Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How and Why to Stop Multitasking

This post by Peter Bergman at the Harvard Business Review is something I badly need to implement. I encourage you to read and begin to implement his very helpful suggestions. Here is the crux of the post:

Doing several things at once is a trick we play on ourselves, thinking we're getting more done. In reality, our productivity goes down by as much as 40%. We don't actually multitask. We switch-task, rapidly shifting from one thing to another, interrupting ourselves unproductively, and losing time in the process.

You might think you're different, that you've done it so much you've become good at it. Practice makes perfect and all that.

But you'd be wrong. Research shows that heavy multitaskers are less competent at doing several things at once than light multitaskers. In other words, in contrast to almost everything else in your life, the more you multitask, the worse you are at it. Practice, in this case, works against you.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How Tall Was Jesus?

My brother is currently preaching a series entitled The Real Jesus. This past Sunday he addressed the humanity of Jesus, and from that message he answers this interesting question.

Should Christians Practice Yoga?

Al Mohler is sure to create a commotion with this question -- but one that I think needs to be asked. Here is perhaps the most important of his post:

When Christians practice yoga, they must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga. The contradictions are not few, nor are they peripheral. The bare fact is that yoga is a spiritual discipline by which the adherent is trained to use the body as a vehicle for achieving consciousness of the divine. Christians are called to look to Christ for all that we need and to obey Christ through obeying his Word. We are not called to escape the consciousness of this world by achieving an elevated state of consciousness, but to follow Christ in the way of faithfulness.

Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Learning to Use the Family Dashboard

The Resurgence has helpful post on how to manage family life.

The Most Important Word

From lifechurch.tv:swerve:

In many cases, the word “no” is more important than the word “yes.”

To say “yes” to the best things, you’ll have to say “no” to the good things.

In ministry, you will be overwhelmed with many good opportunities. But if you say “yes” to all of them, one day you won’t be able to say “yes” to the most important things.

Just because you could do something, doesn’t mean you should do it.

It may sound odd, but if you want to do more to make an impact, it often starts with the word “no.”

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Loving and Hating the World

Ed Stetzer has a great article entitled "Loving and Hating the World", posted at churchleaders.com. Here is a little snippet:

Some of us will choose to not participate in any of the world's systems, and opt for insulating ourselves in a self-made Christian bubble, a life constructed so that we can live out our days without ever even bumping into someone who doesn't believe or live as we do. Safely detached from the spiritual lepers outside, we can glory in Christian preschool through graduate school, Christian music, Christian romance novels, Christian leadership books, and even Christian Halloween candy. Thank God for those Christian Yellow Pages. The only thing we will not have is the personal influence of the gospel in the lives of those who do not know Christ. It's difficult to make disciples of people we won't even talk to. In a perverse twist of our Lord's expectation, many Christians find themselves of the world by means of some kind of pseudo-sacred imitation, but not in it.

Read the whole article here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How NOT to Communicate

This is one of the funniest and most painful videos I have ever seen, all at the same time. I will admit that it has no spiritual value whatsoever, other than perhaps the benefit of a few good laughs.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Quotes from the Book Stack -- Church Planter by Darrin Patrick

Darrin Patrick is the Lead Pastor of the Journey in St. Louis and the Vice President of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network. I just picked up his new book, Church Planter, last week and I have already been tremendously challenged and blessed. Here are a few quotes that have really hit me so far:

.......because of my keen awareness of and pastoral interaction with the cultural influence of Bans (Patrick's label for males who are men in age buy boys in their lifestyle and actions), I know that my work is cut out for me when it comes to raising a godly man. As with all of us dads with similar aspirations, my only hope is the Holy Spirit. So I recently wrote a little prayer that reflects the kinds of men we need. Drew and I pray this prayer together almost every night. It is a prayer for him and for me:

God, make me a man with thick skin and a soft heart. Make me a man who is tough and tender. Make me tough so I can handle life. Make me tender so I can love people. God, make me a man.

A wise and godly friend helped me realize a couple of things. First, he helped me see that angry outbursts are like doing a cannonball into a pool -- you don't really know how far the splash reaches because you're just jumping in with your eyes closed. My anger was splashing on people I never intended to reach.

We are not called to defeat the Devil--Christ has already done that at the cross, and the days until his final and complete triumph over Satan are numbered. What we are called to do is resist the Enemy (James 4:7) and become firm in our faith (1 Peter 5:9). God will be faithful to protect us and to give us help against Satan's assaults.

