Check out

Church Planting in the Urban Jungle
I used to watch Gavin Peacock play professional soccer in the English Premier League. Here he writes about his commitment to supporting church planting in the Scottish equivalent of the Bronx.

Engaging your kids in discussing their day
How to get past “Fine!”

A Young Preacher’s Library
Advice for younger guys from some older guys. Interesting to see the different choices of UK men.

Economics Curriculum
Marginal Revolution University has a new Economics Video Curriculum online and it’s free! These teachers have quite a gift for making the complex and boring simple and interesting. R C Sproul Jr does a similarly great job in Economics for Everybody, which looks at the subject from a Christian worldview.

10 Tips for Getting Through Seasonal Depression
Not the whole answer, but a good part of it.

A Note to Moms in Crisis
From someone who knows all about it.

Tweets of the Day

7 Service Bays in the Soul Care Garage

As with your car, if you regularly service your soul you are far less likely to experience burnout, breakdown, or a crash.  So let me take you to the Soul Care Garage and show you round the seven service bays, starting with the first two today: Routine and Relaxation.

And if you’ve failed to service your soul, if you’ve already hit the wall, crashed, and burned, you need to visit the same seven service bays. You just need to spend longer in each of them.

Service Bay 1: Routine

Service BaysRegular routine is one of the first things to fall by the wayside when we become too busy. We respond to increasing demands by increasing our accessibility and availability. Our regular daily routine is squeezed, then disrupted, and then displaced.

We end up feeling like passive victims waiting for things to happen – emails to arrive, phones to ring, and requests for help to knock on the door. We are knocked from pillar to post, running from one crisis to another.

Weakened wills
Even when we get some quiet, uninterrupted time, we are so tired and wrung out that we lack the will and discipline to use that time wisely and well. We end up doing only what we feel like doing – which is not very much – as our wills and decisiveness are so weakened.

The first question I ask burn-outs is: “Tell me your daily routine.” Usually the answer is “I don’t have one…Every day is different.” I press further, “Is there nothing constant from one day to another?” Again, usually the answer is “No.”

Basic routine
The first thing I do is to get them to draw up a basic routine of sleeping, worshipping, eating, working, studying, etc., that they then commit to. God is a God of order, not of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), and as His created image-bearers we glorify Him when we live regular, orderly lives. He has made our bodies so that they flourish

when they have a rhythm and regularity.

Now, of course, there are elements of life, and especially of ministry, that we cannot predict or regulate, but we can usually do a lot more than we presently are. Start with regular bed times and rise times. Read and pray in the same place at the same time each day, preferably in privacy, and before you see or speak to anyone else. Set family meal times and stick to them. The more regularity you can build into your day and your week, the more your body, mind, and soul will flourish.

Service Bay 2: Relaxation

Esso Garage @ Ground Level 2

We need to incorporate times of relaxation into our lives. This may involve finding a quiet spot at regular times throughout the day to simply pause for 5-10 minutes, calm down, and seek the peace of God in our lives. Unstretch the band, let the tension go, breathe deeply, pray and remember God.

Jesus recognized His disciples need for relaxation when He took them “apart into a desert place, and rested a while” (Mark 6:31).

Learning to relaxe
You’ll find lots of websites and books that outline many varied relaxation techniques. These are usually effective and easy to learn. Once you try some of these you’ll soon learn straight how tense you actually are. Many of us are living like a flexed muscle, coiled tight from tip to toe. Is it any wonder that we’re exhausted and feel aches and pains all over!

Many of us actually need to learn how to breathe properly again. When we are stressed, anxious, and tense, our breathing becomes shallow, starving our body and brain of oxygen, increasing the difficulty of physical and intellectual work. Again, websites abound with helpful exercises that will help you to become conscious of your breathing habits and re-train them if you’ve learned bad habits.

Computer or communion sermons?
As I mentioned before, many creative breakthroughs are made in quiet downtimes. I believe many preachers could do with working less on their sermons. What I mean by that is getting away from scanning commentaries and hammering away on the computer, and communing with God in quiet reflective walks. There are computer sermons, and there are communion sermons! There are sermons that collate others thoughts and there are sermons that flow out of communion with God in His Word.

Tomorrow we’ll visit another two service bays in the Soul Care Garage.

This is an edited version of an article that was first published at Gospel Centered Discipleship.

Check out

The Anxiety-killing Power of Creation
I knew I needed to do more fishing.

Six Reasons to Study the Tabernacle
I highly recommend Danny Hyde’s book on the Tabernacle.

Art, beauty, and faith with Andrew Peterson
“We are given the privilege of reflecting the image of God. We should do so with something more than moving lights on Sunday and slick websites the rest of the week. Our lives, our words, our songs, and our service ought to speak of God’s beauty.”

English Puritan Theology
This interview about Joel Beeke and Mark Jones’s new book A Puritan Theology should help to explain the ongoing attraction and relevance of the Puritans, despite their recently-highlighted faults.

When Disability Hits Home
A video glimpse into the life of Shannon Sproul, daughter of R.C.Sproul Jr. who was born with a condition that left her profoundly disabled.  Especially poignant because Shannon was “enabled” last Wednesday.

Glimpses of Grace in Homemaking
Gloria doing what she does best. Finding grace and God in unlikely places.

Tweets of the Day

Children’s Bible Reading Plan

This week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first 12 months of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

And here’s the first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

And here’s an explanation of the plan.