Monday, September 30, 2013

Don't Hide

I've noticed a parenting trend that I personally disagree with.

Hiding stuff from your kids.  (And I'm not talking about cookies and ice cream.)

More than once in the last couple of weeks I've heard reference to hiding your kids from something you don't want to explain to them because it is difficult to understand, something that is sinful in nature or makes you feel uncomfortable.

I'm not saying that right away you should explain everything in the world to your children no matter what age they are.  But I think that hiding the facts of life isn't going to help very much in the long run.

Kids will find out that other people believe differently than your family about a lot of things.  Kids will find out about "skeletons in the closet".  Wouldn't you rather have them find out about them when you are there with them and able to walk them through a God-honoring response?

Don't start the habit of hiding... because when do you stop?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Bible on your house

What does the Bible say about the physical place where you live?  If you're in the midst of shopping for a house, not as much as you might hope.  What's there is still instructional, but actually more about the home you make out of the physical house you live in...

Make your home a place where God is remembered.

A righteous home has a way better chance of lasting than a wicked one.

Seek wisdom for a solid home.

Don't validate yourself with your (big) house.  It won't work.

Take care of your relationship with God first, your home (especially a luxurious one) should be a lower priority

Looks like a good starting list for me.  Scripture references here: Deuteronomy 6:9, 11:20; Proverbs 3:33, 14:11, 24:3; Ecclesiastes 2:4; Haggai 1:1-11

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reactions to Our Culture

When we come across aspects of our culture that we dislike or find to be wrong, how do we react?  What do we do?

Three ways we (as Christians) typically react:

Abstain: We don't participate. We look down on anyone who does. We avoid anyone who does.
The problem with abstaining is not that we shouldn't avoid things that are wrong. The problem is that often abstaining means completely removing ourselves from the culture and the people who are in it that still need Jesus.

Change: We seek to change what we don't like through coercion, politics or other means.
The problem with changing the culture is it might be impossible.  Cultures and societal tendencies are big and have a lot of momentum and are difficult, if not impossible, to change from the top down.  But if we focus on the people within the culture, loving them in a way that shows them Jesus, by God's grace those people might change.

Create: We really like this one.  We'll create our own stuff.  Are movies getting trashy?  We'll create a Christian version.  Don't like where hip-hop is going?  We've got Christians artists covering that.  (In fact, I can say with confidence that wherever secular culture is going we probably have Christians looking into how to copy it and create our own version.)
The problem is that if we only create our own culture, we never engage with people who need Jesus in their culture.  We can get lost in the culture we created or become so used to it that we are literally shocked when we step out of it, and unable to engage the people we run into.

This whole post started from 8 words I penciled down after listening to a message on a college campus.  I think the speaker went on to share the correct reaction to culture, but I didn't write it down.  I guess I have to make up my own:

Engage: Abstain from the sin. Seek to change people. Create what God lays on your heart to create.
But all the while engage the people God has put in your path.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wealth* We** Waste***

*Wealth = an abundance or profusion of anything; plentiful amount (from, definition 2)

**We = me, you and western civilization in general

***Waste = to consume, spend, or employ uselessly or without adequate return; use to no avail or profit; squander (from

We have a problem.  We waste a lot of wealth.  It's literally everywhere.  We are spending, consuming, squandering, losing and otherwise wasting a lot of wealth that could be used for good.

It could be used to make disciples and share the Good News.  It could be used help the needy or hurting, both around us and across the world.

But instead, we lose it without getting (or even expecting) anything in return.  A few wasteful places that are standing out to me right now: mobile data plans, retirement, coffee (convicting but true), home improvement, new construction (both residential and commercial), and sports.

Please don't read this that I'd like to move into a cave and be a hunter/gatherer.  (My wife wouldn't stand for that...)  Go ahead and have a cell phone, plan for a comfortable retirement and drink coffee.  But while you're using wealth on all of those things, think about this:

What spiritual return is there for the wealth you're spending?

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Good News

Here's the Good News: We can have a relationship with God that will give us abundant and eternal life.

