30 for 30: 30 Years, 30 Thoughts

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In order to commemorate the three decade milestone, here are 30 lessons I’ve learned during the last 30 years:

  1. Always put God first, others second, and yourself third.
  2. Don’t take people (especially your parents) or things for granted. The older you get, the more you realize just how much you’ve been blessed.
  3. Excellence and perfection are two very different things—excellence is attainable, perfection is not.
  4. Listening is often more valuable than talking.
  5. Manage your money wisely: learn when to spend extra for quality, when to be thrifty, and, most importantly, when to be generous.
  6. Read meaningful books. The stories and knowledge found in them will profit you for a lifetime.
  7. Stick to your convictions, even if they aren’t popular. A clean conscience is more desirable than the crowd’s applause.
  8. Own your mistakes and failures. Learning from them will benefit you in the long run.
  9. Call your Mom. She loves it.
  10. Ground your identity in Christ alone—anything or anyone else is a fickle and superficial substitute.
  11. Learn to say “no”. Your time is valuable, so do your best to use it for things that matter.
  12. Never stop learning. You may have finished school, but that shouldn’t be the end of your education.
  13. There’s no such thing as too much Chick-fil-A.
  14. Make time for rest, recreation, reflection, and solitude.
  15. Have an idea of what you’d like to accomplish, achieve, or experience in the next 5-10 years. This will give direction to the decisions you make today.
  16. Being a member of a healthy local church is a true joy.
  17. Bitterness can consume you if you let it; forgiveness is a much better option.
  18. If possible, go see the world. Exploring new places and experiencing different cultures will make your life richer.
  19. Your Dad is a fountain of wisdom—soak it up.
  20. There are seasons in the Christian life when it’s best to read through the entire Bible in a year and other seasons when it’s best to dive deeper into a section and dwell on the richness found within it.
  21. Asking a good question usually takes much more skill than making a good statement.
  22. Your integrity and reputation are the most important assets you have—make every effort to remain above reproach.
  23. Go outside: a little bit of fresh air and natural beauty goes a long way towards relaxing, clearing your mind, and stimulating new ideas.
  24. Having a brother who is also a stalwart friend is a true blessing.
  25. Inter-generational discipleship is a beautiful thing: hearing the triumphs and trials of others gives you a different perspective on your triumphs and trials.
  26. Look up from your phone and take in your surroundings. I guarantee people-watching is much more entertaining.
  27. Innovation is often messy—don’t let that stop you from taking the initiative to try something new.
  28. Spend time with kids. They don’t care about your profession, possessions, or popularity: what matters to them is that you show up and show that you care.
  29. Learn when to do something yourself and when to hire a professional.
  30. Puns are the most refined form of humor.

What are some lessons you’ve learned so far during your life’s journey?

-Lawson
Learn It. Love It. Live It.

We Cannot Be Silent [Book Review]

The rapid pace of cultural change in recent years has caught many Christians off guard. Marriage has been redefined, erotic liberty is taking precedence over religious liberty, and the “moral majority” is becoming the “maligned minority.” Some Christians have reacted with anger and animosity, causing deep pain and hurt. Others have retreated from culture as much as possible, shielding themselves from those they disagree with. Still others have relinquished the clear teaching of Scripture in order to appease the culture.

None of these responses are helpful or biblical. In his new book We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong, Dr. Albert Mohler seeks to provide Christians with the worldview framework to respond biblically, boldly, and compassionately to a culture swept up in a sexual revolution.  Read more of this post

Parables [Book Review]

Storytelling is all the rage these days. Whether in the business world or the church, everyone is being encouraged to tell their story. One of the primary reasons for this trend is that storytelling, when done well, is a highly effective way to package truth in a way that conveys abstract concepts through relatable daily experiences.

In his newest book Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed in the Stories Jesus Told, John MacArthur writes about one of history’s master storytellers: Jesus of Nazareth.

Why did Jesus use stories? Early in His ministry, Jesus actually didn’t use parables that often, but as opposition to His message mounted, He made the shift to storytelling. Since parables communicate propositional truth in a narrative format, Jesus could use them to both conceal and reveal truth about Himself and His kingdom. MacArthur explains: “Jesus’ parables had a clear twofold purpose: They hid the truth from self-righteous or self-satisfied people who fancied themselves too sophisticated to learn from Him, while the same parables revealed truth to eager souls with childlike faith–those who were hungering and thirsting for righteousness.”  Read more of this post

8 Characteristics of a Godly Decision Maker

Compass

God’s will is something that everybody wants to know. Where will I live when I grow up? Where will I work? Who will I marry? The list goes on and on.

