Thursday, June 28, 2007

Useful Perspective on Change

"When it comes to change, there are three seasons of timing: Peoplechange when they hurt enough that they have to, when they learn enoughthat they want to, and when they receive enough that they are able to."- John Maxwell

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Discerning Montana Cowboy

A Montana cowboy was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous
pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust
cloud towards him.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban
sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the
cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have
in your herd, will you give me a calf?"

The cowboy looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at
his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, Why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer,
connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a
NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite
navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he
then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an
ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe photoshop
and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg ,
Germany .

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the
image has been processed and the data stored.

He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected
Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few
minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his
hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to
the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,"
says the cowboy.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on
amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then the cowboy says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you
exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay,
why not?"

You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government", says the cowboy.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess

"No guessing required" answered the cowboy. "You showed up here
even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an
answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You tried to
show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a
thing about cows...this is a herd of sheep.

Now…give me back my dog.”

HT: My good buddy Brad R.
Hebrew & Greek Word Study Videos Now Available

Knowing how to look up original words and their meaning is a crucial skill for Bible teachers, but far too few know how -- and far too many don't use what they learn correctly. Learn more here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Two Great Articles for Dads

One serious article, and one funny, both worth your time.

Tony Woodlief writes about the importance we should put on fathering -- and what he'd do to Paris Hilton's father.

"It's interesting that we celebrate the success of men at business, sports, entertainment, war, and politics, but rarely at the thing which matters more than those often-ephemeral feats, the raising up of confident, competent, moral, courageous children to carry on a free and prosperous civilization. Not to wrestle with this great calling every day of our lives, fathers, is to fail at manhood itself."

Jonathan Turley gives us a hilarious perspective -- as only an attorney could -- of the legalism of children at different ages. He begins this way:

"Fatherhood is the one job that you can get without the slightest degree of experience, knowledge or talent (despite what you may hear to the contrary on Father's Day). For that reason, when a friend had his first child recently, I quickly rattled off the most important things that I have learned as the father of three boys and a girl: Don't wear white shirts while changing boys (they consider it a type of canvas); the easiest way to extract material from noses is a hot bath (except for cheese sticks); always check your briefcase for toy guns before entering a courthouse; and always check the children for captive animals before leaving a forest."

Read the rest, and enjoy a good laugh!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Boys to Men

I'm still thinking about Father's Day. A friend pointed me to this column, where a Dad talks candidly about trying to instill manly traits in his boys when he's not a stereotypical picture of "masculinity" himself.

Some good quotes:

"Rather than neutering their aggression, confidence and desire for danger, we should channel these instincts into honor, gentlemanliness and courage. Instead of inculcating timidity in our sons, it seems wiser to train them to face down bullies, which by necessity means teaching them how to throw a good uppercut. In his book "Manliness," Harvey Mansfield writes that a person manifesting this quality "not only knows what justice requires, but he acts on his knowledge, making and executing the decision that the rest of us trembled even to define." You can't build a civilization and defend it against barbarians, fascists and playground bullies, in other words, with a nation of Phil Donahues."

"The trick is not to squash the essence of boys, but to channel their natural wildness into manliness. And this is what keeps me awake at night, because it's going to take a miracle for someone like me, who grew up without meaningful male influence, who would be an embarrassment to Teddy Roosevelt, to raise three men. Along with learning what makes a good father, I face an added dilemma: How do I raise my sons to be better than their father?
What I'm discovering is that as I try to guide these ornery, wild-hearted little boys toward manhood, they are helping me become a better man, too. I love my sons without measure, and I want them to have the father I did not. As I stumble and sometimes fail, as I feign an interest in camping and construction and bugs, I become something better than I was."
Dad v. Bear

Wild story here -- Dad (former Marine) kills black bear at campsite with a log of firewood when it comes after his son. Somehow it's not surprising that he gets a $75 ticket for failing to secure the food in the campsite. I certainly respect that rules are rules, but at least the dad took initiative to secure the safety of his family!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Silent Killer in Our Churches

These numbers on the percentage of Christian men and women sucked into pornography are sobering. Let's renew our efforts to help one another!

The most helpful image I have is that I'm a keg of dry gunpowder. I can't even go near sparks, and certainly can't play with fire.

The other helpful thing is to remind myself, "that's not consistent with Christ in you."
Fatherly Instruction and Correction

Mark Driscoll gives us good reminders from Proverbs on being a biblical father -- particularly in how we instruct and correct. I wish I had had better modeling of this as a young father.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Advice For Our Daughters

Perry Noble offers some good advice for daughters:

"Many Boys Are Jerks–Do Not Settle!"

I had a staff member tell me he would change it to “all boys are jerks…and God happens to redeem a few.” I agree!!!
The problem with many single Christian ladies is the temptation to settle. In a recent survey I saw where 60% of the Christians in America are female…so…many of them feel like that have to take what they can get.

The Bible says in Ephesians 3:20 that God is able to so much more than we could ever ask or imagine…so single ladies should set incredibly high standards…and then watch God blow them out of the water.

