Tag: husband

Don’t forget…you’re my friend

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Just the other day, my son (Rex, 4) was playing with his uncle (Carson, 7). They’ve been playing together a lot recently. And like most boys their age, they play well together. Most of the time.

But there are moments where you think that the house is going to fall apart. That the carpet is going to roll up, the dry wall crack, and the bricks scream in agony because of the noise. Partly because they’re just boys and they play hard. And partly because…well…”He won’t give me back my Batman!”

Amidst the landscape of imaginary fire-breathing dragons, Rex and Carson had their swords, shields, and helmets, wielding each with very, very little precision. Instead of the dragons taking the brunt of their zeal, it was often the door frame, the couch, or our dog. In the middle of the battle, Rex turned to Carson, looked him directly in the eye, and said

‘Don’t forget. You’re my friend.’

As swords and arrows were whizzing by, it would’ve no doubt been easy to forget which team you were on and who the real enemy was, swinging your sword at the wrong person. Chopping off the wrong head. Creating enemies out of friends. This wasn’t a cry of desperation for a friend…it was a cry of “We set this out beforehand. We were clear before things went sideways with the Ogre in the corner. So don’t forget.”

This saying has a sense of camaraderie, rallying hearts, minds, and purposes. Refocusing energy and relationships, energizing what was once dead in the water. This awakens you to old, dusty covenants that need revisiting. Brightens dead corners of your heart.

We need this reminder today, too. And I bet there’s someone in your life that needs to hear this from you. Someone you’ve been treating more like an enemy than a friend. Someone who’s seen your dark side more than your bright side. Someone who really is your friend, but for all intents and purposes looks more like a fire-breathing dragon to you. Or you to them.

Maybe forgiveness needs to happen. Maybe humility needs to happen. Maybe “it’s you, not me.” But it can all start with a simple shift of heart.

4 people who need to hear this today

Your spouse

they are your friend, right? But when was the last time you reminded yourself of this? When was the last time you told them? When was the last time you treated them like the best friend you long to see at the end of the day? The one you tell your secrets, your hopes, and your dreams? Time to remind yourself, and them, of who they once were to you. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” – Proverbs 18:22

“Don’t forget, honey. You’re my friend.”

Your child

It’s hard, in the heat of the moment, to remember this. I’m not advocating that parents need to be friends first, and parents second. That’s a lousy way to parent. But in the moment when things get loud, and patiences are being tried, it’s easy to forget that your child is a gift from God to you. That, no matter how they’re acting, they’re looking to how you’ll respond. You represent God to them, whether you like it or not. Will you lose your temper? Will you disengage? Will you abandon them? Or will you show up when they need you, loving them even when it’s hard? “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.” – Ephesians 6:4

“Don’t forget, son. You’re my friend.”

Your friend

You’ve got a friend in your life with whom you’re not as close anymore. Maybe it’s because of something they did to you. Maybe you did something to them. Maybe time and distance have taken their toll, and you’re just not close anymore. Friends are an incredible gift from God, though. “A friend loves at all times…” (Proverbs 17:17)

“Hey buddy, don’t forget. You’re my friend.”

Those you collaborate with

The people with whom you work can, and should, be your friends. If they’re not, you’ll be miserable, and your organization will suffer. Friends work well together, disagree passionately, and still head in the same direction. You’re all working towards a common goal. One may think that their way is quicker, but in the end you want the same thing. Remind yourself that you’re on the same team. “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:14

“Hey man, don’t forget. You’re my friend.”

 And aren’t you glad we get this message of hope from our King? He is our “friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

Who do you need to speak this to today?

 

 

7 Phrases a Pastor Should Regularly Say Off-Stage

I recently wrote a post relaying phrases a pastor should never say.

Though this is important, there are also things that a pastor should regularly be in the habit of saying. And not the passing, “Good to see ya” that every pastor says. Not the trivial phrases that everyone expects.

image credit: Creative Commons, Franklin Photos

There are phrases that every pastor should say that take you off guard. These words help build culture and show what a local church values. As they say, “As the pastor goes, so goes the local church.” (nobody that I know has said that. It just sounds catchy and works here) They speak volumes beyond what a pastor communicates from stage.

 7 Phrases a Pastor Should Say Off-Stage

1. I’ll return that email tomorrow.

There are certain things that are pressing in nature. Everything else should be relegated to email…which can be checked and responded to tomorrow. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were the problems you’re dealing with in this moment. Most of the time, your marriage isn’t going to be fixed if we wait until tomorrow. Your job crisis won’t go away before the sun comes up tomorrow. And your parenting woes can wait until later, too. It’s okay to say, “Tomorrow.”

2. No, I can’t meet on Tuesday evening. That’s my family time.

Setting aside time to be with your family is vital. Letting others know that you’ve made a priority out of spending quantity and quality time with your family is highly important, because your congregation takes its cues from you. If you want them to value their family, you’ve got to value yours.

3. I need rest, too.

Pastor, you’re not a superhuman. We need rest, too. And if we want others to experience the natural rhythms of life, and honor God with their rest, we’ve got to model that. Don’t work 6 days/week, and also Sunday. Take your Sabbath. The work God has called you to deserves your best, which you can’t give without adequate amounts of rest.

