Showing posts from October, 2013

The Church Builder

I just finished reading The Church Builder, an action packed novel by A. L. Shields.  It's the story of attorney, Bethany Barclay, who unwittingly becomes embroiled in a struggle between mysterious forces of good and evil.

Falsely accused of murder, the story traces her desperate search for truth, while avoiding capture by both the law and the "bad guys" (whoever they are.)

It's a riveting page turner with twists and turns galore, as the reader keep wondering what's coming next, all the way to the end.

Shields' style reminds me somewhat of one my favorite mystery authors, Harlan Coban.

Purchase here

(A complimentary copy of this book was provided to my by the publishers for impartial review on this blog.  I was not obligated to provide a favorable review.)

Live for the Long Haul

You were designed to live for the long haul! Life’s a long distance
marathon, not a 50 yard dash.With that in mind, it's vital to keep the
big picture in mind. Most of us get tangled in the minutia of the
moment and forget to look beyond the current situation.

Most worries aren't really that important in light of the big picture
– the long haul. The next time you find yourself “all worked up” about
something, ask this question, "Will this really matter ten years from
now?" That question puts it in perspective. I’ve discovered that most
of my frettings of very little consequence.

Long haul living requires some long range thinking.
What are you willing to sacrifice today for a greater gain tomorrow?
What habits today will destroy your health and/or relationships tomorrow? I
f you continue in the same direction and at the same pace as you are
going today, where will that lead you tomorrow?
If your money management patterns today continue, what will your
financial picture be tomorrow?

The True Measure of our Love for God

From the Diary of Father Frederic Baraga, the snowshoe priest:
There is no doubt that the love of God consists neither of sweet tears nor inner comfort and sensibility, but rather in that we serve Him with righteousness, fortitude, and true humility.

A truly loving soul finds its greatest peace by expending everything that it is, has and is capable of for the Beloved, and the more dear and admirable something may be, the more readily it is given.

The highest and truest perfection of the spiritual life consists not of inner charm or comfortable sentiment, nor of raptures, appearances and offerings of prophecy, but rather of the uniformity of our will with the will of God.

Whoever adheres to that which is mortal, everything that he does under those circumstances will be for him incomplete. Whoever follows that which is lost, also will be lost.

Whoever owns such mortal things to the extent that his whole will is possessed by them, he has and owns nothing. Rather those things will impriso…

How to Make Good Decisions

Usually, it’s not too difficult to make a good decision. Most
decisions we make can be determined by plain old common sense.

The CEO of a major corporation once said, “95% of the decisions I make
could be made by any intelligent fifth grader. I’m paid the big bucks
for the other 5%.”

Of course, as we have seen lately in the news, some CEO’s are paid the
big bucks and make crummy decisions anyway! An intelligent fifth
grader understands values such as honesty, uprightness, and

Nevertheless, there are certain decisions in life that are not the
“slam dunk” variety. Sometimes, it’s really hard to know what to do.

When faced with a difficult decision, here are a few points to ponder:

Have you prayed about it? God can give you wisdom beyond your own for
this situation. Most people panic first and pray later, “God, get me
out of this mess!” It’s much better to pray first, and then you won’t
have to panic later!

What is the bottom, bottom line? When all else is said and done, what
is the single mo…

She Prayed to Win the Groceries

Living on a one-income pastor’s salary was challenging.  Growing boys
eat a lot.   Cathy struggled with increased pressure on our food

Then, one day, Marketplace Grocery Store announced a drawing for a
free year’s supply of groceries.  Cathy submitted her name, and
decided to pray to win the groceries.  I rolled my eyes when she did
that.  It reminded me of the times people told me they were praying to
win the Lotto.  So far, none of those prayers have availed.  So, when
Cathy started praying to win the grocery lotto, I made a joke of it.

Drawing day happened to be on Sunday.  Our family sat at the breakfast
table before church, and Cathy said grace.   “Dear Lord, I just want
to remind you that today’s the grocery drawing.  We could sure use
them, and, if it’s your will it would be wonderful if we won.”

As soon as she said “amen”, I decided take advantage of this teaching
moment, and rebuked her right in front of the kids.  “Now, Honey,
that’s not the way we’re supposed to pray.  It’s not pr…

Leadership Shooting Lessons

Best Option = Ready, Aim, Fire!

Second Best Option = Ready, Fire, Aim!

Second Worst Option = Ready or Not, Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!

Worst Option = Ready, Ready, Ready, Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim

Consider Becoming a Country Parson

Tim Keller's advice to young ministers -- "Consider Becoming a Country Parson."

That's good advice for those who are eager to get out into the field of ministry. As a solo pastor, you'll get a chance to do just about everything everything.

Most young people upon graduation, hope for a staff position in a larger suburban church, but that kind of ministry does not equip one for the multiple demands of senior/solo pastorate or church planting.

The fact is -- there is a shortage of rural/small town pastors -- and a glut of people hoping for staff positions.

One important reminder, however, is in order: a country pastorate is not merely the stepping stone to a "bigger and better" ministry. It may BE the bigger and better ministry for you.

With over 22 years of experience as a country parson, I can honestly say it is the most rewarding ministry position I could possibly imagine.

Fear Nothing

Go courageously to do whatever
you are called to do.
If you have any fears, say to your soul:
"The Lord will provide for us.”

If your weakness troubles you, 
cast yourselves on God, 
and trust in Him.

The apostles were mostly unlearned fishermen, 
but God gave them learning enough
for the work they had to do.

Trust in him, 
depend on his providence;
fear nothing.

-- St. Francis De Sales (17th Century)