Friday Finds 8.10.18

Summertime is a great time to get caught up on some reading.  I’ve found some encouraging blog posts to read.  I think you’ll be encouraged by them too.  Here is this week’s Friday Finds.  Enjoy.

1. Being a father isn’t easy, but it is simple

via Gentle Reformation

There is much that can be said on the subject of being a father, but Jared Olivetti believes that sometimes it’s best to sit back and take a simple approach to the difficult task of fathering your children well.  Check out his list of five things that a father can do to become a great father and leader in the home.  His list is simple, but challenging.

2. Three Very Simple Phrases That Will Motivate Your Team More Than You Think

via Carey Nieuwhof

This is a great post about using simple phrases on a consistent basis to motivate and encourage the people on your team.  Carey Nieuwhof says the following:

“The challenge is that in most settings, work becomes transactional. It’s all about getting things done, and we forget that the people we work with have emotions, feelings and things that motivate and demotivate them.”

Check out the rest of the blog post to find out what the phrases are and how to best use them.

3. Is 12-years-old too young to talk to your kids about money?

via USA Today

In the many topics you consider talking about with your children, do you ever consider talking about money?  When should you start those conversations?  In this article, Adam Shell urges readers to start the conversation sooner rather than later.  Beginning with age appropriate content and continuing to expand the conversation as your children get older, helps to create financially wise adults.  I think you’ll find some good guidelines and conversations starters in here if you haven’t approached this topic with your kids yet.  Enjoy.

4. Three Ways Parents Can Pray for Their Prodigal Children

via Eternal Perspective Ministries

Watching your children stray from God can be an incredibly painful experience.  Sarah Walton, a self-proclaimed former prodigal child, offers three powerful ways that you can pray deeply for your children.  I hope if you are experiencing the hurt of a prodigal child or family member or friend, that you will be encouraged and challenged to get on your knees and do battle for their souls.

5.  How to Raise an American Adult

via The Wall Street Journal

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska has written a powerful and encouraging article on raising kids who can become productive members of society.  He and his wife, Melissa, have one goal for their children,

 “We want our kids to arrive at adulthood as fully formed, vivacious, appealing, resilient, self-reliant, problem-solving souls who see themselves as called to love and serve their neighbors.” 

They center their parenting approach around 5 broad themes: resist consumption, embrace the pain of work, connect across generations, travel meaningfully, and become truly literate.  Senator Sasse gives lots of great ideas and food for thought in this article.

6.  Flashback: What Should You Do With the Rest of Your Life?

via Following to Lead

“We live in a world of a thousand choices. Like a child in line at the snack shop frozen by the myriad of options in front of him, so are many Christians today – who stand wondering, “What is God’s will for my life?” Their life is on pause as they wait to know what they should do with their life. It doesn’t have to be this way.”

Friday Finds 7.6.18

I hope you had a good time celebrating the 4th of July with your family and friends this week.  I’m truly grateful for the freedoms we have in our country.

Here is the latest Friday Finds.  Enjoy.

1. Parents, Don’t Waste Your Lazy Summer Days

via Revive Our Hearts

We all look forward to summertime when the crazy schedules of school and activities seem to slow down a bit.  Stacy Reaoch encourages us as parents to be very intentional about seeing our time in the summer as an opportunity to disciple our children.  She gives a list of five ways to actively live out Deut. 6:5-7.

2. Show Me the Money: The Difference Between Wise and Foolish Budgeting

via Follow the GLS

Tony Morgan takes a quick look at two different thoughts when it comes to budgeting in an organization.  He then compares the two extremes as foolish and wise.  Does anything on this list resonate with you?

3. Honestly Assessing Our Decision to Public School Our Kids

via Challies 

My wife and I have chosen public school for our kids and we have experienced many of the same things that Tim Challies writes about in this post.  It’s nice to read someone’s experience who is a few years further down the road.  I hope this article encourages you.

4. How to Handle Arguments with Kids About Phones

via Growing Leaders

Parenting today includes many conversations (or arguments) about phones.  Tim Elmore gives parents some some helpful hints to lay the foundation for these conversations.

“I have a suggestion that has worked for many parents along the way. It’s a step that not only guides the conversations on this topic, but it prepares teens for the world they are about to mature into as adults: a contract.”

Check out Tim’s ideas in this post.

5.  Why You Need a “Mount Rushmore” of Mentors to Grow as a Communicator

via Follow the GLS

Brian Loritts speaks of his own personal experience learning under three different kinds of communicators: Explainer, Illustrator, and Applicator.  These three experiences helped shape him into a fourth kind of communicator: All of the Above.

“While not every message I give strikes the balance perfectly, I feel like I’m on a great trajectory because of time well spent with my “Mount Rushmore” of communicators.”  Enjoy.

6. Flashback: Give Your Kids a Vision of Mission

This is a post I wrote about a few years ago.  As my kids get older, it has been amazing to watch them begin to catch a vision for what God can do through our family.  I hope you will be challenged by this Flashback.

Friday Finds 6.29.18

It’s hard to believe next week is the Fourth of July.  It marks the halfway point for Rose City Summer Camps here at The Mentoring Alliance.  The weeks seem to be flying by.   Enjoy this week’s Friday Finds.

1. We Need to Talk About Racial Issues in Our Churches

via The Gospel Coalition

Sho Baraka addresses a critical issue in churches today – our lack of addressing differences regarding race and culture.  He encourages churches to embrace the differences rather than pretend they don’t exist.

“I ask that we stop ignoring racial differences and love each other in light of our differences. We should desire to know and understand our brothers and sisters so we can love them and God better. Our color matters because our identities matter.”

I think you will find this article interesting and challenging.

2. How to Succeed in Business?  Do Less

via The Wall Street Journal

What is the best way to be successful in business?  Work harder or work smarter?  Morten T. Hansen discusses the findings of research he conducted to find out how employees at all levels achieved higher performance standards than their peers.  I think you’ll find his results interesting.

3.  4 Ways to Develop Bible Skills for Kids

via Eric Geiger

“If we wish to train up children who walk closely with God as they grow into adults, we must influence them to read and reference the Bible. Here are four ways you, and those who lead the kids in your church, can cultivate a love for Bible reading in children:”  Check it out.

4. Rivalries Gone Wrong

via Peter K Greer

Rivalries are a huge part of American culture.  We not only have our teams that we cheer for, but our teams that we root against.  This might make for some office fun during March Madness, but is this mindset leaking over into our Kingdom work?

In this article, Peter Greer challenges us to see other ministries as co-laborers instead of competitors.  Give this article a quick read and then check out his new book, Rooting for Rivals, that he wrote with Chris Horst.

5. Five Harmful Parenting Styles and How to Correct Them

via Growing Leaders

We all set out to be great parents, but it’s easy to fall into habits that have unhealthy consequences.  Tim Elmore describes the problem this way, “Most parents I meet want to be a good parent. At times, however, we can’t draw the line between mothering and smothering; fathering and bothering.”

Read this article to discover his take on unhealthy parenting styles and his recommendations to fix them.  Enjoy.

Flashback: A Word to White, Moderate Ministry Leaders

via Following to Lead

Since I started this week’s Friday Finds with an article about race, I thought it would be good to go back and look at an post I wrote a few years ago.  I learned a deep lesson while reading Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”  Read this where I share what I learned.  It’s always a good reminder.

Friday Finds 6-22-18

Summer is here!  The temperatures have warmed up.  The lakes and pools are busy.  Whatever this summer brings for you and your family, I hope a little rest and relaxation comes your way.

Here are this week’s Friday Finds.  I hope you will find something that encourages you, inspires you, or challenges you.  Enjoy.

1. A Parent’s Guide to the 5 Skeptics Who Want to Shame Your Kids for Being Christian

via Stand to Reason

We all want our children to be prepared to stand up and defend the gospel.  However, social media is changing the way the people respond.  Natasha Crain, a blogger for six years, feels that people are often less civil in their responses when they are hiding “behind their screens.”

“Kids need to understand these emotion-laden shaming attempts they’ll encounter.”  She describes five different personas and then gives parents advice on how to guide your kids to be able to combat these shaming attempts.  I hope these encourage you in parenting for today’s culture.

2. How a Mortgage Company Is Loving Its Neighbors

via The Gospel Coalition

What happens when the gospel meets business?  Can you apply biblical principles to a for-profit business and have it thrive?

Find out how this amazing mortgage company started in the midst of the housing market crash, built itself upon biblical principles, and grew at an astonishing rate of 70% each year.

3. ‘I Don’t Know How You Do It’: God’s Grace for Foster Parents

via Gospel-Centered Discipleship

James Williams understands the joys and heartaches of being a foster parent.  In this poignant article, he acknowledges the difficulties of being a foster parent while speaking the refreshing, life-giving truth of the gospel into the harsh realities that come with welcoming children from the foster-care system into your home.

He acknowledges the insufficiency of self and the complete sufficiency of the sovereign God of the Universe, who brings grace and strength for each situation.  If you are a foster parent, may this article refresh you.