4. I don’t know the answer.

Pastor, you’re not a superhuman here, either. Unless you’re the Bibleman. Quit acting like you always have the answer, even when you don’t. We’re pretty good at this, aren’t we? We can fudge our way around theologically even though we have no idea what we’re talking about.

When you model humility in this area, those you lead will feel the freedom to not have every answer before they feel like they can lead. They’ll also not come to you for every answer, creating a culture of self-learners.

5. I need help.

There are certain pastors that try to do everything on their own. In the process, they cap their leadership. The local church was never meant to function under the leadership of one person. Varying gifts are utilized when others are given the chance to lead and flesh those gifts out. Pastors can’t do it on their own. They should bring others to the table. (the same goes for times in a pastor’s life when he needs spiritual/counseling/financial help. Modeling that it’s okay to ask for help in this area is an important step for pastors, too).

When you ask for help, you encourage others to do the same.

6. I value my wife more than I value my ministry.

Say this and mean it. Build your schedule around it. Block off time with her. And if you’re asked about it, don’t hesitate to let people know what you’re doing. (1 Timothy 3:4-5) Protecting your marriage is one of the most important things you can do as a pastor.

7. I don’t have time for small group either. But I make time.

You’ve got the same number of hours in a day that those you lead have. You can’t make time any more than you can make dirt. You have to take time if you want to live life in community. If this is truly a value of you and your church, then model it. Block off the time once/week to minister, and be ministered to, in authentic community.

Question:

Did I leave anything out? Anything else you think a pastor should regularly say off-stage?

* image credit: Creative Commons, Franklin Photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions

My wife and I just got back from a trip to the United Kingdom.  While there, we visited the city of Windsor.

Windsor is a charming town, with cobblestone streets, vendors selling pastries, and lots of people roaming the markets.  The queen also resides occasionally at Windsor Castle, and while we were there, she happened to be in town.

There were a whole lot of tourists visiting…many, I’m sure, hoping to spot the queen.

For whatever reason, we didn’t look like tourists that day (even though it was our first day there, and I’m sure we still had that wide-eyed look that tourists seem to have), and were stopped and asked the question, “Do you know where the McDonald’s is?”

Don’t mind the irony of the situation (the fact that they were asking a couple of Americans, who weren’t in America, where an American restaurant was located).  We really weren’t sure where the McDonald’s was located.  It seemed like we had passed one (and passed we did…we refused to eat American food while in the UK) earlier, so we pointed them in the direction we thought best.  Turns out we were right.

Turns out we were right.

But we could have just as easily have been wrong.

Just because we were American didn’t mean we knew where the McDonald’s was.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole process of mentoring lately.  Maybe because I’m at that stage where I need a lot of help. (will I ever get out of this stage?  Would it even be healthy if I did exit this stage?)  Maybe it’s because I see others’ errors more easily than I see my own (that’s a problem, I know).  Maybe it’s because I thoroughly enjoy learning from others.  But I’m not going to just choose to learn from anybody.  I mean, I’ll read lots of books.  Listen to lots of podcasts.  Read lots of blogs.  But when it comes to asking somebody to specifically speak truth into my life, I’m being very picky.

And I think you should as well.

Because the people who are influencing me now really are influencing me.  They’re shaping the way that I look as a husband, a dad, and a pastor.  And for some odd reason, I think that’s pretty important.

In looking for help thinking through your current stage in life, choose wisely.

Just because someone’s a dad doesn’t mean that they know what they’re doing.

Just because someone’s a pastor doesn’t mean they can help give you the counsel you need.

Just because someone’s a leader doesn’t mean that they can help you take the next steps you need to take.

They may be right.

But then again, they may not even be in the right country.

The people who are influencing you now really are influencing you.

 

Do you love your family?

Whether you like golf or not, Phil Mickelson is a likable kind of guy.  I love how he’s willing to take the risky shot from behind a tree that everybody else would be afraid to take.  He’s not scared to fire a 4-iron at a pin that’s tucked into the back corner of a green guarded by bunkers and water.  Instead of playing it safe, he’ll flop a wedge from a buried lie in the trap to a pin position that’s running away from him on a green that is slicker than putting in your bathtub.  Though it is that same “grip it and rip it” attitude that costs him championship titles, you’ve got to love his win-at-all-costs attitude.

What I also respect about Phil is his devotion to his family off of the course.  I remember the 1999 US Open.  His wife, Amy, was pregnant and was due any day.  He was fighting for the lead (and this would be his first Major win, so this tournament was really important to him) with Payne Stewart, but the tournament wasn’t of first importance.  Of first importance was his wife and soon-to-be-born daughter.  So he carried a pager with him all week, ready to walk off the course the instant he received the page from his wife.

Now, nearly 10 years later, Amy has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  So what is Phil to do?  Continue traveling with the PGA tour?  Pour more and more hours into his job to avoid the difficulties of home?  No.  Phil is taking time off to be with his wife and family (granted, Phil has more money than most, and so has the freedom to take time off and still financially survive).  To me, that’s a noble move.

Phil has put his reputation on the line in order to make his family more important than his job.  Investing in his family is more important than getting that next big win.

Maybe we husbands could learn something from Phil.  Lets evaluate what is of utmost importance to us.  Is it our job?  Our reputation?  That next “big win”?  Or is it our family?

Here’s a tribute to one of the craziest shots I ever saw Phil make.

 

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