Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mountain In My Rearview Mirror

One of my favorite storytellers is Bill Butterworth. In his new book, Mountain In My Rearview Mirror, he does not disappoint!

I highly recommend this book for everyone. I think after you read the quotes below, you will agree!

If you speak to the hurting, you will never lack for an audience. p. xv

Honestly, I see things in my life today that I never would have seen without the opportunity to overcome the overwhelming obstacles in my life. I'm a different man-a better man-today. For all the theologians out there, let me be clear. I don't think God caused my obstacles, but He certainly did allow them to happen. And I think He did so in order to strengthen me in the way I live my life. He was building character. p. xxv

God is interested in more than an occasional glance. He wants to be our total focus. p. 54

All of us develop some level of SADD (spiritual attention deficit disorder). p. 59

When we dwell on life's circumstances, anxiety and fear return. p. 60

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6
This verse may be the most helpful because of its simple formula. Don't be anxious. Instead, take all the time and effort normally expended on anxiety and replace it with prayer. Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything! p. 61

Worry and doubt are signs that we have lost our focus. p. 62

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
For our purposes, perhaps we could paraphrase it this way:
For we walk by focus, not by vision.
In the end, it's not what we can see, but how faithful we are to trust God. Seeing only complicates the situation. For what we see often is perceived as opposite of what God should be doing.  p. 63

We don't need to fight, but we do need to stand in order to see God deliver us.
You will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD's victory. 2 Chronicles 20: 17  p. 123

Our adversaries will stand against each other and destroy each other.

The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. 2 Chronicles 20: 23  p. 127

We're being faithful. We're trusting God. But nothing seems to be happening. Hang in there, friend. Just because it isn't happening now doesn't mean it isn't going to happen. It's all a matter of timing-God's perfect timing.  p. 127

To order this book click here!

A Tale of two Sons

John MacArthur in A Tale of Two Sons does an excellent job of examining the parable in Luke 15:11-32.

I have a quote about sheep and a shepherd.

A sheep separated from the flock and left to wander by itself in the wilderness will die, even with an abundance of food and water all around. It's only a matter of time before the lost sheep would succumb to the stress of being separated from the flock, the threat of predators, or exposure to the elements. Any or all of those could be fatal in short order. p. 28

There's an image of compassion and an illustration of divine grace in the way the shepherd "lays it on his shoulders" and brings it home. He doesn't bear or berate the wandering sheep. He doesn't even leave it to the sheep to travel home in his own power. He lifts it up and carries it, and he does so with joy and delight rather than anger or exasperation. In fact, in Jesus' account, the shepherd is so delighted over the return of the sheep that he calls together his friends and neighbors to celebrate. p. 28

To order this book click here!

FireProof Your Life

The book, FireProof Your Life, is a study based on the movie Fire Proof. It is a very good book.

Here are a few quotes:

Trials show what we are made of - they reveal our hearts, our faith, our level of maturity. p. 14

Noah built an ark.
"Are you kidding, Lord? What's an ark?"
Abraham, set out for a city.
"What city? Aren't You going to give me a map?"
Abraham, you've going to have a child.
"At my age? Do You know how old my wife is?"
Joseph, I've got big plans for you.
"Lord, You're going to have to get me out of this prison first. I'm a forgotten man.
Israel, take the land.
"Are you crazy? We're grasshoppers and they're giants."
 (Remember the Bible records the failures of faith and its consequences as well as the stories of those who trusted God and took Him at His Word.).
David, you are going to be the next king of Israel.
"How? If I don't keep running, King Saul is going to kill me!"
Elijah, pray down fire from heaven.
Are you sure, Lord? It seems to me I'm out numbered."
Job, trust Me with your loss and pain.
"Lord, nobody knows the trouble I've seen."
Isaiah, prophesy in My name.
"Lord, don't You know my friend the king just died? I'm grieving right now."
Jeremiah, buy the land.
"Lord, I'm no expert in real estate, but it seems to me that's not a very good deal."
Micah, tell them Messiah will come from Bethlehem.
"Lord, most folks can't even find Bethlehem on the map."
Peter, get out of the boat.
"And do what? Walk on water?" pp. 44-45

The biggest problem we face is not knowing what is right, but being willing to do what is right. p. 71

We think getting is the answer to all our problems, but in God's economy giving is the answer. Through our giving we understand that Christ supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. p 126

God always reserves something for Himself in the physical realm, where man obtains his living, to remind man that God is the owner of everything. God reserved for Himself a tree, a day, a city, the tithe, a year when the land was to stand idle. The facts here are clear. What God sets aside as holy, as His, is a reminder that we are stewards, not owners. p. 131

If God is your Father, please call home. Corrie ten Boom said, "The Devil smiles when we make plans. He laughs when we get too busy. But he trembles when we pray." When you feel swept off your feet, it's time to go back on your knees. (John Mason in Why Ask Why? If You Know the Right Questions You Can Find the Right Answers) p. 142

Acknowledge that conflicts are a part of of life. Where there is movement, there is friction.
Thank God for the conflict. Yes, you read that correctly. Anything that causes you to seek the Lord is a blessing.
Leave the results to God. When we have taken our stand on His Word, we can rest knowing He will respond as He has promised.  p. 145

To order this book click here!

Where the River Ends

Charles Martin's new book, Where the River Ends, is an excellent read, but I would not call it Christian fiction.

I have just a couple of quotes from the book:

I don't care what trash the world throws at you, don't let it muddy your reflection. p. 3

... I felt valued. Valued because that person in front of me, that "subject," was trusting me with one of the most valuable things they owned-their reflection. p. 145

To order this book click here

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where Is God When It Hurts?

God always gives us what we need when we need it. I just finished reading Philip Yancey's book, Where Is God When It Hurts? The quotes I share below are just what I needed.

The symptoms and the illness are not the same thing. The illness exists long before the symptoms. Rather than being the illness, the symptoms are the beginning of its cures. The fact that they are unwanted makes them all the more a phenomenon of grace-a gift of God, a message from the unconscious, if you will, to initiate self-examination and repair. ~M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled p. 25

Dr. Brand declares, "Thank God for inventing pain! I don't think he could have done a better job. It's beautiful." p. 32

The sensation of pain is a gift-the gift that nobody wants. More than anything, pain should be viewed as a communication network. p. 34

Pain-it's often seen as the great inhibitor, keeping us from happiness. But I see it as a giver of freedom. p. 44

. . . depriving some senses, such as through fasting, heightened others. Spiritual experience is nourished best in the wilderness. p. 53

I was prepared to honor and admire these servants, to hold them up as an inspiring examples. I was not, however, prepared to envy them. But as I now reflect on the two groups side by side, stars and servants, the servants clearly emerge as the favored ones, the graced ones. They work for low pay, long hours, and no applause, "wasting" their talents and skills among the poor and uneducated. But somehow in the process of losing their lives they have found them. They have received the "peace that is not of this world." p. 58

Imagine a set of people all living in the same building. Half of them think it is a hotel, the other half think it is a prison. Those who think it a hotel might regard it as quite intolerable, and those who thought it was a prison might decide that it was really surprisingly comfortable. So that what seems the ugly doctrine is one that comforts and strengthens you in the end. The people who try to hold an optimistic view of this world would become pessimists: the people who hold a pretty stern view of it become optimistic. ~C.S. Lewis, God in the Dark p. 61

But there is a huge difference between the suffering most of us encounter-a skiing injury, a rare form of cancer, the bus accident-and the suffering-as-punishment described in the Old Testament. There, punishment follows repeated warnings against specific behavior. To be effective, in, fact, punishment requires a clear tie to behavior. Think of a parent who punishes a young child. It would do little good for the parent to sneak up at odd times during a day and whack the child with no explanation. Such tactics would produce a neurotic, not an obedient, child. p. 81

Against all evidence, he holds on to two seemingly contradictory beliefs: he, Job, does not deserve his tragedy, but still god deserves his loyalty. Job holds firm in the face of such jabs as "Are you more righteous than God?" p. 88

We are here to be changed, to be made more like God in order to prepare us for a lifetime with Him. And that process may be served by the mysterious pattern of all creation: pleasure sometimes emerges against a background of pain, evil may be transformed into good, and suffering may produce something of value. p. 95

In some ways we in the East understand suffering from the opposite perspective. We believe that suffering may be a sign of God's favor and trust in the Christians to whom the trail is permitted to come. p. 98-99

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). A sick person is not unspiritual. And Christian faith does not magically equip us with a germ-free, hermetically sealed space suit to protect against the dangers of earth. That would insulate us from complete identification with the world-a luxury God did not allow His own Son. p. 99

Every time a non-Christian gets cancer, God allows a Christian to get cancer as well, so the world can see the difference. p. 109

"Rejoicing in suffering", does not mean Christians should act happy about tragedy and pain when they feel like crying. Rather, the Bible aims the spot-light on the end result, the productive use God can make of suffering in our lives To achieve that result, however, he first needs our commitment of trust, and the process of giving him that commitment can e described as rejoicing. p. 110

As Job himself said so presciently, "those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction". p. 111

Where is God when it hurts? He is in us -- not in the things that hurt-- helping to transform bad into good. We can safely say that God can bring good out of evil; we cannot say that God brings about the evil in hopes of producing good. p. 111

As Corrie said, "However deep the pit, God's love is deeper still." p. 158

We never know in advance exactly how suffering can be transformed into a cause for celebration. But that is what we are asked to believe. Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse. p. 161

The medical community now freely admits that in a larger sense a person's attitude is one of the chief factors in determining the effect of all suffering. p.168

I believe we in the body of Christ are called to show love when God seems not to. p. 184

I sometimes dream of producing my own line of get-well cards. I already have an idea for the first one. The cover would have huge letters, perhaps fireworks in the background spelling out CONGRATULATIONS!!! Inside, this message: "... to the 98 trillion cells in your body that are still working smoothly and efficiently." p. 190

Orville Kelly, the founder of Make Today Count, expressed this quality of courageous hope well: "I do not consider myself dying of cancer, but living despite it. I do not look upon each day as another day closer to death, but as another day of life, to be appreciated and enjoyed. p. 215

How did God-on-earth respond to pain? When he met a person in pain, he was deeply moved with compassion (from the Latin words pati and cum, "to suffer with"). p. 229

Jesus' decision to operate as the invisible head of a large body with many members affects our view of suffering. It means that he often relies on us to help one another cope. The phrase "the body of Christ," expresses well what we are called to do: to represent in flesh what Christ is like, especially to those in need. p. 241

Pain is the very mechanism that forces me to stop what I'm doing and pay attention to the hurting member. In short, the healthiest body is the one that feels the pain of its weakest parts. In the same way, we members of Christ's body should learn to attend to the pains of the rest of the body. In so doing we become an incarnation of Christ's risen body. p. 242

In the body one cell or group of cells grows and flourishes at the expense of the rest, we call it cancer and know that if it is allowed to spread the body is doomed. It would be much easier for us to avoid people in need. Yet ministering to the needy is not an option for the Christian, but a command. 243

Today if I had to answer the question "Where is God when it hurts?" in a single sentence, I would make that sentence another question: "Where is the church when it hurts?" We form the front line of God's response to the suffering world. p. 247

After a few moments' thought McQuilkin replied, "I think God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical. But the strength and beauty of age is spiritual. We gradually lose the strength and beauty that is temporary so we'll be sure to concentrate on the strength and beauty which is forever. It makes us more eager to leave behind the temporary, deteriorating part of us and be truly homesick for our eternal home. If we stayed young and strong and beautiful, we might never want to leave!" p. 255

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast" (1 Peter 5:10) p. 257

An irony: death, the one event that causes the greatest emotional pain, in reality opens a doorway into the great joy of eternity. p. 258

Keith Miller once said, "Pain is like fertilizer. It stinks when you're around it, and you hate it. But after a while you realize that that despicable stuff provided the nutrients for your growth." Do you agree? p. 269

To order this book click here!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our Ultimate Assessment: Love God, Love People

In Volume 12 Number 1 of the magazine, Christian School Education, Sam Barfield makes the following statement:

"Before you tell me about your Stanford test scores or your ACT or SAT scores, tell me how many true disciples of Jesus came out of your graduating class. That assessment, I believe, tells the real story of a Christian school's effectiveness."

How are we doing in the Christian School movement?

Friday, August 1, 2008

No Legal Grounds

James Scott Bell's No Legal Grounds was an enjoyable read. Right when you thought the story ended, there was a surprise. I want to share one quote in the book that actually is a quote from the famous English preacher from the 1800s, Charles Spurgeon:

In seasons of severe trail, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can turn to, and is therefore compelled to cast himself on his God alone. When his vessel is on its beam-ends, and no human delieverance can avail, he must simply and entirely trust himself to the providence and care of God. Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this!

Be strong and very courageous, and the Lord thy God shall certainly, as surely as He built the heavens and the earth, glorify Himself in thy weakness, and magnify His might in the midst of thy distress. pp. 144-145

To order this book click here!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Christian School Education

One of my favorite magazines is Christian School Education published by ACSI. Volume 11 Number 1 (2007-2008) issue has many great articles. I have quoted from many of the articles below:

In the Editor’s Note by Derek J. Keenan
No work of any teacher in any classroom is a small thing. P. 4

First Things First: What Makes Christian Schooling Distinctive? D. Bruce Lockerbie says the following:

God has no need for Christian schools, unless they are intentionally different from the mass of other formal institutions also calling themselves schools. In particular, God has no need for quasi-sanctified “Christian schools” that imitate every aspect of public schooling – State-ordained curriculum, state-certified teachers and administrators, “Spirit Week,” athletic franchises whose importance dwarfs academics, marching bands, booster clubs, fund-raising sales, homecoming court, senior prom, and so on – with only a weekly chapel service and a minimum of Bible instruction sprinkled on top. p. 5

What, then, are the priorities for Christian schooling? What makes Christian schooling distinctive?

I can give my answer to these questions in three words: wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Or, in three phrases: Biblical worldview, Biblical epistemology, and Biblical integration. Or, in this one word: truth. p. 5

Therefore, believing in the great I AM – the God who is – authentic Christian schooling also believes that wisdom originates in God and with God and from God. p. 6

The boldest distinctive of Christian schooling, therefore ought to be in declaring that it is in the business of extolling the wisdom of God as its highest priority. Through the careful study of the text of the Scriptures and through the Godly example of mature and maturing Christian believers, a Christian school creates an ethos in which its highest aim is not merely having students who earn stratospheric SAT scores or admission to elite universities but ultimately helping its students acquire and live by the wisdom of God.

But God also invites us to master and enjoy the full panoply [a full set of armor] of human knowledge. Every topic, every curiosity – from astronomy to zoology – is available for us to discover, observe, examine, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate. Nothing is inhibited, nothing is shut off from our asking, and nothing is taboo. The cultural mandate of Genesis 1 and 2 summons us to take control of God’s creation, even as we respect its wonders and awesome beauty. So the Christian school, if it is authentic, honors God by the rigor of its academic curriculum in the quest for human knowledge. p. 6

. . . we are summoned to acquire a Biblical perspective on learning and teaching. In other words, we need a carefully developed and articulated worldview, a carefully developed and articulated epistemology (the science of knowing), and a carefully developed and articulated integration of the broken pieces of life into a coherent whole. For those who administer and teach in a Christian school, the common denominator for these three elements must be Biblical authority. p. 6

My personal expression of a Biblical worldview is from the foot of the Cross and the door of the empty tomb. For me, to look out and see the world from the vantage point at the foot of the Cross and the door of the empty tomb means seeing the full picture of human experience: guilt and grace, loss and gain. For from this point of view, I see first the chaos and corruption of a fallen world, but I also see beyond the tragedy of death and destruction to the glory of redemption and victory. p. 7

A Biblical worldview is the philosophical end for which Abraham Kuyper’s stunning declaration is the premise: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: Mine!” p. 7

Michelle Lundgren in her article, A Dangerous Complacency quotes George Knight:

If any activity in the Christian school comes to the place where it holds the center stage instead of Christ, we may be sure . . . that we have lost our Christian perspective. p. 9

In The Significance of Education, Milton V. Uecker writes:

Christian schooling is more than excellence plus Bible. It is schooling centered in Jesus, whereby the curriculum is transfused with truth and Biblical values that are in conflict with the world. The significant end is its unique product – students who do not fit the world’s mold. p. 16

Samson B. K. Makhado’s article, The Need for a Radical Christian School Critique in Our Educational Practice makes the following comments:

Quoting Dr. Ken Smitherman: Christian schooling is not about running or hiding from the world – rather, it is about embracing and pursuing the mind of Christ. It is about pursuing the real understanding of what it means to be salt and light, about transformation by the renewing of the mind. It is about the development of fruitful bearers of the image of Christ . . . .

It is about preparing young people for the kingdom of heaven and the marketplace of ideas. It is about preparing young people to carry out the work of our Heavenly Father, partnering with Him in His great plan, rather than being content with hunkering down in a sheltered spiritual environment and simply attempting to ward off the attacks of those who relish the demise of Godly thought, influence, and leadership.

If Christ’s call is so clear, what went wrong in Christian schooling movements? Why are we not where we are supposed to be? p. 17

In the article, Do I Belong in the Christian School? Karen Winter gives us much to consider:

Our nation is truly at a crossroad. What we do in the next 5 years could affect the next 50 to 100 years of American history. (Ron Luce in Battle Cry for a Generation: The Fight to Save America’s Youth). Luce notes that according to research, once a child turns 20 years old, “the odds of reaching that individual for Christ are nearly 10 to 1.” The Barna Research Group has used the data it has collected to draw an even more alarming conclusion: what children believe by the age of 13 is what they will die believing. p. 22

There is no greater privilege or honor than serving in Christian education. It’s not for the fainthearted but for the steadfast, visionary Christian educator who will help determine our nation’s future. p. 23

Ralph Bullard wrote in Is It Worth It?:

Noah Webster wrote, “The education of youth [is] an employment of more consequence than making laws or preaching the gospel, because it lays the foundation on which both law and gospel rest for success” (n.d.). Daniel Webster wrote, “If we work on marble, it will perish; if on brass, time will efface it; if we rear up temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon immortal minds and imbue them with principles, with the just fear of God and the love of our fellow men, we engrave on those tablets something that will brighten to all eternity” (n.d.). p. 24

In the article, Spiritual Formation in an Age of Entitlement, Daniel J. Egeler about the culture and the impact it has on our children:

Why do our Christian kids want to grow up to be like our cynical and ungodly music, athletic, or even business celebrities rather than like the Godly janitor, educator, or neighborhood pastor? The reason is that we live in a celebrity culture that values comfort, wealth, and image. p. 26

Dan Kindlon is quoted as saying, “We need to teach them how to develop skills such as frustration tolerance, and more generally, how to cope with stress. Unfortunately, there is no magic in this. The only way a child can accomplish this is by actually experiencing frustration and stress, which is painful for him or her, and for us as parents, to watch. p. 27

One of the key arenas in which children today can learn to persevere and not to accept the option of quitting is athletics. Unfortunately, our culture has focused solely on winning and the self-glorification that comes from being number one rather than on the character traits that can be learned from competing valiantly. My second son is a wrestler, and he began to compete in a number of top-flight wrestling tournaments. For the first two-thirds of the season, he did not win a match, and he was being pinned consistently in the first period. As a dad, I helped him set some realistic goals; he was competing against nationally ranked wrestlers. His first goal was just to make it through a match without getting pinned. This goal wasn’t very glamorous-he ended up spending six grueling minutes fighting while on his back. I celebrated the first match in which he did not score a point and was beaten badly but did not get pinned. I celebrated and honored my son because he learned to persevere, and that lesson was far more important than what he could have learned from winning. The sport of wrestling was one of the few avenues I had to teach my son the importance of learning to persevere. p. 27

Growing one’s gratitude has a radical and transformational effect on character, because gratitude is one of God’s primary vehicles for inducing other Christian qualities. p. 28

For more information about ACSI click here!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Educational Leadership

The Association For Supervision and Curriculum Development publishes a magazine titled, Educational Leadership. The October 2007 issue (Vol. 65 No. 2) has an excellent article, The Perils and Promises of Praise. Let me share a portion of the article written by Carol S. Dweck.

Thus, we found that praise for intelligence tended to put students in a fixed mind-set (intelligence is fixed, and you have it), whereas praise for effort tended to put them in a growth mind-set (you’re developing these skills because you’re working hard).

We then offered students a chance to work on either a challenging task that they could learn from or an easy one that ensured error-free performance. Most of those praised for intelligence wanted the easy task, whereas most of those praised for effort wanted the challenging task and the opportunity to learn.

Next, the students worked on some challenging problems. As a group, students who had been praised for their intelligence lost their confidence in their ability and their enjoyment of the task as soon as they began to struggle with the problem. If success meant they were smart, then struggling meant they were not. The whole point of intelligence praise is to boost confidence and motivation, but both were gone in a flash. Only the effort-praised kids remained, on the whole, confident and eager.

When the problems were made somewhat easier again, students praised for intelligence did poorly, having lost their confidence and motivation. As a group, they did worse than they had done initially on these same types of problems. The students praised for effort showed excellent performance and continued to improve.

Finally, when asked to report their scores (anonymously), almost 40 percent of the intelligence-praised students lied. Apparently, their egos were so wrapped up in their performance that they couldn’t admit mistakes. Only 10 percent of the effort-praised students saw fit to falsify their results.

Praising students for their intelligence, then, hands them, not motivation and resilience but a fixed mind-set with all its vulnerability. In contrast, effort or “process” praise (praise for engagement, perseverance, strategies, improvement, and the like) fosters hardy motivation. It tells students what they’ve done to be successful and what they need to do to be successful again in the future.

Process praise sounds like this:

  • You really studied for your English test, and your improvement shows it. You read the material over several times, outlined it, and tested yourself on it. That really worked!
  • I like the way you tried all kinds of strategies on that math problem until you finally got it.
  • It was a long, hard assignment, but you stuck to it and got it done. You stayed at your desk, kept up your concentration, kept working. That’s great!
  • I like that you took on that challenging project for your science class. It will take a lot of work-doing the research, designing the machine, buying the parts, and building it. You’re going to learn a lot of great things.

. . . 7th grade because this is a time of great vulnerability. School often gets more difficult in 7th grade, grading becomes more stringent, and the environment becomes more impersonal. Many students take stock of themselves and their intellectual abilities at this time and decide whether they want to be involved with school.

They learned that the brain is like a muscle-the more they exercise it, the stronger it becomes. They learned that every time they try hard and learn something new, their brain forms new connections that, over time, make them smarter. They learned that intellectual development is not the natural unfolding of intelligence, but rather the formation of new connections brought about through effort and learning.

Check out this wonderful resource here!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Heart of Leader

Ken Blanchard’s book, The Heart of Leader is filled with great quotes. I would like to share several with you.

Remember, the best leaders are those who understand that their power flows through them, not from them. p. 3

. . . give praise immediately, make it specific, and finally, encourage people to keep up the good work. p. 5

. . . praise progress . . . p. 7

The more attention you pay to a behavior, the more it will be repeated. Accentuating the positive and redirecting the negative are the best tools for increasing productivity. p. 9

You get from people what you expect. p. 10

People are motivated to do things that provide them with feedback on results. Feedback is important to people. p. 15

No one can make you feel interior with your permission Eleanor Roosevelt p. 16

The belief that I control my own self-esteem permits me to listen to and hear their feedback in a nondefensive way – looking to see if there is something I can learn. p. 17

Get your ego out of the way and move on p. 22

The minute you decide to be part of a team, you’re going to lose some things and gain others. p. 23

When you stop learning, you stop growing. p. 30

What you resist, persists. Until you deal with your feelings, you will be stuck with them. p. 37

If you don’t take time out to think, strategize, and prioritize, you will work a whole lot harder, without enjoying the benefits of a job smartly done. p. 39

Anything worth doing does not have to be done perfectly – at first. p. 44

Managers should recognize that good performance – both their own and their people’s – is a journey, not an announced destination. Everyone learns by doing. It takes time and practice to achieve specific goals. p. 45

My teaching example parallels the three parts of an effective review system: performance planning when goals and objectives are set, day-to-day coaching when ongoing feedback is given, and performance evaluation when overall performance is determined.

In business, communicating performance objectives – giving people the final exam questions ahead of time – is the perfect way to ensure that everyone is working from the same sheet of music and headed in the right direction. Once goals are clear, leaders should wander around and “teach people the answers” so when they take the final exam, they will get A’s. After all, that’s what life is all about! p. 49

Character is following through on decisions. p. 80

A lot of people love to make announcements-yet it’s commitments, not announcements, that really matter. Commitment involves making sure that what you intend to do or what you announce you will do actually gets done. p. 81

Vision is a lot more than putting a plaque on the wall. A real vision is lived, not framed. p. 94

All good performance starts with clear goals. p. 96

An important way to motivate your people is to make sure they know where they are going. p. 97

When you ask people about the best leader they ever had, one quality is always mentioned: they are good listeners. p. 103

Observing successful people over the years, I’ve noticed that they don’t let disappointments stop them. When one door closes, they look for another to open. p. 105

To learn from the past is good, but to live there is a waste. To plan for the future is good, but to live there is a waste. You are happiest and most productive in life when you are living in the present. p. 121

. . . called people live by the philosophy that everything is on loan. They contend that we come into this world with nothing, and we leave with nothing. p. 125

Choose work you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. p. 132

You want to get rid of the behavior, not the person. p. 137

It’s surprising how much you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit. Abraham Lincoln p. 150

. . . ego really stands foe “edging God out.” p. 183

To order this book click here!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jesus and the Hope of His Coming

I recently finished the little devotional book, Jesus and the Hope of His Coming. It is a wonderful book to encourage the believer about the return of our Lord. Let me share a few quotes from the book:

Years later I had the opportunity to visit the Radio Bible Class ministry offices in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and see Dr. DeHaan's study. What impressed me the most was not his great library but a single plaque that seemed to radiate truth from his bookshelf. In large black letters, it read, PERHAPS TODAY. p. 10

No man will be anxious for Christ to come while he has everything he wants here below, and is quite satisfied with it . . . You must set loose. . . the world, or you cannot sincerely say to Jesus, "Come," and that is the very spirit of an earnest worker. Charles Spurgeon p. 19

The imminent return of our Lord is the great Bible argument for a pure, unselfish, devoted, unworldly, active life of service. R.A. Torrey p. 25

When it comes to Christ's return, there are two kinds of Christians: those who wait passively, and those who wait actively. p. 25

The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions, and the nearer we get to Him the more intensely missionary we become. Henry Martyn p. 26

As we earnestly seek God for revival, we must not forsake the essential tasks of the church; preaching the truth, evangelism, and a vital interest in and support for missions. Erroll Hulse p. 27

We need to hold the present with a slack hand, so as to be ready to fold our tents and take to the road if God will. Alexander MacLaren p. 27

If we are faithful to God in little things, we shall gain experience and strength that will be helpful to us in the more serious trails of life. Hudson Taylor p. 110

Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisers. Author Unknown p. 111

Dr. George W. Truett, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, tells of a prominent, unbelieving doctor in that city who regularly attended one of the church's Sunday morning services with his Christian wife. On this particular Sunday they were seated in the front row of the balcony. During the invitation the pastor grimaced as he saw a 12-year-old, mentally retarded girl go to the doctor and begin talking to him. Dr. Truett groaned, believing that this little girl - known to be an outspoken witness for Christ - would probably turn the doctor off. But a brief one stanza later, the doctor, who had been the object of many prayers, came forward to receive Christ.

As they were leaving the church that Sunday, the pastor asked the physician what it was that caused him to come forward. The doctor said, "It was what little Mille said to me. You see, she has been my patient her entire life. From birth we knew that she would be mentally retarded, but I have grown to love her and she, me. After your sermon she was so concerned for my soul, she came over and said to me, "Doctor, do you want to go to heaven with us?" I replied, "No!" Then she sadly responded, "Then you will have to go to hell." Suddenly I realized she was right. If I did not receive Jesus I would be eternally lost. I owe my conversion to Mille's gentle frankness."

Mille could never teach a Sunday school class, preach a sermon, or even give her testimony in public. But she was a bold witness for her Lord and did not hesitate to urge all she knew to accept the Savior. pp. 111-113

In the teachings of Jesus Christ the element of judgment is always brought out - it is the sign of the love of God. Oswald Chambers p. 118

To order this book click here!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder

My all time favorite football player wrote a book about a disorder he has. I enjoyed reading Herschel Walker's book, Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder. He talks a lot about his life growing up and his time as a college and pro football player. He is brutally honest. I have only quoted from the end of the book. He talks about a one-of-a-kind figurines made by Lladro'.  He says:

The difference between the sculptures and man is simple. Once a figurine is broken, it cannot be restored to its original beauty and elegance. However, when a man is broken by life's traumas, the great Master Potter can repair and restore him as if completely unscarred by life's suffering. When God picks up the pieces of our lives, He reshapes, refines, and reconstructs us. Then we become the vessel God intended us to be.

By contrast, a Lladro' piece, although beautiful, does not feel pain or sorrow. It has known neither disappointment nor loneliness, nor ever shed a tear. If it is never touched by life, it will retain its beauty forever. However, once it leaves the Lladro's' hands, it becomes very vulnerable. If it is broken, its creator cannot restore it to perfection. p. 233

There is an account in the Bible of Jeremiah going to a potter's house to observe him remaking a broken vessel. The craftsman turned the clay on the wheel and formed it with his hands until it was without blemish. As Jeremiah watched the transformation of the clay, the Lord said to him, "Just as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand."

Now when I look in the mirror with the knowledge that I am in the Master Potter's hands, I realize that Herschel is just a piece of clay spinning on the Potter's wheel. I am being remade, reshaped, and worked into a new vessel. When I see cracks and chips, I simply remind myself that I am a work in progress.

I sincerely believe that God is creating a special vessel who will be able to transcend geographic and cultural borders.

Some of the Lladro' figurines bear the original signature of their creator, whereas you and I have been tattooed into the palm of God's hand with His own unique signature on our lives.  

Each year, certain Lladro' pieces are retired; but we can rest in the assurance that we will never be retired by our Master Potter.  pp.237-238

To order this book click here!

