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  • October 2014
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Practice the Jesus Pace

Posted by Brady Boyd

Read below for another example of the email devotionals you will receive from me if you sign up for the 12-Day Addicted to Busy Challenge.  To get these short and encouraging emails for 12 days, sign up here.


We can learn a lot about how to pace ourselves if we look at how Jesus paced himself. In this step, we’ll look at a few simple ways to live at the Jesus Pace tomorrow:

  • The Jesus Pace is rhythmic. Take a look at your schedule for tomorrow, keeping in mind Jesus’s propensity to engage, engage, engage, and then withdraw. In the course of tomorrow’s plans, where will you withdraw and allow yourself to rest? Go ahead and block the time or times now. Decide when you will withdraw, and then tomorrow, commit to doing just that.
  • The Jesus Pace is relational. Specific quiet times alone with God are great, but even greater is a constant flow of communication over the course of a given day. Just for tomorrow, see if you can’t raise your awareness of his presence and his power, and then chat with him as you go about your day. Tell him what’s on your heart as you walk from one meeting into the next. Ask him for discernment as you engage in conversation with a friend or associate. Practice chatting with God all throughout the day, and see if the interactions don’t work wonders for your spirit by the time you lay your head down that night.
  • The Jesus Pace is resolute. As you walk through tomorrow’s agenda, insist on choosing peace. When your toddler is throwing a tantrum, take a deep breath and simply choose peace. When your boss is demanding an impossible deadline, simply choose peace. When there is traffic and construction and the guy behind you is laying on his horn, choose peace. When the annoying family member calls or the needy friend texts, take a step back from the situation and determine in your heart to choose peace. Say the words aloud if that helps you: “I. Choose. Peace.” But whatever you do, make peace your choice.


Get ready: once you’ve practiced the Jesus pace for a day, you will want to do it more often.


Breaking Busy – Step One

Posted by Brady Boyd

This is the first devotional I am sending to anyone who signs up for the 12-Day Addicted to Busy Challenge. You will get a similar email every day encouraging you to embrace the rhythms of life modeled by Jesus. If you want to sign up, click here.

We are all spread too thin, taking on more than we can handle, trying to do so much—almost as if we are afraid that if we were to take a moment of rest, we might discover that all our busyness is covering up an essential lack in our lives.

But God never meant for us to be so busy. God desires for us peace. God desires rest.

The first step to breaking your addiction to busy:

Acknowledging unhealthy rhythms

Even the healthiest and holiest people have some rhythms that don’t serve them well.

Maybe you chronically sign up for more than your soul’s capacity will allow. Perhaps you need to be needed. Maybe you consistently neglect to carve out time to spend with God each day, or you “come down” from a workweek in a less-than-stellar way.

Think about your own life—your own daily ebbs and flows. What rhythms aren’t serving you well? Which could stand to be adjusted or altogether removed?

What to do:

On a sheet of paper or in your journal, jot down the unhealthy rhythms that come to mind. Don’t worry yet with how to change them; we’ll deal with that later. For now, simply get them down in writing so that they’re top of mind as we walk through this together.



How to Take a Day Off

Posted by Brady Boyd

Let’s be honest, most of us do not know how to take a day off without feeling guilty, restless or insecure. As a young pastor, I seldom chilled for a entire day and it almost cost me my marriage, my health and my ministry. Today, I am better at it. Here are some thoughts and suggestions to help all of us unplug and regularly recharge our lives.

1. Use social media just to be social, or avoid it altogether.

2. Go on a date with your spouse, or do something fun with a great friend.

3. Go outside and take a walk or just sit awhile in the sun. The sun recharges our bodies with vitamin D, which protects against a host of health problems.

4. Unless it’s family or one of your close friends, do not answer your phone. Voicemail is a great screening tool.

5. Don’t drink cheap coffee and eat a donut. With sprinkles.

6. Talk about anything but work stuff. Note to pastors – church stuff is work stuff.

7. Wear clothes you would never wear to work. I have an awful set of t-shirts I wear on my day off. Instagram photos will follow as proof.

8. Laugh often. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh.

9. Spend time reading something that will stir your imagination.

10. Hit yourself on the kneecap with a hammer each time you read an email from work. After a couple of emails, you will be forced to lie down and rest.

11. Spend some time completely alone. Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. We should too.

Want more on this topic of rest, sabbath and sustainable rhythms? My new book, Addicted to Busy has just released. It is an encouraging and empowering read for anyone struggling to find solace in a chaotic world.

