Archive | July, 2014

A Grandpa’s Legacy

29 Jul
Grandpa from Flickr via Wylio

© 2012 Carl Nenzén Lovén, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

My grandpa was extremely influential in my life during my adolescent and young adulthood years.  Spending the night at my grandparents meant feasting on grandma’s fried chicken, and then waking up the next morning to the smell of pancakes.  I have many wonderful memories from my time with them, but my favorite memory is what happened each morning after breakfast.  Each morning, my grandparents would sit side by side in chairs and read their Bibles.

As they read from the Bible, they would always place a checkmark beside the chapter title.  I know because I inherited my Grandfather’s Bible.  While scrolling through it, I am reminded of his love for reading Scripture.

While flipping through his bible one day, I came to Philippians 1:20, which says “according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”  Along with the many checkmarks beside this chapter, something else was written on that page.

In the margin of his Bible, my grandpa had written the words, “My Goal.”

My grandfather was diagnosed with skin, liver, and lung cancer.  This was when a diagnosis of cancer was more than a disease, but a death sentence.   When first diagnosed, they gave him six months to live.  He defied the odds, and lived happily with cancer for almost thirteen years.  Even while sick, he lived a life of faithfulness to the Lord.  I never heard him complain, but he was always thankful for the Lord’s goodness to him.

© 2006 JoshBerglund19, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

During my junior year of college, my grandfather died.  Although long-expected, I lost one of the biggest influencers in my life.  Most of my memories come from his years of battling cancer.  If he would have died when diagnosed, I barely would have remembered him.   I am so grateful that God extended his life, and gave me this time with him.

My grandfather lived well until the end.  Christ was exalted in how he lived, and how he died.  I am thankful for the example he left for me.

My grandpa achieved his goal – in sickness and in health, in life or in death.

I love my grandfather’s Bible with its tattered and check-marked pages.  But even more, I love the example of his life – completely poured out.

 

 

G. David Boyd is a believer in the power of inter-generational relationships.  He is the Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit dedicated to helping churches and parents minister to emerging adults.

Learning to Express Man-Worthy Emotions

23 Jul

We all know that…

Men don’t have emotions.

Men don’t speak with emotions.

Men don’t understand emotions.

Men are unable to change these facts. Continue reading

Understanding Your Potential

15 Jul

Last night, my wife and I went to a VIP screening of a new Christian movie coming out called The Identical.” The movie stars Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd and newcomer Blake Rayne.

It’s a powerful movie about seeking after your potential. In one scene Judd’s character is talking with her son and says, “You can accomplish anything through Him who gives you dreams!” There is so much power in those words.

God has given us dreams and potential. There is nothing we can’t accomplish as long as we align ourselves with Christ. God has given us limitless potential; we just have to tap into it.  Potential is like a seed.  When we plant it, it will grow.  It is like a plant, we have to water it.  What is the water for potential?  Faith and action.

Faith: Complete trust and/or confidence in someone or something.
Action: process of doing something to achieve an aim…

When we place both of these things in our life, we can achieve unlimited potential.  When we work towards something that has great potential we will eventually succeed.  Potential will not always come quick and easy.  Never expect things to go smoothly or be simple.

What is potential anyway?

Potential is…dormant ability…reserved power…untapped strength…unused success…hidden talents…capped capability.

All you can be but have not yet become…all you can do but not yet done…how far you can reach but have not yet reached…what you can accomplish but have not yet accomplished. Potential is unexposed ability and latent power. ~ (Understanding Your Potential, Dr. Myles Monroe © 1991 pg. 1)

Most people do not know who they are.  They can tell you what they do, where they live, but most have a hard time describing who they are.  When a sculptor looks at a piece of clay, they only see what it is, not what it might be, or become.  He knows ahead of time what it is and how it is to be formed.

God is the same way with us.  He knows exactly who we are not what we might be.  A lot of people think that there isn’t anything worth in life, but to get up, got to work/school, and live a life without knowing what is out there.  People don’t know there is a wealth of potential that is never even tapped within them.

