Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
I recently gained an important spiritual insight from an unlikely source. I was listening to a radio program touting the benefits of a new weight-loss craze called the Ketogenic Diet.
The basic concept of the Ketogenic Diet is that you should only consume calories during 8 hours of the day, such as from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The remaining 16 hours should be spent burning off the calories you’ve already consumed and the fat that’s already stored in your cells.
“Most of us Americans…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on February 4, 2018 at 9:03am — No Comments
With four seconds left in the game and trailing the Saints, 24-23, Vikings quarterback Case Keenum lofted a desperation pass to Stefon Diggs near the New Orleans 35-yard line. After Diggs went high in the air to snag the pass, coaches yelled at him to get out of bounds so the Vikings could attempt a last-second field goal.
But Diggs disregarded his coaches. When no one tackled him, he decided to head for the end zone instead of going out of bounds. In one of the most amazing finishes…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on January 16, 2018 at 3:09pm — No Comments
I’ve never spent much time thinking about Biblical numerology. But this year is different.
As we enter into 2018, I find myself thinking about the number “8” – God’s number of resurrection and new beginnings.
If you want a detailed explanation, I suggest a Google search. But here are a few simple observations:
Added by Jim Buchan on January 3, 2018 at 9:09am — No Comments
Roller coasters are for young people. If you’re over 50 and still like roller coasters, I think you’re either crazy, or perhaps you just like going to chiropractors.
People probably like roller coasters for the same reason they like scary movies. There’s an undeniable adrenaline surge when you think your life’s in jeopardy.
But I’m not sure that’s a healthy way to live.
I’ve discovered lately that many people who no longer ride Disney World roller coasters are instead…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on December 30, 2017 at 10:57am — No Comments
Like King David in the Psalms, many of my journal entries in recent years could have been titled, “Why am I so depressed…so dissatisfied with life?” This was especially true most years in November and December, when I faced holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
So it came as a surprise when I noticed this month that I’m happier than I’ve been in years – even decades. How could this be, when most things in my life are exactly the same as they’ve been for the past…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on December 27, 2017 at 5:08am — No Comments
We don’t know the exact time frame of the journey made by “wise men from the East” in search of young King Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12). It may have been several months or even a few years after Jesus’ birth when they arrived at Herod’s palace and asked, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (v. 1).
But while some of the details of their journey may be unclear, there’s much we can learn from the wonderful example set by the…Continue
When a friend recently asked me to share my thoughts on the “Proverbs 31” woman and man, it unexpectedly was a painful experience. As never before, I realized how cynical I had become on the subject of an ideal marriage. For far too many couples – even Christian couples – the marital ideal of “heaven on earth” has degenerated into something akin to hell on earth.
Solomon (or “King Lemuel”) asks, “Who can find a virtuous…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on December 7, 2017 at 11:00am — No Comments
All the way through elementary school, I did my writing with pencils. Each year, “#2 Pencils” were on the top of the school supply list.
But when I arrived in middle school, we were expected to use ink pens instead. The writing experience was certainly better with the pens, but there was one major problem: Ink is difficult to erase.
Eventually, some clever marketers came up with “erasable” pens. But that was false advertising, because they were still hard…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on November 27, 2017 at 3:43pm — No Comments
This Thanksgiving was a chance to reflect once again on my “Gratitude Quotient.” I concluded that I’m happier and more grateful than I’ve been in many years.
However, I uncovered a blog I wrote several years ago admitting two disturbing things: (1) I’m still not nearly as grateful as I should be for how God has blessed me; and (2) Many of the things I’m now MOST grateful for are past events I wasn’t grateful for at all when they were taking place.
I call this second…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on November 26, 2017 at 5:02am — No Comments
Ever since his divorce several years back, my friend Ron has complained to me this time of year about the upcoming holidays. He has his reasons, to be sure, but he’s begun to sound like a broken record.
“It’s just not the same,” he moans. “With my wife gone and my kids living far away, it’s always an agonizing time for me.”
Then he typically cites the gluttony, commercialization, overspending, and other holiday sins as justification for his negative attitudes. You’ve probably…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on November 21, 2017 at 4:26am — No Comments
I’m not an expert on the subject of grief by any means – far from it. Yet recently several friends have had loved ones die suddenly and unexpectedly. I’ve found myself wondering, how are they supposed to handle that?
Then today I noticed a woman at the grocery store who had some sort of Christian bracelet. When I asked about the bracelet, she told me the heart-wrenching story of how her sister had died just two weeks ago of a rare form of cancer.
Wow. How is she supposed to…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on November 20, 2017 at 10:39pm — No Comments
A firestorm erupted recently when I wrote a blog that was deemed critical of the counseling profession. I have lots of friends who are counselors—excellent counselors—and several seemed to think I was including them in my critique of incompetent counseling. Meanwhile, I also have countless friends who’ve been helped by skilled counselors, and they rose up to defend the counseling profession and share their gratitude for a job well done.
My blog’s main point was simply…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on October 21, 2017 at 4:55pm — No Comments
After dating several women who told him he had “issues,” my friend Ron finally decided to look for a good counselor.
“That’s a great move,” I encouraged him. It was all I could do to stop short of adding, “And it’s about time, Ron!”
Yet the conversation grew darker when he asked my advice on how to go about finding a counselor who could actually do him some good.
“That’s a tough one, Ron. You’re a pretty hard case,” I chuckled. “And 95% of the counselors out there are…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on October 16, 2017 at 3:48pm — No Comments
I was a pretty awesome kid, if I do say so myself. Polite and well-behaved, I never recall talking back to my parents or any adult.
I worked hard at school and got good grades. My parents never had to worry about me skipping classes, getting into fights, using profanity, or disgracing them in any way. They were proud of me, and rightfully so.
Added by Jim Buchan on July 26, 2017 at 8:17am — No Comments
I’m always looking for current events that display Biblical principles for successful leadership. The decision by Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson last week to fire Dave Gettleman as the team’s general manager provides some excellent fodder for a discussion of good and bad leadership traits. After being fired in 2012, Marty Hurney was appointed as the interim general manager.
Here are just a few observations:
Added by Jim Buchan on July 24, 2017 at 10:00am — No Comments
Not all the lessons from my recent sabbatical in New Zealand and California would be relevant to your life, and some things are probably too personal to share. But I wanted to at least offer a few insights I think you’ll find beneficial.
There’s no place like home. Even though New Zealand and San Diego are two of the most beautiful places in the world, sometimes I could relate to Dorothy’s experience in “The Wizard of Oz.” Despite the dazzling colors and fascinating…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on June 17, 2017 at 4:07pm — No Comments
Someone asked me an important question when I told them I was going on a sabbatical to seek direction for my life. Looking me in the eyes with great earnestness, they said, “What makes you happy, Jim? That’s what you should be doing.”
My reply probably surprised them, for many people would have cited romance or worldwide travels as their expected source of happiness.
“The thing that makes me the happiest is to have an impact on others,” I said without hesitation. “And the more…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on May 19, 2017 at 11:10pm — No Comments
I love the GPS on my phone. How did we ever get anywhere without electronic navigation to point the way for us?
However, my GPS has sometimes led me astray. More than once, I’ve found myself at a dead end, even after carefully following the GPS instructions.
Life is like that. Sometimes the journey goes smoothly, but at other times we find ourselves at a dead end we never envisioned.
There are various kinds of dead ends in life. Relationships or jobs may end.…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on May 18, 2017 at 3:45am — No Comments
Just one week into my much-needed sabbatical, one thing is abundantly clear: I find it extremely hard to fully relax without feeling guilty and unproductive. As an addict to the world of deadlines and to-do lists, “productivity detox” is a difficult and painful process.
Perhaps you’re a performance addict too. But you’ll never know for sure until you take time to break free from your dependence on activities and accomplishments—the “drugs” that enable you to feel good about…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on May 14, 2017 at 3:05pm — No Comments
Many decades ago, I discovered the reality of Jesus’ teaching that it’s more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). So I became a giver, and I’ve received many blessings as a result.
But, as with most truths, there’s another side to this principle: Healthy relationships are reciprocal. When one person in the relationship does all the giving and the other does all the taking, the bond inevitably becomes twisted and toxic.
Sadly, I’ve been rather slow in…Continue
Added by Jim Buchan on May 12, 2017 at 4:58pm — No Comments