How-to: Connect and Serve Your Family During a Crisis

By Rocky Stone

I have to tell you right off the bat; I’m not an expert in this. In fact, I’m struggling in this area. But I want to talk to you about three key areas that I’m pressing into, and my hope is that this will encourage you and help you connect with and serve your family better as we continue in this current pandemic.

Number One: Be Flexible.

I am a person that loves my schedule. I’m the guy that has my alarm go off at the exact same time every single morning, whether or not that’s actually when I need to be up. Even on my days off my alarm goes off and wakes me at the same time as it does on days that I have to work. I love having a schedule, I love being in a routine, I love doing things regularly, and right now we find ourselves in a place where our routines are being flipped on their heads? Nothing is happening as I expected it. Routine and planned have gone out the window, things are continually changing. I want to encourage you, and encourage myself in the same breath, be flexible. This is the best thing that we can do right now. Embrace the day as the day comes. Be willing to change and move things around. This is our new reality. I’m not used to working at home. I’m used to traveling from place to place and meeting with people while working out of Starbucks or an office. Before this pandemic, I worked from home only a fraction of the time that I do now. Working from home and working through this with my family has its challenges. But in those challenges, some beautiful things are happening.

Be flexible about how you’re working, and when you’re working. Before this crisis, I lived and died by your calendar and schedule, but that can’t happen right now. In this new reality, work can happen at any time which brings new challenges into the home. I have found great importance in making sure that my family knows when I’m working and when I’m off work. The temptation, at least for me, is to continue working well into the evening. Everything becomes a ministry, and everything becomes work.

In this, I’ve learned that my kids need to know when daddy’s off work and when I’m not. Having me at home and seeing me throughout the day is confusing to my two younger kids, all they see is that daddy is home and he doesn’t have time to play. As a family, we can establish new routines that respect my work time if I let them know when I’m working and when I’m not.

Number Two: Be Intentional.

Let’s remember that this crisis isn’t going to last forever. Even though it feels like a few weeks is forever, this time will soon pass. Recognize what this time is, it’s a gift.

There are some scary things going on in the world. In the midst of this, some people are sick, and some people are losing jobs. This isn’t to minimize any of that, but to keep it in its proper place. These things are happening, but for the most part, we do not have any control over that. Let’s focus instead on what we can control, our time. I want to encourage you to capitalize on this time by being intentional with your family. Spend this time talking to your kids. I have four boys, my youngest is three, and my oldest is 12. I’ve sat each of my kids down, even the three-year-old, and asked about how they’re doing. How are they processing this, and what are they missing? What are they sad about, and what are they enjoying? We’ve had some great conversations about how they are feeling. It has helped me realize that I’m not the only one that’s had a significant shift in my routine, this shift has hit my kids and my wife as well. I want to encourage you to remain flexible, to embrace the time that you have with your kids and your family and be intentional with that time.

Number Three: Be Loving

I think this is probably the area that, at least for me as a dad, I’m struggling with the most. As my kids run around and make a bunch of noise and get into different things while I am trying to work, it’s easier for me to snap and jump and correct them. It’s harder for me to be quiet and embrace the difficulty that they’re having as their world has also been interrupted. We have a choice on how our kids experience us during this time. Let’s choose to set the example and lead them well in love and compassion.

Often, as pastors and ministers, we talk about our families as our first ministry. If we are honest, that’s something we love to say, but it’s oftentimes not evident in our life. As the world hits the pause button, we get the opportunity to make that statement a reality and allow our kids and our spouse to be that first ministry in our life.

I think many of us are finding creative and exciting ways to connect with our church, to love our neighbors, and to serve the people around us. Many of the ways that we are serving others can also be applied to how we serve our families. Match the time and energy you’re putting into serving your community and your church with the time you are serving your family. Let those balance each other, let your kids and wife be more important than the next crisis or this current pandemic.

These are things that I have been trying to do. There are some days when I succeed, and there are some days when I don’t. Each moment is a new opportunity. Keep loving your family. Have extra grace for them and be thankful. Be thankful for the time you have with them because we all know that in just a short amount of time, life is going to come roaring back. We’re going to have tons of responsibility, an overwhelming amount of conversations, and lots of tasks to accomplish as we put life back together.

Take advantage of this time. Love this time. Cherish this time.

I’m praying for you.

 

Rocky Stone was born in LA and raised in Moreno Valley and Riverside. He served in the US Army for 11 years and graduated from California Baptist University with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and Religious Counseling. Rocky previously served on a church planting team as a teaching pastor and was a General Contractor in Chicago, before becoming pastor at Sandals Church Menifee. He has been married to his best friend, Nicole, for 8 years and has 4 sons, Amere (12) Avante (11) Owen (5) and Graham (2). He loves tacos, woodworking, and walking with people as they discover how amazing it is to be all in with Jesus.

 

How to Be at Your Best in 2020. #4: Grow Up and #5: Make A Big Change

by Dan Zimbardi

What is the one thing you need to work on this year to be at your best at work and at home?

We are continuing in our series on How to Be at Your Best in 2020 with the next two on our list. 

Number 4: Grow up.

For some of us, this needs to be a year of maturing.

You mature by identifying and stopping the childish behavior in your life.

Growing up is accepting responsibility for your actions and the outcomes. Realize and take responsibility for where you are at, and part of that is to stop blaming other people and circumstances.

If you are recently married, for you, maybe this is the one thing. It is time to leave and cleave, right? Put some more distance with Mom and Dad and connect more deeply with the person that God has given you. It is essential to honor your mother and father, but your spouse comes first.

For some, growing up this year means pushing the pause button on PlayStation. There is a time and a place for gaming. Unless you work for a gaming company, the middle of your workday or when you should be attending to your family’s needs is not that time or place.

For some, perhaps growing up is stopping the childish behavior of gossiping. I saw this great quote from Dawson McAllister, “The most dangerous part about gossip is that it steals another person’s reputation. A reputation is very fragile. When you gossip, you are helping to destroy something extremely valuable.” And I would add, you are destroying your reputation as well.

If you feel like that’s what God is leading you to work on is this year. That it is a year of maturing, the question is:

Question: What impact is my immaturity having on my life?

What is the impact on my marriage when I put my mother or my father above my spouses? What is the impact on my kids and my wife when I spend four and five hours playing a video game? What impact on my reputation and other reputations does my immaturity having on my life?

Action: Find a mentor or mentors.

Find someone who’s ahead of you and spend some time with them. I think in life, I have matured the most in all aspects by simply spending time with people who are ahead of me. I have read some great books and gone to seminars, but nothing replaces someone in your life.

Number 5: Make a Big Change.

For some of us, to be at our best at home and work, we need to make a really big change.

It could be anything, a living situation, a relationship, a job, or even ministry. Maybe you’re not in the right spot, not in the right role, or perhaps now is not the best season to be working in ministry. Maybe now is the time to think about the significant change.

There was a season when I had to walk away from my brother, who I love desperately. In my mid-twenties, my brother and I were at odds over our life choices. I was on a different path, and we had an unhealthy fracture in our relationship. Remaining in close proximity and unhealth was not good for our future.

I needed a significant change in my life, and I needed to take a break. Not walk away. Just a break.

It was a big change. Because of this change, we were able to heal and come back together and go forward in a healthy way. I needed the change, and it provided the space for us to reconcile.

I want you to process through if a change might be the best thing for you this year. The question for you is not—do I want to make a big change, or would it feel better and be easier for me to make a big change? The question is:

Question: Is God leading you to make this big change?

Action: There are two actions.

1. Ask God for courage and clarity. If you are on the cusp of a major life change, you likely will need courage. Read Joshua 1. It is my go-to reading for courage. God tells Joshua several times to be courageous. You will need courage if you’re facing something hard. Ask God for courage and then clarity.

