Reviving the blog…

Hello world… again.  It’s been a year.  And a long year, and a painful year, and a year where I’ve experienced growth and joy and grace and redemption and a host of other things.

And it’s time to start talking about it all again.  I’m not much for journaling (or blogging, now that I think about it…) But this is a good thing, so here we go.  To infinity and beyond.


Discipline and Initiating with your Kids

Quote of the week – “Deception is Satan’s native tongue.”

How you deal with discipline in your own life impacts your effectiveness in disciplining your kids.
How do you handle it when someone corrects you?

Proverbs 15:32 – if you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.

The Discipline Biggies

  • Be on the same page as your wife on discipline.
  • Always tell the truth. All the time.
  • Respect for authority in your house. Make especially sure your kids respect their mom.
  • Discipline for attitudes, not just actions
  • Fun and relationship balances discipline.
  • Household is characterized by peace, kindness, and respect.
  • Be a student of your kids.
  • Don’t let your house turn into a whine-ery. Don’t whine… communicate.
  • Control the sense of entitlement. You are not your child’s servant. Teach your kids to serve and it will give them a biblical world view. Get out of your neighborhood and teach them to serve the less fortunate.
  • Where is your “I mean it” line?  Let your yes be yes. Your “I mean it line” needs to be the first time. No idle threats or manipulation.
  • Display healthy conflict in front of your kids. Let your kids know that you are committed to each other even when you fight.  “Go sit on the conflict couch and work it out”

Biblical Principles for Discipline
Proverbs 19:18 – Discipline your children while there is hope.  Otherwise you will ruin their lives.
Proverbs 13:24 – Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
Proverbs 22:15 – A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away.
Proverbs 29:15 – To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.

Discipline through the Years

  • 1-5 years of age – Corporal – Physical discipline
  • 6-10 years of age – Correction – Tech; Social; Hobby; Chores
  • 11-18 years of age – Coaching – Tech; Social; Hobby; Chores
  • 19+ years of age – Community – Alongside you

Discipline in the Pre-Teen Years

  • In private
  • With self control
  • Promptly
  • Communicate the “why” of discipline
  • Object that does not do lasting harm
  • Make it memorable
  • Accompanies with verbal affirmation, physical love, and prayer

Proverbs 29:17 – Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.
Proverbs 10:1 – A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother

Initiate with your kids – Pray, Plan, Execute
Don’t be passive. Genesis 3. Adam’s sin was his silence.
Romans 5:12 – “just as sin entered the world through ONE MAN.” It’s our responsibility.

These are the things that give us the right to do what we do. It’s the keys to the right to disciple and discipline.
A few practical reminders:
1. If the idea is mine, I’m much more likely to execute it.
2. Take care of yourself so you have gas in the tank at the end of the day.
3. Take advantage of opportunities as they are there.

Initiate in:
Fun – have a plan. When you get out of the house, it helps you engage
Friendship – spend time with your kids specifically to build friendships
Spontaneous discipleship – Mercy, Grace, and Ice Cream
Intentional discipleship – have a plan for your kids.  Know what the next step is

Life Lessons from Chuck Swindoll

Chuck Swindoll blessed us this morning with life lessons learned from ministry. Great wisdom. The notes below are rough, but I did my best to capture as much as I could.

I was raised by the greatest generation. Self sacrifice came natural. My maternal grandfather had the greatest influence on his life. So remember the impact that you will have on the younger ones. My family loved Jesus. My mother shared a proverb that she prayed over me. “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.”
Some of you have no idea how God is using you or will use you. Years from now, you will be so glad you were faithful.

I would any day trade my youth for wisdom and truth.

1. I should tell people how I feel about them now, not wait until later. It will help them.
2. I’m not even aware of the things people notice and remember. They watch when you don’t think they
3. I’ve seldom felt sorry for things I didn’t say, but often for what I have. Watch your lips.
4. Being real is a lot better than trying to look spiritual. Be who you are. Accept how God has made you and become real. People know you better than you think.
5. 12 words that change your marriage. “I am wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.”
6. It doesn’t pay to talk anyone into or out of a big decision. Don’t think you can talk God’s will into anyone. God is at work in their lives and that struggle is part of God’s work.
7. Corrie Tenboom. “Hold everything loosely. Or it will hurt as the Father pries your fingers from them. Even your children.”
8. You can get a job anywhere, but why would I want a job when I have the chance to fulfill a lifelong calling.
9. When you fit, things flow. Don’t force it. If you don’t fit. Get out.
10. Be intentionally and passionately crazy about your spouse.
11. It’s hardest at home. Church is simple compared to home. I could run three churches easier.
12. Days of maintenance far outnumber days of magnificence. That’s life in ministry. Very little in ministry is “fantastic”. Still worth it.
13. Some people are not going to change no matter what. Some people choose to walk away from the truth. You can’t change them. You want to. But leave it to God.
14. If you have a day off, take it. What good are you when you’ve blown it or burned out?
15. Perception overshadows reality. Your reputation may hang on someone’s misconception. Truth will win out. You will never win them all, so quit trying. Gal 1:10.
16. Often it’s the hard thing that’s the right thing. Take risks.
17. Stop saying “never” and “always”.
18. Some things aren’t really worth the sweat. Lighten up.
19. You can’t beat kindness. “Young man, I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but whatever it is that is wrong, I care. And I’ll stay here with you as long as you want to”. It’s always appropriate to stay kind. Even when administering discipline. Do it with a heavy heart. Be kind.
20. You can’t beat fun. Learn to start living.
21. You’ll make lots of mistakes. It’s ok.
22. Walk with Jesus. It’s worth it.

Would You Just Make a Stinkin’ Decision Already?

I thought this was a great post from Todd Rhoades this morning in Monday Morning Insight.

Seth Godin: Make a decision. It doesn’t have to be a wise or perfect one. Just make one.
Here’s what Seth writes:

It doesn’t have to be a wise decision or a perfect one. Just make one. In fact, make several. Make more decisions could be your three word mantra.

No decision is a decision as well, the decision not to decide. Not deciding is usually the wrong decision. If you are the go-to person, the one who can decide, you’ll make more of a difference. It doesn’t matter so much that you’re right, it matters that you decided.

Of course it’s risky and painful. That’s why it’s a rare and valuable skill.

Seriously, Pastor. Make a decision. Don’t be stupid, but do make a decision. Stop your teetering. Pick a side. Be decisive. Seriously, Church leader. Make a call. The facts will never ALL be in. The situation will never be perfect to make the perfect decision.  And most decisions have some inherent risk involved. That’s ok. Risk is a good thing.

So… you’ve got five minutes. Just make the decision.

And you know exactly which decision I’m talking about. The one that’s been dogging you for days, even weeks or months. Should I do this, or should I do that? Most decisions do not take weeks or months. If you need to… start out slow. Small decision. Any decision. Just make one.

I see this happen all of the time in churches, especially in the area of IT or Web… we get analysis paralysis… there are too many good choices, what if I pick wrong, what if the technology I choose is out of date by next year?  Well, here is the rub.  Whatever you choose, it may be out of date before you implement it.  That doesn’t make it a wrong decision.  The absolute wrong decision is sitting by, doing nothing because you fear that you will be wrong or outpaced by the technology.  Just make a decision, move your church forward.  Even if you are wrong 50% of the time, it is better than being wrong 100% of the time by doing nothing.  You CAN learn from your failures.  Now granted, it is better to learn from your successes, but doing SOMETHING is always valuable because even if you fail you have learned what NOT to do next time.

Most church leaders wouldn’t survive a week in a fast-paced corporate culture.  Why?  We aren’t agile enough.  We hold on too long to things we need to let go of.  We don’t think enough about the opportunities we are missing by not innovating.  It is one thing to say you are innovating… it is something else to actually take enough risks to actually innovate.

How are you doing?

Why Open Source Matters

Open source matters. I really believe that to be true. Now before you starting thinking that I’m one of those guys who only uses open source software because I never want to pay for licensing… well, that’s simply not true. At Watermark we do use a lot of open source software such as WordPress, Typo3, and countless others. At the same time, we license a lot of software. Fair enough? Ok, moving on.

Watermark is currently in the middle of a new open source project called Shadetree. Essentially this is a tool that is customized to our needs as a church and encapsulates targeted communications, spiritual formation, group formation, volunteer management, online learning, social connection, and other items important to the intersection of life and church. Understand that we aren’t trying to replace the church management systems of today, but rather fill the gaps that exist by integrating with them and other tools in use already.

With Shadetree, we feel that it will be a great product in the end. So why not bundle it up and sell it to other churches? Because Christ never called his disciples to sell things.

Ok did I hit a hot button? Maybe, but keep reading. Over the last decade I have noticed a trend to “build and sell to the church.” In addition, I’ve noticed a trend that products that are “built and sold” are dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. In other words, these products contain the base functionality that works for most churches, but at the same time really doesn’t meet the specific needs of anyone.

Isn’t it about time that churches came together and stopped spending money on solutions that don’t really work, don’t integrate with other tools, and leave ministries sitting in silos that restrict their growth? Wouldn’t it be powerful if churches collaborated together on tools and shared openly their learnings to help the Church at large?

Maybe the term open source scares you, or maybe you don’t really know what that means… Think for a minute about WordPress. It’s arguably the most popular blogging software on the planet. And it’s free. It’s open source and it has a HUGE community of developers around it. If you want certain functionality, just go look, because it’s probably already been written. There is POWER in community.

So why not the church? Why are we settling for buying tools from other churches and vendors when we have the talent to build and redeploy tools “by the church and for the church”? If you think about the early church in Acts, this was normal for them.

“All who believed were together and held everything in common, and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need. Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts, praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-47

So why does open source matter? Because it’s our chance to live out our gathering together with a common goal, distributing our proceeds together, sharing with glad and humble hearts and trusting God to use us today by adding to our number daily those who are being saved.