Monday, January 27, 2014

Family Technology Guidelines

Well here's the final (so far) product.  It really hasn't been tweaked all that much from my previous post.  I say "final (so far)" because this is definitely a work in progress and we will continue to tweak it as the needs arise.  We are around one week into this and it seems to be working well.

Galdamez Technology Guidelines

Technology in our home = Computers, Kindle Fires, cell phones, Nintendo DS, Xbox, iPods, iPod Touch, iPhones, Wii, televisions, DVD movies (and anything else I forgot)

Observations:

·         Technology usage tends to pull you away from healthy interaction with your family and isolate you to your room.  It is easy to waste real life on virtual life.  We need to seek out ways to engage daily in real life and relationships.

·         The use of technology seems to easily become an idol, demanding more and more time and devotion and distracting you from the things of the Lord.  We should each regularly ask the Lord for help in this area.

·         Technology usage is a privilege, not a right.

Guidelines:

·         Up to one hour per day during week days (Monday through Thursday).

·         Up to three hours per day during weekends.

·         In general, technology can be used between 7:30pm and 8:30pm during weekdays, except Wednesdays – between 4 & 5.

·         Allotted time cannot be used until all homework & chores are completed (i.e. dishes done, trash taken out, down stairs picked up, animals fed, clothes put away, rooms cleaned, etc…).  Any chores not completed will be completed during technology time.

·         Use of these technologies (especially cell phones, Kindles, iphones, DS), whether for movie watching, or texting, or video game playing should be done in a family commons areas and not in one’s room in isolation.

·         All passwords to devices and internet sites (Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, etc…) must be known by mom and dad.  Any changes to these must be immediately reported or else consequences will follow.  Parents have the absolute right to monitor any and all technology usage.

·         Technology devices need to be kept in the study on the desk when not being used during allotted times.

·         Time should be spent with God (Bible reading/meditation, prayer) before technology is used.

·         Time on Kindles for reading books is unlimited (but must be used in family areas).

·         Technology should be avoided in the early mornings.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Family Technology Guidelines

This is work in progress.  Shelly and I plan to work out the specifics tonight during our date.  Here's what I have so far...


Galdamez Technology Guidelines

Technology in our home = Computers, Kindle Fires, cell phones, Nintendo DS, Xbox, iPods, iPod Touch, iPhones, Wii, televisions, DVD movies (and anything else I forgot!)

Observations:

·         Technology usage tends to pull you away from healthy interaction with your family and isolate you to your room.

·         The use of technology seems to easily become an idol, demanding more and more time and devotion and distracting you from the things of the Lord.  We should each regularly ask the Lord for help in this area.

·         Technology usage is a privilege, not a right.

·         It is easy to waste real life on virtual life.  We need to seek out ways to engage daily in real life and relationships.

Guidelines:

·         Up to one hour per day during week days (Monday through Thursday).

·         Up to three hours per day during weekends.

·         Use of these technologies (especially cell phones, Kindles, iPhones, DS), whether for movie watching, or texting, or video game playing should be done in a family commons areas and not in one’s room in isolation.

·         All passwords to devices and internet sites (Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, etc…) must be known by mom and dad.  Any changes to these must be immediately reported or else consequences will follow.  Parents have the absolute right to monitor any and all technology usage.

·         Technology devices need to be kept in the study on the desk when not being used during allotted times.

·         Time should be spent with God (Bible reading/meditation, prayer) before technology is used.

·         Time on Kindles for reading books is unlimited.

·         Technology should be avoided in the early mornings.          

Questions to answer:

·         Should there be a time in the evening when the internet is turned off, including weekends?

·         Should there be technology usage times?  Say, between 7-8 pm

·         Should usage be earned by chores, reading, etc? (probably not since they could quickly exceed how much time we would want then on it)

·         Is there a time when all cell phones need to be turned in?

·         What are our tech-free zones?

·         Should there be a technology fast day?
Well, this is what I have so far.  Once I finalize this I'll repost our family guidelines.

For His glory,

Ryan

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Semester = New Crushing Stress If Not For Grace

Great article by my friend Sankie Lynch.  How desperately we need to focus on God's grace in all areas of life, maybe even especially in our parenting.

