Thursday, July 31, 2003

Dads, I recommend you sign up for Todd Wilson's FamilyMan Weekly email message. I've found his messages very encouraging, with great ideas. This week, for example, are some suggestions about washing the cars with your kids.
Change is a function of disatisfaction with the status quo, vision for a better future state, and the amount of inertia to be overcome. We could write the mathematical function like this:

Change = f(D, V; I)

I have a great vision for being fit and trim, but my disatisfaction with the current state is often too low to overcome the inertia. Sometimes I have a lot of disatisfaction, but limited vision about the desired future state. Either way, change doesn't happen quickly.

Spiritual change should be expressed this way:

Spiritual change = f(holy disatisfaction, godly vision; fleshly inertia, Satanic resistance)


Spiritual change = f(HD, GV; FI, SR)

Not all disatisfaction is holy, nor all visions of the future godly. Most of our inertia if from our flesh, this body of death. And we face resistance from the forces of evil, led by the prince of this world.

If you aren't changing, think about what factor(s) are strongest in your situation now. Let that be a help to your prayers.

Many media reports about the current situation in Iraq have poor perspective, frankly. Three articles can help you get a better perspective. Paul Gigot's report from Iraq on the trip, "This Was A Good Thing To Do", is excellent. Nobody wants Saddam back describes the overall economic and social life in Iraq -- no bed of roses, but already vastly better. And Charles Krauthammer underscores the overall importance of what America is doing in the Middle East.

Watching the soldiers killed in attacks or in accidents (60% of the fatalities, from my source in Iraq) reminds me that we're in a spiritual battle. We see a few individuals or families get picked off by the Enemy. Be mindful that Christ won the great Victory, but Satan continues to wage war on us.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Word origins are very interesting, and useful to understand. In this world you’ll hear a lot about your career. The English word career is derived from the Middle French word "carerer", which was a circular racetrack. (We derive the word careen from the same origin.) You can go very fast in a career, but in the eternal perspective you may not be going anywhere useful.

By contrast, the English word vocation is derived from “vocare” in Latin, meaning voice or calling.

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (1 Tim 6:11-21)

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (Eph 4:1)

Follow your calling, men.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Men, do you know what your strengths and gifts are? You'll get plenty of feedback about your failings, shortcomings, and weaknesses. And this does help keep our pride from growing any worse. But men today need a strong message of encouragement.

There are several fine articles about spiritual gifts available online, and interactive assessment tools that can help you identify your spiritual gifts. Start with this quick overview (be sure to look up the verse references!), and then try an assessment tool.

Be sure to discuss the results with your wife, your pastor, and a friend.

I recommend the book, Now, Discover Your Strengths. (It's available for sale on Amazon here.) The central premise of this book is that you have at least five natural strengths or talents that you can build on -- no matter what work or service you do. You can work on your weaknesses and improve them. But you'll make further progress by building on your strengths.

Men, you are the spiritual leader in your home. Help your wife and children identify their spiritual gifts and natural talents. This will be enormously encouraging to them.

Everyone in your family should know the natural talents and spiritual gifts the Lord has provided them.

Monday, July 28, 2003 columnists are worth checking for a politically conservative viewpoint on current US and world events.

I also highly recommend The Federalist newsletter. These writers do an excellent job communicating from a US Constitution -- which we have seriously departed from in this nation -- perspective.