June 2012

June 28, 2012

If my calendar could talk...

I have a calendar on my desk at work. I listen to a lot of sermons and have a lot of thoughts throughout the day, so I usually write them down on my calendar. I used to use sticky notes, but decided it would be more environmentally friendly since this big piece of paper is in front of me all day anyway, and blankly ripe for writing.

At the end of the month, I write down all of the worthwhile stuff in a little notebook, and this month's seemed particularly good because I have been listening to a lot of sermons on manhood. Here's some of the stuff:

  1. Manhood = we will see, we will act.
  2. We are strong for one reason: to give it up for something greater than ourselves.
  3. Women's magazines have so many things for them to be doing all the time (how to cook, how to lose 10 pounds by Friday, how to please your man in bed). The reason is because women are so devalued in society, so they either have to do everything to have purpose, or they have to become sexual creatures. We need to value them for being women -- as God created them.
  4. Manhood is about initiative.
  5. A real man is under authority.
  6. REAL MAN (the acronym): Rejects passivity. Expects God's reward - a greater reward. Accepts responsibility. Leads courageously.
  7. Men have a will to obey, a work to do, a woman to love.
  8. If I ever think that I am without sin, or at least don't sin that often, remember that Adam's first sin was that he stood by idly while Eve ate the fruit. It was a sin of passivity. A failure to act.
  9. We love because Christ first loved us. If we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church, then we must be the first to love, and lay our lives down as a savior does for our wives. 1 John 4:19
Men are consumed by strength. Even if we're not physically strong, we desire it in some sense. Or maybe we just give up and accept roles as passive human beings that exist in a state of self-preservation, getting our danger-kicks out in online video games. Whichever you identify with, man is almost synonymous with strength (at least it's supposed to be), but why? What is the strength for? To protect? Defend? Fight? Yes, and each involves laying down our strength for a greater cause. That stirs my heart to purpose and action.

Initiative is something my dad always told me to have, but it's something that does not come naturally for me, making it one of those words I dislike (I also dislike the phrases "unacceptable" and "PB&J"). To hear that it is something I need to have to be a man...well, that's a challenge.

The will to obey, work to do, woman to love thing is an extension of some of John Eldredge's words in Wild at Heart -- a really amazing book.

Number 8 is something that occurred to me in a really powerful way. Not that I think I am without sin, but I usually think that I'm not that bad (probably a sin in itself). However, if a failure to act is a sin, man's first sin in fact, then I am guilty on a daily basis. That cuts me deep.

Most of these thoughts/ quotes are from sermons I listened to on this site, which is an incredible resource I stumbled across. It's helping me learn how to be a good husband and a good man - living and loving sacrificially and for things bigger than myself. This is all part of a reprioritization that's going on, which I may detail in another blog post later on. Until then...

June 1, 2012

Know Thy Refrigerator

I woke up this morning to a puddle around my refrigerator. At first, Katie and I thought it was broken (or at least I did). Turns out, something pressed in the spout on our Brita filter and the water leaked out everywhere. At least it was filtered water that I found all over our floor -- maybe it's cleaner now...

Anyway, in my clean up, I learned that the shelves in the door of our refrigerator are removable! It got me thinking about how refrigerators aren't the kind of thing we really explore when we get one, so we don't even know what we have. It's not like a new car where you drive it and try to find every cup holder or figure out how to fold down the seats in three different configurations (Honda Fits are amazing...). Or like a new camera with fifteen different picture settings. Or even a washer/drew where you always wonder what would happen if you try Permanent Press. Which reminds me, I have to go change my laundry. Excuse me...

Resuming this a day later...anyway, the whole point of this is birthed out of an effort to find existential truths in everyday happenstances -- always asking what I can learn from even the mundane.... In this case, I can see a parallel between our refrigerators and us. How? I wonder what untapped talents or abilities we may have just because we never look for the extra features.

"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..."
  - Psalm 139:14

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
  - Ephesians 2:10

We were made for good things, already prepared for us by God! Paul wrote in Galatians that he was set apart from birth to first know Christ, and then preach Him to the gentiles. So if Paul has a purpose that he was created and destined to do, then do we?

Why not? I think we all do. How do we figure it out? Ask the Person who put them there and try things out (refrigerator parallel = read the manual and explore!).

So let's ask God what it is and then be willing to take the risk to follow His promptings. Think about actually knowing what we were made to do...wouldn't that be awesome? It would allow for such focus, and eliminate all the things that distract us. Then lead us to that "fullest life" Jesus came to give us.

So go ask Him. And not men necessarily...

"But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus."
  - Galatians 1: 15 - 17 (emphasis added)

Paul knew. For sure. From God...So why can't we?