Archives For January 2013

“If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love.”

-C.S. Lewis

On Embracing Obscurity

“Universities that are bold enough to seek a new entrepreneurial model will become the ones that everyone else wants to emulate in the future.”

- Eric Ries

Lean Startup & Education

On my shelf at home is a big blue book filled with letters. When I turned thirteen, my Dad enlisted all of the influential men in my life at that time to write me letters as I entered “mahood.” He put them all in this wonderful blue book.

His letter along with all of those men’s words of wisdom and specific insight into my life as a young teenager continues to be influential. That book is one of my most prized possessions, something I reference on a regular basis.

Directly beside that book is a red and ratty notebook that I filled during my college years. It contains notes upon notes specifically about manhood, leadership, marriage, ministry, and wisdom I collected from professors, pastors, and mentors. I look to that book again and again as well.

Recently I received a copy of Reformational Manhood by Greg Gibson, who I consider a friend. Greg is a man whose life reflects everything he teaches, and his new book is no exception.

I couldn’t help but think about my big blue book full of letters and my ratty red notebook as I read through Reformational Manhood. Greg’s journey into understanding and practicing manhood according to Scripture has been similar to my own. Reformational Manhood was just like sitting down with one of my pastors or mentors and having them “teach me their ways.” It’s an experience that is both refreshing and convicting all at once.

One could argue that I say that only because I’m a friend to Greg, but I say it with all sincerity and honesty. I’ll speak clearly: this is a book worth putting on your shelf.

I have very few hesitations in handing this book to a young man. My complaints are few and far from condemning this book.

My concerns are two-fold: the book should be more concise and the layout is distracting. When I picked up Reformational Manhood, I tried to read like (I think) the target audience of young men whom I might pass this book on to. I know many who are avid readers and can tear through any amount of pages, and anyone can argue that 121 pages is not difficult to read. I felt incredibly comfortable when Greg opted to short and concise lists – but when he talked extensively about statistics and had other extended portions of the book without much breaks it became difficult to read.

That is tied to the second issue: perhaps a reformatting of the book might solve some of those issues. It’s more of an aesthetical complaint, but I felt that the font and formatting made the book unnecessarily hard to read. I would have liked something formatted in the style of Don’t Waste Your Life or another book similar in length and content.

All of that said, the strengths of this book are overwhelming. Few books dive deep into both Scripture on manhood and have such an extensive amount of practical advice. Greg strikes the balance well: I felt like I was sitting across from him as he opened up the Scriptures and offered specific advice to me. His chapters on being protector and provider were timely and convicting to me. I learned how to honor my wife even better because of Greg.

However, most importantly this book does not lose sight of the gospel and the example of Jesus Christ. Too often books like this can stray from the foundation of manhood and make it all about wearing camo hats and shooting guns. Greg consistently brings out the eternal, biblical and lasting definitions and shoots down cultural stereotypes.

Get this book for the young men in your life. They will thank you one day as they put it beside their often referenced blue books and red notebooks.

// Purchase Reformational Manhood on Amazon //

A Productive 2013

January 14, 2013 — Leave a comment

One of the beauties of technology is the ability to have a vast amount of tools that equip us to be productive. I believe God is greatly honored as we work, and we should be pursuing excellence in everything, including the way we use technology. CoolHunting.com has provided an excellent list of productivity tools including Flow and Smartr. Go ahead and view the full list here.

 

“A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults, reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves gifted and driven to succeed, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing.”

- Dr. Keith Ablow

Insignificance Subdued

“This recognition of smallness is like finding childhood again. Stars are more dazzling this way, sleep feels more peaceful, and the breezes are sweeter. I am small; yes, small enough to see that my continued humming along in this vast expanse is a miracle.”

Hannah Farver

Smallness

Hannah Farver has published an excellent piece dealing with that feeling we’ve all had: incredible smallness.

I’ve never looked at Facebook before and felt small. Bored, annoyed, intrigued—yes. Never small. But as a couple hundred diverse lives updated their statuses on my feed, I suddenly felt, working from my couch, that my life was very unimportant.
Businessmen in Korea are signing deals in right now. Children in Saudi Arabia are scurrying to school, as some hikers are probably lost in the woods somewhere in Wyoming, and some boat is probably taking on too much water while tuna-fishing in the Bering Sea.

The world is like one gigantic beehive, with all our lives crammed together, humming away. I sit here, simply breathing, as lights flicker on And I am very, very small.

It’s not so bad. I don’t mind being small. The whole spinning universe looks all the more magnificent when you know you’re an unnecessary part.

