Get free email updates as I write new articles:

Always Be Investing In Someone

Bread

Call it discipleship. Call it mentoring. Call it whatever you want, but one of our kingdom assignments is to gather people around us and invest in them. Jesus did it with the twelve, and even more with the inner circle of three. Paul did it with Barnabas, then Silas, then Timothy. Barnabas did it with Paul, then John Mark. John did it with Polycarp and Batman did it with Robin.

I read an amazing story over at Danny Brown’s blog today about the boy with the bread. He tells the story of a young boy who made an investment in others that came back around to his ultimate advantage. You should read Danny’s post.

We never waste time investing in others. You and I can probably remember conversations we had with mentors that changed our lives. Sometimes one of those conversations is worth a semester in college when it comes to hardening our wills to press on in the right direction. You need mentors like that, and somebody needs a mentor like you.

The challenge is simple. Provide bread for somebody else today.

photo credit: Emily Carlin

Recommended Reading: John Maxwell’s The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization is a great resource on this topic.

The Agony of Defeat

Oh, the agony of defeat!

First, it happened Thursday evening in our softball match-up. We lost the first game to Bentonville Church of Christ by a decent margin, but we were pounded the second game 26—3. Ouch! I’m guessing about nine other guys are wishing I just wouldn’t have brought it up.

Then, it happened again last night as the Razorbacks gave up a touchdown in the last couple of minutes of the game to lose to Alabama in a gut-wrenching defeat. I’m guessing a few hundred thousand fans are wishing I wouldn’t bring that up either.

So what do we learn from losing? First, we learn that it stinks! But we also learn to regroup, to sharpen and hone our skills, to get our heads back in the game, and to try a little harder next time.

God doesn’t want you living in spiritual defeat. He’s called you to be “more than a conqueror!” But the greatest spiritual conquerors I know have suffered some losses… and they have become all the better because of the lessons learned. So when you lose… learn! But strive for the victory today!

Ten Years… And Counting!

Today marks our tenth anniversary as a married couple. I’ve done quite a bit of reflecting back on that very special moment when we were pronounced husband and wife by my father-in-law. I showed up at the church a few hours before the wedding and it was pouring down rain. I wanted to wait until it slacked off and until I could be sure I wouldn’t see Angie a moment too early. She was inside wondering if I was re-considering!

I wasn’t re-considering, and I haven’t since. I wouldn’t trade the last ten years for anything in the world. We’ve had a precious daughter, served a couple of great churches as Pastor and wife, Angie has earned two degrees (I’m on the very long-term educational plan), and we’ve made a whole lot of great friends along the way. We’re thankful to God for the fruitfulness of these years and can’t wait to see what God has in store for the decades to come.

A marriage, when lived out biblically, is designed to show the world how much Jesus loves His church and how much they can accomplish together in the redemption of lost mankind. I wouldn’t dream of putting forth the image that we have one of those perfect, never-had-an-argument, syruppy-sappy, always romantic relationships. If you do that, nobody believes you anyway and you probably get on everyone else’s nerves. Nonetheless, I’m proud of the marriage we have. We don’t ever have to question one another’s faithfulness and commitment, and we’re slowly learning to communicate and to compliment one another in a way that glorifies God. I’m so very thankful for all God has blessed us with… to Him be the glory!

Sweet Exhaustion

Have you ever experienced sweet exhaustion? Less than an hour ago we capped off our final night of Vacation Bible School by singing some lively songs which included jumping, clapping, and shouting (in church nonetheless!), dining on tacos and nachos, and sliming the Pastor and Worship Leader. Tonight was merely the finale of a week of getting to know our backward friends, Pete and Repeat, learning spanish with an odd assortment of costumed characters, and learning that Jesus is our Friend, our Life, our Leader, and our Savior.

Vacation Bible School is by far the most exhausting week of the church year, but also the most exhilirating! One young man trusted Jesus as his Savior and several others were asking about what it means to be saved. Relationships were built, seeds were planted, and God was glorified!

If you’ve never been involved in children’s ministry before, you’re missing out! You might not be a teacher, but what if you could be a greeter, a helper, or a prayer warrior? Nobody on earth is as precious to Jesus as children. I would urge you to find room in your life and in your schedule for a little sweet exhaustion. The sooner, the better!

Precious Memories

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” –Jeremiah 6:16

This weekend, my family and I are traveling to our hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky to see family. This may be our last trip to the bluegrass state until the holidays, so we’re going to squeeze all we can out of this quick jaunt. One great privilege for me, beyond seeing my loved ones, will be the privilege of preaching in the pulpit of the church in which I grew up, Clear Fork Baptist Church in Rockfield, Kentucky.

Clear Fork is not only an old-fashioned, Bible-believing assembly of people, the building itself is set in a picturesque place. Beyond many square miles of cow pastures, attendees top one last hill where the church is nestled in the valley beneath. It’s the end of the road unless you live in one of the few farmhouses down the gravel road behind the building. Clear Fork’s original structure was built in 1833. Since then, the building has been bricked, remodeled, has seen multiple additions of multi-story Sunday School space and a separate Fellowship Hall across the road with an addition of its own, as well as a two-story parsonage.

For me, my earliest memories of reading the Bible, learning from spiritual heroes, and asking questions about the ministry came at this sacred place. I owe so much of my own value system to those who came before me at Clear Fork. My grandfather especially comes to my mind. Jesse Cox was a Deacon at Clear Fork for 52 years. He was the chairman of every major building project during that span. He was also the Browning community’s fire chief, a farmer, the community store owner for a time, served in the Philippines in World War II and worked for Holley Carburetor for forty years. His leathery face and tough exterior gave way to a sweet and gentle smile when grandkids and great-grandkids were around.

My grandfather fell victim to lung cancer in December 2002, but he died my hero. I even had the privilege of sharing in his funeral service. On this Memorial Day weekend, who is your hero? Who do you remember? For whom can you give thanks to God today?