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Showing posts from February, 2013

Losing Your Purpose Leads to Burnout

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This afternoon I attended a seminar at Bethel University called Work Matters.  The goal of the seminar was to encourage a conversation around the importance of eliminating the sacred/secular division on the marketplace and to help people begin to see themselves as ministers in whatever workplace God has called them to.  I took many notes that I hope to share here soon.

I like this paragraph from a blog post written by one of the event organizers. “Part of burnout is losing track of your purpose. Now you’re working harder and harder, faster and faster for that which is seemingly more and more meaningless,” said Jeff Van Duzer, dean of Seattle Pacific University’s business school and author of Why Business Matters to God: And What Still Needs to Be Fixed. If only we could truly believe that what we do is “part of the architecture of God’s kingdom,” this would be a tonic more invigorating than any shot of Five-Hour Energy!

5 Favorite Worship Songs Right Now

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1.  You Hold Me Now - Hillsong United
2.  Our God is Able - Hillson
3.  Death in His Grave - John Mark McMillen
4.  Forever Reign - Hillsong United
5.  Alive Again - Matt Maher

Your turn ---->  What songs are currently stirring up your affections for God?

Quick Thought of the Week

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I Like Art - Marc Chagall

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Yesterday I spent some time sitting on a very comfortable chair looking through a book filled with Marc Chagall paintings.  As I flipped through the pages I was remembering how my grandmother used to take me to the Minneapolis Art Institute.  The works in the Chagall book looked so familiar.  I must have enjoyed his painting when I was a kid.

My Grandma Lois was a fantastic woman.  She had her idiosyncrasies, and sadly she lost many of her mental capacities when dymentia took her body over before she died, but while I was a young lad she was always very loving, kind and generous.  I have many great memories tied to her;  things like eating lunch in the screen porch, playing 5 Straight, spinning in the yellow chair, watching fireworks from her living room, going to the art museum, breakfast at Mervyn's, and playing bumper pool in her basement are a few of them.

I think Grandma Lois is the reason I have a special place in my heart for art.  Most people don't know this about me.…

Shoveling the Junk Out of My Heart

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Some people have their more introspective thoughts while in the shower.  I seem to have some of my more reflective moments when I am snow-blowing the driveway.  As happened today.

Just when I finished cleaning off the entire driveway I saw the snow plow truck rounding the corner into our cul-de-sac.  Perfect I thought, and I planned on shoveling the end of the driveway as soon as the plow drove by.  I waited and as I expected, a wall of snow was planted right at the end of the driveway.  I huffed and puffed and moved all the heavy, ice chunky snow away.  Then I turned to go into the house satisfied with my hard work and the serendipity of the snow plows arrival coinciding with my shoveling.

However what happened next caught me by surprise.  The snow plow truck turned around and made a couple more passes around the cul-de-sac, this time depositing twice the amount of snow at the end of my driveway than before.  I couldn't believe it.  It felt like all my initial hard work was wast…

Don't Be Like a Big Red Pimple

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A friend in the recovery community explained to me that one of the things which characterizes many people in AA programs is that they have "a large ego which is very frail."  I'm not in AA but I can understand what he is saying.  It is a strange irony when people who think they are very important are so easily upset whenever someone brings turbulence into their ideal world.  I understand this because I can be this way more often than I want to.

As we talked about it further the image that came to my mind was that of a giant pimple.  This is intentionally a very gross metaphor.  Think of a large pimple.  It is sensitive and filled with puss, so when it is popped the nasty insides are shot all over the place making everyone feel horrible.  Similarly, when someone has a large, yet frail ego, very little thing that rattles the serenity of their world can cause the ego to pop, and when it does nastiness comes spewing out all over the place in the form of anger, harshness, ad…

Good Positioning Leads to Success

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Good positioning in hockey means getting your body into a place on the ice where good things can happen.  If you listen to games you might hear someone say that a player is rewarded with a goal because they had good positioning.  That means that they put themselves in a spot where they would have the best chance to make a play.

Poor positioning means that you are in the wrong spot and unable to do what you could have otherwise done.  My wife, a high school basketball coach, was telling me about a recent game in which her girls only 'boxed out' more than one opponent a total of 4/75 possible times.  This failure indicates poor positioning on the part of my wife's players and it resulted in them missing many rebounds opportunities, as well as the subsequent success that may have come from more points on put backs.

