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Overboard Blog

Living the extraordinary life of faith!

Filtering by Tag: Overboard Life

A Bun Dance?

Joseph Castaneda



There are three main components required to live the Overboard Life: faith, courage and abundance. Faith is about putting our focus on what Jesus is doing in our lives and in the world around us, and on the unchanging, all-powerful nature of our God. Courage is a character quality that God is developing in us as we trust in  the work of the Spirit to move us to follow God, in faith, and to trust that what He is doing, that what He is asking of us, is truly what's best. Courage is what allows us to grab the sides of the boat and take the jump out on to the water.

When I was writing my third book, Overboard, I was trying to come up with the key components of living the Overboard Life, working out a way to express them in writing. The first two seemed natural to me, the faith and courage parts. But the third one eluded me for a while. (I'm a Baptist...I need three points and a poem for it to "count"!)

I batted around a few ideas, like "Hope" or "Love" or "Service" or "Eating Tacos" but none of them seemed to quite encapsulate what I was after. One day, Traci and I were talking about these key themes when God finally granted some clarity.

Hope, love, service and eating tacos are all good things, and obviously, all part of the Christian Life (especially the tacos!). But when it comes to leaping Overboard for the Lord, I realized the missing piece had to do with God's capacity to overwhelm us with everything we need, whenever we need it. He doesn't give out faith sparsely, He doesn't build our courage in limited amounts, but rather, He provides all we need in abundance because He know precisely what we need and when we need it.

To live the Overboard Life we have to embrace that God is an abundant God, that He never lacks in anything, and that He loves to overwhelm His children with His presence (that very thing we need most!). He is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), the supplier of rain, sun and daily sustenance (Matthew 6:25-27), and He meets all of our needs according to His abundance (Philippians 4:19)!

Naturally, God's abundance doesn't mean all we have to do is "name it" and "claim it," as if God is some how obligated to give us what we want when we want it. Rather, through faith, we trust that God is able to do His work, in and through us, doing more than we could ever imagine, guess or request in our wildest dreams (Ephesians 3:20). So courageously we follow Him in obedience and watch Him supply our needs in abundance.

Where do you need to trust in God's abundance today? What promise from His Word do you need to rest in, believing that He can fulfill (and will!) it, not in scarcity, but in abundance?


Joseph Castaneda



Have you ever failed to meet a goal or found it difficult to keep a promise? Have you ever thought you were doing the right thing by found the path filled with hardship? Of course you have, and in those moments all of us face the same choices about whether or not we choose to be disappointed, choose to blame others, or choose to give up.

But disappointment and blame are short-sighted and are based on this terrible assumption: life's goals/dreams can only be achieved on our own effort.

The Overboard Life must be lived in faith which means, that while we do what we are called and created to do (Ephesians 2:10), we keep trusting the ultimate work of God to achieve eternal results. And when we live in that relationship of trust, we find the truth of Jeremiah 32:17 trumps disappointment and blame. After all, if God isn't limited in any capacity, then He can accomplish His work without us!

What issue(s) in your life do you need to hand over to God, today? He is able to handle it/them better than you or me or any of us (combined!), and nothing is too hard for Him. So keep pressing on. Keep living the life to which you've been called and for which you've been created. Just make sure you keep trusting the One who can accomplish anything according to His own power.

We Should All Be A Little Leerie

Joseph Castaneda

This past weekend, Traci and I enjoyed a date, (something we try to do weekly) and after lunch, and a little shopping at Costco, we stopped by the local theater for a matinee viewing of the new Mary Poppins movie. We’d both heard reviews, good and bad, from friends who had previously viewed the film; it’s so hard to take something so iconic, and try to modernize it for a younger audience while keeping it familiar to an older audience. Some of our friends loved it, and others felt like it was a disservice to the magic Julie Andrews and Dick VanDyke had created back in 1964. (While we both loved the movie, this is not a critique or analysis of the film.)

If you haven’t seen it, I won’t ruin anything here, but in place of the Dick VanDyke chimney sweep character, a young man by the name of Jack plays a central role in the movie, and serves the community as a lamplighter. He is part of a number of fantastic musical numbers as he and his fellow lamplighters, or Leeries as they are known, start each day by lighting the city’s lamps after the sun has gone down, and end each day by putting them out, after the sun has come back up.

I’m not sure where the term “Leerie” first originated, though it is found in a Robert Louis Stevenson poem from the late 1800s. Here are the words to this short little poem, told from the perspective of a little child who longs to be a lamplighter:

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky.

It's time to take the window to see Leerie going by;

For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,

With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.

Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,

And my papa's a banker and as rich as he can be;

But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I'm to do,

O Leerie, I'll go round at night and light the lamps with you!

For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,

And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;

And oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;

O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night!

You see, these Leeries were out at night as the sun set, and they traveled through London turning on every lamp in the city, including the ones on each street corner, on the outside walls of businesses, and even the ones on peoples’ porches. Carrying or driving their ladders and/or long poles around, they quickly turned the city from darkness to light, and then just as quickly extinguished the flames when the sun returned the next morning. It was an important job in London in the late 1800’s thru the early 1900s, until automation, and eventually electricity, eliminated their role from society.

An iconic image from a London Leerie plying his trade from the early 1900s.

An iconic image from a London Leerie plying his trade from the early 1900s.

Not only were the Leeries responsible for lighting the city at night, they were also responsible to make sure the lamps had enough wick to operate, that the gas lines were properly functioning, that the lamps and glass were kept clean, and in many cases, were the unofficial watchmen of the city in the hours of the day/night when criminals would be looking for opportunities to break laws. Leeries were considered honorable men, helping people find their way through the city, demonstrating charity to those in need, and working the odd hours of the day and night when most others would prefer the comfort of a warm and dry shelter.

There are several great lines in the movie about the role of the Leeries, but I love how Stevenson captured it: “For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door, And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more…” This reminds me of the text in Matthew 5 where Jesus tells an audience, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Imagine if all of us who professed Christ demonstrated the qualities of a Leerie. We’d be packing our “equipment” with us everywhere we went, making sure we were always ready to serve when the opportunity arose. Each of us would make certain our neighborhood had a light shining bright, on the street corner, in our local businesses, and on every porch. Embracing the Leerie role, we’d help point people in the right direction, keep an eye out for danger, and do all of our work without complaint. And like all good Leeries, we’d help one another when our shift was “finished” and make sure all the other Lamplighters made it home safely at night.

I left the movie theater very satisfied with the new version of Mary Poppins, and already thinking about whether or not I living like a Leerie. The Overboard Life demands that each of us be a little Lerrie, lighting lamps for the Gospel in whatever corner of the world God has placed us. What would make you a better Leerie, today?

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!

(Below you can enjoy a musical version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem)

Living between dreams and doubts


Last Thursday night my family packed up our belongings, again, loaded up the van, again, and moved into some temporary housing, again. This time, our temporary housing is in the vicinity of where we hope to set up a more permanent home in August, and where we hope Overboard Ministries will be unleashed to be all that God wants it -- and us -- to be! When we arrived here in Kalakaska, we met up with some good friends and celebrated, with pizza and pie, the passing of one part of our journey. After moving to Michigan two years and three months ago for one job, God has redirected us toward this new adventure in a place, that until a year ago, we didn’t even know existed! We are chasing a God-sized dream that has been burning in our hearts for quite some time, and while the future seems a little blurry, the next step (maybe even the next two steps, but certainly no further) is right in front of us. The dream is beginning to take shape.

And the doubts are bigger than they’ve ever been.

Have you ever lived in that tension between your dreams and your doubts?

This family is awesome!

The scope of what we’re about to undertake is intensely exciting, and it is terrifying. (Thus we’ve coined the phrase, “Excitifying” and use it quite frequently around our house.) As a husband, I feel the strain that I’m putting on my wife. There has been, and at least for the immediate future will continue to be, a great deal of uncertainty. We don’t know exactly where we will be staying, 90% of our earthly possessions are in storage and we are truly living on the goodness and kindness of friends and fellow dream-sharers. My wife is a rock, and she takes care of our family in extraordinary ways, and is doing so in the midst of deep uncertainty.

As a dad, I feel the burden that I’m putting on my children. AJ is about to enter the 9th grade, and will be doing so in a brand new school with kids he did not attend junior high with, and whom he does not know. BJ is switching from 6th grade to 7th grade, and moving to a new middle school that doesn’t have choir (one of her true passions) and is smaller in three grades (6-8) than her previous 6th grade class alone. CJ is leaving a great school that loves her and what she brings academically and socially (3rd grade student of the year!), to enter a 4th and 5th grade only, Jr. High prep school. They load up the van like troopers on one end, and unload it like moving professionals on the other, and yet I can tell the bed-shifting, suitcase-packing, school-changing gypsie-life is taking its toll.

As a man, I feel the weight of wanting to provide, for my family, the basic comforts of a home, the relief of a steady paycheck and the peace of mind that comes with good insurance, retirement contributions and a growing nest egg. Today, however, none of those are realities. More than once I’ve wondered if I’m making a mistake pressing on toward this dream, questioning whether or not the burden of moving forward will be worth it for my wife and my children. Honestly, I think the burden is almost multiplied by their unwavering trust and the way they’ve embraced each new move “forward.”

