One Secret to Having a More Productive Week

Here’s a secret to having a more productive week:

Spend 30 minutes Sunday afternoon or evening, or even early Monday morning, planning your week.

Give everything you have to do an estimated time and place it on your calendar. Make sure you allot time for recreation, exercise and family. Even schedule some time to read and/or dream.

Then try…as hard as you can…to work the plan. When interruptions come in your week, unless they are true emergencies, you have a valid reason to say no.

Let me know how it goes.

Shhh…Don’t give away our little secret! 

For a more detailed listing of how I do this, click HERE.

Hearing the Voice of God

Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:20-21

These verses aren’t my life verses…maybe they should be…

You see…

Most of my life I’ve been desperate for a word from God…

I’ve wanted to know His thoughts…

I want His input into my life…

I want to know His will…

Just being honest, I’ve probably spent more time wondering His will than I have obeying His will.

(I hope that doesn’t disappoint you…)

Sure, I know lots of His will I can obey everyday…right from the pages of His Word…

But, to know the will of the things not clearly outlined in Scripture…well…sometimes I’m left wondering…

I have learned this, however…

Many times God has to get my attention to get me to listen…

And then there’s…

Bread

Bread is pretty essential for survival. I’ve traveled lots of places…people love their bread. In San Francisco, they claim to have the best sour dough bread anywhere. Germany seemed to love their bread too. In Malta there was this bread of which I couldn’t get enough. Everywhere I’ve been, bread seems to be a staple. It’s a basic commodity.

Yet, God gives us the bread of adversity.

And then there’s…

Water

Everyone knows we can’t live long without water. There are whole ministries trying to provide water to people around the world, because people are dying without it. They say our city’s water has algae in it…or something like that…because of the heat. It’s supposedly safe to drink, but people are complaining. During my long training periods for running, when I start aching all over, I know I haven’t had enough water. Water is a critical commodity.

Yet, God gives us the water of affliction.

I don’t understand.

But, then the verse says, “your teachers will be hidden no more” …

“whether you turn to the right or to the left” …

“you ears will hear a voice behind you” …

“this is the way”…

That’s what I’m looking for, right?

Perhaps I’ve been looking at trials all the wrong way…

Perhaps trials bring me closer to the heart of God…

Perhaps a trial makes me desperate for my Creator…

Perhaps nothing like a trial produces in me a longing for God…

Perhaps God uses trials to show me His love…His provision…to teach and mold me…and to point me in the way I am to go…

Which is what I wanted in the first place…

I don’t know…just thinking…

What do you think?

I’ve written other thoughts on hearing the voice of God HERE.

Building a House

The wise woman builds her house…

(Proverbs 14:1)

If you want to build a house…

It takes a plan…

It takes diligence…

It requires the right materials…

It takes time…

It involves sleepless nights…

It requires discipline…

It’s not done in front of the television or computer…

It’s not cheap…

It will stretch your heart…in various directions…

It will not always make you the popular parent…

It will require sacrifice…

It’s not easy…

But…

Its rewards last for generations…

Parents…

Are you building your house?

What else does building a house require?

(To see my personal parenting model, click HERE.)

Scripture Memorization, Week 31

What if this week, instead of taking the problems of this world as your own, you saw them as temporary problems…momentary bumps on an eternal road…???

What if you chose not to dwell on the tragedy of life, but on the triumph of eternal life?

What if you memorized this verse?

Here is this week’s memory verse:

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ Philippians 3:20

Gutsy Leaders Only Please…

I want to come help your leadership!

If you lead a team…

I want to help you be a better leader…

It won’t be easy…

You’ll be intimidated at first…

You’ll be nervous…

I promise…

But…

It will open your eyes to some holes in your leadership…

It will help your team trust you more…

It will make your team’s communication better…

It will challenge you to improve personally…

I promise…

Want to know more?

Click HERE.

Nascar Prayer…Boogity Boogity Boogity

Chances are good by now you’ve seen this. It happened down the road from me. I don’t know this pastor, but I may need to invite him to lunch sometime.

Just so you know, this is not a typical Tennessee prayer. It certainly brings attention to the fact that we do pray! :)

What thoughts come to your mind with this prayer?

5 Tips when Communicating with Women

I recently posted 5 Tips when Communicating with Men. I said in that post, that I didn’t feel as comfortable with the counter post. I’ve never been a woman. :) I’ve never even had thoughts of wanting to be one. :) Don’t get me wrong…I like women…a lot…one in particular, but I don’t feel that liking women qualifies me to speak for the gender.

I have studied relationships, however, and I’ve studied my wife. My degree in counseling and experience working with hundreds of couples has helped me process some thoughts about men and women and how they communicate. I wrote these, but ran them by Cheryl prior to posting. As I said with the men, remember these are generalized statements, so not all women will fit in each of these.

Here are 5 tips when communicating with women:

There may be a deeper meaning – What a woman says most likely represents the way she feels, which may or may not be captured completely by the words she uses. It’s harder to put emotions into words. I find it important to ask Cheryl to clarify what she’s saying often. It sometimes helps if I repeat back what I think she’s saying, then allow her to tell me what I’m missing.

Emotions are attached so the way you say it is important – Valuing relationships and people, women tend to think and communicate more with their hearts. It’s more difficult for a woman to “set feelings aside”. They are relational and more subject to getting their feelings hurt. As with men, some women avoid conflict and some are more comfortable with it, but the approach of an issue is important for all women. Women don’t necessarily want to avoid discussing the difficult issues, but they do want men to consider how they say things. Words can have heavier meanings for a woman, since they are often interpreted with emotions.

Details are important if they are attached to someone they love – I always joke that Cheryl can remember where the socks in the house are, because they are worn by someone she loves. Women want to know details of a man’s life because she loves the man. I have to remember this when Cheryl asks for more details about my day. Sometimes her questioning is just so she can be a part of it; not to burden me with questions. Also, because trust develops with information and experience, and because women may live closer to the emotions of an issue than even the facts sometimes, details can be important in learning to trust a man. Knowledge and information helps keep the woman’s heart from emotions such as worry or fear.

Crying is a way to express and release emotions – With intense emotions; sometimes a woman can feel overwhelmed with stress, anger, grief or even pleasure. Tears are a natural reaction to life’s highs and low and are nothing to be feared. Cheryl knows, however, that when she cries I get uncomfortable. Just as a man needs to learn to use anger responsibly, the same is true of tears for a woman. Understanding this as a way of expressing emotions, however, goes a long way in helping a man cope with tears.

They don’t always need you to fix things…listen as they work through it – This is a hard lesson for a man. Cheryl processes with me as she shares the burdens of her day, a stress she feels, or a disappointment in her life. She doesn’t usually want me to have an answer…at least not immediately…she wants me to be a sounding board as she thinks through the issue. I’ve learned that sometimes it is best to say nothing…just listen…until she asks me for an opinion. Of course, when she says “Go” I’m ready with the solution. :)

Learning to communicate better as men and women makes life more enjoyable for both genders. Most women I know are willing to admit that a woman can be more complicated to understand than a man. I’ve learned by experience that when I don’t understand how to communicate with Cheryl…or what she is saying…or when I mess up…I get tremendous credit for asking her to help me understand. Cheryl always seems patient with me when I’m attempting to communicate better. Men, it’s worth the effort!

Women, what would you add to my list?

Men, do you have anything to add? (Don’t get yourself in trouble, but be honest! :) )

My New Domain Names…

If you don’t know, I’m somewhat of a dreamer…a big thinker… I always have a new idea.

Here are the domain names I own or I’ve purchased recently. I have vague ideas for each of them, but much of it is still a work in progress. When you see the name, what thoughts come to mind?

LeadCamp.net

Leadation.com

LeadManly.com

ManlyConference.com

ManlyLeadership.com

MinistryMarriage.net

HurtingPastors.org

StupidMinistry.com

Right now they point back to my blog, but someday…

What could I possibly be up to next? Share your thoughts.

5 Tips when Communicating with Men

I hear from both sides continually. Between the two sexes, communication appears to be the biggest struggle. It’s a constant work in progress in my own marriage. The differences in men and women make communication difficult. (I also posted 5 Tips When Communicating with Women.)

My counseling background and years of experience working with couples has given me insight into some of the barriers men and women face when communicating. I realize not all men are alike, but there are some generalities that can perhaps help a woman better understand a man and improve communication.

Here are 5 tips to communicating with a man:

We meant what we said…not what you heard – Thats true 99% of the time. (Statistically verifiable :) ) Men are usually more literal, and frankly simple-minded, so we aren’t usually talking in a code language. Not that women would be… :) Try to hear only what was said without attaching extra thoughts triggered by emotions. Ask if his statement had a deeper meaning before making assumptions. Most likely he meant only…nothing more…than what was said. (I can’t tell you how many classic examples of marriage problems I’ve seen develop with just this one tip.)

We don’t often like to give details – If we said where we were going, who we had a discussion with or what we had for lunch, that’s usually enough for us. We may not like going into detail beyond those simple facts. I understand you may need and even deserve more information, especially when a man hasn’t proven trustworthy, but know its often out of our realm of comfort to provide it. When it’s not a matter of trust, the less you pump for details the more likely we’ll be to share facts, and even occasionally, details.

Our range of emotions are limited – Most men don’t feel as deeply or multi-faceted as a woman feels about an issue. It’s not that we don’t care. It’s just that we are wired differently. If you ask us how we feel, “happy” or “sad” may be as descriptive as we can get. Because of this, men tend to communicate more factually and less emotionally.

When you may tend to cry we may tend to get angry – I get criticized for this point sometimes, but I wrote a post about this issue HERE. There is never an excuse to misuse anger and abuse of any kind should not be tolerated, but anger in itself is not a sin. The Bible says “in your anger do not sin”, but it seems to assume we will have moments of anger. The same things that cause most girl’s emotions to produce tears, often cause a man to develop testosterone-producing anger. A godly man learns to handle that anger responsibly, but it doesn’t eliminate the response. When an issue riles a man emotionally, it helps if you understand his emotions may be normal and you may even be able to help him channel his response to that emotion. Cheryl does that for me continually.

Sometimes we have a hard time communicating what’s on our heart…often we never do – This is sad and we may even know it. The more you make us feel we’ll be respected regardless of the situation or the emotions we display, the more likely you’ll see our true emotions. You can actually help us with this one!

Please understand. I’m not making excuses for men. The basic premise of all of these is to remember that men and women are different. You can read my thoughts about mutual submission in a marriage HERE and HERE. I’m simply trying to help you communicate with a man.

Men, what did I miss?

Wives, any tips on how we could better understand you? I’ve learned a few and could share them, but thought it may come better from you :) .

Do you care to hear my women’s version…even realizing I’m not one?