Becoming People of the Table

as a family we try to eat dinner at the table most nights. but if you think for a minute we’re batting a hundred at that each week, you’re quite wrong. some nights the table is too full of junk-that-needs-a-home, and it’s easier to just eat in the living room while watching one of our favorite shows. other nights the schedule just doesn’t allow for it. but, it’s something we’re aiming for and a strike in the “win” column when it happens.
both shanna and i were fortunate to grow up with great memories from times around the dinner table as a family. spontaneous laughter, conversations about faith, and moments of realness were all things we came to expect over the years. of course, the meals often included emotions as thick as the meatloaf in front of us, and there were many nights where we couldn’t wait to get out of each other’s presence and back to our own little corners of the house. in our hurried lives, especially with 2 little ones right now, the dinner table is becoming for us an important point of reconnection.
the mess is another story…

cooper mess

tomorrow i’ll share a simple game we’ve been playing at the table lately to keep the conversation real.
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Don’t Hold Me Accountable… Hold Me Close

every month i get together with 3 other youth pastors from 3 other churches nearby. these guys are studs.  they are the real deal.  i love doing life with them.  when we get together, we don’t plan events or swap ministry ideas.  we talk about life in all its rawness and ask each other about the condition of our souls.  we talk about our families, our marriages, and our kids.  we talk about the frustrations and stresses of ministry, but we go further into the issues of brokenness underneath and how we can often hide under the pretense that all is well.  i have grown to cherish and look forward to these times more than any other appointment on my calendar.  each time i come away feeling a new wave of refreshment. i’m a mess as it is, but without these guys i’m scared to think where i would be today.

Fellowship-Of-The-Rings-four

a group like this doesn’t just happen. and there’s a good chance another youth worker in your area is praying for someone like you to reach out to them right now.  who knows what God will do with it over time… they could become some of your best friends as you journey together!
after today’s meetup, one of the guys tweeted out to the rest of us a spot-on blogpost they had come across. be sure to head there for the full post.  here’s an excerpt to get you started:

DON’T HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE…HOLD ME CLOSE

Bob Goff said that. I wish I had.

Who is close enough to you to know when you’re off the rails? Who can you call for advice with the ‘stickiest’ of questions? Which of your friends will challenge you on the hours you’re working? Who will ask you how much you’re drinking? Who’ll call you out on your attitude toward your wife? Who knows your heart?

For most of the guys I know, the answer is nobody!

You can’t hire someone to be this kind of friend. You can’t ‘will’ it. You can’t manufacture it. You have to work for it.

A few years ago, I was challenged to find some friends. Not guys to ‘save’ and certainly not guys to mentor or “fix.” Guys to ‘do life with’… to draw close to and allow them to draw close to me. As usual, I wrote this down as a ‘thing to do.’ I drew a little square by it, anticipating the day I could put a big, black checkmark in the box. It’s a lot more complicated than that.

The answer (at least the starting point for the answer) came in one word…

Group.

I wormed my way into a group of guys who were meeting once a month. They knew each other, went to the same church (not mine) and had a lot of ‘road miles’ together, having met for a few years before I came along. They’d all told each other their stories. They knew each other’s junk. And now, years later, they know my junk, I know theirs, and we’re still friends. Actually we’re now real friends.

continue reading…

5 Powerful Questions To Ask Your Kids At Bedtime

adelina recently learned how to climb out of her crib, so this week has been a week of transitions and new routines. as i was putting her down tonight, i remembered a list of questions i jotted down in my moleskine that andy stanley noted in his must-read choosing to cheat. my daughter is not quite old enough for these yet, but i plan to ask them to her on a regular basis in a few years. powerful and transformative conversations can happen right before a kid’s eyes close for the night.

bedtime-storytime

5 Powerful Questions

1. Is everything ok in your heart?

2. Did anyone hurt your feelings today?

3. Are you mad at anyone?

4. Did anyone break a promise to you?

5. Is there anything i can do for you?

what are other good questions to ask your kids at bedtime?