Archive - Discipline

Are You Spending Time or Investing It?

Proverbs 6

Picture a young professional fresh out of school. His career is very lucrative… and he lives like it. A nice car, a nice house, a nice lifestyle: He lives within his means – but just barely.

Fast forward several years. Now he’s fired, he can’t find a job, his house has been foreclosed, the bills are piling up, and there seems to be no hope. Exasperated, he turns to God wondering when God will intervene. After all, didn’t God say he’d provide for our needs?

But then he wonders to himself if God’s way of providing for his needs now was to bless him with bountiful provision for the last few years. If he had been wise and built up a padding of savings instead of spending every penny, how different would his life be now?

This story may sound familiar to you, but let’s change a few aspects. Instead of money that is being squandered, think about time.

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How Productivity Apps Can Kill Your Productivity

Our idea of productivity has changed in the last few years, and I don’t think it’s a change for the better.

A few decades ago, the word productivity would’ve conjured up images of efficient factories. A decade ago, productivity was equated with goal-driven executives and salesmen.

What do you think about today when you read the word productivity?

Let me guess: Software. Apps. Systems.

And this thinking about productivity causes all sorts of problems.

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Repentance: Journey or Destination?

So maybe you’ve fallen off the productivity wagon.
Maybe your conscience has just been pricked over all the time you’ve wasted channel flipping or aimlessly surfing the internet.

What now?

The answer, of course, is to repent. To admit that being a poor steward of our time is a sin. To claim the mercy offered us because of the cross of Christ. And then to change our behavior.

In fact, that change in behavior is crucial. A change in heart leads to changes in the way we act – and without this change in our actions, repentance never really happened.

But what does this change in behavior look like?
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Action Isn’t Optional

More times than I can count, my wife and I have disciplined our three-year-old for not listening to us. Of course, when parents speak of listening, they don’t mean simply hearing and comprehending our words. There is an implied result of this hearing.

Listening to Daddy means hearing Daddy and doing what he says. The proper action is assumed to follow – so much so that listening and obeying are used interchangeably.

The Old Testament concept of hearing was similar. To hear the word of the Lord was not simply just to comprehend the words; there was implied action.

I think there’s profound beauty in that idea.

Action is what really matters.
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Dramatic Decisions Are Easy. Are You Good at the Small Ones?

In the movie, The Right Stuff, astronaut John Glenn is faced with a difficult decision. After Glenn has spent hours strapped up inside the space shuttle, the Vice President himself is heading over to Glenn’s house for a photo opportunity with the astronaut’s family. Glenn’s wife, who has a speech impediment, is terrified of the meeting and the inevitable embarrassment of speaking poorly in front of dozens of reporters and national TV cameras.

Glenn decides to make the potentially career-ending move of telling the Vice President to turn around and go somewhere else.

I can remember hearing this story in our small group for married couples. We all commended Glenn for his commitment to his wife.

But as crazy as it sounds, I don’t think that Glenn’s decision was really that big of a deal.

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Repost: The Real Reason for Poor Stewardship

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July. I’m enjoying the mountains right now with my family and trying to rest and read a lot. For this week, I’m dusting off some old posts that I liked. I’ll be back next week with new posts. But for now, I hope you’ll enjoy this post and also this beautiful summer.

Today’s repost is The Real Reason for Poor Stewardship.

“If only I could figure out a good system to get organized, then I could finally move towards being a good steward of my time…”
“I’m not really managing my time well right now – but as soon as I get out of this rough patch in my life…”
“I’m going to start taking my time seriously…starting soon, real soon…really…”

Sound familiar?

It does to me. I’m pretty good at finding reasons to justify my complacency.

Like take this morning. I overslept. And in my fleshly mind, I had a good reason! I have a 5-month old baby that has a real set of lungs on him when he gets crying. But when I woke up naturally at 6 AM, I knew I should get out of bed – I just ignored my conscience and hit my pillow again.

Maybe you think you’ve got your own reasons for struggling with being a good steward. You don’t have a good system. Now is not a good time. You don’t know enough.

But Jesus tells us what the real reason is.

Check out the rest right here!

How to Get Control of Facebook and Twitter Time

Before diving in, please allow me to announce that Life of a Steward is now on facebook. The facebook page is brand, spanking new – so if you enjoy Life of a Steward, please stop by and like it.

I get asked about this a lot, and it seems to be a growing problem.

Social networking has changed the way we interact and communicate. The potential for marketing and promotion is alluring. But it can be a colossal black hole of time wasting.

How can we control the massive amounts of time that we spend on facebook and twitter?
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The Good, The Better, and the Best Way to Eliminate Distractions

Some days I just seem to get so much done. I’ll fly through eight hours’ worth of work in just five hours.

Then on other days, I feel like I just can’t get anything accomplished. What should take me eight hours ends up taking more than ten.

The crucial factor for me, and I’d imagine for you too, is focus. When I buckle down, concentrate, and ignore distractions, then I can really blast through what I’m doing.

I know people who have transitioned to working from home. When they were away from the distractions of the office, they got their work done in five hours instead of eight. I know when faced with a deadline, I’m often incredibly productive: the pressure forces me to focus.

So focus is important – but how do we get it and keep it?
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The Gospel is the Cure for Do-It-My-Way Procrastination

A few days ago, I posted The Gospel is the Cure for Dream-Killing Procrastination. In it, I talked about how there are many different types of procrastination – each with its own motivation, characteristics, and effect.

But the glorious good news of the gospel, I believe, is the cure for them all. I can’t wait to talk more about this – and other forms of procrastination – in the future.

After writing about the type of procrastination that’s based on the fear of failure, I was contacted by Dave from Armchair Theology. He was eager to share his struggles with a particular form of procrastination based on his pride.
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One Simple Trick to Increase Productivity and Eliminate Frivolous Breaks: The Prayer Test

The Prayer TestPutting theory into practice is always a little hairy. We may have great intentions and try to follow the advice of the experts, but our implementation often falls short.

That’s how I was with taking breaks: I knew it was something I needed to do to stay effective, but it was a major stumbling block for me.

That is, until I started using one simple trick which skyrocketed my productivity.
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