What’s Your Plan B?

Married life is often full of second-guessing—especially when things fail to turn out like we had planned. We thought God was directing a decision only to watch things fall apart. We pray for open doors that remain firmly shut. We even wonder at times whether the person that we married was the right choice. What do you do when God doesn’t show up the way you thought he would.

That is the subtitle for pastor Pete Wilson’s new book, Plan B. It is a timely offering in an economic era when so many people continue to experience delays or outright failures with Plan A. When our Plan A fails many of us immediately question God—reminding me of the biblical story of Gideon in which he questions God’s call because things just haven’t gone according to plan. Of course, God tells Gideon in the book of Judges to “go with the strength that you have.”

In many ways, that is Wilson’s admonition as well for us who have struggled to make sense of our journey. Wilson’s advice centers on our ability to trust God in the midst of the pain. Wilson gives us the assurance that though we often feel out of control that God actually never is.

In my reading there was one particular line that was so striking to me that I had to write it down. It reads as follows “I’ve noticed that even those of us who have trusted our heavenly Father with our eternities often have a tough time trusting him with our tomorrows.” Wow! That is powerful. As believers we conceptually believe that God has all things under his control. Yet, when our Plan A doesn’t happen we struggle to feel that God is with us.

Wilson does an admirable job of conveying those classic Plan B situations. Sometimes they are issues of life and death. At other times, they are feelings of success or failure. Plan B situations run the gamut. We all have our Plan B moments.

From my perspective as a marriage expert, I think Wilson’s message is particularly salient for this field. As I suggested in my opening, marriage is full of Plan B situations. But, there are probably few relationships that hold the power to demonstrate God’s glory in a Plan B situation than the marital relationship. Plan B’s test our faith that our marriage is shaping us into the people that God has purposed us to become. Plan B’s shape our spiritual formation by replacing our self-centeredness with a God-centeredness.

I highly recommend Plan B for every Christian who lives life because one day you may need this reminder that it is God, not us, that is the originator of our Plans.

How to “Outlive your life”

I was enamored with the title of Max Lucado’s latest book, “Outlive your life”.

I imagined that this book was going to inspire the pursuit of God-ordained purpose. I expected a cheerleader on how to make our lives transcendent—leaving a legacy of stewardship that remains after our lifetime ends.

In other words, I was looking for a book that might capture the experience of Max Lucado whose accomplishments certainly will outlive him.

That is my personal desire as well. I pray that my life will impact marriages and families long after I am gone from the earth. Educating families about relationships that honor God is my purpose and passion. But, how do I live in such a way today that makes this possible? This was the question that I hoped this book answered.

I was, however, disappointed. It didn’t. Don’t get me wrong. Lucado makes many excellent points. We have to take time to notice the small things. We have to look to help those who are less fortunate than we are. We have to be willing to sacrifice our desires in search of God’s will. He makes these points and many other similar ones.

Yes, these are all valid points for which he offers biblical support for his assertions. But, I couldn’t help feeling like these are helpful as reminders but hardly the revelations for which I’d hoped.

If you are looking for something to remind you of our hope and our mission as believers then this book does that. And, it does so in classic Lucado style—with lots of real life vignettes to bring his points to life. But, if you’re looking for more you might be disappointed too.

The Final Summit – A Book Review

What is the key to success in our lives? We typically attribute “success” to financial wealth, physical health, or maybe a strong family system. It is true that these are all signs of success. But, do they adequately capture the essence of success?

In his book, The Final Summit, author Andy Andrews uses a fictitious account of our protagonist, David Ponder, to weave a story about the pillars for sustained success.

Our main character has built, lost, and rebuilt an empire based on character and financial acumen using seven principles that he was taught through a time-traveling experience with great leaders of the past. These principles are lessons for us all (my personal favorite is to make a decision to be happy).

But, the plot thickens. Based on the main characters ability to apply these seven principles he has been summoned to a celestial summit where the fate of humanity is in the balance. Great leaders in history have been called to answer a single question to change the downward slide of mankind.

I don’t want to give the spoiler. But, let’s just say that it involves an action that ultimately is the charge for all of us.

I spend most of my discretionary time thinking, speaking, and writing about issues of marriage, family, and leadership. This is the vineyard in which God has placed me. My responsibility is to be obedient to this sage charge.

Your specific vineyard may differ from mine. But, the charge is the same for you. We are all called to be the best stewards of what God has put in our hands. And, stewardship always involves action.

While I did not find this book, The Final Summit, to be an extremely innovative resource or to reveal deep mysteries, I do think it is an effective reminder. It reminds us that we must conquer our fears and inhibitions. It reminds us that we must be wise, courageous, and self-determined. And, in the end it reminds us that we represent Christ as others see what we DO.