The times, they are a-changin’ …

Posted by Brady Boyd

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

Bob Dylan

I just spent the week with some great pastors and leaders in the UK and somehow the trip across the pond helped me see more clearly what is happening here in my own backyard. We live in times of great change in the local church, but every generation has said the same about its places of worship. The church was built on the witness of a resurrected Christ, the trustworthy scriptures and the sacraments we gather around to celebrate in community. This has always been sacred space for Christ followers, but everything else is a-changin’.

Like the UK and most of Europe, our country has also moved toward a more secular view of life, distancing itself from traditional churches and the established religious orders. The trends are troubling and challenging for us leading congregations outside the Bible Belt, where churches still seem to hold some traditional influences. If we pay attention, though, we can see the waves of change coming to all of our shores in several key areas.

1. There is a low trust of church leaders

The local church will always be led by imperfect people who have been given delegated authority from God. This authority is maintained only by humble, servant leaders who put the needs of others first.  When this is absent, the office of pastor becomes abhorrent to a cynical culture that is curious about Jesus, but distrustful of authoritarian church polity that resembles the world’s system of corruption. Now, more than ever, ecclesiastical leaders have to be above reproof, completely transparent and accountable or we risk losing the one thing we cannot easily regain – the trust of others.

2. Personal morality has replaced biblical morality

For generations, people seemed to know they needed help to find their way home. Now, we have a generation who have embraced moral relativism, the idea that no one really knows right and wrong, therefore we should tolerate and validate the individual’s moral choices. Today, the teachings of Jesus are sometimes respected but seldom revered. What Jesus gave us is still powerful and life-changing, but we cannot assume the culture will immediately believe the Way is immediately better than their own. We must show them the beauty of a life surrendered to Jesus and not just argue with them about moral conventions. In the beginning and until the end, we must pray the Holy Spirit get involved because that is how we found the narrow path home.

3. We are becoming the minority

The men and women I met this week were mostly encouraged, despite the trends I just described. They spoke of baptisms, helping the poor in their villages and cities, the hope that new churches were soon to be planted and the pure worship that was emerging from their congregations. Leaders were encouraged that new partnerships are emerging promising new strength through cooperation. They did not despise being the minority working the margins of their culture, spending their time with those who had been tossed aside and forgotten.  They found Jesus there, just as their fathers and mothers had found him in generations past.  He was among them, being a faithful God to his faithful community, the maker of heaven and earth, building his kingdom that has no end in a land that was a-changin’.




The Mountain is Moving and Our City is Healing

Posted by Brady Boyd

Over seven years ago, New Life Church was $26 million in debt and had not even started the process of opening any  Dream Centers. We knew something had to change because there were so many needs in our city that were not being met. We had limited funds to help, but our congregation was willing.  We needed a miracle.

In 2008 and 2009, our local economy was paralyzed by a recession, but we still believed that somehow our finances could be liberated so we could help bring healing to our city. By faith we begin to meet with city leaders, community activists, chaplains from the military branches and local business leaders. We asked each of them how we could serve. We made our plans, hoping one day to help our city with more resources. Then, more than three years ago, the elders and I began challenging our congregation to Move the Mountain!! By God’s grace and miraculous provision, people responded and begin to give.

By the end of February, our debt will be down to $13.9 million, plus the Dream Centers are marching forward with the opening of Mary’s Home slated in just a few months. I am so grateful we did not wait on the sidelines and allow the overwhelming cloud of debt to suffocate God’s plan for us in the city. Instead, a big family of New Lifers made commitments to begin giving regularly, over and above their normal giving, so that our congregation could be untangled from huge monthly payments. Along the way, a passage from Proverbs has been a constant source of encouragement for us:

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” – Proverbs 19:17

The moment we got serious about caring for those in our city who had been marginalized by poverty, we began to see our debt dissolve. We have witnessed record numbers of people engage in local mission by serving at our free women’s medical clinic, building and renovating Mary’s Home, serving our neighborhoods with food through our monthly Adopt-A-Block , and serving alongside existing ministries in our city like Springs Rescue Mission.

Thanks to everyone who believed with us that the mountain could be moved and our city could begin to be healed. We are thankful for the stories we hear every week from people who are being served and we are thankful for the changes we have witnessed in our own lives as we minister to those who need hope.



