Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Next CrossTrainer book

I'm looking forward to the next CT book. Check it out!

Holy Ambition: What It Takes to Make a Difference for God

By Chip Ingram / Moody Publishers

God wants us sitting on the edge of our "life seats," leaning forward to pay attention to His Word. To really live this Christian life "on the edge," Pastor Chip Ingram teaches that we must be eagerly anticipating what God will do next, ready and willing to fully participate. Drawing wisdom from the life of Nehemiah, Pastor Ingram masterfully leads readers through six key components to achieving a life lived with a biblical perspective and an eternal purpose:

  1. Developing a dislocated heart
  2. Experiencing a broken spirit
  3. Practicing a radical faith
  4. Creating a strategic plan
  5. Exercising personal commitment
  6. Growing a courageous soul

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Think of being a husband and father as being an Artisan

I just wrote a post titled "Teaching is a Craft" on my teaching blog. Read this and think about how your role as father and husband are a craft.

This calls for patient endurance.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Enjoying your Wife

During a business trip last week, I mentioned to a co-worker that I was missing my wife. His response caught me off guard: "Well, it's better when me and my wife are together less than 30% of the time." (He's a scientist, very analytical.)

This is a sad idea. An ungodly idea.

If you and I don't enjoy being around the precious wife of our youth for long periods of time, we need to go back to Ephesians 5 and check out our love level. We are not loving her as Christ loved the church. No, it's not her fault -- don't let that thought have any power, men.
Guy Perks

A friend sent me this list -- your wife may enjoy it even more than you do!

1. The garage is all yours.
2. Wedding plans take care of themselves.
3. Chocolate is just another snack.
4. Car Mechanics tell you the truth.
5. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.
6. Wrinkles add character.
7. Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100.
8. New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
9. One mood all the time.
10. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
11. You know stuff about tanks.
12. A 5 day vacation requires only one suitcase.
13. You can open all of your own jars.
14. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
15. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
16. The same hairstyle lasts for years, even decades.
17. Your belly usually hides your big hips.
18. One wallet and one pair of shoes one color for all seasons.
19. You can wear shorts no matter what how your legs look.
20. You can “do” your nails with a pocket knife.
21. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.
22. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is too icky.
I'm not a father, but I play one on TV

Fathers still aren't portrayed well on TV, according to watchdog groups. Brent Bozell says "Hollywood has taken the typical image of Dad from Ozzie Nelson to Ozzie Osbourne."
1776 -- Character and Providence

I'm reading David McCullough's excellent history 1776. Great so far. It's helpful to learn about history, to see more accurately what people went through and how their decisions shaped their lives and the nation. You also see God's hand in history. (It could not be clearer than in the story of the retreat from Brooklyn!)

Check out this good interview with David McCullough.

Amazon has the best price.

Monday, June 27, 2005

What John Piper learned from his father

Here's a list of things John Piper learned from his father, based on his fabulous tribute to him. May God help us live so that our children rise up one day and give us similar tributes!

1. There is a great, majestic God in heaven, and we were meant to live for his glory not ours.

2. When things don’t go the way they should, God always makes them turn for good.

3. God can be trusted.

4. Life is precarious, and life is precious. Don’t presume that you will have it tomorrow and don’t waste it today.

5. A merry heart does good like a medicine and Christ is the great heart-Satisfier.

6. A Christian is a great doer not a great don’ter.

7. The Christian life is supernatural.

8. Bible doctrine is important but don’t beat people up with it.

9. Respect your mother.

10. Be who God made you to be and not somebody else.

11. People are lost and need to be saved through faith in Jesus Christ.

What will you pass on?

If you read 1 Chronicles 22-29 you will see an amazing picture of David actually being a father to Solomon. He gives Solomon a challenge to fulfill God's plan to build the temple. He lines up all the leaders to help Solomon, and provides nearly all the materials and a detailed plan. David ends his life well by passing on a legacy of faithfulness to his son.

There is no such record for Solomon at the end of his life. In 2 Chron 9:31 we read "Then he rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father. And Reheboam his son succeeded him as king."

Solomon began well, completed the temple, but then made daily decisions that took him farther from the heart of faith his father David had. He had great understanding and wisdom, but not obedience. Review Deut 17:14-20 and you will see that Solomon failed to follow the clear instructions for kings of Israel.

One of the important lessons here is that you cannot pass on to your children what you do not yourself possess. Take measure of yourself, dear father, and see where you need to build up your faith and perservance.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

EMP and families

This excellent speech by Frank Gaffney about America's unpreparedness for an EMP attack on our electronics infrastructure is worth reading for two reasons.

First, as men and leaders we should take heed his warnings about preparedness and preventative measures. A number of America's enemies are pursuing ballistic missiles with fervor.

Second, consider this vulnerability not only as electronics dependence, but as a lack of family leadership. Were an EMP attack to be successful, and much of our electronics infrastructure wiped out, how would we do as family leaders? How could we hold our communities together? What would become important, and not important?

Given your meditation on this, what do you need to do differently?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Nature Must Not Be Worshipped

Check out this good Dennis Prager column about the distinctive difference between worldviews. This is an important concept to make sure your children understand.

"It is almost impossible to overstate how radically different Old Testament thought was from the thought of the rest of its contemporary world. And it continues to be, given how few societies affirm Judeo-Christian values and how much opposition to them exists in American society, the society that has most incorporated these values. Among the most radical of these differences was the incredible declaration that God is outside of nature and is its creator."

Monday, June 20, 2005

Biblical Marriage

Check out Marvin Olasky's fine column on "Strong Marriages"

"[the] Bible clearly shows the error both of feminists who claim no differences between men and women, and of sexual segregationists who argue that women are to be concerned only with marriage and motherhood.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Being Still

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

There is very little in our culture that promotes being still. But my cultural environment isn't the biggest problem to being still. I am.

There is very little in me that wants to be still. I want to be busy (even though I complain about it). I want some , but not too much, noise in my life. I want to have thoughts churning at 2000 miles per hour, and am too content to let 96% of these be about things that will not last into eternity.

O Lord, save me. I am yours.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Quote to Remember

"There is only one quality worse than hardness of heart and that is softness of the head." -- Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Sobering information on fatherhood in America

An estimated 40 percent of our nation's children are living in homes without their own father. (Source)

How this must grieve our heavenly Father!

Let us be dads that stick!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Acquiring Self-discipline

I wrote below about self-leadership. Yesterday I saw this quote from Mark Twain:

"Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain."

Sounds like a good plan!
Every Day Is Father's Day

Ok, I know it's not. But fathers are needed every day. I liked what Rebecca Hagelin said in her recent column:

"Dads, you know you can expect some nice gifts from your families when Father’s Day arrives on the 19th. And from homemade artwork to the inevitable tie, they will be things you treasure. But nothing compares to what you can give them all year long -- the gift of faith. "

Remember the last words of Hugh Latimer, burned with Nicholas Ridley at the stake for heresy at Oxford on October 16, 1555. (They refused to endorse Queen Mary, a Catholic, claiming that she was an illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII, born after he married his late brother’s wife, Catherine of Aragon.)

"Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out! "

Every day in your home is a day when you can play the man. And may the Lord fan into bonfires the flames of love that begin in our children's heart!

Monday, June 13, 2005


"Everyone thinks of changing the world and no one thinks of changing himself." -- Tolstoy

Please note the title for this posting is NOT Self-help, but Self-leadership. Our narcissistic culture is fixated on the wrong perspective. Self-leadership is taking charge, accepting responsibility for your self (your genes are not responsible), and disciplining yourself into maturity.

Yes, maturity. That's a good thing. Staying young "forever" is not an objective. We should want to grow up and be mature, to seek out more responsibility.

Terry Storch has a great insight about self-leadership: we are only as accountable as we want to be. This short blog-posting is worth checking out.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


I'm working on a study of the life of David. One interesting observation: David makes most of his mistakes after Jonathan dies. He never seems to have a friend like Jonathan again.

It underscores how important our friends are, and the friends of our children.

How are you doing in the friend department? Are you working to make sure your wife and children have good friends who are good influences on them?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Quote of the Week

"There is not one square inch of life of which Jesus Christ does not say, 'It is mine!' "
-- Abraham Kuyper

How's Jesus doing with the square inches you occupy?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Fathers in the US

Ken Canfield wrote in a recent email that "in the U.S. there are approximately 62.5 million fathers."

Let that number sink in a bit.

62.5 million men who need help every day to love and serve and discipline and train their kids.

62.5 million men whom are charged with passing the baton to the next generation.

Will you pick just one today to encourage and help? Give him a call, drop by, share a verse to encourage him.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Instructions to the King

It's worth meditating on the instructions the Lord laid out for kings in Deuteronomy 17 (here, from The Message translation):

14When you enter the land that GOD, your God, is giving you and take it over and settle down, and then say, "I'm going to get me a king, a king like all the nations around me," 15make sure you get yourself a king whom GOD, your God, chooses. Choose your king from among your kinsmen; don't take a foreigner--only a kinsman. 16And make sure he doesn't build up a war machine, amassing military horses and chariots. He must not send people to Egypt to get more horses, because GOD told you, "You'll never go back there again!" 17And make sure he doesn't build up a harem, collecting wives who will divert him from the straight and narrow. And make sure he doesn't pile up a lot of silver and gold.
18This is what must be done: When he sits down on the throne of his kingdom, the first thing he must do is make himself a copy of this Revelation on a scroll, copied under the supervision of the Levitical priests. 19That scroll is to remain at his side at all times; he is to study it every day so that he may learn what it means to fear his GOD, living in reverent obedience before these rules and regulations by following them. 20He must not become proud and arrogant, changing the commands at whim to suit himself or making up his own versions. If he reads and learns, he will have a long reign as king in Israel, he and his sons.

