Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Daughter is Teaching Me

Is it OK for me to be vulnerable on my blog?

Well, it is MY blog after all, so if you're uncomfortable with me writing some vulnerable stuff - or if you're uncomfortable with me even using the word vulnerable - you should stop reading now. But, if you're OK with it, read on.

This past weekend my 9-year-old daughter (pictured above with a friend from our neighborhood) came up with the idea to organize a Bible Study for kids in the neighborhood.

I'm not involved in a regular Bible study and neither is my wife. It's not something we suggested to her and - here comes the vulnerable part - I'm not sure I'm totally comfortable with it. Let me be clear - I'm completely comfortable and very excited about my daughter studying her Bible. It's the thought of inviting a bunch of kids to our house for a Bible study that I'm not sure about.

So, for those of you questioning my salvation right now, calm down. I believe in the Bible and I believe in the value of sharing its truth with others.

My uneasiness comes from the prospect of my daughter inviting kids from the neighborhood, whose parents don't believe the same things I believe, over for a Bible study she's going to lead.

BUT, as the title of this post states, my daughter is teaching me. My initial response to her idea is not positive and I get queasy at the possible reactions from the other parents. But my daughter doesn't think about that. She's young, yes, and probably isn't capable of considering such possibilities yet, but that doesn't make the lesson she's teaching me any less significant. If she doesn't fear rejection or the possibility of being viewed as WEIRD, then why should I?

After all, the Bible (the book she wants to share with her friends) tells us if we follow Jesus we are going to be strangers in this world and even persecuted. "All men will hate you because of me," is how Jesus said it. And I believe the Bible.

My faith is firm. I've been working on it for almost 30 years. I believe with all my heart that Jesus really lived, died and came back to life so that I could be saved from my sin.

If all that is true, then what do I have to be afraid of?
Why should the possibility of being rejected scare me?
What choice do I have but to show my little girl what it means to live out my faith?

I'm sure there will be some negative feedback, but I'm also confident that God will use my daughter's Bible study to show some kids how much He loves them.

I thank God for my daughter and the desire she has in her heart for all of her friends to meet Jesus. I hope she never loses her fearlessness and is always bold about sharing the love of Jesus!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dan's Pack is Back!

It's that time of year again ... Football Season!

For me, the return of football season is really exciting because I get to watch my Packers and I get to play Fantasy Football with some good friends.

I reached a new level of madness last season when I played in 5 fantasy leagues and when the Packers won the Super Bowl! The first part drove me crazy, the latter was just awesome.

So, this year I'm limiting myself to 2 fantasy leagues and I'm looking forward to another championship for Green Bay!

Part of my fall tradition on the blog is to make some NFL season predictions, so here's what I think will happen this season:

AFC West
1. San Diego Chargers
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Oakland Raiders
4. Denver Broncos

AFC South
1. Houston Texans
2. Indianapolis Colts
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
4. Tennessee Titans

AFC North
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. Cleveland Browns
4. Cincinnati Bengals

AFC East
1. New York Jets
2. New England Patriots
3. Miami Dolphins
4. Buffalo Bills

NFC West
1. St. Louis Rams
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Arizona Cardinals
4. Seattle Seahawks

NFC South
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Atlanta Falcons
4. Carolina Panthers

NFC North
1. Green Bay Packers
2. Detroit Lions
3. Chicago Bears
4. Minnesota Vikings

NFC East
1. Philadelphia Eagles
2. New York Giants
3. Dallas Cowboys
4. Washington Redskins

AFC Playoff Teams: Chargers, Texans, Colts, Steelers, Jets, Patriots
NFC Playoff Teams: Rams, Buccaneers, Saints, Packers, Eagles, Giants
Super Bowl: Packers 28, Jets 17

Monday, August 22, 2011

35 for 35

I turn 35 years old on September 15. It's kind of a strange milestone because it's not one of the big birthdays (13, 16, 18, 21, 30, 40, etc.) but it does signify the start of my road to one of those big ones. On September 15 I'll officially be closer to 40 than I am to 30, which is a bit difficult to grasp. It's not that I'm scared of getting older - I actually enjoy it quite a bit - it's just hard to get my mind around the fact that I've been alive as long as I have.

So, in honor of this milestone-ish birthday I've got coming up, here's a list of my 35 favorite things about getting older:

1. Perspective - I get more of it with each passing year.
2. Relationships - As time goes on you find out which ones are for real and which aren't.
3. Being Married - So many reasons. One is comfort.
4. Being a Dad - Again, too many reasons to list.
5. Responsibility - It's only been in the last few years that I've started enjoying this part of getting older.
6. Memories - The older I get the more I cherish the events/places/people from the past.
7. Work - I've never been a workaholic, and am still not, but I do appreciate the value of working hard for something you really want.
8. Potential - Today's world doesn't expect too much out of older people, but there is so much potential in each person, no matter what age.
9. Dreams - I've accomplished a few and have plenty left to keep pushing for.
10. Confidence - I still have times of insecurity, but overall I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin.
11. Money & Toys - They're not nearly as important as they used to be.
12. Time - Even though it seems to speed up every year, I appreciate time with people more than ever.
13. Priorities - I think I'm beginning to understand what's really important in life.
14. Young People - I hope I never become a grumpy old man because young people have so much to offer and I always want to spend time with them.
15. Old People - One of the best quotes I ever read was something like, "Spend time every day with someone half your age and someone twice your age." Older people have so much wisdom.
16. Vacations - I've learned that we don't have to fly to a tropical resort to have a great family vacation. Simple times away can be as much fun as those big, expensive vacations!
17. Home - I cherish time at home. It refreshes me.
18. Quiet - I'm no expert at this, but I'm learning to enjoy silence and solitude.
19. Sports - As my physical abilities start to diminish, I appreciate all the more the ability to play sports.
20. Health - I'll never take for granted the gift of good health.
21. New Things - The older I get the more exciting it is to try new things.
22. Food - I like things I used to hate. I'm so thankful every time I eat a good burger.
23. My Wife - This is kind of like #3, but sharing life with my best friend is more enjoyable than I ever imagined it could be.
24. Jesus - He becomes more real every day. I see Him in my kids. I see Him in strangers. I feel Him in me.
25. Skills - The experiences I've had have left me with skills I didn't know I could have. That's kind of fun.
26. The Seasons - Every year brings them around and every year I like all 4 of them more and more (yes, even winter).
27. A Mission - I never really felt like I had a mission in life, but now I know for sure what my mission is!
28. Technology - Although I don't always adapt to it, I am constantly blown away by the advances in the world of technology. Again, I don't want to ever be the grumpy old guy who dismisses things because I don't understand them.
29. Art - It seems like every few weeks I discover art and creativity in something new. I believe we were all created to create.
30. Books - With age has come a hunger for the wisdom that only comes from reading books by people who are smarter than me!
31. Serving - In the last few years God has given me a desire to help others that I've never had before.
32. Naps - I don't get these very often, but when I do I am SOOOOOO thankful!
33. Love - Real, true love is maybe the most valuable thing in this world.
34. Laughter - Things are never bad enough that you can't make time to laugh. It makes all the bad stuff go away, even if just for a few moments.
35. Breathing - Every day that goes by, I am more and more thankful just to be alive and able to experience all the things on this list!