Category Archives: Vocation

I Can’t

At my suggestion a man repair or build something himself, I have often heard, “I couldn’t do that. My dad never taught me how.” Pardon my candor, but so what! Anyone of average mental and physical ability can do just about anything he is determined to do. 

From my observation, initiative is usually lacking when “I can’t” is the excuse. This lack is generally due to a serious case of “couchpotatoitis” combined with “workaphobia” and “learnaphobia.” The symptoms become even more obvious in the children of the stricken parent.  

The good news/bad news, is that it is curable, but it is a rough, tough road. Feed the good appetites, and starve the bad. Cultivate a sense of pleasure and excitement from accomplishing things. 

Read these books with your children: Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family and Buying a House Debt-Free. Discuss the books, and give your children a vision for an adulthood of enjoying work and being debt free. 

Most of you have mortgages. Do you like that? Why not help your sons buy their first houses debt free as my five sons have? (I don’t say that to brag but so you know it is possible. Come on. If we can do it, you can.)

“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction” (Proverbs 24:30-32).

Steve

Shared Secret

Many ask how I taught my children to do so many things. Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single Income Family is the long version of this.

Teach your children that they can do all things through Christ which strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). If God calls us to do something, He will enable us. If we don’t know how to do it, we have to first learn how (the easy part), and then we do it. 

Parents set the example by being sponges to learn (and enjoy work). 

Learn:

  • of the Lord Jesus, first and foremost
  • technical/vocational skills (make your time worth something)
  • relationship skills
  • communication skills, one-on-one and speaking to groups. 

(Side note: if you aren’t a self learner, learning will cost you.)

Now comes both bad news and inversely the key. The enemy of learning is entertainment. If you and/or your children love entertainment, sorry. Ignore all of the above. Your children might as well be wearing a 100 pound backpack through life. Few want to learn and work when they can play.

“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4).

Steve

Odd Children

I was walking with a group of dads to the next session at a homeschool conference when the dad beside me asked a question. He struggled with his wording. “I have noticed some homeschooling young men, and well, there seems to be something unique about them. Well, ah, well, they just seem a bit odd. I don’t mean to be critical by that, but I don’t want my son to turn out that way. What are your thoughts?” 

I encouraged him there are two main considerations. To raise a son who is a dynamic follower of the Lord Jesus will be considered odd/peculiar by the world because he isn’t like them.

However, there is another sort of odd that I believe he was referring to. These are young men who can’t look you in the eye, are barely communicative, lazy, and unkempt. He agreed. I shared that I felt that was more the norm these days and not dependent on a particular schooling method.

One “odd” is desirable. The other is not. The good news is that we can guide and inspire our sons so that they are great conversationalists, diligent, resourceful, physically fit, and able to make a good living. Are you doing that? When the book of your life is closed, will your son’s praise God for the influence you had in their lives or complain? If a change of course is required, Brother, change course.

Want some help? I encourage you in these three resources: Preparing Sons, Buying a House Debt Free, and Making Great Conversationalists.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”(1 Peter 2:9).

“Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4).

Steve

It’s Honorable

One beautiful morning, I observed Bob, a veteran city worker, driving a gigantic, triple-deck, Toro lawn mower. His mission was to mow a small “island” of grass, edged with curbs and many obstacles. If he made one mistake, he’d either damage the city’s mower, one of the obstacles, or possibly injure himself.

If a mower could ballet dance, this one did. It gracefully flowed—grooming every inch, decks raising and lowering while whirling and twirling around obstacles. Bob was a master with an incredible show.

Chris is a sanitation worker. He “flies” along the streets of Leavenworth perched on a small platform that is just big enough for his feet. Before the truck stops, he launches from his perch grabbing bags of trash from the side of the street. In one smooth movement, he flings them into the gaping, hungry mouth of the trash truck.

Fifty years old and working like a fit twenty-year-old, Chris runs, grabs, throws, runs, grabs, throws, and then once again jumps onto the side of the truck. When I complimented him the Saturday morning he manned the brush dump where I was taking a load, he smiled wide and said, “Ya know. That day you saw me, I threw twenty-four ton.” What a guy!

No matter what you do to provide for your family, give it your all. There isn’t a shortage of jobs, just hardworking people.

I’m not aware of Chris or Bob knowing the Lord Jesus, but this verse would apply greatly to each follower of Christ. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

Steve

Reliable as?

Have you appreciated the fact that:

  • days are 24 hours long – everyday,
  • weeks are 7 days – always,
  • the sun rises and sets – always predictively?

Can you imagine how difficult life would be if:

  • days varied from 16 to 32 hours in no predictable fashion
  • weeks might have any number of days without rhythm or reason
  • and the sun’s behavior was totally random, came up some days and maybe never set other days?

It is easy to take for granted consistency. Sure some might consider consistency boring. However, consistency makes life much easier and is a huge blessing.

Dad, how dependable are you in the good things that matter? You will consistently:

  • go to sleep at the same time
  • wake up at the same time
  • keep your word
  • come home when you committed
  • have personal and family Bible time
  • help with the children when you are home.

It must be all of the time, consistently! (BTW, It is not a blessing to be consistently late or lazy, nor to be counted on some of the time – the problem is not knowing when.)

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Steve

Simple

Most people have two sets of priorities: the set they think they have and the ones they live by. I find it fascinating to learn their real ones. You can not find out just by asking them. They must be observed. 

I think we might surprised ourselves by our real priorities. Simply observe what action or activity bumps another out of its place. The real priority is the one that wins.   

I might say that spending time reading my Bible is important. If so, how consistent have I been? What took its place if it didn’t happen. What about family Bible time? What about exercise? What about time with my wife or time with my children? May we each examine ourselves.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Steve

What Could be Worse?

There are bad days and then there are unbelievably horrible days. What does one do?

What could have been worse for Abraham than to hear his God tell him to sacrifice his only beloved son—his longed-for son, the one he delighted in? What would he do? Would he rebel, sink into despair, languish in self-pity, or all of the above? What do you do when faced with insurmountably bad news? May we look to Abraham, our father in the faith (Galatians 3:7) as an example of how to respond.

The very next morning after God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, Abraham got up early and set out to obey. He could have said, “I’d better pray about this and make sure this is exactly what God wants me to do.” So often “we” choose to pray about things only as a stall tactic, to wait until the conviction passes. Abraham obeyed immediately. I expect that while en route, Abraham prayed seeking the Lord’s strength, but he obeyed.

Then when they arrived at Mt. Moriah, where God instructed him to go, what was Abraham’s attitude when his servant asked what he was doing? Did he pour out all his woes to evoke sympathy so that the servant would “pray” for him? No. Abraham said he was going to “worship.” His focus was not on himself or his troubles but on his God. When in trouble, we must get our eyes off of ourselves, obey, and worship. Try it!

“And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” (Genesis 22:5)

This is our confidence: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) 

Steve

A Matter of Perspective

What would you prefer?

  • To be on the ground wishing to catch a plane somewhere or flying in a plane wishing you were on the ground?
  • On the shore wishing you were out on a boat in the water or out at sea in a boat wishing you were ashore?
  • Single and wishing you were married or married and wishing you were single?
  • Wishing you had children or wishing you had none?
  • Wishing you had a job or wishing you didn’t have the one you have?

Some people will never experience the joy of contentment. It isn’t about what we have or don’t have but about being at peace in the Lord Jesus with “where we are in life.” Paul learned to be abased and to abound. He was God’s man, and yet he suffered greatly. We read more about his trials than about his successes.

May we choose to be content in all things. Notice I said “choose” to be content. It’s a choice we make as we rest in the Lord, walking in His Spirit. All things work together for good—the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

“I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4:12)

Steve

Do You Need a Jump Start?

I am excited to announce to Seriously Dads that I am leading an ITonRamp.com Business Jump Start course beginning September 30. We have not mentioned it yet on the Titus2 blog or Corners list because I wanted to let you men know first since we are anticipating the need to limit enrollment so that every registrant gets the attention he needs. So if you are a dad on the Seriously list who wants to improve your business, I want to be able to work with you!steve2014blog - Version 3

Whenever we receive an email from a mom who mentions that her husband has a business that is struggling, my heart goes out to her. I know that what struggling business owners often need most is someone with business experience to come alongside. That is what Jump Start is. It is for the Christian who wants to “rev up” his business, whether it is a start-up or established venture.

There will be a weekly webinar (at least 30 minutes in length) in each of the five weeks of the course. If you are not available to watch at the scheduled time, no problem, you can view it after work. The part I’m most excited about is the individual, weekly, 30-minute Skype session during which we will work together on specific issues that relate to your business. Click the Business Jump Start for more information, and if you have any questions, email me. I am looking forward to working with you.

“With the advice and instruction I received from Steve, I have been able to better understand the business world. My business has become more organized and efficient, and I make almost twice as much as I did before as a result of his business experience.” —
Brandon

Steve

It Takes Maintenance

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is at work around us. We see it in the fact that nothing improves naturally, but everything decays, falls apart, or wears out over time. Have you noticed that items of value—such as your car, your house (and everything in it), and your yard—take maintenance to continue performing reasonably well? Things of little or no value we dispose of: No maintenance required.

Even non-physical things decay and require upkeep as well. Consider your vocational skills, relationships with your wife, children, neighbors, brothers and sisters in Christ, and, most of all, your Lord.

Doing the required maintenance at best only prevents further degradation. What about improvements? Growth? Advancement? If we want our children to learn and grow, how are we setting the example?

How are you growing in vocational skills? What are you doing to become more valuable to your customers or employer? How much time and effort are you investing to deepen your relationships with your wife and children and especially with the Lord Jesus Christ?

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Steve