Thursday, January 27, 2011

Steps Away from Internet Distractions

Men, we’re vulnerable to distractions and the Internet fuels many of them.

So here is a tool you might consider: Freedom. It works for either Mac or PC, and – for the number of minutes you specify – blocks access to the Internet from that machine. Bingo, there go some of the distractions. $10. This could really help your productivity and keep you (or some members of your family) out of trouble.

Anti-Social is a Mac-only app that blocks access to social media sites, but not everything on the Internet. $15.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Train Yourself to Ask These Questions

My mind is very active, frequently wandering off to unhealthy places. I've developed some thought questions and reminders to help me stay on track:

"Does this thought make Satan happy, or God?"

"I am not my own, I was bought at a price, for His purpose."

"Does that whisper sound like something God would say? Or someone else?"

"Being tired is never an excuse or rationalization."

"And if that was the lead story on the local news...?"

"There is nothing anonymous in this universe."

"Backbone!"

"I am commanded not to fear but to put my trust in God."

What's on your list?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Changing Educational Paradigms

Dads, this is a challenging/shocking video -- brilliantly presented -- sobering content. We need to be thinking about how we educate our children, and the consequences of the systems we accept as "normal." I'm not advocating everyone switch to homeschooling, or that public schooling is all bad. I am advocating we think about what's going on, trendlines, what data tells us, and the responsibilities we have as dads to help children (and not just our own children).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Parenting by Prepared Spontaneity

I really appreciate this insight from Paul David Tripp on parenting:

Parenting is all about living by the principle of prepared spontaneity. You don’t really know what’s going to happen next. You don’t really know when you’ll have to enforce a command, intervene in an argument, confront a wrong, hold out for a better way, remind someone of a truth, call for forgiveness, lead someone to confession, point to Jesus, restore peace, hold someone accountable, explain a wisdom principle, give a hug of love, laugh in the face of adversity, help someone complete a task, mediate an argument, stop with someone and pray, assist someone to see his heart, or talk once again about what it means to live together in a community of love.”

I believe part of the reason we get so tired at parenting and want to escape is because we prefer to believe the untruth that parenting can be done predictably, conveniently, and with ease.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Different Way to Honor MLK

Today in the US we take time to remember Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here's a way to honor the man and the movement: [re]read Letter from a Birmingham Jail. It's not as widely known as some other texts, and is worth pondering.

And then take some time to ponder this: what injustices exist today in your sphere of influence? What can you do about this? How could you take this before the Lord in prayer?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Elijah, You, and the Power of God

Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” (1 Kings 17:1, NIV)

That's how Elijah is introduced.

May I ask you a question: What do you know about Elijah?

How old was he?
Was he wealthy? Or poor?
Was he tall and handsome? Popular with others?
Was he a rebellious boy or a model son?
Did he come from a godly family or good pedigree?
Did he have sisters or brothers or cousins?
Was he married or single? Divorced? A widower, maybe?
What were his skills and talents? Did he have a trade?
What were his past experiences?
Was he an extrovert or an introvert?
Did he have a high IQ?

We simply aren't told. Because Elijah's past doesn't matter to God's ability to use him now.

Elijah is very intentionally presented to us as Everyman. Because it's not about Elijah, it's about God working through Elijah. In fact the name Elijah means "God is my Lord."

James reinforces this understanding as he calls people to pray:

The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn't rain, and it didn't—not a drop for three and a half years. (James 5:16-17, The Message translation)

So I encourage you not to get hung up on your past. Don't let Satan whisper to you about your inadequacies and hypocrisies. (Of course you're inadequate! Of course you've been a hypocrite! It's not about you, it's about Jesus!) Be Elijah today for everyone in the sphere of influence that God has granted you, and pray confidently.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Reminder -- special day is coming

Husbands, quick reminder: Valentine's day is just a month away.

Any jerk can get a last minute gift. Take some time, be thoughtful, be a man.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sunday, January 09, 2011

"Why Do You Blog?"

A friend recently asked me, "Why do you blog?"

Simple answer, echoing John Wesley: I write blog posts to myself; if others want to listen in, great.

Blogging is good personal discipline. It causes me to pray, "Lord, make me a large and clean conduit of your love and grace to others." I strongly believe that under the sovereignty of God these blog posts are useful for encouraging and building up others, including people I will never meet or who outlive me. Blogging also helps me overcome fears.

Be bold, be gentle.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Show Up. Work Hard.

Ok, husbands and fathers, check out this Seth Godin blog post (12/21/2010):

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Go to work on a regular basis.
Art is hard. Selling is hard. Writing is hard. Making a difference is hard.
When you're doing hard work, getting rejected, failing, working it out--this is a dumb time to make a situational decision about whether it's time for a nap or a day off or a coffee break.
Zig taught me this twenty years ago. Make your schedule before you start. Don't allow setbacks or blocks or anxiety to push you to say, "hey, maybe I should check my email for a while, or you know, I could use a nap." If you do that, the lizard brain is quickly trained to use that escape hatch again and again.
Isaac Asimov wrote and published 400 (!) books using this technique.
The first five years of my solo business, when the struggle seemed neverending, I never missed a day, never took a nap. (I also committed to ending the day at a certain time and not working on the weekends. It cuts both ways.)
In short: show up.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Now: apply this mentality to being the husband and father God calls you to be. Show up. Work hard. "Making a difference is hard."

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Put the Seat Down

Wish I had this when I was engaged to my beloved...recommended, even if you've been married a while. Would be an excellent book to use with any pre-married man you are mentoring.

Put the Seat Down and Other Brilliant Insights for an Awesome First Year of Marriage

Monday, January 03, 2011

Disconnects?

Ponder this message:



Now, what might God be saying to you (ya-hum, YOU)?

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy 2011!

Happy New Year, everyone! May God make His Name glorious in your life, and bless you.