Top 10 Posts Of 2016


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Thank you for making 2016 the best year yet at The Journey Holm.  Together, the blog exceeded all goals and received 12,000+ page views by 8,000+ visitors across 70+ countries!  Thank you for sharing, liking and commenting throughout the year! I can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring!

top-ten-2016

As a review, here are ten of some of the best viewed posts of 2016:

 

#10 – Trump or Clinton?

#9 – The Elbow of Trudeau

#8 – Don’t Worry, Christian’s Don’t Worry

#7 – We Don’t Have To Go To “Church”

#6 – Should Christians Play Pokemon Go

#5 – A Letter to My Congregation: Continue To Pray

#4 – Should Christians Participate in Halloween?

#3 – Betty’s Story: A True Journey of Faith

#2 – Give Us A Strategy: A Letter to the Premier

#1 – 3 Reasons Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol

Other well-viewed posts:

30 Goals for my 30s

What will the next ten years look like?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I know age is only a number, but I’m not satisfied for my 30s to simply be a duplicate of my 20s.  In an effort to grow, I’ve put together some goals for my next decade.  Some of these are more general aspirations, but you’ll get the idea.

30-goals-for-my-30s
  1. As a family, define, establish and live by our family mission and values.
  2. Get up earlier to start my day earlier.
  3. Consistently arrive home before supper-hour.
  4. Delegate my general roles; protect my unique roles.
  5. Schedule and protect personal hobby time.
  6. Make exercise and physical activity a priority.
  7. Schedule and protect time with my kids.
  8. Love their mother (Deidre, my wife) so they learn what to expect from a relationship.
  9. Build value in them so they learn self-respect.
  10. Teach them that God loves them no matter what!
  11. Teach them that ministry is our response to God’s love, and not God’s love itself.
  12. Make the first day of school as special as possible (Sept 2019; Sept 2021).
  13. Love Deidre during this transition (ie. Make sure she has a tea from Tim Hortons).
  14. Make it a habit to pick them up from school.
  15. Find a need and volunteer at their school.
  16. Continue to tell Deidre how much I love her every day.
  17. Protect date night.
  18. Plan something incredible for our 10 year wedding anniversary (July 2019).
  19. Live closer to “enough;” less in “excess.”
  20. Become more strategically generous.
  21. Pay final student loan payment (2020).
  22. Become a home owner (2025).
  23. Be a continual learner.
  24. Continue to take healthy risks.
  25. Make the most of every opportunity.
  26. Don’t let every opportunity take the best out of me.
  27. Become better at learning, remembering and using people’s names.
  28. Be faithful with the ministry I’m called to lead.
  29. Annually increase engagement with my blog (The Journey Holm).
  30. Write a book (2024).

To make sure these goals and aspirations become a reality, I’m going to need to do a few things:

  • Stay in line with SCRIPTURE – These goals are important to me, but if I leave what I believe and value the most behind, my success in these 30 will be in vain.
  • Add SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE and TIME-ORIENTED goals – this public list shows my intent, but it doesn’t completely capture the “how.” In order for me to succeed, I have to write how and when I’m going to accomplish them.1
  • Ensure ACCOUNTABILITY – I always ask God’s Spirit to keep me in line and I’ve made my list public (that helps), but I also need honest people in my life (wife, friends, mentors…) to hold me accountable so that the next ten years are actually a success. Let’s face it, the Spirit prompts us, but often has to use someone else to nudge us.

Your turn…

So now that I’ve been pretty open and transparent, it’s your turn to challenge yourself!

What do you hope to accomplish in the next stage of your life? How and when will you make it happen?

I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below, on social media, or by email (andrewholm@gmail.com).  SUBSCRIBE HERE!

References   [ + ]

12 Lessons from My 20s

Learn from the past; focus on growth for the future.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

So I’ve turned 30.  For some reason after you leave your 20s, you can no longer hide behind being “twenty-something.”  People might take you more seriously, but they also expect more.  As I reflect on what I’ve accomplished (or not), worked through and experienced over the past 10 years, I figured I’d let you in on a few lessons I’ve learned.

12-lessons-from-my-20s

My prayer is that these lessons help inspire all of us to grow on the journey God is calling you to pursue.  If you’re in your 20s, maybe the lessons are helpful.  If you’re older and wiser, maybe it’ll help you reflect on your last 10 years as well.

