What Has Helped Me With Fear

fear (2)Fear.  We have all experienced it.

Of course our fear is expressed in a variety of ways.  Yet some will declare that they have no fear.  When I hear someone desperately trying to convince another of their fearlessness, most of the time it is unconvincing.  In fact, such declarations often leave me wondering why they are so determined to convince another of their fearlessness.

When I hear a person candidly tell another that she or he is sometimes afraid, terrified, nervous, worried or scared, I know I am dealing with someone who is being real and transparent about their lives.

I know fear.  I have been afraid and at times I still deal with fear.  Most of my fears occur in the middle of the night.  I will awaken after sleeping for several hours and then think of something unpleasant that could happen later in the week.  I can sometimes imagine the worst possible outcome.

The resurrection of Jesus can give us great security and confidence for the future (Matthew 28:20). Resurrection gives us power to live in the future. We live in the power of his living presence.

“I am with you always.”

  • How do I make it through this cancer? “I am with you always.”
  • How do I deal with such a difficult marriage? “I am with you always.”
  • How do I go to that high school and live the way God wants me to live instead of lowering my standards?       “I am with you always.”
  • How can I be a person who has the courage to reach out to others who are not Christ-followers? “I am with you always.”
  • How do we rear our children in such a godless world? “I am with you always.”
  • How do we pray believing that things will be different as the result of prayer? “I am with you always.”
  • How can we be a church that is dead? Dead to sin. Dead to self-centeredness. “I am with you always.”
  • How can we be a church where we build up, encourage, and commit instead of give up, cave in, and live in fear? “ I am with you always.”

This promise from the living Jesus really has helped me.  His presence in my life is greater than whatever fear I might experience.

10 Ways Parents Can Make a Difference

PinkLogoOne of the most difficult things I’ve ever done was attempt to be a good parent.  One of the most joyful experiences I’ve ever had was being a daddy.

Many men father children.  Many women bear children.

Some men seem to be only interested in playing with their children.  Yet, some of these same men want no part of the really hard work involved in rearing children.

Some women seem to get their ego needs met from their children.  Yet, being a parent is not about getting ones own needs met.

Parents need to be intentional about making a difference!

1.  Parents who make a difference practice what they claim to believe.  Our kids see right through us.  They see who we really are, not what we are attempting to project.

2.  Parents who make a difference know that their children may often hear more than we intend for them to hear. These kids also hear whatever I might utter under my breath, whether it be a pray or a comment regarding them.

Enough is Enough

tumblr_static_enoughThis morning I began reading a life of being, having, and doing by Wayne Muller.  I never got beyond the opening chapter.  The chapter “A Life of Enough” made me think.

…the bar keeps rising, nothing is ever finished, nothing is ever good enough.  So we work and add and never stop, never back away, never feel complete, and  we despair of ever finding comfort, relief, or sanctuary.

So many good-hearted people I know are exhausted.  (p. 3)

Whether they are parents or teachers, business people or community volunteers, doctors, clergy, nurses, or civil servants, they each in their own way feel victim to a relentless assault of increasing expectations, activities, demands, and accomplishments that overwhelm any spaciousness or ease in their daily lives.  (p. 4)

What then is our work on the earth?  In a world gone mad with speed, potential, and choice, we continually overestimate what we can do, build, fix, care for, or make happen in one day.  (p. 5)

With some people, “enough” is never quite satisfactory.

  • They boast about how long they worked at the office the night before.
  • They imply that unless one works weekends, they really aren’t making a sacrifice.
  • They challenge by comparing you to others suggesting that you could be doing more or doing better.

Yet, perhaps there is something to be said for working hard and then stopping at the end of the day knowing that for today, this is enough.  Recognizing the place of “enough” may allow you to work many years with joy and energy.

 

Beware of the Self-Proclaimed Expert

ExpertYou probably know a person like this.  He is a self-proclaimed expert on most any subject.

  • You mention a car that you are thinking about buying.  The self-proclaimed expert will tell you all about it.
  • You talk about wanting to vacation on the Gulf Coast.  The self-proclaimed expert will tell you where you must go.
  • You speak of a problem in your work.  The self-proclaimed expert knows what you must do.
  • You speak of difficulty in your marriage or with your children.  The self-proclaimed expert can tell you exactly what you must do.

Such “experts” can be amusing or even irritating depending on the situation.

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

Start2Learning

See “Why You Should Commit 30 Minutes to Daily Learning (Without Fail).”  Maybe I enjoyed this because I believe it in this so strongly.  I try to learn something every day.  I may read a book, listen to a podcast, or read a periodical.  In a very short period of time, one can learn something.

Work

From The New York Times, see Tony Schwartz’s article “When Employee Engagement Turns into Employee Burnout.”

Organizational Culture and Productivity

See “Toyota’s Jamie Bonini on Organizational Culture.”  See what Manoush Zomorodi has done with these ideas in this post on her blog New Tech City.  I find this helpful.

Reading and Podcasts

Right now I am reading A Brief History of Thought by Luc Ferry.  This past week I also read a few short stories by Flannery O’Connor.  One of the periodicals that I look forward to skimming is Books & Culture: A Christian Review. Excellent articles.  I also become aware of a number of significant books through this journal.

