Thoughts on General Conference 2016

The 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, met in Portland, Oregon, May 10-20. The top policy-making body of the UMC meets every four years. This year’s conference was made up of 864 delegates from around the world.

The UMC is becoming more and more of a global church!
Forty-two percent of General Conference delegates were from outside the U.S. (compared to only 20% in 2004), including 30% from Africa, where the church has grown 329% in the last ten years. Some seem to claim the growing global nature of the church is part of our problem. I disagree. The struggling church in the U.S. desperately needs the vital church in Africa and Asia. Our problems in the U.S. began long before we were a global church. I am grateful to be connected to what God is doing around the world!

The local church didn’t get much attention at General Conference!
One of my prayers at the outset of General Conference was, “God, don’t let them mess up what we’re trying to do in the local church!” We say “our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” and that local churches are primary places where this happens. However, I didn’t get the sense there was much discussion about the local church at General Conference. If this is true, there’s a real disconnect between what we say is important and what General Conference spent eleven days focusing on (at a cost of more than $1,338/minute)!

General Conference is energy draining!
Throughout the 11-day conference, I tried to follow news through media outlets and social media. I watched many of the Bishops’ sermons, and parts of a couple of legislative sessions. I wasn’t even there, and it was still energy draining. I can’t imagine what is was like to be there; in fact, I received an email toward the end of the conference from a delegate from another state, who said, “This process is very frustrating and not very effective for getting ANYTHING done.”

General Conference decided to make one last effort to avoid a split!
Ever since General Conference 2012, a heavy cloud has hung over the United Methodist Church. There has been talk of schism, primarily over the issue of homosexuality, and there seemed to be an expectation that the UMC would split at this conference. In the end, the church found a way to make one last attempt at saving the denomination. The Conference approved the proposal from the Council of Bishops to appoint a diverse commission to study human sexuality. They will make recommendations at a future conference, possibly a special session of General Conference in 2018 or 2019; however, I will be surprised if this commission is able to complete its task prior to the regularly-scheduled 2020 General Conference!

On Tuesday, May 17, Bishop Bruce Ough, President of the Council of Bishops, made the following statement in an address to General Conference …

We have risked exploring what many would consider radical new ways to organize The United Methodist Church according to deeply held and differing values and convictions. Ideas brought to the attention of the Council by both more conservative and more progressive voices. We are not fearful of the level of vulnerability and humility required of anyone willing to engage new ideas.

I would like to have heard more about those “radical new ways” at this Conference. It’s hard to imagine a way forward where all parties will be happy, or even be able to coexist. It’s also hard to imagine a scenario where the denomination stays intact. But, it’s clear that something needs to happen, not just to settle this issue, but so that we can be a disciple-making, world-transforming movement again!

Unity appeared to be a strong theme at General Conference. Unity is important, but faithfulness to God and to God’s Word are even more important. In other words, our chief goal must be to be faithful to God’s Word (in a godly, grace-filled way), NOT just find a way to keep the denomination intact!

I keep thinking of John Wesley’s statement (incidentally, I mentioned this quote in a post after General Conference 2012) …

I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.

We must pray!
Please pray fervently and consistently for the United Methodist Church over the next few years, as the commission forms and studies our position on human sexuality and makes recommendations to the next General Conference. I recommend incorporating Jesus’ prayers: “I want your will to be done, not mine” (Luke 22.42b, NLT), and “May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6.10b, NLT).

We have to find a way to move beyond this battle, which is keeping us from focusing on our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!

A Prayer for the 2016 General Conference of the UMC

The 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church takes place May 10-20, 2016 in Portland, Oregon. General Conference, which takes place every four years, is the top policy-making body in the UMC and is the only church entity that has authority to speak for the entire denomination. General Conference meets every four years to revise the Book of Discipline.

The 2016 General Conference consists of 864 delegates from around the world. Approximately 42% of the delegates are from outside the US, due to tremendous growth in other countries, particularly from Africa.

