Links & Quotes

I love the humanitarian work of Convoy of Hope wherever there is a need. They are on the front lines of Ukraine right now. If you are looking for a good organization to support financially, please check out their current efforts and click the Donate button on their page.

“[God] does not need us. If we stay away He is not impoverished. He does not need us in order to be happy in the fellowship of the Trinity. But He magnifies His mercy by giving us free access through His Son, in spite of our sin, to the one Reality that can satisfy us completely and forever, namely, Himself. ‘You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore’ (Psalm 16:11).” —John Piper 

“Good preachers are good learners, and not just of the Scriptures. They need to understand the times and the ways the times impact the people they are called to serve. Preachers who know their sheep well, as our Good Shepherd exemplified for us, will hear their concerns, understand their thoughts, discern their hopes and fears, and be able to preach in a way that speaks directly to their souls with transforming grace and power. Let us strive to be sons of Issachar when it comes to the ministry of God’s Word.” —T.M. Moore 

I love the Babylon Bee! Here is something that should make every pastor say, “Aha!”—Scholars Discover Introductory Notes To Paul’s Epistles That Dismissed The Children To Youth Ministry So The Adults Could Hear The Message

This week I shared another exclusive video with my Patreon supporters. Please consider supporting this ministry at just $5 per month. I also shared this public video especially for my fellow pastors:

John Stonestreet wrote about our amazing brain. What a marvelous thing our Creator has given us! Here is just one example: “In 2013, a collaboration between Japanese and German scientists created one of the most realistic brain simulations ever attempted. They used what was, at that time, the world’s fourth-largest computer, containing over 700,000 processor cores and producing an eye-popping 1.4 million gigabytes of RAM. The machine worked at top speed, crunching numbers for over 40 minutes. In the end, it produced just one second of simulated brain activity.”

Poetry Saturday—Smart

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible.

My dad gave me a one dollar bill
‘Cause I’m his smartest son,
And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
‘Cause two is more than one!

And then I took the quarters
And traded them to Lou
For three dimes—I guess he don’t know
That three is more than two!

Just then, along came old blind Bates
And just ‘cause he can’t see
He gave me four nickels for my three dimes,
And four is more than three!

And I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs
Down at the seed-feed store,
And the fool gave me five pennies for them,
And five is more than four!

And then I went and showed my dad,
And he got red in the cheeks
And closed his eyes and shook his head—
Too proud of me to speak! —Shel Silverstein

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Links & Quotes

“If a claim to spiritual revelation leads us to depend less on the once-for-allness of the historical Word that comes to us by Jesus Christ through the apostles (Hebrews 2:3), then that claim is dubious.” —John Piper

“God, change me today because I have spent time being exposed to Your thoughts in Scripture. As risky as it is, I want Your Word to cut away everything in me that doesn’t look like Jesus.” —Kenneth Blanchard (see Hebrews 4:12) 

A scrip on my back, and a staff in my hand,
I march on in haste through an enemy’s land;
The road may be rough, but it cannot be long;
And I’ll smooth it with hope, and I’ll cheer it with song. —Henry Francis Lyte


Looking forward to beginning a new series at Calvary Assembly of God this Sunday…

Podcast: Leaders And Laughter

On this episode of “The Craig And Greg Show” we talk about: 

  • sometimes leaders and laughter don’t together, but sometimes humor can bring about the ice breaker that teams need
  • leaders need to practice laughter  
  • how Greg used to prepare himself for meetings while he was on the road
  • I share that leaders need to lighten up even before in-office meetings
  • people want to follow leaders not just to win, but to have fun along the way too
  • how do leaders find the appropriate use of humor? Greg shares two important words to keep in mind
  • leaders need to get on the same page with their teammates, and the best way to do this is to laugh at ourselves
  • in a previous episode, we talked about love languages, which is also key in the appropriate use of humor 
  • laughing is good for your health—both physical health and emotional health
  • we wonder about the statute of limitations on some pranks with which we may have been involved
  • laughter triggers endorphins in us but also triggers the mirror neurons in others
  • we announce a really fun contest!

Check out this episode and subscribe on YouTube so you can watch all of the upcoming episodes. You can also listen to our podcast on Spotify and Apple.

In Such Good Company (book review)

I grew up watching The Carol Burnett Show. The interaction between Carol, her special guests, and regular cast members Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway, were always enjoyable. In In Such Good Company, Carol takes us behind the scenes to tell us how the magic happened. 

What goes into such a successful show that won 25 Emmy Awards over its 11-year run? Is it good fortune? Lots of talented people? Hard work? The answer is quite simply: Yes. Of course, those of us enjoying the show week after week were unaware of the hard work and good fortune that was at play. And although we saw several talented actors, musicians, and dancers on stage each week, there were dozens of unseen, talented people that were just as crucial to the show’s success. 

I choose the audiobook version, and I’m glad I did. Carol read her own book, adding a personal touch that I would have otherwise missed by reading it myself. In addition, the audiobook also includes interviews with some of the key personnel that made the show what it was. 

