Monday, December 30, 2013

Pheaney's Annual Superbowl Pick Contest

It's that time of year again...

Pick the Superbowl winner and win a prize!

It's that simple.  Fill out the form below.  If you win, I'll buy you a book off of my 2014 Reading List (Click Here to View) and take you out to coffee to discuss it.

If you can't see a form, click here.

Fine print: 
Any remaining ties will be decided by a coin flip. 
If the winner is a female, my wife will take you out while I watch my kids. 
Contest closes before the first playoff game begins (which is 3:30 Saturday January 4)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ways we should be more like Adrian

My son Adrian turns 6 today.  Here are a few everyday things we could all learn from him:
  • Be more creative.  I wish I had the capability to invent latin words for dishwasher, but luckily with him in the house I have a never-ending source of ideas.
  • Write more notes.  Every time I turn around Adrian is handing his mom an "I love you card."  Married guys: When is the last time you did that for your wife?  Everyone: What about your mom?
  • Don't shoot unless you need to. .  Adrian has this funny habit of not wasting bullets when we're in a nerf-gun fight.  It's comical, but he takes about 1 shot to my 100.  I laugh, but I'm also the one out of bullets.
Happy Birthday Adrian!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review: The Longview

A few thoughts and points from The Longview by Roger Parrott:

Quotable: "If it doesn't win football games, don't do it." - George Allen

What I Liked: The concept of the longview.  We should work, serve, and live like we're in it for the long-haul.  Anything else is shortsighted. This isn't a new concept: My grandma asked me about that before this book was written.

What I Didn't Like: To be honest, this wasn't a very good book.  I could nitpick at a lot of things, but I think the biggest critique (and warning to the would-be authors among us) is that you're theme/illustration/narrative needs to be consistent throughout.  At times reading the book (or even individual chapters) felt like being in a car with someone learning to drive a manual transmission: it wasn't smooth at all.  The author just jumped from one illustration to another without warning or much explanation.

2013 Personal Impact Ranking: 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Check your tasks and calendar

Is making disciples on your calendar or task list?

It would be great if there was an actual item or event labeled "disciple-making" or similar.  But if not, can you at least point to something that is making disciples?

I think our calendars and task lists tell a lot about us.

If you don't have events on your calendar that disciple others towards Jesus, isn't it time you add some?
If you don't have tasks that help you make disciples, isn't it time you find some?

"Go and make disciples" is what Jesus said.  How is your planner (or iCal or Google Calendar) telling you you're doing at that?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Review: Lincoln - A Life of Purpose and Power

I took it upon myself to tackle Richard Carwardine's "Lincoln" for a couple of reasons:  First, I've been wanting to read an Abraham Lincoln biography for some time.  Second, this was a book, and it does a body good to read a BIG book every now and then.

Besides making me want to run for President, my biggest take aways were some awesome quotes from Lincoln himself:
"Most governments have been based, practically on the denial of equal rights of men... ours began by affirming those rights.  They said, some men are too ignorant and vicious to share in government. Possibly so, said we, would keep them ignorant and vicious. We proposed to give all a chance and we expected the week to grow stronger, the ignorant wiser, and all better and happier together." 
"In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God.  Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time.  In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party.  I am almost ready to say this is probably true- that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet.  And having begun He could give the final victory to either side any day, yet the contest proceeds."
Carwardine did a great job of making this a very readable and enjoyable book.  I wanted to finish it, and he paints Lincoln as a great man and American hero, but doesn't deify him as can sometimes happen.  I found most interesting his thoughts on Lincoln's relationship with Christianity, but you'll have to ask me in person about that.

I found this book at my local library, but you can also buy it on Amazon or get it on Paperback Swap.

2013 Personal Impact Ranking: 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Things I should do less

I feel like most New Year's Resolutions (besides not being very helpful) are always in the mode of adding things to do.  Which is one thing that makes them so difficult.  We already have such full lives, adding things to them can be really hard.  So here are a few things I think I should do less of in 2014.

  • Pay less attention to college and professional sports (especially the Minnesota Vikings)
  • When it comes to sharing the Good News, think less about it, do it more.
  • Continue to eat less sugar.
  • When I'm at home with my family, spend less time at the computer.

(You'll notice these do-less goals aren't SMART.   I should probably also make more of them.   This is just to get me (and hopefully you) started!)

Monday, December 9, 2013

If I were president...

Here is what I would fix:

Daylight Saving Time.  We need to scrap the whole thing.  As the comedian Dave Barry says: "You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe Daylight Saving Time."  That being the case, I propose we get rid of it.

Protecting Thanksgiving.  By presidential order I would outlaw shopping on Thanksgiving.  This may not make me popular, but we've got to hold the line somewhere.  I don't think this is what Abraham Lincoln had in mind when he declared Thanksgiving a national holiday.

That's it. That's all I've got.  It may not be an exciting platform, but it's simple and you'll know after four years whether I accomplished it or not.  In fact, I can't imagine these two things taking more than four years, so I expect that I won't run for a second term.

Oh, and one last thing.  I'm not eligible until the 2020 election, so save your write-in votes until then.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stop Complaining

"May I never complain about anything again."

The first time this thought hit me was when a friend had a child diagnosed with cancer.  That was a few years ago.  I dare say that I have complained plenty about petty things since that point.

The thought came back after the November 17th tornadoes.  "May I never complain about anything again."

Then my drain backed up.
And my kids were getting on my nerves.

At least I have a house with a drain to back up in.
At least I have kids that are in good health.

I'll say it again, and maybe this time it will stick: "May I never complain about anything again."

(No guarantees though.)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Discipleship Basics

I'm officially publishing a Discipleship Basics Bible study I'm using with Camp of Champions staff this school year.

It's been helpful to me as I've met with staff.  It helps me disciple them and helps them disciple others.  I'm posting it here with the hope that others can find it useful in their life and ministry.

Even more than passing it on, the biggest reason I'm putting it out here (for the world to see) is because I need to call it 'done.'

I've needed to call it "good enough" for a while, but instead of going out and making disciples with it, I find myself re-writing a Bible study yet again.  It's too easy to keep tweaking, editing and re-writing, so I'm posting it here to say: It may not be great, but it is good enough.

Without further ado: COCUSA Discipleship Basics Study

I'll update it once or twice a year as needed.  You can find the most updated version on this page on my blog.