It’s Hard Being All Things to All People

I don’t know if you have ever lived like this but it is hard and rather frustrating at times. I want to be the best at everything in life. I want to be the best husband, father, Bible study leader, and the list goes on. Do you ever feel that way?

I am not sure what has made me this way, but I am here now. One thing comes to mind while not exactly in context are the words of the Apostle Paul, when he tells the Corinthian church in 1 Cor 9:22b I have become all things to all people that I might save some. Paul wanted to be the best example he could be in order to win men to Christ.

To my family I want to be the best example of what a man of God should look like, not only to them but to those I lead. It is hard trying to be Superman. My health is a challenge in and of itself. Somedays it takes all I have just to get out of bed and do the simple things people take for granted like making breakfast. So how can I be all things to someone then.

There are times when depression gets a hold of me so bad I don’t know which way is up and I am supposed to be the light to those around me. It is my hope that by sharing this with you, you will realize life doesn’t have to be perfect to be used of God. He wants us to attempt to do our best for his glory and he will take care of the rest. We are told, to plant and to water but the harvest is up to God.

There are so many ways to live life. I don’t think it is inherently wrong to want to be all things to all people, but there has to come a point where you are who you ultimately are meant to be. The basis of all this is to say before I can be everything I have to be one thing. The one thing for me is a Christian. This is my basis or as some would say my foundation.

Once I know what my foundation is it allows me to build on it. You cannot become what you weren’t meant to be. A dog cannot become a cat or vice-versa. What I can be is the best me God has created me to be and in doing so I become all things to all people. I am a  better father to my children, a good husband to my wife, a devoted friend, and loving son. There is so much more that I am but it comes after all of these things.

Question: What is your foundation? How do you attempt to be all things to everyone?

Do Date Nights Make Love Stronger?

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This is a question I have pondered for a while. I have come up with several reasons none being more important than just needing the time alone with your spouse. That’s right I said spouse not significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend or what ever other title you may use for your relationship. It is something vital for a marriage.

There is something about having a wedding band on and then tack on kids it makes date nights hard to come by. For my wife and I we have had a hard time making them a priority. But we are trying to change that. It is one of my goals to take my wife out a minimum of once a month for some alone time with just me.

We both have some of the same struggles except for my health is worse than hers. We are both students, are married (duh!) and we have two boys. We try and divvy up the chores around the house. For instance I do the cooking and she does the dishes. But life can become bogged down with feeling ho-hum dong the same things day in and day out.

This is one reason why date night is so crucial. It breaks up the monotony. Most importably of all it lets your wife know you give a damn. When you go too long with out any really special time for the two of you to focus on your relationship it has the potential to crash into the wall. And it would be dangerous and hard to recuperate after depending on how severe things were.

I saw signs of danger ahead and tried to correct course. I am not saying I’m perfect, far from it actually. I’d hate to see someone else make mistakes that can easily be avoided. Nobody ever said date night had to be some extravagant event every time. Just don’t go to Wal-mart and think that is going to cut it. Go somewhere you can sit down and have a real conversation.

Lory and I enjoy going to our local coffee shop. We go there and sit at the community table and get pretty close to one another and just talk about life. What we are excited about, what are we scared of? It may not seem like anything special to an outsider to us it is vital to our marriage.

To lay out the bluntest answer possible to the question posed in the headline date nights are crucial because without the you will lose intimacy with your spouse, and my end up losing them completely in the process. They will become dissatisfied in the marriage, wondering if it is really worth it any more. Make any effort you can to take your spouse out away from the normal things of everyday life.

Make your spouse a priority you will never regret it.

Question: What do you and your spouse enjoy doing for date night?

You Took Your Son Where?!

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Now, I have your attention I will happily answer that question. I took my son to a men’s Bible study. Every monday night (well most) for the last four or so years my wife knew where I would be. I was going to be with a group of guys who invest into me and I into them. There is a solidarity which takes place with this group of men I have never experienced anywhere else.