NBFamilies: New Semester = New Crushing Stress If Not For Grac...:

For the Lynch family, this new semester means a new job, a new church (New Beginnings Church nbchurch.info), a new city, a (not) new house, a new school, new friends, and new challenges in parenting. This week we're trying to gear up for our back-to-school kickoff party Wednesday night plus two boys birthdays and a birthday party for all three boys this weekend. Change and transition can be difficult to navigate through at times. 

We’re truly excited about the new job, new church, new city, new house, new school and new friends. But I don’t know if I can say I’m really excited about the new challenges of parenting. Some challenges you choose, like climbing Everest, learning a new language, opening your own business, eating more healthy, finding Bigfoot, etc. Some challenges God lays before you because, first, He seems to have a good sense of humor, and second, He wants to see not only our children grow but He wants to see us parents grow as well. 

The fancy name for God’s growth in us is called sanctification. Many wise people have said that God’s greatest tool for sanctification is marriage. I’d like to ask those people where parenting come in on their list of sanctifying tools! The challenges you don’t look forward to is a growing teen’s attitude that comes with more autonomy or the two-year-old’s fit in the Wal-mart check-out lane or the four-year-old’s refusal to pick up their toys. And I know it has the potential to get more daunting as they continue to grow and explore more freedoms. 

My wife and I really prepared well during our first pregnancy. We read all the good parenting books. We set up the baby’s room accordingly. We were ready to hit the ground running once little Sank moved in on us. We had a plan. We were united. We were prepared. We were a team! Seven years later with three little boys all under seven...it seems our team is now outnumbered. There are times when we feel like they have secret meetings to take down our team. Life happens fast and we turned around and these little guys multiplied like Gremlins. She planned on keeping them away from junk food, which probably would have worked if they didn’t have to live with me. I planned on not introducing them to video games or dvd players until they got older, which would have worked if they didn’t have grandparents and if we could have kept them from meeting other kids. We had several other lists that would make sure they grew up to be responsible, moral people who hopefully loved the Lord. But somewhere after the birth of the third boy--that list got lost. 

You may have your own lists of things you’re holding to (or those you’ve also given up on now) in order to produce well behaved little people. Can you remember some of the ideals and plans you had when you were expecting your next transition in life, whether a child or something else. 

We may even quietly hope that our lists and rules and plans and manners and behavior modification will somehow produce good, Godly young adults some day. 

Hold it...that is exactly what the gospel says will not produce good, Godly young adults in the future. The only hope our children have is this risen Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, and the great news (gospel) of His grace being poured out through His cross. 

Can you imagine standing before Christ one day and realizing that you really thought that your moral lists would make your children Christians? 
What if you realized after your children were 18 that your motivating desire in raising them was for other people to praise you as good parents? 
What if only after they've graduated and moved out did you realize that you raised your children in a household of “elder brother” rules (Luke 15:11-32) thinking high functioning perfectionism was the goal in reaching Godliness? 

Our lists and expectations and rigid rule-keeping do not do what Jesus Christ does. Period. We need His grace. 
 
Paul’s hope for a bunch of dysfunctional, immature believers in Corinth was this: “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). He went on to say that he was trusting in “a demonstration of the Spirit, and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God,” (1 Cor. 2:4,5). Paul recognized that his nor their wisdom nor morals nor manners nor behavior was what they could trust in. Paul knew they needed grace. Does our parenting point more to Jesus and His cross or moral lists and behavior codes? 

My wife and I have also struggled with how much we fail in truly shepherding our children towards the gospel. It’s so much easier to fall back on morals and behavior modification instead of addressing sin areas at the heart level with the gospel of Christ. You may have those same feelings of failure in trying to raise your children with parameters of Godly influence. And much like us, you may feel like this process of family-equipping and intentional parenting through the gospel is so difficult, time-consuming, and weighty. Me too. Much failure. But the fact that you and I feel guilty when we fail at meeting up to those standards reveals that we may have misunderstood grace. 

That same grace is what removes guilt and condemnation when we feel like we could never “do good enough.” It rescues us because the truth is that we really could never “do good enough.” We could never be or do good enough to get to Him. We could never parent good enough to get our children approved of by Him. Jesus captivating their hearts is their only hope. His worth and majesty and glory are immeasurably sufficient as the supreme sacrifice that has the power to save them and change them. 

