In search of the good life Newsstand Price CDN $4.95
september â€“ october, 2011
september – october, 2011
on the cover
Living on Purpose Many men drift through life without bothering to stop and ask for directions. There are better ways. This issue of SEVEN offers insight and advice for men who are eager to become all they ought to be. features 14
The name reflects the seven promises that form the basis of the Promise Keepers organization, which works with churches to minister to men across Canada.
In search of the good life
| kelly rempel Men are happier when they put real effort into relationships with people and pay attention to God.
Loney leads | robert white Dave Loney is passionate about helping men deal with anger, cope with anxiety and become more stable husbands, fathers and leaders.
20 Strategic withdrawal | al deschenau Put a pause into your life and discover the advantages. It’s helped countless men be more balanced and effective (including Jesus).
columns 5 PK Podium Real purpose springs from service
6 Man to Man How to make male friendship matter 24 Sports Scene Calvillo models character 26 Money Matters Children learn by example
one – A Promise Keeper is committed to honouring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer, and obedience to God’s word in the power of the Holy Spirit. two – A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises. three – A Promise Keeper is committed to practising spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity. four – A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection, and biblical values.
22 Dust in the wind | interview with robert white There’s more to life than fame and fortune.
SEVEN is a Christian magazine for Canadian men that exists to help men lead more fulfilling lives and leave enduring legacies.
five – A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of the church by honouring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving his time and resources.
departments 8-11 Pulse Curious events. Interesting people. Good ideas. 13 Reviews Husbands and fathers, average and radical
six – A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity. seven – A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment (see Mark 12:30-31) and the Great Commission (see Matt 28:19-20).
28 Power Play Tools. Toys. Technology. The new PK Canada logo features a maple leaf, indicating our dedication to serve the men of Canada. An arrow breaks into the maple leaf symbolizing the impact we believe God wants to see Promise Keepers and men making in our nation.
27 Out of My Depth Even bumblers can be intentional 30 What Women Want Mutual pleasure takes practice
Publisher: Brian Koldyk Managing Editor: Doug Koop Pulse Editor: Robert White Associate Editor: Jerrad Peters
advertising John Steadman firstname.lastname@example.org 1-888-901-9700
editorial advisory board KIRK GILES: Promise Keepers Canada JEFF STEARNS: Promise Keepers Canada PHIL WAGLER: Gracepoint Community Church SANDRA REIMER: Reimer Reason Communications DOUG KOOP: ChristianWeek
1295 North Service Road PO Box 40599 Burlington, ON L7P 4W1 (905) 331-1830 email@example.com Postmaster: Please send address changes to PO Box 40599, Burlington, ON L7P 4W1
ISSN 1916-8403 Cover: iStockphoto
Design: Indigo Ink Studios www.indigoinkstudios.com
204-424 Logan Avenue Winnipeg, MB R3A 0R4 Phone: (204) 982-2060 (800) 263-6695 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 3
Visit our new website for the latest info, videos, audio messages, menâ€™s articles, books and other resources.
Men of Integrity Devotional Especially written for men, personally challenging, eternally rewarding. Available in a 60 page booklet or as an email devotional.
SEVEN Magazine Men. God. Life. A Christian magazine for Canadian men. Relevant, exciting and biblical.
Visit us online at www.PromiseKeepers.ca and
Between indifference and obsession Real purpose springs from serving by Kirk Giles
Back in 1996 I was standing in the parking lot of a church in Ontario following a Promise Keepers training session. At the ripe age of 22 years old, I had just started as a part-time administrative assistant for the ministry and was speaking with one of the founding board members of PK Canada. “One day, you will be the president of this whole thing,” he told me. I was shocked and humbled. Over the years, I have had other people tell me what they thought I would (or should) be doing with my life. Each has meant well and I am grateful they believed in me enough to share these thoughts. However, I am convinced that one of the most important passages every man must make is the journey to recognize the purpose God has for his life. Men often exemplify two extremes. The first type live with no purpose and seem perfectly content to sail along in life. At the other extreme, there are those who are driven (almost obsessed) to achieve something spectacular or rise to a certain position. They are convinced this is their life purpose. Neither of these extremes are healthy places to dwell. The first harbours laziness and an indifference to many a surrounding need. The second creates stress and a lack of peace, a restlessness that cannot be satisfied because the man is consumed with accomplishments, position and status. Our highest purpose is best found in the Great Commandment of Jesus, who said that the greatest command is to love
God with everything and to love our neighbour as ourselves. In this truth I am able to find great peace and joy in the midst of living out my purpose. By focusing on a loving God, I discover that every moment of my life embraces a wealth of the opportunities and relationships He entrusts to me. By fixing my sights on things above, I am better able to focus on what He has for me today. This frees me from obsessing about what tomorrow will bring. And something else happens as well. As I go about the business of loving my neighbour, God seems to highlight certain people whom I long to serve more. In my case, my experiences and friendships have created a strong desire to serve men, local churches and the fatherless. These are not projects: they are people in whom I want to invest my energy because God strengthens my longing to serve as I obey the Great Commandment. As you read this edition of SEVEN, pay attention to what God may be telling you about how you can show your love to God and who He may be giving you a burden to serve. In these places, you will find your purpose. I can honestly say I did not set out to become president of Promise Keepers Canada. And whether I work in this position or move to some other role, I will always be involved in serving the people God gives me a desire to serve. Purpose is not about a role or position; it is about serving others. In serving, you will find the greatest measure of contentment, joy and sense of accomplishment. Kirk is the husband of Shannon, father to four children and president of Promise Keepers Canada. He also serves as an elder in his church and is actively involved in volunteering in his home community of Paris, Ontario.
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 5
Striking iron How to get real with your friends by Daren Redekopp
I should have been able to say yes. But when my wife turned to me in the car and asked whether I had a good time, something told me that it would be a lie. Certainly, the food was good. I liked the people, too. An evening in the company of some wonderful couples, with men that I genuinely admired— what was the problem? I hadn’t connected. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t sitting next to the punch bowl all night, waiting for someone to take an interest in me. I was engaged in conversation, talking with the others about movies and sports and the events of the week. But something was missing, and it took some out-loud thinking to name what it was: contact. “As iron sharpens iron,” writes the sage, “so one man sharpens his friend.” But the precondition for experiencing the truth of this proverb, the real difficulty, is in bringing the iron of our inner selves, our real fears and desires, into direct contact with the iron of other men. Have you felt it too? That sense of distance that lays between us as men, a sense that is only sharpened by the invisible pull we feel toward true friendship? Funny, how we can spend hours together in a room or on the golf course, and walk away feeling more lonely than before, solitary islands scattered in the ocean, our true selves buried beneath distant shores. But still we feel this pull, like the lodestone in a
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 6
compass, pointing toward something it has never touched. As we made our way home I continued to think. How was it that so much time in conversation had not resulted in the contact I was looking for? What could have been different? How do you go deep enough to find the real iron in a man, the solid core, so that the sharpening may begin? Then it hit me, and I said it: “It’s about the questions.” I think every one of us harbours a few questions we are dying to be asked. We may not even know what they are. But if someone else happens upon one of these questions, and we answer candidly, then a piece of ourselves that normally lays buried will be unearthed. The trick is to find them. This isn’t about one-size-fits-all questions like “How are you?” but questions that are specific to the man. This is about digging deeper, about striking iron. So how do you do that? 1) You start by widening your inventory of stock questions. A few of my favourites: “What part of your day do you look forward to the most?” Or, a little deeper, “What do you love most about your kids?” Or deeper still, “What has God been teaching you lately?” 2) After you’ve asked the question, you listen to the answer and observe. You are a beachcomber, walking through the conversation with a metal detector in hand, searching your friend for signs of
what is important to him, what he hopes for, what he fears. You make note of the places, which indicate where something more is beneath the surface. 3) Then you dig. You ask the deeper question. If your friend tells you that the favourite part of his day is playing with his boys after work, then you ask him what he thinks it means to be a good father, and where he finds it most challenging to live up to that standard. 4) Keep a prayer journal. Make some brief notes on what your fellow men are going through, pray about them and follow up by asking about them at a later date. People are attracted to those who show an interest in who they are and what they think, and a thoughtfully posed question can be very disarming. In my experience, considered questions help me go deeper with my fellow men. There’s a time for everything, and not every conversation needs to have life-changing implications. But if we are thoughtful with our questions, we will frequently find ourselves making real contact with each other, striking iron, unearthed and sharpened.