Over the last several months my youngest son Richard has been wanting to go with me to these meetings. At first I was rather hesitant, I mean come on he’s only six. Then I realized he’s only six and he still wants to spend time with his dad. He wants to do things like his dad does them. I am starting to appreciate that fact. There is going to come a time when he may not want to hang out with me as much and I will need to prepare myself for it.

When he first started wanting to go he was around four and he was just way too young. He has ADHD and has a hard time not getting into things. As he has gotten older he has gotten a bit better and I allow him to bring his Kindle Fire to occupy him while we have our study. Sure I would love to go back to when it was just me getting away from the family and having some alone time. But, I would be missing out on so much. This young man loves me dearly and wants to be around me.

He is seeing what male bonding can and should look like. He is getting a picture of brotherhood inside of Christ. As we get together around food and celebrate the Word of God. I will one day have the time to myself again but I will never be able to regain time spent with my son as a chid. By me taking him it is teaching me how to be less selfish and more of a role model.

While I long to take my oldest son, he has not desire to go and I am not going to force it upon him. I will take the opportunities the Lord is placing before me, to grow and nurture my little one the best I can.

Questions: What are somethings you can be doing with your child(ren) you have been avoiding? Is there a special way you spend time with your little ones?

Doing What You Least Want to Do

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There is a section of Scripture that speaks directly to this matter. Just maybe not the way you are thinking. It is dealing with sin, not some job or chore you don’t want to mess with.

In the 7th chapter of Romans, Paul tells us,he ends up doing the things he doesn’t want to do and the things he wants to do he does not do. To be exact this is what he says, “For I know that nothing good dwells ain me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 bFor I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, cit is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. “ (Romans 7:18-20, ESV).

There is no way in our day and age we are any better than the Apostle Paul was. It seems Paul longed to do good things but struggled deep within himself. As a Christian we should all feel in a similar fashion. One of the biggest places I struggle in life is in my home. I long to be a good husband, and father. I feel as though I fail daily.

My boys and I have a hard time relating to one another, at least my oldest son and I. It is a difficulty that brings the struggle of what may be sin. I want to love on them the same way God loves me, but I know for a fact I don’t. There is more yelling going on than I ever imagined would happen in my home. Whether it is between the boys at each other or me telling them to stop.

Something I always thought was oxymoronic was when my parents would say “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” I never understood what they meant until I became a parent myself. The act of disciplining my children can be more psychically challenging to me, than the act of disciplining them physically. However it is required to be a good parent. Hebrews 12:11 tells us”For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

So in reality I am doing the best thing for them even though they cannot see it yet. God in His infinite wisdom disciplines us His children as well. It is an act which we do not find comfortable, but it is for our good in the end. There are many things in life we are going to do which we do not want to do. Not all of them are going to fall in to the category that Paul is talking about. The good news is for those of us in Christ we are no longer slaves to sin, it does not have the right to control us. It merely has a residence in us.

While we cannot fully evict it we no longer have to listen to what it tells us. We are indwelt with the power of the Holy Spirit. With this person residing in us we can achieve much. A question I have for you is, “Is it better to have the Spirit inside of you or Jesus beside you? Where do you derive more strength?” As we grow and mature we grow in humble reliance on the Spirit.

May we all learn to do the things we least want to do, so we can become masters of the things we want to do. It will take a life time to learn this so we better start paying attention now.

Question: What are things you don’t want to do, but need to learn to do?

The Importance of Developing a Schedule for Your Life.

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Over the past few weeks I have been muling over what to do with this up coming semester. I was not sure as to how I am going to handle it. What I decided to do was sit down and try and schedule out my days in a general format on how I would like them to look if possible. My day will look like this

Wake up- 7-7:30 except for Thursdays be up by 5:15-5:30 for Bible study
Eat Breakfast by 8:30
Pray and read the Bible before 9am
Study for classes from 9am-12pm
Eat lunch anytime between 12-1pm
Possibly resume study or take a break from 1-3
Kids return home 3:30ish
Cook dinner anywhere between 4-5:30pm
Eat dinner between 5-6pm
Monday and Weds (Men’s Bible studies) 6-9pm
Help with Boys as necessary 6-8:30
Put Boys to bed 8:30
Spend time either studying more or with Lory as possible.
Go to bed no later than 11:30 most nights.
Do laundry on Wednesday mornings.

