reflecting on ’06

27 12 2006

At the end of last year I felt like the Lord wanted us to focus on one word as a family – simplify!

As I’ve reflected on that command I really feel like we’ve done a great job of it!

So, for this year (coming year) I feel like the Lord is telling me that it’s going to be a year of opportunity…dunno what that means – we’ll have to see. I also sense the Lord telling me it’s going to be a year of promotion. That one really dumbfounds me! I really don’t have a clue as to what that means, but I’ll take God at His Word and trust in Him – consequentlly, that means that I don’t want to spend  a lot of time trying to figure out what it means – I can’t play God.

So, here’s what I’m taking away from ’06 (lessons learned)

  1. Dentists are a gift from God!
  2. Trust in Him in all the pain.
  3. I’ve learned to say “no” to many things in ministry that aren’t on my radar
  4. I’ve learned to see what’s on my radar a lot better
  5. I’ve learned buld more margin into my life
  6. I’ve learned to seperate better ministry from family
  7. I’ve learned the value of health
  8. I’ve learned that there’s a difference between a fitness as a hobby and fitness as a lifestyle
  9. Trust God for big miralces!
  10. Hear God in the small things
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Christmas ’06

27 12 2006

Well, Christmas ’06 is over and it’s a sad thing…

You see, I love Christmas…even the music which my wife seems to think I don’t love…there was a period of time when I didn’t but that’s because I was working in retail at the time and the constant music along with the serious spirit of dumb that everyone is afflicted with the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s, made it a long, constant pain in the…buttocks.

But that was then, now I love it…the kids, the newphews and nieces (I really love being an uncle and I think Patrice and I do a really good job of being an aunt and uncle), the gifts, the food…all of the STUFF that makes Christmas the most wonderful time of the year!

So here’s a few highlights from ’06 Christmas…

  1. Christmas Eve Candlelight service was great at COTN – the pantomime, the Christmas song, the message…all good things
  2. We hit all the family get-togethers…first there’s was Patrice’s dad, then her great-grandmother’s (which means it’s Josh and Alyssa’s great-great-grandmother…how cool), then my mom’s, then my dad’s…
  3. Christmas was ratched down this year thanks to Dave…we’re working hard to get out of debt totally and we’ve committed to scale back the gift giving and lifestyle
  4. The kids had a blast…so did the parents…
  5. It’s really important to value family and friends…




half way there

18 12 2006

Quick post that LAST Friday (12/15/06) was the official midway point of my son’s public school education (he’s not allowed to fail at any point…). From k-12 grade the middle would be the halfway point of the 6th grade – he reached this milestone on Friday!!!! Way to go Josh! That’s 1170 days down and 1170 days to go! There should be some sort of celebration for this – guess I’ll take him out to lunch wherever he wants…





time to talk

4 12 2006

As a parent, there are some talks with your children that are more memorable than others…for instance, “THE Talk” – that’s the one where you discuss things like: where babies come from, sex, God’s design for all of this. This talk (THE Talk) is only a precursor to many more talks – at least for most people it should be that way. Thankfully, it has been for me in my relationship to my son. He’s unashamed of asking me things, what certain “words” mean (thanks to the public educational institute known as middle school), and more questions beginning with the word, “Why?” THE Talk is a great one to have and should be entered into with prayer, honesty and a desire to comunicate truth to our children based on their level of understanding – which is usually a much higher level than we often want to admit.

Then there are several other “talks” – no caps, no emphasis overarching the future destiny of their purity and innocence – these are talks about things like tooth faries, the easter bunny and of course the jolly old man in the red suit. Well, yesterday I had one of these “talks” with my son (THE Talk had already been had a while back…the sequals to THE Talk are continuing and its my goal that they never cease…well, at least until the eve of his wedding one day many years from now). Back to this “talk” – it happened by design, planned out carefully and I simply let it develop naturally. I let him ask the questions…I just wanted to know if he wanted to see Santa to inform him of his Christmas wish list – the answer…”no.” That’s cool…the follow up question was…”then how’s he going to know what you want?” – “Dad, I think I’m over the whole Santa thing” was the response – good response – silence – more silence – even more silence!

Then came the question…”Dad, is Santa Claus real?” – Well, I answered honestly and with a desire to only help him realize that the answer he was asking for, he already knew. You see, he figured out long ago that there really was no tooth fairy (it didn’t help that he discovered some of the first teeth he lost – oops!) and he also realized there was no Easter Bunny (“come on dad, a six foot bunny hopping around giving presents”) – so he’s a smart enough kid to know the obvious regarding any others. Know what was really cool? – he wasn’t dissapointed at all – he realized that it was all part of the “tradtion” – now, if you know me, you know I don’t like that word all that much z(‘tradition’) – but you know what? – my 11 year old son gave me a new understanding of the word ‘tradition’ that I’ve never realized before. “Yes, it’s all part of the tradition” – and what a beautiful tradition it is! (or was for him, but still is for our daughter…one that he now gets to join in on and enjoy).

The beauty of all of these “talks” (including “THE Talk”) is that they all stem from a regular desire to keep communication open and honest in our home. We’ve ALWAYS told our kids they could talk to us about anything – and they can! Without fear or trepidation, they can come to us and we will talk – but mostly we’ll listen!

One other thing…he had plans to make a major announcement and see if he got coal in his stocking…also, he was going to fingerprint the glass of milk and the cookie plate to see if it matched up with ours – and we don’t even let him watch CSI…





NCD…value vs. appreciation…thoughts…

4 12 2006

I’ve been reading and re-reading this post (blog) for several days because I wanted it to kind of internalize in me…perhaps you won’t find much here, hopefully you will though. The blog is below, but first a reminder from NCD….

 

Our weakest area indicated in the NCD survey is “Gift-Oriented Ministry” (GOM) – if you recall from the handout I gave you recently, there are 4 components to GOM. One of those areas is called “Significance of Ministry” – it simply means…do people feel joy in their service or is it an obligation. If you’ll also recall it was 1 of the 5 sub-areas that we had, in fact it was the 2nd weakest area we had (scoring only 29 – “Support for GOM” was the 1st weakest area w/26).

 

Here’s the blog post I’ve been pondering…

Appreciation Versus Value

By Tony Morgan

by John Keim, Guest Blogger

When it comes to taking care of staff, leaders or volunteers, the things we do typically fall into one of two categories.  The first category is when we show others appreciation.  Appreciation is usually temporary, it’s something that’s earned, and it’s focused on what’s been done; typically for me or for my ministry.  There is nothing necessarily wrong with appreciation; it often does a great job encouraging others, but it typically fades after a short while.

 

The second category is when we instill in others that they are valued.  Value is something that’s ongoing.  It’s focused on the person and not what’s been done by the person.  When others feel that they are valued it inspires them and tends to last longer than appreciation alone.

 

Appreciation is something that I think still needs to happen.  We still need to do those things that let others know that they’re doing a great job and that we are thankful for what they’re doing.  But if we want our leaders, staff and volunteers to become even more empowered, we need to begin instilling value in them.  It goes beyond the quick pat on the back and it is more than the mass thank you letter.  Letting others know that they are valued can be tricky because there is no one way to do this for everyone because everyone feels valued differently.  Although it can be difficult there is nothing greater for creating loyal, empowered, creative and committed leaders than letting them know that they are valued.

 

This relates directly to an area of our weakness (GOM). My hope is that we each are able to identify what “adds value” to those who serve Christ and serve His church through their ministry. I decided about 5 years ago on a goal of “adding value” to people – although no where close to having perfected it, I’m beginning to understand what it means in a better way. I hope you’ll think about this blog post the next time you thank someone – appreciation is good, but it only goes so far…it would be far better to figure out exactly what will make them feel valued. Until the time that we each figure out what that is (and it’s different for everyone), continue to thank and appreciate them…then once you’ve figured it out, move to valuing them.