Monday, May 30, 2011

Improving your sleep

Great article. My comments follow. DG

MAY 26, 2011 Tim Elmore

What Our Screens Are Doing to Our Sleep Habits

Americans just are not getting enough sleep and technology may be the villain. I am one of them. I sleep less than I did ten years ago, when I likely need more sleep today. Here’s why I think technology may be part of my problem.

The National Sleep Foundation did a 2011 Poll that found 95% of the 1,508 people surveyed reported using some type of electronic device (TV, computer, video game or cell phone) within an hour of bedtime, at least a few nights per week.

One of the researchers, professor Lauren Hale, reports: “Communication technologies are often light-emitting, which can suppress the sleep promoting hormone melatonin and make it harder to go to sleep at night.” Both the light and alert sounds from such devices can interfere with falling asleep and staying asleep.

Cardiologist Virend Somers, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN., says a lack of sleep may have serious health consequences for students and young people. Somers says that youth are not only experiencing a chronic lack of sleep but are also trading sleep time for sedentary activities, rather than exercise. This may not affect them this week, but it will eventually take its toll as they get older and their body may be less able to compensate for lack of sleep.

So what can we do for ourselves and our kids? Here are three ideas:

Turn the computer, TV or cell phone off at least an hour before bedtime.
Do something active (instead of sedentary) every day.
Read before bedtime, guiding your thoughts away from the day’s troubles.
Though its too early to say one causes the other, it is clear that younger populations are using more interactive technology at bedtime, and they are the same group reporting worse sleep than anyone. Our goal should be to build healthy young people who can take their turn leading our world when the time comes. Let’s just hope they’re not tired or sleepy when that time comes.

Tim Elmore

With 3 teens plus me a technology junkie too, let me build on what Tim suggests above. Reading a book is a very relaxing diversion. Reading Scripture goes even further. Also, historical fiction from Bible times ( Francine Rivers does this very well)is another option. Then count your blessings instead of sheep...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Become a 'Next Christian'

The NEXT Christians, by Gabe Lyons, does more than observe Christianity in our current culture: It encourages us to act with great expectation.

After writing a book (UnChristian) where statistics seem to drive a stake in the heart of the church in America, Lyons comes back with a startling (at first) assessment: That is  that the bad news is actually good news.

He then outlines how the world is changing. He summarizes our current cultural climate as it relates to the church and Christianity in America.

He next major section takes 6 chapters to outline what "Next Christians" look like. They are provoked, but not offended.

They are creators, not critics.
They are called, not employed.
They are grounded, not distracted.
They are in community, not alone.
They are countercultural, not 'relevant'.

With these descriptions it's difficult to be a Christian and not be extremely motivated by this picture of what could and should be. It's a glorious vision for this Christ-follower.

It's a timely book written by the generation that is best positioned to make it happen. I applaud Lyons and highly recommend his book. Become a Next Christian.

Note of disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for purposes of reading and reviewing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Disciple-Making & Movement Makers

Neil Cole is teaching me a lot lately about the church. I still have yet to read a book of his (maybe if he'd send me a free one...) but that day is coming. Check this out...

Neil Cole on Disciple-Making and Movement Makers

Cole_NeilNeil Cole is the founder and executive director of Church Multiplication Associates, an organization that has helped catalyze the start of more than a thousand churches around the world. He is seen by many to be one of the key founders of what is known as the organic or simple-church movement. Cole is the author or coauthor of several books, including Organic ChurchSearch & Rescue, and Cultivating a Life for God. He lives in Long Beach, California.  Neil dropped by COMMUNITY's Yellow Box to talk about planting seeds, planting churches, making disciples and becoming movement makers.  The following are some of the highlights of our time with Neil Cole:
  • Begin by asking "What does the Bible say about church planting?"  
  • We make the mistake of trying to plant churches instead of planting "seeds".
  • Don't plant churches, plant Jesus.
  • If we go about making disciples then churches will be planted.
  • Must reproduce disciples, leaders, churches and then a movement and it must be in that order.
  • We have churches that are productive, but not reproductive.
  • Every follower of Jesus has the DNA of a movement within them.
  • Baptism is the first action of a Christ follower; stop baptizing and we weaken the imprint of Jesus on the new disciple. 
  • The Bible commands us to be "baptizers"; if we do not baptize we can not fulfill the great commission.
  • God has a mission and He is letting us join him on the mission.
  • It's all about trusting "seed-planting"; it's not about a model.
  • If the leadership has the need to control it will not work.
  • The greatest sin of the American church is self-preservation.
  • A church that is willing to risk and fail is the church that is the healthiest and most alive.
  • Don't operate from positional authority; it's the weakest expression of power; always defer to relational authority.
  • When it comes to leadership don't invest in potential, invest in proven-faithfulness.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Check mail only twice a day?!

Great article on ways to become more productive. Collide Magazine did this article. I love their stuff!

This Tim Ferris guy is great at getting his ideas out and has some thought-provoking ideas. I want to learn how to become more productive so I'm reading about this kind of thing regularly. Perhaps this will help you too. -Darien

  • Check mail only twice a day, at set times. Tim Ferris, the guy who wrote The 4-hour Work Week, encourages setting times during the day that you check and respond to emails. This allows you to tackle the messages all at once as opposed to being interrupted all day with various emails that may or may not be important. Set a schedule and abide by it — this creates efficiency and margin in your work day.
  • Put the TV out of sight. Skye Jethani once told me his family philosophy on television is to, “have it outside the life-flow of the house.” This is a practical and useful strategy, as it’s no longer a peripheral distraction as you walk from your kitchen through the living room to the bedroom. Personally, my TV is in the basement “entertainment room,” and it’s true — out of sight is out of mind. This can be especially useful when kids come in the picture, as the TV can become a binky for the brain.
  • Phone fast. Go outside once in a while without your phone, I know this seems unreasonable, but I believe it is important to find time free from the possibility of distraction, as I have found possibility always means inevitability when it comes to technology.
  • Intentional time with God. My pastor was telling me about Eugene Peterson, the author and pastor, who every week takes a 3-hour walk with his wife in complete silence! Afterward, they sit and discuss their thoughts and what (if anything) they heard from God. This is an unconfirmed report on Eugene Peterson’s life, but true or not seems to be a great way to be intentional with your life partner and God.
  • Begin your day social media-free. Don’t check your email, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media outlets until after breakfast. This one is difficult for me, but seems to be the most beneficial, as it gives me time to sit, eat, and read the Bible before jumping in the furious interaction found within the Internets.
The fact of the matter is, finding margin in your life is ultimately up to you and it is rooted in discipline and intentionality.
I want to hear from you — what other ways can we unplug and create margin?

Friday, May 06, 2011

Soul Surfer Movie changing lives

My family and I loved this movie! But more than entertaining, it had multiple messages that encourages all kinds of people. Check out this blurb...DRG


by Allen Weed on May 04, 2011

Soul Surfer is holding strong in 2000 theaters (even a few drive-in theaters). Already 3.5 million have seen it in theaters. The spiritual impact is dramatic – already well over 100,000 have visited the evangelistic site soulsurfer.com and more than 11,000 have indicated decisions to receive Christ. Continue...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

When War is Just

I remember learning in seminary that there is a Just War theory defended in Scripture that George H W Bush consulted before the first Gulf War. I'd never heard that before. All I could think of was "love your enemies" and "Turn the other cheek." Well, this view of Scripture is compelling and I encourage you to read this summary of it.

James Emery White writes a succinct summary of what makes war just (according to traditional Christian understandings of the Bible) and how Osama Bin Laden's death fits into that. I encourage you to read the whole post but here's his summary of the conditions for the "Just War" Theory. DRG

Vol. 7, No. 36
When War Is Just
The news spread around the world at the speed of a tweet.  Actually, 4,000 tweets per second, according to the site.
Osama bin Laden had been killed.
The response has been interesting:  initial jubilation, and then, for many, sobriety.  Some were sober because they knew the war on terror would continue, and perhaps for a season, intensify due to retaliations.  Others were sober as they wondered whether the entire operation was ethical...

...As a result, the idea of a just war has been with Christian thinking from the beginning.  But it has been very carefully spelled out.
Here are the conditions for a war to be just:
*There must be an urgent and imminent threat;
*It must be an act of defense against aggression – never simply for conquest or as an act of aggression – only a defensive war is defensible;
*It must be ordered by one who is in authority to do so;
*It must be for a just cause;
*It must have the right intention – it should not be based on revenge, but as an act of neighbor love and protection, with peace as its goal;
*It should be the last resort; peace and resolution should have been attempted;
*The force used must be proportionate to the desired ends – meaning that the evils caused by the war are less than the evils to be righted;
*It must seek to minimize non-combatant (civilian) casualties;
*It must have a reasonable chance of success.