Lessons Learned from Will

My son, Will, is one of my top four favorite people in the entire world. He is my first born. So talented. So handsome. So fun to spend time with. He has taught me so much.

Being that he was our first child, he obviously helped Katie and I learn a great deal about life, parenting, and raising a child with a strong will. (He was named perfectly) Typically parents spend their life trying to make sure that their children learn from them, but it is far less frequent that we consider all the things that we have learned from our children. Will has taught me so much, but the most recent lesson is the one that I will share with you today.

I was driving home from a youth band activity last night, talking with Will about some areas of his life that I want him to grow in, to stretch himself, and to help him be a better leader. As I spoke with him, I thought to myself, it is wildly ironic that as I am instructing him, he responds with respect, shows lip service, and says “Yes sir” to every life lesson that I am sharing with him.

But as I began to think about how we can go from this moment of agreement back to real life where he is most likely not going to heed my advice, I thought to myself, how is it that I have so much more life experience, I have literally lived what he is going through, I know what I would do differently and the wisdom that I wish I had when I was his age. I communicate that wisdom and experience to him, that truth to him, and yet deep down, he is still convinced that his way is better.

I can explain something with logic, with reason, with passion, with love, with examples, with truth and yet, he is convinced that my way is not quite accurate and that his way is better.

I continued driving, wondering how could this be, when the Holy Spirit said to me… this is how you act towards your Heavenly father.

God tells you what is true, what makes sense, what is best for your life. God tells you these things over and over again through His word and through His spirit. God tells you these things with love, and passion and truth, and yet you, Lee, still think your way is better.

Oh man. That is convicting.

God knows better. God knows all. God instructs me, and often I am tempted to respectfully give Him lip-service, say, “Yes Sir” and then continue on in my life doing what I want to do. Doing what I think is best.

Lord, please forgive me.

I will do my best to be more patient and long-suffering with Will in those moments, as I remember that my Heavenly father knows far more than Wills earthly father does. God is so patient and long-suffering with me even when I think that my way is better.

Lord, help me to be more like you when leading my son, and help me to trust your direction even when I am tempted to believe that I know better.

Be Humble, or Humility will be forced upon you.

My mom sends me an encouraging text message every single Sunday morning. She usually tells me what a great day of worship it is going to be, how proud of me she is, how blessed I am to get to do what I do, and she often sends a sweet reminder to stay humble and give God all the glory.

Many years ago, I wrote about the tension between passion and humility, but today I am reminded of the even more common tension between confidence and humility. I remember just a few years ago having the opportunity to go snow skiing for the first time. I remember driving up the mountain, when my friend told me that the black diamond was the only slope that was open that day. I told him: It’s ok, I’ve got this. He asked, if I was sure and I told him, I am a fast learner and I am sure that I will pick up skiing quickly. (Famous Last Words)

I remember getting there and putting my skis on in the parking lot. We had to ski from the parking lot down to the lift. I remember getting to the edge of the parking lot and thinking to myself, you have got to be kidding me. This is straight down, and this is just to get to the lift. Well, it was too late to back out now, so over the edge (of the parking lot) I went. I quickly made it to the lift and enjoyed a beautiful ten minute lift ride to the top of the mountain. But I could not enjoy the views, because all I saw was this narrow path of snow with what seemed like fatal drop offs at every edge. Long story short, I zigged crashed, zagged crashed, tore my rotator cuff, crashed, sat on my skis and tried to ride down, crashed. I eventually made it down the mountain about an hour later and I was done for the day. I was over confident and as a result humility was forced upon me.

Proverbs 18:12 “Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud…” (So appropriate)

Proverbs 11:22 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

I was reminded of this today when I saw an incredible YouTube video on a channel called Smarter Every Day. Destin gets the once in a lifetime opportunity to ride with the Thunderbirds. He goes through several maneuvers but ends up tapping out at 7.2 G’s before the 9G maneuver. As I watched, I literally thought, oh come on, why would you “tap out”?! I would never tap out on an opportunity like that, but then he said these powerful words. Sometimes when we are overconfident, humility is forced upon us.

I have not only experienced this on the ski slopes, but even in worship ministry. There have been times where I did not prepare like I should because I was over confident. Times when I was overconfident and wrong about something, and in each of these moments, I caused humility to be forced upon me. I think it is fair to say, we will experience humility one way or another, either by our own choosing, or by force. The Word of God says that humility comes before honor. So, let’s choose to humble ourselves. Yes, confidence is critical in many ways, but it must be balanced with humility.

Here is a 30 minute video, very instructional and exciting. If you don’t have time, watch the last 5 minutes!

Here is what Destin said, and I could relate.

This is what I learned flying with the Air Force, Thunderbirds. Sometimes in life, I get over confident. Maybe I am overconfident because of something I learned in a book, or a life experience that is similar to this one, or because of a past success that I have had.

If I don’t approach each new experience with an appropriate balance between confidence and humility, there is a good chance that I am going to be humbled by force.

Moving forward whether it is a physical challenge, or a discussion with a friend, I am going to maintain that balance between confidence and humility so that I don’t look stupid.

Thanks Destin, Thanks Mom!

Running Reflections 101-222

I started to have some weird heart palpitations (Palpitations are characterized as a general or heightened awareness of your own heartbeat – whether it’s too fast, too slow, or otherwise irregular. You might feel like your heart is thumping, racing, or fluttering.) over the last 6 months that have been a little alarming, so I decided to get back to consistently running. I have been running consistently in September and October. Generally 6 miles per run, three days a week. This allows plenty of time for listening, learning and thinking. Let me share some of my running reflections just from today.

Running through the pain:

It hurt! My running pain was a little more intense today and it lasted a little longer than normal. By the time I was 15 minutes into my first run, all the pain was gone, but, wow. I almost talked myself into a shorter run today.

Dump trucks and construction:

I love running into Panther Creek across the street from my subdivision where they are building hundreds of new homes. It is incredible to see the progress on the homes each week. It is also incredible to see several homes at each stage of the process of being built. It is amazing that those construction guys are often on the job from sun up to sun down. Before I know it, there will be families in each one of these homes, and I will be dodging the cars leaving for an early head start to school and work. For now, I am just dodging the dump trucks and the work vans. I have noticed that it seems harder to breath when I run behind a slow moving dump truck. Something about those exhaust fumes do not fuel the body to run!

Podcasts today:

The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast #61 This was my favorite podcast of the day! He went through the goals of systems and structures. This is so valuable when leading an organization or a ministry. Here are the five goals that Ron shares. Good systems and structures will:



I had so many direct applications for how I can implement these leadership principles within my context. I want to better empower those around me to lead on their own. I want to communicate well. I want to provide healthy accountability. I want to share what works by making our systems scalable. I want to make sure that our systems protect the overall vision of what we do each day. So many great things from this podcast.

I also listened to a great podcast by Brad Lomenick – H3 Leadership #122 who interviewed Tara-Leigh Cobble about her Bible Recap Project. I loved her passion for helping people get in the word. She was also very transparent about the seasons that she has gone through where she didn’t even want to read the Bible and that was very helpful. Her solutions were simple, read in community and always make sure you are understanding what you are reading. Also, set manageable goals. You can read the whole Bible in a year with just 12 minutes of reading each day.

Finally, I listened to Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast #525 as he interviewed Chad Veach about residual issues of covid in areas of church membership retention, the great resignation, and the lower commitment from former core members and volunteers. It was pretty interesting. I will have to listen to the rest on my run on Friday.

Three great podcasts, with so many great ideas. Final thought from the run, Tara-Leigh talked about discipleship. She explained that disciple simply means one who is learning. We are all to constantly be learning. These are a few things that I learned this morning. What are you learning today? Thanks for reading!

A Season of Busy Blessings

Many things have changed in my life since Easter, and I realize that I have been moving so fast that I have not stopped to take the time to process and share it here on my blog. I want to be able to look back and remember what a blessing this season was, so I remembered this morning that it is time to share about what my family is involved in these days.

Back in the beginning of the summer, I was offered the opportunity to get involved in the college ministry at Westside Baptist Church. I am still the Minister of Music, but this is a connection group that had a need and the opportunity to teach was made available to me. I would say that I have been eager to teach a connection group class here at Westside since I arrived over 7 years ago, but the opportunity has not presented itself until now. Katie and I have partnered with another great couple to teach and lead our college ministry. The Lord blessed us with instant growth and success, for which we are so thankful. We have seen the class grow by nearly 200% on an average weekly attendance. I told the college students from the very beginning that I was excited to serve with them because they have a little bit more freedom and a little bit more money to go out and do things. We have already had a wonderful time getting to know these young adults and we pray that God will multiply our church through the energy, enthusiasm and servanthood of our young adults.

In addition to that new area of responsibility, I was also blessed with the opportunity to jump in as the interim youth pastor at Westside for a brief season while we seek a new youth pastor for our church. This has been a great reminder of a very sweet season of ministry that I was able to be a part of at Suncoast. We have already done great activities like Ichetucknee Springs, Summer Camp, and a few Game Nights. I have loved getting to know these students while encouraging them to live for Jesus and stay in Gods word!

Another item that has been on my plate has been the opportunity to lead some worship consultation for another great church in town. They were seeking their next worship Pastor and through a series of event, they hired DWC who selected me to be their consultant. Over the last four months I have experienced so many blessings and new friendships with pastors and potential worship candidates. Long story short, when I began to get discouraged, the Lord brought the exact candidate that He wanted for the job. We began a series of interviews and meetings and in the end, the church was thrilled to hire their new worship pastor. He had his Pilot Service Weekend this past Sunday, and he did a great job and was so welcomed and loved by the church. I am so thankful that the Lord used me to be a part of that process.

On Tuesday this week, I met with a Dean of Education about the possibility of joining the teaching staff at a Bible College. If you know me, you know that I have a great desire to teach in an adjunct role for Liberty University some day. So this is right in the same vein, as it would provide an opportunity for me to gain some experience and learn the ropes of teaching at a college. There are many details that must be measured and approved before this opportunity can fully flesh out, but it is encouraging to see the Lord work by opening doors.

What is the takeaway, or application for this post? Through all the busyness, I cannot allow these good things to distract me from the main thing. I must be diligent in my quiet time with the Lord. I also must be diligent to manage these responsibilities second to the responsibilities at home with my family. I believe we are doing well right now. That is a blessing. I heard a quote recently that said, seasons have a start and an end, if your busy life does not have a start and an end, then it is not a busy season, it is a busy life. Therefore, I seem to have more of a busy life, but that is how I like it. That is how I maintain energy. But I cannot allow my appreciation for busyness to rob my family of what is most important. As a result, we are very intentional to guard certain days and times together so that we enjoy this brief season of life together with our children. Surely the season of parenting has a beginning and an end. I like fast living, but I want that part to SLOW DOWN. Thanks for reading!