Orientation By Wilderness Experience (Could It Work For Your Team?)

1078283_58943098Taylor, one of my 18 year-old son Nate’s best friends, is going to Wheaton University this fall. I am excited that he will be an hour away from Nate who will be at Moody Bible College.  I wrote a blog post about their friendship a couple months ago. Read that post HERE. I had coffee this morning with Taylor, because he is leaving this weekend for an extended and unusual college orientation.

Wheaton offers an optional wilderness experience as a preparation for incoming freshman to the university. Students explore a Christian worldview and get college credit in exchange for an extreme outdoor adventure with other students, professors, and experts in wilderness adventures.  Someone at the university told Taylor, “If you can survive 12 days alone with someone in this experience then you can last a lifetime together.”

I love the concept.  I am wondering if it would work in other settings:

  • Incoming staff people…
  • Premarital counseling…
  • Potential leaders…

Do you think this would build healthier teams?

Who in your organization/family would you like to send on a 12-day wilderness experience so they will be a better team player?

I Am A Teacher, Not a Know-It-All

899171_16345967I am a teacher, but I am not without flaw.

One common misunderstanding is that those who teach principles are perfect at implementing those same principles in their life.  Hopefully before someone agrees to teach on a subject they have a certain “expertise” in the area he or she teaches, whether by education or experience, but it is probably false to believe he or she is perfect in every area they claim expertise.  Obviously teachers are to be held to a higher standard (James 3:1), but just because someone teaches does not make them perfect at the subject they teach.

For example, I teach some principles I do not yet live out fully and perfectly.

  • I teach on marriage, but my marriage is a continual work in progress.
  • I teach on parenting, but each new age creates a new learning curve for me.
  • I teach on leadership, but I still have so much to learn about the subject.
  • I teach the Bible, but there are those I teach who know some passages better than me.

I believe and aspire to the principles I teach, and I do have education and experience in each area, but I am still very much a work in progress.

Do not make the mistake of believing that just because someone teaches good principles that they are fully implementing them in their life.  Hopefully they are attempting to, but you may be disappointed if you look for perfection from the teacher.

What qualities do you look for in a teacher?

Doing Your Part To Make The Marriage Work

marriageHere is a quick reminder to husbands and wives:

You are responsible to God and your spouse to obey the vows you took before God and others the day you married.

We often make excuses for our behavior because of the behavior of our spouse, but if each partner is accountable for their own role the marriage will be strengthened.

I have heard all the arguments.  One spouse feels unloved so he or she refuses to give love or respect.  One spouse feels disrespected, so he or she refuses to give back respect or love.  I understand it is difficult, but the fact remains each spouse is accountable for his or her heart and actions.

I am not at all advocating that a spouse must endure physical or emotional abuse. That is a completely different issue.  I am addressing the average marriage struggles where two people are equally at fault. In those cases, if one spouse will genuinely fulfill their responsibility, unless the other spouse has completely closed their heart to the marriage, the marriage is likely to see improvement.  It is when each spouse becomes selfish and refuses to do live their part of the marriage commitment that lines are crossed, feelings are hurt, and severe damage is done to the marriage.

Have you been doing your part to make the marriage work?

Catalyst Video with Darren Whitehead

I love this video with LV Hanson and Darren Whitehead from Willow Creek. I want my boys to watch this.  You should too.  I think he’s onto something here.

Thanks to Brad Lomenick for pointing me to this and giving me permission to post it here.

Catalyst Voices – Darren Whitehead from Catalyst on Vimeo.

Should I Even Bother To Come Home?

n678929877_43Cheryl and I are in Lithuania this week.  Read that story HERE.  We plan to update more later.

Nate and I were commenting back and forth on Facebook.  I told him I was getting up early here in Lithuania, because it is daylight from about 4 AM to 11:30 PM.  Here was his comment back:

“i’ve been up a while too.. since about 1 PM. I have to wake up early tomorrow though so I should probably go to bed soon.. I’m working on some new music stuff. The house is still in one piece… except for the giant hole in the garage door from where I forgot to raise it before backing the mower out.. thankfully the mower is more powerful than the garage door. It was about time we replaced that ole thing anyway… also the yard looks good. A couple of the neighbors stopped by to compliment how good it looked.. a few others stopped by when I wasn’t here so they left notes about it. Also the kitchen was smelling a little funny so I sprayed this stuff in there, but it turns out it was for wood services only and now the kitchen floor is really slick. Hopefully it will get better before you get back. I called the wooden floor guy to come over and fix it.. so it should be fine.. also Paw Paw has a Yugoslavian Pride hat for you.. I told him you were in Lithuania but he didn’t listen.. see ya!”

