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January Whetstone Newsletter

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Welcome to a New Year! Every year I do goal setting in November or December for the coming year. At times I forget them or give up on them.  But what I’ve come to realize is that I don’t need a New Year to start. Every day is new and a chance to begin again. Even if you’ve given up your New Year’s resolution or goal, you can start again too.

“His mercies are new every morning.” Lam 3:23

 

Articles of the Month 

Preparing for a New Beginning with a New YearStephen W. Smith

“Every New Year begins the opportunity for us to begin again. What didn’t work this past year now has the chance for transformation”

Steve’s articles are fast becoming a monthly feature here on the Whetstone. In this one, Steve gives us 5 challenges to implement this New Year. The one I want to implement: Live a life of rhythm. Which one strikes you the most? Why? Let me know via email by replying to this email or commenting below the newsletter on the website.

 

Addicted to DistractionTony Schwartz

“Addiction is the relentless pull to a substance or an activity that becomes so compulsive it ultimately interferes with everyday life. By that definition, nearly everyone I know is addicted in some measure to the Internet. It has arguably replaced work itself as our most socially sanctioned addiction.”

When we give our attention to one thing, we’re denying something else of our attention. For me, it’s always the people around me. And, I’m telling them that something else is more important than they are. I wouldn’t ever tell my kids that a cat video is more important than they are, but I do it when I give my attention to that instead of them. Who or what are you giving importance to by your attention?

 

At the Intersection of Vulnerability and MasculinityJacob Mcmillen

Fellas, we need each other. We aren’t designed to fight through life alone. God has given us each other so we don’t have to endure our struggles alone.

 

Hack the Facebook Algorithm for Spiritual Growth Marc Alan Schelske

“The Facebook algorithm that determines what posts you can see is already impacting you this way. Those silly memes, political rants, passive aggressive vaguebook posts, and all the pictures of everyone else’s’ best moments are shaping how you feel about yourself and the world. Anything that impacts your mood will also impact your relationships.”

I recently deleted my Facebook account for about 6 months because it was impacting how I viewed others. I needed a clean break for awhile. Now that I’m back on, Marc’s article gave me some useful tips on being more intentional on my Facebook use.

 

One Question That Can Change the Way You Do LifeMatt Rise

“The question that distills my complicated reasoning to the essence of the struggle is:

Which do you choose: Discipline or regret?”

ICYMI: My first ever actual blog post for the Whetstone. The more I think about it, most of the choices in life come down to choosing between discipline or regret. And most come down to either a long term or short term “reward”. Stick to the diet or regret. Save money or regret. Keep your integrity or regret.

“On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” 1Tim 4:7

 

Podcast of the Month

Parenting Without FearRansomed Heart

First, before you listen to this, I do have questions on some of the the theology presented. So listen with a critical ear. And if you have some insight, please comment below or reply to the email.

Fear based parenting decisions. We all do it or have done it. The antidote: parenting with the long term relationship in mind. The Ransomed Heart guys talk about their experiences in parenting out of fear and with preserving a relationship in mind. It’s an aspect of parenting that I’ve had a hard time with: wanting immediate results/compliance and seeing the long term with my kids. What’s been your experience?

 

 

App of the Month

Evernote

Evernote has to be one of my favorite apps/service of all time. I don’t usually pay for apps or web services, but this is one that I do (They have a free service too). I went paperless several years ago and Evernote has become my file cabinet and project manager. I’ve planned vacations with it. I plan the Whetstone with it too. It’s available on every platform and device you can think of.

Get a free month of Evernote Premium here (I get one too if you do).

 

Stay Sharp!

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December Whetstone Newsletter

The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God. Quote by CS Lews

 

Merry Christmas!  Tis the season for stress, busyness, and overspending. So, take some time, say no to something, jump off the hamster wheel, and just spend time with your family. Play some board games, go sledding, do something non-commercial and relationship oriented. Christmas isn’t about the gifts you get your kids (or don’t get them). They won’t even remember what they got next year anyway. So remember, Christmas is about God coming down to us to say I Love You.

 

Articles of the Month

Advent: How to Resist the Culture and Clutter of Christmas Stephen W. Smith

Advent is choosing to resist the culture and to slow down not hurry.”

Remember when you were a kid and it took forever for Christmas to get here? Doesn’t seem like that now does it? Work holiday parties, gift buying, decorating, treat making, filling the unrealistic expectations of others (and your own) make this season fly by leaving us exhausted, weary, and thankful when it’s over. But, as Stephen writes, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact it should be the opposite. We should slow down this time of year. Say “No”, to something or two.  “Start today. It’s not too late. Resist the culture and choose to wait!”

The 6 Assassins of a Man’s Contentment – Darrin Patrick

“These enemies distract us from the present and prompt us to either idolize or demonize our past and future. We either worship or hate the past or future, but doing so makes it impossible to embrace the glory of the contented life.”

Ahh contentment. We don’t see much of it in our consumption based, never have enough culture. But, what if the true enemy is us? “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.” Darrin gives us 6 internal assassins of contentment.

And, #6 Hurriedness is the one the hit me the most. Because, “Hurried people can’t celebrate (which is the secret sauce of contentment) because they are focused on the next thing on their to-do list.” Which one hits home with you?

 

10 Diagnostic Questions for Your Marriage – Kevin DeYoung

I love the picture at the beginning of this article. It’s what I see my marriage like in 30 years. Still laughing because Jen pulled my finger.

Want to get a simple gauge on how your marriage is doing? Go through Kevin’s 10 questions and give them honest answers. How will your spouse answer them? Better yet, go through them together. I dare you.  Now ask your wife to pull your finger.

 

4 Dangers of Pornography – BJ Foster

“It starts simple enough without any sign of danger, a movie on cable or the click of the mouse. We tell ourselves there’s nothing wrong with it, or perhaps it’s not that bad, even though we keep it secret. Pretty soon what started as “controllable” and “here and there” turns into a habit, deeper and deeper.”

The internet is a wonderful thing. Never in the history of mankind has information been so cheap, easy to access, and widespread. But, the inherent sinfulness of man corrupts all things. And so we have done it to the internet with pornography. Porn too has become “cheap”, easier to access, and more widespread. Even if this isn’t something that you deal with, someone you know does, so check out BJ’s article to see what damage and danger this seemingly “victimless” sin creates.

Need help quitting porn? Take the X3 Pure 30 Days to Purity Course Here. *

 

Slay Your Dragons Before Breakfast – Michael Hyatt

“I face a dragon named Lethargy every morning. It has three heads: Pneuma (spiritual), Soma (physical), and Nous (intellectual). If I don’t slay this dragon before breakfast, he usually gets the best of me. “

One of the best things I’ve done for my life daily has been to have an intentional morning ritual. We all have a morning ritual, but is it intentional? Do you wonder why you never get consistent with important disciplines like bible reading, prayer or exercise? It’s because we’ve only got so much willpower. We get fatigued throughout the day making decisions. So if we leave the important stuff until later, chances are we won’t do them. Michael’s strategy is to slay those dragons right off the bat, when you’re at your strongest.

 

Podcast Episode of the Month

Become More Productive By Reengineering Your Morning Ritual – Michael Hyatt

This podcast builds on the previous article by giving you 7 steps to building a morning that will kick your day off right. Want to change your life drastically and simply? Start your days off right with an intentional morning ritual.

 

App of the Month

PrayerMate

Prayer is a discipline that I really struggle with. Not in a get it done daily sort of way. I can check off boxes with the best of them. But, in a meaningful, intentionalPrayerMate Logo way. I could sit down and “pray”, but the monkeys in my brain would always start throwing bananas distracting me. So enter PrayerMate. PrayerMate is an app that I have been using for sometime now. It has not only helped me remember who and what I need to pray for, but helped me to see God’s work in my life and in the lives of others. The app takes a bit of setup but once you’ve got it going it takes a lot of the resistance to praying out.

 

 

Stay Sharp,

 

Signature for Matt Rise

*The Whetstone gets a percentage of your purchase to help offset the costs to maintain the website and newsletter.
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November Whetstone Newsletter

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Happy Veteran’s Day

Happy Veteran’s Day!  Thank you to all of our military veterans as well as first responders. We appreciate your service and sacrifice. Support one of the Whetstone’s own heroes by visiting this month’s Sponsor, Northern Colorado Firearms Training, for a great deal only for you at the bottom the of the page.

Articles of the Month

Five Strategies For Daily Bible Reading Gavin Ortlund

I have found that amid the pace of life, Bible reading (like so many other things) tends to be eclipsed unless it is structured into our daily schedule.

It seems that daily bible reading is something that easily gets put to the side. We get busy, distracted, and sometimes just plain apathetic. So we ignore this valuable discipline and miss out on God’s real words to us. Check out Gavin’s 5 Strategies for Daily Bible Reading to get this important discipline going in your life.

Interviewing Mister MaybeScott Williams

My daughter is 12 and nearing those oh so fun teen years and all that implies. And that includes dating. And that’s scary to me as her father. In a world where boys get their education about women from porn sites and peers, it’s my responsibility as her father to protect her. And not just protect her, but her potential suitor as well. Scott writes a thoughtful article on interviewing your daughter’s date and how to go about it.

I want him to know that I’m calling him up, maybe even to be better than he thinks he can be. I want to call him up to be his best, just as his own dad would.

Want more on this? Pick up the book Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date by Dennis Rainey here.

 

5 Reasons I Still Struggle With the SabbathSteve Smith

I love Steve Smith’s writing (The Jesus Life, The Lazarus Life, Inside Job). I could fill an entire year’s worth of newsletters with his stuff. In this article Steve shares why he still struggles with Sabbath, and why we need it.

 
The Secret Enemy In Your Marriage John Weirick

” Left untouched, unexpressed conflict will turn assumptions into accusations and accusations into evidence. It’s like rendering a verdict when the other person didn’t even know court was in session.”
John shares 5 practical ways to ways to deal with unexpressed conflict and number 1 is the hardest (Go First).

 
Every Young Woman’s BattleTim Young

One of the toughest aspects of parenting, for me, is having conversations about sex with my kids. As Tim says in his article, if we’re not having the conversation, someone else is. The consequences are great. Our society’s views are so skewed that everything seems OK. As uncomfortable as these conversations can be, we need to have them. Tim shares his experience of talking to his daughter about sex and shares a letter he sent her reminding her of what God has to say to her.  Hit the link for a grace filled and encouraging message.

Free Audio Book of the Month

Sex and Money by Paul David Tripp   9781610456708

The Free Audiobook of the Month for November is Sex and Money by Pastor Paul Tripp. It grieves our Lord when there is sin in the church. Headlines of Christian leaders sinful failures in areas of sex and money create national news. Sex and Money by Pastor Paul Tripp was written to address these issues and provide clear biblical counsel in these areas.

Podcast of the Month

Prophets of Doom Dan Carlin

This month’s Podcast of the Month is in honor of Reformation Day, October 31st.

4 and half hours of Reformation history! This podcast episode is awesome! Seriously.
“Murderous millennial preachers and prophets take over the German city of Munster after Martin Luther unleashes a Pandora’s box of religious anarchy with the Protestant Reformation.”  You’re going to need a long drive or a podcast player (see last month’s app of the month in the October Newsletter) that can speed up the playback to enjoy this one. Great background and historical context for the Reformation.

 
Video of the Month
Searching for West is a powerful, beautifully shot video about Mark Seacat’s transition from man to father within the context of hunting.

“There’s things in life more important than hunting. And for the past couple of years, I don’t think that I knew that. There was this moment that taught me that I need to be better at being a father.  I needed to be better at being a husband. And hunting was something in my life that could wait. There’s things in life more important than hunting. And for the past couple of years, I don’t think that I knew that. There was this moment that taught me that I need to be better at being a father.  I needed to be better at being a husband. And hunting was something in my life that could wait.”

Searching for West from Helio + Company on Vimeo.

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