Daren is a writer, speaker, and downtown pastor. Read more at darenredekopp.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
!"#$%&'"%("$&!)#(%&*!$+%) TRANSFORMATION IS AN IMPORTANT WORD. To be reborn and made new is a miraculous thing. A beautiful illustration of this is when a caterpillar emerges as a butterfly, but it is perhaps most beautiful in people’s lives. Transformation begins with God. He transforms lives in many different ways. EduDeo Ministries believes that one of the most powerful ways He does this is through Christian education. EduDeo Ministries is a Canadian, Christian, mission organization serving children in developing countries with quality education rooted in a Biblical worldview. Their strategic approach includes accessibility for all children, teacher training, curriculum development and school construction. They promote sustainable schools by partnering long-term with school associations and mission organizations that share their vision of Evangelism + Education. WHY EDUCATION? Education is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality and lays a foundation for sustained economic growth. The World Bank states that, "Among human capital investments, education stands out as critically linked to poverty reduction and improved productivity." EDUCATION + GOSPEL = TRANSFORMATION Education in general is a powerful tool for change, but Christcentred education has lasting impact both for today and eternity. EduDeo fuses God's commands to share the Gospel and care for those in need. Rather than focusing on temporary aid, Christ-centered education is a long-term solution that empowers children to break free from the damaging cycle of poverty and encounter the love of God. It impacts entire communities by transforming culture, strengthening the church and family, and shaping the next generation of leaders. NEW NAME & LOGO Formerly known as Worldwide Christian Schools in Canada, EduDeo has recently gone through an strategic planning and rebranding process. Their new name and logo more clearly communicate who they are and what they are called to do. EduDeo [ed-joo-day-oh] is a combination of the words “Education” and “Deo” (Latin for God). This fusion encapsulates the heart of EduDeo’s mission – an education rooted in the Gospel. Christ is at the centre of EduDeo’s ministry, therefore the Christian fish symbol functions as the centrepiece of the whole icon. The butterfly symbolizes transformation, doubles as a book, and represents the Word of God!
EduDeo is excited to be working in partnership with Promise Keepers Canada, giving men an opportunity to impact our world for Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God through HANDS mission trips. To read more about EduDeo Ministries and how you can get involved, please visit www.edudeo.com!
Curiousities. Personalities. Ideas. Information. by Robert White PULSE Editor
CHIVALRY MAY NOT BE DEAD—IT’S JUST SEXIST
The code of chivalry required a knight to serve a lady—mainly in a gentle and gracious way. While code isn’t dead, a study has found that gallantry is now seen as a front for “benevolent sexism,” reports the Globe and Mail. Based on the report published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, even the simplest of acts that suggest women should be cherished and protected are a form of patriarchal control. Enlightened men should avoid: • Offering to help a woman carry shopping bags (implies she’s weak); • Insisting on driving her home (implies she can’t look after her own safety); • Assuming she wants help buying a laptop (implies she’s clueless with technology); • Complimenting a woman on her cooking (reinforces the idea that cooking is a woman’s job). The study’s authors, psychologists Julia Becker and Janet Swim, say women—and men—have overlooked how these small deeds are sexist. To correct matters, women need to “see the unseen,” while men need to be aware of their sexist behaviour and feel empathy for the women targeted. As for the crusade against sexism, Sunday Telegraph columnist Jenny McCartney says feminists have more important issued to be concerned about. Examples include female circumcision, child marriage, human trafficking, rape as a weapon of war and the proliferation of extreme sexual violence in films and on the Internet, she writes. “I am inclined to think that when one finds a man who believes women should be cherished and protected, it would be a good idea to send him forth to encourage the others.”
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT?
A new Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) research paper says most kids are alright. Using Canadian Institute for Health Information research, the IMFC’s “Are the Kids Alright?” shows: • Two-thirds (67 per cent) of teens think their health is excellent or very good. • Another 28 per cent think it’s good. • Almost three out of four (71 per cent) 12- to 15-year-olds have high levels of self worth.
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 8
“These are all positive attributes for a good picture of children’s mental health in Canada,” says the study author and IMFC research fellow Kelly Schwartz. But, children who need help are slipping through the cracks: • One in five children have identifiable mental health concerns but can’t get access to services and professionals. • Eighteen per cent of four- to 16-yearolds had a problem—e.g. anxiety or depression—but only 6.5 per cent got treatment.
One solution is a school-based mental health framework. This takes care of the issues of accessibility and helps families, schools and communities come together to support children’s mental health. “All Canadian children can and should have access to a comprehensive mental health framework specific to their needs and development,” concludes Schwartz.
CHURCH CONVERTS HIGH SCHOOL INTO HOUSING
What does a church do when the high school it bought for a worship centre costs more than it can afford? If you’re Niagara Falls’ Glengate Alliance Church, you turn part of it into seniors’ apartments. In 2004, the church bought a high school in the middle of the city for $2.2 million. The original intent was to rent part of the 108,000 square-foot building (complete with two greenhouses, three kitchens, a double gymnasium and football field) to the government. But after two and a half years of negotiating, there was no tenant. Without the expected rent, the congregation had to foot the cost of a $15,500 monthly mortgage, annual natural gas and hydro bills totaling $50,000 and annual $10,000-plus maintenance bills. Adding to the financial pain was an aging, gas-fired boiler heating system and a 40-plus-year-old roof well past its 30-year life span. With limited income and mounting expenses, by January 2009 the church decided to set up a not-for-profit housing
corporation. Separating the risks of developing the property while still retaining some control, the church sold the building to the housing corporation for $1 plus all the debt. The new Valley Way Non-Profit Housing Corporation applied for and received $4 million-plus from the federal and provincial government, giving it the funding to convert part of the building into seniors’ apartments. “Our vision is to be family of believers,” says pastor Jacob Birch. “Nothing says family more than providing a safe, clean, affordable community for our elders to benefit from and continue serving within.” Each unit has one bedroom, an open concept kitchen, full-length accessible showers and are geothermally heated and cooled. The development also includes a 1,600 square-foot common room which shares a kitchen with the church; providing the church with a new meeting space and a physical connection from which to base its ministry to their new neighbours.
THE FAMILY THAT TEXTS TOGETHER…
The family that texts together may not stay together, suggests the Barna Institute’s “The Family and Technology Report.” The study by the California-based research group finds digital technology “seems to amplify the relational patterns and problems already in place.” In other words, families who do “face time” will use computers, cell phones and smart phones to communicate better. Families who don’t have a good relationship will find themselves even more separated by technology. The study looks at how technology shapes parent-child relationships, wrote Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) researcher Catherine Benesch. “The results show that while parents use technology as much as their children and see it as having either a positive or neutral effect on family life, they feel there’s not enough coaching available on how to best integrate technology into the
home,” she writes. Because younger family members can use new technology better than their parents, parents struggle to set limits. Parents wonder how they can, knowledgeably, set fair rules about what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to browsing, plugging in and tuning out? Keeping track of the use of technology matters since overuse can harm families. Being constantly connected can lead to: family conflict, addiction to technology and work overload. Household friction emerges when mobile phone users, for example, multitask by checking e-mail, rather than being fully present in a family situation such as sitting down for dinner. Technology can bring families together, where family members work within clearly identified rules. Technology can be channelled, if families are careful, to improve communication and quality time together, rather than as a distracting force pushing people apart.
SURFING WE WILL GO Want more information on the topics in Pulse? Check out these web site links. The kids are alright?: http://www.imfcanada.org/article_files/MentalHealth_June2011.pdf Chivalry may not be dead—it’s just sexist: http://pwq.sagepub.com/content/35/2/227.full The family that texts together…: http://www.barna.org/family-kids-articles/488-how-technology-is-influencing-families Church converts high school into housing: http://www.glengatealliance.ca/ What men need to know about depression: www.toddpatkin.com and http://www.scienceofyou.com/ Should churches soft-pedal the potlucks?: http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/news/2011J-March/Religion_Obesity.html Still think the social media is a fad?: http://www.inspiredm.com/social-media-fad/
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 9
WHAT MEN NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DEPRESSION
“Over six million men are affected by depression each year in the U.S. alone, but many don’t seek treatment because they don’t want to be seen as weak or defective,” says Todd Patkin, author of Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In. Patkin speaks from painful personal experience, suffering a devastating breakdown at 36. Finding Happiness chronicles Patkin’s recovery and the lessons he learned about the true nature of both depression and happiness. He says it’s important for men to learn to recognize depression and get help. Clinical psychologist Howard Rankin, who wrote the “Expert View” sections in Finding Happiness, agrees. What Patkin and Rankin think all men should know about depression includes: Men experience different symptoms from women. “Depression manifests itself differently in men because their emotional circuits and brains are designed differently,” says Rankin. “Instead of crying, a man might become irritable, hostile and fatigued. Or dive into his work or a hobby until he can’t carry on. He’s also likely to blame others or circumstances for his problems.” Depression and stress are connected. Long-term stress can increase the risk of becoming depressed. “When you’re
SHOULD CHURCHES SOFT-PEDAL THE POTLUCKS?
Church fellowship, which often comes with potato and macaroni salads, might be the cause of fat Christians. A study at Northwestern University in Chicago shows young adults who take part in religious activities are 50 per cent more likely to become obese by middle age than their peers who don’t. The study tracked 2,433 men and women between the ages of 20 and 32 for 20 years. Researchers found normal-weight young adults who went to church at least once a week were at risk to become obese by middle age. The researchers even considered other
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 10
constantly worn down, anxious and unhappy, you’re essentially training your brain to be that way. Eventually your brain’s biochemistry becomes locked into this pattern,” says Rankin. Depression damages your physical health. Accompanied by a loss of energy, depression causes muscle pain, joint pain, digestive problems, headaches, reduced sex drive and more. Depression hurts your family. Your spouse and children might feel they have to walk on eggshells around you. They might become anxious because they can’t ease your burden. And you won’t be able to give them the attention, support and love you once did. Depression isn’t a cause for stigma. “I’m glad to see our society’s view of depression is finally changing,” says Patkin. “Scientifically we know more about it, and more and more people are becoming aware of its symptoms.” Depression can be treated. A combination of counselling and, possibly, medication, can help most people completely regain their quality of life. “If you suspect you might be suffering from depression—or even heading toward it—I promise you that talking to your doctor is the best thing you can do for your health, your family and your future,” says Patkin.
weight-affecting factors such as age, race, sex, education, income and baseline body mass index. “This highlights a chance for cooperation between medical and religious communities to create targeted antiobesity interventions,” wrote the authors, led by Matthew Feinstein, a fourth-year student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The authors also say their findings don’t mean religious people have a worse overall health status. Other studies show religious people live longer than those who aren’t religious; have better social and spiritual support systems; are less likely to engage in risky behaviours such as smoking, excess alcohol consumption and unsafe sexual practices. “Here’s a chance for religious organizations to initiate programs to help their congregations live even longer,” Feinstein said. “They already have groups of people getting together and infrastructures in place that could be leveraged to initiate programs that prevent people from becoming obese and treat existing obesity.” Northwestern University is now involved in a program that teaches church members how dietary changes and increased physical activity can lower cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, cholesterol and high blood pressure.
STATS CAN TO STOP TRACKING MARRIAGE
SOCIAL MEDIA NOT A FAD
“This new way of communicating with prospects and customers has shifted the way companies think of marketing, opening new doors and options of reaching more people,” says Angela Nielsen of One Lily Creative Agency. If you need proof, take a look at some of these statistics:
Facebook: started in 2004, has more than 600 million users; 50 per cent log on every day; each user has an average of 130 friends; 700 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each month. Twitter: started in 2006, has more than 200 million users; generates 65 million tweets a day; five per cent of users account for 75 per cent of activity; 83 per cent of users tweet once a day. LinkedIn: started in 2003, has more than 100 million users; averages one new user per second, used for business networking; 80 per cent of companies used LinkedIn to recruit staff. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55to 65-year-old females. If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s third largest—more populous than the United States.
Statistics Canada will no longer collect and crunch numbers on the country’s annual marriage and divorce rates, reports the Globe and Mail. Stats Can published its last national figures on marriage and divorce rates in July. It’s been collecting divorce data since 1972 and marriage data since 1921. The cuts came because of the changing nature of relationships, fuzzier definitions about what is and isn’t marriage, and a $250,000 cost saving to the federal government. The numbers shed light on the likelihood of divorce, the average age of marriage and reasons for marital breakdowns by province and nationally, and how that changes over time. Coming up with this data will be tricky—provinces track marriages, but no national body collects marriage data. The Justice Department has information on divorces, but doesn’t give it out. The absence of data will make it harder to find out how the recession affected divorce rates because the data ends at 2008. It will be harder to compare Canadian marriage or divorce rates with other countries such as the United States. And policy makers say they’ll have a tougher time finding out where and how marital breakdown affects child poverty, housing, education and health care. “It’s a loss,” says Ian McKinnon, chair of the National Statistics Council. “There’s an enormous advantage in having the data, particularly when you have a long-time series.” Still, he says, the move highlights the challenge of staying relevant. For example, in Quebec more than a third of couples live in common-law relationships—and wouldn’t show up in the stats. “Divorce and marriage have become a much less clear concept,” he says. “The concept of what a marriage or divorce means in demographic terms is much less obvious than it used to be.” Stats Can’s last snapshot shows 43.1 per cent of marriages are expected to end in divorce before a couple reaches their 50th anniversary, an increase from 39.3 per cent a decade earlier. There were 70,226 divorces in Canada in 2008.
COURAGEOUS COMING TO CANADA
The fourth film by a filmmaking church in Georgia is coming to Canada. Courageous tells the story of “Four fathers who are all in law enforcement who go through a terrible tragedy,” says actor/director Alex Kendrick. “They begin looking at their role as fathers and challenge one another to fulfill God's intention for fathers.” Courageous is the fourth film produced by Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Church in Albany, Georgia. Their other films include Flywheel, Facing the Giants and Fireproof, which was the number one independent film of 2008. The film is being distributed in Canada through a partnership between Crossroads Christian Communications and Sony Pictures. A limited theatrical release begins September 30. “Our dream for Canada starts with churches and families inviting their neighbours to see this gripping movie, and ends with the dream of a nation of fathers who have decided to step up courageously to lead and love their own families,” says Crossroads CEO Don Simmonds. For details check out www.courageouscanada.com
In Courageous, local gang leader T.J. (T.C. Stallings) sees trouble coming in the rearview mirror. Photo by Todd Stone !"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 11
Visit www.PromiseKeepers.ca or call 1-888-901-9700 to receive the next issue.
Husbands and fathers, average and radical LOVE & WAR: FIND YOUR WAY TO SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL IN YOUR MARRIAGE
By John and Stasi Eldredge The book begins with a scene three years into John and Stasi’s marriage. It wasn’t anywhere near what she had imagined it would be. And one morning she broke “the familiar silence” at the breakfast table. “Maybe we should just get a divorce.” As the authors see it: “We live in a love story, set in the midst of a war. Love is our destiny, and all hell is set against it.” John and Stasi joined that battle. More than 20 years later, the young couple with the troubles is aware that their marriage is actually thriving. What happened? What changed? How did they discover something beautiful amidst the inevitable tensions of learning to love and trust each other? Love & War explores these questions in detail. Among other things, the authors demonstrate how to have a good fight, how to share adventures and how to deal with storms. There is a somewhat self-conscious chapter on sex; it encourages wholehearted, frequent, enjoyable physical intimacy between husband and wife.
FIRST-TIME DAD: THE STUFF YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW
By John Fuller with Paul Batura The title is self-explanatory. What respectable man anticipating parenthood for the first time hasn’t thought about the new load of responsibility heading his way and wondered if he can pull it off. Change is coming big time. This major change certainly carries its share of joyful anticipation, but it’s often fraught with
a ton of worry as well. Fuller and Batura address all manner of issues that vex the average North American male wading into the early dilemmas of fatherhood. The book is full of tidbits of advice and warning (e.g. “Never think you’ve blown it so badly that your child will be adversely affected forever”). It encourages men to keep their priorities straight, such as “love your wife more than your kids” (even when she seems totally wrapped up in the little person’s life). It provides guidance on helping children succeed, on finding the keys to their hearts and attending to their spiritual formation.
AVERAGE JOE: GOD’S EXTRAORDINARY CALLING TO ORDINARY MEN
By Troy Meeder Average does not mean “lazy, sloppy, inept, mediocre, or anything like that. A true average Joe works hard, gives his all and makes a difference.” As Troy Meeder tells it, Average Joes are not failures: They’re the ones who make the world work—good men, honest men, hardworking, genuine, steadfast. Meeder writes to encourage and strengthen ordinary men by reminding us of what’s truly important in life. Fame, riches and astonishing achievements are not a valid
measure of significance. In stories drawn largely from his own experience and friendships, Meeder helps us to recognize the deep and abiding value of those who seek truth and have an unshakeable commitment to doing what’s right. The book contains a steady guide to help readers apply biblical principles in the practical affairs of everyday life. It aims to help ordinary men develop the habits of trust, honesty and faith that form the foundation of solid character.
LET GOD CHANGE YOUR LIFE: HOW TO KNOW AND FOLLOW JESUS
By Greg Laurie When you really connect with Jesus, radical becomes the new normal, says renowned pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie. He believes that living the Christian life as Jesus taught it is a spiritual odyssey that can change the world. Laurie’s most recent book takes a how-to approach to help Christians get to know God better, follow Him more faithfully and make Him known to others. He explains what it means to be a Christian disciple, and teaches how to pray. He encourages believers to tell their own story. “We need to take what God gave us and use it constructively in the lives of others,” he writes. “So when you take a new believer under your wing, you’re not only encouraging a new child of God, you’re also saving yourself from spiritual stagnation. New believers need our wisdom, knowledge and experience, and we need the zeal, spark and childlike faith that a young Christian possesses.”
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 13
In search of the good life Getting started on the quest to a purpose-driven life by Kelly Rempel
The kids busy with homework, his wife Jan cleaning the kitchen, Matt* flopped down in front of the flat screen with a drink in one hand and the latest issue of Car and Driver in the other. Time to upgrade the mini-van. But as the football stats flashed across the screen, Matt found his mind starting to wander. Work was going okay; his promotion was just around the corner. Jan seemed to be happy, although some nights the look in her eyes told him he didn’t know the whole story. He worried about their debt load and the kids’ looming college tuitions. He hung out with the guys at the basketball court, went to church most
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 14
Sundays and even volunteered at the food bank once in awhile. So why did he feel so empty inside?
According to the web site “Ask Men,” some of the top things that make men happy are good friends, good health and a good life partner. A Christian guy might add going to church or being involved in some sort of ministry opportunity. But what about those men who seem to really love life? They have a purpose, a sense of calling and direction that makes everyone else wish they had it too. The problem is that many guys don’t
know how to get there. “Everyone is called, not just pastors and missionaries,” says Tom Sine, founder of Seattle-based Mustard Seed Associates (msainfo.org) and the coauthor (with his wife Christine) of the book Living on Purpose: Finding God’s Best For Your Life (Baker Books, 2002). “The good life of God is not getting the newest, the latest and the biggest. It’s seeking life. It’s losing life in service to God and others that we discover what the good life is.” “God desires us to walk with Him. [He wants] to communicate that purpose to us,” says Ontario author and leadership coach Dave Loney
photo: doug koop
Asking the Questions
(daveloney.com). “Our calling is actually something that encompasses all of these things—our work, our community, our church, the people we hang out with, our own vision. “Too often we isolate our call to our work with the church or the mission trip that we do. It’s integrating all of these things around the context of ‘God how did you design me? What do you want me to do with my life?’” Tools aplenty It sounds great, but how can the everyday guy actually define his calling? There are tools aplenty online and in bookstores (see sidebar on page 17 for
a few resources), but they may seem a bit daunting at first. It can be tough to find helpful tools, agrees Sine. It’s one of the reasons he and Christine decided to write a book outlining some practical, Scripture-based steps men, women and whole families can take to live a less stressful, more satisfying life. The goal, he says, “is to help families take their lives back, and to discover a sense of God’s call on their lives and to reorder how they use their time and money.” “If we really want to find God’s best, we need to do what Jesus did and give ourselves to a dream that calls us beyond
When it comes to discovering our strengths, setting priorities and finding purpose in life, Surrey counsellor Gerry Bock suggests asking the following questions: 1) Am I actively seeking better relationships with others? What am I doing to improve them? 2) Am I looking for the next step in my life? “If I was to ask 100 men on the street today if they knew what the next step in their life was, they might say winning the lottery, getting a promotion or better career, lose a little weight, find a partner. But those aren’t the deep, satisfying kinds of steps that men need to take to lead. Men need to lead to really be satisfied and happy.” 3) Do I make progress every day toward specific goals? 4) Do I behave in a way that is consistent with what I believe? Am I protecting my integrity? Or just until it’s challenged? 5) Am I honest with others without attacking or finding fault? Or do I put others down so I can feel like a winner? 6) Do I replay a lot of conversations or events? Do I spend time dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about the future? You can’t change either one of those. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t spend more then four seconds in the past, unless it’s to learn something, or four seconds in the future, unless it’s to prepare. 7) Am I aware of what’s most important to me, and do I act in a way that nourishes and protects that? 8) Do I work on resolving the habits and issues that bug me? “Someday never comes. You will be happiest if you focus everyday on resolving the things that the Lord has put in front of you as things you need to engage with and overcome.”
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 15
In search of the good life ourselves,” write the Sines. “That starts with actively listening to God’s call on our lives.” The first step is to get together with some like-minded friends. Small groups are the ideal place to start asking the questions. It’s also the place to do a lot of listening, says Sine. Take the time to really dig into Scripture and prayer. “How is God calling us through Scripture? What has impacted you and called you beyond yourself? Write that down,” says Sine. “Then write down what you’re hearing through prayer. What are the kinds of human need that really tear at your heart? They could be God’s call on your life. Write them down. “Write down your areas of giftedness. The things you’re passionate about, that you care about. And areas of brokenness.” Even broken areas, he says, can become a calling, pointing to Prison Fellowship founder, and ex-convict, Charles Colson as an example. Tough going But thinking through some of these issues can be tough. Gerry Bock has seen a lot of men come through his doors during his 22 years as a clinical therapist in Surrey, B.C. Most times it’s because something in their life “isn’t working,” he says. “My marriage is broken; my relationships aren’t working; I have trouble with my family; I’m stressed; I’m depressed. The cause may be that they don’t have any goals or priorities, but they don’t always know that’s the problem.” It’s hard for some guys to ask for help. “Men tend to think they can handle crises on their own. They think ‘I just need to have a few drinks or go to the gym or buy a new boat, that’ll get me past my crisis.’ There are a lot of things to distract men from dealing with the real problem.” If you’re serious about making some changes, Bock suggests taking an
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 16
informal, 360 degree look at yourself. Ask yourself where you’re at, and be honest. How are you doing with your relationships with friends, your spouse, your kids, God? Often others can identify your strengths more easily, so don’t be afraid to ask. Get together with your buddies and ask them for their honest opinions. “Other people will identify all sorts of interesting strengths about you,” says Bock. Brutally honest In his 2004 book Sweating From Your Eyes: Emotional Fitness for Men, Loney offers two surveys to help guys take a good hard look at themselves. The first is personal; the second is for others to fill out. He too says this is a time to do a “brutal, honest assessment.” When a man is emotionally healthy, he is better able to hear God’s call. Loney likens it to working out at the gym. You need to stick to it, exercise weak muscles, build tone. And go with a buddy. “If you’re not willing to be honest about your stuff, you’re not really working out,” he says. “You’re faking it.” “Accountability is really critical for staying on track,” agrees Bock. “If you don’t want to be accountable, one has to ask, how serious are you in your goals?”
Drawing on years of personal and corporate experience, Loney offers guys a way of plotting the survey results to figure out what “zone” they fall into and some ways to work on improving their character. The book is written for a wide audience, but the tools align with Scripture, says Loney. While it is “selfhelp” on one level, it takes on a whole different dynamic when God is part of the picture. “God does the work in us,” says Loney. “It’s very clear that God is involved in everything. He holds us together. Change is related to God’s work in our life.”
It had been a long two months, but Matt actually felt better than he had in a long time. Desperate to get out of his funk, he talked to his buddy Dan about his problem, only to find out Dan was struggling too. They agreed to start meeting with another friend, Len, once a week to figure out what needed to change. Bibles open, and committed to being honest with each other, they began to listen for God’s call.
Once you have a sense of where God is calling you, and what some of your strengths and gifts might be, it’s time to hammer out a personal mission statement, one of the key steps for Tom and Christine Sine. Put what you’re hearing into words. Then, says Tom, you can start to figure out how to reorder your life—including how you spend your time and your money—to reflect your mission. “Ordinary people are finding out that God can use their lives in ways they never imagined.” It can be as simple as taking someone out for lunch once a week to find out how they’re doing, or using your skills in the
community. Interested in cars? Help single moms with vehicle maintenance. Skilled at sports? Invest your time with some needy kids. Going on vacation? Try spending part of it (or all of it!) serving others in a new location. It’s risky. It’s hard work. But it’s worth it, says Bock. “You’re happier when you take steps every day to deepen your relationships with people and your relationships with God and engage life.” Sine echoes that statement. “I find people who are having the best time are the ones who are discovering how God wants to use their lives to make a difference in the lives of others,” he says.
