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Mondern Probelms & Eternal Truths

Of the making of many books

there is no end.

Ecclesiastes 12:12


12 Rules for Life 

Rule 1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back.

An Antidote to Chaos

Rule 2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.

Published in 2018

Rule 3. Make friends with people who want the best for you.

By Jordan Peterson, from the faculty of Harvard and University of Toronto

Rule 4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.

One more to file under “All Truth is God’s Truth”

Rule 5. Do not let your children do anything  that makes you dislike them.

Almost 400 pages

Rule 6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.

Finally made it out of my “Gonna Read This” corral

Rule 7. Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).

Provocative writer

Rule 8. Tell the truth — or, at least, don’t lie.

Not a typical motivational/self-help/personal development book

Rule 9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.

For sure didn’t agree with everything he writes in these almost 400 pages

Rule 10. Be precise in your speech.

But interestingly, he grapples with much of the same biblical material, both Old and New Testaments, the rest of us do

Rule 11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.

But he starts at places I might not and doesn’t always land at places I would 

Rule 12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.

And I gotta say I love these Rules, don’t you?




Sun, Rain, You, Me, All of Us

If you’ve ever wondered, “Why me?”

Also ask, “Why not me?”

After all, God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45)

Still…I have questions.




Recently, Death

A friend died.

Teach us to use wisely

all the time we have.

Psalm 90:12, Contemporary English Version


Another friend died.

Our days on earth are like grass;

like wildflowers, we bloom and die.

Psalm 103:15, New Living Translation


And then another.

People are like grass;

their beauty is like a flower in the field.

The grass withers and the flower fades.

1st Peter 1:24, New Living Translation


Been a rough stretch.

Questions arise.

Feelings blindside.

More questions.

Among so many and so much, time to remember and apply —

Teach us to use wisely

all the time we have.

Psalm 90:12, Contemporary English Version






It’s a Monday. “On God’s Side.”

“Mr. President, let us pray that God is on our side.:””

“No, let us pray that we are on God’s side.”

— attributed to Abraham Lincoln, during the Civil War

Do This or Die, Church — part 7

Joe here. In my experience, this is the cause of more church troubles than anything else. Okay, back to quoting. —

Around 200 churches will close this week, maybe more. The pace will accelerate unless our congregations make some dramatic changes.

7. We must stop shooting our own.

This tragedy is related to the entitlement mentality.

If we don’t get our way, we will go after the pastor, the staff member or the church member who has a different perspective from our own. We will even go after their families.

Don’t let bullies and perpetual critics control the church.

Don’t shoot our own. It’s not friendly fire.


5 New Things

In the beginning, God…. (Genesis 1:1)

God, who began the good work within you…. (Philippians 1:6)

Direct us, O Lord…that in all our works begun…in thee…. (,_1979).pdf/832)

Marian McCray taught me that a church always needs to be trying 5 new things. Of them, typically one will be a dud, three will be okay, but one will work. I found that to be a pretty reliable guideline.

On the personal level, what are 5 new things you’re starting — maybe this year, maybe this quarter, maybe this month, maybe this week, maybe today — what are 5 new things you’re starting?

Let’s review:

In the beginning, God…. (Genesis 1:1)

God, who began the good work within you…. (Philippians 1:6)

Direct us, O Lord…that in all our works begun…in thee…. (,_1979).pdf/832)


My Second-Favorite Valentine’s Day Story

I first heard this story from Jack Canfield.

The Hyland Behavioral Health Center, part of St. Anthony’s Medical Center in St. Louis, used to bring in guest speakers and invite clergy and others to come to their seminars. (Have me tell you sometime about taking my mom along to hear Jack one of these, and what she said when she recongized him from a PBS broadcast.)

Jack was one of my favorites there long before he and Mark Victor Hansen had their amazing success with the Chicken Soup for The Soul phenomenon.

This is a story you probably already know. Maybe it’ll be new to you. Either way, take a moment and treat yourself today —

Little Chad was a shy, quiet young man. One day he came home and told his mother that he’d like to make a valentine for everyone in his class.

Her heart sank. She thought, “I wish he wouldn’t do that!” because she had watched the children when they walked home from school.

Her Chad was always behind them. They laughed and hung on to each other and talked to each other. But Chad was never included.

Nevertheless, she decided she would go along with her son. So she purchased the paper and glue and crayons. For three weeks, night after night, Chad painstakingly made 35 valentines.

Valentine’s Day dawned, and Chad was beside himself with excitement. He carefully stacked them up, put them in a bag, and bolted out the door. His mother decided to bake him his favorite cookies and serve them nice and warm with a cool glass of milk when he came home from school.

She just knew he would be disappointed and maybe that would ease the pain a little. It hurt her to think that he wouldn’t get many valentines – maybe none at all.

That afternoon she had the cookies and milk on the table. When she heard the children outside, she looked out the window.

Sure enough, there they came, laughing and having the best time. And, as always, there was Chad in the rear.

He walked a little faster than usual.

She fully expected him to burst into tears as soon as he got inside.

His arms were empty, she noticed, and when the door opened she choked back the tears.

“Honey, I have some cookies and milk for you,” she said.

But he hardly heard her words. He just marched right on by, his face glowing, and all he could say was: “Not a one. Not a one.”

His mother’s heart sank at first, but then she noticed the huge smile on his face as he added, “I didn’t forget a one, not a single one!”