Happy Friday, everyone.

Around here, it’s been a week of catching up and cleaning up after returning from a mission trip with my high school freshmen (more on that next week.) I’m already into summer school, which isn’t bad for an art teacher. And there’s about a million projects beckoning me at home.

Anyway, my blog reader was jammed with good stuff, waiting for me to come back home.

Prayer In School

Maybe it’s a function of where we live, but I don’t hear the prayer in school debate as much as some of you may. (I thought Kansas City was in the Bible Belt. Then I visited the Bible Belt. Whoa…) Anyway, it’s funny to me that we talk about prayer in school, but we don’t debate how much prayer we need in our workplaces, hospitals, or really any other public place. Michael Perkins does a great job turning this problem on its head.

Praying Over the Cable Bill

Doggoneit, this post convicted me, even though I convinced my wife that we should dump our cable earlier this year. It’s not just about cable, it’s about all the money that flows through our bank accounts unnoticed. Most of us have a lot of our bills on autopay (I know I do), which means we are being less and less intentional about where our money is going.

Writer’s Doubt

I don’t usually suffer from writer’s block, and apparently, neither does my pal, K.C. Proctor. (I think the hardest part for me, like many people, is not writing, but finding time to write). K.C. and I share what I’d call an even tougher problem though, writer’s doubt.

An Evangelical and a Progressive

Sure this post is mostly about her own church, but Kathy Escobar is illustrating what the rest of our churches could be, if we were committed to this. Where many of our churches (“most,” dare I say) create community by first producing uniformity (or telling themselves they have produced uniformity), her church starts with community. Isn’t that what loving one another is about?

Female and Made In My Father’s Image

Finally, we live in a time when some of us are pushing for gender neutral language in the Bible. How can women be “made in God’s image” if God is a “He.” Admittedly, God is not a “He,” though some people would strongly disagree. Karen Swallow Prior wrote something fantastic for Her.Menutics about looking like her own dad, and what it really means to be made in God’s image (hint: it’s not about our gender.)

And that’s it! What fueled you this week?

 

 

I always bristled at the phrase “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

Because, you know, it’s a fake Bible verse.

It’s not in the Bible. But people repeat it like it is in the Bible.

And it’s kind of ludicrous. You mean God will never give me more tragedy than I can handle? God will never let my heart be broken more times than I can handle? So God took everything away from Job because He knew Job could handle it?

It tends to make people ignore all the times in the Bible where God does give people more than they can handle, if only so people will learn to stop being self-sufficient and rely on Him.

But then I started thinking…

What if it was true?

What if we were just thinking about it all wrong and God actually does give us way more than we can handle, all the time?

Continue Reading…

It’s Friday again.

I’ll be off the blog next week as I take a group of high school freshmen on their annual mission trip. Today is graduation, where I’m giving the keynote. All in all, things have been…absolutely insane. But in a good way.

In My Blog Reader

Like myself, many bloggers wrote about Mother’s Day or some aspect of parenting, either before or after the fact.

Micha Boyett discussed the eternal question of which kind of moms have it hardest. Because it’s true. We all want someone to tell us we are doing a good job.

Jamie the Very Worst Missionary posted about her children’s faith and in doing so, highlighted one of my greatest fears about parenting – the fact that parenting is perhaps the biggest gamble anyone can make in this life. Even bigger than getting married. Because when that little life comes into the world, you don’t know what you are going to get. You know they will look something like you, but there will be a lot of ways they are not like you.

Caleb Wilde, everyone’s favorite internet funeral director posted a really incredibly challenging post about trying to give encouragement (especially “spiritual” encouragement) to someone who has lost a child. You’re going to get to the end of the list and say “Well what am I supposed to say?” You’ll feel like there is nothing that is appropriate to say. And when you say that, you will have realized the whole point.

And on another note, Emily Freeman posted this short, sweet link that ought to make us all pause for just a moment before we move on to the next debate about church politics, try to brow-beat someone with the gospel, or offer “spiritual” comfort to a grieving friend.

That’s all for me this week. I will see you again after Memorial Day!

This last weekend, we celebrated moms.

This mom is clearly better than you.

This mom is clearly better than you.

Being a mom is hard work, so it’s good that we celebrate them. They are pretty important.

But I also have heard a rumor that being a mom is pretty fulfilling work. Somehow, between the late nights, the laundry, the messes and the noise, there is a lot of joy.

My wife and I have been trying to make her into a mom for a long time. But she worries that it’s not the joyful, fulfilling job that all the moms make it out to be. And I say, “Honey, look at the moms we know. They don’t go out to nice restaurants anymore. They have baby food stuck in their hair. They look frazzled and sleep-deprived. Their lives are by every measure worse now that they have kids. Yet they say they wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

That is amazing that kids can make moms give up everything and be glad to do it.

But I’ll tell you ladies something.

I’m glad I don’t have to be a mom. No matter what happens to me, I’ll never have to worry about accidentally becoming a mom.

And it’s not that I won’t someday help with midnight feedings and poopy diapers.

I don’t think I could take the sheer, competitive nature of the sport that mothering has become.

Continue Reading…

What does it take to come up with a good idea?

I mean a really really good idea?

I watch kids struggle to come up with ideas. It’s understandable. Their brains are still growing. They are still learning how to think of ideas.

But the problem with most of them is that they shoot themselves in the foot. They start to come up with an idea, but then they turn back. They erase what they’ve started. They crumple up their paper. They say “That’s no good.”

Many of them never really let themselves have a truly, completely formed idea. Most of their ideas are abandoned, only halfway realized.

They never really know if their ideas were going to be good or bad.

Most of us do the same thing. We have an idea. But baby ideas are kind of like newborn babies. They aren’t fully formed. They are pink and slimy and even a little bit gross. They have to be cleaned up before we can even tell how they will ever turn out.

For all of us, especially those of us who desire to come up with new ideas, we have to resist that urge – that urge that makes us abandon too soon. That inner voice that says, “That’s no good.” Our inner voice doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Because it’s just a voice.

There really is only one way to come up with a great idea.

goodidea

What if we stopped worrying about whether our ideas were “good” or “bad” and just starting with thinking of new ideas?

What an astronomical number of thoughts we would think.

It’s Friday again.

For me, that means one more week of school. It means I have one more week before I take a group of high school freshmen on a mission trip. One more week before I give the keynote speech at graduation. Well, you know how everything converges all at once.  It’s May after all.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t find time for a few good things this week.

In My TV Lineup

I haven’t been catching a lot of television lately. But I did watch the new episode of 24, because I was a huge fan in my college days. The show looks like it hasn’t missed a beat, and looks even better in HD. I’m actually pretty excited for it.

Speaking of Keifer Sutherland, he makes a pretty awesome appearance in this SNL sketch (which is already pretty flipping funny for all of us who are “sort of” fans of Beyonce.)

In My Blog Reader

This week was “Teacher Appreciation Week,” which is ironic because all of you with school age kids, your little angels have gone positively insane the last couple of weeks.  Maybe someone timed that on purpose. Anyway, there were a couple of really good teacher related posts that popped up in my reader, like this one from Accidental Devotional, because teachers, like most people, feel underappreciated. There was this other one from Emily Freeman that’s not teacher-specific is pretty relevant to teachers and really anyone in a teacher-like role.

Last Wednesday, I mentioned infertility and Mother’s Day and wouldn’t you know it, there were two stories that came out this week that just illustrate to me the breadth of mourning that humanity goes through. There are people who mourn alone. There are daughters without moms. We can all be more compassionate toward people because everyone’s pain is real to them, even if it is not real to us.

Finally, I’ve been a big fan of Addie Zierman almost as long as she’s been blogging, and she’s hooked her readers without ever touching the “issues” that typify blogging. She explains why, and to me it’s a perfect illustration of what makes her a writer worth reading.

And that’s that! What fueled you this week?