Saturday, October 29, 2005

Useful Counsel from a Country Crooner

"Figure out who you are and then do it on purpose." -- Dolly Parton

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Great Quote

"Encouragement is like oxygen to the soul." I don't know the author, just heard this on the radio. I love the image.

Go find someone and help them breathe!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Palestinian Violence

If you'd like some useful background on why the Palestinians* pursue violence as a political strategy and with alacrity, check out this nice summary by Bret Stephens in the WSJ:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/forms/printThis.html?id=110007443

As you read this, keep in mind that a increasing fraction of the Palestinians are Christian (maybe 12-14%) , and they are not fomenting violence.

*I wish there was a more useful name. Many of these people originated in Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, and are not now allowed to return. They are political pawns of evil men.
Data on Abortion

Here's a sobering article with abortion statistics from a reliable source.

Useful, horrifying facts:

"since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, there have been more than 40 million abortions in America. According to the study, “one of every three American women will have an abortion by the time they reach 45.” Additionally, in a typical year there are 4.1 million live births, 1.3 million abortions and 900,000 miscarriages."

"Catholics represent 27 percent of those having abortions -- roughly 350,000 per year— and Born-Again or Evangelical Christians represent 13 percent of those having abortions – roughly 170,000 per year."

Keep in mind these numbers are for abortions performed in the United States. There are millions more every year around the world.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sharing Christ with Muslims

There's valuable insights here about witnessing to Muslims. Check out this 2 page article, no matter whom God leads you to share with -- the strategies here shouldn't be limited to Muslims.
What to think about Miers?

There has been a LOT written about the Miers nomination for the Supreme Court. I was surprised by the nomination, but even more surprised by the split amongst political conservatives.

I don't always agree with Marvin Olasky, but he's always worth listening to. His recent column "Theory vs. Practical Experience" points out a useful, constructive path forward.

Let's also remember, men, that our Lord is in control.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Learning How to Distinguish Good and Evil

I believe that God's men must develop and exercise their discernment muscles. We're called to speak about truth, and distinguish good and evil.

Check out this useful analysis of Steve Chalke's book, "The Lost Message of Jesus" in a Banner of Truth article. Consider the tone of the article, and the careful wording. The author dissects this [unfortunately] popular book. See how the standards of orthodoxy are applied, wisely, tactfully.

We need to do the same kind of exercise with popular but wrong books like "The daVinci Code" and goofy "news hour" segments on TV.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Recommended Exercise for Husbands

Say 5 nice things about your wife today. To her.

And if you speak about her to others, make sure it is ONLY to praise her.

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."
(Proverbs 31:28-29)
Great Quote

"If you don't like change, you will like irrelevancy even less." -- General Shinseki

Monday, October 17, 2005


Juggling Danger

As a juggling fan (yeah, I can do swords and flaming torches, but not chainsaws), I thought this article made some good points. Juggling three is success. Dropping four is not. Be careful, then, how many things you try to juggle!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Dreams

A few quick thoughts about our dreams, and the strategies God and Satan take with them.

God provides us with our dreams. He has big things for each and every one of us. Things impossible to accomplish without Him! He is pulling us along, encouraging us to step out in faith and trust, building us up so we can see realized dreams.

Satan runs around pouring water on dreams, and trying to shrink them. His motto is "See a spark? Douse it so it doesn't flame up." He can't create dreams, only corrupt them or twist them to his purposes. He picks a handful of people and warps their dreams into something huge and awful -- like tyrants and dictators. Everybody else gets the "squash 'em" treatment.