Matt couldn’t believe it. He’d had the most amazing day. After meeting with Dan and Len for a few weeks, the three of them noticed several homes in their community were in dire need of repair, porches sagging, shingles peeling, lawns needing attention. And, so, the men asked if they could help. At first people were suspicious, but in time warmed to the idea. Some amazing conversations began to happen, about life and God. Matt felt great. He had a purpose! And surprise, it was having repercussions in all areas of his life. He was more engaged with his wife and family. He felt better about his performance at work. And he was realizing he didn’t need that new car to make himself feel better. He already had it in spades (and paintbrushes and hammers). Literally. And it felt good. Kelly Rempel lives and writes in Winnipeg. *Matt and his friends are fictional characters with real-life issues.
Helpful Resources Living on Purpose: Finding God’s Best for Your Life By Christine and Tom Sine Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2002 Mustard Seed Associates www.msainfo.us Founded by Tom and Christine Sine, check out this site for some great ideas and stories about people using their talents for God. Sweating From Your Eyes: Emotional Fitness for Men By Dave Loney Aldergrove, BC: Fresh Wind Press, 2004 www.daveloney.com www.purposedrivenlife.com The site for the popular book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren includes free resources such as the Purpose Driven Health Assessment and other tools. www.lifekeys.com LifeKeys is a spiritually-based comprehensive program for discovering your life gifts, spiritual gifts, personality type, values and passions. The more you understand the causes or purposes that motivate you to action and the environments that best fit your personality, the better you can align who you are with what you can do for God. www.strengthsfinder.com StrengthsFinder is an online assessment tool from Gallup. The related book, StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, includes the newest research as well as an access code that allows you to take its online survey to discover your top five strengths. http://www.myersbriggs.org/type-use-for-everyday-life/ type-in-personal-growth/ The popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has been used by thousands to discover their personality type and how it might affect life choices. This page includes a list of additional resources. http://www.birkman.com/index.php The Birkman Method is used to measure social expectations, self-concepts, interests, and stress behaviour. Respondents fill out an online survey and work with a consultant or coach to examine the results.
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 17
Loney leads Called to help men develop character, maturity and vision. by Robert White
Dave Loney was listening eagerly to Prayer of Jabez author Bruce Wilkinson at the 2006 Promise Keepers Canada conference. He was speaking about Godgiven dreams, recalls Loney, and about following those dreams. When Wilkinson invited those who identified with that message to stand, “I just jumped to my feet.” “I figured I was going to be the only one, but the whole auditorium stood up,” he says. The experience solidified Loney’s conviction that “God gives every man a dream. Whether or not we’re willing to obey—whether or not we’re willing to trust God—is a different issue.” Wilkinson’s message also affirmed Loney’s long-time vision for working with men.
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 18
Two years earlier, Loney had written Sweating from Your Eyes: Emotional Fitness for Men. Anger, he’d discovered, is the only emotion many men feel comfortable expressing. The book provides a blueprint for helping men deal with anger, cope with fear and anxiety and become more loving, stable and passionate in their roles as husbands, fathers and leaders. From his home office in the EverGreen Ranch—a converted barn just outside of Guelph, Ontario, retrofitted with straw bale insulation, geothermal heating and a view of the wooded countryside—Loney continues to coach men in groups and one-on-one. Using the Birkman Method, he helps men reduce unhealthy stress and focus on the issues that will lead to personal
and business growth. “I work from strategic planning all the way through to the inner man,” he says. “I enjoy helping men see the big picture, and also sort out the issues of the heart,” which he describes as being “about character development: ‘What is my purpose?’ ‘Who am I?’ ‘What am I really made for?’ What am I doing?’ ‘How should I grow?’” Loney says character development— learning to be the man God has called you to be—leads to spiritual maturity. “Spiritual maturity is learning how to step aside and watch what God does and work with Him,” he explains, recommending the Henry and Richard Blackaby classic Experiencing God as a “wonderful study on lining up your actions with what God is doing.”
Loney believes that spiritual maturity leads to better decision-making— especially when it concerns God’s vision for our lives. “As we get older, our ability to vision longer and our enthusiasm for the bigger vision gets greater. I’ve also learned the bigger vision is going to take more time. “Then the question isn’t ‘I’ve got a bigger vision, but is it for now?’ Then the question becomes ‘what do I need to do first?’” Men need to overcome two major hurdles when following God’s vision suggests Loney: fear and control. The first step in overcoming fear is to break the vision into steps—which can also be a way in staying in control. “We need to work with God, not our own plans. We need to collaborate with
God and with others to accomplish what God brings our way versus saying ‘the first step is…and I’m going to make sure that happens,’” says Loney. “It’s easy to get off the path of what God wants us to do.” In fulfilling God’s vision, Loney also encourages men to move beyond the here and now to the eternal. He was reminded of this while listening to a band playing at the Ark, a monthly gathering of artists and musicians at EverGreen Ranch. The songwriter, speaking to a mature individual, said “you’re just cutting your teeth.” “The world’s orientation is that life begins at birth and ends at 70 or 80 years. Eternal life is just the beginning of our journey,” says Loney. “We have another mission after we pass through
this life to eternal life. “Am I living [that] resurrected life now? Am I living an eternal life here? Am I bringing the Kingdom of God into the world?” asks Loney. “Or am I allowing [fear and the world] to get in the way of my mission, my purpose and my call that God has given me?”
Robert White has a vision to keep men encouraged and informed as the editor of the Pulse section of SEVEN magazine.
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 19
Strategic Withdrawal A simple life lesson from the Master planner
photo credit: cornelius buller
by Al Descheneau
!"#"$ â€“ issue twenty | september â€“ october, 2011 page 20
No one likes a quitter. No one creates movies, operas, ballads or inspirational stories about men who turned-tail and ran. We play with action heroes—guys who didn’t quit, who never let up. Men like John McClane from Die Hard and Dutch from Predator. Men who can take hit after hit, dispose of bad-guy after bad-guy, with aliens coming from everywhere, exploding buildings, walking over glass, covered in filth, bruised, bleeding, shot… and they just keep on going. Nothing stops them, and they never back down. Hoo-ah! A lot of men these days live as though they are unstoppable machines. Here’s the problem: they’re not—and everyone from their doctor to their wife to their pastor keeps telling them so. Their response? “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!” Friend, that may be sooner than you think. Everybody knows the importance of a good night’s sleep, and many know the importance of taking a weekly Sabbath. Most aren’t doing it, but they at least know they should. But here’s something you may not have considered—another kind of rest you should be taking—the “strategic withdrawal.” Harried, hurried and hurting. Jesus knew what it was like to be under immense pressure. In a story that is told in Mark 3:6-16, Jesus was surrounded by crowds teeming with sick and demon possessed people who wanted to be healed, and religious and political leaders who wanted Him dead. He was surrounded by need and conflict. Everyone wanted a piece of Jesus, and they followed Him all the way down to the shore to get it. Then it got out of control. The sick and hurting started losing their cool. “All who had diseases pressed around him to touch Him.” The word “pressed around” means to fall on or rush into someone—like a defensive line zeroing in on a quarterback. The crowd was so desperate to get close to Jesus they started stepping on each other, pushing the weak aside and jumping out of the crowd to touch Him and be healed. Picture the crowd pressing forward, walking over the lame, diving at Jesus, backing Him into the water. His feet get wet, and then His legs as the horde presses ever forward. Ever had that feeling? Where everyone wants a piece of you? Where you’re in
