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Showing posts from May, 2012

Making Memories - May 2012

- Dinner at Fogo de Chao celebrating neighbor's birthday
- Date night at the Shouthouse
- Daddy day with Andrew at the MN Children's Museum, and Chinese for lunch
- Jacob and Izzy school field trip to MN Children's Museum
- Jacob's First Communion Mass and getting his first 'big boy' Bible
- Cinco de Mayo party at the neighbors
- Speaking to the youth group at First Baptist Church in Minneapolis
- Attending Canvas Church for the first time as a family
- Softball begins!
- Building the kids a tree fort
- Beach day at Lake Marian in Lakeville with new church friends
- St. Dominic's school All School Picnic
- St. Dominic's school Spring Concert
- St. Dominic's school 6-8th grade play "Alice in Wonderland"
- St. Dominic's school pool day at the Fairbault Aquatic Center (brrrrr!)
- Stephanie playing in her first women's softball league game
- Jacob and Mommy date to Chipotle in Burnsville
- Golf with JT at Stonebrooke in Shakopee
- Din…

I Suck. So Do You.

I suck.  You suck.  We all suck.
That's the message I heard in a sermon recently.  Not real encouraging huh.  Well, let me give you some context.
The sermon is part of Elevation Church's series called How to Hug A Vampire.  The theme of the series of how to deal with people in life who are difficult or in some way draining to deal with.  We all have those people in our lives right?  People who annoy us, who talk to long at meetings, who corner you at church and spill their guts about how bad life is.  You see some of the people coming and you just know you in for 30 minutes of complaining, whining, or some other interaction that make you want to run and hide.
In the first sermon Pastor Steven Furtick challenged listeners with the fact that before we learn how to deal with  the life sucking people around us, we have to deal with our own tendency to be a life sucker.  We have to acknowledge and deal with the reality that 'I suck' first.  
With that in mind here are some…

Book Review: Our Favorite Sins

In Our Favorite Sins Todd Hunter has written a helpful book on effectively dealing with temptation.  So many people talk about defeating temptation by changing behaviors, avoiding certain situations, or giving it a white knuckle, college try.  None of these methods are effective for lasting victory over sin.  The reason, as Hunter stresses over and over in the book, is not behavioral change but heart/desire change.

Our behaviors flow out of our desires.  Giving in to temptation is a sign that a disordered desire has a primary place in our hearts.  Victory of sin and temptation will not come until we have replaced disordered desire with divine desire, until we want Jesus Christ and his Kingdom more than we want anything in this temporal, sin-laced kingdom.

Hunter breaks up his book into 2 main parts.  The majority of the book discusses the idea of disordered desire and the role it places is our battle against temptation.  In the second part of the book he looks at ancient practices (…

Sometimes You Just Have to Move Forward

There is a misconception out there that to believe in the sovereignty of God means to be lazy and do nothing because, "Well, hey, God's in control of it all anyways."  This is completely counter to what the Bible speaks of as Christian responsibility.

Yesterday morning I tweeted,
I find it quite comforting 2 know ALL that happens 2 me 2day is under the control of a deeply loving, and sovereign God, whose plan is good. This doesn't mean that I am free of responsibility and action.  I still have things to do everyday.  God holds me responsible for how I use my talents and gifts.  He expects me to work hard, to give my best, and to strive for the kind of life that brings him glory.  But I live in confidence, knowing that he will bring about his will for me, and I trust that whatever he brings, it will flow out of his love and goodness.

I love Mark Batterson's maxim, "Live like it depends on you, and pray like it depends on God."  Christian living is partner…

How to Tie a Tie in 5 seconds

I am a big fan of neck ties, but what drives me nuts is when I have to tie the knot over and over again to get it right.  Especially if I am on a time crunch.

Well, that's a problem this guy doesn't have.


(HT: Lifehacker)

Since I'm not that fast, I downloaded this Android App on my phone and I've used it countless time.  It is free and easy to follow.  It gives step by step instructions, with pictures on how to tie 14 different knots.  Check it out.

How to Tie a Tie.

Leadership Insight: Micromessages

Yesterday I watched a video on Micromessaging by Steven Young.  It was a very interesting lecture about the messages we send to people through our actions, tone of voice, gestures, and vocal inflections.  I was reminded of how important it is to strive to be mindful of the subtle, often times inadvertent ways we make others feel excluded through our micromessages.

What was also interesting was Young assertion that our micromessages often flow out of the filters and inner attitudes we have in our minds about others.  He talked about how we very easily 'find what we're looking for" when interacting with someone else.  This means, if you have a preconceived idea about someone (They are annoying), it won't be difficult for you to identify what you're set-up to see (annoying behaviors).  Our mental and emotional filters help us to quickly process life and make decisions, but they can work against us when it comes to meeting people, staying open to new ideas, and/or no…

Date Night: Fogo De Chao

Had a super fun night with my wife, and our neighbors, last night in Minneapolis.  We had a fantastic dinner at Fogo De Chao before listening to some music at The Shout House.

5 Things My Wife Does That All Wives Should Do For Their Husbands

Anyone who knows me well knows that my wife is a saintly woman for sticking with me for almost 12 years now (marriage and dating time).  I joke often that my mother loves Stephanie more than me, because Stephanie is the one who took my off my mom's hands!  Truth is, my wife is an amazing woman who loves Jesus, loves me and has worked really hard trying to be a great wife.

The following are five things Stephanie does that are Biblical, developing, at times difficult, and always a blessing to me.

1.  She prays for me - often.  My wife prays for me everyday.  She prays for strength, wisdom, discernment, blessing, rebuke, correction, holiness, faithfulness, patience, kindness, and courage.  She prays for me as a follower of Jesus, as a husband, as a father, as a businessman, as a leader, and as a friend.
2.  She balances truth with grace and forgiveness.  My wife is not afraid to tell me the truth when I am being an idiot.  She is honest with me about how she feels and what she want…

Tips for Public Speaking

I have done a fair amount of public speaking. I still get nervous every time in the moments before I go on stage. This article has some helpful hints for people who are afraid of public speaking.

Here's a few quick thoughts....

- I usually have a manuscript written out that I have practiced several times before I speak live. I've found practicing in the car is a great way to get more comfortable speaking without spending too much time looking at your notes.

- Memorize key phrases, stories, and main points so that you can speak them fully engaged with the audience. In a blog post titled Eliminating Stage Fright the author advises,
Memorize the first minute: For a lot of people, the five minutes leading up to a public speaking situation and the first minute of that speaking are the worst part. Get in there and memorize that first section as best as you can. Calming yourself down isn't about memorizing the whole speech it's just about laying that foundation so you can g…

Experiencing the Wonder of God's Word

Last week I received a text message from a friend asking to talk with me face to face.  He didn't mention what for (which freaked out my perpetually guilty conscious a little bit), but as soon as I was able that evening we got together.  After a short time my friend shared with me that he wanted me to pray for him.  He'd been struggling with some emotions and wanted prayer asking for God's protection and peace.  I was moved that he was vulnerable in sharing his feelings with me, and honored that he would think of asking me to pray over him.

We spent about an hour talking, reading Scripture and praying together.  It was a tender time paging through God's Word and feeling the healing power of the Bible being read aloud.  I went home thinking about what the words of the Bible have meant to so many people throughout the centuries.  There is such an awesomeness, such a clarity, such an encouragement to be found in God's Word.  And hearing that Word read aloud just incre…

Write a Note

When was the last time you took a moment to send someone an encouraging email, text or handwritten note.  I've gotten a few emails recently that have made my day (and I also got a very nice text from a friend that encouraged me).  Here's a little sampling,
"I thought your sermon was wonderful, and I wasn't the only one. Everyone commented on it, and at least 4-5 of us would like a copy, if you are willing to share it. It was especially comforting to me as I contemplate how my life seems to be heading toward some of those rapids.""I just wanted to email you to thank you for all your great ideas on Saturday.  You are truly dedicated to the Lord and inspired me  to think of better ways and more profound personal ways to praise him."Take a moment sometime this week and write out a word of thankfulness, gratitude, encouragement, or praise.  It will help you to focus outside yourself, and it will be a great blessing to the person who receives it.  In an email …

Firing Someone is Never Easy - But It Does Get Easier

When I first took a management position years ago I was so afraid to fire someone.  I was afraid of someone freaking out and punching me in the face.  I was afraid of having to deal with tears and hurt feelings.  I was afraid of having someone argue and throw a fit.  Remember Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire walking out, making a scene and stealing the fish!  I didn't want any piece of that pie.
Over the last few years I've unfortunately had to let numerous people go.  It is never easy, but it has gotten easier as I've learned some things.
1.  A fear of confrontation, and the prolonging a poor performing person's employment, are detrimental to the rest of the team who have to keep picking up the slack. 2.  If you have the proper documentation and conversations ahead of time, you have nothing to worry about if the person tries to argue with you. 3.  Letting someone go can actually be a blessing for them because it frees them up to find employment that is a better fit for th…

Why Should I Say "Bless You" After You Sneeze?

A few months ago I decided to stop saying "bless you" to people after they sneeze.  Well, I've mostly stopped.  Habits are hard to break.

Saying bless you is such a weird social construct.  No one really believes that during a sneeze your spirit is somehow opened up for an evil spirit to slip in.  Many people don't even believe in evil spirits.  But that's a whole other post.

I'm all for the sneezer being required to say excuse me.  I mean, come on, you just populated the air around you with nastiness.  You are the offender to my breathing.  So, why should I bless you?  I don't bless you when you belch or pass flatus, and I don't think sneezing is any different.

It's funny when you rebel against something so ingrained in cultural norms.  Now when people around me sneeze there is this long pause while they wait for me to say the magic words that will protect their vulnerable souls.  And when I say nothing there is so much awkwardness in the room i…