Friday, June 29, 2012

Disciplemaking: You can't be what you can't see

Disciplemaking is about imitation… not just information.

(If video doesn't appear, click here.)

For more about a living Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life, go here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why I still love camp ministry...

Just back from a fantastic week of summer camp with a camp full of junior high students at Timber-lee in East Troy, WI.  This ain't your grandma's camp… see ridiculously fun interpretive dance video below:
(If video doesn't appear, go here.)

Every morning and evening I had the honor of bringing God's word at chapel. The students and staff of Timber-lee threw themselves into worshiping Jesus. 

The different cabins and groups made up fun themes for each day. Here's Mustache Monday. Nice.

An fun and encouraging note one of the students about how our family had impacted.

The theme of our camp this year was Transform (based on Romans 12:2). Since I don't have any magic ways to transform students, I invited them to study the Bible for themselves and talk directly to God. Guess what? Students testified that God had indeed begun to transform them. Funny what happens when we get out of God's way.

Ivy enjoyed the lake at Timber-lee… especially on those really hot days.

And these crazy kids enjoyed the leather shop… crafting their own wrist bands. Not sure why we let them have the mallets though.

And then there were the frequent visits to Timber-lee's Nature Center that includes a creation walk.

A note we received from one of the camp counselors.

Did I mention the continuous games of carpet ball? 

 That fascinating place where junior highers, artistic expression, and the worship of God intersect.

When the week was over, about 50 students indicated that they wanted to begin a relationship with God! Many more indicated they re-engaged their relationship with God! Thank you for praying.

A very encouraging note from a student.

The official Timber-lee video for our week of camp with them.  Enjoy.
(If video doesn't appear, go here.)

Here's a fact: We couldn't take any of part of this Jesus-like disciplemaking adventure without people like you who love us, pray for us, and give to Cadre. We need you. You make our ministry powerful and possible. Every expression of partnership breathes life into our souls… so we can do the same for others! For more information about how you can partner with God, the Allisons, and Cadre Ministries, go here. To make a secure online tax-deductible donation, go here.  Cadre Ministries is a recognized 501(c)3 ministry.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Funday: Yodeling with my friend Jesus

A disciplemaking way of life means you do everything with Jesus... even yodeling.

(If video doesn't appear, go here.)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A prayer that will change your life...

"Honestly, I think the Disciplemaker's Prayer is one of the easiest, most tangible, momentum gathering resources for disciplemaking that I have seen. It prompts people to begin praying for disciplemaking to happen even if they don't yet fully understand all the shifts that a disciplemaking-centered ministry calls for. 
When I share this prayer with others, I see their eyes open as they get for the first time what I mean when I say we need to be more intentional in disciplemaking (and even in evangelism). The prayer lived out is giving us clarity and missional shift.
I especially like The Disciplemaker’s Living Guide, page 1 as it invites a conversation on the prayer through the lens of Scripture."

For the next 21 days, I challenge you to pray The Disciplemaker's Prayer every day… and see what God does in your life. (Click the image to enlarge for reading… and praying.)
Here's something that's way better than praying The Disciplemaker's Prayer by yourself: praying it together with one or more people every day for the next 21 days.  And here's something even better than that: drinking great coffee with your friend(s) AND praying the Disciplemaker's Prayer together. (More here at—check it out.)

And if you're really crazy, you can study the seven passages of Scripture to see exactly where The Disciplemaker's Prayer is drawn from in the Bible.

Now Available:
The Disciplemaker's Prayer post-card size and business-card size.
* Disciplemaker's Prayer/Cadre Missionaries coffee mug.

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
1. Go here and submit your email.
2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Funday: My camp survival kit

I'm speaking at Timber-Lee Camp this week. This is my camp survival kit: My Cuisinart coffee maker, Eysals Coffee, and yes… we bring our own water for coffee when we're at camp. Gotta control all the variables if you want to make coffee at the level I have grown to love. Can you say "coffee snob"?
I would deeply appreciate your prayers for us this week as I speak to about 400-500 junior high students. Some of these students don't have a relationship with Jesus but need to! Many of these students have a relationship with Jesus… but they need to re-engage it. So please pray for us all.
I will be speaking every morning and evening. I ask you to pray what Paul asked the Colossians to pray for him: "And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ.... Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should." —Colossians 4:2-3

THANK YOU for saying a quick prayer for us… RIGHT NOW!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Disciplemaking Dad

This morning I read 1 Chronicles 27. For the most part, it's a pretty boring list of names of dead guys. (Just keeping it real people.) However, near the end of the chapter, I read something that really piqued my interest. (Or perhaps that's just when my coffee kicked in?) In a list of people who worked for King David, I read this little tidbit: 
"Jehiel son of Hacmoni took care of the king's sons."  —1 Chronicles 27:32b
Hmmm. So David farmed out his responsibilities of fathering his sons to another guy?
Frankly, I don’t know to what extent David abdicated his fatherly responsibilities to Jehiel instead of being with his children himself—but David's fatherly neglect seems to be significant in the Bible (1 Kings 1:6). This certainly helps explain some of the reasons for the crazy family life David had (see 2 Samuel 13-19 for specific Davidic family train wrecks).  In spite of all his success as a king, it seems David wasn't a Deuteronomy 6 disciplemaking dad.
A Look Into the Mirror of Fatherhood
But before we throw David under the bus, perhaps we'd better take a good look at the dad in the mirror.  Are you a disciplemaking dad, or are you simply hoping the "Jehiels" of our culture—school teachers, pastors, Sunday school teachers, youth workers, coaches, etc,—will do the job of disciplemaking for you? Those people have important roles (and I've served in each of those roles throughout my life), but they can't replace dad.
Dad, when are you going to embrace your identity and God-given responsibility as a disciplemaker of your kids? It's time we call fatherhood what it really is: disciplemaking.
A Very Interesting Juxtaposition
In Ephesians 6:4, we read, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children [to irritate intensely to the point of anger]; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."  It's very interesting to me that Paul juxtaposes not provoking our kids to anger with proactively training them. Think about that contrast.  One of the major ways we as fathers provoke our kids to anger and resentment is by not intentionally discipling them ourselves.  In this respect, we are a lot like David... aren't we?
"But," you're thinking, "I don't know how to disciple my kids?" Welcome to the club. Now, that we've all acknowledged our lack of experience and incompetence, the question remains: Will you join the rest of us clueless dads in the adventure of figuring out how Deuteronomy 6:4-9 applies to your life as a disciplemaking dad?
A Deuteronomy 6 Disciplemaking Dad
Since before the time of Jesus, Jews have recited Deuteronomy 6:4-9 every morning and evening.  This portion (along with two other selected portions) of Scripture is called the Shema.  Interestingly, when Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest commandment of all the commands, he quoted a portion of the Shema—Deuteronomy 6:5.  I’d say that makes Deuteronomy 6 worth looking into!
5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”—Deuteronomy 6:5-9
Ponder verse 7 for a moment. Can you think of a single moment in any given day when you're not doing one of these: sitting, walking, lying down or getting up? Me neither.

What's the point?

