The Best (and Worst) Twenty-Two Minutes of My Life

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There is not a lot you can do in just twenty-two minutes. It’s not long enough to watch a TV show, and you can’t drive hardly anywhere, or make it through the checkout stand at a busy grocery. I can get dressed and out the door in that time, but my wife? Not a chance. Most people connecting to their Facebook page, talking on the phone, or checking email go over twenty-two minutes easily. What is twenty-two minutes worth, anyway? The average person worldwide lives about 64.3 years. This would be 33,819,228 minutes; what can possibly come from only twenty-two minutes of that?

Almost 2 years ago, I asked a friend of mine who was coming off cancer treatment if he wanted to take a weekend and go with me fishing, and he said no. He told me how he only had a certain number of Saturdays until his son was 18 (he gave me the exact number), and said that he really did not like to miss any of them. Wow, that really took me off balance. How could someone be so in tune with their life, their time left here? It had to be the reality that came with knowing that he could go at any time, that his cancer could have taken him out of his son’s life. Can a regular person, who does not fear imminent death or a tragic event, come to the same realization?

God spoke to me that day. I realized that one of the things which I considered a hassle, driving my then 14-year-old to school each day, needed to be looked at differently. That as the youngest and only one left at home, my son would in just two years walk out to his own vehicle and drive himself to school. I needed to change my way of experiencing mornings with him. God pressed in on me; I was not sure of what it should look like, but knew that somehow those twenty-two minutes a day had to matter more.

For the next two years I was there to drive him, and then to drive with him when he got his learner’s permit. No matter how far away I went or how late my travels brought me in, I was standing at the front door, ready to roll, in the morning. The first while we would just talk, and then I started reading a daily devotional. It was all good but it never felt just right. Then we found The Knight’s Code by Robert Noland, and began to take turns reading it on the way, and talking about what we read. We designated the last stretch of the drive a “prayer road” and prayed each day for a good day and more.

Now, it was not always some pretty, Spirit-filled sanctuary in that truck. Not by a long shot. We took turns being really crap-heads to each other and on the days we were both that way, well, look out. But for the most part I think it made a difference; at least it did to me. We talked about some serious topics and had a few really good moments where I felt God’s presence.

A couple weeks ago I found an old Dodge pickup. It was a good deal and fit what our vision and our budget could handle for his first truck. Then, last Tuesday I walked him to the end of the drive and watched as he loaded that old Dodge pickup with his baseball gear, his backpack and his lunch, and then he drove off, alone, to school. I was awash in emotions; still am.

As the days crept by I could not help wonder if there was anything, anything at all, that he took away from our morning commute time together. One day he volunteered to drive me to the store to get some things his mom needed. As we drove along, I noticed he had a towel on the console between the seats and a pack of baby wipes in the slot on his driver’s door. Those were things I have always done in my truck, for years. I had to wonder: if he picked up on that, what else did he get? Did he hear the part about keeping God first, keeping a “band of brothers, truth, honor, and respect”?

I am trying to figure out what to do with that time each morning. I used to go to the coffee shop and write, read, and meet folks after I dropped him at school. Now, everything seems off balance. I have started going to the gym a little, which I do not like, and running at the park, which I do like. I replaced my broken bird feeder and filled it. I enjoy sitting on the porch, drinking coffee and watching the birds. But I just don’t feel like I know what I am supposed to do. OK, Lord, what’s next? I’ve got time- 22 minutes to be exact.

 

TJ Greaney

Founder: Kids Outdoor Zone Adventure Ministry

Member: National Coalition of Men’s Ministries

Owner/Publisher: Country Line Magazine, since 1996

Host: The Outdoor Zone, #1 Outdoor Radio Show on NBC Radio Network

President: Texas Outdoor Writers Association

 

 

How to Benefit Your Marriage With a Family Vacation

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It seems like school breaks are always just around the corner. Managing this time together can get stressful, so it is better to take the time to start thinking ahead.  This can be an opportunity for more family time and quality family time. Here are a few pointers to maximize your family’s time off.

The Getaway

It is a real treat to be able to take your family away from the routine. Whether you’re having fun in the sun and sand, camping out, or even exploring a new city, make sure everyone is on board. Ask your family where they would like to go. It is prudent to have a loose itinerary planned, but don’t be afraid to deviate and take a last-minute idea from a family member. After all, vacation is about adventure! Being open to a little spontaneity can help avoid some of those marriage issues that arise away from home.

Day trippers

Taking a day trip is a less expensive way to help your family see new places and even learn a thing or two. While you travel, make up some games to play. One fun option is to quiz each other on how well you know one another. Things can get funny and you’ll probably end up learning much more than you expected. Knowing little things about your family and your spouse gets everyone growing closer together and in a fun way.

Staying home

Of course, there is nothing wrong with using time off to stay home and enjoy one another in your natural surroundings.  Maximize this time by letting your family know that you’ll be focusing on doing things together. Whether you’re watching movies, cleaning up the garage a little, or camping in the backyard, make sure to let your family know that hanging out with them is your number one priority. While you’re enjoying each other, you’ll be opening the lines of communication. And that can go a long way toward building a stronger and more connected family.

Your family will notice when you put them on the top of the time-off list. At the same time, you and your spouse can see each other in a whole new light, away from the day-to-day responsibilities of work and school. Take advantage of this valuable opportunity, as it can provide some much-needed growth, fun, and bonding for your marriage and your children. Remember, you only have one family, treat them well and value all the time you have together.

– Family Dynamics Institute

Family Dynamics Institute collaborates with Churches, Companies, and Community Organizations to help them provide a Comprehensive Marriage Ministry to help married and engaged couples grow stronger at all ages and stages of marriage.

To Learn More

Contact Us At:   800-650-9995

Email Us:             info@FamilyDynamics.net

Websites:            www.FamilyDynamics.net

www.SaveMyMarriage.com

Boomer Men: They Need You!

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An article caught my eye in World Magazine: The Sergeant Schulze Generation.  Remember him from Hogan’s Heroes?  He was the bumbling German prison guard whose most remembered phrase was, “I see nothing, NOTHING.”

The article states that many baby boomers look at our cultural wreckage and respond the same way: “I see nothing, nothing” and therefore do nothing.  The article continues, “When Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina dares us to view the Planned Parenthood tapes and contemplate cutting aborted babies into pieces, many of us look away and say, “I see nothing – nothing.”

I have heard it said that boomer men are complacent and not really caring.  Are we really like that?  Certainly not all of us and hopefully not boomer men of faith, I don’t believe it…do you?  Among the couples we have for friends that are boomers, they are all active in their churches and other ministries.  Two mentor young men, one runs a tract ministry, and another is on the worship team and so on.  I believe we are eager to get out there and do something when God directs us to ministries.  We can do much to reach this sin-sick world that we live in, but sometimes it’s just hard to find the opportunities.   One thing many of us can do is to mentor, to reach the fatherless in our churches – reaching into their world from our world.

What breaks your heart?  Think about that.  When I was asked that question, my answer was, “Young men without dads in their lives.”  So then, what’s the answer?  Find what breaks your heart, and then break you’re back fixing it.  We can’t fix it unless we reach out to mentor a young man in your church – just one young man.  He needs you!

Boomer men of faith, you have a job to do, and it’s never too late to start.  Ask God where you can minister and reach out to people.  He may speak to you about other areas of ministry, and that’s great.  However, I want to encourage and challenge each of you to pray about the fatherless crisis in America.  You have stories to share with a young man that change their outlook and attitude, and they have stories to share with someone who will just listen, care and be there for him.

It’s not hard to find a young man who needs a man in their life who cares about them.  Just look around your church and you’ll be surprised – he really is right here in my church.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

What we need today, more than any other time before, is for some “old” iron to sharpen some young iron – an older man to sharpen the iron of a young man’s life.  When you do this, you are making a difference in someone’s life for generations to come.

We can do it men, we can make a difference.  Just think what we can do if each one would reach one.  They need you!

Check out statistics at www.savingourboys.org

Sam Mehaffie, Saving Our Boys Ministry

1400 NE Tara Ct

Blue Springs, MO 64014

816-510-9990

  

                                      

Let Them Feel Your Hands

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Often in the morning as we have breakfast together as a family, I open up the Bible for a short time of family devotions. As the kids get older they too open their bible and share in the reading. The breakfast food helps as their blood sugar is rising and everyone is in relatively good spirits. We might read together for five to ten minutes and then I ask a couple questions about what was read. Sometimes we have wonderful interaction and sometimes I get blank stares.

We then stop and I pray specifically for each family member. We have done this for years. One recent day as I was reading from the Bible, I realized that I had made an early morning appointment and I forgot about it. Now I was late! I quickly got up and began to exit when my oldest daughter exclaimed, “Dad, you didn’t pray for us!” I stopped in my tracks and put my hands on my oldest boy’s shoulders and prayed specifically for him. This was a quick twenty second prayer. I moved to the left and prayed a twenty second specific prayer for another son. I moved around the table and covered everyone quickly as I stood behind them, laid my hands on them and prayed specifically for them. My wife even said, “I’d like a little of that.”

Behold – a new tradition was born. We don’t do the same things every day but periodically I stand behind each one and rotate around the table. I place both hands on their shoulders and pray specifically for each person. The prayers are still pretty short, but the hands on the shoulders make the difference. It turns out they want to feel my hands on them when I pray.

You and I can do this. God has wired us to be a blessing and ‘to bless’ each member of our family. You can do this on a regular basis or whenever time allows. Your prayer can be short – but make it personal. Don’t forget to reach out and lay your hands on your child or wife as you pray. Let them feel your hands.

 

Brian Doyle, Founder and President                                                                                              Iron Sharpens Iron

 

 

 

Can You Pray Your Kids Get Caught?

man and woman praying together

For years, Ben and Sarah routinely said a prayer they hoped would not come true for any of their four children.  They knew how kids could be.  They knew how the culture pulls good kids from good homes to make not-so-good decisions.  My friend Ben is especially aware because he was more than a bit rebellious in his younger days.  Looking at him, you wouldn’t know it today, but Ben was deep into narcotics in his early twenties.

So Ben and Sarah prayed specifically that if and when their children did something illegal or immoral or simply made a really bad choice, that they would get caught.

That’s the exact words they used.  And not long ago their prayer was answered.  It was a holiday weekend with lots of activity in the house, and Sarah needed something that was last seen in their teenage daughter’s closet.  Looking there, she found a bottle of rum and some fruit-mixer concoction.

The Christmas celebration took a sharp, unpleasant, yet necessary turn.  With sincere apologies, some of the guests were asked to leave.  The festivities were postponed.  The family huddled and their daughter was confronted.

I wasn’t there, so I don’t know exactly what was said.  But the core message was very personal and very compelling.  Up until that day, Ben’s four children only had an inkling of their father’s drug addiction from two decades earlier.  How far he’d fallen.  And how God had rescued him.  It wasn’t a pleasant story.  And it’s not a story you should tell to small children.  After all, when kids are young and impressionable, they need to see dad as a hero.  Invincible.  A solid rock they can count on.

Ben had been that dependable dad for their entire lives.  Which is a great thing.  And which made his testimony to his children even more powerful.   Over the years, Ben had shared his story with men’s groups and other individuals who were struggling with addiction.  He talked about Satan’s power, hitting bottom, and finding hope only after turning his life over to Christ.  But his kids only knew small bits and pieces of the story.

That evening they heard something they didn’t want to hear, but needed to hear.  However, they were old enough to listen, understand, and learn from their father’s mistakes.  The teenager who was hiding the liquor really didn’t receive a severe punishment.  Listening to her dad open up about his personal battle — the stumbling, helplessness, surrender, and recovery — had more than enough impact.  In a sense, the family was broken that night.  But they soon healed stronger than ever.

Thinking about Ben and Sarah, the word that comes to mind is courage.  Courage to overcome.  Courage to trust.  Courage to pray the way they did for  their kids.  And courage to see the big picture.  They weren’t just dealing with a bottle of rum found in a teenager’s closet.  They were standing up against Satan who had chosen that Christmas season to seize a new foothold in their family.  But the father of lies and deceit didn’t have a chance.  Instead of sweeping it under the rug or delaying any repercussions until after the family event, that mom and dad addressed the situation firmly, efficiently, and without hesitation.  How did they know what to do and what to say?  Only because that’s what they had been praying for.

Your past may be different than Ben’s.  But your children are facing the same cultural challenges.  Do you have the courage to pray for your children to get caught?  Will you have the courage to confront your children’s unhealthy choices at the top of the slippery slope?

PRAYER FOR WISE CHOICES

Heavenly Father.  We pray that our kids make choices that honor you.  But we also know that our kids have sinned and will sin.  In their humanness, they will fall short of your glory.  In humility and brokenness, Lord, we ask that you open our eyes to those times when we need to intervene.  We pray they get caught.  In those difficult moments, we pray that we have the courage and wisdom to respond with love and truth.  And, thank you Lord for preparing our heart and minds to be the parents our children need in every situation.  In times of joy.  And in times when the world seems to be crumbling around us.  Thank you for being our rock.  We love and trust you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

                                                      -2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 NIV

 

Jay Payleitner is a national speaker on parenting and marriage and best-selling author of 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? His latest book is 52 Ways to Connect as a Couple. For more, go to www.jaypayleitner.com.