Archives For Life

This post was adapted from my book Money: God or Gift. For a limited time, Money is available for free by writing a review of the book via Story Cartel, plus receive a chance to win a Kindle Reader.

Are you a Rich Fool?

Sounds harsh, I know. The thing about the Rich Fool is he doesn’t even have to be rich. He simply needs to care more about his stuff than the Creator of all his stuff. We can all fall into the foolish trap and forget that “life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions.”

This trap poses a lot of questions for managing our money. Does this mean we’re to avoid possessions entirely and take a vow of poverty? Should we not then be saving for retirement? How can we be wise and plan for the future without becoming the Rich Fool?

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My wife Crystal recently got me a Kindle for my birthday. I love it. The effectiveness of having so many book options at my fingertips, all stored in one place, and the ability to highlight and export quotes is a huge time saver. Reading is one of the most important things we do in life and I’m a huge fan of any tool that helps me read more effectively.

As an author, one of the most common responses to an invitation to read one of my Kindle books is, “I don’t own a Kindle.” Because I know how helpful books can be, particularly when they are as accessible as Kindle books, I wanted to give you 4 simple steps to reading Kindle books if you don’t own a Kindle. It’s now easier than ever.

You Don’t Need a Kindle to Read a Kindle Book

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Who’s to Blame?

June 11, 2013

“Me or you?” “Him or her?” “Us or them?”

Who’s to blame?

It’s a question that has plagued the human race since the beginning of time.

I had started this post several months ago and never finished it. But I was reminded of it again this last weekend: for the last 8 years, early June has marked the ending of Little League baseball for the Munson family. My oldest son Caleb is 12 now, but has been playing ball along with his 9 year old brother, Orin. (Today is Orin’s birthday, by the way, Happy Birthday buddy). Anyway, both boys were fortunate to make it to the championship games Sunday, so we spent the day at the ball field.

There is perhaps no clearer life example than the game of baseball to study the use of blame casting. Why did we lose? The error so-and-so made in the 2nd inning, the strikeout by so-and-so with the bases loaded and 2 outs, or the umpire’s bad call at home plate. Yesterday’s game was filled with these types of scenarios, and I wasn’t blameless regarding blame-shifting. Orin’s team won their game and Caleb lost but was not void of controversy.

In situations like this, blame was flying all over the place, and yes, the parents are always worse than the kids.

Two people to blame

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Enjoy the process.

This is probably the single most difficult piece of advice for me to follow.

I hear it all the time, but I rarely live it out.

I am so results-driven that it often leads me to be impatient. I want the mission accomplished yesterday. I want the finished product. I want it done. I need it done. The uncertainty of the middle of the process kills me. I’ve written about this topic before—about how we constantly want something more and are not content with what we have. I know I’m not alone in struggling with this.

My tendency towards discontent is most likely a sign of my desire to control my whole life; my need to be in charge of every little detail. It is natural to want to manage my life so that it goes the way I want it to. But it isn’t healthy or godly.

Discontentment is destructive.

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Over the years I’ve spent a fair amount of time consulting with various leaders, helping them think through their personal story and the story of their organization. I’m a big believer in the idea that we’re born into a very particular family, at a very particular time, in a very particular place for a very particular purpose. Our stories aren’t done being written and they grow as we live each day, but they are part of a larger story. I love hearing these stories and helping people think through, and make meaning of the circumstances they find themselves in. The very hard to understand truth is that our lives are full of more joy when we realize it’s not all about us.

Life is bigger than you or me.

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I’ve been traveling a lot for my work with Storyville Coffee lately. They’ve all been good and important trips, but nonetheless a lot of time away from home. I don’t mind traveling, except for it always puts me behind. A little while ago I spent a week in Orlando working on a video project (can’t wait to tell you about it). We were on set all day, and prepping for the next day during the evenings. The emails and phone calls stacked up, the text messages from back home surged. I guess that’s how it usually happens: busy in meetings while the rest of life relentlessly stacks up.

I was recently asked by a friend, “How do you manage a career, writing, a family, a zillion soccer and baseball games, involvement at church, sleep, eating, and everything else?” As I pondered the question, two different answers came to mind. The right answer is what everyone will tell you these days, a perfectly painted picture of crisis-free productivity. The real answer is the answer that trumps everything, and I’m afraid that, without it, we’re lying to ourselves.

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Martin Luther famously stated “Sin is the self bending in on the self.” A fruitless cycle we find ourselves in, much like a dog chasing its own tail. When “self” is the motivation and goal, we run and run and only ever end up with something less than what we’re after. 

This is exactly the problem. We chase so many things for our own personal gain, and if/when we finally get them, it doesn’t actually fulfill us. Even if we think we’ve arrived and reached that long pursued goal, it doesn’t last long as something newer and shinier lies along the horizon.

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Boasting in Jesus

March 30, 2013

The whole world is talking about Jesus this weekend, so I figured I would too.

For those who don’t believe in God: I’d encourage you to take some time over the next few days to consider Jesus. Take this opportunity to think deeply about who he is and who he said he was. Answering this question is the most important thing you’ll do your whole life.

For the Christian: stop and sit for a moment, and think about who you were before you met Jesus.  Where were you living?  What were you doing with your life?  What did you believe about life and God?  What motivated you?  How did you spend your time?  Who were your friends?

For me it’s a scary thought. I grew up in Montana with a pretty messy life that was far from God. I lived for the approval of others and for pleasure. I was my own god. I probably would’ve called myself a Christian, but my life would’ve said otherwise.

When I moved to Seattle, I started attending church with my older sister and her family. I came for all the wrong reasons: to feel morally upright, to meet a girl, and frankly because I didn’t have any friends yet and didn’t know what else to do.

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It’s almost tax day, have you finished yours yet? I don’t like dealing with taxes so I tend to put it off until the last minute. We just submitted ours to the accountant today, narrowly hitting his deadline for getting them done by April 15th.

My wife Crystal and I have long sought after the best way to manage our personal finances together. It wasn’t automatic and is an area that we’re continually striving to do better with. Loaded or broke, money is one of those things that kills marriages. I’ve read some places that money problems are one of the most cited reasons that couples get divorced. Maybe you’re not headed for divorce, but are you stressed out, anxious, and constantly arguing about money in your marriage?

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It’s too easy to wake up in the morning and start your day in the midst of noise.

Maybe you clamor out of bed and immediately plow through the dozens of emails that came during the night. I’ve done that – and woken up many times to that little round red number staring at me from my iPhone. How about flicking on the TV to catch the news before you leave the house? Maybe you check Facebook on your phone while you brew some coffee. Even your family could be part of this: maybe you launch into your day by corralling your family and the many needs they have. All of those are fine things and I’m not here to create a new list of rules to follow. But…

It’s easy to start your days without ever allowing yourself to think your own thoughts.

“Thinking your own thoughts first” sounds selfish, but hear me out.

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