Life.  

It is simple, yet very complex. 

It is a breath at a time, yet transcendent overtime. 

It is just seeing in front of you, yet years ahead are unpredictable. 

Life is precious and passionate.

Today is my birthday which causes me to stop, slow down and reflect again. In years past, I have given a list of life lessons. They are still true and you can see last year's list here.

Today, I want to go high and take a high altitude and panoramic view of life.  Let's look at the big picture together.

Beginning

The Biblical Psalmist shares what was happening before we were born into the world.  Before you took your first breath on earth, here is what was happening.  A personal God was very involved.

The Poet shares, "For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.

Well, Christmas is coming.  Are your house decorations up?  Have you hung your lights outside?  Is the Christmas tree set up?  This is the most wonderful time of the year.  It really is.  Maybe you don’t believe me.  We all have temporary circumstances that cause us to question how good it really is.  It is the most wonderful time of the year, not because of us, but because of him.  It is Jesus’ eternal presence that puts the Christ in Christmas.

We all fall short...all the time.  

Even as a follower of Jesus, as we strive for holiness, we mess up with words and actions in our relationships.  For those who are serious about following Jesus, it is not because we want to mess up or fall short.  It is just because this side of eternity, sin is still present and we battle the flesh.  

It is only because of my belief in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection that I have any forgiveness from my messing up and grace to grow.  Now listen to this.

I have been talking with friends recently about current events in the news and media and the intersection of church and grace came up.

I have been thinking...

I like it when others extend grace my way.  It feels good when you have made a mistake and another offers forgiveness.  Grace is unconditional love...when you don't deserve it.  Who doesn’t like personal love and forgiveness for wrong doing?  

Giving grace is a whole different thing.

Imagine you can see into the future. 

Picture yourself at your own Memorial Service. This might seem like a morbid thought, but for those who know Jesus, this is a celebratory event. Your family and friends see pictures of you in the lobby, a video of pictures of your childhood and life events scrolls for the audience to see, and your life story is read. 

What will you be remembered for? 

What will people say about you?

Here are ten areas I hope people can say about me when I am long gone.

Friends, my book From Broken to Beautiful is now available to order and be shipped to your door along with a FREE Downloadable Companion Guide to help you individually or in a small group study about the local church with passion and creativity.  

I would love your feedback on my book when you get a chance to read it.  Please post a comment here or email me!  If you like it and think it would be helpful for someone else, please give them a copy.

AND...

Writing a book is a strange thing.  It causes you to be open, honest and vulnerable.  It exposes you! After sharing an idea, months of writing around a single creative idea it eventually gives birth for the world to experience.  Pastor and author, Max Lucado has said writing a book "is like giving birth to barbwire" and he has given birth to many books.

Ouch! 

The process is a difficult, exciting, challenging, tiring, exhilarating and joyful all at the same time.  I love it!  Maybe I am crazy.

Hello friends - The final edits are happening as we speak.  My new book, From Broken to Beautiful with any luck will be published by the beginning of October.  Thank you for your patience on this journey.  Max Lucado, author and pastor, has said writing a book is like "giving birth to barbwire."  Ouch!  I understand!  Having written a few books prior to this one, it is a long 9 month+ process that is both difficult and joyful.  I am so grateful to all of your support along the way.

From Broken to Beautiful: What Repairing Steams Has Taught Me About Healing The Church 

by Dr. Jeff Baxter

Pre-order:

Click Here to Pre-Order From Broken to Beautiful

From the Introduction: 

Starting a Conversation about Streams

“Sam was the only member of the party who had not been over the stream before. He had a strange feeling as the slow gurgling stream slipped by: his old life lay behind in the mists, dark adventure lay in front." -J.R.R.

New Book brings perspective and help for broken churches becoming beautiful again.

From Broken to Beautiful: What Repairing Streams Has Taught Me About Healing the Local Church by Dr. Jeff Baxter (Light + Life Publishing)

Preorders: 

Click Here To Order at Light + Life Bookstore

Summary:

I love Jesus. I love the local church because Jesus loves the local church. There are certainly lots of books about the local church and how the changing culture is impacting her.
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