Thursday, January 30, 2014

Trending...

Most things in your life... maybe all things in your life... are trending one way or the other.

* Your relationship with God: You're either growing closer to him or farther away from him.
* Your relationship with your spouse: Today you'll either become better friends or better enemies.

Maybe it's human nature or the laws of thermodynamics, but the "status quo" never really stays that way.

* Your attitude towards your job: You'll either like what you do more by the end of the day or you'll like it less.
* Your attitude towards your kids: You're either falling more in love with them or you're getting more annoyed by them.

Of course these trends happen in thousands of incremental and seeming insignificant steps.  But they do happen.  So pick an area above.  Or think of another area...

Which way are you trending?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Goodbye & Godspeed

Today officially marks when two close friends and coworkers have moved on from Camp of Champions USA.

It's bittersweet to be on this side of the departure, but exciting to think about what God has in store for them going forward.

Kayla's ability to take on any aspect of camp will be sorely missed, but it will also serve her well as she's kicking off her own free lance graphic design business.

Chris could put his heart and soul into projects.  (He specifically took our camper curriculum to the next level during his time at camp.) Now he'll be helping manage Vivo Technologies and I know his skill set will fit well there.

Goodbye Friends (for now at camp, not forever and hopefully we'll see each other again soon  :)

Godspeed: May God prosper you on your journey.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Journaling for your kids

[Sorry for my random last post on partnering.  That was all true, but supposed to post somewhere else.  Ah, the perils of technology.  Onward...]

Here's one thing my wife and I have done for our kids that has been a big blessing: Keeping a journal for each of our kids.

We started each journal as early as we knew we had a baby on the way, and then attempt to write in it each month.  We hope to leave each child a little bit of a picture of our parenting journey for them to read for themselves some day.

The irony is that it's been a blessing to us most of all up to this point, and time will tell if it blesses our kids or not.  We're blessed by making ourselves pause and appreciate something about our kids each month; even in the midst of life's busy schedule and sometimes poor behavior.

Take it or leave it, but it's an idea that's worked for us.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Importance of Winking

Hey married guys, when's the last time you gave an eye-wink to your wife?

A well-placed wink communicates volumes.  It might be an inside joke, a sign of affection, or a "don't worry, I think the same way you do about this."  But regardless of the communication, the point is that a wink is a communication between two people that others are not privy to.

How are you doing at that?  Do you have special communication with your spouse?

;)

(That counts too)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The balance of saving

Proverbs 13:22 says that "Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren."

But in Luke 12:13-21, Jesus gives a parable as warning to the rich and asks "Who will get everything you worked for?"

With wealth, there's a balance that we, as individuals, need to find.  I think the key to the balance comes back to simple selfishness.  In the parable above, Jesus talks about a man who decides to take all of his wealth and use it on himself to "eat, drink, and be merry."

We're blessed with wealth to bless other, so spending it on ourselves is selfish.

Which makes me wonder: How much of "my" wealth am I holding on to selfishly, for my own comfort?  What does my budget and checkbook say about where I spend or give my money?

There is a great chunk of American Christians that needs to realize it is important to save.  But there is also a wealthy minority that needs to heed Jesus' warning and realize they are saving for themselves.

How are you doing with the balance of saving?  Where do you fall?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Snow Day!

Last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday most of the midwest was shut down in a snow/ridiculously-low-temperature day.

If you're a kid under 18 who was excited to skip school that day, you get a pass on this post.  But some things for the rest of us to think about:

College: If you're a college student that was taking a class, how excited were you to miss school?  Be honest.
Remember, you're paying for that class.  You're paying for the chance to learn and better yourself.  If you're really that excited about snow days, maybe you should reconsider your current eduction path entirely.

Work: If you were an employee that got the day off because of the snow, how excited were you to miss work?  Be honest.  Were you excited, or was there a moment of "I was looking forward to working on this on Monday."
Remember, at some level, you chose this job.  You are getting paid by it, but you're also putting your life into it.  If you're really that excited about missing work, maybe you should reconsider what you're doing.

Church:  (I'm walking on thin-ice now.)  If you're a follower of Jesus, how excited were you that your church service was cancelled?  Be honest.  Were you glad?  Or were you saddened that you might not gather with the body of Christ for a whole week?
Remember, this is the church, Christ's living body on earth.  Perhaps we shouldn't be glad when we have to stay at home.

Note: I'm not calling for everyone to hit the roads when there are dangerous conditions outside.  I'm calling for all of us to take this opportunity to examine ourselves.  Happy Shoveling.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2014 Reading Roll

As mentioned in my Superbowl post, here is a short list of books I'm planning on reading in 2014.

I'm posting this list here mainly for this reason: If you'd like to read a book on this list too, let's connect on that!  Even bad books can be inspire you to action if you read it with another person.  (But here's hoping these are all good books!)

Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God by Bruce Ware (A)
We use this book at Camp of Champions for material for our curriculum, but I've never read it fully myself.

Boys Should be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons by Meg Meeker (A)
I don't know if boys should be boys, but it seems like most boys will be boys.  And so long as this book helps me guide my boys into being men, I think it will be a good read.

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier (A)
I wanted to read this last year but never got to it.  I'm still interested in writing, so here is attempt 2.0.

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin (A)
I heard Seth Godin talk about this book in a podcast series I listened to last year.  I'm excited to learn more about quitting.

Finding Your Purpose in Life: How to Know Why You Are Here by Regi Campbell (Free)
I followed this guy's blog for awhile and really enjoyed it.  The book is free if you subscribe to his blog.

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson (A)
A friend and parent of three recommended this book.  I'm loading up on parenting books if you can't tell.

Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn Glei (A)
A secular book, but seems like I could learn a lot from it.  I think it's important for all of us to do our best work instead of just busy work, which is what this book is about.

Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline by Lauren Winner (A)
When I first heard about this book, I was immediately intrigued because it talks about Sabbaths, food, fasting and other Jewish traditions and what they mean for Christians today.

Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendships and Life Together by Mark Driscoll (A)
I think a marriage book should be a yearly required reading for anyone who is married.  At least I'll hold myself to it for this year.

The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus: Who was the Man? What was the Message? by John Cross (Free)
I'm reading this one currently and will be meeting with others to discuss it.  It's an overview of the major themes of the Bible and good so far.

(A) = Affiliate Amazon.com link.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Just for fun: Global Warming

I think this week, more specifically today, would be a great week to interview people about Global Warming.

Just grab a microphone, hit the streets and ask anyone you find how concerned they are about the earth over-heating. 

Actually, if you see someone on the streets anywhere in the midwest today, you should offer them a ride before they freeze to death.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Book Review: Night of the Living Dead Christian

I just finished another book by Matt Mikalatos.  You might know that name if you've heard of his first work: Imaginary Jesus.

This book, Night of the Living Dead Christian, was another zany allegory where he used monsters to look at the idea of personal transformation.  He tackled questions like:
Why do Christians claim to be different, but then don't live much differently?
How can someone's sin nature be truly changed?
Are we all monsters?

There were more than one laugh-out-loud moments in this book: "This is the worst secret lair ever."  But the topic itself (and the allegory the author chooses to illustrate it) make Night of the Living Dead Christian more intense and darker than Imaginary Jesus.  I'd still highly recommend it, but know what you're getting into: there are some intense parts.

2013 Personal Impact Ranking: