Getting Things Done (Will Power vs Spirit Power)

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Over this last week I have learned a lot about myself and the nature of things. I learned that I try to hard to do things on my own. I don’t trust in God nearly as much as I should or even as much as I tell other people to. I know I guess that makes me a hypocrite and for that I must repent. (I’m a work in progress please give me grace).

One thing I can say is that at least I am becoming more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit to recognize that I am relying on my own strength too much. Don’t get me wrong sometimes pure dogged determination will get a lot accomplished. However, when we need to do things in the spiritual realm that type of determination just doesn’t cut it. I am learning that the hard way. But at least I am learning that and not being so hard headed/hearted as to completely ignore it.

Why is it so hard to live in step with the Spirit? I would venture to say it is because he is perfect and we are not. We have a hard time trusting in things we cannot see. We see things in the natural form forgetting that there is a spiritual side to life as well. Just like the graphic there are steps we feel we need to take and we tend to think that only we can accomplish them. Instead we need to be more like Martin Luther, he would pray for two hours a day, except on days he had much to accomplish he would then pray for three hours. He recognized the importance the spiritual plays with the physical.

This week I have had a major amount of reading and studying to do and to be honest with you I will not complete all that is laid out in front of me. At least not of my own accord. I guess you can say that I am a doubting Thomas in a sense. I don’t see how the Lord will be able to help me get through all of the reading I have to do to get certain assignments completed. Sure I should probably be using the time I am writing this to be reading, but for whatever reason it just feels futile.

I know I will get the work done maybe not on time but it will be completed. There is one assignment that is already behind, but If the others are done by the due date it is because the Lord gave me the strength and wisdom to accomplish it. There is no other way for it to be done.

There will be some who discount what I have to say in this post and I’m okay with that. I know it is hard to think the Holy Spirit has any control in our lives and how things turn out. I struggled with this idea for years, but have come to a place of acceptance. Knowing that God is sovereign has made a huge impact on how I live day to day. It doesn’t mean I get a pass to be lazy because God will take care of it. It does however free me from guilt knowing that God will have me accomplish his will in his time and not my own. If he wants me to pass a class or to fail then that is what is going to happen. I still have to bear down and do my part, God is not just going to give me “A’s” because I’m his child. I have to work for them.

This is where the age old debate of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility come into play. D.A. Carson has an excellent book on the topic. All of this to say we are not the product merely of our own strength but a combination of our work and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Question: Do you tend to trust in yourself more or the role of the Spirit in your life?

3 Steps to Reignite Passion in Your Life.

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It’s is not an easy question to consider is it? But I would appreciate it if you took a moment to really think about the question. So…what is your answer? If it was no congratulations you are a lucky person. I on the other hand would have to answer this question on most days with a resounding yes. I do lack passion in my life. At least a burning desire to do certain things (except for writing). I love to write.

If you find yourself lacking, what are some things you could do to change? How about change your scenery. Changing what you have around you could release feelings and emotions you had not felt in a very long time. Go to a place you have never been before, or it could be a place you love but haven’t been to in a while. Where is a place you can go for a change?

Try something new. I know personally I love writing and glass engraving. They are both very cathartic for me. Each allows me to express my inner artist to one degree or another. Writing allows me to show more of the inner me and what is going on in my head. While glass engraving allows me to show off what I can do with my hands. I say try something new because before I was given a Dremel for my birthday last summer I would have never known glass engraving would be so much fun. What is something new you can try, one thing you have thought of just never attempted?

Meet more people. It sounds kinda funny but by meeting new people you open up new doors to the first two suggestions. You may end up going somewhere you haven’t been or doing something you’d never consider. I am slowly getting to know some of the baristas names at the local Starbucks and they have become a little more familiar/friendly with me. You never know if you’re single you could find your soulmate there I know one friend who did.

