Well this is the first of I’m sure many posts concerning my adjustments to life with a child. Don’t get me wrong, having a son has been a tremendous blessing…but there are times when I really feel the change. My 32nd birthday was one of those moments. Below are a few of the ways that Ben is bringing about change to life…

1. My birthday began way earlier this year than ever before.

Ben got the day started early. 5:30 AM. I used to have trouble waking up at this time of day, but that issue is being corrected quickly thanks to my son. He brings the energy at that time of day and then keeps it going throughout. I can honestly say that my 32nd birthday was the earliest I have every woken up to begin my celebrating. Thanks son.

2. My birthday revolved around my family.

I love that now I get to celebrate the day with my wife and son. They bring me a tremendous amount of joy and I’m so glad to hang out with them. I loved that I got to have breakfast at home, go to one of my favorite restaurants (Tarahumara’s in Norman) for lunch, and relax at the house for dinner…and have them with me all along the way. What a blessing.

3. My birthday included a run.

I was excited about my birthday lunch. I went to my favorite Mexican restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed the food! But I am also running a half marathon in Seattle in the month of June, which means I need to train. So after eating a great Mexican meal and a cookie on top of that, I went for a 10 mile run that afternoon. It was terrible. It was windy, humid, and the sun was out. Did I mention I had Mexican food for lunch? But here’s how Ben works into the running part of my birthday: I want to stay as healthy & active as I can so that I can fully enjoy the time we have together…plus I also want to set a good example of self-discipline for my son starting now.

So there you go, a few ways that Ben is changing life and bringing more focus to what’s important. By the way, the¬†picture at the top of the post was taken towards the end of my birthday celebrating just before Ben went to bed…it is a classic! Have a good one friends!

This coming Sunday, I have the opportunity to preach at my church in the morning services. If you think of it, pray for me and my church family as we go through Titus 2:11-14. So in light of spending the past few weeks studying the passage and getting ready to preach, I thought I would share 2 quick thoughts on preparing & preaching a sermon.

1. Preparing a sermon takes more than time than you might think.

This may sound obvious, but it needs to be said…preparing takes a lot of time. Every preacher does it differently, but here’s the gist of what I see preachers doing to prepare. They study the passage on their own, they read commentaries, they write an outline, they get their major ideas for the sermon, then they rework all those ideas into an organized sermon. After that, a lot of preachers will preach through the sermon on their own during the week several times in order to bring clarity to certain points and work on introductions as well as applications. All that prep work takes time. On Sunday morning, we get to hear a well thought out, organized sermon…be thankful to God that your pastor did the hard work of preparation.

2. Preaching a sermon is hard work.

There’s a lot of reasons that preaching is hard. The delivery of the sermon is tough because you are wanting to make the truth of the passage clear to the people who are hearing. You don’t want to clutter a sermon to the point where people lose sight of what is most important in the text. You also want to speak in a way that is culturally effective. Delivering a sermon isn’t just transferring information from the speaker to the hearer. The goal of the sermon is to see God’s people engage with the Word of God so that they can engage their world for God’s glory. That’s serious stuff. I get it do it from time to time, but the person who stands up week after week preaching before their congregation…they deserve a lot of respect. In fact the Bible tells us that in 1 Timothy 5:17-18. Be thankful to God for your pastor that does the hard work of preaching.

Bottom line: Let’s encourage our pastors. Let’s pray for our pastors. Let’s listen well to the sermons they’ve worked hard to prepare & preach!

In my last post I talked about how I wound up going back to the flip phone. Like anything else that is a bit bold, there is some uncertainty; but you eventually work your way to comfort as you adapt to the move. That’s what has happened with me and the AT&T z222.

I have now had the phone for over 2 weeks and have really enjoyed the experience. Some people have asked me how long I plan to keep the z222, and I really don’t have a plan. I like it for now, I don’t want to get a different phone…but I’m not going to make any declarations like, “Flip Phone for Life!” or anything like that. It works for now, it has been refreshing…so I’m fine leaving it at that.

But in the last few days I’ve had more people asking me this question: “What’s it like?”  Well let me tell you 3 Pros and 3 Cons from what I’ve experienced so far. You can decide if it’s for you.

PROS

1. You forget about your flip phone.

This is the absolute best part of the flip phone experience. Instead of feeling some sort of detachment anxiety when your phone is away, you realize that the flip phone is pretty minimal in terms of its use…so you forget about it. There have been a few different occasions over the past few weeks where I find myself enjoying company at our home and realize a few hours later that my phone has been in another room the entire evening. That’s been so encouraging and freeing!

2. You don’t get group messages very often.

I have no idea how this works, but sometimes you get group messages and other times you don’t. I like this. Maybe I’m the only one, but most of the time I was wishing I could leave a group message on my iPhone. It has been really nice to get the original message from a person, but not have to see all the responses from others. I used to spend time trying to think of what to say in group messages, or how much to say…now I don’t have to worry about it!

3. You don’t get notifications on the flip phone.

I was the person who could not refrain from looking at the iPhone when I had a notification. I know you can turn off notifications, but I hadn’t done it. In fact, I think that’s partly why people get a smart phone, to be accessible from anywhere. Anyways…once I knew what I was being notified about something, I felt like I had to deal with it at that exact moment. It would drive me crazy not to do so! Here’s my example: My phone would notify me about an email I just received. I would open the email & it is one that needs my response. Well now I have looked at the email and know I need to respond, so I need to do it immediately! Drop whatever I’m doing, get this email returned. That just burned me out. It has been good to check and respond to email when I have my computer. I just don’t need to get notifications about everything at every moment of the day.

CONS (With a Positive Twist)

1. You don’t have a good camera with your flip phone.

I know there was a time when a 4 megapixel camera was high end, but taking a picture with the z222 is just depressing. I have a 6 month old son that I love to take pictures of, but there just isn’t much point when you have the flip phone. Here’s the positive twist: you take more pictures with an actual camera, which is always fun. I may even start getting pictures printed.

2. You don’t get to play much music with your flip phone.

I love music! I have a car that can play music from your phone via Bluetooth and it was wonderful when I had an iPhone. All your favorite albums could be on the iPhone and you could sing along as you drove. It was a great thing. You can still put music on the flip phone, but you won’t get much on it. In fact, it really isn’t worth it. Just accept it and move on. Here’s the positive twist: you need to start buying vinyl records anyways! Vinyl is something you can pass on to your kids or grandkids. It is fun to have a great record player. Seriously, stop buying from iTunes and get with the times…buy vinyl!

  
3. You miss out on Instagram with your flip phone.

I actually miss this more than I thought I would. I miss seeing my friend post a picture everyday of their kid. I miss the artistic friend who finds a way to use filters well. I miss the typical person taking a picture of the sunset or of their car dash thermometer when it is really hot outside. I didn’t think I would, but I really do. Here’s the positive twist: you get to ask questions when you see your friends. I don’t know where they ate last weekend, or what they did on their vacation, or what their kid did that was really cute. I’ll probably be more interested in their lives because of the lack of constant access to Instagram.