The world does not revolve around…

When the path you walk always leads back to yourself, you never get anywhere – Oogway.

Anyone that has read any of my posts knows I find inspiration in the most random places. The quote above is a prime example. This weekend the munchkin, saw Kung Fu Panda as we were flipping through Netflix. It was in the short Secretes of the Masters, that I heard the above quote and thought that it was a great thought.

Then at church, our pastor was recapping the past few weeks in the series we were on, and mentioned the service 2 weeks ago that was about attitude adjustments and rejoicing. Since we weren’t there that week, I went and pulled the podcast and started listening to it. The main point was that you cannot be self-centered and still be truly joyful in your serving. While you maybe serving God, but if you are doing it for the wrong reasons you are not going to get the results that you are looking for.

Philippians 2:3-4   Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

We go through life, looking for what we deserve. We, I’m lumping all Americans into this, have a feeling of entitlement. I did the work, I should get the credit and the glory. I’m not saying that we should all just say nothing matters and if you want to steal my work and call it yours that fine. What I’m saying is that we are so lucky as Christians, the God does not give us what we deserve, death, he gives us something better, that we cannot even begin to fathom, eternal life.

I am a firm believer in the idea of you get what you put in, if you work hard, and do something that you would be proud to call your own, you will be proud of it. By the same token, if you just don’t give a (insert your own word here), it will show in your actions, and in your life. While you may not get the same benefit or payment as some else, if you did your best and left nothing behind, you can walk away proudly.

It is when we give all that we have, like the small boy who had 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish, and step back, letting God grab what we have to give, and make something amazing out of it that He gets the glory. One of my favorite songs right now, is Background by Lecrea, and it talks about not needing to be in the spot light and letting God be in the forefront. If you let God have the starring role in your life, the overflow that falls onto you, will be more than enough.

No man is an Island…..

We have all heard the sayings: No man is an Island. There’s no I in team. And all of the other teamwork and group motivators all of our lives. Really up to this point, I have always just thought of these as good ol sayings. But when you look at our lives, our culture, our history, our creation, God created us as social creatures. In the beginning, God made only one person and then said it is not good for man to be alone, so he created woman. God wants us to be social, not just social media social, but living breathing social interaction. If you look at society today we will have 200,000 friends on Facebook, but are rarely seen in public. Everybody needs someone; Adam and Eve, Mary and Joseph, Batman and Robin, Batman and Alfred, Sid and Nancy, Kermit and Ms. Piggy…

The Blues Brothers     The A-TeamThe Road WarriorsKermit and Ms PiggyBatman and Robin

What really got me going on this was the sermon at church this weekend. Our pastor was talking about our natural need to be linked to others, and the friends that we have. We need to really look at our “friends” and see which ones will still be there when we are truly down and out. We have all had the friends that are around when times are good, but as soon as things get the slightest bit rocky they are no where to be found. Your true friends are the ones that are: Yelling hey guys watch us; smacking you in the back of the head stopping you from doing something stupid; right there for you whenever you need them with the right words to say or just to listen to your rants. Then main example that our pastor used this weekend was the story of Jonathan and his armor bearer in 1 Samuel 14. Having someone three that has your back no matter what is happening, no matter how crazy your idea is, they will follow you because you have that kind of relationship.

Another example to think of are the cliques and sub-cultures of our society. People will unintentionally start movements with their actions, and others will just follow along. Some even try so hard to be different that they loose themselves in their own group, and then become the norm. Again it is how we are hard wired, we need companionship.

Let me leave you with one last story…. My 4 year old has gold fish. This is our 3rd or 4th round with fish, but this time she is really into it, and apparently we got a couple good ones. One of the fish then had to take a ride to the ocean. The fish that was still in the tank became really slow and lethargic, before it had been always on the move and making sure the other one was eating even though it appeared to be sick. We told our daughter that the other fish had died but we would get another so that “fishy friend” would have another friend to swim with. Had I not seen this with my own eyes,I would thinkI was lying to you, 5 minutes after the new fish got into the tank, this was a different fish. He was zipping around the tank, going nuts, the same as it had been just a few days before. He had a new friend to be with, his life was back in balance.

