Top Podcasts for Men

Hello Gentlemen!

It’s not often we do “Top – Whatever” lists for the Whetstone. With spring break for a lot of us right now, I thought I’d share with you my favorite podcasts. Check them out and download a few episodes for your commute. They are in no particular order.

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Family Life Today

  • Daily
  • iTunes
  • Christian
  • Family, Marriage, Parenting

Ransomed Heart Podcast

  • Weekly
  • iTunes
  • Other podcast apps
  • Christian
  • Men’s issues

Wolf & Iron

Parenting Great Kids with Dr. Meg Meeker

  • Bi-Monthly
  • Christian
  • iTunes
  • Parenting

Become Good Soil

  • Monthly/Sporadic
  • Christian
  • iTunes
  • Men’s Issues

Jocko Podcast

  • Podcast by former Navy Seal on leadership
  • Secular
  • Weekly

Order of Man

There you go! This should fill up your podcast app with some good stuff.

Do you have a favorite that’s not listed here? Let me know!

Stay Sharp!

Matt

Perfection and Grace

perfection-or-successSo… I’ve got to rant a little. There is no such thing as perfection in this life! One can always get a little more done, the service can always be better, and you can always find a flaw or imperfection in all things… so why should I rate anyone or anything a perfect 10?

Recently, we were asked to fill out one of those customer satisfaction surveys and it was made very clear that anything below 10s would cause trouble. Really? I have a hard time giving anything or anyone… especially myself… straight 9s, much less 10s! As I thought about it, though, the word “grace” came to mind. I came to the conclusion that they were doing well, they had been perfect… well as least as perfect as we humans can be and they deserved to be rated high! By the way, part of that reflection included doing some soul searching myself on how imperfect I really am and thinking who am I, an imperfect person, to expect true perfection out of someone else? So… it made me think even more about my relationship with my family and friends.

I realized that at times I’ve been pretty hard on people… expecting true perfection when it just wasn’t possible and then getting frustrated, disappointed and impatient. How about you? Have you found yourself expecting perfection out of your spouse and kids… and finding yourself disappointed? Maybe you’ve done it to yourself. I know I have. Beating myself up for not being a better dad, husband, employee or pastor.  That word “grace” keeps surfacing…

Jesus showed the perfect way of grace. He came to us while we were still sinners… undeserving, broken, rebellious, apathetic, pathetic humans with no chance of ever being able to measure up to God’s standard of perfection. Jesus came anyway. Jesus gave His life anyway. Jesus showed grace… free and unmerited favor. Isn’t that what we’ve been asked to do so others can know Him? Imperfect people giving other imperfect people grace…

But Gerry… isn’t that what’s gotten us in trouble? People getting trophies for just showing up? Hear me out on this… I’m not proposing that we look the other way when people don’t try, don’t care, don’t at least attempt to do well. But wait a second… that doesn’t even sound right. God showed us grace when we were trying to get away from Him… trying to do everything opposite of His perfect will. So what do we do? Maybe show a little more grace to our families, to ourselves when it isn’t all perfect.

I guess this is a really gray area. I don’t know all the answers but what I do know is “grace” is something beautiful. Grace, when applied well, heals, encourages, lifts a burden and is… well… just beautiful. So, what I do know is that this imperfect person is going to try to err on the side of grace more than I’ve ever done before.

By the way… I gave them all 10s.

-Gerry

Will You Support The Whetstone Through Patreon?

Dear Friends,

I’ve decided to pursue a different avenue for support of the Whetstone through Patreon. com.

What Is Patreon?

During the renaissance period artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, and da Vinci were supported financially by “patrons” like the Medici family of Florence. This allowed the artists to concentrate on creating instead of raising money for things like food and paint.  Like the Medici family, Patreon allows patrons to support projects like the Whetstone.IMAG0507

How Patreon Works.

Patreon is not Kickstarter or Gofundme. Patreon works by providing a way for supporters to give on a monthly or per project basis. The Whetstone will work on the monthly giving basis. You sign up for a monthly amount to support. It also allows you to help the Whetstone to achieve the goals we’ve set (you can see them on the page) and to reward you for your patronage. Patreon also gives you exclusive access to the Whetstone’s private Patreon stream.

Why Is It Needed?

Why does the Whetstone need Patreon and patrons? At this point in the growth of the Whetstone, we are limited by two factors. First is time. I’m working a full-time job with a family, so my time to create ways of self-funding the Whetstone is limited. Second is financial. For the Whetstone to grow it will take money. I intend to keep the blog posts, newsletter, and the planned podcast free. But, they are not free to create and maintain. Websites cost money. Web hosting costs money. Even having the address www.thewhetstone.co costs money on annual basis.

Click Here To Support!

What You Get.

Here’s what you get from supporting the Whetstone. First is the continuation of the Whetstone as it is now. Free blog posts and newsletters that inform, entertain and hopefully challenge you. Second, you have a direct hand in the foundation of the Whetstone of tomorrow. You will directly have an effect on the men and families that the Whetstone will impact. Just over 1,300 people visited the Whetstone web page last year viewing 2,700 pages. That doesn’t even count the number reached on Facebook, Twitter, and email. Third, check out the rewards for the levels of support on the website.

So, stop what you’re doing right now. Click on the button below and sign up to support the Whetstone. From 50¢ to $500 we really appreciate your support and belief in the Whetstone.

Click Here To Support!

Stay Sharp,

Matt

March 2017 Newsletter-Technology

Technology makes us lazy

Technology makes us lazy

FOMO. Instacurity. Digital Detox. Phubbing. Crackberry. Digital Zombie. All words that didn’t exist a few years ago but describe our current technology-saturated lifestyles. The internet and mobile technology are ingrained in our lives to such an extent that we get anxiety when we’re away from our phone for a few minutes. Focus.  I believe that focus is now more valuable than time. What we focus on is more important than the time we have. WE NOW HAVE A SHORTER ATTENTION SPAN THAN A GOLDFISH……A FREAKING GOLDFISH!  This month’s newsletter is focused on our focus on technology.

A quick thank you to Randy B., a faithful Whetstone reader, for prompting this topic when he shared this video on Millennials with me. If you’ve got something that the Whetstone community might be interested in, email me at matt@thewhetstone.co.

Read

Technology and the Christian Life – Dr. C.J. Williams

In any case, one of the greatest daily challenges a Christian faces in the modern world is to think clearly about his or her use of any technology.  Does it help you achieve good ends in your heavenly calling and service to Christ, or is it an avenue of distraction and temptation?  Would Jesus look on and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”?

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: We need to think out how we use the wonderful technology that’s available to us today. Do you use it to save time? What do you use that extra time for? Mindlessly scrolling your facebook feed or twitter feed? Or being present with your family or friends without the interruption of beeps and dings from your digital leash?

Why Technology is Not the Enemy…As Long as We Redeem It.Tim Elmore

Technology isn’t going away—so we’re going to have to find ways to redeem it.

It’s not going away and it’s only going to become more and more ingrained into our lives. It’s in toasters for Pete’s sake! So, we need to help our kids figure out how to use it in ways that build them up rather than tears them down. Tim advises us to turn negatives into positives.

The Case for Boredom Kevin DeYoung

Try out silence in your life this week. Give aloneness a try. In our crazy busy, crazy connected, need-to-know-now! world, we need the sanity and sanctifying power of boredom every once in a while.

When was the last time you were bored and didn’t pull out your phone to “pass the time”? I don’t remember the last time I didn’t. Give it a try. Where does your mind go when you don’t force feed it from your phone?

Watch

Quit Social MediaCal Newport

I hate facebook. I’ve quit it several times. And, I wouldn’t be on there now if I didn’t feel the need for the Whetstone to have a presence there. So Cal’s message really resonates with me. Give it a thoughtful watch, as we all really need to question what value, if any, social media platforms have in our lives. My guess is that they cost us more than we think or want to admit.

Extra Credit:

Five-Minute Film Festival Technology Addiction Videos

Listen

How to Prevent Internet Addiction with Dr. David GreenfieldDigital Parent Podcast

In this podcast episode, Dr. David Greenfield discusses online addiction and teens. Dr. Greenfield is the leading expert in the field of internet addiction.  The discussion ranges from dopamine, to porn, to signs of addiction.


 

If you can’t tell, this topic has really struck a nerve with me. During my research, I ran across a TON of material on how harmful mobile technology and social media can be. I probably listened to 3 hours of Ted Talks on the topic. One of the recurring themes I came across was the analogy of a slot machine. Mobile tech and social media are engineered to be addictive. Designers have literally taken notes from gambling to design addictiveness into apps and phones. Their goal is to keep you on their app or platform as much and as long as possible to make money off of you.

So, do you own your technology or does it own you? The reality may be hard to admit.

Stay Sharp,

Matt

Pray – Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

No, let me change that.

Pray – especially when you don’t feel like it.

Think about it.  If you don’t feel like praying; if you don’t feel like praising God; if you don’t feel like rejoicing in His love, grace, and Praymercy:

Then you’re probably not walking in the spirit, but rather walking in the flesh.  I think that’s why Paul encourages us (maybe even admonishes us?) to pray continuously (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  While that may not seem practical, I don’t think he means for us to be in a never ending “Lord’s Prayer” (Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…repeat…repeat…)

But rather that we simply recognize and remember God’s goodness, grace and mercy all throughout our day, regardless of our circumstances.  That we trust in Him; that we believe He is always with us; walking by our side through all that we encounter, enjoy, and yes, endure.

So, there we were; the night of Ash Wednesday, my wife and I lying side by side after a long exhausting day.  I was bitter.  Over something stupid.  I won’t bother you with the details other than to say it was related to church.  Some perceived injustice.  Whatever.

Did I mention it was Ash Wednesday?  The ashes just recently washed off our foreheads lest we soil our pillowcases as we lay down to sleep.

Ash Wednesday:  A day of repentance; a day of reflection on our brokenness and sinfulness; a day to remember how much we need our gracious God; how much we need his Son, Jesus, to save us from our wretchedness; how much we need our Savior.

And there I was, all self righteous and bitter.

OK, let me check:

Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23):

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

Hmmm, not looking good…..

Acts of the Flesh (Galatians 5:19-21):

Sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things.

Hmmm.  OK, I didn’t have all of those pegged.  But is that really any consolation?  Anything to rejoice in?

Hardly.  Even just one on the flesh list is cause for concern.

Or maybe the right way to look at it is that I didn’t have anything on the “spirit” list.  Not one.  Not even close.

I didn’t feel like praying with my wife.

Did I mention it was Ash Wednesday?

But I felt the nudging.  No, not from my wife, but from the Holy Spirit.  I still didn’t feel like praying.  I don’t remember exactly, but I may have thought that it wasn’t worth praying.  Or maybe even that my wife didn’t deserve my prayers.

Ouch.

Did I really think that?  And did I really type that?

My flesh wants to backspace over the last few lines, but I’m going to leave it.  Because it’s the truth, even if I don’t like it.  Or maybe especially because I don’t like it.

So, I asked my wife if she’d like to pray.  Thankfully she said yes.  Even though I didn’t deserve it.  Even though I wasn’t worthy to pray.  Or maybe especially because I’m not worthy.

So, I prayed.  I didn’t know what to say.  But I started anyway.  We held hands, and I started praying.  All I remember is starting with thanksgiving; for the day; for this Ash Wednesday.

And the Holy Spirit took it from there.  I don’t remember what I prayed.  (Or more accurately, what He prompted me to pray).  But it was a healing moment for me personally, for us as a couple, and I hope for my wife personally as well.

Those are often the best times of prayer for me.  When I’m sullen, bitter, angry; when I don’t want to pray.  But I do it anyway.  And this morning seems so much more bright and joyful than I think it would have been otherwise.  Is that a result of prayer?  I don’t know for sure.  But I hope it’s a reminder the next time I don’t want to pray.

Note: I wrote this three years ago, the morning after that Ash Wednesday.  My purpose then was simply to empty my brain and record my thoughts while the experience was still fresh.  It’s published here as an encouragement and exhortation for your prayer life.

Peace,

Ken