Thursday, January 29, 2015

Selfish

Getting married is (or should be) a crash-course lesson in putting other people before yourself.  I didn't think I was a selfish guy before I got married, but I soon learned hundreds of different ways I put myself first.

Having a kid is similar.  It's a like a little hand-held mirror that lets you see places you didn't realize you were still selfish.

Now that I have a lovely wife and 5 little hand-held mirrors I think I'm pretty much cured of being selfish.

And then I decided to get a dog...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Church Squared

I'm excited to be starting something new at my home church!  So much so that I wanted to post information about it here.


Church [squared] is a discussion-oriented church gathering with built-in fellowship, accountability and prayer time.  Join us as we connect with each other, learn from the Bible together, pray for each other, and help each other grow.

Sundays 9:30-10:30
Starting February 1, 2015

Pekin Bible Church
Fellowship Hall
2405 Court St
Pekin IL 61554

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review of Permission Marketing by Seth Godin

I just finished Permission Marketing by Seth Godin.  I originally read it because I used the term "Permission Fundraising" in my book Partner Like Paul and I wanted to see if it could refine some of my fundraising ideas.

I think everything in my fundraising book is still accurate.  However, this book was so much about marketing that I really couldn't give you any specific take-aways for fundraising.  (Maybe I'll write another book and call it Permission Fundraising so I can meld the two ideas together.)

All that being said, I would highly recommend Permission Marketing to anyone seeking to do build any sort of business.  It's an older book (Amazon was just a start-up and only sold books), but it shows a path of marketing companies, services and products that is immensely cheaper and more valuable than the interruption marketing most people still default to today.  In fact, I can think of a few telemarketers, junk mail senders and spammers I should send this book to!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Live Generously

When's the last time you did something spontaneously generous?

I'm writing this to myself as much as anybody.  I'm a great "planned generosity" guy.  Send me a letter, ask for help... so long as I have time to consider it, I'm good and will probably give something.

But how often do you or I respond to God's promptings to be spontaneously generous?  I've heard someone say: "If you have the thought you should give something to someone, it's probably not the devil telling you that."

If you can afford to go to a coffee shop this week, you can probably afford to pick up coffee for the guy in line behind you.  If you're meeting a friend for lunch, you can probably pick up his tab.



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Task your goals

The first step is thinking of some general goals for your life.

Second, take those goals and make them SMART.

But finally, you need to create some tasks related to those goals.  Below are how I sought to do that with some of my own goals.  (Again, this is just to provide a picture of how you make and keep good goals.)

Goal: Be more of a spiritual friend than a Christian buddy.
SMART Goal: Once each day, ask someone how I can pray for them, then pray for them then or write it down to pray later.
Task: Add a reminder to my phone, set to go off mid morning so I have time to look and find someone.

Keep this blog going.
SMART: Post twice a week on this blog, scheduling posts for May 15-August 17.
Task: Put this weekly goal down on my morning to-do list.  

Read my Bible daily.
SMART: Read my Bible daily, including Saturdays.
Task: Add a reminder to my phone for Saturday afternoons.


Invite people over for dinner weekly.
SMART: Each Sunday, look a week ahead and invite someone over for dinner.
Task: Add this SMART task to my Sunday tasks, including a list of people to invite over.

Excel in my new role at COCUSA.
SMART: Write down a 15 in 15 SMART list for COCUSA by January 15.
Task: Better add this to my COCUSA task list!

Maybe these seem obvious.  ("Put it on your to-do list" is far from new advice.)  But from what I've noticed this is the biggest step missed when it comes to keeping and excelling at goals.

Or you could just make some New Year's Resolutions and never do anything about them.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Review of The Story

I just finished reading The Story to my older kids.  This is essentially the Bible, but edited to have just the storyline, with italicized text added to provide transitions when needed.  We read it during our bedtime routine for about the past year.

It seems funny to review the Bible, so I won't do that.

I will say that overall, The Story provided a decent overview of the Biblical narrative.  I also think it could have been better.  They got most of the stories right, but I often was scratching my head at the parts that they skipped over.  In addition, I stopped reading most of the italicized text because it wasn't very good or helpful.  Whoever wrote it was going more for superlative English that sounded fancy than they were attempting to connect the Bible stories together.

All that said, I would still recommend it if you're unfamiliar with the Biblical story line and want a quick way to get your mind around it.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A SMART 2015

So those 15 goals/ideas for 2015... how are those going?

For me, I finally got around to making them SMART.  I offer them here only to show a little bit of the thought process behind making and setting good goals.

Share the Gospel with 15 people.
SMART: Every time I find myself waiting, pray and look for an opportunity to share the Good News.

Be on my phone less.
SMART: When at home, put my phone down. Do not carry it with me.

Be more of a spiritual friend than a Christian buddy.
SMART: Once each day, ask someone how I can pray for them, then pray for them then or write it down to pray later.

Eat less sugar.
SMART: Eat a max of one polite sugar snack each day.

Keep this blog going.
SMART: Post twice a week on this blog, scheduling posts for May 15-August 17.

Spend daily focused time with each member of my family.
SMART: Spend five minutes of focused time with each of my kids each day.

Listen through the whole Bible.
SMART: Turn on the audio Bible for any car rides longer than 20 minutes.

Read my Bible daily.
SMART: Read my Bible daily, including Saturdays.

Write out more of my prayer requests.
SMART: Write out at least one prayer request per week.

Train our puppy to be a good dog.
SMART: By May, train Lincoln to sit/stay and come. Also housebreaking and feeding!

Invite people over for dinner weekly.
SMART: Each Sunday, look a week ahead and invite someone over for dinner.

Train and disciple people to follow Jesus and help others follow Jesus.
SMART: On Monday mornings look through my upcoming meetings and note any questions or challenges I can provide to help people follow Jesus.

Be less worried about the time.
SMART: If I find myself checking the time, set an alarm and don't look at the time until the alarm goes off.

Excel in my new role at COCUSA.
SMART: Write down a 15 in 15 SMART list for COCUSA by January 15.

Finish up a few more big house projects.
SMART: Install six new windows by May.

What's next after these?  Add them to your task list.  We'll cover that next week.

Monday, January 5, 2015

What do you want to read about?

In a lot of ways this blog is a blog about nothing.  I meander from topic to topic and definitely do not have an overarching theme.  And in all honestly I like it that way.  The "stream of consciousness" style blog helps me sort my thoughts and develop ideas.

But all the same I'd love to write what is helpful to you, my readers.

So could you take ten seconds and hit reply or comment and let me know what you want to read about?

Much obliged.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Quick! (before the holiday euphoria wears off)  Grab a pen and paper and write down 15 things you want to do in 2015.

Don't worry about making them sound like New Year's Resolutions, because those don't normally work anyway. Just write 15 things that you want to do better, focus on more, or be about.

Here's mine (in no particular order):
  • Share the Gospel with 15 people.
  • Be on my phone less
  • Be more of a spiritual friend than a Christian buddy
  • Eat less sugar
  • Keep this blog going
  • Spend daily focused time with each member of my family
  • Listen through the whole Bible
  • Read my Bible daily
  • Write out more of my prayer requests
  • Train our puppy to be a good dog
  • Invite people over for dinner weekly
  • Train and disciple people to follow Jesus and help others follow Jesus 
  • Be less worried about the time
  • Excel in my new role at COCUSA
  • Finish up a few more big house projects
If you want to go a step farther, look at your 15 goals and try to make them SMART.  (Although be careful, you might actually change the world if you get too serious about these!)