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Showing posts from November, 2008

Dreading the Disapproval of Christ

From the comments on Ben Arment's blog...
"May I dread the disapproval of Christ above all else."

Verses for the Holidays

My friend Jon posted about the recent tragedy which kicked off the holly-jolly-holiday shopping season in America. Even in the midst of a so-called economic recession/depression, where joblessness rates are higher than ever, and every company and their mom are asking for government bail-outs, retail shopping was reportedly up 3% from last year.

Insane.

I've been reading some Scripture verses that have been shaping my view of the gift giving/getting time of year. I share them with you in hopes that you'll reconsider the need for another toy, another TV, or another book to collect dust on your shelf.

1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides f…

Giving Grace

I've been reading through Hebrews (my favorite book of the Bible) and this verse jumped out at me this morning,
"See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God;" (12:15 ESV)At first glance it seems like a call to evangelism doesn't it? But as I was reading the text today this thought came to mind. Maybe what Jesus is telling us is this, "give others a break and extend to them in their sin against you a small part of the massive grace that God has given you through the cross."

We model the grace of God that we, as sinners, have received when we give grace to others. So what does this look like?
your spouse forgot to pick-up the milk but you GIVE GRACE because you know you regularly forget to 'pray continually' and 'give thanks in all circumstances'your child's room is not as clean as you'd like but you GIVE GRACE because you know your heart is filthy before a Holy God and he stills desires youyour co-worker isn't the easie…

What Would Your Time Budget Look Like?

Many people break down their income and create a budget to track their spending in a more purposeful manner. But how about their time?

This morning I wondered what my time budget would look like if I created one. Here are some categories I would consider,

Church
Ministry
Friends
Meaningful relationships
Work
Wife
Kids
Sports
Hobbies
Bible
Prayer
Housework
Sleep
TV
Reading
Blogging
Web surfing
Appearance
Exercise

From a preliminary glance I don't like they way my actual time spending looks compared to my ideal time budget.

Rick Warren says that time is the only resource in the world which all people have equal amounts of to invest. Being that Hebrews 4:13 says, "And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account" it would be wise for us to consider again how we spend the resource God gives us called time.

How will you invest yours and what is the return you'll receive?

Be What You Are

St. Francis de Sales,
Do not wish to be anything but what you are,
and try to be that perfectly.

7 Behaviour's for Effective Discipline

I have been listening to a great talk from the Resurgence's Biblical Parenting Conference by Dr. Ted Tripp called "An Overview of Corrective Discipline". He has written the book Shepherding a Child's Heart which I have added to my Christmas list, as should every parent.

Here are some notes I took on Dr. Tripp's teaching about discipline.

The central verse on discipline is,
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),“that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” - Eph. 6:1-3 (ESV)
As parent, we want our child to obey us because when they do they will experience safety and goodness in their life. When our children do not obey they are placing themselves outside the promise of life going well for them. Disobedience puts children in danger of all kinds.

Therefore, we never punish from an attitude of anger or power-tripping, rather, our discipline is alw…

Marriage Killers

Here is a list of things, from Focus on the Family, that act as Marriage Killers.

The Hard Work of Parenting Multiple Kids

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Parenting is no easy task. It is made even more difficult when you have multiple children.

One of the coolest parts of being the parent of multiple children is watching each child grow up and discover their uniqueness. God makes every child different. I have three kids. They all have different hair color and thickness. They have different interests and abilities. They have different temperaments and emotional make-ups. They are very different and they are very special.

