are you a dog or a cat?

Keith shared this concept at Man School on Wednesday.  I have personalized it.  My Dad is about to have open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve in three weeks.  Needless to say, he’s scared.  But he has a strong faith and we have a personal blog where I share with him some reassuring thoughts going into this…

Cosby (1/2 cocker, 1/2 poodle – my wife’s dog) and Bo (100% Black Lab – my dog) are good dogs.  Really good dogs.  Tucker is a great cat.  Amazing really.  He sleeps on top of the garage door at times and night before last, I went to close the door and didn’t realize he was up there.  He rode to door all the way down and tried to jump back onto Shannon’s car just as it was closing.  I was too late to stop the door and it squished him at the top, tripped and reopened.  I thought he was going to be cut in half!  He was very shaken and it scared me to death.  He seemed to bounce back OK but I was worried about him all day yesterday.  I came home from Carver to discover he was quite fine and, in fact, had captured, killed a squirrel (not an easy thing to do) and he left 1/2 of the kill at the back door.  Needless to say, he’s fine!

I digress – can you tell that Tucker is my #1 pet?

So the question for you (and me) is “are you a dog or a cat”?  What does that mean?

When I chase Cosby or try to scare him, he will run to Shannon and sidle up next to her.  When he senses fear, he goes to his master.  Bo’s the same way.  If there is a danger, Bo will come to my side.  He knows he is going into battle and odds are, he’ll probably go in first.  But his very first instinct is to protect his master and to come alongside me.  Beside me, he knows we’re in this together and his comfort is next to me.  Bo is very much a “master first” creature.  Bo knows if he’s going to go into a battle, he wants to be at my side and preferably, he wants to follow my lead.

Tucker…is another story.  Tucker’s first instinct when faced with danger is to get on his own feet and get on the move.  If he is free to move, he knows he has the skills and the chance to get to a place where he can survive on his own.  He very much is a “me first” creature.

If I am holding Tucker and we come around the corner and a strange, big dog approaches us, what’s he going to do?  He’s getting out of there and if I try to hold onto him, he’s going to climb me like a tree and remove some of my flesh doing anything he can in his power to get away from me so he can try to survive on his own.

So which one are you?  Are you going to fight this on your own, claw, scratch, fight and run to try to survive on your own power — or — are you a dog, knowing there is danger ahead, sensing fear and willing to submit and come alongside your Master to trust Him to lead you into this battle?

You’re a dog.  A good dog and I am confident that you are right where you need to be, right next to your Master, under his feet.

why I shut down my facebook page…

Let me intro this by first sharing this thought from John Piper –

“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”

So…with that as an introduction, here is one step I personally took about a year ago…

About a year ago, I effectively closed my facebook page.  I didn’t close it entirely – I remain friends with 10 people – my family and a few pastors I am close with.  I enjoy using facebook as a family photo album more than anything else.  We can put up pictures of our life and those memories are easily accessible to me via my computer or iPad.  So I didn’t want to close the account completely but I deleted about 350 friends.

I enjoyed facebook for a season because it enabled me to reconnect with hundreds of people from high school and college that I otherwise probably would never have seen again.  That was very cool and, if managed properly, is good and valid.  It was neat to see how we’ve all grew up, catch up on lives and see their children.

My decision to “privatize” my facebook was a personal choice.  In no way, shape or form do I seek to judge anyone else and how they use their facebook.

My first nagging came about a year before I acted…I just found myself getting tired of it.  I began to “manage” my friends – hiding posts from some where I grew tired of their comments (OK – red flag here…that’s not good) but not wanting to “de-friend” them less they think I was a jerk (another red flag). But I just kept thinking, I’m tired of this…”

Addicted to being connected….
I have tried to teach my daughters that this cyber world is not “real”.  Texting and facebook are not “community”.  Yet for most teenagers, they have come to believe that they simply cannot do without their connection to their electronic world.  Their phones are glued to their hands and texts and facebook posts, tweets and Pinterest are constantly being checked.  Teenagers live their lives through their cell phones.  That’s not good.  That’s not healthy.  They are addicted to being connected to their world.  They begin to think they won’t survive this world unless they are totally plugged into it.

