Working on a Dream




Wednesday, February 26, 2014

22 questions to ask your spouse

Looking for something fun to do with your significant other?   I stumbled upon this list last week and thought it would make for a nice conversation starter...
Give it a try! 
1. If there was a movie about your life, what songs would you want on the soundtrack?
2. In that movie, what actor (past or present) would you want to play you?
3. If you could have named yourself, what name would you have chosen?
4. What is your favorite thing about yourself?
5. What is one thing you wish you could change about yourself?
6. What was your biggest fear when you were a child?
7. What is your biggest fear now?
8. Besides our wedding and the day kids were born, what is your all-time favorite day?
9. What would you do with the money if we won the lottery?
10. What would you do tomorrow if you lost your job and money and we had to start over?
11. When you were a kid, who was your biggest hero?
12. Who is your biggest hero today?
13. What is your greatest regret?
14. What is one thing you’d like to accomplish by this time next year?
15. If you won a free vacation to any place on earth, where would you want to go?
16. What was your first nickname?
17. What is your earliest childhood memory?
18. What was the moment when you laughed harder than you’ve ever laughed?
19. If you could write one new law that everyone had to obey, what law would you create?
20. What’s a new hobby you’d like to try out?
21. Besides marrying me…what’s the greatest thing that has ever happened to you? :)
Can you add any other questions?? 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

DING! DING! DING! Fighting Face 2 Face with the one you love the most!

There is a myth that a in a happy, healthy relationship a couple will never fight with one another. To fight means that you are not right for each other and that you should break up. Or a fight means that someone always has to end up winning. These views are not a proper. You can take a deep breath as fighting in a relationship is natural. When two people come together to create a life, conflict will be inevitable.

When Christen and I first were married, there was plenty of bickering. Our poor dog Charlie would end up in the farthest room huddled in the corner while we would go at it. I remember one hot summer day during one of our blow-out’s I walked past the window and saw my neighbor just standing there staring at my house with a glazed look on his face. A look that communicated, “I am really listening to a pastor and his wife fight this long about the electric bill being 33$."

Every couple will fight. It is inevitable. However, it is not the fighting that is the issue, it is how you fight. When you step in the ring, you better know the rules. And I cannot think of a better set of rules than Dr. Cloud’s + + + guide. Below is a simple equation that you can take and apply in your relationships:

Grace + Truth + Time

Create an Atmosphere of Grace: This is about creating a place where mistakes and errors are forgiven. Your loved one needs a soft landing, so be sure to provide a runway of grace. The rule of thumb is you want to go soft on the person and hard on the issue.

Environment of Truth: Your words are spoken to challenge, encourage, correct, help and evaluate. Your loved one sees your blind spots, they possibly know you better than anyone else in this world. So often their words will hurt because they will be exposing something in you that you do not see in yourself. Before we move on, remember, this is + + + recipe for success. I give the warning for those that only yield the hammer of justice and only speak truth. You will isolate yourself from your loved one and damage the relationship if the only tool you use is a sledgehammer. There is no fear of truth when one is surrounded and affirmed by grace. URGANT REMINDER: Do not neglect grace.

Element of Time: Communicate that you are in this for the long haul. You want to grow TOGETHER. You will do your part to compromise and hopefully minimize the future arguments in your lives. And know that growth is not instantaneous; you are not ordering at Burger King, you are dealing with a complex human being -a person that has developed habits and patterns over their lives. I counsel couples to take note that it took years for their loved one to develop the habit, so it will probably take years for them to re-learn healthier habits and patterns too. Be patient.

One last +
I’ll go ahead and throw in a concluding +. A heart change is impossible without the work of God in someone’s life. This means that someone may change their external behavior(s) for whatever reason, but behavior modification is not true change. My last + is for you to pray for your loved one. I know Dr. Cloud did not add this in his helpful paradigm, but I see this as a necessity in a relationship. 

My hope is that you take the time to implement these lessons in your relationship. Take this article and share it with your loved one. Then, make a joined effort to incorporate them in your relationship.

May the Lord be with you!

Feeling inspired? 
Pass this along by sharing it!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The $25,000 dollar tip.

How would you feel about receiving a $25,000 tip?
I was reminded of a story that I heard about a year ago. It took place on a certain day, with a certain well-known actress that decided to eat where a certain young man was waiting tables. The dinner happened to take place on the waiters’ birthday, so the actress decided to leave him a mega-huge tip. Apparently, over the years this famous actress got to know the waiter, took a liking to him and wanted to do something nice for him on his birthday. And when I say something nice for his birthday, I mean writing him a nice $25,000 dollar check. (No need to rub your eyes ... it's not $250, $2,500, it is twenty-five thousand dollars).

Did you pick your jaw up from the ground yet?
Good, the story goes on … When his co-workers became aware of the generous tip the work environment quickly became hostile. The friendly waiter went from friend to foe overnight. The question in my mind is, Why? Why can't people be happy for others?

There is this profound verse in the Bible found in the book of Romans that reads, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those that weep."  At first glance, we might be inclined to think that the difficult part of the verse is "weeping with those that weep." But this is not true. Most of us are really good at being there for others when they are down and need a hand. Most of us go out of our way to comfort our loved ones when they are hurting.  More often, the challenging aspect of that verse is when Paul writes, "Rejoice with those that rejoice." Why is it more difficult to rejoice with those that are happy or those that find good fortune?

Let’s talk about jealousy & envy for a moment:
Jealousy: The word "jealous" in the Webster's dictionary is defined as "zealous vigilance." That definition seems a bit confusing, at least to me. Here is what the Bible teaches about jealousy, "Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?" (Proverbs 27:4).  Jealously often stems from unmet expectations (either personally or those you place on others around you), a sense of entitlement, insecurities, or not knowing your self-worth.

Envy: Envy is defined as "a feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by another's desirable possessions or qualities, accompanied by a strong desire to have them for oneself." Again, the Scriptures speak about envy in Proverbs,”A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot” (14:30). Jealousy & envy are both killers. They will eat you alive and waste you away; they are both vicious taskmasters. John D. Rockefeller replied when he was asked how much money is enough. "Just one more dollar …”

-Envy grows in your heart when someone gets a new(er) car than your 1997 Buick Le Sabre. The Le Sabre that does not have AC, the passenger door lock does not work, and when you drive it down the street people point and yell, "there goes the couch on wheels!!"
-Jealousy creeps in your mind when someone gets a promotion in the same department you have been working in since Reagan was in the White House.
-Hatred fills your bones when your slacker friend buys a lottery ticket and hits the big-time.
It's OK, really, I'll just set my alarm for 5 a.m. while she sleeps in EVERYDAY of her life!

See the question isn’t “How would you feel about a $25,000 tip?” 
 Rather, “How would you feel about someone else getting a $25,000 tip?”

The truth is, the sting of your own personal selfishness creeps up when good things happen to others. Their good fortune is a mirror into your soul. Jealously and envy are a reflection of what is going on inside of your mind and heart. In short, this is more about you than them.

The Cure: Set Your Heart on the things above.
When someone trusts Jesus a new perspective will follow. Paul eloquently states, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" (Col. 3:1-2). The cure for envy and jealously is joining God's intention for your life --that is having your heart and mind focused UPward instead of downward.

Soul Search:
When good things happen to others how do you respond?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

NOT my Fault.

It’s Not My Fault.

There are 2 types of people in this world, those who take responsibility for their lives, and those who do not.

Have you noticed that we live in a culture of blame? There is the overweight woman suing McDonald’s for making her fat. Did the Golden Arches reach out, grab her, and force food down her throat? There is the guy that throws his money away at the casino. Did the blackjack dealer drive him to the bright lights; take the money out of his wallet and place bet after bet? In both cases, shift went from the individual to some outside external force.

I read a book once with the title, “Take control of what’s controlling you.” Aptly fit for our society today. Dr. Henry Cloud wrote a fascinating book that inspired this post (It’s Not my Fault) that I benefited from measurably. In it, he says you need to, Take responsibility for your life, then put your arms around reality and take ownership of it …”

(B.O.B.) The beginning of blame
Genesis records the origins of much of what you and I experience today. Life, death, murder, marriage, etc. In Genesis chapter 3, we discover that right after Adam and Eve disobey God and sin, they start the blame game. Adam points to his wife, his wife then points to the serpent. Blame, Shame and Guilt. All there in the garden. For our purposes however, we will focus on blame shifting. We just love to shift blame and responsibility on to others. We love pointing to external factors that will get us off the hook. One interesting element about blaming outside sources is that they may be true AND we may even have good reasons to blame -but it does not solve any of our problems.

I will unabashedly state that if you are the type of person that consistently shifts blame on externals --you have serious problems. I know it and your friends / family know it too. I can’t say for certain that you know it, but the sooner you understand this hang-nail about yourself the better off you will be. See, those in life that are successful, those in life that have risen above their circumstances have figured out some important life lessons, one is that they take responsibility for their own lives. Is it time for you to look inward, instead of outward? Choose to man-up and rise above the external forces and when you do you choose to be a victor instead of a victim.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dads: The Good ones, the Bad ones & the Invisible ones.

Boys, I hope you do not end up hating me after this.

Not only might you hate what you are about to read, but you just might hate me a bit more because your girl will think that I am the best thing since sliced bread.

Let’s talk about dads for a second.
Do we need to check National Geographic to be sure this group of people is not extinct? I read a startling stat that I do not want to reconcile in my heart, “Tonight roughly 40 percent of kids will go to bed without a father.” This means that just about the majority of kids today are born out of wedlock / have no active dad in their lives. Sad. The question is, Dad, why are you invisible?

It also recently came to my attention that there is another epidemic with dads. Apparently there is this group called, “bad dads” out there that are a cross between a zombie from the Walking Dead and Zach Morris from Saved by the Bell. Kind of an “I’m a dead-beat no-good, waste” fused with “Hey, I am 26 but spray on Axe products and need a guy’s night out ... again.” Bad dads seem pretty popular these days. If you are having trouble identifying who I am talking about, let me give you some indicators: The ones that abuse their authority by being a tyrant, the dads that avoid their responsibilities by not providing for the overall bettering of their families (meaning mental, physical, monetarily and spiritual guidance), dads that spend all day on the X-Box, dads that have the same exact habits as their teenage children, dads that dress like they are their teenage children, dads that are better than their kids at Guitar Hero, dads that lose their jobs because they would rather be playing Roller Hockey, dads that send their wife and kids to church without them 50 out of 52 Sundays a year and any dad that just read through this list and thought that everyone of those things were OK to do reguarly. One of my favorite pastors, Mark Driscoll says that there are a lot of boys that think they are men because they can shave. If I may modify that a bit Mr. Driscoll: There are a lot of dads out there that think they are father’s because they can have relations with a girl and make babies. I have heard this a thousand times but it bears repeating, HAVING A CHILD DOES NOT MAKE YOU A FATHER. The question is, Dad, why are so bad being a dad?

Boys, I hope you do not hate me … yet.

The Bible speaks a lot about husbands and fathers. It actually calls for the man to be the “head of the family” (Eph. 5:22-23). Ladies, do not cringe, I do not want to lose you, just put your big girl pants on and hold on … Being the head of the family does not mean that the man is supposed to take a superior position or walk around like he is William Wallace. Rather, it means that the father bears the greatest responsibility for his family. He is the Priest. Meaning he is the one that guides spiritually. Dads take your kids to church. Take them by the hand and pray with them. He is also the Prophet. Dads, speak words of life and encouragement to your kids. Dads, utilize the lessons that you have learned and share wisdom with your kids. He is also a King. Dads you rule your house. Not with an iron fist but with a gentle, sacrificial love. You are a Priest. A Prophet and a King. 

Boys, if you hate me, then all you showed me is that you are indeed just a boy.  A real man is everything described above. 
If you read this and are still confused as to which category you fit, simply take this and show it to your wife or girlfriend. Their response will show you which category you fit in to.

Dads. Your role in your family is big. If you are not there for your family, the hole left by you does not close up, instead it remains big –if not BIGGer due to your absence.

I wrote this with the hopes that if just 1 person was inspired to become a better dad for his family, then my joy was made complete. Pass along the article to a friend hoping that another person may benefit too!