Be bold, be gentle pursue the dreams that are bigger than yourself. You're not a leader if everyone around you thinks the dream can be easily accomplished.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Teaching for life change

Josh Hunt interviewed Josh Jones of Athens Church about their small group designs. (I don't have a web link, this was in an email message from Josh Hunt, dated 10/12/05.) Interesting quote:

"Josh Jones: I would probably say that the biggest mistake a small group leader should avoid is the knowledge acquisition trap. A lot of times, we have fallen for the lie that if we just learn more theology and more about the Bible that life change will follow. Most of the time, this is not true. I know in my life, that has not been true. It’s great when I learn more, but it rarely produces change. That doesn't mean we shouldn’t be increasing in our knowledge of Scripture; I’m just saying that the focus should not be on that. Most Christians know plenty of theology and Bible- we just don’t apply it. I believe a major role of a small group leader is to help the group build a community that can be honest about life and can help each other apply the principles of Scripture. The focus should be on life change- not knowledge acquisition."

As leaders in our homes we need to focus on life application opportunities, and not be satisfied with head-knowledge only. I would argue that many Christians actually know their Bible rather poorly, and this is in part why their lives look little different from not-yet believers. But application teaching is the best kind of hook to get people engaged with the Word so that they are excited about learning. And at least in American culture, seems to be a strong avenue for the Holy Spirit to work -- and without Him, without the Father drawing us on to Christ, there is no life change at all.

Jesus never condemned the Pharisees for their devotion and study of the Scriptures. He worked very hard to help them see accurately that they were studying words, not the ways of God, and few of them seemed to understand His message.
Blogging for God

Interesting news article about religious bloggers. I do believe this is an important tool for people learning how to express themselves and create dialogue opportunities. But many blogs (like this one) are mostly one-way communication; there are not many comments, and few emails. Some blogs get substantial reply communication.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Get 10% Discount at CBD

Christian Book Distributors is offering a 10% discount through Oct 31st on their already-excellent prices. Your total purchase must exceed $35. Here's a search box to get you started. You'll still need to enter this promotion code when you check out and provide payment information : 219525.

What a perfect way to start Christmas shopping or pick up that book you heard about!









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Friday, October 07, 2005

Leading with Integrity

Andy Stanley has some excellent points about leadership with integrity. Recommended for every dad.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Read the New Testament in Less than a Month

Here's a special free report I put together describing a you-can-really-do-it plan to read through the New Testament in less than a month. Try this. You'll be amazed at what the Lord teaches you!

Get the plan, pick a day soon, and start.
Getting Beyond Polite

Are you a small group leader? Do you have some ongoing relationships with a few guys? Check out John Ortberg's excellent advice in "No More Mr. Nice Group."

"Personalities united can contain more of God and sustain the force of His presence better than scattered individuals." -- Dallas Willard
Interacting with Women Who are Not Your Wife

A friend told me yesterday morning how this verse has really helped him interact in a godly manner with women who are not his wife:

"Treat ... older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity."
1 Timothy 5:1b-2

The Word is good, and the command is helpful.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Looking for prayer guides

I'm on the hunt, collecting prayer guides or outlines for husbands to pray for their wives, and fathers for their children.

If you are aware of any, please email me at beboldgentle@yahoo.com Thanks!
Love on your pastors!

October is officially Pastor Appreciation Month. There is a helpful set of eight ideas to show your love for your pastor in this 1999 Christianity Today article.

The first idea is to cut the criticism. I loved this story:

"Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers, creator and host of television's "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood," recently gave an address describing the time he was a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and attended a different church each Sunday in order to hear a variety of preachers.
One Sunday he was treated to "the most poorly crafted sermon (he) had ever heard." But when he turned to the friend who had accompanied him, he found her in tears.
"It was exactly what I needed to hear," she told Rogers.
"That's when I realized," he told his audience, "that the space between someone doing the best he or she can and someone in need is holy ground. The Holy Spirit had transformed that feeble sermon for her—and as it turned out, for me too."

Read the rest.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Date Night!

Pastor Perry Noble has good advice for dating your wife.

1. Double-dating went out with the high school prom
2. Leave the cell phone alone!
3. Trust your babysitter
4. Be willing to pay money for a babysitter
5. Let your kids cry
6. Don't fight the silence

Check out the whole article.
Are you a Spiritual Leader?

Husbands and Fathers ought to check out this list from Tony Morgan, "10 Easy Ways to Know You're Not a Leader."