Saturday, August 17, 2013

Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but religiously follows the new.” - Thoreau

Dear self,
You are the same as everyone else.  They thought they looked cool.  They thought they lived in a great part of town.  They thought they drove a nice car.  Guess what humanity has never done.  Stopped wanting.  The Earth spun with them on its back just like it is carrying you now.  Round and round and round we go.  Where it stops, nobody knows.

Am I trying to consume an ever-changing target?
The stuff is piling up.  The space is being filled.  The time is rounding the corner of the circle that constantly leaves moments in the dust of dashes.  Tick...tick.  We are constantly pulled to more by our culture and selfish desires.  

When was the last time I didn't want anything?

This cycle will never stop without intentionality.  Intentionality, by nature, always comes with a certain lack of comfort.  If it didn't, wouldn't we just fall into it naturally?  So what am I/we willing to be uncomfortable for?  A life of consumption effects your peace, your time, your relaxation, your wife, your children, your bank account, and your future.  Buying more just means you have more to keep track of, keep clean, keep fixed, and keep stored.  And if you spend it now on "x", then it is impossible to spend it later on "y."  So the decision that effects later is always made in the now.  

Look around.  How many of your possessions are displayed rather than used?  Conspicuous consumption is in effect.  Now, does every possession represent a loss in margin for generosity and contentment?  Hmm.

Every dollar has a destination that effects someone somewhere.  
Every second has the effect of building or bringing down.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I was lying.  This really is the last one.  A little bit more advice:

-Dreams come from our longings.  What do you always want?
-All we know about Jesus is that when he was thirty he was prepared.
-There are 168 hours in every week.  Make time for praying and reading.
-And don't just ready the Bible.  Meditate on it.
-Give hilariously.  It should be ridiculous if it is going to cause faith.
-There are four things men need: God, meditation, community, and sacrifice.
-Vocalize appreciation immediately.
-Do your best to be everything for all people.  This is serving like the Apostle Paul.
-Who am I pouring into right now?  There must always be at least on person.
-Make disciples one day at a time.
-Just because a door isn't open doesn't mean you don't go through it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

One more round of advice:

-Always have your questions ready for the old guys.
-Lead your wife to the Bible.  She needs to walk in on you on your knees early in the morning.
-Lead her in prayer.  Pray out loud with your entire family.
-Lead her to church.  Be the first one ready to go.
-Lead her financially.  Be the first on to sell your stuff when times get hard.
-Lead in sacrifice.  Give love when it isn't returned.
-Lead in forgiveness.  Go first.
-Lead in priorities.  Act before you talk.
-Lead in evangelism.
-Lead in abandonment of pride.
-Lead in direction.
-Always do what God has revealed to me now.  Then just never stop.
-We need to increase our reality of life and death.
-Just worry about being a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual success in this day.
-Always win the day you are in.  How many days do you have left this year?  Always know.
-Plan to get over things quickly.
-"Marriage did what no monastery ever could."-Luther
-The struggles you are facing are always with spiritual forces.
-Be willing to pay your dues.  In your twenties, you have earned very little.
-Shortcuts always disappoint.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A little more advice given to me by a wise man:

-Deal with your crap.  Nothing just goes away.
-Find someone who wants what they already have and spend time with them.
-Don't be self deceived.
-An expectation is often just a resentment waiting to happen when you force it on others.
-Just do the things for your wife that you know you need to do.
-First question to ask when I'm frustrated is, "What is wrong with me?"

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Another round of great advice given to me recently:

-Learn different languages.
-What is valuable?  What makes great men great?  A sense of destiny.
-Dream great dreams in God.
-Entitlement destroys your ability to dream.
-The biggest thing that is stopping you is fear.
-Don't be the slave of other men's opinions.
-2 Kings 3:13-20.  How deep will I dig?  How many jars will I bring?  The supernatural supply will meet your expectations in God.
-God will put things on your heart that look ridiculous in the natural.
-The dream has to begin when it's impossible to do.
-What am I swapping my life for?  Everything is a transaction.
-Real success comes from a walk with God.  Everything else is just nice.
-God calls families.  Don't short change your kids with a shallow well.
-Revival can break out.
-Am I living for dreams or projects?
-It doesn't start with wisdom or fancy words, but with power.
-Only 5% of the church exists in first world nations.
-To create a single convert to Christianity it takes $7 for an African, $11 for an Asian, and $1.2 million for an American.
-The greatest education you can give your children is travelling.
-You have to pursue it radically.  If you won't you aren't owned by God.
-Look at history.  Government doesn't fix problems.  Only transformed hearts by Jesus has.
-You can't out give God.  But you can try.
-God gives bread and seed.  Don't eat your seed.  Sow it.  Ask him every time which one it is.
-Grow in grace and knowledge.  He calls us to "be" everything else.  You can make a deliberate change in yourself because of Jesus.
-What is my job?  Bring heaven to earth.
-My kids should stand on my shoulders.  A true father releases.
-You are dead to sin.  It takes five seconds, not fifty years.
-Spend three hours a week on dreaming.
-"Lord, tell me more about who I am."
-"God, what are we doing today?"
-Pray for a word from God for your children on their birthday.
-It takes full commitment and intentionality.
-When do you have shiny eyes?  Do those things every week.
-Do not try to fix your weaknesses.  Lean into your strengths and the weaknesses will be resolved by God.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

No I'm not dead.  Just distracted.  Enough said.

Here are a few things that great men have told me recently.  It's a lot, but pick and choose as you will:

-I want a faith fuelled by saying yes.
-Get up tomorrow morning and do one thing you won't forget.
-We live in stages.  Beloved Son, Cowboy, Warrior, Lover, and King
-Milen, a habit producing chemical, forms more in your twenties than any other time of life.
-What makes your twenties a success...intentionality.
-Read about George Washington.  He won all the battles that must be won.
-Do something hard every day.  Wake up early, run until you throw up, forgive someone.
-Choose time over treasure.  Time is the greatest nonrenewable resource.  Spend your money on time because days turn into decades.
-Choose who over what.  The most important questions in life start with "who."  Marry well because it influences everything.
-Choose the gospel over everything.  The Bible isn't about me.  Apply Jesus to my story.
-"Make a great shoe and sell it for a great price."-Luther
-Sanctification should always begin by looking at justification.
-The gospel is not an evangelical tool.  It is life.
-Know yourself.  Go to a counsellor.
-Lead yourself.
-Know others.
-Lead others.  It must go in that order.
-It takes a band of brothers to push you to do hard things.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"If you can't do the good you would, do the good you can."

Are you stuck?
You were going to write a best-seller, headline a tour, go to grad school, refurbish a house, adopt a kid, and the list goes on.
So the opportunities just haven't "presented" themselves yet.

So I ask myself, "am I willing to do the things that I would do if I really wanted to do the things I want to do?"  What I mean is this.
The dream is to write a book...the first step is to start a blog and post regularly.
The dream is to be a great husband...the first step is to take her on a hot date like the early days for Valentine's day.
The dream is to have rock hard abs...sit ups, right now.
The dream is to be a professor...the first step is to teach a Bible study.
The dream is to make disciples...the first step is to make a friend.

Monday, January 28, 2013

I love it when someone shares something inspiring with me.
I think we all need to plan one of these.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"One of us is going to die first," she said as she stared sideways at the wall, wrapped in a quilt of faded blues and milky whites, as if to shelter herself from the reality of her declaration like a kid hiding from the night.  Her head was on the pillow, but her brain wasn't tired.
"Weird," I responded as I tried to pull myself from the bills to be paid to depths of her soul.  Mental gear shifting is an attribute of every woman and every married man who knows what's good for him.
"Actually we should die at the same time.  That'd be cool," she said as her voice trailed off and left me thinking.

What if I lose her?  "This world is passing away," none the less.  The "appointed time" of my life "has grown very short." 

So what will I do?  Will I live my life with Lauren to raise a glass to my expectations?  I walked into marriage with a bag full of those and threw them on her side of the bed.  Expectations are just my selfishness imposing itself on reality, are they not?  And we create expectations for everything we want.  We have expectations for our wedding; for our first home; for our budget; for our sex lives.  We are constantly trying to run ahead of our footsteps to design our own happiness.

But what is the alternative?  I am realizing that my marriage needs to be handled with craftsmanship rather than just passion.  Passion is my soul wanting and wanting and feeling and feeling.  My wife needs that.  But she also needs me to take a class on her.  She needs me to study her, learn her needs, and practice different methods of loving her well as the moments carve opportunities.  I need to see Lauren Now, not just Lauren Future.  For my version of Lauren Future is shaped by my expectations and selfishness, not by God's sovereignty.  This is a right view of reality.

"Already I have all I want!  Already I have become rich!"  She has come along beside me and the rest is unexpected.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New ventures.

This is a great crew to be around and learn from.
Thanks to Plywood People for spreading the word about Fresh Harvest.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

As I order my coffee, as I sit in traffic, as I listen to sports talk radio, as I type, as I open envelopes...

...this is happening out there.

Moody, may we meet again.

Monday, January 14, 2013

"You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men."

I must remember what it took to get me sitting in this chair reading these words.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Could I be a different person in a week?

What is a week?
Some days.

What is a day?
What you make it.

This is my breakdown of the days of the week.  Without it, I can't focus.  Without it, I don't become the me that i want to be ten years from now.  With it...well, we'll see.

Sunday-Husband Day.  
     Write Lauren a note.  Pray out loud with her.  Schedule a date.  Give her a gift.
Monday-Brother Day.
     Pursue Mike.  Talk about one thing he cares about.  Pray for him.
Tuesday-Son Day.
     Call Mom or Dad and talk about one thing they care about.
Wednesday-Pupil Day.
     Learn from someone older.  Mentor.  Grandpa.  Grandma.  Grandmom.
Thursday-Disciple Day.
     If you are not discipling at least one person who doesn't know Jesus then you are not a disciple.  Be one.
Friday-Friend Day.
     Call someone.  Meet up.  Do whatever it takes to make a conversation happen.
Saturday-Monk Day.
     Do one thing in solitude.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Should our spirituality be based on passion or craftsmanship?

Do we base our relationship with the Word of God on how we feel?  Or are we willing to seriously study it?  Are we willing to view learning the Bible like we would view learning anything else?  Should "hard work"be a part of our spiritual vocabulary?

Am I willing to put in time of deliberate practice to know the Word of God and to make him known to those around me?  Will I ever actually know the Bible and be able to let others know about it if I don't?

How do we really gain deep knowledge?  Is memorization and meditation not on an entirely different level than the type of "studying the Bible" that I typically do?  Is my lack of focus on memorization of Scripture the reason I seem to coast?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Get your hopes up.