Article link: David Mathis on reading the Bible

I have a passion for God’s people to know God’s Word. In short, it’s a passion for biblical literacy. That’s not my term; you see it used often. I define it as –

A biblically literate person is able to apply the skills of language, literature, and logic to passages of the Bible, comparing one with another, so that the reader is able to accurately determine the meaning of a passage and to grasp its place in the greater story that God is telling.

25 Bible Passages You Should Know, Mark Knox

There are many articles, books, and tools that can help the believer better understand the Bible. David Mathis has written an excellent one on DesiringGod.org. He’s said it so well. Read it. Share it.

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-to-read-the-bible-better

I am writing a book, 25 Bible Passages You Should Know. Read about it here.

Article link: Trade Self-Help for God-Help

Inasmuch as this blog at times becomes advisory – whether of leadership, productivity, or the like – it would be easy to think of my writing as in the genre of “self-help.” And while some of the things I write share similarities to self-help literature, my articles are intended to look at the various topics from a biblically-informed world-view.

That said, “self-help” would not be an apt description for my writing. This leads me to commend to you a wonderful article from Desiring God by Greg Morse, entitled “Trade Self-Help for God-Help.” This article embodies the perspective I share when considering issues that could better our lives, a perspective that puts God and Jesus Christ clearly at the center.

Enjoy.

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/trade-self-help-for-god-help

The Beatles, Christianity, and Culture

https://www.facebook.com/Yesterday/

I recently went to the movies with my daughter-in-law to see “Yesterday,” a tale of a struggling musician who, through some twist of fate, finds himself in some kind of alternate reality where he’s the only person who knows who the Beatles were. He proceeds to introduce the world to the music of the Fab Four as if it’s his own. Comedy and conflict ensue. We enjoyed the film; it’s a fresh premise in a summer of adaptations, sequels, TV-to-movie offerings, and no less than three live-action Disney remakes. Plus, I have spent the last couple of days getting reacquainted with the Beatles catalogue.

Which, for me, is to say, I found some albums on Spotify. You see, in one of those unusual quirks of my personal history, I own NO music by the Beatles. For someone whose life has been marked by the music on my various radio stations, turntables, tape decks, and CD players, it seems unthinkable that I would not have any Beatles in my possession.

Except, it’s not that unthinkable, when I delve into my early history. This whole re-immersion has caused me to ponder my upbringing and engagement with rock-n-roll. The “what if the Beatles didn’t exist” premise of the movie is closer to reality for my childhood. The Beatles may as well not have existed in my household. No Beatlemania there. My dad would scoff at those “long-hairs” as beneath him. No chance to catch the Ed Sullivan appearance that was so defining for many of my peers; no sir, we went to church on Sunday nights. When I purchased a couple of packs of Beatles trading cards, my mom let me know they were not welcome. And when John Lennon famously proclaimed that they were more popular than Jesus, well, if he’d announced that he was the Anti-Christ, it wouldn’t have been any more reprehensible.

This is not to say that my childhood was overly-repressive or joyless. I was, after all, saved by the aforementioned Jesus during one of those Sunday night services that caused me to miss the end of the 4:00 football games and the Ed Sullivan show. I suppose Beatlemania arrived in my life well before the more independent and rebellious times of my junior high and high school years. So, I was more or less obedient to my folks and never learned to like the Beatles.

Plus, my parents, though flawed as all are, were simply trying to live out their beliefs in a world that didn’t always embrace our Christian faith. I can’t fault them for that.

H. Richard Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture identifies several ways that Christians have attempted to engage the authority of Christ when facing the culture around them. My folks were clearly in the “Christ against culture” camp. Things like drinking, smoking, and certainly rock-n-roll were vestiges of the secular city and were entities to be opposed as a Christian.

I’ve come to see Christ as the Transformer of Culture. There are certainly evil things in the world, but I’ve lost the “anything that is not Sacred is to be disregarded” mindset. In the common grace of God, John, George, Paul, and Ringo can produce something truly human that might just touch my soul in a way that can only be described as divine. So, I’m listening…and thinking.

Excuse me, Sgt. Pepper just ended. I need to “Get Back” to where I once belonged.

For a more complete discussion of Niebuhr’s book and the Christ and Culture debate, go here.

Know thyself: a survey of personality assessments, Part 3

I am concluding my survey of personality assessments. If you haven’t read Part 1 or 2 or a little of my story, you might want to do that first. Otherwise, here are the next two.

The Motivators Assessment

One factor that every leader should understand is what motivates people. A common mistake is to assume that what motivates you will also motivate others, and this is not the case. In fact, an appeal to a motivation that works for some can actually serve to demotivate others.

