Places I’ve Been

Tamara Buchan on “Kingdom Breakthroughs.” Very encouraging.

An update on the ministry of Pete Scazzero at his website, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.” I really like what he is emphasizing. This has the potential of helping to create healthier churches and church leaders.

All church leaders ought to read this post by Sam Rainer, “The Amiable Autocrat.”

Michael Hyatt has written a good post called “Five Characteristics of Weak Leaders.” This is a good post that caused me to think.

Tim Challies on “Sexual Detox I: Depornifying the Marriage Bed.” Challies discusses the problem of bringing porn use into a marriage.

Read Terry Rush on “Seven Traits of a Good Elder.”

You might note D.J. Chuang’s site which focuses on the works of Tim Keller. Many, many resources here.

Andy Rowell reports on the publisher’s panel at Duke. ” I Want to Publish a Book Someday. What Do I Do Now?” I saved this one!

Scot McKnight is doing a series on Tim Keller’s new book, Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Love, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters.

The Shadow Self

HudsonSome time ago, I came across a fine and insightful little book that Scot McKnight recommended entitled Christ-Following: Ten Signposts to Spirituality and written by South African pastor Trevor Hudson.  A few weeks ago, I began reading the book during the early morning hours.  What an enjoyable book!


In a chapter entitled "Acknowledging Our Shadow Selves," Hudson writes about the tendency in many Christian circles to acknowledge only the acceptable selves:  

Within conventional Christian circles there is a widespread tendency to acknowledge only the acceptable selves.  Those considered unacceptable are usually either neglected or rejected.  This way of denial, as we shall see later, has destructive consequences.   Most tragic of all is that large tracts of our inner life are prevented from experiencing God’s transforming friendship.  Conversion can only continue as we acknowledge these shadow selves and expose them to the light of God’s love.  (p. 79)

Hudson suggests that one way to discover this shadow self within ourselves is to look at our "instant reactions."  He suggests that one might reflect on questions such as these:


  • What happens when you are told of another person’s success in your own area of work?  Does the news instantly evoke a response of joy on this person’s behalf or does it produce within you a note of jealousy?
  • What happens when you hear a colleague being praised for his efforts?  Are you able to freely share in this affirmation or do you hear yourself saying something obviously designed to underplay what has been achieved?
  • What happens at a four-way stop when it’s your turn to go, and the driver on your left races across your path with a smirk on his face?  Are you able to let it be, or is your immediate reaction a curse that you would never use in public?  (p. 86)


These questions are by no means an exhaustive list.  They are just a beginning. 


What other questions would you add to these? 

Places I’ve Been

The following links are some places I’ve been recently.  Enjoy!


Skye Jethani has written a fine post on the economic downturn and the churches’ ministry.


Also, see Terry Rush and his reflections on ministry and the economy.


Alan Hirsch has posted a funny cartoon on "The Last Thing to Convert."


Scot McKnight on "Reawakening Your Prayer Life."


Liam Byrnes has written a post in which he reflects on, "The Bleakness of Despair and the Harshness of Love."


See the cartoon at L.L. Barkat’s post, "This Was Me Two Days Ago.


You might read Mike Zook’s post on "Living in the Tension."  Mike has some very good observations about controlling.


Read this piece on Tim Spivey’s blog regarding the church.


Gary Cleveland on reading a book with which you disagree.

God-Hungry Live

If you haven’t done so, you might wish to check out God-Hungry Live.  This is a collection of video clips featuring people such as:


Dallas Willard


John Ortberg


Ruth Haley Barton


Fred Craddock


Gary Thomas


Scot McKnight


N.T. Wright


Monte Cox


John Piper


Tom Long


Eugene Peterson


Tim Keller


and a number of other people as well.  This site is updated regularly so if you haven’t been there before or if you haven’t been there in several months, please check again.


On the main page, you will see a number of featured videos.  Look under the white banner at the tip and you will see the word, "playlists."  Click here for the names of people whose videos are available.  Notice that there are often a number of videos available by each person listed.

Nashville — Zoe Conference

I just returned from the Zoe Leadership Conference in Nashville.  This was a wonderful conference offering a number of very fine classes.  One class that I especially enjoyed dealt with "Spiritual Direction" and was led by Gary Hollaway of David Lipscomb University and Jackie Halstead of Abilene Christian University.  


