What Eavesdropping at Starbucks Taught Me

While waiting to have lunch with a friend last week in Franklin, TN, I sat at the local Starbucks to do some work. At 9:30 in the morning, the place was packed.

What Eavesdropping at Starbucks Taught Me

(Photo: Starbucks in Franklin, Tennessee)

The busy coffee shop had a small footprint, so I sat at the only available place —a wide table by the door. Usually I work at Starbucks with my earbuds plugged in, but I forgot them. So I heard every conversation at the table.

In the two hours I sat there, I overheard 6 different conversations.

I’m glad I did.

My 4 Favorite Movie Scenes (and Why)

What is your favorite movie? That’s always a tough question for me, because I tend to have favorite scenes rather than favorite movies. I love movie scenes.

My 5 Favorite Movie Scenes (and Why)

(Photo by Photodune)

Scenes are great because they often represent turning points in films. Like our lives, we remember turning points much more than the daily steps that got us there. Most of life is gaps.

Although I have many scenes I love, here are 4 of my favorite movie scenes (and why I like them so much).

Dothan—Learning to See Near and Far in Your Spiritual Life

As the ancient International Highway cut its way though Israel, it divided three ways through the Mount Carmel range. The eastern fork passed through a valley named after the town of Dothan.

Dothan—Learning to See Near and Far in Your Spiritual Life

(Photo: Dothan with a well in the valley. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

On the day Joseph’s brothers dropped him in the pit at Dothan, neither they nor Joseph gave one thought about how that decision would affect eternity. It was all about the here and now. But in hindsight, both Joseph and his brothers saw God’s hand in the events and interpreted them accordingly.

Hindsight provides insight. It always can.

In our lives we can get so caught up in today’s issues that they blind us to tomorrow’s purpose for them.

Interestingly, Dothan appears only twice in the Bible. In both places, we learn how to see near and far in our spiritual lives.

Even those who have renounced Christianity and attack it, in their inmost being still follow the Christian ideal, for hitherto neither their subtlety nor the ardor of their hearts has been able to create a higher ideal of man and of virtue than the ideal given by Christ.

Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Brothers Karamazov (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014), 73.

Tell Me What Books Have Helped You Most

If you’re like me, you love to read good books. There’s the Bible, of course. But there are many other books God has used to help us. In fact, books have taught us some of life’s best lessons.

Tell Me What Books Have Helped You Most

(Photo by Photodune)

Take 60 seconds and click here to tell me what five (5) books have helped you most (other than the Bible).

  • You could include good books that have helped you personally, professionally, or spiritually.
  • Try to keep your list to five books or less.

In an upcoming post, I’ll summarize your lists (and include my own list of five good books) in order to form a “Top 10″ recommended reading list.

Okay, go!

Question: What five good books have helped you most (other than the Bible)? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

15 Volunteer Opportunities in Israel for Christians

Most Christians who travel to Israel go to experience the land of the Bible—and they should. But there’s a unique way to experience Israel that 99% of visitors don’t get to do.

Volunteers at the excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, Israel.

(Picture: Volunteers at the excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, Israel.)

Not long ago the Israel Ministry of Tourism asked me to identify some volunteer activities that Christians would enjoy. These range from activities any tour could do in a couple of hours to volunteer opportunities that last for months, depending on one’s availability, ability, or interest.

Obviously, you don’t have to be a Christian to participate in these volunteer opportunities in Israel, but here are 15 I think you would enjoy.

I can claim no right in myself, no right in this understanding, this will, these affections that are in me; neither have I any right to this body, or any of its members: No right to this tongue, these hands, nor feet: No right to these senses, these eyes, these ears, this smell, or taste. I have given myself clear away [to God] and have not retained any thing as my own.

Jonathan Edwards
The Works of President Edwards, Vol 1 (Applewood Books, 2009), 20.

Ash Wednesday—Applied Every Day

If you’re unfamiliar with it, Ash Wednesday seems an odd tradition. Ashes of burned crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are rubbed on the forehead in the shape of a cross.

Ash Wednesday . . . Every Day

(Photo: By Oxh973, Jennifer Balaska. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

So what’s the point of wearing ashes on Ash Wednesday? The cinder residue is reminiscent of the biblical act of repenting “in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). (Speaking of ashes, the holiday also represents “National No Smoking Day” in Ireland.)

Many Christians have no connection with Ash Wednesday’s tradition.

But we all have need of what it represents. Every day.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself in Making the Right Decision

How many times have we made what we thought was the best decision—but it turned out to be the worst? Lessons learned from such blunders we remember and regret all of our lives.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself in Making the Right Decision

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

We make knee-jerk decisions that we think will benefit us financially, or relationally, or vocationally, or physically.

But what about spiritually? Lot failed to ask that question, and he lived with the regret.

But we don’t have to be like that if we’ll ask ourselves 3 questions.