Monthly Archives: May 2016

Book Review: Age of Opportunity

Book Review:  Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp

The Good:index

Do you know a Teenager?  Then read this book.  If you are a parent of a teenager, read this book.  If you work with teenagers, read this book.  If you know the name of a teenager, read this book.  Seriously, it is one of the best books I have read for guiding teens to a godly life.

Preparation for Life.  I feel like this book truly prepares the parent for real life.  Tripp is honest in his parenting short falls and weaknesses that we all share as parents.  He does not sugar coat the difficulty of raising a teenager, but he provides valuable insight on truly getting your teenager ready to face the world, AND have an effect on the world for Christ.

Biblical.  This book is intensely Biblical.  Drawing the wisdom and insight from Scripture, it allows you trust what is being presented, because it is straight from God’s Word.  It not only provides the Scripture backing, but also ways to guide your teens to find their answers for living within the pages of the Word of God.

The Bad:

Length.  If you are not an avid reader, this would be the only drawback.  It is a long parent book, but if you stick with it, it is well worth your time.

The Grade:  A.  No book is perfect (except ones that are inspired by God), but this one is a good as they come.  Every parent should have this on their shelf and should be referenced often in their pursuit of raising godly children.  It provides practical ways to prepare their child for real life along with a proper balance of living an effective Christian life.  Priceless advice that needs to be read and re-read often.

 

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Book Review: Mighty Men

Book Review:  Mighty Men by John Crotts

The Good: 

41Y2F5DK1CLLeadership Inspiration.  As a man, you don’t walk away from this book with your head down and wallowing in your “I can’t do this” pity.  It gives you a little pep in your step to get the job done.  This book provides you practical steps to accomplish leadership in the family.

The B-I-B-L-E, that’s the book for me.  Love when a book has a solid foundation in God’s Word.  Well, this book’s foundation, walls, outlets, and ceiling fans are all rooted in the Bible.  Every subject, heading, chapter is firmly supported by God’s Word throughout the book.

Just My Size.  This book packs a punch is only 37 pages.  For a slow reader like myself, it was a refreshing change to provide valuable information in a book that didn’t take a while to read.

The Bad:

Do-it-yourself Design:  If you are into glossy pages, clever font, and perfectly structured chapters…keep moving along.  The book is very rudimentary in design, especially the pages within.  But if you are able to move past that, the value is in the words.

The Grade:  A.  Husbands, fathers, men…you need to pick this book up.  Sure, some of this may be review, but it needs reviewed.  Better yet, read it, then find someone you can mentor and give them this book.  Take them to Bob Evans a few times, get the Farmer’s breakfast, put some ketchup on those home fries…and build mighty men!

 

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Never Underestimate the Youth of Today…Here’s Why

stop_underestimating_yourself_tyrone_smith1Skepticism is not abnormal.  In fact, it puts you in some pretty hefty company in the Old Testament.  Among the doubters – Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, King Saul, Isaiah, Ezekiel…and the one that used his age as an excuse, Jeremiah.

Now, I will give it to Jeremiah – he was young.  In Jeremiah, the Hebrew usage of this word child in Jeremiah chapter one referred to boys or youths.  I read several commentaries – and since there is no age given – the estimations range from a young boy to age 21.

There could very well be skepticism in your families, in our schools, and in our churches.  It could be in the mind of children or teenagers.  These ideas could have been put there by other adults that couldn’t see their potential.  Or they may simply have little confidence or are underestimating the special ways God can use them.

Adults often underestimate children and teens as well.  They may excuse their skepticism by saying they are looking out for their feelings or safety.  Underestimating is sometimes a lack of faith or a failure to see the special gifts of the youth of today.  Don’t underestimate what children and teens can do for the kingdom of God.

Parents – we cannot doubt what God can do in our children’s lives and what can be accomplished through them.  Kids & Teens – listening here and online – God can do amazing things in your life…NOW!

Let me give you some examples of what kids can do:

Picture1Alexandra “Alex” Scott was only 4 years old when she opened her front yard lemonade stand to help raise money for children with cancer. A cancer patient herself, Alex has seen her small stand grow from a curbside staple to a national fundraising revolution, boasting supporters, benefits, and events all across the country.  Sadly, she passed away at the age of 8, but her foundation (Alex’s Lemonade Stand) lives on and has raised more than $120 million and funded over 550 research projects towards the goal of putting an end to childhood cancer.

Picture2Shortly after basketball enthusiast Austin Gutwein turned 9, he saw a video that changed his life: a movie about children who had lost their parents to AIDS. Moved to make a change, Gutwein began Hoops of Hope, the world’s largest free-throw marathon, dedicated to raising money for orphaned children from across the globe and providing them with food, shelter, education, and health care. By doing something as simple as shooting free throws, Hoops of Hope participants have raised over $2.5 million.

Picture3It all started when a 9-year-old saw another student on the playground without a coat.  Since then, Maddy Beckmann made it her mission to keep kids warm in her native St. Louis, and her charity, Coat-A-Kid has coated over 10,000 children since its inception.

Why can’t our children and teens do that in our church, our community, and our country…they can and they are!  In our church, this is what has been happening because we have learned to not underestimate our youth:

Over 200 kids came to the Easter Egg Hunt to hear the Gospel & eat loads of candy…and the entire event was planned by teenagers.  Over 40 meals were delivered last October…by teens.  Two Bible studies were formed in the public schools…and were started by a 13-year-old and 15-year-old.  A community garden was planted in the local middle school…by teenagers.  2 years ago 3 teens were serving impoverished kids in Nicaragua  This summer, a team of teenagers are going to witness on the streets of New York.

Sorry Jeremiah, age is NOT an excuse.  God does not want to hear the excuses…He wants obedience.

(If you want to hear the entire message on “The Time is Now” click here)

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In the Middle of the Night…A Superhero Emerged

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(IN HONOR OF MOTHER’S DAY…I’M GOING TO REPOST THIS)

What does a hero look like? This weekend, yet another superhero movie makes its debut. Can’t say I’m not excited about it (I may or may not be going with some college students to opening night…come on, it’s Batman!). Not sure what sparked this deluge of superhero movies. Was it the success of the first Spider-man, which was masterfully done?   Or could it be the Batman trilogy that Christopher Nolan compiled that quite possible had the best ending of any movie ever? In walks Ironman, Captain America, and Thor to set up the blockbuster Avenger movies.

Our culture is obsessed with superheroes. From the little kids that dress up as Incredible Hulk and Spider-man for Halloween to the big kids, like yours truly, who get way too excited about the upcoming movies featuring their favorite childhood heroes. Then there’s those that know the difference between Marvel and DC and will look at you like you cannot add 2+2, if you do not know which superhero belongs to which comic empire. Not gonna call the Nerd Squad on you if you do, but Best Buy is hiring (and if you were going to argue that Best Buy is Geek Squad, I rest my case).

But what does a true hero look like? Is a hero someone who has a cape, a super power, superhuman strength, or a genetic mutation? Is a hero only those that grace the cover a comic book? Are the heroes the ones that drive the box office? (I mean…is Ant Man a sign that we are running out of characters?)

The upcoming Batman v Superman is not the only reason I bring this up. Last night, I saw a superhero at my house in the middle of the night. It’s true. But there was no cape, no super power, not even a weapon…

Before I reveal the superhero, let me give you a little background. If you know me, my kryptonite is vomit. That’s right, whatever you want to call it. Technicolor yawn, bowing down to the porcelain throne, yak, ralph…whatever you call it, it’s my biggest fear. Why? Let’s just say it was a combination of a horrific experience of the stomach flu outbreak at camp and bad seat placement during a 3rd grade lunch.

But now, with kids…it’s a whole new level. If you like horror movies, this tops the list. Think about it. At night, as you try to sleep, you hear a cough. It’s coming!!!! Run for your lives! Take cover! Every man for himself! Freddy Kruger ain’t got nothing on 4 kids sharing a stomach virus. If he was in my house last night, I think he would have run away too.

That’s right…the horror movie was a reality last night in the Beckley home. Like an outbreak with no antidote…the stomach flu. It began with the oldest, then it hit me…then we knew…we’ve reach DEFCON 2.

So who was the hero in this horrific experience? Me? Let me put it this way. If this was a Batman movie, I might have gotten the Alfred role if I was lucky. The superhero was my wife. Her cape was the countless towels she used in cleanup. Her superpower was her composure amidst the reruns of meals from days gone by. No weapons…but she did have medicine, Lysol, and a full washer.

BnXkGvVIAAABf-jIf you asked Batman to do what my wife did last night…Christian Bale would probably go off on set (like he would ever do that). Superman would probably fly as far away as possible. And Incredible Hulk’s face would be green, but not because he was mad.

Hopping from room to room, wiping up pools of puke, changing laundry, getting them medicine, checking temperatures, staying up all night…suddenly Thor’s hammer doesn’t seem so impressive, does it?

I was there to help where I could, but she knew. She knew I couldn’t get too close to the kryptonite or it would bring me to my knees. She was a superhero last night, and I was that token little boy in all those movies with his mouth open saying “Whoa, did you see that?”

So this weekend, even when I see Batman fight off a dozen bad guys by himself and Superman leap over buildings and heat up his microwave dinner with his eyes…they pale in comparison to my wife. She is the one with the “S” on her chest. She may not have a bat signal in the sky, but she is called upon many times in the dead of night.

I honestly don’t know how she does it day in and day out. Maybe she does have superpowers after all.

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What Should I Do With My Life?

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Let’s begin with the age-old question…What is the meaning of my life?

Everyone has been formed, known by God, now what am I set apart to do…what is my assignment?  What does God have planned for me?

1st Step – Start a relationship with God through putting your trust in Jesus Christ

Next Steps – Do what God’s Word says clearly to do – Read Bible, Pray, Attend & serve in church, love others, witness

Next step – ASK, James 1:5 – “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God”

Next – discover your spiritual gifts.  This is part of the process of our GPS training.  We discover our spiritual gifts and we put those into practice.  Those with teaching will lead devotions.  Those with service gifts will lead our hospitality team.  Those with exhortation gifts will lead the encouragement team.  See how that works.  God will match your passions, gifting, and his calling on your life together.

Why would I want to do this?

Christopher Wright says “God’s perspective is always bigger than the immediate moment”.  WOW!  Need this reminder daily of the Sovereignty of God…He Knows!

Jeremiah was just a young man when God said these words to him.  Little did he know what was in store for him.  That’s what makes a movie good, an amusement park ride fun, and a book a page-turner…it’s the excitement of seeing what is up next.  Don’t you want to buckle up and see what God has in store for you?

What is stopping you?

Pride?  Fear?  Doubt?  What is stopping you are your excuses.  And what happens when God begins to take away your excuses, and all you have left is obedience.  That’s when you begin find out what you should do with your life.

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