Posted in Books, Money, Storm, The Word

PREPARE – My Notes

I’ve posted before about Ethan Pope and his ministry. I do believe in what this book is communicating. Ethan takes the first portion of the book and reiterates his primary points of his last book “America’s Financial Demise.” Below are some of notes. I consider myself a realist and I’m not making a bomb shelter, however I am planning with this in mind and as you can see from the scriptures; throughout history the wised have always made provisions for times of trouble. Find out more at

As Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17

“The wise see danger ahead and prepare; a fool ignores the facts and suffers the consequences.” Proverbs 27:12

“The sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do” 1 Chronicles 12:32

“Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.” Ecclesiastes 7:14

“The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” Proverbs 21.:20

We must demonstrate to those around us what it means to trust God and prepare at the same-time.  To put Matthews 7:24-27 into practice (Building on the rock knowing hard times come to all.)

In history God has given wisdom in advance to Joseph

  • Joseph Gen 48:4-8
  • He had to learn his Spiritual Context before his physical context Gen 45:5-8
  • Understand the Joseph Principle Gen 41:35-36 0 Save during good years, knowing famine will occur

God ordained for us to live at this time in history Psalm 139:16

  • Nehemiah Nehemiah 2:17-18
  • Ester  Ester 4:14
  • Jeremiah Jeremiah 1:5

“Don’t just sit at Home watching movies; PREPARE!”

We Need Wisdom to

  • Make Sound Financial Decisions
  • Where to Live
  • How to Provide
  • How to Protect
  • Position ourselves to witness and serve
  • Encourage Others to Prepare


  • Prepare Spiritually
  • Reallocate Resources
  • Economize Lifestyle
  • Pay Off Debt

Random Notes:

  • China owns 8% and Japan 7% of US Debt- Page 35
  • Feds have ability to create money at will and they are.
  • Keep portion of emery fund in FDIC insured Money Market account and the rest in American Silver Eagle dollar coins
  • Develop a skill or small business you can run for money
  • Own fewer things.  Get rid of things that are not necessary. The less you have to maintain the better off you will be.
Posted in Books, LifeHacks

Chasing Daylight (A Book Review on Preparing to Die)

To celebrate a recent birthday milestone J I decided to read the book by the late Gene O’Kelly, “Chasing Daylight-How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life”.

Reading the words of a dying man will certainly motivate you to think and as Mr. O’Kelly pointed out in his book, not everyone gets the chance to plan out the last 2-3 months of their life. But his diagnosis was such that it allowed him to function at a very high level physically and mentally; which allowed him to capture his thoughts on planning to die, dying, and life after death. While I don’t consider all of Mr. Kelly’s content Christ centered, I do believe his practice of examining what remained of his life on earth and his life beyond should be a practice of every Christian. In Psalm 90:12 we are encouraged, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” I believe this the essence Jesus example while he lived on earth and spoke of Father in Heaven and His coming Kingdom.

Here are a few of my takeaways from the book. Mr. O’Kelly’s hope was that the living would use what he found in dying, to live more fully.

  • Much of the sympathy we feel toward people who are dying can actually be emotions toward ourselves. In short, their dying reminds us that we will be dying as well.
  • Most of our daily frustrations come from our expectations or NOT ACCEPTING the way things are. Mr. O’Kelly states that he had to arrive at a point of “accepting acceptance”, accepting the way things were. Knowing they would not get better allowed him to fully enjoy the time he had left.
  • Learning to live in the present moment by lowering our expectations about our present circumstances and future desires will help us create more “perfect moments”.
  • He brought all of his relationships to a close starting with phone calls and emails to friends and acquaintances (which took him three weeks). He then worked through family relationships; end with his children and wife. In some formal sense he wanted to say goodbye. This practice revealed the following for those of us who still have time.
    • Relationships Matter Most
    • Slow Down!
    • It’s rewarding to have deep conversations with people.
    • Be More Spontaneous
    • Tell people how much you care about them today (you may not get the chance.)
    • Write letters to your loved ones that would help them gain closure in the event of your passing.

I certainly do not consider this book a Christ center book, however, looking over some of the discovery’s made during his last days, certainly gives me direction and motivation on how to live the days God has given me. Write out your personal reflections, or read the book for yourself, but either way you will be blessed by this most difficult practice.

Posted in Books, Family, Kids, Parenting, Prayer, The Word

Family Devotions: Sort Of

While my wife takes on the bulk of the responsibility when it comes to educating our kids, one role that can’t be abdicated by me as a Dad is in the area of Family Devotion. While having a family devotion is not the only way we are to Disciple our kids in Christ, it is one of the main places we can grow our family together.

This does not have to be complicated. It’s best for it to be simple and consistent than to be complex and occasional. You don’t have to have smoke, lights, and musical talent. Neither do you have to have a PHD in hermeneutics.

This is not something I had ever seen modeled before I had a family of my own. I had only read about in a few books (Like Faith Driven Family). I’ve been around Christian families my entire life, but apparently not at the time they were having a devotion. Unfortunately many assume this is what “church” is for. About six years ago, when my kids were between two and eight I started “trying” to have family devotions. The kids would have a hard time paying attention, I would lose my spot reading, and the time seemed more like a wrestling match than a devotion time. The problem was not with the kids, but with my expectations. I was expecting too much. All I had ever seen was the “Church” example. So instead of trying to make it a chore, we tried to make it fun. So here three quick pointers to get you going


Set a time. Nothing happens unless you plan it. For us it’s the first thing in the morning, for you it maybe at night. Develop a family routine so that after several weeks there is an expectation that we are going to do a family devotion. It usually takes us around 10 to 15 minutes for us to do this. Sometimes its longer (because we are enjoying it) and sometimes its 5 minutes in the car on the go (but these are exceptions).


Everyone should be a part. This is not just Dad’s time with the kids. Have mom, dad, dogs and all the babies sitting under the Bible for a few minutes can do wonders for your family. I know this could be more difficult with teenagers, but if you start them young, they won’t know any different.


Keep it simple. We typical Read (the Bible or Devotion), pray and occasionally sing.

When my kids were younger we used the “One Year Devotions for Kids“. (You can download these as Kindle Books and keep them on your phone). These devotions are built around story situations where the kids may learn a virtue or a value. To me it’s important to always to connect these to Jesus and make sure he is the hero.

More recently we use Training Hearts Teaching Minds by Starr Meade (Not on Kindle). It uses the catechisms to teach kids how to respond to spiritual questions. It is broken down into a Monday through Saturday readings that are very short. By teaching the Kids these catechisms, you will give them something to carry with them. We should always encourage participation by asking kids what they think. Never shut them off even when they are wrong. Let them finish their though and gently point out the truth. If you are always correcting their efforts to learn they may become discouraged and not participate in the future (Ephesians 6:4).

Often we will sing. I wish I could play an instrument. But thanks to YouTube we can waste our life, or find worship songs and hymns with lyrics and music all together. We will let one child pick a song and we will watch and sing along.

Here are a few of our favorites (click the links)

Amazing Grace



Finally, I will also often ask if the kids if anyone would like to volunteer to pray for us as a family. Sometimes I pray or mom prays. Other times we ask for prayer request before praying. If one of our kids shares something, we may ask another one of our kids to pray for that request. We want to them pray for each other not just themselves.

I really hope this helps. You will NEVER regret any time spent leading your family this way. It is very rewarding in and of itself.

If you have found other resources of things that work for your family, feel free to comment and share for others.

Posted in Books, Education, Entertainment, History, LifeHacks, Productivity

Who Has Time to Read?

So you don’t have time to read? Neither do I; but I have found time to listen.

Last year I joined to catch up on my “to be read” stack and I’ve come to love it. They have a great selection of audio books from some of my favorite authors.

Audible is owned my Amazon and has great customer service. Three or four times over the past year I have purchased a book with my monthly credit only to be disappointed with the content or reader. Each time Audible has allowed me to return to book for another selection.

There are several plans but I belong to the base plan of 1 book credit per month for $14.95. I have found it takes me about a month (base on my travel time) to get through an 8 hour book. Then it time for a new one.

I highly recommend this service and hope that you will find it as useful as I have. They often have a free book or other great offers for new customers. Give it a try.

Posted in Books, Church, The Word

A Layman’s Guide to Bible Translations

Thanks to my friend Tim Carley for sharing this. I was/am a huge fan of the NIV 1984 version. Later Zondervan released the TNIV or Today’s NIV which attempted to make the scriptures gender neutral. Later they dropped the T for the TNIV and it became the standard NIV and the NIV 1984 edition was taken out of publication. I’m sorry but I don’t know who created these images.

Posted in Books, Leadership, The Word

Maybe We Aren’t Underdogs? -Malcom Gladwell

I was able to hear Malcom speak a few weeks ago and he blew us away with his insight on the Biblical account of David and Goliath. If you have 15 min. watch the video below, if not then here it is short summary from my notes.

Maybe David was not an underdog? He was well equipped; with his sling which he had practice using over and over. In those days, slingers in the military were a part of the artillery unit, just like the archers. A rock from a sling rotating and 6 revolutions per second is like a shot from a 45 caliber hand gun.

Everyone thought David would fight him in hand to hand combat, but David was too smart for that. While he was made to try on armor, he realized that their armor (expectations) didn’t fit him or he didn’t fit it.

Most importantly he had Faith in God.  David refused to be passive and is the only one who properly understands the situation.

We are not underdogs! We have had our behind the scene experience that have trained us.  We know our skills and we don’t have to fight like others expect us.  We have The Lord al mighty on our side!   The world doesn’t have a chance as we bring God love and grace to bear on those around us.


