Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Personal Goals (Part One)

Every six months, the Grace Ministries team works through a time of reflection as we evaluate and discuss how well each team member is fulfilling our character, competence, chemistry and courage standards. Part of this process also includes having each team member set some personal and professional goals. I am looking to take the next three posts to share what my goals are as I move into 2010 as a Christ follower.


1) Identify a Ministry/XP Leadership Coach/Mentor

One of the most exciting and scary thing for me daily is giving leadership to a fast paced growing ministry. I am being called upon to lead through seasons and scenarios of ministry with a larger team than I've ever lead before. For the most part, I'm feeling really good about what God is doing in and through me and this team, but there are days I must confess that it would be really nice to talk with someone who has already walked the path I'm walking. Therefore, I'm committed to finding someone who would be willing to invest themselves into me as the XP of Grace Ministries so as to give me longevity and success in this current role. My deisre is to become all that I can become in Christ so as to bring glory to Him.

2) Intentionally Establish Time in My Calendar for Building into my Leadership Team

I am determined to continue building time into my schedule whereby I can intentionally build into those who serve in leadership within our ministry. One of my favorite things to do in life is build into the lives of others so as to see them become all that God would have them become. But, as with any leader, I constantly fight against the "tyranny of the urgent." There is always something or someone pressing in on my schedule and it becomes very easy to lose sight of my need to build into my team. I recently heard Andy Stanley talk about the importance of building "margin" into our schedules so as to be intentional about making time to serve others. Thus I am committed to becoming a master of my calendar rather than the calendar becoming my master!

Next post I'll address the first of my two personal goals over the next six months.

Date Weekend Pics

Here are some pics from my recent date trip with Susan to the PSU - U of M football game. We enjoyed a great weekend with our great friends Tim and Tina. It was cold and wet, but PSU won big and there is something pretty special about the big house! To top it all off... there was a Tim Horton's right around the corner from our hotel. It was a great date weekend with my wife!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Still Dating while Married!

Even though I've been married for 16+ years now, I'm still dating. That's right... I'm a married man who is committed to dating. Now before there is grave confusion and concern, I'm only interested in dating one woman and that is my wife. We've never done this perfectly, but I am a firm believer that every married couple needs to "date" as life and the kids will run you ragged which in turn can cause a couple to put less than their best effort into their marriage.

That's why I'm so excited about getting away with Susan for three days beginning tomorrow. For both the health and sanity of our marriage, we are dropping our kids off at school and screeching the tires out of the parking lot to head off to Michigan for a quick long weekend with another couple. I recognize that some people may view this as anything but loving behavior towards my children, but let's get honest for a moment...

First, my kids like any one's kids will run you to the point of exhaustion between school, activities, family time, sleepless nights, sickness etc... At some point, a husband and a wife must look at each other and say "I love these kids but we need some us time for the health and sanity of our marriage." It still breaks my heart to leave my kids for a few days as I know they would love to hang out with Susan and I on this road trip, but that doesn't give us the time needed to invest into one another and our marriage.

Secondly, there is coming a day when Susan and I will be emptynesters in the not too distant future. I'm committed to not being one of those couples who look at one another when the noise and dust settle in a quiet empty home wondering who that other person is. I want to spend a lifetime getting to know and love my wife as she is the one I committed myself to until death do us part. Sure the kids will always be a huge part of our lives, but they will one day move on and start their own life with their own spouse and family. When I turn 90 and need someone wiping the drool from my face, I better be sure I've loved my wife to the best of my ability or I'm going to have chapped lips from all the wet drool sitting on my face.

Thirdly, I'm a firm believer that couples who commit to dating are far less likely to stray. (That's a kind word for cheat, affair, adultery etc...) I'm convinced that it would be far harder for me to ever cheat on my wife if I'm still passionately and intentionally pursuing her. One of the things I love when we get away together is that wherever we go we hold hands like we did when dating and there's lots of kissing. There's no kids breaking in or dog to be walked or kids going ewww when we kiss. Just me and my wife strolling together hand in hand and kissing like young lovers the whole way.

Finally, we have learned that it's much easier to love and not grow frustrated with our kids and the overall pace of life if we take time to get away together from it all. Times of refreshment as a married couple is vital to keeping things from spinning out of control within the home.

So I'm glad to still be dating... my wife!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

France & Spain... Here we Come!

I've been thinking a lot lately about my family's upcoming short term missions trip to France & Spain. Six months ago when we committed to spending our Christmas holiday serving the GBIM European Missionary families during a conference, it seemed like it would be forever before it came. Well forever is upon us and here is what I'm praying God will do in and through this trip for both my family and I in no particular order...
  • It will be the Auld family's first overseas trip and I'm very thankful that we will be able to have this cross cultural experience together. I want my children to grow up and appreciate other cultures.

  • I'm looking forward to learning more on how Christ followers serve Jesus in a very secular & humanistic culture that rejects either Christ and/or any form of religion outright.

  • We are looking forward to connecting with some of the GBIM European missionaries Grace Church supports. How nice to sit and converse face to face with those we only know through email updates.

  • As parents, Susan and I are looking forward to teaching our children that Christmas is more about giving than getting. This year we are taking our normal monies spent on Christmas gifts (grandparents too) and putting it towards the cost of our missions trip. We want this trip to "cost" our children something so that they learn the value of sacrificing for the cause of Christ.

  • I'm excited to have my children serve and interact with other children who serve overseas with their parents. How cool will it be for them to gain a deeper understanding of what these peers do for Christ with their parents.

  • How cool will it be to always be able to talk about the Christmas we spent in an old chateau together as a family in France.

  • We as a family are looking forward to developing and deepening our relationships with our other team members as we serve/live together for nearly two weeks.
The list could go on and on and on... but I'll stop here and be looking to keep updating these thoughts as our trip grows closer. A special thanks to all who have given towards our family making this special trip. It is appreciated and I would ask that you continue to pray with us that God give us the remaining funds needed to cover these costs.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Quiet Night by the Fire

As promised in my last blog, here is my Friday post. It's a little later than I had anticipated posting, but it's been a nice relaxing night. Let me back it up a bit and share why my quiet night by the fire was just what I needed...

I've gone at it for 13 days straight and to be honest, I was feeling kind of grumpy by the time I left the office today. There was no particular reason, just feeling a bit tired and ready to rest my brain for a while. My afternoon was good, but it was busy as Susan and I grabbed lunch, did some shopping, prepped the house for my brother and his family's visit, picked up our daughter, went to watch a soccer game with my son, grabbed dinner and then came home. By this point my eyes were burning from weariness and I decided it was time to recalibrate before our company came.

With this in mind, I headed outdoors to our patio and fire pit and lit a fire. The coffee was brewed and my wife and I just sat outside for about an hour together and just enjoyed the peace and quiet. I thought it was going to rain for a bit, but it held off and the solitude of sipping coffee, petting my dog and chatting with my wife was just what this weary soul needed. I'm still tired and ready for bed, but my heart is feeling much more settled than earlier and I've been reminded yet again of the importance of biblical rest.

I also need to post about the great gift I got and I may not wait until next Friday to do so...

Friday, October 2, 2009

To Blog or Not Blog - A Conclusion

I've been wrestling internally with how much of this blogging thing do I want to keep doing. To be honest with you, I almost see it as becoming a thing of the past already as new technologies continue to pop up in respects to how we communicate with one another.

So here is how I'm looking to move forward...

First, I enjoy writing, so I'm going to blog once a week with one primary thought from my week. I'll be looking to do this on Friday mornings starting next week.

Secondly, I'm 99% sure I'll be purchasing a journal and utilizing it throughout this Fall and into the year 2010. This practice of keeping a journal will fall nicely into the Year of Prayer Plans we have for the overall Grace Ministry.

Thirdly, I'm still looking into creating a Grace Church XP facebook page and a Grace Church XP twitter account as a more reliable way of communicating what it is Grace Church is up to and what I'm learning as the Executive Pastor of a large and growing ministry.

If there is anyone out there who feels like they could help me on the third item, I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on the matter!

That concludes my conclusions on the matter of "to blog or not blog".