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Overboard Blog

Living the extraordinary life of faith!

Filtering by Tag: contentment

Would You Like A Second Helping?

Joseph Castaneda



You ever feel like life is spinning wildly, and that you are merely along for the ride? Last summer I remember a week where I started counting the many tasks that the Lord had placed directly in front of me and Traci: Personal support raising. Bowling alley remodel. Bowling alley fund raising. Coaching a volleyball team. Developing an entire volleyball program. Church partnership growth. Sermon prep and development. Ministry networking. Publishing projects. Video project and development. Managing a home business. Oh yeah...and working hard at trying to be a godly husband, wife, mother, father, and pastor.

I'm sure you could substitute out the items on our list, and put in the items from your list, and your's would likely dwarf our's. Either way, it's easy to look at the to-do lists, the taxi schedule, the school work loads, and the office demands, and to put our effort in to working harder to become super focused, super efficient and super productive. And in doing so, we often become super forgetful about what really matters most: contentment in Christ.

Jesus' words in John 6:35 remind us that contentment comes when our basic needs are met first in Him, not in the world around us, and not in the fulfillment of our crazy, hectic, to-do lists. Jesus says, "come to me" and we will be filled in Him, like we had just eaten our favorite meal at dinnertime. Jesus says, "believe in me," and we will be satisfied like we just had our thirst quenched with a cool drink on a hot day.

In all the craziness of life, don't forget that being in Christ is our greatest resource and our greatest need. In Him we find we have everything we need to be successful in this life as we prepare to live with Him forever in the next life. In Him we discover true to peace in a chaotic world. In Him we find hope for brokenness and healing for wounds. In Him we find rest. In Him we find true satisfaction. In Him. In Him. In Him.

Make sure you are finding time to recenter yourself In Him, today. Because in Him, no matter how crazy life is, we can be content.

When life gives you 200" of snow…make Snice Cream!


Traci and I are experiencing our first full winter here in Northern Michigan. The snow hit the ground for good in early November, and here in mid-February, it’s still falling strong (another 6” fell yesterday). For the year, over 200” has fallen on our 320 acre home, and we sill have the rest of February and all of March (and probably some of April) (ok…maybe the first part of May, too!) to experience more. For our family, we’ve never seen this much snow.  

Of course, in order for so much snow to fall, temperatures have to drop below freezing. I realized the other day that we haven’t seen a day of temps above 32 since December. In fact, we’ve spent a lot of this winter with what locals promise us us is “unseasonably cold” weather; weeks where the temp stays in single digits. It can be a little bothersome at times -- especially since the van heaters don’t ever quite get warmed up -- as you end up walking around the house wearing a light coat, sweatshirt or hoodie.


Then on Saturday as I was doing my morning Bible reading I came across this passage in 1 Timothy 6: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” In the immediate context, Paul is talking about how easy it is to love money and to make the pursuit of money the highest goal in life, but the application is much broader. Contentment applies to every of life, even weather.


We have actually really enjoyed the winter here, but have marveled at how often people complain about the cold or snow. We live in northern Michigan…it’s going to be cold and snowy! Back in Oregon, though, we remember how often people would complain about the rain. I remember how often I would complain about the rain! Just how our snow starts in November, Salem rain would start in November and go through the first part of July. But that’s the price we paid to have year-around green, gorgeous summers that lasted into October and mild winter temps.


The more Traci and I talked about the weather, the more we realized we’ve heard people complain everywhere, about everywhere weather pattern. We’ve heard complaints of snow in northern Michigan, of rain in the Willamette Valley, of sun in Maui, Hawaii and of wind in the great plains states. I’m sure we’ll be murmuring around here when summer comes and we get our first big dose of heat and humidity on the same day!


I don’t think this weather whining phenomenon points to a sudden increase in local meteorological interest, I think it stems from a chronic problem of a lack of contentment. I don’t have to listen to another Lake Ann local complain to see this reality, I can listen to myself to talk to know this is true! Contentment is a hard virtue to embrace.


First of all, let me be clear about what contentment is not. It’s not loving every situation you’re in, and the virtue does not require you to abandon any hope for a different future. In other words, you can be content, while working toward something different. Contentment does, however, include the following ideas:


* Being okay in whatever circumstances you are presently residing

* You don’t have to be a Pollyanna (does anyone know that reference anymore?!) but you can’t be a complainer

* Embracing your current reality as opportunity from God for you to grow, and to help others grow, too

* Recognizing that you don’t know the end-game, only God does. So being content requires faith in God’s ultimate plan for our lives, even when we can’t see what He’s doing!



