Gumption is a Sacred Family Value

Gumption is the character to commit and complete. It’s the essence of self-leadership in requiring something of yourself without excuse.

Everything worthwhile is an uphill battle. Luckily, God has given us the necessary gifts, talents, and abilities to win. We only need to exercise gumption to get the better life God has invited us to.

And when we succeed, we celebrate!

Keep Battling What Beats You

Humble yourself, get past your pride.

There are places we are vulnerable to peer pressure and signature sins. It’s only when we let God transform those innermost places that we can be defeat what beats us.

A temporary “feel good” fix (like alcoholism, addiction, drugs, pornography, etc…) only starts to make us loathe who we are. Beyond getting over our pride, we have to keep battling what breaks and beats us. This is only done by letting God battle with us.

God Will Pull With You

Jesus says to “Take my Yoke upon you and learn from me…” – Matthew 11:29-30

What does “Yoke” even mean?

A yoke pulls together two oxen so that they can share the load plowing a field. Jesus is saying for us to “yoke up” with Him, so that we can partner with Him and be transformed, and made good (Holy) at the core of our being.

When we join up with Jesus, he’ll plow our lives for us. He’ll pull with us and for us.

Overcoming Discontentment

One Conviction: Grow thankfulness to break through discontentment.

Thanksgiving is the gatekeeper to joy.

Grow joy through thanksgiving by:

  1. Remembering
    • “I will practice gratitude to access joy.” – Brene Brown
    • “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you are usually aware of three or four of them.” – John Piper
  2. Returning
  3. Right-sizing

Trying to Control Grows Anxiety

Anxiety grows when we try to be in control. It pushes us to have neatly compartmentalized worlds. We want to control when we are anxious or afraid.

  • We cannot control our circumstances.
  • We cannot control the stock market.
  • We cannot control our children.
  • We cannot control our spouses.
  • We cannot control our bosses.
  • We cannot control our teachers/professors.
  • We cannot control our guilt from the past.

We have to REST in God. The last and deepest place of praise is giving ownership and control over to God. Not just recognizing Him, not just relying on Him, but giving over control.

The good news is praise and anxiety cannot share the same heart! When we live a life of praise, rest comes naturally.

Praise Recognizes God for Who He Is

The reality of who God is can shadow the reality of the problems around you. We have to filter the problems in our life with the reality that there is a good God who is our helper and our strength.

We tend to start with what we see in the natural world, and God invites us to start with Him in the supernatural world.

We are not big enough to carry the weight and pressure of life alone. We have to recognize that can’t do it alone, but with God, we can!  The first thing praise does is it invites our hearts into giving recognition where recognition is due. It brings our hearts to a higher level.


Why Does Anxiety Exist?

Anxiety exists when the problems around you overwhelm the peace within you.

Problems are normal for all of us. We all know the feeling of anxiety.

  • We can miss the best moments with our kids…because of anxiety.
  • We can miss the best moments in our marriage…because of anxiety.
  • We can miss the best moments in school/growing up…because of anxiety.
  • We can miss the best things in life…because of anxiety.

What if God actually didn’t intend for us to walk through life with anxiety? We have to stop saying “I’m okay. I’m fine.” and start asking God what we need to do with our anxiety?

The Value of Praise

Praise is not a passive response to anxiety, it’s an active response. It is our active pursuit of God in our lives and over our problems / anxiety.

The power of of praise is the ability to do that over and over again. We’re able to take something that doesn’t change – God’s character and nature – and personalize it for our own lives.

Relationships in Flight Require Effort

Are you “in flight” with a relationship that has not yet arrived? You’re probably doing everything you can to keep building it. But often people believe that when they get married they’ve “arrived” and they don’t need to give as much effort.

Building any relationship requires effort. Don’t give up.

Don’t Just Care, Connect

God created us to connect in community, and through Christ’s work on the cross, we are one church family united as brothers and sisters with one Heavenly Father.

Practice the values of living in community and serving others. Connect with God and one another – because real heroes restore relationships.


You Can’t Be a Hero if You Only Care About Yourself.

Romans 12 teaches us to “be devoted to one another in love and honor one another above ourselves…” because we all make up the body of Christ, and each person is equally important.

Do you serve your church, family, and community – or do you wait to see whether they’re serving you? Resist the urge to compare your contribution against everyone else’s and invest yourself in others.


Life Doesn’t Work When You Work Alone!

When you’ve been hurt by others, it’s tempting to withdraw as a means of protecting yourself. But there’s no real safety in solitude. It’s only through authentic relationships that we prosper through life’s difficulties.

God didn’t intend for you to live emotionally isolated and disconnected from others. Be courageous and dive into community!


Guarding the Interests of Others

Under pressure, half-selfish always defaults to selfish. Instead of being half-selfish, guard the interests of others. Do as the Bible instructs and put other’s interests before your own. Serve people selflessly and lovingly. Find inspiration from the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:3-11.

To become selfless, seek God’s help and tap into the power of the Holy Spirit. Walk the path of “dying to self.”


“Half-selfish” is when we’re all about getting what we want and fulfilling our own selfish desires, but we need someone else’s help to make things happen. It’s selfishness wrapped up in a pretty package to make it appear as though it’s something else. We might want to be about others, but we’re still all about ourselves. Jesus’ disciples understood this tension all too well.


We Can’t See Our Own Selfishness

The Bible teaches us in Matthew 20:28 that “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We admire that kind of selflessness in Jesus and the people around us. We just don’t want to live that way ourselves! The truth is we want others to live selflessly so we can continue to live selfishly.

Often, we can’t even see our own selfishness because we’re so blinded by the wounds inflicted upon us by someone else’s selfishness.


How Should Christians Handle Infertility?

When heartache hits, it is healthy to grieve and normal to question God. While we may not ever find a specific answer to our questions, we do know from Scripture that God does what he does so that his glory might be revealed in us, and that it is not consistent with his character to imagine that he is using circumstances to punish us (John 9:1-3).

In your heartache, turn to God, not away from him.  Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to approach his throne of grace with confidence, for there we will receive mercy and find grace to help up us in our time of need.

Ask God about the possibility of medical interventions. Go as far as God gives you permission to go. God might want you to pursue fostering, adoption, or to find other ways to be a positive influence in children’s lives. Lay your desire for a child at his feet and ask him for his direction.

If you have friends who are walking this tumultuous path, stick close by. They will need you to lean on and pray with them.

How Should Men Rise Above Lust?

Battling lust is not a recent struggle, nor is it an issue confined solely to men; different things tempt each gender. As Christ followers, rising above lust requires God-honoring boundaries to be placed around natural, God-given desires.

Luke 6:45 says,

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

In other words, what you feed on, you lead from. In order to rise above lust, or any other sin that tempts, one first has to make an internal decision that he or she wants to make a change and begin to feed on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—anything excellent or praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8). It is by the renewing of our minds that we are transformed (Romans 12:2).

Second, master the art of making a right decision in that 2-3 second window of opportunity after temptation hits and pray that God will help you make the choices that honor him. Finally, find 2-3 godly people who agree together with you to fight for righteousness and let them hold you accountable.

How Should We Speak up About When We See Injustice?

First things first, settle your tone. How you speak is just as important as what you say. Never represent Jesus in a hateful, disrespectful tone.

Go to God about what grieves your spirit and allow Him to guide your response. Only after you’ve settled your frustrations in prayer, go make a meaningful difference.

And beware social media! You must go beyond mere words for your life to point others to fresh hope and transformation through Jesus Christ.

How Important Is Fasting?

Spiritual warfare often requires intense prayer and fasting, and God can use this time to awake your soul. That’s because when you temporarily set aside the indulgence of food to intentionally focus on prayer, something shifts.  You begin to long for something far beyond physical needs.

Including your family in prayer is always recommended. If you’re considering inviting your family to fast with you, please set limits and adapt accordingly.  (Note: It is not recommended for young children.)

How Can an Individual Fight Injustice?

We tend to overcomplicate and underestimate these issues. How you handle a big issue makes the biggest difference. When individuals like that come together as a church, it makes an impact—that’s why #OneMatters at 12Stone.

The most practical thing any Christian can do is ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what he or she is uniquely wired to address, and seek to make a difference there. Where God puts your heart, He usually gives you unique favor and influence.

How Do I Deal With The Fear Surrounding Racial Tensions?

PK made it clear: there is no superior or inferior race in God’s creation.

In Acts 7, when Peter realized that through Christ everyone is equal, the cure for racism was made known. The only way that hearts will change is through Jesus alone.

Society tends to enjoy the conflict because it’s leveraged for power—but the true power is found in God. The legitimate fears must be brought before God and His sovereignty, because what we are, we transfer to others. When we live in peace, we can share that peace with others.

Meaning Comes From The Truth

When approaching what’s meaningful in life, do you start with “me”or God? Sometimes we decide that we are the judge of meaning instead of God being the judge.

We didn’t design life, so we can’t judge. Since we didn’t design life, we cannot assign meaning to life. That’s up to God.

There are 2 ways to define meaning:

  1. When we start with God (from the outside in), we figure where we come from and why we’re here. All of our puzzling questions are based on the framework God lays out.
  2. When we start with “me” (from the inside out), we think whatever we feel, desire, or judge is real and correct. That leads to thinking God must conform to our conclusions and we decide what’s meaningful.

This is the central conflict in our culture.

Why Don’t We See Miracles Like Jesus’ Today?

There are two sides to this:

1) There ARE miracles today, but they are farther apart (in both time and geography) than what we read in scripture. We may just not be in tune with everything that’s happening.

2) We wish there are more. There are very real situations today that are in need of miracles, but as believers we have to trust God’s will. We know He’s in control, but we are called to first long for the will of God, not to see evidence or signs.

Faith Origins

Two things you need to know about questions and answers in life:

1) You answer life’s questions from your view of God.

Four Big Questions:

  • Where do I come from?
  • Why am I here?
  • Who am I?
  • Where am I going?

2) There is one God and he can be known.

God made you — you cannot make him! You need God — he does not need you! God’s heart is to give and he is near you!

So what did Paul do?

He was not insecure or silent about Jesus.