Category Archives: Christian

Our Generation

A dear friend, who edited my early books, missionary, teacher, office manager, magazine editor, secretary to a denominational head, went to be the Lord on Good Friday. We have not had any communication for about three years when Alzheimer’s set in.

She married for the first time after she retired. We visited the couple in Florida and listened to their stories of mission work. Marion baked bread to sell to raise money for mission projects in her Florida condo. She and Ernie shared their lives and asked about our work and lives.
Miss Marion was of a different generation. I’ve always wondered how we moved into the relationship. She used her blue or red editor’s pencils with abandonment. She was more liberal with verbal affirmations. When too many weeks passed without a note from us, she would call to ask about us.
I have been surprised and confused by my reaction to her death. I’ve tried to name the deeper reasons. I’m glad she is free from her illness. She’s home with Jesus and family. I, however, feel as if I have lost something more than precious—it feels as if I have lost a supporting pillar: Someone who believed in me when she had to cast a minority vote. A disconnect with a former life.
One of her friends said she was like King David who…

“When David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried…” (Acts 13:36a).

That may be the finest of all epitaphs.

In the 80a—90s, Youth evangelist Ron Hutchcraft said the Millennials would be characterized by four things. One was that suicide was an option. Today in America, suicide is the second cause of death among young men of that generation. In England, it is the number one cause and surpasses the next three causes combine.

Matthew West captured us with his song, “My Name Is.” His book by the same name was released yesterday. He and Max Lucado talked about the subject matter and emphatically stated a basic issue among us is that many do not know “who we are.”

“Served his/her own generation.”

I have young friends who have responded to the call to minister to evangelism on college campus and other ethnic and geographical peoples. I do not think I have ever heard an altar call given to minister to the Millennials who do not know who they are or what their calling is. Lost. Vulnerable. Angst. See no purpose. It is a large constituency.

Who has the passion? Where is the ignition point for the belly fire? Who is doing that ministry, today? It demands a special call and education.
A generation in secular terms is defined by historical/social events that shape the youth who live in the era. A biblical generation is 40-years. A ministry generation are the people alive in your “neighborhood” during your lifetime. We found Carole’s mother served her generation. We were not aware that her “generation” covered a wide age spectrum.

“I’m Possible!”

Can we talk?
Copyright 2017 D. Dean Benton dean@deanbenton.org

Ran across two podcasts that speaks to this crucial work: “and Sons.com” and “Dan Allender Center”

Channels deep enough to…

Andy Andrews lives near Fairhope, Alabama which is on the Gulf off toward Mobile. He was talking in the current podcast about a bookstore called Page & Palet http://www.pageandpalette.com in Fairhope. He described it as one of the 5 or 6 most important bookstores in the country. He says: spend 2-3 hours in that store and you will likely run into one or more major author. Then Andy said that lots of authors are moving to the Fairhope area.

If you want to know where photographers go to breathe pure photography air, that would be in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area. Just as painters and writers gathered in Paris in decades past.

It is easy to figure out why so many country and gospel musicians migrate to Nashville and why writers and creatives have found Franklin, Tennessee a good place for home. That is partly because Nashville is where records are made, music is written and business is done. That is where Tootsie’s is and where agents hang out looking for the next big star. But Taos and Santa Fe is about creativity.

Our son has wanted to go to New Mexico to breathe that 21st Century tin-type oxygen. It is like a working pilgrimage to the spout where the creativity blessing comes out.

One of our friends believes our town of declining 35,000 souls was founded and set aside by either God or something to be Hollywood East—the place where movies are made and creatives gather. He has a Native American soul—I think. He thinks that until the city becomes a certain population, that creative “magic” is locked up, held in check.

Karl Rove said this morning it would be fun to watch a Trump—New Gingrich ticket since Gingrich has an idea a minute. That is not a new description of Newt. Where did he learn that or where did he go/where does he go to “breathe the creative air?”

I am tempted to take a quick drive to Fairhope, Alabama to visit my nephew’s family (better check if they are in before I fuel up) and go breath the air at Page & Palet. I know exactly what the air is like and I know it is magic. But even stronger is a desire to establish an enclave close by where people will visit to interact, sit together with great coffee and exchange wonderful, crazy and wise ideas. A place where I will benefit from whatever is in the water and air that stimulates and enriches.

I’m reading Lincoln’s Battle with God by Stephen Mansfield. (2012). Lincoln found New Salem, Illinois. Some historians say New Salem was his alma mater. He came of that experience with the ability to process his dreams and hone his thinking. One of the chamber of commerce statements is that New Salem was settled on the Sangamon River with channels deep enough to….