But there’s the catch. Knowing we’re unnecessary doesn’t exactly give the warm fuzzies.

This is well worth taking the time to read as you consider the difficulty of “being small” in such a large world.

// Read “At Once I Knew” Here //

Top Posts of 2012

January 3, 2013 — Leave a comment

It’s always good to look back on 2012. There are great gains to be had and exciting things ahead for 2013. Here were my top five blog posts from 2012. Apparently we’re all into reading, iPhones, and gender roles. Don’t worry, we won’t stop talking about those things in the coming year.

1. Essential Books for High School Seniors

Absolutely one of the most popular blog posts I’ve ever posted on the blog. I’ll try to update the list over time, especially after some fantastic new books that have come out in the past year.

2. I Learned Feminism From Jesus

It’s worth the read. There should be many more blog posts this coming year dealing with gender roles and human sexuality.

3. My Favorite iPhone Apps and Why I Use Them

I love my iPhone and I love my apps. My phone has changed dramatically from the time I wrote that post, but there are some great iPhone apps listed there.

4. My Summer Reading List 

Because I love reading. Made it through most of those books and more!

5. Challies’ Disagrees with Piper about Christianity’s “Masculine Feel”

A short post that highlighted a disagreement “in the ranks.” I added some of my favorite responses.

My good friends Alex and Brett Harris have asked the question, “What lies ahead for the Rebelution?” It’s a question that I know they have continued to wrestle with for the past few years as seasons change dramatically from the days of 2006 and 2007. It’s not always easy to answer.

It’s fascinating to look back on this previous year and to see the incredible amount of change that has taken place in my own life.

Walking across a stage to shake a hand and grab a diploma.

Gently placing a ring on a finger and repeating sacred vows.

Sitting in a doctor’s office and hearing the wonderful news.

Since beginning this blog as a young and fresh fourteen-year-old, my life has changed dramatically. The blog (like the Rebelution) has moved toward staleness and increasing obscurity as I have moved towards a new time in life.

Yet I’m still a Rebelutionary. Here’s why.

1. Faithfulness in doing hard things is more important than one big hard thing done only once

If there is one thing that I have learned during my time in “the movement,” it’s the lure of seeing the phrase “do hard things” turn into “do BIG things” in a split second. Others have written about it, and I have written about it for some time now on this blog, Boundless, and the old Regenerated Magazine. It is incredibly easy to think that what really matters is the stage, the lights, the article, the conference, or the story in the local paper.

I would argue that it is faithfulness that is the ultimate hard thing. You can put together something that is a huge flash, but without faithfulness it fizzles away, forgotten. The Lord is looking for rebelutionaries who are willing to go day after day faithfully serving him wherever they find themselves. He’s ready to use those “little” people who right now might feel incredibly insignificant.

This year I plan on releasing a free (and short) e-book that addresses this topic of faithfulness, feeling small and insignificant, and how God does great things through faithful “small” people. Be on the lookout as early as March 2013.

2. “Do Hard Things” is a message that is needed more than ever

I have not yet lost the pulse of the young generation around us. I may not be a “teenager” any more, but I have been intentional about keeping up with those younger than myself (thanks to friends, youth groups, churches, family, and researchers around the world). Time after time as I have recounted the stories and the message of “do hard things,” it resonates strongly with this generation.

And for those who have not yet heard it, I can see the need for teenagers to rise against the low expectations of culture. This is a message that needs to go beyond homeschoolers. It needs to be a battle cry for a new and young Christian generation.

3. Rebelutionaries never get too old

This third point is mainly for my own heart. I remember the day I turned twenty and thought “It’s over. I’m not a Rebelutionary any more.” This couldn’t have been further from the truth.

As a young man now, I still battle each day to do hard things. There are incredibly low expectations for twenty-somethings in an age that celebrates low commitment, immorality, and laziness. Teenagers are turning into narcissistic college graduates who believe they can live at the same level as their parents – without any hard work or faithful saving. This is true even of Christian young men and women.

Others simply don’t care. They don’t work hard in school. They continue to purposely live at their parents homes late into their twenties without a solid job or a plan to one day care for a family. We need Rebelutionaries who do hard things for their whole lifetime.

Men who are willing to make a commitment to young women to care for them for the rest of their lives and who are willing to marry young. Young women who are working hard in school and work, preparing themselves day after day to become faithful wives and mothers. Others who may not marry, they’re working hard as well in their churches and schools, perhaps preparing to be successful in business or getting ready to go to the mission field.

The Rebelution doesn’t end at 18, or 20, or even 90. It’s a lifetime of doing hard things.