An Update from John & Noel Piper

Find it here.

Quotes from the Book Stack

If you have paid any attention to the 'On the Book Stack' widget on this blog, you probably realize that I am normally reading anywhere from 3-5 books at a time.

As I have decided in recent days to become more intentional and focused in my reading, I am going to attempt to do two things -- one, read only 1-2 books at a time, and two, begin to share the best quotes from the books I am reading here on the blog. I am going to call these posts "Quotes from the Book Stack." My goal is to complete a book every 7-10 days, and as I read share the best quotes and perhaps even some of my thoughts with you.

I don't know how this will work, but I hope it will be a blessing to you. Look for the first installment later tonight.

JC Ryle

I found this quote on Tim Challies blog this morning, and it is too good not to pass along:

When an eagle is happy in an iron cage, when a sheep is happy in water, when an owl is happy in the blaze of the noonday sun, when a fish is happy on dry land then, and not till then, will I admit that the unsanctified man could be happy in heaven. —J.C. Ryle

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Six Ways to Supercharge Your Productivity

This is really good, especially his first four points:

Tony Schwartz of Fast Company:

It's Labor Day in the U.S. as I write this post. To my own amazement, I've spent most of the past month truly relaxing--reading lots of books, playing tennis, running, hanging out with my family, and eating food I mostly shouldn't--scones and donuts for breakfast, BLTs and burgers for lunch. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Now it's time to return to work. I feel lucky to have a job, and especially one I love, but the fall ahead is intense, daunting, and demanding, as I suspect it is for you. I'm anxious about the economy. I'm wondering when the next shoe is going to drop. I'm concerned about how my company will hold up if things do get worse.

Add to all that the digital demands of the world we now inhabit. Armed with ever more ways to connect with each other, and to stay current in every moment, we often aren't sure where to put our focus. We find it harder to give all of our attention to anything--or anyone--for very long.

The consequence is that we're undertaking more and more tasks every day, but they often add up to less and less real value.

Just think about how many emails you now receive and respond to each day? There are 1307 sitting in my inbox right now. I suspect that two dozen at most genuinely merit my attention. But how to focus on those, and invest minimal time on the rest?

What, in short, does it take to be productive and efficient in a world of infinitely rising demand, and endless potential distractions? By productive, I mean generating goods and services with lasting value. By efficient, I mean doing so with the least amount of unnecessary expenditure of time and energy.

Here are six behaviors that we regularly teach to our clients (for more, please click here):

1. Make sufficient sleep a top priority. Schedule your bedtime, and start winding down at least 45 minutes earlier. Ninety-eight percent of all human beings need at least 7-8 hours a night to feel fully rested. Only a fraction of us get that much regularly, in part because we buy into the myth that sacrificing an hour or two of sleep a night give us an hour more of productivity. In reality, even small amounts of sleep deprivation take a dramatic toll on our cognitive capacity, our ability to think creatively, our emotional resilience, the quality of our work, and even the speed at which we do it.

2. Create one to-do list that includes everything you want or need to do, on and off the job--and I mean everything, including any unresolved issues that merit further reflection. That's the essence of David Allen's simple but profound work (see Getting Things Done). Writing everything down helps get it off your mind, leaving you free to fully focus on what's most important at any given moment.

3.Do the most important thing first when you get to work each morning, when you're likely to be have the highest energy and the fewest distractions. Decide the night before what activity most deserves your attention. Then focus on it single-mindedly for no more than 90 minutes. Productivity isn't about how many tasks you complete or the number of hours you work. It's about the enduring value you create.

4. Live like a sprinter, not a marathoner. When you work continuously, you're actually progressively depleting your energy reservoir as the day wears on. By making intermittent renewal and refueling important, you're regularly replenishing your reservoir, so you're not only able to fully engage at intervals along the way, but also to maintain high energy much further into the day.

5. Monitor your mood. When demand begins to exceed your capacity, one of the most common signs is an increase in negative emotions. The more we move into "fight or flight," the more reactive and impulsive we become, and the less reflective and responsive. The first question to ask yourself is "Why am I feeling this way, and what can I do to make myself feel better?" It may be that you're hungry, tired, overwhelmed, or feeling threatened in some way. Awareness is the first step. You can't change what you don't notice.

6. Schedule specific times for activities in your life that you deem important but not urgent. With so much coming at you all the time, it's easy to focus all day on whatever feels most pressing in the moment. What you sacrifice is the opportunity to take on work such as writing, strategizing, thinking creatively, or cultivating relationships, which may require more time and energy, but often yield greater long-term rewards.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How to Make Ideas Happen

I don't agree with all of this, but there is some really good stuff here.

