Tuesday, November 22

A Life Too Short

Last night I attended a candle light vigil with about 2800 others in memory of Garrett Uekman. Many of you already know of Garrett’s death. He died in his University of Arkansas residence hall on Sunday morning. Garrett was a nineteen year old sophomore and a tight end on the Razorback football team.

Being in the service last night brought a lot of thoughts to mind. I’m in my thirtieth year of ministry to college students and I have set through or spoken at more of these services than one might think. Many faces passed through my thoughts. We have had student deaths that have been the result of disease or accident. Others have been the result of violence, either at their own hands or the hands of someone else. None have been easy and all are reminders that life is fragile and temporary and not to be taken for granted.

I also thought about these truths.

We need to live life thoughtfully. I love these words of Paul:

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.   Ephesians 5:15-16

The idea behind these words is not to live fearfully, but purposefully. The image is of a tightrope walker, making sure each step is precise – right where it should be. It is the image of intentionality, of purposefully making the most of every opportunity, not letting any slip by because we aren’t paying attention or are distracted by the lesser things around us.

We need to live life fully. Jesus told us:

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”   John 10:10

Jesus’ intent for us is not a life that is dull, boring, monotonous, and meaningless. Life as Christ intends it is to be full of joy, purpose, and meaning. It is to be a life that is lived in faith, that pushes the edges, that doesn’t settle in to the status quo of society or our religious culture.

We need to live life lovingly. Again, the words of Jesus:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”   John 13:34

Ultimately, what we leave behind is what we have invested in the lives of others – the love we have shown to them. Money and success have their advantages, but the investment we make in the lives of others – the love we share, say, and demonstrate – is what will shape the lives of others.

We need to live life with a bigger perspective. One final thought from Jesus:

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”   Matthew 6:33

Invest yourself in the things of God, in the things that last. So much of what we value is temporal and won’t last the next ten years, let alone into eternity. Invest yourself in the things of God, in the lives of people, in the things that will leave a mark on eternity.

Ultimately, this kind of life can only be lived by being in a relationship with Christ and abiding in him on a daily basis. That is the starting point for the life that God desires for us, for the life that our hearts desire.

Friday, November 11

Track and Field Notes–Five Great Stories, All-time NCAA Cross Country Rankings & UK Envy


A couple of interesting posts from the world of track and field …


Here is a collection of five great stories from the history of track and field – Bob Beamon, Al Oerter, Billy Mills, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Bob Seagren. They are all worth your time.


The Faster Than Forty website has ranked the top NCAA men’s cross country programs over the last fifty years. You can access their results here. Spoiler alert: Arkansas comes in at #2.


The IAAF (the world governing body for track and field) announced today that the 2017 World Championship meet will be in London. I (and many others) find it frustrating that the US doesn’t even bid on these meets and haven’t submitted a bid for the 2020 Olympic Games. I’m excited for my athletics official friends in the UK, but I would love the chance to officiate those meets before I reach retirement age.

Wednesday, November 9

An Example of Grace

I have written before that grace is the most misunderstood, under-appreciated, and powerful truth of Christianity. It is what sets Christianity apart from every religious system, every way that men and women try to make themselves right with God and win His approval.

Here is a great example of grace applied to personal relationships.

Monday, November 7

Intentionally Developing Leaders


One final post flowing from the 2011 Catalyst Conference in Atlanta.


In the final session of the conference, Andy Stanley challenged us with the question: “What is your strategy for developing leaders?” Most of us in leadership can talk a pretty good game on the importance of developing leaders. But the real question is: Do you have a strategy or plan for it? And are you working that strategy? For many, developing leaders is more talk than action. Stanley called those in attendance to “Intentional Apprenticing” – selecting, modeling, and coaching for the purpose of replacing yourself.


What Stanley described is just following the example of Jesus as he poured his life into the lives of his twelve apostles. Jesus began his public ministry with succession in mind. He didn’t ask for volunteers, but handpicked those with whom he would entrust his mission. He did ministry with them and sent them out to do ministry without him – but brought them back for a time of de-briefing and training. He was constantly preparing them to carry on his mission once he was gone from them physically. I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t point you to Robert Coleman’s classic book, The Master Plan of Evangelism, for a great study on Jesus’ strategy of preparing leaders.


As leaders, that is part of our call. But we are often held back by some common concerns. We are afraid that if we give special attention to a few rather than to the many, some will think it unfair. And they may. When Jesus chose the twelve in whom he would invest his life, there were probably some who had been following who felt he was unfair not to include them. But it was essential that he focus on a few if he was to adequately prepare them to carry on his mission.


At other times we feel inadequate for the task – we feel that we don’t know enough or that there are others who know more. The truth is that we will often feel inadequate, especially if we are working with younger, high-capacity leaders. But we are not responsible for passing on what we don’t know, but for passing on what we do know.


Our responsibility is to empty our cup - our life, knowledge, and experience - into the lives of others.


One of the measures of success as a leader is whether or not we leave our responsibilities in capable hands.


So leaders: Who are you intentionally apprenticing? Who are you raising up to replace yourself? How are doing in emptying your cup into their lives?

Friday, November 4

World Demographics–Largest, Fastest, and Dirtiest


Here is some interesting information on the world we live in …


Here are lists of both the largest and fastest-growing cities in the world. Look them over carefully. You may not be familiar with many of the names – yet. But they are going to shape the future of our world in the years to come. We who are Christians need to be asking ourselves how our plans for ministry in the years to come take these demographics into consideration.


Here is a list of the ten cities in our world with the worst air pollution. It is interesting that four of the ten are in Iran and that Pakistan and India each have two. Pakistan shares borders with each of the other two.