This relationship is available to us because of Jesus Christ, a real man who lived and walked on this earth.  Without Jesus, we cannot have this abundant eternal life because we have all chosen to rebel against God, to do our own thing and to be in charge of our own life.  The punishment for living for ourselves and in disobedience to God is death and eternal separation from God.

But Jesus died for us.  In doing so he took the punishment and death we deserved.  And now, since he did that, we are offered eternal and abundant life.  The thing is, like anything you're offered, you have to take it.  You have to accept Jesus and accept the sacrifice he made for you.

Even better, Jesus didn't stay dead.  He came back to life and calls all who accept his sacrifice to follow him, learn from him, and be like him.

Isn't this news good?

Here's where the Bible backs up what you just read: John 1:17-18, 10:10, Romans 6:23, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4,

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Parenting Helps

It seems to me that there is a void of people willing to offer parenting advice.  I even have a memory of a father of eight saying he wouldn't feel comfortable giving parenting advice.  At the time he already had three of kids well on their way to being adults any parent could be proud of... but because of the ongoing parenting he was experiencing with his younger kids, he didn't feel he could offer advice.

If that's the case, can anyone ever offer parenting advice then?  Does anyone really get to the place as a parent that they can offer advice with 100% confidence?

I'd like to suggest we change the verbiage: Is anyone willing to offer parenting helps?

You may not have it all together. You may still be figuring out your own kids.  But nearly every parent can share something that has been a help to them as they raise their kids.

So if you're a parent, what helps can you offer those around you?  ("Do you want to know what helped me in that parenting situation?")  Or maybe if you are the one needing help, it's on you to ask for it.  ("What have you found helpful in this situation?)

Some of my parenting helps coming later...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Reflecting on the past

I wrote this in my journal three years ago today:

Camp* can often be a distraction from making disciples.  
At times I'd love to shove off and wholly and solely pursue endeavors that make disciples.  
However, will that course of action develop a multipliable disciple movement? 
Is it better to make disciples while working a job that distracts from it?** 
For that would show others how to do the same...

*"Camp" is my job.  What's yours? How does it aid or detract from your ability to make disciples?

** To be fair, camp doesn't always distract from it.  Often it is a huge help to it, but there are times in the middle of the busy season that are very distracting from making disciples.  When I wrote this there had been a good run of distractions.

Three years later I'm still thinking about these things.  I think my main message for you and me today is this: You can and should make disciples of Jesus right now.  I think your job isn't as relevant to the discussion as we often make it to be.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What would you do with $____?

This is for my friends in a paid ministry position (myself included).

Put your full salary package in the blank space below.  (This should include benefits... What is your organization's total financial commitment to you?)

Let's say someone gave you $______ in a lump sum and said: "Make the biggest possible difference for Jesus Christ over this next year."

What would you do?  What would your strategy be?  What do you start dreaming about being able to accomplish?

How does what you're thinking about and dreaming up sync with what you are currently doing?

The reality is that you are being given $______ to do what you do each year.  It's not a lump sum, but it's still being given to you.  What are you doing with yourself to make the biggest possible impact for Jesus Christ?

You (as a person) need to be that strategy, you need to live and work in a way that lines up with your goals and desires to change the world.

A lunch conversation with Tim Reist was the inspiration for this post.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Welcome to September

It's September!  Here's a few things you need to know about

Content Categories
Going forward I'm going to focus my blog posts on the following areas:

Following Jesus in...
  • Church
  • Everyday Life
  • Making Disciples
  • Marriage
  • Parenting
  • Raising Money
  • Sabbath
  • Wealth
I'd love to hear from you (comment or reply) on which of these you want to hear more about or if there are any categories I missed.

Speaking of categories, I'm going to stop posting my Best Of Online Reading (BOOR) with any regularity. If you want to see what I'm reading online, you can look to the left sidebar on my blog, visit Stuff Pheaney Found, or subscribe to the RSS feed yourself.

Finally, for those of you who share my love for football I've got two goodies for you:
1) I'm setting up another Eliminator Challenge contest for this year.  If you don't know what that is but are interested, click through and find out more.  Winner gets coffee or lunch on me!
2) I have some silly but hopefully realistic thoughts on my favorite team here.

Now stop reading and go enjoy Labor Day! You get a bonus high-five from me if you didn't see this until Tuesday.