The Box

A Reflection on Contentment

Several years ago, after my grandma passed away, my grandpa transitioned from their house to an apartment. As we were moving his belongings from his 2-story home, we managed to fill his 2-bedroom apartment and a single car garage with the things that were most important to him. We unloaded boxes and bags filled with items he wanted to hold onto.

Several years later, it was time for my grandpa to move to an independent apartment that was attached to an assisted living center. My grandpa was always a futuristic thinker and decided it was the right time to make this difficult decision in anticipation of any medical issues that may arise.

Again, my family and I were able to help him move from his independent apartment and again to his assisted living apartment. Before he moved this time, my grandpa, now in his late 80s, decided to downsize his belongings each time.

We moved his TV, a couch, a desk from his college days, and a small kitchen table. We carried his clothes which included a few flannel shirts, a couple pairs of pants, and of course, his trademark suspenders. There were also the kitchen supplies that included the coffee maker and a few dishes.

After we had unloaded all of the household essentials, only one thing remained—one cardboard box filled with the things that meant the most to my grandpa. I don’t remember many of the items that filled that box. However, I know that his cribbage board, a few decks of well-used playing cards, and his worn crossword dictionary were among them. I imagine there were a few pictures of his wife of nearly 60 years, a few pictures of his great-grandkids, and an address book with his siblings’ phone numbers. That’s it.

After over eight decades on this planet, my grandpa’s most precious material possessions fit into one, single cardboard box.

I distinctly remember the moment I saw the box. I paused for just a moment, fully realizing how unimportant material possessions truly are. After all that my grandpa had throughout his life, what mattered most, fit into that one box.

Recently, I read this passage from 1 Timothy, and it immediately brought me back to my to that moment.

“For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it.”

-1 Timothy 6:7

So, as you sit around your Thanksgiving table tomorrow, take a moment to be thankful for all that God has blessed you and your family with.

Then, challenge yourself to be both grateful and content as we automatically enter the most marketed shopping season of all.

May you all have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

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4 Powerful Takeaways from the 2017 Act Like Men Palooza

4 Powerful Takeaways from the 2017 Act Like Men Palooza

This past weekend, I went on a mini-vacation to the “Mitten” of Michigan. It was an epic road trip in the somewhat cramped white Corolla, nicknamed “The White Mamba.” What was supposed to be a nearly 9-hour trip that skirted around Chicago and hugged Lake Michigan, ended up turning into an 11.5 hour marathon plagued with road construction, car crashes, and a even a mystical Chick-fil-A!

All that being said, the road trip was worth it! Here’s why:

  1. Authentic biblical manhood is alive and well!

    • Worshiping, praying, and camping with over 1,300 men of faith in the woods of Michigan proved this takeaway.
    • I have been to several men’s ministry conferences before, both large and small—whether it be in large convention centers, a mega church, or the local church. But nothing compared to the camaraderie of what took place at the Palooza!
    • Heroes emerged throughout the weekend: The Hot Salsa Guy, The Knife Guy, The Rubik’s Cube Guy, and the Homerun Guy.
  1. I need to step up my prayer life!

    • The Harvest Bible Chapel team of pastors’ Palooza theme centered around the power of prayer.
    • I learned new ways of praying, how to pray, and why prayer is so powerful.
    • Sometimes it’s necessary to “Hit your knees now” and “get your face in the dirt” when you pray.
  1. Life in the fast(ing) lane

    • Pastor James MacDonald challenged all of us men to fast (just water) for 24-36 hours. Why?  Because “desire for God germinates in the soil of self-denial.”
    • This past Tuesday, I took Pastor James MacDonald up on his challenge and completed a 32 hour fast. I focused on His Word, prayer, and admitted that I didn’t know what my next step in one area of my life was.  As Pastor James taught us, I humbled myself in front of the Lord.
    • During my 32 hour fast, I heard from an acquaintance who helped me get back on track on this particular area of my life!
    • I now consider myself living in the fast(ing) lane!
  1. Biblical Manhood Pledge

    • As many of you know, my passion is to help dads raise their kids into the young men and women that God designed them to be. In my first book, Friday Night Lights for Fathers and Sons, I help dads connect with their sons on a deeper level through fun activities and lessons straight from the Bible.
    • At the Palooza, I got chills up my spine as at least fifty 15-year-olds walked down to the Palooza platform with their dads to take the Biblical Manhood Challenge. Can you imagine the power of this manhood ceremony from the perspective of a 15-year-old?  Standing in front of a crowd of 1,300 God-fearing men with your dad at your side acknowledging and affirming your transition from boy to man!
    • I cannot wait for my son to take this pledge when he is 15 and experience this powerful manhood ceremony surrounded by a community of witnesses!

Want to learn more about Harvest Bible Chapel? Click HERE now.

ATC

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Live Your Legacy Today!

A couple of weeks ago, I asked “What Will Your Legacy Be?” Several of my readers wrote me back, asking me to share more on the topic of legacy.

I had more interaction with my readers from this article than from any other in the past few months.  So, I began reading more about how we can build our legacies, trying to find the perfect message to share with you.

Then, one day as I was driving back from taking Hannah to school, I heard the Sidewalk Prophets sing, Live Like That,” on the radio.  According to iTunes account, I had played this song at least 23 times before, but for whatever reason, this time I finally listened to the words.

The first part of the song reveals the band’s reflective thoughts about what others will say of them when they are gone:

Sometimes I think

What will people say of me

When I’m only just a memory

Keep on reading »

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Playoff Parenting 2017 Reader Survey Results

At the beginning of the month, I sent out my 2017 reader survey.  I decided to do a reader survey this year because I believe it will help me improve the content I create for you!  Over the past week, I have been analyzing the results and wanted to share them with you.  I will also share how I plan on using the feedback to better serve you in the coming year.

Here is What the Numbers Revealed

The numbers revealed the following reader profile for The Playoff Parenting Blog.

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What Will Your LEGACY Be?

Almost exactly 9 years ago, our family’s life changed forever. As we were caravanning to my niece’s birthday party, my parents pulled to the side of the road. Thinking someone simply forgot something, we pulled over behind them.

My mom stepped out of the car with the phone to her ear and a look on her face that I will never forget. As she approached Jen (my wife) and I, she said, “Virgil died.” My wife’s dad had died in his sleep. You can imagine the transformation of emotions from the excitement of celebrating a birthday to the disbelief of the death of Jen’s dad.

Virgil’s death was unexpected, especially since we had just celebrated one of the best Christmases with him and LaVonne the week before.

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A Peek into your Family’s Future

In my last blog post, most of us self-diagnosed ourselves with Parental Nearsightedness, the inability to “see” beyond ourselves and our children.  We discussed that the first ‘P’ in the prescription for Parental Nearsightedness was to “Peek” into your grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s futures.

What if I told you that you could remember your future family today? That’s right—remember your future family. Before you go thinking I am a bit crazy, let me explain.

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4 Ways To Find God’s Calling In Your Life

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Have you ever asked yourself the following questions:

 

  • What am I going to be when I grow up?
  • What is God’s purpose for me?
  • Why isn’t there a place on the internet for me to go to find out what my calling in life is?
  • Was I absent the day that everyone else was assigned their talents and gifts?

Well, I have and still do ask myself these questions and many others related to this topic-and I am 39 years old!  Unfortunately, many of us reading this are still in search of our individual calling, our talents, and our God-given gifts.

I won’t pretend to have the power to answer these or any other questions related to your individual calling, talents, and gifts, but I believe I can give provide you with some  resources to help you on your journey to discover what God has called you to do.  

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