Should I be worried?  Should we bother to come home?

PS.  I love my boys!

Differences in men and women (Typical email home)

Cheryl and I are in Lithuania.  Read other posts on this blog.  Cheryl and I differ on what an email home should look like.

Typical email home from me:

Hey guys, made it fine. Love to all.

One paragraph from a typical 12 paragraph email home from Cheryl:

The bathroom where we are staying is small, but comfortable.  We have plenty of hot water, which makes it nice.  There is not a lot of shelf space around the sink, but Ron and I have managed to each find a place for our toothbrushes.  Ron will put his on the small shelf above the sink and I will place mine on the small shelf at sink level.  The tile in the bathroom is white and red squares and is quite pretty, but doesn’t really match the rest of the décor in the room.  There is a towel warmer in the bathroom, which we have never seen before, but I am afraid to keep towels on it very long.  It does make the towels nice and warm though when we step out of the shower.

Which email would you rather receive?

God made us different for a reason.  It is just one more reason to celebrate the mystery of marriage.  (Ephesians 5:32)

I Am Glad To Be In A Man’s Man Kind of Church

snake e-mailOne of my good friends is a man’s-man kind of guy. My friend’s name is Dirt and the name says a lot about this guy. He is a professional hunter and fisherman. He actually owns an International shooting supply company, has led professional hunting and fishing expeditions around the world and has a well known hunting show on several cable stations. (If he were a Bible character he would be a Jacob or a Peter.)

What impresses me with a guy like Dirt is that in addition to being a tough guy, he loves his wife, his two daughters and his grandchildren. Cheryl and I have traveled on the mission field with Dirt and Connie King, and underneath that rough exterior, that frankly would intimidate me if I didn’t know him, is the heart of a great guy who would do anything he could to help someone in need. Whenever he is not traveling with his television show he is sitting in church and is one of my biggest encouragers every week he is there.

I like that kind of guy. We see it in our brave soldiers who fearlessly defend our nation. We see it in the dozens of hunters and fishermen in our church. We see it in the football and baseball players and coaches. We see it in the guy who works an office job fighting his way through the corporate world or the factory worker who sweats 8 hours a day to feed his family. One thing I am so thankful for at Grace Community Church is that we have attracted a lot of men’s men who are tough outside, but inside they have tender hearts for God and their families. I love when a man leads his family to church. Of course, I am thankful for all our ladies who come even when their husbands don’t, but when  man leads the way his family will almost always follow.

I hope we are always that kind of church. Happy Father’s Day!

President Obama’s Father’s Day Challenge

kailuabeach3I love the president’s words about fathering.  Politics aside I have said a number of times on this blog that I admire the president’s commitment to family.  He has “date nights” with his wife.  He goes to his children’s parent-teacher conferences.  He sets aside time just for them.

I love his father’s day appeal to fathers also.  It’s a great standard for which all fathers should strive.  His encouragement: To be a better father than you had.  You can read the complete story HERE. All of us can make small steps of improvement, maybe even large steps, but the key is that we try to improve from generation to generation.  I have told my boys many times that I hope they improve upon what I have done as a father.  My father brightened my day recently by telling me he is thankful for the father I have tried to be.

Fathers, are you trying to improve your parenting everyday?   Do you want to be a better father than the example you had?  That’s how we will improve the generations to come!

A Dozen Things That Encourage Me (Plus One)


Here’s a random post that came to me this morning. I was thinking about some of the things that encourage me in life.




Things such as:

  • The reminder of God’s love
  • Cheryl’s smile
  • Time with my boys
  • A baby’s giggle
  • A Bible verse
  • A big dream
  • A kind word from a friend
  • A special memory
  • A thank you email
  • A sense of accomplishment
  • An answered prayer
  • The awareness of God’s presence
  • The love/innocence of a child

What would you add to this list?  What encourages you?

Great Things Often Come In Small Packages

1187603_98883611Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.  Psalm 117

The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117. I have often wondered what was going through the Psalmist’s mind when he recorded his thoughts for this Psalm.  Was he finished?  Did he get interrupted?  Was there something else he wanted to say?  Was he satisfied with his work?  (Obviously God was.)  This shortest chapter has huge meaning.  If we were to memorize just these two verses and implement them in our life, I think it may make a difference in our perspective on the world and the situations in which we find ourselves.

We often think that for something to be grand it must be huge, but that is not the complete definition of the word grand. (For a definition look HERE.)  Shortest or smallest does not always indicate lack of importance.  Many times it is the smallest detail that determines success or failure with a project.  The shortest moments of time can often cause the greatest and the most horrific life changes.  In my life the shortest words of encouragement have often had the biggest impact.

Are you concerning yourself with the small things that matter most?