First, I apologize for taking long before updating the blog. It’s been crazy at the office, especially the past one week, but I’ll be back. Meanwhile, enjoy these wonderful reads.
- IS IT TIME FOR THE CHURCH TO RE-EVALUATE LECRAE? Addison, “In his attempt to reach and engage today’s hip hop culture, the popular rapper has made some decisions that are destructive to the souls of men. Lecrae may be able to work with secular artists and not be influenced by their music content – but our youth are not.”
- WORDS FOR THE WIND Piper, “O how quickly we are given to defending God, or sometimes the truth, from words that are only for the wind. If we had discernment, we could tell the difference between the words with roots and the words blowing in the wind.”
- NOBODY GETS THE CHURCH THEY WANT Jamieson, “Nobody—that’s right, nobody—gets the church they want. We all have opinions, preferences, and sometimes even convictions that won’t perfectly match any actual assembly of God’s people. We all will have to put others’ interests before our own, and sacrifice what we want for the sake of what the whole body needs.”
- HEAD KNOWLEDGE, HEART KNOWLEDGE Challies, “I believe we need to affirm the importance of believing what is true without disparaging the facts and knowledge necessary to even know what is true. Head knowledge is good; heart knowledge is good.”
- WHY CHRISTIANS SHOULD CREATE Perkins, “Sticking to the accepted forms of art is unnatural for how art operates. Art is supposed to take us to new places and break down walls in our perceptions.”
Have a blessed day and week ahead.
For your mid-week reading, I recommend the following links. I hope you find them as worthwhile as I did:
- DUDE, WHERE’S YOUR BRIDE? Kevin DeYoung has some timely and timeless words for the wimpy men out there and the women who love them, “I don’t think young women are expecting Mr. Right to be a corporate executive with two houses, three cars, and a personality like Dale Carnegie. They just want a guy with some substance. A guy with plans. A guy with some intellectual depth. A guy who can winsomely take initiative and lead a conversation. A guy with consistency…”
- SIX WAYS TO LOOK GODLY WHILE NOT GROWING YOUR FAITH IN 2014. Number 6 was right up my alley, “6. Rearrange the Christian books on your bookshelves. Last year, #6 was “Buy Christian books and put them straight on your bookshelf”…” Savor the rebuke.
- I’M BETTER THAN YOU. Tim Challies, “I’m better than you. At least, this is what I believe in most of life’s situations. I’m just plain better than you. Somewhere deep inside I believe it’s true and too often I live and act like it’s true.”
- DADS, WRITE IN YOUR BIBLE. This is a noble habit to develop early, for posterity. Jonathan Parnell, “We read the Bible not just for ourselves, but for our families, for our friends, for our community. We know that God doesn’t transform his people into dead-ends, but into rivers of living water, and therefore, deciding on a route and digging in on that resolve has more in view than our own souls.”
- SEEING CHRIST IN THE WORST CHRISTIANS. An old one, but with an ever-fresh message. David Murray, “How do we stop getting so depressed at the failings of Christian pastors and people? Here are five of the ten strategies I try to use.”
Have a blessed Wednesday, friends.
Here are some interesting reads that I thought will make your weekend reading worthwhile. Enjoy, learn, share:
- LONG HAIR FREAKY PEOPLE NEED NOT APPLY. Strange title, but Aimee Byrd has a great point concerning [us] Christians who like tweeting Bible verses, “[Rosaria Butterfield] was taken aback about how Scripture verses were stripped out of context and slapped on a sign, isolated and exposed. Many of the messages peddled God’s judgment, emphasizing the separation between the just and the lost.”
- HUMBLETALK. Meghan Daum, “If winning a Nobel Prize is humbling, what do you call losing at life because bad decisions or bad luck or even bad genes kept you on the sidelines? What do you call something as simple as falling down the stairs moments after you congratulated yourself for never having lost the balletic grace of your youth? You call those things humbling.”
- THE DANGER OF BEING A CRITIC. Maurilio Amorim reflects on the great danger of being a compulsive critic. I relate, “It’s easy for me to hide behind my professional duty to see what’s wrong, broken, the mediocre and let the insidious work of negativity to shape me in to the angry old man Nouwen encountered. I fight it every day. Sometimes I think I’m losing that war.”
- WE ARE A KANYE. Odd Thomas: “[Last Month], Kanye West’s latest album Yeezusdropped with the third track titled, “I Am A God (Feat. God).” The song has already sparked reaction and has been likened to John Lennon’s remarks about the Beatles’ being “more popular than Jesus.” But maybe Kanye’s song is something we identify with more than we’d like to admit?”
- THE 8 KINDS OF COMMENTERS IN THE CHRISTIAN BLOGOSPHERE. Can you spot yourself in this list? Dale Coulter, “Below I give a summary, not unlike other lists, of those I have observed and been guilty of both as a blogger and a commenter. Just in case, I should also point out the use of slight exaggeration for effect.”
That’s it for today. Have a blessed weekend, and be sure to go to church tomorrow!