Two observations:

Egypt is a picture of sin that we have been rescued from. How often do we go back to Egypt?

Studying the Word every day is critical. The Word, not your own version. How well do we learn from the Bible?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Terrific Book about Fathering Sons

If you have sons, get this book: King Me: What Every Son Wants and Needs from His Father , by Steve Farrar.

You'll be tremendously encouraged, challenged, and get some practical ideas about connecting with and mentoring your sons. Their natural state (let's just call that 'sin') is lack of discipline and self-centeredness. But that path leads to misery. Dads, you and I are called to strengthen our sons and build them up into self-disciplined, responsible men.

This is also an excellent study of the OT Kings.

The Lord brought this book to me at just the right time, and I think you'll find great blessing, also.

Get it:King Me: What Every Son Wants and Needs from His Father

Friday, June 03, 2005

Love from a Kid's Point of View

Not sure of the source, but this is good. Is your kids name safe in your mouth?

What is love, from a kid's point of view?

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
"Love is when someone hurts you, and you get so mad, but you don't yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings."
"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is okay."
"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Fear the Law-giver, not the Law-yer

I saw this quote recently: "Legal fear has become a defining feature of our culture." —Philip K. Howard.

I think this is true from a secular perspective, and much more so from a Christian worldview. Promoting fear of the Lord, rather than fear of litigation, would create much more good in the world.
Bible stories are the basis for wisdom

Wisdom is knowing the right thing to do -- and when and how to do it. Wisdom is also about recognizing the wrong thing, and calling it by its right name. (There is an interesting Chinese proverb: "The beginning of wisdom is to call a thing by its right name."

The Bible gives us a wonderful set of stories to help us live wisely. Read this John Piper analysis of part of Jude (bolding is mine), and consider how you're doing as the spiritual leader in your home:

The little letter of Jude teaches us something about the value of learning
history. This is not the main point of the letter. But it is striking.
this next-to-last book of the Bible, Jude writes to encourage the saints to
"contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the
saints" (verse 3). The letter is a call to vigilance in view of "certain persons
[who] have crept in unnoticed . . . ungodly persons who turn the grace of our
God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" (verse
4). Jude describes these folks in vivid terms. They "revile the things which
they do not understand" (verse 10). They "are grumblers, finding fault,
following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for
the sake of gaining an advantage" (verse 16). They "cause divisions, [and are]
worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit" (verse 19).
This is a devastating
assessment of people who are not outside the church but have "crept in
unnoticed." Jude wants them be spotted for who they really are, so that the
church is not deceived and ruined by their false teaching and immoral
One of his strategies is to compare them to other persons and
events in history. For example, he says that "Sodom and Gomorrah . . . since
they, in the same way as these, indulged in gross immorality and went after
strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of
eternal fire" (verse 7). So Jude compares these people to Sodom and Gomorrah.
His point in doing this is to say that Sodom and Gomorrah are "an example" of
what will happen when people live like these intruders are living. So, in Jude's
mind, knowing the history of Sodom and Gomorrah is very useful in helping detect
such error and deflect it from the saints.
Similarly in verse 11, Jude piles
up three other references to historical events as comparisons with what is
happening in his day among Christians. He says "Woe to them! For they have gone
the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam,
and perished in the rebellion of Korah." This is remarkable. Why refer to three
different historical incidents like this that happened thousands of years
earlier - Genesis 19 (Sodom), Genesis 3 (Cain), Numbers 22-24 (Balaam), Numbers
16 (Korah)? What's the point?
Here are three points: 1) Jude assumes
that the readers know these stories! Is that not amazing! This was the first
century! No books in anyone's homes. No Bibles available. No story tapes. Just
oral instruction. And he assumed that they would know: What is "the way of Cain"
and "the error of Balaam" and "the rebellion of Korah"? Do you know? Isn't this
astonishing! He expects them to know. It makes me think that our standards of
Bible knowledge in the church today are too low.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Goals vs. Desires

I don't know about you, but there seem to be a LOT of things in family life that generate frustration and anger.

This blog post, by pastor Bruce Johnson, is worth reading, and re-reading.

Johnson points out that we get frustrated and angry when we make our desires into goals. But many of our desires can't be goals, because we cannot control everything. Only make a goal of something that you can completely control. Allow the rest to be desires.
Good perspective on Stem-Cell Research

The popular media generally reduces complex issues down to sound-bites and buzzwords. There considerable [hooey] in the press about "the Bush Administration's ban on stem cell research."

I recommend this WSJ editorial if you'd like to read something useful.

Also, keep in mind that adult stem cell research -- which does not require destroying or manipulating embryos and is generating very positive results -- is what gets the private investment money. Private investment money goes towards what works.
Getting back into the swing of updates!

I am so honored and delighted by the sales of Teach the Bible to Change Lives and the signups for my weekly teaching tips. God is good, and may His Word work powerfully through teacher everywhere!

But I've been so busy writing up new tips and working with customers that I've fallen behind updating this blog.