What Will They Remember?

My Papa (pronounced “PAH-paw”) passed away while I was in college. I have some very vivid memories of him. None of them bad. I’m certainly not saying he was the perfect man. I am saying that I can’t think of a single unpleasant memory of my Papa.

He let me drive the tractor.






He let me drink his beer.




He let me help him dig potatoes.

He could blow his nose without a tissue or handkerchief. Just let it fly! This was truly impressive to me. It wasn’t, however, nearly as impressive to my mom when I tried it at home. Possibly because I was indoors at the time, but I can’t be sure.

He let me beat him at Checkers. (I thought I was just that good.)

It seems like he always had time for me.

I always loved the times I got to spend the night at Papa’s house. After spending the day exploring his farm and the woods behind it, or “helping” with some chores, I have memories of sitting in front of the fire in their little farm house and eating popcorn out of a huge bowl. I can still feel what it was like to climb up the steep steps to go to bed in the big feather bed. Well, it seemed big to me at the time.

When I’m with my grandkids I often think about what they will remember about me after they’ve grown. I find that I intentionally say and do things in the hope that it will be a memory they will hold dearly long after I’m gone. I suppose that’s silly in a way, because I know they will end up with lifetime memories of things that I likely will have forgotten by next week.

Crazy kids.

I wonder why we don’t think like this with our own kids.

Maybe we should.

I wish I had.


My Picks for Monday 2-29-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

This trend is easy to detect. Responding appropriately requires some wisdom…

Cultural Trends Pastors Should RecognizeEd Stetzer
Cultural Trends Pastors Should Recognize“In reality, the most effective evangelistic methodology right now is probably people bringing their friends to a church gathering. But we should examine the current trends to see where the church and culture are headed.

A significant percentage of the population has genuine goodwill towards Christians and towards churches, and sees church attendance as admirable. We should seize the opportunity of that goodwill and unashamedly seek to reach people by utilizing what some call an attractional method, which is a “come-and-see” approach to reaching those outside of your church…

…That’s true in most places in the English-speaking Western world.

But, it’s changing…

Over the next few decades, however, I think this general goodwill toward churches will dissipate. As that happens, we must adopt a more incarnational, a go-and-tell type strategy to evangelize effectively.

The current trajectory, if I am right, ends with low goodwill towards the church. Thus, attractional ministries will become less effective, and incarnational ministries will be more necessary.”

More thoughts on the same subject…

5 Reasons Engagement Will Drive Almost All Future Church GrowthCarey Nieuwhof
future church growth“…in growing, effective churches,  attendance had become an established path to engagement.

The big idea was this: come, and eventually you’ll get engaged.

That worked (quite effectively, actually) when people used to flock to church.

But in an era when the number of unchurched is constantly on the rise and even Christians don’t attend church as often anymore (here are 10 reasons for that), that strategy is becoming less and less effective.

… in the future church attendance won’t drive engagement; engagement will drive attendance.

The goal will become to get people engaged faster and to engage people more deeply in the true mission of the church.

In the future, the engaged will attend because, in large measure, only the engaged will remain.”

This could be interesting…

5 things to watch when the Supreme Court hears its biggest abortion case in 25 yearsCharles Camosy
 A view of the Supreme Court on Oct. 7, 2014. Religion News Service photo by Lauren Markoe“Wednesday’s case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, springs from a Texas law that added safety standards to abortion clinics in line with other surgical clinics. It requires physicians to have admitting privileges at the local hospital and stipulates that hallways must be wide enough for gurneys to wheel women into an ambulance, for example. Those who challenge the law as an undue burden argue the added expense will force clinics to close, and that the law is actually an attempt to restrict abortion access.

The case gets at the heart of the “undue burden” argument. The court could define it very specifically, in which case not only this Texas law but also dozens of other state laws may be affected.”

Are you surprised by this? I’m not…

Which Generation is Most Distracted by Their Phones?
Alex Mayyasi
“But if you want to characterize a large group of people, you want to have something to compare them to. And when you compare technology use among young people and middle-aged people, you discover something that, in hindsight, should seem pretty obvious—at least to always-connected working parents: 

Adults are as addicted—if not more addicted—to technology as teenagers.”

So, have a nice day…
Source: Off the Mark

Exodus 25:23-30

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Exodus 25:23-30
23 “You shall make a table of acacia wood. Two cubits shall be its length, a cubit its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 24 You shall overlay it with pure gold and make a molding of gold around it. 25 And you shall make a rim around it a handbreadth[a] wide, and a molding of gold around the rim. 26 And you shall make for it four rings of gold, and fasten the rings to the four corners at its four legs. 27 Close to the frame the rings shall lie, as holders for the poles to carry the table. 28 You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, and the table shall be carried with these. 29 And you shall make its plates and dishes for incense, and its flagons and bowls with which to pour drink offerings; you shall make them of pure gold. 30 And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me regularly.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
What happened at this table?
Where does this happen today?
Does this happen today?

Worship Anyway

“But I must confess that there are days when my circumstances
don’t seem to lend themselves to worship.
Days when I feel so caught up in my own problems
or so pulled down by my own depression
that entering into worship would almost feel hypocritical.
What am I to do on those days?
On those days I am to worship anyway!
I am to bring the Lord what the Bible calls sacrificial praise:
‘So through Jesus let us always offer to God our sacrifice of praise,
coming from lips that speak His name.’ (Hebrews 13:15)”

-Claire Cloninger

Spoiler Alert: He’s Alive

We went to see Risen last night with some friends. I admit that I went with certain expectations. I tried not to, but it was no use. Some of those expectations were met, some were not, and some were exceeded.

I thought I’d take a minute or two and share some of my thoughts. This may contain spoilers so be advised.


  1. This is a work of fiction. For those with little or no familiarity with scripture this should be noted. Scripture contains no information whatsoever about a Roman Tribune named Clavius and his investigation to find the body of Jesus. However, the details of the case being investigated are real. Except for some changes in the chronology and context of some of the quotations and events it was remarkably faithful to the text. I guess you would call it “historical fiction.”
  2. The movie was well done. One of the expectations I had was that I would be disappointed with the production value of another “faith based” film. Certainly, it was no Star Wars in this area. It clearly did not have a huge budget. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. The characters felt authentic. I absolutely loved the casting of the disciples. They did a good job of taking these men down off the pedestal we often put them on, and presented them as the down-to-earth, sometimes befuddled, crew that they were.
  3. Why do movies based in Bible times give the characters British accents?
  4. I loved the concept. The idea of inserting an investigator into the story is a creative way to point out the real, solid evidence that Jesus indeed rose from the dead. But, I was a bit disappointed in how that played out.
  5. SPOILER HERE: My expectation, from seeing the trailers ahead of time, was that Clavius would dive into the investigation and, based on his examination of all the evidence, would come to the inescapable conclusion that the body would never be found because he had, indeed, risen. I didn’t even expect to see Jesus as a character in the movie. Instead, his investigation leads him to the “upper room,” described in scripture, where he barges in to discover Jesus sitting with his disciples. Actually, I thought they played that scene pretty well. It just wasn’t what I had expected. He continues with the disciples until Jesus’ ascension into heaven. While some of the best dialog of the movie takes place between Clavius and the disciples (especially Peter) during this time, I still think my way could have made for a better movie.
  6. That said, I thought the casting for Jesus was excellent! He actually looked middle-eastern!

I sometimes wonder about our (Christians) expectations for movies like this. I think we need to be careful not to depend on a well-produced movie to do the work of presenting the gospel. Don’t misunderstand me: I’m glad movies like this are produced and gain the attention that they do. This is a movie that, depending on your relationship, you could go see with a non-believing friend. It could lead to some great conversation. There are lots of good reasons to continue making them and to continue to improve their quality. But let’s not kid ourselves. A person doesn’t come to faith because of good special effects. Jesus’ story of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16 reminds us of this. “He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” -Luke 16:31

Also, they don’t generally come to faith simply through a persuasive presentation of the evidence. Which, the more I think about this, might be the reason the producers of this movie chose the path they did. It was Clavius’ face to face encounter with Jesus, and the testimony of his disciples that impacted him.

The same is true today.


Exodus 25:10-22

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Exodus 25:10-22
10 “They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits[a] and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 11 You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. 12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. 13 You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. 15 The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. 16 And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you.

17 “You shall make a mercy seat[b] of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Why do you think I called it the “mercy seat”? (v. 17)
You might want to spend some time thinking about this.
What happened there?
Where does that happen today?
Does that happen today?

My Weekend Picks for 2-26-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Some helpful advice for a common parental issue…

Do Christian Parents Flirt with the Idol of Sports?Todd Hill
“My wife and I are wading through the murky waters of youth sports with our kids as well. They play for travel soccer teams, which keeps us busy each weekend for about two-thirds of the year. We have two children, but numerous sports-overwhelmed families have more.

There’s an idolatry problem in our community related to youth sports. I see this problem every weekend as families gather at the field rather than their church. It’s a problem in my heart, too.

I feel deep tension as we walk through this season of family life. Jesus makes it clear we cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). And the taskmaster of sports success always demands my attention.

Here are some guiding principles to help navigate the sports scene…”

I’m really curious as to how this case plays out. I think it could become a defining case for what our future looks like…

The Apple Case Will Grope Its Way Into Your Future
Farhad Manjoo
“From a historical perspective, we’re entering into a very new era,” said Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Not long ago, we were living in a world in which surveillance was difficult. “In the past, you and I would have a conversation in person. No record would be made; nobody would have access to it. I wrote things on paper; I burned them in my fireplace. They were gone forever.”

But in the absence of technical and legal protections, technology is upturning those presumptions.

“Now we have a surveillance-enabled world,” Ms. Granick said. “It’s cheap, and it’s easy. The question that society has to ask is, Is that what we really want?”

It’s a hard decision that requires a lot of honest self-evaluation, but it’s the best way to go for everyone involved…

My Advice to Leaders: Leave Before You Have To Leave
Ron Edmondson
Exit Staring“Here’s some advice I’ve learned watching people in organizations over the years. I’ve seen it in government, business, and, sadly, far too often in the church.

Some people stay too long.

Does this sound cruel? I don’t mean it to, but they do. They stay beyond their welcome. Beyond their usefulness. Beyond their ability to make a positive impact.

So, I have some advice.

Leave before you have to leave.”

As usual, Trevin Wax hits on the issue underneath the issue…

Can We “Agree To Disagree” On Sexuality and Marriage?
Trevin Wax
“The biggest issue confronting evangelicalism today is not over homosexuality and marriage, but whether or not these are “agree-to-disagree” issues…
rainbow-church…Today, one of the common complaints from the progressive side is that evangelicals are always “drawing lines” and “making distinctions” and “policing boundaries” and declaring “who’s in and who’s out.” One wonders what they’d say about the apostles, whose concern about boundaries stands out in so many of their letters, right in line with Jesus’ frequent warnings against false teachers.

Like Jesus, the New Testament writers made constant appeals to unity, but they also drew bold, dark lines regarding what constituted genuine Christian teaching. Flip through any of the letters of Paul, Peter, Jude, and John, and you can’t help but notice the contrast between sound doctrine and error, unity and schism, what constitutes true teaching versus false.”

Another valuable gem from Seth Godin…

Worth Thinking AboutSeth Godin
“That’s one of the most important lists you can have. The list of things worth thinking about.

We live in the age of information surplus, when there are answers and shortcuts and highlights and notes and summaries for everything. But not nearly enough time to even be aware of them.

The key question isn’t, “what’s the answer?”

The key question is, “what’s the question?”

Source: Off the Mark

Exodus 25:1-9

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Exodus 25:1-9
The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, goatskins,[a] acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Did you notice who I asked to give?
What about the people whose hearts weren’t moved? (v. 2)
Does this seem fair to you?
Is your heart moved?
What should you give?

Exodus 24:1-18

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Exodus 24:1-18
Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. Moses alone shall come near to the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules.[a] And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13 So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.”

15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
What do you think made Moses able to come to my presence when others could not?
Why do you think that, even during this awesome event, the people needed someone to settle disputes? (v. 14)
Are you ever involved in disputes while others worship?
Why do you think that is?