So my challenge to you, is to think about your “friends” and see if you maybe need to trim off some dead weight, or if you need to work on your relationships and be a better true friend, to your true friends.

Working dads not absentee fathers

This past weekend, our pastor was talking about being a leader, but also about what really breaks your heart, and what can you do about it. This really got me thinking, What really bothers me, what can I do to make a change, in my world/city/office….. Then it finally hit me, as I was on the road again for work, Why is it that as parents, mainly us dads, worry so much about being successful and getting ahead that our kids suffer. It should never be this way.

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Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” (Nehemiah 4:14 NLT)

As parents what are we doing to continually pour into the lives of our kids, not pouring money, but pouring love, encouragement, life lessons, into our children. Today kids are growing up so fast, we are all becoming accustomed to an instant gratification life style. We have smart phones on 24/7, device after device, on our person, in our cars, OnDemand TV, everything is at our beckon call. Many of the generation behind me, the 24 and under crowd, at least many of the ones I have been around, have had life handed to them. Now I’m not saying that I had a rough childhood, but something that was instilled in me by both of my parents, and also my grandparents, was that if you want something, you sure will be working for it. Things were not just handed to you, you did your chores, got your allowance, saved and got those things that you wanted.

Again this trait was mainly pushed on me by my father, and the other male influences in my life. My parents, my in laws, my grandparents are and were very hard workers; that being said, they were always at home for dinner, at every basketball, soccer, baseball game, every school event. Today we see too many parents that say, Oh I will just go to the next one, there is only one first performance, only one first goal…..

Now granted there are times, that a parent cannot be present for these things and I understand that, and I’m not talking about one offs. I’m talking about, working to the point that your kids see you twice a week for an hour when they are going to bed, and in that time you are on your phone/computer/whatever. Pay attention to your kids and family. At the end of the day, another job will come along, but family is forever.

Take a listen to this song from Kirk Franklin

Those that have read my post before know my posts have as much ADD as I do, so back to my original point on this. I have come up with a few should’s and should nots:

Being a working Father Should:
1. Help instill the value of hard work into our children.
2. Provide for our families.
3. Cause us to thank God everyday for all that he provides.
4.

Being a working Father should not:
1. Cause us to miss out on our children’s lives
2. Cause our wives to live as single mothers
3. Stop us from always being present.
4. Make us feel that our family is an obligation.

I want to draw attention to should not #2 for a second. Many people have jobs that take them on the road for days/weeks/months at a time, I was recently on a project that had me away from home 3 days a week for 3 months practically. During this time my wife had a lot of additional responsibility, and it killed me that she was having to tackle our crazy, sweet but crazy, 4 yr old by her self. I did what what I could while I was in town, but it was only a fraction of what needed done. Another great point of this, is an interview I heard about with Jeremy Camp, the Christian musician. In the interview he was asked if it was easier on his wife when he was out on tour, to this he replied that he hoped not. If this was so he was not doing his job well enough when he was home. As dads we need to be co-captains of our team with our wives. We all have shared responsibility, not in the it takes a village sense, but in the it takes a daddy kind of way. Our kids need and deserve to have a dad around, not just present, but truly present and attentive.

Also family, is not an obligation. I’m drawn back to the Tim Allen movie, Jungle 2 Jungle, and the lesson he gives his son about obligations and then later calls his son an obligation. How would you feel if your kids felt obligated to spend time with you? Don’t spend time with your kids and wife just because you have too, get your priorities inline and make sure that your family is the most important thing in your life.

Spend good quality time with your loved ones, don’t be absent in your presence. Your kids should feel comfortable coming to you, knowing that you are listening to them, playing hard with them, cleaning the house with your spouse.

So my challenge to all the other working dads out there: The remainder of January, turn off your cell at 6:30; have family dinner at the dinning room table without distractions at least 2 nights a week; make your kid pee their pants(not really, but play and laugh to the point that they might have to run to the bathroom.); get someone to watch the kids and take your wife out on a date just once before the end of the month; and at least 3 times a week pray and get into God’s word as a family.

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Try these things, and leave comments and let me know if it has strengthened your relationships. I also welcome any and all suggestions and criticisms.

Ramble on…….