Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Sometimes I think we're just too quiet about our Joy. We're domesticated, dignified, "civilized," and celebrate in only the most restrained ways.

Biblical counsel is for person self-control and orderliness in worship, but we also read that Joy should cause us to rock the place:

"Come, let's shout praises to GOD, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us!" (Psalm 95:1)

When was the last time, men, that you let out a genuine shout to God? Feel uncomfortable about the idea of shouting to the Lord? Review your reasons why, and see if they have more to do with pride -- or will lack of Joy -- than anything biblical.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Dads, You Can Follow These Guidelines

Bill Hybels has this advice for church leaders:

1. Keep the vision clear
2. Get the people engaged
3. Make your gatherings memorable
4. Pace yourself for the long haul

Excellent advice for family leaders, too!
Moving the Pronoun

Here's a sobering thought: 2 people, out of about 6,000,000 in the nation of Israel, made it into the Promised Land.

From Pastor Ed Young: "Israel didn't fulfill her destiny because she listened to the "wrong they." They paid attention to a bad report from the majority rather than ignoring it. Here's the bottom line: we've got to move the pronoun from THEY to ME to HE. It's not about they. It's not about me. It's about He."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bigger Government Isn't the Answer

An economist gives an excellent analysis of the failure of government response to Hurricane Katrina, and in two pithy pages shows why bigger government isn't the answer. (PDF document)

It's interesting to see how many people are slow to give (time, money, possessions from their abundance) in these situations. I've heard a number of people say something like, "The Feds are helping them, and I pay my taxes." So one of the ugly, unintended consequences of big government spending is that people are calloused into giving less themselves.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A Challenge to Bible Study

Though written to pastors, I think all men should be good students of God's Word. Get challenged, get started. Forget what lies in the past, start today.
33 years

Roe v. Wade is now 33 years old. Of course, abortion is much older than Roe v. Wade.

I recommend this excellent article by an expectant mother to you.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Maybe I Won't Eat There After All

I spotted a bakery next to the Caribou Coffee shop that sounded good. "Three Dog Bakery," I said, "I bet they sell their stuff at the coffee shop." My wife graciously pointed out that the Three Dog Bakery specializes in making treats for dogs, including dogs with allergies to certain foods.

Uh...maybe I won't want to eat there after all.

A quick Google search shows that this is a national chain of dog bakeries, and they have competition!

What does this say about our level of affluence, that there is a significant market for luxurious doggie treats? (By the way, the capitalist in me celebrates such a strong economy and ambitious entrepreneurship!)

CT has an interesting article about how the abundance of American culture threatens the soul. Wander through a mall -- which has become one of the primary places of community in our culture -- and see these people with the eyes of Christ. How many are hurting, lonely, looking for significance? How many are hoping for fulfilment but not seeing the marvelous loving God in their midst?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Good Quote

"The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life." —Theodore Roosevelt
Building a Foundation from Small Habits

I have a little ritual that helps center me. When I go out to the end of the driveway to get the newspaper, I turn and look up at the North Star. It's the only star that doesn't "move" in the night sky. I know just where to look using landmarks of our roofline and trees.

I like to whisper a prayer of gratitude for God's constancy and faithfulness.

If it's cloudy, or snowing, I still look. The North Star is still there, shining bright, even if it's hidden from my sight. And I breathe a prayer of thankfulness that God is real and present, even if I'm not able to see Him at work.

A brother in Christ recently said to me, "Strong Christian men are made from many small habits."
Fiscal Responsibility in Congress?

It's nice to see John Shadegg's editorial in the WSJ. It gives me some hope that there are men who are leading on the issues of fiscal restraint and responsibility. I like the Goldwater quote: "A government big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away."
Did Jesus Have a Bad Year in 2006?

I laughed out loud at this headline:

2006 - A bad year for Jesus
At The American Spectator, Patrick Hynes writes, "2006 is already starting to look like [Jesus'] worst year since 33 A.D." He references a High Times article that asks "Was Jesus a Stoner?," NBC's Book of Daniel, the upcoming The Da Vinci Code and the lawsuit in Italy where a Catholic priest has been forced to appear in court to prove Jesus exsisted. Hynes concludes, "Ah, Jesus. A pot-smoking hippie who married Mary and never really existed at all. The same yesterday, today, and forever."

Citing source

Writing shows critical thinking...or its lack. Was this year any worse for Jesus than the year he was run through a kangaroo court, beaten and flogged, crucified? Even that is not a good way to think about it -- we're told that Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before him!

So it's not about Jesus "having" a good year or a bad year. And if our lives are hidden with Christ, then it's not about us "having" a good or bad year, either.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Pray for Venezuela

We are praying for the people of God in Venezuela. There are difficult days there, yet tremendous opportunities for the Gospel.

From a worldly perspective, I fear that the US and Venezuelan governments will come into open conflict more and more, as Chavez continues his alignment with Cuba and Tehran.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Real Bible Study

"If you study the Bible and it doesn't lead you to wonder and awe, then you haven't studied the Bible." -- Dwight Pryor

Friday, January 13, 2006

It's Not a Zero-Sum World

I appreciated Rich Karlgaard's column in Forbes, "World's Worst Disease." He argues carefully that politicians, many academics, most journalists, and most TV entertainment work from a worldview that says, "If you have it, it's less for me, because it's a zero-sum game." Economically, this isn't true. We create wealth and growth is a good thing. The Chinese government claims that their economy is lifting 1 million people a year out of poverty -- that's not happening because they're transferring money from one group to another via taxation!

There is one section of Karlgaard's column that isn't really about economics, but about men:

"The most popular [TV] male leads of today stand in stark contrast to the unambiguously moral protagonists of the past, good guys like Magnum, Matlock or Barnaby Jones," writes Warren St. John in a Dec. 11 New York Times story. "They are also not simply flawed in the classic sense: men who have the occasional affair or who tip the bottle a little too much. Instead they are unapologetic about killing, stealing, hoarding and beating their way to achieve personal goals …" (my emphasis). "

That's certainly true. I doubt John Wayne movies would be critical successes today.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Who Are This Generation's Theological Teachers?

Something to consider: who teaches theology today?

One group of teachers are filmmakers and TV show writers. Think about how much of a person's worldview is formed by exposure to these powerful influences!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Free Bible Study Tool -- Bible Desktop

I know many readers are channeling their precious dollars into ministry and not on themselves, so you're always looking for high-quality free Bible study tools.

Check out Bible Desktop.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


As I'm praying for men these days, I increasingly feel led to pray that they would be strong and persevere. So many of my friends are in long-running situations, and the days stretch into weeks and months.

Persevere, brothers. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, who long-suffered for us and has given us life. While we are here there is still work to do, service to give to our King.

Persevere, brothers. No matter what is going on now, or will come, this life is short and a vapor.

Persevere, brothers. No weapon of the enemy can truly harm you, and our sovereign God is working all things together for good for the men and women and children whom He loves.

Persevere, brothers. You can (and will) do much more than you think you can, because you are real men, and the Spirit of the Living God propels you forward.

Persevere, brothers. And pull other men along with you.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Golden Anniversary

50 years today Jim Elliot and four others were killed when they made contact with the Auca Indians in Ecuador.

There is a new movie about this event coming out later in January, titled "End of the Spear."

You can read a nice biography of Elliot here.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Cataloging Mistakes...and God's Grace

A friend told me that his teenage son asked him what mistakes he'd made that he wishes he could undo. My friend [wisely] asked for a little time to work on the list.

He came back to his son with a catalog of mistakes, but with an important twist -- for each one, he explained how God's grace was evident. And he concluded by carefully explaining how the Lord used all these mistakes to shape him into the bold&gentle man that he is today.

That's a good example for us, men.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Observations from 2 Samuel 11

Who is the only positive character in the sordid sin cover-up recorded in 2 Samuel 11? Uriah.

David, Joab, and Bathsheba all fail to confess sin and repent.

I love the tact of the man who comes back to King David in v 3: "The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" See how he tries to get the King to realize she's married, and she's married to one of David's mighty men? But David just blows past this.

And notice that David sends Uriah's death sentence with him in a letter to Joab. (v 14) David knows that Uriah, ever faithful, is not going to open the letter!

Uriah is not commended anywhere else in Scripture, but we should look at this story and be grateful for his example. He was the upright man, doing the right things in the face of temptations to self-indulgence. He was faithful even as people around him were manipulating him for their own purposes.

If your life were recorded for everyone to read about thousands of years later, what would they learn? Let's keep our legacy and testimony clear and loud!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


There is a very human tendency to think everything operates in a linear fashion. But we live in a world of complex systems. Things interact in unexpected and subtle ways, and we're demonstrably wrong about how best to manage things -- frequently! Relationships, ecosystems, computers, wars, politics are all complex systems.

Michael Crichton has written a fun, readable, and sobering essay on complexity that I highly recommend to you husbands and fathers. He set out to write a novel about a global catastrophe, started investigating Chernobyl, and discovered a whole body of evidence about complexity.

This is not a short essay, but it's worth your time. It will reinforce your high view of God's power and might.
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