The featured speaker this year was Scot McKnight.  It was great to hear some very fine presentations by Scot (Fearless Faith Looks; Fearless Faith Receives; Fearless Faith Loves; Fearless Faith Works).  These messages came out of the book of James.  These are available on CD and may be purchased through the Knight Media Group.  Their e-mail address is:


I also enjoyed spending some time with Scot and Kris McKnight this weekend.  This was the first time I visited with Kris, and I enjoyed hearing about her work.  What a fine couple!  I continue to appreciate Scot for his writing, through both his books and his blog, Jesus Creed.  I also appreciate him for the combination of his scholarship with his ability to be down to earth.  More than once at this conference, I heard people comment on his ability to connect with people.   

What are Your “Essentials”?

coffee17_1.jpgWhat are your essentials for starting a day or week?  Here are a few of mine.  (And of course these don’t all carry the same weight in terms of importance.)

1.  Reading the Bible.  Yes, quite often I am thinking about a class or a message to be preached.  Yet, I try to keep conscious of my own need for formation.  In the last few days, I have read II Corinthians and I Timothy.  I have found it to be important to linger over a text as a person might linger over a nice steak.

2.  Prayer.  Sometimes I pray as I step outside early in the morning before the sun comes up (to those of you who are night owls, this is totally weird, I know).  I also use prayer books though not on a regular basis.  This summer, I have been immersing myself in Jesus’ teachings regarding the kingdom of God.  So, I have been praying the "Jesus Creed."  (See Jesus Creed, by Scot McKnight.)

3.  Relationships.  I try, each day, to think about the status of my relationship with various family members.  Is there someone I really need to call?  Do I need to e-mail someone?  Do I just need to "check in"?  My children are 21 and 25.  I try to stay connected with them to the point that I know the names of their close friends.  Am I aware of what my children are dealing with this week?

4.  My Next Action List.  I have found David Allen’s work in Getting Things Done to be extremely helpful to me.  One of the most important lists that I have is my "next action" list.  This covers not only my work but home, relationships, etc.  I walk through this list each day wanting to make progress on a few things on it.  

5.  Coffee and the news.  My early mornings begin with a cup of coffee and/or a book.  Then I will look through the Dallas Morning News.  At some point, I will read the front page of the New York Times (on-line) and usually a few other papers (any of those which are listed on the right-hand bar of this page).

6.  Exercise.  I generally work out five times a week.  I do this right after work for about an hour in a local workout facility.  It’s not that I’m a "health nut" or I’m trying to get into shape for some event.  No, more than anything it helps me deal with stress.  I function better and feel better when I am exercising in some way on a regular basis.

No doubt I missed a few that are very important to you.  What would you add to this list?  What practices are important to you as you begin a day or a week? 

No Other Rival

coffee41.jpgThis morning, I have been reading Scot McKnight’s book A New Vision for Israel.  (I have been immersing myself in lots of kingdom-related material during July.)  In a chapter entitled "The God of Jesus,"  I came across these wonderful lines: 

 …The emphasis here falls on the jealousy of God (Exod. 20:5), especially for his new name "abba," and on the total focus the disciples are to have in their obedience of him.  The disciples of Jesus are to reserve this kind of respect, trust, and obedience for God alone, who is now called "abba"; no teacher on earth and no human father are to be given that kind of honor and trust.  (pp. 26-27)


I read these lines several times.  After all, they are such a reminder of things that are lasting and important.  This is in contrast to the kind of news that takes place every day.

This morning, I watched about ten minutes of my favorite morning news show, MSNBC’s "Morning Joe."  What did they talk about?  What happened yesterday with John McCain and Barack Obama.  That is the news today.

I read the front page of our local newspaper.  Baylor University fires President John Lilley after two and one-half years.  Lots of discussion.  Yet, that is the news today.

I looked at a few newspapers online.  NFL camps are beginning.  Sportswriters are already speculating about the coaches who will probably lose their jobs this year if they don’t win.  That was in the sports pages today.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Each one of these stories is interesting to me.  I am interested in who will win the next election.  Because I live just a few miles from Baylor University (and for a few other reasons as well), I am interested in what is happening there.  And, being a football fan, I will be reading the sports news again tomorrow.

Yet, I want my life to have a respect, trust, and obedience to God that impacts the way I see the news, the way I approach life, and the way I handle anything that calls for my allegience.  This God has an unrivaled place in my life.  Again, "…no teacher on earth and no human father are to be given this kind of honor and trust."  

Now this is good for me to remember as I start a new day.  What about you?