It is easy to fall into ruts or funks or whatever you want to call it. When we feel almost life less and wonder what in the world is going on. Being a student and a parent I can usually tell you what my life is going to consist of especially when I am without money. It is a lot of staying home doing homework of some sort. This becomes boring very quickly. My wife struggles with the same thing.

Question: What do you suggest to help bring passion back to your life?

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?

Are We Supposed to Learn Something From Everything

church-402213_640I only ask the question because today I had to sit for almost three hours in a boring courtroom on a very hard bench. I couldn’t slouch or stretch without the bailiff having an attitude. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while you know how bad my health is (I have fibromyalgia). So having to sit there was excruciating.

What made things worse was the fact I had only gotten four hours of sleep the night before. It was a rough night, only have to wake up early to go to a Bible Study. The study was a good time of fellowship around the Word of God in Daniel 5.

But back to my original question are we supposed to learn something from everything? If so I wonder what it is I’m supposed to learn from sitting in a place being so stiff and in pain. I guess you could say I am supposed to learn patience and endurance as my wife was saying.

It was definitely a test. I took a book with me to read, but was at first too tired to read, and then was in too much pain to focus on the book. I don’t know if your courts are like ours, but you are not allowed to have your phone or anything else electronic it looked like.

I can say today has been an eye opener for me in one regard. The same way I write for myself and it resonates with you all. So does a simple phone call placed to a brother in Christ to check on him. I know I appreciate it when one of the brothers reaches out to me, so I took it upon myself to give some guys the same care.

You may be asking what have I really learned today? Well, I’ll tell ya. I’ve learned courtroom benches hurt, and I am not the most patient of people. Most importantly I learned the importance of a well place act of kindness. You never know the impact it is going to have on someone. One of the brothers I contacted said the simple gesture of me calling him “Made my day.”

I don’t know about you, but being able to make someones day just warms my heart a little more. So yes we can learn something from everything, but we can not learn everything from one thing.

Question: What is something you have learned in the recent past?

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?

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?

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? 

What Do I Read?

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It’s an intriguing question. One not so easy to answer. At least not for me. I read things which interest me. Right now all kinds of things interest me. Especially learning how to be a better author/blogger/person. If you have read this blog for any period of time you have probably heard me mention a few names before, but two who are main stays are Michael Hyatt and Jeff Goins these two men are writing articles that get me going. They inspire me to be better.

 

Better how? Well, better at making content not because I want you to read it but because I’d want to read it. I have just finished Hyatt’s book Platform and did a review of it. I am in the process of almost finishing Goins book The In-Between it has been a very interesting book and will probably get a review as well.

 

Along with material like that I generally read things on theology, biblical studies, being a good pastor, church stuff. It is rare for me to read some thing that is fictitious. There is one author who I do enjoy who writes fiction and his name is Andy Andrews he wrote a book called The Noticer which was very good, I have the second book in the queue to be read.

 

The reason I tend to read so much churchy stuff is because of my chosen profession. I am studying to become a pastor (hopefully sooner than later). Therefore I tend to have to read this kind of stuff.

 

However, I do enjoy a good blog which can be transparent and down to earth. Or they can help me to understand my oldest son a little better (he has Aspergers). Don’t get me wrong I still read blogs associated with church things. Not because I have to but because I love God and want to serve him well. One of my favorite sites is 9Marks they publish great articles, journals and books.

 

I read a lot of dead guys, preferably Spurgeon he is my favorite. I am learning to read more biographies too.It allows me to learn from the wins and losses of men who came before me. Why reinvent the wheel when I don’t need to. A great little biography I’ve read recently was on Samuel Rutherford.

 

If you go to my about me page there is a link to my Amazon wish list it shows you the kinds of books I am looking forward to.

 

As you can see my reading is sometimes rather diverse  and other times it is centered on one or two topics due to classes and the amount of time they take up. As I write this post I am getting ready for a class in systematic theology and another in the history of Baptist later in the spring. Can you guess what I will be reading then?

 

What about you, what types of things do you enjoy reading? What books, blogs or articles would you recommend for me to read?