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Two Keys to a lasting Relationship

posted Jan 28, 2016, 9:16 AM by Tim Isbell   [ updated Jan 28, 2016, 9:19 AM ]

It's been a long time since I added a new resource to my Advice for Couples web page, but I added one today. It came from a young woman who I counseled, along with her husband, before their marriage 11 years ago. The article offers fantastic advice on how to make a relationship last year-after-year. It's a must-read if you're early in a relationship, then reread when the bumps come along, and eventually to pass along to your kids and grandkids. Here's the article: Science Says Lasting Relationships Come Down to Two Basic Traits (An Atlantic article, published in BusinessInsider).

For more relationship resources, check out Advice for Couples. Or, if you're a pastor or professional who counsels people before marriage, click on Resources for Premarriage Counseling


Measuring your portolio's results

posted Jan 12, 2016, 10:24 AM by Tim Isbell

Many people buy and sell investments based on articles they read, advice from a professional, and their theories. They try to time their buys and sells. They have anecdotes of gains that encourage them, and of losses that they try to forget. But if you ask for their asset allocation between stocks and bonds, they need to go away and tally it up - despite that it determines 80% of their return. They have no way to assess whether their investing work adds or subtracts value beyond what they would undoubtedly receive from buying and holding a single, balanced, index mutual fund.

To learn how to compare your actual results with a meaningful benchmark, check out Portfolio Evaluation.

Prayer Resources for Ending Terror

posted Jan 4, 2016, 1:01 PM by Tim Isbell

On December 13, a few weeks after the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks, we held a prayer service at New Life Nazarene Church (Cupertino, CA). It was a small, intimate, gathering of 15-20 Christian people praying for the many dimensions of the current situations.

We prepared the Worship Center with prayer stations and played quiet instrumental Christmas music. Each station had a poster and a few scriptures to guide peoples' prayers. Finally, we regathered in one group and closed with prayer. 

In case you want to do something similar, or just want the material for personal use, click on Let's Pray to End Terror



Do the math

posted Dec 13, 2015, 9:59 AM by Tim Isbell

One of Robin and my joys in retirement is helping under-resourced middle and high school students get better in math. Each year we have 5-10 students who we pair up with the same number of coaches. We meet one night a week to help students with their math homework. We season the calendar with a monthly dinner, occasional special activities (recent: miniature golfing), and even service projects (recent: Operation Christmas Shoebox and water-sealing 600 sq. ft of brick wall). As our students reach late high school, we help them with college and career strategies. And, in any ways we can, we cheer them on.

I have a separate Math Coaching website to support this work. Recently I posted four web pages to help our students - especially those in Algebra 2. If you know an Algebra 2 student right now, they're probably studying for first semester finals and they might benefit from the four links below. Or, if you're just curious about what Common Core high school math looks like these days, check out the links below:

So why post this on IsbellOnline? 

Partly just because some of you might also like math and teenagers and will consider giving something like this a try near where you live - whether it's math, or focused on some other subject area. While the Math Coaching website is primarily for our students and coaches in west San Jose, California, I also designed to help anybody get started in something like it. So check out the whole site by just typing mc.isbellonline.org into any browser.

Or, Contact Tim.


Tim Isbell


Prayer - for mercy and an end to terror

posted Dec 7, 2015, 9:06 PM by Tim Isbell   [ updated Dec 8, 2015, 8:47 AM ]

#prayforparis, #prayforsyria

After the Paris terrorist attacks, Robin and I decided to gather people for an hour of Christian prayer. When we brought it up with our Pastor Chris Hoch, he quickly decided to join us. Then came San Bernardino. So, we're designing a time of scripture-directed Christian prayer for Paris and Brussels, Syria and Iraq, refugees and their destination countries, San Bernardino, political and law enforcement leaders, terrorists, and other dimensions of the current chaos. After a short opening, we will spend most of the hour so each person can circulate through their choices of small "prayer stations." Then we'll close with prayer.

The gathering will occur on Sunday evening, December 13, from 6-7pm in the New Life Nazarene Church worship center (20900 McClellan Road, Cupertino, CA 95014).

Now we're getting the word out to our networks of people - just like you. If you are within reach of Cupertino, CA and are interested in joining us, please come! No previous prayer experience necessary. We're designing the hour so that everyone is comfortable.

If you're a pastor or Christian leader interested in hosting something similar and want more details, contact me after December 13 and I'll give you what we have (we're working on the now!). 


Tim & Robin Isbell and Pastor Chris Hoch

New, original Advent Reading just posted!

posted Nov 26, 2015, 10:49 PM by Tim Isbell   [ updated Nov 26, 2015, 10:53 PM ]

The first Sunday of Advent is upon us, but if you still have time to consider a new Advent Reading series, check out Advent Readings! I just posted "Symbols of Faith" a few minutes ago. It offers a way to include a child with a non-reading part each week. It's another original by Sharon Rauenzahn from Cupertino New Life Nazarene Church in northern California. 

Tim (and Sharon)

Immigrants & Refugees - the Christian Perspective

posted Nov 17, 2015, 3:26 PM by Tim Isbell   [ updated Nov 18, 2015, 6:54 AM ]

In the ramp-up to the 2016 presidential election, immigration policy enlivens candidate debates, threads through political news stories, and even animates some of our interpersonal discussions. Unfortunately, the terrorist attacks in Paris elevate the rhetoric several more notches. Western governments understandably scramble to protect their people. Politicians move aggressively to block the path of refugees and other immigrants. It's natural and expected. 

But what is the Christian perspective? For some perspective, please check out this link on Immigrants & Refugees.


Advent Readings

posted Nov 5, 2015, 9:03 AM by Tim Isbell   [ updated Nov 8, 2015, 8:36 AM ]

For months, I saved a Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote for this post on Advent. It's from one of his letters, written during World War II, from his German prison cell to a special woman in his life: "A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes, does various non-essential things, and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside is not a bad picture of Advent."

The Advent season begins four Sundays before Christmas and culminates on Christmas Day. This year these four Sundays are November 28, December 5, 12, 19.

Even if you or your church is not liturgical, Advent is the one season of the year worth adding a little liturgy because it helps make Christmas distinct from the rest of the year. Especially if you are a worship leader or pastor, and also if you are a parishioner wanting to build Advent into your family's Christmas, you can find some original readings for this season by clicking on Advent Readings.

Why Not Pray Your Commute?

posted Oct 19, 2015, 2:17 PM by Tim Isbell   [ updated Oct 19, 2015, 10:52 PM ]

My mid-career years in the electronics industry were pretty focused on getting projects done. Coworkers knew I was a Christian, but faith was not deeply integrated into my career. Eventually, I realized that when my industrial career ended it would matter more how I had represented Jesus at work than whether I succeeded in projects. So, I decided to trust Jesus with the business outcomes and turn my focus to people.

My starting point was to use my commute to "pray scriptures" for the projects and coworkers. For the list and more information, click on Pray Your Commute.



Halloween Quote

posted Oct 13, 2015, 3:08 PM by Tim Isbell   [ updated Oct 14, 2015, 8:56 AM ]

It's October again, the month some Christians get theologically concerned about Halloween. I'm not one of them, but I do find some of the ways our culture celebrates this day a bit uncomfortable. So I decided to post this:

A woman asked her coworker, "What is it like to be a Christian? "The coworker replied, "It is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then he cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed, and then he carves you a new smiling face and puts his light inside of you to shine for all the world to see." [source unknown]

I figure if the world around me is going to promote October 31 I might as well take it as an opportunity to put an encouraging spin on it.



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