So last week, we had another school closure because of snow and below zero wind chills. We’ve had 7 this year (“an unusually high amount” according to locals), and they aren’t always at the most convenient of times. However, my wife is amazing and she chose the path of contentment despite the significant disruption the snow day caused in her work flow. What did she do? She scooped up piles of the freshly fallen white powder and showed the kids how to make Snice Cream (CJs name for ice cream made from snow). And now, almost every day since, we’ve enjoyed Snice Cream (especially tasty when made with frozen strawberries!) in our Winter Wonderland.

Are you living in contentment? Maybe you’re struggling with the weather, or maybe you’re experiencing something more severe. You don’t have to love the circumstances you’re in to be content, but you do have to choose to trust God’s hand in these moments. I wish contentment was always as easy as making Snice Cream, but somedays I have to face my worst fears, my biggest heartache or my greatest failures and have to make the same choices to trust God, while I pray for, and work toward, a different future.


How would you rate your contentment today?


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

3 Thoughts about Money


At the beginning of the month I had the opportunity to experience the joy of travel delays on flights from Oregon, to Des Moines and then an attempt to get back to Traverse City and ultimately Lake Ann Camp. During my third day at the lovely airport in Des Moines, Iowa, I was standing in line for the flight that would eventually get me to Chicago. While there, I heard two crew members talking about their financial investments. One of them was boasting about a deal where he turned $30,000 by following the advice of a magazine he highly recommended. The other extolled the virtues budgeting every penny he spends. He explained that the reason he does PB & J on each flight was to maximize the amount he’s putting away for his retirement. One of the men puts 11% away for his retirement, the other is displeased with his wife’s lack of future planning. One splurges a bit more than the other, while both men admitted to pretty flippant waste at airport bars and restaurants in their early years as crew members.

While listening to them, I was struck by their obsession with making money, saving money, investing money and their plans for the future. But any time you talk to people about money, there is a certain weirdness that comes over the conversation. We all have strong feelings about earning, working, spending, saving, budgeting, investing…etc…etc.

In light of listening to these two guys chat, I came up with three principles that are true about how we are to view money, based on God and His Word. Are you living with these principles in mind?

  1. We are stewards, not owners: Everything we have comes from God. Yes, everything. The money you make at work is made possible because God gave you certain abilities and talents, He blessed you with a capacity to earn a good education and He opened doors for you to experience the fruit of His goodness. When you get that check each week/month, remember that 100% of it is God’s, and you are a caretaker of the resources He has given you. Since God is the owner, that means you and I are stewards of His possessions, and God cares immensely how we steward what He has provided. We need to make sure we view “our” money in its proper context.
  2. Generosity is commanded, not just encouraged: Being generous goes beyond just being nice, or just being compassionate; generosity is an issue of obedience. Now the degree of our generosity is a matter that must be resolved between us and God, but our need to be generous is mandated by God. What’s generous to one man may not be to a different woman. Giving one percent of our income to God may be an outstanding step of faith and commitment to one person, while 20% is the norm to another.  In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul explains that un-coerced generosity results in special blessings from God. God delights in generous givers who give joyfully.
  3. Money is a tool, make sure you control it: Like any of the gifts God gives us, money is a tool that is meant to be used for the work of God. Yes, we must pay the bills and feed the family, and yes it’s ok to enjoy the fruit of our labors. What isn’t ok is to have the making of money as our chief motivation in life -- to see ever person we talk to or every activity we engage in be about money. When we are the tool in the hand of money, our priorities are out of balance. Writing to young Timothy Paul reminds him of the importance of contentment in regard to possessions (1 Timothy 6:6). Whether we’ve been blessed with much or little, we cannot let money be our master, it must be our tool.

My friend Doug is a money guy -- he loves working with money and he’s good at it. He recently wrote a blog about the topic that you can find HERE. There are a lot of great online resources about this topic, too.

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

Project Nehemiah is a book about living a remarkable life. For the month of February, you can pick it up for just $8.99 PLUS FREE SHIPPING. Woo hoo! Look for it and other overboard resources at our book store: