Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ten Things I'm Thankful For

1. I have a job (that I enjoy). Nearly 8 million Americans are unemployed.

2. I have a home (with heat and hot water). Over 500,000 Americans are homeless.

3. I have friends (that pray and laugh with me). Loneliness affects 60 million Americans.

4. I have a family (that supports and loves me). There are 20 million orphans in the world.

5. I have insurance (to help pay for great medical care). 33 million Americans lack insurance.

6. I have a healthy body (which enables me to run and jump). Diarrheal diseases will kill over 2,000 kids today.

7. I have Internet access (to show me what is happening in the world). Billions are excluded from the online domain.

8. I have an education (that gives me access to countless opportunities). 775 million adults are functionally illiterate.

9. I have issues (that show me my weaknesses and how much I need Him). 1/3 of the world's seven billion people claim to follow the Son of Man.

10. I have the love of the Father (giving me purpose and everlasting life). Do you know His love?

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thursday, October 29, 2015

What If Your Daughters Weren't Soccer Players?

I'm so thankful Rose and Grace like to play the sport I grew up playing. I like taking them to summer soccer camps, teaching them how to perform sweet soccer moves, and watching soccer videos on YouTube with them. Occasionally people ask me how I would feel if my daughters didn't enjoy playing the beautiful game. Of course soccer provides me an extra connection with Rose and Grace, but I would be totally fine if my daughters weren't soccer players. Contrary to what some t-shirts say, soccer isn't my world. I'm thankful Rose can even run considering she was born with spina bifida. I'm thankful Grace doesn't tell her coaches they suck like her dad did when he was in elementary school. I want Rose and Grace to pursue healthy activities that interest them - activities in which they can give the Father all the glory. I don't care if they race go-karts, show pigs, or build legos. I just want them to live a life pleasing to Him. Having daughters that play soccer is just icing on the cake. There will be a day when we'll no longer be able to kick a ball, but I'm confident that soccer will be alive and well in our new home. I look forward to that day we'll play spectacular soccer with our glorified bodies.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

This summer we saw Indy Eleven compete against the New York Cosmos.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Six Deep Questions My Sixth Graders Ask Every Year

I earned my educator's license in 1995 and although I've taught elementary and high school students, most of my teaching experience has been with sixth graders. I really, really like this age group. Why? Sixth graders still have some elementary in them so they often get easily engaged in the classroom, and they have some critical thinking skills that I can help shape. I also like how sixth graders never get tired of toilet humor. It's the best of both worlds - a year of change and transition that be both challenging and fun.

Every year my sixth graders ask some enormous questions that most are afraid to ask or don't think to ask. Below are six of those questions. I am so thankful to be in this super important position to tackle hard questions with young people. I ask that you would lift me up as I assist parents in training up their children. It's not something I take lightly, and I need all of the help I can get.

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. James 3:1

1. Did God choose us or do we choose Him?
2. How can Judas be held responsible for betraying the Son of Man if this was part of the Father's plan?
3. What happens to those who never hear about the Son of Man?
4. Why doesn't the Father just force us to love Him?
5. Why doesn't the Son Man end all suffering and come back right now?
6. Why were Adam and Eve created if it was known they would sin?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Reviewing John Seyfarth's Human Resource Leadership For Effective Schools

Human Resource Leadership For Effective Schools was one my required M.Ed. textbooks at CIU. It consists of 14 chapters which are outlined below.

1. Human Resources Leadership and Effective Schools
2. Planning for Staffing Needs
3. Evaluating and Selecting Applicants
4. Selecting Administrative and Support Personnel
5. Motivation of Personnel
6. Induction
7. Professional Development for Educational Personnel
8. Evaluating Employee Performance
9. Compensation and Rewards
10. Creating Productive Work Environments
11. Legal Issues in Human Resources
12. Collective Bargaining in Schools
13. Managing Conflict in Schools
14. Termination and Reduction in Force

This 300-page book uses the latest research, provides real life applications, and emphasizes the relationship of the decisions of human resource leadership to student learning effectiveness. The end of each chapter contains a nice summary, a few suggested activities, several online resources, some case studies, and numerous references. Although the book is an excellent resource for school principals (e.g., classes, meetings, workshops), it's ridiculously overpriced. I recommend purchasing a used copy, renting the book, going to the library, or locating a foreign or online edition that could be much, much cheaper.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Reviewing John Piper's Does God Desire All To Be Saved?

Does God Desire All To Be Saved? That is an absolutely massive question that many have pondered over the years, but few have grappled with the question with others. We often simply want light-hearted conversations and have a fear of offending people. The question begs to be addressed though, and the answer is available to us.

