Friday, December 23, 2011

The 3650 Challenge -- Not Your Ordinary "Read the Bible in a Year" plan

I commend this challenge to you -- a wonderful opportunity to step up your Bible reading!   From Tim Challies:

" or listen to 3,650 chapters of the Bible in 2012. .... I plan to use Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System to read the Bible. This system calls for 10 chapters per day, with each chapter being drawn from a different part of the Bible. This means that over the course of 2012 anyone who uses the plan will go through all the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters 4-5 times each, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, all the Psalms at least twice, all the Proverbs as well as Acts a dozen times, and all the way through the Old Testament History and Prophetic books about 1.5 times."

Go for it!

Monday, December 19, 2011

What Fathers Should Teach Their Sons

I greatly appreciate the feedback I've received via email about my short Kindle book What Fathers Should Teach Their Sons.  Matt Perman's blog post was especially kind.

One man wrote "I spend too much time just going along and reacting to what comes up.  Thanks for giving me a bigger picture and some hope.  I especially like your idea to tell stories about real men."

May we fathers raise mighty sons!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

You Are a Twig

You are a twig.  You're a thin dowel rod.  You're easily snapped by a toddler-sized problem.

The world will say, "Get bundled up with a bunch of other twigs, and be strong together!"  Indeed, it's much more difficult to break a bundle of dowel rods.

But not impossible.

You need to be in union with Jesus Christ.  Then you are a twig duct taped with many other twigs to the unbreakable steel rod of Jesus Christ. That's the Church.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Please Use Words, Too

Good encouragement to speak the words of the Gospel, and explain our actions in Jesus' name.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Go After The Young Men"

Mark Driscoll suggests the Church should go after the young men

"The problem is the Church today is just a bunch of nice, soft, tender, chickafied church boys. 60% of Christians are chicks and the 40% that are dudes are still sort of...chicks. It's just sad.
"We're looking around going, How come we're not innovative? Cause all the innovative dudes are home watching football or they're out making money or climbing a mountain or shooting a gun or working on their truck. 
They look at the church like that's a nice thing for women and children. So the question is if you want to be innovative: How do you get young men? All this nonsense on how to grow the church. One issue: young men. That's it. That's the whole thing. 
They're going to get married, make money, make babies, build companies, buy real estate. They're going to make the culture of the future. If you get the young men you win the war, you get everything. You get the families, the women, the children, the money, the business, you get everything. If you don't get the young men you get nothing."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Did Jesus Have Bad PR?

Back in 2006 I 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:

Friday, December 09, 2011

One of Glenn's Most Embarrassing Moments

If you've got 11 minutes, I'll tell you about one of my most embarrassing moments -- and how God did me a huge favor by humbling me. Check it out here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

What I Learned in the BWCA

I originally published this in August 2006, and am sharing it again to encourage you dads leading teenagers.  -- Glenn


My son and I spent several days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area last week, traveling about 40 miles by canoe and portage, and camping along the way. Here are a few things I learned along the way:

This is a huge area, with lots of open space, and you're just the visitor there. Even the ducks know this. Certainly the bald eagles do.

It helps a lot when you son is as strong or stronger than you. 50 pound canoe, 50 pound packs, and a food pack, it adds up. 

I took along my notebook and pen, assuming that I'd have tons of great ideas and insights. I prayed a lot, but didn't think about much to write down. Instead, I had a wonderful experience of "Be still, and know that I am God." 

When wolf howls wake you up at 1am, you discover some urgency in your prayer that wasn't there when you laid down to go to sleep. 

Our ancestors were tough! And how did they find there way around without topo maps, anyway? You would think someone would rig up a solar-powered neon "P" sign to mark these portage sites! 

Minnesota mosquito legends are all true. 

Teenagers recover faster than 44 year olds. I'm sure I knew that before, but this trip reinforced it. 

There are some rocks and tree roots that no Thermarest mattress can make comfortable.

Coordinated paddling gets you there much faster, with less effort. Parenting is much easier when the kids cooperate, right? And our spiritual growth is much faster when we lay down our foolish defensive pride and let God work in and through us. Community life is better when we submit to the idea of paddling together. 

The worst rocks are the ones that don't stick up out of the water, but are just below the surface. You don't see those until the last seconds, or until your canoe grinds over them. 

The best way to have good conversations with your teenage son is to go with whatever he wants to talk about, and not try too hard to steer the conversation to where you think it should go. 

We're eager to do it again, but willing to give it a year or so.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Comparing Perspectives

Imagine that someone interviews your friends,  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.

"And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books." (Rev 20:12)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Shining Shoes

Dads, be sure you teach your boys how to shine shoes properly. Yes, I know few people weather leather shoes that need shining anymore, but it's important to know how.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

How to Speak With Others

How do we respond to people in dealing with challenges -- including sin issues -- in the community?  We live in a world hypersensitized to 'politically correct' speech. Our choice of words can get us into serious trouble, but failing to speak appropriately is failure of leadership and in the end unloving. A word spoken well is a treasure (see Proverbs 25:11).

Jesus must be our model.  Sometimes he spoke boldy, even harshly. Other times he was gentle and warm. Consider these examples:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew

“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? (Matthew 23:33)  [Glenn's comment -- read the whole chapter.This is not an isolated verse out of context as Jesus rails against the teachers of the law.  You won't soften this one.]

“I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” (Mark 1:41)

“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:9-11)

Jesus advocated simple speech in His Sermon on the Mount:

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:37)

Sometimes Jesus didn’t speak at all:
When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long
time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. (Luke 23:8-9)

(This may be the most gracious experience Herod could have received from the Lord of the Universe standing in front of him!)

Jesus helps us understand that what comes out of our mouths is really from our hearts:

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 6:45)

We see Paul's counsel to the Colossians (and by extension, to us today):

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:5-7)

Jesus' harsh words were less frequent than his warm counsel, and directed at the hard-hearted, legalistic, and proud (but I repeat myself).  I don't know of examples where he spoke harshly to a hurting person who understood that they needed mercy.

A few take-away points:
  • ·         Jesus knew what was in each individual, discerning the heart, and spoke accordingly.  How we speak (or not) with people is based on what helps them, helps the Church mature, and glorifies God.
  •    We will sometimes need to speak hard truths in a hard way.

·         Our conversation must be plain, not duplicitous or deceiving.
·         Our conversation must be grace-full, an expression of the new heart we have from "Christ in us, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27)
·         The way to improving our speech is to ask God to transform our hearts.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mentoring a Younger Guy

Most of you reading this should be mentoring a younger guy.

(Yes, I've heard all the excuses.)

It's good for you, it's great for them.  Number one excuse I hear that sounds half-way valid: "I wouldn't know what to say, or how to advise them.  I've made so many mistakes, who am I to mentor another?"  My responses for this:

First, you can rely upon the Holy Spirit to work.  Really, you can.  "Do not fear," is a command we need to remember.

Second, only men who've made mistakes are qualified to mentor others.  Perfect men aren't needed.

Third, being with him, investing time with him, conversation with him, is more important than you having "the right answers."  In the months and years to come the fact that you cared enough to be with him far outweighs any particular advise you have for him.

I suspect that while reading this a guy or two came to your mind.  Act on that -- call 'em, set up a time to get together. This kind of mentoring doesn't have to be a long-term thing ("we'll meet weekly for the next eighteen years...") at all.  Start with a coffee break together.  But get started.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Invest 10% in Learning

There's an old adage about giving 10%, saving 10%, and living below your means in order to be generous -- many lifetimes of wisdom to respect in that concept.

As fast as the world is moving today (technologically, economically), I wonder if we should add "invest 10% for continuing education and learning opportunities."  In most organizations today being reactive is no longer fast enough -- you have to anticipate, adjust, adapt, grow.  Even those of us who have been paid by one company over years and years are working differently than we used to -- and will work differently in the months and years to come.

We stay constant on relationship and leadership principles, because people will still be people.  But practically everything else is changing rapidly -- and the rate of that change is increasing.  

I believe this is something we need to talk about with our older children.  They're growing up in a very different economic/technical/globalized world than we did.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Observed Time Rhythms, vs. Revealed Time Rhythms

(Note: this is a cross-post from my blog for Bible teachers.  -- Glenn) 

Teachers, you need a rhythm of work that includes rest.

These time periods are observed from the astronomical rhythms (which, of course, are God's design):
The day
The month
The year

But the concept of a week is a revelation from God.  There is nothing astronomical about a week.  While your body has a daily need for sleep, there is nothing 'natural' about needing a rest day each week.  These are revealed to us by God as good for us.  The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27)

Incorporate a day of rest in your teaching ministry.

1, 2, 3, 4 ...Christian Worldview

Dads, here is a very helpful outline to ground your kids in the distinctives of a Christian worldview.  (Source: Kevin DeYoung)  This would be an excellent dinner conversation while families are together for Thanksgiving!


One God. We worship one, personal, knowable, holy God. There are not two gods or ten gods or ten million gods, only one. He has always been and will always be. He is not a product of our mind or imagination. He really exists and we can know him because he has spoken to us in his word.

Two kinds of being. We are not gods. God is not found in the trees or the wind or in us. He created the universe and cares for all that he has made, but he is distinct from his creation. The story of the world is not about being released from the illusion of our existence or discovering the god within. The story is about God, the people he made, and how the creatures can learn to delight in, trust in, and obey their Creator.

Three persons. The one God exists eternally in three persons. The Father is God. The Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is God. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and the Son, is also God. And yet these three—equal in glory, rank, and power—are three persons. The doctrine of the Trinity helps explain how there can be true unity and diversity in our world. It also shows that our God is a relational God.

For us. Something happened in history that changed the world. The Son of God came into the world as a man, perfectly obeyed his Father, fulfilled Israel’s purpose, succeeded where Adam failed, and began the process of reversing the curse. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world. He rose again from the dead on the third day. By faith in him our sins can be forgiven and we can be assured of living forever with God and one day being raised from the dead like Christ.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Are Your Man Enough to Handle This Challenge Today?

Men, gather 'round, listen up for today's challenge:

Be still before the Lord.

Intentionally set aside 10 minutes and be still. If your mind is still noisy, keep going.

Listen to the Lord!

Now, follow-through and obey.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Performance Is A Function of Preparation

Athletes and the military live and breathe this truth, but I don't observe that enough business and non-profit leaders ​see preparation as essential.  I say that because I don't see people investing a lot of time and effort in preparation.

Yes, people will -- on a deadline -- pull together a presentation and rehearse a bit. 
Yes, people do -- when pressured -- work on non-urgent tasks.
You are likely thinking right now, "I agree that preparation is important. But WHEN would I POSSIBLY have the time to do more preparation?" 

No way to sugar-coat this answer: make practice and preparation and rehearsal a priority that tops the priority of lower-level things which others could do, or don't add a lot of value.  Delegate important work to others.  Don't do "stuff" just to be busy.

Look at your calendar for the next 3 weeks. Some questions for you:

What are some important meetings that you should invest time to be prepared for?  Can you anticipate the questions that will come up, and rehearse excellent answers?  Can you think through the critical issues and write out your perspective, so you can succinctly cover it in the meeting? 

What is something important that is not on your calendar that should be?  (Remember, calendars are not just for meetings, but for scheduling blocks of focused time for to work on high priorities.)  Hint: review your performance goals, both individual and group.

Another suggestion: pick an area where you would like to get better, and then schedule time for this.  Let's say you want to be a better communicator in oral presentations.  Schedule time for action on this.  For example:
Buy that book Glenn recommended by
Read that book by
Use what I learn in the _____ meeting on
Make notes about that presentation, and decide what to do differently next time
Pick another presentation by
Join Toastmasters by

The more focused time you invest in practice and rehearsal, the less likely that you'll be stuck in a performance rut. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Careful With That Extrapolation!

Consider these four quotations:

“In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”
- Mark Twain in Life on the Mississippi

“If a bacteria cell divides every twenty minutes, then in 24 hours a single bacteria cell will produce a colony of bacteria which weighs more than planet Earth.” (Grade 6 Science textbook)

“At this rate of adoption, every man, woman, and child on the planet will have two cellphones each by 2014 – and an iPad.” (Industry trade magazine)

“The lily pad doubled in size every day.  It completely covered the pond on day 23, but hardly anyone noticed it until day 20 when it covered  1/8th of the pond.  By then it was too late to do anything.”

In the real world of growth and declines, we have to pay attention to trends and possible extrapolation in order to decide how to act.  Extrapolation is a necessary skill for managers in order to assess situations and proactively plan for the future.

But the Mississippi River is still over 2300 miles long, more than a hundred years after Mark Twain penned Life on the Mississippi.  Bacteria colonies have never weighed as much the planet.  There are many reasons why cell phones will not be uniformly distributed worldwide.  Lily pads will not grow forever. 

Here’s the key: Pay attention to constraints and counter-balancing trends as you consider extrapolations on trends.  Think about limiting factors to growth (or decline).  Don’t make linear or exponential extrapolations assuming conditions for that growth or decline remain constant.   

