The Future of the Whetstone

“Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt”
― Seth GodinThe Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit

“Quit or be exceptional. Average is for losers.”
― Seth GodinThe Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
-Thomas Edison
“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” ~ Vince Lombardi.
~ Vince Lombardi.
Hi Friends,
I feel like I’m at a decision point with the Whetstone. Quit or change. The current status quo of the Whetstone is unsustainable for me. It has become uninspiring and laborious. I feel that the Whetstone is mediocre compared to what it should be. And, that is my fault. My fault for not planning, for not being disciplined, and my fault for not having a well-defined message. The last thing you and I need is for the Whetstone to be a guilt trip or an obligation. From a numbers standpoint, there has been no growth in the readership for quite a while. The last person to subscribe was 7 months ago.
So, at the end of August, the Whetstone will go on a break for the rest of the year while I decide what happens to it. There are essentially two questions I need to answer. 1- Is it working? Right now, no. I believe it needs a major overhaul to work. 2-Do I still believe in it? Right now, I’m not sure. Answering that question will be the bulk of the struggle in the next month or so. What I do know is if the Whetstone continues, it will not be in its current state.
But, first; I want to tell each of you how much I appreciate you. Your support in prayer, in words and financially, has been humbling, encouraging, and something that I will remember for a long time. Putting yourself out there with the potential for others to criticize is scary. So, thank you for walking with me in this.
Lastly, thank you to Gavin, Gerry, and Ken who either can’t say no to me or really trusted me enough to go on this journey. Your faithfulness, support, and encouragement have literally gotten me through to now.
I would appreciate your prayers as I sort through this.
Stay Sharp,
Matt

 

Jennifer and the Missing 1st Class Passenger

If you’re like most people I know, you like to have your flight schedule nailed down. You know what seat you’re in, when you need to leave home, and when you’re going to board. But, it’s not just in traveling… a plan gives some peace and assurance. Many of us have plans for our marriages, work, finances, kids, spiritual growth, volunteer work, and physical health. When those plans don’t come together or a wrench is thrown into the works, stress, angst and even anger are many times the order of the day! It’s particularly tough when you don’t know until the very end whether it’s going to work or not!

That’s where Jennifer and the missing 1st class passenger come in… and by the way… thank you to both of them, whoever and wherever they may be!

Sara and I were given “Buddy Passes” for our trip from Austin to Denver a few weeks ago. The way it works is you are put on the standby list and hopefully you get a seat! The challenge is that you are put on the bottom of the list. All other passengers take precedence. So… we got to the airport, checked in on time… everything going smoothly. A little nervous, we kept asking and watching, but no answers.  Boarding began. Then an announcement over the airport system… “The lower level has been shut down for a possible bomb and we are evacuating that level. The bomb squad is investigating so at this time no one is allowed to leave or enter. No action needs to be taken by the people on the concourse.” Can you imagine what everyone was thinking… the lower level isn’t that far away… a bomb could take it all out… are you kidding us!!!!

And then… “Harrow party of 2 please come to the podium.” Awesome… now we can get out of this place! “Mr. and Mrs. Harrow, I’m sorry to inform you that we only have 1 seat left and the next flight is already full.” What? I’ve got to get there but I can’t leave Sara behind with a bomb! A sick feeling in my gut. Sara urging me to take the seat. But there’s still hope… they’re waiting for one passenger who had already checked in online… Jennifer! After what seemed to be an eternity… no Jennifer… the gate agent said to both of us… “follow me down the jetway.” He needed to check if they had missed her boarding. No Jennifer!!!! Whew… we both took our seats and we were on our way! As we taxied, there sure was a lot of traffic backed up… probably because of the bomb scare. THANK YOU JENNIFER!

getting a standby seat to go home So what did I learn? Reflecting on the experience, I thought about how we are called to follow Jesus in every aspect of our lives and, even though we have it all planned out, He may have different plans for us that may not even revealed until the last minute. So, how can I… we… be more open to changes and the dynamic life we’re called to live? By watching, listening, learning and following our Savior closer and closer each day wherever and whenever He takes us… even at the last moment! What a great lesson! That will probably show up in a sermon someday! Confidently and boldly… feeling pretty proud of myself… I thought, I can handle this much better now!

So after an eventful few days, we were looking forward to getting back to Texas. So… we got to the airport, checked in on time… everything going smoothly. Standby list looked pretty full… boarding progresses. “Harrow party of 2 please come to the podium.” Awesome… now we can get back home! “Mr. and Mrs. Harrow, I’m sorry to inform you that we only have 1 seat left and the next flight out is already full.” What!!! How is this going to work? No car or place in Colorado… how will we handle the Texas end? Let’s check other flights… maybe we can buy some tickets. $900… that won’t work. But there’s still hope… they’re waiting for one passenger… a 1st Class passenger! After what seemed to be an eternity… no passenger yet… the gate agent said to both of us… “follow me down the jetway.” He needed to check if they had missed him boarding. No 1st Class passenger!!!! Whew… we both took our seats and we were on our way! THANK YOU MISSING 1st CLASS PASSENGER!

So what did I really learn? That it’s really hard to fully give up our plans, our will, our future, our kids, our families, and marriages to God. How are you at that? God asks us to give it all up to the Creator of the universe… the one who controls nature… the one who provides every single thing we have. My prayer is that you and I both learn the peace, joy and freedom in living that way. It may not work out in the way or timing we want, but we know that it will work together for good.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose

-Gerry

July 2017 Newsletter

my son quote

my son quote

Let me ask you a question: When did you know, really know, you were a man? For me, it was after completing Army Infantry Basic Training at Fort Benning Georgia. Three months of Georgia summer heat, swearing Drill Seargents, and hard physical work from 4:30 AM to bedtime. That will make a man out of you. So, in a culture where there aren’t rites of passage how do we initiate our boys into manhood? What does that look like and is it even necessary? This month we’ll take a look at rites of passage.

Read

Heroic Rite of Passage for Boys Jessica Miller Kelley

“Manhood has to be shaped by Jesus,” Wright says. “He had the classic traits of manhood, fighting with the Pharisees, clearing out the moneychangers, and also a passion for justice, equality, and compassion that leads to action. You also see him weeping at the tomb of his friend; you see a man of deep emotion. We need to reconnect men to Jesus. Some people seem to be emphasizing manhood for its own sake, rather than connecting men to Jesus.”

Jesus is exactly the model we need and our boys need.

Rites of Passage for Your Son – Robert Lewis

the important thing is that you do something creative and memorable to initiate your son into manhood. Remember, too, that the power of the ceremony is the actual experience! It is the lingering memory it makes and in the potent vision it marks.

This is a 7 part series from Robert Lewis (Raising a Modern Day Knight) on the rites of passage for his sons. He lays out the 4 rites (puberty, high school, college, and marriage) through their early life. There are some great ideas to incorporate into a rite of passage for your own son.

Rites of Passage – From Boys to Men – Rod Arters

As I groom my son to become a man one day, I’m tempted to take him fishing. Or hunting. Or show him how to shoot a gun. Or use a hammer. Or change the oil. Or rotate the car tires. All good things for men to know. But without passing the baton of my faith, what have I really given him?

There it is in that last sentence. Does it make a difference how good of a man our boys become if they don’t have faith in Jesus? No, it doesn’t. Any rite of passage must help pass on that baton of faith to our sons.

Watch

Why Boys are Failing – Philip Zimbardo

Boys are opting out. Opting out of a confusing world. They are isolating themselves in a safer simpler place. They are going in to virtual worlds, where the objectives are clear. They have control over the outcome, they have no fear, and never get rejected.

Do we need rites of passage in this day and age in our culture? I think Philip Zimbardo answers the question of the need. Philip George Zimbardo is a psychologist and a professor emeritus at Stanford University. He became known for his 1971 Stanford prison experiment.  There are some surprising statistics in this video for boys related to health, video games, porn, and school.

Listen

Inviting Our Children into the Larger StoryRansomed Heart

The guys discuss helping their own and their friend’s sons into manhood. Boys need their dad and the godly influence of their dad’s friends.

 

Did you have rite of passage yourself? Did you or will you have one for your son? What will that rite of passage look like? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Sharp!

Matt

How’s Your Vision?

Vision_2

Our human tendency is to be very near sighted, or self-focused. If I’m honest with myself, I tend to be most concerned about how things are going for me; how the current situation and/or decision will affect me; how future plans might benefit me.

No, not all the time, but more frequently than I care to admit or even realize.

Me, me, me.

Hmmm. Not terribly flattering…

To be sure, we can’t avoid focusing on ourselves to at least some degree. As human beings, we have basic needs that must be met to survive. We need air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, shelter to sleep. And I’m sure you can add a few more to the list that are truly needs. After those basic needs are met, it becomes a competition of my wants, my comforts, and my luxuries versus your needs, wants, comforts, and luxuries.

For most of us here in America, our basic needs are met, along with most of our wants. Comforts and luxuries are the new needs. And we’re constantly bombarded with messages that try and convince us of these new needs:

“It’s all about you!” (There was a billboard in town for a local bank last year with a woman smiling and pointing at passing motorists with this proclamation.)

“Be true to yourself!” (Was Hitler true to himself? What about Stalin? Bin Laden? Hmmm. The list goes on and on…)

“Follow your heart!” (“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9))

“You deserve this!” or “You’ve earned this!” (” …for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23) So what exactly do we deserve?)

“Look out for number one! (Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Look at this last one again. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

This really sums it up for me. Our tendency, again, is to focus on ourselves. That’s the essence of the “Look out for number one” mantra.

But Jesus corrects this faulty world view and commands us to look up to God as our number one. To love Him with everything we are; To trust Him, submit to Him, depend on Him. And then we are to look out to others; to love others as we love ourselves. The implication here is that we love ourselves just fine by default – we don’t need any instruction here. But we do need the exhortation to love others.

So back to the title, what’s all this have to do with vision?

I believe we’re called to have a long view. I mean a really, really long view, not just a five or ten year plan, or looking ahead to retirement, but a desire to see things from God’s point of view.

In other words, put on your eternity glasses.

What?! Wait a minute you say – I’m not God! I don’t know the future!!

Well, you’re right – you’re not God.

But you’re also wrong about not knowing the future. In fact, God has revealed to us all we need to know about the future.

Christ defeated death on the cross.
”I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

We share in that victory by God’s grace and through faith in Christ.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

God wins.
“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:5)

So those eternity glasses are not to see some hidden mystery of the future, but rather to remind us of the truth that we are sons and daughters of the most high God. Take comfort knowing the God who loves you is sovereign and in control. And while we’re sure to experience trials and tribulations in this world, our eternal victory is secure in Christ!

Peace,
Ken