I’m wondering what it would take to build that kind of enclave on the banks of the Mississippi.

©2016 D. Dean Benton—Writer & Wonderer—bentonministris.com

Good Vibes

The thought is outrageous. Craig McConnell, associate of John Eldredge, was on the Ransomed Heart podcast talking about “What brings you life?” He was asked how he finds the answer. The first way, he suggests, is to ask God—this is so outrageous—ask God what He created you to do with Him. What does God want you to do so He (God) can enjoy doing it with you?

Going to the coffee shop could be God’s idea to bring me “life”? I seldom go to a coffee shop to drink the coffee. I have a full drawer with a dozen coffee flavors and Carole keeps bringing home bargain coffee that through some miracle she will like. No, darlin’ that is the way coffee tastes and only through my bartending skills, I produce an interesting coffee flavor—on a good day.

I go to coffee shops or bagel stores to experience God as I pray, sort out His plans or in an effort to hear from Him. I don’t always get it straight—but Jesus seems to show up in certain places—and for me it is a coffee shop or specific parking lots or on the river front. Recently, I’ve been drawn to a gravel road overlooking a flood plain.

“When the ‘constellation’ of vibrating energies between two people move toward one another—in all their juxtapositions and oppositions—and those vibrations are in sympathy with each other, we say two people are ‘on the same wavelength,’ or they ‘make beautiful music together’ or ‘give off good vibes.’ (Leonard Sweet A Cup of Coffee At The Soulcafe,  B&H Publishers, 1998)

Some go for a run. Some work with clay. God apparently likes to ride Harley bikes with some of my friends. What does God want you to do today that He can enjoy doing it with you?

Lord, what do you want to do with me today? What can we do together that will cause the vibes between us become sympathetic?

©2014 D. Dean Benton http://www.bentonministries.com/

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Branch Office

Our son was with us for a couple of days and I benefited big time. He brings value to me with his vocational expertise, his knowledge of the Bible, his shared personal journey and coaching questions. He is a charter member of our personal tribe.

We are upgrading a couple areas of ministries. He served as a coach asking questions that made me clarify my thinking. Synergy happened. His ideas and mine collaborated and produced new thinking that would not have happened without his input. Perhaps these ideas will produce products that will enrich the wider population.
GIFTS
Whether I talk about natural talents or Spiritual gifts, unused gifts do not just atrophy, they abscess. I like that phrase, but it has serious consequences. If we love to do something, feel called to do certain things, love to see the results of our gifted work, but do not use those gifts, the vacuum will birth depression, anxiety and boredom.

Blended singing voices are food for my soul. The blending of specific voices produce a sound that enriches me and I get lonesome for that sound entity as if it were a person. A singer I admire, but do not personally know appears to be in distress. I committed to pray for him. I can’t sing with him, but I am feeling some responsibility for the survival of his gift use. I’m finally not responsible for his gift any more than he is for mine, but since I sense I am to pray with him during this season, I have a measure of responsibility. All faithful churches, groups and tribes have responsibility and joy to call forth, nurture and sustain gifts.
Unused gifts are not just something we can sell from the bargain box on eBay. God gave us gifts for a reason and we will give an accounting to Him for them. Undiscovered, undeveloped, unused gifts are especially grievous to God, if Jesus’ parables are accurate.

“I would really like to…” is often a description of a God planted dream about your life purpose. I plead with you to take seriously the gift(s) and talents. Don’t cheat me or others out of what will help us fulfill our callings. Fulfill our lives!
CALLING
“For God’s sake…and yours, take your calling seriously!” I want to yell that at those whose gifts and talents are allowed to be dormant.
Carole’s sister bought her a bird house. It is cute and small. The floor plan is four by six inches. We hung it in the tree outside the living room window. I thought it was too late in the season, but a young couple moved in almost immediately. (Lots of talk in recent months about high rent and few rental properties in our city.) They built a nest. Every time one of them carried a stick in and placed it, he or she stepped out onto the branch and announced to the neighborhood they were home and furnishing the place. Of our resident and visiting birds, those two birds—about twice the size of humming birds—have the largest voices. They are taking seriously the command to multiply and to sing.
In contrast, our granddaughter and her dad have acquired a homing pigeon. It landed and stayed. Apparently, Hannah says, it got lost on its way home.
Take your calling seriously and the value you add to your world. I wonder if you appreciate the value you add. Perhaps you need a branch to stand on.

D. Dean Benton

Benton Quest House