We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

The Stick Crafter

The Stick Crafter

What would you do if you returned home from war wounded, orphaned, and unsure how you could earn a living? I recently read of a man who faced just this situation–and “his wounds rendered all severe labor impossible.” (The Little Lamb, p. 115) What was he to do?

In Christoph von Schmid’s short story, The Redbreast (included in The Little Lamb), we are told that this soldier determined the following solution to his dilemma:

“One day, in the neighboring forest, he remarked that the old stumps and roots of the maple-trees that had been cut down presented some very beautiful pieces of streaked and variegated wood, but were little esteemed and rotting on the ground. He immediately set to work to make walking sticks and gift boxes out of this wood, and soon brought them to extraordinary perfection; the walking sticks . . . were especially admired, and met with a rapid sale” (p. 116).

What an incredible testimony to this man’s work ethic and creativity that he would take sticks which would ordinarily be left to rot and turn them into walking sticks for “gentlemen of high station!” (p. 116)

We live in an economy where many are struggling. Perhaps we should begin to prayerfully consider how we can exercise skills that God has given us as gifts. Truly, “in all labor there is profit” (Proverbs 14:23b) and “whoever gathers little by little will increase it” (Proverbs 13:11b).

In closing, I believe the stick-crafter’s words will end this moment on an encouraging note: “He who is not wanting in industry . . . will never want for bread. Even the most insignificant craft can support a man. Do your duty faithfully, and trust in God, and God will do His part, and will not permit you to lack His aid, which is so necessary” (p. 117-118).

Published in: on February 22, 2011 at 6:07 pm  Comments (1)  

Accumulated Effects

A father once wrote to me with the following concerns:

Dear Mark,

My 14-year-old son despises school. He sits at his desk and feels as if it’s a prison. He enjoys working with his hands–doing anything from mechanics and woodworking to farming and landscaping. When we tell him that God has gifted him, he just denies it and says he can’t do anything. I tell him that he needs a good education in order to get a good job, but I’m not sure I even believe this. Can you help?

I replied:

Dear Dad,

First, I would pray and ask God to open an apprenticeship door for your son. He needs the opportunity to work with someone who can teach him a skill and help cultivate his character at the same time. Until this door opens for him, teach him that his devotion to his studies may be the prerequisite for new and greater opportunities ahead. The lives of Joseph, Ezra, and Daniel would be good examples for him to follow, as each endured difficult preparation for the great doors of opportunity ahead.

Next, teach your son about the “Accumulated Effect of Knowledge.” This is what happens when we read, study, take tests, and learn about subjects that are both enjoyable and distasteful! Everything we read and study (except for things immoral) has a positive accumulative effect upon us. Your son might not think that school is helpful now, but down the road, whether he goes to college or not, he will find that opportunities open in direct proportion to his accumulated knowledge–it all adds up! The more we learn, the more potential for unique opportunities!

In Luke 8:18, Jesus says, “Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.”

There is much to learn–and many doors waiting to be opened. Are you looking for an apprenticeship opportunity where masters will mentor apprentices with excellence? Learn more about The Lamplighter Guild for Creative Disciplines at www.lamplighterguild.com–and spread the word!


Someone did hack into our Lamplighter blog site and face book but this has been corrected. We apologize for this and we hope and pray that it will not happen again.

Published in: on December 27, 2009 at 8:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Raw Foods and the Reward

I was at a health food store this week in London and they talked me into raw foods diet for 30 days. There I learned why many Europeans are so slender. You see, during the world wars they didn’t have a lot of food so they learned to ration. It was found that the generations after the wars not only lived the longest but were the most robust and healthiest people that lived in modern times. The body apparently uses the most essential vitamins and minerals when there is less to eat. This generation though they ate less, they ate foods that were good for them, mostly raw. The abundance of food and it’s readily accessibility in the west may be the downfall of American health and the cause of the increase in obesity especially among children. There is an obvious lack of discipline and moderation. Maybe there is a connection to what Paul writes in the Scriptures: “whatever you do whether you eat, or you drink, do all to the glory of God.” Today is not a time for feasting, but for fortitude. It is a time for self discipline not self indulgence; for training, not channel surfing. I think one of the reasons we have become a self-indulgent culture is because we have lost sight of the reward. When you have something you long for, there is motivation and a willingness to endure hardship. Becoming self-disciplined in our self-indulgent culture is no easy task. So what is the reward? It is the abundant life that God has planned for us. It is God giving us the desires of our hearts. It is experiencing the exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think! Growing in self-discipline and godliness requires war time sacrifice that will lead to the most robust, physically and spiritually healthy generation in recorded history.

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 3:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Company of the Committed

This weekend I will be speaking in Western NY in Batavia and on Saturday, at Letchworth State Park. For me this is an opportunity to share God’s Word and redemptive hope to a people without a Savior. It is my hope that for my brothers and sisters in Christ it will be a time as Elton Trueblood writes: “The Company of Jesus is not people streaming to a shrine (or a new church building); and it is not people making up an audience for a speaker; it is laborers engaged in the harvesting task of reaching their perplexed and seeking brethren with something so vital that, if it is received, it will change their lives.”

Published in: on October 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Did You Know? Until the twentieth century, doctors often prescribed the smoking of pipes or cigarettes for asthma patients. Believing it was one of the ways of introducing medications directly into the patient’s bronchial tubes and lungs; nitrate powders, cubeb, and plant-derived stramonium were mixed with the tobacco. This practice continued until the late 1800’s when experimenters discovered that steam was a means to deliver medications directly to the lungs. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 7: “the excellence of knowledge is, that wisdom gives life to them that have it.” &

Published in: on September 23, 2009 at 4:18 pm  Leave a Comment  


Anyone can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right reasons, and in the right way – that is not easy. [Aristotle] “Be angry and sin not; do not let the sun go down upon your wrath, neither give place to the devil. &”

Published in: on September 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Education: 9 times out of 10

Education is not what a person is able to hold in his head, so much as it is what a person is able to find. I believe it was Daniel Webster who said that the truly educated man was not the one who had all knowledge in his head, but the one who knew where to look for information upon any subject upon which at any time he might want information. Each individual who wishes to succeed must get that kind of discipline. He must get such training that he will know where to go and get facts, rather than try to train himself to hold all facts in his head. In nine cases out of ten, the person who cultivates the habit of looking on the dark side of life is the little person; the miserable person is the one who is weak in mind, heart and purpose. On the other hand, the person who cultivates the habit of looking on the bright side of life, and who calls attention to the beautiful and encouraging things in life, in nine cases out of ten, is the strong individual, the one to whom the world goes for intelligent advice and support “What a man thinks in his heart, so he becomes.”

Published in: on September 1, 2009 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment