George Washington, Faith, and Freedom

George Washington was the first president of the United States of America, called the father of the country.  So, on this independence day let’s look and see what set him apart.  Here are some things said about Mr. Washington.

“Mr. Lewis said he had accidentally witnessed [Washington’s] private devotions in his library both morning and evening; that on these occasions he had seen him in a kneeling position with a Bible open before him and that he believed such to have been his daily practice.” – Jared Sparks

“We know that the Washingtons tried to practice anonymous charity even when it would have been politically expedient to advertise it loudly.  Washington’s secretary, Tobias Lear, recorded hundreds of individuals, churches, and other charities that, unbeknownst to the public, benefited from presidential largesse.  Even leftovers from the executive mansion were transferred to a prison for need inmates.” – Chernow

“[Washington’s] example is now complete, and it will teach wisdom and virtue to magistrates, citizens and men, not only in the present age, but in future generations, as long as our history shall be read.” – John Adams

These truths spoken of this man are significant in regards to his moral behavior and his spiritual disciplines.  Use this day as a reminder to pray for our governmental leaders that they might choose to follow through with these same sort of behaviors.


6 Things I Learned From My Dad

My Dad is one of the best men I know.  I realize that many of you do not have an earthly Father that cared for you well or showed and shared a love for you and for that I am truly sorry.  However, God graced me by placing me under the unique leadership of my Dad.  Here are some of the things that Dad has taught me best!

  1. How to love my wife.  Since my childhood, I have watched my Dad love my Mom selflessly and tirelessly.  He often writes her love notes and finds ways to adorn her with special gifts.
  2. How to love my kids.  Dad always looked for ways to connect with his kids.  Sometimes that was challenging because our likes were not the same as his, but he looked for ways to play, watch, and enjoy life together.  He also gave up his own wishes to provide the things in life that we wanted.
  3. How to work hard.  There is no doubt Dad has always been a hard worker.  He is dedicated to the ministry that is given to his charge and always goes above and beyond.
  4. How to invest in others.  Dad has always had a group of men that he is particularly caring for.  Whether he is leading them in singing, riding in a dogsled, or hiking Kilimanjaro, he is always looking for ways to invest in them.
  5. How to love the nations.  Even before it was popular to take short-term mission trips my Dad was leading teams around the world.  When I was 5 years old my Dad took my family, along with a large group of single adults, from Charlotte, N.C. all the way to northern New York state and even crossed into Canada.  This instilled a love for the nations for me and the rest of my family.
  6. How to love the Lord.  My Dad has done all these things well because he loves the Lord well.  He is devoted to quality time in the Word and significant time in prayer.

What are some of the things you learned from your Dad?

8 Great biographies

Biographies provide unique insight into a individual’s life.  They can provide great encouragement and challenge to the reader as well.  Sometimes a biography is of someone still living that allows you to simply look further into their life.  However, sometimes (and often my favorite type) a biography is written about someone who is no longer living.  In those cases, many times, we are able to not only get a deeper look into the individual life but also the time in which he/she lived.  I would like to recommend a few different biographies.  You will notice that a couple of these are compilation-type books but none the less they are quite good.  These books are in no particular order.

  1. Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand) – Story of Louis Zamperini
  2. For the Glory (Duncan Hamilton) – Story of Eric Liddel
  3. The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Iain H. Murray)
  4. Richard Baxter and Conversion (Timothy Beougher)
  5. Jonathan Edwards (Stephen Nichols)
  6. Portrait of Calvin (T.H.L. Parker)
  7. 10 Who Changed the World (Daniel Akin)
  8. Victorious Christians You Should Know (Warren Wiersbe)

Top 5 qualifiers for quality Student Ministers

Matthew Smith is hands down one of the most gifted Student Ministers I have ever worked with.  I will say that I am very thankful for others that I have worked with in the past and am indebted to them in many ways.

  1. Able to teach the Bible – This must take place in every student ministry.
  2. Able to commit time to students – You can’t qualify yourself as a student minister if you are never with students.  It just doesn’t work.
  3. Able to be an adult – As with the children’s minister, this person cannot simply be an older version of the teenagers.
  4. Able to train adults – In order for the student ministry to function long after the student minister is gone he must raise up quality leaders and train them to be successful.
  5. Able to equip parents – Discipleship begins at home!

Top 5 qualifiers for quality Children’s Ministers

I consider it a wonderful blessing to serve alongside one of the most gifted children’s ministers I have ever met.  Jeff Jones is talented in many ways and certainly has these 5 qualities.  I am forever thankful for the impact he has on my children.

  1. Able to teach the Bible to Children – This is a non-negotiable.  As a minister of the gospel the Children’s Minister must have this skill set.
  2. Able to be creative – Here more than any other area in the church a creative mind must be tapped into in order to gain and keep the attention of children.
  3. Able to be an adult – While sometimes acting silly like a kid, and being lots of fun is helpful it is necessary that it is clear who the adult is in the room.
  4. Able to train adults – The children’s minister is only one person and will need others around to help.  In order for this to happen best the children’s minister is to train other leaders in this way.
  5. Able to equip parents – Finally, a children’s minister is a supplement to what is happening at home.  Therefore, he/she must be one who is equipping parents to better disciple their children.

4 great autobiographies

While Biographies are excellent insight into someone’s life an autobiography provides a unique slant because it is from the very voice of the one experiencing it.  These 4 books provided incredible challenge to my life and are excellent choices for your next read.

  1. The Life and Diary of David Brainerd
  2. The Autobiography of George Mueller
  3. God’s Smuggler (Brother Andrew)
  4. Insanity of God (Nik Ripken)


Songs that Speak #2

As we go through life we are often in hills and valleys.  Highs and lows – its just the way things go.  Let us be reminded that when we are on the hills – we were placed there by the gracious hand of God.  When we are in the valleys – we were led there by the almighty plan of God.  This song helps me remember just that.

also watch his explanation of the song as well.