Showing posts from April, 2010

Cultivate a Healthy Marriage

These are some notes I took while listening to a lecture from Tim Keller and his wife. Awesome stuff. You can download the whole talk for free here.
The Marriage as a Garden- a garden takes an enormous amount of work - a garden takes constant attention - it is a long way from seed to the apple tree! - you can't just plant a seed and expect fruit the next day
Planning and Planting - why did you get married/what is the purpose of marriage - who are you in the marriage
- why marriage: family security/prestige...later for happiness (middle ages) - the purpose of marriage is Gospel reenactment (to help your spouse become his/her future glory self through sacrificial service) - love is an action first, feeling second - most important thing in marriage is to develop a servant/ministry mind-set
- both spouses take on the role of Jesus (man-Jesus as head of church, woman-Jesus as sacrificial, submissive Son to the Father) - 'helper' - can only help out of strengths that the other doesn't…

Things I'll Miss This Weekend

Things I'll miss while I'm in Chicago this weekend:- wrestling with my boys - playing War with my daughter - watching Jacob play tee ball - my wife - my wife's great cooking - Sunday morning pancakes and sausage - hanging out with my neighbors - cuddling and watching a movie w/ the kids - seeing Drew and Izzy's smiles when I pick them up from daycare - seeing Jake's smile when I get home from work - going for a long run

Should Kids be in Adult Church?

I have long wrestled with the idea of incorporating kids in a Sunday church service. I remember many long Sundays as a kid sitting in a chair playing games and drawing pictures on the bulletin while the pastor spoke. Now that I have my own family I realize how distracting kids can be for myself and the people around me.
Also, I really don't think it is fair to expect a child to sit still and listen to a 30 minutes talk. In fact I think it is those kids of experiences which make kids grow up to think church is boring, torturous, and irrelevant. I believe kids and parents alike deserve the opportunity to learn and praise in styles that are age-appropriate. Family worship and devotion can happen with less structure outside of the Sunday morning experience.
Here's a fun video illustrating my thoughts:

10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe

A friend of mine gave me the book 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe by Larry Osborne. In the book Osborne explains 10 myths that many Christians believe, but which fail to align with the truths of the Bible and how God made things to work.
Some examples include: - Faith can fix anything - Forgiving means forgetting - A godly home guarantees good kids - God brings good luck Osborne does a great job of clearly explaining each myth and showing how the myth falls short of truth. He also details how believing the myths lead Christians to conclusions and behaviors that leave them confused, angry, or alienated from God. There were a couple chapters that I didn't agree with, and I don't think Osborne completely sways the reader with all his arguments, but overall I enjoyed the book.
Here's some things I underlined and enjoyed: * For most of us, beliefs are intellectual. Acting upon them is optional. * The kind of faith the Bible advocates and God wants from us has far more to…

4 Rules to Improve Conversation in Marriage During Conflict

Tim Keller shares 4 rules for improving your communication during conflict with your spouse.
1. Before you say something to your spouse you MUST ask yourself - first! - what is my motive? (are you coming from a ministry mindset or a selfish mindset) why am I sending this message?
2. Always start with the part of the situation that is your fault - even if it is only 5% (take care of your own 'log' first)
3. Attack the problem and not the person, frame your conversation with the following ideas: *You've done this *This is how I'm affected by what you've done *I think this action would be better *Please tell me if I'm missing something, Is there something going on I don't understand? 4. Make it a safe environment for your spouse to criticize you

Put Me in Charge

To my daughter (5) and my son (3):
Me: I'm going in the house to fold some laundry. Daughter: Dad, put me in charge. Me: Ok, Izzy you're in charge. Daughter: Ha! Andrew I'm in charge so you have to listen to me.
Izzy loves to 'be in charge.' She thrives on responsibility and control. Since day 1 she has been fiercely independent and strong-willed. Lord, bless those traits you've given her. And bless me as I deal with it day after day. :)

Jesus, Help Me Let It Go

Jesus told his disciples, "Whoever would come after me must deny his own desires daily, trade them in for my desires, and follow my example." (Matthew 16:24, my paraphrase)I've heard that verse many times, but last night I heard it fresh again. To follow Jesus I have to deny myself. I have to let go of all the things I want, and start, ground zero, with his desires. I have to put into practice what I know the Bible teaches me to do, and stop making excuses for or ignoring the sin issues in my heart.
What are my desires? - to be liked, even adored - to have a life of ease - to get my own way - to enjoy success without hard work - to have a perfect family - to buy more and more of this and that - to spend my money on things that make my life look better in other's eyes - to have what others have (money, body, brain, talents) - that everyone else would be more like me
And that's just the blog-able junk I desire. Jesus help me let it go!

7 Miles: A Video

I love Matt Chandler's teaching and I love this video.
(HT: Jared Wilson)

Big Steer Half Marathon: A Clarification

On Saturday I tweeted about completing the Big Steer Half Marathon. I didn't mean to intentionally mislead anyone, but with only 140 characters you can only say so much.
Here's the full story:The Big Steer is a truck stop exactly 6.6 miles from our house. As part of my marathon training I ran there and back on Saturday, completing the 13.2 mile loop. 13.2 miles is the same distance as a half marathon, so in my mind I ran one. To add to my sense of accomplishment I gave the effort a name. Hence, the Big Steer Half Marathon was born. I don't know if it will catch on in Northfield, but completing the run was a big success and confidence booster for me.Sorry if you feel cheated. If you're ever in Northfield, and interested, I'd be happy to run the Big Steer with you!