What do you like to do on a day off? Leave me a comment.


Reflections from a Summer Sabbatical

Posted by Brady Boyd

My family and I have just returned from a summer sabbatical, thanks to the generosity of my church and its leadership. We traveled, spent time with some family, took long walks together, went on bike rides, slept late, stayed up late, went to bed early, read some books, watched some movies, did some chores around the house and disconnected from work and school. It was one of the best summers of our lives. So, what did I learn from my time away?

1. I really like my family

Ok, I really loved them before the sabbatical, but the fact that we still spoke to one another after a road trip to Florida and back was proof positive that love can survive anything. I will not do that again, but I’m grateful for the six days of driving America’s freeways that produced mostly laughs along the way. The sound of our own wheels did not drive us crazy. In fact, we really enjoyed one another’s company, even when mom and dad belted out 80′s tunes from the radio.

2. I really like my church

The hardest part of the sabbatical was being away from New Life, even though I watched online most Sundays. Being with the tribe of New Lifers is really important to our family and Sundays felt a bit hollow without the hugs and prayers of our congregation. I needed the break from teaching and preaching so my mind could rest and recharge, but I missed that holy moment each Sunday when the crowd becomes a worshipping family and singing prayers lift the rafters. I missed coming to the Lord’s Table together.

3. I really like my team

Most of my friends are people that serve with me at the church. I spent some great time with long-time friends from Texas, lingered with my family in Louisiana and hung out with some pastor friends, but I really missed the day-to-day interaction that only happens with the people who are alongside me in the trenches of local church ministry. Today, I re-entered the routine of coffee and conversations with my cadre. It felt right again. It felt like home, again.

This Sunday, I return to the church I love, teaching the people I admire, in a city and state I adore. It took a summer sabbatical to remind me that I’m right where I need to be, belonging to a family and church that likes one another.



The Gift of a Sabbatical

Posted by Brady Boyd

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:16

This is one of my favorite Scriptures describing the leadership rhythms of Jesus. In the middle of a busy and hectic season of healing the sick, preaching to the multitudes and mentoring his core leaders, Jesus would simply disappear. His followers would frantically search for him, only to find him alone, praying, and restoring his own soul. He was putting on his own oxygen mask before attempting to help others.

It’s important we pay careful attention to the lifestyle Jesus modeled, and that is why sabbaticals are a part of our ethos here at New Life. Every full-time employee receives this gift every seven years and we encourage them to take advantage. We believe these times are critical for the health of our team and for our congregation.

This Summer, it’s my turn for a much needed sabbatical. I will be gone for several weeks, but the congregation will be led during my time away by the strong team God has given us. I truly believe this will be the most fruitful Summer in our church’s history.

The elders and I have been planning for this extended time away for months now, with three primary goals.

1. Rest

I’m grateful that I am not wrestling with burnout as I enter this sabbatical. In fact, I am more energized and encouraged than ever. My family and I have strived to follow the principles of rest, solitude, and Sabbath for many years now. In fact, I talk about these life-giving principles in my new book, Addicted to Busy, which releases when I return later this Summer. However, I’m sure I have underestimated the physical, emotional and mental toll these past seven years have taken on my family. I know I need to rest, and so I will.

2. Reflect

A lot has happened in the past seven years, both in the church and within my family. I do not want to miss anything God is showing me, so I need to pause, reflect, and journal all my thoughts from these amazing and challenging years. I want to have unhurried conversations with Pam, my wife of almost 25 years, and with my two teenagers, who are racing toward adulthood. I will also spend some much needed time with our church Overseers, mentors and close friends to get their wise perspectives.

3. Recharge

The last goal is to simply recharge my batteries for the days, years and decades ahead. New Life is growing and healthy. Our team is amazing and the best days for our congregation are still in front of us. I want to be re-energized to serve alongside all of you with a renewed spiritual vitality. I want to sharpen my spiritual disciplines, lose some middle-aged weight, eat better and exercise regularly so I can finish this race as strong as I started.

Thank you for giving me this gift of a sabbatical and I promise to steward this time well. You are a great tribe of people and we love you very much. Have a blessed Summer and may God be present in your rest, too.



I’m the Dad of Teenagers and They are Awesome

Posted by Brady Boyd

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it, will eat its fruit.”

