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I publish WendellNotes for significant books I read to make their perspective available to friends and GIN subscribers who may not otherwise have time for them. Before I started writing WendellNotes in 2011, book notes were part of my Journal. [Brackets separate my comments from the author's.]

Whether or not experience led to expertise, depended entirely on the domain in question. The increase in correct IQ test answers with each new generation in the 20th century has been documented in 30 countries. Teaching kids to read a little early is not a lasting advantage.  Exploration is not just a whimsical luxury of education; it is a central benefit. “Winners” quit fast and often. Knowing when to quit is a big strategic advantage. We are works in progress claiming to be finished. Instead of working back from a goal, work forward from promising situations. As ambiguity and uncertainty increase, breadth becomes increasingly important.



The definition of justice is not self-evident. If it is to make sense or lead to a transformed vision of human relations, it requires a story. In the absence of a clear vision, reconciliation has largely become a matter of relief, mediation, advocacy and conflict resolution, the exclusive terrain of “experts.” The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts; it is beyond our vision. Without being well articulated, the vision can’t be sustained. The work of God’s reconciliation includes taking time to cultivate habits of ordinary peaceful existence—habits like listening, welcoming strangers, planting gardens, raising children and keeping house (Jer 29:5-7). Our original sin is the attempt to secure for ourselves what can be received only as a gift. Prior to the genocide, Rwanda was considered one of the best-evangelized countries in Africa--the killing happened amid explosive church growth. The church was clearly part of the story of brokenness. God draws very near to the most vulnerable—not because they’re any less sinful, but because they are the most sinned against. To learn to lament is to become people who stay near to the wounds of the world. Hope in our world is often confused with optimism and success. This is why we must learn to lament before turning to hope. Reconciliation without lament cheapens hope. The unique gift of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission is not that it unveiled the truth about historic injustices, but that it did so within an atmosphere of mercy and forgiveness. Over time, as leaders are present to the gap, their response grows and becomes more visible, public and pronounced.

Download this file (reconciling_all_things.pdf)reconciling_all_things.pdf69 kB

God’s heavenly logo for the days in which we live is the harvest moon, rising blood red. It’s more important to know whom you are called to be with than what you are called to do. I want to be different before I do anything different. Prayer itself is an art only the Holy Spirit can teach. Reading the Scripture is like putting food into our mouths: meditation chews it and prayer extracts its flavor. Prayer reverses the Fall, in which Adam asserted his independence. What if the call to pray is a call to bleed as well as to receive blessing? Whenever God sets about to do a new thing, he always sets his people praying. Hospitality begins by seeking to host the presence of God and continues with hosting visitors.

This is the most helpful view of the controversial LGBT issue I have come across.

Download this file (redeeming_sex.pdf)redeeming_sex.pdf106 kB

If what we offer to the world is a grumpy and constricted belief in God, then it is probably because we have a grumpy and constricted view of God. While food makes us live, stories are what make our lives worth living. Stories plunge the reader into a fictional world in such a way that when they return to reality, they perceive the world with more clarity and joy than before. They are one of the fastest and most effective ways to penetrate the human heart. Jesus told a better story. Idolatry is the worship of the parts instead of the whole. The feeling of wonderment is the source and inexhaustible fountainhead of [the child’s] desire for knowledge. 

Download this file (Reframation.pdf)Reframation173 kB

Jesus didn’t conquer the world by force; he did so by seizing the imaginations of his followers. He is the physical embodiment of God in the hearts of those who serve God. It is embodiment that creates spiritual authority. Being saved is not a single decision; it is a life-long process. Without some form of institutionalization, religious experiences will not sustain a religious movement. We cannot survive and prosper without some form of stability and order. God will change us when we act in his name. To obey confers knowledge of God that cannot be gained by any other means. We must deduce everything about God from what we know about Jesus. Nowhere does Jesus call us to worship him but he does demand obedience. The law of following is the law of belief

What distinguishes Western culture from other world civilizations is its missionary character—its transmission from one people to another in a continuous series of spiritual movements. This independence of cultural leadership from political power was a main factor that produced the freedom and dynamic activity of Western culture. One of the most remarkable features of medieval guild life was the way it combined secular and religious activities in the same social complex. It was in the life of the Church and the extension of the liturgy into common life by art and pageantry that the community-life of the medieval city found its fullest expression.

Spiritual growth is a process of replacing temporal appearances with eternal reality and living out of it. We will never know abundant life until the unseen and eternal realm is home to us in our everyday experience. God did not intend for us to live with a sin-consciousness but with a God-consciousness. You have His nature. Your deepest being wants to do your Father’s will, just as Jesus did. We give our time to whatever our passion is. God is a lover through you. Jesus could operate in this world with complete freedom because there wasn’t anything in this world that He wanted to possess more than His Father.

Today's lower growth rate is in many respects the result of choices that we wish to make in a rich society, from having fewer children to moving around less for work. There is a long-term shift from manufacturing (where growth has historically been high) to services (where growth has historically been lower). The scalability of intangible investments turns the economy into more of a winner-takes-all structure.

For most of recorded history the gods were in every land enthroned on the pinnacle of every major culture and civilization. Wherever there were people, there were gods. Then, in every place in which the gospel was received the signs of possession, individual and civilizational, would begin to disappear. If nothing is God, then anything and everything is God. One’s god is that which is one’s ultimate reality. Without God there was no more truth and no more reality. The world was God, and God was the world. Americans now serve and are mastered by the Baals of money, pleasure, success. Their land is also full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands. The computer represents the most sophisticated and advanced work of man’s hands. There had been another sexual revolution. It was the revolution by which biblical sexual ethics, ideals, and morality replaced those of the pagan world. The advent of the gospel broke the goddess’s spell. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court legalized the murder of unborn children. The 50th year after New York,, legalized abortion on demand came to its conclusion in 2020. Death came to America as it had in ancient times, in the form of a plague--COVID-19. In the Jubilean year of 2022, what had taken place in 1973, Roe v. Wade, was reversed, inaugurating a turning back.

Download this file (Return of the Gods.pdf)Return of the Gods222 kB

This inspiring story of a businessman’s ego, collapse, and recovery is replete with useful insights on managing people and life. It also includes the pivotal role played by a dear friend, Fritz Kling, who is now repeating through DeBoer Fellowship for the country of Myanmar what he did and others did through Richmond Christian Leadership Initiative,, for the city of Richmond.

Download this file (Risk Only Money2.pdf)Risk only Money172 kB

Sometimes not knowing is more valuable than knowing and a learner’s advantage kicks in. While experience provides a distinct advantage in a stable field, it can actually impede progress in an unstable or rapidly evolving arena. While truth may be eternal, knowledge is fleeting. We must learn to operate like our mobile devices, all data-processing power and negligible data storage. It is impossible to begin to learn what we think we already know. Rookie smarts—the twin powers of naïveté and chutzpah. Musk is an obsessed serial learner. Curiosity grows from a deep-seated belief that what you don’t know is more interesting than what you do know. Certainty prohibits learning, curiosity fuels change. The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. It is while striving that we feel joyful and most alive.

Download this file (Rookis Smarts.pdf)Rookie Smarts190 kB

The word saint is a noun form of the verb consecrate. The great paradox of judgment is that evil becomes fuel in the furnace of salvation. We need to know supremely these 2 subjects--God and the world. The imagination is an essential ministry in nurturing the life of faith. There is no other institution that suffers from time so much as religion. The whole labor of regenerating mankind has to begin again every generation.

Download this file (Run w t Horses.pdf)Run w t Horses.pdf135 kB

You can define the Christian life in a single word: trust. Legalists render themselves incapable of receiving grace. It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful. One of the surest ways to be unhappy is to insist on being happy at all costs. We must deduce everything about God from what we know about Jesus. The humility of Jesus consisted in his enthrallment with his Father.

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I wanted to be well, not wealthy. How do we as humans begin to fathom His plans? By slowing ourselves to His pace until we’ve gotten neutral. To make a decision: 1. Consult your Friend Jesus. 2. Gather the facts. 3. Watch for circumstances. 4. Get neutral. I transferred the careful due diligence of my business deals to my spiritual life. Slowing down is key. I forget to go to God in my areas of giftedness. Trust is a muscle that we must exercise. I was constantly projecting into the future, envisioning success or failure. Thinking out loud with people I trust removes some of my filters so that I hear the truth more accurately. Motives are about perspective; they identify the center of our lives. Never make important decisions in a state of distress.  Work hard not to impress. If you starve the lust of the flesh, your heart will yearn to be satisfied. All the troubles in your life are really cures to the poison of your old nature.

Download this file (Sacred Pace.pdf)Sacred Pace204 kB