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Reflections at Cliff Jones By the time you’re reading this, I’ll already be on the other side of the hill. For some, this is a scary time of life; for me, it hasn’t been too intimidating, at least not as of today. A lot of people go through a mid-life crisis, buy a sports car, get hair implants, etc. I’ve not had those desires (yet) and would skip the sports car to buy a Jeep Wrangler personally. Instead, I’ll keep driving my 2000 Accord with 265,000 miles and thank God I have a car that runs. At the ripe old age of 40, I realize, now more than ever, something extraordinarily freeing, I Am Blessed! (And I don’t mind being bald either.) Instead of a crisis, this milestone in my life has caused me to stop and think a little. The following are just a few thoughts that come to mind and I hope they’ll both encourage you and maybe save you from some of the pitfalls I’ve had to work through. These are not necessarily in a particular order of importance. I would love to hear from you as well. Life is short and can become overwhelmingly busy… invest your time wisely. My relationship with God is paramount…but spending time with Him is often a struggle! Believe it or not, it’s okay to say NO. Say it with me, “N-O.” If you receive the ENCOURAGER, it probably means you have a heart for missions. From my experience, many in this category are not good at saying no (myself included). We volunteer for everything; this is how we’re wired. While being part of this silent minority in ministry that seem to end up doing the majority of ministry work may seem honorable, it can also lead to self-destruction. If you continue to give, without taking time to “take a knee” to rest and “refit,” you’ll be out of the race before you know it. Forgive my Army-eze; simply put, you have to take time to refill spiritually, physically, and emotionally. It’s ok to say NO to something good so you’ll be able to say YES to something greater later! While this may sound like a “no-brainer,” it’s often a struggle to be faithful in this area of life. You may say, “But you’re a pastor, how can this be?” Well, I’m human too—I get busy; I’m tired; I have a family, a job, and a million other excuses, just like you do. While this doesn’t make it right to be spiritually negligent, my reality is that sometimes in life, I am. (Before you throw your rocks at me…what about you?) Just like working out, doing well in school, eating healthy foods, etc., spiritual discipline must be practiced daily! Just as you’ve heard a thousand times before, you must carve a time in your day to be with God. If you’ve struggled in this area, reattack the strongholds that hold you back. It’s so worth every effort. My relationship with my family is second only to my relationship with God…yet there are so many things that vie for my attention that I often struggle to find balance. In August, we will celebrate our sixteenth wedding anniversary. Of those seventeen years, eleven have been spent on active duty in the Air Force and the Army. A lot of time during those years, I was working 75+ hour work weeks, deployed to 12 CAMP BIMI