This is my prayer as General Conference gets underway …

O God, thank you for calling us to be part of this movement for such a time as this! Thank you for all who have gone before us and have spread scriptural holiness across many lands! Without them, we would not be here. Thank you for inviting us to participate in what you are doing in the world, and for loving the world through us!

Thank you for your Word and your Spirit, which have guided and shaped us. Please forgive us for the ways we have missed the mark, and have failed to be an obedient Church. Forgive us for losing sight of your mission and call upon our lives. And, forgive us for the deep divisions that exist in this body!

Please pour out your Spirit upon your Church, and particularly upon General Conference! Your Church needs your wisdom, guidance, and intervention. Please protect all who gather in Portland. Speak to them and speak through them in the decisions they make!

Give the delegates of General Conference hearts for you, for one another, for your Church, and for the world you love. Help the delegates to be faithful to your Word and to the leading of your Spirit. May they honor you through their actions and attitudes, as well as their decisions!

Please squash all personal agendas and plans that hinder the mission of your Church. Please help the delegates to hear your voice and sense your leading at this critical time in the life of the UMC!

I pray not so much that you will preserve this Church, but that you will empower and equip us to fulfill your mission. I pray that we will, as Wesley pleaded, “hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.” As Jesus prayed, “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6.10, NLT).

“Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us” (Ephesians 3.20, CEB). Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer! Amen.

“Autopsy of a Deceased Church”

Thom Rainer’s book, “Autopsy of a Deceased Church” (2014), grew out of a popular blog post he wrote in 2013. In the book, Rainer looks at ten common traits of dying churches based on his research of deceased churches.

Rainer estimates, “As many as 100,000 churches in America are showing signs of decline toward death” (7). He estimates that only approximately 10% of churches in America are healthy, while 40% have symptoms of sickness, 40% are very sick, and 10% are dying (86).

Slow Erosion
Rainer talks about slow erosion, which “is the worst type of decline for churches, because the members have no sense of urgency or change … decline is everywhere in the church, but many don’t see it” (13).

The Past is the Hero
Rainer writes, “The most pervasive and common thread of our autopsies was that the deceased churches lived for a long time with the past as the hero” (18). He adds, “Yes, we respect the past. At times we revere the past. But we can’t live in the past” (21).

The Church Refused to Look Like the Community
“When a church ceases to to have a heart and ministry for its community, it is on the path toward death” (28).

The Budget Moved Inwardly
“In dying churches the last expenditures to be reduced are those that keep the members comfortable” (33).

The money … was symptomatic of a heart problem. The church cared more for its own needs than the community and the world. And no church can sustain such an inward focus indefinitely. It will eventually die of heart failure. (36)

The Great Commission Becomes the Great Omission
When Rainer looked at dying churches, he noticed “Obedience to the Great Commission faded; it usually faded gradually” (42). He notes these churches “chose not to remember what to do” (43).

Members of the dying church weren’t willing to go into the community to reach and minister to people. They weren’t willing to invite their unchurched friends and relatives. They weren’t willing to expend the funds necessary for a vibrant outreach. They just wanted it to happen. Without prayer. Without sacrifice. Without hard work. (44)

The Preference-Driven Church
“A church cannot survive long-term where members are focused on their own preferences” (49).

Pastoral Tenure Decreases
“The problem is that many good leaders are leaving churches before they reach their prime leadership years at a church” (55).

The Church Rarely Prayed Together
“Not coincidentally, prayer and the health of the church went hand in hand. When the church is engaged in meaningful prayer, it becomes both the cause and the result of greater church health” (66).

The Church Had No Clear Purpose
Rainer notes, “the dying churches, at some point in their history, forgot their purpose” (75).

The Church Obsessed Over the Facilities
“A number of the fourteen churches became focused on memorials” (79). Rainer adds, “Dying churches, more often than not, experience severe battles over facility obsession before their demise” (80). This is certainly not to say that facilities are unimportant. Rainer contends, “Being a good steward of those material things that God has given our churches is good. Becoming obsessed with any one item to the neglect of his mission is idolatry.” (80)

At the end of the book, Rainer offers twelve responses that may help churches that have symptoms of sickness, are very sick, or dying. The book is helpful for churches in any stage. For healthier churches, it’s a good reminder to stay alert and to avoid some of the pitfalls and slow erosion that can happen in the life of the church!

How I Set Up Facebook Lists

I’m not a fan of Facebook’s News Feed and Pages Feed, which have their own ways of delivering content to you. I prefer to see the content I want to see and I want to see it chronologically!

So, I set up lists.

To set up Friends Lists …

  1. Go to to set up lists of Friends, either using the predefined lists or by creating your own.
  2. Go to each individual custom list page to add Friends in the “Add friends to this list” box. You can also scroll over the Friends button (for that particular Friend) and click on “Add to another list” in the dropdown menu, which is what I do each time I add a new Friend.

To set up Interests Lists …

  1. Go and create lists for Pages (I have “UMC Pages,” “Leadership,” etc.).
  2. Go to each individual Interest page to add Pages in the “Add to this list” box.

You can also add multiple Friends or Pages at a time by clicking on “See All” next to “On This List” at the top of the right hand sidebar on each page, and then choose Friends or Pages from the dropdown menu. It also looks like you can intermingle Friends and Pages now; I’m not sure that was doable when I first created my lists.

Next, I add the lists to my Favorites and arrange them in the order I want in the Facebook menu by clicking on the gear icon beside the list name.

That’s it. When I go to Facebook, I go through my lists and avoid the News Feed and Pages Feed, altogether. All posts appear chronologically, not just the ones Facebook wants me to see. That’s the good news. The bad news is you see everything so you still have to be intentional to make the best use of your time. It’s just that I want to be in control of what I see, and not rely on Facebook to do it for me!

One other nice thing about lists is that you can direct a post to a specific list of Friends. For example, if I want to limit a post to my Centre Grove Church Friends or my Susquehanna Conference Friends, I can do so.

Of course, this will need to be adapted if or when Facebook in the future. But, I hope this helps. It may sound more complicated than it really is. Let me know if you have any questions, or if you have other ways for managing your Facebook feeds!


Bill Hybels’ book, Simplify, offers “ten practices to unclutter your soul,” in the following titles …

  1. From exhausted to energized
  2. From overscheduled to organized
  3. From overwhelmed to in control
  4. From restless to fulfilled
  5. From wounded to whole
  6. From anxious to peaceful
  7. From isolated to connected
  8. From drifting to focused
  9. From stuck to moving on
  10. From meaningless to satisfied

Hybels says …

Simplified living is about more than doing less. It’s being who God called us to be, with a wholehearted, single-minded focus. It’s walking away from innumerable lesser opportunities in favor of the few to which we’ve been called and for which we’ve been created. (2)

There are dangers in not living simplified lives.

If we don’t change how we live, our overcomplicated world will begin to feel frighteningly normal. We will become accustomed to life at a frantic pace, no longer able to discriminate between the important and the unessential. And that’s the danger: When we fritter away our one and only life doing things that don’t really matter, we sacrifice the things that do matter. (3)

Hybels says the downside of our busyness is that we will be depleted.

Depletion harms the people around me, and it damages my soul. When you decide that you never want to live on empty again, you start paying more attention to the replenishment side of the equation. If you choose to live with more energy reserves in your life, you will disappoint some people. Trust me, you have to fight to keep your life replenished. No one else can keep your tank full. It’s up to you to protect your energy reserves and priorities. (11)

Hybels suggests “five bucket-filling streams”
1. Connecting with God
2. Family
3. Satisfying work
4. Recreation
5. Exercise (and diet)

I read a lot about exercise, so I was especially interested in what Hybels had to say. He notes …

Exercise and proper rest patterns give about a 20 percent energy increase in an average day, average week, average month. … If you’re not motivated to exercise for the purpose of physical health, do so as a simple, effective way to increase your energy.” (24-25)

One of my favorite sections is on managing the calendar. Hybels says, “A runaway calendar will keep you from simplifying your life” (30). “A simplified life begins with well-invested hours each day” (31). He says, “My schedule is far less about what I want to get done and far more about who I want to become” (35).

Hybels laments …

It’s too easy to fill our schedules with things that don’t matter—and neglect things that do. Simplified living requires purposeful stewardship of each day. (52)

Every chapter is worth reading. Throughout the book, Hybels talks about having a life verse. He concludes the book with a chapter on choosing a life verse.

A life verse should include some key traits: call to action, personalized, short and sweet, and hope-filled. After offering some guidance in finding a verse (for a lifetime or for a season), he concludes the book with a 13-page catalog of possible life verses. I have never chosen a life verse, but will give it some thought after reading the book.

In the last chapter, Hybels writes …

But simplifying is not merely intended to make your life easier—like uncluttering a drawer or closet might. You simplify your life for reasons that matter for eternity: to give clarity, purpose, and power to the things that matter most in this world. (281)

Good stuff!

6 Takeaways from the 2015 Global Leadership Summit

We recently attended our fifth Global Leadership Summit in a row. They’ve all been great. This year was no exception!

Here are some of my key takeaways …

1. Develop grit!

As usual, the talk which impacted me most was the opening session by Bill Hybels, who talked about the intangibles of leadership, inspired by the book, The Intangibles of Leadership by Richard A. Davis.

All of the intangibles Hybels talked about resonated with me and challenged me, particularly the first one, grit. An example of grit is The Little Engine That Could: “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” Real-life examples include, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Hybels said, “Gritty people don’t quit!”

Thankfully, Hybels said …

Grit can be developed, but the arch enemy of grit is ease. Grit development demands difficulty.

This also has implications for parenting, as Hybels mentioned. When we try to make our kids’ lives easy, we prevent them from developing grit!

It also caught my attention when Hybels noted that “many top leaders push themselves physically.” This gives a whole new sense of motivation for things like exercise!

Hybels said, “When senior leaders demonstrate grittiness in their day to day leadership … the organization gets grittier.” He added, “Gritty organizations are unstoppable!”

Other intangibles of leadership include self-awareness, resourcefulness, self-sacrificing love, and a sense of meaning. All equally important!

2. Increase commitment!

Craig Groeschel focused on five areas …

  • Build your Confidence
  • Expand your Connections
  • Improve your Competence
  • Strengthen your Character
  • Increase your Commitment

I especially loved what he said about commitment. In fact, this statement is worth remembering …

There is more in you! Your brain does not understand what God is capable of doing through you.

Groeschel quoted Ephesians 3.20, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since …

Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us. (CEB)

After telling the story about a board of ordained ministry rejecting his call to ministry (incidentally, it was a United Methodist board, though he didn’t name it in his talk), he said he sensed God speak to him …

You are not who others say you are. You are who God says you are!

3. Lead with courage!

Leadership requires grit, tenacity, and courage. I love what Brené Brown said this year, as well as last year …

As leaders, you can choose courage or you can choose comfort. You cannot choose both.

It’s a good reminder!

4. Lead with right motives!

Too often, leaders simply focus on gaining followers. Nigerian pastor, Sam Adeyemi, made two points …

  • “You will not find the definition of success for your ministry or organization until you help the
    people I sent to you to succeed.”
  • “The object of leadership for many leaders is their own success, but the object of Christ’s
    leadership was the success of His followers.”

Leaders must have a healthy, biblical view of success!

5. Be shaped by worship music!

As great as the talks were, and I enjoyed all of them, some of the most-impacting moments were the music. On the first day, Sharon Irving sang “Calling on Fire,” which was awesome. I love the line, “Come set our hearts ablaze!”

On the second day, Bill Hybels led a segment on leadership and music where he shared how music ministered to him at crucial times in his leadership. This segment, which was not a typical leadership conference segment, really resonated with me. I’ve written posts about the role of worship music in my life, including Songs for Leaders, Songs for the Valley, and Sing Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs!

Hybels said …

Music and leadership have an interesting juxtaposition. The leaders I know who face the greatest pressure, climbing the biggest hills, have the closest affinity to the power of music.

The segment was interspersed with songs. I was especially impacted by Sharon Irving’s rendition of “No Longer Slaves,” especially the line, “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God!” Another important reminder!

