Post for December 16-21, 2016

To my tier-two bros, Christ be with you. As I’ve been very clear about on this blog and with each of you directly, I’m enjoying my time off school. But, when school resumes I want to be diligent to post daily as a primary part of my accountability. It’s been said that “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” (H. James Harrington) And I agree that measuring something is key to understanding and improving. So, I will measure my days, especially then.

Until seminary resumes for me, I still want to write to you. I want to stay in the habit of answering, “How do you feel about how you spent your day?” (Beyond the other scopes of this blog – which seems ever expanding from this vantage point.)

To answer the question, I feel very good about these four days in question. On Friday, I went to  work in the morning and attended to my office. In the day, I was running errands with Hayley who hosted a cookbook club even that evening – during which, I went to Dalton’s house for pizza and cashflow and risk with Dalton, Charlie and Victor. It was an especially good night as those three relationships are ones I want to intentionally foster and I think sharing food and games as well as car rides and conversation did that. Saturday, is oddly blank in my memory although I’m sure it was filled with preparations for the following day (including to-do list item: Prepare advent Sunday school material). Sunday, we worshiped in Sunday school as we finished the advent season’s readings together. In service, the children and our choir both sang songs of worship over our congregation in addition to Congregational singing and a sermon. Afterwards, Hayley and I hosted a Christmas party at the Church for a dozen friends. Monday, the 20th, I ran errands for Hayley, cleaned and packed with Hayley, met via Skype with Ron, attended a birthday party honoring Tim, and ended my day in Cumming, GA with Hayley’s family. Today, I went to the storage unit and made [very little] headway on pictures before finishing up Christmas shopping with Hayley, finishing reading discovery documents, and preparing sweets for my family’s Christmas celebration.

I love being where I am. Hayley’s family is super good at being family and they’re really good at letting me do family with them. I’m not totally sure why we don’t live here and try to bring Samantha and Daniel too. I know for now it’s because we’re called to Crosspath’s music ministry and I’m in school… Also, it’s unlikely that I’ll find work in the area given my field of graduate studies, but I can hope… and I do. I’d love to persuade Samantha and Daniel to move down, keep a place for Mitch and Lori, persuade Josh and Tim to come in a few years and partner in ministry and worship with me here after they finish their schooling and as they move into “the golden years of their careers”, help Hayley to reconnect with high school friends (especially Kristen), and put down roots as we begin to parent another generation of worshiping believers.

Let’s not take too much stock in that last paragraph, because I’ve often/long been an idealist caught up by grand visions of flourishing positive relationships. Therefore it’s likely that I’ll be in Florida in less than a week wondering why I’m not more involved in my extended family’s lives… Maybe visiting them can/will be part of the long term vocation… Anyway, there’s been far to many ellipses for me to risk continuing to write much longer. So, I’ll wrap up.

My bros, I hope your holiday preparation is going well as it’s coming to an end. Let’s “remember the reason for the season” and make much of our King this Christmas. Maybe a gospel reading or two?

For anyone reading: Have you ever read a gospel in one sitting? What prompted you? Was there any difference in your experience of the content?

 

My Core Values

 

So, I’m eager to share my current life season’s goals (as part of the prep for my potential schedule), but before I can go there, I need to share with you my core values. This also serves as a response to Notecard 12.10.2016 – Thoughts on Happiness and Purpose. Here’s the content of the card:

  • Happiness is not a second order event premised on something else occurring first. It’s a first order event that happens when you live your truth.
  • The end of man is to glorify God and/by enjoy/enjoying Him forever.
    • God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied by Him.
  • I suspect a person is happiest when seeking the glory of God.
    • Therefore, to make much of God is to seek my enjoyment and is to fulfill my purpose

The first bullet is from an article discussing a common early retirement mistake.  Basically, Todd Tressider, the author, is suggesting that a lot of people pursue early retirement as a means to avoid a life they do not like, which they have, and acquire a life that they want, but do not have. And this is a mistake if you could make the transition prior to achieving early retirement. I think Todd is right.
We as humans desire happiness and often settle for too little happiness. As C.S. Lewis put it, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

The second bullet is taken from the answer to the first question of the Westminster shorter catechism. The subpoint comes from page 18 of John Piper’s Desiring God. I believe both of these are derived correctly from the Bible and are trustworthy truths.

The third bullet is my conclusion. And it’s based on my experience. I enjoy myself most when I am seeking the glory of God. The subpoint is the total conclusion. With those established, here are my core values/desires/pursuits:

  1. [Seek to] Know God as God
  2. Be proud of self
  3. Serve Hayley
  4. Be sought for wisdom/Earn the respect of people
  5. Father children
  6. Serve my family practically
  7. Give children a legacy
  8. Foster positive relationships with friends
  9. Sleep often
  10. Check things off a Bucket List

This short list of ten things is a description of a lifelong pursuit from which my goals flow. These Core Value should never change, even though my life goals will change. Also, I listed them in order of perceived importance. The order may change as I age/mature and my priorities shift.

 

Have you ever composed a list of your core values? If so, why did you? If not, why don’t you – I think you might really enjoy processing and articulating your priorities?

Post for Dec 4, 2016

It seems redundant to list the date of posting, when it will surely be included in the time stamp when I publish. But I wanted to include it for two reasons: 1) just in case I don’t finish before the turn of the last minute of the day 2) because it seems to important to publish often.

That last one probably has to do with where I am in the process of blogging. But it really seems to me that writing consistently is the most important of blogging habits to develop in this season. Good news, there’s little risk as no one is reading yet, but give it time… and until then, its a good habit to be writing.

I’m writing first for my own sake. More on that will surely be provided. For now though, to my dear friends holding me accountable for my days spending. I assure you it has been well spent yesterday and today: decorating the church with friends, working on school work, leading worship, helping with children’s activities, and working on school work.

May Christ be with you and guard your hearts.