BETA

Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women

Archive for April, 2004

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

A WORD TO DADS

Sawyer my grandson is an original

. Carrot red hair. Freckles. Six years old. Lives and breaths race cars. At last count he had about 170 of those small metal replicas you buy at Wal-Mart.

A few weeks ago, he and I bought a soccer ball kid size – to kick around at the beach. At the check out stand I also purchased a couple of packs of gum, gave him a stick and took out one for myself. "Thanks Papa!" came his response. A couple of minutes down the road I tossed him a second stick. "Papa, you cant chew two sticks of gum at a time!" "Why not," I queried? So, we both chomped down on two sticks!

A few minutes later, while still en route, I tossed him a third, then a forth, and a fifth stick. "Hey Sawyer, why dont we go for the worlds record of five sticks in our mouth?" "Papa!!" And with that we stuffed our chops with the remaining sticks; exhausting our jaws while kicking the soccer ball around.

On our way home in the car, one of the two "world record holders" broke the silence with, "PapaI love you." To which the other responded, "I love you too, Sawyer."

A few days ago, when Sawyer was back at our home visiting, we shattered the world record with 10 sticks each. Our new goal, the next time hes here, is to go for 15, and another world record!

Now I know that old guys like me are suppose to be serious and all. Titus 2:2 give us the guidelines, "Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance." But do we have to be stuffed shirts?

You see, I have a hidden agenda:

Eight or ten years from now this freckle-faced carrot top will be a full-blown teenage type. And my guess is that he, like most teens will be testing the boundaries. So Im preparing now for that day when he will need his fellow gum chewing co-world record holder "Papa" to sit down with him over a Coke and talk things over. It is my intention that the power of our bond will at least equalize the pressure of his peers, as he faces choices about drugs, sex, integrity, life goals, etc., etc.

The other day my wife and I were with Sawyer and his little sister at the Fair. As we waited to enter, a father took off his hat and slapped his son a boy about Sawyers age across the head and yelled, "Sit down!! Now!! On the ground!! Sit!!!" You know I wonder if that Dad ever crawls around on the floor playing race cars with his kid, or breaks world records. I wonder if he is preparing for his sons teenage years by developing a deep abiding relationship. Doubtful.

So Dad, how are you doing

? Are you building the quality of relationships and memories with your kids that will carry the family during those challenging years when they will be thinking and deciding for themselves? When they will be bombarded with unimaginable temptations and choices?

Or are you simply functioning as the in-house shadow of Gods idea of a Father?

"Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master." (Eph. 6:4 The Message)

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

“FROM EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN GIVEN MUCH, MUCH WILL BE DEMANDED”

If we could shrink the earths population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following.+

There would be:

57 Asians

21 Europeans; 14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south

8 Africans

52 would be female

48 would be male

70 would be non-white

30 would be white

70 would be non-Christian

30 would be Christian

89 would be heterosexual

11 would be homosexual

6 people would possess 59% of the entire worlds wealth and all 6 would be from the United States

80 would live in substandard housing

70 would be unable to read

50 would suffer from malnutrition

1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth

1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education

1 would own a computer.

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Lk. 12:48b)

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow– when you now have it with youIf anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." (Pro. 3:27,28; I Jn. 3:17,18) (See Pro. 14:30; 19:17; 21:13; 22:22; Matt. 25:31-46)

"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" (Rom. 10:13B-15)

QUESTION

: Are you part of the problem, or part of the solution?

+Fast Company, June 2001, pages 58-60

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

FOUNDATIONS AND VALUES

Living as we do in a society where much of what we have cherished as a way of life is rapidly disappearing

, I thought you would appreciate the following,+

"We tried so hard to make things better for our kids, we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I’d like better. I’d really like for them to know about hand-me-down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would. I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your own bed, and mow the lawn, and wash the car.

"And, I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen. It will be good if–at least one time–you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep. I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in. I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother.  And, it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he’s scared, I hope you let him.

"I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely. On rainy days, when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as un-cool as your Mom. If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one. I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head. I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what Ivory soap tastes like.

"May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove, and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I don’t care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don’t like it. And, if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend. I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays. I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor’s window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand. These things I wish for you–tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it’s the only way to appreciate life…"

"Do not move an ancient boundary stoneWhen the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

(Pro. 23:10a; Psa. 11:3)

PRAYER:

"Lord Jesus, recognizing the fact that we are living in an increasingly godless society, grant me the wisdom and the will to raise my children on a Biblical foundation in such a manner that they not only will be equipped, but also desirous of following Christ in such a world."

+Paul Harvey

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

SEVEN PROMISES

"Promise Keepers" are those folks who fill athletic stadiums with tens of thousands of men to the praise and glory of God. "PK" challenges men to make and keep seven promises:

#1 Honor Jesus Christ:

"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matt. 5:16) (See Jn. 5:23; I Cor. 6:19,20;10:31; 2 Cor. 8:23; 1 Tim. 6:16)

QUESTION

: By your attitude and actions, do you draw men to, or repel them away from Jesus Christ?

#2 Pursue Vital Relationships With Other Men: "Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldierwhom you sent to take care of my needs."

(Phil. 2:25b) (See 2 Cor. 2:13; 8:23;Philm.1:1,2)

QUESTION:

Are you a "Lone Ranger", or do you seek to develop meaningful relationships with men?

#3 Practice Personal Integrity:

"I will go forward in the path of the blamelessI will live in purity of heart, in my house." (Psa. 101:2a,cNJB) (See Gen. 6:9; 17:1; Job 1:1,8; 2:3; Psa.25:21; Mt. 5:8; 6:22)

QUESTION

: Have you determined to live before God with singleness of heart and mind?

#4 Build a Strong Marriage and Family:

"Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." (Matt. 7:24b) (See Psa. 127:3-5; Mal. 2:4; Hos. 2:19,20; Eph. 5:21-6:4; Col. 3:18-4:1)

QUESTION:

Is your responsibility to function as the head of your household in the manner prescribed by Scripture a top priority?

#5 Support His Pastor and Church:

"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account" (Heb. 13:17a) (See 1 Thess. 5:12,13; Heb. 13:7)

QUESTION:

When you come to your pastors mind, are you viewed as part of the problem or the solution?

#6 Demonstrate Biblical Unity:

Jesus: "That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." (Jn. 17:21)

QUESTION

: Do you, by your pride cause divisions? Or do you, through your humility, foster unity?

#7 Influence His Community for Christ: "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

" (I Pet. 2:12) (See Matt 5:13-16; Mk. 4:21,22; I Thes. 1:7,8; 1 Pet. 3:15)

QUESTION: Are you in fact making a difference for the Gospel, where you live, work, play, and worship?