It is not an exact science on how my days are going to always look, because I did not include Drs. appointments and other things which may arise. I have come to realize the importance of having a more detailed schedule for my life. If I don’t try to put order to things, certain projects will not be completed.

I need to make God a priority so it is the main reason why I have time for Bible reading and prayer scheduled in, it may go longer than the 30 minutes I have allotted for it, it may not. At least I have it down. Like Michael Hyatt has said, and I have quoted before “If it gets on the calendar it gets done.”

So I needed a daily calendar to keep track of what I should be doing when. The reason I am not getting straight to being with God in the morning is because my boys can be a bit rambunctious in the mornings so it is better for me to wait until they are at school. That’s time I can use on email and social media stuff which is not important and doesn’t require my full attention.

I wish I was able to schedule every minute of my day so I knew who everything was going to turn out. The truth is none of us can. We can only attempt to set up our days and hope God will allow us to follow the path we have laid out.

The Lord has his own plans for how our lives are going to turn out. We just have to trust in his sovereignty. I think it is prudent of us to make a schedule and try and keep it. It shows how we are trying to be good stewards of our time. Instead of letting time manage us we control it.

This is just an overview of what my days look like not in full detail.

Why do you think you may need to create a schedule for your life? It doesn’t have to be similar to mine, in fact it probably won’t be. But the question is can you create a schedule to make some positive changes in your life so that way you are mastering time and not the other way around.

I am not sharing this with you to show how I have it all together. I am sharing this with you to encourage you to think of ways you can make your life more efficient. So you can get more accomplished with the time we have been given. I want to be faithful with what I have been given so when the time comes I can be given more. How about you?

Question: What can you do to make your life more well managed?

Wasted Time!

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Naps are wasted on the young. Like many other things. But one of the worst things is the waste of time. As I have gotten older I have come to realize time is a priceless commodity. It is the one thing you can use and never regain. You can spend money and make more of it. Not so with time once it is gone it’s gone.

There are a few young people that may be willing to hear what you have to tell them about life and actually listen to what you are saying. Those young people will far and in between and very wise beyond their years. Those are the young people you invest into. They are the ones you know are going to make it (hopefully).

I don’t say all of that to mean we shouldn’t invest in the hard headed kids, or the like. I believe if we are able to help mold the next generation to be wiser than ourselves we are making a wise investment. Otherwise, we are doing ourselves and them a disservice.

Dealing with My Boys
We can start with them young teaching them principles about time management, finances, and many other valuable life skills. I have been trying to teach my boys the importance of saving money. Its hard to do right now they are still rather young and impulsive. Heck, I still struggle with saving money.

Like any good Christian dad I’m trying to bring my boys up in the admonition of the Lord (Eph 6). It is not easy trying to teach my kids how to be good men. One thing I do know is it’s not a waste of time like watching TV, or playing video games (without the kids) can be. I want them to be better men than I am and that takes a lot of hard work and effort.

While they cannot understand why I push them now, they will one day. Like the day they get a job and their boss has them do something they really don’t want to do. Or when life lands a blow they weren’t expecting, like the loss of a loved one. I want them to know how to handle their emotions (I feel like I fail at this daily). I still keep trying though.

To some people it may seem like a waste of time to try and instill certain values and morals into my kids. I know better, it is not a nuisance or a waste of time, but it is an investment that will pay dividends in the long run.

Questioin: What is something you do that the world may consider a waste of time?

Some Help for Doing Family Devotions

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What can I say about family devotions? Depends really, on what you are looking for. Are you looking for a how to guide? I can offer you that. Or maybe you want to hear the truth about family devotions. They aren’t always easy or glamorous like TV, movies and books can make them out to be.

For instance in our house trying to get our boys to sit down for a quick (supposed to take 10minutes) study, turns into a 45 minute ordeal. But when these boys are into it, it is a sight to behold. They start asking questions and giving answers to other questions. It really is quite marvelous.

We have chosen to use a book called Old Story New it is a family devotional book that lays everything out there for you so you are not having to just read the Bible and try and explain everything. It gives you things to ask the kids. It also suggest things to pray for after you have done the study. I would recommend this book or its sibling Long Story Short; if you are like me pressed for time or just want the help to lead family devotions.

There are plenty of places in the Bible where we are told to instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. I am thinking right now of the proverb “Train up a child in the ways in which he should go and when he gets older he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

There are countless OT passages speaking to the same thing, about teaching your children as you go and as you come. Teach them while you walk in the day. The list goes on and on. So there has to be some importance to what is being said for it to be repeated. So if you are not doing it which we have not been the best at. Give it try. They offer both of these books on kindle, and you don’t have to buy the book you can get a sample before you buy it to see if it’s a fit.

Just start something with your family, especially dad, get involved show the kids your faith it will pay dividends in the end. I am not perfect we have tried in the past and given up. One of our goals this year is to have family devotions 4x a week. We will strive to meet that goal, even if we fall short at least we are spending time in God’s word as a family.

Question: What do you do for family devotions?

It’s Kinda Funny…

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Life can be kinda funny sometimes. I have had a situation in which I have been praying over for a little while and it is not one I care to get into great detail about. But when I thought I wasn’t going to do a certain thing an had what I thought was spiritual confirmation. I turn around and God has other plans. So it is kinda funny the way things work out.

It is not just with this situation but with a lot of them. Just as another example of how things have worked out. My wife and I were the perfect picture of what nemesis’s were in high school we really could not stand each other back then. It would not be until after high school when we would reconnect at a young adults event from a local church we would meet up again.

At first we were cordial with each other. She was different than I remembered her being. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but there she was. After a few months of meeting together with this church group she made a general announcement about a concert she wanted to go to, but did not want to go alone. I volunteered to take her. This was our first “date.”

I would begin visiting her at work, taking her to lunch and bringing her little trinkets. It was about four or five months after our first date we started being an official couple. After dating for about eight months I asked her parents if I could marry her. We were married in Aril 2007.

Like i said its kinda funny the way things work themselves out. A biblical example is the Apostle Paul. Here is a man who is adamantly against Christianity and he turns out to be its biggest proponent apart from Jesus himself.

This was a man who condoned the murder of Stephen. He stood idly by with coats and cloaks at his feet. And did nothing to stop it from happening. He would later go on to be beaten, stoned, flogged, shipwrecked, imprisoned and later martyred for his faith.

As you can see life has a way of working itself out the way the Lord wants it to. I can think its going to go one way and ends up going in a completely different direction. Who knows right now I am studying to become a pastor, maybe the Lord has other plans for me. I really love this writing thing. Maybe, just maybe he will use this and my theological understanding to work into peoples libraries and make a difference. Right now I have no idea. I only hope I can enjoy the ride I am about to take.

Questioin: What in your life has the Lord turned around on you, that all you can do is look back and laugh?

Leaving Something Good For A Lot Better

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Today has been a bit of a challenge. I’m having to say good-bye to a man whom has become a friend and mentor to me. He and his family are packed up and getting ready to move to Haiti. They have been preparing for this for at least 8-9 months now. I keep secretly waiting for him to say “GOTCHA” we aren’t really moving. However, today symbolizes a transition in many lives. It is a transition in the life of the church in which he was the pastor, the life of his family from living on U.S. soil, and our friendship will be different. I won’t be able to just get in touch with him whenever.

 

Why is so hard to let someone go? It is because of the bond that has been built. When there is a real bond it hurts to see it change. But this change is for the better. While he had a good thing going here, it is better for his faith and his family to do what God is calling them to. It doesn’t mean it is going to be an easy transition.

