What If People Knew About My Failures

What if People knew about my failures

What if People knew about my failures?

Newsflash, they probably already do.  No not all of them, but some people know.  We can’t hide ourselves successfully from everyone.  And especially not God.

So why do we feel the need to hide are failures?  We’re afraid others will think less of us.  Sure.  And maybe they will.  But isn’t it more important what God thinks of us?  He knows anyway.  But He wants us to fess up.  Not just so we can be humbled, although that’s not a bad thing; but mainly so we can be healed.

What if People knew about my failuresConfess your faults one to another so you can be saved (made whole or healed).  Good advice now.  It’s the enemy who wants to keep it all in the dark.  And convince us to hide it all inside.  God wants us to say out loud to Him and ask in Jesus’ name for forgiveness.  And guess what?  He does.  He is faithful and just to forgive us of all our unrighteousness.  Because that what He does.  All the time.  Every time we ask.

So embrace healing.  Confess to God.  And don’t even be afraid to confess to other mature brothers and sisters in Christ.  There’s freedom in confession.  What’s brought out in the light can be healed.  And who cares what others think?  Isn’t healing more important?  Isn’t God’s plan for us more important?

If you’re afraid what people think of you, remember that fear of man’s opinions disables or paralyzes, but God delivers us from that.  He gives us freedom to run with Him in wide open spaces of His Grace.

 

 

So, when thinking about confession, and people’s opinions, here’s how it goes much of the time:

1% will make fun of you
1% will judge you
1% will encourage you
97% won’t notice or care

But there’s a 100% chance God will notice, care, and love you, and help you through.

Finally, this joke helps me:

When you’re 20, you care what everybody thinks of you.

When you’re 40, you don’t care what everybody thinks of you.

When you’re 60, you realize ain’t nobody thinking of you 😊

Remember it’s just a joke.  Cause God is always thinking of you, and He’s crazy about you.

-J.B.

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Why Failure is So Important

Why Failure is so important

Why failure is so important

When I was about 12 years old, my parents signed me up for the swim team.  Being raised in Florida I was no stranger to the water, and thought myself a good swimmer.  But the first week of practice was a bit of a shock.  I lacked skill and stamina.  Sure I could keep my head above water, but by comparison I was an aquatic newbie.  The exercises were hard, and the pool got longer and longer.  Like a belly flop from the high-dive, my pathetic performance slapped me hard.  Then came the sinking feelings of inferiority.  And it wasn’t just in my head.  I didn’t have what it took to compete, even against 12 year olds.

Why Failure is so important

Twice my lifetime later, when I was about 24, my company gave me the opportunity to fly to the East Coast to conduct a sales presentation to a group of accountants.  These were veteran CPAs and bookkeepers.  And yours truly was demonstrating the new accounting software.  I prayed the laptop didn’t crash.  I wish I’d paid more attention in the training sessions.  My 90 minute presentation felt like crossing the English Channel.  I floundered.  I sucked.  They left.  No one bought.

I got a lot more stories like this.  Thankfully I’ve got some more enjoyable ones too.  But I’ve learned that if I’m not careful, the failure experiences can add up in my mind.  It’s easy to put too much weight on failure.  The key is to learn from failure, and move on, choosing not to live it over and over.  Failure is part of life.  And in perspective it can help us live a more balanced life.  We should not, afterall, think of ourselves more highly than we should.

So here’s a few things I’ve learned about failure:

Failure can be good.  If we learn from it, we can get better.  And we don’t have to keep making the same mistakes over and over.  We can grow.

Failure reminds us we are still students.  Life can be a great teacher.  So it’s healthy to adopt a teachable attitude, so we can learn lessons from our everyday experience.

Failure is like fire.  It can be useful if managed properly.  And sometimes it’s best not to process this alone.  The greater the severity, the more skilled help you may need.  If you’re not careful it could get out of hand.

Failure reminds us the world does not revolve around us.  Other people matter.  How we treat others matters.  Perhaps we should be more considerate in the future.  If we want real, lasting, loving relationships, don’t be an egomaniac.

Failure makes success sweeter.  What’s easy isn’t valued.  What’s rare or hard is precious.  Quality takes practice and persistence.  Craftsmanship is never an overnight cram session.  Only after much trial and toil is quality produced, and success within reach.

Failure brings priorities into focus.  What’s really important to us?  Maybe the U.S. Swim Team is not in your future.  Fine, well now you know.  Be willing to try.  Risk failure.  And find out what you like, what you love, and what your priorities really are.

Failure challenges misconceptions.  I thought it would be easy until I saw how high the bar was set.  I thought I could speed and not get caught.  I thought I was a great public speaker.  I thought I was indispensable to my boss.  Etc etc.  Healthy perspectives come from both success and failure.  And we should be able to view our lives through the lenses of both.

 

Why Ego Makes Us Stupid

Ego makes us stupid

Ego Makes Us Stupid

Ego is like a fart which everyone smells except the owner. And we all do it. Yet often, the more flagrant our ego, the last we are to realize it. And when we do realize it, we usually try to deny it. Like reaching for the deodorant, our first reaction is to cover it up. And why? Because we think our ego is a part of us. And any negative reaction by others is a commentary on our person.

But it’s self-limiting to equate ego with who we really are. We are more than our bad manners, and we can learn to be more considerate of others. It’s smart to realize the whole world does not revolve around us. And, more importantly, that other people are not there just to cater to us. When we realize this, we are able to see ourselves and others in a healthier way. It’s good to want to be healthier. And smart for us to grow in this way. If we don’t, we won’t outgrow egocentric limitations and will continue to wonder why everyone else holds their nose in our presence.

Ego makes us stupid

But you may say, there’s lots of successful people with big egos, and look at them, they have a great life.  Well, it’s not true.  They may have a certain ability to project other traits which mask their ego, or enough money to attract things which seem to prove their merit; but, in the end, the quality of their life is not what it could be.  And often, their close relationships suffer. And sometimes irreparable damage separates them from friends and family.

Nope, it’s not smart to nurture an ego. But why do so many of us suffer with one, when it seems so stupid to hold on to? It’s because we are creatures of habit. We walk the same pathways in our minds because it’s easier footing than to try and forge new trails. And by continual use we convince ourselves that this path, simply because it exists and even perhaps that it has served us well in the past, is the best way to go. We buy our own delusion. We accept our contorted rationale as brilliance, which others haven’t aspired to yet. We tell ourselves our thinking is right, when in fact it’s wrong. Thinking we know best, we have become stupid.

ego-makes-us-stupidThe ancient scriptures caution us against stupidity, or being headstrong lest we travel down perilous paths.  “Do not be like the horse or mule, which have no understanding; whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle.” Literally, if we are not reined in, we will wander off in desperate attempts to satisfy our own lusts, and fall prey to our own devices.  Yes, we have a will.  Yes it’s our life, and we can choose to live how we want. But it is foolish to do so. Restraints can save us from harm, from getting lost, from being unproductive. If ego is not restrained it runs amuck.

The last time I checked, the mule is not that smart. It is stubborn. It seeks its own way, and often without contemplation. Sometimes you have to beat it, to make it mind. Ego is like the mule in our heads. Best we learn to kick our own ass, before life does it for us. Smarter this way. So try some humble pie. Humility is a great tonic. Ask God for help. He always listens. And He knows best how to gently lead us down healthier paths.

 

 

Finding a Mentor, When There Isn’t One

finding a mentor

 

Finding a Mentor, When There Isn’t One

Finding mentors is hard for me.  Maybe I’m a bit different.  Or maybe I’m just too much of a jerk.  Either way, when I look around for older wiser Christian men who might be a little further along, I don’t see many who might want to help me.

So if you feel the same way, here’s a few tips:

First, we should all seek out mentors.  Mentors help us.  They can shorten our learning curve, point the way, and mostly help steer us out of the ditches.  Trying to do it our own way is a recipe for hard breaks.  Being a self-made man usually means being too stubborn to learn from others.  Thinking we know better is just pride.  Get used to falling a lot.

finding a mentor

Second, it’s false to think there aren’t any mentors out there.  No matter what you’re in to, or want to do, there’s plenty of others who have been down that road before.  Sorry snowflake, but you’re not really that unique.  We’re all people, or at least most of us.  And everyone I’ve ever met suffers from the condition of being human.  We have more in common than we often realize.  So there’s always another human being out there who can relate to you, and help you.

