inspired to read

I hope to be able to motivate you toward an important process in the new year.  I am two days from reading the entire Bible again this year. I began at Genesis on January 1 and will finish the Book of the Revelation on Friday. It’s been a great journey and there is satisfaction in knowing I have met a goal. Honestly, there were some boring readings (some of the repetitive laws and genealogies) but it has been a great discipline for my spiritual growth. I have grown a lot and can tell a definite change in my life as a result of the reading. It will be satisfying to wrap it up. But I am even more excited to start all over again on Saturday.

Let me encourage you to do some kind of a Bible reading plan in 2011. You don’t have to read through the entire thing to get some great results out of it. There are various plans available that will cover everything from a few verses a day to in-depth, multiple version options. The important thing is for us to spend some time looking into what God says to us. Lay out a strategy that will work for you and stick with it. And when you forget or get tired of it and miss a day or two, jump right back in. The key is consistency.

If you are interested, take a look at some of these options:

Bible Gateway reading plans

30 Day Challenge

You Version

Our church is suggesting a nice 30 day plan that is doable for anyone. Check it out on our site.

Utilize your Kindle (they have a free app for PC and iPhone and iPad) or use your Nook. You can always do it the old fashioned way – pick up the family Bible and read cover to cover. About 4 chapters a day will do it. If you know of other options, feel free to post a comment. And please be sure to send this post along to a friend.

Let’s read the Word of God in 2011 and enjoy what God does as a result.

whatcha gonna change?

It’s time for some new plans. New year, new decade, new ideas.

If new is going to happen, some old will have to depart.

So, I am curious, what thing(s) do you plan to change for 2011?

Me? Allow me a chance to spew a little ambition.

I think I’ll try to change my habit of looking and waiting for someone else to change things that really need to be changed in my life. I’m going to take charge of some decisions, shake some things up, risk more and complain less. How about fewer excuses and more faith? I plan to confuse a couple of people, raise a few eyebrows. I will let go of some things that have brought me security but have held me back. I will focus on spending my limited resources on that which will change lives instead of the usual nonsense. I’m going to work on relationships that encourage me to go for it and pull away from those that don’t. I plan to lighten the load, simplify and streamline.  I want to make this new year memorable, in fact, pivotal as it relates to the rest of my life.

Sounds like an ambitious new year, huh? Don’t bring me down. I’ll be the first to admit it if/when the above doesn’t happen. But I want to go into the new year with some momentum and vision.

How about you? What are you going to change?

I hope you can change something big in your life.

merry Christmas blessings

Letha and I wish you a blessed Christmas. Tonight, at our annual Christmas Eve services at Cross Community Church,  we read a blessing over the people there. If you weren’t able to be with us, read through and accept it as our prayer for you.

Christmas Blessing:

May you receive joy for Christmas: joy that goes beyond the holiday and is so deep, it can never be taken away.

May you enjoy peace: peace that settles your heart and mind, peace that remains, peace that is never shaken, but endures all year long.

May hope permeate your life: hope so powerful that nothing can get in its way, nothing can stop it, hope so strong that the world around you is changed by it.

May you grow in faith: a deep confidence in God that makes the impossible possible, that makes mountains move and faith so strong that miracles become an everyday part of life.

May you be gifted with love: God’s love which is the greatest love. God’s life-transforming love. So much love that it simply must be shared with those around you.

And this Christmas season, may you be closer to Jesus than you’ve ever been, so close that He leads every step, guides every decision and blesses every direction.

In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the World,


a big deal coming

Something new and very close to our hearts will be launching at the beginning of the New Year. On January 1, 2011, the website for International Orphan Support will go live! This is a non-profit organization we established to address the needs of orphans around the world.

I will be pushing this hard at the front end of the year. We will, unashamedly, be looking for donations. So get ready.

We can make a difference in the lives of some children. Let’s get this thing done.

chasing dreams

Letha and I are investing some time in a young leader who has what it takes to do something only a select few courageous people manage to do. She is abandoning a secure job to pursue her passion.

It was been fascinating to watch it unfold. It started years ago when she began going on short-term missions trips. She was a part of a couple of teams we led. She engaged, on a deep level, with those she was going to serve. You could tell that she was in a process. A few years went by and this leader began to feel increasingly restless and dissatisfied with her career. She worked long hours with increasing responsibility but she wasn’t fulfilled by her employment.

Finally, she had enough. After some strategic planning, she gave her notice at work, much to the dismay of some of her employers. She walked away from a good paycheck, leadership responsibilities and the hopes of advancement. She no longer has her job, but she is now free to pursue her passion. By the way, her passion doesn’t pay very well – actually nothing at all – she will need to raise her own salary. And there are no benefits. And she has to start this entire thing on her own.  But she is very happy. And she is full of dreams.

I say, kudos to anyone with enough guts to go with their heart! We celebrate this young leader. We think she is a world-changer in the making. We could be wrong – she could fail miserably. She may give this a shot for a few months and come up flat broke.  But I don’t think so. Either way, she has more courage than 99% of the people I know. Succeed or fail, it can never be said of her that she was afraid to chase her dreams.

Are you chasing any dreams?

(picture from Monte Rico, Guatemala, April, 2010.)

be the change

I was broken by something we saw on TV last night. ABC launched a project on 20/20 called Be the Change (  The effort is to gather the strength and resources of people in America to address the needs of malnourished children and those lacking basic health care around the world. From their site: “Be the Change: Save a Life is devoted to gathering stories, offering solutions, and acting as a clearing-house for people who want to know more, get involved, or volunteer.” They shared several powerful stories of people who are making a huge difference, one family or village at a time.  I encourage you to watch the related videos and do something.

The very encouraging thing to me was the emphasis on what great change can come from such a small investment of time and money. People are in place and trying to help these kids, but they need support.  ABC and supporting agencies have established a very simple process whereby anyone can get involved, it is totally streamlined.

One of the videos strikes close to home. The children featured in ‘Tortillas and Coffee’ as Baby Food? are from Guatemala, in fact, some of them from Antigua, a city I have visited many times. Our daughter and her husband run an orphanage just 15 minutes from Antigua. As much great work as they are doing, there are still so many kids who need the help that we can provide.

Take a look and do what God is telling you to do.