The Whetstone Newsletter Vol. 1 No. 10 Mature Manhood, Praying for Your Kids, Tyrannical Tasks

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Sharpen:Mature Manhood

I Resolve to Mature Manhood by Greg Gibson

“Men, I truly believe if we pursue the fullness of Christ side by side, spurring one another on, then nothing can stop us.  Everything will change—our marriages, homes, hobbies, work, friendships, churches, cities, culture, and love for the nations—because Jesus changes everything. “

We are almost five months in to the “new” year. Do you remember your New Year’s Resolutions?  Work out more. Lose the gut. Stop smoking. How’s that going for you? You forgot or have given up already like I have, haven’t you.  Well, everyday is a new beginning. So you can start over at any time. Greg’s article from the beginning of this year challenges us to resolve to mature manhood. That is a life that imitates Christ.




I Pray This for My Children by Gregory Harris

“We still want—and so desperately need—the Lord to bless our children. This shows both our continuous looking to Him and the realization that our capacities as parents are limited.”

Gregory lists out what he prays for his children in this article. It includes everything from his own walk with God to his children’s future spouses.  There are some good ones to remember in there, complete with biblical references. These would be perfect to include in a prayer app that I’m starting to use more and more, Prayer Mate. You can find Prayer Mate at where you can download the version for your particular species of mobile device.



Sharpen:Tyranny of Tiny Tasks


“George Jetson called his boss a “slavedriver” because he had to press a button a few times that day. We chuckle at the joke while we unthinkingly press a million. Was the joke on us?”

Another article on the theme of busyness. First off MIchael Hyatt is one of my favorite bloggers and podcasters. If you don’t follow him,  I couldn’t recommend more that you do. The article link above will get you to all the places you can find him.
The tyranny of tiny tasks shows how we accomplish a lot, but really don’t get anything done. We shuffle and answer email, check of some to-do’s, or get a text answered, but we don’t get the big important projects done (or even started).
So Michael shares a 5 point strategy to unseating the Tyrannical Dictator of Tiny Tasks:

  1. Evaluate. Look at your daily routine and tasks that make it up. How much is moving the needle vs. filling time? Parse them out and rank them. I talk about how to do this in my free ebook Shave 10 Hours off Your Workweek.
  2. Eliminate. How many low-return activities and time-drains are on your list? Which ones could you just strike out now? And by that I mean right now. There’s no point waiting while more tasks multiple. Start hacking.
  3. Delegate. If you can’t ditch it, switch it. Delegate as many of your leftover tiny tasks as possible. This could be to an admin or other people on your team better suited to the job.
  4. Automate. Every time you have to think about a process, it takes something from you. So why not do the thinking once and for all? All kinds of things can be automated: billing, reports, recurring information requests, and more.
  5. Consolidate. What you can’t ditch, switch, or automate, you should consolidate. Sometimes labeled batching, the idea is simple enough: If you lump similar tasks together, you gain efficiencies and time by not jumping back and forth between dissimilar activities.


Put an Edge to Your Life


The Whetstone Newsletter Vol. 1 No. 9 Guard and Repair Relationships, You Are My Son, Love Languages

Life is more simple than we think.
Life is more simple than we think.



Seven Ways We Can Guard and Repair Relationships by Ray Ortland

  1.  Let’s judge ourselves, even as we give each other the benefit of the doubt. Matthew 7:5 says, “First take the log out of your own eye.”  And 1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “Love believes all things.”  In other words, love fills in the blanks with positive assumptions.

I can’t count how many times I’ve misjudged a person and have demanded that I be given the benefit of the doubt while withholding it from others. There’s some great wisdom from Ray in his article.




You Are My Son, and I Love You by Tim Brister

I believe my boys will enjoy the game more and play better, not because of increased pressure, fear of failure, or letting their dad down. No. They will play better because they know they are not merely baseball players; they are my sons, and I love them.

Parenting with the gospel is the theme of Tim’s article. Are we parenting based on performance or parenting out of approval and acceptance of our children, just because they are our children? Do our children know that we love them just because they are our children or do they think we love them because of how they perform?



Sharpen:Love Languages

4 Love Languages Gary Chapman Forgot by Barnabas Piper

Gary Chapman forgot a few love languages. He may be a smart man, but he clearly doesn’t really know what love is.

This will give you a few laughs today, because they are true!


Put an edge to your life! 5632834C-7AF1-DA7D-51A4-D622C3186A86.jpg

The Whetstone Newsletter Vol.1 No. 8 Marriage Needs, Great Expectations, Slow Down

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What You Really Need in Marriage – Mark Atrogge
[pullquote]It’s wonderful if you have a wife or husband who cares for you, serves you and blesses you. But remember, ultimately no human being can meet all of another human being’s needs. No human being can satisfy another human. It’s just not going to happen. Only God can meet all our needs and truly satisfy us.- Mark Altrogge [/pullquote]
We live in a self oriented consumption culture. We need to get some benefit out everything. We’ve treated our spouses as such too. If they don’t satisfy a “need” or serve a “purpose”, or if they fail to meet our desires they have failed. In the article Mark asks “How much do believers in Jesus really need from their spouse? I would submit you DON’T need your spouse:

To satisfy you

To serve you

To make you feel good about yourself

To meet all your expectations

To fulfill you”

That’s a tall order for a flawed human being to fulfill. A set of expectations that if held is set up for failure and disappointment.

Mark answers the question “What do you really need?”  It’s to love your spouse, to be a servant, grace, to expect your spouse to have many weaknesses and failures, and for your spouse to be slow to change.



Parents:Give Up Your Great Expectations by Amy Julia Becker

Our job as pastors and parents and teachers and coaches is to look for the image of God in each child, and to cultivate that reflection of our Creator. Our job is to help kids discover who they are and live into that fullness of life, even when such fullness may involve risk, disappointment, or difference.

Kids today seem to be under a lot of pressure. Pressure to perform well in school, to be the best athletically, and involved socially. Do you know what the number one regret of those about to die was?  I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. So the encouragement from Amy’s article to us is, “The doctrine of the imago Dei must animate our understanding of kids no matter who they are. All human beings, male and female, are created in God’s image and therefore reflect something of God’s nature. God has something to offer the world in and through each child, whether they be phenomenal athletes or kids with Down syndrome or academic superstars or children in wheelchairs.”


Sharpen:Slow Down

Why It’s More Important You Slow Down than Hurry Up, by Cadence Turpin

The ability to “be” is a fading virtue, and I hope we’ll fight for it.


There used to be a theory that technology would save us so much time that we would have a problem with not having enough to do. We would cut our work week down so much that we would get bored with free time. Sounds like a pretty good pipe dream to me. The reality is that we just try to cram more in. We have saved time, but we’ve filled it in. My personal theory is that time is a vacuum. And nature abhors a vacuum, or maybe it’s human nature that abhors it.  So, back to the article.  Candace makes the argument that we fill our lives with meaningless tasks that technology makes it possible to fit more meaningless tasks.  So go do something slow. Watch a baseball game. Hang out with a friend where you can just be. No agenda, no topic of conversation to get through, no task to be accomplished. Just be.

Busyness has been such a huge topic for me lately that one or several of the upcoming issues of the Whetstone is going to be dedicated to it. So, I’m going to go get busy on that now.


Put an edge to your life.


The Whetstone Newsletter – Parenting Pharisee

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Being a Parenting Pharisee
Too often I’m waaay more concerned about the outward appearance of my children, than what is going on on their hearts. I’m more concerned about the impression my kids give others about me than what is really important, the growth in their hearts.  I make sure they’re dressed appropriately for the occasion and that I’ve coached them on the their behavior. Hoping that they ultimately won’t embarrass me.

A few years ago our son Sam was in Cub Scouts and their pack was to meet with the town mayor and city council. I had Sam dressed in his uniform, with shirt tucked in, coached him about his behavior, and instructed him on appropriate things to say and ask. What I didn’t take into account was his current obsession with what he wanted to be when he grew up. At the end of the session the mayor asked the group what they wanted to be when they grew up. Sam’s hand shot straight up and was waving frantically. Immediately I saw what was going to happen. I wasn’t worried about how he would appear with his answer, but with how I as his dad would look. I started sweating and hoping that they mayor wouldn’t call on him. In fact, I was praying he wouldn’t get called on. But, the mayor called on him. “Young man, what would you like to be when you grow up?” Sam stood up proudly and announced, to a room full of scout leaders, parents, and city officials, “I want to be an assassin for the government.” I tried to hide, but immediately everyone who knew me as Sam’s dad, looked my way. Fortunately, most everyone laughed and the mayor in a graceful way replied that we need courageous young men in the military.

I share that story not because I thought that I had failed in parenting Sam, but because I was a parenting pharisee.

Pharisees in the bible were concerned about the outward appearance, keeping up rituals, doing the right things at the right time.

Pharisees in the bible were concerned about the outward appearance, keeping up rituals, doing the right things at the right time. They were so concerned about appearance they had forgotten (or chose to ignore) that God is more concerned with the heart. The inside stuff, the reason why you do what you do, not necessarily what you do. Jesus even told them that they were beautiful caskets full of rotting flesh. Ouch. If I’m honest with myself, I’m right there with them too. I’m often more concerned about the appearance of the product (my children) than I am with the process of heart change.

Parenting isn’t about a product, its about the process.
You could do everything perfectly (which you can’t) in parenting and still end up with a “bad” product. Your child still makes their own choices regardless of how you brought them up. They can still choose to do drugs, enter bad relationships, make mistakes. It’s in our nature. Keeping a “10,000 foot view” of the parenting years is tough. Going from wall to wall diapers to walking, to talking, to school, to their friends, to homework and after school activities it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. It’s easy to parent in the moment. It’s easy to parent for immediate results and not lifetime character. It’s easy to parent for outward appearance and compliance. [pullquote]Andy Stanley once said, “Parent to preserve your relationship not to preserve your reputation.”[/pullquote]

I haven’t been a parent long, just over 11 years, but its becoming more apparent to me that parenting is as much about me as it is about my children. The process of parenting has changed who I am. Parenting has helped me see my growth in the long term too. I have learned more about the character of God through parenting. I have learned more about how selfish I am. I have learned that I can’t take responsibility for the failures of my children, no more than I can take responsibility for the good that they do. Their “goodness” and “badness” is theirs. And God has dealt with it.  If we continue to judge our parenting by the perceived quality of the end product we will quickly become consumed by failure.  So don’t dwell on the “goodness” or “badness” you think you might see in  your kids, that’s all been put into perspective by God anyway, concentrate on the process. Keep your head above the trees and look long term as you parent.
Put an edge to your life.