Monday, January 2, 2017

We Have Everything We Need

Many of us look to the new year and think, "This is when my life will come together. I'll be better, do better, think better, and love better."
For those of us who follow Jesus, it often takes on a spiritual tone: "This year I will be a better Christian, do more good in the world, fill my mind with more life-giving, godly thoughts, and love God and others more deeply." Then we spell out these desires into goals that have more practical applications.
It's fine to desire to be who we're called to be, but we will fall short of our desire of perfection.
I can say from years of trying that the mere force of will-power and strategic goal-setting will never make us who we're called to be. We cannot, in our own strength, manufacture holiness - no matter how well-structured we set up our goals and review process.
Our will changes, our strength fades. But here's something from 2 Peter that I find a great deal of hope in this new year:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3
We have everything we need from God to live for him.
You have everything you need from God to live for him.
I have everything I need from God to live for him.
This year, among all my specific goals which I will strive to achieve, my primary aim is to know God more deeply. Because it's in the knowledge of him that he gives me everything I need to live for him.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Best 5 Books on Preaching

the-best-5-books-on-preaching

(This post originally appeared on PreachingDonkey.com)

It amazes me the insights and wisdom available to us in great preaching books. I've pulled together the books that have impacted my preaching the most. Each one of these books will help you improve your preaching in distinct ways. I love all of them for different reasons, and my copies are all marked up. Here's my list of the best 5 books on preaching:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thoughts on Fatherhood: From a Guy Who's Been a Dad for a Day

I became a dad yesterday. After months of anticipating our baby's arrival, she is finally here. I had no idea what this would feel like. Two days ago I was no one's dad. Now I'm Olive's daddy.


I'm sitting here with my little girl asleep on my chest. All I can think about is how incredibly wonderful it is to be a dad. I love her so much. I could just hold her and look at her little face all day.

I can't get enough of the way she smells. It's a cross between heaven and flowers. And there's these little things she does with her face that look just like Rachel. I love those little things. 

If she grows up to look anything like her mom she will be a sight to behold. I could sit here all day and just find sheer delight in holding this little girl.

Being a dad for even a day made me think of my own dad. Looking at my daughter and not being able to understand how I could love someone so much made me think of the way my parents love me. So I wrote my dad an email today to tell him about it:

Dad,
(Please share with mom too...)  
I've been a dad for a day, and I can't believe how much I love this little girl. She's absolutely amazing, and I am perfectly content to sit and hold her for hours. 
It makes me think of how you and mom loved me. I think I am prepared to be a dad because you showed me all my life what it looks like to simply delight in your children. 
I never really understood exactly how this all worked. Why you and mom seemed so interested in me. Why you would sell your motorcycle just to make sure me and my sister had Christmas gifts one year. Why you would work so hard to provide for us. Why you would show up to every one of my C-team basketball games in middle school when I was so terrible (I didn't even want to be there). Why you would take time to answer all my questions as a child and never seemed to get tired of it.
I get it now. You did all that because you are my dad. You did all that because I am your son. My daughter didn't have to do anything to earn my love except just exist. She is, and so I love her. I would sell a motorcycle too, if I had one, to give her a decent Christmas. If it came down to it, I would do anything for her. 
I want to thank you for loving me well. The way you and mom loved me makes me able to love my daughter well.
My heart is bursting with more joy than you can imagine just holding this little girl.
Just wanted to share.
Lane 
I think the main reason my dad loved me well, and why I find it impossible not to love my little girl is because both my dad and me have experienced the love of The Father. God loves us more than we could ever imagine. 

After being a dad for a day I understand my own parents a little better, and I have a small glimpse into the love God has for me. It's overwhelming to consider, but a miraculous picture exists in the face of my little girl.