Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Pray in the depths

If you haven't already, subscribe to John Stanford's thrice-weekly messages of encouragement and insight. (Type subscribe in mail BODY to ao-request@iastate.edu)

Here's an excerpt from the message sent yesterday:

David Runcorn (A CENTER OF QUIET) tells of an old Christian who lived
in a monastery without newspapers or TV. Runcorn found that the man,
instead of being "out of touch", possessed exceptional wisdom. "The
more we talked, the more my own activities and enthusiasms began to
feel very shallow beside this man. ... In ways I could not comprehend, he
was more deeply alive and involved in the world than I was."

Detachment allows wider perspective for praying more deeply and
effectively. Runcorn tells of a sensitive Christian filled with deep
pain by the evil in the daily news. When she sought counsel, her
counselor told her not to watch news or read newspapers for a year!

But how was she to know what to pray for? Her counselor replied, "You
don't need to have all the details of the world's evil, to know the
evil itself ... you will meet it in prayer ... learn to meet it in the
depths and not simply in its surface forms."

There is a wonderful challenge here -- pray in the depths. Pray against evil in the depths, not only in the surface forms, is our aim. Pray for Christ's character to be formed in our children. Pray for your neighbors and coworkers to have transformed lives that reflect Christ. Pray in the depths.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Do you give presentations?

Check out Cliff Atkinson's "Beyond Bullets" blog. He's giving away tons of useful ideas about using PowerPoint effectively. His radical ideas will shake you! Hopefully you're not enamored of the all-too-frequent 32-slides and 400 bullet points approach. His work comes from applying principles developed from Mayer's research in how people absorb information through multiple channels (audio narration, visual, and text).

Why am I recommending this on a blog for Christian men? Because we need to be better communicators!
A Voice from Inside the Storm

If you're weary of sound-bite discussions about the problems in the Middle East, then read Haim Harari's 10 page speech. Detailed, logical, hard-hitting. Recommended.
Impact of homosexual marriage on legal standing of churches

Kathleen Parker has a number of useful insights in her column about gay marriage consequences.

Legal acceptance of homosexual marriages means that every institution must recognize them, or face litigation for hate speech/crimes. Churches could lose tax-exempt status.

Her comments about the tone of the two sides of this debate are intriguing:

"Or, perhaps the lack of interest is tied to the way the debate thus far has been presented. On the pro-gay-marriage side, advocates have proposed the issue only as a question of fairness, civil rights, love and validation. No fair-minded person wants to prevent another human being from equal protection under the law or the pursuit of happiness.

On the other side are mostly heard the voices of the religious right. Regardless of their sincerity, such voices tend to fall on deaf ears in a secular society. If people want preaching, they'll go to church. Moreover, some of the rhetoric from the pews is so strident and off-putting, even devout people may prefer other company.

There are plenty of good reasons to be skeptical about rearranging the basic structure of human society without invoking the "Radicals in Black Robes," who are trying to "force their distorted Homosexual Marriage views on 280 million Americans," as one Christian Coalition action alert recently put it."

This vote is coming before Congress very soon. Contact your representatives. All evidence suggests that they are not hearing very much from the quiet majority of Americans opposed to homosexual marriages.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Doug Giles Clash Point

Put Doug Giles on your reading and listening list. He reminds us of our calling to be Christian men. Excerpt from latest column:

"One of the chief signs of the Church’s backslid condition is its refusal to call a spade a shovel (in love, of course) both inside and outside the Church … and have a side-splitting, obedient, good time doing it. Both in scripture and in the annals of church history we have great examples of reformers “who saved the day” and “bettered tomorrow” because they obeyed God through tornado-like use of both tongue and pen."

Friday, June 18, 2004

Family Mission Statement

Eric Mack describes the power of their family mission statement. Worth reviewing -- it might give you some ideas about how to take a long view of your family.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Fatherless children

Here's a sad statistic: this Father's Day will see 24 million children sleeping in fatherless homes.

I can imagine a better future state in the next two generations. Let's be praying to our Father who can accomplish more than we can ask or imagine!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The real basis for freedom and tolerance

Check out Star Parker's insights on the ACLU's efforts to make our country "free" and "tolerant," and the inherent damage it does to people and communities. Read the whole thing. Here's a good excerpt:

"The truth of the matter is that the ACLU crusade against religion is a crusade against the core religious and moral values that have essentially been the software of the success of American freedom. The smokescreen under which this operation takes place is an illusion that for every religious symbol purged, we produce a more neutral and fair country. This is anything but true. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the purge of one value amounts to its replacement with another. In this case, traditional values of right, wrong and personal responsibility are displaced by relativism, materialism and, ultimately, the product of both of these, nihilism.

The civil-rights movement was defined by religion and moral passion. It was led by a black Christian pastor who never could have weathered the storm of daily death threats without being driven by a deep personal faith. His most famous speech, standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, was laced with references to God and faith and a coming together of God's children."

Keep in mind that Star Parker is not an academic or politician or journalist. She's in the trenches helping communities.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Hard or Soft?

Michael Barone has an interesting book titled "Hard America, Soft America, Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation's Future." Spft America is a product of affluence, where the regulatory state and welfare protectionism rule. Hard America is a product of those who value liberty and opportunity more than guaranteed security from a government and income redistribution.

Pete DuPont wrote an excellent WSJ column about this concept, pointing out that our nation is poised today needing to make choices between these two directions. They are not inconsequential choices.

It's also worth meditating on the state of the Church, your church, and your family. Hard or soft?

Sunday, June 13, 2004

More comments on Reagan

A great president has been laid to rest. I can't add to the millions of words that have been written about Ronald Reagan, but I do want to highlight a few things husbands and fathers should note.

Reagan was a humble man. Check out the story of how he cleaned up spilled water in the hospital shortly after he was shot.

Reagan was a man of great faith. His faith informed his leadership direction.

Reagan was in many ways a failure as a father. He spent much more time with those outside his immediate family than with his own children. He did reconcile with them in later years, but much was lost that could have been. His son Ron, when asked how things had changed now that his father had Alzheimer's, said "Not much has changed. He wasn't really there for us growing up."

Let us be encouraged, and sobered, by the example of Ronald Reagan.

Friday, June 11, 2004


Most guys I know are struggling to read the Bible consistently, as they know they should. If that describes you, too, then I have a radical suggestion:

Read the whole Bible in 30-40 days

Yes, you can do it. If you will take this challenge, you'll fall in love with the Word of God all over again. It will become much easier to read the Bible consistently. And you'll be building breadth of understanding of the Bible -- the most sorely lacking capability among men in the Church today.

Write me at beboldgentle@yahoo.com if you want a reading plan and additional information that will help you.

Thursday, June 10, 2004


I once heard a great definition of a friendless man: "He has to buy tomatoes and zuchini all summer."

Loneliness is endemic to men, and epidemic in this culture. There's a crying ache for community and intimacy. This is one of the most powerful entry points to share the gospel with men in our culture.

Much has been written about Ronald Reagan these past five days. It's encouraging to think about how much God can use just one man to accomplish good.

Consider your own death (which is coming). Who will be your pallbearers? Who are your buddies? Who will relish the privilege of carrying your body in honor? What can you be doing to build up your buddies today?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Some news stories get surprisingly little coverage

I've intentionally watched to see if this story would get much press. Read about what happened when John Kerry visited the Vietnam Memorial on Memorial Day.

Dropping the Cross in California

The ACLU successfully threatened Los Angeles and they removed a tiny cross from the city seal. Dennis Prager has a good analysis on this story.
What else Reagan said in Berlin

Reagan challenged Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall in his 1987 speech at the Brandenburg Gate. The whole speech is worth reading again. Here is a part you don't see quoted frequently today:

"Perhaps this gets to the root of the matter, to the most fundamental distinction of all between East and West. The totalitarian world produces backwardness because it does such violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to enjoy, to worship. The totalitarian world finds even symbols of love and of worship an affront. Years ago, before the East Germans began rebuilding their churches, they erected a secular structure: the television tower at Alexander Platz. Virtually ever since, the authorities have been working to correct what they view as the tower's one major flaw, treating the glass sphere at the top with paints and chemicals of every kind. Yet even today when the sun strikes that sphere--that sphere that towers over all Berlin--the light makes the sign of the cross. There in Berlin, like the city itself, symbols of love, symbols of worship, cannot be suppressed."

Let us take confidence, brothers, that the light of the Cross comes through darkness. God, who cannot be mocked, will always leave a testimony!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

New CrossTrainer book

CrossTrainers just began studying Jerry Foster's new book, LifeFocus. You'll find the Vector principle is helpful. Recommended. This is an easy book to give away.
Recruiting workers -- evangelistic outreach

Christianity Today ran an interesting article about supporting multimedia elements during worship services, titled "A Geek Lexicon." There wasn't much meat to the multimedia information, actually. I highlight this for you because of the author's story of recruiting people for their multimedia team. Their church recruited some spiritual seekers who were technically very talented and willing to help out. They came to know Christ months later.

It struck me that I need to be more open to this strategy. It's saying (with Jesus!) "Come and see" and inviting them to labor alongside you, in the atmosphere where they can "taste and see that the Lord is good."

It's nice to see modest young ladies getting good press.