Monthly Archives: May 2013

When Word & Family Collide

WorkI just got through reading Andy Stanley’s “When Work & Family Collide,” which deals with keeping your job from cheating your family. I would classify the book as an easy and practical book.

To really understand the book you have to accept Stanley’s definition of what it means to cheat. To me, the word, “cheat,” is a strong word that conveys the moral idea of doing something wrong. Stanley, however, guides the reader to think of cheating as, “choosing to give up one thing in hope of gaining something else of greater value.” When you think of cheating in those terms, we are all cheaters. Daily we choose to shortchange one thing in order to fully experience another. Stanley puts it like this, “Someone is going to get cheated. Worse yet, somebody’s going to FEEL cheated. In that sense, the issue is never AM I CHEATING? The issue is always WHERE AM I CHEATING? (p.12)

One of the most common areas to cheat involves the tension between work and family. The premise of the book is that you are going to cheat, the question is who are you going to cheat; your family or your work.

Stanley challenges the reader to choose to cheat at work rather than at home. He points out that you are not nearly as iindispensableat work than at home. The book is divided up into two parts:

Part One: Inside The Cheated Heart. Stanley goes into the heart of the people we cheat… our families.

Part Two: Strategy For Change. Stanley offers up some practical guidelines on how create an implement a plan to rescue our families. He offers up the example of Daniel in the Old Testament as someone who was faced with a decision of who he was going to cheat; God or his Babylonian rulers when it came to compromising his convictions.

Stanley states: Contentment is found neither in the marketplace nor the family alone. It’s found when we align our priorities with his as it relates to both areas of responsibility. There’ nothing honoring to God about the workaholic who neglects his or her family. But the man or woman who refuses to provide for the family brings no honor to him either. (p.26)

I liked Stanley’s Strategy for Change because it deals with cautiously and prayerfully going to your employer and working out a strategy in which both of you are mutually satisfied and the work gets done. Stanley offers practical advise on how to approach your employer. He is realistic to point out that sometimes it is not possible to work out a mutually agreeable solution. Then your faced with the decision of are you going to continue to cheat your family or trust God and look for a different job opportunity.

The book is short 143 pages that is designed for both individual and group study. There are good discussion questions in the back for group study.

I liked the book so much that I went to the North Point website (Stanley’s church) and purchased the mp3 message entitled, “Choosing to Cheat,” for $1.00 at http://store.northpoint.org/choosing-to-cheat.html.

I received this book free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review from Multnomah Press.

 

Real Marriage

marriageI just finished reading, “Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship & Life Together,” by Mark and Grace Driscoll and was really taken back with how PRACTICAL the book is in all aspects of marriage. Mark and Grace are not afraid to address the difficult questions that a lot of married couples struggle with in their marriage. I also like the fact that both Mark and Grace did not come off as experts, but rather presented their material with humility and sensitivity admitting their mistakes and clearly stating that they too are in the process of building a strong marriage. I found their openness and transparency refreshing.

The book is divided up into three major parts.

I. Marriage
Mark and Grace talk about the unique differences between male and female as well as address the different roles and needs of husbands and wives. The material is firmly rooted in Scripture and they not only rely on their own personal experience, but also through their ministry experience.

II. Sex
This is the boldest section of the book in which the Driscoll’s talk straight about sex from every possible angle. This could very well be the most upfront Christian discussion of sex in printed form. Both healthy and unhealthy sex is discussed in detail. Steps for healing for those who have been sexually assaulted and abused are also outlined.

III. The Last Day
This is the shortest section of the book and consist of a single chapter designed to help the reader reverse engineer their marriage by taking the reader to where they want their marriage to be and then working backwards. This is accomplished with a bunch of worthwhile reflection questions that deal with a whole range of areas: Spiritual, Health, Employment, Financial, Marriage, Sex, Family, etc.

The book also had worthwhile suggestions to build and strengthen not only your marriage, but your spiritual life. Some of the suggestions I took to heart was

* Take something off your plate whenever something is put on. This is a conscious way to avoid overcommitting yourself.

* Use simple systems and write everything in one place, like a notebook. Most systems are too complex. The key to keep everything in one simple place together -prayer requests, grocery lists, to-do lists, and things God is teaching you.

* Every night spend a few minutes organizing your priorities for the next day in your notebook. Do not simply have a long to-do list. Have a priority list and do the highest priority item first. You will never finish everything on your list, so don’t worry about it. Do what is most important first and the rest as you are able.

* Get a life coach if you can. If you can afford a professional Christian life coach to help you get organized, that might be a great investment.

* Work on your life, not just in it. Most people waste their whole lives working in them. If you take the time to work on your life, you will save time and increase your odds of living passionately, fruitfully, and joyfully.

I would classify the book as an easy read with its content extremely practical and organized and likely to have something useful for everyone who reads it. As a pastor, I would recommend it to those struggling with their marriage as well as those wanting to take their marriage to the next level. I can tell a lot of blood, sweat, tears and PRAYERS went into the book and it is destined to become a classic on the subject.

I give it a STRONG FIVE STARS!

** I received this book free from Thomas Nelson in exchange for a honest non biased review of it’s content.