The difference between “notice me” and “noticing you”

In today’s social media world, it’s easy to confuse “notice me” with “noticing you.” We all have individualized accounts highlighting the best of ourselves. Each account is marked by creativity, followers, post engagement, etc. What a weird world we live in when everyone gets a platform.

However, that is also a beautiful thing. Think about it. EVERYONE has a platform. Everyone has the ability and potential to express themselves in wonderfully creative God-reflecting ways.

This is a really good and redemptive thing. But like all good things, this also has the potential to become identity idolatry. When we find our hearts longing to “be noticed,” then we’re swimming in the wrong stream.

Our lives should never be “notice me” lives. We should always live “I notice YOU” lives.

It’s okay to create and put it out there for the world. There is beauty even in the vulnerability. But let’s not use our creativity to put a magnifying glass on ourselves. Let’s use our creativity to put a magnifying glass on Christ. He always notices. He always loves. Even when we don’t. Even when we’re tempted to say to world “notice me!”

In this way, we love our neighbor.

In this way, we use our creativity to honor God.

In this way, we use this amazing medium God has given us to say to others, “I notice you.”

What is Veritas City Church doing during this uncertain time?

We announced today what our team and elders at Veritas City Church have decided to do over this next season.

First of all, we never thought we would be in this situation. As we were planning our ministry calendar for 2020.1 (Jan, Feb, Mar) last fall, we were not planning to pause all Sunday gatherings and go directly online. Second, we find ourselves in an interesting cultural moment. And we must respond with confidence and trust in Christ that He is still in control and the Chief Shepherd of His church. Third, we will obey our government authorities and leaders (Rom. 13:1) during this time. As we watch closely what our federal and local government leaders are suggesting, we will be in close step as a church.

With that said, let’s talk about our plan at Veritas:

ONE: We are going to online gatherings until this thing blows over. We announced today our plan up through the end of March. We will circle back as things progress and give our plans for April and Easter.

TWO: We are going to redeem the time. Our staff is not taking a vacation during this time. We will be working from home, and some us may be traveling to see family during this time. We will, however, be locked in.

THREE: We are going to produce a ton of resources. A silver lining in all of this for pastors (and everyone, really) is forced rest from the tyranny of the urgent. Because of this, we will be creating a 31-day prayer devotional, blog, podcast, and other resources for our church during this time. All of these resources will be hosted at our Veritas blog.

FOUR: We are available for anyone at anytime. We know this is a crazy time, so our team and our elders are making ourselves available. If we can’t meet in person, we will meet via FaceTime or Zoom.

FIVE: We will be proactive in meeting needs. Whatever the need, we will be confident problem solvers that are ready to help and serve in whatever capacity needed.

Automate, Delegate, Eliminate

I was listening to a podcast recently, and one of the guests brought up “the art of productivity.” In other words, the art of getting things done.

He brought to light a productivity idea that was genius. If you want to be the most productive, you need to AUTOMATE, DELEGATE, or ELIMINATE everything you do that doesn’t give you the highest return on value.

We all have areas of strength within our jobs and life that bring the most value. That’s where we should plant our flags. That should be our sweet spot of focus. Everything else should go by the wayside.

Some us might be in entry level positions without the means by which we can delegate anything. Then I would suggest finding ways to automate and/or eleminate much of what you do, so you can focus on the things that bring the most value to your organization or life.

And if you can’t even do that and you are still being absolutely drained by the work you do, then you’re in the wrong position or at the wrong job. Life is too short to have all of the energy sucked out of you to where you are never operating in your sweet spot.

After all, what we want more of at the end of the day is VALUE. And the highest common denominator for value is our relationships with people, and because of that, how meaningful life can actually be. Because we never want to automate, eliminate, or delegate people.

5 Ways to Breathe Light During Anxious Days

Am I the only one struggling with anxiety at the moment? No? I didn’t think so.

It is during times like these that I am unable to fake it until I make it. Yes, there’s a lot of unknown. It is a weird time for sure. The grocery stores feel like old western ghost towns. Everyone’s social distancing. The market is down. Worry is a constant feeling. So many what ifs. So many unknowns. Ahhhhhhhhh!

I also know that God is in control, but it seems like a daily (sometimes hourly) task to trust in Him. Trust, however, in the God of the universe should never be a task. Cleaning your room is a task. Trust in God is light work. It’s like sitting in your room, closing your eyes, and all of the sudden your room becomes clean. In the bink of an eye. Without lifitng a finger. Light work. Easy work. Trust in God is a heart binding moment. It’s a heart cleansing moment. It’s good. It’s easy. It’s healthy. It’s what God created us to do — to trust Him. And this, friends, is what it means to breathe light.

Here are 5 easy ways to breathe light—trust in God—during this anxious time.

ONE: Memorize Philippians 4:4-9.

This has become my life passage. There has been no greater Scripture that has spoken to and ministered to my heart than this passage. I encourage you to memorize this passage. Paul exhorts us to prayers of supplication and to dwell on things that are good. Memorizing this passage will allow you to speak confidently and boldly in times of anxiety.

TWO: Get outside to God’s creation.

Sometimes there is no better medicine for an anxious heart than to get outside and into nature. It is cleansing. It resets you. It allows you to breathe (again, trust in God). Sometimes “seeing creation” reminds us to “trust the Creator.”

THREE: Exercise, Execerise, Exercise.

When you begin to worry, ask yourself when was the last time you exercised. This is very important. Exercise is a worry crushing, endorphin releasing, and confidence boosting high. This is often my first question to myself when I begin to feel worry creep in. Have I exercised lately? My “go to” lately has been a set of stairs in my neighborhood in Georgetown called the Exorcist Steps. Ironic, huh? These stairs are named after the movie The Exorcist (which was filmed in Georgetown), but I go there to exorcise my anxiety through… you guessed it… exercise (yeah, weird dad joke). And here’s the best part—I don’t need to prepare. I don’t need to worry about “gym germs.” I just throw on my shoes, jog .75 miles over to the steps as a warm up, and then crush the stairs a few times, then jog home. It’s different for everyone, but I am usually worry free for about 12-hours after a good “exorcise.”

FOUR: Meditate.

Here’s the point: GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA. Whenever I find myself in worry mode, I can almost always point to my social media use. It’s a weird thing. It’s almost always an accurate indicator of my heart. Take a social media fast during this time. Re-orient your heart under goodness, truth, and beauty. Pause and meditate on the gospel. Meditate on Christ’s finished work for you. Meditate on Psalm 103, Psalm 116, Psalm 121, Psalm 27, or Psalm 34.

FIVE: Name your worry and speak truth to your heart.

Naming your worry is good. It puts it right out in front of you, because then you can see it. And when you can see it, you can begin attacking it with gospel truth bombs. One of my favorite gospel bombs to my heart is 1 Peter 5:7 — cast your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. I love this imagery. I often think of a fishermen casting his net into the see with vigor, ready and confident to catch many fish. In the same way, when we cast our anxieties onto the Lord, we are doing so with trust in one hand and confidence in the other hand. Trust that He is still in control. And confidence that He is still making all things right.

In fact, the grave is still empty after all. Christ is still our great anxiety slayer.

Let’s run to Him. Let’s trust in Him. Let’s breathe…. light.

THE PRINCIPLE OF LEVERAGE: How we lived in one of the most expensive cities in America on a church planter’s salary

By all accounts, Washington, D.C. is one of the most expensive cities in America. Depending on what list you look at, DC sits at either number 3, 4, or 5 as the most expensive.

Furthermore, we planted a church in Georgetown (the 20007 zip code), which is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in one of the most expensive cities.

Average rent for a 2-bedroom home is around $3,500. For a 3+ bedroom home, you are in the market for over $4,000+. Furthermore, you can’t buy anything that is a 3 bedroom for under $1.2 million. Needless to say, unless you have a trust fund stashed away somewhere, you have to be resourceful. And on a church planters salary—one that you are fundraising at that—you have to think outside the box a bit.

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