Today’s College Students Are Tomorrow’s Leaders

Today’s College Students Are Tomorrow’s Leaders

College campuses across the country are once again coming to life as students head back to school. The same is true at Trevecca Nazarene University here in Nashville. Our sidewalks and dorm hallways are busier these days as we’re all gearing up for the first day of the fall semester next week.

This has been on mind lately as I’ve been featured on a couple of websites. Please check out my guest posts at Ministry Matters and Student Leadership University.

Must Be Present to Win

Ever been at one of these? They are giving away stuff but you have to be there. No phone-ins or email registrations. You must be present, on the spot, in the moment… or you do not qualify.

Developing leaders is like this. We engage people in the very work we are doing as a shaping experience. At Trevecca Nazarene University, our chief administrative leaders are charged with identifying up-and-coming leaders who have the capacity to assume our role someday. …

Read the entire article at Student Leadership University’s blog here.

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My Top 10 Must-haves for College Students

Ah, August.

Summer’s winding down as retail store aisles fill up with pencils, markers, and glue. Ask any parent what’s top of their mind these days and I guarantee you’ll get an answer that sounds a lot like this: ‘back to school!’

Read the entire article at Ministry Matters here.

Here’s wishing all students a wonderful 2014-15 school year!

Letters to Churches

Letters to Churches

A man was stranded alone on a desert island. Years passed before he was rescued. During this time he built three buildings. His rescuers asked what they were. Pointing to the first he said, “That’s my home, where I live.” Pointing to the second, “That’s the church where I worship each Sunday. I’m a religious person.” When asked about the third building, he replied, “That’s the church I used to attend.”

Church—for many the word does not evoke feelings of deep commitment or devotion. Like grocery stores and telephone companies, we will switch in a flash for a better deal.

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Celebrate Left-Handers Day!

Celebrate Left-Handers Day!

A Left-Handers Day? Really?

I suppose there are Hallmark Cards for this one, too. How many special days do we need?

My guess is that we are on a quest to make every day “spesh-shull” (can you hear my Church Lady tone)?

Maybe we need to add Right-Brain Day and Left-Brain Day for those who reason differently. And then we can go for Bald Day, Blonde Day, and Bear-Killer Day.

Sooner or later, multiple celebrations will occupy the same calendar day. And a bald, left-handed, right-brained bear-killer will insult a blonde and get sued—on the very day that he was being celebrated for all his differentness.

But then—I am right-handed.

Here’s to the left-handers!

 

The Best Clue on What to Expect

The Best Clue on What to Expect

My wife loves surprises. For my 47th birthday, she planned a surprise. The buildup was spectacular; for months she talked about “the day.” In fact, she was so excited she almost let it slip. Suspense kills her. Not me; I can wait. So I waited for “the day” to come. Denise soared with excitement—on the giddy scale, she registered a 9.9. I knew this would be big. But I also knew that her surprise hadn’t broken the bank. No huge dip in the checking account. No IRA or Fidelity retirement withdrawals. No credit card meltdowns.

Finally, “the day” came. She told me to dress casually, and I started getting ready while she took our youngest daughter to school. I waited and wondered. An hour later she returned. I was blindfolded and led out the back door for the grand revelation. What I saw next was an apocalypse . . .

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Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands:

“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate evildoers; you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this is to your credit: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.

—Revelation 2:1-7

We often laud critical thinking abilities, but they do have a dark side. When we are convinced that “we’re” right and “they’re” wrong, bad things can happen. People are ridiculed. Relationships have litmus tests. Sidewalks are scattered with eggshells. Ostracism becomes a sport, and words become weapons rather than gifts. And something dangerous happens. In pursuing the art of being right, we lose our love.

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Trouble on the Yellow Brick Road

Trouble on the Yellow Brick Road

You stand in front of two doors. Behind Door No. 1 is God in all the splendor, glory, and might described in Scripture—the God of creation, of Abraham, of Israel, of flesh-and-blood Jesus, the God of yesterday, today, forever. This is door No. 1.

Behind Door No. 2 is Satan—the evil one, Beelzebub, Lucifer, the ancient serpent, Father of lies. You’ve always wondered if he’s red, horned, and carrying a pitchfork. Now you have the chance see for yourself. This is Door No. 2.

No one will ever know. No one will ever tell. The choice is yours. Who would you rather see? Which door will you choose?

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Children On The Border

Children On The Border

I have to admit, this one has troubled me deeply. I feel a little schizophrenic:

Part of me says, What kind of parent sends a child across a guarded border into the arms of law enforcement and strangers? And the other part of me says, A parent who is poor, living under threat, and hopeless.

Part of me says, Should not a government the size of Mexico be responsible for its children? And the other part of me says, With all that is wrong with American government, isn’t it amazing that people assume we will be compassionate to children?

Part of me says, Why would we be so compassionate, merciful, and helpful to these children who are a burden to our society? And the other part of me says, Isn’t it interesting that we take no concern for burdensome children in the womb?

Part of me says, Why do we need $52,000 per child to care for them? And the other part of me says, I bet there are plenty childless couples who would open their lives to adopt these children.

Part of me says, I wish we would cancel the purchase of a few bombers to pay for this, rather than adding to the deficit. And the other part of me says, That’s a very good idea.

Part of me says, Politics aside, these are children. And the other part of me says, Jesus would care for the children first, then challenge adults to be, well, adults.

When Hope Sinks

When Hope Sinks

“Don’t get your hopes up.”

That’s what we say to each other as a warning against inflationary expectation. The higher our hopes climb, the harder they fall. It’s dangerous to risk a fall of Humpty Dumpty proportions. Few people specialize in putting shattered hope back together again.

Have you ever heard someone predict the second coming of Jesus? Have you ever read a book that connected the dots between world events and the biblical text of the Revelation of Jesus to John? I suggest that people who interpret the Book of the Revelation as a time line of the end are manipulating our hopes. They tell us:

  • the Antichrist is here
  • the blocks of the new Temple are already cut
  • Armageddon is just around the corner
  • the mark of the beast is a computer chip installed under our skin

They speak of these things as warnings to the unprepared and good news to the ready-to-be-raptured. Yet, for the life of me, these predictions don’t get my hopes up anymore. I guess I’m old enough now to know some history. I know about the failed predictions of the end-of-the-world in the years 999, 1843, 1988, and 2012.

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Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day

Independence Day

Enjoy this July 4th holiday!

 

Hobby Lobby and the Kingdom of God

Hobby Lobby and the Kingdom of God

For many in our world, the idea of religion as an influencer of public policy is frightening. As long as the church stays inside its walls, redeems drunkards from the city streets, marries and buries, then it is due the tax exemption that it receives. But when the church finds a voice in the public arena and begins to operate out of a different cultural narrative, then it is narrow, bigoted, and dangerous. That’s the world we live in. And Christians with convictions are in the crosshairs of public opinion.

And then we wake up to a Supreme Court decision that upholds the conscience of the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby. I find some elements of Obamacare to be helpful – children staying on their parent’s health coverage through their college years, the mandate that requires insurance companies to offer coverage to families who have children with serious illness, and the attempt to address the uninsured. At the same time, I find the over-reach that ignores a sacred conviction about life in the womb to be unacceptable.

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