The top 10 things I learned in 2010!

The last week of the year I always spend time thinking about where we have been over the last year and where we are headed for the upcoming year.  As I was contemplating 2010, I realized that God had blessed the year but had also taught me a few things.  I compiled a list and wanted to share the top ten with you.

10. I have a tendency to work too much.

Running a one-person ministry is a huge challenge.  I am the janitor, president, book keeper, author, marketing director, executive assistant and the list goes on.  I always have one hundred things that need to be done and never enough time.  So, I work in the evening or on the weekend which takes away time from my family.  I am purposing to become more focused, which will improve my ability to be effective and efficient to curb this tendency.

9.  Don’t give up your carryon bag when traveling overseas.

My trip to Romania in early December 2010 was exciting in several ways.  I had my first experience of my luggage being absent six days of the eight day trip!  Not cool.  I gave up my carryon bag instead of insisting that I keep it.  I had two extra pairs of jeans and my medicine in the bag.  This lesson will not be forgotten.  

8.  I love going to Europe.

Before 2010, I had not been to Europe.  God blessed me with the opportunity to visit twice in 2010.  The history and culture of Europe are fascinating and continues to draw my interest in returning.  More importantly, I see God moving in a really amazing way in Eastern Europe, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to be used through my book, Dad Cents.

7.  I love coming home to my wife and daughters even more!

Traveling has been awesome but as my return trip nears, I have experienced a fresh excitement to return home.  I love experiencing new things, and so I feel I need to explain a bit.  I never want to leave home but the excitement of Europe, ministering and seeing God move always tug on me.  Simply stated, without my wife and daughters I have a hole in my heart.  I love coming home to them!

6.  Sports are not important.

My wife and those of you who know me well are not going to believe I am writing this.  For me, sports played a great role in molding me into a team player, taught me many fantastic lessons, helped me develop physically but at a specific time in my life.  I have fallen into the trap of watching tons of games, reading too many articles and neglecting the time I should be spending other places.  I have not watched a full NFL game this season and until last night ( I am writing this on Dec. 30) had not watched more than 10 minutes of a bowl game!  This is not to pat myself on the back but to give some of you an idea of where I am.

5.  Money is a much broader topic then I had even imagined!

God continues to teach me every day, and as I have a fresh perspective, I see His truth in a new light.  He has shown me that we use money or something represented by money, somehow, someway in everything we do.  Did you ever wonder why there are more verses about money than any other subject?  I did and God has opened my eyes as to the reason.  With God’s leading, I will continue to develop thoughts and applications on this idea.

4.  Why I have a thorn in my flesh.

Some of you will think, uh, duh, but I had an epiphany in November.  As I struggled, once again, with my thorn, I asked God to take my thorn away!  By the way, I am very familiar with the whole idea of why Paul had his thorn and his writing in II Corinthians but sometimes experience is the best teacher.  I did not hear audible words but in my mind was the thought, “Because, YOU (Shane) need to trust in Me and not do things on your own!”  I know my thorn is to keep my eyes on Him and not the world.

3.  I have the tendency to see the direction God is moving, get very excited and then run ahead of Him.

Wow, I do not think I need to explain much on this one.  Prayer is the key to moving at God’s speed!

2.  God WILL provide.

I cannot tell you how many times this year God has come through at the last minute.  Whether health in was due, a house payment or many other needs, we received exactly what we needed!   is so hard not to worry, but I am getting better.   am so grateful for God’s people listening to His direction.

1.  I am in ministry to honor and glorify God and not for other people.

Once again, some of you may wonder why it took until this year to learn a somewhat obvious concept.  Several times this year I was treated differently than I thought I should be.  As you might think, I was upset by these actions and confided in a couple of close friends.  One of the friends helped me see it is so easy to put our efforts into helping others see how important the things are we think God is telling us instead of doing those things!  Furthermore, if God is telling you to move forward, does it matter what they think?  I realize that everyone I meet will not jump on the boat.  I was getting mixed up with their reaction and what they thought instead of who the real audience is;  God.  He is my motivation, my all in all, and the source of everything.  I need nothing else.          

I have learned not to dwell in the past but learning from our history is very important to avoid repeating the same mistakes.  I would challenge you to look back and see where you have been, if it was profitable and where God would have you go in 2011! 

Blessings to you and your family.


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Friday, December 31st, 2010 Learning No Comments

Intentional Thinking

A couple of weeks ago I was mowing the yard when I noticed baby robins chirping away every time the mama or daddy robin flew to the nest.  The robin’s had built their home on the back of our house and was full of eggs before I had not become aware of the nest.  Since the mama robin had already laid her eggs I did not feel I could take the nest down until the baby birds were old enough to leave home.

The mother robin seemed not to mind my close proximity while I was mowing which gave me the opportunity to see the baby birds pop their heads up with mouths opened wide chirping for food.  I was fascinated as I saw the mommy bird continually bring food for the baby birds.  As I was watching, capsule something in particular caught my eye.   One of the babies was a different color than the others.

I was curious as to the color difference and grabbed a ladder to take a closer look.  Upon closer inspection, the baby bird at the back of the nest was underdeveloped and appeared as though it was not getting as much food as the other babies!  I am not sure why but my fathering instincts kicked in and I was off to solve the problem.

The garage was my first stop to get my shovel and off to the back of my yard I went.  My compost pile was the perfect place to dig for worms.  After digging a couple of very productive holes in the dirt, I had seven or eight worms to feed the baby bird.  I climbed back up the ladder and began feeding the undernourished baby bird.  I would tap on the side of the house and he would pop his head up and begin chirping for food.

I continued to feed him for three days when the unanticipated happened!  A strong storm literally blew in with 60-70 mile per hour winds and actually blew the nest off the house.  I was very disappointed, as I feared for the baby robin’s life.  The parents and the three other babies had disappeared while the baby I had been feeding and affectionately named “Junior” was on the ground with the nest.  I found him standing on the ground chirping for his parents and I thought to myself, “He will be dead in a couple of hours if I leave him on the ground.”  I quickly used a piece of plastic to help him back into the nest and barely escaped the attack of the momma robin while I put the nest back into place.

It was now time to play the waiting game.  During the time, I was feeding the baby the momma bird seemed oblivious to my help and now anytime I was in close proximity to the nest she would swoop in and attack.  I was very confused why she would keep me from feeding her baby all the while she did not feed the baby!  I called my dad, who after received his undergrad in biology and worked at Yosemite National Park for a summer, and he told me to let the momma bird take care of her baby.  I had great fear with this plan but I listened to my dad and unfortunately the next morning brought my feared conclusion.  Junior was dead.

I am sure to some this seems trivial but as I processed these events I realized several lessons but one stuck out the most.   Robins have God given instincts that guide them in their short life.  If something happens that is out of the realm of those instincts they only have the ability to stick to those instincts.  The momma bird did not know what to do except protect the baby bird from me.  She did not know how to think and I realized she did not know how to come up with a solution for this new problem.

God made us different from the animals because He has given us the ability to think.  We have the ability to recognize a new situation and think through a new solution, or better known as logic.  Many times, we act like the momma bird instead of using the capabilities God had given us.  I want to encourage you to be diligent, not just going through the motions with your kids, recognizing different personalities, learning skills, abilities and situations utilizing your gift of logic.

If you have more than one child, as my wife and I do, you cannot teach every child the same way.  One of my daughters loves to serve and will always help look for extra jobs to earn more money.  Another daughter dislikes helping but rarely spends her money and is a spendthrift (her momma says she is like her daddy).  And then comes our youngest daughter.  If she has money, it burns a hole in her pocket!  She never has money but always has a huge assortment of lip gloss.  We have a tremendous challenge in communicating financial concepts even in our family.

My recommendation: it’s important to understand your children’s learning styles and use that information as you teach them. My wife and I have used a book called The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias to help us in this area with our daughters. I suggest you get your hands on that resource or another one which provides insight into learning styles.

Friday, June 25th, 2010 Learning No Comments