Parenting and Other Things I Hope to Get Right

Posted by Brady Boyd

Being a parent is like jumping out of an airplane. You only get one chance to get it right. The thrill of beginning the journey is replaced by a hope that everything lands on target. Pam and I today are out of the plane, the rip cord has been pulled and we are drifting slowly down to the target zone, parents of two normal and somewhat amazing teenagers. We are not parenting experts, but we are experienced.

Not long ago, I was asked to consider writing a parenting book. I told them no one should write a book on parenting until all their kids were out of the house and successfully launched into adulthood. In fact, the toughest part of parenting may be the time your kids leave the house until they are married or launched. We still have that part of the journey ahead of us.

Looking back on the toddler and elementary years, Pam and I made a lot of mistakes, but got a few things right. Here are a few insights that I hope are helpful.

1. Be predictable when they are young. Most bad behaviors with little ones happen at 2pm in a Wal-Mart or at 9pm in a restaurant. That’s because they should be napping and sleeping at those times, not in aisle 3 or at a Red Robin. Stay on your schedule and you will have less tantrums. That is good for all of us.

2. Get control of bad manners as soon as they recognize the Queen’s English. It’s a lot easier to wrestle their rebellion to the ground when they are in onesy’s  than when they are wanting to borrow your car. We demand Abram and Callie say “yes m’am” and “no m’am”, “please” and “thank you” with no exceptions. Old school, maybe, but I don’t like brats, especially in my house. Plus, we are from the Deep South and we practically invented manners. And cornbread.

3. Both our kids are taught to respond immediately to us when we call their name. Ignoring mom and dad is not an option. When they are older, I hope they will respond as quickly when God whispers to them.

4. Our kids are required to greet us when we come home. We also greet them when they come home. If they ignore my entrance, whatever TV show or game that is distracting them, gets turned off.

5. We laugh a lot at our house. Make sure you enter their world, learn their jokes, and giggle with them, even if it’s over really silly stuff.

6. Learn their love language. Read Gary Chapman’s book, “The Five Love Languages” to learn how your child primarily gives and receives love. It will change your relationship for the better, I promise.

7. Model a passionate lifestyle of following Jesus.  Our kids are paying a lot more attention to what we do and say than we think. Passionate parents most often produce passionate children. Live it in front of them, pray with them and they will catch it.

8. One on one time is super important. They must know that they are individuals with immense importance to you. Spend time with them, even when they beg to be left alone. They will remember your persistence and thank you later.

9. Give them responsibilities that have rewards for being obedient and consequences for missing the mark. I have these same responsibilities as an adult. It’s called a job.

10. Slow down the pace and savor their innocence. I know your kid is probably going to write the next great concerto, but that insane schedule you have them on every week is not fun for you or them. Let them be kids with a lot of space to breathe and play. Let them have a sabbath, too. The 10 commandments are for everyone.

If you are really serious about finding a better rhythm for family living, I wrote a book that may be helpful.

What have you learned along the way?



15 Things for 2015

Posted by Brady Boyd

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Matthew 7:7

As we begin 2015, we are focusing our attention at New Life to pray boldly for our city, our state, our nation and our world during Pray 168. Here are some of things I am praying for in the coming year.

1. For more helpful conversations that lead to better relationships and racial restoration in our country. (Psalm 133)

2. For moms and their kids to find hope and healing at Mary’s Home, scheduled for grand opening in early 2015. (James 1:27)

3. For the mountain to keep moving at New Life so more resources can be released for ministry in our city and world.

4. For the safety of our military as they serve in the most dangerous places on earth.

5. For more families to say yes to adoption of kids from our state foster system.

6. For more people to support those who have said yes to adoption.

7. For discernment, wisdom and protection for those who serve as our police and first responders.

8. For the peace of Jerusalem and the entire Middle East. (Psalm 122:6)

9. For the persecuted church around the world.  (Matthew 5:44)

10 For new believers to receive the Holy Spirit and be strengthened. (Acts 8:15)

11. For all believers around the world to fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.  (Ephesians 6:19)

12. For those who are suffering to be healed. (James 5:15)

13. For the continued blessing on our Women’s Clinic as we serve the most vulnerable in our city with hopeful healthcare.

14. For the faithful and courageous church planters around the globe.

15. For the Lombardi Trophy to return to Denver after a Bronco’s Super Bowl win. (Ok, this is not quite as serious as the others, but still …)



Trust and the Words We Speak in Protest

Posted by Brady Boyd

“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Proverbs 12:18

It seems every week, there is a global or national crisis that demands my outrage. I am often asked why I do not “speak out” on all the ills plaguing our generation, why I am not lending my song more often to the choir of bloggers. I do pay attention and I do care deeply about racial discord, injustice, the immigrant crisis, violence and the need for better systems and laws to protect the marginalized. I pray. I have conversations with serious thinkers. I meet with local and state leaders who can make a legislative difference. I invest my time and money into local solutions like our Dream Centers.

Godly dissent and petition in the public square has its place and role in the pastoral vocation, but I want my published and pronounced words to be wise and helpful. Trust is merited by measured responses, not angry rants. I will not be silent when prophetic protest is needed, but trust is earned and it is fragile.

When we speak, let’s have something to say that is based on facts and scripture and not just emotion and rhetoric. Social media is a powerful tool to communicate quickly to large crowds, but it is a cheap way to build sincere relationships that lead to difficult, but needed change. It is much easier to hide behind a keyboard than to meet face to face with those who oppose you and to find common ground. I would rather my words heal, restore and conciliate than simply go viral.

For those of us who have been given the sacred assignment to pastor people, our vocation requires us to talk about difficult issues with broken people and presumably, permission has been granted for us to speak candidly. That permission is based on trust that has been earned, not given.

Trust is bestowed because we are considered worthy of trust. Our integrity has been measured, scrutinized and witnessed. We are trustworthy. People give us access to vulnerable spaces in their lives which means they are taking a great risk and a lot is at stake.

Trust is earned in deliberate drops and lost in downpours, so we should not take any of it for granted and guard our reputations as sacred. What we say, how we say it, and when we say it matters. Silence is sometimes the voice of wisdom.



A Q&A for Busy People

Posted by Brady Boyd

Recently, I answered some questions given to me about my new book, Addicted to Busy. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

1) I think most people who are too busy realize this, but wonder if there is a way out of it, given the crushing demands of life. What do you say to them?

I certainly understand that most people have a tremendous amount of stress because of seemingly unending responsibilities. The truth is, though, we all have wasted space in our lives. At some point, we have to stop and evaluate what is really important and make hard choices to stop things that are simply not fruitful. Even the healthiest, holiest people have some rhythms that don’t serve them well.

Maybe you need to be needed and chronically sign up for more than what your soul’s capacity will allow. Maybe you consistently neglect to carve out time to spend with God each day, or you “come down” from a work week 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? On a sheet of paper or in your journal, jot down the unhealthy rhythms that come to mind.

Next, beside each rhythm you’ve noted, record the toll each one is taking on your life. For example, if you don’t spend daily time reading the Scriptures or praying, you may feel your days lack purpose or that a pervasive spirit of anxiety hovers over you like a cloud. Or, if you tend to relax after a long work week by drinking too much or neglecting quality time with your family, you may feel disconnected from those you love most. If you struggle to count the cost for each unhealthy rhythm you jotted down, try asking the question, “What would be working better in my life if I could shift this rhythm from unhealthy to healthy?” The answer to that question just might reveal to you what it is you presently lack.


2) I wonder if the two are related, in some way. Does the lack of self-care for pastors, the inability to create margin, create fertile soil for sin?

Every problem I see in every person I know ultimately is a problem of moving too fast for too long in too many aspects of life. And I see a lot of problems.

Sex and money problems in marriage come back to the issue of speed. (How eager for intimacy are you, when you’re exhausted at the end of yet another grueling work day?) Negligence in business practices comes back to the issue of speed.

Friendships that aren’t quite clicking can usually point to the culprit of speed.

Speed is the single greatest threat to a healthy life, and it is also our greatest defense. We think if we can keep going, keep moving, keep plowing ahead, our conscience won’t have time to catch us because—ha, ha!—we’ll already be long gone.

And the reality is, this approach actually works. But only for a time. We must be able to live in an easy rhythm between give and take. If we cannot learn to live and breathe in this rhythm, we will place ourselves in grave danger. Maybe even the literal grave.

3) Some pastors might read this interview and think, “That’s great. A mega-church pastor has resources to create margin, what about the busy, small-church pastor or bi-vocational pastor?” Does your book scale to them?

