Monthly Archives: July 2014


photo 1

Our oldest son’s intramural basketball team won the championship at UT this summer.  This is the second team in three years that David has played on which won the championship. 

Human glory for winning includes a cool t-shirt and a picture on UT’s wall which has teams all the way back to the 1930s. 


Barnabas Piper, son of famed preacher, John Piper, shares honest insights about his upbringing in a new book.

Barnabas Piper (on the left) is one of John Piper’s sons.  Barnabas has recently written a candid account of being a pastor’s kid (PK), especially the PK of a famous pastor.

Here is a revealing answer to a question (rest of interview below):

Religion News Service: What is one thing people would be shocked to learn about the Piper household?

Barnabas Piper: Depends on who you ask. Those who are huge fans might be surprised to know that our family has a lot of tensions and quirks. We have dysfunction and conflict. We don’t always get along very well. It’s not the idyllic repository of peace and knowledge they might have painted a picture of in their heads.

Those who see him as a heavy-handed fire breather would be surprised to know that he loves movies like “What About Bob” and is fiercely competitive. He even got a yellow card for berating a referee at one of my brothers’ soccer games one time.





The picture above is of our home library.  Lots of books and little room left to house them.  Pretty inexpensive to build due to free review copies from publishers, used bookstores, garage and library sales.  

I am sobered every time I study there because it is a quiet reminder of my great limitations.  At 56, there are many I want to read, but time will most likely run out no matter how much of it is left.  And then there are all the books I want to reread!

So pay attention.  Your reminder of your finitude may not be a library, but there are other things.  And pray Ps. 90:12!




A dear friend asked me to compile my list of recommended reading for counseling couples.  Here is what I sent him:

An eclectic, odd, but hopefully wise list of reading recommendations for premarital (and marital!) couples:

The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason

This is not your typical “how to” marriage book which is what makes it so good.  Beautiful writing combined with wonderful insights.

Good Christians, Good Husbands?  By Doreen Moore

Granted, there is bias with my recommendation, but professors at three seminaries now use it, a CEO told me it was one of the best books he’s ever read, and J.I. Packer said this:

“Resourced by thorough research into the marriages of Wesley, Whitefield and Edwards, this is a truly wise book on the problem of combining ministry and marriage to the glory of God and the good of all concerned.”

John Adams by David McCullough

Well, not the whole thing (!), though it is an incredible read.  Rather, for the correspondence between John and Abigail.

Booked by Karen Swallow Prior

Actually, it is just one chapter from Karen’s terrific book, the one on Madame Bovary.  After I interviewed Karen, I told her I wished every couple in America would read that chapter.  They would learn to have a better and more mature view of love.

The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership by Steven Sample

I know, it seems like a book on business leadership, but it really is a book to help you develop discernment and wisdom.   It offers sage counsel on how to navigate the choppy waters of American life. 

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

I have read several of Gary’s books.   Even though this is not one of my favorites of his, there are some important themes he covers.



Tom Morris (picture above) is a former professor of philosophy at Notre Dame.  Tom now travels the country speaking to business groups on the wisdom of the ancients.  I have corresponded with Tom over the years.  He is a terrific guy with a generous heart.  

Here is Tom’s post on the importance of putting others first:

I’ve met two famous authors on airplanes, and their differences taught me a big life lesson.

I’ve traveled a lot for twenty years, sometimes flying on as many as 400 planes a year. I’ve met a lot of interesting people along the way, from every walk of life, and have had amazing seat-mate conversations with famous athletes, actors, producers, CEOs, trust fund kids, and thousands of people working in almost every job you can imagine. If they want to talk, we talk. And sometimes, four hours can pass like twenty minutes. But if they want to sleep or read or work, or maybe watch the latest blockbuster, I always have my own stuff to do, as well. And yet, I advise trying to start up a conversation, or giving one a chance. What you can learn as a result is truly life-enhancing, as you likely may know from your own experience.

Last night, as I tried to get to sleep, I found myself recalling two famous Christian authors I met some time ago on two different airplanes. One spent all our time together on telling me how great he was; the other, on telling me how great I was.

The first guy made sure that I and everyone around us knew how many books he had published, and how wild about his sales his publisher was, how spectacularly well his books were doing at Barnes and Noble, in particular, and on various bestseller lists, even regaling us with monthly sales figures and details about store placements in the big chains. Within fifteen minutes, I knew that he was number one seller in several categories, and how he could command the big stores to do his will in ways customarily thought impossible. I learned that he addressed huge multitudes and regularly signed books until his hand almost fell off.

The other guy, I had met briefly when I was a college student, many decades ago, when I had attended one of his talks, and he was already a pretty famous speaker and writer at the time. Over the years, he had continued to build a following. When I recognized him and said hello to him on the plane, he stared at me for a second and then said, “I remember you from your college days.” I said, “Really?” I was shocked. He must have met a million people along the way. He said, “I’ve been following your work as a philosopher and hold it in high value. I’m really proud of you.” I was astonished that he remembered this southern kid he once met long ago, and that he had actually noticed what I had been doing with my life. I was floored. And, of course, gratified. I hardly knew what to say. He then wanted to know more about my life since we had first met.

Lest you try to guess identities, I should quickly point out that neither of these guys was or is a pastor at a mega church. But both have sold a lot of books. Of course, I can give you exact sales numbers for only one of them. The lesson for me was simple. I was deeply alienated by the guy cared so much about his own success and deeply touched by the man who cared so much about me. And I’m pretty sure my reactions were entirely normal. Let’s always try to remember that, Ok? Let’s be like the guy who was in the end more eager to ask than to tell, who cared about other people more than his own eminence.

A little success can blow us up like hot air balloons. We have to be careful about it. I could tell you more stories about this same contrast of attitudes in other famous people I’ve met along the way, but then … I’d start sounding like the wrong guy. So, instead, let me ask about you.


I was watching TV the other night and a trailer appeared for one of the new horror films.  It boasted that it will keep you awake for weeks.  

What does it say about human nature that we are willing to pay ten bucks for something which will make us lose sleep?