Got problems? Need solutions? Don't we all. Wish God would show up to help? What if - instead of helping you to fix your own problem - what God really wants to do is use you to help others who share the very same problem? And what if in the process of allowing God to work through you in solving the problem which you share with others, your own problems are diminished as well. Let's think about that this week.
March 8th, 2014
March 2nd, 2014
We're bombarded with messages insisting that as Christ-Followers we should "be in the Word" and that we should "pray". No one would argue with those statements - or at least not aloud. Yet many men - myself included - find themselves so busy that a regular and predictable time to read, meditate on what is important and then to pray seem elusive. Add that to the demand that each man should lead his family well by guiding them in similar practices and the guilt over what isn't done can stack up like cord wood for a Maine winter.
Suppose though, that every man and every family had a collection of reminders of what they wanted to live for and live out? What if the reminders and the way in which the reminding was accomplished could be turned into regular family customs that were both meaningful and enjoyable.
Let's consider that this week.
December 28th, 2013
The people whom we surround ourselves with have a very powerful influence on who we become and where we go. Yet our choices about whom we allow to be close to us are often made without that thought in mind. The close friendships we make and the affiliations which we have can imprint themselves on our success path as surely as any other steps we take. If friendships are that powerful, why do we so often either take them for granted or develop them haphazardly?
December 21st, 2013
Wouldn't it be great to have some "Success Formula"? Since we've already defined success as moving intentionally toward worthy goals, but also suggested that worthy goals will varry according to the person then it might seem difficult to find a true formula. But todays's topic comes as close to that as possible. To believe - truely believe - that the thing you are striving for is worthy and noble and worth the risk, the sacrifice and the work is the first part of that formula. Without a belief - in what you pursue, your call to pursue it, and your ability to attain it, you won't start. And even if you could somehow find a good enough reason to start without that passionate and committed belief, it's highly unlikely that you'd continue once things became difficult. Belief is the first part of the formula. It's complimentary bookend is persistence. To believe in the value of what you pursue and to stop and almost nothing to attain it...those are the first and last parts of the "success formula.
Today we'll look at what may be the 5 components of the formula, starting with belief, moving on to planning, then taking action, next being attentive and observant of what is happening and the results you are achieving, and then finally keeping on until you have arrived.
December 14th, 2013
"That's not fair!!" OK, maybe you've heard those words from a young son or daughter. They, of course, were referring to some rule you created or enforced, or maybe even the way in which you handled a family discipline issue relating to several of your children. It's one thing when a teen daughter or irate son complains. But have those very same thoughts echoed through your own mind at a time or two during your adult life? The whiny objections of an adolescent are understandable - if annoying. Yet each adult I know has expressed or at least thought that very same thing. Maybe that prompts an important question. "Is Life Supposed to be Fair?" If so, who's fairness will be the standard? And who will then serve as the "fairness police"?
What if...What if thoughts of "fairness" were actually a distraction from larger and more important concerns? Would you be curious to learn how God views the concept of fairness? I thought so. So let's dig in.
December 7th, 2013
Who hasn't failed at something? I guess we could say it starts even before grade school and is only amplified after that. But honestly, what were your thoughts on failure while growing up? And what are your thoughts on failure today? Something to be avoided at all cost? Something that successful people don't do? Maybe something we're sure other people do also, but it's best to keep it all hidden? From our earliest days most of us have been given a script to act out which will lead to some form of "success". Since success seems to be the opposite of failure, then it would seem to follow that successul people do everything in their power to avoid failing. But is that true? Part yes...and Part no.
This week's topic follows naturally and sequentially after our discussion of success. And while you might not be surprised by what we talk about, I want to assure you that a superficial understanding of failure and its remedy will only leave any of us bitter, wounded, and soured on life. If anyone wants to achieve a durable and lasting success, it's essential that he or she also learns to fail well and fail wisely. Let's take a look.
November 30th, 2013
Who doesn't want to be successful. Parents don't want to raise mediocre kids. Adults really don't long for mediocre careers or mundane marriages. No one stives to be ordinary. We each want to succeed. But what does that really mean? What is success? And how can we arrive there? Just as importantly, how can we keep retain the success we've been privaledged to acquire and use it to achieve even higher levels of success?
Who doesn't want to know the answers to those questions? Yet many Christians struggle with the whole idea of success. Is that part of God's plan? Does God really care about my success? Others have no such problem. Their philosophy is more one of "God wants me to be wealthy and happy. Who's right? Either? Neither?
While the Bible actually doesn't say too much about success directly, is speaks volumes to a related topic. It shares abundantly on the topic of "how not to fail". As a matter of fact, it leaves many avenues open to each man for succeeding abundantly, but provides some cautionary words about succeeding in ways which won't be worth the price we each pay for the success we gain. I hope you'll find this to be a fasinating topic. I also hope you'll find it very very helpful.
Inlaws, Outlaws and other Laws…Living with Peace while offering Mercy, Grace, and Love in those tension-filled Family gatherings.
November 23rd, 2013
If you can remember back to the days of the video rental store, you'd browse the racks in search of a great movie or two to watch on a winter evening. Near the Holidays, there'd alway be a collection of "made for Christmas" movies. Some were serious, some romantic, and yet there was inevitably a a large of comic-relief movies. Movies about wacky families and their odd ways or full-blown conflicts. Why were those always so funny? I think it may have been because beneath the very thin verneer of a different set of faces and perhaps some very unusual situations - beneath all that - was the similarity between those dysfunctional "made-for-a-movie families and our own.
Every family is a little odd. Every family has its times of tension. Into every family come family tensions. Nothing can bring us joy and nothing can bring us sorrow or pain quite like family. Yet, no man really enjoys the tensions, the ackward feelings of inadequacy, or the private conflicts which often occur before, during, or after extended family gatherings.
Fortunately the Scriptures really do have some things to teach us and some ways to encourage us through those potential land-mines we call holiday dinners and family gatherings. Let's take a look.
November 16th, 2013
Every married couple confronts the day when one or another of the partners is hurt, frustrated or perhaps disillusioned. Questions such as "what did I ever see in this person?" or "How can I go on in this?" float to conscious thought. At such times we have choices to make. Either work through the tough stuff and work it out, or ignore the problems and hope they'll go away.
Problems go away on their own, about like a leaky roof gets better on its own. If repairs or renovations are not undertaken, what began as a leak becomes major damage. That's true with house roofs and with relationships. Sometimes we'll make foolish statements such as "I'd never" or "I know she's upset, but she would never...". It's best not to operate under the assumption that we're invincible and immune to temptation. It's smarter to follow the counsel of Paul who reminded readers two thousand years ago that husbands and wives can be tempted toward unfaithfulness. For that reason, our responsibility as men is to initiate the conversations and make the efforts to restore vibrant relationship. We are seek - respectfully and graciously - to bring difficulties which divide to the light of day and address them carefully. In that way intimacy at all levels can be reestablished.
Remember this: Adultary is unfaithfulness to our covenant promises. We can be unfaithful in many ways. Yet adultary is usually the easy and lazy way out of a difficult relationship.
November 9th, 2013
Conflicts are a certainly to be expected in any long-standing relationship. Conflicts can actually have a very healthy effect on mature people who must live with each other and partner together to make their way through life. But while conflict is normal, should be expected and is usually healthy, "Quarrelsomeness" is anything but healthy. To have a spirit which hungers to correct, to challenge, to prove wrong, is not only a source of frustration to others, it can be extremely destructive. Let's take a closer look in this week's podcast.