As one author put it, “Trying to be a good parent will crush you if you do not embrace grace.”1
 Let your heart find security and comfort in the fact that your parenting can neither fail grace nor succeed grace. Your job is faithfulness to the great news of Jesus. Grace is His job. 
So whether you’re facing a new semester or new changes in your schedule or new scary challenges with your family--it is truly the grace of Jesus Christ you need to cry out for. 
And whether you’re fearing your long track record of failure or you’re amped up and excited about a new start in family-equipping in your home--it is truly the grace of Jesus Christ you and I need to cry out for. This Jesus changes everything!

Sankie P. Lynch
Pastor of Families of Children
New Beginnings Church

1 Ed Moll, Tim Chester  Gospel-Centered Family  (Good Book Company, 2011) 31.  

Three Things You Don’t Know About Your Children and Sex

With the dawn of the internet we live in a different world from the one in which many of us grew up.  It is so easy to think that you don't really need to be that careful with the internet in your home or on your phone or iPods or Kindles or ...  I mean, really, you have good kids and you would know if they stumbled onto something harmful.  They would tell you - right?!?  Please take a moment to read the post below from someone who grew up in a good Christian home, and then take some time to talk to your kids and strive to guard their hearts.

~Ryan

Dear Parents,

Please allow me a quick moment to introduce myself before we go much further. My name is Anne Marie Miller. I’m thirty-three years old. I’m newly married to a wonderful man named Tim. We don’t have any children yet, but we plan to. For the purpose of this letter, you need to know I’m a recovering addict. Pornography was my drug of choice.

I grew up in the church – the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher man with a passion for learning the Bible. I was the honors student; the athlete; the girl who got along with everyone from the weird kids to the popular ones. It was a good life. I was raised in a good home.

It was 1996, I was sixteen, and the Internet was new. After my family moved from a sheltered, conservative life in west Texas to the ethnically and sexually diverse culture of Dallas/Fort Worth, I found myself lonely, curious, and confused.

DSCN4710
Because of the volatile combination of life circumstances: the drastic change of scenery when we moved, my dad’s depression, and a youth pastor who sexually abused me during my junior year of high school, I turned to the Internet for education. I didn’t know what certain words meant or if what the youth pastor was doing to me was good or bad and I was too afraid to ask. What started as an innocent pursuit of knowledge quickly escalated into a coping mechanism.

When I looked at pornography, I felt a feeling of love and safety – at least for a brief moment. But those brief moments of relief disappeared and I was left even more ashamed and confused than when I started. Pornography provided me both an emotional and a sexual release.

For five years I carried this secret. I was twenty-one when I finally opened up to a friend only because she opened up to me first about her struggle with sexual sin. We began a path of healing in 2001 and for the last twelve years, although not a perfect journey, I can say with great confidence God has set me free from that addiction and from the shame that followed. I returned to school to study the science behind addiction and family dynamics.

Over the last six years I’ve had the opportunity to share my story in a variety of venues: thousands of college students, men, women and teens. This summer, I was invited to speak at several camps to both junior high and high school students and it’s without exaggeration when I tell you with each year I counsel students, the numbers and the stories shock me more and more.

There are more students compulsively looking at pornography at younger ages and with greater frequency than ever before.

This summer, by a long stretch, was the “worst” in terms of what secrets I learned students carried. After my last night speaking at my last camp, I retreated to my room and collapsed on the bed face-first. Tim simply laid his hand on my back to comfort me.

http://annemariemiller.com/images/2013/08/Screen-Shot-2013-08-17-at-10.54.53-AM.png

