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.