Time to burn the boats?

Ever seen the movie Hunt for Red October? It is one on my favorite of all time.
Early in the movie Captain Ramious during a gathering of his officers rather casually informs them that he has left a letter with the Soviet high command informing them of their plan to defect to the United States and turnover their high tech submarine. The officers are enraged as they know this will bring the entire Soviet fleet down on them in an effort to destroy the ship and prevent the defection.
Next, Sean Connery in that famous accent of his tells the legend of Cortez and his arrival to the new world. As the story goes, in 1519 Cortez with 500 men and 11 ships traveled to the South America intending to conquer and capture treasure.
Cortez knew this was going to be a great challenge for his men and decided to take action in a way that would ensure complete engagement of his army. He left them with no alternative other than complete success. He ordered them to burn the boats. As Captain Ramious so eloquently frames it in the movie, this left his men “highly motivated”
Too seldom in our lives do we decide as Cortez did to throw away all fear of success and burn the boats. Instead we let our fear and our focus on past failed attempts keep us from fully living life as it should be lived.

As we move into a new season of change with another year nearing a close, I want to challenge you to burn the boats and never look back. Just imagine what you will accomplish. 

Wal-Mart sucks and so do I

Like many people I know, I avoid shopping at Wal-Mart as much as possible. I loathe the dozens of cashier stations with typically just a small percentage open. I cringe at the thought of using the terrible self-service kiosks that always seem to crash when I use them while gleefully exclaiming, “item not found in bag” when I try to pay. Oh the agony.

Then of course there are the people of Wal-Mart. It seems the store brings in a lower class of poorly dressed and equally poorly behaved people shopping in pajamas, house shoes and no bras.

Give me the high class folks of Target or a locally owned store any day.

Just other day the son and I were forced to shop in Wal-Mart together for an item that could not be found anywhere else. We bravely fought the holiday crowd while at the same time gaining great amusement feeling good about ourselves by making fun of the people in the store.


I was no further away from the store than the parking lot when the whole thing came crashing down on my heart.

What kind of man am I to judge any person other than the one I see in the mirror every morning? I know that guy pretty well and it seems he fails a lot and has a good number of issues.  What kind of father am I as well to encourage my teen son through example to be as low as I am by making fun of people we have never met.

This turned into a teachable moment as I asked my son to forgive me for this behavior. I told him Dr. King had it right when he said we should judge people by the content of their character and not as they appear or as we might perceive based on prejudgments.   

How easy it is in life to feel taller by making those around us smaller? Aren’t we called by God instead to become the least if we want to become greatest?

In the end I am thankful for the lesson that day as it reminded me how far I have to go if I am to become the man I was born to become.

Thinking of texting and porn

Thanks to smart phones and tablets, our society is quickly moving through a technology motivated transformation with broad impacts. Most of these are positive with hyper-networking opening doors to community and innovation that would not have been possible even just a few years ago. I think most of us now take for granted the amount of information that is available at any given time right in the palm of our hand.

But with these changes have also come pitfalls as well and we should be ever on guard to ensure we embrace the positive side of technology rather than fall into a technological hole that will destroy us. Truly there is danger for it to take our lives, darken our souls, and destroy our families.

Am I being over dramatic?

Check out these facts about texting and driving. It seems more and more common to hear of accidents due to distracted drivers. Thankfully the wireless industry recognizes this problem and companies like Sprint are now offering tools to help.

Sprint Customers may now download a free app that blocks texting while driving and provides other great safety features. From the manufacturers,some devices like the new Motorola X also come with features to improve safety while driving with inherent options.

There is another danger that is less talked about but also potentially just as impactful. Porn

Are you aware that your device allows access to any website no matter what the content? It is pretty easy to set filters and view browsing history on home computers and laptops since families tend to share these resources. Phones and tablets on the other hand tend to be more individual and therefore less observed. Sure there are in browser settings that can block content but these are easily modified and a lot of people do not know they exist or how to set them.

Sprint thankfully offers a couple of easy options to ensure your device and your family’s devices are temptation protected.

Sprint Mobile Controls is a subscription based service at $4.99 a month that provides a wide range options for parents including a web-based dashboard that shows phone usage and texting usage reports. It also allows customized settings for blocking usage during set hours and with set people. Use of such a tool to me would depend a lot on your family culture and child behavior patterns as most teens I know would see this level of control as punishment or an invasion of their perceived privacy.

Consumer account holders can also set controls for free that will block; apps, downloads, texts from specific numbers, pictures and videos.

It is easy to set these controls up online by accessing your account. Once logged in go to My Preferences and you will see a wide range of options listed under limits and permissions.

The must have setting to me is the content filter. The Content Filter helps protect your Sprint devices against adult content and malware while web browsing on the Sprint network. It allows the account holder to control access to sites or content determined inappropriate in accordance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).”

The content filter has been around for a long time but is now being expanded from just feature phones to all devices and Sprint is sending out an awareness e-mail to let customers know about this enhancement.
The huge benefit here is that this content filter setting works no matter what settings may be selected on the phone browser. A critical difference for sure. The only drawback is that this blocking does not work when browsing off the Sprint nextwork via WiFi. As a result, it is still important to ensure web browser settings are set to strict.

I have activated the filter on all my devices and now have a comfort knowing that my entire family including myself has a certain level of temptation protection. We are all human and I am glad to add any layer of added accountability that I can find.

What about you?

Have you protected yourself and your family with the addition of controls to prevent texting and driving?

Have you protected yourself and your family from temptation by modifying the browser settings on your devices to block content?

Want to go a little deeper? Check out this recent sermon from Craig Groeshel

The mountains are calling

The mountains are calling…..

And I must go

I love this video from The North Face. Indeed there is something about the mountains and the outdoors that call your soul to return once you have experienced them up front and personal. I am not referencing the mountains seen from a car window or a condo but instead the kind that can only be experienced from a backwoods trail.
Hiking summer of 2012
Close my eyes and I can quickly return to a star filled night during the summer of 2012 sitting in a New Mexico mountain meadow in complete silence surrounded by nothing but nature. No machines, no electronics and even no animals. Simply silence.

It turns out you can have some pretty good talks with God when there are no distractions in your way and complete evidence of his glory surrounding you. Take such an outing with some youth and you will also be amazed to see the difference hardship, fun and learning while breathing in some clean mountain air will make. It clears the mind and it clears the soul.

Months later you will also find it somehow keeps changing you. You will find yourself longing for that moment to happen again and again and again.

Keep calling mountains.

I will keep coming.

You should read this book…

Have you ever read a book that truly impacts your life at the core? I am talking one of those mountain moving, yes now I understand kind of impacts? Wild at Heart is a book like that for me and many other men I know.

Several months ago I was sitting in an airport and I noticed a man sitting across from me reading a Bible. He looked familiar but I was not sure. It did not take long before he walked over to me and said, “Hey David!”

I then recognized him fully and told him that he just looked so different I had missed him at first. Funny how just having a Bible in his hand had somehow made me not connect this man of the present with the man I knew in the past. Within moments Mike was telling me about his life and the changes he had made over the last few years. He had fully committed to Christ, changed jobs to spend more time with the family outdoors, lost weight, and was working hard to be a better husband as well as a better dad. Wow! This was not the Mike I knew years earlier.

My next question of course was, “What lit you up like this to make so many changes?” Within moments he was telling me about “this book” he had read. I asked, “Let me guess, Wild at Heart?” The look on his face was priceless. I can’t tell you the number of men that I have met in the last few years that have told me how this little book change their lives to heal wounds of childhood and provide direction as fathers. If you are a man and especially if you are raising a boy I highly recommend it.

What about you?

Have you read this book? Did it impact you?

Is there another mountain mover book that you would recommend to men?

I would love to hear from you.