Next, yes sometimes we are a little different than the norm.  And if that’s you, fine.  I’m different too; and don’t relate to the average guy very well.  Still, there are plenty of guys I can relate too.  And so can you.  Just realize it might be a smaller pool you’re swimming in, but you can find better fish than you.  They are out there.  And you can model yourself after them.

Be purposeful and persistent.  Not every candidate for a mentor is actually going to be your mentor.  They may turn out not to be a good fit.  They may not be interested or accessible.  Fine.  Reach out to the next one on your list.  It takes some thought and commitment to seek and select a mentor.  You usually won’t get lucky on your first few attempts.  So, it’s a long-term goal.

Recently, I was listening to a podcast, and this guy’s name was mentioned.  I googled him.  Come to find out, he lives near me.  I’m skimming his blog, his facebook posts.  Then messaging and chatting.  Then setting up a coffee.  That’s how it works.  Maybe for you it’s twitter.  Or asking around at church.  Whatever.  Just take action.  Make some inquiries.  Seek and you shall find.

 

Dirt Bike Surfs Wave & Rides on Water

Dirt Bike Rides on Water Surfs Wave

Dirt Bike Surfs Wave & Rides on Water

This is one of the coolest videos I’ve ever seen.  First it’s a motorcyle actually riding on water.  But this guy actually surfs a wave.  Incredible.  And, it’s just a well made video that is fun to watch.  It just keeps getting better.

How to Dismiss a Toxic Person

How to Dismiss a Toxic Person

 

How to Dismiss a Toxic Person

You’re fired.  Sort of.  I’m not specifically referring to an employee.  I’m talking about a person in your life, maybe a friend, someone in your social sphere, or even a member of your Christian community.  Sometimes we encounter toxic people in life.  Often they do not initially appear to be troublesome, but as time goes on they bring out the drama in a big way.  They are a downer, a consistent energy drain.  They complain, always have a need, want to confide, monopolize time, and force attention to themselves.

The toxic person is usually a gossiper and stirs up strife and dissention.  They almost always have a beef with someone, and feel the need to tell you.  And perhaps the worst of all is a toxic person is easily offended.  Even when you try to help them, they get more offended.  And maybe they try to manipulate you too in the process.  Yep, it’s ugly.  The whole stinky messy sticky business.  And they just want to suck you in deeper.

Now the Christian side wants to help.  You empathize with them, and see their hurt.  But what can you really do?  Is your relationship as a trusted friend and accountability partner, or is it just a one-sided dump fest on you?  Usually the toxic person doesn’t have real accountability or counselors in their life.  They just move around in shallowness, mucking up the lives of any kind heart who’ll listen.  Then after a while, they get offended again and move on.  And repeat the cycle.

Sometimes you can spot this person coming and get out of the way.  Perhaps you have a gut feeling warning you about getting involved.  And usually your hunch proves true if you do.  Hindsight can be a hard lesson here.  I know.  I’ve been down this road.  And I know personally how the offensive spirit in the toxic person’s life can work its way into our own.  Often we don’t realize it at the time, because the Devil is a sly one, and that’s his game see.  He disguises the poison as just circumstances.  But upon closer evaluation, the common denominator is this person.  The toxic person who seems to keep spreading the virus around.

So what can you do with a toxic person?  Pray, and get out of the way!  Simple as that.  But relationships are tricky right?  And you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings either.  Well, you don’t have to do or say anything that you’ll ask God’s forgiveness for later.  Just politely and definitely and completely and finally back away and tell them to stay away.  It’s called dismissal.  And it’s perfectly legal.  Yes, you as a Christian are allowed to dismiss a toxic person from your life.  It is healthy to do so.  Further, it could be the very thing God is trying to teach you to do.  Deal gently, be obedient, and let God handle the outcome.  You are literally handing this person over to God.  (Or Satan, depending upon whether you read the New Testament or not.)  It’s not your role.  It’s God’s role.  So roll with it.

And when you do, I promise, you’ll know it’s right.  At first you may feel timid and sad, but later you’ll be glad you took the higher healthier road.  You must guard your heart, and not allow offenses to take hold.  Jesus warned us, so this isn’t a shocker—you’re gonna have some real _____ (insert favorite derogatory noun) in your life; and you’re responsibility is to pray for them and get out of the way.  The toxic person is not ready yet for God to heal this broken area in their life.  They are being stubborn, maybe even rebellious, and are just redirecting their own pain at someone else.  Don’t let that be you.

