- He is the most difficult elder in the group. Time after time, the other elders have attempted to appease their fellow elder. Yet, no matter what they do, he remains unhappy and demands other concessions.
- She is the drama queen in the family. She has two other sisters and a brother but at family gatherings she clearly dominates the conversations. She drains energy from others as she talks on and on about herself and her situation.
- He is immature and married. A few years ago, his wife told a friend that she felt like she had four children – her husband, their two daughters, and their son. She loves her husband but often feels as if she is the only adult in the family.
- She is known as a possessive friend. She regularly loses friendships because she demands so much from them. Yet, in her mind, all of these former friends lacked commitment to the relationship.
- This preacher has recently clashed with the elders of his congregation. He says they need to love the community and allow him to try out his ideas. The elders believe this isn’t really the issue. Rather they are troubled by his behind the scenes manipulation. They have lost some of their trust in him.
I’ve seen it happen again and again in churches. So often, we are only willing to hear what we are willing to hear. Consequently men and women go through life repeating the same mistakes again and again.
1. A college student erupts in anger toward his parents and various other family members. At the same time, he wonders why his dating relationships seem to to have disappointing endings. His fiancee saw how he treated his mom and dad and wisely became very cautions about continuing their relationship. Yet, in his eyes, he had no problem with his temper.
2. A young mother is inconsistent with her young children. One moment she is angry over a child’s misbehavior. Thirty minutes later she is ignoring the same behavior. On one occasion, she and her husband laughed the very behavior that put their daughter in “time-out” the evening before .
Productivity and Time
Essentialism may have been one of the most helpful books regarding productivity that I have read in some time. I read it almost twelves months ago and continue to come back to the principles in the book. Don’t miss this. Michael Hyatt and Michele Cushatt interviews author Greg McKeown.
I’ve mentioned this before but the series “How I Work” on the blog Lifehacker continues to be a series that I don’t miss. Quite often, I discover a resource in this series that is helpful.
Dallas Cowboy Terrance Williams does something meaningful for a sick child. See this news story.
Read this column by long-time Dallas News columnist Steve Blow: “‘Enjoy sinning? Join the Choir’ And other fun with church bulletin bloopers.”
Don’t miss this very good interview with Margaret Feinberg from Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.
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.
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.
This 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.
- 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.
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.
From The New York Times, see Tony Schwartz’s article “When Employee Engagement Turns into Employee Burnout.”
Organizational Culture and Productivity
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.
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.
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.
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.
From Mike Bickle see “E.M. Bounds Books on Prayer (Public Domain)”
I’ve learned much from Nancy Duarte! See “How to Tell a Story.” (video) These videos are usually helpful and practical.
From Newsweek, “Dying Dutch: Euthanasia Spreads Across Europe.” Very interesting and insightful article.