Just Close Your Eyes and Hope it Will Be All Right

closed-eyesSome of us seem to live by the adage, “If I don’t talk about it, it is not real.” Or put another way, “If I don’t talk about it then maybe it will go away.”

Consequently we close our eyes and hope it will go away.

Have you known anyone like this?

1. The doctor gives a stern warning to a 40-year-old man, “You have cancer. This has to be addressed immediately.” The man later tells friends, “I won’t be going back to the doctor anymore. I’m not about to undergo those treatments.” Just close your eyes and hope it will be all right.

2. The woman says nothing to her husband who exhibits all kinds of suspicious behavior. In front of their friends, they talk about their fantastic marriage. Meanwhile, at home they sit in silence, rarely speaking to one another. Just close your eyes and hope it will be all right.

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

Start2Reading

I heard Laura Nichol Speak last week in Pittsburg at the meeting of The Association of Theological Schools.  She is a business consultant from Houston.  Excellent presentations.  This reading list is from the Rios Advisors website.

Ebooks versus paper

See this article which appeared in the Financial Times “Ebooks vs paper” by Julian Baggini.

Basketball

Really like what NBA commissioner Adam Silver did during the draft for Baylor’s Isaiah Austin. Just days earlier Austin received news from doctors that he had a disease which would prevent him from ever playing competitive basketball.  Here Silver announces that the NBA has “drafted” Austin.

Resources

From Duke’s Faith and Leadership, Laura Nichol has written a fine piece “Rethinking capital – its more than money.”

Adolescents/Young Adults

Jan Hoffman recently had an interesting piece in The New York Times entitled “Cool at 13, Adrift at 23.”

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

start (1)Burnout!

Thom Rainer has written an important post regarding ministry and burnout.  See “Autopsy of a Burned Out Pastor: 13 Lessons.”  I suspect that any minister who has ever experienced burnout will relate to at least a portion of this post.

Church

You might read Skye Jethani’s thoughtful post “How Churches Became Cruise Ships.”

Important

I just read an important post!  The post by Terry Rush was important because it is exactly what I needed to hear today.  How easy it is to forget Resurrection power!  See “The Kingdom Energizing Factor.”

Memoirs

Michele Cushatt has updated her list of memoirs.  See “In Search of a Good Memoir (UPDATED).” By the way, Michele is an excellent writer.  Her blog is very good!

Sleep

Michael Hyatt has written an excellent post on the value of sleep and makes some great suggestions. I need all the help I can get with this subject!  See “6 Strategies to Sleep Soundly, Wake Rested, and Accomplish More.”

 

 

 

5 Ways to Mess Up Your Kids

MessMost parents I know love their children and want to do a good job with them.  Many of these people will do most anything to give their children a head start in life.  Some will go to extraordinary lengths to give their children an advantage.

Yet, it is possible to parent in such a way as to make it difficult for them to grow up, mature, and live as Christ-followers.

The following are some ways to mess up your kids:

1.  Model before them a self-centered life.  Focus on yourself, your pleasures, your desires, and your preferences.  Teach them by way of your example that life is all about “me.”

I was in a conversation with a woman who was abandoning her husband and children in order live her own life.  She wanted to believe that her leaving would have no long term impact on her children.

The reality is that our self-centered behaviors really do impact others.  They certainly impact our children.

Ministry Inside.132

no counterfeit logo [Converted]Beware of counterfeit ministry!

1. A church leader can become more concerned about image than reality. This church leader will spend much time and energy projecting a particular persona while the reality of this person’s life is elsewhere. In every generation, there is a temptation to want to appear cool, relevant, successful, sought after, important, etc. (Some words will resonate better than others. Nevertheless, the same principle is at work.) Unfortunately, that same person may be settling for a superficial spirituality instead of rigorous discipleship.

2. A church leader can speak one way in public settings while speaking very differently in private. Years ago, a woman shared with me her disappointment in a preacher who spoke warm words about a former elder at a church banquet. That same evening, he privately mocked and made fun of the same man he had honored in the public setting.

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

Start2Writing

From Daily Blog Tips by Ali Luke: See “Top Resource: 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2014 from the Write Life.”

Communication

See Melanie Pinola’s article in Lifehacker, “Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills.”

Dad

See the article by Katherine Shaver (Washington Post) “Do Father’s Day Cards that portray dad as an incompetent boob reflect today’s fathers?

Also note the review by Bruce Feiler (Washington Post)  Book Review: ‘Do Father’s Matter, on the science of fatherhood” by Paul Raeburn.

