Categories
Lies Teens Believe

A Vision for Young People

Here’s a great start to a new series on a gospel vision for the rising generation of young people. From someone who’s in the thick of parenting and pastoring youth:

living for the glory of Christ is not on hold until you are eighteen or twenty-one. There is a way for six-year-olds to make much of Christ and a way for ten-year-olds to make much of Christ and a way for sixteen-year-olds to make much of Christ. And there is a way for parents and church leaders and all of us to create a matrix of relationships and teachings and expectations and blessings that awaken young people from the emptiness and aimlessness of our popular youth culture and give them a vision for Christ-exalting significance throughout their pre-teen and teen years.

Categories
Enjoying the Process

What’s Like the Sun

This afternoon at Starbucks the barista compared my outfit to the sun in a bright blue sky. I responded that no one would ever make that comparison with my personality, so I’d take what I could get.

Categories
Enjoying the Process

What I Did over Spring Break

My post on Monday hinted at some travel; boy was there traveling. Sunday afternoon I left Marysville around 2:00 pm, picked up Tim Lugg in in Woodburn, OR, and drove through the night to Santa Clarita. Our mission was to attend Monday morning chapel at The Master’s College where Micah was on tap to kick-off Spurgeon Fest. We conquered the Grapevine in time for a breakfast of champions at Noah’s Bagel’s (cracked potato peppercorn, toasted with spread) and Starbucks (quadruple shot grande Americano with light cream) and slipped into a back row in chapel right after it started.

We enjoyed and were edified by Micah’s message and I think he was surprised and encouraged by our presence. I decided to Twitter the message for the sake of the time stamp and because it’s easier to post line by line on the iPhone. You can read my notes here, and for those unfamiliar with the Twitter format, start at the status for 09:16 AM March 31 and read up the page. After chapel we took the preacher to In-N-Out for double-doubles then headed north a little after noon.

We took a slight detour to Seaside to drop Tim off with the rest of his vacationing family and I finished the course around 9 am. When it was all said and done the Passat covered almost 2400 miles over 38 hours with the four hour layover for chapel and lunch.

UPDATE [10:26PM April 8]: Micah posted his own account of chapel with a link to the video. [11:54PM April 10]: Even better, now you can download the mp3.

proof of parenting?

The rest of the week has been no less tiresome as I’m fulfilling the role of Mr. Mom while Mo endures the throes of the first trimester. I’m doing the kind of things I’m least good at and least naturally patient about. So like any dad in my situation would, on Wednesday we went to breakfast at McDonald’s. Otherwise we’ve played in the yard and on the swing set, watched Mary Poppins and Cars, repeatedly wiped the boy’s head and tail, and generally tried to enjoy the process.

Categories
A Shot of Encouragement

One to One Ministry

Here’s a BRIEFING on one-to-one ministry that compliments much of the Biblical Shepherding Bull’s-eye and prepares the way for a Practical Plan of Discipleship. For a taste:

Effective one-to-one Christian ministry is not limited to counseling, nor is it essentially about solving personal or emotional problems. What is it then? It is forming a relationship with another individual for the purpose of mutual growth in Christian understanding, obedience and service of others.

I don’t love the recommended resources near the end but the rest of the article is worth the time to read and implement.

Categories
Enjoying the Process

Liveblogging the Intern in Chapel

Follow updates of Micah Lugg preaching in chapel at The Master’s College here.

Categories
A Shot of Encouragement

How Good Is God?

Chuck Weinberg started a new blog to give updates on Grant’s condition and to thank God for His goodness. With his son in the Critical Care Unit hooked to a breathing machine, sitting in the waiting room unsure of what’s next, his first thought for a blog name was How good is God? This wasn’t a question for him of whether or not God is good, but a question of recognizing how good God really is. How good is that perspective?

For another first hand account, read what Micah Lugg learned from sitting at the hospital all day.

Categories
Enjoying the Process

Marinate on Twitter

Watch and learn about Twitter in plain English just like RSS in plain English. For myself, I Twitter less about “What am I doing?” and more to answer “What am I marinating on right now?”

Categories
He Will Build His Church

Recapping the Three Target Levels

The Great Commission sets our sights high; we are to make disciples of all the nations. The apostle Paul also emphasized the broad scope of his ministry, teaching every man and warning every man in order to present every man complete in Christ. Everyone falls in one of the three circles on our disciple-making bullseye. Either they are spiritually dead and need the gospel, they have been made spiritually alive and need to grow in the gospel, or they have demonstrated faithfulness and are ready to do the work of the gospel. But everyone is somewhere on the target.

