Why I left Ministry

I get asked, rather often, why I left ministry.  My response is always the same, I didn’t.

That being said, I did step back from located ministry for a while. First, let me say up front, that I firmly believe that being in located ministry is a call on my life.  And, although I am not currently leading in a local church, God continues to give me opportunities to serve those around me and help the local church whenever  I can.

A while back I shared with many of you my struggles with arrogance (read post here) and my initial decision to step back from leadership in ministry. That moment in my life has served as a catalyst in many ways.

In willingly stepping back I was forced to take stock of where I was, where I was headed, and where I wanted to be.  This was and is an eye opening experience as I discovered quite a few things that I felt needed to be dealt with.

They are, in no particular order – debt, healthier living, and balance.  At the crux of those three things is personal and family discipline.

I don’t believe, in anyway, that Christ expects perfection, because it is through him that I am made perfect.  However, it is my conviction that I am to give my very best to God and His Church and although some of those things may be life long struggles, they still need to be addressed.

With that in mind, Leanne and I are working on getting rid of debt, I continue to learn about and make healthier decisions, and I am learning what it means to have balance in my life.  In many ways I am experiencing joy in ways I never have before but, there is also that ache in my soul for ministry.

I have no doubt that, when the time comes, God will provide the open door for me to be back in located ministry.  I look forward to that day as I miss it like crazy.  Until that time however, I will dive head first into how God is refining me.  I will swim in his unfailing love as I embrace the reality that located ministry or not, I am called to serve those around me and make His name famous.

Thanks for your continued prayers and encouragement

Until next time…

5 Things I Will NOT Miss About New Orleans

5. Drunk Tourists – Sure they pump lots of money into the local economy but that doesn’t make them any less annoying.

4. Corruption – It is everywhere.  I mean we’re not Chicago, but it’s still pretty bad.

3. Stinging Caterpillars - Each May and June these demonic little creatures come forth.  If you have accidentally stepped on one or even barley touched one, you know how horrible this pestilence really is.

2. Roads – Seriously, its like driving in the hills of Tijuana.  I’m not entirely sure why there are so many beautification projects going on when you can’t even drive down your own block without bottoming out or seeing water come up from the ground. My suspension and alignment are very excited to be in a place where roads are smooth.

1.Summer! – …all seven months of it.  This past year for Halloween it was 84 degrees and humid.  That’s not ok. I know that Nashville will have heat and humidity but come Mid-Septemeber I can breathe easy as opposed to seeking counseling for my anger issues caused by the ridiculously long summers. New Orleans I love you, but May to November is kind of horrible.

Until next time…

5 Reasons Why I Am Not Looking Forward to Nashville

5. I love New Orleans – I really do.  See previous post.

4. Being Landlocked – For 28 of my 33 years of life I have lived within one hour of a beach.  Although I hate sand as much as I hate fire ants and spiders, living near a large body of water gives you a sense of freedom.  Sure Nashville has lakes and rivers but the nearest beach is like 10 hours away. On the plus side, that beach is in North Carolina…and I love me some North Carolina.

3. Making New Friends – Sometimes its just exhausting.  That being said it will be great to meet new people.

2. Tornados…again – I have gone from earthquakes (California), to tornados (Missouri), to hurricanes (Louisiana), back to earthquakes (California), back to hurricanes (Louisiana),, and now back to tornados (Tennessee).  Don’t get me wrong, Twister is a great movie, but I am not super excited to know that each Spring I may have to run to a basement at a moments notice.

and the number 1 reason is….

Well, I don’t have another reason.  Apparently there’s not too much to be hesitant about.  Sweet.

Until next time…

Top 10 Things I Will Miss About New Orleans

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10. Festivals – It’s not a secret that New Orleans and all of South Louisiana know how to party.  Each month brings a different festival that celebrates anything from strawberries to jazz music and everything in between.

9. History – A part from Boston and Philadelphia there is no other city that has such a rich and varied history.  It is quite literally everywhere you look.

8. The Beach – There’s a beach in New Orleans? No, but there are some great beaches not too far away.  It was a regular activity for us to go spend the day in Bay St. Louis, grab a hot dog, and hang out at the beach for the day.  It’s not Seal Beach, Malibu, or even Pensacola but for us it was perfect.

7. Mardi Gras – If you are, or have ever been, a drunk tourist during Mardi Gras, you missed out on how great Mardi Gras really is.  I will miss gathering with friends on the neutral ground laughing, screaming, catching throws, and eating copious amounts of food.  But..I got my shoe from Muses, so I guess I can move on.

6. Sno-Balls – They are not shaved ice…they are so much better than that.  Soft sno completely drowned in your particular favorite flavor mixing to make the perfect warm weather treat.  My favorite will forever be Satsuma with marshmallow cream from Hansen’s.  I will miss these glorious things so much that I’m trying to figure out a way to open up a Sno-Ball stand in Nashville.

5. Christmastime – Christmastime is one of the best times in New Orleans.  From free concerts at the cathedral, to Celebration in the Oaks, to the bonfires at the levee – Christmas New Orleans style embodies what is great and unique about this city.  As an added sentiment, Leanne and I began dating at Christmas time.

4. Food – I will not be the first nor the last to proclaim the culinary awesomeness that exists in this city.  Keep a look out for my upcoming favorite New Orleans restaurant post that will be coming soon.

3. People – Not just the friends we have made but the fourth and fifth generation cajun, creoles, and New Orleanians as well.  Always ready with a good story, a funny anecdote, or a family recipe these resourceful inviting people have made this place home for me.

2. City Park – It might seem strange to be emotionally invested in a park, but I really am.  Not one week went by without me spending at least a few hours at this place.  It was here that I shed off close to 90 pounds as I ran the old golf cart trails or the path around the Big Lake.  It was here that we could go have a picnic.  It was here that I would go and think and/or pray.  I am sad that I will not see the master plan come to fruition but City Park will always be my park.

and last but not least…

1. My church familyJourney Christian Church, Hope Christian Church, and my friends in house church are filled with people that I simply can not say enough about.  I will forever be grateful for the friendships, encouragement, patience, grace, and partnerships that were experienced with so many beautiful people.  I will miss you most of all.

Coming Soon….

-5 Things I am not looking forward to about Nashville

-5 Things I will not miss about New Orleans

-My favorite places to eat in New Orleans

-A farewell letter to a city I love

Until next time….

Top 10 Reasons I Am Excited For Our Move to Nashville

10. Hockey – I love hockey and I will finally be living in a city again with a pro hockey team.  The Nashville Predators, I don’t know you yet, but I will – and since I can’t possible root for the Tennessee Titans (Go Saints!), I will most assuredly root for you.

9. Career and personal advancement for all three of us – It is one of the primary reasons we are moving after all.

8. Nature – Its everywhere.  You can be out in the country in about 15 minutes from almost anywhere in Nashville.  There are lakes and rivers that you can actually go swimming in, we are only three hours away from The Smokey Mountains, and there are greenways and hiking trails, literally, everywhere.

7. Music – I’m not a big country fan, but did you know that although Nashville is the country music mecca it also has a ton of other musical offerings?  It’s true.  Rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, christian, and a whole lot of stuff in between.  This is also means we can finally get Tara and Raz to come visit us which brings me to….

6. New Place to Visit for our friends and family – There is always an open spot at The Lytle House and you all know how I love to play tour guide.

5. Closer to some family – We will be within driving distance of everyone on Leanne’s side of the family.  This is the first time this has happened in our marriage.  Also, Nashville has more straight flights then New Orleans does to Los Angeles which makes getting home to my family easier as well.

4. Friendly People – Seriously, every time we have gone to Nashville we have encountered the friendliest people. It’s not just our opinion either…they were ranked. It’s actually a little terrifying in a way, but its kind of nice as well.

3. Cultural Activities – Having so many Universities has enabled Nashville to offer a ton of cultural activities.  Theatre, ballet, art museums, history, science centers, symphonies, and a ton more ensure that our family can continue to be unsheltered.

2. Dollywood – Technically not in Nashville but you know what I will be 2.5 hours away. Why is this important?  You must not know me.  My first crush was Dolly Parton and for many years I have wanted to go to Dollywood.  Mock me if you will…I can handle it, but mark my words, by year’s end I will be posting about my visit.

And my number one reason is….

1. SEASONS! – We will finally be living in a place that actually has four seasons.  We can watch the leaves change colors and go to a pumpkin farm or apple picking.  We can bundle up and actually wear scarves and hats and even occasionally play in the snow. We can watch the brightness of Spring actually come forth and, for the first time in a long time, I might not despise Summer…because in Nashville, Summer doesn’t last 7 months.

So those are my Top 10 reasons I am excited for our move to Nashville.  Up next, my  Top 10 things I will miss about New Orleans.

Until next time….

Moving to Nashville

One of my favorite proverbs has been Proverbs 19:21.  It says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” This particular scripture has continued to be foundational in my life.

Over the course of the past three years God has challenged Leanne and I in ways we could not have predicted.  We have grown as individuals and as a family, not because we tried to make change happen, but because we got out of the way to let God do what He wanted.  We moved back to New Orleans because we knew that is where God wanted us.  In my own ignorance I tried to figure out and fill in all the reasons why, and so I made a whole lot of plans. Plans that, as most of you know, did not come to fruition.  After our first year here it was clear I needed to take a step back. I needed to rest in who God was and what he wanted to do in and through us, rather than inform him of what we were going to do for Him.

Now here we are, 3 1/2 years later, on the brink of a new chapter in our lives.

World Market has asked me to relocate to Nashville.  After much prayer, discussion, and listening we have decided to accept this offer.  Making this move will be difficult for us because of our love for New Orleans, but Leanne and I know this is the right next step.

Over the course of the next few weeks I will share some of the things we are looking forward to as well as some of the things we will miss, but for now we just wanted to let our family and friends know that we have landed on a decision.  Many of you have been apart of the discussion and prayer and we thank you.  We continue to ask for prayer from everyone as any transition has its stress….chief among them finding a place to live. 

Our love for New Orleans will always exist and we will always do whatever we can to serve this city, even if from far away.

Until next time….

 

 

The voices in my head

At last count I five have different voices in my head.  Each voice represents a different aspect of who I am and each voice is a giant pain in the…

Before you have me thrown in a padded room, let me explain.

Like anyone, I have several facets to who I am.  There is the obvious facets – husband, father, son, brother, manager, and pastor.  There is, of course, the not as obvious – dreamer, arm chair adventurer, and learner.  There are the facets of me that are merely filler – lover of all things entertainment, opinionated bafoon. Hidden away are the “what I want to be when I grow up” facets – Church planter, restauranteur, imagineer, CEO of something, chef, travel writer, actor, and professor.  And lastly we have the “what once was” facets – personal history and experiences.

That is a lot of competing noise in my head.

Many things about being an adult rock (we all have our favorites), but one of the things that suck about being a grown up are the voices in our heads.  All those experiences, hopes, dreams, plans, and (of course) responsibilities vying for our attention, screaming at us, or worse, lazily sitting in the corner eating a Dorritos Locos Taco and drinking a mountain dew.

If I didn’t have Jesus, or more correctly, if Jesus didn’t have me I am pretty sure I would go nuts.

Truth be told, I kind of like the voices in my head. They are  apart of who I am.

I just wish that sometimes they would shut up.

Until next time…

25 people/things that bug me – Including, but not limited to, Ryan Lochte, Facebook, Madonna, and TLC.

Well Cyberland, here it is! My 2012 list of things/people that bug me.

My list, as always, is mine and mine alone. I hope you agree, disagree, laugh, and altogether enjoy. Oh yeah, feel free to add your own things that bug you in the comments section.

25. Madonna – No no, not the holy virgin mother…the 5o year old cougar. Although I think she did a fine job at the Super Bowl Halftime show, it was the rest of the year that helped her make my list. At 50+ years old you would think she would know how to entertain without acting like a mouthy preteen.

24. New Orleans’ Summers – There is no polite way to say this. It is like the seventh circle of hell.

23. Mayonaise – It’s disgusting.

22. People who think sending me links to stories about spiders is funny – It’s not.

21. Roger Goodell – If he makes out of New Orleans unscathed during the Super Bowl it will, in fact, be a small miracle.

20. People who do not like Phenias and Ferb – We can’t be friends. Sorry.

19. Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, & Ann Coulter – Why on God’s green earth would anyone listen to these people?! It is the unholy republican trinity.  Seriously…there’s a horror movie concept in there somewhere. Maybe Josh Whedon could direct.   It would make millions and the sequel could star…

18. Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, and Roseanne Bar – For pretty much the same reason as above.

17. Damp Towels – I still hate em. They’re icky.

16. Facebook – There, I said it. Facebook is the hairy mole on the butt of society. It’s something we all think we just need to live with. I will stick with Twitter thank you very much.

15. Call Me Maybe – So help me if I hear this song one more time I might start something on fire.

14. Ryan Lochte – Remember that one time a swimmer was really overhyped and kind of seemed like an arrogant jerk. U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A.  Do you think Michael Phelps calls Ryan and is like, “dude, remember that one time you went on global television saying you were going to win more medals than me…yeah, good times.  By the way, how was your stint on 90210?”

13. American Apparel – Ummmm, if this is what represents America, then I’m moving to Canada.  You know, I think they endorsed Ryan Lochte…I kid, I kid…or do I?

12. People who care more about their personal freedoms than the moral obligation they have to their families and communities – Take that however you want…it’s loaded.

11. Fat people who dress like they are skinny – Really!? Do you really think that at 300 pounds you should be wearing cut off shorts and a baby gap t shirt?  Miss, I assure you…you should not be.

10. Skinny people who dress like everyone wants to see their emaciated bodies – I am sure some people find protruding ribs and collar bones extremely attractive…I just don’t know any of them.

9. GQ Pastor Pictures – You know who you are. You talk about your kids and your ministry but your profile picture is a glamor shot of you wearing a tight shirt with the faux-hawk and some God awful hipster accessory.  Glad to see you are leading culture.  Sarcasm.

8. Texas (excluding San Antonio) – Just because.

7. The words moist, crevice, and yams – I just threw up in my mouth a little bit just typing those words.

6. The Times Picayune – What do you do when you have one of the strongest readerships of any news paper in the Nation. You sell out and cut the print edition down to three issues a week. Weaksauce.

5. People who use the word weaksauce – It ranks right up there with chillax, bra’, deuces, and every other drunken frat guy vernacular.

4. The New York Freaking Yankees – So many reasons that I think I will make a special blog post just for them.

3. The Entire Honey Boo Boo clan – What kind of backwoods entertainment crack is this?  We are all dumber for even knowing about Honey Boo Boo.  Our collective national IQ has dropped.  Thanks a lot TLC!!!  Which reminds me…

2. TLC – Remember how their used to be a cable station called The Learning Channel?  You could turn it on and actually, you know, learn something.  I guess Trading Spaces really was the tipping point because now…well, you have shows about backwoods dwarves who are secretly transvestite republicans and hope to have their own decorating show called “Down and Out in De Moines.”

1. Me – I am a pain in my own backside.

There you have it, my little rant of annoying things from 2012.

Until next time…