deep and getting deeper? Most guys do. Crazy at work, busy at church and then it’s home to “I’m hungry!” “This broke!” “He hit me!” “Let’s play!” Aging parents, needy friends, commitments to clubs, associations and the church. Many of us are beyond maxed out. And it doesn’t stop after you retire… in fact, most retirees say they got busier. Handling high pressure. So what are we supposed to do? As with all things, let’s look to what Jesus did. He set up a strategic withdrawal. Jesus knew it was going to get crazy so He planned ahead. He gave orders for a boat to float along the shoreline so when things got crazy, He could get in and take off. Do you do that? Do you purposefully build strategic withdrawals into the times when you know things are going to get hairy? When you know it’s coming…tax time, annual budget meetings, huge projects, major reports, weddings, funerals, travel…do you make sure to set aside some time to get away in the middle of it? Probably not. Why? Because for most of us, it’s hard to stop. All-go, no-quit, git-rdone! In our pride we believe that we need to keep going because whatever-it-is will fall apart without us. It’s not true, and that thinking is making many of us sick. When the rhythm of life is beating too frantically, it’s not the time to Energizer Bunny your way through. It’s time to be wise and do a strategic withdrawal—Jesus Style. What does that look like? Well, let’s start with what it isn’t: 1) It isn’t a day off where you take care of your honey-do list; 2) It isn’t a vacation where you go far away to a strange land and do new things; 3) It isn’t party time where you distract yourself with fun and food; 4) It isn’t lazy time where you veg out in front of a glowing box; 5) It isn’t a sabbatical that you take for weeks at a time; 6) It isn’t running away from responsibility, leaving others to pick up your mess; 7) It isn’t an evacuation where you never come back. A strategic withdrawal Jesus Style is a purposefully set aside time in the midst of a busy schedule where you walk away from work, get rest, connect with God and
friends—and come away with new perspective. How do you do it? The same way Jesus did. He planned it ahead of time. Jesus had the boat ready to go. This isn’t something done on a whim. It requires planning out where you’ll be, what you’ll bring, what you’ll eat, where you’ll sleep and how long you’ll be gone. He left work behind. He could have kept working (and working and working), but He didn’t. He paddled away from a huge crowd of needy people who wanted Him to keep going. This is so hard! It is a remarkable act of faith to say, “Lord, I’m walking away with this undone. It’s hard for me, but I’m trusting that things won’t fall apart if I leave right now. You take over.” He went away, but not far away. He got in a boat, went for a ride and sat on a hillside. He didn’t get on a plane and go to a hotel in Tahiti. He got out-of-theway, but it wasn’t hard to get there. He didn’t need hundreds of dollars and two weeks off. A strategic withdrawal is short (half-a-day to two days) and inexpensive. He took the right people with Him. Jesus had a strong private prayer life, but He also “called to Him those whom He desired.” This isn’t a time to bring someone you don’t know. It is a time to be open and honest with good people who really care, give encouragement, talk straight and pray meaningfully. He came away with a plan. After some rest and time with His Father and good friends, He had a plan. He would choose 12 guys and spread out His work. Strategic withdrawal has that effect. Staying on a job for too long gives you tunnel vision and causes you to lose focus and run out of ideas. God built us to gain clarity and better understanding of our problems when we put the work down, walk away and breathe fresh air. So think about when your next busy period will be and put a strategic withdrawal in your calendar today. Then stick to it!
Pastor Al Descheneau is a father of four who ministers and writes in the Ottawa area.
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 21
Dust in the wind There is more to life than possessions, prestige and popularity.
A conversation with Robert White
!"#"$ â€“ issue twenty | september â€“ october, 2011 page 22
Journalist Robert White found helpful guidance in the book of Ecclesiastes at a difficult stage in his life. A month after his son was born, his dad died after losing a battle with cancer. It was a time of transition in other ways as well. He was frustrated with his job and there were problems at church. “I saw the futility in stuff,” he says. “I read Ecclesiastes because it addressed my frustration. I studied it to put meaning back into my life. I then began to use my vocation as a writer to share what I was learning. It leeched into newspaper columns and Sunday school lessons, and eventually became a book.” That was nearly 20 years ago. When he finished the manuscript about five years ago, he began trying to get it published. “That had moments where it seemed a vain and meaningless occupation. There were times I wanted to put it on the shelf and leave it there. But I continued to feel that the message would also benefit others.” Last year he entered the manuscript in a Word Alive Press writers’ competition and came out a winner. “It was a godsend,” he says. The prize was publication and Chasing the Wind came out in hardcover this spring. Why did you call your book Chasing the Wind? Chasing the wind is one of three major themes in the book of Ecclesiastes, which is found in the Old Testament in the Bible. The writer, who I call the Teacher, also uses the phrases “meaningless, meaningless” and “under the sun.” Chasing the wind describes it well. It’s about chasing possessions, prestige and popularity. These things don’t last. In the end, we desire something more enduring; we long for purpose and meaning. Why do we hunger for meaning? It’s one of the things we seem we need. My pastor recently identified three questions that are always being asked: Who am I? Where do I belong? Why am I here? These are core question for humans at all times. What’s the most meaningless thing you’ve done in your life? On many occasions I’ve wondered, “What was I was thinking when I did that?” Here’s one to forget. When I was a journalist in Edmonton, I spent hours reading through reams and reams of municipal council minutes and agendas looking for story ideas. That is at the top of my meaningless activity list.
What’s the most meaningful thing you’ve done in your life? I immediately think of three closely related things: Getting married, and being present at the birth of my two children. Meaningful relationships matter more than anything else that we experience. Being present for people through whatever life brings is significant. How is “under the sun” different? It means that some things never change, but continue to be true for human beings in every generation from ancient times until now. The Teacher acknowledges the reality of toil, the endless work that needs to be done. He talks about treasure and how we need to manage whatever resources are ours to work with. Another sure thing is termination, the inevitable fact of death. Ben Franklin famously said that the only things certain are death and taxes. Under the sun refers to things like that. If so much human activity is futile and meaningless, what’s the actual point? Ecclesiastes often sounds pessimistic, but it’s actually about hope. The writer has listened to every aspect of life and comes “to the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Fear in this sense means being in awe of God. The point of living is to be in a relationship where we love and serve God with heart, soul, mind and body—with every aspect of our being. Who’s the book for? It’s for anybody who has climbed the ladder of success and found that it’s leaning against the wrong wall. It’s for people who are looking for meaning, pursuing fame and fortune and wonder if there’s meaning in that. How does Ecclesiastes help us today? What kind of wisdom can we discover from this ancient source? For one thing, it helps us realize that what we are going through isn’t unusual. At some time or other, every one has questions about the purpose and meaning of their existence. If we’re bored with our work, we discover that people 3,000 years ago struggled as well. If we find our search for wealth and fame unfulfilling, well, that’s the way it is. If this is the case, we find ourselves in the place where Solomon was when he asked for wisdom. In his case, because he asked for wisdom he got wealth and fame as well. That doesn’t happen to everyone. The message of Ecclesiastes encourages us to get our priorities right— to fear God and keep His commandments. What’s the takeaway for people who read your book? Hopefully, they will come away with a deeper sense of meaning. I want them to know that life does have meaning when we have our priorities straight. The Teacher leaves us with hope. Even if we find life is meaningless, there still is hope. Even if we think it’s meaningless, there is hope. There is always hope.
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 23
photo: peter mccabe / canadian press
Calvillo a winner both on and off field
Unflappable quarterback demonstrates strong faith by Scott Taylor
He doesn’t have the best arm in the Canadian Football League and he’s not that fast. He turned 39 this summer. He’s also had cancer. But, hey, what’s the big deal? This is A.C. we’re talking about. A.C. would be Anthony Calvillo, and Anthony Calvillo, cancer or no cancer, is still the best quarterback in the CFL. In fact, TSN’s panel of experts recently named him the best player in the CFL. His is one of the most intriguing stories in all of North American professional sport and yet so few journalists have bothered to make a big issue out of the guy’s career. Other than to say, of course, that he’s won three Grey Cup championships (the past two in a row) was the 2002 Grey Cup MVP and has won three Most Outstanding Player Awards (2003, 2008, 2009). The trouble with Anthony Calvillo is that he comes with no baggage. No baggage, that is, other than his own thyroid cancer and his wife’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Calvillo has not crashed his car into a school bus. He hasn’t had a series of
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 24
Vegas girlfriends. He doesn’t boogie at Montreal’s hottest clubs and he hasn’t told his coaches to stuff it. He has not fired off a stupid late-night Tweet and he’s never ignored a newspaper reporter. As tabloid fodder goes, A.C. is boring. He’s a winner, a loving husband and father and a man who believes deeply in the Word of God. In the great game of life, he’s been dealt both good and bad cards, but he’s never suffered from the highs that get too high and the lows that can often be far too low. Instead, he’s allowed his faith to lead him toward victory both on and off the field. Not surprisingly, his personal bout with cancer was never as worrisome as his wife’s long, difficult battle with the disease. As a Christian who is secure in the knowledge that the Lord is always with him, Calvillo had no worries about the tumour that was found on his thyroid gland shortly after a game in Winnipeg last August. In fact, that was a piece of cake compared to the devastation he felt on October 22, 2007, when the 6-foot-1,
213-pound Calvillo was brought to his knees. That was the day a large cancerous mass was discovered in his wife Alexia’s chest. It was the day Anthony and Alexia felt their faith tested as it had never been tested before. “The first thing we did when we heard that this tumour had been discovered was get down on our knees and pray,” Calvillo told SEVEN. “Our faith was going to be the foundation of our journey to deal with Alexia’s cancer. We knew right away that Jesus would give us the strength to get through this, to defeat it and to get on with our lives.” And, of course, He did. Today, Alexia, 36, is free of cancer. So, too is Anthony, who had half his thyroid removed and yet is back leading the Alouettes this season. In fact, even though he had cancer and knew it late last fall, this product of East L.A. and Utah State University led the CFL with a remarkable 108.1 passer rating. He was the Eastern Conference all-star quarterback as well as the quarterback of the 2010 Grey Cup champions. Early this summer he tied Damon Allen’s record of 394 career touchdown
photo: cedars cancer institute
passes when he threw five TDs in Montreal’s 39-25 win over Saskatchewan in the second week of the 2011 CFL season. So much for The Big C. “What happened to us made me realize how important life was outside of football,” Calvillo said. “Now, when I play, I don’t approach the game as being so
important anymore. I enjoy playing the game, but I don’t take it as seriously as I once did. It’s fun and a big part of my life, but it’s not as important as my family or my faith.” It’s called balance, and for Anthony Calvillo, it’s all you need to be a champion—in the true sense of the word.
Scott Taylor is a Winnipeg-based sportswriter and broadcaster.
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 25
Learning by example Are you building a Christian financial legacy for your kids! by Karen Bjerland
As Christian parents, our responsibility goes beyond helping our children to be financially successful. We have a responsibility to teach our children to be good stewards of the gifts God provides and to make day-to-day financial decisions that reflect their values. Is your family’s financial legacy built on strong, Christian principles? Think about the life lessons you learned from your family, parents and grandparents. Our early experiences shape us in many ways, from our physical well being to our spiritual life and even our financial habits. Take a moment to think about your financial habits—good and bad. Do they mirror things your parents did? Was your father a diligent saver who was certain to be ready for that “rainy day”? Or did your family value new things, even if it meant going into debt? Understanding the origin of your financial habits and values can help you to get your finances in order and be more deliberate about teaching your children attitudes about spending, saving and giving. As a parent, or grandparent, it’s important to think about the financial habits you’re modelling. It’s important for children to hear and see how decisions are made. By involving children in financial decisions in an age appropriate way, you give them the tools to make their own decisions later in life. Here are a few tips to help you teach your children good habits. Tips for young children: • Have your child decorate three jars— one for spending, one for saving and one for giving to church or charity.
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 26
• When your child receives money as a gift or she begins to get an allowance, talk with her about the importance of all three areas and help her to decide how much to spend, how much to save and how much to give. • Help your child create a chart to track her progress toward her savings goals. • Help her decide where to give her money—a program at your church or an organization in your community—or choose a family project to support together. • As children learn to save, you could match or supplement their savings to encourage their behaviour and help them reach their goals. Tips for older children: • Go with your child to set up a savings account. Most banks or credit unions have no-fee accounts for children. Involve your child in the process of deciding which account is best for them. • Teach your child to keep track of her savings account activity. • Starting now when it’s simple will help her as her finances gradually get more complicated. • Again, you can agree to match or supplement her funds as she advances toward her goals. Or you could even help her find a high interest savings account and begin to teach her about investing. Tips for teens: • Give your child responsibility for some expenses, perhaps paying for her entertainment, birthday gifts for friends or some of her clothing. If she wants expensive clothes that don’t fit into the family budget, ask her to contribute.
This will help her make good decisions and learn the value of money. • When your older child gets a job, help her to set up a chequing account and learn to track her spending. • Discuss setting up an automatic transfer to a savings account or investment to continue building good habits. It’s also a good time to talk with her about the power of compound interest. Starting to save early will have an amazing effect. As you consider the financial habits you want to pass on to your children, think about the lessons of your own life: what’s important to you and what you wish you had known sooner. Make money discussions a regular part of life, not something secret or scary. Talk to your children about how you make decisions about a big purchase or how you decide what to give to your church or a charity in your community. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Take a good long look in the mirror. What type of financial legacy are you building for your children and grandchildren?
Karen Bjerland is president and CEO of FaithLife Financial. She is a proud grandmother to four incredible young people. www.faithlifefinancial.ca
Trust God for the results A bumbler"s guide to the purpose-driven life by Mark Buchanan
I’m accident prone. I crashed both a bicycle and a car on my first solo outing with each, age six in the first instance, age 16 in the second. Both were failures of judgment and technique. With the bike, I braked too late on a downward slope, skidded through a stop sign and was pasted by an old Buick. I spent the night in the hospital, hailed a hero for surviving the ordeal, but the bike—my mother’s —was reduced to scrap, which grieved me sorely. With the car, I turned too sharply into a parking stall and gouged three panels on my dad’s new Plymouth, which also grieved me sorely, and him more so. No hero status was accorded me in that instance. Both memories make me wince at the recall. In between and ever since, I’ve fallen out of trees, tumbled down stairs, cut myself with knives and saws and scissors and the edges of paper, had my teeth rearranged by a hard ball and torn more clothes than my long-suffering wife can mend. So when the church got all purposedriven a decade or so back, I felt at a distinct disadvantage. I like the emphasis enough—I’d rather live with intention and discipline than not—but my experience with the world is that mess and disorder stalk me, that mishaps lay in wait, that fiascos hunt me down. I am master of the gaffe, virtuoso of the pratfall. I am the guy who fumbles the ball, trips the wire, botches the plans, slips on the banana peel.
How could the likes of me ever be purpose-driven? But then I noticed something, and it made all the difference. Martin Luther summed it up succinctly: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and then do whatever you want.” The sharp provocation of his remark opened my eyes to how the Bible distils human purpose to a core simplicity: be fiercely, jealously, joyously committed to God, and then trust God for the results. “Abide in me,” Jesus said, “and you will bear much fruit.” Or again: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” I like how The Message renders that verse and the one after: “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, Godprovisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Or here’s Paul’s counsel: “For we know that God works all things together for good for those who love him and are called to His purposes.” Or Solomon’s: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Or again: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” It’s everywhere, a biblical life principle: seek the Lord first and most, and trust Him to work out the details. As I said, this makes all the difference. As a man and a pastor, I have never been good at setting clear goals, especially if they involve what the corporate world calls “metrics”—quotas, targets, rigorous deadlines, hard measurements. I want to. I’ve tried. I just can’t. But I have, I believe, made the Lord my highest priority. I have a long way to go. I have much to learn. I am still a beginner. I stumble more than leap. But I am resolved to finish what I started. Paul sums it well for me: “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back” (The Message). I’ve got my eye on the goal… Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. That’s the real purpose-driven life, and even bumblers qualify. Mark Buchanan is a author and pastor living on Vancouver Island. The author of several best-selling books, his most recent title is Spiritual Rhythm.
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 27
Great games. Great toys. Great gadgets. Reviews by Sandy McMurray
WEBER FIREPLACE GRILL
ANGRY BIRDS YOU CAN HUG
As the weather starts to cool, outdoors cooking is less about grilling and more about staying warm while you cook. Sure, you can barbecue in the dead of winter, but this time of year calls for a fire pit. Weber’s Fireplace Grill is both handsome and handy; a portable version of the camp fire pit. It’s perfect for backyard entertaining or for roasting hot dogs, s’mores and more. If it’s cold enough to wear a sweater, gather around this wood burning outdoor grill and enjoy the crackle of the fire while you cook. When it’s time to turn in, it’s easy to put out the fire. Grab the wooden handles, remove the lid and the middle support ring, then put the lid back on to smother the flames. The Weber Fireplace Grill is available from Home Depot and from Amazon.com.