Proverbs 18:21

It seemed the moment I became a dad, well meaning people warned me of a turbulent time that lay ahead. Pam and I would introduce our wobbly toddlers to people and inevitably they would say something like this, “Enjoy them now, because one day they will be teenagers.” With a plethora of proof, these older adults would raise the flag of impending doom for the seven-year period that was ahead for our two kiddos.

Pam and I never believed them, though. We started telling ourselves that our teenagers were going to be a great joy to us just as they were when we took them home from the hospital after adopting them both. These harbingers of gloom apparently forgot that babies and toddlers were challenging in their own right. Late night feedings, exploding diapers, vomit on carpet, and tantrums at Wal-Mart could not be the best of times, right?

So, we inched toward the ‘terrible teen” years with guarded hope that we were right and the negative parenting prophets were wrong. We were right. Our two teens did not transform into sub-human droids of destruction when they turned 13. Puberty was not the apocalypse, after all.

Now, before you dismiss me as the pastor painting his kids as perfect, allow me to digress. Our kids are normal and they are teenagers, which is indeed, possible. Our kids test the boundaries of our rules, like your kids. Our kids would rather gorge on junk food than healthier options, like your kids. Our kids do not like early morning school routines, like most other kids. Our kids have spiritual questions and even doubts, like most other kids.

Pam and I could write volumes on what we have learned NOT to do as parents, but one thing we have done well is not believe that our teenagers would be problems without solutions. Every stage of parenting is a challenge that requires more prayer than we think, more wisdom than we can muster, and tons of patience. We have leaned into godly mentors as often as possible and we have certainly paid attention to what our kids watch and listen to in the public media.

We have worked diligently at guarding their innocence, guided them toward life -giving relationships and helped them to see the wonder of the local church, not just its brokenness. We have also realized that our kids will have to make their own choices and some of them may not be best. It is not easy to put your kids into situations where their critical thinking is tested. It is much easier to calibrate robots and send them off into an uncertain world with pre-programmed software.

I wish parenting teens was that simple. Instead, it is a lot like skydiving. We have one chance to get it right and we sure hope it works out. What we speak about our kids before ever leaving the tarmac will go a long way, though, in deciding if there is a safe landing in our future. Speak life now over your toddlers, and when they are teens, they may actually give life back to you.


May God be Present in Our Rest

Posted by Brady Boyd

I’m working on the final edits for my new book, Addicted to Busy, Recovery for the Rushed Soul, which releases in September. This is a short excerpt and is one of my favorite parts of the book.


I love to travel — always have, and probably always will. I love eating food items I don’t normally eat, seeing sights I don’t normally see, and traipsing about foreign lands. I love seeing how people do life on the other side of the planet and having my horizons expanded and enriched as I go.

Here’s what’s also true: I always love coming home. I love coming home because in my home, everything is “just so.” The foods I like are there, and they are right where I like them to be. The pillow I like is there, and it is always on “my” side of the bed. The closet in my bedroom contains the clothes I like to wear. The truck I like to drive is always right there, in the garage. My home is perfectly suited for me—my patterns, my preferences, my tastes and my desires. It fits me hand-on-glove. In fact, it was arranged with me in mind.

Interestingly, the Bible says the Sabbath works the same way. “The Sabbath was made to serve us,” Jesus tells his disciples in Mark 2:27. “We weren’t made to serve the Sabbath.”

The context of this verse is fantastic. Four verses prior, we learn that Jesus is walking through a field of ripe grain with his disciples. As they carve a path through the tall stalks of wheat, some of the disciples pull off a few heads of grain. They were hungry, and so they ate. But this was on the Sabbath, a fact the Pharisees who were tagging along decided to draw attention to. “Look!” those law-keepers said to Jesus. “Your disciples are breaking Sabbath rules!” (v. 23).

The “rules” the Pharisees were referring to included a whole host of parameters the Hebrew people had set forth generations prior. Specifically, they were taking issue with one of the thirty-nine categories of banned activities, known as reaping—removing all or part of a plant from its source of growth. This was forbidden on the Sabbath because it was considered work, it was considered an activity of creation, and this was to be a day of non-creation, a day of rest.

Which brings us to Jesus’ response about the Sabbath being made for us, instead of the other way around. His perspective, essentially, was this: Moses and the prophets may have set forth the schedule of Sabbath, but I—Jesus—have come to establish the spirit of it. And the spirit of it is one of peace, not of prohibition. An early realization I came to in my bedhead-day observance was that I could be the most scheduled, efficient, dutiful person on the planet and yet if I missed the spirit of the Sabbath, I was missing the glory God intended for it.

