Archive for May, 2013

Jesus in my place

Posted: May 31, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Gospel
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Sometimes, the best thing to do on a day when you are feeling the weight of guilt and shame is to remind yourself that Jesus lived a life that earns our righteousness, died a death that killed the power of sin in our lives, and rose again in victory securing our restoration.

When there are days that you feel proud and arrogant about success, accomplishments, and fruitfulness it is good to remind ourselves that there is nothing we have done that could gain God’s approval.

In Jesus, there is nothing we can do that would disqualify us from His love and there is nothing that we can do that would qualify us to receive more of God’s love. His love is unchanging and solidified in the person and work of Jesus.

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The Leader’s Pacing

Posted: May 30, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Leadership, Productivity
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I love recommending books. Good books, challenging books, convicting books, practical books, and well written books. But not everybody is going to like the entire book. Sometimes we read for fun. Other times we read and discover a helpful chapter. Sometimes we only find a sentence that is meaningful. This is one of the reasons I am thankful for my friend Jon Smith. I know that may look like a pseudonym, but that is really his name.

Jon has at different times recommended books, pages, paragraphs, and chapters to me. Recently, he asked me to read a chapter titled, The Leader’s Pacing by Peter Kraft. Again, the whole book wasn’t necessary but this section was extremely helpful…well mostly the analogy. Here is a quote that I found helpful in understanding how I should pace how hard I work.

We all don’t have the same gifts, personality, or capacity. I think people are like rubber bands, which come in all sizes and shapes. Some are small and some are large. A small rubber band can only be stretched so far. It has limits. A rubber band that is larger can obviously be stretched further. Regardless of how big or small the rubber band, it can only be stretched for so long, and then it needs to go back to  a resting position. If it is stretched too far and stays there too long, it will snap.

We have all had the experience of picking up something that was wrapped with a rubber band for a long time, only to have it snap when we touched or moved it. Likewise, leaders need to determine what size their capacity is and how long they can remain in a stretched situation before they need a pause-whether emotional or physical.

He then goes on to say that most leaders need to slow down. There is a tendency to believe that being busy is the same as being productive. It isn’t. We can be busy doing a hundred unnecessary things and miss the most important things on our plates. There are times that we know we need a break, recalibrate and slow down, but we decide to push through. God has given us a capacity and we should work within that range. We should work hard and rest, trusting in the sovereignty of God.

Kraft then writes this convicting section

I think that if the Lord were an officer of the law, he would give many of us a speeding ticket. Is there a speed limit for life and ministry? It’s called the gauge of God-given capacity. We are not all the same.

If you are a leader, or someone who feels like life is fast paced, you may want to slow down. Take a look at your capacity, your strengths, and your priorities so that you can focus on what is really important. You don’t have to do everything. If you are a leader, you can delegate work to someone who would not only do what you can do, but potentially thrive at it. Work hard, play hard. Rest intentionally so that you can work intentionally.

An Open Letter to my Wife

Posted: May 29, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Marriage
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Lindsay,

We are so close to our two year anniversary. I think of the last two years and can’t overlook how instrumental you have been in my life. With the modern view of marriage being a chain and a ball, game over, and something you do when you get older- I am so glad the opposite is true of our relationship. You have made life more interesting, more enjoyable, and the games have just begun.

I was a young naive 23 year old and you were a young 21 year old when we got married. But I wouldn’t trade marriage for what the 20’s has to offer a single dude like me. The adventure, spontaneity, freedom, and joy singleness has to offer has only been multiplied by being with you. We have traveled a road only you and I could have gone through. In the midst of potholes, speed bumps, set backs, and detours we have only gotten to know each other more deeply and care for each other more specifically.

I began with telling a few select people about how my feelings for you were growing and now feel like shouting from the highest location with the loudest megaphone of my undivided love and commitment to you. You and I are not the husband and wife that we want to be…but we aren’t the husband and wife we were two years ago. We have grown in our love, knowledge and commitment. Two years in, with the rest of our life ahead of us….this is the journey of my life! I see how you are uniquely made to suit me and enhance my strengths and support my weaknesses. For your patience, humility, teachability, care, servant-like-heart, forbearance, and unabashed love… I am glad to say I love you… and I look forward to growing old with you.

I love you, Lindsay, with greater depth than I did before and with great anticipation of the future.

A Lesson Every Husband Has or WIll Learn

Posted: May 28, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Thoughts
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I have only been married for almost two years in July. But it was soon into our marriage that I learned that I am not always supposed to help my wife. I do want to help her. The thing is, she is not always in a place for me to help her. She wants someone to listen, hear her out, and say, “I am sorry you had to go through that”. She wants some one who doesn’t feel the need to correct her, challenge her, or change her…she just wants compassion.

I don’t know if I am wired uniquely, but it seems to me that every guy wants to fix the problem. If that is clearing the calendar, we will do that. If it means picking up more work, we will take on the to-do list. Sometimes all we need to do is hug, hold, and affirm our wives.

At the same time, wives need to be able to laugh at themselves for how we perceive them. This is a short, funny clip on how women can react to their husbands care.

Time Management

Posted: May 24, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Productivity
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Hey, all.

I was  recently thinking about what a time-sucker all things internet-related can be.

Some of you may be interested in some apps available. For you Firefox users, LeechBlock (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4476/) can be configured to limit your time on specified websites. For example, I am gonna give myself 10 minutes on Facebook every two hours. If you’re on it and your ten minutes expires, you can have it just say “this site’s been leech-blocked” or you can have it send you to a more “productive” site (work-related) or something.

It’s easy to work with and configure. Once the site is blocked, you are unable to go and switch the settings until the time unblocks it.

For those of you that use Chrome (or if you have both browsers, and would be tempted to get around your controls) you can install StayFocused (https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/laankejkbhbdhmipfmgcngdelahlfoji)

These two apps are basically the same, just different in the way that they look.

That is all. I hope this benefits some of you.

 

Simple Ways to be Missional

Posted: May 24, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Book Recommendation, Mission, Reading

Have you ever wanted ideas for how to reach your neighbors, your family, your city, your coworkers? Well, Tim Chester and Josh Reeves have put together an e-book filled with different ideas for you. I have found this resource helpful and very reproducible in creating platforms to share the gospel.

I hope you enjoy it and are fruitful because of it. Here is a link to get your free copy

http://www.vergenetwork.org/free-ebook/

This April, I was able to attend The Gospel Coalitions national conference. There were a lot of people I was looking forward to listening to, and many I did not know but had heard a lot about. The talks I was looking forward to didn’t upset. The speakers I didn’t know blew me away. I was able to build with the guys I went with. I was able to hear one of them begin his journey to South Asia and is currently in country. This was a highlight for me this year.

This conference was a refreshing, convicting, encouraging, and theologically rich. The books were discounted (always a good time to buy) and the schedule was stacked. I am glad that they now have audio available. There were so many workshops, talks, and panels I wish I could have been in. This is one of the many times I wish I had more than one body, or the ability to have my mind in two place at once.

The pre-conference was on global missions, the conference was about following Jesus on mission in the Gospel of Luke, and the post-conference was on work and vocation. I hope you are encouraged by it.

Here were some of the most personally encouraging ones:

The heart of God in the call to proclaim: Our goal to please him, by John Piper

Why the Great Commission is Great: Reaching more and more people, by David Platt

Being an Ambassador for Christ: Ministry of Reconciliation,by Mack Stiles

Contextualization and the Gospel delivered to all of God’s People, by Zane Pratt

How to create a Sending Culture in your Church, by J.D Greear