Chase the Lion – Mark Batterson

chase-the-lion-mark-batterson-mobile-wallpaper-lion-and-textJust over five years ago I posted a review on Mark Batterson’s In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Last week I finished reading a follow-up to it called Chase the Lion. The newest offering used In a Pit with a Lion as a literary springboard and continued looking at Benaiah as well as several other of David’s Mighty Men written about in the Old Testament.

The byline of Chase the Lion is this: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It’s Too Small. Through the pages of the book Batterson refers to David’s mighty men, followers of Jesus from scripture and history and contemporary Christ followers who live out this Lion Chaser manifesto.

As I was reading the book, I would mark quotes that stood out to me and then dog-eared the page so I could find them later. Upon concluding the book, I saw that I had a number of pages with bent corners. Batterson knows how to turn a phrase and pack a punch in a sentence of two.

On page 70 he had this good reminder for those who are chasing a dream God has given them: “We overestimate what we can accomplish in a year or two, but we underestimate what God can accomplish in a decade or two. If you’re discouraged, zoom out. you can’t just dream big; you have to think long.”

Good reminder.

One of the more powerful parts of the book for me personally was near the end when he wrote about the importance of thinking long-term when it comes to the work we are doing in the kingdom of God. Sometimes (or perhaps most of the time) we think about what God is doing for us or for those around us. On page 171 Batterson wrote, “We think that what God does for us is for us, but it’s never just for us. It’s always for the third and fourth generations. We think right here, right now, but God is thinking nations and generations.”

He shared several examples how men and women who lived and served generations ago are still impacting people today. Whether is was planting a church, starting a scholarship, launching a ministry or introducing someone to Jesus, Batterson showed how God used the efforts of previous men and women to impact third and fourth generations.

What a great picture to have in mind as we serve today. To think that the work we are doing now has the potential of impacting or grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren is both humbling and inspiring.

Batterson’s encouragement throughout the book is to continue to Chase the Lion. Whatever God has called to do, our task is to remain faithful and allow Him to take care of the results.


Some Good (& Free!) Parent Resources

Lunch Box Note from Matthew Paul Turner's Instragram (

Lunch Box Note from Matthew Paul Turner’s Instagram (

About a week ago I received an email with some free resources for parents.  After looking through the resources, I thought they were definitely worth sharing.

These resources come from a ministry called Parent  They desire to help churches build an excellent parent ministry.

Around the same time I received the email, I remember seeing a lunch box note post on Matthew Paul Turner’s Instagram account. He shared a lunch box note he left for his son.  It underscored the importance of the resources that Parent Ministry shared.

The first resource is called Lunch Box Notes. They provide ideas for parents to use to leave various notes of spiritual encouragement to their children.  They offered 50 ideas for parents of children and parents of teenagers. You can view, download or print these PDF resources at these links:

Lunch Box Notes for Parents of Children.

Lunch Box Notes for Parents of Teenagers.

The second resource Parent Ministry provided was short videos for parents.  The videos are geared for parents of toddlers to parents of teens.  They deal with a variety of subjects that may speak to the specific season of parenting you may find yourself in. If some of the videos don’t apply to you, my guess is you have a friend or family member who could benefit from hearing one or more of them.

Besides, who couldn’t use some free parenting tips?!?

You can check out each of the videos below.  It is set up as a playlist and there are 8 different videos.  You can watch all 8 or just select the ones that interest you.

Bible on iPads, iPhones and Other Devices at Youth Group

youversionWe have a number of our students who use their iPhones, Kindles, iPads and other devices to look up scripture. Most of the time I’m doing the same thing. This article was posted today on The Youth Cartel website. Thought it brought an interesting perspective to whether a youth worker allows these devices or not.

This is a link to the entire article. I just pasted in the reasons they offered. Thoughts?

1. Brain Based Research demonstrates kids learn best when we integrate technology into the classroom. So why wouldn’t this also apply to the youth room? “Technology is valued within our culture. It is something that costs money and that bestows the power to add value. By giving students technology tools, we are implicitly giving weight to their school activities. Students are very sensitive to this message that they, and their work, are important.” – From article “The Effects of Technology on Classrooms and Students”

2. They are on their devices anyways. You can monitor and police and take away… but that is exhausting. It’s easier to allow the devices and set some ground rules and gasp in shock… kids will usually respect the rules you set. When you show them enough trust to allow them the use of electronics, they will not want to lose the privilege.

3. I am training for real life. Our students do not live in a bubble void of Apple products. When students leave our youth ministry they will still be bombarded with technology and the distractions there of. I would rather train and equip my kids to be able to use technology effectively in and out of the church setting. I want my own kids to acknowledge and be prepared to handle the “temptation of distraction” of the devices in their possession. Isn’t it better to be able to learn how to use technology to learn God’s Word, as opposed to sneaking it under their jackets and running off to the bathroom to text? I want my kids to know that technology IS distracting, so how do we deal with it and turn it around for our benefit instead?

4. I want the challenge. If church is boring and kids are playing Star Wars Angry Birds during my youth talk, then I have not done my job of engaging them. Same holds true for big church. People vote with their attention. When something is captivating, interesting and well executed it commands attention. Like a movie or TV show that has won me over… I close my laptop when I am really engaged with what I am watching on TV. In church… I fiercely take notes on Evernote when it’s “that good.”

5. It levels the playing field. Yes, I am all for Bible literacy and for knowing how to actually use a hard copy Bible. We still play the books of the Bible song in the car on the way to school, so my kids are not ignorant of such things. But we don’t teach Latin anymore either. Is the only Bible on our shelves the Latin Vulgate? We live in a new day, with the Bible available and accessible to us in so many wonderful ways. Why not embrace that reality and use it to help kids learn? Kids with learning disabilities or ADHD can often participate much more effectively when technology isn’t banned from church. Some kids learn best with a hands on hard copy edition of the Bible. Some kids (and adults) do not. Technology can help kids who struggle. Many students will track with your lesson much more efficiently and accurately than without their devices. When a brand new kid walks into church and sits at my table, I hate seeing them feel dumb when they have no idea (because they are new to church) of how to look up a Bible verse. Everyone stares at them. They shrink in their seat and fumble through the pages. Instead, I can in 30 seconds install the Bible app for them on their phone, and they can easily navigate through that. And guess what? This un-churched kid now has an easy to use Bible in their possession that didn’t cost anything from my youth budget.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

Had lunch today with a good friend and he thought Chinese sounded good.  We usually hit up Skyline, but the Chinese was quite tasty. (Thanks John!)

Of course we got a fortune cookie to eat following lunch.  Usually I think the fortunes contained within said cookie are either dumb or have no relevance.  Today, however, was different.  I opened my fortune to read this:

“The greatest remedy for anger is delay.”

Hmmmm…sounds similar to James 1:19 (“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”)  Pretty good advice for the week!

Lion of War Series – a great read!

I was first introduced to the story of Benaiah in Mark Batterson’s book In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day.  In the Lion of War series, author Cliff Graham takes the lives of Benaiah and the other men who make up David’s Mighty Men and brings them to life in a compelling way.

A friend of mine told me about the first book in the series (Day of War) and encouraged me to read it.  I actually got it free from a twitter promotion from  Before I finished reading Day of War, I knew I wanted to get book two, Covenant of War.  Once I purchased it, it only took me a few days to finish.

Graham takes the Biblical accounts of David, The Three and the Thirty (His Mighty Men) and turns them in to a riveting piece of fiction. While the characters and story lines are based on Old Testament scripture, Graham does encourage the reader to read the book as fiction, as he “fills in the blanks” of how he envisions the battles going and the characters reacting.

If you like movies like Gladiator, Braveheart and the like, this is your type of book.  My only problem is this – I am waiting on book 3 to find out what happens next!

Why I Like Upward

The last six years I have had the opportunity to coach in our Upward Basketball Program.  It has been great to see the league grow over 3 times its original number since we started it.

There are a lot of positives about the program.  There is a rotation schedule that takes the pressure off the coach to make sure everyone gets equal playing time – which is a key component of the Upward league.  Everyone plays an equal amount of time and the emphasis is on improving your basketball skills rather than just winning the game.

Upward has a spiritual component, which really is the foundation of the whole deal.  Each practice, we take a break at the midway point and have a devotion time based on that week’s memory verse.  It allows us to teach student about basketball and also about the God who made them and loves them.

This year I am coaching 1 & 2 grade girls and they are so much fun.  They waver back and forth between really paying attention in practice and in the game to appearing to have no clue they are on basketball court.

Our last practice was this week and we always end our devotion time in prayer.  The coolest thing happened – one of the girls asked if she could pray, which prompted another girl to ask if she could pray.  So I let them both pray instead of me.  That is the first time I’ve had a player do that and I hope it is an indication that they are getting more than just basketball knowledge out of what we are doing each week.

For those who have been involved in a league, why do you like Upward?