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?

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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?

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?

Why You Shouldn’t Read the Bible in a Year

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I recently read a well argued article on 3 reasons why you should read the Bible in a year. While David does a good job in arguing his point I think reading the Bible in a year is over rated. So many people make it a resolution that they are going to read it through starting the New Year and fall off. I think it is easier to make a resolution that you are going to read for 20-30 minutes a day or set a number of chapters you are going to read.
Then you have those people who make reading the Bible in a year a legalistic act. Like somewhere in the Bible it says “Thou must readith me in a year.” While it is noble for you to want to read the Bible in a year don’t do it if it is going to make learning more difficult, or less enjoyable. I would say only do it if you know you can stay committed to the heavy reading that is going to be involved.
Also in the article he mentions biblical literacy. As you take your time to read you should be able to retain more information. Which in turn will help you to become more biblically literate. That does not mean you will not need outside help like commentaries or a study Bible to help you understand some of the nuances of Scripture.
He also says that is is spiritual food and with that point I do agree. You cannot survive as a Christian without feasting on the Word. But that feast doesn’t mean you have to take in more than you can handle because some plan tells you too. By taking in what you can you will have a chance of better retention.
And it requires discipline to read the Bible with any kind of regularity. While DAILY is BEST, reading it several times a week is better than just cracking it open for Sunday service.
So the points David makes I agree with that it is spiritual food, it increases biblical knowledge and builds discipline. Where we diverge is that it requires the Bible to be read in a year. I have read the Bible cover to cover 1x and have read it as a whole several times reading it 1-4 chapters a day.
What do you think should the Bible be read in year or is it okay to take longer?

Put Your Hands To Work

oftersheim-140589_640Are you like me sometimes, who starts something only to leave it unfinished? I’m not sure why I do that. Maybe it just gets boring, but for whatever reason I tend to lose interest in certain projects. That is one reason why I love to write. I am talking about a different subject each day while still looking for Jesus in the midst of the everyday. I am glad the Lord has given me things to discuss over this last month. One thing that scares me though has to do with Jesus’ saying: “Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.(Luke 9:62)
Have you started on the journey of faith and started to have doubts? That is okay just trust in the Lord to answer those doubts. Because Christ is clear that once you start on the path, you shouldn’t look back. If you look back you are unfit for the kingdom of God. That should make every believer take their commitment to Christ that much more serious. 
That means we cannot allow apathy, lethargy or any other -gy take root. We have to work and pay attention to where we are going. If you are plowing a field and not looking ahead to a mark you won’t plow a straight line. If you keep looking back to see how you are doing you are going to start veering off course.
The same is true in our walk with Jesus. If we keep looking back at where we have come from we lose focus to where we are headed. I want to encourage you that if you are seeking God through reading the Bible, prayer, and fellowship with other believers you are on a good trajectory.  It is okay to stop and remember where you started. Just don’t make it your sole focus. 
Do you struggle with looking backward too often?

Fighting Boredom

How do we fight boredom in life? We fill our time with things that are entertaining.
     That sometime is easier said than done. I have two boys, one is ten the other six. One of them also has Aspergers and both are ADHD. Which means our house is always a buzz with something going on. It may be the boys playing on their Kindles, playing a board game, or something else to try and consume some time. It is hard to keep these boys entertained all day everyday, and we have just started a 16 day stretch of them being home from school for Christmas break. They normally have cub scouts on Tuesday nights but that is on hold until the new year. 
     Why am I telling you all of this because as adults we can get bored easily too. Especially when it comes to reading the Bible. You know those genealogies where so and so begat so and so. Those are hard things to make it through and it is rather boring. It is not until we realize they are important to the plan of God then they can become interesting. I was reading 1Kings 7 the other day in my devotions and started to dose off because it was speaking on all the different things being built toward the temple. It was a hard section to get through with all the measurements being foreign to us. 
     I want to offer you this encouragement while these sections are hard to get through they are inspired and good for us (2 Tim 3:16). I understand your struggle and maybe reading those challenging sections in a different version of the Bible like the Message or the NLT or a paraphrase like those would be easier to read. Do what ever it take for you to help those boring sections come to life. Like with my boys it takes time and planing to do things well. So be prepared when you hit a bumpy section to go with your back up plan, what ever it is. Maybe using a good commentary and reading less than you normally would. I usually try and read from the OT history, Psalms, a Prophet and the NT. But when things are getting heavy I may cut out one or two sections in place of reading supplemental material. 
What suggestions do you have for when things get boring? How do you handle the difficult parts of Scripture?