Jul 11 2019

Constant Connectivity

Could we have ever imagined 10-12 years ago that we would be as connected as we are to the world around us?

I remember thinking and saying back in 2005 that this is the most connected generation the world has ever seen. And that was true…back then. In just 2 short years, one invention would increase our connectivity exponentially. In June, 2007, when Apple released the first iPhone, it was billed as a way to not have to carry two devices anymore, the iPod and your phone. The iPhone was a way to have your music and your phone in one device.

Maybe Apple could have imagined, but I’m not sure any consumer could have imagined, how much we would now use this one device.

If you are like me, the iPhone or any other smart phone for that matter, has made things simpler. You can jog, record your distance and calorie count, while listening to music at the same time. You can search for anything, purchase anything and have it at your doorstep in a day. You can send videos to your friends, schedule appointments and talk to relatives that live 1000s of miles away. The iPhone has made some things simpler.

However, if you are also like me, the smart phone has begun to dominate your life. You check it constantly, spend way too much time surfing sites and apps, and feel anxiety when it’s not on you at all times.

The connectivity is helpful; however, the constant connectivity can be damaging.

Researchers have found that the average person looks at their phone at least 39 times and spends a minimum of 3 hours per day on it. The constant connectivity has become an addiction.

Oh come on Ernest, an addition? If a person went to the bottle 39 times and drank for 3 hours every day, we would say they have an addition. If a person looked at porn 39 times a day, we would say they have an addition. Why is it that we can’t call our phone use an addiction?

Because to admit that we have an addiction is an admission that we are not in control. To admit that we are addicted to connectivity, is to admit that we aren’t in control of our lives, of our phone usage, of our social media surfing. But, many of us, and my hand is raised, have a problem.

So what are we going to do? This is what I’ve been wrestling with for the last few months. Trying different things, experimenting with different ways to disengage more often. It’s not easy. I would love to just swap out a smart phone for an old school flip phone that can only call and text…but I’m not there yet and I’m not sure I ever will be. But, what I am doing is trying different ways to disengage and I wonder if there are others doing the same.

Do you find yourself overly connected? Are you attempting to disengage more often from your phone, social media or just surfing the web? If so, I would love to hear your tips and advice. I will share some of mine along the way, but let’s learn from one another, grow with one another and find a new way to live intentional, healthy, values-driven lives.

Let the journey begin…or continue!!!

One Tool: The book Digital Minimalism is a must read for anyone wanting to live more intentionally with the digital world in which we live.


Jun 6 2019

I’m done…now let’s continue!!!

I can’t believe I haven’t written on my blog in almost two years. TWO YEARS!!! That’s crazy. Why did it take me two years to write another post? What was I doing for two years that would have consumed my time?

Have you ever noticed that a lack of time isn’t the only thing that holds you back from doing what you want, love or desire?

So many times we say “I’ve been busy” or “I just haven’t had time” and sometimes that is true. Sometimes we are so busy, so consumed by the whirlwind of work, school, church, home, taking one child to practice and another child to recital that we really don’t have much time for anything else. But, many times, we don’t do what we want, love or desire because of factors that are not time related.

For me, I haven’t written in two years because, honestly, I’ve been tired of writing. For the last 5 years, I have been in the process of getting my Doctorate in Ministry. It has been a fun journey and I have had many people encourage me, pray for me and challenge me to get it done. For the first 3 years, I did a LOT of research and wrote a little. I was in the middle of planting a church, I didn’t want to put much of my focus on writing during that time. We had a few other things going on.

But, the last two years of this process have been all about the Thesis. I’ve written over 130 pages for this assignment. It sounds like a lot, but….no, who am I kidding…it was a lot.

And not only have I been writing my Thesis, but I write a message almost every week. One message is anywhere between 8-10 pages, that’s 3000-3700 words. So honestly, I’ve been tired of writing.

Have you ever just gotten tired of doing something, so you just stopped? Have you ever been tired of doing something spiritually, something you knew was a good thing, but it was tiring, exhausting, maybe you didn’t see the results, so you stopped doing it? Have you ever worked out so much that you got tired of working out? Have you have been tired of being a taxi for your family, driving them all over the place, so you just throw your hands up one Saturday and say “I’m not going anywhere today”?

What have you gotten tired of and it caused you to quit?

Well, a season of rest is good, but long periods of not doing what you love, is not ideal. God gave me a desire to write…I’ve used it for a lot purposes over the last 2 years, but now I’m turning a new page. Now, I want to write more on here.

I hope you will join me on this journey as I continue writing, sharing and communicating what God places on my heart and what I hope will encourage and inspire you.

e


Jun 19 2017

Study Break

Today I try something for the first time. No, it’s not cauliflower or rhubarb…I still haven’t tried those either. Today I am embarking on a spiritual, physical, mental and emotional journey called a study break.

A couple months ago, the elders at our church decided to give me a study break during a portion of the summer season. I have had a sabbatical before, which is an attempt at completely shutting off all ministry responsibilities, and it was one of the most difficult months of my life. I felt guilty every time I thought about work. I couldn’t understand why I was getting antsy and if there was something wrong with me since I couldn’t “shut it down.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I liked having a month off. In fact, if it wasn’t for Seacoast Church giving me that month off, I don’t know if I would have taken the time to explore the possibility of God calling us to start Front Range. Yet, as beneficial as it was for my future ministry, it was very difficult in the moment.

