Thank You, Dad

If you watched any of the Olympics the last few weeks you likely saw an inspiring commercial from P&G called “Thank You, Mom.” I love the premise behind the commercial but I cringe at the conclusion. The premise is that behind all of the success we watch at the Olympics are the hero moms. I realize this is likely true the majority of the time. And I’m grateful for all of those moms.

But the obvious issue is that we need more dads to fill this role.

Moms shouldn’t be carrying the responsibility by themselves. It saddens me to think of how these types of videos add to the already deep perception of deadbeat, nonexistent dads. It’s time we offered encouragement to the dads out there to step up and play their part.

So if you had a dad who was present, who gave you encouragement, who helped you become the person you are today… I encourage you to tell him thanks. You were one of the rare blessed ones. I know that I was in this category and I’ve never lost sight of how much my dad challenged me to become the person I am today.

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Who Do You Say That I Am?

Jason Clark - Prone to LoveThis is a guest post from Jason Clark. Read below to see how you can win a free copy of Jason’s new book, Prone to Love.

Jesus pressed his disciples asking, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?”

Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus responded, “…You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am.

Can you imagine how excited Jesus was about Peter’s revelation? Everywhere Jesus went, every breath He ever took, every smile, every tear, every gesture, every word was meant to reveal the Father. He said, “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well (John 14:7),” and “I am in the Father and the Father is in me… (John 14:11)” Jesus life was an expression of the Fathers perfect love. But the disciples, and everyone else for that matter, never seemed able to really get it.

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Mattresses, Money, and Misperceptions

Mattresses, Money, and Misperceptions

My wife and I had an interesting experience this week. We are currently shopping for a new mattress and thought we’d hit up a few stores to get a feel for what’s out there. Our first stop was the RoomStore and while we immediately had a greeter start a conversation with us, she had a bizarre, passive-aggressive style. When she asked us what we were looking for we replied that we were pretty open and were shopping for something that fit us. Her answer was that if we didn’t know what we wanted then she couldn’t help us. She then led us to the mattress section and walked away. I was surprised and bothered at the same time. Worse yet, she watched us from a distance. Now I only worked sales for a few years of my life, but I’m pretty sure that when someone is open you take that opportunity to guide them to something they will fall in love with. Not happening with our lady.

I looked at Michelle as we walked out and said, “That was weird, right?” She agreed.

We walked a few stores down to another mattress store. At this one, we saw a salesman again as soon as we entered. He was coming from somewhere in the back and after he said hi to us he sat down at a desk up front. The rest of the conversation we had with him, in which we asked him a few questions, he responded to us without making eye contact. He just continued to stare at his screen. We decided it was time to go again.

I looked at Michelle as we walked out and said, “I’m done shopping for mattresses, let’s get dinner.”

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4 Apps To Fuel Your Spiritual Life

For those of us who have accepted Christ as our savior, we each have to figure out what to do next. When you’ve experienced the transformational love of Christ the next question is usually: now what? Do we sit on our hands and enjoy God till we die or He comes back? Or are there ways we allow Him to work in us daily to further His Kingdom?

This is why Christian character matters. And Christian character comes from the influence of God’s Spirit shaping us into who He designed us to be more and more each day. As the apostle Peter said,

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Peter 1:3-4

But what does it mean to participate in the divine nature? One of the traditional tools for the spiritual life is journaling. I’ve never been much for that as it isn’t something I can keep up with and it ends up discouraging me more than anything else. If you are like me and are interested in a different way of experiencing God, here are four iPhone apps that I’ve found to be very helpful in no particular order.

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Top 15 Quotes from Mark Batterson

Top 15 Quotes from Mark Batterson

Last night we had an incredible prayer conference at Central with Mark Batterson. Not only can the dude preach but he brings incredible insight into the spiritual life with prayer as a focus. Here are my favorite fifteen quotes.

  1. I believe in short prayers before meals because I believe in eating food while it’s still hot. I think it’s good stewardship.
  2. If you’re not fasting, you’re full of yourself.
  3. The Bible was not meant to be read. The Bible was meant to be prayed. Reading the Bible without praying is like eating without digesting.
  4. When you open your Bible God opens his mouth. If all we ever do is read it then it becomes a monologue.
  5. Success is when those who know you best respect you the most.
  6. The Holy Spirit plus caffeine equals awesome.
  7. Bold prayers honor God and God honors bold prayers.
  8. At some point in life the best you can do isn’t good enough.
  9. Prayer is the difference between letting things happen and making things happen.
  10. Singing is something we do with our voices, worship is something we do with our hearts.
  11. God sometimes uses past tense language for things that have not yet happened.
  12. Not getting an answer you prayed for is not a failure in prayer. It’s a reminder that you are not omniscient.
  13. Instead of ASAP, it’s ALAT. As long as it takes.
  14. Fasting is how you exercise your “No” muscle.
  15. Anything we don’t turn into praise turns into pride.
There Are No Good Guys or Bad Guys

There Are No Good Guys or Bad Guys

Almost every major story or movie involves the good guys versus the bad guys. In most of them, the bad guys lose. I recently watched the movie Lone Survivor and was reminded how often we frame stories like this. In the movie (and even the trailers), there are clear references to the enemy as the bad guy and the fact that the Navy Seals are the good guys.

But the problem is that this is a false dichotomy. There are no good guys or bad guys. There are just people. People who make choices both good and bad. Certainly, some people’s lives are characterized by a dominance of loving choices or a dominance of selfish choices. But we are all capable of both and indeed we all experience both in our own lives. Some of the best stories include characters who you disliked at one point and then loved at another point in the story. We refer to them as a dynamic characters and they make for a much stronger story than a cartoonish depiction of a good or bad guy.

I had a conversation with my son Gavin this week. As I was laying him to bed for the night he asked me, “Dad, will Jesus protect me from bad guys?” I struggled with providing him with a theologically sound answer that makes sense to a five year old. It’s tempting to simply tell him “yes” and allow him to go to sleep feeling better. But even at his age, I want my son to learn that life is deeper than that. I told him that Jesus will always be with him, but that Jesus also loves the bad guys. He looked confused by this.

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