G.K. Chesterton (author of many wonderful essays and novels) wrote:
"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist.
Children already know that dragons exist.
Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed."
Christian encouragement for men -- an evangelical perspective on current events, Scripture, and coming up the husband and father learning curve. Boldness without gentleness is tyranny; gentleness without boldness is not Christlike. Jesus was both tough and tender.
I don’t often recommend John Maxwell books. It’s hard to know what he wrote and what someone on his staff wrote, and he has so many stories and illustrations and quotes from others (which he attributes appropriately) that some books don’t have a lot of original content. I also think he’s a better speaker than writer.
I do recommend the last half of this book for the ideas and practices on connecting with people. This is a significant issue for Bible teachers. Skim the 1st half to get the basic principles, which won’t be a surprise to you. There are still lots of stories and anecdotes and quotes from others, but I didn’t find this to be distracting here. For teachers, I particularly recommend pp. 199-228, the chapter titled “Connectors Inspire People.” His basic formula is
What they know + What they see + What they feel = Inspiration
Inspiration leads to actionable changes as individuals and groups. You want to teach the Bible to change lives, right? Get this book, study it, and start incorporating some of the ideas and suggestions here.
As Christians I believe we should be the best thinkers on the planet. We should work hard at inquiry and discovery, analysis, dialogue, review.
But we need to do this with great humility. Consider this from Paul's letter to the "wise" Corinthians:
18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. (1 Cor 1:18-25)
And don't expect to win any earthly awards in the process, brothers. Focus on heavenly rewards that are promised to you, not on the boasting of men.
1. Put your heart's deepest trust in God and his grace. Every day remind yourself of his unconditioned, covenantal love for you. Do not instead put your hopes in idols or in your own performance.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart (Prov 3:3-5a)
2. Submit your whole mind to the Scripture. Don't think you know better than God's word. Bring it to bear on every area of life. Become a person under authority.
Lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov 3:5b-6)
3. Be humble and teachable toward others. Be forgiving and understanding when you want to be critical of them; be ready to learn from others when they come to be critical of you.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. (Prov 3:7-8)
4. Be generous with all your possessions, and passionate about justice. Share your time, talent, and treasure with those who have left.
Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (Prov 3:9-10)
5. Accept and learn from difficulties and suffering. Through the gospel, recognize them as not punishment, but a way of refining you.
My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (Prov 3:11-12) "