The doubts that once were subtly in the background are now fully exposed, and they are ugly, vocal and stalking me in my thoughts, my planning and even in my dreams at night.

Friday morning, after our first night sleeping in the Starwood Ranch, I woke up and pondered my night of restlessness and the attack I felt in my sleep. Literally, I dreamed of failure over and over again, and I had to shake off the sleep reminding myself that those were images provided by doubt (and maybe the pizza and coke I enjoyed before bed!), and not the realities in front of us. I had to remember that the giant doubts are present, because the dream God has embedded in my heart and mind is massive! When the dream was little, the doubts were in the background -- they didn’t need to appear since I wasn’t pursuing the God-given vision with any fire. As soon as the dream became my focus, the doubts emerged with an unholy fervor. The size of your doubts will be proportionate to the size of your dreams.

I stumbled in and out of the shower Friday, then sat down to blog. Before I typed a word, I picked up my Bible and began reading in Genesis 12, where God first connects with Abraham (then called Abram). In the first verse Moses writes, “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘leaver your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.’”

Notice the phrase, “...the land I will show you.” In other words, God was moving Abraham and his family, and Abraham had to trust God that this land existed, and that God would reveal it in time. The dream was huge as God had promised Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing...and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” In order to embrace the dream, Abraham had to embrace the unknown and follow the Lord.

And when they arrived in the land of promise, it wasn’t ready for Abraham. Look at verse six: “Abram traveled through the land...At that time, the Canaanites were in the land.” So he visits his future home only to find out it already has occupants (occupants, by the way, who weren’t thrilled at the idea of giving their land to someone else!), then leaves the area and settles outside of the region, and ultimately, just a short time later, leaves the country in order to survive a severe famine.

I wonder what kinds of doubts Abraham had to fight? Occupied land? Famine? (How great could this land be if there were famine issues?!) Some of them are revealed, like at the end of the chapter 12 when he lies about his marriage to Sarah in order to save his own life or in chapter 16 where Abraham tried to speed up God’s promise by having a child with a woman who wasn’t his wife. In chapter 18 Sarah laughs at God’s direct word promising them a child (she was almost 90!) and I wonder if Abraham shared in her doubts (he was almost 100!). After all, how could Abraham’s children inherit the land of promise and all of God’s blessings...if they didn’t exist?!

Without question, Abraham occasionally stumbled under the weight of his doubts, but he always managed to get back on the path that led to the dream. Ultimately, his faith was bigger than his fears and he reaped the reward of trusting in the Dream Giver. Hebrews 11 describes his journey like this:

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents...For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith Abraham, even though he was past age -- and Sarah herself was barren -- was enabled to become a father because he considered Him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.”

So Friday morning I acknowledged my doubts as a husband, father and as a man. I recognized my fear of failure and the sense that the task in front of me seems preposterously overwhelming. Then I chose courage, like Abraham before me, in the One who gave the dream and in whom there is no fear or doubt worthy to be in His presence. While I can’t see how He will pull it all together, I am confident that we are on the right path, and that the monumental task in front of us is nothing compared to the greatness of our God. The doubts are out on the water with us, screaming for us to get back in the boat, but He who called us stands confidently next to us, speaking clearly, yet quietly, urging us to keep trusting Him. I hear His sweet voice, and by His grace and strength, I will hold this course.

What about you? Are you living in the tension between doubts and dreams? Let me encourage you to root yourself, even deeper, in the One who gives the dream. Spend time in His Word daily, speak to Him often in prayer and surround yourself with those who will run the race with you. One of my life verses, Ephesians 3:20, continues to stand out -- almost daily! -- in my thoughts: “God can do anything, you know, far more than you could ever imagine, guess or request in your wildest dreams” (The Msg). What ever He has in store for us next, I know that being out on the water with Him is the best place for me and my family.

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always best -- even...maybe especially!...when your doubts are biggest! -- out on the water!



Our friend, and the kids' youth pastor, Bruce Banwell gave a full day (plus!) to help us load and unload boxes on moving day. Earlier this week, my wife wrote a great blog about the humble blessing of being the recipients of so much kindness from others. (Seriously, it's short, sweet and worth reading!) I think Traci and I have always considered ourselves ridiculously blessed when we think about the friendships God has given us, but lately, that blessing has been almost too much to handle. In Psalm 23, David wrote, “ cup overflows” in talking about God’s goodness to him. Traci and I can surely relate to the way God has showered us with His kindness, through His people, the last two months.