Mom

This is interesting.  I would really like to read the entire report.  See Geraldine Bedell’s “Mother’s of innovation” (Financial Times).

Ministry Inside.131

inside_logoSome church leaders really connect with the people who make up the congregations they serve. Others have great difficulty.  The following are a few suggestions that might help you connect. Perhaps one or more of these will be helpful.

1.  Listen to people.  Listen to a wide variety of people in your congregation.  Too many church leaders seem to listen primarily to their critics while others seem to only listen to kindred spirits. Again, listen to people across the spectrum in your congregation.

2.  Ask good questions.  Give some thought as to the questions you might ask people in your congregation.  Having specific questions in mind can help prevent an awkward silence when you don’t know what to say.  It can also keep you focused on having an exchange with someone instead of dominating the conversation.

3.  Reflect on what it might be like to experience another’s circumstance.   For example, consider what it might be like to experience situations such as these:

*What’s it like to be divorced?
*What’s it like to be depressed?
*What’s it like to lose your job?
“What’s it like to have cancer?
*What’s it like to have lost a child?
*What’s it like to learn of your spouse’s affair?
*What’s it like to be secretively in debt due to gambling?
*What’s it like to be gripped by pornography?

Pondering such situations might flavor your remarks in sermons and classes.  Such reflection might also help a church leader reconsider telling a particular joke or making flippant comment.

4.  Don’t tell inside jokes.  A speaker will make a remark in a presentation. Then he says, “That’s an inside joke.”  A few people laugh while everyone else is baffled by the remark.  This practice can leave other people feeling as if they are on the outside looking in.

5.  Pay attention to the edges.  Years ago, a woman gave me some very good advice regarding connecting with people who were on the edges of our congregational life. After a Sunday morning assembly, she asked me if I had met a couple who had been visiting our church.  I had not.  She said, “You are going to have to try harder.  These are not people who are going to come to you.”  She was right.  I needed to be more intentional in connecting with people who were on the edges.

10 Traits of a Great Dad

DadFor a number of years, I’ve had a front row seat to witness first hand some great fathers as they’ve interacted with their children.  Most of these dads also modeled what it means to love their wives with an unconditional love.

The guys who I have in mind are in their 30s and 40s.  They are normal men who have a mortgage and go to work each day.  Yet, they have allowed Christ to deeply impact their lives as fathers.

Here are ten traits of a great dad:

1.  The best kind of dad first models faithfulness and loyalty to his wife.  His children witness this. While many men behave in ways that are small and childish, this man is real grownup.  This mans wife married a real man who refuses let his immaturity dominate the relationship.  This kind of man also blesses his children as he relates to them as a real father.

2.  The best kind of dad is more concerned about being what his kids need instead of being focused on his own ego.  Some boy-men are so insecure they must have their fragile ego massaged each evening when they are home.  Such ego needs doesn’t leave much time or energy for being attentive to their children.

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

startWriting

Words to avoid when writing.  (Globe and Mail)

Feel-good story!

Son keeps his promise to his dad and gives him a 1957 Chevy for his birthday.

Church

Thom Rainer has written a very good post “12 Reasons to be Optimistic About the Future of Local Congregations.”

Resources

Have you seen these resources?  Some very helpful resources (video, audio, notes) from Austin Grad’s Sermon Seminar.

Sleep

I paid little attention to the value of sleep for years.  However, Michael Hyatt has written a fine post in which he discusses the value of sleep for productivity.  “Why People Who Sleep Longer Achieve More.”

Presentations

See Victoria Labalme’s video in which she discusses “The Amateur Versus the Professional.”

 

 

 

 

Ministry Inside.130

exhaustion1My friend told me many years ago, “If you are going to last, you can’t keep working like this.”

I was a young preacher.  I had just told my new friend some details about my typical work week.  I had no sense of boundaries or priorities.  Consequently, my days were typically spent with far too much activity and too little reflection on the value of these activities.

My friend had served congregations for many years.  He was ten years older than me and had given much thought about his use of time in his own ministry.

Consequently, I made some changes in the way I used my time in my work.  I also learned much about the way I had been using my time.

Perhaps you will find these helpful.

1.  Every “yes” is a “no” to something else.  Some people say “yes” to almost every request they receive.   Yet time is a limited resource.  Consequently, I can be busy fulfilling the requests of a few people, while I ignore the message preparation that will impact hundreds of people on Sunday morning.  I learned to think through the implications of saying “yes” to far too many requests.