After this segment, I posted on Facebook, “I listen to a lot of worship music. So do our kids (Sarah calls it ‘God music’). Pretty sure we’ll ramp it up a few notches after that session!”

6. Keep growing!
There were so many takeaways, it’s impossible to focus on all of them. In fact, Bill Hybels said his goal is for leaders to grow 5% each year. You can do that by focusing on a few key takeaways.

And, growing is so important. Hybels often says, “Everybody wins when a leader gets better!”

Who Do We Promote?

I’m impressed with the attitude and non-self-promotional behavior of Jesus in his ministry!

I was especially struck by Jesus’ attitude as I started reading through Mark’s gospel again recently. Mark begins by telling how Jesus was introduced by John the Baptist; he didn’t even introduce himself!

In the opening chapters of Mark’s gospel, Jesus “sternly” warns the people he healed, “Don’t say anything to anyone” (Mark 1.44, CEB). And, “Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down at his feet and shouted, ‘You are God’s Son!’ But he strictly ordered them not to reveal who he was” (Mark 3.11, CEB).

As things began to take off, Jesus refused to promote himself or even allow others to promote him. “He healed many who were sick with all kinds of diseases, and he threw out many demons. But he didn’t let the demons speak, because they recognized him” (Mark 1.34, CEB).

Once, after a day of tremendous ministry, “Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. Simon and those with him tracked him down. When they found him, they told him, ‘Everyone’s looking for you!'” (Mark 1.35-37, CEB).

This was a test. Jesus could have easily stayed in the area and rode out his “fifteen minutes of fame.” Instead, he said, “Let’s head in the other direction, to the nearby villages, so that I can preach there too. That’s why I’ve come” (Mark 1.38, CEB). Jesus stayed focused on his mission and refused to be derailed by his growing fame!

There’s a great deal of emphasis today on building your brand. Leaders and public figures do this. Churches do it, too. Bloggers focus on well-designed sites and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in order to attract more readers. The internet and social media make the task of promotion easier than ever!

But, in the church, all of our promotion must be Christ-centered and mission-driven. It’s all about Jesus and the mission he’s given us. Back in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he gathered some followers, and said, “Come, follow me, and I’ll show you how to fish for people” (Mark 1.17, CEB). It centered around Jesus’ mission!

Now, there was a reason Jesus wanted to keep things under wraps early on (it’s often referred to as the “Messianic secret”). Today, we are charged to be witnesses of Jesus and to go and make disciples. It’s no secret. But, in sharing the Good News, we need to learn from Jesus’ non-SELF-promotional attitude, and keep the focus where it belongs—on Jesus the Savior, the hope of the world!

“Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, & Bad Attitudes …”

Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes … in You and Your Kids is the best book on parenting I’ve ever read!

The authors, Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, propose an honor-based approach to parenting (which is actually applicable to other areas of life, as well)!

In families, it’s easy to focus on behavior, but focusing on the heart goes deeper.

Honor doesn’t just address behavior. It involves the heart. Too often, parents focus only on getting the right actions. But behavior change is not enough. Honor deals with deeper issues in family life. As families practice honor, they experience great rewards. (8)

Turansky and Miller believe, “Honor changes the way people think, the way we act, and the way we treat others”; it “adds that little bit of grace that transforms family life” (13).

I love the author’s definition of honor. We’ve been working on it in our family, and I’ve taught it in more than one sermon.

Treating people as special, doing more than what’s expected, and having a good attitude. (13)

The book has a lot of practical ideas. One example is a key question to ask yourself, especially when you’re upset: “How can I respond with honor here?” (19).

The authors believe, “As individuals learn to honor one another, they begin to see life differently. Every situation is now an opportunity to value others” (20).