I have learned a bit about myself during this seasons of blessing. First of all, I’m learning to be a better receiver, but I’ve still got a ways to go. Over the years, God has allowed Traci and I to be on the giving end of His grace and goodness, and we have experienced the joy of the scriptural truth, “It is better to give, than to receive.” During this season of receiving, we have had the joy of allowing others to be the conduit of His grace and goodness. It is humbling, but it is special to see how God meets needs in ways we could never have imagined. Without a doubt, these stories will one day make it into a book, as will the lessons I’m learning!

Not only am I learning to be a better receiver, I’m also learning to embrace God’s plan regardless of how crazy it seems from my limited perspective. As Traci and I have followed the Lord through this wild season of change, His blessings in our lives have followed us along the way! When I first lost my job back in January, we toyed with the idea of just licking our wounds, washing our hands of the problems and packing our things to head back to Oregon. Yesterday, while taking a stress-relieving walk together, Traci and I talked about everything we would have missed out on, had we just packed up and headed west. Truly, following God despite the crazy limited perspective we have, has proven to be spiritually, emotionally, financially and relationally richer than any path we could have made for ourselves.

Finally, I’m learning how rich I am in regards to the way God showers us with His grace and goodness through His children. More than once I’ve shed tears over the gifts that have sustained us through this season of uncertainty. More than once I’ve sat dumbfounded at how an exact need was met, a meal was provided, a gas tank was filled, a debt was paid, a box of goodies arrived in the mail, a helping hand was offered or a special provision showed up just in time. Each time one of those things happened, there was another human on the giving end.

Could God miraculously drop a pot of gold into the back of our van? Yes! (And Lord, just so you know, we’re open to that idea, too!) Instead, He most often chooses to use others to be the conduit of His work. Sometimes anonymously, sometimes with a special card and note, sometimes with a smile, sometimes with a back story that only God could write and sometimes with a hug and a “God told me to do this for you.” Truly, based on the people in our lives -- from Oregon, Michigan, West Virginia, California and everywhere in-between and beyond! -- we are richly blessed. THANK YOU for your prayers, your love, your emails, your gifts, your texts, your monthly support and most of all, your friendship.

As we move into the next phase of our journey, we are confident that God is leading the way, and that we will continue to experience the richest blessing of all -- meaningful relationships with people who will share this journey with us!

Go ahead and take the plunge, the best friendships you ever have, will be forged on the water where Jesus is building His Kingdom!

If you want to learn more about the next phase of our journey, check out this 10 minute video explaining how we’re taking Overboard Ministries, overboard! If you would like to join the Overboard family thru prayer or thru monthly financial support, click the links! (For monthly support, click the link, choose one of the three options, and then select "Joseph Castaneda" from the drop-down menu. Remember, all gifts are fully tax-deductible!)

I'm half-way dead...what now?


My wife threw me a great surprise party for the Big 4-0! It has finally happened...I’m turning 40. I remember when I used to think 40 was old, now it definitely seems less old than I used to think. I remember when my oldest brother turned 40, nine years ago, and I was thinking, “ brother’s getting old!” Sorry about that Dan, I no longer think 40 is old. Of course, you’re approaching 50 and that is...


Time has a funny way of putting everything into perspective. According to statistics, today I’m officially half-way dead. The life expectancy of American males is just a smudge over 80 (depending on who you ask) and at 40, I have used up half of my shelf life. There are twinkles being made today that will still be here, and still be a tasty treat, long after I’m gone.


Over the past 40 days I’ve written about where my life has come from, the lessons I’ve learned over the past 4 decades, and ultimately, I’ve revealed what I believe God wants for my life in the future: an Overboard Life that is lived by faith, out of the comfort of the boat, and out on the water where Jesus is building His Kingdom.


Joe opening cards

Tonight I’ve been reading over 50 different birthday cards that were sneakily sent to my wife the past month. I’ve been torn between hilarious and sentimental all evening, but have been blown away by the kind words and gracious comments by so many dear friends. One card in particular was on the sentimental side but hits the nail on the head for what I’m feeling about 40. It’s from our friend Gail in Olympia, WA:


“You’ve got your bearings, and you’re right where you should be --

at 40 and at your best, right smack between

experience and possibility and perfectly

positioned for a great new decade...”


I definitely feel like I’m in the sweet spot of life. I am confident that the best days of life are ahead and not behind, and that the story God is going to write over the second half of my life will be worth sticking around for! I can’t wait to embrace the race that is set for me, the highs and lows, the obstacles and the downhills, and through it all my prayer will remain the same: God, please use me to do your work, with your help, for your glory.


Friends, I hope you’ll join me in living the Overboard Life. I know that I can’t live this life without the help of great friends who love the Lord and want to live Overboard, too. I’m confident in the next few days, weeks and months I’ll need some encouragement to hold the course. And I give you permission to call me on it -- if you see me living lazy in the comfort of the boat, call me out! Remind me that I want my life to count, and little counts when you’re living in the boat!


Thanks for following this 40-day blog, and for joining me on this Overboard journey. On Monday I have a couple of really special announcements and an opportunity for you to join me in helping to create an Overboard movement. I can’t wait to share some details with you and to see where this will take us all!


Here’s to “Life: Part 2” and to all that God has for each us as live outside the boat for Him.


Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!

My first concussion


I was about to start this blog with, “I remember my first concussion like it was yesterday...” However, that would be a lie, because I actually remember nothing about my first concussion. Most of what I know has been told to me, and the few memories I have are a little disjointed. But the basic facts go something like this...  

It was during a morning PE class in my 8th grade year. We were playing softball during the Spring semester and sometime while we were outside playing or warming up I took a wack-a-poo on the back of my dome. The stories that came out from various “eye witnesses” were many and varied, but sometime after that, I collapsed while playing in the outfield.


My first memories of the events of that day are waking up in the training room. My friend Danny was sitting there in tears, just talking to me, trying to keep me alert. Next I remember being in the ambulance going to the hospital and discovering that I knew the ambulance driver as a member of our church. Next I remember Bob Smith coming in with a bag of Peanut M & Ms and we played poker using them as chips. Finally, I remember being in recovery the following day. That’s about it.


Apparently during my hospital stay, I had many visitors. I remember none of them. If you were one of them, please don’t take that personally...I don’t even remember my mom being there!


My youth pastor, Bob Smith, showed up with the M & Ms and  brining with him some pictures of a recent trip we had taken. As the story goes, I would glance through the 15-20 photos he brought, laugh at some, ask questions about others, and then set them down next to my bed. Moments later I would pick them up and repeat the same laughter and questions at the same pictures. I repeated this several times until my mom took the pictures away even though I declared, “Hey...I haven’t seen those yet!”


While my grandmother was checking in on her favorite grandson, my friends Sonia and Buffy (along with some one else) came to visit me. Like the well-mannered child that I was, I introduced them to my grandmother. Every 2 minutes. For about half an hour. I just wanted to make sure they knew each other well.


Those first few hours were pretty scary for my family. If I was scared, I soon forgot about it and moved on to M & Ms and pictures. My brother Phil told me, years later, how worried my dad was seeing his son so loopy. I think my parents always knew there were some wires criss-crossed, I just don’t think they expected it to show itself so severely and suddenly.


That’s what makes the events of that particular episode of my life so “memorable”; in an instant, life was changed dramatically and unpredictably. No one woke up that day and thought, “you know what, I’ve got a feeling that Joe is going to crack his melon today, get a serious concussion, spend a night in the hospital and miss a week of school with serious headaches and a mild case of amnesia!”


But that’s how life is, isn’t it? Just when you think you know the routine, just when you and I get comfortable with “normal,” something happens to radically change our perspective. A car accident. A doctor’s prognosis. A friend suddenly passes away. Something valuable gets stolen. A child becomes seriously ill. A grandparent takes a painful fall. (all of these events I took off my Facebook feed from the past seven days). Like the commercial says, “Life comes at you hard.”

Moody quote


There are no guarantees in this world but one: All of us are inching closer to the day our life ends in this world and begins in the next. That’s the only event we can be certain of, we are all going to pass on at some point. And while we know the reality of that end, we do not know the timing or the circumstances in which it will occur. So the question is: Are you living with the end in mind?


My 40th birthday has really brought about the somber reality that half of my life has passed (statistically). Even if I live to be 90 or 100, the fact remains that I am approaching the second half of my life. That reality has caused me to think more about what matters most to me, and how I want to spend the years, months, weeks, days, hours and seconds that remain. I’m asking God to help me narrow my vision to invest in the people and activities that matter most, so that what I do today, will live long after I’m gone.


I was in Chicago recently, visiting The Moody Church and a museum at Moody College that describes the life and times of its founder, Dwight L Moody. One quote really caught my attention as it pertained to Moody's vision for the school: "...when I am gone, I shall leave some grand men and women behind."


How’s your focus today? Are you living with the end in mind? Are you living in such a way that whatever God sends your way, whatever obstacles pop up on your journey, you’re in a place to trust the One who walks with you?


Life is full of uncertainty, but nothing catches God off guard. As you walk the Overboard Life, you walk with the One who know the future and knows the great plans He has for you. Are you trusting Him with His plans?

10 down, 30 to go.

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!

Learning to walk


One of the great joys of parenting is watching your child grow up, discover life through their senses and begin to move through the stages of incremental independence. One of those big stages is crossed when your child learns how to walk.  