Posted in Bloggers, Books, Culture, Education, Homeschooling, Kids, Leadership, Parenting, Technology, Theology

Navigating New Technology and Spirituality (Tim Elmore)

Last week I was able to hear Dr. Tim Elmore give a talk entitled, “Marching Off the Map: A Compass to Help the Next Generation Navigate New Technology and Spirituality”. Last year, after reading his book, “Artificial Maturity” I started following him at his website

Below are the notes I took during his talk. If you have or work with young adults (teens through 30 year olds) I suggest you start reading the blog , books, and resources from Growing Leaders.


This is the first generation that

  • Doesn’t need adults to get information (They need us for interpretation)
    • They don’t need us to access it but to process
    • Helping our kids learn how to think not what to think
  • Can broadcast their every thought or emotion
  • Enjoys external stimuli at their fingertips 24/7
  • In social contact at all times yet often in isolation 
    • Extremely social but not relational
    • Most sleep with phones
    • Showering with a cell phone
    • Low Emotional Intelligence for kids and Adults
  • Will learn more form a portable device than a class
  • Adults have actually been enabled to be narcissistic
    • Every year Narcissism is going up in Students
    • People are into themselves – Selfy Pics
    • However, The real world is not about them
  • Uses a phone instead of a wristwatch, camera, wall calendar or board game.


Dr. Elmore refers to the Millennial generation as, Generation iY, because life is pretty much about “i” (Self Centered)


Generation iY S.C.E.N.E

  • Accustom to S- Speed: They Assume Slow is Bad
  • Accustom to C- Convenience: They Assume Hard is Bad
  • Accustom to E-Entertainment: They Assume Boring is Bad
  • Accustom to N-Nurture: They Assume Risk is Bad
  • Accustom to E-Entitlement: They Assume Labor is Bad


So, How should we lead them?


1.  Don’t think Control, think Connect (Be authentic, Real)

        We must build bridges of relationships that can bear the weight of truth.

        Balance Screen time with face time. Every minute on device is a minute in person.

2.  Don’t think Inform, think Interpret (How think, not just what)

3.  Don’t think Entertain, think Equip. (Share why they need what we teach, before what)

        Churches are good at preaching, but not equipping.

4. Don’t think “Do It for Them”, think “Help Them Do It.”

        Let them fail (They took the monkey bars off playgrounds becuase we didn’t want them to get hurt now in their 20s they won’t take risk.)

5.  Don’t think Impose, think Expose. (Expose beats Impose every time)

6.  Don’t think Protect, think Prepare.

       Unbelievable, some school district no longer use Fs , the lowest is D is “Delayed Success”! Graces does not take away truth.

7. Don’t think Tell, Think Ask (Learn to ask good questions)

8.  Don’t think Cool, think Real. (To these kids the only thing that is worse than being uncool, is being unreal)

9.  Don’t thin Prescriptive, think Descriptive

10. Don’t Lecture, think Lab. (Missional experience: Serving Others)


Over the next several weeks I’ll be posting other notes from this conference (Catalyst 2013) I recently attended.

Posted in Books, Theology, TV

Removing the Dragon

The first time I heard this being read aloud, I got a bit emotional. In it Lewis depicts our (my) self-effort to remove our dragon, which can only be removed by The Lion Himself. Read and Worship J

(Photo taken from

“The water was as clear as anything and I thought if I could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain in my leg. but the lion told me I must undress first. Mind you, I don’t know if he said any words out loud or not.

I was just going to say that I couldn’t undress because I hadn’t any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins. Oh, of course, thought I, that’s what the lion means. So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and , instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.

But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before. Oh, that’s all right, said I, it only means I had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and I’ll have to get out of it too. So I scratched and tore again and this underskin peeled off beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bathe.

Well, exactly the same thing happened again. And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off? For I was longing to bathe my leg. So I scratched away for the third time and got off a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it. But as soon as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good.

Then the lion said – but I don’t know if it spoke – ‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know – if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.

Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I was smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on – and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again.”

-C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Posted in America, Books, Education, Money

America’s Finacial Demise (repost)

With the election right around the corner, I wanted to repost this blog from a few years ago. I know that most of us cannot fathom that our government could actually go bankrupt. The argument below is not built on an emotional rant, but on financial facts that apply to us all. All of our elected officials must make some significant changes within the next few years, or we will see a catastrophe financial collapse in our lifetime.

I met Ethan Pope back in 1996 when JJ and I began attending Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg.  Ethan has a heart for God, a heart for people, and a heart for managing money the way God instructs us to in the scriptures.  By reading a few of his books, and spending time with him in his office, he helped put me on the way to making some wise financial decisions – namely, not to to live beyond my means.

A few years ago, Ethan relocated back to Dallas and now he as released a book entitled America’s Financial Demise.  In short, the same is true for our government that is true for us.  We cannot spend more money than we take in.  If Ethan’s research is on target, and I believe that it is, we are on an “unsustainable” coarse financially and sooner than later, America’s financial system will crash.  If this is true, and again I believe that it is, what we going to do about it?

Take time to order the book, and listen to Ethan’s talk from January. Then prayerfully consider what you should do in response to this timely message.

America’s Financial Demise from Master’s Men on Vimeo.