A Deuteronomy 6 disciplemaking dad doesn't simply lead a family devotional ti
me or drive the kids to church. The Deuteronomy 6 disciplemaking dad is actively engaged in discipling his kids through the whole of life as it unfolds... talking about God and his commands when he sits at home, when he's driving in the car, at night when everyone is going to bed, and in the morning when everyone gets up. The disciplemaking classroom is not a classroom at all... it's the art and skill of bringing the Bible and the life of Jesus into the ebb and flow of ALL of life.
No Perfect Dads Allowed
Great news dad.  You don’t have to be perfect to be a Deuteronomy 6 disciplemaking dad.  You do have to be present AND engaged though.  More good news—and my own personal testimony: You can fail often and still be a disciplemaking dad IF you confess your sins to God and your kids when you fail them... receive forgiveness... and start anew on the path of becoming a Deuteronomy 6 disciplemaking dad.  Your family doesn’t expect you to be perfect (they live with you... they already know you’re not perfect).  They do expect you to be honest.  Admitting you’ve got room for growth keeps everything real.  It also keeps you humble and dependent upon God—and that sounds a like a disciplemaking dad to me.
Does all this sound like too much work?  Make no mistake about it: Being a Deuteronomy 6 disciplemaking dad IS a lot of work.  It totally wrecks your schedule.  There are no shortcuts.  And it will cost you more in time, money, and energy than you ever dreamed.  But it’s worth it.  Most important: God wants you to be a Deuteronomy 6 disciplemaking dad.
A Wake-Up-and-Smell-the-Coffee Moment
Here's a wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee moment for dads: In order to make disciples of your kids, you're going to have to BE a disciple of Jesus first. This is why Deuteronomy 6:6 says that the commands of God are to be on OUR hearts FIRST... and then verse 7 says we can impress them on our children.  You can’t give away that which you don’t possess.  You have to be a disciple of Jesus if you want to make disciples of Jesus.

But where can you start your adventure as a disciplemaking dad? 

Here are 25 adventures in following Jesus together. It's perfect to use with a couple of friends or with your wife or with you family around the dinner table. What are you waiting for?

Complete details here.

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
1. Go here and submit your email.
2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Funday: On love, marriage, and clueless men

This year (2016), Stacy and I celebrate 28 years of marriage! (And they said it would never last! But enough about my in-laws. Just kidding… they might be reading this.) I think Stacy deserves some sort of marriage metal of honor for being married to me all these years.

Let's face it people. I mean well, but, as a man, I'm fairly clueless. Sometimes I even want to "get it" but just can't. (Oh the stories Stacy could tell :  )

For example, when I first read the Song of Solomon, God's handbook on love and marriage, I wasn't picking up what Solomon was laying down. Know what I mean? Based on the poetic descriptions given by the Lover… here's how I pictured the woman:

"How beautiful you are, my beloved, how beautiful you are!
Your eyes are like doves behind your veil.
... Your hair is like a flock of goats...
Your teeth are like a flock of newly shorn ewes...
Your lips are like a scarlet thread,
Your temples are like a slice of pomegranate...

"...Your neck is like the tower of David
built with rows of stones
on which are hung a thousand shields...
... Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle
which feed among the lilies...

"... Your lips, my bride, drip honey,
Honey and milk are under your tongue...
And the fragrance of your garments
is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
Your belly is like a heap of wheat...

"... Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon,
which faces towards Damascus..."

(From The Song of Solomon chapters 4 and 7.)

I guess all that to say:
1. Here's to clueless men like me who married well.
2. I love being married to my best friend.
3. Please celebrate God's goodness with us.
4. Pray for Stacy. I'd love another 27 years if she can make it.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

The place where all real leadership must begin

If you're not trying to become a good leader at home, you're not a leader.

You're an actor.

And if you think leadership at home is you doing all the talking and decision-making while your wife and kids mindlessly submit, you're not a leader.

You're a dictator.

And if you think that a top-down type of "leadership" is going to actually work effectively anywhere besides the military, you're not a leader.

You're a comedian.

So what does leadership in the home really look like?

Here's a thought.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

I'm not babysitting, I'm fathering

by Bill Allison

Often when I'm in public with my kids and my wife isn't there, people take a look at all of us and then smile and politely say to me, "You're baby sitting today."

Excuse me?  Babysitting?  Really?

I know they're trying to be nice, but let's think about this for a moment.

The only way I'd be babysitting in this scenario is IF I were with someone else's kids.

When I'm with my kids, I'm not a babysitter. I'm a father.

So, let's call it what it really is: fathering.

And let's call fathering what it really is... disciplemaking.