Anything or anyone who comes to steal from you is not of God.  A toxic person is never humble, only insecure.  So their spirit is not open.  You’re not going to give or receive a blessing dealing with them.  Your desire should be to honor God and yourself and your family.  You must preserve the integrity of your relationship with Christ and with your family.  You should not give a toxic person permission to speak into your life.  And that means ignoring them.  Find excuses to be busy.  Cancel any appointments with them.  Go somewhere else.  Get another job.  Don’t invite them over.  Just back away.

But what if you can’t avoid this person completely?  Perhaps they’re a family member or coworker.  Sure it’s harder, but you can still back away.  Don’t let some artificial status confine you.  Just because they’re family doesn’t mean they own you.  Do separate holidays.  Or only get together at public places.  Tell them you’re amish now.  Defriend them on Facebook.  Cut ties.  Again it’s not easy but you can do it.  Jesus said anyone who is not willing to leave Father and Mother for my sake is not fit for the Kingdom.  Wow.  How’s that for being decisive?!  So we have no excuse.  We allow a toxic person to remain in our life as if a poisonous snake were in the bedroom.  How long would it take you to get that snake out of the house?  It’s a matter of priorities, and protecting what’s most dear to you.

 

What to Do When People Share Hurts

what to do when people share hurts

What to Do When People Share Hurts

I had a conversation with a man which started out normal enough like “Hi, who are you?  What do you do?” etc.  But quickly I could see he was hurting.  And soon he shared some trouble in his life, specifically that he is doubting Jesus, and the reality of the Gospel.  He attends church with his family, and yet he feels like an outsider, a doubter, wondering whether Jesus is real or not and whether the Gospel is just all made up.

Now, that’s not something you might expect to learn shortly after a cordial hello; but this is what hurt looks like.  On the outside, he appeared professionally dressed and a somewhat successful local business owner, but on the inside he is deeply troubled.  Right there, I could ration that I’m not a counselor and he should go see a head shrink.  But why did he share this with me?  Probably he doesn’t know, and didn’t intend to; but maybe God was behind it.

Often I find that God brings people across our path who are hurting so we can share some of this burden with them.  But what does that mean?  Are we really meant to volunteer our time to take this person on as a personal community service project?  Perhaps, if that’s what God is wanting; but most of the time no.  That’s not what God wants.  God probably just wants us to pray for this person, and be open to what God may have us do next.  And many times He not asking us to do anything next, but He is asking us to pray.

what to do when people share hurts

Do we really need lighten to strike as a sign that God is asking us to pray for them?  Most likely the hurt exposed to us is reason enough to pray.  I believe that as disciples of Christ, we’re meant to share one another’s joys and bear one another’s burdens.  This means to simply listen and rejoice with those who rejoice regardless of our present circumstances, and to comfort those who are hurting regardless of whether we deem their need legitimate, or even the best use of our time.  Because really, isn’t it God’s judgement of what is the best use of our time?  And usually God wants us to spend more time praying.

When a person has a need, or wound, it may not be necessary to stop and pray for them right there; but almost always to pray for them later.  God will direct our prayers for them.  God revealed their hurt to us so we could intercede for them.  For some reason God’s Kingdom work involves us praying for one another.  And God likes it when we do so.  So the next time a person shares a bit of their pain, consider listening and let them know you will pray for them—and then actually do it.  This is how God works in people’s lives.  This is how we do Kingdom work.  This is how we can labor on earth, fight spiritual battles, defeat the enemy, and see God’s glory here and now.

Prayer does not need a degree or professional license.  Prayer is what we all can do every day.  And praying for others is a great way to be less selfish, more obedient to God, and grow as disciples.  As the saying goes “Prayer changes things.”  And prayer changes people.  And God can use you and me to be a part of changing someone else’s life.  How might our society change for the better if we spent less time talking about people and more time praying for them?  How might our country change for the better if we spent less time complaining about it and more time praying for it, our leaders, and our people?

God has us here in this place and this age for a reason.  Prayer is our best way to fulfill the divine reason we are here on earth.  Most of the other stuff we do is just taking up space; but prayer changes the space in which we live, and brings heaven down to earth now in real and practical ways.  Prayer changes people, heals hurts, softens hearts, and opens ears to God.

