10 Inspiring Quotes from “Through Gates of Splendor”

book_ through_gates_of_splendor amazonIf you heard someone say, “”Every Christian should read this book,” what would you do? You may or may not listen to him.

But if that person is an elder at your church, and says this while teaching on a Sunday morning, you are more apt to listen to that wisdom.

And if that person has been a mentor for you for over 15 years, you definitely follow his advice.

A man like that encouraged our church body to read Through Gates of Splendor last fall. I’m glad he did, since this book was one of the top books I read in 2014.

If you haven’t read this book, or if it’s been a while, here are some excerpts that inspired and challenged me:

In preparation for the mission

“We’ve already put our trust in Him for salvation, so why not do it as far as our life is concerned?” Ed McCully (in a letter to Jim Elliot)

Click here for more points to ponder…

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Mentor, Like Uncle Ricky

Uncle Ricky

Rick Sierchio was never obligated to do anything for my brother and I. Yet he became our “Uncle Ricky,” and our lives were shaped by his love and guidance.

Uncle Ricky wasn’t my uncle in the strict sense. He was the brother of my mom’s high school friend. At some point during my young childhood, he made a choice to invest in my brother and I, merely out of a deep-set sense of love and justice.

Click here to learn more about this special guy…

My Boys

Teens Greenville Trip 14May
Remember this reunion?

I miss my boys.

No, I don’t mean my sons. I mean the guys I was blessed to coach in Allendale. And I especially mean a handful of them who became particularly dear to my family.

Any coach or teacher knows that you ought not to have “favorites.” But it’s hard to avoid this.

We’ve had a dozen or more guys over to dinner. (Not at the same time. Good Lord. It was all we could do to prepare enough food for 3 or 4 at a time.) Some of them helped us with summer camps and spring break camps. I did a book study with four.

They played with my own kids — chess, Lego, Wii, soccer, baseball, whatever. (Hint: You ever want to win a parent’s heart? Love on his kids.)

And despite us looking nothing alike and having little in common, I treated them like my own kids. I was demanding (often) and sensitive (occasionally). I gave them practical advice, which sometimes sunk through their stubborn teenage skulls.

We laughed with each other, and we yelled at each other. I let them borrow my car, even after one of them wrecked his sister’s car.

I guess I’m thinking about “my boys” because a couple of guys (whom we were very close to) just graduated high school. A few them finished their freshman year in college. And a few are still in high school, and are getting ramped up for summer workouts.

For only having known them a few years, I’m amazed how much I think about them. I’m sure I’ll lose contact with most of them over the years.

That’s OK. They’ll always be “my boys.”

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Teaching and Engaging Students in Poverty

book teaching poverty in mindDo you teach or work with students who are growing up in poverty? You’ll want to check out this post from Alexandra Fenwick. She lists 10 inspiring quotes from Eric Jensen. My favorites are:

“When educators believe students are competent, students tend to perform better; conversely, when educators believe students have deficits, students tend to perform more poorly.”

“You can’t change what’s in your students’ bank account, but you can change what’s in their emotional account.”

“A ‘no excuses’ mentality means that even if you believe it should be students’ job to be engaged, you accept that it’s your job to engage them.”

“Your students’ life experiences are a rich source of background knowledge and potential narrative strategy for you to tap in your classroom.”

If you were a reader of my Mission: Allendale blog, you know that I’m a bit of an Eric Jensen groupie. I quoted or referred to his book Teaching with Poverty in Mind in numerous posts, including:

Have you read Teaching with Poverty in Mind? I consider it a must-read for all educators and after school workers. Buy your copy here, then check out Fenwick’s post to see other recommended resources.

I’m trying something new . . .

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Christmas Armistice

I know that this is commercial, but I think this video had a great underlying message. (Well, two messages if you count, “Chocolate makes everything better.”)

This event, the “Christmas Truce” (or armistice) occurred 100 years ago today. It occurred during the early months of “The Great War,” when soldiers from opposite sides celebrated Christmas with songs, exchanging gifts, and joint worship services.

Read some criticisms of this video, and why it’s meaningful to me…

Time: The One True Equalizer

letters_to_an_incarcerated_brother book nprFrom Jeff Johnson:

“Time is the most gangsta resource because no human can control it in its purest form. It is the only thing you cannot make more of. You cannot get time back, and no matter how much power you have, you can’t change the universal laws of time. What you have (or don’t have) in life is a direct reflection of what you do with the time you have been given. But it is also gangsta because it is the one true equalizer. 

Take the TIME to read the rest of this quote…

Can You Deal With Poverty Without Dealing with Sin?

question_man flickr Marco_Belluci

A few months ago, I asked this question on Facebook:

“Can you deal with poverty without dealing with sin?”

Here are some of my favorite responses:

“In regards to others’ sin, I don’t think it should prevent us from moving. I suspect some would use “their” sin as an excuse from moving. Ultimately, like all issues, sin would need to be addressed.”

Click here to read more thoughts…