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Stuck on a Problem? Go Up or Down a Level

​David Allen pointed out an excellent approach to problem solving in his original book, 'Getting Things Done.'  He said that when we get stuck on a problem, we need to either move up a level (bigger picture, more context, more abstract) or move down a level (more details, a smaller view, a narrowed perspective) to find the solution. 

"The world we have made, as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far, creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them." (Albert Einstein)

Try this out for yourself the next time you feel 'stuck' on a problem.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Great Examples In History

It’s been said that all genuine leadership is by example.  Studying history and biography is helpful!  Some good choices for books on strong but imperfect leaders in difficult situations:

Harry S. Truman  -- I recommend McCullough’s outstanding biography Truman

Lewis & Clark – Into the Unknown

Earnest Shackleton – Endurance

Robert E. Lee – Emory Thomas wrote (in my opinion) the best biography

Golda Meir – Golda

Margaret Thatcher – Portrait of the Iron Lady

Theodore Roosevelt – Mornings on Horseback (McCullough) and Theodore Rex (Morris)

George Washington – Washington: A Life

FDR's Prayer -- Appropriate on Veteran's Day

Franklin D. Roosevelt's Call to Prayer

June 6, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt's call to prayer, 6 June 1944, as 57,000 American and 75,000 British and Canadian troops were in bloody battle to establish five beachheads on the coast of Normandy:
My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas -- whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them--help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.
And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.
And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Trust and Manliness

Here are some good insights from Kevin Kelly, author of What Technology Wants:

Trust is a peculiar quality. It can't be bought. It can't be downloaded. It can't be instant--a startling fact in an instant culture. It can only accumulate very slowly, over multiple iterations. But it can disappear in a blink. Alan Weber compares its accretion to a conversation: "The most important work in the new economy is creating conversations. Good conversations are about identity. They reveal who we are to others. And for that reason, they depend on bedrock human qualities: authenticity, character, integrity. In the end, conversation comes down to trust."

Consider how important the manly qualities (authenticity, character, integrity) are to building up relationships and families and communities.  Let us be grateful for new hearts made by Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us!

Monday, November 07, 2011

How to Question Fears

Ron Edmonson gives 7 questions to ask when facing fears:

Is it a God-given or a man-made fear?
Is it a rational or an irrational fear?
Is it probable or improbable?
Can anything be done to diminish the risk?
Is what I’m fearing necessary or unnecessary?
Is the fear personal or impersonal?
Are you satisfied with the status quo?

Read the whole article, very good.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Obligation Nestled into Thanksgiving/Fellowship/Gospel

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
 11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

 14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Romans 1:8-16 (emphasis mine)

Recently I was captured by v14: I am obligated. I am obligated to everyone (that’s what “Greeks and non-Greeks, wise and foolish” means).  This is duty; it is calling; we’re under orders.  We do not have the right to be selective in whom we love and serve.

One of the gracious patterns we see repeated in the Scriptures is that commands are in the context of grace and love and power to fulfill the commands.  We need to see these connecting arcs, rather than pulling out commands in isolation. 

Here the obligation of v14 is in the context of
  • ·         Giving thanks to God through Jesus Christ for the evidence of His work (v8)
  • ·         The desire to serve others – and be mutually encouraged in Christian fellowship (v12)
  • ·         The power of the Gospel message to bring salvation to everyone who believes (v16)

Quick side-note: doesn’t our experience confirm that as we give to others we ourselves are encouraged and strengthened?  Let’s remember this when those natural fears of “I can’t give to this person” come into our hearts.

Praise God for putting such a rich calling of obligation into the context of thanksgiving, fellowship, and life-giving power of the Gospel!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Christian, and Living Together?

Increasingly, Christian couples are living together without or before getting married.  (Mirrors the societal trend as a whole.)  Listen to this pastoral advice from John Piper. He helpfully points out that you must be concerned about the testimony to people around you -- and suggests you fast-forward to consider what you would say to your daughter sixteen years from now.  Remember, much wisdom in these situations comes when we acknowledge "it's not about me."

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Does Watching TV Make You Less Fearful?

"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." (2 Tim 1:7)

Battling fears is everyday work for husbands and fathers.  Paul reminds Timothy that God does not make us timid and fearful and weak -- but powerful to love others.  (Quick sidebar: it's curious to me that Paul does not say that the Spirit God gave us makes us super-intelligent, perfectly eloquent, with six-pack abs!)