4. God Doesn’t Make Us Nice.  He Makes Us New.

via The Gospel Coalition

In this compelling blog post, Scott James gives highlights from Michael Lawrence’s book, Conversion: How God Creates a People.  He highlights from the book how the gospel is not something that helps us change ourselves, but how God completely creates us into new beings.  And only He can do that work.  This has major implications in our personal lives, as well as in our churches.

Read this article to be challenged on how we can “‘…live differently (pursuing holiness), love differently (forgiving our enemies), and look different (multiethnic, multigenerational, multi-economic).”

5. How To Measure Success As a Parent

via The Parent Cue

The advice available to help people survive the wild ride of parenting can range from completely crazy to solidly biblical.  We all want to succeed as parents, but what does real success look like?

Reggie Joiner, founder and CEO of Orange (The reThink Group) has written a brief post that helps us hit the target as parents.  He helps us consider both the quantity AND quality of the time we spend with our kids.

6. Flashback: The Three Best Lessons Young People Have Taught Me About Faith

Rose City Summer Camps is going full force for us here at The Mentoring Alliance.  As I watch our godly summer staff pour into the lives of kids each day, I’m reminded that we can learn from them too.  Enjoy this post I wrote a while back highlighting three lessons I learned from college students.


Friday Finds 6-15-18

It’s been a while since you’ve had a Friday Finds.  I’ve taken some time off from posting these, but I’m ready to start again.  Here are five interesting articles I’ve read recently.  I hope you enjoy them.

1. These Bombs Lead Me To Christ

via Christianity Today

“You have seen my picture a thousand times. It’s a picture that made the world gasp—a picture that defined my life. I am nine years old, running along a puddled roadway in front of an expressionless soldier, arms outstretched, naked, shrieking in pain and fear, the dark contour of a napalm cloud billowing in the distance.”  Read this amazing article about Kim Phuc Phan Thi’s journey from being alone “atop a mountain of rage” to being at peace through Jesus Christ.

2. 6 ways, backed by research, to goof off and get more done


Have more fun and get more done.  Does this sound like a “too good to be true” promise? Check out these six interesting finds from Eric Baker and judge for yourself!

“There’s plenty of research showing that being a touch lazy might be beneficial at times.” 

3. How to Remember What You Read

via Gospel Relevance

Nothing can be more frustrating than spending several hours reading a book, only to find that you don’t really remember most of what you have read.  David Qaoud gives four simple steps in this article to help you retain more of what you read.  He also gives some encouragement about the process of reading.  Enjoy these great tips!

4. Top Four Employee Concerns By Robert McFarland

via Christian Leadership Alliance

Robert McFarland has written this short blog post encapsulating four major points from this book, Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew.   “Based on these responses, four themes emerged that encapsulate the problems voiced by employees and faced by management all over the country. These themes involve perceptions of insufficient appreciation, inadequate morale, incompetent management, and improper communication”.  Check out the full post for more details.

5.  Good News for Modern Parents

via The Gospel Coalition

Parenting can be difficult.  Parenting in today’s society of shifting values and morals can seem downright impossible.  Harriet Connor shares some timeless truths from the Word of God that gives us parents the courage to keep parenting our children for the sake of the Gospel.

6. Flashback: What Life-Changing Mentors Do Consistently

via Following to Lead

Everyone wishes they had a mentor, but very few people step out in faith to become one.  Check out this post I wrote about using relationships for the Gospel.  “Whether you are a parent, a pastor, a teacher, or simply a leader of any kind, we have the opportunity to influence others in a way that sets them free to be all that God created them to be.”  I hope you will be inspired to find someone to mentor soon!

Friday Finds 8-25-17

Thirty-seven years ago I remember standing out in the street doing exactly what I was told NOT to do: stare directly into the sun during the eclipse. This past week reminded me of the simple reality that some things never change.

I hope your week was effective, productive, but most importantly, receptive…to everything God desires to be doing in and through you.

Here are a few articles I found interesting this week.

1. How Adults Reduce Grit in Kids

via Growing Leaders

What makes students successful today?  What are our students lacking that can help them thrive in school and in life?  Tim Elmore gives a thoughtful summary of Dr. Angela Duckworth’s book, “Grit” in this blog post.  He explores her idea of grit and how we as leaders are failing to establish this important quality in our students.

2. The Most Complex Organizational Relationship…And How To Manage It

via Peter K Greer

As you read this title, what strikes you as the most complex organizational relationship?  Which work relationships do you think he might address?  You might be surprised.

“…the board–CEO relationship is exceptionally challenging. It’s a proverbial minefield, with the potential to sabotage an organization: creating dissention, thwarting progress, undermining impact, and knocking it off mission.”

Read this blog by Peter Greer about his new book, The Board and the CEO.

3. Big Church for Small Kids

via Jen Wilkin

In this follow-up blog on why kids should be in corporate worship, Jen Wilkins offers practical, specific ideas on how to begin to integrate your school-aged children into the Sunday worship service.  Her straight forward and clear ideas will help you begin this process immediately.

4. How Should Entrepreneurs Hold ‘Just In Case’ Cash?

via Entrepreneur

“As a business owner, it makes sense to keep cash on hand for the future. Nobody can predict the next economic downturn. And if your business is just starting to take flight, you might need some extra cash to invest when you face turbulence.”

Garrett Oakley, a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner, offers financially savvy ways to invest your extra cash from your business.

5.  Flashback: A Different Option for Education: Homeschool Your Public School Kids

via Following to Lead

As students all over the country are heading back to school, have we as parents considered what we will be teaching our children this year?  “School was never meant to be the sole method for teaching our kids anyway.”   Read some of my thoughts in this post.

Friday Finds 8/17/2017

It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted my Friday Finds. But alas, here it is, the latest, greatest list of articles or videos I’ve seen online that I thought were worth sharing. I call them Friday Finds. read more…

Friday Finds 3-31-17

I have been out of touch for a couple of weeks. Amidst work and life demands, I haven’t had a lot of time to catch up on articles. When I finally had time to catch up, my Friday Finds filled quickly. Enjoy.

read more…

Friday Finds 3-10-17

My kids are off for spring break next week. We aren’t traveling this year and I am looking forward to a restful week playing outside, firing up the grill and spending time with my family. What are your spring break plans?

read more…

Friday Finds 3-3-17

I thoroughly enjoyed the 50th celebration of Pine Cove last Friday night. I am honored that I was able to spend so many years on staff with such a great ministry. I am grateful for all they are doing to impact God’s kingdom.

read more…

Friday Finds 2-24-17

It has been a busy time around our house. Steph and I are traveling to Austin this weekend, I am preaching at Grace Covenant Church on Sunday morning. I am preaching from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, I always love getting the chance to speak to church congregations about the ministry of reconciliation. Here are a few articles that I found interesting. I call them my Friday Finds. Enjoy.

1. Build Your Legacy…Today

via Follow the GLS

“This day … not tomorrow, or next week, or next month. Today is His gift to us. My prayers and my efforts are directed toward stewarding it well. This is the only plan I have for ensuring my legacy.”

2. The Most Common Mistakes Parents Make

via Growing Leaders

“To me, successful parenting is leading and developing your child so that they can function as well-adjusted adults and reach their potential. This means we must think PREPARE, not just PROTECT. Our “test” is to love them in a healthy manner, so that they can replicate that love as healthy adults themselves. How they turn out is our “report card.”

 3. How to Get Through College Debt-Free

via YNAB

Great article that someone sent me this week. I think point #1 is the most important of all the points listed.

4. Study: Millennial Men Have Weaker Handshakes Than Their Dads

via Fatherly

This is a fun article. After teaching thousands of young people how to shake a hand over the last decade, this article reminds me there is more work to be done! While millennial men’s handshakes have weakened, millennial women handshakes have strengthened. 

5. ‘The Jesus Storybook Bible’ Turns 10: The Story Behind the Bestseller

via The Gospel Coalition

This book has been instrumental for my family and many people I’ve given it to you, I even wrote a blog post on it at one point. It was really interesting to get the story behind the Bible.

6. Time Management For The Time-Challenged

via Forbes

When I’m consistent with point 3 it’s a game-changer for my productivity. It’s worth a good, solid read.

7. The US President’s $2,614 Per Minute Transport System

via Wendover Productions

I only watched the first 6 minutes of this video, but it is fascinating…

8. Thabiti Anyabwile – Abortion and Race”

via Mark Campbell 

Wow. Take 3.5 minutes and watch this video.

9. Flashback: Bring Life to Your Family: It Starts By Reading The Bible

via Following to Lead

Men ask me often what they can do to lead their family better, this post sums up my answer.

“We want our kids to know Jesus, and to walk with Him.  We have an awesome responsibility and a unique opportunity to lead them to Him while they are in our homes.  I hope you let that work begin in you, and then impact your entire family.” 


Friday Finds 2-10-17

I really enjoyed my time in California this past week. One of the highlights was sharing with some of the staff of this investment company that supports our ministry. They left encouraged that the work they do is helping kids and families receive both tangible help and eternal hope. read more…

Friday Finds 2-3-17

Steph and I have been in California all week visiting some of our West Coast donors from the ministry I lead, The Mentoring Alliance. It was a great week connecting with them and spending some time with my beautiful wife. Here’s a picture off the back porch of one of my friends…


Here are a few articles that I found interesting. I call them my Friday Finds. Enjoy. read more…

Friday Finds 1-27-17

Colds, pneumonia and sinus infections wreaked havoc on our home last weekend. My family spent most of the weekend inside drinking hot tea and loading up on vitamin C, and of course, catching up on all the great articles hitting the internet.

Here’s a few articles that I found interesting. I call them my Friday Finds. Enjoy.

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Friday Finds 1-20-17

On Monday we celebrated Martin Luther King Day. I came across a blog post I wrote a few years ago, and I was convicted again by Dr. King’s words in his Letter from Birmingham Jail.

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

Whether you are black or white, if you are a follower of Christ, I hope you take some time to reflect on the words of Dr. King and pray about how you can do something in your own neighborhood.

Here’s a few articles that I’ve found interesting lately. I call them my Friday Finds. Enjoy.

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Are Family Mission Statements All That Valuable?

The concept is intimidating. I mean, who really has the time to craft a thoroughly vetted, perfectly worded, and beautifully displayed family mission statement in their home? Is it just for decoration, or is there some intrinsic value in having one?

It’s one of those things we’ve considered creating for years, but the desire for perfection stopped us. One glance at Pinterest and you’ll see perfect families, with perfect mission statements all apparently constantly living up to every last word in them, all day every day…

And so each time we discussed it, we stopped trying just after we started.

That is, until my fourth grader brought home an assignment from his public school last year. He told us about 30 minutes before bedtime, “I’m supposed to turn in a family mission statement for school tomorrow. It’s my homework assignment.”

I understand the value of a mission statement for organizations. It was just a few years ago that I worked with my staff to create one for the ministry I lead – The Mentoring Alliance. Ever since then we know that, “We exist to mobilize godly people into the lives of kids and families, to provide tangible help and eternal hope.”

This clarity of mission has been immensely valuable for us, as a ministry. But what about for families? Does a well-worded mission statement do more than create good eye candy for the walls of high achieving parents?


(My daughter, being my Vanna White…)

Back to my son’s assignment…

There were 30 minutes before bedtime. He had an assignment. We had work to do.

We gathered up all the kids – 5 of them in our family – and began kicking around ideas. They were all over the place: fun, faith, God, love, hope, mercy, kindness, Jesus, adventure, etc.

I looked over and saw a verse we had on the wall:

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

And then I thought about one of the core values of our church – generosity.

After going back and forth a few times we decided what it would be. We wrote it down, put our kids to bed all-the-while not realizing just how much this quick phrase jotted down on wrinkled up piece of notebook paper would do for our family…

“We want to walk with God intimately and love others generously.”

And there it is. No bells and whistles. No glitzy design package. No volumes of Bible verses providing backing for every key word throughout.

Here’s what I’ve found it does for my family… This phrase has become a north pole for us. It’s a plumb line, or a grounding rod. It gives us a common thought to come back to over and over and over again that reinforces a much larger concept.

Every word isn’t perfect. Nor is it complete.

In fact, we might change it next year. And if we do, no big deal. We’re not married to it. This statement exists to serve my family; we don’t exist to serve it.

Sure, you could work through instructions on writing family mission statements. That would be commendable. But I think there are many families – maybe like yours – that just need to create a simple thought that would keep your family pointed in the direction you want it to go.

If that’s you, I’d encourage you to decide this month what it’ll be. Don’t take a long time. With every passing minute your expectation of perfection will only increase.

Heck, maybe you could get yours done in less than 27 minutes. If so, I applaud you. But I bet you will find that short period of time spent on creating a family mission statement will provide you years of direction as you lead your family through the many difficulties we know this world has in store for us all.

Do you have a family mission statement? If so, please share…

Friday Finds 1-6-17

It’s January and the skies are gray and the temperatures are cold. However, January brings a season for fresh starts and new beginnings. I wrote this blog post a few years ago, and it still rings true today.

My family just got back from our annual vacation where we do some small town skiing. My daughter and I freezing together on the chair lift:


Here’s a few articles that I’ve found interesting lately. I call them my Friday Finds. Enjoy

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