Note that I am selective about what I include in this post each week.  More than anything, I want to include links and resources that I think might be helpful to you in some way.

 

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

start.jpgYou may will find the following resources interesting or helpful.  Most of these are resources that I have come across in my reading.

Preaching

I recently read “The People’s Preaching Class” (The Christian Century).  This post is about Fred Craddock, longtime professor of preaching and author of several important books on preaching.  I will always cherish the week that I spent in Fred Craddock’s summer preaching class at Emory University.  This class was not only inspirational but taught me much.

Time

Jeri Dansky has written an interesting piece in Unclutterer entitled “Getting Work Done Using Time Blocking Techniques.”  I will often set my 25 minute clock (app) on my phone.  I find this very helpful so that I can focus.

Books

See “On My Shelf: Life and Books with Tim Keller.”  I have a great appreciation for Tim Keller’s writing.  This is a sampling of what he reads.

Prayer

From Mike Bickle see “E.M. Bounds Books on Prayer (Public Domain)

Story

I’ve learned much from Nancy Duarte!  See “How to Tell a Story.” (video)  These videos are usually helpful and practical.

Culture

From Newsweek, “Dying Dutch: Euthanasia Spreads Across Europe.”  Very interesting and insightful article.

 

 

How You Can Mentor Another

mentorThe following post consists of nine practical steps that might be helpful to you if you wish to grow in the ministry of mentoring.  This post is meant to be helpful.

1.  The power of mentoring is in “coming alongside” not in giving someone more information, suggestions, advice, etc. You bring the presence of Jesus. The goal is coming alongside to help that person mature (spiritually, emotionally, relationally) in order to honor God.

2.  Make a list of FIVE people whom you might mentor. (The more specific you are regarding the identity of these people, the more likely you will actually act.)

3.  Pray for these FIVE people

  • Pray for opportunity, an open door with one or more of these people
  • Pray for your own desire and willingness to follow through
  • Pray that you might for an awareness of how to be most helpful to these people.

4.  Consider these possible approaches to mentoring these FIVE people: long term, occasional, seasonal. Discern which one (or more) of these FIVE you need to approach.

10 Qualities of a Good Dad

Ten(1)The other day, I was on Facebook and saw a picture of “Will” with his daughter.  I felt so proud!  Will is a good husband and dad.  I have great respect for him.

Being a dad may be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Yes, it has been joyful. However, it has been difficult at times.  I had (and have) a lot to learn.

Even as I write these words, I can envision a number of guys in the Central Texas area who are doing such a good job as “daddy.”  The guys I have in mind are in their 30s and 40s.  They continue to grow and learn.  Some had good models growing up and some didn’t.  Regardless, these guys have worked hard toward becoming good dads.

The following are some qualities of a good daddy:

1.  A good daddy is consistent.  Children get confused when a certain behavior causes dad to laugh one moment only to cause him to become angry thirty minutes later.

2.  A good daddy models good character.  Teaching a child is important.  Good character that is modeled is powerful. However, bad character on display can make a lasting impression as well. When we lived in Kansas City many years ago, I heard our neighbor scream at his daughter one day.  (She was about about six years old.)  What he called his daughter was awful!  I have wondered what this child, now 26 or 27 years of age, must remember about her home life.

3.  A good daddy teaches his children by his example.  Some fathers do far too much telling and too little showing.  A mountain of good words does not compensate for a regular bad example. However, when a father models integrity, respect, and kindness before his children, they are blessed.

4.  A good daddy allows his children the opportunity to see his faith.  For example, when you are faced with a decision, it can be a real teachable moment for that son or daughter to hear you explain why you made the decision you did and how that decision flowed out of your faith.

5.  A good daddy understands that “fussing” at a child, naming calling, or threatening is not discipline.  Such behaviors may be more about a father’s own frustration and anger than serious, intentional discipline.

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

start_button_gifI was home with the flu last week.  (I wouldn’t wish that on anyone!)  There were a few sites that I stumbled upon while I was out.  You may find these helpful (below).  I also finished Wayne Muller’s book Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives and Ian Paul and David Wenham’s Preaching from the New Testament. Finally, do you read “How I Work” which appears at lifehacker.com each week? This is a great series.  I read each one.

This may help

Note the recent New York Times Article, “If You Want to Meet That Deadline, Play a Trick on Your Mind.”  The title alone caught my eye.  Interesting piece on ways to manipulate your perception of time which can actually help you meet your goal.

Creativity

Ann Handley wrote a good piece on creativity based on a video by Sir Ken Robinson.  One particular sentence stuck with me from her post:  “…creative people know that creativity finds expression in many ways.”  Creative people, regardless of what they do for a living, look for different ways to do what needs to be done.

Secrets

See this interesting post by Oliver Burkeman, “Why We Tell Strangers Our Secrets.”  Also note the article in Harvard Magazine “Choosing Confidents” based on the same research.

Decisions

See Shane Parish’s post “The Decision-Maker: A Tool for a Lifetime.” (I realize there is something to be said about spiritual discernment which really isn’t discussed in this article.  However, I still find these kinds of posts interesting and even helpful.)