Monday Start: Resources for the Week

Start (1)Presentations

I enjoy reading and listening to Nancy Duarte. I have learned much from her work on presentations.  See “Nancy Duarte|Expert on Telling Stories Visually.”

What We’ve Lost

See this thoughtful article by Shane Parish “The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection.”


See “The Twelve Most Magnificent Bookstores in the World.”  I would like to visit each one.

Marriage Statistics Reconsidered  

On the blog Thoughtful Women, I read this very interesting post about statistics that are generally accepted regarding marriage.”


Lifehacker recently had a post discussing “13 Tricks to Help You Remember What You’ve Learned.”



Monday Start: Resources for the Week

start (1)Church

See Terry Rush’s post “Why Christians Struggle With the Church.”

Relationships and church

See Allan Stanglin’s excellent piece “Surprise” regarding Euodia and Syntyche.   How early believers dealt with their differences.


Don’t miss this powerful post by Michele Cushatt “When It’s Time to Say Goodbye.”


Don’t miss this excellent podcast by Michael Hyatt and Michele Cushatt.  See “Why Doing Less Is the Best Way to Do More.”

Also, be sure to consider Greg McKeown’s new book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. This is such a good book!  I found it very helpful in reflecting on my use of time.

The Real Me (and perhaps the real you)

fear.jpgThe real me is a guy who sometimes spends too much time wrestling with fear and worry.

Does this sound familiar?  If not, you may want to skip the rest of this post.

Like you, the real me is more than fear.  There are other qualities that I hope I’ve grown and matured in over the years.  I hope I reflect more of Jesus’ character.  I would like to think that my life displays the fruit of God’s Spirit (however imperfectly).

Yet, I sometimes spend too much time with fear and worry.  These can be middle of the night visitors that keep me awake as they remind me of the bad things that could happen in my life.

A few weeks ago I was in conversation with a friend of mine who preaches for a very large community church.  He has served this church for many years.  He is handsome, articulate, and has numerous gifts.  Yet, at one point in the conversation, he made the following comment regarding my ministry and role at Harding School of Theology.

“Jim, I don’t see how you do this work.  Wow.  I would have a lot of fear about doing something like this.”

Ministry Inside.136

QuietA number of years ago, I spent three days and two nights at “The Quiet House.” This is a retreat cottage hidden away in the Texas Hill Country on the Laity Lodge property. This little cottage is secluded. It is surrounded by live oaks, cedar trees, and deer that come and go.

I went there thinking it would be great to spend time alone in a place that is undisturbed. After all, there are no neighbors or cars nearby. No television, radio, wifi, e-mail, or texting. My phone hardly got a signal.

I spent much of my time reading, hiking, and writing in my journal. While I was there I read a moving book about a father/son relationship.

Yet, it was difficult. The first two days were especially challenging. It was hard to be quiet. It was difficult to be surrounded by quiet.

Are You Tired?

TiredI am tired tonight.

No nothing is wrong.  However, this has been a long week.  School is about to begin.  I have several projects in the mix in which I would like to make progress.  Tomorrow, I am speaking at a one day school retreat.  Then, there were a few unexpected issues today.

Yet, it is ok to be tired.

  • It feels ok to be tired when you know that your work is making a difference.
  • It feels ok to be tired when you know your co-workers are working hard with you.
  • It feels ok to be tired when you believe you are making progress.
  • It feels ok to be tired when you like the people with whom you work.
  • It feels ok to be tired when you know you’ve given your best that day.
  • It feels ok to be tired when you’ve served the Lord and you know that in some way you brought him delight.

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

start (1)The following is the weekly “Monday Start.” (Ok, I know it is Tuesday but here it is anyway.)

For Students

Scott Rae (Biola University) encourages students (seminary students in particular) to see their study as a part of their calling and discipleship.  See this excellent two and a half minute video.


From Inc magazine “9 Ways to Become More Creative in the Next Ten Minutes.” Some helpful suggestions.

A new word

Harold Shank has written a nice post which many will relate to.  See the “counterparts.”


Wow.  This is a memorable video from Victoria Labalme on the “Power of Brevity.”  She makes her point.


I am reading David Benner’s Desiring God’s Will.  The Preface and the first chapter have me hooked.  Also, I recently read Paul David Tripp’s Dangerous Calling.  A great book that deals with real-world ministry issues.





Ministry Inside.135

mansion-old-523x220 (1)In January of this year (2014), I began working as Vice President of Harding School of Theology in Memphis, Tn. This was quite a change after 36 years of congregational ministry. For most of those years I worked with churches in Florence, Ala., Kansas City, Mo., and most recently in Waco, Tx. The change in ministry has been both invigorating and exhausting.  Transition is difficult no matter how good the transition is.  However, it can also be a time of renewed energy. You might be interested in the following: After all these years, why did you transition from congregational ministry to serving in this school?  I received the invitation to serve in this role at Harding School of Theology.  What excited me most about this opportunity was the possibility of making a real difference in churches as well as cities/towns where graduates would serve.  Men and women who study at HST can really make a significant kingdom difference regardless of their vocation.  These people are not at HST for academic study alone but are also being shaped and formed as Christ-followers.

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

Start1Life Long Learning

See Keith Ferrazzi’s fine post “Take Charge of Your Career: The Four Strategies of Staying Curious in Learning.” Ferrazzi is the author of “Never Eat Alone.”


See Brian Fanzo’s fine piece “My advice to Millennials: become a master storyteller.”  Good advice.


Read Mislav Illic’s words from the Christian Chronicle regarding the death of his co-worker Mladen Jovanovic.


10 New Yorker religion articles to read while the archives are free.


Robert P. George in First Things.  See “Advice for Young Scholars.”


See Elizabeth Gilbert’s transcript from her TED talk, “Your elusive creative genius.”



When Daddy is Silent

men in silence - silent - Why Are Men Less TalkativeA daddy’s silence can be deadly.

Far too many men are silent at all the wrong times.  A father’s silence can communicate volumes. The absence of his voice can leave a boy or girl feeling emotionally alone.

We were in the middle school gym.  Our oldest daughter, in the seventh grade, was playing basketball.  The game was coming to a close.  One girl on our team was having great difficulty guarding a particular player on the opposing team. Again and again this girl would score.  Finally at one point, the father of our player stood and began yelling. He called out his daughter’s name and in front of the entire gym said, “Your defense stinks!”

The gym became very silent as the humiliated girl stood on the the court looking at her father.

Most fathers I know would never think of doing anything like this.  They would never want to humiliate or shame their child the way this father did.

However, fathers can do damage  by remaining silent.  They don’t inflict pain on their children with their words.  However, they do not take advantage of the opportunities they have to build and encourage their children with their words.  Instead, they remain silent.

When our children were small, I had to learn how to speak in a way that would encourage our girls. I did not come from a demonstrative family and it would have been far easier for me to simply be silent.  Yet, I learned by observing other fathers how to speak life giving words into my daughters. You can learn this too.

Ministry Inside.135

PhoneI was two years old when this picture was taken. My parents had just moved to Dallas from Little Rock.

Of course, I don’t remember this moment. Nevertheless, this picture means a lot to me. At that moment my parents were a young couple who had moved to a big city with their two year old. Little did they know of the twists and turns their lives would take. Nor could they have imagined what life would be like for their toddler.

Years later, a variety of experiences would shape and form my life and forever impact me.

I would enter kindergarten. Mrs. Rich was my teacher. I would come away from that experience with good memories.

Just a few years later, I would have a brother and sister. I would live with my family of origin, go to college and then eventually leave and marry.

I would have moments of joy and also moments when I felt utterly defeated.

I would learn the story of God’s love. I would be baptized. I would continue to grow in my faith as a part of a church community.

Years later, I would marry Charlotte and we would have two children, Christine and Jamie. We would spend much of our lives in Alabama, Missouri, and Texas.

Now, here we are with two grandchildren, two sons-in-law, and many great memories of the places where we have lived.

I never would have dreamed, even a few years ago, that we would live in Memphis and that I would be working with Harding School of Theology.

Why mention this?