Nowhere is this more important than to understand what motivates yourself. If you can access and harness this, you are better able to tailor your job and boost your satisfaction in your work. This is the premise of the Motivators Assessment, as described in the book, What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton.

This book, and the accompanying assessment, highlights 23 motivators which are then clustered into 5 “Identities” or motivational types. The 5 Identities are – The Achievers, The Builders, The Caregivers, The Reward-Driven, and the Thinkers. When I first purchased the book and glanced over it, my first thought at seeing these Identities was that I would probably rank high as a Builder. Sure enough, that was my strongest identity.

The book contains a great deal of practical advice for how you can take this self-knowledge and use it to sculpt your work life.

The Enneagram

The Enneagram is a popular tool that identifies 9 personality types (“enne” is “9” in Greek). Various friends of mine have taken an Enneagram and swear by it. As in, “it saved our marriage” kind of thing. There are many sources and books on the Enneagram; a great one is Ian Cron’s The Road Back to You.

Honestly, I am still in the process of becoming familiar with this assessment. But rather than put my ignorance on display for all to see, I’m going to defer to someone who knows her stuff.

Ms. Ron Tamir Nehr is a Life Coach and Personal Development Mentor who has written well on the Enneagram. Her excellent article is here, along with a free assessment.

One thing I have noticed among Enneagram adherents is a tendency to say, “I am a 6,” or something like that. As a cautionary statement about personality assessments in general, I find that if you get too locked into describing yourself by a certain type, as if it were some kind of personality ethnicity, you can inadvertently box yourself into thinking that you can’t help but be and do what your type is. The fact is, we are incredibly capable of all kinds of behavior, and not just those of our “type.” So, do be careful there.

It has been my hope through this series on that you will take the time to better understand yourself and thus become the best version of yourself that you can.

Question to ponder: What assessment has helped you the most to understand and value your unique skills, personality, and contributions?

I teach a course which utilizes the DiSC personality assessment. It’s called “Solving the People Puzzle” and is available in faith-based and non-faith-based formats. Please contact me if you are interested in this for your group or organization.

The blog has moved…

For those interested, I’ve moved my blog to a new website. The URL is http://www.learningcontinues.com. It is the website of my professional and personal development endeavors and is unifying my web presence. The mission of “taking root downward, bearing fruit upward” is still the driving force at Learning Continues.

Thank you for following me, and I hope you’ll follow me over there as well.

This is your God!

Note: Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to preach at my church.  Missio Dei Churchvectorstock_20456096 small, in Asheville, NC. We are in a series on the 10 Commandments, and my message was on the 1st Commandment, “you shall have no other gods before me.” In my message, I indicated that the true God has revealed himself to us by his name and by his work in history. What follows is a recitation of some of the true God’s deeds…

Who is the true God?

He is God the Father, the God who created all things out of nothing by the power of his Word, which we know is his Son, Jesus Christ…

The God who placed the crown of his creation, man and woman created in his image in a perfect garden, with the promise of life if they obeyed and immediate death if they did not,

Who, when they sinned, graciously withheld his immediate judgment and promised a future redeemer and covered their sin with clothing from a slain animal,

Who judged the wicked world by flood but spared Noah and his family so that mankind and his redemptive promise would go on,

Who entered into a covenant with a pagan Abram and promised his seed would be as numerous as the stars.

This is your God!

Who preserved his people by sending Joseph to Egypt in chains so that the family could be saved from famine,

Who 450 years later spoke to a lowly shepherd from a burning bush and sent his servant Moses to rescue this now nation from bitter bondage,

Who spoke from the mountaintop and gave his people laws and commandments so they would know how to worship and obey,

Who time and again was patient with his people when they failed to keep the covenant he had made with them.

This is your God!

Who, after speaking at many times and in many ways by the prophets, spoke to us in these last days by his Son, Jesus,

Who was God-made-flesh, born of a virgin, God with us, Emmanuel, Jesus, who shall save his people from their sins,

Who lived a life in perfect obedience to the law, both in deed and in thought,

Who, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, was crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

This is your God!

Whose death lovingly purchased forgiveness for the sins of all who would believe in him, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus,

Who, when his work was complete, demonstrated the Father’s acceptance of his sacrifice by raising from the dead,

Who ascended to heaven, with the promise of his return as reigning King of kings and Lord of lords.

This is your God!

Who sent the Holy Spirit, who is himself God, to indwell his people with power, and to intercede for us with groanings too deep for words,

By whom, even to this day, is building his Church upon the rock of the confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God,

Who now is seated at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come,

And he is the God who in the fullness of time will by his return unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth,

To the praise of his glorious grace!

THIS IS YOUR GOD!