The hard work of parenting is that I must assess each child's differences and then react to them in the way that best works with their uniqueness. I cannot discipline Jacob and Andrew the same way. I have to remember that Jacob's defiance at age 5 needs a different response then Andrew's defiance at age 2. I also have to remember that Isabelle will not react to praise they same way that Jacob will. Jacob is much more emotional, he loves t be praised for his good works. Isabelle is a more cerebral a…

5 Tips for Exercising Your Marriage Muscle

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I recently wrote an article called 5 Tips for Exercising Your Marriage Muscle.
The Marriage Muscle

Recently my wife and I were talking with a newly married couple about the challenge of developing and maintaining a strong marriage. Six years into it, Stephanie and I have faced our share of ups and downs, and after sharing our marital story with our friends we all came to the conclusion that a marriage is a lot like a muscle. If you want your marriage to grow and be strong you have to exercise it often. If you don’t exercise your marriage muscle it will shrink, weaken, and eventually, with enough misuse or maltreatment, begin to breakdown.Continue reading Exercising Your Marriage Muscle...

Christmas Gift Ideas

This is a a pretty tight Christmas for our family. We won't be giving many presents and instead, we'll be trying to focus on loving one another and preparing ourselves well for the future. However, if you feel compelled to get me something, here are a couple things I would really enjoy,

1. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
2. Desiring God's Marriage Gift Set

Maintaining Your Marriage Pleases God

From Wayne Grudem's challenging commentary: So concerned is God that Christian husbands live in an understanding and loving way with their wives, that he "interrupts" his relationship with them when they are not doing so. No Christian husband should presume to think that any spiritual good will be accomplished by his life without an effective ministry of prayer. And no husband may expect an effective prayer life unless he lives with his wife "in an understanding way, bestowing honour" on her. To take the time to develop and maintain a good marriage is God's will; it is serving God; it is a spiritual activity pleasing in his sight." (1 Peter, 146) (HT: David Mathis)

Christian Sex: Frank Answers to Honest Questions

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For a variety most churches don't ever touch on the subject of sex and sexual questions with their people. The problem with this is that we live in a sex saturated world, and people in and out of the church are influenced and driven by sexual desires.

The result is that too many Christians either grow up sexually repressed and naive, or they detach their sexual identity from their spiritual one and do whatever they want. Both of these are bad options. God designed sex and he gave it to us as a gift. It wasn't as though he created men and women, looked down from heaven and thought, "Oh dear I didn't foresee them doing that with that!"

Thankfully Mark Driscoll and his wife are taking on the challenge of educating their church from a Biblical perspective on all sorts of sexual matters. They are answering people's questions in a blog series called Christian Sex: Frank Answers to Honest Questions.

From the blog...
This set of posts comes from Pastor Mark Driscoll…

Don't be a Discourager of Dreams

I picked up Leaving Microsoft to Change the World at the library last week and I have really been enjoying it. It is written by John Wood, a top executive at Microsoft who left a high paying job in the late 1990s to start a non-profit organization called Room to Read. The organization works to help develop literacy and educate children around the world.

At the beginning of the book Wood talks about his wrestling with fears about leaving a secure, successful and extremely well paying job for the unknown world of philanthropy. That would be a tough decision. He talks about the people close to him in his life who he would disappoint and the confused reactions he knew people would have when they heard about his choice.

Big change is tough. And when you have a big dream (or when God lays a dream in your heart) there are going to be people with criticism, people who find the negatives and the cant's, and people who discourage you. The key is to keep focused on your passion. Don'…

Failure in Listening to My Son

Do you listen to your kids when they protest your decisions or are you on too big a power trip to hear them out?This morning Jacob and I got into a big argument about him wearing snow pants and boots to preschool. I told him to get his jacket on and he persisted and whined about needing snow pants. I got angry way too quickly and told him to stop crying and obey. He pleaded his case that his teacher wanted him to. I said, "When it comes to what he teacher says and what I say, you obey ME!" Then he cried, shut down, and whispered, "Look at the other kids when you drop me off."

I felt justified. There is no snow on the ground; why would he need boats and snow pants? Besides they were packed in his bag in case he needed them.

Then the neighbor girl in his class walked over in full snow gear. From his back seat Jacob offered weakly, "See Kylie is wearing them." Next we arrived at preschool. Upon seeing all the other kids decked out for blizzard condit…

Moths and the Spiritual Life

Here's a random note I wrote myself at the MN Zoo this summer...
Some moths don't eat anything as adults because they don't have mouth parts, they live on energy they stored as caterpillars, this is a picture of some people's spiritual lives.You make the connection.

You Have Potential

"There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming."

- Soren Kierkegaard

5 Tips for Having Hard Conversations at Work

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I’ve never been the type of person who enjoys relational conflict.Yes, I was a hockey player.Which I know should make me tough as nails, but on the ice I always had pads and a stick to protect myself if trouble arose.Off the ice, in the office, there are no pads and sticks, only words and fists.And I’ve spent most of my life doing all I can to avoid any type of stressful, emotion-filled encounter and the accusations, yelling, denials, anger, hostility, and potential violence relational conflicts often create.

However, in my current job as a manager, I have had to face my inner fears.Not that I have become a big jerk who revels in running around the office red-faced and hollering at everyone, but I’ve come to learn the importance of holding people accountable to do their jobs and do what is right.This means there are times when I must have tough conversations with individuals who are missing the mark in some way or another...

Check out more of my article 5 Tips for having Hard Conversati…

Stephanie

If you haven't had a chance to see it, or if you are an enlightened blog reader who uses a feed reader, make sure you visit Stephanie's blog. It underwent a little redesign last night and looks pretty sharp.

Leave her a comment telling her what you think.

Only Buy if You Will Die

I am embarking on a new budget program for the next couple months. Excluding things like home and vehicle repair, plus normal budgeted expenses like food and insurance, I am going on the "Only Buy if You Will Die" budget. My goal is to only purchase things necessary for survival, such as food and clothing. I'll expound on this new philosophy more in the future.

"What Do You Want Me to Do For You?"

And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mt. 20:32 ESV)

In the story, two blind men are sitting along the side of the road begging for some food or money as Jesus and a crowd of people pass by. Recognizing that the man coming to them was Jesus the two blind men begin to shout out for mercy and healing. Not wanting to be bothered by these beggars, some people in the crowd yell at them to shut-up. But Jesus will have none of it from his following.

Jesus stops in front of the blind men, silences the crowd, and asks the question above. "What do you want me to do for you?" It didn't take the men long to decide. "Heal us, Heal us. We want to see!" Then men knew their weakness, they knew their deepest desire in that moment. They wanted life to be different than it was. They wanted to see! And Jesus reaches over, touches their eyes, and they can see. Amazing.

Today I came across this verse in my journal and I felt like J…

Feelings About My Townhouse

Not knowing what is going to happen with our townhouse stinks. I am not comfortable with the uncertainty. I take that back. The uncertainty is ok with me. It is all the stuff I have to deal with in the meantime that bothers me. I don't like having responsibility added to my plate that I didn't pick off the buffet line to be there. With a house that will be vacated in two months, I don't have the luxury of doing nothing. I have to act and find a way to get the problem solved. Sure I trust Jesus, but that doesn't mean I just sit around and do nothing. Like Mark Batterson says, "I act like it depends on me and pray like it depends on God." I have no problem with the praying, it is the acting that annoys me.

Slow Computer

Man, my desktop at home is jacked right now. It is moving at speeds slower than I can describe with words. Might have to call the Geek Squad. This sucks.

Mrs. Obama's Dress

Glad someone else was thinking what I was thinking last night. See the Election Dress Mishap for yourself.

(HT: Steve McCoy)

Don't be Anxious About Tomorrow

It is important to look at the struggles and challenges that come our way in life from the positive perspective of faith. The Bible teaches that followers of Jesus are to be anxious about nothing and in all things to cast our cares on Christ in prayer (Phil. 4:6).

Too often we let the troubles of today and tomorrow cast a shadow of doubt and fear in our minds. The Bible teaches that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8) and that if he cares for the birds and grass he will care much more for his people (Luke 12:24).