Angry Birds is one of the most popular video games in history. It has conquered the iPhone, the iPad and other mobile devices. It’s a simple puzzle game with cartoony graphics. Angry Birds owes much of its success to the cartoony appeal of its characters. The game itself is not the only source of Angry Birds revenue. The iconic red birds (the heroes) and green pigs (the villains) have popped up on T-shirts, stickers, shoes and more. And now you can hug them. If you liked Angry Birds when they were just moving pictures, you’ll love them in cuddly plush form. The toys feature sounds from the actual game, so you can hear them screaming even when they’re not flying through the air. Angry Birds plush toys are now available at Future Shop locations across Canada and at futureshop.ca
DOODLE TABLECLOTH thinkgeek.com
Here’s a fun idea borrowed from those restaurants that let you draw on their brown paper tablecloths. The Doodle Tablecloth is 30 square-feet of cotton that looks like graph paper, complete with printed lines and red margins. It comes with eight fabric markers that you can use to draw, doodle and play while you’re at the table. Toddlers can scribble; older kids can play games or draw placemats.
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 28
Gamers can construct worlds on the table. When the fun is done, toss the Doodle Tablecloth in the washing machine (hot cycle) and wipe the slate clean. The Doodle Tablecloth is made of 100 per cent pre-shrunk cotton and it comes with eight markers.
EMERGENCY REBOOT rebootbutton.com
When something goes wrong with a computer or electronic device, the best solution often is to turn it off and turn it back on. This is called “rebooting” the system, and it fixes a surprisingly high percentage of technical problems. The Emergency Reboot button gives you something to do whenever you encounter a technical problem. Don’t panic, and don’t immediately jump to the most technical solution possible. If the computer is not working, you may not need to reinstall the sound drivers and tinker in the Windows Registry. You might just need to turn it off then turn it back on again. When you Emergency Reboot button, an alarm sounds and a deep, confident voice says, “Reboot” several times. Now you know what to do.
ETON WINDUP RADIO
If you’ve always wanted a windup radio but you’ve been scared off by the high price, this $40 number from Eton Corp just might fit the bill. Turn the handcranked dynamo or expose its solar cells to sunlight to charge the built-in rechargeable batteries. You get AM/FM and weather band radio, an LED flashlight, and a USB cell phone charger, all in one package. This is a handy piece of gear to take in your backpack or suitcase. It weighs almost nothing and fits in the palm of your hand.
FREEKEY PORTABLE KEYBOARD scosche.com
Everything old is new again. Portable keyboards used to be a popular accessory in the era of Palm Pilots and handheld PDAs. Now they’re back, thanks to Apple’s iPad and other portable devices. If you’re reluctant to give up a physical keyboard for a touch screen, but you need to travel light, check out the freeKEY wireless keyboard from Scosche. It’s small and flexible, made of light and water resistant silicone. Turn it on then type as needed. Switch it off and roll it up when you’re done. The freeKEY is designed for use with Apple’s iPad and other Bluetooth devices. It works with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
THROWDOWN BED wermma.com
Some boys dream of sleeping in a bed shaped like a sports car. Others have bigger dreams. Tougher dreams. When they fall asleep, it’s not right away; it’s best two falls out of three. Nothing says manly quite like the mixed martial arts theme of the Throwdown Bed. Constructed of hardwood, steel and wire fencing, the Throwdown Bed has nine gauge six core centers, foam padded rails and synthetic leather covers. The stairs to the bed feature diamond plating and Throwdown Anvil detail. Specify your fighter nickname when you order and it will be printed on the back post of the bed. The Throwdown Bed is designed for little guys but you don’t have to settle for twin size. Big boys can get their own cage in Queen or King size.
Do your kids drag their feet when you ask them to sweep or mop around the house? That can be a good thing! Make their path of least resistance work for you, not against you: buy a pair of Mop Slippers for everyone in your house. Encourage them to wear the slippers all the time, and drag their feet as often as possible. Dust, dirt and grime will soon vanish from the floors, especially near the refrigerator. In no time at all your floor will be cleaner (at least in heavy traffic areas). Sandy writes about games, gadgets and toys at funspot.ca
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 29
One Hot Mama Mutual pleasure takes practice by Sheila Wray Gregoire
Last year a friend of mine who travels for business bought a Bluetooth device so he could use his cell phone without touching the screen. He just sticks it in his ear and tells it what he wants it to do. His wife, fixing to be a little naughty, reprogrammed his phone so that instead of being listed under “Lisa,” she was now listed under “Hot Mama.” Sounds like a good idea, except today, when my friend is in public with the Bluetooth in his ear and he wants to call home, he can’t say, “Call Lisa.” He has to say, “Call Hot Mama” for all to hear. My friend’s wife wants to be thought of as a “Hot Mama.” She wants her husband to see her as desirable, and even maybe a little available. But what do you do if your little missus is more on the lukewarm side? Or even a little bit cool? She may look great to you, but she has very little intention of letting you see the goods, let alone enjoy them, very often. I’m in the middle of writing The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, and in my research one thing that took me by surprise was that more than 40 per cent of respondents reported making love less than once a week. Now Christians do tend to enjoy better sex than non-Christians, because being in a committed marriage makes you more comfortable. But just because we’re doing better doesn’t mean we’re doing great. And one area where marriages are really hurting is that sex is becoming less frequent. For most of you guys this is a source of both extreme frustration and extreme incredulity. Sex is the best feeling in the world—so why doesn’t she want to? How could she choose American Idol over fireworks?
!"#"$ – issue twenty | september – october, 2011 page 30
What you’ve got to understand, though, is that for most women, sex takes a lot of work. It may take work for you, too, but that work usually comes at the beginning—trying to get her in the mood, ensuring little people can’t conspire to wreck that mood, and then following through. For her the work comes at the end. She can’t enjoy sex unless she’s actively concentrating. That’s why we like the lights off more than you do. It’s not that we’re necessarily shy; it’s that we can’t handle any distractions or we lose the mood. And if pesky things like worries over grocery lists or schedules or errands intrude, then we aren’t going to experience any explosions. And that quest for that “explosion,” by the way, can all too often take on the seriousness of the quest for the Holy Grail. That’s rather counterproductive, because it makes sex into one more thing we women need to tick off our to-do list, rather than the great stressreliever it is for you. When you judge our sexual encounters on the pass/fail continuum, based on whether or not she orgasms, then she’s not going to want to jump in bed unless she’s sure she can totally concentrate. That means far fewer bedroom gymnastics than you’d probably like. Besides, it takes most couples a few years to find their stride in the bedroom. The years within marriage when she’s most likely to orgasm, for instance, are 16-20, not one to five. It’s not the newlywed years that are great; it’s the middle years, when you’ve had tons of time together, you’re totally comfortable with each other, and the kids aren’t trying to jump into bed in the middle. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have
a rip-roaring time in bed at any stage of your marriage, but it does mean that you should understand that her pleasure takes practice. And too much pressure makes her far less likely to want to practice. If you want sex to be less stressful and more appealing, then make sure she doesn’t feel solely responsible for her orgasm. Show her that you’re willing to take things slowly, and that you want to become a student of her body, rather than just another duty she has to perform. Then she may be able to relax more easily. So here’s your basic lesson: foreplay isn’t something that takes two minutes and then you’re ready for the main event; for her it is the main event. And she doesn’t like to be touched the way you like to be touched. Think feather, not firm. If she’s shy or nervous early in the marriage, she may not even understand this herself. We women are far less in tune with what feels good than you men are. Plan some “discovery nights” where you set the timer for 15 minutes and just touch her, and ask her to show you what feels good. If she knows nothing else is expected, she’s more likely to let herself be vulnerable so she can become aroused. And the more she learns about how her body reacts, the more she’ll be able to enjoy sex. If sex hasn’t felt great for her yet, don’t give up. But don’t create pressure around it either. Explore and have fun without rushing to the main event. If there’s less stress and more technique, then maybe she’ll become your “hot mama” too. Sheila is the author of the upcoming The Good Girl’s Guide to Sex (Zondervan). You can find her at www.SheilaWrayGregoire.com.
LIFE INSURANCE INVESTMENTS UNIQUE MEMBER BENEFITS
LIFE IS BETTER W H E N ...
You know more and worry less. Do you ever feel that you just donâ€™t know where your money goes and how you will reach your goals? Godâ€™s Word gives us hundreds of references to help us manage all we have. Let us help you apply His wisdom to your finances. FaithLife Financial helps you protect your financial future by living your Christian values in tangible ways. We can help you build a financial plan based on Biblical financial principles, and provide you with competitive investment and insurance solutions, like PK [Protector], that can help you meet your goals.
W W W. FA I T H L I F E F I N A N C I A L . C A facebook.com/faithlifefinancial