I had the great pleasure of contributing to The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s latest series on “Manhood 101.” Believe me, I’m no expert but I made my feeble attempt to add to the conversation, primarily by standing on the shoulders of other great men I’ve learned from during my short time here on planet earth. You can read my contribution to the series here.
The irony of writing an article on decision-making is not lost on me. As an incredibly young man, the amount of tough calls and life altering decisions I’ve made is laughable.
Thankfully amidst a world full of options, choices, and decisions, God has provided me with the same Holy Spirit and the same Word he’s provided everyone else to “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17).
Like many, I’ve attempted the time-tested and failed methods of decision-making:
- Flipping to random pages in the Bible.
- Counting seeing a double rainbow as a “sign”
- Feeling some inner peace.
- Dreams (most likely inspired by Chipotle).
- Making a decision based on what I “felt” after fasting.
- The good old “flipping a coin”
Each and every one of these methods were more often than not rooted in a deep sense of anxiety and lack of trust in the Lord. If I’m honest, making a decision is difficult. The stakes are so often high and life-altering.
// MANHOOD 101: Making Decisions //
At 6:15 on Tuesday, November 13, 2013, Vicki Sweetman stepped from life into eternity. When I wrote my article “No Little People,” there were few people on this earth that influenced me more than my Great-Grandmother. That influence came because of the way that she had surrendered totally and completely to be used by the Lord. Life isn’t over for Vicky Sweetman. Her life has just begun. Below is the prayer I prayed at her funeral just a few weeks ago. Father, We come to you today standing in the face of our dreaded and devastating enemy, Death. We are reminded and humbled today by the reality that our days, although they may seem long, are but a breath in the wind. Yet Lord, we also today find ourselves not grieving as those with no hope. Instead, Lord, we realize this morning that this woman was yours – she belongs to you. You, in your grace rescued her through Christ and You love her even more than we do. We know today that she is even now rejoicing in the presence of her Savior. It is because of the Gospel that we can today celebrate her earthly life. Christ has declared clearly victory and dominion over both sin and death. It was that message of Good News that my Great-Grandmother looked to and believed. It was the message that she lived out day by day through her life and her ministry. And it is the Truth that she is celebrating today and will be celebrating for eternity. And Lord, it is Your glorious gospel that encourages us even today. Christ is not just for this temporary and earthly life. Christ has died. Christ has risen. And Christ will come again. Lord, let these truths prompt us today to realize the gravity and urgency of our own lives. Let it force us to examine our hearts and to embrace the truth of the gospel – that we too were lost in sin, deserving of death and punishment, yet you have provided a perfect sacrifice for us in Christ. And Lord, let it encourage us that this life is not all there is. Eternity awaits. “For this light and momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen – are eternal.” – 1 Corinthians 4:17-18
Some of the most helpful things I have received in the course of my life come in lists. One of my favorite lists has always been the recommended book list. I believe that the transition from high school to college in many ways is one of the most important transitions in your life — and one of the most exciting! Because of this, I’ve created the Essential Books for High School Seniors cheat sheet for High School students, parents, grandparents, or anyone who’s thinking about giving a gift or helpful book to a high school student. In this cheat sheet you’ll find:
- My absolute favorite book on growing in holiness
- The best book out there to prepare yourself for college (and to prepare Mom and Dad for college)
- A book that actually changed my life
- Bonus notes and bo ok recommendations
Best of all, it’s FREE. In order to receive your copy simple fill out the form on the right-hand sidebar and I’ll send you the link to the FREE copy of Essential Books for High School Seniors. You can sign up for updates by clicking here. Once you’ve completed the initial process of email confirmation you’ll be sent your copy of Essential Books for High School Seniors. Enjoy.
My latest article is over on the men’s channel at CBMW.org today:
If you asked me a few years ago if in the span of three years I’d get married, graduate college, have a baby, live in three states, and work three different jobs — well, I’d probably slap you.
Yet here I am once again with a sore back and tape residue on my fingers. Mmm. The sweet smell of cardboard.
Change is scary and complicated. It’s so easy to be paralyzed by doubt, despair, confusion, or stress. Sometimes it’s all of those things at once.
Perhaps most difficult about change — whether it be a major life change or simply the the few hours after work — is remembering that it’s not about me.
It’s not my transition. It’s not my move. It’s not my change.
As the boxes pile high or the baby gear fills up the second bedroom, the ongoing struggle with selfishness rises. What better excuse to neglect others than I have so many details to take care of these next few weeks. Yet more than ever, my family needs me.
With that in mind, I offer you four keys to fighting idolatry in our greatest of transitions and change — whether that be a new baby in the family, a major job change, or a move across the country (or in my case all of them at the same time).
// Read the latest at CBMW.org //
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.
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 //
One thing of the Lord desire, for all my life hath miry been – Be it by water or by fire, oh, make me clear, oh, make me clean! So wash me now, without, within, or purge with fire, if that must be, No matter how, if only sin die out in me, die out in me. –Unknown
I may regret posting this tomorrow morning, but here are some wise words from Kevin DeYoung:
I’m thankful for the Electoral College. You may not agree, especially if you live in Texas or California or Alabama or Vermont. There’s no “Christian position” on the Electoral College. But I’m grateful that our presidents have to go to every little hamlet in Ohio and Iowa. I’m glad that the election does not come down to voter turnout in the same megacities every four years. I’m glad that because of our confusing process, the most powerful man in the world has to make inroads with people from all over the country. He can’t simply be a regional candidate who promises the Northeast lots of goodies at the expense of the South. He can’t win the White House by racking up 80% of the vote in a handful of states. The President has to be attuned to the needs and desires of the most politically diverse places, not the most politically homogenous. This seems like a good thing to me.
Runners always seem to run. But I guess I had never stopped to think that they slow down, walk, and even, well, stop moving. I find it odd to think that the sweat and grind that trot by me each day will come to a glorious, and hopefully, victorious end. Maybe a cool drink. A hot shower. A dog racing to greet him as he opens his front door. Or the smell of fresh cooked food waiting for him as he enters the kitchen. Yes, those runners, joggers, and the occasional awkward trot-and-waddle folks do stop. Their breath slows. Their hearts level. The sweat is washed away. One day we too, us heavenly runners, will finally stop. Gloriously and triumphantly stop. It will all come to a final end. We will walk through gates and find sweet rest and comfort in The only One who gives rest. He has bought us with his blood, reconciling us to himself so that our running may turn to resting in that final day when all is made new.
Fascinating, and I think helpful, additions to the discussion from Tim Challies. Challies writes:
John Piper sparked quite a storm with his biographical message on the “frank and manly” J. C. Ryle. One of his conclusion was that Christianity is meant to have a masculine feel to it… I find that I do not agree. For those of you who are given to over-reaction, just breathe—I am allowed to disagree and I’m sure Piper is just fine with people disagreeing. If you don’t have a category for charitable disagreement on secondary matters, you need to develop one! I still love the man, but want to offer an alternative to his masculine Christianity.
Read the rest here. (HT: Denny Burk) This also reminded me of the opposing view and conversation led my one of my favorite writers Douglas Wilson.