2. Look for an intersection as it relates to this big change in your A. Prayer life B. Read the word of God C. Seek wise counsel D. Evaluate the circumstances happening around this big change. If you think God is leading you to make a change, you are looking for the intersection of those four things. If you are a reader, you will want to read the Blackaby’s— a father and son who wrote a book called “Spiritual Leadership.” They write about discerning God’s will in decision-making. This is the process they recommend. Finding that intersection of your prayer life, reading God’s word, what your wise counsel is telling you, and the circumstances happening around the situation.

 

Next Post: How to Be at Your Best in 2020. #6: Daily Communion with God

Subscribe here, so you don’t miss our last posts in this series.

 

Pastor Dan Zimbardi has been the Executive Pastor of Sandals Church, one of the largest and fastest-growing churches in America, for the past eight years. Dan spent twenty-two years as an entrepreneur and corporate executive and has worked with some of the most dynamic brands in the world, including Google, Nike, and Burton Snowboards. Dan’s passion is to train and develop leaders both in ministry and the marketplace.

 

 

 

How to Be at Your Best in 2020. #3: Conquer Your Insecurity

by Dan Zimbardi

We are continuing in our series on How to Be at Your Best in 2020. What is your one thing?

Number three: Insecurity

If you struggle with insecurity, then this needs to be the year that your insecurities submit to your identity in Christ.

Big idea: The antidote for insecurity is identity.

The antidote for your insecurities is a right and accurate understanding of your identity in Christ. Speaking from my insecurities, but also from working with so many people over the years—insecurity is crippling. It is a barrier to having a simple conversation. It’s a barrier to using your gifts. It’s a barrier to being all who God has made you to be.

The reality is that so often, God is trying to move through us, but it’s our
insecurities that stop the process.

God is doing things through us to impact the lives of other people and can’t because we think we are not good enough, smart enough, or righteous enough. “No one wants to hear from me.” This is the voice of the enemy continuing to drill into our heads that we are not enough.

I’m not suggesting that we need high self-esteem or high self-confidence. I actually think the path forward for all of us is no esteem, no confidence, and no self. It’s a right and sincere belief and understanding of my identity in Christ and Christ that is in me. When I do good things, it’s because of Christ, that is in me. When someone has a very firm and strong belief in what is good about themselves, it is because Jesus is in them, and they don’t tank when they blow it. They don’t tank when they underperform. They don’t tank when they don’t get picked. Because what matters in life is the fact that Jesus has them, and he is in them.

I want you to imagine for a second if we were able to take all the insecurity out of ourselves. Pick it up and pull it out and set it to the side to be gone forever. Just try to imagine for a moment what God would do to our church, our communities, our home, and our families if these insecurities went away and were replaced by who we are in Christ.

The question for you if you think insecurity is the thing that you’re going to work on all year long:

Question: What are my insecurities? Name your insecurities. Write it down, journal it, and pray over it. Talk about it. Call it by name.

Action: Memorized a verse from the Word of God. Begin rejecting the lies the enemy is telling you by stating the truth. And the truth comes from the Word of God. If you are a person who thinks, “If people knew what I’ve done, they wouldn’t love me. Or the lie that no one cares, or I’m just not good enough. I’m not ____________ enough.” Whatever that insecurity is, start rejecting it with the truth. That becomes how you reject this lie. Because there’s a voice that speaks to you. Many of you know that voice it’s not the voice of God. So, reject the lies of the enemy by stating the truth.

 

Next Post: How to Be at Your Best in 2020. #4: Grow up 

Subscribe here, so you don’t miss any of the next three posts.

 

Pastor Dan Zimbardi has been the Executive Pastor of Sandals Church, one of the largest and fastest-growing churches in America, for the past eight years. Dan spent twenty-two years as an entrepreneur and corporate executive and has worked with some of the most dynamic brands in the world, including Google, Nike, and Burton Snowboards. Dan’s passion is to train and develop leaders both in ministry and the marketplace.