Prayer is the means by which we can literally see the power of God influence people.  Prayer is part of the resurrection life of Jesus spread abroad in our hearts and lives with our fellows, but it requires we participate, and blesses us when we do.

So, pray for people and see what God does in them and in your own life.  Watch how we experience more of God’s love in tangible ways.  Pray for someone today.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

Faulty Windows Update, and How I’m Dealing with It

Faulty Windows Update

I’m sitting here at my computer trying desperately not to lose my mind over its nonresponsive state.  I hate this.  I hate feeling helpless, held hostage by Windows.  When it works it’s great; but my dependency upon technology is more evident than ever when it fails.

Why?  Why am and so utterly dependent upon technology?  Just a victim of the modern world I guess.  But as I think about it more, I’m dependent upon a lot of things.
I’m dependent upon…
My car
My phone
My computer
My Internet provider
My bank account
My refrigerator
My grocery store
My electric company
My local water utility
Even my freakin’ coffee maker!

Geez, it’s like I couldn’t survive for one day without all these complex systems up and running to support me.  And what about my family and my kids?!  How could I provide and care for them?  Am I so ridiculously fragile as a human being that 40 years since birth I still can’t sustain my own existence but a few miserable days?

As I reflect upon humanity over the millenia, regarding dependecy and self-sustainability, not much has changed.  It’s an illusion really that our modern world is more adept at sustaining human life. We need the sun and plants and water and animals.  And we need each other.  Beyond that, we don’t really need technology to live.  We just think it makes our life better.
In truth, we’re all doomed to toil in the mud, whether real mud or bits and bytes mud, it’s basically the same poop.

Still here we are, the victims of our age, held captive in time, forced to labor and fight the battles of our day.  Nothing is this world works right.  Everything is broken.  Our best attempts to improve upon it for these past few thousand years have proven laughably fruitless.

What then shall we do?  Give up?  Join the ranks of the homeless on the street?  Or, just keep plodding along hoping the next update will bring something better.

The wisest dude ever to step foot on dirt said that everything is meaningless and folly.  The culmination of human wisdom says our life is just a lump of clay, or puff of air.  Here for a sec, then poof gone, remembered no more.  Wow, what a drag.  We should just eat, drink, and be merry then.  Fill our appetites now because nothing else matters.
This is human wisdom, or humanism.  Selfish indulgence without regard to anyone or anything.
But thankfully there is wisdom beyond our understanding. Wisdom that gives us a peak at hope.  It is wisdom from God, or literally God’s ways and thoughts.  And the wisest guy ever, did in fact, uncover some of this celestial wisdom for us.  He said that human wisdom ends in our own selfish futility, but there is a higher better wisdom we should aspire to.
He said the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.  And we should fear God and keep His commandments, for this is our whole duty or purpose.

First, I’m surprised that’s it.  Guess I was expecting a scroll and not a fortune cookie.  Perhaps some more details would clarify this more.
And better still, something that would help me deal with my anger issues with Microsoft.  But then I go back and ponder this wisest thing said by the wisest of humans: Fear God and Keep His Commandments.  This is our Duty and Complete Purpose.  Hmmm…ok, I suppose this does simplify things a bit.  And I could use some simplification right now.

But how does this help me snyc my phone with my crm?  Well, it doesn’t, but it does help me realize how little that matters.  Soon, I’ll be gone.  Well not here anyway.  I’ll be standing before God my Creator.  And He will ask me how well I updated to the latest versions of Android and Windows. Uh, no.

Instead, he will ask me how well I received His Son Jesus which He personally sent to save me from this screwed up world.  Thankfully I can answer that one.  That one’s easy.   Well, it’s easy if you have acknowledged and accepted and followed Jesus as your Savior.  And thankfully I have.  And hopefully you have too, because accepting Jesus is the best way to follow wisdom and fear God, keeping His commandments, and finally finding some purpose and meaning in this life.

Accepting Jesus may not solve my computer issues, but it does help me understand my computer is not the issue.  Meeting my Creator is the issue.
And did I take Him up on His invitation to be adopted into His family.  That’s the issue.  He sent our older Brother Jesus with a cool invite to join Him in God’s Heavenly paradise.

So I’m saying YES!  Now I realize, my time here on earth is short.  And good thing too, ’cause I hate faulty Windows updates.  And soon this buggy world will be gone, and all will be made perfect.  And everything will work and feel right, and love will reign without strife or heartache.  There will be no more pain or headache.  We will know true peace and happiness forever.

And it’s all waiting for us.  It’s just around the corner.  So come with me and follow Jesus to a much better place with a healthy happy family.
And we’ll just forget all about our worthless technology, ok.

What’s Really Important in Life?

What's Really Important in Life?

What’s Really Important in Life?

Getting coffee, stopping by the bank, picking up groceries, returning phone calls, paying bills, registering kids for camp, and on it goes; welcome to daily life.  It’s almost impossible to avoid such tasks.  Only the very rich and very poor successfully do so.  For most of us it’s so routine we don’t even question whether our time is well spent.  And perhaps we feel there’s simply no other choice but to tackle the next item on the list.

Yes productivity is good, but quality of life is better.  So it’s worth asking:  How much quality is gained by our quantity of errands?  Or, how have we benefitted from our time invested?  Often it’s not an encouraging answer.  Are we really just hopelessly distracted by daily duties in pursuit of paying the mortgage?  At the end of another month, how have we grown, matured, or developed?  How have are key relationships flourished?

I’m no philosopher monk.  Someone’s got to mow the yard, change the oil, wash the clothes.  I can’t just ponder the universe all day.  But perhaps it’s a matter of priorities.  Is my ultimate priority to have a well manicured yard?  In 40 years will I even care?  And what will I care about in 40 years?  How I kept the house, or how my kids have matured?  Did they play soccer for 8 years, or did they learn how to be disciples of Christ?

How might I take small steps today towards my heart’s true treasure?  What can I take off my list today, and replace it with something worth treasuring a few decades from now?  Perhaps reading the Bible to my kids aloud during breakfast is better than checking email on my phone?  Perhaps making a weekly small group is better than just going out to eat?  Perhaps spending a little time in prayer and meditation is better than going to the gym?

There’s no right answer here.  But when we consider our life’s destination is a result of the millions of small steps taken, it helps us ponder the direction of our steps.  Is what I’m doing now heading anywhere?  And where will I end up if I keep doing this?  Sure, it’s sobering; but, man is it important to ask meaningful questions now.  There is a place for being introspective.  And it’s good to ask God about His will for our life before just taking off.

So then, how might you interrupt your routine today with something eternal?  What moments can you redirect God’s way?  How much time will you spend quiet, listening for His heart beat?  These are worthy questions my friends.  What is your answer?

Why I Don’t Give my Kids an Allowance

Allowance for Kids

Why I don’t give my kids an allowance…and what I do instead.

Many parents give their kids a weekly allowance of a few bucks.  Now while I don’t believe this is horrible, I do believe it can be damaging to them.  An allowance is usually just free money giving to kids.  And I don’t like this practice, because it is just free money, or unearned profit sharing.  Although I love my kids, and I do give them many things for free such as love, time, provisions, and presents, I do not want to give them unworked for profits.

I want to teach my kids that work is rewarded; that hard work is their way to earn their living in this world.  I want my kids to learn how to work and support themselves.  I do not want them to think that there is money floating around out there that is theirs that they are just entitled to.  I want them to learn that money is only the result of deserved value giving to others.  I want them to learn how to be productive citizens who know how to provide products and services to others that deserve recompense.

Giving them free money gives them false expectations.  It breeds an entitlement mentality.  It is counterproductive to a healthy work ethic.  I think we can all see how an entitlement mentality that rewards slothfulness has weakened many in society.  We don’t want our kids to learn the path to weakness, we want them to learn how to be productive, self-sustaining, members of society.  And an allowance is not a tool to bring about self-reliance.

Instead of giving my kids an allowance, I create opportunities for them to do age appropriate work around the house to earn wages.  Money is the result of work.  And I want them to learn how to work.  So there is some work that is allotted to each child as chores, or what they are asked to do for no money because they are members of our family.  And to keep a house running, we all must work together for our mutual benefit.  But there is also work they can do for pay.  It is optional, but if they complete the designated assignment completely, they will receive pay.

