God’s Fatherhood: Better than the latest band-aid of self-help

Our theology drives our lives. What we know and understand about God impacts everything – everything we think, say, and do. It especially controls and directs spiritual activities such as preaching and counseling. In previous posts we looked at how the Fatherhood of God should impact the Counselor, and then at the role of this doctrine in the Counselee’s life.

There are also certain counseling problems that are especially helped by specific aspects of God’s Fatherhood. Before looking at these, let me just make two qualifications. First, while the whole Trinity is involved in every counseling solution, in this article we are limiting ourselves to the role of the Father in counseling. Second, while the Fatherhood of God is involved in every counseling scenario, I’m picking the issues in which God’s Fatherliness is especially helpful.

Click on over to Christianity.com for the rest of this article and read how the Fatherhood of God can help in dealing with:

  • Bereavement
  • Single Parenthood
  • Poverty
  • Abuse
  • Chastisement
  • Anxiety
  • Injustice
  • Prodigal Children
  • Bitterness
  • Church Disputes
  • Spiritual Growth
  • Parenting

Why You Need a Creative Community

Some of the best ideas in the world are sitting on old shelves gathering dust or in an old computer gathering viruses.

Why did these ideas never happen? In many cases it was fear of exposing the idea to public scrutiny and the possibility of criticism, mockery, or —worst of all — silence. The idea was born, lived, and died in fatal isolation.

Scott Belsky’s survey of top creatives in Making Ideas Happen found that community engagement was absolutely essential to moving ideas forward. The myth of the solitary genius is just that, a myth. Although some of the great inventions are associated with individuals — Thomas Edision, Alexander Bell, etc. — closer inspection almost always reveals that it was a community effort.

Physical and digital communities
Although your community may be limited to your physical environment – your family, church, workplace, neighbors, etc., the hyperconnectivity of the Internet age has multiplied the possibilities for community engagement:

  • A writer can share draft chapters on her blog.
  • Artists or photographers can display their work on a website or Flickr.
  • Singers can post free mp3’s of their new songs for review.
  • Preachers can post their sermons in written or audio form.
  • Teachers can share their lesson plans.

Benefits of sharing our work with a community are:

  • Accountability is strengthened through public commitment.
  • Creative energy is channeled into stated goals.
  • Feedback exposes holes and refines the idea.
  • Relationships provide support and inspiration.
  • Resources are multiplied through sharing.
  • Marketing and promotion opportunities are increased through wider stakeholding.
  • New ideas are generated and new dimensions to old ideas are developed.

Some other tips from these chapters:

  • The more diverse the community group the more helpful the engagement (variety in ages, genders, social circles, ethnicity, character – dreamers and doers, etc).
  • An MIT study published in the Harvard Business Review found that employees with the most extensive online and face-to-face networks are up to 30% more productive.
  • The most successful creatives have a fearless approach to sharing ideas.
  • Take an interest in helping others with their ideas too.

Best-selling author and Wired Magazine editor Chris Anderson says: “I don’t believe you can do anything by yourself. Any project that’s run by a single person is basically destined to fail.” (Making Ideas Happen, 121).

Previous posts in the Making Ideas Happen series:
Making Ideas Happen: 99% Perspiration
A Swear Word for Creative Types
Paper v Pixels 

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Paper v Pixels

I’ve tried so many different kinds of organizational software, that it’s become a bit of a standing joke in my family. Over the course of my ministry I’ve probably spent a small fortune on various programs and Apps that have promised to get me organized and efficient.

And I’ve now come full circle, because I’m returning to paper. There’s just something about the physical act of writing something down with a real pen on real paper that increases ownership, responsibility, and accountability – whether it’s the daily to-do list or personal banking.

Software promises more efficiency, but it’s just too easy to scan the debits with the eye and have no real sense of spending, or to have the to-do list hanging out of sight somewhere in the digital ether and nothing is ever done!

When I have to write out what I spend every day, and when I have to re-write my to-do list every evening, it makes a much greater impression and forces me to take certain actions. Put simply, paper produces more guilt than pixels! Good guilt, though.

But what kind of paper system? For project management and to-do lists, I’ve not come across anything as simple and effective as Scott Belsky’s Action Method as outlined in Making Ideas Happen. It can be broken into three main parts: Action Steps, References, and Backburner Items.

Action Steps

  • Treat every idea as a project (“ideas” also include things like personal finances, organizing a birthday party, re-arranging the furniture).
  • Break each project into action steps beginning with a simple action verb (e.g. write letter to John, pay gas bill, etc.).
  • Write it down or it won’t register.
  • Prioritize your top 5 projects, and then prioritize the important and the urgent to maintain incremental progress and momentum.


  • Non-actionable project-related material that you may want to refer to in the future (notes, manuals, minutes, etc).
  • Review regularly to make sure you are not hoarding unnecessary paper.

Backburner List

  • Not actionable today but may be in the future (ideas without a budget, something you want to do sometime).

How to organize all this? Belsky suggests a folder with your project name on it. The Action Steps are then attached to the inside cover to keep them as prominent as possible for daily review and implementation. The Backburner List is attached to the inside of the back cover, and in between are the References.

Some other hints from the book:

  • Get every action item out of your various Inboxes and into one of your projects.
  • Pick a regular time to review each day and plan for the next, and do it at that time consistently to make it stick.
  • Customize the method to suit you as “the more you enjoy your method, the more you will be committed to it.”
  • Use colorful, quality administrative materials because, as usability guru Donald Norman said, “attractive things work better.”
  • Pick five items each day that you will definitely focus on to complete.
  • Celebrate progress to maintain momentum.

There are some similarities with Dave Allen’s Getting Things Done, but this method is much simpler and more suitable for non-corporate types.

Although there’s still a learning curve in setting this administration up, and getting organized means less time for creative work, in the long run not only will more ideas happen, but more ideas will be generated because of the joy of seeing our “genius” moments turned into reality.

And yes, there is a software version of the Action Method, but I’ll be sticking with paper!

My previous posts on Making Ideas Happen:

Making Ideas Happen: 99% Perspiration
A Swear Word for Creative Types

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