When someone goes to college, they believe that they are going to change the world and make a difference, but what happens when they begin life outside of the four walls of the college, they begin to fail in their own eyes and live a mediocre life.  The twelve spies who were sent out by Moses, ten came back with a negative report, and only two came back with a good report.  Joshua and Caleb knew the potential of the land and saw the victory, even when no one else saw it.

I believe many Christians live a life of no potential; simply because they don’t see it within their own lives.  In order for us to begin to walk in the potential that God has given us, we need to first know who we are.  Once we know who we are we can begin to put faith and action to our potential.

In the Identical Ryan Wade struggled with pleasing his preacher father’s dream of him taking over the ministry and living his own dreams. We are much like that. We struggle to find acceptance in who we are and run ourselves ragged in trying to live up to other’s dreams. God is calling us to be unique, just as he created us.

What are your dreams?  Has the enemy taken them away from you?  Have people told you, you will not amount to anything in life, or do any thing significant for the world?  Are you simply trying to appease those who are dreaming for you? If that is you, I have hope for you.

Phil. 1:6-11

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

God will complete the work that has begun.  If we live with Christ by our side, we cannot lose.  There is a saying in the movie, Galaxy Quest “Never Give up, Never Surrender.”  I say that to you; if you have doubt in your life that what you set you mind to will not come to pass, I say it will, in Jesus name.  Do not give up.  Know who you are in Christ, make a list of your dreams, memorize it; meditate on the Word of God (Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson) and live it out.  When you know who you are, you will not fail at anything and you will begin the life of living out your potential.

J.B. Siam is a blogger, and you discover more about his ministry at his website.

10 Mistakes in Marriage – Oh, I’m a Great Listener.

10 Jul

Oh, I'm a GREAT Listener!

I’m betting on the fact that you can catch the sarcasm in that title. I mean don’t get me wrong, sometimes I am a great listener, or at least I can be. But often times, what happens is I get distracted or lock on to one idea or another and then lose myself while waiting to respond.

I think we all do this.

Especially the waiting to respond part.

Has your spouse ever accused you of not listening?

Have you ever been sitting in a conversation, heated or not, and then all of a sudden lose yourself in the moment?

One moment you’re sitting there and then the next moment you kind of forget where you are and you haven’t heard the last few sentences of whatever was being said.

Yeah me too.

I can remember growing up and being told that I had two ears and one mouth for a reason. Makes sense when you think about it, but for most of us, I don’t think it stops us from rambling that much.

I can also remember being taught as a kid, that there is a difference between just hearing something and really listening. I’m pretty sure Chesterton said that at one point.

I don’t think I truly realized what that meant until I got married.

I’ve always thought I was a good listener, but it wasn’t until Mary and I started to really go through some tough times that I began to understand that I’m not as good of a listener as I thought.

Over and over again, we would be sitting in a counselors office, and she would begin to describe a way she felt or express something to me and it was like what I was hearing was not at all what she was saying. It was getting filtered by my own sets of issues and woundings creating something different altogether.

Of course we often do this to each other, but over these last 10 years what we’ve learned is that we’ll never truly be listening to one another if we’re not able to show each other empathy.

Listening well presupposes compassion, and compassion will always involve healthy doses of empathy. (tweetable)

Empathy is the key to becoming a great listener. If you’re not able to put yourself in the shoes of the other and completely engross yourself with their feelings of pain, sorrow, joy, what have you, then you’ll lack the ability to truly connect. And lets face it, nothing lasts without connection.

I can remember one time in particular where Mary came home really hurting about something. Rarely have I ever seen her hurt but this time it was evident. We were living in a small apartment at that time and somehow our conversation had us sitting on the floor in the middle of the hallway.

The memory brings tears to my eyes, because I can’t stand the thought of my beautiful wife in any kind of pain, especially when I know I added to it! But she was telling me about one particular relationship she had been hurt by, and I remember sitting there just reacting and responding as though I could fix it.

Foolishly, I immediately started to suggest this and that, blowing past her feelings, and in the process creating an even deeper wound.

Being empathetic to the hurts of my wife in that moment was the farthest thing from my mind.

I’m not proud of that and I wish I could take it back.

