Thursday, January 28, 2010

Myopic Giving

"At least 1.5 billion people in the world have NEVER even heard about Christ and the Good News. How easily that number slides off our lips with little comprehension of what it means! One of the problems is that we are myopic and see what is close to us. That is why 97.5% of the money in the (U.S.) offering plates stays at home and only 2.5% gets to the rest of the world." - Avery Willis, Executive Director, International Orality Network

And I'll add that only 1% of that goes to unreached people groups representing people in nations with not one self-sustaining church.

Do you have a passion to rescue lost people?

"We don't ever give up hope. If it is not us, another team will find someone. It doesn't matter who it is." - British rescuer Andy Read in Haiti, quoted by The Press Association

What if we had the same passion for rescuing lost people.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Books vs. iPad

I'll add my 2 cents at the end of this great article by one of my most favorite bloggers. dg

Give Me a Book

I am, unashamedly, a book man.
You may have expected me to say a “reading” man, which would also be true. As St. Cyprian of Carthage wrote, “Be assiduous in prayer and reading. In the one you speak to God. In the other God speaks to you.” 
But for me, it’s not just about reading - it’s about books.  I agree with the monk in Normandy who, in 1170, wrote that “A monastery without a library is like a castle without an armory. Our library is our armory.” 
This means we should engage in building it, fortifying it, at every opportunity. When I was in graduate school, I recall one of my professors saying that we should have a line-item in our budget for books. That building a good library is one of the most important things we can do in ministry and for impact. 
I tell my own graduate students the same thing - to invest in books. They are our tools. A mechanic has his set of wrenches; a doctor has his stethoscope; a chef has his cookware. Those of us in ministry, or scholarship (and ideally they are joined at the hip), have our books.
When I “require” books for my students, my intent is simple: these are worth not only reading, but owning. 
Buy them. Build your library. It is your armory.
But let’s return to the book as a physical manifestation. Because it’s not just its content – it’s the importance of the book itself.
I love the feel of a book, holding it in my hands, smelling the paper and, if old, the dust and age. I love marking it up, highlighting key passages and annotating it along the sides. 
Which is why I never lend a book – if lost, it would be far more of a loss than the mere price of its replacement. 
I would lose my engagement with the work, the conversation I had with the author that had been recorded in my written interaction on its pages. Unless engaged again in the same manner, I would never be able to pull it off of the shelf and, in the span of a half-hour or so, reacquaint myself with the entire dialogue and gain from it all that it had bestowed upon its initial reading.
Not wanting to read myself into another, but it reminds me of the request the apostle Paul made of Timothy. Paul was in jail for proclaiming Christ, and requested only two things:
“I left my coat...So when you come, bring it to me, along with my books, particularly the ones written on parchment” (II Timothy 4:13, NCV).
He didn’t just want books; he wanted his books.
One last confession of a card-carrying bibliophile...I also love the look of a book and all the “display” elements that go with it (so yes, I drool over every Levenger catalog). 
This is why I so enjoy old libraries, and particularly the Bodleian of Oxford (and within the Bodleian, particularly Duke Humphrey’s Library, the oldest of the reading rooms). My Oxford reading card, and the access it gives me to the most ancient of manuscripts and most enticing of reading environments, is among my most prized possessions.
(And why one of my favorite movies is The Name of the Rose – a medieval murder mystery inside an ancient monastery which hides one of the great hidden libraries in all of Europe – and all this with Sean Connery in the lead! And just in case you haven’t seen it, one more enticement: historian Norman Cantor listed it as among the most authentic movie portrayals of the middle ages).
Why do I bring this up? I was recently asked about audio books, and Kindle, and I confess my response was somewhat muted.
I think audio learning is wonderful.  I'm a big fan (and customer) of "The Teaching Company," arguably the leader of such things in the field.  Yet I do not feel that audio recordings of books - while often convenient - should become full-scale substitutes for books and the actual reading of books.
Various studies I have read over the years have shown that there is a different mental "workout" involved with reading as opposed to mere listening. There is certainly a greater degree of retention. 
Further, the physical interaction with a book is indispensable.  So while listeningto the Bible, or a book, can be a helpful addition to things, listening alone is no substitute for reading.
And even my use of something such as “The Teaching Company” is greatly enhanced by reading the accompanying study guides, not to mention investing in the reading list encouraged for every class. 
So I would treat such things as I would an actual high school or college course. Yes, attend to the lecture.  But then do the reading and, when asked, the writing and research necessary to complete the experience.
As for Kindle, I will confess I have not attempted to read a book in that manner.  Quite frankly, it has held little appeal to me (though I can appreciate its convenience and economy).  It is still reading, however, and so I find little to critique beyond the fact that you cannot “mark up” the pages, highlight passages, or, as someone once reminded me, have it "appeal" to you to turn off the TV and read something the way an enticing stack of books undoubtedly does. 
I hope this jeremiad is unnecessary. Unfortunately, it probably is.
The great concern of George Orwell, as conveyed in his novel 1984, was of a day when there might be those who would ban books. 
Aldous Huxley’s portrait of the future in Brave New World was more prescient; Huxley feared that there would be no reason to ban a book.
There would be no one who wanted to read one.
James Emery White
For what it is worth, I receive nothing in return for the following links – but since I know that in mentioning them there may be numerous emails requesting links, the following are provided:
For Levenger products, see http://www.levenger.com.
A nice jpg of Sir Humphrey’s Library at the Bodleian, though it doesn’t do it full justice: http://www.gonzalobarr.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/trinity-college-library-dub.jpg
For the Teaching Company, see, http://www.teach12.com/teach12.aspx?ai=16281

Since I haven't used a Kindle or eReader of any kind so far, I cannot speak to how they compare to a book. And I admit that I love the dynamic of reading pages and the smell of old books full of great stuff. However...

On the day that Apple's new iPad is unveiled (iWow!), I think our reading experience will begin to change (mostly for the better). With all the potential options available to us through interactive media, reading can become a much richer experience. Sure there will be the tension between focused attention and lots of potential rabbits to chase, but that can be fun. 

So I say, "More books!" And I say, "More and better ereaders+!"

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Book of the Shepherd: A book review

The Book of the Shepherd is a fairy tale-like story of a shepherd on an adventure to discover the "New way." Living in a harsh world of laws where an "eye for an eye" is the status quo, there is an extreme lack of grace and mercy. Not able to put his finger on what's wrong, he sets out to find out for in his gut he knows there should and could be more.

His picks up companions for his journey. Elizabeth, the young maiden, and the boy David, who the shepherd helps, make delightful traveling companions. Each has a story that is sad in parts but not without hope. They swap their stories with those they meet along the way, picking up valuable advice and wisdom in the process. 

With the help of Elizabeth's map, they are able to plumb the mysteries of the cave (where the "New way" will be found according to their map from Elizabeth's grandfather) that none have yet to return from. Overcoming great odds, they discover the treasure that is the "New law": The law of substitution, where love is substituted for hate, hope for dispair and so on. 

We later learn where much of the wisdom in the story comes from: an eclectic mix of writings from Charlotte's Webb to the Gnostic Gospels to The Golden Compass
Curiously, while there are many thoughts that find their origin in the Bible, never is that mentioned or given credit even in the "Resources" section. Perhaps this causal attitude toward the Bible is where it's greatest weakness lies. 

While I have no qualms with the essence of the law of substitution (actually comes from "The Simple Prayer" or the Prayer of St. Fancis"), there is a bit of confusioin in the story as a result. Much of it rings true but some parts left me puzzled. 

For example: "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you." Well, that all depends on what's in you, does it not. If you follow the truth of the Bible, you would want to know if they were following the old nature or new nature from within. And does this mean that you can save yourself or that God in you saves you? And if he's in you, are you not already saved?

I admit a bias to believing that the Bible is truth. This is why I struggled with some of what was written. Other questionable influences include Native American practice and The Golden Compass (A book that is openly hostile to the God of the Bible). 

I tried to envision reading this book to children. I think it reads well that way as the chapters are short, they move crisply and there are lots of stories with lots of dialogue. By and large I liked the stories and lessons they taught. I believe a biblically grounded person could navigate this book of teaching opportunities well. But I call for caution to the lesson informed. 

One must remember that it is a story of stories. Fiction gets more latitude than non-fiction. However, lessons, truths and moral impressions are clearly taught through fiction and that's why I would exercise caution here. The mixture of contrary religious influences could do more harm than good if consumed to an extreme or without the influence of other stronger literature (like the Bible for starters).

In the end, I probably wouldn't recommend picking up this book with so many other better options out there. That said, I wouldn't lose a lot of sleep if you did either. I will probably read it to my 10-year old and use it as an opportunity to test her ability to discern.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me to read and review by Viralbloggers.com.

Haiti: Eye-witness account of what's it like right now

The following email is a compilation of texts and phone calls from Aaron in Haiti. I met Aaron in Mt. Pleasant, SC not long ago. He's with Water Mission International but on this trip he's just with a group of doctors doing what they can. His description of the chaos they've been living and working in tells some of the horrific story in Haiti--and the grace of God in action. Darien

Sent: Fri, January 22, 2010 12:29:21 AM
Subject: Latest updates are at the bottom!

So here are the latest upsdates with a great answer to prayer at the bottom.
Thought the best way would be to just copy the reports the way he is sending them to me. He is able to text, but not email, so they are short and to the point.
Thank you all for your prayers!!!!!

There are 2 Haitian doctors at that hospital plus the 2 we sent down and 2 emts, seeing about 200 people a day!

Phone text messages from Aaron Stephens who is working with the team that flew down from Hilton Head last Friday, Dr. Rick Reed, Dr, Rob Belding, Mick Petrillo emt/pilot, Adam Kurtz emt.

They are in Bonne Fin at Hopital Lumiere. They brought down 2 surgeons, emts, and 1 pilot and a plane full of medical supplies, which are now out.

The Hospital is located 2 hours from Les Cayes airport, and about a 6-7 hr drive from Port-au-Prince.

Hopital Lumiere is about 20 miles west of  Les Cayes (toward PAP),  then  north (about 5 miles) from Cavaillon.  It is  about 70 miles south east of Port.  It is known throughout the country as has had missionary medical personnel there in years past.   Roads are passable.
 18.3946,  -73.6087

Monday 12:00 am

Besides text below he called last night and said. There have been several amputations, feet, hands, arms, etc...yesterday an 8 yr old lost her leg and an old man and little boy died.

They are staying at a missions house near the hospital and they have food and water, but the water will run out soon.

The area they are in was not affected structuraly by the earthquake, but the hospitals there are seeing patients because they are doing the 7 hr drive in the backs of trucks and on mopeds.

The people realize that they won't get help in PAP so they are moving out to look for help.

From:Aaron  8:45 am Tuesday

The wailing and tears and smell of dead tissue and desperate hearts is heavy today.  We've had two people die so far this week mostly due to DEHYDRATION. We have a church here now that is giving water from a bucket but w/o saline drips we will lose more.  7 day old open fractures w/o pain meds, sanitation, or anitbiotics and crowded spaces not sterile. It is BAD.
This hospital is a miracle for most. j

Stand by for some stuff I need you to get to Red Cross or GO and beg from Red Cross in PAP.

If you reach Global Outreach tell them where we are and that we have dehydration, tetnus, sepsis, open breaks that are 7 days old full of pus and gangrene.


Dire need of betadine, tetnustoxide,I.V. fluids, lap pads, ABD pads, 4x4 gauze, kerlex,klng, staple guns, disposable gowns and drapes.

We need all casting supplies, stuff for amputations. Redcross in PAP has what we need.  We just need to get it here.

Text from Aaron: 12:55pm Tuesday

Great news the U.N. is here with food and water...no med supplies but I gave them our list of desperately needed things and prayerfully we will get supplies. Maybe THEY can squeeze what we need from Red Cross. Pray for quick delivery!

Text from Aaron 3:45pm Tuesday

The smells of the poor people beign brought in by truck are unimagineable. The Dr.'s are makng life and death calls on age and making hard decisions on not "wasting" meds or treatment on those they can't save.Whew we have got it easy!!! 

Text from Aaron 4:32 Tuesday

I have been pulling orders from the docs and Mike when they come

Some are just too gone to be saved. Limbs are coming off that would have been saved if this happened in the states or if PAP hospital was standing :( It is that saving 1 leg could mean death for someone else,cause of the drugs it takes to save that leg. We could save several extremities if we had proper drugs.

Text from Aaron 8:23 pm Tuesday
Answered prayers are trickling in tonight we received gowns, surgical prescrub, surgical scrub, airmask, and some drugs, betadyne and IV fluids,tetanus toxide, to prevent an epidemic and such. Salavation Army sent food like rice and tuna that the church will handle tomorrow. We also received ALOT of aspirin and ibuprofen which we will hand out with water tomorrow. These people have endured 8 days of unimagineable pain with out a single pill. I will remember this the next time I get a headache. Bless the Living God of Isreal who hears the prayers of His people.Amen!


Text from Aaron 9:08 pm Tuesday

Pray we are about to lose a 7 yr old girl because of lack of oxygen.

Text from Aaron 9:36 pm Tuesday

As of now she is stable. I was washing her body with cloths and water. She was hot with rapid breathing and looooowww heart rate. I prayed for her and Mike did too but he cried real bad when he started to pray.  had to tell him " Mike don't cry out or the whole room will start wailing." He then focused on her.
Washing her I of course was reminded of obvious scripture references. I looked her mama in the eye, held up the water bottle and a rag and said, " Come you wash your daughter, sing to her." She did and her daughter instantly calmed down. Her heart rate went up and she is holding stable. Oh the power of touch!!


TEXT 8:17
One of the docs and I felt something around 4 am. It moved my bed and I put my feet down to bail. But nothing else.
Turns out it WAS an after shock we felt but went back to sleep.

TEXT 1:37
Mighty God!!!! U.N. Drs. are here with lines for our I.V.bags and are working in the ER.
Bless God for answered prayer!

TEXT 3:00
I've been on the floor for the last 2 hrs working with a UN guy from Urugray who speaks no english, with I.V. prep and I open stuff while he does the insertion. Then I tape a crutch to the wall to elevate the bag, cuz we have no IV stands. I pray for the people too. We just lost 2 people in an hour span.  Lost one in the ER where I have been the whole time. We went to put an IV in and he was not breathing. Alittle 5'2' UN lady was on top doing CPR but without oxygen or a de-fib he was gone. We lost a guy AFTER hs amputation due to cardiac arrest when they removed the trach tube, I watched the amputation in the OR but now he is gone.

TEXT 6:37
Pale and embarrassed. I really tried to help change a dressing on a patient. I only had to hold it and pour betadine on the pads while Adam did the work. I couldn't look. But I worked up the nerve 2 do it but then the patient in the next bed threw up. That smell and the horrible smell of gangrene on the foot was too much. Dr.Reed took over. Other than that I am fine.

TEXT 8:00
Oy! I am tired. I worked with a UN guy named Samuel from Uruguay, who spoke no english doing I.V.s It was cool. Took about an hour and  got to lay hands and pray for about 5. It is an awesome challenge. We are buddies now. Later we were "talking" in the p.t. I said I liked his UN issue Uraguay patch and his shirts cool too. He commented on my utility knife, I handed it to him and he cut off the patch and gave it to me. I said keep the knife, 20 min. later he took off his shirt and gave that to me too. I have an official UN mission gear, how sweet is that. He is a Christian, has 4 kids 2-22, and has been with the UN for 8 yrs in Congo and Haiti.


TEXT 9:30am
The U.N. is back today they are helping people already. They spoke with a Spanish mission who will be sending an orthosurgeon an anesthesiologist and some stuff we need. God is indeed awesome and my experience here has been awesome!

Phone call!!!9:30pm
Still planning on coming back Saturday or Sunday, just found out we have to go through customs now.
Cool thing today. A family came in to pray for one of the patients, when they finished praying they started singing praise songs in creole. After they finished there was an amazing calmness all over the hospital for the first time. After all the long days, we should rest well tonight after that. Aaron recorded them singing on his phone. Can't wait to hear it! The Dr.'s and Emt's are working 18hr days, pray for continued strength. I will be working along side one of the Dr's tomorrow and am really looking forward to praying with patients. Update on 7 yr old girl , she is stable and will be able to have surgery on her leg instead of amputation tomorrow!!!! Praise God!!!!

How to respond to the trials in your life

The last several weeks have been pretty intense in the life of our church family.

We’ve had some pretty dramatic things happen to some of our people. Major surgery, major war injury, and a miscarriage. See our prayer blog for the stories. Add to that the post holiday blues and the earthquake in Haiti and it’s no wonder people are stressed or depressed. In reality, we could all name at least one trial we’re going through personally, most likely.

My hope is that you’ll leave this post better equipped to deal with those trials.

We’ll celebrate the Lord’s Supper this Sunday in our service. Talk about trials! And it’s in that context that I’d like to address how to respond to our trials. In other words, I want to encourage you to consider how Jesus responded to his trials (more dramatic than anything we’ll ever experience) and heed his advice through his half-brother James.

James writes, “Consider it pure joy, brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2)

The author of Hebrews wrote, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Heb 12:2-3)

As crazy as it sounds, God wants us to rejoice in the midst of our own trials.

It doesn’t make sense on the surface. But give it a chance. Let his words sink in.

“Because the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-3)

In other words, the payoff is two-fold: 1) You’ll become more mature (more like Jesus), and 2) You’ll become more complete (more like the person God created you to be in the first place).

James 1:12 gives a third reason: you’ll be rewarded.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial. Because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

Those are some pretty amazing reasons to persevere joyfully when you find yourself going through trials: Big and little trials.

Oh, and I’ll respond the big trials the way that I respond to the little trials. Maybe the little trials are God’s way of preparing us for the big ones. So perhaps we should practice rejoicing in our little trials now. Today.

Let’s look at Luke 22 a little bit and see some of the things that Jesus did that were made possible because he considered it pure joy to go to the cross for you and I.

One key thing to remember here: It’s the Thursday night before the cross and Jesus knows that he’s being betrayed that night and that he’ll be tortured and crucified the next day. In light of that, here’s what he did. (Key words in Luke 22:1-23)

“hour”            Jesus rested in God’s sovereign will. (14, 19 & 22) God has the cross in mind from the beginning. Nothing could change that. Jesus trusted his daddy and therefore rested even in anticipation of all that would come.

“Passover”      Jesus remembered God’s faithfulness. (7-8, 15) The Passover was where God promised to “pass over” the firstborn of those who painted the doorframe of their house with the blood of the lamb. He was faithful and did exactly what he said he would do for those who trusted and obeyed. It was a picture of what Jesus would do and be on the cross. (Read all about it in Exodus)

“with you”       Jesus remained connected with God’s people. (15) Our tendency is to isolate ourselves. He resisted the temptation to isolate himself and instead desired to be with those closest to him.

“suffer”            Jesus received God’s assignment to suffer joyfully. (15; Heb 12:2-3) Jesus modeled for us how to “consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.” This is the key!

“kingdom”        Jesus reminded them of the Kingdom of God. (16) "Thy kingdom come..." "Seek first His kingdom..." This is the mission. "The Kingdom of God is near" is the Gospel!

“gave thanks”   Jesus repeatedly thanked God. (17 & 19; Phil 4:6-7) Paul reminds us that instead of worrying we take our concerns to Jesus with thanksgiving.

“gave”               Jesus gave sacrificially to God and man. (19-20) "But God demonstrates his love in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died (torturous death on a cross) for us." (Romans 5:8)

So why does God want you to rejoice in your trials? 3 reasons: (James 1:2-4, 12)

1.     So you’ll mature in Christ.
2.     So you’ll become complete in Christ.
3.     So you’ll receive the crown of life.

Imagine how we, God's people, would grow to love one another more if we handled our trials like Jesus did. Even on the cross at the peak of his pain he’s forgiving his enemies and saving fellow cross-hangers. Imagine if each of us rested in God’s sovereignty, remembered God’s faithfulness, remained connected to God’s people, received God’s assignment to suffer with joy, gave thanks to God repeatedly, and never stopped giving of ourselves. What a loving church family we’d be!

Friday, January 15, 2010

How will Grace Christian Fellowship respond in Haiti?

How will you respond? Click on link to find out.

What can we do to help Haiti?

News continues to pour in about what's happening in Haiti after a 7.0 earthquake. Stories of great suffering are moving people and nations to respond. Leaders around the world are asking at least 1 question: How can we help?

Some answers may come in the form of a conference call in about 10 min. Pastors Bill Hybels and Max Lucado along with WorldVision.org leader Richard Stearns will conference call today to discuss this and more. For more info, go here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Trivia and Tragedy

6:27 PM

I should have posted the 9:29 AM content here earlier today. (I did on another blog) Instead I posted an insensitive piece (due to it's timing) on working at home. It shows how we can compartmentalize tragedy and trivia. 

That said, I've also added this link for some sobering pictures of Haiti. Caution: Some are not suitable for young children.

Forgive my insensitivity, shallowness, and hard heart, Lord. Bring my heart back in sync with Yours, Father. Thank you, Jesus. 

9:29 AM

Hey Folks,

I want to give you an update today for several reasons.

, Josh continues to improve. Steve's quickie update is below and on CaringBridge. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/joshuadean1 "joshuadean1"

, Wanda leaves the Mayo clinic to come home today. I'll send another email and post to the prayer blog meal info.

, we need to pray for the people of Haiti. Here's the quick version for those of you who haven't heard the news yet:

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti —  Dazed and injured Haitians sat on darkened streets pleading for help Wednesday and untold numbers were trapped in tons of rubble brought down by the strongest earthquake to hit this poor Caribbean nation in more than 200 years.

Destroyed communications made it impossible to tell the extent of destruction from Tuesday afternoon's 7.0-magnitude tremor — or to estimate the number of dead lying among thousands of collapsed buildings in Haiti's capital of about 2 million people.


God has something to say here too. One thing that comes to mind is:

1Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." - Luke 13:1-5

When tragedies occur it's not because God has lost control. God already has and will continue to work in and through this tragedy. He'll also work through the tragedy of 5,500 children dying each day from preventable water born illnesses. I could go on. The point is not to despair--but to remember. Remember that God's passion is to reconcile people to Himself. And He'll do just about anything to accomplish that. The cross proves that.

"But God demonstrates His love in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -Paul, Romans 5:8

So, if we have to deal with tragedies--as a victim or relief worker or pray-er or giver--let us not forget that it's not a senseless tragedy. God promises to redeem it for His glory.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him who are called according to His purpose." -Paul, Romans 8:28

That's true for the Haitians. That's true for whatever you're going through too, if you are in Christ. 

So will you join Him? Pray and then prepare to be the answer to your own prayers. It may be in the form of stroking a check or it may be through a conversation you have with a co-worker today. Resolve to make yourself available and get ready for God to work in and through you. 

Thanks for your prayers for Josh. I still can't comprehend the dramatic progress he is experiencing. I can't wait to see how this story plays out. 

Keep on shining! We shine better together,


(from Steve Dean)

Hello All,

Just a quick update. He has had several doctors giving verbal questions and Josh was able to answer each of them fairly accurately. As less and less drugs are being administere
d we are able to see how Josh reacts to many different stimuli. Some reactions are good...some not so good. But thats OK as we know this will be a marathon. 

Many of you have asked to what address to send cards and letters. I have that now. You can use the following:

  Casualty Affairs Office
  Building 10, 2003
  Naval Medical Center
  8901 Wisconsin Ave.
  Bethesda, MD 20889

  Attn: Joshua Dean

Will update again soon.


A new journal entry for Joshua's CaringBridge website was posted at 4:21:00 PM on Jan 12, 2010.

Read the latest update and show your support at: 
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/joshuadean1 "joshuadean1"

7 Tips to Maximize Performance at the home offices

Now that I work at home, I often joke that I'm going to the "Downtown office" (Chick-fil-a) or the "Home Office" (my walk-in closet w/ desk) or "Corporate Office" (legal office where our Elders meet). Coming from a recovering Civil Engineer in a large firm and former youth pastor in a large church, this is quite a change.

I've been working from home now for nearly 4 years. I've moved from dealing with it to liking it to almost loving it. The advantages are extensive. Do I miss the interaction with a staff/team--definitely. Maybe the most. But I love being at home more with my family and I love the flexibility. In doing what I do (pastor) it helps our family stay in touch with the heartbeat of our church. And it feels less like a job and more like the calling it really is.

That said, Greg Darely's 7 Tips are terrific wisdom for the person who works from home. I've shared it in full below. The link is above and I look forward to your comments. I have some myself. In fact, if you work at home, send me a pic of your office. I'd love to see and post them in the days ahead.

From the "Downtown Office", enjoy!

"Downtown Office" Chick-fil-a Summerville, SC
(this place rocks! Thx to Chris & the crew)

If you work out of the home full time or just occasionally, you know there are positive and negative points to this arrangement. The positives include: no travel time, no fighting traffic, no facing the cold weather, numerous work stations, food in the kitchen, the ability to do chores around the house if necessary, and not having to pay for a baby sitter. While those are great, there are negatives as well: possible distractions from spouse, roommates or children, no accountability for hours, no set lunch break, and less interactions with people. But for many, the positives greatly out weigh the negatives and by focusing on a few key areas, you can maximize your performance from the home office. The main principle is to work from home the way you would if you were working for someone else at the office.
Here are some tips:
1. Set Office Hours: Every other job gives you required hours to work. Do the same at home. Set a start time and a leave time. Try and start every morning at the same time. For me it’s exercise, shower, breakfast, reading and then going into my office at 8 am.

2. Get dressed like you were going into a real office. No one would show up to the bank in their boxers and a t-shirt. Put on a real work outfit. This doesn’t have to be a three-piece suit, but be ready to walk out the door for an appointment at any given time. There is great mental and emotional preparation as well. By being full dressed, you send messages to your self that you are there to get a lot accomplished.
3. Go to your office and shut the door. This is another great mental step for success. By going into the office and shutting the door, you are telling yourself that you are there to work and get a lot accomplished. If this is not possible, then find a corner in a room and set up a desk and turn your back the main part of the room. The key here is the act. This also shuts yourself off from many distractions like other people in the house, the TV and the refrigerator.
4. Don’t cut on the TV. Unless your job absolutely requires that you watch TV, then by pass the remote. Starting the day off listening to how bad the traffic is, what crime was committed across town or how much money they’re spending in D.C. will not get your day off to the positive start you need. Plus, the TV is one of the biggest time sucks besides the internet.
5. Only go to the kitchen for lunch and an occasional snack. This will save you time and the extra pounds. It’s good to stand up, stretch and walk around for a few minutes after every hour of work. Its good for your creativity and production. But, don’t get into the habit of wandering into the kitchen because the left over cake, the box of gold-fish or box of M&Ms will be calling your name to often. Keep a snack or two and some water in your office.
6. Run errands only during certain hours of the day. Planning them out for the week is a good idea as well. If you were working a regular job, you wouldn’t run to the bank at 10 am, the gym at 1:30 and the grocery store at 3. By constraining them to certain times a week and on certain hours in the day, you’ll save loads of productive time.
7. If you have a spouse, children or roommates that are home during work hours, ask them not to disturb you unless it’s important. Now, you don’t want to be rude or inconsiderate, especially if there are children in the picture, but they need to know that you have responsibilities to meet and you need their help guarding your time.
Any other tips?