Yesterday I stumbled across The Global Rich List.    I took the time to enter my annual income, and when I saw the results I was thinking, “Wow, I am pretty well off compared to a lot of people.”  Then I realized that I had inadvertently left a zero off of the end of my income.  When I put the right amount in I realized that compared to a vast majority of the world my family is extremely extremely blessed.

Most of us don’t realize how blessed we truly are.  We compare ourselves to billionaires like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Saudi Princes.  Often we dream about what we do if we had their kind of money.  The irony is that much of the world dreams about having as much money as  you and I do.  They dream of being able to put food on the table, or drink clean water or go to school.  Forget dreaming of a house with plenty of rooms and a built in pool, many people around the world just dream of having a roof, of any kind, over their head.

If you haven’t done it already visit the The Global Rich List.  See how much you have compared to most of the world.  Then, take the time to be thankful for all you have this holiday season.  Take the time to teach your children how blessed they are.

Out Live Your Life [Book Review]

Does Jesus still do it?  Doe he still use ordinary people, like us, to change the world?  The answer to that question, is found in Max Lucado’s Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference, and the answer is yes.  Working through the book of Acts, Max lays out how God uses regular everyday people to make a big difference in our world.

And our world needs someone to make a big difference.  Max writes,

These are devastating times: 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, 1 billion are hungry, millions are trafficked in slavery, and pandemic diseases are gouging entire nations.  Each year nearly 2 million children are exploited in the global sex trade.  And in the five minutes it took you to read these pages, almost ninety children died of preventable diseases.  More than half of all Africans do not have access to modern health facilities.  As a result, 10 million of them die each year from diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria, and measles.  Many of those deaths could be prevented by one shot.

Sobering.  Our world is in great need.  Again, our world needs someone to make a big difference.  The lesson learned from Outlive Your Life is that God wants to use average people, like you and me, to make a dent in these problems.  The question is, will we let him use us?

If your looking for a great read that will challenge you to do more with your life, I would recommend this book.  If you’re interested in picking up a copy you can buy it here from Christian Book Distributors, or here from Amazon.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Recent Reading

Fairly often I get asked what I am reading.  Here are a few books I just finished, or currently have down off the shelf…

old books

Look Unto Me: The Devotions of Charles SpurgeonFor $5 this book is a steal.  I have been reading this book devotionally on-and-off for some time now, and the days I do read it I am always challenged.

The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns – Our church takes the month of October to focus on missions, so my Home Care Group decided to work through The Hole In Our Gospel by World Vision’s Richard Stearns.  Some of the group may have just participated in watching the DVDs.  Those, however,  who took the time to read the book as well were additionally challenged to do more to fight against world hunger, lack of clean water, education, shelter, medication, and for billions of people around the world a lack of an adequate presentation of the gospel.

Think Orange by Reggie Joiner – I have slowly been reading through this book by Reggie on family ministry.  We just started using Orange Curriculum in our main children’s services at Calvary this past week so I thought I would read through the book as well.   This book is a must read for any pastor, but especially for children or youth pastors.  It discusses engaging parents in what is going on at church with their kids, recruiting mentors to work with families, provoking kids and parents to work on their relationship, and a whole lot more.

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook by Ben Mezrich – This is a bit of guilty pleasure reading for me.  It’s my nerd side coming out.  I just love finding out how successful companies, organizations and people got started…. especially when it involves computers.  🙂

No Perfect People Allowed: Creating a Come-as-you-are Culture in the Church by John Burke – As a pastor I always try to be reading something on the church.  This book is a great read to get you thinking about what we could do as a church to be more inviting to those in a post-Christian culture.

Primal by Mark Batterson – I’ll probably say more about this book in a later post, but this book is a great for anyone who is looking for more depth in their relationship with God.  Primal is about getting back to an authentic Christian faith.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin – I honestly haven’t picked this book up in a while.  But I love reading history.

Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush – Just like history, biography isn’t something I read real consistently, so this auto-biography by Laura Bush has been on my shelf (actually my kindle) for a while, but I am slowly getting through it.

Well, that’s what I have been reading?  Any recommendations on what I should read next?

A Question [Great Quotes]

“Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering and injustice when He could do something about it.”

Kids Poverty

Photo courtesy of ©

“Well, why don’t you ask Him?”

“Because I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.”

– Anonymous

Tell Your Kids That They Can Do Anything

There is nothing your kids can’t do if God has called them to do it. It doesn’t matter how difficult it is. It doesn’t matter how large the challenge. If God has called them, then they can do it.


Phillippians 4:13 puts it this way, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  This verse isn’t saying we can choose do whatever we want and we will be successful.  I could choose to pack my bags, move to Japan, and enroll to be a professional sumo wrestle (which I would need a lot of God’s strength for!), but odds are it isn’t going to pan out so well for me.  What this verse is saying when God calls us to do something, if we follow his leading, we will be successful.

God calls kids to do some amazing stuff, even when they are still kids.  I’ve seen kids raise thousands of dollars for missions, feed the homeless, go on missions trips around the world, and so much more.  As it has been said before, kid’s are not the future of the church, they are the church! Kid’s can do some great things.

I pray that throughout their lives when God calls kids to do difficult things, things they even know they can’t do in their own strength, that they will trust him and do them anyway. Whether he calls them to be a pastor, a school teacher in the inner city, or run for President, I pray that our kids would hear God’s voice and obey.

The trouble with kids and trusting God to do amazing things is that a lot of times other people get in the way.  They say medical school is too hard for them.  Being a missionary is too dangerous and too far away.  That there is to slim a chance of being a professional golfer.  They discourage the dream that God planted in the child’s heart.

There is nothing your child can’t do when God is calling them.  As parents one of the responsibilities we have is to help our kids learn to hear God’s voice, and learn to follow it once they hear….no matter how difficult a task He is calling them to do.

Stop Telling Your Kids They Can Be Anything They Want!

Stop telling your kids they can be anything they want.  Really, stop doing it.  There are two reasons you should stop.  They can’t, and they shouldn’t.

Michael Jordan Dunking

Photo courtesy of ©

Your kid can’t be anything they want.  I am 5’10”.  The average male has an 18” vertical jump, and I am not sure that I am average.  I am also not sure what my free point shooting average is, but I know that I have a hard time making jump shots.  I cannot be a professional basketball player.  Sure I could work really hard, and get better.  I might even be able to get better than my friends, but even if I gave it everything I had the odds are I would never be a professional basketball player.  The bottom line is that we all have different gifts and talents, and there are some things we do not have the ability to do.  Your child can’t be anything they want.

But even if your child could do anything they wanted, they still shouldn’t.  God has created us all with a plan for our lives. One of the best things a parent can do is help their child discover what God created them to do, and help their child nurture that calling in their life.  Why let your kid settle for second best?  Help them discover the singular reason they were created.  Help them discover what God created them to do.

You kids can’t be anything they want, and even if they could be anything, they shouldn’t.

What It Takes To Raise A Great Kid

Raising a great kid takes a combination of things.  Good parent(s), a rockin’ church, and great friends.  It’s best if a kid has all three, but they might be able to get by with only two.

Jack Providence Fountain

For example, a kid may turn out great if they have a good home and great friends, even if they have a lousy church.  Or they may turn out okay if they have a great church and great friends, even if their parents stink.  But any combination that involves bad friends is a recipe for disaster.  A kid cannot get by with poor friends.

Even if they have the best parents in the world, and go to an amazing church, if their friends are no good, they will turn out no good.  Augustine, from Christianity past, put it this way, “Friendship can be a dangerous enemy.”  The friends your child chooses will impact them for good, or for bad.

Who are your kid’s friends?  What are you doing to monitor the influences in your child’s life?

Waste [Great Quotes]

To sinful patterns of behavior that never get confronted and changed,


Photo courtesy of ©

Abilities and gifts that never get cultivated and deployed-
Until weeks become months
And months turn into years,
And one day you’re looking back on a life of
Deep intimate gut-wrenchingly honest conversations you never had;
Great bold prayers you never prayed,
Exhilarating risks you never took,
Sacrificial gifts you never offered
Lives you never touched,
And you’re sitting in a recliner with a shriveled soul,
And forgotten dreams,
And you realize there was a world of desperate need,
And a great God calling you to be a part of something bigger than yourself-
You see the person you could have become but did not;
You never followed your calling.
You never got out of the boat.

– John Ortberg

Heading to Florida

Becky, Jack and I are heading to Florida for the weekend.  Two of our best friends are getting married in Jensen Beach, so we’re making the trip down to be a part of the ceremony.

Grayton Stream - Grayton Beach, Florida

We are actually driving, which I am excited about.  There are only 2 states east of the Mississippi River I haven’t been to, North and South Carolina.  I will have the chance to visit both these states on our drive, which means after this weekend I will have to plan some trips westward.

Back From Missouri

Becky, Jack and I had a great time on vacation this past week in Missouri.  Lots of highlights.  You can click here to see our photo album from the week, or just scroll down to see some of my favorites.

Jack Swimming
We all had the chance to relax for a while and enjoy some downtime in the pool.  Jack especially enjoyed our time swimming.

Jack's 2nd 3rd Birthday

None of Jack’s grandparents were able to make it to his 3rd birthday party in Massachusetts, so they all threw him a “2nd, 3rd Birthday Party” while we were here.

Jack and Great-Grandparents
An added bonus on this trip is that we were able to sneak over to Illinois for a day and let Jack see his Great-Grandparents.

Canton Ferry
Leaving Illinois was a bit challenging as our GPS led us to a ferry instead of a bridge.  Made for a great adventure, and a nice drive.

Jack's First Fish
Jack was able to catch his first fish with his Papa Dan (Becky’s Dad).

Jack and Grandpa on Four Wheeler
He also had some good times on the four-wheeler with his other Grandpa.

Jack and Jamie in Canoe

While we were at my parents farm we took the canoe out for a spin as well.

Again, there are a lot more pictures.  If you are interested in taking a peak click here.