So when my 14-year-old daughter and I recently returned from a mission trip to Ecuador with Compassion International, what I heard no less than 50 times was to be expected: “Aren’t you glad your daughter was able to see how the rest of the world lives? I bet she will be more grateful for what she has now!”

I hate to admit it, but to some extent, I thought the same thing as we boarded the plane out of Atlanta. She has everything she needs – and more. Much more. Her carryon bag proved the point. As a family, we have been blessed, and I used to desire more gratitude from my kids.

But while we were visiting the little home of a Compassion sponsored child in an extremely impoverished community in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, it hit me: I don’t want my daughter to feel grateful, I want her to feel responsible!

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