How to Be at Your Best in 2020. #2: Self Awareness

By Dan Zimbardi

What is your one thing?

We are continuing to talk about identifying what’s the one thing that we need to work on this year to be at our best at work and home. Number one was healing—for some of us, the one thing is deep personal healing. See that post here. 

Today we will talk about number two. Subscribe here, so you don’t miss any of the next four posts.

This is a big one. 

Number two: Self-Awareness. 

For some of us, we need to grow in self-awareness. A lot of that starts with awakening to how people experience you.

Here’s the big idea:

A self-aware person understands how people experience them.

There is a reality that some of you are genuinely asleep to yourself. You are not aware of how others experience you, how you present yourself consistently, how you relate to people, and how you interact with some folks. If you don’t have the influence you want at work, especially if you don’t feel like you have the influence that you deserve and if you say, “I’m just not being recognized,” there’s a chance you are struggling with self-awareness. Perhaps this is the thing that you need to work on this year.

 It starts by making adjustments to how you connect with people. A self-aware person understands how people experience them. A self-aware person is “relationally agile.” They understand how a group of people is experiencing them, and they make adjustments. They are able to recognize when they are running everyone over in a meeting or over-talking and realize they need to be quiet or just listen. They understand when they are too firm or too strong. Sometimes it is because they see the person they are addressing wince. Growth is recognizing the wince for what it is—a sign that they are too harsh. There is such a critical correlation to your self-awareness and the influence you have. It is not just at work; it’s in your life.

If you lack self-awareness, you likely have a diminished influence
at work, home, 
and in your community.  

If you think growing in self-awareness is the thing that you need to work on this year, here’s the question I want you to process: 

Question: Do I have the influence I want at work and in my relationships?

Action: Ask the people around you – How do you experience me? 

This is a tough question, and I want to encourage you if your plan to pursue this, ask the truth-tellers in your life. Maybe they can even speak to what they understand about how other people experience you. We all have blind spots by nature, and we can’t always see these things in our self. If you want to grow to be more of an influencer of people you have to grow in self-awareness.

Next Post: Number three – Insecurity.

 

Pastor Dan Zimbardi has been the Executive Pastor of Sandals Church, one of the largest and fastest-growing churches in America, for the past eight years. Dan spent twenty-two years as an entrepreneur and corporate executive and has worked with some of the most dynamic brands in the world, including Google, Nike, and Burton Snowboards. Dan’s passion is to train and develop leaders both in ministry and the marketplace.

One Thing – How to Be at Your Best in 2020 by Dan Zimbardi

My Hope and prayer are that you and I would be at our best both at home and work in 2020. I want to share with you this idea about identifying the one thing that we need to work on this year to be at our best. 

This one thing idea came from Jim Cofield and Rich Plass from Crosspoint Ministries. They came out and visited with us a couple of years ago to train our team on the Enneagram. At one point in the session, Rich said that we should find one thing and work on it for the next two or three years. I thought to myself, “that is ridiculous.” By the end of the two-day session, I was convinced that these guys are onto something when it comes to the most profound challenges in our life. Working through these deep challenges takes time, and it’s a journey. 

They got me thinking about this “one thing” idea. 

I am certain there are more that I could have chosen, but I have six things I want you to process through. As you go through all six posts, take notes on what you think the one thing might be. You can be sure, or it can be an inkling. Either way, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what that one thing is. 

I believe God is going to do extraordinary things in our lives and our ministries this year.

Today we will talk about number one. Subscribe here so you don’t miss any of the next five posts.

#1: Healing

For some of us, the one thing is deep personal healing. 

Here’s the big idea: 

The greatest barrier to your greatest self is a lack of healing from your greatest wound.