I believe create healthy expectations about chores and optional work helps them learn best practices to succeed in life.  They must know that life is work.  And if they want to live their own life, there is lots of work, like cleaning, organizing, and preparing food that is necessary just to live a wholesome life.  And, in addition, there is work of value to be done which rewards them with pay so they can purchase other things they desire to live a more fulfilled life.

This is not to say that the only fulfillment in life comes as a result of earning money.  But, there is much to living an enjoyable life that only comes from having earned money.  And it’s important that at an early age they learn this distinction.  And, I believe, this understanding comes only through practical personal experience.  So I endeavor to give my gives valuable experience that teaches them healthy practices to better their lives.

So, an allowance is not a good idea, but working for chores and working for profit is a good idea.  The Bible says that hard work is rewarded, and that work provides a satisfaction that cannot be gained by any other means.  If we believe the Bible, then practicing its wisdom in our home life should be the goal.  And I hope that you will consider your economic policy in your home, and make adjustments if needed to promote healthy attitudes and expectations about living a fulfilled life.

Doing Good on the Texas Border

Doing Good on the Texas Border

In our modern social media world, it’s more likely we’ll see the shocking or scandalous in our news feeds.  But I love to see when there’s good things happening too.  For example, we all know the southern border is a big mess, but what about these ‘kids’ who have been left in Texas federal holding facilities?  Is anyone reaching out to them?  Here’s one story you probably haven’t seen in the media:  Glenn Beck’s nonprofit Mercury One is giving clothes, food and toys to these kids.  Check out the video:

Iran Nuclear Deal: Epic Obama Failure?

Iran Nuclear Deal

Obama is the guy who wore a fanny pack in the ‘90s, always brings extra SPF sun lotion to Disney World, and would rather shop for new golf clubs than shoot skeet.  While none of these things are bad, and in fact might look responsible to some, it paints a picture of a modern germaphobe who probably has hand sanitizer stations installed in the Whitehouse.  Obama’s soft touch charisma might make him a well-respected prom date, but he’s also just as likely to get a wedgie from the quarterback.  The point is Obama is no team captain, not even for chess.  His daycare equality is not going to win the respect of the ruthless men at the negotiating summit.  He’s a dweeb at the hold ‘em table who doesn’t realize he’s already lost his shirt.

Iran is playing the president like a fool.  They know Obama loves to talk and make nice.  So they fane acquiescence while preparing the noose.  Iran plays high stakes poker with cut throat determination.  Barack, in contrast, plays like a Vegas tourist.  Iran knows that soon he’ll get bored and head to the bar; so they bet big now to take all his chips.  Sure, Obama’s no dummy.  He probably even knows he’s getting played; but he’s also a prep boy.  What’s a losing day at the table really gonna matter to him?  He’s got 18 holes to play later.

Meanwhile, most Americans and many world leaders see Iran inching dangerously close to a nuclear ace card.  Iran’s brazen attitude will not be stopped by a little UN brow-beating.  Only a US or NATO lead handcuff is going to stop Iran’s power grab.  No amount of tea time conversation is going to make sense to them.  Iran is a playground bully about to terrorize the whole school.  And only a fist to nose beat down is going to put Iran in its place—which is a non-nuclear second world country.

If Obama blunders here, it could be on the scale of Chamberlain with Hitler.  At best, Obama’s precious legacy will be epic foolery.  And a dreadful possibility his contribution to history will be a chilling one-word sentence:  “The American President who started world war three.”  Still, there is hope.  Hitler was KO’d by Churchill.  And Iran has yet to feel Israel’s full wrath.  Like a tested heavy weight, Israel keeps moving and dodging, but at some point may strike the decisive knockout blow.

Thank God for Benjamin Netanyahu.  A modern politician yes.  But he also has the old school guts to win.  And we may need him to very soon, because our team captain is on the sidelines putting lotion on a blister.

How to Speak to your Whiny Child

child whining

I’m no child psychologist, but I do have 4 children, two boys and two girls.  And in my experience all children whine to some extent.  This I believe is because they, like all of us, are born into a fallen world, and whining is an indication that we are selfish creatures, wanting what we want when we want it.

But selfishness is the opposite of God’s love.  God showed us what love is when He unselfishly gave His only, most precious, son Jesus to die as a sacrifice to save us.  Children, however, don’t know this love yet.  And they need to see us demonstrate God’s love so their hearts will be prepared to receive it for themselves in time.

So what do we do when children whine?  It’s easy just to be frustrated at our kids; I know I have; but, I’ve also tried, at times, to look past the whining and see into their heart.  And so I try to speak to their hearts.  I do this by telling them who they are.  And I did it this morning, with my son who is almost 4 years old.

Being the third child He feels the need to speak up more if he wants something; but, the style of conversation he uses is often whiny.  So I took him aside, and spoke to him about who he is.  I told him he was my son.  I used his full name.  I told him he was my beloved son, and a valuable member of our family.  I told him my full name, and his mother’s full name.  I told him that he was almost four, and that he will grow into a man someday too.  Then, I told him that our family doesn’t whine, but we communicate with each other; and, that he will learn to communicate too.

Rather than just telling him don’t do this, or don’t do that again.  I tried not to notice him just for his immature behavior, but see him as I know what he will be.  So I spoke directly to him about who I believe him to be.  And this is what God does with us.  When we whine to God, God tells us who we really are—His precious sons and daughters which He highly values, and is confident that we are becoming mature members of His family.

When God tell us who we really are, it changes our perspective, giving us a higher motivation to grow into who He wants us to be.  It gives us a more pleasurable path, and makes the whining part of our selfish desires seem a more pathetic path not worth taking.  In Revelation, it says that one day in Heaven God will give us a white rock with our name on it.  Now I’m not sure what the significance of the white rock is, unless you like diamonds which is cool; but I do know that having a heavenly father who knows our real name and wants to memorialize our name forever as a member of his family is, indeed, very cool.  And this calls us higher, away from the earthy fallen nature.

So, speak to your children about who they can be, and not just about what they’re doing now.  I believe this will call them higher, and God will like it, and so will they.

Some Christians are Idiots

Christian Weirdos

Yea, I was reading facebook again. This morning’s posts were poignantly absurd. Sorry if this sounds harsh, I’m just not the most gracious when I see fellow ‘brothers and sisters’ acting like baffoons.  As a marked Christian, and somewhat obedient follow of Jesus, I do get my feathers ruffled when another member of our club is talking stupid or acting a fool.  Because I don’t like being a part of any club whose members are morons.

There, hate me now, but it’s just how I feel. I’m not better than anyone. I just hope that I follow Christ and not culture or popularity or fad, even if it is a Christian fad.  And, unfortunately, I see many Christians repeating fad one-liners, or taking small-minded positions on societal and political topics.  Sure, I weigh in too, but at least I try to offer something intelligent or puny to say. But boy do I roll my eyes at some of the stuff Christians say.  Guess I easily tire at the lack of perception by some Christians.  It makes me want to find another club.

Honestly it’s fun to belong to Christ.  Sure it’s hard.  But it’s the only love worth finding, and the only path worth traveling.  But man, some of these fellow travelers are too much wind.  It’d be more enjoyable to pass the time with better conversation, or, in the least, some peace and quiet.  Sure, Jesus said to love others. And John made it clear that this entire Christian life is summed up in loving one another.  But it’s hard, and much easy just to avoid these jokers. So obviously, I’ve got some growing to do here.  In the meantime, get off my facebook feed you obnoxious Christians.

The Cross of Christ makes No Sense

Cross of Christ

I’ve been a Christian for 36 years, and I still have no good answer for why Jesus did what He did.  Sure I know the answer that Christian’s say, and I even know what the Bible says; but I still can’t do the math in my head.  I’m too fallen from grace to follow Heaven’s logic.  I’m too earthy to see the beauty of Eden.  I’m too trapped by flesh to feel the freedom of Paradise.

Still God says follow me into ‘wide open spaces.’  There is something so small and limiting about our current world view.  David said God’s ways are too high for him.  And God’s thoughts are beyond him.  I feel like a man standing on the shore of an ocean hearing the words ‘swim to the other side.’  How can this be?  How can God love me?  How can Jesus die on a tree to set me free?

But this I do know, not because it makes sense, but because I believe it:  Jesus loves us this much that He died in our place so we might live.  And He says to all who are willing “Follow me.”  So I follow, and stumble, and follow, in hopes that one day I’ll see Him face to face.  And know His embrace like a life-long friend.