Lucretia, my wife, said the following question should be asked before entering ANY serious relationship! “Is this the kind of love God meant when He created Adam and Eve, the kind between two people that truly reflects His love for us (the I Corinthians 13 kind), or are you settling for less than God’s immeasurably more than anything you can ask or imagine?”

What should a man be? What am I looking for in a man who will win the heart of my daughter? (Yes, I will make that call…I am her father!)

A Priest - he needs to be in love with Jesus and know God’s Word. I tell single guys all the time that the best thing they can do to prepare themselves for marriage is to read the Bible over and over again…to memorize it…AND to apply it!!! If a guy doesn’t know Scripture–he cannot spiritually lead my daughter, and I will show him the door. I said in one service, “If he isn’t willing to go through the book of Leviticus for you then he isn’t worthy of you!”
A Protector - if a guy EVER puts a lady into a situation where she feels compromised emotionally, physically or spiritually…then he is NOT a godly man, he is actually acting more like satan–seeking to manipulate her to fulfill his own selfish desires. A true man of God protects a woman AND her reputation. It was also here that I said if a boy ever puts here into a situation like I just described…then I will put him into a “situation” that will allow me to begin a prison ministry.
A Provider - I told my little girl, “Don’t bring home some broke boy that I am going to have to support and who wants to live in my basement!” I want my little girl to date a marry a man who has dreams AND A JOB!!! Single guys–WORK!!! And do not e-mail me telling me that a job isn’t important–that is why you are single you moron!!! Fall in love with Jesus–treat women like women should be treated in the eyes of God–and WORK to provide for her!!!

I told Charisse that I want great grandkids one day…and that we can’t get racehorses breeding with mules…so date and marry a godly man!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Facts (US numbers) and comments about the importance of fathers:

"Currently, only one in three children—and only one in five inner-city children—is in a home with a mother and father. Nearly 25 million children live absent or apart from their biological fathers.

“Children who grow up with their fathers do far better—emotionally, educationally, physically, every way we can measure—than children who do not,” notes family researcher David Blankenhorn. “This conclusion holds true even when differences of race, class and income are taken into account. The simple truth is that fathers are irreplaceable in shaping the competence and character of their children... [The absence of fathers] from family life is surely the most socially consequential family trend of our era.”

Indeed it is.

Here are some sobering statistics: According to the Center for Disease Control, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services and the Bureau of the Census, the 30 percent of children who live apart from their fathers will account for 63 percent of teen suicides, 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions, 71 percent of high-school dropouts, 75 percent of children in chemical-abuse centers, 80 percent of rapists, 85 percent of youths in prison, 85 percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders, and 90 percent of homeless and runaway children. In fact, children born to unwed mothers are ten times more likely to live in poverty as children with fathers in the home.

The causal link between fatherless children and crime is “so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime,” notes social researcher Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. More to the point is the following comment from a counselor at a juvenile-detention facility in California, which has the nation’s highest juvenile-incarceration rate: “[If] you find a gang member who comes from a complete nuclear family, I’d like to meet him... I don’t think that kid exists.”

Concerns about marital infidelity, and the consequences for children, are not new. As Founding Father John Adams wrote in his diary on 2 June 1778, “The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families... How is it possible that Children can have any just Sense of the sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn their Mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant Infidelity to their Mothers?”

On this Father’s Day, all of us who have been blessed with children should pause not only to count our blessings, but also to commit ourselves to honoring those attendant obligations every day. We should examine the job we are doing as husbands first, then fathers. As my friend, Father Ted Hesburgh, observed early in his pastorate, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” Consider then the words of William Shakespeare: “It is a wise father that knows his own child.” And of Homer: “It is a wise child that knows his own father.”


Be bold! Be gentle!
More Helpful Viewpoints on Immigration

Peggy Noonan has another excellent article about immigration and the foolishness in Washington over this issue. I think she is hitting the right tone, and wish more of our politicians were operating from these viewpoints.

Just as an aside, have you spoken with anyone who has actually read the immigration bill under debate now? How much of this conversation is getting wound up based on secondary and tertiary (and therefore inevitably a fraction of the whole) analysis of what "somebody" has put in the bill?
Insights About War in Iraq

Joe Lieberman gives some good insights about what is going on in Iraq. Read it.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Developing Leaders

You are in leadership positions at work, in church, in your community -- and you certainly are in your families. So here are some useful insights from Tony Morgan on leadership development:

"Leaders can't be recruited from the platform. We have to challenge them one-on-one.
Leaders won't be fulfilled performing tasks. We need to give them responsibility.
Leaders don't follow doers. We need to make sure they're connected to another strong leader.
Leaders don't want to be micromanaged. We have to eliminate the tendency to control the process and, instead, hold people accountable for the outcomes.
Leaders won't commit to ambiguity. We need to offer a clear vision. (And, it better be big.)
Leaders don't just show up. We have to be intentional about leadership development. "

I particularly urge you to think about this with your sons.
World's End!

In 5th grade I had to go to the principal's office because I pointed out that hiding under our desks was not going to help if a nuclear bomb went off nearby, and it would be better to be obliterated than to die slowly. The principal said my misdemeanor was that I scared the other children, even it what I said was true. When I was in sixth grade my teacher called my parents, concerned about me, because I had written a number of stories about nuclear holocaust (replete with bomb shelter diagrams). Apocalypse thinking held my attention a lot in 1972-1973.

I have noticed over the years since that I can slip back into that kind of thinking, even though I have confidence in Christ and know much more about risks and probabilites. And I have pushed myself to study history -- so I know how poorly our forecasts of apocalypse have turned out.

If you would like a nice 8 page education on this, I heartily recommend Gary Alexander's essay, "Welcome to “Apocaholics Anonymous” – Join Me in a Crusade for Panic-Free Living."

"[Since] 1994, we have survived “Bankruptcy 1995” (the original epidemic of Hockey Stock charts), the Big Bang in Hong Kong, years of Y2K scare stories, a SARS epidemic, Mad Cow disease, Bird Flu, a real threat on 9/11, Triple Deficits (Budget, Trade and Balance of Payments), wars in Serbia/Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, Deflation in 2003, Inflation since then, The Perfect Storms of 2005 (Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the 3 Witches of the Bermuda Triangle), and today’s reigning fears of Global Warming, $200 Oil and the Sub-prime Housing Loan Crisis Implosion."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Man to Man Counsel

You must get this, and read it. You must reread it.

"Advice to My Nephew On Becoming a Man"

W. Thomas Smith gives his nephew 25 points to follow. I sat up a little taller in my chair as I read this.
Mr. Wizard

Don Herbert, TV's "Mr. Wizard" to me, has died. I still remember how excited I was to watch him do real experiments . I'm sure God used him to influence me into a science career.

This is a good reminder that we can have enormous impact on the people around us.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Righteous Men Will Fall

Righteous men will fall, but they can get back up again:

"For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again,but the wicked are brought down by calamity." (Prov 24:16)

Dad, we're making mistakes all the time. We can get very frustrated, discouraged, and feel ready to chuck it. Don't. Rise up again. Make this your Dad verse, and stick to it.

God is the redeemer. All these bad situations, all the failures, God redeems them.

20 Years Ago Today...

...President Reagan stood in Berlin and said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Let us remember our history. As Peter Collier has observed, "We're the land of the free for one reason only: We're also the home of the brave."
Leading by Example

Bill Cosby preaches responsibility and family leadership in Philadelphia! I hope this message takes root and grows, and not just in black communities.

"The emasculation of society by the smothering effects of modern uniformity has precipitated a severely over-managed, under-led, and passionately un-principled culture from top to bottom. The great cry for the renewal of our civilization is for men to rise and be men." -- Tristan Gylberd
Autism and Vaccines

One of the signals of our times is the dominant role that we expect the courts to play in making decisions.

I'm really struggling to understand why law courts could reasonably make a decision about the alleged and repeatedly unproven link between autism and an agent formerly used in vaccines.

There have been several large scientific studies done. Thimerisol has not been used for years, but the autism rates have not declined. There are no other statistically valid correlations.

Oh wait, there's a government fund with money in it, and the court holds the key.

Part of intelligent analysis is seeking what is not found in a presentation of information. How much suffering and death was forestalled because children were vaccinated against horrible diseases? How many children have not been vaccinated because parents were frightened by news stories about vaccines inducing autism and causing other problems?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

More Stem Cell News

Encouraging news about progress with adult stem cells. The mainstream media does not seem to be excited about reporting these!
Secular Trends

This six minute video, "Shift Happens," is worth watching.

Rather than being discouraged in any way, I suggest you watch it prayerfully, and see how God is at work in this.

A few specific comments:

When they speak of "information," keep in mind that it is not all high-value signal. Much is noise. We simply are more challenged to hear God's voice in the midst of it. Information overload is a convenient myth. You don't explode if you walk into a library or open the phone book, or fire up Google.

These are good things to process, and then talk about with your family.

I think the music comes from the movie, "Last of the Mohicans."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Print Article

D-Day Anniversary

This is a good day to reread President Reagan's speech, "The Boys of Pointe du Hoc."

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Print Article

Thanks, Lord, for the bravery of these men. Let us not waste what they bought with their lives. Teach us, also, that death is not the worst thing that can happen to us.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Marriage for One Dimension, Convenience

An Iranian muslim cleric advocates temporary marriages so men can have their sexual needs "satisfied" without going to prostitutes.

This is remarkable!

What's the women's perspective on these "marriages"?
Why emphasize the temporary, and the sex? I suppose the temporary idea means that the man is conveniently free of real commitments.
Is no one thinking about the longer term consequences of this approach? "Serial monogamy" is a popular catch-phrase in some American circles, but it still can damage people.

Legalistic thinking runs amuck.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Senator Brownback on Evolution

Interesting blog posting -- and comments -- about Senator Brownback's op-ed about evolution. I welcome the dialogue on these important points.
Loving Wayward Children

John Piper's son has written an outstanding article on "12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child." This is filled with tenderness, hope, and good counsel. Recommended even if you don't have a wayward son or daughter!