Showing posts from January, 2014

Why Decision Makers Are Hard to Find

"Decision makers are hard to find. Here’s why: In decision making, we are either right or we are wrong. This pressure is often too much hassle for the average man.  Decision makers are leaders who accept the responsibility of making a decision. Lack of courage to make decisions brings failure in personal lives, in homes, and in churches.  That great monster of “consequences” is the threat keeping us in our dugouts when the game is tied."
--  Don H. Polston  (passed away Jan. 22, 2014)

It's Winter in Wisconsin

It's winter in Wisconsin 
And the gentle breezes blow 
Seventy miles an hour 
At twenty-five below. 
Yes, the weather here is wonderful 
So I guess I'll hang around 
I could never leave Wisconsin 
'Cause I'm frozen to the ground!
(from a poem sent to me by my friend, Shirley)

Building a Marriage That Lasts

A report from the Family Research Institute on the State of Marriage in Wisconsin reported that 70% of people believe that the institution of marriage is weaker than it was 20 years ago. Statistics prove the case. In the 1930's, 1 out of 7 marriages ended in divorce. In the 1960's it was 1 out of 4. This year, it is predicted that at least half of the marriages will not survive. Each year, more than 200,000 new marriages end prior to the second anniversary. Around half of recently married couples expressed doubts as to whether their marriage union will last. 49% of these reported serious marriage problems.

What can be done to stem the tide and turn marriage back around? How can we build marriages that last?

The first step to building stronger marriages is to start the relationship on the right foot.

Most ministers in our community require extensive pre-marital counseling. Although some couples seem to view this as an annoyance -- it is vital to building a positive foundation for …

The Daniel Plan

Recently, I had the privilege of reading The Daniel Plan, by Rick Warren.  This is so much more than a book.  Rather, it is a way of life -- a pathway to health.
In November 2010, as Warren, widely recognized as America's Pastor, baptized over 800 people, he realized something -- his congregation desperately needed to lose weight -- and he did too.
Warren got serious about his health habits, and with the assistance of three well known physicians mapped out The Daniel Plan.  He took his church through it together, as a pilot project, and collectively they lost more than 250,000 pounds!
The Daniel Plan is not a primarily diet book.  It is a way of healthy living, based on five pillars:  faith, food, fitness, focus and friends.
The book provides specific, practical steps a person can take over 40 days to become more healthy.  Anyone following these guidelines is guaranteed to come out the other side in much better condition.
I must admit, I've appreciated this work primarily as …

Live for the Long Haul

You were designed to live for the long haul! Life’s a long distance marathon, not a 50 yard dash.With that in mind, it's vital to keep the big picture in mind. Most of us get tangled in the minutia of the moment and forget to look beyond the current situation.

Most worries aren't really that important in light of the big picture – the long haul. The next time you find yourself “all worked up” about something, ask this question, "Will this really matter ten years from now?" That question puts it in perspective. I’ve discovered that most of my frettings of very little consequence.

Long haul living requires some long range thinking:

*  What are you willing to sacrifice today for a greater gain tomorrow?

*  What habits today will destroy your health and/or relationships tomorrow?

 *  If you continue in the same direction and at the same pace as you
are going today, where will that lead you tomorrow?

*  If your money management patterns today continue, what will your
financial pi…

Problems Help You Grow

Your problems can help you grow!

Life’s difficulties can seem overwhelming. Disappointments, rejection, and painful experiences tempt us to cave into discouragement.

When faced with a Goliath sized obstacle, what do you do? Cower in fear? Ignore it? Throw a tantrum?

On ignoring: In The Hobbit, Tolkein remarks, “If a dragon lives with you, it’s best never to leave him out of your calculations.”

Genuine problems must not be ignored. If you sweep a dead skunk under the rug, it won’t get any better.

So how do we deal with difficulty? Put the problem in the right perspective! Realize that life is made up of problems. Troubles are everywhere and everybody has them. Don’t be surprised when they come
your way.

Problems contain the seeds of their own solution. You can find the answer if you get on the “solution side” rather than the “problem side”. (By the way, you don’t have to be too smart to identify a problem. You need to stretch your brain a little, however, to see the solution.)

Problems are onl…

A Call to Pastoral Health

Pastor, if you want your congregation to be healthy, you need to become healthy yourself.  Here's a great article by my friend, Lenny Luchetti, on the subject:  Healthy Pastor, Healthy Church.

Keep Paddling

Life brings its share of negativity.  To paraphrase a popular bumper sticker, "Stuff Happens."

We should not be surprised when difficulties arise.  It's a part of the human condition. We should expect the unexpected, and not be dismayed when things don't go according to plan.

Every summer, I canoe down the Namekagon River.  Sometimes, we hit rocks.  Sometimes, we tip over. Sometimes, we get stuck in the shallows and are forced to get out and drag the boat.  Often, we get soaked to the bone, and lose items.  Nevertheless, I continue to paddle. The challenges are what make the voyage an adventure.

You can't canoe without a risk, but if you don't take the risk, you'll miss the reward. Traveling the wilderness by canoe brings breathtaking views of nature and wildlife.  It provides a beautiful bond between traveling companions, and creates memories that will last a lifetime.

The river journey is worth navigating the rocks and shallows.

Maybe, instead of protesting …

Keep Your Soul Warm When it is Colder Than Cold

As I write this, a deep freeze looms on the horizon.  Northern
Wisconsin Januaries are always cold -- but this is colder than cold.

In this weather, Jack Frost does more than nip your nose.  You have to
be careful.

Even my dog Vin makes a quick dash for potty breaks.  As I took him
out this morning, I spoke the words Jesus said to Judas, "Whatsoever
thou doest, do it quickly."

Northwoods folks gain grim satisfaction from the cold endurance. Cars
won't start in cold snaps, but conversations will.  Those who brave
the wilds to visit the post office or grocery store compare mercury
readings .  Bottom line -- it's colder than cold out there!

When it hits 25 below, my kids and I take advantage of the situation.
We toss boiling water into the air, and watch it turn instantly into a
cloud of ice crystals.  We also blow soap bubbles, which freeze
immediately and drop slowly to the ground as ice balls.

If it's going to get this cold, we might as well have some fun with it.

In seasons lik…

Evangelize as You Edify, Edify as you Evangelize

“Don’t just preach to your congregation for spiritual growth, assuming that everyone in attendance is a Christian; and don’t just preach the gospel evangelistically, thinking that Christians cannot grow from it. Evangelize as you edify, and edify as you evangelize.” -- Tim Keller
I found this astute Keller quote in a great blog post, How Andy Stanley and Tim Keller Preach With Non-Believers in Mind, by Trevin Wax.