I could not logically reconcile in my mind all the confessions I heard over the summer with the children who shared them. While every story was unique in the details, in most situations, there were three common themes that kept surfacing.
  1. Google is the new Sex-Ed: Remember the first time you, as a parent, saw pornography? Likely it was a friend’s parent who had a dirty magazine or maybe you saw something somebody brought to school. Now, when a student hears a word or phrase they don’t understand, they don’t ask you what it means (because they fear getting in trouble). They don’t ask their friends (because they fear being ashamed for not knowing). They ask Google.Google won’t judge them for not knowing. Because of our short attention spans and desire for instant gratification, they don’t click the first link that shows up – they go straight to Google Images. In almost all of the stories I heard, this is how someone was first exposed to pornography – Google Image searching. The average age of first exposure in my experience was 9 years old.Google Sex Image Search
  2. If Your Child was Ever Molested, You Likely Don’t Know: Another extremely common theme was children being inappropriately touched, often by close family members or friends. When I was molested at sixteen, I didn’t tell a soul until I was in my twenties. I didn’t tell my own mother until I was twenty-eight. The stigma and shame of being a victim coupled with the trauma that happens with this experience is confusing to a child of any age: our systems weren’t made to process that event. Many things keep children from confessing abuse: being told they’ve made it up or are exaggerating, being a disappointment, and in most cases, getting the other person in trouble. While a child can look at pornography without being abused, children who have been molested by and large look at pornography and act out sexually.
  3. Your Child is Not the Exception: After speaking with a youth pastor at a camp, he said most parents live with the belief their child is the exception. Your child is not. The camps I went to this summer weren’t camps full of children on life’s fringes that one would stereotypically believe experience these traumatic events or have access to these inappropriate things. You must throw your stereotypes aside. Most of the children at these camps were middle class, mostly churched students. Let me give you a snapshot of a few things I heard from these students:
  • They’ve sent X-rated photos of themselves to their classmates (or received them).
  • They’ve exposed themselves to strangers on the Internet or through sexting.
  • They’ve seen pornography.
  • They’ve read pornography.
  • They’ve watched pornography.
  • The girls compare their bodies to the ones they see in ads at the mall or of actresses and keep those images hidden on their phone (or iPod, or whatever device they have) so they can try to imitate them.
  • They question their sexuality.
  • They’ve masturbated.
  • They know exactly where and in what movies sex scenes are shown and they watch them for sexual gratification.
  • They’ve had a homosexual experience.
And they’re terrified to tell you.

But maybe you’re right. Maybe your child is the exception. I would argue at this juncture in life, being the exception is as equally dangerous.

At the end of every session I presented I intentionally and clearly directed students to ask me or another leader if they didn’t understand or know what a certain word meant. “Do not go to the Internet and look it up.”

Sure enough, there is always the child who stays behind until everyone leaves and quietly asks what the word “porn” means or if God is angry because that boy or girl from down the street told them it was okay for them to touch them “down there.” There is the child in the back row who leans over to his friend and asks, “what does molest mean?” and the other boy shrugs.

This summer, I am beyond grateful that mature, God-fearing adults were available to answer those questions with grace and tact and maturity; that we were in a setting that was safe for questions and confessions. It was entirely appropriate. Not every child gets that opportunity. Most won’t. Most will find out from the Internet or from a peer who isn’t equipped to provide the correct answer in the correct context.

Parent and Child
As the summer camp season ends, I feel a shift in my heart. For the last six years, I’ve felt a calling to share with students how God has set me free from the shame and actions of my past and that they aren’t alone (because they truly believe they are). One college dean referred to me as “the grenade we’re tossing into our student body to get the conversation of sex started” because they realized how sweeping these topics under the rug caused their students to live trapped and addicted and ashamed. I will continue sharing my testimony in that capacity as long as there is a student in front of me that needs to hear it.

However, I am more aware now more than ever before in my ministry how little parents know about what’s happening. And because I’m not a parent, I feel terribly inadequate in telling you this.
But I can’t not tell you. After seeing the innocence in the eyes of ten year olds who’ve carried secrets nobody, let alone a child, should carry; after hearing some of the most horrific accounts from students I’ve ever heard this year, I cannot go one more day without pleading with you to open up and have these difficult conversations with your children. Would you prefer your son or daughter learn what a “fetish” is from you or from searching Google Images? Talk to them about abuse and yes, even trafficking.

Just this month I met a relative of a girl whose own mother was selling her body from the time she was five until now, when she’s sixteen. This was not in some drug-infested ghetto. It was in a very upscale town in a very upscale state known for its nature and beauty and summer houses.
Your children need to know. If not for them, maybe for a friend. Maybe they can help bring context or see warning signs.

Ask them what they know. Ask them what they’ve done. Ask them what’s been done to them. Show grace and love. Stay far away from judgment and condemnation. If you feel ill equipped, ask a pastor or counselor for help. If you hear an answer you didn’t expect and your first instinct is to dismiss it – don’t. Find a counselor. Look for resources. Continue following up. If you struggle with this (and let’s admit it, statistically, a lot of us do), get help too.

Do the right thing, the hard thing, for the sake of your children. If we don’t do this now, I am terrified of how the enemy will continue stealing hope and joy from our youngest generation and how they’ll be paralyzed to advance the Kingdom of God as they mature.
We cannot let this happen on our watch.

*Specific details that could identify children have been changed in such a way that it does not affect the story and only protects the children. Mandatory Reporters reported confessions that involved abuse or neglect or situations that indicated a child was in any type of danger by using proper state laws and procedures.

Originally posted here: http://www.annemariemiller.com/2013/08/19/three-things-you-dont-know-about-your-children-and-sex/

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Discerning God's Will

Sometimes we make the Christian life so much more complicated than it should be.  In particular, I have in mind the idea of discerning God's will for our lives.  So often we worry and fear that we might miss God's will and we make discerning it something so vague and nebulous that we really have no idea if we are figuring it out or if we are simply experiencing indigestion.  I say this merely to introduce one short quote from my former pastor Jim Campbell, who is now a missionary in the Pacific Rim.  Shelly and I have been praying about our life and ministry direction and in the midst of an opportunity Shelly wrote Jim's wife about our situation.  Here's what she wrote back...

Jim says don't be paralyzed by the concept of seeking the will of God. We have His will. If we are living in obedience and its something you want to do and it fulfills your gifts and you've been praying about it for a year and the door opens and you like what you see then walk through it. The Lord will provide all you need to be equipped with.

Honestly, that is just perfect advice for biblically discerning God's will for our lives.  The only one thing I would add would be that of seeking out godly counselors.  In our case we have had many, many praying for us including my fellow church elders.  We have a great and gracious Heavenly Father.

~Ryan

Monday, May 6, 2013

WORLD | The ‘new legalism’ | Anthony Bradley | May 4, 2013

This is an interesting article.  I long to live more fully for Christ and His Kingdom but I don't want to be legalistic and get my focus off of the Good News and on to judging fruit.  I am so thankful that my Lord stood in my place, bore my wrath, and lived the life for me.  We must always keep in mind that we stand or fall based on Jesus Christ - not on what we can do for Him but in faith in what He has done for us.  May this realization free us to live all out for Him because we are totally free before the One True God and He is worth living for.  As a wise young man once said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."  May I pray and strive to delight and rest in Him as I live for His glory.

WORLD | The ‘new legalism’ | Anthony Bradley | May 4, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pride

I shared a lesson on pride this mornig in our men's time at GBC.  Below are my notes.  Much of this material was gleaned from CJ Mahaney's book Humility: True Greatness.

Pride

Proverbs 6:16-17 – “There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes…”

Proverbs 8:13 – “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil.  Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”

Proverbs 16:5 – “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.”

James 4:6 – “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”

Isaiah 66:2b –“… this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”

Humility = honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.

John Stott – “At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend.”

Pride= when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence upon Him.

Pride’s essence = contending for supremacy with God, and lifting up our hearts against Him.

You and I hate nothing to the degree that God hates pride.

Pursuing greatness according to…

            The world = individuals motivated by self-interest, self-indulgence, and a false sense of self-sufficiency pursuing selfish ambition for the purpose of self-glorification.

            Scripture = serving others for the glory of God.

41 Evidences of Pride (by Nancy Leigh DeMoss):

1. Do you look down on those who are less educated, less affluent, less refined, or less successful than yourself?

2. Do you think of yourself as more spiritual than your mate, others in your church?

3. Do you have a judgmental spirit toward those who don’t make the same lifestyle choices you do . . . dress standards, how you school your kids, entertainment standards, etc.?

4. Are you quick to find fault with others and to verbalize those thoughts to others? Do you have a sharp, critical tongue?

5. Do you frequently correct or criticize your mate, your pastor, or other people in positions of leadership (teachers, youth director, etc.)?

6. Do you give undue time, attention, and effort to your physical appearance—hair, make-up, clothing, weight, body shape, avoiding appearance of aging?

