Brian Blade: A Great Listener

The best musicians, in my opinion, are the ones that can listen and respond the best. Yes, a drummer can bash away at 2 and 4 like a metronome, but there is an added layer when they really listen to other players around them and respond/react.

Drummer Brian Blade is perhaps one of the best at this. You can hear him listen and respond in each of the pieces below.

And this one.

Super tasteful. Super musical. So good!

I need to apply this to listening to others in life, as well.

Free Gift: Modernized Expulsion of Sin by a New Affection by Thomas Chalmers.

I thought I had lost this. But I found it deep in the archive of my email.


One of the best writings on how to expel sin from our lives not by hyper-focusing on the sin, but on the goodness of God.

As part of spiritual disciple, I used to grab Puritan writings and modernize them to force me to slow down and meditate on what these rich authors were saying. Their language is typically difficult to read. I leave the original in the left hand column and put the modernized version in the right hand column.

I thought I’d throw it up on my personal blog in case any of you want to download it for reflection. It truly is a powerful work.


The Expulsion of Sin by a New Affection Thomas Chalmers

Hope you enjoy it!

Transformative Stories at Milestone Life

I love reading the stories of lives changed at Milestone Church. Also, Pastor Jeff Little offers some great thoughts. Moon & Owl was privileged to help move this blog to a new platform that is more user friendly. You can also email subscribe for more inspiration. God IS making difference in people’s lives at Milestone.

Read some of the powerful life change stories at Milestone Life.

Navy Bedroom

I had fun creating my daughter’s bedroom look.

  1. Painted wall Sherwin Williams Naval color.
  2. Made red oak headboard using french cure + hand scraping + dark walnut stain
  3. Amy selected the bedding.
  4. Created a Rorschach Ink Blog on 500 lbs. water color paper.
  5. Added in some lamps and night stands from Ikea.
  6. Created a unique wire hanging system for the painting. (Shhhhh…those are actually toilet paper holders but you can’t tell and no one but you knows.)
  7. Building a wardrobe but not finished yet.

navy-bedroom-1 navy-bedroom-2 navy-bedroom-4navy-5

Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s by Frederick Lewis Allen

This was a great read and it isn’t “heavy” history. The author, Frederick L. Allen covers everything from fashion, to sexual norms, to the average workday of a married couple, ramifications of prohibition to the financial collapse of the stock market. You’ll feel like you KNOW the 20’s after reading it. It’s a highly acclaimed NYT Bestseller. Available in Kindle and Paperback. I bought his work on the 1930’s, after reading this. (Click the cover to get it on Amazon.)


Fresh Factor ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ (1 rehash; 5 New information . . . for me at least)

I had not read much on this period other than Calvin Coolidge biographies and autobiographies.

Fun ♣ ♣ ♣  (1 not that enjoyable; 5 barely put it down)

Pretty entertaining, some chapters more than others.

Easy/Difficult ♣ ♣   (Kid’s comics being 1, Finnegan’s Wake by Joyce or War and Peace by Tolstoy being 5)

Practical  ♣ ♣   (Affects everyday living. 1 is not that practical; 5 is life shaping/ paradigm transforming)

Lessons: Don’t repeat the mistakes this period in history such as “playing the market” in speculation. It will ALWAYS self-correct.

3 Simple Questions for Clear Guidance

In a practical follow up to Working From Second Chair, here are three simple questions to provide clear Guidance. You can use this tool with your boss or with those you supervise. I even made laminated cards to pass out.  When a new initiative comes up or you need to clarify an ongoing program or process, review the 3 simple questions.

1. WHY are we doing this?

This is the 50,000 foot view.

How does “this” tie into our overarching vision and values? This will determine if the initiative should even see the light of day.

2. WHAT is the 1 thing you would most like this to accomplish?

20,000 foot view.

This is where it gets tough because the leader must boil down the entire initiative to a singular purpose that is measurable. It requires the leader to prioritize between all the good things which might be accomplished and declare a bull’s-eye for the team to hit. This is the measure by which its success will be judged– did we accomplish X?

3. HOW are we accomplishing this one thing?

5 foot view.

If you are a leader of leaders –and not just a manger of doers–it is imperative you hand them some of the rope at this point.  Leaders must be empowered to decide their tactics that meet the answer provided to question #2 based upon their connection with their people.

If you provide them exact tactics, they are no longer leaders working under you but simply doers. If you completely provide every detail of the tactics to be used, good leaders will get frustrated because they are stifled from leading. If you release the tactics to your team with clear guidance on what you want them to accomplish, you can spend your energy on other 50,0000′ and 20,000′ feet ideas.

How to Be a Discipler (According to Paul)

How do we make a disciple? In I Thessalonians 2, the Apostle Paul gives us one of the clearest road maps to becoming an effective discipler of others. As I read it today, several things jumped off the page that I wanted and needed to capture in writing. This chapter is  packed with instructions to us to  reach people and build lives.

The Initial Action of a Discipler

 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.

Start and end with the Good News of Jesus. A Christlike life and ethic follows the Gospel not vice versa.

The Confidence of a Discipler

For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness— nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.

  • If you fear your own ability to disciple someone, don’t fret. You’ve been entrusted to be a disciple maker by God Himself. Even if you are merely a few steps ahead of someone in your Christ following journey, you can turn to them and say, pothole here, I hit it (or almost hit it), be aware. That act of self-disclosure is an act of disciple making
  • You and I aren’t in this process to gain worldly accolades as “greatest disciple maker of the year award.” It’s a long and steady process.

The Disposition of a Discipler

But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

These two verses are packed with wisdom.

  • All discipleship starts with truly caring about the person you are discipling. Paul states his deep affection for those whom God has entrusted to him. People must be dear to us before we can disciple them. They are not widgets. It will get messy. If you want to see neat and tidy, go to a morgue–death. The birthing room at the hospital is messy–life.
  • We have to be willing to not just block off discipleship to convenient teaching sessions. Paul says it is an imparting of life by living life on life. I remember an acquaintance of mine who only had two weeks to disciple a new believer before he left the country. He said to the new believer, “You are going to come live with me and we are going to do life together 24/7 for two weeks. You are going to see my in work clothes all the way until I am in my underwear for bed.” Underwear discipleship, good concept.

The Content of a Discipler

For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 

Paul, and our, central point of what we are imparting is the Gospel of Jesus. He kept the main thing the main thing and so should we, as disciplers. Doing apologetics has a role, but when we get down to questions like, “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” we have to steer back to the main thing.

The Behavior of a Discipler

10 You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers;

We serve God and the disciple. It’s not the other way around. We don’t ask selfish things to seek self-gain from the disciple or our motives may be questioned. We are NOT TV evangelist (give to me and you’ll get blessed) but servants (I am blessing you because I’ve already been blessed by God).

The Activity of a Discipler

11 just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children,12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

Our primary activity is to:

  • exhort-means to come alongside and remind them of what Jesus said and to clarify its application. The Greek word for exhort is paraklesis, which is very similar to the word Jesus uses of the role of the Holy Spirit in John 14. The Holy Spirit clarifies and reminds of what Jesus said in that passage (Thanks Pastor Jed Walker for a great teaching on this). We are to do the same.


  • encourage-doesn’t simply mean to compliment. In literally means “to put courage into someone.” This is key, for every disciple will face challenges and even failure. They must have a hope beyond themselves. This is exactly the message of the Gospel.
  • implore–to call to action, not merely knowledge
  • We do this in the same way we were shepherd our own children.

The Hope of a Discipler

13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

At the end of the day, the empowering of the disciple comes from God, not us. We are merely to be faithful. The Holy Spirit enacts the results. This is our hope.

The Proof to a Discipler

14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, 16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.

  • Paul says he knew he had made a disciple when they too became disciplers. This is the meaning of imitator.
  • Another key sign of that a disciple had been made was that they were able to stand up under challenge and opposition, even persecution. Disciples aren’t sailboats blown by the wind. Rather they are propeller driven ships who can push through a storm.

The Desire of a Discipler

17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while—in person, not in spirit—were all the more eager with great desire to see your face18 For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—and yet Satan hindered us.

We should love those we disciple to the degree that we eagerly desire to spend time with them.

The Crowning Glory of a Discipler

19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

At the end of the day (and of our lives), our joy is in those who have responded to the Gospel and become fully developed followers of Jesus Christ. We get to be a part of this process. Everything else will pale in comparison to this when we stand before the Father.