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I Call Him Dad

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The Influence of a Godly Life

For his 85th birthday, Andy Stanley hosted a warm and personal interview of his father. With these words Andy began: “He is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Atlanta and president of In Touch Ministries. You know him as Dr. Charles Stanley; I call him Dad.

Then, for the next half hour, the audience sat and listened to this heartfelt dialog, as one question easily followed another — questions about life, ministry, parenting, and priorities. Below (paraphrased for clarity and continuity) are selections from that interview.

(Andy) You are 85 years old! How long are you going to keep going, doing what you are doing?

(Dr. Stanley) As long as the Lord gives me the strength, the energy, and the message. I want my life to count until my last day.

(Andy) I remember getting a call from you, and you told me that you would like to find a pastor a little bit ahead of you and ask him some questions. And I told you that there is no such person! But if that person existed, what would you ask?

(Dr. Stanley) Does it ever get easier? I would ask such a person if it ever gets easier, especially the sermon preparation.

After I have preached on Sunday morning, I take a nap on Sunday afternoon, get up from my nap, and start again. I ask The Lord, “What is next?” What is the need?” This makes sure I keep my heart clean, pure, and committed.

(Andy) Who has had the greatest influence on your life?

(Dr. Stanley) Spiritually, my grandfather. But then, there was Dr. W.A. Criswell. As a young seminary student I heard him preach in Dallas on Romans 5:1-2: “This Grace in Which We Stand.” (Even now, it makes me weep to remember.) I told God, “God, I knew there was somewhere a man who could preach like this.” He inspired me more than any other.

(Andy) What advice would you give to people in their 20’s?

(Dr. Stanley) You need to know what your purpose is all about. Don’t just float through life going from one job to another.

A lot of people live without purpose. These people are never satisfied, never complete. So ask, “What does God want to do with my life?” Major on asking God to give you direction for your life.

(Andy) What advice would you give to people in their 30’s and 40’s, people who are trying to raise their children?

(Dr. Stanley) I would tell parents to be honest with their children, to convey to them a sense of purpose, and to model your relationship with The Lord, if you want such for them.

In parenting, I sought to impart to you (Andy) and your sister Becky both purpose and freedom. I told you, “God has a plan for your life, and you don’t want to miss it.” And with freedom, I constantly reminded you, “You are accountable to God.” This is a powerful parenting combination: purpose and freedom.

(Andy) I want our audience to know the backstory. So many pastors are married to the church. But to your credit, you never missed a ballgame, and you were at every special event. You got these right.

(Andy) What advice would you give to people in their 60’s and 70’s?

(Dr. Stanley) Ask God, “What is the next chapter in my life; what is the next challenge; what do You want me to accomplish now?” Never disengage from life. Live out your life to the last day doing something that is wise, godly, and profitable for you and for the people who know you.

(Andy) Your prayer life is the most important thing in your life.

You taught me that morning prayer time is where we get re-centered. And you taught me to do that on my knees. This posture of submission is so powerful; I learned it from you.

(Dr. Stanley) Yes. If your prayer life is not right, nothing else is right. The most important one thing we can do is pray. Just to think, I can talk to the heavenly Father. He is personally interested. Remember, He knows all about you, He knows the past, present, and future, and He knows what He equipped you to do. He is there to listen to you talk to Him!

(Andy) When I think about what brings you the most joy, it is still you relationship with Jesus Christ. You are the most surprised by your success. You are the most surprised by the breath of the ministry. Consequently, you are the most grateful for all that God has done.

Happy Birthday!

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

“The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.” (Proverbs 20:29)

What is one piece of wisdom you gleaned from this interview?

What in life brings you the most joy?

How do you plan to reorder your priorities based on the advice of this 85-year-old man?

Note: The complete interview is available youtube.com/watch?v=eed7JWjlhmQ

Dealing With a Difficult Boss

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The pain on her face revealed the severity of inner turmoil. As I listened, I grieved with my friend as she articulated her challenge: A Difficult Boss.

Long after my acquaintance and I parted, her scenario stayed with me. What could I possibly offer? After prayerful consideration, three factors emerged.

Perhaps you — or someone close to you — faces the same problem, and would find these factors beneficial. Here they are:

The God Factor

Only God can redeem such, so turn to Him with two laser-specific prayers.

1) Thank Him for the situation, and ask that He use it to make you more like Jesus.

2) Ask God to give you a supernatural love and compassion toward your boss. Feelings of compassion are marvelous, but God might be asking you to love with His love, whether or not you feel loving.

The You Factor

Set mental boundaries.

Do not allow this individual to define who you are. When said person comes to mind, create a one-word association with the image: love. Then, move your mind to other life-giving images.

Set spiritual boundaries.

An inordinate amount of focus can lead to such a matter controlling one’s heart and mind. So, be vigilant, and refuse to allow the relationship to become an idol.

Set social boundaries.

When possible, place an imaginary No Trespassing sign on your conversations with friends. Don’t let the subject of your boss rob you of much needed life-giving fellowship.

Set physical boundaries.

Deny this relationship access into the peaceful atmosphere of your home. Dr. Howard Hendricks, beloved professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, told of his practice. At a certain bridge on his driving route home, he mentally tossed out the difficulties from his day. He knew they would be there for him when he drove to the office the next morning, and he could collect them again. But he determined these difficulties would not go with him into the door of his home.

Then, of course, there is …

The Boss Factor

Seek a godly perspective of this individual. In humility, ask yourself, “What is going on below the surface in the life of my boss?” “Am I called by God to be a source of encouragement?”

Now, this next component requires courage, maybe fasting, and perhaps the presence of another colleague. The timing is crucial, so conceivably, this step is only appropriate at a quarterly review or year-end assessment. When the moment presents itself, go into the discussion with the words of James 1:19 guarding your actions: Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Then, following the leading of the Holy Spirit, ask your boss:

  1. What contribution can I make to help our organization (office, team, business) move ahead?

  2. Where can I improve? What changes do I need to make?

  3. What can I do in this situation to help you do your job well?

Having acquired this information, go to Jesus and seek His supernatural guidance as to whether or not you are in the right place of employment or service. Ask Him if He wants you to move on, or if He wants you to wait. Allow the wisdom from Proverbs 3: 5-6 to light your way. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." — even in Dealing With a Difficult Boss.

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

When did you experience a situation like that of my friend?

How did God meet you in your difficulty?

What advice would you offer to a friend who comes to you in a similar dilemma?

Are Older Women Happier?

as read in the New York Times

as read in the New York Times

The Joy of Being a Woman in Her Seventies

A dear friend brought this article to my attention, and I want to make it available to you. The recent feature in the New York Times makes for interesting reading, and provides a springboard for discussion.

The Joy of Being a Woman in Her Seventies begins with these thoughts from author Mary Pipher. Dr. Pipher is a clinical psychologist.

“… most of the women I know describe themselves as being in a vibrant and happy life stage. We are resilient and know how to thrive in the margins. Our happiness comes from self-knowledge, emotional intelligence and empathy for others.”

Five of her observations are highlighted below:

1. Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice.

2. Gratitude is not a virtue but a survival skill, and our capacity for it grows with our suffering.

3. Our happiness is built by attitude and intention. Attitude is not everything, but it’s almost everything. I visited the jazz great Jane Jarvis when she was old …. I asked if she was happy and she replied, “I have everything I need to be happy right between my ears.”

4. We know that all our desires will not be fulfilled, that the world isn’t organized around pleasing us and that others, especially our children, are not waiting for our opinions and judgments.

5. There is sweetness to 50-year-old friendships and marriages that can’t be described in language.

No, I am not 70, but near enough for the word seventy to be a placeholder in my vocabulary. Perhaps you are decades away from your 70’s or perhaps you, too, see the seven and zero just around the corner. (If you already reside in the 7th decade of life, congratulations!) In any case, this content from an ultra liberal, secular periodical provides insight surprisingly consistent with God’s Word.

Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.. (Job 12:12)

What do you think? Are older women happier?

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

Are you 70 or do you know someone who is 70?

What is your perspective on growing older?

Which observation is most intriguing to you?

Are older women happier? Why or why not?

How would you sift these thoughts from a secular periodical through the eternal Word of God?