Chancellor Piper helps us see it in the Scriptures through his short book, Does God Desire All To Be Saved?. Does our Heavenly Father desire for all of mankind to be saved from His holy wrath and a life of eternal torment in Hell despite choosing only some to be saved unconditionally? Yes. Isn't that a contradiction? No. How is that even possible? Many tough questions are addressed throughout the book, and regardless of your theological bent, you'll do plenty of thinking.

When you don't include the table of contents, acknowledgments, a note on resources, and the Scripture index, John Piper's Does God Desire All To Be Saved? is only 45 pages. The book is divided into an introduction and four chapters entitled:

1. My Aim
2. Illustrations of Two Wills in God
3. How Extensive is the Sovereign Will of God?
4. Does It Make Sense?

If you've read Piper's The Pleasures of God or Schreiner and Ware's books, The Grace of God and Still Sovereign, you might recognize portions of Does God Desire All To Be Saved?. This book is a revised and expanded version of material published in those books. Chancellor Piper handles the sensitive topics with grace and truth, and if you are up for grappling with the God of the universe, I recommend getting the book.

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4

Friday, September 18, 2015

Reviewing Collaborative Marriage Skills ( Couple Communication I)

Collaborative Marriage Skills is a 143-page book Megan and I used in a small group several years ago. This fifth edition was published in 2007 and consists of five chapters:

1. Choosing Communication Styles
2. Identifying Issues
3. Using Your Awareness Wheel
4. Applying the Listening Cycle
5. Mapping Issues

The book contains many charts and diagrams and is organized well. Key words are often italicized, have bold red or black letters, or are part of a bulleted list. We used a version of the book that doesn't have Scripture; however, everyone in our group were Christians so we integrated the Good Book in our discussions.

Collaborative Marriage Skills is very practical and can be used by both Christian and non-Christian couples. You'll get the most out of the book by taking notes in it and reading and discussing the material with others. Although Collaborative Marriage Skills did not solve all of our marriage problemos, I recommend it if you desire to better resolve conflict and enjoy your spouse.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Reviewing Stephen Altrogge's Game Day for the Glory of God: A Guide for Athletes, Fans, and Wannabes

With my increased role in coaching this past year, I decided to read Stephen Altrogge's Game Day For the Glory of God. Stephen Altrogge blogs at The Blazing Center, a blog I frequent from time to time, and is author of several books including Create and My Friend, My Hero, My Dad.

I enjoyed Game Day For the Glory of God more than Create (4.5/5 stars - 66 Amazon reviews), and I found it to be solid and making me smile at times, much like Altrogge's blog. Game Day For the Glory of God is 128 pages and is divided into the following seven chapters:

1. A Life for the Glory of God
2. The Source of All Talent
3. The Joy of Sports
4. Game Day Priorities
5. Winners and Losers
6. Parents, Children, and the Glory of God
7. Tying It All Together

The book was published in 2008 and Altrogge is from Pennsylvania so you may not recognize all of the sport references if you are young and from a country outside the States. Regardless of that, I recommend the book to any Christian who desires to have a biblical understanding of watching, playing, or coaching sports. Game Day For the Glory of God is a theological sound and enjoyable read that is sure to bless many coaches, athletes, and sports fans.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Reviewing John Piper's The Dangerous Duty of Delight

John Piper's The Dangerous Duty of Delight is a condensed version of his classic, Desiring God (1986). Those who know me will not find it surprising that I highly recommend both books (I've read more than 15 of Chancellor Piper's books). The second edition of The Dangerous Duty of Delight was released in 2011 with the following subtitle: Daring to Make God Your Greatest Desire. I read the original edition (2001) which was released with this subtitle: The Glorified God and The Satisfied Soul. The 2001 edition consists of less than 100 pages that are divided into the following nine chapters:

Chapter 1: Treating Delight As Duty Is Controversial
Chapter 2: Glorify God by Enjoying Him Forever
Chapter 3: Affections Are Not Optional
Chapter 4: Pursuing Pleasure Undermines Pride and Self-Pity
Chapter 5: Pursue Your Joy in the Joy of the Beloved
Chapter 6: What Does It Mean for Worship?
Chapter 7: What Does It Mean for Marriage?
Chapter 8: What Does It Mean for Money?
Chapter 9: What Does It Mean for Missions?

In The Dangerous Duty of DelightPiper reminds us how all of us have a longing that can't be satisfied from coaching victories, praise from our colleagues, traveling to international locations, or even spending time with our loved ones. Our hearts are restless until we fulfill our duty to delight in the one true Object of human desire - God Almighty. If we fulfill this duty, our attitudes toward church services, our mates, homes, and very purpose in life can radically change.

If you're a Christian looking for a solid book that is easy to understand, check out The Dangerous Duty of Delight. If you're not a Christian but are open to reading a short book not short on Scripture, check out The Dangerous Duty of Delight. Outside of the Bible, no author has blessed me more than John Piper and perhaps he can do the same for you.