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Slug Bug

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It’s one of the most unique cars ever designed: the original slug bug- the Volkswagen. I should know; I had a 1972 VW Beetle when I was 17 years old. It was a stick shift with the air-cooled engine in the back, trunk in the front, and felt on the floor. The vinyl upholstery, baked in the west Texas sun, produced a smell that no car I’ve ever had could duplicate. It was yellow, riddled with minor dings and irregularities in the body. That, by no means, discouraged me from polishing it, so that every wrinkle in the steel was accentuated by a glossy sheen. I loved it. It was my freedom; it made me feel like a man. At that age I was starting to love things that made me feel like that, and hating things that didn’t. That is probably why I was beginning to hate Monday nights- scout meeting nights.

I was a proud member of The Boy Scouts Of America-had been since I was a wee cub scout. Olive green pants, red scarf, khaki shirt, merit badges and all. And, as if that wasn’t already feeling a little weird for me to wear at age 17, my overly pocketed scouting pants were getting too short, which revealed my thick wooly scouting socks. We had meetings every Monday night at 7:00 P.M. I was growing weary of being a boy scout, and was rapidly being influenced by the new friends I was making at the high school I had recently begun attending. I started there after I moved in with my dad, who taught math at the school, and I felt I was outgrowing scouting. My dad disagreed. He, like many wise fathers, wanted me to finish what I started. After all, I was getting very close to finishing up the requirements that would earn myself the honor of Eagle Scout. But, going to meetings and holding up three fingers, while reciting the scouting pledge, was grating on my too cool teenage nerves.

One night my friends called and invited me to play hooky from my scout meeting. Here was the plan: I, and the rest of them, would go out to one of their houses to hang out; then I would drive home at the time the meeting would normally be over. My dad would be none the wiser. The house was out of town a few miles down some dirt roads, surrounded by cotton fields; no one would spot me skipping the meeting. The scheme seemed fool proof, and my tempters assured me that I would not get caught. I went for it.

Things did not go quite as planned, though. (I know! I was shocked too.) Along the way, we got distracted by a large, low area of red dirt where water used to collect and sit. It was nestled between cotton fields. It had dried up, and was now calling to us, beckoning us to some good ole fashioned teenage fun. I drove my friends straight out into it to do some doughnuts, but to my sudden consternation, as we sped into it, we found ourselves tire deep in red, farm mud. The car had quickly sunk clear down to the chassis, but not, of course, until we had sputtered all the way to dead center of the dry “pond”. One of my friends called his uncle who owned a tow truck to get us out. He took his sweet time getting out there and assaulted us with a brow beating, peppered with cuss words that were drawn out through a stubbly, country accent. My alibi was shot. By the time I got the VW washed and drove up to my house, I was inexcusably and undeniably much later than my scouting meeting had ended.  My dad had gotten worried and called the meeting location; I had been caught.

Had it all been worth deceiving my dad? Had it been worth the discipline I received for my disobedience? The truth is, my dad would have taken us out to a dry lake to do doughnuts, if I had asked.  He was the one who taught me to drive that standard shift Beetle out on a dirt road, anyway. But even if he hadn’t, he would have had a good reason.   He did what was good for me. He was a good dad. I was blessed. Yes, but, I wasn’t satisfied with that. I didn’t like my dad’s rule, so I rebelled, and, as it turned out, it was much more trouble than fun (though some of it was actually exhilarating), and punishment ensued.  

This Psalm helps me comprehend it a little more:

Psalm 19:9-11English Standard Version (ESV)the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules[a] of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Great Psalm! One problem: We have not followed God’s rules. Does that mean, then, that this Psalm is useless, that it is bad news? No! Jesus did two things with the law. He took the punishment for our failure to keep it, AND he obeyed it for us. We have failed over and over again, but through Christ, we can begin again today living under God’s loving rule.  We can begin again tomorrow, obeying God’s good commands. “In keeping them is great reward.” Jesus kept them! Now, He leads us to His great reward, and, get this, He IS our great reward. Our encounter with Jesus is an encounter with His Father:

John 14:10English Standard Version (ESV)

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

Some of us have not had the blessing of a good father here on Earth, but we can, through Jesus, by His Spirit, experience and enjoy The Good Father who is in Heaven!

Posted by Kevin Gentry with

2015 Goal Setting

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Here it is, one of my resolutions for 2015 for all to see. I would love to write more blogs. I know I am about 15 years late to blogging being remotely cool and I'm definitely not interested in being popular or elevated among all the other bloggers out there. I simply want to become a better writer and I've been told several times that blogging helps those aspiring to write books. I am currently mapping my first book with the desire that it would be published this year (another goal for 2015)
I thought it'd be a great exercise for me to use this blog post to give resources I discussed this last Sunday and also use this resolution to generate new content as an example. 
In order to develop this resolution I had to go through the steps I outlined Sunday in establishing a life plan for the new year. 
Step 1: Where are you currently?
Answer: Nowhere. I think I have written 2 blog posts in the 4 years I have been in Knoxville, bringing my pace to 1 post every 24 months. I think I can improve. I also have read hundreds of books and have never written one even though I have threatened to write one several times. This last year has very little content generated by me to lead and serve others. 
Step 2: What values are the most important to you this year?
Answer: Devotional Life, Family, Health, Leading Legacy, Coaching Leaders, Creating Content for Leaders
Step 3: Write a Vision Statement for the values. 
Answer: (I am only doing this for Creating Content, but I have one for Health that was in the sermon Sunday)
I am a curator and creator of content that will help those and guide those who lead others whether they be business leaders, church leaders, or church planters. I enjoy teaching and coaching and feel that it fills my tank and places me where I truly enjoy my calling and glorify God effectively. I am spending adequate time polishing, nurturing, and getting coached on how to do this better than I have in the past. My heart is to produce material and methods that will outlive me and go further than me. This will means I am protecting this value and  saying "no" to many things that take me away from this goal. 
Step 4: Being specific, list some realistic metrics for these values. 
(1) Generate 25 blogs in 2015. They can be written anytime, but must come as close to 2x a month as possible. I must link to them in social media in a way that serves people well. 
(2) Write no less than 3 hours per week, to be done mostly if not exclusively on Mondays and Fridays. 
(3) Have my book's first draft finished by April. Have the revisions finished and totally edited by August.
(4) Develop longstanding content for the planter residency that can be used and taught by others. 
Step 5: Review weekly and even monthly.
Answer: For me this falls on Monday mornings
Step 6: Employ accountability for perspective and help.
Answer: I'll have Chris Harris as accountability in blogs as he supervises Legacy's blog content. I'll have Matt Norman coach me through the emotional challenges of writing and birthing a book. I'll need Kevin to help me keep it all in perspective. 
There you have it. I will re-examine this not only weekly but on the week of the 4th of July I'll take honest appraisal and make sure these goals were wise and on track, making changes where I need. 
I hope this helps - feel free to leave comments and ask questions. 
As promised on Sunday
Link to Richard Swenson's work "Margin"
Link to Brian Howard's Blog post on setting up a life plan and defining priorities. He has been super helpful to me in balancing how I set resolutions and goals. 

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