In this world, we are promised a little chaos. For some of us, we’re promised a lot. “In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties,” Jesus says in John 16:33, “but take heart! I have conquered the world.” And interestingly, the way Jesus conquers the world is not by acts of war, but by acts of pervasive peace. It is peace that brings us to Christ. It is peace that saves our souls. And it is peace that saves our weeks from peril, the peace of a day of rest. God knew we’d need peace once a week, like we need our own bed after being on the road for a week. He knew we’d need a soft place to land, a plumb line to re-center our souls. And so, the Sabbath—an invitation, a gift, a small taste on the tongue of peace.

In Jewish tradition, there is a name for this: Shabbat shalom—literally, “may your day of no work be peaceful.” One person would say this as a greeting to another, and that person would respond in kind: “May your day of no work be peaceful as well.”

Since God is not only the inventor of peace but also is himself Peace, another way of saying it is, “May God be in your rest, and may you be in the rest of God.” A day of rest is a day to know peace, to experience and express the peace of God.


The Shema and Talking with Our Kids

Posted by Brady Boyd

The following is a short excerpt from my new new book Addicted to Busy, Recovery for the Rushed Soul, which releases in September.


I notice that my best conversations with my kids—and in Callie’s case, the only conversations, really—occur either right when they get up in the morning or right before they go to bed—during typical periods of rest.

Abram is always the first one up at our house. After I woke this morning, I made my way to the kitchen in search of a cup of hot coffee, and there sat Abram—still groggy and with sleep in his eyes. Pam and Callie still were sleeping, which is generally the case around the Boyd household, and as I waited for my coffee to brew, I asked Abram how he slept. It was a benign question—really, I was just filling the silence until my cup was full. But it turns out he slept great, and that he had this amazing series of dreams he was all too eager to tell me about, and that one of the dreams featured a new invention he has been thinking about inventing, and that it really was true, he was sure, just as we’ve talked about for years and years, that one day he would create something that would absolutely change the world.

Abram’s body may have still been weary, but his brain was crystal clear. This came as no surprise to me. Abram’s brain is always clear at six a.m.

My daughter, Callie, is her brother’s polar opposite. She is virtually mute until noon and even then keeps her cards close to the vest. But check back in with her before bedtime, and you’ll have a veritable chatterbox on your hands. At the close of the day, Callie’s thoughts are lucid; she finally calms down enough to look you straight in the eye and string together sentences that let you in.

It’s no coincidence that my kids come alive early in the morning and late at night; God predicted this would be true. In Jewish tradition, the centerpiece of morning and evening prayer services is a passage of Scripture known as the Shema, from Deuteronomy 6:4-9. It reads:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

I loved this passage even before I became a parent, and even more so after Abram and Callie were ours. There is such insight here! God says, in effect, “Love me, and then teach your kids to love me. Enjoy me, and then teach your kids to do the same.” This is what we do when we become people of peace. We reside in the rest of God, and our kids learn to reside there too. And we do this, says the Shema, by using our downtime to instruct them in truth. We are to talk about the Word of God, the truth of God, when we’re hanging out at home, and when we’re traveling across town, and when we climb into bed at night, and when we get up the very next day. You’ll notice that this Old Testament passage assumes we actually have downtime to fill. It assumes that we’re actually talking with our kids each day.

Personal experience has taught me that if I don’t carve out time for relaxed conversations with my kids, they will take the pressing questions all kids have banging around in their brains to someone else. All the curiosities that come with adolescence—who is God? what am I here for? what is sin? why does it matter? what is success? what do I do with failure? does anybody really see me or care?—don’t cease to exist because we as parents are too preoccupied, too busy, to answer them. No, the questions persist. We just won’t be there when they’re finally asked. If we are always at the office and always exhausted when we get home, our kids will stuff their questions until they can’t stuff them anymore. And then the next time they’re over at a friend’s house, they’ll ask that pimply teenager their pressing questions instead. Similarly, if our kid is always at lacrosse practice and barely has time to breathe outside of that, then guess who is going to be answering that child’s pressing questions? The lacrosse coach, probably. Or else a teammate’s mom, the one who always gives your kid a ride home.

God placed our kids in our specific families with the expectation that we will train them in righteousness and truth. We are responsible for teaching them how to think critically, how to behave morally, how to put their faith and trust in a loving God. But we can’t do these things if we aren’t living these things first. In one author’s words, “If you want your teenager [or pre-teen, or toddler, for that matter] to have an understanding of Sabbath, and to understand time as more than a container for text messages and soccer tournaments and term papers, then start with yourself.” It really is true: We can’t give away what we ourselves don’t have.


Are We Still Fascinated with God?

Posted by Brady Boyd

It began in mystery and it will end in mystery; but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between. – Diane Ackerman


The most dangerous Christ followers are those who have lost their fascination with God. No less than modern-day Pharisees who possess infinite knowledge ABOUT God but no real relationship WITH him, they become wonder-void wildcards who are unpredictable, unhelpful, often even outright harmful to their families, to the churches they call home, to the community in which they belong. Their eyes and hearts no longer blink and beat with awestruck reverence for their God.

Is this really the way of Christ?

Certainly we are to be grown up in our knowledge of God: we are to read about him, we are to learn about him, we are to talk about him, we are to be about his work. But to check the box of spirituality there—at that superficial point—and call it a day? Call it a LIFE? That is to miss life wholly, life as it’s meant to be lived.

God cannot be tamed by our sterile religious dogmas or caged in our closed-up-tight theological boxes. No, he is too fierce, too unwieldly, too OTHER, to be managed. Restrained? Never. But revered? Now we’re onto something. He is too wondrous to constrain with a single word, which means that those in intimate relationship with him can’t help but live life wonderstruck. We can’t help but be fascinated with God.

We are to come to God, come into relationship with him, as children. Not in the sense of childishness—immature, impetuous, demanding—but rather childlikeness. We come to him chatty, clingy, and in need. We come eager, excitable, and entranced. We come full of questions, full of awe.

LIKE, not ISH. This is where wonder begins.


Can Our Kids Thrive Without Being So Busy?

Posted by Brady Boyd

The following is a short excerpt from my new book, Addicted to Busy, which releases this Fall.  I would love your comments about the hard choices you have made to maintain sanity around your kid’s schedules. What mistakes did you make? How have you found safe rhythms for your home?

A bee is never as busy as it seems; it’s

just that it can’t buzz any slower.
–Kin Hubbard

Practically speaking, my observation is that when kids are never taught how to appreciate healthy rhythms, once they escape the frenetic pace their parents have maintained on their behalf, they rebel like Rebellion is their middle name. Busyness has become their business, and when that busyness disappears, they don’t know what to do with their lives. They don’t know what to do with an idle thought, let alone an idle day. To this point, writer of “The Busy Trap” article Tim Kreider: “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets.” Most people who suffer from rickets are kids, and most kids who get it are starving. I realize that in twenty-first-century North America, a majority of kids are not starving from food, but I guarantee they are starving for something—for calmness, for quietness, for rest.

When Pam and I decided back when our kids were young to unplug one day a week, it was a counter-cultural move, to be sure.  Unlike nearly every other toddler we knew, Abram and Callie were not in gymnastics classes, dance classes, horseback-riding classes, foreign-language classes, art classes, etiquette classes, or classes that taught taekwondo. As three- and five-year-olds, they were not on soccer teams, basketball teams, debate teams, cheerleading squads, or in science clubs, and those tiny fingers never played piano once. Sure, various activities would emerge as they got older—including basketball and taekwondo. But in those early years, even in the face of mounting pressure, we chose to simply stay home.

In 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, the apostle Paul writes, “I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple—in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out.”

Keep it simple. Uncomplicated. Dealing as sparingly as possible.

            Huh? Is this really possible, Paul?

Pam and I decided it was. And we ordered our lives according to that truth. We let the hyper-scheduled families zoom right past us, while we stayed hunkered down inside our peaceful home. And you know what? We were better for it. We recognized how well our kids did when we didn’t have plans for them on those days. We saw that if we gave our kids time and space to breathe, to exhale, to just be kids, they flourished. From time to time, we wondered if they were missing out on something—if by not learning an instrument or a foreign language at age three, they’d somehow suffer later on. But by the end of each bedhead day, we’d have our answer again. A day of rest was pure benefit for them. “Just as our children depend on us for three meals a day,” writes Katrina Kenison, “they also need us to prepare peaceful spaces for them in the midst of this busy world.” There was nothing for Abram and Callie but upside, by our choosing not to run ragged, by choosing to live joyfully at rest.


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