A Question from a Son Part 1

I get a lot of questions.

Some are rooted in laziness.  “I just had a dream about an aunt who had transcendental meditation tattooed on her forehead.  I am sure that is why I am having trouble getting a date.  There is a label on my Seat of Dominion.  Can you teach me all about transcendental meditation so I can get free?”

“Am I your own personal Google?”

Some are rooted in procrastination.  “I am going on a missions trip to Tierra del Fuego.  My team and I have been praying into this for six months and we are bursting with excitement.  I need to know the redemptive gift of Argentina, Tierra del Fuego and the community of Ushuaia.  And do you know anything about the leylines and portals there?  I really, really need the information tonight because we are leaving for the airport at 5:00 a.m.”

“Then I predict you are going to be severely disappointed!”

Some are so deeply vested in entitlement it is hard to believe.  “Arthur, I just saw your album on curses at my bridge partner’s home.  I am ‘way too busy to listen to all that stuff, but I need those curses off my life TODAY.  Call me between 5:00 and 6:00 to pray those off me.  Please be on time.  I leave for the gym at 6:00 sharp.”

“You have bigger issues than curses, Ma’am!”

In the midst of e-mails like that — and all of those are almost word for word from real e-mails (although my responses were fraudulently a bit kinder that what I was actually thinking) — I occasionally get an e-mail from a son.

They are so refreshing — makes my soul sing.

Our ubiquitous Sally from East Overshoe, Iowa was having a spectacular sonship day.  She sent me an e-mail to die for.  Here is the beginning of our thread.


I just finished listening to AHS Part 2 and heard something.  You talked about a growth project.  How do you do a growth project?

I did see one note in your blog where you posted about what would happen if we took 90 days and devoted it to receiving everything G-d has.  Would that be considered a growth project??

Do you have any info anywhere on that?

Many thanks,


Dear Sally,

I was going to produce an album on the subject last year, but it got hijacked by other projects, so I don’t have anything in a transferable form.  

The first step is to have a clearly identified objective.  Often we start with one of the fruit of the Spirit or a character issue, or getting to know one member of the Trinity better.  A growth project is different from healing.  It is going from good to great in a given area.

So do you have a clear focus on where you would like to see some transformation?


Thank you for responding.

Yes! Faithfulness is what’s been in my heart most, especially at the turn of the year.

One down. 

Next step is to figure out how long a project you want this to be.  Three months intensive, or marinate yourself in the subject for two years, or something in between?  There is no right answer, just a pragmatic decision as to how much time and effort to invest in one growth area.


I think somewhere in between. Three months intensive, slow down and soak 3-6 months. Then three months intensive again and soak again.  I do the same with other things… seems to work well.

So, ball park a year. 

That works.

Tell me what Bible study tools work the best for you.  This is not about how good you are and how many things you can do.  What WORKS THE BEST for you?  Of the 50 tools out there, each person has three or four that “sing” for them when they lean into them.

And second, will anyone else be involved?  Do you have a prayer partner or two, someone who will hold you accountable for metrics, perhaps, or a person you can brainstorm half baked potatoes with?  Or are you walking a lonely journey right now?

Again, this is not a right/wrong test.  I simply need to know what cards you have in your hands so we can craft an appropriate strategy.  A reality moment, that’s all.  If it is just you, so be it.  We will work with that.


Glad it’s not about being good because I’m not a great studier, not really sure how.


– I’m into words and a Hebrew junkie for anything OT.  I bounce between the closest Bible, Hebrew interlinear, Strong’s, Internet – Blue Letter Bible for some commentary.  Should I add something?  I’ll get more cards if I need them!


– I do have a solid metrics keeper and sounding board/potato baker.

Sally, you could rock this assignment. 

I am up to my eyebrows in a last minute assignment.  Will respond tomorrow. 

Meanwhile can you flesh out a little bit more what you mean by the word faithful and how you want to be different in a year?


To be continued

Copyright January 2014 by Arthur Burk

From the Hub

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9 Responses to A Question from a Son Part 1

  1. ruthiespage says:

    Read the ‘parts’ backward from 3 to 1. very good. You challenged me several years ago to read Genesis 1 for 90 days. (was in a group teaching in San Antonio) Absolutely changed everything! How I saw the rest of the book, the redemptive gifts and is still my favorite portion of scripture. Love the concept of studying a character quality for 90 days. I’ll be seeking the Lord as to my next 90 study. (why would I wait so long to do it again???)

  2. Omotara says:

    This is one of your funniest posts 🙂

    Sent from my mobile device


  3. Narola Grady says:

    Gotta love those Iowans, Arthur. There’s a lot of good people in the Frozen Tundra. 🙂

  4. francyes says:

    This is encouraging! I love being in on the good stuff! I learned things from the post and the comments so far.

    I haven’t added any commentaries to my studying. I’ve studied tiny subjects but never longer than I month. I was amazed at what the word “grace” yielded and I only studied it a week. I kind of feel like I’m frolicking through a candy store at the idea of 3 months or more.

    Thank you Arthur for being a “devotee to the school of design”. Everybody needs this freedom. I’m so glad to have it.

  5. Kate Mazur says:

    I’m still working out some kinks, but I was thinking this morning of the difference between when we eat from the knowledge of good/evil verses from the tree of life. This post goes right along with LIFE. Someone once said we can try to scoop the darkness out the window with a bucket (which never works) or we can just turn on the light and the darkness vanishes. Mind still a bit clogged but light is coming. Hearing about somebody else’s bible study tools & personal goals pings LIFE and is RE FRESH ING and fun. I’m used to doing it mostly alone with no external feedback or grid, and so being “in on” someone else’s journey is quite pleasing to my spirit and very encouraging. On a soul level, it’s just plain fun to be in on some son ship conversation. With all this weeding in my personal life (which is desperately needed and oooooh so hard) it’s nice to get some fresh watering, too. Thanks for sharing!!! Seems the team of excellent, diligent, disciplined folks is already here. Hmmmm…. Fun. Sons arise!

  6. Linda says:

    I just find it astonishing that you get those kind of emails Arthur…. sounds like really immature Christianity. Interesting that you said: “Tell me what Bible study tools work the best for you.” I’ve been struggling to stick to daily Bible readings for quite some time. Finally found a version and a website resource that worked for me during the Advent season – I found them out of desperation as I found I was not feeling particularly ‘Christmassy’ for various reasons. Amazing how pain can cause us either to retreat and give up or make us grow! Wonderful insights…

    • SLG says:

      Cheering you on, Linda. I used to be of the school of character. Set the bar high, push yourself to achieve and expect the Lord to bless you the most when you are paying the highest price for the prize.

      I have since become a devotee of the school of design. There have to be 500 ways to engage the Word of God and God designed people for each of those way. Surf widely and find something that is God’s design for you.

      And yes, I am a bit shocked when I get those e-mails too. Christianity aside, there are some people whose mommies dropped the ball in the manners department.

      • Linda says:

        I’ve probably been like that myself in the past – if not with Christian leaders – but with more mature Christian friends – demanding answers from them & even being abusive in that due to my own issues. Just out of interest the resource I started using was this: http://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/bcp-daily-office/today?version=VOICE Also been looking a bit more into ‘dislocated exegesis” after learning about it from a book I have been reading http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2011-03/dislocated-exegesis

      • Linda says:

        I guess my thoughts about character & design would be that character is what pushes you through the pain to embrace your design! So in my case I knew that my Bible reading was not quite what it should be & because I have developed character and Christian maturity that there was a desire in me to get deeper with the Lord. Therefore I desired to seek out the Bible reading plan that would fit with my design – through a series of trials and error I have finally found the right thing (and also I am sure God led me to it as well). Praise his glorious name forever! 🙂

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