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Questions
Posted by Clare

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Q:  A group in our church is discussing The 10 Second Rule. A few people in our group believe that you need to have a good attitude about obedience or it doesn’t please God. “The Lord loves a cheerful giver.” What do you think?  Peter

A:   Jesus actually told a parable to a group of religious leaders that addresses that question in Matthew 21:28-31a, “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?” The religious leaders answered correctly when they said “the first”.

I do believe God loves a cheerful giver or servant, and would love for us to have a good attitude about obedience; however, this passage teaches obedience, even with a bad attitude, trumps disobedience.

I believe the reason that is true is that even reluctant obedience tells God you trust him and his commands, more than you trust or want your own heart, or will.

I asked my son to do something years ago that I know he didn’t want to do, but he did it anyway. I felt honored. If he had done it because he was afraid of getting punished, I wouldn’t have felt that way. But, I think he did it because he knew I needed it done, more than he didn’t want to do it. It showed that he wanted to please me, more than himself.

I have no doubt God prefers both a good attitude and obedience, but I don’t think he expects perfection. Just do it!

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Please share your own 10 second rule questions by commenting here, or emailing me at claredegraaf@gmail.com

 

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A Pecking Order of Sins
Posted by Clare
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“Clare, aren’t all sins equal?” That was the question posed by a guy I was meeting with who was trying to justify a serious sin he had committed. I replied, “Nate, I don’t think even you believe that.”

All Christians rank sin – that is, we all have a mental list, or hierarchy of sins. On our list some sins are moral felonies and others are misdemeanors. Is that true? Are some sins greater or more serious than others? Yes! (And, I’ll explain why later.)

A second question is even more intriguing, “How did you come up with your ‘list’?” Evangelicals generally have at the top of their list rejecting Christ, while Emergent Christians have, not living like Christ. Conservatives have near the top of their list, abortionists, gays and liberal theology. For liberal Christians, indifference to the poor, hypocrisy and intolerance top their lists. Rich Christians often think the poor’s big problem is laziness, while the poor believe the rich are greedy. I’ve actually caught myself looking down from my self-righteous perch at an adulterer or divorcee and glad I’m not one of them.

So, I have a theory; most of us unconsciously rank the sins we’re the least likely to commit at the top of our list, and our own sins in the middle or below. Let’s talk about why we do that. (more…)

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Questions
Posted by Clare

 

Q:   “Your book, The 10 Second Rule has changed my life, but I have a problem. I picked up a female hitchhiker last week in response to an impression from God. My grandson, who is eight, was in the car at the time. When I told my daughter about picking up the hitchhiker, she got very upset and told me never to do that again when I have her children in my car. But, if God tells me, what should I do?”  Mary

A:   I sympathize with your dilemma. However, your daughter is her child’s spiritual authority, along with her husband, appointed by God to make choices in her best interest. You did nothing wrong. You obeyed God and up to that point your daughter hadn’t prohibited you from picking up hitchhikers with your granddaughter in the car. However, now that your daughter has given you specific instructions, you have only two choices; honor your daughter’s wishes, or chose not to take your granddaughter.

Our adult children have, on occasion, given my wife and me instructions on childcare that we think is a bit over protective. We have the freedom to ask questions, to understand why, but not the freedom to override the wishes of the parents.

In my book, The 10 Second Rule, I tried to make it clear that while I’ve had many impressions I believe were from God, it’s probable that some weren’t. I personally don’t believe God would ask you to violate an authority structure he put in place, unless it was an extreme emergency like the life of the hitchhiker was in danger. You may find it helpful to read my blog of March 26, 2012 on the subject of authority.

 

Please share your own 10 second rule questions by commenting here, or emailing me at claredegraaf@gmail.com

 

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Women Leadership in the Church
Posted by Clare
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A few weeks ago, I was asked by a follower of my blog to present my “elevator speech” on the role of women in church leadership.

I’m not sure there is any other biblical issue over which I feel more conflicted. My problem is I know too many spiritual, gifted women – more gifted in many ways than the men who lead them. I also have the Bible, which I loath to interpret just to fit my pre-disposition to fairness and equality.

So, here goes!

My Position

I believe gifted, spiritual women should be encouraged to exercise all their gifts, including teaching and leadership gifts in the church at the highest levels, short of having ultimate authority in the church. 

There are thousands of books that have been written on this subject, but a blog is supposed to be short and sweet, so here are just a few of the primary biblical reasons why I hold to this position. (more…)

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