A Little Extra Effort

I finally found time to read Fred Smith's book, A Little Extra Effort. Fred ran for Governor, but lost in the primary a few weeks ago. This is the book he sent to the people of  North Carolina. A few good quotes are listed below:

Greatness requires great effort. p. 28

The difference between good and great is a little extra effort. p. 28

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. Ralph Waldo Emerson p. 51

Never give in, never, never, never, never, - in nothing great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Sir Winston Churchill p. 75

There are no easy answers - there are simple answers that require moral courage. Ronald Reagan p. 145

To order a copy of this book click here!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Here are the other "Presidential Fun Facts" from Cedarville University's TORCH:

The oldest president at the time of election was Ronald Reagan, age 69, while the youngest at election was John F. Kennedy, age 43. (At age 42, Teddy Roosevelt was actually younger when he became president, but he ascended to the White House upon the assassination of William McKinley.) Note: John McCain is 71 and Barack Obama is 46.

Four presidential candidates have won the popular vote but lost the election in the Electoral College:

  • Andrew Jackson, 1824
  • Samuel J. Tilden, 1876
  • Grover Cleveland, 1888
  • Al Gore, 2000

The president with the highest popular vote in American history was Ronald Reagan in 1984 with 54.4 million votes. He also had the highest electoral vote with 525 (carried 49 states).

One president served two non-consecutive terms: Grover Cleveland (1884 and 1892)

The lowest voter turnout percentage in American presidential election history was in 1992 with only 49.1 percent voting. That means that approximately 24.5 percent of the electorate put Bill Clinton into his first term as president.

George W. Bush defeated Al Gore for the presidency in 2000. The race came down to a single state and several hundred votes.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


If you have not seen the movie, FlyWheel, then you need to go to the nearest Blockbuster and check in out! Eric Wilson turned the movie into a book. I have just one part of the book quoted below. It is Jay Austin's Dad praying for Jay.

Lord, I thank You for my son, Jay. And I thank You that he's turned his heart to You. Thank You for receiving him, and for cleaning him and directing his path. I praise You, Lord, for what You've done in him. Now, Lord, in Your name, I bless him with courage, with faith, and with integrity. Lord, I call him a man of strength, of love, and grace. I ask, as Jay's earthly father, that You would rain down favor on him, that he would know he is loved and treasured, that You would bless whatever he touches. This is my son, Lord, and I give him back to You. Lord, I love him. Keep him and bless him. In Jesus' name, amen.

To order the book click here!

Friday, June 13, 2008


The Spring/Summer 2008 issue of Torch also has some "Presidential Fun Facts" that I found interesting:

Presidential Fun Facts

George W. Bush has had one of the highest approval ratings and one of the lowest approval ratings of any of the presidents during his terms in office (90 percent and 29 percent, respectively).

Attempts have been made to assassinate 10 presidents; four were successful.
  • Assassinated: Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy
  • Attempts: Jackson, T. Roosevelt, F. Roosevelt, Truman, Ford, and Reagan

The order of presidential succession established by the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 makes the speaker of the House (currently Nancy Pelosi) third in line after the president and vice president.

Five pairs of presidents have been related:

  • George H.W. Bush is the father of George W. Bush
  • John Adams was the father of John Q. Adams
  • William Henry Harrison was the grandfather of Benjamin Harrison
  • James Madison and Zachary Taylor were second cousins
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt was a fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt.

A presidential candidate needs 270 Electoral College votes to become president.

The next president will be paid $400,000 per year in salary.

More presidents were Episcopalians than any other denomination. The second most common affiliation is Presbyterian.

This is half of the fun facts. I will list the other half in another post.


Cedarville University publishes a magazine called, Torch. It usually has many interesting articles. The Spring/Summer 2008 issue is all about Power. Politics, and the Presidency. I share the thoughts below to encourage you and motivate you to pray and take action for our country.

As Christians we must knowledgeably choose leaders of good character - leaders who are concerned about human life, freedom, justice, and security; leaders who make decisions based on principles, not polls; leaders who have a vision, not an agenda. So let's pray, read, talk, and be involved. We have the choice - the privilege, the responsibility - to engage in the selection of the next president. Let's make our voice heard.

Visit Cedarville's website here!


Here is a thought from the May/June issue of Illumine:

It is reasonable to draw the conclusion that in worship, it is important both to think deeply about God and to have a "heart" that responds to God's person and presence.


I receive a publication from Bryan College called, Illumine. It has some awesome thoughts. You can use the link at the bottom of this entry to check out the website, Bryan Center. I wanted to share one thought from a recent issue:

In Christian colleges we must spend less time critiquing popular culture and more time liberally educating culture shapers.

As a Christain School Educator, I can attest this to be very true. We need change agents in our society today who have a Christian Worldview!

Check out their site here!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

God Bless America: Prayers & Reflections For Our Country

I just finished reading the little devotional book, God Bless America: Prayer & Reflections For Our Country. It has lots of scripture verses and quotes by Presidents and famous Americans. I have only listed a few quotes below:

When we work, we work. When we pray, God works. -J. Hudson Taylor p. 38

Before there can be fullness there must be emptiness. Before God can fill us with Himself we must first be emptied of ourselves. -A.W. Tozer p. 114

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6: 9-10 p. 126

The integrity of the upright guides them Proverbs 11:3 p. 127

Righteous guards the man of integrity Proverbs 13:6 p. 127

To order this book click here!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Deeper Water

I just finished Robert Whitlow's newsest book, Deeper Water. It was good, but seemed a different style then his other books. I just have one quote to share with you, but I think it is a big one!

I knew the praise of men was a hollow substitute for the approval of God! p. 379

To order this book click here!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hope Pure and simple Part 3

Here is the rest of the quotes from Max Lucado's book, Hope pure and simple.

218 We have a Father who is at His best when we are at our worst. A Father whose grace is strongest when our devotion is weakest.

243 Your goodness can't win God's love. Nor can your badness lose it. But you can resist it.

249 With God there are no accidents. Every incident is intended to bring us closer to Him.

250 God is using today's difficulties to strengthen you for tomorrow.

290 On the eve of the cross, Jesus made His decision. He would rather go to hell for you than go to heaven without you.

293 Of all the blessings of heaven, one of the greatest will be you! You will be God's magnum opus, His work of art. The angels will gasp. God's work will be completed. At last, you will have a heart like His.

294 How could a loving God send people to hell? He doesn't. He simply honors the choice of sinners.

295 Please understand. God's goal is not to make you happy. His goal is to make you His. His goal is not to get you what you want; it is to get you what you need.

296 God's highest dream is not to make us rich, not to make us successful or popular or famous. God's dream is to make us right with Him.

304 When Jesus went home He left the front door open.

314 You hang as God's work of art, a testimony in His gallery of grace.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hope: pure and simple Part 2

Here are a few more great quotes from Max Lucado's book, Hope: pure and simple.

113 No struggle will come your way apart from God's purpose, presence, and permission.

122 Don't measure the size of the mountain; talk to the One who can move it.

140 The power of prayer does not depend on the one who makes the prayer but on the One who hears the prayer.

141 Think of prayers less as an activity for God and more as an awareness of God.

154 Since you are God's idea, you are a good idea.

156 You will never be completely happy on earth simply because you were not made for earth.

157 God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.

161 Don't ask God to do what you want. Ask God to do what is right.

181 God will use whatever He wants to display His glory. Heavens and stars. History and nations. People and problems.

190 God is never too late or too early, too fast or too slow. He has always been and always will be right.

199 Focus on giants-you stumble. Focus on God-your giants tumble.

More later!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hope: pure and simple Part 1

I just finished a little book by Max Lucado titled, Hope: pure and simple. It list 316 thoughts to lift your soul. Each one is numbered. I have listed the number with the quote below:

24 God rested after six days of work, and the world didn't collapse. What makes us think it will if we do?

25 God is greater than our weakness. In fact, our weakness reveals how great God is.

32 Nothing comes your way that has not first passed through the filter of God's love.

35 You aren't an accident; you are a gift to the world, a divine work of art, signed by God.

40 Don't think God is listening to your prayers? Indeed He is. But He may have higher plans.

43 When you turn to God for help, He runs to you to help.

49 Write today's worries in sand. Chisel yesterday's victories in stone.

52 If you want to touch God's heart, use the name He loves to hear. Call Him Father.

76 You cannot be anything you want to be. But you can be everything God wants you to be.

84 In every age of history, on every page of Scripture, the truth is revealed: God allows us to make our own choices.

85 The God-centered life works. And it recues us from a life that doesn't.

86 Rather than worry about anything, "pray about everything."

88 What people think of us matters not. What they think of God matters all.

90 You may go days without thinking of God, but there's never a moment when He's not thinking of you.

92 The purpose of prayer is not to change God but to change us.

100 When all of earth turns against you, all of heaven turns toward you.

I will continue to list more from this book at a later date. To order this book click here!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Check out the new movie from the same folks who made "Facing the Giants."

Check out this link.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Presumed Guilty

I just finished reading James Scott Bell's book, Presumed Guilty. It starts off slow, but picks up and finishes strong. I very much enjoyed it. This is the first book I have read of his, but I will be reading more. I will just leave one quote that is near the end of the book. I trust you will enjoy it.

"You reading that Bible again?" Ernesto's head hung down from the top bunk, looking at me.
"You know," I said, "I think I've discovered that the Bible is reading me."
"What are you talking about, man?"
"You really want to know?"
"I got nothing else goin' on."
I sat up. Ernesto dropped off his bunk and sat on mine. We had reached a point of mutual tolerance and even, on occasion, conversation. It usually happened like this, in the twilight time between chow and lights-out. Ernesto sometimes got downright chatty then.
"It's like this," I said. "I used to read the Bible just to get something out of it for me, like for my sermons or to back up something I was going to say in a book."
"But the Bible is living and active, sharper than any double-edge sword."
"What's that mean?" He looked interested. But I must say he was a true example of a captive audience.
"It means it reads me. It cuts me up. But I have to let it."
"You sound a little out there, man, you want to know the truth."
"Yeah, it sounds a little nuts. But God is doing the cutting, see, inside me. He's cutting out all the stuff I don't need, that I used to let get in the way. Now I've got plenty of time to let God do his work."
Ernesto was quiet for a long time. Then he said, "My grandmother used to try to get me to go to Mass. I couldn't take it. I got bored. Guess I had some of that attention thing."
"Deficit disorder."
"You gringos are great with the labels. But I always thought when I was in church that there was something going on, something I couldn't see, but it was there. It was floating around. Think that was God?"
"Definitely. But then I'd go one step further and say there's a way to know all about that presence. And it's in this book."
"We can talk about it if you want."
"You gonna try to convert me?"
"No, If that happens, it'll be because of the Word and the Spirit. But I'm thinking maybe there's a reason you and I were put in the same cell together."
"Yeah, so I can keep you from getting stabbed in the back. You are so white."
"Maybe I can return the favor."
"If I get bored, and I tell you to stop, you stop, got it?"
I took the Bible back and in that moment asked God what I should start with. The beginning. It didn't take a bright bulb to catch on to that.
So I started with, "In the beginning God..."
And for two straight hours Ernesto was not bored. He did not ask me to stop, and I felt for the first time in years that my preaching was anointed by God. Right there in a prison cell. 

To order a copy of this book click here!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

the wounded spirit Part 2

The title of this last section of this book is "Help for the Wounded." Some excellent information.

  • First of all, if you're wounded, you're not alone. If you discovered some "defect" in yourself, welcome to the human race. Regardless of your failures, foiles, or defeats, you're just as human (and just as precious) as anybody else. You're a member. p. 125
  • And how about this startling revelation: It wasn't (isn't) your fault. One of the most coomon mistakes made by victims of abuse is to think for some reason the abuse was justified, that they actually deserved it. Nothing could be farther from the truth. p. 126
  • . . . you don't have to put up with it. You really don't. Those in authority need to care, and you should expect them to care. Forget about that foolish, childhood code of silence: Speak up. Let someone know what's going on, and ask them - yes, expect them - to do something about it. You deserve to be regarded as God's unique, special creation - beacuse you are! pp. 129-130
  • Finally, take heart. A wounded spirit need not be permanent. p. 143

God does not waste an ounce of our pain or a drop of our tears; suffering doesn't come our way for no reason, and He seems especially efficient at using what we endure to mold our character. If we are malleable, He takes our bumps and bruises and shapes them into something beautiful.

. . . we are called to be Jesus to the world around us, to demonstrate in word and deed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Come Thirsty Part 4

Below are quotes from chapters 14-17 from Max Lucado's book, Come Thirsty.

May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Eph. 3:17-19) p. 126

For any desiring a descent into such love, Scriptures offers an anchor. Grab hold of this verse and let it lower you down: "God is love" (1John 4:16). p. 127

One word into the passage reveals the sumpreme surprise of God's love-it has nothing to do with you. p. 127

Joe Allbright is a fair and fearless West Texas rancher, a square-jawed, rawboned man with a neck by Rawlings. In Andrews County, where I was raised, everyone knew him.
One of Joe's sons, James, and I were best friends in high school. We played football together. (More honest, he played while I guarded the team bench.) One Friday night after an out-of-town game, James invited me to stay at his house. By the time we reached his property, the hour was way past midnight, and he hadn't told his father he was bringing anyone home.

Mr. Allbright didn't know me or my vehicle, so when I stepped out of the car in front of his house, he popped on a floodlight and aimed it right at my face. Through the glare I saw this block of a man (I think he was in his underwear), and I heard his deep voice. "Who are you?" I gulped. My mind moved at the speed of cold honey. I started to say my name but didn't. Mr Allbright doesn't know me. My only hope was that James would speak up. A glacier could have melted before he did so. Finally he interceded. "It's okay, Dad. That's my friend Max. He's with me." The light went off, and Mr. Allbright threw open the door. "Come on in, boys. Food is in the kitchen."

What changed? What made Mr. Allbright flip off the light? One fact. I had aligned myself with his son. My sudden safety had nothing to do with my accomplishments or offerings. I knew his son. Period.

For the same reason, you need never fear God's judgment. Not today. Not on Judgment Day. Jesus, in the light of God's glory, is speaking on your behalf. "That's my friend," He says. And when He does, the door of heaven opens.

Trust God's love. His perfect love. Don't fear He will discover your past. He already has. Don't fear disappointing Him in the future. He can show you the chapter in which you will. With perfect knowledge of the past and perfect vision of the future, He loves you perfectly in spite of both.

Perfect love can handle your fear of judgment. pp. 147-148

Monday, April 21, 2008

the wounded spirit Part 1

I picked up Frank Peretti's small book, the wounded spirit, at Good Will several months ago. I had no idea what it was about until I started reading it. Mr. Peretti was made fun of and bullied as he grew up. He had what was called cystic hygroma. It is a lesion caused by a mass of dilated lymphatics, due to the failure of the embryonic lymphatics to connect with the venous system. This not only affected his facial features but also his tongue (both visually and the way he talked). The focus of the book is how bullying effects others and how to stop it. He also talks a little about world view. Here are a few quotes from the book:

[I suggest that every human being is born with a sense of transcent justice because every human being, whether they acknowledge it or not, is made in the image of God. God is a moral God, a moral law Giver, and He has written His moral law upon the heart of every human being. When people try to get around this, it makes for a wacky world. They'll often smack into themselves coming the other way in the same sentence:

  • It's wrong to impose your morals on others!

Uh . . . pardon me, but when you tell me it's wrong to do something, aren't you imposing your morals on me?

  • No one's moral opinion is valid because we all speak from how we've been indoctrinated.

Well, I guess that would apply to you as well, which means you've just said isn't valid.

  • There are no absolutes.

That in itself is an absolute statement.

  • Everyone should be able to believe whatever they want.

Then why are you arguing with me?

  • Life is meaningless!

Would you consider that a meaningful statement?

  • You can't know anything for sure.

You seen rather sure about that.

  • Students, no view of reality is superior to any other.

Then why are you grading our papers?

  • You have no right to say truth is external! We all create our own reality!

Then I'm your fault.

  • Oh, here we go again, another right-wing fundamentalist making bold assertions of fact!

Pardon me, but didn't you just make a bold assertion of fact?

  • There is no right; there is no wrong.

Is that statement right or wrong?

  • You can't tell anybody they're wrong.

Am I wrong in doing so? pp. 117-118

The prophet Micah reminds us, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and waht does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Mic. 6:8). God has created us in His image and put each of us here on earth for specific purposes. That means every human being has intrinsic value, preciousness, meaning, and dignity. Why? Because we matter to Almighty God! Moreover, not only is it wrong for me to devalue another person, to belittle, to bully, or to abuse another person created in God's image, I must do what I can to defend those who cannot defend themselves from such abuse. We really are "family," whether or not we choose to admit it. The Scripture says, "And He has made from one blood every nation of man to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:26-28).

God says that it is right to respect my fellowman, to love him, to care for him, and to protect him. It is wrong to abuse, tease, taunt, intimidate, hurt, harass, or violate anyone. Taking it a step further, to demean another person is sin. When we indulge in such practices, we are doing so in direct disobedience to our Lord Jesus Christ. Quoting Old Testament passages found in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, Jesus said, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27). Don't miss that last part. Another time, Jesus stated it plainly: "Whastever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 7:12). pp. 119-120

To order this book click here!

Abigail Adams

I just finished a 1937 edition of Janet Whitney's book, Abigail Adams. From what I understand Janet was a early woman's libber. You cannot detect that by reading the book. She does present Abigail Adams in a positive light, but I believe everything she says is true.

It is interesting to read an older book about the history of America. Most of the modern secular books over the last 50 years has re-written most of our history.

Take for instance this quote from page 127: "Last Sunday, after service, the Declaration of Independence was read from the pulpit by order of Council. Dr. Chauncy's address please me [Abigail]. The good man, after having read it, lifted his eyes and hands to heaven, 'God bless the United States of America, and let all the people say Amen.'"

Many times church, prayer, God, Jesus, etc are mentioned in a positive light. Also, the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams was shown to not be a good one. If you enjoy history this would be a good book for you to read.

To order this book click here!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Curriculum in the Classroom of a Christian School

The following quotes are taken from the ACSI Christian School Education Vol. 11 Nu 3 maginize article "Curriculum in the Classroom of a Christian School. pp. 28-30. Even though it is written for Christian School Educators, I believe everyone will find principles they can apply.

In effective classrooms, teachers consistently attend to at least four elements: whom they teach (students), where they teach (learning environment), what they teach (content), and how they teach (instruction). quoted from Tomlinson and McTighe 2006.

Curriculum is the taught curriculum. What teachers choose to engage in, in their classrooms with their students, is the curriculum. Curriculum is what the children learn and what becomes part of their lives. It cannot be reduced to a list of subjects or a philosophy statement, a scope and sequence or a textbook. These are essential parts of the curriculum documents, but as Edlin describes, these are tracks, the points, and switches that determine the path: "The curriculum is the engine that empowers the whole process."

Christian curriculum can be taught in any subject and classroom of Christian schools. It is certainly easier to make the links to Christian principles in my World Religions class than in my Advanced Placement Chemistry class, but that fact is part of the challengeof being a Christian teacher.

Curriculum used in the classrooms of Christians need not be limited to what has been written by Christian authors and published by Christian publishing companies.

Stop for a moment and ask yourself what your students would write if they had to write "the gospel of my teacher." More than likely they will remember the hidden curriculum-not what you said but what you modeled-the things you considered really important. As John Maxwell puts it, "People do what people see. They forget your words but follow your footsteps."

As Christian teachers, we need to ask the following questions: What is the taught curriculum in my classroom? What will my students carry into their futures? Is my hidden content based on a Biblical view that Christians are children of God, saved by grace, or is it based on humanistic models of child development and human personality?

Education is not so much about learning as it is about learning how to know what we can afford to ignore and forget.

In our teaching, as in Jesus' ministry, there should be a strong link between the standards and benchmarks (objectives) and the outcomes. Students need to know what is important not to forget.

Assessment, reinforcement, and review that link back to both the declarative knowledge and the procedural knowledge will then enable students to retrieve and apply the knowledge in real-life situations.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Come Thirsty Part 3

Below are quotes from chapters 10-13. Some very good and encouraging words.

God's ways are always right. They may not make sense to us. They may be mysterious, inexplicable, difficult, and even painful. But they are right. p. 97

Regarding the things about which we fret:
  • 40 percent never happen
  • 30 percent regard unchangeable deeds of the past
  • 12 percent focus on the opinions of others that cannot be controlled
  • 10 percent center on personal health, which only worens as we worry about it
  • 8 percent concern real problems that we can influence

Ninety-two percent of our worries are needless! pp. 101-102

Worry betrays a fragile faith, an "unconscious blasphemy." We don't intentionally doubt God, but don't we, when we worry, essentially doubt God? We assume the attitude of a kid asking Michelangelo, "You sure you know what to do with that rock? p. 102

Want to worry less? Then pray more. Rather than look forward in fear, look upward in faith. p. 103

Are you afraid of a giant? Then recall the lion and the bear. Don't look forward in fear; look backward in appreciation. God's proof is God's past. Forgetfulness sires fearfulness, but a good memory makes for a good heart. p. 104

In Ps. 91:1-16 there are sixteen verses that collaborate to envision one image: God as your guardian. See if you can spot the most common word of the psalm:

"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest."

"He will rescue you."

"He will shield you."

"He will shelter you."

"Evils will not touch you."

"They [angles] will hold you."

"The LORD says, 'I will rescue.'"

"I will protect you."

"I will answer."

"I will be with them."

"I will rescue."

"I will satisfy." p. 118

As you walk, He leads. As you sleep, He patrols. "He will shield you with His wings. He will shelter you with His feathers." v. 4 p. 119

God, your gardian, protects you from:

"every trap" v.3

"the fatal plague" v.3

"the plague that stalks in darkness" v. 6

"the terrors of the night . . . the dangers of the day" v. 5 p. 119

Have bad things really happened to you? You and God may have different definitions for the word bad. Parents and children do. Look up the word bad in a middle-schooler's dictionary, and you'll read definitions such as "pimple on nose," "Friday night all alone," or "pop quiz in geometry." Dad, this is really bad!" the youngster says. Dad, having been around the block a time or two, thinks differently. Pimples pass. And it won't be long before you'll treasure a quiet evening at home. Inconvenience? Yes. Misfortune? Sure. But bad? Save that adjective for emergency rooms and cemeteries.

What's bad to a child isn't always bad to a dad.

What you and I might rate as an absolute diaster, God may rate as a pimple-level problem that will pass. He views your life the way you view a movie after you've read the book. When something bad happens, you feel the air sucked out of the theater. Everyone else gasps at the crisis on the screen. Not you. Why? You've read the book. You know how the good guy gets out of the tight spot. God views your life with the same confidence. He's not only read your story . . . He wrote it. His perspective is different, and His purpose is clear.

God uses struggles to toughen our spiritual skin.

Consider it a sher gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4) pp. 120-121

Did you know that the smith in silversmith comes from the old English word smite? Silversmiths are accomplished smiters. So is God. Once the worker is satisfied with the form of his tool, he begins to planish and pumice it. Using smaller hammers and abrasive pads, he taps, rubs, and decorates. And no one stops him. No one yanks the hammer out of his hand and sys, "Go easy on that silver. You're pounded enough!" No, the craftsman buffets the metal until he is finished with it. Some silversmiths, I'm told, keeppolishing until they can se their face in the tool. When will God stop with you? When He sees His reflection in you. "The LORD will perfect that which concerns me" (Ps. 138:8). Jesus said, My Father never stops working" (John 5:17).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Velvet Elvis

You know, all truth is God's truth. Therefore even though some books we read may contain false teaching they also will contain some truth. I just finished reading Rod Bell's book, Velvet Elvis. Even though I think he is off on several points, he still makes some good points. I have listed them below:

First, no amount of success can heal a person's soul. In fact, success makes it worse. If you have issues surrounding your identity, those issues will not go away if you "make it." p. 110

There is a great saying in the recovery movement: "Whever you go, there you are." That's why when we talk with people who are itching to leave town because they "just need to get out of here," we know they will be back. Often they find out whatever it is, it went with them. The problem is not the town. The problem is somewhere inside of them. p. 111

Success doesn't fix anything. We have the same problems and compulsions and addicitions, only now we have more stress and more problems and more pressure. p. 111

Superpastor is always available to everyone and accomplishes great things but always has time to stop and talk and never misses anyone's birthday and if you are sick h's at the hospital and you can call him at home whenever you need advice and he loves meetings and spends hours studying and praying and yet you can interrupt him if you need something - did I mention he always puts his family first? p. 115

I began to sort out with those around me what God did make me to do. What kept coming up was that my life work is fundamentally creative in nature. And creating has its own rhythms, its own pace. Inspiration comes at strange times when you create. And inspiration comes because of discipline. And discipline comes when you organize your life in specific, intentional ways. It means saying yes to certain things and no to other things. And then sticking to it. p. 115

I went to the leaders of our church and shared with them my journey as it was unfolding. I told them if they needed to release me and find superpastor, I understood. If we don't know who we are or where we're trying to go, we put the people around us in an uncomfortable position. They are doing the best they can with what they have, but sometimes we haven't given them much, have we? p. 116

And when we begin to pursue becoming the people God made us to be, we give them more and more to go on. p. 116

Sabbath is taking a day a week to remind myself that I did not make the world and that it will continue to exist without my efforts.

Sabbath is a day when my work is done, even if it isn't.

Sabbath is a day when my job is to enjoy. Period.

Sabbath is a day when I am fully available to myself and those I love most.

Sabbath is a day when I remember that when God made the world, He saw that is was good.

Sabbath is a day when I produce nothing.

Sabbath is a day when I remind myself that I am not a machine.

Sabbath is a day when at the end I say, "I didn't do anything today." and I don't add, "And I feel so guilty."

Sabbath is a day when my phone is turned off, I don't check my email, and you can't get ahold of me. pp. 117-118

To order this book click here!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Come Thirsty Part 2

Below are some quotes from Max Lucado's book, Come Thirsty, No Heart Too Dry for His Touch. Part 2 covers chapters 6-9. To order this book see Part 1.

You began your life in Christ by the Spirit. Now are you trying to make it complete by your own power? That is foolish (Gal. 3:3) p. 57

As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so continue to live in Him (Col. 2:6) . p. 58

How does one receive Christ? By coming thirsty and drinking deeply. How, then, does one live in Christ? By coming thirsty and drinking deeply. p. 58

When you do, saving power becomes staying power. " God, who began the good workin you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus come back again." (Phil. 1:6) p. 58

The real question is not, how do I get more of the Spirit? but rather, how can you, Spirit, have more of me? p. 60

... God opened the floodgates on the greatest movement [Pentecost] in history. It began because the followers were wiiling to do one thing: wait in the right place for power. p. 66

... waiting doesn't mean inactivity - rather inHIMactivity. p. 66

For ten days the disciples prayed. Ten days of prayer plus a few minutes of preaching led to three thousand saved souls. p. 67

Change your definition of prayer. Think of prayers less as an activity for God and more as an awareness of God. Seek to live in uninterrupted awareness. Acknowledge His presence everywhere you go. As you stand in line to registar your car, think, Thank you, Lord, for being here. In the grocery store as you shop, Your presence, my King, I welcome. As you wash the dishes, worship your Maker. Brother Lawrence did. This well-known saint called himself the "lord of pots and pans." In his book, The Practice of the Presence of God, he wrote:

The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon knees at the blessed sacrament." p. 68

God gets His fingers into our lives, inch by inch reclaiming the territory that is rightfully His.
Your tongue. He claims it for His message.
Your feet. He requisitions them for His purpose.
Your mind? He made it and intends to use it for His glory.
Your eyes, face, and hands? Through them He will weep, smile, and touch. p. 72

C.S. Lewis put it well:
Christ says, "Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. ... Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the desires you think wicked-the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours." p. 74

And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. p. 75

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Come Thirsty Part 1

I'm teaching a Power Walk class at church called "Come Thirsty." It is based on Max Lucado's book, Come Thirsty. Therefore, I am now reading the book. Max is a great story teller. So all of his books are easy reads. I just finished chapter five. Below are a few quotes from this book:

Eph. 2:4-9

Look how grace defines us. We are:
  • spiritually alive: "He gave us life" v. 5
  • heavenly positioned: "seated with Him in the heavenly realms" v.6
  • connected to God: "one with Christ Jesus" v.6
  • billboards of mercy: "examples of the incredible wealth of His favor and kindness toward us" v.7
  • honored children: "God saved you by His special favor" v.8 from p. 33
People hold no clot. Only God does. p. 36

You hang as God's work of art, a testimony in His gallery of grace. p. 36

Angels watch body burials the same way grandparents monitor delivery-room doors. "He'll be coming through any minute!" They can't wait to see the new arrival. While we're driving hearses and wearing black, they're hanging pink and blue streamers and passing out cigars. We don't grieve when babies enter the world. The hosts of heaven don't weep when we leave it. pp. 41-42

Max's study is based on the WELL:

Receieve Christ's:
Work on the the cross
Energy of His Spirit
Lordship over your life
Love, unending, unfailing

To order this book click here!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

My Grandfather's Son Part 3

I'm sure you are enjoying reading quotes from My Grandfather's Son. Listed below are the last four chapters (7-10). Please use the link from Part 1 if you would like to order this book.

One reporter told me that good news about civil rights simply wasn't "newsworthy" during the Reagan years. p. 162

[a prayer Thomas keeps in his wallet attributed to St. Francis of Assisi] "Keep a clear eye toward life's end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God's creature. What you are in His sight is what you are and nothing more. Do not let worldly cares and anxieties or the pressures of office blot out the divine life within you or the voice of God's spirit guiding you in your great task of leading humanity to wholeness. If you open yourself to God and His plan printed in your heart, God will open Himself to you." p. 181

[Senator Danforth talking to Thomas before the going to the Caucus room to face the Judiciary Committee] "You'll probably think I'm strange to ask you to do this," he said kiddingly, but by then I wasn't able to see the humor in much of anything. As soon as the four [both men and the wives]of us had crowded into the bathroom, he pulled out a portable tape recorder and played us a recording of "Onward, Christian Soldiers" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The look on his face told me that this was no joke. Virginia [Thomas's wife] and I listened intently to the hymn's long-familiar words: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, / With the cross of Jesus going on before. / Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; / Forward into battle see His banners go! Then Senator Danforth prayed that the day would go well, told me to go forth in the name Christ, and implored me to let the Holy Ghost speak through me. p. 233

Psalm 57 showed me the way:
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed...
I am in the midst of lions;
I lie among ravenous beasts-
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.
They spread a net for my feet-
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path-
but they have fallen into it themselves. p. 237

[The oath Thomas takes to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court] "Then repeat after me: I, Clarence Thomas, do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to person, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all of the duties incumbent upon me as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God." p. 287

Wow, what an enjoyable book to read!

The Family

The Family
Braves Game 2012