Lately I've been working on my professional positioning.  I have made networking connections and had coffee with people who I am looking to for advice and ment…

Churches in Northfield

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One of the things I hear when I share with people in my community about the church I'm a part of, is the idea that Northfield already has a lot of churches and the question as to why would we need another one.  Northfield is not a very large town geographically, so I understand why it seems like there are lots of churches here, but what I like to do is actually run the numbers with people.
The population of Northfield is around 20,000 people, including about 5,500 students at the two colleges (Carleton and St. Olaf).  According to Google maps there are 22 churches in the Northfield/Dundas area.  However, this number casts a very wide net as to what exactly constitutes a church.  It of course includes the large national denominations such as Baptists, Lutherans, and Catholics, but it also includes groups such as the Universalists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormons.

Now assuming that each of the 22 churches has 200 people attending regularly (a number that is vastly over-stated …

How To Be Successful and Prosperous

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I LOVE MY CHURCH!

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Sunday is by far my favorite day of the week, even during the NFL off season. 
Actually the NFL has very little to do with why I love Sundays.  The primary reason I love Sunday is because Sunday is the day I get to be with my faith family at CANVAS Church.  
There are all kinds of reasons I love going to my church, including:
- I love talking with friends.   - I love helping set-up and tear-down.   - I love holding other people's babies.   - I love praising God to terrific music. - I love taking communion with my wife.   - I love listening to the Bible preached without shame.   - I love hearing stories of life change due to the love of Jesus breaking into people's lives. - I love watching my kids connect with God and others. - I love meeting new people. - I love coffee, donut holes and Lifesaver mints. - I love building relationships with men while eating humongous burgers. - I love hearing people's stories of how they found CANVAS. - I love being a part of God's chos…

How NOT to Invite Someone to Church

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Hope you're having a great Friday.

Sunday is coming.  Invite someone to come to church with you.  Just don't do it like this.

A Fat Dog Makes Me a Prophet

We are dog sitting my in-laws Beagle for the next month while they are vacationing in Texas.  Sammy is the dog's name and over eating is the dog's game.  Sammy is getting a little older and her metabolism has slowed down quite a bit - simply put, she's super fat.

Have you ever had a dog constantly at your feet?  It is a trip hazard and an annoyance. Yesterday as I was preparing dinner in the kitchen Sammy would not go away.  She was wandering around the kitchen looking for scraps and bothering me with her persistent desire to have me throw her some food.  Finally I got so fed up with it that I looked at Sammy and I said, "Get out of here.  Your killing yourself.  Don't you get it?"

Sammy waddled out of the room and as she sat staring at me from just beyond the tile floor I had the realization that my words were somewhat prophetic.  Sammy doesn't know she's overweight and killing herself by constantly seeking more and more food, she's just doing …

I Need to Vent

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For a long time I have been praying like crazy and asking the Lord to bring me work that I am passionate about and that blends well with my gift mix and my passions.  Thus far I haven't had the door opened to that 'thing.'  After not working for the first six months of 2011 I am extremely grateful to have a job that pays bills and provides food, but from somewhere deep inside me I sense that God doesn't have me settled in completley.

Yesterday I met a guy whose story went like this ---> he worked in a place for a long time and felt God stirring something new in his heart so he prayed about it, then one day while praying about it in the shower his cell phone dinged, his friend was emailing him and offering him a new job!

Awesome story but in a way it ticked my spirit off.  I have been waiting for that email ding for years - over six of them to be exact.  It still has not come.  While I've been waiting I've watched a lot of people pray for and find things tha…

Jesus Is....

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At the youth retreat last weekend I planned to ask the students to write out one paragraph about who Jesus is and what he means to them. This was going to be a short exercise to help the students prepare to share their faith in a humble and personal with other people who might ask them.

1 Peter 3:15 is the backdrop for the exercise.
"..but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect," Unfortunately there was a blizzard in the forecast and the retreat wrapped up a few hours earlier.  So I decided to share with you here what I wrote for myself:
Jesus Christ is my Savior, my Leader, and my Friend. I know I mess up all the time, even when I don't want to, and that those mess-ups separate me from God. Jesus died on the cross and paid the penalty for my sins. He made a way back to God that I could never make. And now Jesus guides me…

8 Questions to Examine the Health of Your Christian Faith

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2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.”

