Thursday, June 28, 2012

Learning by going

For two summer's running I've take one day away from COCUSA to go visit another day camp.  My goal for these visits is to glean ideas and insights from another Christian day camp program in order to improve Camp of Champions.

The specifics of where I went and what I learned aren't as important as this:

We all have a lot to learn from others.  Regardless of your industry or occupation, I would strongly encourage you to go visit someone who does something similar.

Go with questions.  Observe and take notes.  Think critically about what you do.  Be open to changing.

Just a thought...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Stick It Out

That's my advice to you.

I realize that there are real and good reasons why you shouldn't stick it out.

And maybe in some extreme cases you should be encouraged to give up.

But I think what you (and I) need to hear is this:  Stick it out.  Keep going.  Don't stop.

The rewards and benefits only compound if you do.

Stop now and you'll have to start again, but back at '0'.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Just Say No

This quote recently slapped me in the face:
No one who simply eats or drinks when he feels like eating or drinking... or gratifies his curiousity and sensuality whenever they are stimulated, can consider himself a free person.  He has renounced his spiritual freedom and become the servant of bodily impulse.  Therefore his mind and his will are not fully his own. They are under the power of his appetites.  (Thomas Merton, quoted in A Resilient Life)
During the summer camp season I could literally eat all day.  There is food around camp constantly.  And all too often I could be described as the person "who simply eats or drinks when he feels like eating or drinking."  

So inspired by this, I'm going to attempt to tell myself "No" at least once daily.  Maybe to an extra cup of coffee or a cookie or something else.  

Think of it as practice.  Say No to the little things now so it is easier to refuse bigger temptations later.

Monday, June 18, 2012

BOOR June 2011: You Choose

Last June I found multiple things that we're pretty awesome.  Here's a title and short description of each.  You choose which one suits your fancy.

There I said it: On our love affair with books- What's the most important book you can read as a Christian?  Besides the Bible?  (The point of this post is that you shouldn't have the second question!)

Email checklist (maybe this time it will work)- The basics of how and when to send an e-mail.  If you don't know what "blind copied"or "opt in" mean, then you must read this one.

Dangerous (in a good way)- How to be dangerous (in a good way)

Kings of Judah: Growing Old Ungracefully- Do you want to be grumpy when you grow old?  Probably not...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Inspire Me: Almanzo Wilder

Here's the quote:

"What do you take me for?  Do you think I'm the kind of a fellow that'd leave you there at Brewster's when you're so homesick, just because there's nothing in it for me?"

Here's some background:

Laura Ingalls was away from home for the first time, teaching school for 8 weeks.  The "Brewster's" was the home she was boarding in and it a was horrible place to stay (in the previous chapter the wife pulls a butcher knife on her husband.)  Each weekend for the past 5 weekends Almanzo had made the 24 mile round trip with his horses and sleigh to pick Laura up and bring her home.  But on the return trip the 5th weekend Laura made it clear that while she appreciated his kindness, she was not interested in him at all.

Then, the next weekend, despite her lack of interest, he makes the trip again while it's 40 below zero!  And this is what he says:

"What do you take me for?  Do you think I'm the kind of a fellow that'd leave you there at Brewster's when you're so homesick, just because there's nothing in it for me?"

That's inspiring.  That's the kind of man I want to be and the kind of man I want my boys to be.

Do what's right and good even when there is nothing in it for you.

(Quote from "These Happy Golden Years" by Laura Ingalls Wilder, p77.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

The End of Fantasy Football?

I know, I know... I can't believe I'm considering it either.  But this might be the year I bow out of fantasy football.

I could wax eloquent on this, but the short version of why I'm considering this move is:

I only have so much time to spend.  And my family, job, relationship with God, (and a whole host of other things) are way more important than a game based off of a game.

How can I complain about not having enough time to pray, yet still spend literally over an hour each week planning and strategizing my fantasy football team?

How can I turn down opportunities to serve others, share the gospel and make disciples... and instead merely entertain myself?

If you're still into fantasy football, then good for you.  No hard feelings from me.

But this year, I think I'll be taking a break.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Keeping Life Simple

In the midst of a busy camp season, sleep deprivation training due to a 6 week old and attempting to sell our house... life isn't feeling very simple right now.

I wrote the post below last May.  It was a good reminder for me to re-read it.  Maybe for you too?
There are so many possible things you can do each day.  It's not truly infinite, but practically speaking for a single human being, the options available to you are limitless.  How do you decide what to do with your day?  How do you decide what to do with your life?
You can narrow it down slightly by choosing to glorify God and make disciples of Jesus.  (1 Corinthians 10:31 and Matthew 28:18-20) But even then there are probably still thousands of options available to you.  How do you decide what to do with your day?  How do you decide what to do with your life?
I ask these questions because recently my wife and I had a great conversation about where we should spend our time and invest our energy and resources.  We asked ourselves this question: Who are the three groups of people God has called us to strategically  invest in?
What about you?  Could you narrow it down to three?  This doesn't mean you ignore everyone else.  It means that you put the majority of your efforts and resources towards these three groups.
This wasn't some ground-breaking idea.  Nor did it cause us to completely re-arrange our schedule.  What it did do was give us focus and clarity, as well as permission to breathe.
Who were those groups?  I pictured three circles, and my wife saw them as three trunks of the same tree, but regardless our groups were the same:  We believe God has called us to strategically invest in the people of 1) our family, 2) Camp of Champions USA and 3) Pekin Bible Church.
What about you?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Update on Partner Like Paul

It's been awhile since I posted this about my plans to write a book.  Here's a short update:

It's in process.

Overall it's been a great experience, although a little more difficult and time consuming than I originally thought.  Pending my survival of the next 3 months, I'm hoping to wrap up the finished product sometime this fall.  (Maybe just in time for Christmas?)

I put together an "Early Edition" for a fundraising session at COCUSA staff training.  And since I hadn't it out there, I figured you should have a chance to see it to: Partner Like Paul: (COCUSA Early Edition)

I'd love to hear your feedback on it!