My friend Buddy leads a ministry whose purpose is to provide spiritual direction for pastors, para-church workers, and other church leaders. In the last issue of the Worldview Church e-Report I wrote about one of the ways God has used Buddy’s ministry in my life: by leading silence and solitude retreats. Now Buddy has expanded his ministry by writing a devotional guide for participation in Lent. Actually, Buddy wrote the guide for his three grown children during his own personal celebration of a recent season of Lent. As Buddy wrote to his children in the devotional’s Preface:
Beginning with Ash Wednesday, this devotional book will guide you daily into John’s gospel journey of Jesus’ passion-the cross and resurrection.
I wrote these daily during the Lenten season of 2007, and edited them later the same year. This is for the three of you. I wrote them with no one else in mind.
Thankfully, Buddy’s family suggested he offer the book to others. And so he has.
Seven Questions to Consider
Besides using the Gospel of John as his framework, Buddy’s devotions are underpinned by seven questions that many of our worldview savvy readers will recognize. The book includes a bookmark that has what Buddy calls “the 7Q” printed as a memory aid. Throughout the book Buddy has these seven questions and their biblical answers on the forefront of his mind:
- Who is God?
- What’s He up to?
- Who are we?
- What’s gone wrong?
- How did God remedy the problem?
- What’s He up to now?
- How do we join Him?
Buddy learned these “Seven Questions of Spiritual Theology” and how to apply them to himself and others from Dr. Larry Crabb, who writes in the foreword of My Children…:
In becoming good dads, it would be helpful, I suggest, for men to take these questions seriously, to explore their answers, and to think about how to make their kids more aware of the questions and the importance of their answers.
By my definition, Buddy Odom is a good father, a very good one. He’s also a good friend, a man whose wild uninhibited passion for Jesus is contagious, a man who longs to deeply infect his children with his love for the Lord.
This book, Buddy’s first, powerfully illustrates what a good dad can do when he takes his spiritual fathering seriously: He will live God’s story with disciplined resolve and joyful hope and he will think of ways to tell that story to his children. My Children reflects both elements that define a good dad.
Trying a New Discipline
As I studied more about church calendar disciplines, an expectation and awareness of God grew in me. I am still quite unschooled in it all, but look forward to my remaining years of learning.
Therefore, this Lenten devotional was born out of a dual desire: that you might know and love our God more, and that you might grow in your Spiritual Theology (your knowledge of God).
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the practices of Lent, Buddy offers these “few nuggets”:
- Lent is an Old English word meaning Spring. Popular in early spring is the Lenten Rose (Spring Rose) that blooms early in Tennessee and suggests that new more new life is on the way.
- Lent is a period of penitence (often observed by fasting) and preparation for the most important event of a Christian, the death and resurrection of Christ.
- In honor of the Resurrection, Sundays are eliminated in the 40 days of Lent (no fasting). It is inappropriate to fast on a Sunday, because, to the Christian, each Sabbath is a little Easter!
- Some important Lenten days to remember:
- Ash Wednesday: the beginning of the 40 days of Lent and repentance expressed by putting ashes on the head, embracing our helplessness and need of God. (Traditionally, the ashes are burnt remains from last year’s Palm Sunday palm branches.)
- Palm Sunday celebrates the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and begins our remembrance of His final days (Holy Week).
- Maundy Thursday (sundown Wednesday till sundown Thursday): foot washing, Last Supper, Day before the Day of Preparation.
- Good Friday (Thursday night through sundown Friday): trial, flogging, crucifixion, removal from the cross and burial-all within a 24 hour period.
- Holy Saturday: The weekly of the Jews, the big Annual Passover celebration.
- Easter: Unfortunate English translation of the Hebrew word, Pascha, meaning Passover. 1 Corinthians 5:7 says, “Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.” In English it would say, “Christ our Easter lamb.”
Down to Earth Daily Devotionals
Buddy starts each day’s brief devotional with the address, “My children…” Jesus told us that in order to receive His kingdom we must become like children, and though Buddy writes to grown, college-educated children, he writes in a way that is accessible to all of us. Simple but deep. Devotional but solid.
Whether this upcoming Lenten Season (beginning February 25, 2009) will be your first to practice Lent or the next in a yearly tradition, My Children… is sure to be a fresh reminder of what God is up to in the world and in your own heart through the life, death, and resurrected life of Jesus.
If you’d like to order copies of My Children… for yourself, your children, your small group, or others, please use the information below:
My Children…A Lenten Devotional Guide
Buddy Odom, Barkhouse Publications, 2008
Price per copy: $7.75 (includes shipping and handling)
Email orders to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mail orders to: Barkhouse Publications, P. O. Box 31622, Knoxville, TN 37930
[This resource review is soon to be published in the next edition of BreakPoint’s Worldview Church e-Report, but I wanted my blog readers to be able to order it in time for Lent, which begins Ash Wednesday, February 25th.]