I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to the walking department. Maybe it was because I had brothers that were seven and nine years older than me (probably more prone to carry me as helpful siblings), or maybe it was because I was one of those easy kids that would play in a box for hours? For some reason, I took to walking a little later than others. Maybe it was because I was beefy and my legs weren’t strong enough? Who knows, but in my mom’s words...

”Your first ‘steps’ were on all fours for quite a while. Thinking it would encourage you if we put you in the grass, we thought that if you did fall it would be softer. Instead you screamed like the world was coming to an end. You were about four before you would finally walk on grass. I never really worried about you falling and getting hurt, you were well padded.” (ouch)!


We have video of each of our kids as they were learning to walk. One of my favorites is the video we have of CJ learning how to take steps. Check it out (I must have been going through a Van Halen kick when I made this video 7 years ago!)


Kids walking is such a funny experience. We’ve had friends who had kids that were so determined to walk. They’d stumble and fall, hit their heads on a table, fall back land on a pitch fork and then roll over onto burning embers, and the kid would hop back up and get back to trying. Celina was more like me, in that she took her sweet little time to learn how to walk.


But whether a child takes to it quickly, or chooses to walk months later than most children their age, the process is the same. They have to choose to learn despite dozens and dozens of failed attempts. No child is born walking (despite what many proud parents assert!).


It’s funny how we grow up and forget that lesson. Most of us want to jump into new jobs, new relationships or new activities and perform at a high level forgetting that learning happens through failure. When the child realizes they can’t walk while stepping on their own feet, they soon learn to separate them out in order to take steps. The mistakes create the perfect classroom for learning.


I love talking about the Overboard Life -- living for God out of our comfort zone, and doing remarkable work for Him. The concept comes out of Matthew 14 where the 12 disciples are in a boat, on a lake in the middle of a storm. During the middle of the night, Jesus decides to go out and meet them in this storm by walking on the water! The 12 guys see this figure strolling on the stormy waves and the Bible says they “Cried out in fear.” Remember, these are grown men who are screaming in terror!


Jesus calms them with reassuring words and then Peter says, “If it’s really you Jesus, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus tells Peter to come on out and then Peter does the unthinkable: he actually walks on water toward Jesus. But just as the story gets crazy good, Peter realizes how nuts this is and he turns his focus from Jesus to the wind and waves, and suddenly he starts to sink. Jesus reaches out a hand and saves Peter and as they walk back to the boat, Jesus asks him, “Why did you doubt?”


You see, Peter was doing the impossible with God’s help. While 11 disciples stayed in the safety and comfort of the boat, Peter was willing to climb out, and to learn how to walk on water. He didn’t do it perfectly the first time, but he tried, and through his failure he learned a valuable lesson. So it’s no surprise that after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, it’s Peter we see that is leading the church. The one who was willing to learn how to walk on water, would be the one that was able to lead Jesus’ followers.


I have fond memories of watching my children learn how to walk, just as my parents have fond memories of watching each of their kids learn how to walk. And I’m sure God has fond memories of watching His children learn how to walk in faith, stumbling around from time-to-time, but slowly getting stronger with each step.


How’s your walk of faith coming along? Staying in the boat with everyone else is easy, and it’s very comfortable and relatively safe. The problem is, Jesus isn’t in the boat, He’s out on the water calling you and me out to Him. Will you take a step of faith today? Will you move out even if you don’t know exactly how? Will you be willing to stumble in order to learn how to walk trusting Him?

3 down, 37 to go.

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!

4 Things to do every day


On of my favorite books in the Bible is 1 Peter. I think I find myself relating most to him in Scripture, so I have a special affinity for his writings. Peter was impulsive, often spoke before he thought, was willing to step out, was often wrong and occasionally made things worse with the best of intentions. That’s my kinda guy! 4 things to do

Years ago I memorized 1 Peter 4:7-11, and it has become a passage that has guided my life. In part, because it’s so stinkin’ simple and practical. In part, it resonates with the kind of person I want to be. In many ways, it’s the heart of what an Overboard Life should look like. I would even go so far as to say that if you obeyed these four commands every day, you would truly be living life Overboard!


1 Peter 4:7-11: Four things to do every day


“The end of all things is near, therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray” (1 Peter 4:7)


Take time each day to connect with God in prayer. Pray for your family, your friends, your church and your pastor. Pray for God to help you see the God-moments of each day and pray for the grace to give to others in need. Pray and thank God for who He is, praise Him for His past goodness in your life, and praise Him for what He will do in the future. Make sure you’ve confessed your sin to Him and found His forgiveness and then work to keep the phone line between you and Him open -- pray throughout your day!


