Five Favorites Friday

Hey ya’ll!

Here’s five of my favorite things this week…

  • A quote I’ve been contemplating this week comes from my friend, Shawn Lovejoy“Be where your feet are.” This is a call to be fully present in the moment! Good reminder Shawn… especially in these days of transition! Be present for my family. Be present with my friends. Be present as the pastor of Church180.


  • These verses are really important to me right now (especially as we navigate the valley of death known as “being parents of teenagers”):  “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT) #pleasehelpmejesus


  • Friends… this week Sherri and I have spent time with friends from Church180 and the community… eating… laughing… reminiscing… dreaming. As we prepare to transition from Rock Hill we realize, the best thing we have here is people. Friends!


  • Music I’m enjoying – Fathead! Great for a “chillin” kind of mood! (I can’t believe I haven’t heard of these guys sooner! Thanks for the tip Amazon Music!)


  • Tears. I’ve cried a few times this week. Not like a “sobbing” cry… but a “wet eye” cry #hangingontothemancard. This week Sherri and I watched “Indivisible” and “No Greater Love”. Both are stories about Army chaplains and the stuff they see/do in the service of soldiers and country. We know that crazy days lie ahead… but we are equally confident that God has pointed us in this direction! We are humbled, and excited to serve… even if we do it with a few tears in our eyes. (This instagram post from Sarah Sandifer made my eyes leak a little too.) #tearsareagoodthing

So there they are… my five favorite things/experiences this week. How about you? What’s been some of your favorites?

Five Favorites Friday (11/2/18)

Five of my favorite things this week…

  • I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot this week: 

Hard times create strong men.

Strong men create good times.

Good times create weak men.

Weak men create hard times. 


  • I’ve spent time reading through the Bible books of 1 and 2 Kings… and wondering “Why are people so quick to ignore God?” While this may not technically be one of my “favorite” things this week… it may have been one of the more important questions with which I wrestled.


  • Definitely a highlight of this week has been the time spent with people. As we prepare to transition into a new chapter in our lives, we believe that our greatest memories will be of the people we love… so we’re spending time listening, learning, encouraging, and instructing the people we love!


  • This week I picked up Jentzen Franklin’s new book, “Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt. I enjoyed the first part (the second part was largely about marriage… not bad but not what I was expecting.) The first part talked a lot about forgiveness and kindness… two things that God has been counseling me on lately!

These are five things that have taken a lot of space on the desk in my head this week! 

Entry #2: Transitioning

Today I spent about 45 minutes talking with my Superintendent (my church boss… ranking right below Jesus 😉 ) about the logistics of a successful transition at Church180

We are still waiting to hear the “final word” regarding our transition date to the military. In the meantime we are doing a few things:

  • Working with our Superintendent and a core of leaders in our church to make the smoothest possible transition for Church180.
  • Identifying projects and departments around Church180 that need focused attention in the days/weeks to come .
  • Spending time with people from Church180, and people in the community.
  • Planning out the final sermons I will be preaching at Church180… actually, they are the final sermons I will preach as a civilian (at least for a long time).

On the home front…

  • I am training hard! I’ll be one of the older guys in training… but I have every expectation of giving the young dudes a run for their money.
  • I’m watching every video and reading every article I can find about military culture and chaplains. I’m talking with every veteran and chaplain I can find who will shed insight on what it takes to be an effective, helpful chaplain… a chaplain that the soldiers WANT on the team!
  • I am writing out workout plans for Sherri and “Morning Shenanigans” for the ladies to be executed when I am not home. (If you’re not sure what “Morning Shenanigans” are… check out my Instagram page).
  • I am spending time with each of my ladies on our dates and making an effort to capitalize on key moments such as breakfast time conversations, etc.
  • I am reading and thinking a lot about the kind of work/ministry I will do in a military environment.

Yesterday I had the chance to sit down with a local Christian bookstore manager and do an interview. It was fun to talk about our transition and I was able to walk through a few key ideas that have been helpful for us as we have arrived at this decision. You can watch that interview here.

Five Favorites Friday (10/26/18)

Five of my favorite things this week include:

  • Amazon Music. This is part of the Amazon Prime package. It allows me to create multiple playlists… and it’s a real plus for the garage workouts (aka “morning shenanigans”). I like it better than Pandora because it allows me to pick specific songs I want rather than Pandora which limits me to genre.
  • Podcast I’m listening to a lot these days… my friend, Rob Polenik, owner of Brutal Iron Gym has been cranking out some great content that focuses on health and happiness! These podcasts are short and packed to the brim with helpful information!  I listen while I walk! (you can find him on PodBean or Itunes – search for “Brutal Iron Gym”)
  • Speaking of Rob and Brutal Iron Gym, he and his dad make one of my favorite “recovery tools”… a metal “scraper” used to work through knots in my muscles, break down scar tissue, etc. You can read about Graston work here. You can watch it in action here. If you’re interested in purchasing your own scraper reach out to Rob!
  • This week I finished John Meacham’s biography of Thomas Jefferson. Some of my favorite insights included how much value Jefferson placed on physical exercise, and how hard he worked to avoid confrontation. I also enjoyed watching the man who loved and often lived the “ivory tower life” employ pragmatism! Also, it was insightful to realize that the world of politics has always been dirty and hateful. We are NOT living in the worst days… it has always been bad. We just see it more now due to social media. This was a long book, but worth the read for anyone interested in history, leadership, and the management of power in personal and political environments.
  • Something I’m contemplating is how to take a page out of Derek Sivers practice of taking notes on the books he reads. I read a lot of books and am looking for a way(s) to remember and apply my favorite lessons from each book. Sivers has figured out a way that works for him. Every time I sit down with my books to use his method… I get overwhelmed, so I’m still searching, but I think I will end up using some of his ideas!

And so there they are… my five favorite things from this week! If you find something or someone helpful on this list I’d love to hear about it! 


Entry #1: Transitioning

Two weeks ago, Sherri and I shared with some of our favorite people in the world (Church180), that we are preparing to transition out of our role as a civilian pastor and move into a new role… active Army Chaplain (I wrote about it here).

As we prepare to do this, there are a lot of things that run through my mind:


  • How will my ladies handle my absence? 
  • How will they adjust to the new environment(s)?
  • Will Church180 be okay?
  • How will I deal with sleeping alone? (I’m a cuddler!)
  • What do I need to do to leave Church180 on a high note?
  • How in the world am I ever going to perform a 30 minute church service in the field?! (I can’t even preach a sermon that short).
  • The people at Church180… will I see them again? Which ones? 

And that’s just the stuff that comes quickly to mind! 

Over the course of 21 years of ministry, we have moved several times. Each time we determined to love and enjoy people right up until the very last second! We made a decision NOT to withdraw in an effort to ease the pain of separation. We determined to lean in, even though we knew it would enhance the sadness when we left. 

We believe that seeds of love that are sown are better than seeds of love that are stored. Seeds that are sown will bloom… and bring beauty. Seeds that are stored, though filled with potential, will yield nothing. 

As we prepare to transition, our first determination is to love as many and as much as we can… right up until the very end!

Five Favorites Friday

Heading into this new season of life I want to start blogging again.

Tim Ferris does something that I really like. He calls it 5 Bullet Friday. Every Friday he sends out his favorite things from the week.

I like that, so I’m going to take a page out of his book and do it on my blog too! All of it is of interest to me, but you’re welcome to anything you find helpful too!  Welcome to “Five Favorite Friday”!

  • Shawn Lovejoy wrote a list of “25 Lessons Learned From 25 Years of Marriage.” Sherri and I have printed it out and are talking our way through it. There’s a TON of goodness in this list!
  • As I prepare for this next season of life, I’m inspired by this chaplain who is at the top of his game spiritually and physically. 
  • I’m finishing up week one of Jim Wendler’s strength training program called 5/3/1. I’ve run this program before and never been disappointed. It’s good to be getting under some heavy weight again! (This article explains the programWARNING TO MY MOM – it does have some salty language).
  • The newest app I’ve downloaded and use daily is Libby. I am listening to a lot of books these days and Libby (and Overdrive) let me listen to LOTS of books for FREE!!! (I found a lot of additional resources for free audiobooks from Money Saving Mom.)
  • The purchase I’m enjoying the most right now is the “Slingshot Hip Circle” from Mark Bell! It activates my hips and glutes prior to squats and deadlifts! I use it on most days as part of my warmup routine!

There it is gang! If you’ve found something helpful on here I’d love to hear back from you in the comments! 

Have a great weekend!

BIG change for Team Peterson!

(Artwork by Larry Selman, titled “They Were Always There”)

Yesterday at Church180, Sherri and I shared some big news (no, we’re not having another baby).

The best way to share it here is to share a letter with you that we sent to the church:

To my friends and “family” at Church180,

This will be the most difficult letter I have ever written to you.

After having served as your pastor for nine years, Sherri and I have determined that God is calling us to a new venture. To that end, my family and I will be leaving Church180 later this fall.

We have clarity and peace in this decision, as well as a good bit of sadness. I want to be clear with you… I love Jesus, I love Church180, and I love and will remain happily married to Mrs. Peterson. Nothing immoral or unethical has transpired to cause this change. God has simply called us to a different kind of venture and we would be neither obedient nor fulfilled if we did not follow His leadership.

