Time Management

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The One-Minute Manager

In Search of Excellence

Dale Carnegie, John Maxwell, Jim Collins, Stephen Covey, Peter Drucker and many others over the years I have been in business have preached the gospel of time management, efficiency, maximizing productivity and achieving more. All good authors with good principles. I bet Martha read their books too.

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-41

Martha was doing stuff – good stuff – necessary stuff – “if I don’t do it, who will” kinda stuff. She probably had the spiritual gift of service and helps. Not only that, but she was quite vocal about her feelings of discontent. She basically got her knickers in a twist about having to “do all the work” while sis sat around “just” worshipping and listening. She not only felt like she got the short end of this straw, she wanted Jesus to know about it.

What did she expect Jesus to do about it anyway? Was he going to say, “Hey, you’re right – Mary, get up off your lazy keester and go help your poor sister”, or was she looking for a little “Oh poor Martha, you are working so hard and we sooooooo appreciate you. You are wonderful to do all that you do, we love you so much. Why don’t we just stop here, give Martha a standing ovation and all of us go pitch in to help her?”

Martha – like most of us highly motivated, energizer-type folks who want to get more stuff done, more efficiently – was a gifted and valuable person. Her gifting and talents were critical and much appreciated. She did, however, overlook the “main” thing according to Jesus. The key words that Jesus uses in describing her situation are “distracted by much serving”, “anxious” and “troubled”. She had simply gotten her eyes/heart off of the Master and on to her role/mission/service…and that had taken away her peace and joy in exercising her gifts.

As I ponder those same terms in relation to my own service of the King, I have to ask whether I am overlooking the “main thing”. Am I worshipping and serving my King, or am I really worshipping and serving my service? How is my motive? Am I willing to slow down long enough, or stop altogether to simply sit at His feet and enjoy Him?

It is so easy to get caught up in productivity, efficiency and time management, that we forget what is most important in life, work, marriage, family and ministry…………Him. He is the main thing, not what I am doing for Him or on His behalf. I need to choose to draw near to Him, sit at His feet and hear what He is saying – more than any other thing. What about you? Is it time to slow down and let the main thing be the main thing?

Enjoy Him,

Huz

What’s Your Price?

When Judas first agreed to follow Jesus, the last things on his heart would have been to betray him. Jesus asked Judas to follow him, knowing that he would betray him just a few short years later.

As I camped out in Matthew 26 recently, I was grieved by the thought that my life is filled with Judas-moments. Times in my life when I too, have betrayed (let down, denied, failed, deserted) Christ in my life. As I sat in the stillness, it seemed He brought back time after time when I have turned my back on Him, and turned my face to other things.

Like Peter, I was confident that my faith in Jesus would never fail, and my walk with Him never falter. But, as only a loving Father can do, He reminded me of my weakness in the face of temptation, and way to many incidents of apathy, selfishness and greed. I want to view myself as having graduated from these things, but He alone knows me at my deepest level. He knows my heart, my inner motivation, my core.

He clearly spoke to me also, that the reason for this object lesson was not to shovel huge piles of guilt on me, or to shame me into trying harder – but, to remind me how very much He loves me. In spite of my warts, my lack, my nature, my sin – He completely and passionately loves me – regardless of my performance. Once again, I am blown away by His extravagant love, and patience with me. I break His heart much too often, but He continues to pursue me, woo me, want time with me, forgive me, and call me. What an amazing Father.

Sadly, we all have our price. It may be money, but it may also be momentary pleasure, self-gratification, selfishness, pride, lust, achievement, greed, apathy – or a world of others. I have stopped shaking my finger at Judas. I am more like him than I would want to admit.

Romans 8: 1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Huz

Why Men Stray

What makes men stray?

Marriage counselor M. Gary Neuman surveyed husbands who had been unfaithful, and those who had not, to get at the real reasons behind men’s infidelity. Neuman dug through past research on male infidelity and found that most answers came from the wife’s point of view. Wouldn’t it make more sense to ask the guys? he thought. So for his new book, The Truth About Cheating, Neuman  unveils his findings — including what cheating men say could have prevented them from straying.

Here, some of his findings:

48% of men rated emotional dissatisfaction as the primary reason they cheated.

So much for the myth that for men, cheating is all about sex: Only 8 percent of men said that sexual dissatisfaction was the main factor in their infidelity. “Our culture tells us that all men need to be happy is sex,” Neuman says. “But men are emotionally driven beings too. They want their wives to show them that they’re appreciated, and they want women to understand how hard they’re trying to get things right.” The problem is that men are less likely than women to express these feelings, so you won’t always know when your guy is in need of a little affirmation. “Most men consider it unmanly to ask for a pat on the back, which is why their emotional needs are often overlooked,” Neuman says. “But you can create a marital culture of appreciation and thoughtfulness — and once you set the tone, he’s likely to match it.”

40% of cheating men met the other woman at work.

“Oftentimes the woman he cheats with at the office is someone who praises him, looks up to him, and compliments his efforts,” Neuman says. “That’s another reason why it’s so critical that he feel valued at home.” Luckily, there’s a clear warning sign that your husband is getting a little too cozy with a colleague: If he praises or mentions the name of a female coworker more than he would a male counterpart, your antennae should go up — and it’s time for the two of you to set boundaries about what is and isn’t okay at work, Neuman says. Is it acceptable for him to work late if it’s only him and her? Can they travel together to conferences? Have dinners out to discuss a project? Ask him what he’d feel comfortable with you doing with a male colleague.

Only 12% of cheating men said their mistress was more physically attractive than their wife.

In other words, a man doesn’t stray because he thinks he’ll get better sex with a better-looking body. “In most cases, he’s cheating to fill an emotional void,” Neuman says. “He feels a connection with the other woman, and sex comes along for the ride.” If you’re worried about infidelity, focus on making your relationship more loving and connected, not on getting your body just right or finding a sexy new nightie (although men find both very sexy).

Lessons

#1 – Guard your heart. The Bible says “above ALL ELSE, guard your heart”. Don’t allow yourself to go there. If you start to have thoughts about a co-worker or friend – run, flee – deal with it. Be humble and honest with a mentor. See a pastor, counselor, friend, mentor or adviser quickly. Don’t let it go any farther. In addition, protect your eyes/mind from provocative tv, movies and internet. It WILL have an effect on your heart, and therefore, your marriage.

#2 – Stay emotionally connected to your wife. If you’re not getting the encouragement and support you need, go talk with a mentor couple, or counselor together. Find out why, and deal with it. Don’t wait until you have fallen to figure out what could have prevented it. You have to fight for more face time together and keep working on having fun in your relationship. Nothing, not even the children or your job, is more important.

#3 – Stay desperate for God. Jesus said in John 15:5 that we “can do nothing” on our own. Without His strength, wisdom and direction, we will try to figure life out on our own, and will most likely make some painful mistakes. He created marriage. He created sex. He knows our needs and how best to meet those needs. Stay close to Him…every day. Don’t become a statistic.

Your marriage matters.

Huz

Does Sex Really Begin in the Kitchen?

Of the 1,001 wives ages 18-49 surveyed last month, 75% say a good sex life with their spouse is “very or extremely important”; 16% say “somewhat important.”

It’s the “ultimate ‘am I normal’ study,” says Liz Zack of the online women’s community iVillage, which commissioned the study. “We don’t know whether the stuff that happens between the sheets at my house is the same stuff happening in the bedrooms of America.”

For survey respondents, communication translates to action in the bedroom: 44% say they get in the mood for sex when their spouse “says nice things.” That was second only to “feelings of love,” 67%.

“What most surveys find women really want is emotional connection and intimacy as a precondition for being in the mood to have sex,” says John Gottman, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle and author of The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples. “What’s been described as low libido in women is the fact their men stopped courting them. They are no longer trying to be intimate.” Gottman was not involved in the survey.

Eileen Nekava, 29, of Tampa Bay, Fla., says she loves hearing nice things from her husband of six years, Steven Nekava, 38. “It’s nice to know he appreciates me and still thinks about me in that type of way.”

One way they keep that flame going is by making “date nights” a dedicated part of their lives ever since their 4-year-old’s birth. They’ve been married six years, and she’s due with their second child in May.

Nekava, who works in IT sales, and her husband, an engineer, try to avoid talking about work or their daughter on date night. “It’s a way for us to get alone time and us just focus on each other.”

Stephanie Dulli of Washington, D.C., says “hearing nice things absolutely is romantic and a turn-on.” But she’s with the 25% who say “seeing your spouse as a great parent” or the almost 20% who say it’s when your spouse cleans the house or makes dinner that gets them in the mood for sex. “There is nothing sexier in the world than when my husband is giving the baby a bath without me asking. … If he takes it upon himself to do the dishes or the laundry, that’s such an act of service, and that’s another way he shows he cares for me. I find it dreamy.” Dulli has two sons, ages 3 and 8 months.

Okay guys, it is quiet obvious from this, and many other surveys, that women desire intimacy BEFORE sex. They also know when their man is doing chores and other nice things around the house JUST to get sex. As I have said several times on this blog – your wife knows you want sex – what she really wants to know is if you want her.

Feel free to share your comments about how you regularly express your love and appreciation for your wife…..

Start in the kitchen,

Huz

What I Wish My Wife Knew

In her great book, For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men, nationally syndicated newspaper columnist Shaunti Feldhahn recounts the surprising truths she learned about men after interviewing more than one thousand of them.

Yes, you may be different, but in general she found men to have the following characteristics in common….See what you think:

  1. Men would rather feel unloved than inadequate and disrespected. Husbands need to know that their wives respect them both privately and publicly. Men thrive when they know that their wives trust them, admire them and believe in them. Shaunti Feldhahn’s research indicated that men would rather sense the loss of loving feelings from their wives than to be disrespected by them.
  2. A man’s anger is often a response to feeling disrespected by his wife. When a husband becomes angry with his wife, he may not come out and say, “You’re disrespecting me!” But, there is a good likelihood that he is feeling stung by something his wife has done which he considers disrespectful and humiliating.
  3. Men are insecure. Men are afraid that they aren’t cutting it in life — not just at work, but at home, in their role as a husband. They may never vocalize this, but inwardly, they are secretly vulnerable. The antidote? Affirmation. To men, affirmation from their wives is everything! If they don’t receive this affirmation from their wives, they’ll seek it elsewhere. When they receive regular and genuine affirmation from their wives (not flattery, by the way), they become much more secure and confident in all areas of their lives.
  4. Men feel the burden of being the provider for their family. Intellectually, it doesn’t matter how much or little a man makes, or whether or not his wife makes more or less money in her career. Men simply bear the emotional burden of providing for their family. It’s not a burden they’ve chosen to bear. Men are simply wired with this burden. As such, it is never far from their minds and can result in the feeling of being trapped. While wives cannot release their husbands from this burden, they can relieve it through a healthy dose of appreciation, encouragement and support.
  5. Men want more sex. Everyone’s natural response to this is probably, “Duh!” But, that response is probably for the wrong reason. We primarily assume that men want more sex with their wives due to their physical wiring (their “needs”). But, surprisingly, Shaunti Feldhahn’s research showed that the reason men want more sex is because of their strong need to be desired by their wives. Men simply need to be wanted. Regular, fulfilling sex is critical to a man’s sense of feeling loved and desired.
  6. Sex means more than sex. When men feel their wives desire them sexually, it has a profound effect on the rest of their lives. It gives them an increasing sense of confidence and well-being that carries over into every other area of his life. The flipside of this coin also carries a profoundly negative affect. When a husband feels rejected sexually, he not only feels his wife is rejecting him physically, but that she is somehow rejecting his life as a husband, provider and man. This is why making sex a priority in marriage is so incredibly important!
  7. Men struggle with visual temptation. This means the vast majority of men respond to visual images when it comes to women. And, this doesn’t just mean the guys with wandering eyes. Even the most godly husband cannot avoid noticing a woman who dresses in a way that draws attention to her body. Even if it is just a glance, these visual images are stored away in the male brain as a sort of “visual rolodex” that will reappear without any warning. Men can choose whether to dwell on these images and memories or dismiss them, but they can’t control when these images appear.
  8. Men enjoy romance, but doubt their skills to be romantic. True, many men appear to be unromantic clods, but it doesn’t mean that they want to be that way! Men want to be romantic, but they just doubt their ability to pull it off. They are plagued by internal hesitations, perceiving the risk of humiliation and failure as too high. Wives can do a great deal to increase their husbands’ confidence in their romantic skills through encouragement and redefining what romance looks like. For example, a wife may balk when her husband asks her to go along to the hardware store, but it’s likely that he’s asking because he sees it as a time they can get away as a couple and hang out together. What’s not romantic about that?
  9. Men care about their wife’s appearance. This isn’t saying that all men want their wives to look like the latest supermodel. What men really want is to know that their wives are making an effort to take care of themselves (and not letting themselves go) because it matters to them (the husbands!). Husbands appreciate the efforts their wives make to maintain their attractiveness.
  10. Men want their wives to know how much they love them. This was the number one response of men. Men aren’t confident in their ability to express this, but they love their wives dearly. Men want to show how much they love their wives and long for them to understand this fact.

Any of these ring a bell? Maybe we should share with our wives…..

Let us know what you think.

Huz

Religion or Jesus – Part 2

Be sure and read Part 1 before spending much time on Part 2.

RELIGION: My prayer life consists largely of petition and it only heats up when I am in a time of need. My main purpose in prayer is control of the environment.

THE GOSPEL: My prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration. My main purpose is fellowship with Him.

RELIGION: My self-view swings between two poles. If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel insecure and inadequate. I’m not confident. I feel like a failure.

THE GOSPEL: My self-view is not based on a view of my self as a moral achiever. In Christ I am “simul iustus et peccator”—simultaneously sinful and yet accepted in Christ. I am so bad he had to die for me and I am so loved he was glad to die for me. This leads me to deeper and deeper humility and confidence at the same time. Neither swaggering nor sniveling.

RELIGION: My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work. Or how moral I am, and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral. I disdain and feel superior to ‘the other.’

THE GOSPEL: My identity and self-worth are centered on the one who died for His enemies, who was excluded from the city for me. I am saved by sheer grace. So I can’t look down on those who believe or practice something different from me. Only by grace I am what I am. I’ve no inner need to win arguments.

RELIGION: Since I look to my own pedigree or performance for my spiritual acceptability, my heart manufactures idols. It may be my talents, my moral record, my personal discipline, my social status, etc. I absolutely have to have them so they serve as my main hope, meaning, happiness, security, and significance, whatever I may say I believe about God.

THE GOSPEL: I have many good things in my life—family, work, spiritual disciplines, etc. But none of these good things are ultimate things to me. None of them are things I absolutely have to have, so there is a limit to how much anxiety, bitterness, and despondency they can inflict on me when they are threatened and lost.

What are your thoughts? Are you thankful for your relationship? Tell us your story…..

Thanks,

Huz

Religion or Jesus – Part 1

Are you religious?

When I became a Christian back in high school, several of my friends approached me and said – “I heard you got religion”. I politely smiled and acknowledged that I had indeed. It took me many years to find out that what had happened to me was not about religion at all – but about a relationship.

Being religious is me (man) trying to perform well in order to gain God’s approval or withhold His wrath. As long as I live life according to strict moral rules and regulations, God will surely accept me and not punish me. What great joy to find out that Christianity is not about my performance at all – but about the love and sacrifice of Christ. He did all the work, He took all the punishment – so that I could be adopted into His family and be declared righteous before a holy God. When God looks at me He doesn’t see my sinful past, or my inept performance – He sees Jesus.

What follows in a two part post is a very insightful comparison between “religion” and “the gospel” (aka – walking in relationship with Jesus) drawn from the sermons of Tim Keller. I hope it will speak to you and encourage you as it did me:

RELIGION: I obey-therefore I’m accepted.

THE GOSPEL: I’m accepted-therefore I obey.

RELIGION: Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.

THE GOSPEL: Motivation is based on grateful joy.

RELIGION: I obey God in order to get things from God.

THE GOSPEL: I obey God to get to God-to delight and resemble Him.

RELIGION: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or my self, since I believe, like Job’s friends that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.

THE GOSPEL: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while he may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.

RELIGION: When I am criticized I am furious or devastated because it is critical that I think of myself as a ‘good person’. Threats to that self-image must be destroyed at all costs.

THE GOSPEL: When I am criticized I struggle, but it is not critical for me to think of myself as a ‘good person.’ My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ. I can take criticism.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be religious. I am thankful I don’t have to tap dance for God, and that His love, forgiveness and relationship with me is not predicated on my performance.

Thankful,

Huz

Are You Dead Yet? Part 2

Last post, we discussed how we can only produce lasting fruit in this life if we choose to die. But, just what does that look like in my life, and in my relationships?

The Bible is replete with verses that tells us to : put on, put off, flee, walk, run, lay aside, take up, stand, and many more. These are action verbs. They are exhortations, and commands to “do” something. Make decisions. Make choices. Not one-time choices, but continual, daily decisions that will have a profound impact on your own life, and the lives of the people around you.

The charge, repeated over and over again in scripture, is to die. To lay aside your own agenda, your own expectations, goals and rights – and embrace His life and plan for you. For most of us, this is truly a death. We have our own goals and dreams, and God should surely be okay with them. Truth is, He may – but are they His will for your life, or your own. Have you submitted them to Him (like Abraham submitted His lifelong dream , Isaac, to God?

Abraham was willing to give up what he desired most, if that was what God required. God knew Abraham’s heart, and honored His obedience and humility.

Truth is – many of us a just plain fearful that God will require something dreadful of us, or will ask us to do things that will ruin our plan for our life (in our opinion). The other truth is – unless we get to the point where we are willing to submit our life completely to our loving, extravagant Father – we have not decided to die. If we don’t ever die – we can’t expect to see much fruit in our life.

The same is also very true for our marriage. If we refuse to die to our selfish expectations and “I deserve-its” in our marriage, we will see little fulfillment and abundance. We are to love our wives “as Christ loved the church” which requires that we “give ourselves up for her”, aka – “die”.

Jesus explained it very well when asked what it took to be His disciple.

Luke 9:23 – And He was saying to them all, “ If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

“Denying yourself”, “taking up your cross” and “following” all require making choices. This verse also says that those choices should be made “daily”. It seems so simple doesn’t it? But, we all know it isn’t.

My good friend Robbie often says, “The hardest thing about being a Christ-follower, is following Christ”. So true.

So, what will it be? Will we keep demanding our own way, or decide to die? No one can make that decision for us. Like you, I will need to make that decision tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.

When you have to make a choice

and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.

~William James

Seems funny to pray that we will all die….

Huz

Are You Dead Yet?

Why are we here? According to the following verses, we are here on this planet – “to bear much, lasting fruit”.

John 15:16 – You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain,

John 15:8 – My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

God chose us to be fruitful during our lifetime. We are to reflect His character to a lost world. He said we are His body – His hands, His arms, His heart, His feet, etc. so that people can see and experience what He is like when they are with us. What an amazing opportunity, and responsibility.

The honest echoing in our heart tells us that we don’t do a very good job of this. It’s hard to reflect something with a dirty mirror. Our selfish life-focus mars the reflection, and keeps us centered on what we want, instead of what He wants. So, how do we do a better job of bearing fruit?

John 15:5 – I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

First – we have to recognize that we cannot bear good fruit, lasting fruit, by ourselves. Without choosing a daily, and deliberate, lifestyle of abiding (living, walking) with Christ – we are doomed to merely produce crab apples. Those are little apples that look like apples, but are not the real thing. We think that we are producing “much fruit” because we attend church, or a small group meeting; or even occasionally read our Bible, or give some money. Truth is – abiding in Him is not about doing religious activities, but about enjoying communion with a Person. Without that – we can do “nothing”.

Second – Once we recognize that bearing fruit in this life is not about us, but about Him – we must decide to die. Paul told the church at Corinth – “I die every day”. John also knew the secret to being a powerful, fruitful believer – John 12:24 – Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. It is only in dying that real, lasting fruit will ever be produced in our lives.

Next time, we’ll look into what Jesus had to say on this subject,what dying means, and what kind of fruit is actually produced in our lives if we are living this way. Come back….

Huz


Reflections II

We all do it. Whether we admit it or not, we all make resolutions about the new year.

Most of us have personal goals, like how much weight we would like to lose, or that we need to eat more healthy or get more exercise. We certainly have business goals, some of our own making and some made for us…. sales goals, working more/less hours, gaining new clients, less travel away from home, etc.

These thoughts seem to flood our mind in between bowl games this time of year. We start thinking about a brand new year ahead and what we would like to do better, or differently. Surely, this will be the best year ever. This will be a break-through year.

I am already thinking about cleaning off my desk, and being more organized. I’m going to be more deliberate about getting new business, and making some needed changes to my ministry focus. So much to think about. I need more vacation time to plan all this.

Forgive me, but I feel it is my duty, my calling, to remind you (and me) that our 2012 top priorities should remain #1 our daily, personal walk with Christ and #2 our daily, deliberate relationship with our wife. This year, let’s think beyond our typical man ideas of – I’ll read through the One-Year Bible, or I’ll get involved in a small group (both are great things to do by the way).

Spend some time asking your Father what He would like you to do to get to know Him better this coming year. Think beyond religious activity and about a personal relationship. What would make your relationship with the Father the best and closest it has ever been in 2012?

Then, spend some deliberate time thinking about how to become the very best husband on the planet in 2012. It will take thought, but more importantly, it will take action. How can you become more emotionally engaged with her? How can you carve out more time together? How can you court/date her more deliberately? How can you regularly demonstrate to her how much you love her? What can you do every single day to appreciate and affirm her as God’s personal provision and helper?

Write down the ideas God puts in your heart. Keep them in your wallet, or in your Daytimer. Be daring, and ask her how you can be better at the things mentioned above.

Make 2012 the year of being a more Deliberate Husband. Think about it. Plan it. Do it.

Read at least one marriage/relationship book this year. Read one together. Go to a marriage class or seminar together. Spend more nights away today – away from the kids and the office. Invest heavily in your relationship.

Ephesians 5:28 – he who loves his wife, loves himself. (ie: your needs will be met as you meet hers first).

2 Corinthians 9:6 – The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

In 2012 – let’s all challenge each other to sow bountifully into our marriage relationship. Our marriage will thrive if we do….. and God will smile.

Happy New Year!

Huz

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