Summer Spirituality

typewriterOccasionally, I compose short pieces for our church bulletin. While most would consider 250 words or less shorter than the ideal blog post, allow me to share one such recent post below. If such articles are useful to you or your church for similar use, consider permission granted. Please just tag on my blog address for the sake of reference.


In one of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, he writes about a trend that can be observed in the average student’s life. On a graph, it would look like a slow, steady incline up from Point A to Point B. Then it would drop somewhat steeply down to Point C, from where another slow, steady incline would begin This pattern would continue a dozen times or so. Statistical research from US educational systems showed that students learn throughout a given school year (the slow, steady incline), but then “lose ground” during the leisure of summer holidays. The next grade then demands some “catch-up” before new progress can be added to last year’s development.

Gladwell’s observations centered on how important summertime was and how much power it held for children whose families were involved in “continuing the learning” when school dismissed. This didn’t need to look like formal class; generally, it showed up in family vacations, day camps, museum visits, library books, and meaningful conversations. Children with less supportive families or less financial means were more apt to sit in front of the TV or wander the neighbourhood. The point: Downtime matters!

What’s your summer plan for spiritual growth? Do you have one? I hope you’re considering attending a camp or helping with one of our summer ministries, reading something Christ-centered or generating some visits that move beyond Roughriders and cheeseburgers.

The Father works to move us “from glory unto glory”; be sure you have a summer plan conducive to such wondrous work!


Six-Pack (56)

Way too long away! I have missed every one of you, AND I’ve missed posting. Time to re-establish order in our post-sickness lives. Cheers to new days and new starts!

So let’s jump in: Here is the first Six-Pack of 2014 — the best pieces that have kicked off my year. As usual, selections are generally centered on faith or ministry, though we leave sufficient license to include who-knows-what as we discover it!

If six ever feels overwhelming, start with my two *Picks of the Week*, and move out from there.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) My Advice to Married Couples After Divorcing My Wife of 16 Years (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Married, single, divorced, engaged, want-to-be-married, couldn’t-care-less — if you know another human being, read this. It might change the way you see or touch those lives.

2) How I Rediscovered Faith
Relevant Magazine‘s latest issue involves Malcolm Gladwell recounting a life-altering trip to Winnipeg as part of the research on his last book.

3) The Absolute Best iPhone Apps for Pastors
I do love being a pastor (most of the time), and I do love having an iPhone (most of the time). This list, from ProPreacher provides an interesting read for any other preacher trying to wield smartphones productively.

4) SATAN: Old Testament Servant Angel or New Testament Cosmic Rebel?
This is a LONG read. But if you’ve ever been interested in the person of Satan as Scripture describes him, this is fascinating stuff that will have you asking new questions and re-reading familiar old passages with fresh eyes.

5) Interview with the Ultimate Warrior (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
This is a fun article, filled with childhood flashbacks for this former WWF fan. The former superstar chats about everything from career challenges to the business side of wrestling to being in a video game still today to slamming Andre the Giant.

6) Why Atheists are Angry at God
Joe Carter, of TGC, observes that some atheists approach non-faith in a strictly logical and rational way. But he notes what he considers to be far more atheists whose stance is emotionally charged. His question: What are they mad about? That might be good to know.

May your week ahead be filled with life, as you seek the One from whom it flows!

leaveacommentYOUR TURN: Your input makes this post better!

  • Which link above was today’s best-of-the-best?
  • Why that one?

Direct others to the best of the bunch with a quick comment.

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page.]

Six-Pack (51)

Six-Pack #51 marks the first one published on the new domain! But as always, it remains the (nearly) weekly spot for grabbing a half-dozen of the best “recent reads” I’ve discovered online regarding faith, ministry, or who-knows-what.

If six overwhelms, start with two. The *Picks of the Week* provide an easy starting point.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) Malcolm Gladwell on His Return to Faith (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
How can one not enjoy Malcolm Gladwell? He’s original and provocative, strangely curious and curiously strange. And during the writing of his most recent book, he found his heart wandering back toward a faith he thought he’d closed the door on. Surprise!

2) What if Being Content is Ruining Your Life?
Contentment is typically sought after. What about when it begins to hold you back? Allison Vesterfelt wants you to consider.

3) Ten Reasons Church Leaders Should Further their Education
Having been impacted profoundly through my educational experiences, I need no convincing of this point. For those needing more material, Thom Rainer offers these ten reasons as starting points.

4) The Sad Cycle of Evangelical Biblical Scholarship
That title isn’t likely to merit many clicks here, but Peter Enns (a renowned scholar himself) expresses frustration here for Evangelicalism’s struggle to embrace biblical scholarship in its broadest sense. He questions a system that keeps people captive to fear. If you value learning or education or the Bible, this piece will likely intrigue you as it gives you a peek inside the world of those who shape the ideas that fill sermons and published works through our churches and homes.

5) Three Lies Entertainment Tells Us About Sex (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
If your TV is your primary educator about sex, you’ve got a problem, Houston. Truth be told, you’ve got at least three.  Great piece from Relevant Magazine here!

6) 28 Leadership Lessons from Catalyst with Jeff Henderson
Jeff Henderson, of The Rocket Company, recently presented at the Catalyst Conference. Here were some thought-provoking nuggets of how churches work and don’t work well.

May the week ahead be filled with life, as the Father fills you with all you need!

YOUR TURN: Which link above was most worthwhile–why that one? Direct others readers to the best of the bunch. Your input makes this post better!

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page.]