Am I a voyeur or a narcissist?
But my real issue has been this feeling of creeping into other people’s lives.  Peering.  We open up our homes, our vacations, our events and our lives for the whole world to see.  Others peer into our lives.  We welcome them in to look at our lives and our families and they can begin to think “they’ve got life pretty good”.

Or…we can peer into our friend’s lives and see their successes and their beach trips or Italy trips or lake homes and we can begin to think…”They’ve got life pretty good”.  Some of this is OK.  It is right to celebrate other’s success and happiness but there is something here that just nags at me.  I really can’t put my finger on it but it is a new paradigm – this ability to look into our friends daily lives and their daily postings of their trials and success – and for me (and please don’t take this in ANY way personally) … but for me, it just has started to raise on red flags.  And there is just something about posts that draw people to “just look at how great my life is” or even more subtly, “look at how Godly I am” that can be narcissism – that we are in the spin business of “selling” our life as having it all together.  That’s dangerous territory.

It is a well documented fact that facebook has enabled many a marriage to break apart. It provides yet another vehicle to reconnect with former loves or to establish new electronic relationships. Sadly, it is being frequently cited in divorces as a major contributor.  So my nagging feelings have some justification.  There are valid reasons to be very careful with this electronic world we live in.

And then there is time.  I rarely looked at facebook at work but I fell into the trap of checking it at night.  I have an iPad and usually most nights, I spent 10-15 minutes scrolling through facebook.  Most Saturday mornings drinking coffee, I’d scroll through it.  Time.  Precious time.  I was devoting a couple of hours a week…peering, looking and wandering through 350 people’s lives.  That was — for me — a lot of wasted time.

So I rebooted and cleared the decks.  I’m sure I offended some people with this.  That certainly was not my intention.  It was just personal.  It’s a God-thing for me.  He very clearly gave me this direction (God does not particularly like our devotion to our worldly gods).  I woke up one Sunday morning knowing what I needed to do and I followed.  Let me say a year or so later, I have not missed facebook AT ALL.

There are no easy answers in this world.  But in our striving to live wide awake, to live in a radical following of Jesus, to LiveUP!, facebook was just taking too much market share.

Man School intro slides

Here are the slides from this morning in case you want to remember any of these quotes or the scripture verses.  If you didn’t attend Man School, this will give you a good idea of what we are doing this fall.  We’d love to have you join us.  We had 35 men this morning.  If you can’t get these slides to load, email me at and I will send them to you via email.

man school no matter the cost

Man School starts this Wednesday at 6am

We start at 6am with coffee and biscuits.  Program starts at 6:15am.  We’ll be done by 7am and then have 10-15 minutes of small groups

I think this is going to be a good message for you this fall.  We are going to go after “passivity” and how it battles against us a men vs. a radical walk with Jesus.

The goal of Man School and the LiveUP ministry is singular in purpose – to get out of this slumber and get into a radical walk with Jesus.  Period.  That’s it.  If we fix that…awake to that…dive into that…everything else will take care of itself.

We will use the book, “No Matter the Cost” for a part of this fall’s Man School and a book will be provided to you.  We will also draw from the book “Radical” and “Not a fan”.  And we will dig into scripture to see what the Lord has to say about all this.

I strongly encourage you to come.  6am is NOT easy.  It dang sure isn’t easy on me!  No one ever said walking this walk would be easy but I am so hungry for this.  So hungry for a fully alive, dynamic, radical walk with Jesus that I am willing to get up early and go strong.  I am so hungry for a band of brothers and deep community with other men fighting with me and for me.

If you are….join us on Wednesday morning.  I do not believe you will be disappointed.

If you are planning to come, just comment below so we can get an idea of who be coming.  In Christ….Richard