“And above all, love each other deeply, for love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)


I always marvel that when Jesus was leaving His disciples He told them this basic truth: the way people will know you belong to me is by how you love each other. Of all the traits God could have picked, he chose the issue of our brotherly love to be the marker that declares our allegiance to Him. Not our evangelism. Not our acts of service to the poor. Not the way we provide for our families, take care of our kids or parents, not the way we feed the needy, volunteer at the hospital or visit prisoners (all of which God has commanded us to do). No, the one mark that He said should distinguish us from others is our love. Love allows us to be a kind and forgiving to people, eager and ready to serve. Take time to intentionally show love to the people in your life. Choose forgiveness when it would be easier to be hurt or hold a grudge. Lavish love on someone every day and watch how you are affected by it.


“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4:9)


While the New Testament understanding of hospitality might be vastly different than ours today, the principle remains the same: be generous with the resources you have. Resources that could include food, money, clothing, shelter, transportation, time etc… In New Testament times, it wasn’t uncommon for a member of one church to come visit a town unannounced. That visitor may or may not know anyone in the town, but they could quickly find the Christians that gathered there, and they would have an immediate need for hospitality. Peter was reminding believers that sharing our resources is not only “nice”, it’s commanded and so is the spirit in which we are to do it -- “without grumbling.” In other words, happily share what you have! Take time each day to joyfully share your resources with others. What would it look like if you intentionally sought out opportunities to bless others with your time, or money, or house, or food or…??


“Each one should use whatever gifts he has to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)


God has blessed each of us with talents, abilities and gifts that are to be used, not primarily for ourselves. He has gifted us that we might use those gifts in service to others. This flies in the face of mainstream culture which speaks so much about advancing yourself for your sake, or for getting everything you can out of what you have to offer. No, there’s nothing inherently wrong advancing in work or politics or society and there’s nothing wrong from benefitting financially (or in other ways) from your gifts. Peter is talking about a base motivation -- serving for gain vs serving for the benefit of others. I have a good friend who has a number of very profitable businesses. He has grown them by using his gifts, and he has been a very faithful administrator of God’s grace serving others. He has kept the service of others as the priority of his business, while still practicing good business. What would it look like for you to seek out ways to serve others, using your God-given gifts and abilities? What if, every day, you looked for at least one opportunity to bless someone else with a self-less act of service?


Living the Overboard Life is ultimately choosing to live in obedience with God’s Word. Peter gives us four practical ways to live Overboard every day. Will you seek to apply these four commands in your life today? Tomorrow?


Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!


Check out the Overboard resources available to help you live the Overboard Life. Visit our online store at!

5 ways to stop living Overboard


Living the Overboard Life takes a lot of work. Obviously, if living a remarkable and fulfilling life was easy, everyone would be doing it. Brian Klemmer passed away a few years ago, and has written numerous books. One of them was entitled, “If How To’s Were Enough, We’d All Be Skinny, Rich and Happy.” It’s true. Klemmer

While “How To’s” may not be enough for making a remarkable life become a reality, I thought I’d put together a list of “How Not To’s” if you want to sabotage your Overboard Life. This list comes from hours of personal research and application: I’ve tried all of these with great success at one point or another in my life (grrrr) so trust the research and avoid these five pitfalls to Overboard Living.

Pitfall #1: Make Netflix the most active app on your iPhone, iPad or AppleTV


I know a lot of people, like Traci and I, who have gotten rid of “regular TV” from their day-to-day lives. In fact, we haven’t had network, cable or satellite TV in our house for over 4 years now. However, in today’s digital on-demand age, “TV” has a lot of faces. Netflix is one of them, like Hulu, Amazon Prime, Red Box and several others.


Maybe you only watch one or two movies a week, and maybe you have just a couple of shows you enjoy, but it doesn’t take long for a small habit to turn into hours of time. So many people are “too busy” to live the Overboard Life and to take on the challenges that come with it, but they aren’t too busy to spend 8-10 hours a week with Netflix. It takes just two shows night to turn Netflix into a 10-hour a week habit. Add a movie or two and quickly your Overboard Life has lost 15 hours of productivity.


Yes, I still have Netflix. Yes, I still have TV show benders (c’mon…you know when you have to know what happens next?!?!) that keep me up later than I intend. But like anything -- reading, working out, sleeping, sports -- the Overboard Life must learn to regulate time consuming activities. “One More Episode” can lead to the death of the Overboard Life!

