Last week was especially difficult. I had to write a funeral service for a young mother of two.Бизон

The honor of preaching a funeral in such tragic circumstances is among the most precious of pastoral tasks. Its also among the most difficult to prepare for.

I look at the picture of the family as I prepare. Im seeking to immerse myself in their pain. I want to feel the emotion of what I am entering into. This enables me to unite myself and my funeral message with the mourners who will be in that room. It also helps me to manage the emotion that will surface during the service.

I rarely write out manuscripts for my sermons. Instead I jot down phrases and transition statements that only make sense to me. I was preparing my message for this funeral in the same way when my one word interrupted me.

While praying through the message and writing my transition statements, I looked up and saw my one word written on a 3 x 5″ note card above my desk: INVEST.

Seeing the word, I suddenly saw an opportunity. Looking through the lens of My One Word forced me to ask the question: Who needs the opportunity to learn to do what I am about to do?

This wasn’t a question of arrogance, but of stewardship. One of the reasons I chose the one word INVEST this year was to remind me that God has granted me the opportunity to invest in and develop other staff members at my church. To help them learn to deal well with circumstances like the one I was facing.

So I called several of our pastors and suggested they attend the funeral. Then I spent the next three hours writing out the entire funeral service message.  I didn’t write it out to aid me during the service; I wrote it out to aid my staff.  Next week, I’ll sit down with these young pastors and walk them through the manuscript – and the process of addressing tragedy in a way that helps people grapple with mortality, while calling them to faithfulness in spite of their pain.

Had I not looked at this situation through the lens of my one word, I would’ve missed this opportunity to invest in my staff. Hopefully my investment of time with them will help them to some day invest well in others who grieve.


Your one word will interrupt your day if you let it. It will redirect you mid-task – helping you see important stuff you might otherwise have missed.

How has your one word interrupted you recently? What change in course did you make because of it?


  1. Marlene says:

    My One Word this year is Grace. My family has been dealing with some stressful situations this year. Our son was arrested on a D.U.I. charge, and dealing with all of the court dates, the loss of his drivers license, and having to take him where he needs to be, and the added financial responsibilities involved have been trying. However, when I chose my word, it was because of this situation and knowing there would be a great need for Grace during this process. Just knowing the Lord is with me and allowing me to give Grace as He has to all of us, has also brought a calming peace as well.

  2. Crystal says:

    My word for this year is also “Invest”.

  3. Yvonne Moncovich says:

    My one word is control. I often find myself interrupted mid-rant by the realization that I’m allowing myself to get out of control over something beyond my control. My one word helps to bring it all back into focus and get me back on a path of the things that I am able to control.

  4. Brittanie Mills says:

    Since this wasn’t in the “homework” category, the only way I could find to answer the questions was to post a comment.

    My one word has interrupted me recently on several occasions. The one that comes to mind is after I was asked to open the church body in prayer a few Sundays ago. I read a Scripture passage and prayed. I just prayed what came to my heart and mind.

    I was later told that my prayer had really touched a number of people and that they were moved by it and felt the sincerity.

    Then, a day or so later, a group of us was sent an email with several prayer requests. Instead of just telling the person I would pray for the requests, I chose to respond to the email by writing out my prayer, as it came to my heart.

    Again, several people told me that it was a beautiful prayer and my pastor told me, “You’re concern for people is very cool! I am excited to see what God has for you after CLA – I know he has a good plan! Have I ever shown you our Biblical Counseling stuff?”

    All of this called my word to mind, completely. My word is PURPOSE. I believe that God has called me to be more intentional about my actions this year. I felt that these examples just put that purpose right back into perspective.

    The change of course that I made was that I felt more encouraged to keep moving forward in my pursuit of intentionality. I don’t want to just be a bump on a log when it comes to my Christianity, speaking out, and being a leader for Christ. I want to be intentional. These small praises gave me some much needed encouragement.

  5. heidi Schuster says:

    So glad you guys are posting again! I don’t know what has been going on this year but I have been keeping my word in front of me refusing to let go of it just because of the silence here. My word this year – Passion – has totally interrupted my life so far. For the first time in over ten years I have let something take priority over running and I must say – it is awesome. I finally think I have found “my place” in Christ’s body.

  6. Lainey Frances says:

    My one word is PLAYFUL. I keep it posted at my desk at work so that when I get caught up in the seriousness of the business world, I find ways to add a little play to my day, whether it is by changing an email to be more lighthearted or by sharing a smile and a positive word to colleagues. It’s easy to do when I just think of how abundantly blessed we are in this country!

  7. Amy Stonehill says:

    Two Januarys ago my word was Father; difficult year as my understanding had to come 180 degrees to understand God as my Father. One January ago He ramped it up to Omnipotent; and proved He IS OMNIPOTENT. This year? Love. You have GOT to be kidding me! You see, I KNOW what He’s asking; to love as Jesus loves. To forgive as Jesus forgives. To love those I honestly don’t want to love thank you very much… …myself included in that list. The above post reminds me of the real perspective… we must love because He loves. And we must LIVE because HE LIVES. And we must share His Hope and His Grace and His Life because you never know when you will NOT have that opportunity again. Another challenging word this year. Love. So I choose not my will, but His be done. Help us all to step into our One Word this year and make us more like You, Jesus. Help us reach one more for Jesus – before we close our eyes.

  8. Yvonne Lendacki says:

    Awake, arise for your light has come. Isaiah 60:10
    My One Word is “watch”. The scriptures task us not to fall asleep, stay awake. I awake and “Watch” to see where the Lord is leading me to serve and love on others everyday.
    “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Matt 26:41
    To get to know the true character of God I have to wait be patient, “watch” and pray…. to love others right where they are. (This is where my morning quiet time is essential to my walk.) Conform my Life Jesus and help me lead others to You. Awake ,arise for your light has come!
    “What I say to you I say to everyone,Watch!”Mark 13:37