Categories
Bible Insights

Blessed to be a Blessing

God Blesses Us So That We Can Be a Blessing to Others

God wants to bless us. He loves us and wants to give us his best. This idea of blessing occurs throughout the Bible. In the Old Testament, God often ties his blessings to the people’s obedience and to the attitudes of their hearts. Yet, the first time we encounter this word in the Bible, it’s God’s unconditional promise to bless Abraham. He does this prior to Abraham doing anything to demonstrate his obedience to God’s commands or his faith.

God blessed Abraham for Abraham’s sake, but there’s more. Through Abraham, God promised to bless all the people on the earth through him (Genesis 12:2-3). In short, God blessed Abraham to be a blessing to others.

But this doesn’t just apply to Abraham. The word bless occurs hundreds of times in the Old and New Testaments. It’s a reoccurring theme. More specifically, the phrase bless you occurs fifty times. Furthermore, the idea of blessing other people shows up four dozen times, and blessing nations shows up another fifteen.

God expects us to be a blessing to others. We should view God’s provisions to us from this perspective. He blesses us—he prospers us—so that we can be a blessing to others. Here are some ways we can do this:

Donate Money

For many people, when they consider the idea of blessing others, they think of money. Providing financially for others is an ideal way to be a blessing to them. We can use the money God has blessed us with to give to organizations whose mission aligns with our passions. We can also give money directly to people in need.

In both cases, however, we must be good stewards of God’s financial blessings to us so that they will have the best kingdom impact.

Share Possessions

We can also be a blessing to others when we share our possessions. When we have things we don’t need, we shouldn’t throw them away. Instead, we should give them away.

We can give directly to individuals in need or to organizations, who will in turn give them away or sell them to raise money for their cause.

Yet let’s move our thinking beyond our castoffs. We can also give possessions that we still use, that still have value to us, to others. If someone has more need of it than we do, then maybe we need to give it to them.

In these ways, we can be a blessing to others.

Give Time

Aside from material items, consider our time. We can give our time to help others. This can occur by volunteering for various organizations focused on helping others. It can also occur directly by helping a neighbor who could use some assistance.

And lest anyone complains that “I don’t have enough time,” let me remind you that we all have 24 hours in each day. We choose how to use that time. Why not choose to give some of it away?

Mentor Others

A specific way to be a blessing to others with our time is to do one-on-one mentoring. In this way we invest ourselves in them, helping them to have a better life, be it physically, spiritually, emotionally, or all three.

Pray for Others

A final option—the most important one—is something that everyone can do. We can all pray for others. And we can start today, right now.

God has blessed each of us. Seek ways to use his blessings to us to be a blessing to others. Click To Tweet

Blessed to Be a Blessing

In both large and small ways, God has blessed each of us. Seek ways to use his blessings to us to be a blessing to others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Insights

God Gives Us Parents to Teach and Instruct Us

We Will Do Well to Listen to the Advice of Those God Sends to Guide Us

King Solomon opens the book of Proverbs extolling the value of wisdom and the importance of receiving wise instruction, which starts with a reverence for God.

After establishing this opening premise, Solomon begins his instruction to his son—and to us. Toward this end, God gives us parents.

Solomon tells his boy to pay attention to what his father says. Beyond that Solomon advises his son to accept what the lad’s mom teaches. The direct application is that God gives us parents to guide us. We will do well to listen to both father and mother, doing as they instruct.

We must trust God with them, believing that they—like him—want what’s best for us.

However, not everyone comes from a two-parent household. Some children live with only one parent and others, none. Beyond that, as adults, we may no longer have our parents—or parental figures—in our lives to share their wisdom and guide us through the ups and downs of living.

Trust God with Our Parents

In this respect, we can trust God to send people into our lives who can instruct and teach us. These may be our biological parents, adoptive parents, or parental figures. Beyond that consider schoolteachers, wise employers, and mentors.

Regardless of our situation, it’s up to us to listen and accept the wisdom of those who God puts in our lives. God gives us parents, along with others, to help us navigate life.

God gives us parents, along with others, to help us navigate life. Click To Tweet

Though their advice won’t be without error, we should respectfully receive it and carefully consider it. We should apply the best parts to our fullest abilities.

God gives us parents, along with others, to help us navigate life. By listening and doing what they say, we honor them—and we honor God.

Thank you, Papa, for sending people into our lives for our benefit. May we trust you with their advice, following it diligently out of respect to them and to you.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Proverbs 1-4, and today’s post is on Proverbs 1:8.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Christian Living

Do You Have a Spiritual Role Model?

Having a spiritual role model is a great goal, but it’s not always possible

Who is your spiritual role model? Who do you look up to or strive to emulate? I can point to several biblical characters I admire. I attempt to follow their positive characteristics. I can also list some nonbiblical individuals from history who I highly regard.

I can even name godly contemporary people who I know from afar. But I do not have a spiritual role model who exists in my life today. Though some resided in my past, none are present now.

Yes, I have friends who I respect and who, I assume, respect me. Yet they are not role models for me any more than I am for them. Though we may encourage one another, we do not inspire imitation.

This has troubled me for some time. I feel a vacuum in my soul. The void is palpable. I exist largely as an island. I long for a flesh and blood spiritual role model, but I don’t even know where to look.

Possibly my expectations are too great. Maybe past disappointments have tarnished the allure of even the most laudable of options. I might just be too picky, too critical. Perhaps I fear a possible let down when a human failing of my role model surfaces. It has happened.

Though agonizing, my lament over the lack of a spiritual role model is also a selfish pursuit: I seek something to take with no thought about giving to others.

Until now I have never wondered if I am a spiritual role model. While this isn’t a status we can offer, it is a lifestyle we can aspire to. This, though, looms as a goal too lofty to reach, an impossible target to hit.

Do you have a spiritual role model? Are you one to others? Click To Tweet

Yes, instead of complaining I have no spiritual role models, I might be better off to live worthy of emulation. If I did—or when I do—perhaps the desire for a spiritual role model will not be as deep.

It’s certainly something to consider.

Do you have a spiritual role model? Are you a spiritual role model to others?

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Save

Categories
Christian Living

Do You Have a Spiritual Mentor?

Everyone needs someone to help him or her navigate the throes of life. As John Donne said, “No man is an island, entire to itself.” In truth, we cannot survive alone. We need others to walk along side of us. Every one needs help at some time, whether we admit it or not.

Such is the case in spiritual matters. We all need a mentor, a spiritual mentor.

A spiritual mentor can guide us, offering direction when we need it and challenging us when we think everything is fine. If we expect to grow in our faith and then put it into action, we need a mentor to direct us.

Mentoring can take various forms.

Mentors can approach us through books, instructing us from a distance, even over time. Biographies about people of faith can mentor us, as can the books they wrote and the things they taught. If they mentor us from the past we cannot ask questions.

Even our contemporary mentors are often far enough removed that individual queries are not feasible. Unfortunately, their mentorship is a monologue. Seldom can we engage in a dialogue with these mentors.

The Bible is a significant source of mentoring: from God—through his followers—and by God—through his Holy Spirit. Yes, the Holy Spirit can be a powerful mentor, if we are able to hear his voice and follow his direction.

Many people claim their pastor as a mentor, but this has many shortcomings. First mentoring from the pulpit is a one-to-many arrangement; interaction—just as with books—isn’t feasible in this format.

To expect your pastor to meet with every person one-on-one would leave no time for him or her to do anything else. Do the math and you’ll see. Besides most people already heap too many expectations on their ministers; to assume they can do one-on-one mentoring to the entire congregation isn’t realistic.

Everyone needs a spiritual mentor. Do you have one? Click To Tweet

This means we need to find our own mentors. We can mentor one another. We should mentor one another.

Seek someone you can mentor and be available for someone to mentor you. You can even co-mentor one another. When one of you stumbles, the other can pick you up (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). Perhaps that’s why Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs (Luke 10:1).

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Reviews of Books & Movies

Book Review: Mentoring Millennials

Mentoring Millennials: Shaping the Next Generation

By Dr. Daniel Egeler (reviewed by Peter DeHaan)

Mentoring Millennials: Shaping the Next Generation is ideal for anyone mentoring those in the Millennial generation. (Sometimes called Generation Y, the Millennial generation consists of those born after 1982 and whose parents are baby boomers.)

The book opens with a compelling call to leave a legacy via mentoring Millennials, “the next generation.”  Egeler captures readers’ attention and inspires vision by spelling out the details of the hugely untapped potential of Millennials – and points out the substantial peril of ignoring this nascent generation at risk.

This dichotomy is brought into perspective with a clear summary of what it is to be post-modern, offering a candid, yet insightful interpretation of the post-modernal mind-set, perspective, and priorities.

Truly, the post-modern Millennial is a generation with great promise and even greater need; they are the future and deserve the focused attention of today’s mentors.

Egeler follows with a concise summary of Stanley and Clinton’s mentoring model. He then discusses each methodology, replete with personal experiences that are convincingly illustrated in light of the post-modern Millennial via his compelling storytelling ability.

[Mentoring Millennials: Shaping the Next Generation, by Dr. Daniel Egeler. Published by NavPress, 2003, ISBN: 978-1576833827, 168 pages.]

Read more book reviews by Peter DeHaan.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Save

Categories
Reviews of Books & Movies

Book Review: Dallas and the Spitfire

Book Review: Dallas and the Spitfire

Dallas and the Spitfire: An Old Car, An Ex-con, and An Unlikely Friendship

By Ted Kluck and Dallas Jahncke (reviewed by Peter DeHaan)

With a sordid past and running out of options, ex-con and former addict Dallas Jahncke acquiesces to enter a drug rehabilitation program at a homeless shelter, one with a Christian perspective.

In addition to avoiding more jail time and becoming clean for the first time in years, Dallas also has an encounter with Jesus. To aid him on his journey, Ted Kluck is recruited to provide some ‘discipleship”—whatever that means.

Thirty-something Ted and twenty-something Dallas are about as unlikely a pair as imaginable. They emanate from different backgrounds, neighborhoods, social strata, and experiences.

Yet the two of them collaborate in life—and for this book, Dallas and the Spitfire: An Old Car, an Ex-con, and an Unlikely Friendship.

Discipleship, Ted discovers, is raw and unpredictable. Sitting in a coffee shop to pontificate faith or reading a book about God is not going to cut it. Dallas needs more.

Dallas needs a friend and a mentor. He needs acceptance and stability. He needs someone who will listen without judging, answer the phone at any hour, and pray at all times.

For their discipleship to work, they need an activity to do. So Ted buys an aging European sports car, a Triumph Spitfire, for them to coax back to life. As Dallas teaches Ted about auto repair, Ted shows Dallas how to be a follower of Jesus.

Written as memoir, Ted’s story is interspersed with Dallas’s own words. The tale is gritty and honest. It’s a guy’s book about a guy’s world, avoiding pat answers or reducing discipleship to a methodology.

The result is a compelling read and an inspiring example. Truly discipling another person is not easy, but it is most rewarding.

Read Dallas and the Spitfire to vicariously live it—and then do it, if you dare.

[Dallas and the Spitfire: An Old Car, an Ex-con, and an Unlikely Friendship, by Ted Kluck and Dallas Jahncke. Published by Bethany House. 2012; ISBN: 978-0-7642-0961-1; 184 pages.]

Read more book reviews by Peter DeHaan.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.