7. Are you proud of the schedule you keep, how disciplined you are, how much you are able to accomplish?

8. Are you driven to receive approval, praise, or acceptance from others?

9. Are you argumentative?

10. Do you generally think your way is the right way, the only way, or the best way?

11. Do you have a touchy, sensitive spirit? Easily offended? Get your feelings hurt easily?

12. Are you guilty of pretense? Trying to leave a better impression of yourself than is really true? (Would the people at church be shocked if they knew what you were like at home?)

13. Do you have a hard time admitting when you are wrong?

14. Do you have a hard time confessing your sin to God or others? (not just in generalities but specifics)

15. Do you have a hard time sharing your real spiritual needs/struggles with others?

16. Do you have a hard time praying aloud with others?

17. Are you excessively shy?

18. Do you have a hard time reaching out and being friendly to people you don’t know at church?

19. Do you resent being asked or expected to serve your family, your parents, or others?

20. Do you become defensive when you are criticized or corrected?

21. Are you a perfectionist? Do you get irked or impatient with people who aren’t?

22. Do you tend to be controlling—of your mate, your children, friends, those in your workplace?

23. Do you frequently interrupt people when they are speaking?

24. Does your wife feel intimidated by your “spirituality”?

25. Does your wife feel like she can never measure up to your expectations of what it means to be a good wife, home maker, mother, etc.?

26. Do you often complain—about the weather, your health, your circumstances, your job, your church?

27. Do you talk about yourself too much?

28. Are you more concerned about your problems, needs, burdens than about others’ concerns?

29. Do you worry about what others think of you? Too concerned about your reputation or your family’s reputation?

30. Do you neglect to express gratitude for “little things”? To God? To others?

31. Do you neglect prayer and intake of the Word?

32. Do you get hurt if your accomplishments/or acts of service are not recognized or rewarded?

33. Do you get hurt if your feelings or opinions are not considered when your mate or your boss is making a decision or if you are not informed when a change or decision is made?

34. Do you react to rules? Do you have a hard time being told what to do?

35. Are you self-conscious because of your lack of education or natural beauty, or your socio-economic status?

36. Do you avoid participating in certain events, for fear of being embarrassed or looking foolish?

37. Do you avoid being around certain people because you feel inferior compared to them/don’t feel you measure up?

38. Are you uncomfortable inviting people to your home because you don’t think it’s nice enough or you can’t afford to do lavish entertaining?

39. Is it hard for you to let others know when you need help (practical or spiritual)?

40. When is the last time you said these words to a family member, friend, or co-worker: “I was wrong; would you please forgive me?” (If it’s been more than a month, mark it down!)

41. Are you sitting here thinking how many of these questions apply to someone you know? Feeling pretty good that none of these things really apply to you?

Practical strategies for fighting pride:
1.      Reflect on the wonder of the cross

 John Owen, “fill your affections with the cross of Christ that there may be no room for sin.”

When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

John Stott, “Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to be saying, “I am here because of you.  It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.”  Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross.  All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary.  It is there at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”

2.      Begin your day by acknowledging your need for God

 How we begin our mornings so often sets the tone for the day.

3.      Begin your day by expressing gratitude to God

Are you thankfully acknowledging His provision, presence, kindness, grace?

An ungrateful person is a proud person

4.      Practice spiritual disciplines

Prayer – study of God’s word – worship

Preferably at the beginning of the day.

5.      Seize your commute

Use this time to memorize and meditate on Scripture (not merely listening to the radio!)

6.      Cast your cares on Him

1 Peter 5:6-7 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Where there’s worry, where there’s anxiousness, pride is at the root of it.


7.      End each day by reviewing the day and assigning all glory to God for the grace we’ve experienced.


Small Group Questions:

1.      How do you see pride in your own life?  What evidences of pride do you struggle with?

2.      Why do you think pride is such a big deal to God?

3.      What strategies for fighting pride most speak to you and why?

4.      How can this group pray for you?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Ten Essentials

I'm planning a weekend backing trip on the Butterfield Hiking Trail at Devil's Den State Park and National Forest for the weekend of March 30.  This is just a quick post of a list of the "Ten Essentials" that should accompany every outdoorsman.

1. Navigation (map and compass)
2. Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
3. Insulation (extra clothing)
4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
5. First-aid supplies
6. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
7. Repair kit and tools
8. Nutrition (extra food)
9. Hydration (extra water)
10. Emergency shelter

I'll post more about the trip later. 

~Ryan