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autonomyLast week, I unveiled my three bucket theory that attempts to classify most of the problems in our society into three broad buckets.  As promised, we will now delve deeper into each bucket.  The first bucket has been dubbed:

RADICAL AUTONOMY

Sometimes we live our lives so immersed in something that it becomes harder and harder to even see. We might catch a fleeting glimpse of it in an advertisement. We might get a peak at it in the entitlement attitude of that young kid during the street. We might catch wind of it on the news as this group or that demands an apology for something someone said that offended them. However, I wonder if we had the ability to step back and get a bird’s eye view of the society we live in if we wouldn’t be amazed by the breadth and width of the first bucket which I have dubbed “radical autonomy.”

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My Three Bucket Theory

Wayne —  March 3, 2014 — Leave a comment

BucketsLots of people have a bucket list.  You know – that list of things you want to accomplish before you die.  In particular, lots of people my age start to think about their own bucket list as we age and start to think about things we want to do in our lives while we still have the time.  I started to think about buckets a few months ago.  The buckets I was thinking about were a little bit different.  I started to think about buckets in terms of classifying the zillions of issues that we face as a society.  I started to wonder if there was a useful way to classify or categorize those issues, or the cause of those issues.  As much as I like to think in terms of black and white, I didn’t imagine that any sort of rigid system of classification would work, but I did think that perhaps (just maybe) I could “shove” those issues into different buckets.

There are lots of issues that we face as a people and as a society.  Talk to anyone on the street or at a party about what they think the biggest problem we face as a society are, and each one is certain to have their own take.  Give them a few minutes and most will talk your ear off giving you their insights and take on what really lies behind all of those stories of woe you see on the news every night and hear from people at your church, at the neighborhood barbeque and at your kids’ sporting events.

As I started to think about all of those issues and the problems we face in our culture, I wondered more and more if there wasn’t a pattern to them. The more I thought, the more I started to sense some threads that ran through many of those issues. That’s where the buckets came in. I concocted this theory that all of these problems (or at least most) that take so many different forms can be broadly classified into three buckets.  Why three? At the time, there was no particular reason except that two didn’t really seem like enough and four seemed like too many.  I wondered if I thought through the issues and the causes of those issue if I could devise a system of three buckets (no more, no less) that would be specific enough to make sense and broad enough to cover 95-98% of the issues people may raise if asked (I left room for the idea that certain problems would not be classifiable even after thorough analysis).

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Living Outside the Boat Square LogoI am pleased to announce a brand new project called “Living Outside the Boat.”  Living Outside the Boat is a brand new podcast featuring myself and Jared Massey discussing issues and topics raised by the things going on in the world around us.  While the podcast will be largely driven by current events, the discussion will focus on the broader issues raised by those events.  The podcast is dedicated to open and honest conversation from a Christian worldview, and we are excited to get started.  Jared and I both believe that there are too many topics that too many Christians are either intimidated by, afraid to talk about or just don’t spend enough time thinking about.  We hope to address many of those issues on the show.  While we don’t have set topics planned for each show, we envision talking about thinks like Christian doubts, the intersection of science and faith, the us vs. them mentality, the perception of Christians in popular culture, topics considered “taboo” by many churches and much more.

Our very first podcast was recorded a couple of days ago and goes live today (February 19, 2014).  Once it’s posted, you will be able to find the podcast at http://livingoutsidetheboat.com.  If you don’t find the podcast the first time you click over, make sure to check back later in the day.

You can also find us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/livingoutsidetheboat where we encourage you to engage in the conversation.  You can find us on twitter at @OutsideTheBoat.

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focusOne of the problems that we often face as volunteers in children’s ministry is maintaining focus in our “day jobs.”  When you are passionate about something, it is hard not to focus on it and hard not to get sidetracked about it.  Think back to the first time you really fell in love.  How much time did you spend thinking about your new love?  How much of your day was consumed dreaming about what the future might hold?  If you are parent, do you remember the first days back to work after your child was born?  How often did you stare at their picture wishing you were home?  How much of your time was spent contemplating/worrying about their future?  How many times did you call home just to see how they were doing?  This tendency towards distraction is consistent in anything that we are passionate about.

When I am not very intentional about it, it is very easy for me to let my passion for children’s ministry distract me when I should be focusing on my day job.  Since I spend a chunk of my day working with computers, it would be quite easy to allow my mind to wander, to dream about children’s ministry, to think about the lesson for the coming weekend and more.  On a more concrete level, things like e-mail, conferences, online research and more can easily interfere with your “day job.”  Instead, I must be very intentional about focusing on what I should be doing at that particular moment.

When our passion does not align with our responsibilities, there is clearly a tendency to get distracted from our responsibilities.  Here are some of the things I do to help me maintain my focus:

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growthWelcome back to the Non-Negotiables series.  In this series, we are examining a variety of things which you must make time for in your life regardless of how busy you think you are.  Whether you are a full-time children’s pastor, a bi-vocational children’s pastor or a volunteer, these are the things that must remain top priorities in your life.  So far in this series, we have looked at:

  • An Introduction to the Series
  • Prayer
  • Time in God’s Word
  • Church
  • Your Spouse
  • Your Children

There is one thing noticeably missing from our list thus far.  It’s you! It’s you!  How much time do you spend on yourself?

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familyFor those of us who are parents, it is critical that we remember that our primary God-given responsibility is to our families – our spouse and our children if God has blessed us with them.

I like what the Kidologist, Karl Bastian, has to say about his son.  He explains that he now has a ministry of one, and God is teaching him through that ministry.  It is easy to let our ministry become the main thing in our lives.  After all, we are doing the work of God, right?  God is supposed to be the most important thing in our lives, so shouldn’t we exert our most energy in our ministry?

Well, the short answer is No!  God’s order of creation reveals much about his plan for our lives.  In the beginning, God!  God is of utmost importance, and our lives should reflect that.  We must jealously guard our time with him.  The first relationship he created for humans, after their relationship with Him was marriage. Our marriages should be the most important thing following our relationship with God.

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Non-Negotiable #4: Your Spouse

Wayne —  December 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

weddingIn this series, we are reviewing a variety of things in our lives which we cannot afford to give up on in order to “make time.”  Today (and in the next installment), we move on to a struggle that many of us in ministry have faced or do face – making sure that we do not sacrifice family in order to accomplish what we want to in ministry.  Last week, I published an excerpt from Charles Spurgeon’s Evening by Evening Devotional in which he wrote:

“This is our first duty, we are to begin at the family hearth: he is a bad preacher who does not commence his ministry at home. The heathen are to be sought by all means, and the highways and hedges are to be searched, but home has a prior claim, and woe unto those who reverse the order of the Lord’s arrangements.”

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