Turansky and Miller outline a four-step discipline process …

  1. Identify the wrong behavior.
  2. Identify the dishonoring heart issue.
  3. Identify the honoring heart issue.
  4. The right behavior grows out of the honoring heart issue. (22-23)

The Goal of Discipline

The goal in discipline is to help children not only act correctly, but also to think correctly and to become the people God made them to be. Honor addresses what’s going on below the surface and considers a child’s heart. (23)

Noting that Scripture says “Honor your father and mother” eight times, they assert, “Honor provides a foundation for children that sets them up to be happy, joyful, and to enjoy life.” But, the authors also note that “honoring others doesn’t come naturally. It needs to be taught” (29).

Whining & Complaining

Whining and complaining are manipulative techniques used by children to get what they want. Children must see that their tricks don’t work. They need to learn a more honoring way to communicate. (31)

One of my favorite takeaways from the book, another great practical idea, is the phrase, “Obey first, and then we’ll talk about it.”

But it’s also important for children to learn to give up their agendas and follow instructions—even when they don’t want to. … Sending the message, “Obey first, and then we’ll talk about it” emphasizes obedience. (32)

One of my favorite chapters highlights six ways to teach honor to children …

  1. Teach children to treat people as special
  2. Teach children to do more than what’s expected
  3. Deal with a bad attitude
  4. Create honor lessons in life
  5. Model it
  6. Appeal to conscience

For Parents

I love the title of this book, especially the last part, “in You and Your Kids.” It’s easy to focus on kids’ behavior, but parents must also work on their own stuff.

When parents discipline with honor, they must remove selfishness from their own hearts in order to discipline effectively. This is a challenge, but the results reproduce themselves in their children. (60)

Teaching honor is worth it!

Honor comes back to the person who knows how to give it. … When parents and children honor each other, the family dynamic changes, and joy is the result. (62)

The authors note, “Honor-based parenting does take work” (99). So, they offer some practical skills.

Skills …

  • Be firm without being harsh.
  • Express sorrow instead of anger.
  • Use problem solving and decision making.
  • Enjoy children according to their needs and interests.
  • Envision a positive future for your children.

There are also chapters on how siblings relate with each other, as well as getting teens through “the tunnel years.” There is an appendix with eight “family together times,” or devotions, to help families better understand honor. We plan to use these devotions in our family devotional time.

Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes … in You and Your Kids is a helpful book, and I’m looking forward to implementing more of it in our home!

Paul & Silas Were Pot-Stirrers!

I’ve said before, Leaders are Pot-Stirrers. I’ve also listed 3 Ways Leaders Stir the Pot.

First-century church leaders were clearly pot-stirrers. In Acts 16-17, there’s a story that describes how Paul and Silas were pot-stirrers.

“These people are causing an uproar in our city” (Acts 16.20, CEB) … “These people who have been disturbing the peace throughout the empire”; other translations say, they have “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17.6, CEB).

Paul and Silas were pot-stirrers, holy troublemakers!

Of course, people can also be unholy troublemakers. That’s the case with the mobs in the story: “some thugs … formed a mob and started a riot in the city … This provoked the crowd and the city officials even more” (Acts 16.5,8, CEB). “The Jews from Thessalonica learned that Paul also proclaimed God’s word in Beroea, so they went there too and were upsetting and disturbing the crowds” (Acts 16.13, CEB).

If we want to be used by God to change the world, we must be holy pot-stirrers!

One of the best ways Christ-following leaders stir the pot is through prayer. Pot-stirring prayers include asking the Holy Spirit to CONVICT people of their sin and to CONVINCE them about the truth of the Gospel. As that happens, we, too, will turn the world upside down!

Stay Humble, Stay Hungry, and Stay in Tune With God!

When I pray some or all of our Core Prayers at Centre Grove, I often add the challenge to stay humble, stay hungry, and stay in tune with God!

I’ve written about the need to stay humble and stay hungry before. We must stay humble, knowing that we can do nothing apart from God. We must stay hungry, drawing closer and closer to God. We must also stay in tune with God!

I love the note in Acts that says, “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the regions of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit kept them from speaking the word in the province of Asia” (Acts 16.6, CEB). God was able to guide them—and prevent them—because they were in tune with God!

If we ever stop being humble or hungry or in tune with God, we’re in big trouble. And, God’s work in us and through us will be hindered. We must stay humble, stay hungry, and stay in tune with God!