6 Differences between Men and Boys

1. A man is willing to work (a boy just wants to play)
2. A man has a vision for his life (a boy lives only in the present)
3. A man is a team player (a boy is all about himself)
4. A man is a protector (a boy is a predator)
5. A man is responsible for himself (a boy thinks its all someone else's fault)6. A man takes the minority position (a boy goes with the masses)

From Brian Tome at Crossroads Church (Cincinnati, OH) - Men v. Boys sermon

Top 25 Worship Songs - What's Missing?

Following are the Top 25 songs reported by churches in their Copy Activity Reports, as used for the February 2010 royalty payout (for surveys returned between April 1, 2009 and September 30, 2009). Report Period 409 - United StatesRANKSONG TITLEAUTHOR/SCCLI #1Mighty To SaveFielding, Ben\Morgan, Reuben45917822How Great Is Our GodTomlin, Chris\Reeves, Jesse\Cash, Ed43483993Blessed Be Your NameRedman, Beth\Redman, Matt37984384Here I Am To WorshipHughes, Tim32660325Everlasting GodBrown, Brenton\Riley, Ken45565386Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)Tomlin, Chris\Giglio, Louie\Newton, John47681517Open The Eyes Of My HeartBaloche, Paul22983558Your Grace Is EnoughMaher, Matt44770269

Get Your Butt in Church!

I mentioned a couple days ago that Stephanie and I went back to a church we hadn't been to in awhile. Yesterday I got a call from a friend there who wanted to check-in with me and see where our family was at, and to encourage us/hold us accountable to be at church regularly.
I thought it was really cool that this guy had the guts to reach out and challenge me (albeit in a very humble, kind way). I hung up thinking, "That is what church family is all about," and it brought to mind Hebrews 10:24-25 which teaches believers,"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." Thanks for following the prompting of the Spirit, and the teaching of the Word of God, brother.

A Fruit Bearing Death

The question, brothers, is not whether we will die, but whether we will die in a way that bears much fruit.
- John Piper (In his biographical message on Adoniram Judson)

Doing Life Together Matters

Ever since we moved to Northfield 3 years ago we have been without a church home. Really we've been wondering since my crap nearly blew us up in February 2006 (but that's another post).
Today we went back to the church we attended for about a year before I started working overnights. It was fun to go back and see friends, and I'm grateful for the kind welcome that we got. It really sucks being without a church where you plug in and share life with people. There is a real bond that exists between people of the same faith, and who share the same goal of living out that faith in a daily, tangible way.
My faith is so much more alive when I am attending church regularly and rubbing shoulders with other believers. I have to admit, I'm not much good at sustaining faith alone. My need for small group encouragement, accountability and fellowship is becoming more and more clear to me. Doing life together is the best way to do it. But it has to be a togetherness that goes d…

Therapy through Golf

Had a good time golfing yesterday with my brother Aaron. Not only was it fun to be outside enjoying the beautiful day, but I was reminded again of how therapeutic golfing is for me. When I'm playing with the right people, golfing can be a time for opening up and sharing and talking through issues that I don't have other space in my life to talk through. It is real 'guy-time', and golfing with the right guy, as expensive as golf can be, is a lot cheaper than therapy in the long run!
It is possible to take moments of ordinary pleasure and capitalize on them for soul health. But it's not always easy. It takes planning and some sacrifice, and both Aaron and I expressed sadness in the fact that were not intentional about getting together more often.
This morning I was reading an article in Wired magazine about decision-making and behavioral change and the author commented, "We have all the information we need. What we need are incentives." That made m…

Time Wasted with the TV

Last night I was thinking about how much TV I watch. On Tuesday and Wednesday night the entire family watched American Idol. On Tuesday I followed it up by watching the movie Hitch. And last night I was Idol, CSI:NY, and then the news. That is a total of 6.5 hours of TV.
When I think about it, 6.5 hours is a lot of time lost. I could have read multiple books, gone for at least 5 runs, played more with my kids, or slept. Watching TV is just so dang easy, and the time just floats away from you. I'm amazed that I can be dead tired and unable to do anything, but some 'show' will keep me up for hours. It is like my brain goes into zombie mode.
I know I've blogged this before, and I will again later, I'm sure. Just saying.

Thoughts on Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods tees off today at The Masters golf tournament.
If you don't know the story of Tiger Woods that has unfolded over the last 4 months then you have been living on another planet (or in Utah). Anyway, this is the first tournament Tiger has played in a long time and if I was working this weekend I'd be excitedly glued to the TV watching.
Like most people I was shocked when the news about Tiger's car accident, and the subsequent stories of his infidelity started to surface. However I'm at a point now where I'm ready to leave it behind and start cheering for him as a professional athlete again.
Tiger is not my role model. Tiger is not my example of masculinity and what a great husband looks like. He is not the one I worship and follow. He is an athlete. And in the end he is a depraved sinner just like me, who unfortunately happened to have his sins exposed to the entire world.
I hope Tiger wins this weekend. But more importantly, I hope he wins the battle …

Help Me Improve My Ability to Plan

Building time into my day/life for strategic planning and futuristic thinking is something that I really struggle with. As a person and leader I am always running forward with a try-and-see approach. For most things I am nimble enough to adjust on the fly or deal with problems as they arise. However I think I could save myself time, energy and stress by predicting some of the roadblocks and detouring long before I ever even reach them.
How do you handle planning and thinking as it relates to your work/life?

7 Easy Steps to Legalism


Tooth Fairy Nail Polish Magic

I just told Andrew not to touch the nail polish in his sister's bathroom. He then came into my room and said, "Look at my nail polish." Here is what followed:
Me: I told you not to touch it. Drew: I didn't. Me: How'd it get on your finger then. Drew: It was magic. Me: Now you're lying to me. Drew: No. It was the tooth fairy.