Why do we want to know all of these things anyway? Probably because we want “peace” about a decision or want to have a life free of uncertainty and with minimal risk. While that’s understandable, it’s not necessarily the way God’s will works. As RC Sproul said, “Many Christians become preoccupied or even obsessed with finding the ‘will’ of God for their lives…. Far from being a mark of spirituality, the quest for God’s secret will is an unwarranted invasion of God’s privacy. God’s secret counsel is none of our business.” Too often we spend so much time trying to figure out the parts of God’s will that He doesn’t want us to know yet, that we forget to do the things He has already clearly told us to do. Burk Parsons puts it this way: “So many are looking for special revelation from God while it sits on their shelves gathering dust.”

How should we seek God’s will then? Romans 12:2 gives us a hint: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”   Read more of this post

5 Reasons to Study Scripture

This blog post was adapted from a Sunday School lesson that I prepared for the Harvard Avenue College/Career Ministry on Sunday, August 25, 2013 to begin a semester-long study entitled “Scripture: Unchanging Truth in a Changing World.” If you’re a young adult in the Siloam Springs area, join us Sunday mornings at 9:15a as we continue this study.

Key Text: 2 Timothy 3:12-17

Paul knew the persecutions that would be faced by those who lived a godly life in a godless culture. By the time he is writing to Timothy, he has been stoned, shipwrecked, snakebitten, jailed, beaten, left for dead, spat upon, cursed, jailed again, and condemned to die. Though our society isn’t as hostile to Christianity as Paul’s was, we will still face degrees of persecution as believers. Paul recognized that there was one thing that had helped him face his persecutions and would help Timothy face his: Scripture: the only unchanging truth in a changing world.  Read more of this post

Hope for the Homosexual

This blog post was adapted from a sermon that I gave at the Harvard Avenue Student Ministry youth group on Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Key Text: Romans 1:16-32, 12:1-2

Homosexuality and same-sex unions are a hot-button topic in America today. Many in the church have had a hard time responding to these issues in a biblical way that balances compassion with truth. Unfortunately, some Christians have approached the LGBT community with hate that turns people away from the gospel while others have compromised the biblical truth in regards to homosexuality in the name of tolerance. Neither of these represents Christ well or offers help for those who struggle with same-sex attraction. The goal of this post is to summarize the biblical view of homosexuality and outline the only hope for those in the LGBT community: the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Read more of this post

Worship: The Joyful Feast of God’s Glory

Bubble Gum

This blog post was adapted from a sermon that I gave at Crossroads Fellowship on Sunday, June 24, 2012. To read some of my other sermons, click here.

Do you chew gum? Have you ever thought about why we even have gum? Gum has been around in some form or another for thousands of years going back as far as Ancient Greece. But when you think about it, it really has no purpose: it isn’t able to fill you up, it’s flavor only lasts for a limited amount of time, it eventually makes your jaw sore, and worst of all, it gets stuck on the bottom of our shoes. So why do we still have gum? For many it is because of the short-term enjoyment it brings.

Luckily, most people realize that we can’t survive just by chewing gum. Our physical bodies need real food and water to function. Food sustains us, brings us satisfaction, and enables us to continue with our lives. But what about our spiritual sustenance? Where does it come from?  Read more of this post

In His Image Part 2: Gospel-Centered Singleness, Dating, and Marriage

Mom and Dad

This blog post was adapted from a sermon that I gave at the Harvard Avenue Student Ministry youth group on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. It is the second of a two-message series about a Gospel-defined view of gender and relationships. To read part 1, click here.

The way that we interact with our brothers and sisters in Christ is a testimony to a life transformed by the gospel. The distinctions in our relationships flow from a desire to serve the needs of others and encourage them as they become more like Jesus. As God’s image-bearers , men and women have been created with unique roles that reflect the relationship between Jesus and his bride, the Church. The way we think about manhood and womanhood, singleness, dating, and marriage are rooted in true understanding of the very nature of God.                 Read more of this post

In His Image Part 1: A Gospel-Defined Vision of Manhood and Womanhood

Husband & Wife Walk . . .  (to divorce court)

This blog post was adapted from a sermon that I gave at the Harvard Avenue Student Ministry youth group on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. It is the first of a two-message series about a Gospel-defined view of gender and relationships. To read part 2, click here.

The way that we interact with our brothers and sisters in Christ is a testimony to a life transformed by the gospel. The distinctions in our relationships flow from a desire to serve the needs of others and encourage them as they become more like Jesus. As God’s image-bearers , men and women have been created with unique roles that reflect the relationship between Jesus and his bride, the Church. The way we think about manhood and womanhood, singleness, dating, and marriage are rooted in true understanding of the very nature of God.  Read more of this post

Nicodemus: A Night and Day Difference

Candle light

This blog post was adapted from a sermon that I gave at the Harvard Avenue Student Ministry youth group on Wednesday, February 1, 2012.

How many times is Nicodemus mentioned in the Bible?

We all know about the passage with him coming to Jesus to talk about salvation in John 3. We think of him as a guy afraid to come to Jesus during the day for fear of what it might cost him. Many know about his struggle to understand the meaning of what it is to be born again: “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4 ESV).

What happened to Nicodemus after that night? It’s easy to forget that Read more of this post

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