Ernest Hemingway famously said, “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.

He was right, you know. Most of us never really listen, we’re just waiting to reply.

Looking back at that memory and others like it, I realize what a bad listener I was and how much pressure that has put on my marriage.

But even in those hard, ugly, painful seasons of marriage, I’ve experienced God’s grace over and over again.

That grace has taught me about the connection between listening and being known.

We all deeply desire to be known. It’s one of our core needs in life. And when we give the gift of truly listening to another, we give them the gift of being known.

Tim Keller paints a beautiful picture of this in the book The Meaning of Marriage. He says:

“TO BE LOVED BUT NOT KNOWN IS COMFORTING BUT SUPERFICIAL. TO BE KNOWN AND NOT LOVED IS OUR GREATEST FEAR. BUT TO BE FULLY KNOWN AND TRULY LOVED IS, WELL, A LOT LIKE BEING LOVED BY GOD. IT IS WHAT WE NEED MORE THAN ANYTHING. IT LIBERATES US FROM PRETENSE, HUMBLES US OUT OF OUR SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND FORTIFIES US FOR ANY DIFFICULTY LIFE CAN THROW AT US.”

Sometimes the greatest gift we can give to one another is just to sit and listen.

Now I find that I’ll ask Mary if she wants me to just sit and listen or if she wants me to respond. I’m really ok with either. More than anything I want her to know I’m there for her. I’m her biggest cheerleader and loudest supporter! And that no matter what happens or what she goes through, I’m the one that’s still going to be there no matter what.

Those are the gifts that listening can give.

Have you ever known a bad listener? Have you ever been a bad listener? Are there any tips or suggestions you’ve come across that has helped you and your spouse in your marriage become better listeners?

 

 

the.josh.collins.My name is Josh and I’m an Architect. But I don’t design houses or beautiful buildings or even great monuments. I design Experiences. But not just your ordinary experiences. I designAwesome Experiences. That’s why I’m an Experience Architect.

Don’t make Your Wife Pick a Fight with You.

8 Jul

© 2006 金娜 Kim S, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

 

Whether or not Rachel will admit it publicly (or would love for everyone to read about it), she once started a fight because she “needed to see some emotion from me.”  I had probably spent the evening working on my own, watching TV, or playing a video game.  Since I am not always in great need of personal connection, I was enjoying my personal isolation, but my wife was not feeling the same way.

After hours of feeling alone, and feeling as if I didn’t care anything about what she was doing, she needed some connection.  After she tried and failed to get it through other means, a fight seemed like her only option.

desperate from Flickr via Wylio

© 2003 soei_cs_82, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

While I would not suggest conflict as a means of getting attention, it solved the problem.  I usually get emotional during our conflicts – anger, sadness, or any other emotions can erupt.  In this case, my wife would rather have me angry at her (which usually leads to reconciliation), than for her to feel no emotion at all towards her.

Sometimes women will endure the conflict in order to get to the intimacy involved in resolution.

Women would be satisfied with simple words that reflect not simply how we as men think, but how we feel.  In daily conversation, women ask questions hoping for emotional connection, but men respond with answers driven solely by reason.

I realize that sometimes my lack of displaying emotion can cause a lack of intimacy in our marriage.  Learning to show emotion is not something that men are particularly known for being good at, but it is a skill that all men can develop.

My Mustard Seed

3 Jul
Mustard seed from Flickr via Wylio

© 2010 Quinn Dombrowski, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

Faith is often full of doubt.

Mark 9 is the story of a father who believed God, and yet also doubted God.

We know that it was not the father’s first attempt to heal his son, because he had taken him to Jesus’ disciples, and they were unable to heal him.  I doubt this was the father’s first attempt to find miraculous healing from God.  Imagine if you ever had to watch your child’s life be stolen by an evil spirit.  Continue reading

A Biblical Case for Awesome Beards

1 Jul

Here is a funny article from Relevant Magazine about beards, and the views of the church through the ages.  The article will give you plenty of ammo if someone says that it is time for you to shave.

It almost convinced me to grow mine back… but not quite.

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