Sunday, July 16, 2006

Last Monday, I shared with you Jacob's story. Jacob was to visit his grandparents for a week (though he is staying over a few days to take part in our First Principles Day Camp which begins on Monday morning).

This morning, Jacob bolted into the aisle as soon as the invitation song commenced. He came down the aisle with a smile and a resolute determination that today was the day of salvation for him.

Last Sunday evening following his first response, I sent him home with his grandparents to work with them through stories in the New Testament of how Jesus made a difference in the lives of others. Apparently, those stories touched Jacob, because his grandmother told me that on Wednesday, following a golf clinic, he returned home and immediately asked, "When can we start studying the Bible again?"

His determination and willingness to unite with Christ in baptism touched his grandparents and, this morning, I had the honor of baptizing Jacob into Jesus Christ with his grandparents looking on.

The neat part, though, happened this evening. Jacob said to me before church, "I've noticed nobody ever sits on the front row at church. Can I sit there tonight?" Everytime I asked a rhetorical question, Jacob answered out loud.

Today, I have witnessed again the beauty of a babe in Christ. And it has reminded me again of the beauty of Jesus's words: "Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it" (Mark 10.15).


Sunday was my little sister's 31st birthday. Melissa is carrying two precious gifts from God in her womb, a little boy and a little girl that are due to arrive sometime around Thanksgiving.

Happy birthday, Mel! You are a blessing as a sister, a sister-in-law, and an aunt who gives really good Christmas gifts! And, I think your two little ones are going to be so blessed to call you their "Mommy."


With the girls back in Arkansas for some quality time before our move to California, my life has been devoted to ministry, sermon prep, baseball and reading. I remember well the envy I felt toward men who claimed to be able to read a book a week. With the girls gone and the house immensely quiet at night, I was able to read through three good books in the past week.

How To Read a Book was a best-seller in the 1940's and was reprinted in the 1970's. Written by philosopher Mortimer J. Adler, it gives insightful advice on how to get at the root thesis of any book. It is tough sledding but chock-full of practical advice in getting more out of the task of reading.

The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship is written by one of my favorite authors, Dallas Willard. In the Great Omission, Willard calls the church back to the quest of discipleship -- of realizing the character of Jesus through spiritual formation. The Great Omission is a great primer for understanding the role of spiritual formation and the spiritual disciplines in developing life-long disciples.

Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity is Lauren Winner's latest work. Winner converted to Christianity from Judaism and writes with poignant clarity about living chaste in a sex-crazed society. Winner, a professor at Duke Divinity School, exposes cultural lies regarding sex and calls the church, on the basis of Scriptural authority, to create community where accountability and spiritual discipline upholds chastity, both for the unmarried as well as the married.

On the agenda for this week are To Own A Dragon: Reflections on Growing Up Without a Father by Donald Miller, The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World by Alan Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk, and Breaking the Missional Code: When Church Can Become Missionary in Your Community by Ed Stetzer and David Putman.