My observation is that a lot of television, radio, newspapers, blogs, and Facebook time is pumping things into our minds and heats that provokes timidity, fearfulness, anger, frustration, hopelessness.  We tolerate this because we've been convinced that we should be "well informed."  Instead of well informed, we're badly skewed, pushed off-balance, easy marks for foolishness.

Let us come to the news of the day with discernment and confidence in God's sovereign work.  That means a regular diet of the Word, of gratitude, of remembering God's faithfulness in our own lives.

Build yourself up by putting good things into your mind and heart.  Here's one example, Casting Crowns' new song "We Were Made To Be Courageous":

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Break...With a Purpose...Request Your Prayers

October is my month to focus on writing.  I have several books to finish editing and publish.  To create the time and space for this work I will fast from

Twitter, Facebook, blogging, Netflix, YouTube, TV, following my favorite blogs, etc.

Since I am an info-junkie and crave input, please pray for me!  I'm eager to accomplish a greater objective in October.

I plan to be back to blogging regularly in November.  Until then, men, be bold and be gentle!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

We Help Our Kids Dreams

Dads, I recommend you look at this short article, "Dream Releaser Not Dream Giver."  We want so much for our kids.  But there's a key insight as dads that God wants us to hear:

“Your job is to be a dream releaser for your sons, not a dream giver. I am the giver of dreams. I want you to release them.”

Read it.

In a related way, an excellent movie for moms and dads to watch is Searching for Bobby Fischer.  It's available on Netflix.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My First Kindle Book -- Can You Help?

I would really like your help! 

I just published my first Kindle book, “What Fathers ShouldTeach Their Sons” on Amazon.  Woo-hoo!

It’s selling for only $0.99 and all the profits ($0.38 per copy) will go to support a missionary project in SE Asia.  It’s a closed country situation, so I can’t be more specific. 

This is a very short book, focusing on the mindsets, relationships with others, and specific skills and experiences that I believe fathers best instill in sons.  Many fathers have told me how valuable this information has been for them.  

Here is the description:
Boys can learn from almost anyone, but there are some things which fathers teach best to sons. There is a generational call of fathers to help boys become men. Our boys are staying boys too long. We aren't giving them the kinds of training that produces both toughness and tenderness. We've abdicated far too much training to school teachers and youth pastors and sports coaches. One unexpected consequence: sons think less of their fathers because their fathers aren't the ones guiding them. This book outlines the important mindsets, relationships with others, and specific skills and experiences that boys need to become men. Some things might take only a few minutes for a boy to master. For others, mastery requires practice over several years. Some may be "caught" from our modeling rather than specifically "taught." All are important.

There are three ways you can help:
 Buy a copy!  (If not for you, gift a copy to a father you know.)  
Write a review and post it on Amazon.  Be candid, please.
Pass this information along to others who might be interested.



Helps For Travel Temptations

Many of us have to travel on business, and face additional temptations. Here are some strategies that can help: 
  • Put a picture of your wife and kids in the hotel room. 
  • Call home every day. 
  • Double the amount of time you usually spend in the Word. Work on memorizing a verse or passage. 
  • Play Christian music in your hotel room -- get a Christ-praising song in your heart and head! 
  • Limit TV watching. Put a towel over the TV to add a step to turning it on. Don't watch anything you wouldn't watch with your wife. 
  • Have an accountability partner who can check on you. Work out code-words to use in normal conversation or around others. 
Remember that God is always with you and watching you - nothing is hidden from Him. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses -- and my dad, grandfather, and great-grandfather are among them. May God, our families, and our brothers find us faithful. Amen!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Not "Getting Over" God's Promises

I excitedly read the Bible as a new Christian, seeing with new eyes the wonderful promises of Jesus. I read John 15:7 one morning in 1985 and looked at the cross-reference in Matthew 21:22:

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
“If you remain [abide] in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

Astounded by the incredible magnitude of these promises, I woke up my roommate, the man who had led me to Christ. (It was about 3 a.m.) “Have you seen this?” I said, reading the verses to him. He had been a Christian since he was a young boy. “You’ll get over it,” he said, and rolled over.  [In fairness, I don't think I caught him at his best :-) ]

Brothers, we should not be “getting over” the promises of Jesus. How’s your prayer life? Do you have some holy discontent for the status quo?

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Yeah, I should read that book on prayer,” DON’T. Just begin praying now. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Family Time -- Listen to the Gospel of Mark

Dads, here is a terrific idea: gather your family around the computer and watch this fabulous presentation of Max McClean dramatically reciting the Gospel of Mark.

I think even fairly young children will be engaged, and that you'll be blessed as well.  Who knows, perhaps your kids would like you to read another book of the Bible to them?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Steps to Destroying the Foundations

Joe Carter outlines the progressive steps to destroying a culture: unthinkable, radical, acceptable, sensible, popular, policy.

Let us not be surprised as the onslaught of evil; it's been going on since the beginning.  These culture wars are not new.  There was nothing "golden" about the 1950's. All that is truly required for the foundations to crumble is for good men to do nothing, usually out of inane fear of being labeled a bigot or an ignoramus.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Let's Get Some Accurate History on the Crusades

"But what about the Crusades?" This question comes up regularly when I'm sharing my faith.  Bringing up the Crusades is a rhetorical device which should refute any shred of thought that Christianity has either moral validity or benefit to the world.  I agree with Carl Medearis that would should be speaking of Jesus, and that defending the long, complicated history of Christianity usually does not lead people into a life-transforming relationship with the Son of God.  But let us not be so ignorant of the truth about the Crusades -- in the context of the whole history of the Muslim and Christian interactions -- that we allow ourselves to painted into corner by incorrect historical "sound bites" from indoctrinated fools.

Paul Crawford has done us an invaluable service in his brief article "Four Myths About the Crusades."  I encourage you to print this off and study it.  He covers these four myths, well-written, backed up with references:

1. The Crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.
2. Western Christians went on Crusades because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.
3. Crusaders were a cynical lot who did not really believe their own religious propaganda; rather they had ulterior, materialistic motives.
4. The Crusades taught Muslims to hate and attack Christians.

Understanding history more accurately will prepare you for conversations with people willing to actually dialogue about significant matters.  If they won't, then it's their loss.  Do what you can to educate them.  Always speak of Jesus.

And for the Kingdom's sake, please educate your kids about the Crusades! It's very likely that the other people educating them (you are their primary teacher, right?) don't know any more than ignorant sound bites and half-truths promulgated since the 1800's.  (By the way, movies like "The Kingdom of Heaven," however fun to watch, reinforce these myths.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happy Constitution Day!

The US Constitution was signed on this day in 1987!

Here are two quotes to ponder about the US Constitution:

 "Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction. ... To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. ... The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. ... The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch. ... On every question of construction carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed. ... [C]onfidence is every where the parent of despotism; free government is founded in jealousy and not in confidence; it is jealousy & not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power ... in questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution." (Thomas Jefferson)

 "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. ... The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People. ... [T]hey may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. ... A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."  (John Adams)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Mathematics of Spiritual Change

Change is a function of disatisfaction with the status quo, vision for a better future state, and the amount of inertia to be overcome. We could write the mathematical function like this: 

Change = f(D, V; I) 

I have a great vision for being fit and trim, but my disatisfaction with the current state is often too low to overcome the inertia. Sometimes I have a lot of disatisfaction, but limited vision about the desired future state. Either way, change doesn't happen quickly. 

Spiritual change should be expressed this way: 

Spiritual change = f(holy dissatisfaction, godly vision; fleshly inertia, Satanic resistance) 


Spiritual change = f(HD, GV; FI, SR) 

Not all disatisfaction is holy, nor all visions of the future godly. Most of our inertia if from our flesh, this body of death. And we face resistance from the forces of evil, led by the prince of this world. 

If you aren't changing, think about what factor(s) are strongest in your situation now. Let that be a help to your prayers. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Being a Godly Husband and Father Is...

Being a godly husband and father is:


Do the right thing anyway.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Decline is a Choice...and Your Choices Affect Your Family

"Daddy, I don't know why you read the newspaper, it just makes you mad."  This was my sweet daughter's observation at age 8, and it's became a running joke for years.

On this, the 10th anniversary of 9-11, I want to encourage you as husbands and fathers, to be men of conviction, to be strong, to believe in bright futures.

I am concerned about the trajectory of the US as a nation.  There are many worrying trends.  We can point a lot of fingers at government leaders, failures of institutions, poor decisions by others, sin and foolishness abounding.  I could write for a long time about the need for we men to step up and lead well in these days.  But today I want to focus on another important truth.

It's been said that worry is temporary athiesm.