Before I tell you what the next steps are for the Petersons, I would like to tell you why I think this is good for Church180, and what is going to happen next.

Church180 was started with the intention of reaching out to unbelievers, skeptics, and rookie Christians who are trying church again. We have seen some success in this endeavor. We have over 1200 names in our database of people who have come through the doors of our church. Some have been visiting. Some have stayed for a while and left. And YOU are still here… thank you! This is great, but the work of the church includes more than just having people walk through the door.

My wonderful friends, after having been a senior pastor for twenty-one years I have come to conclude something about myself and what I believe are necessary and important components for a local church – God has given me two primary gifts: evangelism and teaching. I do those well… but the local church requires so much more than just these two gifts.

I know that Church180 needs leadership that is gifted, skilled, and passionate about additional components; things like systems, finance, facilities and leadership development.

I have watched pastors stay too long and destroy churches. I will not do that to Church180. Church180 is entering a chapter in her story that requires leadership and passion for areas outside of my gifting and passion. This is part of why I have determined to step aside.

What happens next at Church180?

Our Superintendents are working with me and our Advisory Team on a transition timeline that is healthy for Church180.

Our superintendents will be working directly with our Advisory Team to identify a new pastor who will love and lead Church180 into the next chapter of this story.

While there are still some details to be worked out regarding exact dates, we will keep you informed as this process unfolds.

And this leads me to the next part of this story…

Where are the Petersons headed?

After lots of prayer, and hours of conversation with Sherri and various mentors, I have determined that the next step in my life is to become an active-duty Army Chaplain. In this environment, I will be able to maximize the gifts that God has given me and live out His calling on my life to its fullest potential… it is “my place” … it is “my thing.”

Part of the process of becoming an Army Chaplain is to write a letter to the Army Colonel who approves these transitions explaining why I want to be an Army Chaplain. Here is my letter:

Why I want to be an Army Chaplain

My earliest recollections are of playing with “army men.” Growing up, that love and desire for the military never diminished. At seventeen years of age I secured my GED through the National Guard and realized, “this is what I want to do with my life!” The feel of the uniform, the weight of responsibility, the sense of adventure and purpose… they surpassed what I had anticipated. Then I was in a car accident, broke my knee, and was medically discharged… all before shipping to boot camp.

That was one of the darkest points in my life. My spiritual awakening came about a year after that incident. I did not know what I wanted to do, but I knew I needed a new location to begin my search… so I chose a Bible college. It was there that I sensed the call of God to enter ministry. I responded affirmatively but have never lost the love or desire for the military. While working on my second master’s degree, I was in a cohort with a Marine major. He mentioned that I should be a chaplain.

I immediately shut that down. In my mind, if I was going to be a soldier, I was going to be kicking down doors and taking down bad guys. Almost twelve years later, at a men’s retreat, the special speaker was an Army chaplain who had previously served in the Special Forces. I approached him, and we discussed my lingering longing for military. He suggested that I check out the chaplain’s program. Again, I shot it down… but he didn’t accept my answer. He redefined what “chaplain” means. That was almost one year ago.                          

I have served as a senior pastor for over twenty years. I love ministry, but for the last decade I have been unsatisfied… searching. In the last few weeks a series of conversations and events have confirmed that it is time for me to investigate this sense. I reached out to mentors and talked with Army recruiters. The more I prayed, thought, talked, and researched, the more obvious it became that it is possible to spend the second half of my life engaged in the two things I love dearly… ministry and military. If I am granted the honor to serve as a chaplain, I will happily dedicate my life to serving God and country with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

After several months of prayer, long walks, and deep reflection, and LOTS of meetings, God has made it clear that we are to make this move. I have been accepted in the military as a chaplain with the rank of Captain, and I will spend the next years of my life “bringing God to soldiers and soldiers to God.”

Church180, As I write this letter to you, there are still some details that need to be completed and questions that remain to be answered:

When will we go? That is not certain yet.

Where will we go? That is not certain yet.

We have debated when and how to share this information with you since there are still some uncertainties. It is beginning to feel like we are being disingenuous in our conversations with you regarding the future, etc., so because of that we determined to tell you what we know.

As we begin this transition, I ask you to do four things:

  1. Please pray for Church180 as these changes take place.
  2. Please pray for my family as we navigate these changes.
  3. Please “find your place and do your thing” at Church180 so that she will become a place that is “healthy, growing, and full of love” (Ephesians 4:16).
  4. Please take time to deeply evaluate your own gifts and passions and make sure you are living out the calling of God on your life.

I have loved serving as your pastor. I love the story and the values of Church180. I am excited about what will happen next in the chapter of Church180, and you!

Thank you for being a part of Church180, and my family’s life.

We love you!

The best is yet to come! Seriously!

Paul, Sherri, and “The Ladies.”