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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Non-Negotiable #3: Church

Wayne —  December 5, 2013 — Leave a comment

churchWelcome back to the series where we are examining those activities and pursuits in our day-to-day lives which we can not afford to sacrifice in order to make time for other pursuits.   Thus far, we have introduced the series and talked about both prayer and time in the Word as activities which we cannot afford to forsake.  That brings us to our third Non-Negotiable – church.

In My Testimony, I talk about the general distrust I has of the church prior to accepting Christ as Lord and Savior.  The history of atrocities and abuses committed in the name of the church is undeniable.  Furthermore, there is no doubt that such abuses and atrocities continue today in so called churches around the world.  All of that to illustrate that I did not come from a place where the church was prominent in my life.  Indeed, my relationship with the church has been an area where God has worked mightily in my own life.  I have gone from a true skeptic of organized religion to such an extent that God worked through a very atypical church to draw me to himself in the first place to someone who has become a member of a local church and a proponent of regular church attendance.  My love for Jesus has manifested itself in a love for his church.  That said, it is still easy to miss church, or not get involved enough, or make excuses not to participate – something which we can really not afford to do.

God did not create us to live the lives of hermits.  He created us to be in relationships with one another.  As Christians, this is accomplished primarily through families and the local church.  We will deal with family later in this series, but today let’s look at the need to the local church.

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bible2Welcome to our continuing discussion of the The Non-Negotiables – those things in our lives which must be given the place of first priority and be closely guarded.  These are the things which we must plan for, make time to do, and guard against interruption and skipping.  In previous installments, we have Introduced the idea of Non-Negotiables and examined the importance of Prayer.  Today, we will be discussing the next Non-Negotiable which is near and dear to my heart, and that is the Bible.  I love my Bible.  Ever since I became a Christian and read it for the very first time, I’ve been hooked.  I’ve written about 100 phrases which describe God’s Word…. I’ve written about Psalm 119 – The Word of God, and I started a series featuring 25 Reasons I Believe the Bible. I’ve written about 10 Way to Get Kids Excited About the Bible and cited hundreds, if not thousands, of Bible verses in my articles. And, I’ve done it all because I love my Bible.  I do not worship my Bible, but I worship the one my Bible tells me about.

All that to say – I love my Bible.  Even so, there are times when I struggle to make sure that I read it every day.  There are times when several days slip away, and I realize that I haven’t read my Bible at all.  It’s like Paul writes in Romans 8:

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