For the sake of your families, and for the future of all our countries, as Christian citizens, I implore you: be wide-eyed about reality, but not despairing. Work for justice and righteousness in governments and institutions, but do not forget that it is the Lord our God who provides for us.  Help others in need, reflecting the generosity of our Heavenly Father.  Make choices -- whatever your sphere of influence -- that build others up, taking personal responsibility and reaping self-respect.

Do not allow your family to see you express concerns, fears, anxiousness -- but not follow-through with confidence in Christ and the sovereign grace of God which frees us from all fear.  Notice how many Psalms begin with fears and even anger, but finish with praise.  This is the model, men.  Make sure your family learns confidence in the face of the real world.

Friday, September 09, 2011

"You Know What That Means..."

I mentioned to a friend recently that we're past a new milestone, with the kids out of the house and on their own adventures.  "You know what that means," he replied. "It's time for you to help more dads who still have kids at home."

I love it when God uses older men to speak into your chest!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

When Someone Comes to Mind...Act This Way

Ever had the experience of someone coming to mind, when you least expect it?  Perhaps you're in the middle of a chore, and your buddy Brad comes to mind.  You haven't thought about him in a while.  What do you do?

Act on this!

First, take this as an opportunity to pray for Brad, specifically.

Second, reach out and let Brad know you are praying for him.  Find out if there is some way you can help.  Encourage him!

This is how we respond to promptings of the Holy Spirit.  This is how we follow-through on the adventure of the life following Jesus!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Kindle Tip -- Share Your Highlights

I use my Kindle reader, a lot.  I really like the Kindle app on the iPad -- very nice, unless you need to read a lot in direct sun.

One of my big problems early on with the Kindle was that I couldn't pass along the books for others to read.  Perhaps some day this will be resolved by new digital rights management tools, but in the meantime I've discovered an excellent strategy -- share my highlights from the book.

It's easy to do.  Everything you highlight, and all your inserted notes, are available on your personal Kindle page. (Maybe you didn't know you had a personal Kindle page!)  To retrieve those, simply point your web browser at and log in with your account information.  Click on the "Highlights" link and everything is listed there -- simply copy/paste into something else to share with others.

This works really well for capturing key ideas and facts from books that you can share with your family, friends, or work team.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Boys and Weapons and Sticks

Note: I originally published in this in Oct 2009. -- Glenn

I've been called sexist and primitive and backwards, but I do believe there are fundamental differences in the ways boys and girls are wired.

Matt Chandler said in a sermon that boys are "made to build things and break things. And girls can make any two objects friends."

Boys can make anything into a weapon. I've seen boys pop the heads off Barbie Dolls and declare them "hand grenades." If you hear the sound of simulated Star Wars laser blasters ("Pew! Pew! Pew!") in church, it's going to be coming from a boy squinting down his finger. I'm old enough that we said "bang." Knives. Bows and arrows. Ropes. Whips. Hammers. Screwdriver? "Watch me stick this screwdriver in that tree!"

And of course boys love sticks. Walking sticks. Sticks to beat things with. Sticks that become weapons in imagination. As we grow up our sticks get bigger and more sophisticated. In one sense, our ICBMs are a big stick.

(I acknowledge there are girls who love sticks and rocks, too. The kid with the most accurate arm in the West Virginia holler where I grew up was a girl name Glenna. She killed more than one squirrel with a rock. But the fact is that very few girls are like this, and nearly all boys are.)

Boys love to challenge one another. Sometimes over the stupidest stuff. It doesn't suprise me at all that the last words of many a man were "That's nothing, hold my beer and watch this!" Can you even imagine a girl or grown women saying that?

I know many mom's who are just horrified about their son's tendency towards weapons and fighting. And their husbands often feel pressure to "tame" their son.

My counsel: don't fight it, channel it.

Channel this energy into being prepared to stand against evil and defend innocents and the weak. You need to model this yourself, but also instruct them.

A good strategy is to watch movies with your boys (Sergeant York, The Green Berets, The Patriot, Brave Heart, Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, and others -- yes, your son may not be old enough yet) and talk with them about how men behave in these difficult situations. This means you watch a scene together, stop the movie, and talk about it. Let the movie be a conversation starter.

The idea is to fill their imagination with fighting against evil, and persevering in the right cause, to serve and protect others. That's ultimately what all this drive in boys is about.

Read more in my earlier post, What Fathers Should Teach Their Sons.

P.S. If there are movies that you recommend, add them in the comments below.