Life Hacks

A life hack is a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way. There are websites devoted to life hacks. lifehacker.com and lifehack.org or 1000lifehacks.com for example.

I came across a great article this morning. It was written for pastors, but applies to all of us, just a few suggestions to make us more efficient. I could be more efficient, a lot more efficient. I have added my own thoughts, as usual.

1. Fill The Gaps With Meaning

I have developed the habit of picking up my iphone when I have an idle moment. These include:

  1. At a stop light. (happens all the time)
  2. When my wife stops talking. (hardly ever happens)
  3. When the food takes more than 30 seconds to arrive.
  4. When a commercial comes on TV. (more on TV later)
  5. When the pastor gets a bit boring. (hardly ever happens when it does I hope people think I am studying my digital bible)
  6. When I’m in the bathroom. . . waiting. (use your imagination)

I could use that time a bit better, for example:

  1. Praying.
  2. Talking to my wife.
  3. Reading a bible verse.
  4. Listen to worship music.
  5. Admiring our beautiful world and the beautiful people in it.
  6. Dreaming up blog topics.

A lot of my wasted time isn’t in big chunks but in small nibbles.

2. Cut Out Trivial Pursuits

A lot of my wasted time is in big chunks. I have an addictive personality. I haven’t turned to drugs, alcohol or gambling, but . . .

The average American watches 5 hours…a day.  One group where I’m “above average.”

The average 21-year-old in America has spent 10,000 hour gaming over his life so far…more time than he actually spent in middle school and high school combined. That means I’ve logged over 30,000 hours gaming more time than I spent in all my schooling. If I’m average and as I’ve said, “I’m above average.”

We need to relax and enjoy, but in the same way that you are what you eat (speaking of addictions) , you become what you consume.

So curb the junk.

3. Rest When You’re Tired, But Not Longer

“Laziness is resting when you’re not tired.” Sometimes I get tired of resting. Really.

Stop resting when you’re not tired. The more you do the more energy you have, or so I’m told.

Do something…meaningful.

4. Get up earlier.

This is one case of do what I do. If I got up any earlier I wouldn’t go to bed. I am more productive before the sun comes up. Perhaps I’m a vampire. I do my “Seek First The Kingdom” stuff early. Maybe that’s why I like to rest so much the rest of the day.

5. Hang with winners.

I love it when my grand-daughter Jess and her husband are around. They are like the energizer bunny. I get tired just watching them. When they are around, I do more stuff. I don’t know if it’s embarrassment or envy. When I hang with movers, I move. When I hang with the happy, I smile. Hang with winners. Losers are a drag.

6. Focus on today.

You can’t change yesterday. You might not get tomorrow. A million wise men and women said that. We’ve all said that. We just don’t do it.

Let’s hack this life and make a difference.

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Thanks to a friend for this. As a Florida fan I couldn’t let the last hit be against the Gators. I had to add something about LSU.
Ohio State’s Urban Meyer on one of his players: “He doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear. In fact, I just saw his grades and he doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of words.”
___________________________________________
Why do Tennessee fans wear orange?
So they can dress that way for the game on Saturday, go hunting on Sunday, and pick up trash on Monday.
___________________________________________
What does the average Alabama player get on his SATs?
Drool.
___________________________________________
How many Michigan freshmen football players does it take to change a light bulb?
None. That’s a sophomore course.
___________________________________________
How did the Georgia football player die from drinking milk?
The cow fell on him.
___________________________________________
Two West Virginia football players were walking in the woods.
One of them said, “Look, a dead bird.”
The other looked up in the sky and said, “Where?”
___________________________________________
A University of Mississippi football player was almost killed yesterday in a tragic horseback-riding accident.
He fell from a horse and was nearly trampled to death.
Luckily, the manager of the Wal-Mart came out and unplugged the horse.
___________________________________________
What do you say to a University of Miami Hurricane football player dressed in a three-piece suit? “
“Will the defendant please rise.”
___________________________________________
If three Maryland Terrapin football players are in the same car, who is driving?
The police officer.
___________________________________________
How can you tell if an Auburn football player has a girlfriend?
There’s tobacco juice on both sides of the pickup truck.
___________________________________________
What do you get when you put 32 Arkansas cheerleaders in one room?
A full set of teeth.
___________________________________________
University of Michigan Coach Brady Hoke is only going to dress half of his players for the game this week; the other half will have to dress themselves.
___________________________________________
How is the South Carolina football team like an opossum?
They play dead at home and get killed on the road.
___________________________________________
Why did the Nebraska linebacker steal a police car?
He saw “911” on the side and thought it was a Porsche.
___________________________________________
How do you get a former Illinois football player off your porch?
Pay him for the pizza.
___________________________________________
What are the longest three years of a University of Florida football player’s life?
Freshman I, Freshman II, and Freshman III.

____________________________________________

How does a LSU player relax after a game?
This is a trick question. They used to enjoy grazing in the grass with the coach. This year they start relaxing during the game after sampling a different kind of grass before.

Radically Right

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

We have much to learn from the Muslim radicals. Before you hit “delete” or try to digitally decapitate me, think about it. The radicals are all out, 100% for their faith. I’m not talking about the ones who are just in it for excitement, or attention or a love of violence. I am talking about the ones who believe every word of the Koran. They believe it’s their duty to kill all the infidels, i.e. me and you. That’s what the Koran demands. The believe to secure eternity they must kill. That’s in their book, too. The so-called moderates aren’t really Muslim at all. They have picked the parts of the faith they like (and there are some positive parts). Some of the “moderates” are cultural muslims. Their parents were muslim. Their friends re muslim. It’s politically correct and economically wise to be muslim, so they are muslim. They are not “sold out” for Islam. They are muslim by default.

Christian have the same situation. “Moderate” Christians aren’t Christians at all. They have picked the parts of scripture they like. They may be cultural Christians. They are not sold out or radical. They believe they can believe and not follow. They believe they can “be” and not evangelize. They believe Jesus is A way, maybe THEIR way, but not THE way.

You see real muslims and real Christians  believe they are right and everyone else is wrong. The muslims believe the solution is to kill everyone else. We Christians believe everyone else is already dead, in their sin, and their only hope is Jesus. We don’t want to kill them. We want them to be saved before they die. The real muslims are out there killing. The real Christians are out there testifying. Jesus said they will know us by our love. The other guy said they will know us by our murders.

You see here are the facts. Allah is not God. He’s not the same as Jehovah or the Father of Jesus or Jesus. He’s a lie. He doesn’t exisit. Just because millions believe it doesn’t make it true. Just because millions follow some of the tenants of Islam, pray multiple times each day, and live “good” “moral” lives doesn’t mean they are following an acceptable alternative to Jesus.

Just  because there are far more moderate muslims and moderate Christians than there are radicals, doesn’t mean moderation is right. If you aren’t going to be a radical Christian, in other words, a real Christian, you just as well be a moderate anything else.

I admire the radical muslims for their commitment. No sane person could admire them for the way Satan has told them they should live it out. Jesus said we were suppose to love them. No one said Jesus was a wimp or called us to be wimps. Loving is a lot tougher than hating. Following is a lot tougher than being a fan.

Moderation may be good in matters of consumption. It sucks in matters of faith. Radical Rules. For Christians Jesus rules. Everyone else is ruled by the other side, dark and evil and defeated.

Guess I’ll have to turn in my politically correct t-shirt.

A Fabulous Day

It’s going to be a fabulous day today, at least it will be weather-wise. As I write this it’s 60 degrees with a high expected of 84. A taste of fall at last. You can almost hear the gumbo pots hitting stove tops and the packs of chicken and sausage sailing across check out counters. There are already leaves on my lawn and we are four weeks into football season. Unless you’re a LSU fan and football season ended last Saturday night 🙂

Fall for me is more about renewal than New Years Day or springtime. It will finally be cool enough to get into my yard and do all the stuff it’s just been too hot to do for months. I have had plans for this first cool day for months. I’m not going to be doing what I planned. A dear friend who is faithful in nursing home ministry called last night. He has an emergency and can’t do his nursing home teachings this morning and tomorrow. He couldn’t find anyone else to fill in. So guess where I’ll be the next two cool  mornings.

Nursing homes are “not my ministry.” I’m not comfortable with the residents and I sense they are not comfortable with me. My wife is great at it and I’ll bring her along with me. I’ll even do the teaching that she wrote. On the first comfortable days of the fall, I won’t be comfortable.

Maybe that’s what renewal is all about. Maybe it’s not about being comfortable but about being challenged. Maybe the great weather isn’t a call to set back and relax with a hot bowl of gumbo, but to get up and do something that really needs to be done. The yard and the leaves and even the gumbo can wait. There are some folks who need maybe just one more time to know that Jesus loves them and the race might be almost over, but it’s not over yet. Maybe I need a reminder that 65 isn’t that old and that there is a lot more that I need to do.

Pray for me today that it’s a fabulous day after all.

 

Entitlement

Luke 7:1-10 English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant

After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him.When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

We are in an entitlement crisis. Entitlement is defined among other things as a belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges. The Romans had entitlement issues: they ruled the known world but became lazy and “entitled” and lost it all to barbarian hordes. The Jews had entitlement issues: They believed that the Messiah was theirs. He was coming  just for them.

From entitlement grows the belief that we have a right to decide what the subject of entitlement should be.  The Jews felt they had the right to decide what the Messiah would be. For many, in fact, they expected him to be the salvation from men like the Centurion and the Roman rule. Moving from a Blessed Nation, the cult of entitlement moved Israel into missing the Messiah and being dispersed into the world.

America is another example of a society that has gone from being blessed to being entitled. Americans now seem to believe they have a RIGHT to things that they have enjoyed as blessings: healthcare, education,  life long security from invaders and terrorists. It has made us selfish and entitled. When we say we need to secure the borders do we mean that we need to keep out the dangerous or just keep out those who are not like us. Those we feel don’t deserve to share all that we have, all that we are entitled to.

We are hearing cries to “Deport all the muslims” or worse  “Kill all the Muslims.” Certainly in the old testament, God often told the Israelites to eliminate their enemies. Such extermination was necessary to keep the chosen people pure.  Old testament solutions have given way  to a new testament cure. We now have the weapon of God’s loving grace to deal with a world that hates us. God and his grace is no longer limited to a chosen people. God so loved the world.

Christians are not immune to Entitlement thinking. We confuse blessings with rights. Do we have a right to risk-free worship, comfortable practice of our faith, a nice home and a  disease free life? You might think so if you hang around with American Christians. You wouldn’t suffer from that confusion if you were familiar with Christ followers in China or Iraq or Syria. Just because God has blessed us with freedoms and comforts, doesn’t mean we are entitled to them. We should appreciate what we have been given and not expect these blessings as a matter of right.

The Centurion, a man steeped in entitlement learned that eventually we face situations that challenge our sense of entitlement.  He faced circumstances he couldn’t control. A blessing in his life that he couldn’t keep through any act of his. He had a beloved servant who was suffering. He heard that Jesus had the power to heal. He wasn’t entitled to that blessing. He knew Jesus was a local, a jew whom he could not control. He would have to rely on the kindness of the healer to get what he needed. He recognized that if Jesus chose to cure his servant, it will be a blessing.

Entitlement is a deception from Satan designed to take our focus off the giver and unto the gifts, to move us from appreciation to expectation, from blessed to entitled. We have to acknowledge that as Americans, Christians, Parents, Grand Parents,  we feel entitled and are training the next generations to be even more so. In doing so we are cheating ourselves and them of a sense of awe, thanksgiving and joy. We are setting ourselves up for devastation when something comes along that challenges our sense of entitlement.

We need to look around and count the good things in our lives. We need to recognize that we have much that others lack. We have these blessings from the hand of a loving God. That hand can remove them, and will remove them, if what starts as a blessing ends up as a blockage to the relationship from which it sprung.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11. Sometimes we imperfect men give gifts that aren’t so good. They may be things we never got. They may be appreciated by the recipient. That doesn’t make them good. God doesn’t have that problem. He gives what’s best for us, whether we understand or appreciate it. When a blessing becomes perceived as an entitlement, it’s not longer good and we can’t expect it to stay for long.

May I Be of Service?

I few months ago I was headed to church. I was all dressed up, which is rare for me. I was speaking that Sunday. I pulled into my usual breakfast place and noticed that I had a flat tire. Since my knee problems, I have a problem kneeling and being all dressed up was an issue as well.

One of the waitresses and one of the cooks noticed my problem and went out and changed the tire. Talk about service.

At the risk of showing my age,  I remember when “service” stations would pump your gas,  clean your windshield and  check your oil. Then we went to “full service” options. You could pay a few cents more per gallon and get full service or you could save a bit and pump the gas yourself.  I remember when you could go shopping and get “waited on.” Now you find the dressing room yourself and stand in line to check out.

I remember when you needed a service you thought of friends or folks at church who might be in the business of providing the service you required. Now we check on-line or believe the TV ads.

I miss getting full service, but I also miss being of service. There is blessing in serving and in being served. It’s great when you find out someone you know offers a service you need. Let me get the ball rolling and maybe we can change the way things are.

I started working on computers in 1969 if you have a computer problem let me know. If I can’t help I may know someone who can. I have practiced law since 1981. If you have a legal question, maybe I can help or tell  you someone who can. If you have a flat tire, there is a waitress and cook I know. Give me a call.

 

Why I Post and Tweet

Today’s church is already wired, and if your parish isn’t taking full advantage of all of these ways of touching people throughout the week, it is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

By Greg Garrett, July 15, 2013

Yours are the tweets through which love touches this world,
Yours are the posts through which the Gospel is shared,
Yours are the updates through which hope is revealed.
Christ has no online presence but yours,
No blog, no Facebook page but yours. ~
Meredith Gould

I don’t hang around at bars, strip joints or casinos. I do spend a lot of time on the internet and some folks seem to think that’s worse. I could gamble, have an affair or conspire against the government on-line. I can’t drink or do drugs online but I imagine someone somewhere is working on that. Just as I don’t gamble, hang around strip clubs or conspire in the “real world” I don’t do it on the internet.

I don’t use filters. I’m not against them I just haven’t found any that really work for me, but they are available. Most of my posts and tweets are transmissions of my blog, the subject of which is Jesus, or comments about sports and picking on my friends and family. Some folks are afraid of the internet and I suppose they have had experiences that prove that fear. I find that through it I am able to share, encourage and “preach” seven days a week. No “real world” churches I know can do that. None would let me do that.

Am I exposed to ideas with which I disagree, some of them even labelled, “Christian” and images that I find offense? Absolutely. Some folks had problems when Jesus hung around with sinners, including tax collectors and prostitutes. They were called Pharisees. Is the internet dangerous? Yes. So is the “real world.” Nevertheless, Jesus told us to “go.” That means to leave the confines of the safe places and go where the darkness is. We have to bring the light, in fact that’s our mission. If we are concerned that we will be taken over by the darkness, we probably need a little more Jesus. If we suddenly find ourselves off the path, the delete and backspace keys are right there.

To those who are afraid they will be tempted, fouled or tainted, that’s what the Holy Spirit is for. I don’t find I’m tempted to have an affair or gamble on-line. That may be because I have a great wife and not a lot of money. I have to admit that I am often tempted to waste time. That’s the biggest danger for me. I have to be on constant guard against that. Some people think that spending the first hours of each day putting together a blog about Jesus is a waste of time. I’m okay with that.

As the end draws near more and more lost will be spending time online. The mission field is growing. There are dangers, but isn’t the mission worth it?

My wife is also online. She sees all my posts. She doesn’t always agree, but at least she knows what I’m up to. I keep in mind she’s watching and I guess that helps keep me straight and her prayers and critiques are helpful too.

Be brave, go with a trusted friend, but go and be blessed.

Praise Perspective

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians  5: 18

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2: 14).

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15: 57)

Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you (1 Samuel 12: 24).

Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5: 20

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians  3: 17

For a couple of weeks now our electric range has been on the fritz awaiting a part. The part came in today but didn’t work and has to be reordered. As my wife said today, it’s nice to go out to eat if you have a choice. There is so much we take for granted. When we do that it damages our praise perspective.

Consider:

• If you own just one Bible, you are abundantly blessed. Most people in the world do not.

• If you awoke this morning more healthy than ill, you are more blessed than one million people who will not survive the week.

• If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of more than five hundred million people around the world.

• If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of this world. (Even if you have no range to cook on.)

• If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish somewhere, you are among the top 8 percent of the world’s wealthy.

• If you prayed yesterday and today, you are in the minority because you believe in God’s willingness to hear and answer prayer.

• If you have the ability to choose between churches where you may freely worship, you have a blessing many people in this world do not.

• If you are a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, you live with the daily assurance that you will have eternal life, and that your Savior has gone to prepare a mansion for you in glory. Millions of people believe this sad life is all there is.

Jeremiah, David (2006-03-07). Captured by Grace: No One Is Beyond the Reach of a Loving God (p. 188-9). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Grace teaches us gratitude which should lead to praise. When we take for granted and forget the Giver, sometimes the only way He can get our attention back is to allow us to lose something.

Isn’t that what happened on 9/11?