How To Get Your Spouse To Listen

The number one problem in marriages today is communication breakdown.  “We’re on different wavelengths.  I don’t understand him/her!  How can I get him/her to listen to me?”  The Bible says that communication is not automatic.  It is a skill that must be developed.  The Bible teaches that there is a way of speaking — if you learn to speak in a certain way, you can be guaranteed that the person you’re talking to will listen.  You can apply this whether you’re married or not.  At work, at school, making a presentation. A wise saying from Proverbs 15:2 (ESV) says, “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness.

Continue Reading »

Managing Your Time Well

A time management expert was teaching a seminar for executives. He placed a large, clear open-mouthed jar in front of the group. Next, he put seven or eight large rocks into the jar until it was full. “Is the jar full?” He asked. Everyone nodded. Then he took pebbles and filled up the jar with the small rocks until they reached the rim. “Is the jar full?” By now, they didn’t answer. So, he poured fine sand in. “Is the jar full?” Some nodded. He proceeded to take a pitcher of water and filled up the jar again. “What’s the lesson about time management?” he asked. Hands shot up, and everyone agreed “No matter how busy you are you can always fit more things into your schedule.” “Wrong.” he replied. “The lesson is: unless you put the big rocks in first, they never will fit in. You must figure out what the big rocks are for you.” What are the big rocks in your life? Giving time to God? Giving time to your marriage and to your children? If you don’t put those big rocks in first, someone else will fill up your jar. Understand:

Continue Reading »

What God Has Taught Me About Being A Man

Having been a male for the last fifty-two years, I kind of thought I had it figured out what it meant to be a man. You know, go out and kill dinner and drag it home, have control of the house, etc…, etc…, etc…

I have learned that my wife was right – I am an idiot. Wait, Julie doesn’t think I am an idiot, on the contrary she thinks I am quite smart. It’s the stupid things that I do that at times that cause her to shake her head and think “idiot!” I call it the Ray Berone syndrome, if you have ever watch the sitcom named after Ray you know what I am talking about.

Before being in full time vocational ministry (an oxymoron BTW), I was in the work force in Accounting and Financial Management for a couple of Fortune 500 companies. I was making good money, had loads of responsibility and bought into that my identity was found and based on what I did for my livelihood. The scripture passage is so true in 1 Corinthians 13, “when I was a child(boy) I spoke like a child(boy), I thought like a child(boy), I acted like a child(boy). When I became a man, I put away childish(boyish) things, thoughts, and actions.”

There is still a little boy in me and in most men. That is what I call the fun side of manhood. When the boy in me controls my life, I am going to be selfish, not generous. I will think of only my self and not others. Many men need to grow up and get rid of the boy in their life. That doesn’t mean we can’t go to football games or kill some animal and drag it home for dinner. But in the context of our relationship with our wife and children, we put them and their needs and wants first – way ahead of ours.

When I was a boy, I never thought it would be so hard to be a man.

men

The Passion Killers

Yesterday I wrote about what happens when we lose our passion and promised that today I would share some passion killers and how to get past them. You’ve fallen prey to one of the passion killers of life. I want you to use this as a checklist and ask, “Why have I got the blahs? Why have I lost my zest? Why am I not passionate like I used to be? Where have my expectations and enthusiasm gone for the Lord and everything else?” Chances are it’s one or more of these passion killers.

Continue Reading »

When We Lose Our Passion

In America, we are passionate about sports. We are passionate about movies we watch. We are passionate about fashion, the clothes we wear. We are passionate about certain kinds of cars. We are passionate about restaurants—some of us more than others.

The amazing thing in our culture is it’s ok, even appropriate, for you to be passionate about anything as long as it’s not God. I can go to any sporting event and yell, scream my head off, jump up and down, raise my hands in the air and when we lose I can cry and when we win I can dance around and people would say, “There’s a fan!” But if I came to church and did any of that, they’d say, “There’s a fanatic!” It’s like it’s appropriate to get excited, be enthusiastic, have a passion for anything in life, as long as it’s not God. Yet Jesus said, If you’re going to follow Me, you’ve got to do it with passion. With all your heart.

Continue Reading »

How To Make Your Work, Work For You

Let me ask you a question

Do you realize that your worth is more than your work? You are more than what you do. This is especially true among men, I can’t say how much this is true among women but I know it’s true among men. A group of guys together that are just meeting each other for the first time. The testosterone starts flowing, the pecking order is getting established, the competitive juices are abundant. Then somewhere about five minutes in the question is asked. “So what do you do?” Behind that is a sharp edge. “Is your work big? Is it profitable? Is it prominent? Is it significant?” The central message that seizes control of this confrontation between men like gunfighters on a dusty noonday street that says, “Mister, you are your work.”

Continue Reading »

Why I Hand Write Letters To My Wife

Some of you are waiting to the last minute to go out and buy that perfect card for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. Wait no longer for I have the perfect card for you, it’s called a hand written note. No, I am not talking about being cheap or really waiting to the last minute and not having time to go  out and pick up a card. I believe the perfect card for your sweetheart is a handwritten letter from you.

For the past several years I gave up on the Hallmarks, American Greetings (a great Cleveland company BTW), and other card makers because the content was not mine. I began to write letters to my wife Julie for major celebrations in our lives such as first date anniversary, Valentine’s Day, her birthday, and our anniversary. Ever so often, I will write a letter randomly just because I love her.  I have also done this with my daughters on special occasions as well.

Read below to find out why I really write letters to Julie.

IMG_20140214_085841159_HDR

 

Continue Reading »

Our First Date Thirty-Three Years Ago: What I Learned

On February 10, 1981 Julie Smeenge and I went out on our first date that would eventually lead to our marriage on May 25 of the same year. Julie and I both graduated from high school in 1979, but from rival high schools in Knox County, TN. Julie and I did not actually meet until the fall of 1979 in a class at Roane State Community College and I would not have another class with her until a year or so later. Julie and I began to hang out with a group of other people who were taking classes together going out to lunch.IMG_0028

Continue Reading »

Steps To A Balanced Life

On Monday I shared Five Ways to Build Balance Into Your Life and today I want to share the “How” in getting started to bringing balance into your life. Let’s look at a couple of ways to lead a balanced life.

 

Continue Reading »

Five Ways To Build Balance Into Your Life

Remember as kid trying to walk across one of those beams in a playground at school or a park and doing your best to hold your balance? Or the image of an Olympic gymnast on the balance beam is probably etched in your mind. An object that is not naturally a part of the beam works to maintain balance from beginning to the end. Our lives are much like the kid on a beam in the playground or the Olympian on a balance beam. It takes lots of energy to balance and stay on the beam and not fall off. Thats how it is with life that is going on within and around you. How in the world do we do that on an consistent basis that doesn’t literally wear us out?

Continue Reading »