A Philosphy of Education from Louis L'Amour

The pioneers halted their westward wagon train to hold up against winter. Then they began thinking of staying right where they stopped. They began to think of building a community.

Of course, we must have a school, but the building is less important than the teacher. It is the teacher who makes the school, no matter how magnificent the building.

A school is wherever a man can learn. Mr. Shafter, do not forget that. A man can learn from these mountains and the trees, he can learn by listening, by seeing, and by hearing the talk of other men and thinking about what they say.
— Mrs. Macken in Louis L'Amour's Bendigo Shafter

It is easier to act yourself into a better way of feeling than to feel yourself into a better way of action.
— O. H. Mowrer

A Great Way to Understand the Bible Better

I am going through the book 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching by Wayne McDill (also known as my Dad) with a group from our church. Like many of you, most of them are not planning on becoming preachers. Although this book is written for those who desire to preach and teach God's Word, these skills are great for anyone who would like to understand and communicate the Bible more effectively. One of our students is a mom who takes her responsibility to disciple her children seriously.

The first skill is to complete a Structural Diagram of the passage you are studying. This part of the study helps you understand how the various words and idea in the text relate to one another. Here is an example of what it might look like.

I recorded a video of me explaining to my older children (who are going through the book with us) how to do a Structural Diagram of Phil 2:5-11.

Avoid These 4 Common Parenting Mistakes

Parents have been given the responsibility and authority to discipline and disciple their children (Eph 6:4). But it is critical that we move from discipline to discipleship. Leading our children to surrender their hearts to Christ is the goal (discipleship) not behavior modification (discipline). This charts demonstrates the movement.

Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him
is diligent to discipline him.
— Prov 13:24

Discipline is the use of external motivation to teach and control behavior (Prov 13:24). This starts very high at the beginning of life and decreases until our children are self-motivated adults. Discipleship is when we lead by example and teach our children to submit their own hearts to Christ (Prov 23:26). There are four ways we often do not follow this flow:

  1. We do not discipline our children.
  2. We discipline for too long.
  3. We try to reason with our children too early.
  4. We do not disciple our children.
My son, give me your heart,
and let your eyes observe my ways.
— Prov 23:26

Our ultimate goal in parenting is to raise mature, Christ loving believers. That cannot be accomplished through discipline. It is not a matter of behavior; it is a matter of love and faith. We can only influence our children to submit their hearts to Christ through a relationship of trust and love.

A really challenging part of parenting is the crossroad on this chart. From my experience this crossroads occurs somewhere around 11yr to 14 yrs of age. How can we successfully make this transition? RELATIONSHIP. Invest in your children. Spend time with them. Invite them into a discipleship relationship in which you can explain and exemplify what it looks like to follow Jesus.


How to Help Your Children Become Self Motivated

I am presenting a parenting seminar at Mt. Zion Wesleyan Church in Thomasville, NC this Sunday, Jan 25, 2015. Here are the notes. You can also download it as a pdf or view the prezi is used for the conference.


  • God has given parents the responsibility and authority to discipline and disciple their children (Eph 6:4).
  • Parenting should move from discipline to discipleship, from external motivation to internal motivation (Prov 13:24; Prov 23:26).
  • The ultimate goal for parents is to raise mature, Christ loving believers (Deut 6:4-9).


How to Help Your Children Become Self-Motivated

  1. Pray for your children to surrender their hearts to Christ (Eph 3:14-21).
  2. Teach your children truth from God’s Word (Psalm 19:7-11).
  3. Teach your children God’s purpose for life and how everything we do fits into it (Deut 6:4-9).
  4. Encourage and affirm your children (1 Thess 2:11-12).
  5. Offer new responsibility and freedom in response to obedience and respect (Matt 25:14-30).
  6. Correction can take the form of discipleship, instead of discipline, when there is respect and teachability (Psalm 25:8-15; 32:8-9).
  7. Give freedom to make their own choices so they can develop conviction (Heb 5:14).
  8. Help your children discover their gifts, talents, and interests and free and equip your children to purse them (Eph 4:7, 11-12).

How to Prepare Your Children for Greatness

I cannot play basketball like Michael Jordan or the violin like Itzhak Perlman. Neither can you. What did they have that I do not? Why could they perform the way they did while I am only skilled enough at their craft to watch? In the first place they had the gifts for it. Built into the genetic formula for these two very different men was a treasure of giftedness few people have.

Another difference between these two men and the rest of us is the time and effort they put into developing those gifts. While you and I were watching television as children, Michael Jordan at the same age was dribbling and shooting baskets. Itzhak Perlman was practicing his scales and double stops. They invested their freedom in disciplined practice of their skills while most of us were using up our freedom at something else. Ultimately they had the freedom to perform as one in a million can, while the rest of us are not free to do that.

My guess is that somebody, somewhere along the way, helped these two stars with their training. No matter what his gifts, everyone needs help. They were taught the basic principles of their craft, the technique for every skill they would need. And they practiced. They practiced hours. They practiced devotedly. They were driven to practice insatiably while other young people were making softer decisions about their time.

. . . You have to choose what you will be good at because you can be good at only a very few things.
— Wayne McDill, 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching

It is not too late.

It is not too late to devote your life to a great thing. Find what God built into you to do. Pick something that brings glory to God and changes peoples lives. I may not be something that earns you lots of money or fame. That doesn’t matter. Do it for God. Do it for love.

Aside from how personally challenging this is, I am also asking myself some questions as a parent.

  • Am I giving my children a vision for greatness and excellence?
  • Am I helping my children identify the gifts and talents God has given them?
  • Am I empowering them to develop these insatiably for God’s glory?
  • Am I expecting more from them than the average expectation of our culture?
  • Am I teaching them the fundamental truths of discipline and freedom?
  • Am I encouraging my children to invest their freedom instead of making softer decisions?
They invested their freedom in disciplined practice of their skills while most of us were using up our freedom at something else. Ultimately they had the freedom to perform as one in a million can.
— Wayne McDill

Freedom is not the absence of discipline;
Freedom is the fruit of discipline

The Eternal Covenant Maker and Almighty Creator [Yahweh Elohim]

This recording is the first in a series from Genesis 2, Our God Given Design. This teaching focuses on Genesis 2:4-6 and the name of God, Yahweh Elohim.

He is the Eternal Covenant Maker and Almighty Creator!

We also get a chance to answer the question of why the order of creation in Genesis 2 does not seem to be the same as the order in Genesis 1.

If you have any questions or want to add in, please leave a comment below.

Awesome Book Community and Tracking Tool!!

I recently rediscovered the website goodreads.com and its phone app.

Want to keep an accurate digital log of the books you own? goodreads.

Want to keep a list of books you want to read? goodreads.

Want to record books you have read and rate them? goodreads.

Want to connect with your friends so you can share your books and find out what they are reading and recommend? goodreads.

Want to read lots of book reviews and ratings? goodreads.

Want to do it all on your phone? goodreads app

Want to be able to scan a book and then add it to your lists? goodreads app.