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Looking for 2014 Bible Reading Plans!

December 31, 2013

If you are looking for a great Bible reading plan here are a few options.

1. D.A. Carson’s For the Love of God-Carson provides a commentary on one of the passages you read each day. This can be found as a stand alone Apple app and is also available in YouVersion.

2. The One Year Bible Plan-You can pick a Bible up at the bookstore that has this plan built into the Bible itself or you can use an app like YouVersion to walk you through it.

3. A timeless plan is the M’Cheyne reading plan-this is also available on YouVersion and there are apps and websites out there that help, this takes you through the OT once and the NT and Psalms twice in one year.

(Edited January 1, 2014). 4. Follow this link to an interesting set of chronological reading plans. http://thowey.typepad.com/tim_howey/2013/12/ownit365-one-story-bible-reading-plan.html

Either way you go, get into a reading plan! The YouVersion app has some nice features to it such as alerts and social networking that can help keep you accountable. I suggest working through the Bible with some friends to keep yourself accountable!

Have fun!

Dave

Great Books I Read in 2013

December 17, 2013

Below is a list of great books I read this past year. Some new, some classic, all excellent!

8. Martin Luther’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, this is actually free on Kindle, go get it! Luther does an awesome job of wrestling with the text and dealing with the Law/Gospel distinction that Paul so clearly lays out in Galatians.

7. Erwin Lutzer’s Hitler’s Cross, Lutzer does a great job shaping the philosophy behind the Third Reich’s choices. Lutzer wrestles with the question “Where was the church in Germany?” A great read for WWII history buffs.

6. Kevin Leman and William Pentak’s The Way of The Shepherd is a great book on leadership. Written in a story format it is easy to read, accessible and highly applicable.

5. Joel Manby’s Love Works. This is a good book on leadership in the marketplace. He wrote it after his experience on the hit TV show Undercover Boss. Anyone interested in being a better leader int he marketplace should pick up a copy of this book.

4. Ed. by Charles Spurgeon Smooth Stones Taken by Ancient Brooks. This is a great book of quotes from the puritan minister Thomas Brooks compiled by Charles Spurgeon. If you like quotes, this guy has many great quotes!

3. Thom Rainer I Am a Church Member. This book gives great insight into what it means to be a church member. It lays out the attitude we should have as church members that lead to actions!

2. Richard Swenson’s Margin Revised in 2004 this book deals with restoring emotional, physical, financial and time reserves to overloaded lives. Hopefully when I say we live in a crazy busy culture that isn’t news to you, if so, you live under a rock. Dr. Swenson speaks into the physical, spiritual and emotional ramifications of remaining in a margin less life.

1. Michael Mack’s Small Group Vital Signs. This book is the best book on groups that I have read. He addresses topics that most writers on the subject shy away from talking about. Rather than administration and functional aspects of group life, Mack speaks into Christ centered community and cares about the spiritual life of group leaders.

 

The Four Walls of a Christian Home – Wall 4 “Purity”

November 18, 2013

The final wall in Tuggy’s article is that of purity. He describes this wall using the “put off…put on” analogy that Paul uses in Colossians. Clearly he wrote in a time before the home computer because his illustrations had very little relevance to today.

Today it’s difficult to keep moral filthiness out of our homes. It comes in via so many streams of media. The first principle is content filtering. One thing I will say about this is not having the appropriate filters on your modem and devices is the functional equivalent of saying “yes” to internet filthiness in your home.

Another principle for parents today is participation! If your kids are on social media then you don’t have the luxury of not being on social media. You don’t have the luxury of ignorance to things like SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If your kids participate in social media…so do you!

The final principle is understanding law and grace! Set boundaries, hold fast to them, enforce discipline, use it to shape and mold your children, but also use and enforce grace in the home. Your kids will mess up because they are your kids, they are the product of two sinners! There are times to drop the hammer, but dropping the hammer all the time doesn’t teach them anything about the grace of God. My biggest struggle is grace, I tend to be long on law and short on grace, when it should be the other way around.

Jesus showed us an immense amount of grace on the cross. Some will say Jesus wasn’t about rules. If that’s the case then the Jesus of the the Gospels is double minded because I read things like “love the Lord your God….and Love your neighbor as yourself”,”…make disciples of all nations…,” and “love your enemies” among others are commands that Jesus gives. Those are expectations that Jesus sets on us, and they really aren’t easy! But they are easier than what the law and the world offers!

It’s not that God isn’t measuring us, it’s that none of us measure up. It’s not that I am advocating or excusing failing, the truth is we have already failed. Thus, our need for grace!

A little theology, a little practicality! Go build your home!

Lead with Love,
Dave

The Four Walls of a Christian Home – Wall 3 “Truthfulness”

November 12, 2013

“”Do not lie to one another,
seeing that you put off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self
which is being renewed in knowledge
after the image of its creator.”
(Colossians 3:9-10 ESV)

The third wall is honesty. Let’s face it we all learn to lie without being taught. Anyone with kids knows that the blame game is played without having to read the rules out loud, and the blame game comes with elaborate stories sure to knock the socks of Mark Twain or E.B. White.

Truthfulness is simply being honest toward others and toward your self. The only way to come to grips with our own motives is through the Word of God. We are good at lying to others and justifying it, we are excellent at lying to ourselves and justifying it!

A good starting place for teaching your kids honesty is starting at the heart of the issue of truthfulness. See yourself as God sees you, now be careful here, don’t lie to yourself. How does God really see us? Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” God sees us all as sinners, separated from Him by our sin and incapable of saving ourselves.

Being honest with ourselves means we understand the truth of sin and we realize that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—” (Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV)

Once we have a right understanding of ourselves before a Holy God it frees us to be honest with ourselves and with others around us, some of the others around us being our children! And hopefully they see, hear and experience our shortfalls and that helps them be honest as well.

I could have spoken of the behavior of lying, but that’s not what really is at the heart of integrity and honesty, and I wouldn’t have been honest with everyone reading this!

Lead with Love,

David

The Four Walls of a Christian Home – Wall 2 “Respect”

November 4, 2013
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The eye that mocks a father
and scorns to obey a mother
will be picked out by the ravens of the valley
and eaten by the vultures. (Proverbs 30:17, ESV)

This is a tough word picture. I know I have mocked my father (at least in my head, maybe not to his face) and I have scorned to obey my mother, but I have never had my eyes plucked out by ravens or vultures. Does that make me quit believing the Bible? Certainly not!

The word picture is enough to help me to understand how God feels about respect. Respect is something that our culture views as being a right rather than a privilege, something that is expected, not earned.

I had a friend whose children used to call me “Mr”. I used to tell them “Mr.” was my father, and they could call me David. One day my friend took me to lunch and he said, I understand what you are doing with my kids, but I am trying to teach them to respect their elders and that starts with you, so please let them call you “Mr”. I heard him that day, and now I try to instill that same respect in my kids for others, but it isn’t easy and they don’t always get it right.

And when they don’t get it right I simply remind them at bedtime that the vultures will pluck their eyes out if they don’t obey me. I am kidding, I don’t really do that! Although, I do remind them that all of us are subject to authorities that God has set in our lives, whether it be parents, teachers, supervisors or government officials and while all of them may not have earned our respect, they deserve it because God has put them in authority. They would not be where they are without the hand of God in their lives, whether they believe it or not!

Take some time this week and talk with your kids or grandkids about respect. See what happens!

The Four Walls of a Christian Home – Wall 1 “Reverence”

October 28, 2013

In my last post I wrote about a book I found in my grandparents old things. The title of the book is Guidelines for Christian Parents. The book is a compilation of various articles and broadcasts from Back to The Bible Radio. The one I will spend the next four sessions on is by Harold Tuggy who was a missionary to Venezuela in the 20’s.

The first wall he talks about in his article is that of reverence. He uses the Third Commandment “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” as the basis for this wall. What’s in a name? Well, we know from the Old Testament and other Jewish literature that for the Jew, everything was in a name, it captured the essence of who you are and captured the essence of what was going on in your family at the time of your birth. It’s no surprise that God’s names have deep meaning as well, they capture all of who He is and what He desires.

Reverence is a discipline that has definitely lost traction in our culture. It could be due to any number of symptoms, but one particular one sticks out to me. It takes time to be reverent. Reverence has been outmoded by quick prayers at dinner time, and shortened devotional readings. If we are to revere His name and His name describes His whole being and what He desires, then I am sure it isn’t a stretch to say that reverence for God’s name carries a bigger idea than just honoring God’s title.

After reading this article from 50 years ago, it has made me realize that even in my own family maybe we take our devotional times too lightly, we blow through them all too quickly and the frequency of them is probably all too low. Maybe utilizing books with titles such as “Devotions for the Busy Family” speaks far too much to the negative than the positive (although I do believe we should keep the cookies as low as possible for our little ones). Is Jesus something I fit into my busy schedule or does He get the first fruits of my time, my talents and my treasure? Is the fast pace of my life causing me to put aside revering the name of God?  Answer those questions honestly!

The next wall will be about respect for parents and elders.

Lead with Love,
David

Guidelines for Christian Parents

October 21, 2013

My parents are moving out of the house where my sister and I spent the majority of our childhood. We have been going through old boxes, some boxes are my parents some are my grandparents. If any of you know me I love books. There were several boxes of old books from when my grandparents were younger and raising their kids. There are a few books on childrearing. I skimmed through a few of them and found the books very helpful. While our culture has changed and the illustrations are no longer helpful, the principles have not changed.

I thought it would be fun to blog through some of these old books and pick up the gems where I can. The first book I will attempt to blog through is called “Guidelines for Christian Parents”. While the book is dated and probably what some would title “legalistic”, although that word is so often thrown around as if it means more than it does. There are some principles in the book that are worth capturing.

The next blog I will write about “Building a Christian Home” originally written by Harold Tuggy a missionary in Venezuela in the 1920’s. He outlines four essential walls of the Christian home.

Lead with Love,

Dave

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