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.

A Unique Look At “Church”

gods-people-are-the-saintsHave you ever noticed that nowhere in the New Testament do we see an “order of service” for a church congregation? It’s simply not there.

Neither is there a list of acceptable songs, or the design of a church building, or how or when Communion is served, or even what clothing the pastor is supposed to wear. Yet we modern-day Christians seem to spend a lot of time not only arguing about these non-essentials, but even (gasp!) evaluating the “churchness” of a church based on these things.

It’s understandable, then, when someone says, “I enjoy being a Christian, but I really don’t like going to church.” Or even insisting that they can be a Christian without attending a church.

But here’s where those statements miss the mark: “Church” was never intended to be merely a group of people who met at a designated address once a week.

The Church that Jesus described—and the Church the apostles were a part of—was a living organism. It was fellow followers of Jesus Christ interacting with each other as they worshiped the Lord.

The Apostle Peter describes a gathering of Christians in just one verse. In this verse he gives five descriptors of how Church should be done. To stress the point that every gathering of Christians is unique, three of Peter’s five descriptors are found nowhere else in Scripture.

  1. Live in harmony with one another (the first unique word)

One translation has this as “one mind.” Paul has a similar thought in 1 Corinthians 14:20. The bottom line—get on the same page working toward the same goal. What’s that goal? Pointing people to Jesus!

      2.  Be sympathetic (the next unique word)

A definition we may better understand is “empathy.” This world literally means to “vibrate with others.” Be on in tune with what they’re going through that you can feel it just like it was happening to you.

      3.  Love as brothers

This is the Greek word philadelphos, which means to treat other Christians like they’re from the same womb as you.

      4.  Be compassionate

That is: be strong enough to step into other people’s stuff. Keep on increasing your capacity to carry a bigger load for someone else (Galatians 6:2).

      5.  Be humble (the last unique word)

The King James Version translates this “courteous.” Not just being strong enough to help, but gentle enough that your help will be accepted.

Let me repeat: The Church is not a physical address where we gather once per week. YOU are the temple of God’s presence, which is why Jesus said if just two of His followers get together, He is right there with them. That’s right—two Christians can have “church” wherever they happen to meet! 

Don’t just go to church, BE the church. Don’t miss an opportunity to encourage, pray with, instruct, or learn from another Christ-follower whenever and wherever you happen to meet.

5 Quotes On Mercy From “The Blessing Of Humility”

The Blessing Of HumilityAs I stated in my review of Jerry Bridges’ book The Blessing Of Humility, reading through these thoughts slowly—Beatitude by Beatitude—would bring about the most life-changing impact. In that spirit, I will be sharing some noteworthy quotes one Beatitude at a time. Here are some quotes on blessed are the merciful (Matthew 5:7)…

“The first four character traits of the Beatitudes…all address our internal character and our relationship to God. Here in this Beatitude, ‘Blessed are the merciful,’ Jesus begins to address our relationship with other people.”

“Note the subtle distinction between compassion and mercy. The Samaritan had compassion [Luke 10:33] and then showed mercy [v. 34-35].”

“Mercy expresses itself in two general areas: In the temporal sense, mercy seeks to meet the physical needs of others, as the Good Samaritan did in Jesus’ parable. The second way mercy expresses itself is granting forgiveness to those who have sinned against us.”

“The magnitude of our sin is not measured by its effects on other people but by its assault upon the infinite majesty and holiness of God.”

“To forgive others means we regard ourselves as ten-thousand-talent debtors [Matthew 18:23-35].” 

 I have previously shared quotes on:

Quotes on the next Beatitude will be posted soon. Stay tuned…

10 Benefits From Suffering

Horatius BonarCommenting on one of the opening passages in Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth, Horatius Bonar shares ten benefits to Christians who will cling to God during times of suffering.

“The meaning and use of trial:

  1. It shows God to be in earnest with us. He does not let us alone. He takes great pains with our spiritual education and training. He desires fruit and progress.
  2. It assures us of His love.
  3. It draws us to prayer. When one member suffers all the others suffer with it. As soon as it is said, ‘such a brother or sister is in sorrow,’ all who hear of this begin to pray for the afflicted one. Thus sorrow becomes a magnet which attracts the prayers of the church.
  4. It knits us in sympathy to the whole body.
  5. It teaches us sympathy with brethren.
  6. It brings us into a mood more receptive of blessing. It makes our spirits tender, it softens our hearts, it makes our consciences alive, it empties us of adverse influences.
  7. It makes us prize the Word.
  8. It shuts out the world.
  9. It bids us look up.
  10. It turns our hope to the Lord’s great coming.”

10 Quotes From “#struggles”

#strugglesCraig Groeschel has given us a great reminder to keep technology in its proper place. Check out my book review of #struggles by clicking here. Below are a few quotes that caught my attention.

“We were created not for earth but for eternity. We were created not to be Liked but to show love. We were created not to draw attention to ourselves but to give glory to God. We were created not to collect followers but to follow Christ.”

“Make the time to love people face to face, not just keyboard to keyboard.”

“Make sure that the person you’re with is the most important person in the world when you’re together.”

“Pictures aren’t the only thing we’re becoming used to controlling, thanks to technology and social media. We have the luxury of sending an article, text, tweet, or email to virtually anyone we want to communicate with. And we can edit and revise as much as we want before we hit send. The problem, however, is that many of us have filtered our messages so much that we are no longer comfortable with the real, unscripted, spontaneous conversation. We’ve become so used to the luxury of being able to edit the things we say that some of us really struggle when we have to have normal, everyday conversations with and in front of real, live human beings. Technology has given us tools that are unprecedented in human history, but an entire generation is growing up uncomfortable in conversations they cannot control.”

“Many of us are making life choices just to create a string of social media moments, and all because we want to show some imaginary life that we think people want to see.”

“Being authentic is not about being brutally honest and confrontational about everything on your mind. But by all means—at the right time, with the right people, and when you’re face-to-face—drop the veil completely. If you don’t, you’ll always be longing for something more. When you put on the veil and post something hoping for Likes, hoping for affirmation, even if you receive it, you’re still going to feel empty because you’re not being real with people about yourself. But the place to be vulnerable is where God wants you to be vulnerable: in the context of private, life-giving, healthy, God-honoring relationships.”

“We want so badly to connect with others, and we think the best way to do so is by showing off our strengths. But it doesn’t work that way. Here’s why: we actually connect with people through our weaknesses. We may impress them with our strengths, but we connect through our weaknesses.”

“Social media encourages us—I say it even trains us—to become more narcissistic, more full of ourselves.”

“Compassion is not just an emotion, not just some feeling you have that eventually passes. True compassion demands action.”

“Clicking doesn’t change anything. Caring is not Liking a post; it’s loving a person.”

More quotes from #struggles coming soon…

Links & Quotes

link quote

“satan is real and may have a hand in our calamities, but not the final hand, and not the decisive hand. James makes clear that God had a good purpose in all Job’s afflictions: ‘You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful’ [James 5:11]. So satan may have been involved, but the ultimate purpose was God’s, and it was ‘compassionate and merciful.’” —John Piper

“God’s will is determined by His wisdom which always perceives, and His goodness which always embraces, the intrinsically good.” —C.S. Lewis

“Let us never suppose that there is any lack of charity in speaking of hell. Let us rather maintain that it is the highest love to warn men plainly of danger, and to beseech them to ‘flee from the wrath to come.’ It was satan, the deceiver, murderer, and liar, who said to Eve in the beginning, ‘You shall not surely die.’ (Genesis 3:4.) To shrink from telling men, that except they believe they will ‘die in their sins,’ may please the devil, but surely it cannot please God.” —J.C. Ryle

“You aren’t the only person with your skill. But you are the only person with your version of your skill.” —Max Lucado

“There is nothing natural about the Christian life. It is all supernatural. It’s a life dependent upon miracles from the very beginning (including your conversion). And it simply can’t be lived without faith in the supernatural.” —David Wilkerson

It is time for science to detach itself from an atheistic worldview. Douglas Rushkoff states, “By starting with Godlessness as a foundational principle of scientific reasoning, we make ourselves unnecessarily resistant to the novelty of human consciousness, its potential continuity over time, and the possibility that it has a purpose.”

Detroit Tigers fans (like me!) will love this: an interactive map that shows where every Tiger has been born.

John Stonestreet asks, “Why is pop music so angry?” Check out his answer in Bad Blood.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell challenges us to find someone we can inspire this weekend—

 

12 Quotes From “Rise”

RiseTrip Lee has given parents, teachers and anyone who mentors teens and 20-somethings an excellent resource in his book Rise. I read this book for myself, and now I’m reading it and discussing it with my teenage son. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are just a few of the quotes I especially appreciated in Rise.

“There are great benefits to living for Jesus in the present. Now is the time when we have the most strength. Now is the time when we have the most energy. Now is the time when we can give it everything we have. Now is the time to get up and live.”

“Every decision we make is a small piece of a larger puzzle. And without looking at the big picture for reference, we’ll place the pieces incorrectly every time. It’s tragic to treasure a moment in time more than an entire lifetime.”

“It’s loving of me to stop my son when he tries to put his finger in a socket or put a penny in his mouth. It’s loving of Jesus to tell me to say no to myself when I’m doing the wrong thing. … Let’s be clear, though. He’s not saying you can’t be yourself. He’s not calling you to ignore your personality and abandon your interests. Instead, He’s saying, ‘Submit all those things to Me.’ Your personality and your interests are His, and following Him shapes those things to bring you joy and bring God glory.” 

“One of our problems is that we think we belong to ourselves. Our assumption is that we are the masters of our lives and we get to make all the big decisions. That’s a myth. I belong to God. First, because He created me (Psalm 139:13), and second, because He purchased me (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And that has serious implications for how I invest each hour of my day. I don’t have the right to rob God of time.”

“We allow our desire for approval to push us in directions we wouldn’t go otherwise. The answer is to be more content with the acceptance of Jesus, while praying that God would make us more passionate about pleasing Him than pleasing other people. … One of the quickest ways to ensure compromise is to obsess over what other people think of you.”

“Confession of sin can only be perceived as your enemy if you have a goal other than God’s glory. If your goal is your glory, then confessing your sin works against that goal and therefore should be avoided. But if you’re living for the glory of God, confessing your sin to the right people will only help.”

“With Christians or non-Christians, when we pretend, we are using them instead of loving them. Instead of saying or doing what would be most beneficial for them, we say or do what makes us look good. We’re using them to get to that end goal, the magical feeling of acceptance and approval, that sweet ego stroke. And that will eventually crush us and crush them.”

“The mature Christian doesn’t just ask, ‘What can I do?’ but ‘What can I do to glorify God?’”

“A Christian’s job is to live in such a way that shows off the real Jesus, the all-powerful, Almighty, sinner-loving King of the universe.”

“One of the reasons we struggle is because we forget that Jesus is the Lord of all. When I say Lord of all, I don’t just mean Lord of all people; I mean Lord of all things and spheres of life. It’s easy for us to section off our lives into little quadrants. There’s the fun stuff, the family stuff, the boring stuff, and the spiritual stuff. But the Bible doesn’t recognize any area of our lives that’s not spiritual. God made every sphere of life, He rules over every sphere of life, and He can be glorified in every sphere of life. This means everything is sacred.”

“The symptom of an encounter with the compassion of Jesus is compassion for others.”

“People go to hell because they haven’t seen the glory of God in the Gospel and trusted in Christ. Seeing the glory of God matters, and we want them to see it. Where the glorious light of Christ is not seen, sins are not forgiven and souls are not saved. This is why we share the Good News. The end goal of evangelism is that people would see the glory of God and worship Him forever.”

%d bloggers like this: