Our Father in Heaven,
We thank you that in our community, it has been a rather mild winter. Though it seems that across the country, from west to east, there is a new major winter storm almost every week, we have gotten very little snow and just a handful of days when the temperature was so cold it kept us from doing what we needed to do outside.
Seeing bulbs begin to emerge up out of the frozen soil, we are again reminded of your faithfulness as you sovereignly control the changing of the seasons. You have made the moon to mark the seasons and the sun knows exactly it’s time for setting. (Psalm 104:19).
Your word tells us that for everything there is a season…. a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted. (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2). It won’t be long now before we begin to see the farmers in their nearby fields planting their crops, and soon after we will see the new corn and bean plants breaking through the soil to form perfect rows in the fields. We’ll enjoy watching bulbs come up in our garden and anxiously wait to see which perennials made it through the winter and which did not. Then, we’ll be visiting our favorite garden shops to replenish our gardens, and watch the plants bloom as they display your glory.
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Luke 12:27
Great is your faithfulness, Father. We are so thankful that morning by morning your new mercies we see. All that we have needed, your hand has provided.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
So even though Spring is not quite here yet, you are showing us signs of its coming, giving us hope. Thank you for your faithfulness.
In Jesus’ precious name we pray, Amen
How to Grow Stronger in Perseverance. John Pletcher writes “What if our tough times can really be our best times for growing stronger? And what if those tough times are used by God to teach us to persevere, to discover pure joy and the capacity to grow stronger for the sake of others?”
I Shipwrecked My Faith – Am I Doomed? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question “Is there hope for those who have shipwrecked their faith? I believe I have done this as 1 Timothy 1:19describes what has happened to those who have rejected a good conscience. I feel my communion with the Lord has been dry and blocked for almost six months now due to my personal sin. Can a shipwrecked faith be undone?”
Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
How Do You Think About Your Job? Adam Nesmith writes “How you think about your job will directly affect how you work day to day. Sadly, many people have a very wrong perspective about their vocation.”
Can I Be a Nurse for a “Gender Reassignment” Surgery? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question, “I am a nurse in surgery pre-op and recovery for a hospital that performs gender-reassignment surgeries. I play no role in the decisions made to undergo these surgeries. I believe the decision itself is sinful. The question I cannot resolve is this: Is it sinful for me to serve as a nurse involved in the care of these patients in the pre-op and recovery settings?”
Are Vocation and Occupation the Same Thing? In this short video, Bryan Chapell tells us “Our occupationis what occupies us, and that’s good and that’s important, but vocation actually comes from a word that means calling.”
What Would Jesus Do If He Had My Job? Scot Bellavia writes “The WWJD bracelet may be out of style but its purpose remains relevant. “What would Jesus do?” is the only question worth considering for the Christian. What else does it mean to be a Christ follower than to do what he would do?”
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More links to interesting articles
The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
My Review of Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory (Expanded Edition) by Tod Bolsinger
Quotes from the book You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic
In our series on leadership attributes, we now look at character. British Pastor Charles Spurgeon said that a godly character is the best tombstone. But what exactly is character, or more specifically good character? It may be one of those attributes that are hard to describe, but you know it when you see it.
Many years ago, one of my supervisors and I were interviewing candidates for an entry level position in our organization. The individual selected for the position would be working on the second or third shift, essentially unsupervised. A person of good character was critical in this position. One of our interview questions was “What does character mean? What does it mean to say that someone has good character”? Although each candidate tried, we never did get a satisfactory answer to our questions about character. We then told the interviewees that a definition that we had heard that we liked was:
Character is doing the right thing when nobody is watching
A dictionary definition that may come closest to what I am talking about here is “moral excellence”. Continue reading →
On June 21, 1971, TIME magazine published a cover story titled “The Jesus Revolution,” chronicling the rise of Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel church in the early years of that decade. This excellent film shows the reporter of the TIME article, Josiah, played by DeVon Franklin, covering the beginning of a national spiritual awakening that started within a community of teenage hippies in Southern California and then spread across the country. Continue reading →
Culture Rules: The Leader’s Guide to Creating the Ultimate Competitive Advantage by Mark Miller. Matt Holt. 264 pages. 2023 ****
In his latest book, Mark Miller longtime leader at Chick-fil-A, has us play the game of building a thriving High Performance Culture, with leaders as the designers.
To do this, his research team talked to or surveyed more than six thousand people from ten countries around the world, representing senior leaders, mid-level leaders, and frontline workers. In “Culture Rules”, he tells their stories and we learn from both their successes and shortcomings.
A key finding in the book is that leaders animate culture. Only leaders can create and sustain a vibrant High Performance Culture. To qualify as a High Performance Culture, three conditions must exist:
NEEDTOBREATHE recently released a surprise concert film (and accompanying audio version), of their October 29, 2021 concert at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. I say surprise, because we saw them on their Into the Mystery Acoustic Tour in Peoria just eleven days before this project was released, and the band made no mention of this impending release.
NEEDTOBREATHE is an excellent, high energy live band. This is the band’s fourth live album, and second in two years. The twenty-five songs here span their career. Highlights include “Carry Me”, featuring Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and “I Will Remember” featuring Carrie Underwood.
If you are not familiar with NEEDTOBREATHE, this would serve as an excellent introduction to the band.
Watch the entire concert film here.
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More of this review and reviews of
Dreamland (Deluxe Edition) – Amos Lee
Stand (Deluxe Edition) – Newsboys
Song of the Week Lyrics ~ You’ve Already Won by Shane and Shane
Truth for Life: 365 Daily Devotions by Alistair Begg. The Good Book Company. 367 pages. 2021 ****
This is the first of two Truth for Life daily devotional books from respected pastor and author Alistair Begg. I used the first volume as a part of my daily devotional readings in 2022, and am using the second volume as a part of my daily devotional readings this year.
Each of the daily readings begins with a scripture passage. In the reading for that day, the author aims to explain the passage, to encourage the reader from them, and to reflect on how they inspire and equip us to enjoy living for Christ in every area of our lives. At the bottom of each reading, you will see three icons. These are a prompt to say to yourself: Now that I have read and considered these verses…How is God calling me to think differently? How is God reordering my heart’s affections—what I love? What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today? Also included is “Bible Through the Year” reading plan.
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BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review and a review of Good News of Great Joy: 25 Devotional Readings for Advent by John Piper
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading →
We were notified that the “2021” had finally been engraved on my wife Tammy’s Mom’s headstone, so we drove over to the cemetery. As I looked at the headstone, I noticed that it rather coldly summed up her life with her birth and death dates, separated simply by a dash. For Jane, that dash represented more than 89 years of life. During those years, she was a wife, a sister, a nurse, a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She left a wonderful legacy for her family. That got me to thinking about what my dash will represent. What legacy will you or I leave?
Alistair Begg in his devotional book Truth for Life, writes:
Each of us is leaving a legacy. Every day we are adding something to the portrait of our lives, and eventually what we leave behind—our decisions, our contributions, our priorities—will remain, at least for a time, for others to reflect upon and consider.” Continue reading →