I am the pastor of a megachurch, but I have also served as the pastor of a 100-year church of 50 people in a small West Texas farming town. I was just as busy in Hereford, TX as I am now, seriously. Recently, a long time friend, who pastors a small congregation said to me, “I cannot imagine how busy you are!” I told him he was just as busy as me.

In my small church, I was the staff. I did all the weddings, all the funerals, all the hospital visits, went to all the committee meetings and preached most of the sermons. If there was ever a group of people who need to read my book, it is the pastors in rural and urban America.

4) Sometimes the problem with busyness isn’t so much an unwillingness on the part of a pastor or church leader but the people he serves who won’t allow him to find rest and peace. What do you recommend to this kind of leader?

Sabbaticals are different than vacations. I believe vacations are for fun, retreats are for reflection, Sabbath days are for rest, but sabbaticals are for renewal.

Rest has to be a part of the culture of any healthy congregation. As I am writing this, I just completed a 3-month sabbatical that my elders gave me and my family after seven years of service to the church. Every full-time employee at New Life gets a sabbatical of varying lengths, depending on their scope of responsibility, every seven years. There were some elders who have never been a pastor who were hesitant to endorse this idea in the beginning, because they felt the church was already generous with vacation time to its employees. Sabbaticals are different than vacations. I believe vacations are for fun, retreats are for reflection, Sabbath days are for rest, but sabbaticals are for renewal.

Today, our elders have seen the fruit of giving this added time to our team. We have high morale at New Life, very little turnover, and a high level of healthy innovation and creativity. I would suggest pastors get a copy of Addicted to Busy for every member of their boards and let this book start some healthy dialogue about the culture of rhythm and rest at their church. We believe each of our staff should have the resources and training to fulfill their job descriptions in less than 50 hours per week and not be away from home and their families more than three nights a week, on average. This is a healthy rhythm that starts from the senior pastor and is affirmed by the church leadership.

Vocational ministry is unique in its demands because we are on the spiritual front lines for the souls of people. That is gloriously difficult work that requires seasons of rest.

If the current leadership does not understand or is not supportive, I can predict what is next—frustration, burnout, and ultimately a new pastor and staff every 3-5 years. Vocational ministry is unique in its demands because we are on the spiritual front lines for the souls of people. That is gloriously difficult work that requires seasons of rest.


Three Things I Wished Someone Had Told Me

Posted by Brady Boyd

I’ve been a pastor for two decades now, and while most every profession requires a little on-the-job training, there are a few things I wish somebody would have told me before I got started so that I didn’t have to learn them the hard way.

Such as: I’ll always be tempted to measure my success by my church’s attendance numbers. Or, the best thing I can do for my congregation is to quit comparing myself to other pastors and simply be me. Or, I will only be given as much spiritual authority as the amount of spiritual authority I’m willing to submit to. Or, my brain will always feel like scrambled eggs on Sunday afternoon. Or, while it’s true that sheep bites can’t kill me, the general congregational gnawing every pastor is made to withstand will make life miserable a few (very long) days each year.

As it relates to being a person governed not by busyness but by healthy rhythms, not by chaos but by an inner sense of calm, here are three things I also wish I would have known.

1. Rest is opposed

During the early days of my marriage, when I was running too fast and pushing too hard, I found it difficult to “come down.” I feared the loneliness and boredom I knew rest would usher in, so I kept upping my RPMs, with fingers crossed I’d avoid a crash. But we can’t stay up forever; we always have to come down. And because I refused to slow myself in a healthy manner, I was forced to walk a treacherous path. Mine was paved with Internet porn. From a place of deep humility, I’ve shared with my congregation how challenging it was to untangle myself from the grip of pornography across the span of several years in my twenties, but by God’s grace, I did get free.

For years, I looked back on that stretch of sinfulness with disbelief; how could I stoop to that level? I was in ministry. I was supposedly living for God. I adored and admired my wife. And yet, still, I’d find myself sitting in front of a computer screen, long after Pam had gone to bed, staring at stuff I had no business staring at, regretting the minutes even as they ticked by.

Things make more sense to me now. When we don’t say yes to God’s form of rest, we will say yes to a fraudulence instead — porn or gin, drugs or gambling, idle chatter or extravagant spending — all in the name of “unwinding.” It’s all proof that real rest is opposed, and that rest without God is anything but restful in the end.

2. Ruthlessness is required

Living rhythmically may sound like a breezy proposition, but to execute it well, we have to stand our ground. About 18 months ago, I called together the senior-most leaders of New Life Church. These are the men and women who report directly to me, the ones who oversee every ministry within our church. Typically I’m a big fan of delegation, of giving away all the control I don’t actually need. But for more than three years’ time, I’d asked to be part of decisions I normally wouldn’t need to weigh in on; a founding-pastor scandal, a fatal shooting on campus, and a fast and furious financial downturn demanded that I did.

When that three-year period came to a close the stress level let up, which would have been terrific news, except that I missed the cue that we had clawed our way out of the woods. My senior staff kept bringing me what I now instinctively knew were junior-level questions, and my frustration level rose by the day. Unwittingly, I’d neglected to inform them that we had shifted from “crisis mode” to “normal, everyday mode,” and all of us were suffering mightily as a result. They were trying to include me in their minutia, and I was expending precious energy fending off their incessant requests. A guy could die from being needed this much! I called a meeting for the purpose of informing them that if they preferred a pastor who was alive, then they would resume handling their own affairs. To which they said, “Um, all due respect, Pastor Brady, but you created this madness you now despise.”

They were right, and all of us knew it. We shared a good laugh, re-upped our commitment to saner processes, and moved forward toward brighter days. But not before the lesson lodged in my heart: yes, crises often causes temporary chaos, but we’ll kill ourselves from perpetual crisis mode. Every day can’t be a fire drill. We’ve got to fight to keep life sweet and sane.

3. The reward is the presence of God

Once I began taking rest and rhythm seriously in my life, I think I expected a marching band to materialize, blowing horns and celebrating my great success. “Way to go, Pastor Brady, for being a Sabbath-keeper! You’re officially holy and righteous and good!” I never would have admitted it publicly, but privately I hoped for some shiny angel to appear, to deliver the divine prize package I’d so dutifully earned.

The shiny angel never showed up.

What did show up was intimacy with God. Still today, the more I practice restfulness of mind and spirit, the more I experience the presence of God.

We observe the sacrament of communion nearly every weekend at New Life Church, and one thing I always notice is that it’s hard to hustle through the wine and the bread. It’s nearly impossible to still the soul when the body is still rushing around. And that’s a very good thing. We need to stop. We need to savor. We need to consider God’s presence with us there. That presence is the reward for rest, and it’s better than any marching band. In his presence is his power, and in his power is victory in the end — over all that tries to entangle us, over life’s chaos and madness and pain.

For more reading on this topic, consider my newest book, Addicted to Busy.


Working Well

Posted by Brady Boyd

The discussions that have surfaced since the release of my new book, Addicted to Busy, have spanned from encouragement to some confusion. Most people understand after reading the book that I was not calling for a cessation of our labors. In fact, I have emphatically preached the opposite. We are not forsaking our responsibilities when we rest, it is for the sake of our responsibilities that we rest. Nowhere in the book was I advocating for less productivity. What I’m discovering in this journey is that for every person that does not know how to rest, just as many have never been taught a strong work ethic.

How do we work well and rest well simultaneously? The book covers the “rest well” part, so let’s discuss what it means to be industrious, to sweat, to grind and stand out at the place of our employment.

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer, or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” Proverbs 6

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23


1. Show up on time

One of the most respectful things we can do is honor people’s time. It is rude to be habitually late. “On time” means arriving, ready to work, five minutes early, by the way.


2. Suggest solutions rather than point to problems

Every healthy boss I know wants people around them who are problem solvers. Promotions always chase these people down and favor follows them wherever they go. Leaders lead people toward solutions. Leaders are proactive, anticipating problems and solving them long before they surface and scar the organization.


3. Be positive

I call these EBI people. This could be “even better, if …”.  These are people who believe the best, speak the best and end up being the best. We cannot control our circumstances, but we can control our attitudes. People who are full of faith and hope for the future usually get what they expect.


4. Play nice 

“His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart.” Psalm 55:21

People who build bridges go further than those who blow up relationships.  People of peace are blessed but those who are always looking for trouble will find it. The Holy Spirit does his best work in unity among people who choose to forgive and encourage one another. Playing nice means we use our words to heal others, not shame others. Life and death is in the power of our tongue, and people of peace measure what they say, never reckless with language.