 

My friend is Dr. Chis Surber, and he is leaving behind what is comfortable to follow God where he has called him. In his farewell sermon today (1-4-15) he spoke about answering the call of God, from the book of Jonah. It was very enlightening. I will miss my friend and his wisdom.

 

The ministry he has started is Supply & Mutliply. He is going to be helping the ecumenical church down there, while training pastors and lay leaders. In eight months my wife (Lory) and I will be going down to help Chris and his wife (Christina) to do their work.

 

Chris has gotten so in-tuned with the Holy Spirit, he knows this is the right move for his family. I hope to get to a point where I am hearing and trusting God with such fervor and assurance.

 

When I think of transitions I tend to think about when Jesus went to call the disciples. He called them while they were in the middle of their work day (at least a few of them). James and John were on the water with their father fishing and answered the call of Jesus to follow him. It was a drastic change. These men left behind what they knew to follow a man it is assumed they knew little or nothing about.

 

While theses men had a thriving fishing business they were going to do something better and change the world. What If they had chosen to ignore the call of God? Who knows what the world may look like to day. We would probably be missing five books of the Bible because John would have never written them.

 

I hope to have the faith to do something one day people will  be able to admire. Not out of ego, but out of service. Whether that is faithfully pastoring the same church for a lifetime. Building a great writing career that inspires people to look for Jesus in the mundane. I will make a difference one day. Maybe today is that day.

 

Have I ever made an impact on you?
Would you mind sharing in the comments or using the contact page to let me know. 
 
What is something good you can leave alone to do something better?
For me, I am going to stop watching TV so much and read more. 

Seeing Your Family As A Community

picket-fences-349713_640Don’t ask how I got the title it just sort of came to me. But as I think about it, it makes sense. We should see our families as small communities made up of different people with different interest. It is hard to do most of the time, at least in the Horne household.

 

I like most parents still see my children as little and not as growing into their own person’s with their own ideas and understandings. Just like a regular community would be made up of people who think and live differently. As I learn these things I have to wonder what the Bible says, and it says to love your neighbor as you love yourself. It therefore reminds me to love my children the same way I would want to be loved.

 

You would think it’d be easy to remember to love your children or your spouse. Not so much though. So how can we learn to see our children as growing adults? The best answer I have come up with is to give more responsibility to them and see how they handle it.

 

By proving they can handle the pressure of more responsibility they are then showing me, they can be productive members of society/a community.What we want is for our kids to grow into great adults other people can trust and want to be around.

 

It has been an interesting journey thus far because my ten year old thinks he has it so much harder than his six year old brother. We have had to try and explain to him, yes his chores and responsibilities look different because he is older and should be able to handle more.

 

That answer does not often suffice enough for him. It is hard to please him because of his nature, due to his Aspergers. We (my wife and I) are learning how to work with him and his brother. While we don’t give in to his every whim we are learning what battles to fight. Letting the ones that need to subside just drift off into obscurity.

 

Just like in a regular community not everyone is always going to be happy with the decisions made, it is going to be similar in a family. Take dinner time for an example. Our rule is if we make it you eat it, or you don’t eat that night. This is a rule we govern our house by, just the same way there are rules that govern society.

 

I want to see my boys grow into Godly men who love Jesus and others well. By becoming such men they will be valuable to their homes, communities and society in general. It may require going through some hardships at home. It requires being disciplined when they’re disobedient.

 

Once we learn how to be valuable to our homes we can be of value to the rest of society. I have learned while I want my boys to grow, it’s hard to let them do it. I struggle with trust, always have. They haven’t done anything for me to distrust them. I have to learn to let them make mistakes, my fear of them failing is going to hurt them in the long run.

 

This is where me giving them over to God and trusting Him as their eternal father. He will not sit idly by. Once I realize their value in our home/community and stop fearing them making mistakes life will begin to flourish and grow.

 

What do you think, can you see how families are like their own little communities?