Carol and her team loved what they were doing. They were talented people who continued to work extremely hard to hone their craft. All of us who watched the show were beneficiaries of these talented people. I loved going behind all of the lights and cameras to hear from Carol herself how this all came together. 

If you enjoyed watching The Carol Burnett Show, I’ll bet you will find yourself appreciating it even more after you hear/read Carol’s recollections. 

Book Reviews From 2016

So, Anyway… (book review)

So AnywayGood comedy is something which is appreciated by nearly everyone. A comedian who can make us laugh, or think, or think while we’re laughing, is in limited company. But have you ever wondered how a comedian formulates his or her comedy? In So, Anyway… we get some comedic insight from the very talented John Cleese.

I’ll admit it: I am fan of Monty Python. Their offbeat humor is brilliant in the way they capture a side of life that goes mostly unnoticed. One of the pillars of Monty Python is John Cleese. John has a physical presence that can make you laugh, an intelligence that is lightning-fast, and an ability to use the Queen’s English to draw out nuanced comedy unlike few I’ve heard. But, again, I was always intrigued by that nagging question: How did he get to be so funny? Was he born with a “comedic gene”? Were his parents comical? Is good comedy something that can be learned?

As I read his delightful memoir So Anyways… I discovered the answer was “yes” to all of the above. John looks back on his life in a prescient way that allows the reader to see all of the ingredients that go into making a world-class comedian. Is there such a thing as a “comedic gene”? If there is, John was probably born with it. Were his parents odd? They were probably considered “normal” people (but, what is “normal”?). And along the way John definitely learned what was funny and what wasn’t, and used that to his advantage.

Throughout this memoir you will see John’s comedic routines interspersed in the story of his life. You will discover the “seeds” that blossomed in a particular character or paradigm or comedy routine. You will meet the people, places, and experiences that John leveraged as he discovered what makes people throughout the English-speaking world laugh. Anyone interested in how comedy is birthed and nurtured will love seeing comedy develop through the life of John Cleese.

I am a Three Rivers Press book reviewer.

Book Reviews From 2015

Links & Quotes

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“The issue is not how much a person makes. Big industry and big salaries are a fact of our times, and they are not necessarily evil. The evil is in being deceived into thinking a six-digit salary must be accompanied by a six-digit lifestyle. God has made us to be conduits of His grace. The danger is in thinking the conduit should be lined with gold. It shouldn’t. Copper will do. Copper can carry unbelievable riches to others.” —John Piper

“I would prefer to combat the ‘I’m special’ feeling not by the thought ‘I’m no more special than anyone else’ but by the feeling ‘Everyone is as special as me.’ In one way there is no difference, I grant, for both remove the speciality. But there is a difference in another way. The first might lead you to think, ‘I’m only one of the crowd like anyone else.’ But the second leads to the truth that there isn’t any crowd. No one is like anyone else. All are ‘members’ (organs) in the Body of Christ. All different and all necessary to the whole and to one another: each loved by God individually, as if it were the only creature in existence. Otherwise you might get the idea that God is like the government which can only deal with the people in the mass.” —C.S. Lewis

“Life will always bring challenges. But God will always give strength to face them.” Read more encouraging words from Max Lucado’s post Here’s What You Need To Know.

Seth Godin started writing about too much salt, but he took it somewhere I wasn’t expecting. Wow!

Ryan Shelton talks about the benefit of gathering together with other people at church: Godward Together On Sunday Morning. By the way, if you are looking for a “Godward together” church in West Michigan, I ♥ Calvary Assembly of God!

Glad to see my home state is trying to ban the gruesome practice of abortion by dismemberment.

[VIDEO] Ken Davis knows something cool (and unique) about Michiganders—

Links & Quotes

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“The time for speaking seldom arrives, the time for being never departs.” —George MacDonald

David Wilkerson has some encouraging words for those in a dark place: “When we’re in the midst of a trial, we must get our eyes off our troubles. In just such times, we need to encourage ourselves, saying, ‘My God can do anything—and He hasn’t forgotten me. He has His eyes on me right now….’” Read more of his post on trusting God here.

And Max Lucado remind us, “We need to know that God is near. We are never alone. In our darkest hour, in our deepest questions, the Lord never leaves us!” Read the rest of his post He Is In Charge.

J. Warner Wallace shares yet another way the existence of consciousness demonstrates the existence of God.

Alan Shlemon tackles a heavy question with some sage advice: Should same-sex attracted Christian men be in a platonic relationship?

Tim Elmore writes, “Our society today unwittingly encourages our kids to simply ‘blend in’—to do what’s asked of you, but only what’s asked of you. In fact, we condition them to do the bare minimum requirement to get by, to look for loopholes and shortcuts. As a result, too many of our gifted young athletes, academicians, and other performers carry this ‘good enough’ mindset with them. They are fine with being ‘average.’” Read the rest of Tim’s post here, and check out a poem I shared earlier about being average.

[VIDEO] Ken Davis always cracks me up—

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