  1. God prepares, I’m along for the ride. I earned a Business degree from MUN (2008) before moving into theology. I thought I was running from God’s call to ministry, but it turns out God was preparing me.  It was one of the best educational decisions I could have made.
  2. Marriage is the best commitment I’ve ever made. July 11, 2009 will always be the beginning of my biggest and most exciting adventure!
  3. Going to Bible College as a married couple took off all the pressure. While everyone was trying to find the love of their life, we were on the crazy journey of working, learning and exploring Toronto.  I wouldn’t give up the experience for anything!
  4. School is expensive and loans aren’t free. I’m still paying for every good and bad decision I made as a student.  Have fun, but think twice before spending money.
  5. Commuting is draining. After commuting in Toronto for over a year, I will avoid commuting in the future at all costs! Sometimes we convince ourselves that we have to make a certain amount of money, but the cost of distance is very draining on a marriage.
  6. Don’t shy away from big opportunities. At 25 years old, I took on the role of Lead Pastor of a small church (Bethel Bay Roberts).  I didn’t think I was ready, and I probably wasn’t.  But God doesn’t always call the equipped, he can also equip those who are called (Hebrews 13:21).
  7. Taking healthy risks is never a bad thing. Risk can sometimes lead to failure, but risks always lead to learning something new.  One thing I can say for sure – innovative success always beginnings with a healthy risk.
  8. You’re never ready for kids. I will never have enough energy, time or money.  No matter what, we had to adjust what we had in order to “train up a child in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6).
  9. Raising kids is exhausting, but extremely exciting. I wonder where my toddler’s energy comes from, because I don’t have it. We might celebrate an “early bedtime” kind of night, but waking up to a child who calls me “daddy” is the beginning of a good day.
  10. My wife has to come before my kids. I love my kids and they are my pride and joy, but my wife and I are a life-long team.  She’s my “partner in crime” and I can’t afford for my kids, or anything else, to derail that.
  11. Dedication and commitment always pay off in the long term. I’ve blogged on and off for the past five years.  Once I committed myself to posting at least one new post a week, engagement increased over 200 percent.
  12. Every aspect of my life is connected. My health, work, and home life all affect each other. It’s all too common to focus on one thing as we try to improve.  I’m not exactly great at keeping the balance, but I’m learning I can’t work on one and not the other.

#Learn from the past; focus on #growth for the future. #discipleship #tenyears Click To TweetAnd now it’s time for decade #3!  Thanks for reading and make sure to reflect yourself!  Learn from the past; focus on growth for the future.

Your turn…

What have you learned in the past 10 years?  How can you leverage those lessons to increase personal growth for the years to come?

I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below, on social media, or by email (andrewholm@gmail.com).  SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Bring Back the 50s “Wife”!?

Balancing Towards a Healthy Marriage

Reading Time: 5 minutes

A photo has recently circulated around social media describing how a wife in the 1950s should prepare for her husband’s return from work.  Now, before I say anything else, let the record show that if I expected any of these items from my wife, she wouldn’t be my wife for very long. But the picture did get me thinking – have we discarded some valuable marriage advice on account of the extreme conditions we found ourselves in?

bring-back-the-50s-wife

If you have yet to see the photo, here it is:

tips-to-look-after-your-husband

We read these 1950s guidelines humorously in 2016.  Many today can’t even imagine living in a world with that mindset.

But here’s the issue: we have to realize we’re people of extremes. We tend to go from one extreme (nearly abuse of women) to the other (nearly abuse of men).  You could argue against those extremes if you want, but the pendulum definitely swings.

In Canada, the divorce rate has leveled off in recent years, but so has the commitment of marriage.1  In our push to treat women better, we haven’t solved marriage problems.  The problems are just different now.

So, here’s my question: have we discarded anything of value?  To use the common phrase: “Have we thrown the baby out with the bathwater?”

Here are some thoughts to consider:

1. Selflessness is the key to a healthy marriage.

A healthy #marriage should include two people who put the other before themselves. Click To TweetThe verse that says, “Wives submit to your husbands…and husbands love your wives, like Christ loved the Church…” (Ephesians 5:22f) is often misunderstood.  The key to that verse is selflessness.  A healthy marriage should include two people who put the other person before themselves. Why not spoil your spouse!?  The only potential problem – it can’t be one-sided.

2. Generalized gender roles shouldn’t exist.

Our culture demands gender roles – what men and women should and shouldn’t do. Biblically, this shouldn’t be the case.  Jacob and Esau are great examples.  Both were male and yet completely different.  Esau was a hunter, while Jacob was a home-maker.  At no point, does scripture say either of them were “outside” of their gender.2  A healthy marriage doesn’t include generalized roles, rather leverages the strengths of each other.  That means some of these guidelines could actually help stay-at-home dads as well.

3. Listening and communicating to your spouse is a good thing.

If you haven’t heard this before, you haven’t been listening.  Communication and genuinely listening to your spouse is a part of a healthy marriage.  A common issue among divorcees is a lack of attention for each other.  Again, it can’t be one-sided, but it’s something we should value and protect for sure.

4. It takes a community to raise a child.

This 1950 guide seems to put most of the active parenting role on the mother; however, both parents (and sometimes other family and friends) hold that responsibly.  It’s probably safe to say we all agree with that.  The problem is, when we discard this traditional mindset, we can’t forget that if someone does stay home with the children (either parent) their level of daily parenting is still greater.  The responsibility might be equal, while the activity may not be.  A healthy marriage recognizes this dynamic.

5. Stress goes both ways.

There’s no need for “making him comfortable.”  But let’s face it, everyone deals with a variety of issues every day.  A healthy marriage recognizes the daily stress of their spouse.  It’s probably not a good idea to compare the level of stress – the stress is just different.  I wish I was better at this, but creating a “winding-down time” before diving into the world of parenting a toddler would be helpful.

6. Make the evening “ours”.

A healthy #marriage is about being together. #unity #HealthyAttention Click To TweetAfter a long day make efforts to spend quality time together.  Watch your favorite TV show, play a game, or share a funny story.  Even if it’s work around the house, time spent together is valuable.  If there’s one thing this guide has right, is protecting the need for the home to be a safe and peaceful place. It just shouldn’t be one-sided.  A healthy marriage is about being together.

I can’t say I’m perfect on all these fronts [and my wife would say, “Amen!”], but they are things I value and try to work on.

At the end of day, we should probably take this 1950s list and apply it to both spouses.  We have the tendency to dismiss things.  If we lived more selflessly, however, marriage would become a sought after commitment instead of a traditional option.

Your turn…

What aspects would you want to protect or return?  How can we move towards balance and not another extreme?

I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below, on social media, or by email (andrewholm@gmail.com).  SUBSCRIBE HERE!

References   [ + ]

Have We Derailed Christmas?

Chaos, Family, or Mission?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” sang Andy Williams.1  I completely agree, but I’m not sure we all agree with what makes it wonderful.  I actually think many Christians have missed the mark when it comes to Christmas.  It may even be possible that we have merged the good parts of secular Christmas with the mission of Christmas.  The only problem – we may have derailed the mission altogether.

christmas-derailed

When I think of Christmas, I think of three possible mindsets: Christmas Chaos, Family Christmas, or Christmas Mission.

1. Christmas Chaos

Everything is busier during Christmas!  Calendars are full of concerts, shopping, recitals, shopping, dinners, and… did I mention shopping?  If you’re not buying a gift, you’re in anticipation of opening a gift.  Every day is faster than the next and the temptation to “keep up with the Joneses”2 grows continually.

2. Family Christmas

Christmas becomes warm and sweet.  It’s when Christmas is about gathering together as a family, experiencing tradition from one year to the next, and celebrating the holidays with “good cheer.” It’s not about the gifts, but the people you care about.

3. Christmas Mission

This is when we focus on God’s ultimate gift to us – Jesus.  We remember God’s mission (gifting us with Jesus) and act in our mission (sharing that gift with others).  Just as God selflessly gave his Son to us to provide hope and peace, we act selflessly love others to share in that gift.

Is it possible to experience all three of these Christmas mindsets during the season?  Absolutely!  Can you focus on all three?  Impossible!

Most would agree Christmas Chaos, and the commercialism that surrounds that, is completely missing the mark of Christmas.  But where do we go from there?

We may #believe in the #Christmas #Mission, but do we actually value it? Click To TweetI think we may have fallen into the trap of believing that Family Christmas is the actual meaning of Christmas.  We may have actually derailed the beautiful hope that Christmas brings.  Yes, we may believe in the Christmas Mission, but do we actually value it over Family Christmas?

We know Family Christmas can’t be the center of Christmas, because not all of us have family.  If family doesn’t exist, does that mean that Christmas doesn’t exist?  No, of course not!  It’s a good thing that the Christmas Mission includes everyone!

Does that mean that Family Christmas isn’t important?  Absolutely not!  Family remains an important part of our lives.  It just means that Christmas doesn’t surround the family.  Instead, Christmas is about how family and friends experience the Christmas Mission.

Here are some ways we can refocus our thinking:

  • Care for those in need.

Nothing refocuses us towards the Christmas mission like selflessly giving.  It’s counter-intuitive for our culture to focus on giving, let alone giving selflessly.  What would Christmas look like if we, as family and friends, gave up something to help someone else?  We’re too quick to say we can’t afford to give, and yet focusing on mission means focusing on giving, not receiving.

  • Protect and embrace the birth of Jesus.

It’s one thing to read the Christmas story before we open our presents on Christmas morning, it’s another thing to allow the Christmas story to impact everything we do. I think we all too often get the “religious” thing over with so we can have fun.  We probably forget that, without Christ, the hope of tomorrow is gone.  Christmas time should be sacred.  That doesn’t mean Christmas is always serious, but our activities should bring us closer to Jesus, not further away.

  • Experience Advent.

You may worship in a denomination where the advent liturgy is practiced, or you may now.  Unfortunately, I come from a denomination that has not traditionally practiced advent.  However, I grew up in a local assembly that did.  At Bethel, where I lead, we work through it every year.  It helps build anticipation of the arrival of Christ.

  • Share Christmas.

Spread love, joy and peace to those around us.  Live out the Christmas mission.  Show those around us that knowing the Saviour is life-changing and life-giving.  That might mean giving of our resources, or it might mean extending moments of love, joy and peace during moments of chaos.  It could drastically impact how you react in a busy mall parking lot.

Family is always a vital part of the Christmas Mission, but the focus can’t be on family.  If we do it right, our families should experience the Christmas Mission together.

Your turn…

What is the focus of Christmas?  What makes Christmas “wonderful”?

I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below, on social media, or by email (andrewholm@gmail.com).  SUBSCRIBE HERE!

References   [ + ]