Apr 24, 2020
“Keeping Up with the Joneses”
I once knew a couple who loved to brag about their stuff, who I’ll call the “Joneses”. You may know someone like the Joneses. They proudly displayed their newest cars, bigger home, latest flat screen, and whatever else they had that we didn’t. They were proud of their stuff. They’d worked hard for it. We couldn’t keep up with the Joneses.
But that was all they talked about. They never talked about the church they rarely attended, the ministries they weren’t involved in, the people they weren’t trying to reach, or the believer they never had fellowship with. Unfortunately, what mattered most to the Joneses wasn’t what mattered most to God. They were bold about their stuff yet timid about “their” God. They were rich in stuff but poor in what mattered most.
James, the brother of Jesus described it best:
“But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.” James 1:9-11
Dave Ramsey at Financial Peace University has invested his life to helping the Joneses and other followers of Jesus learn about what matters most—and it isn’t money.
The recent days of COVID-19 have been a gut check for many of us. Over 23 Million have applied for unemployment, businesses are stalled, and many more are on temporary leave or have been furloughed and yet applied for help. Now is the greatest opportunity in our history to ask, “What matters most to me?”
Apr 17, 2020
Different Kind of Inflation
Just as my body was starting to recover from the holidays, my belt has expanded once again and I’m battling a different kind of inflation—one that the stimulus check I received won’t help. For the millions of us who are not frontline first responders, and are socially distanced from home, the Coronavirus pandemic has inadvertently created a holiday-type of experience. We are thrown out of our routines and into a “new normal”.
A buddy of mine sells wine for a living and recently shared that his highest time of the year was the holidays because people drink to deal with their families! Although I’m not sure his claims are accurate, I do know alcohol sales have exploded by 243% during this virus.
Questions I’ve heard often are, “How do we live under the same roof for so many hours a day without going insane!?” and, “How do I redeem each day instead of binge-watching television shows?”
Apr 10, 2020
Guest Writer: Ken Watson
Ken Watson’s Bio: Ken has been a small town guy in Yamhill, Oregon, since 1975, working 30 years as a local elementary teacher and 9 as a local pastor. He's a behind the scenes editor for Men in the Arena's publishing, serves on the local school board, and is a lay leader at the church he once pastored. He and his wife Kathy loved raising their four men.
Why canoeing beats rafting
I used to lead multi-day canoeing trips for teens and for men down rivers with white water. Think, tipped canoes, wet people, and wet sleeping bags! I loved it! Why did I like it better than rafting? Well, it takes more skill than rafting, for starters. But the key experience in those canoe trips was that the paddlers make tons of their own decisions in a hurry—go left or right, through the big waves or sneak along the shore in the slow water? Choose badly or goof the execution, and you’re dunked, bro! The right decisions, especially as the trip goes on and skills increase, become extremely satisfying, though not without some heart-thumping moments. Deciding courageously is what men are made for.
Which brings us to my story about my granddad.
Apr 3, 2020
Just Below the Surface
Seemingly overnight our world has changed. In Oregon where I live State Parks are shut down, public dining is forbidden, church doors are closed, school facilities are shut down, and only “essential workers” are commuting to and from work. People are locked down and glued to the news as their lifeline to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is an undercurrent of fear boiling just below the surface that we’ve seen in box store lines just to buy toilet paper! The undercurrent of fear must be addressed and curtailed regardless of the Virus before panic erupts into chaos.
And it all starts in the home. Be looking for our Equipping podcast on this topic coming soon.
Mar 26, 2020
Q: HOW CAN I LEAD MY FAMILY DURING COVID-19?
A: Do Something!
World War I and the Spanish Flu
In World War I approximately 16 million soldiers and civilians were killed before the Allied victory. Some historians believe that the war ended, in part, because of the 1918 outbreak of Spanish Flu of 1918 that infected thousands of young soldiers, many of whom brought this novel strain of Influenza back to their home countries.
No one could have imagined that the Spanish Flu would kill three times more people than the war itself with a death count between and 20 to 50 million people around the world.
Years ago, I heard disease control experts warn that pandemics historically strike about every fifty years or so, that we were overdue by fifty years, and that we should prepare accordingly. I also remember the public fear surrounding the Bird Flu (1997), SARS pandemic (2002-2003), Swine Flu (2009-2010), and the Ebola outbreak (2014-2016). None of these caused the public alarm we are experiencing today.
Listen to my thoughts on a Christian perspective of “Prepping” on the Men in the Area Podcast episode #328 where I share my layman’s strategy on the subject.