 5. Promote others 

It has been my goal the past 20 years to work myself out of every job I have been given. I want to raise up my replacement, equip them to run past me and then cheer them on when they do. This is the Jesus way of leading. He spent three years with a group of leaders and saw potential in them that no one else could imagine. He left them with huge responsibilities and all the resources they would need to succeed and they did!


What have you learned about work that has served you well as an adult? If you lead people, what qualities do you look for when promotions and raises are being awarded?




The Miracle Story of New Life

Posted by Brady Boyd

This past week, Pastor Mark Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Mark was certainly one of the most high profile local church leaders of the past decade and his resignation from the church he founded left another big scar on the American evangelical landscape. I’m writing neither to defend nor decry the actions of Mark Driscoll or Mars Hill Church. I was not involved in any of the decisions that led to his resignation and I do not know any of the leaders who remain at the church. However, I do believe both Mark and Mars Hill can have a very hopeful future.

In August of 2007, I became the Senior Pastor of New Life Church after the founding pastor resigned. The church was devastated and many people felt the best days of NLC were behind them. In the past several years, other local churches have lost their high profile pastors and some of those congregations are still struggling while others have found sure footing and and are moving forward with healing and new vision for ministry.

I am no expert on church transitions, but I am experienced. When New Life was experiencing its trauma and sudden change, a passage of scripture from Psalm 137 was really helpful to me as I led the church.

Psalms 137:1 NIV

“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.”


From this one verse, I learned three vital lessons.

1.     Admit there is a new reality.

“By the rivers of Babylon”

We are not in Jerusalem anymore and when we return to Jerusalem, it will never be the same. This was the lament of a people that had been captured and led away from their homeland. Everything changed overnight. When people suddenly lose their pastor, it seems everything in the church changes forever and nothing will ever be the same. As a leader, we must admit they are right; it will never be the same and that is ok. Change is difficult enough for some people when all the conditions are favorable, but traumatic, sudden change can be super painful. Do not ignore the pain.


2.     Take time to mourn

“we sat and wept”

Staying busy keeps us occupied, but it does not allow for mourning or grieving, therefore, any church going through a painful transition must slow down and permit people to mourn. There has been a loss, so people need permission to cry, to reflect and to receive extensive counseling if necessary. Do not skip this step because pain that’s not allowed to heal will resurface until it does heal. Hurt people hurt people, but healed people can help people.


3.     Remember the past

“we remembered Zion”

Talk about the past and recall the great times, the “remember when” moments. When we can honor the pastor who departed, we should.  This is healthy and necessary, even if the former pastor did something terrible that warranted his departure. Obviously, not all the details can be shared publicly because we want those who were hurt to have private space for healing. However, there are wise and honoring ways to have public conversations that give the congregation permission to talk and find healing. Celebrate past wins sincerely and learn honestly from the broken history.

In those dark days at New Life, following a scandal, we felt the sun would never shine again on our congregation. But it did! Today, our church is opening Dream Centers to care for the poorest in our city, planting new congregations, baptizing new believers, training hundreds in our leadership academy, supporting mission’s work in over 30 countries, and writing songs that are sung by churches everywhere. New Life Church is a miracle story.

Tough times are inevitable for all churches and the valley of despair can appear permanent, but our story is proof that dark days are not forever. When David wrote the 23rd Psalm, he realized that God had not abandoned him when all seemed lost and that was reason enough to dream again. Let’s pray for Mars Hill, Mark Driscoll and other churches who are in the valley right now. Let’s pray for grace, healing, unity and redemption. We know this is possible for them because we have seen this miracle firsthand. We have been given much grace and we surely want grace for others.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me …” Psalm 23:4 NIV



Are We Addicted to Busy?

Posted by Brady Boyd

Five years into my marriage, my wife met me at the door with her bags packed.

I should have seen it coming. I had packed my life with jobs and positions and commitments out of my deep-seated need to be needed. I was too busy, and the gentle, calm woman I’d married five years prior had decided she would rather be single than be married and do life all alone.

“Pam,” I said, my voice low and my words slow, “if you will stay here tonight—if you will agree not to leave tonight—I will walk in tomorrow and resign.” The red rims around her eyes told me she’d been crying all afternoon. “No, you won’t,” she challenged. “You won’t.” I asked for 24 hours, to prove that I’d make good on my plan. And by that time the following day, I had resigned every last role.

That was one of the first times I realized I have a problem: I’m addicted to being busy.