Pitfall #2: Quit reading quality books


There’s so much good literature out there, and so many books that are begging for your time. Living Overboard demands a habit of reading quality material, but it’s so easy to read too much of the wrong stuff! What are good Overboard books? They are the type of books that challenge your thinking, force you to evaluate your life, encourage you to build winning habits, or push you to set, achieve and evaluate your goals.


They could be novels, they could be business books, they could be books about music or history or sports. The point is, you’ve got to read and you’ve got to keep the habit of reading quality books a priority. Look at your book list, is it encouraging you toward the Overboard Life?


Pitfall #3: Leave your Bible on the shelf untouched


One of the quickest ways to derail your Overboard Life is to avoid reading your Bible. The playbook for Overboard living is the Bible. If you keep that book on the shelf, don’t expect to know God’s plans for your life, or know how to understand the circumstances you find yourself in.


And it’s not enough to just read the book, you need to memorize the Good Book, too. Right now I’m working with my pastor to memorize the precious words of Pslam 103. A regular dose of reading and memorizing the Scriptures is crucial for anyone following God’s path.


Pitfall #4: Live without close friends who are actively living the Overboard Life


I can’t think of single person in history who achieved anything significant without the help of others. When I look at the pages of the Bible I see the same story of those living the Overboard Life -- each of the men and women who chose the life of obedience did so in the context of relationships. The ones who tried to fly solo, almost always ended up in disaster.


In Judges, one of the best examples of a solo player is found in the story of Samson. Gifted with great strength and know-how, he failed to be the great leader God made him to be, largely because he chose to play by his own rules, regardless of how it affected others. On multiple occasions he had opportunities to listen to good counsel but he ignored it. Sadly, he did more conquering by dying, then he did by living.


Pitfall #5: Make a habit of living undisciplined in one area of your life


Discipline takes on a lot of different looks. Discipline with time, money, health, resources, relationships etc… When we allow any area of our lives to get out of discipline, we create the possibility for breakdown in other parts of our lives, too. For example, if the discipline you have about your money is lacking, it won’t take long before that spills over into other areas. If you can’t stop impulse buying, the junk food you keep munching on will ultimately impact your physical health.


I’ve found myself at times, struggling with discipline regarding the use of my free time (see Pitfall #1). It doesn’t take long for that lack of discipline to create a habit of leaving my Bible unread. And of course, when your Bible is unread, you don’t want to spend too much time with people living the Overboard Life….


There are other pitfalls, these are the ones that have hit closest to home for me. What about you? What pitfalls keep you from living the Overboard Life? My wife loves this saying: “living the extraordinary life is never easy…but it’s always worth it.” The Overboard Life can be tough, but I’ve never once regretted stepping out of the boat.


Go ahead and take the plunge…life is always better on the water!

How will you start 2013?


How will you start 2013? There’s something about the New Year that makes us all reflect on our lives. Putting up that new calendar or tearing off that first page of the desktop Dilbert comic calendar you got for Christmas (my personal favorite) gets us thinking about new things. A new start to life.

Statistically, though, fewer than 10% of us will actually follow thru with any of our commitments. 9 out of 10 of us will not make it through the first 14 days of January with our new year desires for change. Yowzuh!

I want to challenge you to make 2013 different. I want to urge you to make significant change in your life. Maybe it’s your health, your finances, your business, your family, your marriage, your walk with God or your house cleaning -- whatever goal you set, I want to urge you, and help you, to achieve them in 2013.

Last year I embarked on a life-changing online program for goal setting. It’s called the 100-day Challenge. It was awesome. I paid $140+ to do the program and it was easily worth double. Each day I watched a 5-7 minute video. I took notes. I set goals. And I made massive progress in my life because of the program by Gary Ryan Blair.

Two years prior to that, my wife did the program. Her life was radically altered by the 100-day program and, because she’s one of my inspirations, I followed in her footsteps a year later.

Will you consider joining Traci and me for a 100-day challenge? Imagine starting the first 100 days of 2013 with focus, direction, motivation and daily challenge. And the cool part is, at the start of 2013, Traci and I want to offer some support and encouragement to our friends who take on this challenge.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll give you more info, but for now, I want to plant the seed. Our goal is to attract 100 of our friends and family to join us on a life-changing journey by starting the first 100 days of 2013 with enthusiasm, teamwork and support. 100 of our friends and family hitting the ground running in 2013 with the 100-day Challenge.

Will you join us? What areas of your life would you like to see change in? Leave some comments below and let us know what you will be working on in 2013. Then start thinking about whether or not you will be one of the 100+ people who join us for a group effort to see those goals reached!

Stay tuned for more details and a special link to save a few bucks off the regular price. In the mean time, click HERE to get a glimpse of what the 100-day Challenge will look like.

Are you ready to take the plunge in 2013? Life is better on the water…join us!