The question everyone is asking and no one is answering

15 Sep

From the latest moral failures in the NFL has emerged a very important question. Recently when asked about whether the team handled then suspended player, Greg Hardy right, coach Ron Riveria responded by saying “what is right”. That is the question that has surfaced.

What is right ? What is wrong ? What is the right punishment for wrong ?

What’s the punishment for hitting a woman ? Should it be less if she hits you first?

Should you spank your child ? If so how far is too far ?

While NFL team owners, presidents, and coaches scramble to try to find what’s right, I’m afraid they’re making a huge mistake.

While polling the audience may work great on the first few questions of who wants to be a millionaire, the audience is no match for the million dollar question. What is right ?

Let me assure you, I would not trust ESPN, Fox News, CNN, or my twitter feed to answer that question.

There is one source I trust though.

Even with this source some of the toughest morality questions can be difficult to sift through, however I find it much safer to go with a credible source than the cry of the people.

Here’s to truth. The bittersweet truth.

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Get Stuff Done

23 Apr

I don’t consider myself the most productive person on the planet, but I certainly have had to grow in this area over the years in order to simply increase my productiveness.  When my workload would increase I would just simply work more which caused my rest and play time to nearly vanish.   Working more doesn’t always mean getting more done either.

  Finding ways to be more productive was the key to helping balance a healthy work , rest, and play lifestyle. So here are some of my tips to becoming more productive

1)  You’ve got to make a list. 

When I started making lists, stuff started getting done.  End of story.  I recommend using evernote for list making.  I typically record audio lists.  When something comes up that I need to do, I pick up my phone and record a quick audio file of what needs to be done.

2) No personal calls or texts 

I’m terrible at multitasking but I’m great at getting stuff done.  I believe there is a correlation there.  It’s not possible for me to have a genuine, friendly conversation when I’m “getting stuff done”.  If I’m writing a newsletter and grandma calls, I just call her back when my list is completed.  I love grandma and she knows that.  You may make exceptions for husbands/wives/children.  Generally speaking, personal conversation kills my productivity levels and can always be done later.

3) Schedule Social Media

I’m not going to tell you the Facebook is evil but I will tell you that it kills productivity.  If you are a daily user of social media, block off a period of time that you’re comfortable with and stick to that.  Maybe in the evening before you go to bed or in the morning when you wake up.  Trust me-the fact that “Susie got her nails did” will still be there tomorrow.  The beauty of the internet is that whatever information you’re looking for will be there tomorrow; the time you spent today just browsing, won’t.

4) Organize.

Organization increases productivity. That may mean cleaning your desk or that may mean cleaning up the files on your computer.  For being technologically organized, I again recommend evernote.  If you want to be more productive, get organized.

5)Coffee

Redbull, Green Tea, whatever works for you.  Coffee gets me going.

6) No Music

I know some would argue the opposite of this, but I lose productivity when I’m listening to music.  Maybe it’s because I love music and get caught listening to chordal structures and time signatures, but my brain will quickly escape the task and drift to the music.

7) Rest

God knew what He was doing when He talked about taking a Sabbath.  I have to schedule rest or it doesn’t get done and because my schedule is so sporadic and different from week to week, I have to make sure I’m resting. Resting for some is easier than others.  Just make sure you rest!  Take a day and relax.

8) Play

Play is different than rest.  You need to play too.

9) Tools to productivity

“Work smart, not hard”  There are so many tools out there that can help you increase your productivity.  Do a google search and who knows what you’ll find.

 

God has given each of us a certain number of days of life.  A way to show Him appreciation for the life He has given us is to steward our time wisely.

 

Be “That Guy”

17 Apr

Passion fuels everything.

Passion ultimately determined why you did what you did today.  Passion decides where your money goes and passion chooses where your time ends up.

Any kind of passion-

Passion for self.  Passion for comfort.  Passion for others.  Passion for God.  Passion for wealth.  Passion for acceptance.

It’s passion that drives our every decision.

Passion drifts towards obsession and obsession drifts towards success.  That is not always a good thing if you consider some of our common passions.

Matt Chandler, lead pastor of the village church always says this, “no one stumbles into Godliness”.  Isn’t that true?  No one goes to sleep and accidentally wakes up more Godly.

The same could be said of success.  No one stumbles into success.  Sure, people stumble into fortune by hitting the jackpot.  Sure, some people have been dealt better cards.  But winning the lottery doesn’t equal success, it just means you’re a lucky dog. Let’s not confuse good “fortune” with success.

Success is defined as “an accomplishment of an aim or purpose”.

I believe the easiest road to success is through obsession.

Growing up, I can remember when I was obsessed with the piano.  That’s all I could think about.  Playing, listening,  and learning the piano became daily routine.  Hours upon hours were spent studying and mimicking other piano players.  I remember going to birthday parties and gatherings and the first thing I wanted to know was whether or not there was a piano nearby.

I was obsessed.

My obsession led me to being a pretty skilled, ear trained piano player at 17 years old. I was successful.  My obsession led to my success.

Obsession is certainly not the only determining factor in success.  Just watch American Idol.

Many men are obsessed with hitting a little white ball around until it lands in a hole.  Very few are successful.

Obsession simply makes success easier.

People are  not “afraid of success” as much as they are afraid of obsession.  They are afraid of being “that guy”.  “That guy” that only talks about one thing.  “That guy” who does the same thing every weekend. “That guy” who has a room of his house dedicated to his obsession.

Here are some things I’ve noticed about obsession.

1) Obsession makes people uncomfortable.

2) It’s hard to tell you’re obsessed when you’re obsessed.

3) Things that once seem like work become pleasurable when you’re obsessed.

4) People try to talk you out of obsession.

5) Obsession reveals where your heart is. (Matthew 6:21)

6) Obsession without passion leads to burnout (Rev. 2:1-7)

It’s hard to be successful at something you hate. 

I encourage you to obsess.  Obsess over Christ.  Obsess over your family.  Obsess over your calling.  Obsess your way to success.


iCloud

10 Apr

I don’t know about you, but I love “the cloud“.  Music, pictures, contacts, and my calendar all wirelessly synced between my devices. I love it.

Here’s the deal- this “cloud” only holds 5 gigs of information before this “cloud” starts charging you to store information. The more information it stores, the more it charges.  Now the cloud feels more like that free DVD you rented from red box and didn’t return for 8 days.  Not so free, huh ?

Your mind is like this cloud.  It can only hold so much information before it starts “charging” certain areas of your life.

Your abilities to be creative, imaginative, and think outside of the box get hindered by your cloud being maxed out.

You’ve used up all your space, and now other areas of your life are paying the price because you haven’t cleaned out the cloud.

Let’s face it – there’s probably a lot of things in your cloud that you keep there, that don’t really need to be there.

 

Work, school, relationships, hobbies, entertainment- these all take brain space.

What normally happens is that we don’t know how to escape work so we “take work home with us”.

Our mind is consumed with appointments and tasks.

Our way of fixing this is to shove more information into our brain in the form of a hobby or entertainment.

This overloads the cloud even more and eventually all areas of our life begin to suffer.

 

I loved the etch-a-sketch as a kid.  I also hated the etch-a-sketch.  I loved it, because I could doodle with no regard.   I’d make lines, shapes, and sometimes something that actually resembled something in our cosmos.   I hated it because you couldn’t keep it.  I would make this brilliant design of some make-believe creature and if I wanted to draw batman I had to erase the liger in order to begin. I needed a “clean slate”. AHHH So many beautiful drawings lost to the shake of an etch-a-sketch.

Romans 12:2 gives this message- Don’t conform,Be transformed. It says we do this by “renewing our mind”. It says that if we do this we can discern the good and perfect will of God.

I think a very practical way to do this is to write stuff down.  As silly as it seems, I get these weird ideas about our minds being like the iCloud and if I didn’t write it down, it stays in the cloud for a while taking up useless space.

Writing has a way of solidifying a thought.  It has a way of putting flesh to ideas.  Sometimes I get into task mode and the best way for me to renew my mind in that situation is just to write down all I need to do. Talking about what’s on your mind can help, but I’ve found that nothing helps more than writing stuff down.  Checklists, journals, ideas.  Write them down.  It will help clear your mind.

The ultimate way we can renew our mind is found in Psalm 55:22. Go read it.

In order for the canvas of our minds to be ready to receive the good and perfect painting of God, we must etch-a-sketch some old sketches.

What’s your password ?

3 Apr

I recently added my work email to my iPhone. Because of this, my phone required me to put in a password for my phone. Not a password for my email. My phone! So I quickly typed in a 4 digit code so I was able to access me email.

Here’s what I noticed: It’s such an inconvenience . Before I was able to slide my thumb and access anything I wanted instantly. Now I must enter my code every time I want to use my phone. I also noticed that at first I had to think about my code. It took me about two seconds to process what I had used as a code and then punch it in. Finally I noticed that over time, typing in my password, became second hand and I literally forgot about the code altogether.

Now I know I may be taking this password thing a little too deeply but it made me think about some things.

Things come up in our lives that require a password. They are always things we want to hide. Things we want to secure. These are the deepest, and most vulnerable parts of our soul. And so we comply. We punch in the figurative codes to our heart so all of that emotion, all of that information, and all of those secrets are safe. I see a few problems with this.

1) When we put up a password to block others out, we simultaneously create another barrier between ourselves and those things. We essentially make it more difficult on ourselves to access our own vault.

2) We get so use to punching in our own password that we don’t even realize that we’re hiding certain things. We’ve punched in the code so many times that it’s become a part of “what we do”. We’ve deceived ourselves.

3) We forget the password. I don’t know about you, but I have about 20 something passwords. Different things require different types of passwords. You have to a capital letter, space , number, plus a chinese symbol or something. This inevitably leads to me occasionally forgetting a code or two. What a pain! If you can’t remember what street you lived on as a kid, or your first pet’s name, then you’re really in trouble. Many of us symbolically create 18 digit passwords as if to intentionally forget it. We love forgetting passwords because that means we never have to go there. We never have to access that account or think about those thoughts. Let me assure you, what you’ve locked in your vault is never going away without you unlocking it.

Some of the passwords we make are silly. We make them because we’re insecure or we want to hide something simple. Others are very deep and are detrimental to our well being. If you have lost your password, let me assure you that there is a master locksmith. He doesn’t forget passwords. He knows what’s down there. Let him go to work on your heart.

What to do when your heart stops.

19 Mar

 


We love pleasure.

But more than we love pleasure, our hate for displeasure seems to be stronger.

The loathing of displeasure is what drives our decision making.

In sports, I’ve always asked my teams, “Do you hate to lose or love to win?”.

Most hate to lose.

Although the fear of losing can be a great motivator it never generates a sense of accomplishment, but rather a relief of escape.

If fear is the motivator, success becomes alleviation rather than achievement.

 

I believe the heart drives the mind and the mind drives actions.

But the mind can put a governor on the heart.

Fear can be a stimulant to motivate, but it can also be a depressant that leads to numbing.

 

The typical response to pain and loss is the suppressing of our emotions.

Some of us brag about never getting angry, but what has really happened is that we have so little of our heart invested that we are not able to get angry.

Others brag about their ability to “leave the emotion out of it”, as if that is some sort of accomplishment.

That’s nothing to be proud of.

“Even-keeled” is often just code word for someone who’s flatlined emotionally.

 

The greater the attempt at joy, the more at risk we are to pain.

In our heads we say – “I’ll go this far, I’ll try this hard, I’ll give this much, I’ll love this much”.

We do it in our relationships.

We do it with our dreams.

We do is scholastically.

We do it with God.

When we do this, we not only regulate pain, but we also regulate joy.

When you choose to self medicate your pain, you’ve inadvertently chosen to self medicate your joy.

When we widen the invisible threshold of pain we’re willing to bear, we also increase the amount of joy we’re able to experience.

What if there were no boundaries to how far you’d go, how hard you’d try, how much you’d give,  and how big you’d love?

Yes, there is wisdom in protecting your heart and emotional well being, but there is zero wisdom in living an emotionally flatlined life.

So I say to you- live again.  Get your heart back.  Life is so much better this way.  Embrace pain as a reminder of the joy that is at stake.  Fear not.  Take risks.  Put yourself out there.  You were designed to “feel”.  Stop injecting the vein of your emotions with numbing agents.  Stop mistaking the relief of fear for the satisfaction of joy.  Be vulnerable.

Our ultimate joy is found in Christ and He is the only one that can satisfy-run to Him for joy. John 4:14

Note:2 Corinthians 1:5  is one of many verses that shows the connection of suffering and joy.

17 Mar

Great Post On St. Patty’s Day

Maxwell A. Mooney

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In the midst of all your pinching, a few of you and your drinking, and everyone in their green wearing (warning: I pinch), I thought I would share an encouraging little post.

In all my years, I’ve simply viewed St. Paddy’s day as simply a day where you wear green, and college kids get plastered. Perhaps that biggest tragedy of St. Patrick’s day is forgetting St. Patrick. Though… McDonald’s Shamrock shakes do help make up for it.

Patrick was a saint (hardee har). He loved Jesus. He was taken captive as a slave to Ireland as a young boy, escaped, and returned as a missionary. He taught the doctrine of the Trinity using a shamrock- so as you wear your shamrock’s today, remember that it represents the Triune God. His work started the Christianization of Ireland from paganism.

Ultimately, remember, today isn’t just about fun, it’s also…

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