The target may represent an entire country, a city, a local church, a particular ministry within a church, or small group within a ministry. Each sphere includes those who need salvation or sanctification and training for ministry. So here’s a recap of the three target levels:

  1. Evangelizing. In order to make disciples among the spiritually dead we must reach out for Christ.
  2. Edifying. To help believers obey everything Christ commanded we must build them up in Christ.
  3. Equipping. To help the faithful become disciple-makers we must train them up and send them out for Christ.

I believe disciple-making is best facilitated by some form of small groups. Though you can be discipled or make a disciple without being part of a one, small groups provide a place for thorough and concentrated evangelism, for accountability relationships and mutual edification, as well as for quality (controlled) equipping and an obvious place to practice the “focus on the few to reach the many” principle.

As I mentioned in the last post, Jesus is the ultimate example of making disciples. He not only paints the target but demonstrates how to reach it. In upcoming posts we’ll see the practical stages of development that help us hit the center of the disciple-making bullseye.

Categories
Rightly Dividing

Out of the Mouths of Fools

The fool loves to talk, loves to hear himself speak, loves to share his opinion. Solomon said as much in Ecclesiastes 10:14 (part of a larger paragraph on what comes out of the fool’s mouth which I preached about yesterday.

A fool multiplies words,
though no man knows what is to be,
and who can tell him what will be after him?

I hate to love this verse. It’s so accurate, so common, and so upsetting. The fool is verbose, meaning he’s most happy when his mouth is open. A fool multiplies words. He doesn’t just add them, he multiplies. This isn’t the first time in Ecclesiastes Solomon addressed bloviation.

Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. (5:2)

The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man? (6:11)

The fool’s mouth pours out folly. In particular he delights to declare his convictions on things he has no clue about, though no man knows what is to be, and who can tell him what will be after him? Who can predict a man’s future or what will happen on earth after his death? The obvious answer is “No one.” Wise people listen and know their limits; fools babble. They go on as know-it-alls.

Some of the most wordy people are also some of the most arrogant. They’ve so convinced themselves that they know the answers, that they have true knowledge, and no one can convince them otherwise. Yet they have no understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Ecclesiastes 10:14 is aimed specifically at future-tellers, at those who talk big even though they have no information and no way to get that information. But the application spills over onto all sorts of issues. For example, it fires me up and tires me out reading blogs (or comments on blogs) by people with little to no understanding and little to no humility. They write or talk like the world’s been waiting for them to arrive with the answer. But multiplied words don’t prove their argument, they demonstrate their arrogance.

Out of the mouth of fools come arrogant verbosity. At times like these my mom and Solomon agree: watch your mouth.

Categories
Enjoying the Process

Misery 101

Since some reading in The Institutes yesterday afternoon I’ve been mulling over the lessons of misery under the sun, namely, misery teaches us to regard God and put our stock in another world. Even as Christians we tend to skip this required class (for some reason it’s always early in the morning) so it’s no wonder when we flub assignments like seeking things above and hating the world. Calvin points out,

[I]f you examine the plans, the efforts, the deeds, of anyone, there you will find nothing else but earth. Now our blockishness arises from the fact that our minds, stunned by the empty dazzlement of riches, power, and honors, become so deadened that they can see no farther. The heart also, occupied with avarice, ambition, and lust, is so weighed down that it cannot rise up higher. In fine, the whole soul, enmeshed in the allurements of the flesh, seeks its happiness on earth. (3.9.1)

Though this wasn’t necessarily a new thought, it did cause fresh reflection on all those who sit in Misery 1011, listening to Professor Vanity, but refuse to learn. I wonder how people can read books like Unrecognized and Unappreciated Abilities, Hurtful Relationships and You, Death of Family, Living with Chronic Pain, and Burning Candles on Both Ends to No Effect, and still not get the message. There’s no other explanation than the blinding, deceiving influence of sin. The god of this world is a master-teacher too and persuades his students that the earthly life will yield sweet fruit if they just put their heart into it. But that formula only adds frustration in this life to failure in the next.

As disciples of Christ there is progress to report when

we learn that this life, judged in itself, is troubled, turbulent, unhappy in countless ways, and in no respect clearly happy; that all those things which are judged to be its goods are uncertain, fleeting, vain, and vitiated by many intermingled evils. From this, at the same time, we conclude that in this life we are to seek and hope for nothing but struggle; when we think of our crown, we are to raise our eyes to heaven. For this we must believe: that the mind is never seriously aroused to desire and ponder the life to come unless it be previously imbued with contempt for the present life. (Ibid.)

I am thankful for grace to appreciate and learn from misery, though it does make me even more eager to complete the course.


  1. I might have mentioned The School of Hard Knocks but it seemed either too easy or too cheesy.