Shawn and Micah take over the podcast, while the beloved professor, Mark, is off on a European vacation. Following his vacation he’ll head to Moldova, where Micah will meet him, to do some pastoral discipleship & training with believers there.

Today we chat about the overwhelming amount of information coming at us every day, through social media and other avenues, and how to deal with the pressure that comes from living up to everyone else’s standards. We perceive a crushing weight of expectations, from the church and people around us who seem to “have it all together.” How do we know if we are doing the things that God call us to, without feeling the burden of others’ expectations?

This isn’t really a conversation about time management, though our busyness can contribute to the feeling of overwhelm. We can be busy doing “good things” and still feel as though it is all futile. We talk about how to choose the “first best thing,” which requires discrimination and discernment.

Are we prioritizing the right things? One way to find out is to ask your wife. Ask her to share 1 or 2 things that are a priority for your family. Work on those things to develop a new habit. Growth takes time and patience.

Ps. 4:6-8 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

 

Overwhelmed by Perceived Expectations? | Episode 45 | CongreGate Podcast

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Links and Recommendations:

We referenced a couple of previous episodes…

When our Wives are Discouraged about their Appearance

& Encouraging our Wives to Use their Gifts

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Today we are discussing a couple of the current Supreme Court cases regarding religious liberty and how they affect you. Why are both the Trinity Lutheran Church Supreme Court case and the case regarding Masterpiece Cake Shop important to the average Christian?

We spend some time discussing the First Amendment and free exercise of religion, and a quick history of the Blaine Amendment. The First Amendment includes free exercise of religion, but it isn’t freedom from religion.

We also discuss the Masterpiece Cake Shop case. The owner, Jack Phillips, never refused to sell baked goods to the gay couple, but because of his faith, refused to use his design skills to create a unique cake celebrating a gay marriage. This is not a case about discrimination, but another case about the free exercise of religion.

Can Christians keep their beliefs private and keep them out of the public sphere as many would have us do? We don’t think so. How can we share our beliefs publicly with gentleness and respect?

1 Pet. 3:15-16 – “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as Holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

 

How the Current Religious Liberty Cases Affect You | Episode 44 | CongreGate Podcast

 

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Links and Recommendations:

The Vanishing American Adult – by Ben Sasse

Dispatches From the Front – by Tim Keesee

First Freedom: The Beginning & End of Religious Liberty

The Gathering Storm – by Dr. Albert Mohler

Alliance Defending Freedom

Masterpiece Cake Shop

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Happy Independence Day! Today we chat about Independence Day celebrations and early American history.

Shawn recommends The Vanishing American Adulthood by Ben Sasse, the senator from Nebraska. Sasse shares some alarming statistics about how little American adults know about our country’s history. We also quiz each other on some American history facts. Do you know the answers?

We share some ideas about how to celebrate Independence day with your family. Our families like to read from historical documents and patriotic poems, such as Paul Revere’s Ride.

Finally, we share a couple of entertaining fireworks stories and Independence Day memories. Want to find out what happens when you set off a “sparkler bomb” in the vicinity of a former Navy Seal?

How are you celebrating Independence Day with your family? Are your kids learning the true significance of this holiday through your traditions? We’d love to hear your ideas!

 

Independence Day Celebrations & Early American History | Episode 43 | CongreGate Podcast

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Links and Recommendations:

John Adams – by David McCullough

The American Spirit – by David McCullough

The Wright Brothers – by David McCullough

1776 – by David McCullough

The Vanishing American Adult – by Ben Sasse

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Are you managing your time wisely? American culture seems to celebrate busyness, but is this really healthy? Today we chat about time management, stewardship, and some techniques we use to manage our own time well.

We talk about getting up early to use the quiet morning time wisely. Shawn makes the case that good time management starts with a good night’s sleep and a regular morning routine. We recommend a few books that we have found to be helpful in creating routines and priorities.

We also talk about planning ahead, for the year, for the month, and for the week. We each have regular habits and routines (family dinner, for example) that are the priorities. Then we talk and pray about other opportunities and choose the best things. We like to do the hard things first. We also highly encourage you to put your phone down and consume less media.

Finally, Micah talks about creating flexibility for meeting other people’s needs. We have a tendency to make all of our decisions about ourselves, but our time is not our own. As believers, we need to be available to serve other people as needs and opportunities arise.

 

Are You Managing Your Time Wisely? | Episode 42 | CongreGate Podcast

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Links and Recommendations:

Essentialism – by Greg McKeown

The Vanishing American Adult – by Ben Sasse

Crazy Busy – by Kevin DeYoung

Do More Better – by Tim Challies

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Today’s episode is about raising our children to be best friends. How can we help our children to value their sibling relationships and continue as friends into adulthood? Mark & Micah talk about how the Fox family worked to promote good sibling relationships and how that has carried over to their current relationships now that they are all adults.

Mark says spending time together is key to developing good relationships among siblings. The Fox family made the effort to play games together, read together, work together, and spend time just talking…even when the children were less than enthusiastic about it. They made an effort to guard evening time and limit outside activities so that the family could eat dinner together regularly.

As parents, we can help build good relationships among our children by planning intentional family time, but we also need to be careful about how we talk to the children about each other. We may be unintentionally fueling competition and comparison by pointing out their strengths and weaknesses to each other.

We also talk about how we can encourage the older kids to develop discipleship relationships with their younger siblings. When older children are willing to teach and give advice to younger children, the younger children feel loved by them and will continue to go to them for counsel.

Finally, we encourage you to make it a habit of praying for your children to love each other.

Do you have any other ideas or stories of things that have helped you to raise children to be best friends? We’d would love to hear them!

 

Raising Your Children to be Best Friends | Episode 41 | CongreGate Podcast

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Links and Recommendations:

No links for this episode.

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