Tony Morgan:

I recently finished reading Making Ideas Happen, the new book from Scott Belsky, founder and CEO of Behance. Here are the highlights from my reading:

•“It turns out that ‘having the idea’ is just a small part of the process, perhaps only 1 percent of the journey.”
•“Most ideas are born and lost in isolation.”
•“Organization is the guiding force of productivity; if you want to make an idea happen, you need to have a process for doing so.”
•“Without some structure, you can become an addict of the brain-spinning indulgence of idea generation.”
•“The process of excessive note taking actually interferes with the bias toward action that is necessary for a productive creative environment.”
•“You must be willing to kill ideas liberally–for the sake of fully pursuing others.”
•“Leaving a meeting without anything actionable signifies that the meeting was just an information exchange and should have taken place over e-mail.”
•“It turns out that constraints–whether they are deadlines, budgets, or highly specific creative briefs–help us manage our energy and execute ideas… our productivity desperately requires restrictions.”
•“While we all have different insecurities, most of us share a common approach to dealing with them: we seek information to make our anxiety go away.”
•“Any project that’s run by a single person is basically destined to fail. It’s going to fail because it doesn’t scale. If one of my projects can’t attract a team, I pretty much figure that there’s something wrong with it.” –Chris Anderson, Wired magazine’s editor in chief
•“You need to work with people who ask the difficult, practical questions that are frustrating but important when pushing ideas forward.”
•“We fall short of fully empowering others because we don’t want to compromise the quality (or control) of our ideas.”
•“You are the steward of the chemistry in every project you lead, starting with who and how you hire.”
•“Cynics cling to their doubts and are often unwilling to move away from their convictions. By contrast, skeptics are willing to embrace something new–they are just wary and critical at first. Thought they are often undervalued, skeptics are an essential component of a healthy team, and leaders should cultivate their respect and influence.”
•“The leaders of great creative teams value the friction that results when opinions vary among a passionate group of creative minds.”
•“Teams should not strive for complete consensus at the outset of a project. After all, consensus-driven teams run the risk of settling on what offends no one and satisfies no one.”
•“Leadership is not about making people do things. Leadership is about instilling a genuine desire in the hearts and minds of others to take ownership of their work on a project.”
•“As long as the desired outcome is achieved, controlling how it is achieved shouldn’t be that important to you.”
•“We should be wary that ‘best practices’–the tried and true ways of doing thing–often become conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom is often wrong.”
•“Most entrepreneurs will admit that the value of having a masterful business plan is overrated. What matters most is your ability to keep moving and pushing your ideas forward, yard by yard.”
•“The uncharted path is the only road to something new.”
I think you’ll be challenged by Scott’s writing. Here’s my Amazon link if you’d like to pick up your own copy of Making Ideas Happen.

Why Expository Preaching?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dirty and Happy

Signs of the Time:

If you have five minutes to spare I recommend listening to this short interview with Mike Rowe of the show Dirty Jobs. Recently I've become hooked on Dirty Jobs, a program where Mike travels the U.S. looking for dirty jobs and the people who get them done. The interview was insightful in that he explains a bit more of his philosophy and the reasons for creating the show as well as its continued popularity. For example, he has this little intro on his website (www.mikeroweworks.com) titled "Work is Not the Enemy":

Doesn’t it seem strange that we can have a shortage of skilled labor, a crumbling infrastructure, and rising unemployment? How did we get into this fix? Are we lazy? Our society has slowly redefined what it means to have a “good job.” The portrayals in Hollywood and the messages from Madison Avenue have been unmistakable. “Work less and be happy!” For the last thirty years we’ve been celebrating a different kind of work. We’ve aspired to other opportunities. We’ve stopped making things. We’ve convinced ourselves that “good jobs” are the result of a four year degree. That’s bunk. Not all knowledge comes from college. Skill is back in demand. Steel toed boots are back in fashion. And Work Is Not The Enemy.



About Me

I am a husband to Eva, father of 4, pastor, and most of all passionate follower of Jesus Christ. The focus of my life is to make the most of every opportunity God gives me to bring glory to Him. Outside of the time spent in my role as a pastor, I spend most of my time with my family -- a good deal of that coaching various sports teams that my children are involved with. Every fall and winter you will find me rushing to the woods of Indiana and West Virginia in search of a monster whitetail buck.