A couple years later, I began hearing pastors talk about a “study break”. It started with one of our overseers, Steve Stroope, and then I heard it from multiple church planters who were a few years into the journey. As I began to explore what a study break was, it seemed like something that would fit my personality a little better. A study break…removing myself from the day to day operations of the church to take a step back, get some rest for my soul, spend some quality time with my family and focus on a couple key elements of the church. So I don’t have to shut it down? This is more up my alley!

Today, I begin this new journey and I’m praying it’s something that allows me to find rest and look at the big picture of our church. I’m praying that I get some sweet time with my family, while diving into a couple crucial areas of our church. I’m hoping that I walk out of this new journey more filled, renewed, excited and clear about the next season God has for me, our family and Front Range.

I would ask that you pray for me during this time. Pray for God to reveal Himself in greater ways to me. Pray for the strength to finish my doctoral thesis. Pray for me to learn, create and see what it is God has for me and our church during this time.

I am going to include my schedule here, so you can be praying for me along the way.

June 19-22 – staying local. I will be working on my Thesis, reading 2 books and watching 4 teaching sessions on culture (2 by Sam Chand and 2 found on RightNow Media).

June 23-26 – Visiting a church in San Francisco. I have been asked to speak at one of our partner churches, Epic Church, and while I am there, I am hoping to “interview” a few staff and serve team members to learn about what makes their culture healthy. I always have someone travel with me on trips, so for this trip, I am bringing Waverly. She is so excited to be going on a “date” with daddy to a different city. ☺

June 26-30 – Staying Local. I will be working on my Thesis, reading a book on personal health (haven’t decided this book yet so any recommendations will be accepted ☺), attending 2 Leadership Master Classes online.

June 30-July 5 – Annual camping trip with family and friends.

July 5-July 9 – Staying local and serving at a FCA camp. I will be working on my Thesis, watching 3 sessions on vision through RightNow Media and serving at a FCA sports camp with my entire family (located in Greely, CO)

Thank you for taking the time to explore the journey I will be on. Please pray for me that God will use this time to bring rest, as well as insights into how I can better lead my family, our staff and the church God has allowed me to be a part of. Thank you!!!

In Christ’s Love,

Ernest Smith


Aug 17 2016

Prayer – Day Ten

You did it!! 10 Days of Focused Prayer. I’m so grateful to be a part of an incredible church that believes and practices the power of prayer. Thank you Front Range for being an incredible community of Jesus followers.

My prayer is that you will continue to make your prayer lives focused, intentional and consistent. May we not allow the busyness of life, the distractions of life or the attacks of the enemy to get our attention off of Jesus.

I would encourage you to document what God showed you or said to you during these last 10 days. May the truths He showed you these last 10 days be truths that permeate your heart and mind moving forward.

Thank you for being on this journey with us. Thank you for taking time to pursue God. Thank you for allowing God to use your prayers to impact the hearts and lives of others. Even if you don’t see it, the prayers you prayed for the lost, those in the church, the leadership, the missionaries that FR supports, our government and many more people, God will honor those prayers and people were impacted these last 10 days. Thank you for letting God teach you and use you.

Spend time today asking God what your next step is. Ask Him what He wants you to focus on in your prayer life moving forward.

Prayer Focus – Day Ten: Your Personal Prayer Life

Pray for God to give you a renewed passion and drive as it pertains to your prayer life. Ask God to help you to be intentional, consistent and focused in your prayers. Ask God to give you a small glimpse of how He uses your prayers to change you and bless others.  


Aug 16 2016

Prayer – Day Nine

As mentioned in two other posts, the Bible gives us the greatest examples of how to pray and what to pray for. We would do ourselves a disservice if we don’t look at not only the most popular prayer in the Bible, but the one that Jesus gives us as the example of what and how to pray.

In Matthew 5:9-13, Jesus says “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’”

When we look at this prayer, we see 5 major components that should be evident in our prayers.

First, we are to give God glory. Starting our prayers by giving God glory, keeps our focus on what truly matters…honoring God with our prayers, not getting what we want.

Second, we are to pray for God’s will to be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. Praying for God’s will is ultimately trusting that His will is better than our own.

Third, we are to ask God to meet our needs. We should daily ask God to meet the needs that arise in our lives.

Fourth, we are to pray for forgiveness. Every day, we sin and every day, we need to ask God to forgive us.

Fifth, we should pray for God to deliver us from evil. The enemy, Satan, is real and he is continually on the attack. We are to pray for God’s deliverance in our lives.

Jesus gives us the greatest example of what we should be praying for. Take time today and pray through these 5 components of the Lord’s Prayer.

Prayer Focus – Day Nine: Missionaries Locally and Globally

Pray for the missionaries that Front Range partners with. There are multiple local missionaries who work for different non-profits and para-church ministries. Please pray for God to use them in our own town and state. Pray for the global missionaries FR has partnered with in Ecuador, Kenya and Northern Africa. Pray God would use them to bring the Gospel to the unreached people of the world.