Intentionality – The Study Post

Continuing on with the intentionality theme – you may want to read the previous posts to get up to speed.

I’ve always had a problem with studying. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever really learned to do it properly. If I’m ever going to do it, I need to approach it with a plan, not haphazardly hoping that something good will happen.

So here’s the plan:

Basically, I’ve taken all my schoolwork and broken it up into 8 chunks. Each subject gets one hour, and I do four subjects a night. The following night, I’ll do the remaining 4.

I like this for several reasons:

1) Hopefully, this will get me into the habit of study that I haven’t been able to get into all my life.
2) Since all my classes are in bible, this translates to 4 hours of bible study per day, on top of class time. It will start to sink in with that much time. Plus, if the habit carries over, I’ll be studying the bible 4 hours a day for the rest of my life.
3) I actually only have 7 things going on with school right now, so the 8th chunk of time is being given over to reading for pleasure. I’m way behind on my reading list – my books are stacking up and feeling neglected. This way, I knock a little bit off of that mountain as time goes on.
4) There are others, but it’s getting late…

One obvious thing comes through, which is that this study plan involves a lot of time. I’m building in the flexibility to allow myself half-hour chunks instead of the usual hours (so 2 hours total instead of 4 hours). But the idea is to get on with it, not come up with excuses before I even start.

But it does raise the question of time commitments. So, since I’ve already talked a bit about my marriage intentions, I think the next post will be on quality time with God. I’ve had some thoughts there, too.

Thoughts? Has anybody come up with a really good study plan? I’d love to hear about it.


Intentionality – The Marriage Post

Recap:  Right now, I’m all about being intentional. As promised, this is the first in a series of posts on my plans to do that, starting with marriage.

So, here’s the plan.

I’ve been exposed to lots of really good books on marriage, and I’m sure I’ll read even more as the years go by. Right now, my 2 favorites for overall content are His Needs, Her Needs (HN2) and The Five Love Languages (5LL), both of which are excellent.

HN2 focuses on meeting the needs of your spouse in marriage, not on getting your own needs met. The 5 needs of women (generally) are affection, communication, honesty/openness, financial security and family commitment – in that order.

5LL basically says that everyone has a preferred way of both expressing and receiving love, and if you show love another way (in another language), they may not understand you.  The languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, quality time, and gifts.

(These brief summaries don’t do justice to either book.  You really should read them yourself.)

What I plan to do is combine the principles of the two books on a long-term basis. I’m looking at HN2 as the theory and 5LL as the application.  So, for example, I might ask the question: How can I meet my wife’s need for honesty and openness through words of affirmation? Or how can I use physical touch to feed my wife’s need for communication?  You get the idea.

The math works out pretty well – 5 needs and 5 languages is 25 combinations.  That plays out to a different love experiment almost every day of the month, or two 25-week rotations per year.

Of course, I’m not going to stop loving her for 6 days out of the month, or 2 weeks out of the year.  The goal is to be intentional; to become more aware of the need to think through methods of demonstrating love to my wife in ways that are meaningful to her.

One of the challenges will be to balance these experiments properly.  The whole idea of 5LL is that all these languages won’t have the same effect, so it doesn’t make sense me focusing on acts of service when I know my wife’s thing is gifts.  That will be interesting.

The other thing to think about is how some of these combinations are going to play out.  Showing affection through physical touch is easy, but at this moment I have no clue how to meet the need for say, financial security through say, quality time.  (Maybe going over the budget together…? Actually… yeah, that might work.) I look forward to thinking about that kind of challenge.  I’m sure there’s some creative way to express love for every combination.

So there you have it.  Not by any means a perfect, completely thought out plan, but a plan nonetheless.  And, I think, a good one. Check back from time to time, I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, married folks – what are some ways that you are intentional about loving your spouse?  And what are some ways that I can improve on this plan?


Dark and Stormy – Lubbock Style

Today ended up being a snow day here in Lubbock. The power went out over a significant part of the city, including at school. Right now, I’m enjoying the benefit of an unexpected day off. However, as much as I’m enjoying being at home, there were a few things that I enjoyed even more today.

Bermuda does get cold, but freezing rain and snow are nonexistent there. So I still get enjoyment from the fluffy blanket of a fresh snowfall. Even with it being as heavy as it was (technically it’s a storm), I was thrilled by the Creator, and the way He decorated this little corner of His awesome creation.

Then there was the singing. As I mentioned, the power went out in the building, and there was a bit of scurry while people tried to figure out whether we could get the backups on and keep school in for the day, or we’d have to all go home. In the meantime, the basement classrooms were completely darkened with no windows. One of the most moving and meaningful worship settings I’ve ever experienced is when 60 or so AIMers spontaneously sang praises to the God, the Father of Lights, in the middle of a pitch black room.

God is still there in the storm. And in the dark.


Intentionality – The Journey Begins

It is not enough to be well-intentioned; one must strive to put those intentions into action in a capable way. – Andrew Cohen

Along with “transformation”, one of the new buzzwords in my home is “intentional”. Things must be done intentionally, I’m reminded. Which I’m happy about. Those that know me best will know that I think my biggest struggle is with personal discipline. And “living intentionally” seems to fit in with the goal of being disciplined, without the negative connotations.

The problem, I’m finding out, is that once you start putting intentionality into practice, it can become an obsession. Again, I think that’s a good thing in my case, but I see the potential for things to get out of hand.

But anyhow, nothing enhances commitment like broadly-published goals. So, in the next few days, I hope to share my newly-formed and still-forming intentionality plans in detail, including (in no particular order):

  • Intentional marriage
  • Intentional study
  • Intentional bible reading and memorization
  • Intentional devotions and personal time with God

I’ve picked these areas specifically because I think they have the greatest impact on my life, but like most people I have been content to just cruise along with them for the most part.  I hope to change that.

I’m curious to know: what are the things that you need to be more intentional about?  And what are you doing about it?


Haiti Relief Efforts – Two the Hard Way

By now, most people will have been inundated with opportunities to assist in rebuilding the shattered lives of the people of Haiti. Still, I want to mention two in particular that may be of interest.

There is a group of volunteers from Bermuda that will be heading to Haiti in the coming week. This is part of a cooperative effort between Cornerstone Foundation, a registered Bermuda charity, and Angel Wings International, according to the press release from Cornerstone. The group will consist of medical personnel and others who are able to lend their various skills to the relief effort. All the volunteers will pay their own airfare and provide their own food and lodging (read: sleeping in tents and ponchos and eating ration packs) in order to keep costs down and direct the maximum amount of finances to the actual relief effort. A close friend of mine will be on this trip, so it is very close to my heart. See the press release here.

The second opportunity is being organized by Sunset International Bible Institute. Sunset-trained preachers and missionaries have planted churches and established preaching schools throughout the globe, including in Haiti. Unfortunately, the school in Haiti has suffered severe damage. SIBI is coordinating an effort to respond to the human tragedy of the earthquake, through the amelioration of both physical and spiritual conditions. The goals of Sunset’s Hatian relief fund are as follows:

First- to help our suffering brethren in Haiti with the basic necessities of life
Second – to minister to as many emergency needs in the community at large as possible, working through the churches or Christian organizations.
Third – to use one-third of the funds given for the spiritual and emotional follow-up in the lives of a desperate and broken populous.

See the Sunset relief fund page here.

Please consider getting involved financially in one of these worthy efforts, and in any case, keep the people of Haiti in your prayers.


Update from Sunset – January 22, 2010

Wow…

It’s hard to believe that 2 terms have passed already. We’ve now been in Lubbock for over half a year, and it feels more and more like home every day.

We’re into our 3rd term of study at SIBI, and we are being stretched in many ways – especially spiritually and academically. This semester we’re studying the book of Acts, the gospel of Matthew, God’s Scheme of Redemption, Effective Bible Study, Topical Preaching and Evangelistic Methods. Bridget is doing Effective Parenting instead of Effective Bible Study, and Public Speaking instead of Topical Preaching. As always, we’re blessed by our instructors and the commitment that they’ve made to training us and others who will go on to minister the word to the world.

We got to go home for the holidays (thanks Nikki and Darrel!!!)- we were in Bermuda for 2 weeks visiting family and friends. That was a very refreshing time, and of course we’re now well back into the swing of things here in Lubbock.

We were also blessed with an offer of additional support. We are grateful to all our supporters, both on a one-time and an ongoing basis. Your partnership with us is a testimony to your commitment to train men and women to preach and teach the gospel. You are all in our prayers.

So much to say, so little time… thanks again for all the support. We love you! d&b