Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Milestones and rhythms seem terribly important to us. You feel this tangibly as you move into situations where there aren't the patterns you expect. I suspect, but cannot prove, that this need for rhythm is part of our makeup.

Certainly we look forward to a new year, a fresh start, and blessed hope of bright futures. Let's keep on following Jesus, men!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rejoice With Me!

20 years ago today, under a tree on the campus at Northwestern University, Cathy said "Yes!" when I asked her to marry me. I am a blessed man. God is so good!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I'm going to be enjoying the Christmas week with my family, and not blogging. So we'll see you again in 2007.

Be bold, be gentle!
What Do We Worship?

Cal Thomas points out that for many people in America, politics has become religion.

Reading this, I'm reminded of the elevated state of politics in Rome (and other empires) before they collapsed. This is a correlated factor, not a causation, but we should see it as a key symptom of spiritual problems.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sobering Statistic

1 in 32 people in America are monitored in the criminal justice system -- in prison, on parole, etc. See this Prison Fellowship article for more about sharing the Gospel with this huge group of people.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Comparing Perspectives

Francis Chan suggests a good thought experiment: Imagine that someone interviews your friends and relatives and coworkers and asks what they see in you. Then that same interviewer contacts God and asks what He sees in you.

What's the comparison?

This is a good way to assess how much we're hiding from people, and the congruence of our inner and public lives.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christian Worldview and Pacifism

I occasionally get drawn into discussions about whether Christians should participate in or support military action. There's a lot of shallow thinking today about pacifism. If this topic interests you, check out this article. You don't have to agree with everything, but this is a good example of someone diligently working through facets of a big issue.

I am not a pacifist, just so you know. I do not think violence is a first solution, but there are times when protecting innocent lives requires it. Let's consider a personal level. If some man is beating on my daughter, and doesn't stop when I ask, then as a father I need to step in and remove him to protect my daughter. I will use whatever force is needed to stop his action.

On a national level, in this fallen world, sometimes war is the only means of stopping evil. I am not arguing that all wars are ok, or that wars begun for noble purposes always remain noble, or that individual actions in the midst of wars are excused.

What happens after the war is also critical. I sat next to an elderly Japanese man on a plane trip once. He had been a teenager during WWII, and expected to die defending against a US invasion of Japan. He told me that the forgiveness of the Americans after the war, and their willingness to help rebuild, shocked his family to the core. This was so unexpected of a "conqueror."
Post # 1005

I just noticed that I passed 1000 posts to this blog. This reminds me how much we underestimate what we can do over a period of time!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Looking for Good Men's Ministry Books?

The Man Church has a great compilation of books on masculine Christianity. Check it out.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Did Jesus Have Bad PR?

I recently gave a Christmas devotion for the seniors group at our church. I tried to help people think about the terrible public relations job around the birth of the Messiah. From a human perspective, this was a PR disaster! Listen to it here.
Leveraging into Prayer

For years I've struggled against rage, anger, and bitterness. Oh most people who know me would probably be suprised by that statement, but I assure you it's true.

Strong emotions like anger arise naturally when we experience a gap between what is and what we think/know should be. Or could be. I believe anger is a God-granted emotion designed to motivate us into action.

So things happen, or don't happen, especially in family life, that are just not in line with what I think should be. And since the friction of sin making life in community hard isn't going to evaporate this side of heavenly glory, I need a strategy to help me operate constructively and wisely when anger surges.

I've been training myself to jump from the first feelings of anger into prayer. I short-circuit the positive-feedback loop that leads me into sin by shifting a significant amount of energy into conversation with my Master, Teacher, Savior, Friend, and Lord.

I have a low success rate to date, but I am persisting.
Hey, I'm the Person of the Year!

According to Time Magazine, bloggers and others contributing to the content of the web are the Person of the Year for 2006. Wow! I'm honored :-)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Would You Like That in Mauve or Taupe?

Bible publishers are doing a booming business as they repackage the Bible into a astounding array of formats, covers, and colors. And sales are up! There is a tremendous consumer hunger for the Bible -- that's good news. We're so affluent that you can get a Bible that fits the image you want to project to others. (Reminds me of ladies shoes.)

Soon you'll be able to get a Bible for your ipod -- more good news for those who are ipod-centric.

One part of my brain is celebrating the proliferation of Bibles. Making it interesting and accessible to more people should be a good thing.

Another part of my brain is concerned that we pay more attention to format and show than to absorbing the content. Let us be careful to avoid feeling good about a Bible format, but denying its power. (See 2 Tim 3:1-5)

P.S. To consider for Christmas giving: support the Wycliffe Bible translation ministries. There are over 6000 languages in the world, and over 5000 do not have the complete Bible translated.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I'm a guy with an easily fractured span of attention living in a culture that rewards short attention spans. We've got a gazillion distractions coming at us (as if we needed them -- most of our focus problem is OUR problem -- I'd have the same problem, really, if I were by myself in an empty quiet room.)

The solution is to train our minds to focus. To be truly present with an issue, a person, an experience. I have a lot of learn in this area.

Check out this short article for some helps getting started.
Seeing the Many Opportunities for Prayer

I love this story about a man who prays for lots of people, looking for opportunities all the time. What a model for us, men!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Good words from Psalm 139:23-24

Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I'm about;
See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
(The Message Translation)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Cambridge Declaration

My friend Kevin Nelstead points us to the Cambridge Declaration -- excellent work on the centrality of the Gospel, biblical inerrancy, and stewardship of the earth.

Clear thinking takes work. But it's worth it.