As 2014 unfolds, I hope that doing more reading (long-reading, not tweet-reading) is among your resolutions for the new year. The following are a few links that I thought might get you started as you fight to gain traction in your new habit. Enjoy:
- A NOVEL LOOK AT HOW STORIES MAY CHANGE THE BRAIN: For those who think novels are for high-school teenagers and idle minds, I hope this study will convince you otherwise: “Many people can recall reading at least one cherished story that they say changed their life. Now researchers at Emory University have detected what may be biological traces related to this feeling: Actual changes in the brain that linger, at least for a few days, after reading a novel.” WARNING: The article may be a bit nerdy.
- BEAUTIFUL IN ITS TIME: R. C. Sproul Jr, “I don’t remember everything I read. I don’t remember the great names and dates of history. I do, however, remember the layout of the basement of a family’s house we visited once, when I was nine.”
- CNN ANCHOR BATTLES HER SKIN AND WINS: Zain Verjee’s story is beautifully written and compelling. Even though God is not explicitly mentioned in the article, those with eyes to see Him cannot miss the strong implicit presence that runs like a thread weaving the whole tapestry.
- YOUR MOST COURAGEOUS RESOLUTION FOR 2014: Jon Bloom, “A resolve is not a vague intention, like “one of these days I’m going to get that garage cleaned” or “I’m going to read the Bible through this year,” but without any clear plan to do it. Resolves are intentions with strategies attached to them.”
- Finally, as hard and harsh as it may sound, GOD MAY NOT HAVE A WONDERFUL PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE, and that’s okay. Melissa Edgington, “Life is hard, even when you’re a Christian. Even when you try to love God with all your heart, bad things will happen. Terrible things will come. And, this is the danger in telling each other God has a wonderful plan for your life. Because there are just too many moments and hours and days and weeks that don’t feel like a wonderful plan. They feel like an awful plan.”
That ought to do it for today. I really do hope and recommend you make reading (books) a lifetime resolution. It is one of those investments you will never regret.
Have a blessed day and a Gospel-driven 2014.
Here are a few links worth spending your free time on. I pray that they will bless you, and that God will speak to you through them… even when the authors fail to. Enjoy!
- TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. Simon Wenham confronts the popular Freudian idea that religion only survives because people want it to exist. I particularly loved this quote by Czeslaw Milosz: “A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death- the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders, we are not going to be judged.”
- FREE TO SAY WE’VE SINNED. This was liberating: “When you hide your sin, pretending to be a perfect Christian, you’re actually telling the world that God is a liar. Did Jesus, or did Jesus not, need to suffer and die for your present sins? When you feign perfection, you’re saying you didn’t need Him to do this for you.”
- A BETTER COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. David Mathis makes a much needed call to the older men and women in the church today: “We need your wisdom. We need your experience. You have made the long journey, watched fads come and go, rejoiced with those who have rejoiced, wept with those who have wept, endured the dark night of the soul. As the young men see visions, we need you to dream dreams.”
- LAZY HOLINESS. “I grew up understanding that once I become a Christian, I had to take over and make sure I stayed a Christian. I needed to make sure my walk with Jesus was a healthy, whole and pure walk. Daily devotions and bible reading were important, because if I didn’t do those things I felt I was in danger of losing my salvation. It wasn’t until the age of 17 when God got ahold of me and opened my eyes did new convictions shape who I am today.”
For the fame of His name,
Hello fellow Aliens!
I decided to change the name “Blog Break” to “Great Reads” to ease understanding for first-time visitors. It’s not a major change, but it’s a helpful one, I think. The following are some of the great reads that I had to bookmark for re-reading, because they were worth it — at least to me.
- OUR DISORDERED DESIRE TO ENTER THE “INNER RING”. Art Lindsey: “One of the most memorable of C. S. Lewis’s essays is entitled “The Inner Ring.” It describes our common desire to be accepted within the “inner ring” of whatever group matters to us at the time… This desire to be on the inside of whatever group you aspire to join can affect your relationships at work, in the community, and in the church.”
- STOP QUOTING BIBLE VERSES AT ME. Emily Timbol: “What should be most important to us, is not having a handy verse ready to quote, but the character of Christ within us, shining through. We need to read and know the Bible, in order to honor and obey God. To share the gospel, we have to know the gospel.”
- WHAT YOUNG CHRISTIANS CAN LEARN FROM THE ELDERLY. Elizabeth Marten: “Young people, myself included, want to appear independent. We are good at convincing others (and ourselves) that we are making do on our own. But the truth is that we’re often lonely. In our efforts to remain independent, we have forgotten how to be dependent on a community.”
- 20 TIPS FOR PERSONAL DEVOTIONS IN THE DIGITAL AGE. David Murray: “… Take guilt to God… Don’t share your daily devotions in social media… Establish regular time and place… Journal… ” and more.
- WHY DO WE SAY “GOD TOLD ME”? Nancy Guthrie: “When someone begins a sentence with “God told me . . .” I have to admit a silent alarm goes off somewhere inside me—unless the phrase is followed by a verse of Scripture. I know that many see this as the way the Christian life is supposed to work—that if we are really in fellowship with God we will be able to sense him speaking to us through an inner voice. But I’m not so sure.”
Have a blessed reading time. 🙂