As a Christian it is extremely easy to go into auto-pilot as it relates to our faith.  The ups and downs, cares and concerns, mundane and daily duties, all distract us from our commitment to following Jesus in every area of our lives.  The world (life outside of Christ) has a powerful influence on our hearts and minds, effecting us in many ways that we are not even cognitive of.

This is why Paul's words in 2 Corinthians are so critical.  We must regularly take time to step back and do a high-level check over of our faith.  We must examine whether or not we are living in accordance with the commands of Christ.  If we are not, it may be because we are not truly in the faith.

Doing this kind of a spiritual examination isn't going to be fun; it is actually going to be more like a colonoscopy for your heart. It is uncomfortable, a little scary, and somewhat intrusive - but it is c…

Quick Thought of the Week

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Funny -----> Matt Chandler Imitates Mark Driscoll

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Matt Chandler talks about fulfilling your unique ministry and not trying to copy someone else's style.

Soul Maintenance

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If you've been reading my blog for a while you know that I am absolutely not a handy-man.  When things break around my house and I try to fix them usually they end up more broken.  My father I am not.
On Monday while I was snow-blowing the driveway the snow-blower stopped blowing the snow; it became more like a snow-pusher.  Then it snowed overnight and I needed to clear the driveway on Tuesday morning.  So I put on my hand-man hat and thought I'd try fixing it.  Thankfully it was a pretty easy to fix because all I needed to do was add a few bolts.  
As I was snow-blowing the driveway I started thinking about the idea of preemptive maintenance.  Doing regular maintenance on things like snow-blowers, water softeners and vehicles is a good idea that I sometimes ignore.  I put off mechanical maintenance because things seem to be working fine and I don't want to invest the money in them.  Later, when they break, I realize it would have been much cheaper to put money into main…

The Micro-Moments Define Us

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Micro-moments are those small moments in life that don't seem significant in themselves but when they are added up over time have a significant impact.

Sometimes I struggle with being more concerned about macro-moments more than micro-moments.  The problem with this kind of thinking is that it leaves me feeling discouraged because I never live up to the ideals I desire for myself or the highlights I see in the lives of others.

One example of this would be parenting.  If I compare myself to other people who take big family vacations I get discouraged and feel as though I'm failing as a dad.  The truth is that my legacy as a father will not be built on macro-moments like a DisneyWorld trip, but instead on how I handle the micro-moments like being available play catch, helping with homework, cuddling up during a movie, or playing board games on the floor.  It is all those seemingly small activities that add up to make me the Dad that I will be.

The same thing goes at work.  At m…

20 Reasons I Love Church Conferences

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One question that has always haunted me is, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  The list of things I have considered is very long, and in many ways I am still wondering what exactly I would like to become as a professional.

Interestingly, I awoke this morning, wide awake, at 6 am with this very question on my mind, but today I knew exactly what the answer is.  I would like to be a professional church conference attender!

I absolutely love going to church conferences and it doesn't matter where it is, who I'm with or what it is about - I LOVE IT!  I've been to conferences in Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Virginia.  I've been to conferences in large groups, in small groups, and alone.  I've been to conferences about big ideas, small groups, church finances, spiritual growth, preaching, and student ministry.

Here is a list of 20 reasons I love church conferences.

1.  Traveling to new cities
2.  Meeting other churchmen and hearing their stories

Quick Thought of the Week

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6 Ways Parents Destroy Their Children Without Trying

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When my son Jacob was born one of the very first books I read about being a dad was a book called To Train Up a Child.  The book is written by Michael and Debbie Pearl.  Some of the methods outlined in the book have been called controversial.  My experience with the book is that while I didn't do everything it outlined, many of the things I put into practice were very positive.  I was unable to raise my other two children with as much diligence and intentionality as Jacob in this regard, and I believe the results have shown that to be a mistake.
However, thanks be to God that he's never done with us.  I still have such a need to grow!  Therefore, and likewise, we earthly parents are never done with our kids.  There is always room for grace, love, mercy, discipline, and growth.
My wife recently sent me an article from Michael Pearl's website.  The article lists 6 ways parents destroy their children without trying.  I've listed them below.  It is an insightful article t…