I want to talk a little bit about the word sanctification. A simple way to describe this fancy Christian word is: becoming more like Jesus. Sanctification is becoming more like Jesus, and so often we think about becoming more like Jesus in terms of virtues, being more kind, more loving, more patient, more generous, more compassionate, etc. When we think about becoming more like Jesus, we think about growing in these virtues, and that’s true. What is often missing in our thoughts and even in our teaching is:

Becoming more like Jesus is also about finding healing. 

There are parts of us that struggle in everyday life because we have not healed from a very deep wound. As we go through the process of healing, we will become more virtuous. We will become less angry and, therefore, more kind. We will become less self-centered and, therefore, more compassionate and so on. So we must go through this process of healing. For many of us, our greatest wound happened before we were ten years old. There’s a reality that, for many of us, we are currently going through a challenging season because there’s a real deep wound that happened when we were children. 

I was away with my wife, Lori, a couple of weeks ago seeing a counselor, and he asked us that first day to share our story. And at some point, he asked this pointed question:

“What’s your wound?” 

For me, I knew right away. When I was about six years old, I walked into my parent’s bedroom in Plainview, New York, out in Long Island, and I remember seeing a cardboard box on the table. My dad was putting his folded socks into this cardboard box. That memory burned in my mind symbolizes his departure from my life. My dad left us, and for the rest of his life, he was absent from mine. There was a huge ripple effect that happened when he left. It was the 1970’s. My mom was young and didn’t have an education or a trade. She stayed home to raise my brother and me. She immediately went to work to support us working three jobs to make ends meet so we would have a roof over our heads. She was and still is an incredible woman. Because she was gone most of the time, my brother and I had to figure out how to take care of ourselves. We were often left alone. I can remember my mom being gone in the mornings when I would wake up. My brother went to a different school that started earlier than mine. So I would get myself ready and walk across the street to Mr. and Mrs. Huff’s house. The Huffs were a kind older couple. To this day I don’t know if my mom had made an arrangement with the Huffs, or if they just took me in each morning out of their goodness.  They would feed me breakfast before I would walk alone through the woods to school each day. Then I would walk home alone to an empty house. I learned to be independent and self-sufficient. 

But ultimately, through this discovery process, I learned that I was dealing with abandonment. That struck me because I would never have said, “Hey, you know I deal with abandonment issues.” The counselor went on to show me ways that the abandonment from 40 years ago manifests itself in my behaviors and bad thinking today. This has set me on this journey of healing. I need to go through it so that I can improve my thinking, some of my behaviors, and how I relate to people that are closest to me. I want you to think about where you need to focus on healing from a deep wound that is causing you to stumble or struggle or to have difficulties in your everyday life and your most important relationships.

For each of the six points, I am going to give a question and an action. These will help you process through what you are going to work on in 2020.

Question: What is my deepest wound?  

If, when reading this, you knew the answer immediately and it still hurts today, or the holy spirit is speaking to you now, maybe healing is the thing that you need to pursue.

Action: Start telling your story. 

I’m not suggesting you tell your story to everyone, but say it to the right people—mature people who love you and care for you. 

 

Next Post: One Thing – How to be Your Best in 2020: Number Two – Self Awareness

 

Pastor Dan Zimbardi has been the Executive Pastor of Sandals Church, one of the largest and fastest-growing churches in America, for the past eight years. Dan spent twenty-two years as an entrepreneur and corporate executive and has worked with some of the most dynamic brands in the world; including Google, Nike, and Burton Snowboards. Dan’s passion is to train and develop leaders both in ministry and the marketplace.

Seven Potholes That Can Destroy Your Leadership by Ron Edmondson

Seven Potholes That Can Destroy Your Leadership by Ron Edmondson

Ron Edmondson is a church and organizational leadership consultant. In this post, he identifies seven traps that leaders tend to find themselves in that hinder their success. Ron calls those traps “potholes.”

“Great leaders are always cognizant the success today isn’t guaranteed tomorrow – so they keep working on developing themselves, their team, and the organization.”