And it’s not just me. Every problem I see, in every person I know, ultimately is a problem of moving too fast for too long in too many aspects of life. Every problem. And I’m a pastor, so I see a lot of problems.

We think if we can keep going, keep busy, keep plowing ahead, our conscience won’t have time to catch us because—ha, ha!—we’ll already be long gone.

We think if we can keep going, keep busy, keep plowing ahead, our conscience won’t have time to catch us because—ha, ha!—we’ll already be long gone. And the reality is this approach actually works. But only for a time. “Life is like the breath,” writes Brother David Steindl-Rast. “We must be able to live in an easy rhythm between give and take. If we cannot learn to live and breathe in this rhythm, we will place ourselves in grave danger.” Maybe even the literal grave.

Because it’s easy for me to chase after the tempting buzz of busy living, I’ve learned to recognize the signs that my addiction has kicked in again. If you lean toward over-scheduled and under-rested, consider these danger signs of a busyness addiction:

You Feel Like You’re in Your Glory When You’re Busiest.

This really should be the first clue that something is amiss. You see, I like how success feels. I don’t want to unplug. I don’t want to relax. The last thing I crave is rest. I’m a recovering speed-and-wild-success junkie who never wants to come down, and to allow any semblance of white space is to cause the undesirable effects of withdrawal.

You’re More Fascinated With Gadgets Than With God.

I got to work a few days ago and realized I’d left my phone at home. The all-out search that proved futile and the ensuing overwhelming angst I experienced were significant. I think I was more distraught than if I’d misplaced one of my children. How am I going to get through this day without my phone? I thought.

A different kind of call was coming in, even as I searched for the device. It was a call from God: “Come to me, and I will give you rest.” Of course I didn’t pick up.

God tried again: “Lay your burdens down, child. Walk with me, and your walk will be burden-free.” To which I didn’t respond. Again.

God stays the course: “I want you to be fascinated not with trinkets, but with me.” Still, no response.

Ever-patient, ever-persistent, God went for it a fourth time: “Slow down. Look up. Linger here with me.”

It was then I thought I heard something. Wait. Was that the voice of God?

But then, I hear a subtle ding from my phone, which had been in my laptop bag the entire time. The ding was alerting me to a text message that had just arrived. My thumb couldn’t help itself—it was itching to swipe. As I reached for my phone, all attention focused on that new text, I simultaneously scored one for the enemy of my soul.

Technology is not a bad thing in itself, but when we’re more tuned into our iPhone alerts than to our Creator, it’s a problem.

Your Favorite Compliment Has Become, “Wow. You’re Always so Busy.”

Behind the” I’m-so-busy-it-would-blow-your-mind” conversations is the motivation for all my busyness. I have a theory on this, which is that busyness is our means to impress. If I’m busy, then I’m important, and if I’m important, then you’ll be impressed. That’s the reason I spend so much time being busy: to impress you, so perhaps I’ll feel like I matter. Impression management becomes a full-time job, and it’s exhausting.

You Don’t Have Time for the Ones You Love.

These days, years after that day of packed bags at the door, I don’t let things get that far. But still there are times when I can see in my wife’s weary gaze that I’ve been pushing and driving too hard. It’s the worst warning sign of all, I think, the one that says, “You’re hurting the ones you most love.”

Consider this: God is not merely a peaceful person; God, in fact, is peace.

For some people, it takes a world-rocking tragedy or the loss of everything they hold dear in order to finally learn how to slow down, to tend to their souls, to rest—it takes some sort of death. I hope that won’t be true for you. I’m determined it won’t be true for me. I’m resolving instead to go down a different path, a path paved with rest and peace.

Consider this: God is not merely a peaceful person; God, in fact, is peace. When you and I sit in God’s presence, we’re sitting in the presence of peace. And when we sit there—actually stay there, quiet, still—we come away breathing differently. We come away with steadied souls. From there, astoundingly, we can become people of peace. We can become more like God.

This is why God’s invitation is so profound, the invitation to come to Him to find our rest: He can actually deliver on what He promises, something the world never will be able to do.

I want this type of restfulness. I want to say yes to this.

We slow down—to rest, to contemplate, to lollygag with God—because slow can pay serious dividends, for our bodies, for our minds, for our souls.


Want more? My new book Addicted to Busy is now available along with small group study guides and a 12-day Addicted to Busy Challenge.


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