Nantz's Lessons in Leadership

Here's a few leadership nuggets I pulled from Jim Nantz's book Always By My Side.

On earning the right to lead others...
"Jimmy, you can't expect to walk into a hero's welcome. You've got to roll up your sleeves and convert the folks to your side. You've got to earn it."On leaving an impact in the workplace...
"...it's all about the integrity with which you approach work, the way that you treat people, and the relationships you build."On making other people feel special...
"Jimmy, when you remember someone's name, you make him feel special. But you don't stop there - try to pick up something that's of interest to him, or that sets him apart."
On being grateful...
"Immediately, I wrote McKay a thank-you note, as Dad had taught me long ago never let the opportunity slip by to promptly express your appreciation for someone's kindness."I have been learning all these lessons in my first year as a retail manage…

St. Olaf Professor of Media Studies Caught Stealing McCain Yard Signs

True story about a professor stealing McCain yard signs from the town I live in...
A Minnesota professor who admitted on the Huffington Post that he stole campaign signs for John McCain posted along the highway has resigned.

Phil Busse left his temporary post at St. Olaf College after the school learned of his Oct. 30 posting, "Confessions of a Lawn Sign Stealer," in which the visiting professor admitted to snatching signs from Highway 19 in southeast Minnesota, the Northfield News reported Monday.

Busse was a visiting professor and taught one class at the college, introductory media studies. He was charged with misdemeanor theft after he told Rice County law enforcement that he took three yard signs, the News reported.Did you look at the class he was teaching? Yeah right there is no media bias.

Unreal.

Townhouse for Rent or Sale

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If you know anyone looking to rent or buy a townhouse in Monticello please direct them to us. It looks like our renters will be leaving December 31.

Our place is currently listed on Craig's List. Check out our home for rent/or sale.

Navy SEAL Creed

I came across this Navy SEAL creed and it made me think of the Christian life.
I serve with honor on and off the battlefield...My nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining once of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I will not fail.I think I would rewrite it this way.
I serve my Savior with honor on and off the spiritual battlefield...My brothers and sisters in Christ expect me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than our enemy. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining once of faith to protect my church and to accomplish my part in the Great Commission. I will not fail.Be strong in the faith,

Brenton

Book Review: Always By My Side

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I was at the library with the kids a couple weeks ago perusing titles in the biography section when one caught my eye. It was Jim Nantz's book, "Always By My Side: A Father's Grace and a Sports Journey Unlike Any Other."

As a fan of pretty much all sports, and recognizing the broadcaster's name, I decided to give it a shot. I thought it would be interesting to hear some of the behind the booth stories that Nantz must have to offer. I was not disappointed.

In the book Nantz interweaves the story of his rise to broadcasting prominence with the story of his father's battle with Alzheimer's. Repeatedly Nantz recognizes his father as the most important influence in his life and then ties the lessons from his father with his career experiences.

It is clear that Nantz has a deep love for his father. As a reader you can feel the sadness as Nantz details how his father goes from a strong man full of wisdom and love, to, as he is described in the book, 'a tor…

Cognitive v. Existential Truth

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I heard Tim Keller summarize some teaching by Jonathon Edwards regarding the work of a preacher. Keller said that Edwards stressed the need to help people 'take the truth they know and apply it to their hearts.' This is a matter of helping people experience existentially what they know cognitively.

Take for example the cross. I know cognitively that Jesus died on the cross for my sin and that I am completely forgiven in him. But I do not experience this truth existentially in my heart. I am not moved by his sacrifice. I beat myself up day after day for my sins, instead of living in the knowledge that my sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west.

Take for another example money. I know that Jesus teaches his followers to be generous and to help the poor. But when it comes to how I actually live, this cognitive truth has not displaced the selfishness in my heart. So I am not transformed, simply informed.