Monday, November 11, 2013

Watched This, Learned That

A co-worker sent me a video on leadership. The video was not intentionally Christ-centered in nature, but it certainly reminded me of Biblical principles. Here is the link to the video:

Here are some notes I immediately wrote to myself to remind (myself) of what I consider good Biblical leadership practices.

1) Question ourselves.
Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Phil.2:3 CEB

Ask yourself, ask others. Good questions asked and answered are a blessing from the Lord. He oftentimes speaks wisely to us through others. Don’t pridefully consider my own answer as the best answer.

2) Develop and attend to solid partnerships.
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecc. 4:12 NLT

Leading alone makes no sense. Things are done better in groups.

3) Avoid the use of force except as a last resort.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1:19 ESV

Don’t be a jerk. Listen to both sides. Pray. Help those you lead resolve their conflict in a Biblical way. Oftentimes, they don’t really need you. All the time, we all need Jesus! :-)

4) Value differences not only as a mark of respect but as a source of creative information.
1 Cor. 12 (all), esp. v. 27 - “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” NLT

Don’t simply pay lip service to this. Discipline yourself to appreciate different points of view. Listen well, adapt to approaches other than one’s own, and make a greater impact.

5) Create a community.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. John 13:34 NLT

Love is a verb. It takes time, energy & effort to support and love one another. Do a good job with this. Create enough margin to be effective.

What are some helpful Biblical leadership practices/Scriptures you observe & practice?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

I Can't Believe It's a Biography! ("Anselm of Canterbury" Book Review)

Those who know my reading preferences know I prefer nonfiction (as in, I don't read fiction, except for the occasional Dr. Seuss). I was not sure if my children would follow me in this trend or not. Fortunately, my first "test" came along in the form of "Anselm of Canterbury" by Simonetta Carr.

What an extraordinary book! This is one of a series of Christian biographies for young readers. We have not yet completed the book, as we are reading a chapter per night before bed. After completing the first chapter I received a collective "Oh!" followed by "Keep reading...please!" My oldest spoiled his own plan to foil my nightly reading design by saying, "I'm gonna grab that book and finish it tomorrow in my reading time." I had to HIDE a Christian biography!

It is very exciting to me that books like these are being written. I encourage you to grab a copy for yourself and your children. Neither you nor they will be disappointed (unless, of course, you only read a chapter per night)!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Learning about Love

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
~ Matt. 7:11 HCSB ~

I chuckle a little when someone compliments me on the way I follow the Lord, Jesus Christ. It’s not my intention to make fun of one who offers the compliment. It’s just that, I know my heart. I am so sin-filled. This is the guy who used to throw Jerry Bridges’ “Pursuit of Holiness” across his dorm room as I read it. “This holiness sounds like a (insert various profanities). Yeah. That was me.
I am redeemed by Christ Jesus, and He makes me perfectly acceptable in His sight – now and forever. He calls me His friend.  In Him, I’m good-to-go (John 15:5) Apart from Christ, “I’m a hot mess!”
God is teaching me so much about my identity in Him: and all the blessings that come with being reborn into His image. Admittedly, sometimes I can go a little too far poo-pooing my character. It’s usually in that time that God gives me a perfect picture of how much He loves me. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” they say.
The picture God has been giving me over the past few days is that of my (almost) 14-month-old. He’s in a stage of independence in feeding. He’s not a brat about it, he simply enjoys feeding himself more than eating from us. We allow it. He is also still teething, and toddles around most of the day with his tongue hanging out of his mouth, drooling like a mad man. Oh, and did I mention that as he finishes eating, he raises his hands in the air (with the best “all done” sign language he can give) and rubs his hands in his curly locks. Yeah…

“You Nasty!”
I like to look at my son, make a funny face and holler at him, “You Nasty!” over and over. Almost always, he begins laughing uncontrollably. He reaches for me and will not relent until I pick him up and hold him in my arms. “But boy…you NASTY!!!” He doesn’t give up, and he always gets his hug, even while he’s all nasty! He KNOWS his daddy loves him. He is secure in that love I give, even when he’s a hot mess.  [Insert note for my older boy - "You STANKY!" He laughs too, but pee-yew!]

A hot mess daddy loving on a hot mess son. It’s something special. I love baby boy so much emotionally, I can feel it physically, even as I type. I LOVE him, love him, love him, love him – as I do all my children.

What then shall we say about a perfect heavenly Father’s love for us? I’ve studied the Bible, theological books, and the like. I could say I do, but really, I don’t get it. I don't believe any amount of explanation is going to get me there. I just have to, no, I GET to, experience it. Amen!Amazing love, how CAN it be?! I, who am sin-filled – “evil” – think I have a clue about love? I’m certainly an amateur as I consider the Father’s love for us. I love God. I love His love. But I’m still learning.

Thank You, Father, for loving me. I know “I’m a hot mess.” Your love is such a “good thing.” Your love is amazing. Thank You for this day and for allowing me the privilege of loving others here on Earth. Help all of us love one another with a Holy love that comes from You. May You be filled with joy and glorified in the way we love one another (John 15:12).

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Afternoon...Clothing

Mondays afternoons at work are one of my favorite times of the week. We have a campus team devotional before going into “business” (really – following up with the business the Holy Spirit is already doing). Today, we read Galatians 3 and shared compelling thoughts that stuck out to us. One of mine was verses 26-27:

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” –NIV84

I attended Catholic school (grades K-7, 9-12), grew up in a Missionary Baptist Church ‘til college, went “wayward” for a number of years, re-dedicated my life to Christ & was discipled in a Southern Baptist Church, attended a Southern Baptist Seminary, worked at an Independent Christian Church, then a Bible Church, and am now back in an Independent Christian Church.

Look at all those denominations. Believe me when I tell you, each of them had something to say about baptism, most of the things said were, at least a lil’ bit, conflicting, and each of the groups thought they were “right.” With all due respect to all of these groups, I believe God’s Word nails it.

This passage says “…for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”  I won’t go into deep theological detail here, but I believe being “baptized into Christ” involves a lot more than getting soaked. [Remembering hearing for the first time from a wise man, “I’ve seen people go down dry sinners and come up wet sinners.” Oomph! That was tough to hear at first, but good to remember as I grew older.]

Here’s part of why this verse stuck out to me: In my life, I have observed Catholics who have clothed themselves with Christ and some who have not. I’ve observed Missionary Baptists who have clothed themselves with Christ and some who have not. Southern Baptists, Independent Christians, and Bible Church folks who have clothed themselves with Christ and some who have not.

I’ve heard many of the “arguments” on the meaning of baptism and I respect each groups’ beliefs and I certainly have my own. I won’t elaborate on the intricacies of each groups’ say on the matter. I’ll simply say, once again, I’ve observed man’s words leading towards disagreements. God’s Word, however, is clear…and wonderful. Clothe yourselves in Christ. Yes & amen!

Friend, I sincerely hope you have clothed yourselves with Christ. He is the One who matters. Not our words, not our controversies, not even our agreements on theological “issues.” Christ alone. Let’s clothe ourselves in Him.

If I can help ya in any way, holler!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tips on Reading Through The Whole Bible

"The Bible is a thorough Book but not an endless book. You can complete it!"
I had a social media conversation with a friend today who, like many Christians this time of year, is beginning a read-through-the-Bible plan. After we spoke, I thought I'd share a few notes, as some of you may be able to glean some helpful hints. I must tell you, I approach read-through-the-Bible efforts in an extremely practical way. I don't consider reading "through the Bible" to be my primary source for spiritual growth, rather, I do slower, read-and-journal plans for that (for more information on what I'm doing this year, see my most previous post). That said, I still read through the Bible as often as I can. I figure, of all the "stuff" I can put into my head and heart every day, nothing is better than the Bible. In my advice giving, I do not mean to be irreverent in any way, rather, I seek to give practical "git 'er done" suggestions. I want you to succeed in this task!  
I've read through the Bible several times. I don't know how many times I have, exactly, but more than a few. Reading through the Bible in its entirety is no longer a difficult task for me. My hope and prayer is this post will provide some very helpful tips on making reading-through more simple for you as well:
Read-through the Bible Thoughts
  • Read it "In Order" - If you've never read through before, I'd suggest a "Chronological" Reading plan for your first time. Do an Internet search and you should have no problem finding one. When I read through for the first time, I used a book called “Read Through the Bible in a Year” by John R. Kohlenberger III to help. I've read through the Bible using a few different plans. The plan in this book was, by far, the most interesting to me. There is a widget on my blog page if you'd like to order a copy of this book.
  • Bust through the Barriers - WHEN (not if) you feel a little "bogged down," switch things up a little. I read the Bible regularly in both the New Living Translation (NLT) and the New American Standard Bible translation (NASB). In more difficult-to-read-through Books of the Bible (Numbers is a tough one for me), I switch to The Message paraphrase and/or an audio Bible. During the switch, instead of "sticking with the plan," I plow through as far as I can go, as fast as I can go, without stopping. When I do this, I oftentimes actually jump ahead in the reading plan. Nothing wrong with being ahead, folks! I'll pray something like, "Lord, if You want me to stop and reflect, I will. Otherwise, I gotta keep it moving!" You know, He has stopped me a few times. But for the most part, it's just about keepin' it movin' for me in the more difficult Books to read. Being a little more free in the reading plan might not work for everyone, but it works for me. If you have tried unsuccessfully to read the whole Bible and have failed due to tougher-to-read Books, this might work for you. Aggressively attack the barriers and, before you know it you may find the tough stuff is completed.
  • Believe!  The Bible is a Book about faith, right? I think you should have faith that you can make it through this Book! Ask God to help you every time you read. The Bible is a thorough Book but not an endless book. You can complete it! In my dramatized audio Bible set, there are only about 72 hours of total play time. You might consider adding some audio read-through time to your daily commutes or whenever you are alone and fairly undistracted. It saddens me when people give up on the best Book ever given to mankind. Don't give up! Keep going! You can do it!
If you have any questions about my post or have personal questions about Bible reading or study, I'd be happy to help. Just email me. Until then, Go! Read!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bible Reading & Prayer in 2013

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
~ Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV 1984 ~

"He who fails to plan is planning to fail."
~ Winston Churchill ~

As I prepare for 2013, one of the first areas of consideration for me is my personal spiritual growth. I’ve had a lot of people ask, “What do you do?” to grow spiritually. Bible reading and prayer are two of my most helpful spiritual disciplines. There are others I do as well, but these work really well for me. I have to be intentional in carving out time for these things because - personally -  I find I can end up wasting time if I do not plan it well, and this plan will help me – again, personally – not waste time.

Here’s an inside look on materials I plan to use in 2013. I hope it can help you in some way and, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

2013 Bible Reading & Prayer Planning Guide

Bible Reading
·         Proverbs (1 Chapter per day)
I’ve done this for years at the suggestion of a man who disciple me. I read the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the date of the month (i.e. Dec. 25, read Proverbs 25). As there are 31 Chapters in the Book, I’m never left without a Proverb to read daily.

·         Psalms (5 Chapters per day)
I use a little mathematics to work this plan. There are 150 Chapters in the Book of Psalms. On the first day of any given month, I will read Psalm 1, then add the number “30” to each number (i.e. Jan. 1 + 30 = 31) until I get to the end of the Book (1, 31, 61, 91, 121).
One thing that tripped me up a little in my Psalms reading was the fact the longest Chapter in Scripture, Ps. 119 – with its 176 verses – is contained in the Book. I decided to break the Chapter up into smaller portions that I read throughout the month. [This means, on the 29th day of each month I only have a small amount of chapter 119 to read (29, 59, 89, 119, 149)].
If it works better not to complicate the issue and just read all 176 verses on that day, go for it. But for me, I feel I had to break it down since I have chosen to do a large amount of other daily Bible readings.

·         YouVersion (Life Journal Read Through Plan)
As my Psalms & Proverbs plan is Old-Testament centered and consistently repetitive, this read-through plan helps me get to other parts of scripture and ensures I’m reading all of the Bible.

· - Verse of the Day, NLT and/or NASB translations
I subscribe to and the verse of the day comes into my email. It is usually the first thing I read in the mornings via smartphone device.

Bible Study
·         "Jesus Calling," Sarah Young (Devotional)
My wife purchased this book for me this year. It is a one-page devotional thought.

·         "Time to Get Serious," Tony Evans (Devotional)
I first read this in college and have re-read it as often as I could ever since.

·         Selected Books of the Bible – Padfield
Evangelist David Padfield has posted several different Bible studies for free at the website Padfield’s background seems to be Church of Christ, if that matters to you (my background is not Church of Christ, but that certainly doesn’t keep me from enjoying the studies).

·         "Lord I Want to Know You," - Kay Arthur
Part of the book’s description reads: “When you know God more fully by studying His names -- Creator, Healer, Protector, Provider, and many others -- you'll gain power to stand strong. You'll find strength for times of trial, comfort for pain, provision for your soul's deepest needs. And your walk with God will be transformed.” I could use some of that in my life, so I’m going for it.

·         "Simple Prayers," Kenneth & Karen Boa
This is a simple, daily prayer guide I’ve used for a while. It takes the reader through Scriptures written in a prayer-filled direction. This is a helpful book for someone who wants to take an intentional daily walk in prayer.

·         Mastermedia International Media Leader Prayer Calendar
This calendar is available in print or by email and provides the name of a media executive and a cultural influencer to pray for each day. Located at, it only takes a minute to pray for all types of media folks. I really enjoy this moment daily.

Monday, October 1, 2012

MUMS Resources

I recently spoke at MUMS (mothers-of-preschoolers group) at Southland Christian Church. After my talk, the ladies sat around tables and discussed resources they believed were good for marriage, parenting, child-rearing, etc. Here's a look at that list:

The Jesus Storybook Bible
The Comic Strip Bible
The Beginner's Bible App

Bringing up Girls/Boys by Dr. James Dobson
Have a New Kid by Friday by Kevin Leman
Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel
The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie O’Martian

Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O’Maritan
The Love Dare
Love and Respect book and study
This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence by John Piper
Love & War By John Eldredge
Wild at Heart By John Eldredge
Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge

North Point Community Church
“Future Family” Series
Andy Stanley

Family Life Today - A Weekend to Remember Conference