Poetry Saturday—The Praise Of God

FullSizeRenderSpeak, lips of mine! 
And tell abroad 
The praises of my God. 
Speak, stammering tongue! 
In gladdest tone, 
Make His high praises known. 
Speak, sea and earth! 
Heaven’s utmost star, 
Speak from your realms afar! 
Take up the note, 
And send it round 
Creation’s farthest bound. 
Speak, heaven of heavens! 
Wherein our God 
Has made His bright abode. 
Speak, angels, speak! 
In songs proclaim 
His everlasting name. 
Speak, son of dust! 
Thy flesh He took 
And heaven for thee forsook. 
Speak, child of death! 
Thy death He died, 
Bless thou the Crucified. —Horatius Bonar

The Legacy Of Amos Alonzo Stagg

This is an excerpt from Mark Batterson’s powerful book Chase The Lion

chase-the-lion“When I hear the word legacy, I think of Amos Alonzo Stagg. You can’t walk very far on the University of Chicago campus without bumping into his legacy. As the coach of the original Monsters of the Midway, Coach Stagg led the university to two national titles in 1905 and 1913.

“His football legacy includes the huddle, the Statue of Liberty play, the onside kick, the T-formation, the end-around, and the forward pass. In other words, he practically invented the game of football as we know it. But that isn’t his most enduring or most endearing legacy.

“When Coach Stagg accepted the invitation to coach, he gave the university president a speech of sorts: ‘After much thought and prayer, I decided that my life can best be used for my Master’s service in the position you have offered.’ Amos Alonzo Stagg coached until the age of ninety-eight. But he did more than coaches players; he discipled them. He was a priest-coach. After one of his most successful seasons, a well-intentioned reporter congratulated Stagg on a job well done. Coach Stagg courteously cut him short. ‘I won’t know how good a job I did for twenty years,’ Coach Stagg said. ‘That’s when I’ll see how my boys turned out.’”

Thursdays With Oswald—Is Your Religion Rotten?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Is Your Religion Rotten?

      No man can redeem his own soul, or give himself a new heredity; that is the work of the sovereign grace of God. Man has nothing to do with Redemption, it is God’s “bit”; but God cannot give a man a good character, that is not God’s business, nor is it an inevitable thing. God will give us what we cannot give ourselves, a totally new heredity (see Luke 11:13). God will put the disposition of His Son, Holy Spirit, into any man who asks, then on that basis man has to work out a holy character. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you….” [Philippians 2:12]

      If your religion does not make you a better man, it is a rotten religion. The test of true religion is when it touches these four things—food, money, sex and mother earth. These things are the test of a right sane life with God, and the religion that ignores them or abuses them is not right. … A man needs to hold a right attitude to all these things by means of his personal relationship to God.

From Shade Of His Hand

God gives Christians a new heredity—a new way of looking at life through a relationship with Jesus Christ—by placing His Holy Spirit in us. That, as Chambers says, is God’s bit.

What we do with this new heredity—this new way of looking at life—is our bit.

So… how are you doing? Does your relationship with Jesus Christ help you handle food, money, sex and mother earth in God-honoring ways? Is the Holy Spirit able to correct your attitude so it aligns with the biblical viewpoint on these topics?

If you can answer “yes” to those questions, your religion is true. If not, Chambers says you have “a rotten religion.”

Kids In Jesus’ Day

the-bad-habits-of-jesus“Kids in Jesus’ day were to be seen and not heard. Small children (under age 5) were associated with death. All children were associated with dirt, noise, and annoying habits. It went without saying that they shouldn’t bother the rabbi.

“Even Jesus’ disciples thought He wouldn’t want to be interrupted by rambunctious children. Sound familiar? Many of our churches today banish children to distant parts of the building during worship, then bemoan their absence from church when the same kids reach adulthood. Instead of Jesus’ ‘Let the children come unto Me,’ the church says, ‘Let us babysit your kids while we dazzle you adults in worship.’

“Jesus’ idea of children and childhood was radically different from what was normal in His day. Jesus taught a faith that you might call adultproof. Today we childproof our medicine and our faith, making them as hard for children to get into as possible. In contrast, Jesus made faith child friendly and adult averse, meaning Jesus did everything He could to protect children’s faith from adults and to help even the most adultish among us become more childlike so as to get into the Kingdom without messing it up.” —Leonard Sweet, in The Bad Habits Of Jesus

11 Quotes From “Your Next 24 Hours”

your-next-24-hoursHal Donaldson makes the case that a revolution of kindness can be started by what you do in the next 24 hours. It’s a great book! Check out my review of Your Next 24 Hours by clicking here, and then enjoy some of these quotes that I found enlightening.

“Think of your heart as a bank vault that’s packed with the currency of love and kindness. When that currency is hoarded—it is wasted. But when it is invested in the lives of others, it pays great dividends. With each disbursement, you give others strength, hope, and value.”

“You have a unique capacity to bring hope and beauty to the world. Don’t waste your precious energy using the wrong ruler. Granted, not everyone will acknowledge your unique gifts. But don’t allow how others see you to dictate how you see yourself. The words they use to describe you don’t define you. You can’t control how they respond to you, but you can influence what they have to respond to.”

“If all you possess are two hands, collect trash along the way. If all you own is a smile, use it to befriend someone who is lonely. If all you have is an umbrella, share it with someone who is quivering in the rain. If all you have is a kind word, encourage those who think the world is against them. To the lonely, rain-soaked, and downtrodden, your resourcefulness is their miracle.” 

“If enough families are built on a foundation of kindness, communities will see crime rates fall, domestic disputes decline, suicides drop, teen pregnancies wane, and cases of child abuse fade.”

“Whenever you see injustice, it’s safer to ignore it and do nothing. When you raise your voice in defense of others, you put yourself at risk. Retreating will protect you temporarily, but that approach only perpetuates more injustice and suffering. Don’t allow the threat of retaliation to make you a spectator.”

“From a heart of kindness, will you stand and say, ‘There are no second class citizens—nor should anyone be made to feel like one. Every life is precious to God and must be treasured, because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”?’ Remember, your voice is a vote for justice; your silence may be interpreted as a vote for injustice.”

“To offer the right prescription of hope and encouragement, you need to be emotionally and spiritually prepared.” 

“No life experience should be wasted, because crises teach patience, empathy, and perseverance.”

“Make it your goal to do more for your friends and family members than they do for you. When they are facing hardship, make an effort to be by their side. They may not know how to ask for help, so don’t be afraid to be proactive.” 

“Occasional kindness has limited power. But relentless kindness has the power to restore, inspire, rescue, and unite.”

“Your acts of kindness are an outward expression of the love and happiness that are in your heart.” 

I’ll be sharing more quotes from this wonderful book soon. To be notified right away when these quotes are posted, enter your email address to subscribe. Also be sure to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr, where I share quotes from Hal Donaldson and other thought-provoking people every day.

The Resurrection Of Jesus Makes All The Difference

more-than-a-carpenter“When Jesus was crucified, His followers were discouraged and depressed. They no longer had confidence that Jesus had been sent by God, because they believed anyone crucified was accursed by God. They also had been taught that God would not let His Messiah suffer death. So they disbursed. The Jesus movement was all but stopped in its tracks. Then, after a short period of time, we see them abandoning their occupations, regathering, and committing themselves to spread a very specific message—that Jesus Christ was the Messiah of God who died on the Cross, returned to life, and was seen alive by them. And they were willing to spend the rest of their lives proclaiming this, without any payoff from a human point of view. It’s not as though there were a mansion awaiting them on the Mediterranean. They faced a life of hardship. They often went without food, slept exposed to the elements, were ridiculed, beaten, imprisoned. And finally, most of them were executed in torturous ways. For what? For good intentions? No, because they were convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that they had seen Jesus Christ alive from the dead. What you can’t explain is how this particular group of men came up with this particular belief without having had an experience of the resurrected Christ. There’s no other adequate explanation.” —J. P. Moreland, quoted in More Than A Carpenter

Your Next 24 Hours (book review)

your-next-24-hoursWhen it comes to compassionate actions that are changing the world, Hal Donaldson—who founded the Convoy of Hope—knows what he’s talking about! Hal is passionate in letting everyone know that they, too, can be world changers. That message comes through loud and clear in his book Your Next 24 Hours.

Hal Donaldson turned a near-devastating situation in his young life into a relentless pursuit to show others the kindness he was shown. Throughout this book, he shares his personal story, as well as stories from some well-known people, and some not-so-well-known folks. In story after story one message becomes crystal clear: You don’t have to have a lot of money or celebrity status to do something kind for someone else.

Each 24-hour day presents us with abundant opportunities to see a pain that needs to be addressed, to show kindness, to do something that touches another life for good. And just in case you’re having a difficult time coming up with some world-changing ideas, Donaldson shares a few “Kind Ways” at the end of each chapter which anyone can do.

As he opens the book, Hal reminds us, “The enemies of kindness are fierce, and you’re only one person. But what if every person was a relentless force for good? Overnight, a revolution of kindness would dethrone a culture of greed and self-centeredness. The world would be a different place. You have more power and influence than you think.” (emphasis mine)

I am very excited to recommend this book to you! Already I have shared some of the “Kind Ways” with others and have used some of them myself. I’m excited to see a revolution of kindness that begins in the lives of each person who reads Your Next 24 Hours!

I am a Baker Books reviewer.

%d bloggers like this: