Coram Deo ~ The Blog

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Timely News!

This just in, thanks to our cub reporter Tony Gunther.

Lecrae, whose album Anomaly debuted at #1 on Billboard’s album charts yesterday, will appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon TONIGHT. He’ll sit in with The Roots and is expected to perform his single “All I Need is You”. To find out more read: http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2014/september/lecrae-brings-reformed-rap-jimmy-fallon-tonight-show.html


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Coram Deo – Before the Face of God 9.15.2014

~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

Book Reviews

To celebrate their 20th anniversary Francis and Lisa decided to serve at a village in Africa that one of their friends started. This body of believers had been building a village to feed children dying of starvation, liberate women trapped in prostitution, and give hope and opportunity to a community ravished by poverty. Moved by what God was doing there for the poor, Francis and Lisa wanted to bless the ministry to double or triple its impact.  With another book already in motion, this time written together by Francis and Lisa, they saw an opportunity to use the book as a way to support the work in places like this village in Africa. They decided to self-publish with a team of volunteers to generate as much money possible to give away.  100% of net profits from each book sold goes straight to this vision. They would love to raise 5 million dollars to feed the hungry, free women from prostitution and spread the gospel to unreached places. All net proceeds are being directed to Crazy Love Ministries, a 501(c)3 registered in the state of California, and then are dispersed from there to several previously-selected partners for the book

Part of the reason why Francis and Lisa decided to publish independently was so they could bless others with the book who couldn’t afford it. To download a free PDF, please click here: Download PDF.
 
Movie Reviews

  • The Drop, rated R
  • Mom’s Night Out, rated PG

Music Review

  • Songs of Innocence – U2

Doug Michael’s Cartoons

I first saw Doug Michael’s cartoons in our local newspaper several years ago. Later, I found out that he worked with me at the same corporation. For years Doug allowed us to run his cartoons in Coram Deo, our church newsletter. I’m pleased to say that Doug is now allowing us to run his cartoons in our blog! Many thanks to Doug for sharing his talents with us. Here’s the first one – enjoy!

Doug Michael 

~ THIS AND THAT ~

MUSIC:Getty's

  • Keith and Kristyn Getty in Concert at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria on October 17 ~ just a reminder that Keith and Kristyn Getty will bring their “Hymns for the Christian Life” tour to Grace Presbyterian Church on October 17. Jim Hubert from WBNH reports that nearly 600 tickets have been sold already! Get your tickets soon. For more information and to purchase tickets go to http://www.wbnh.org/resources/store/
  • Switchfoot surprised their fans last week with a seven-song EP of unreleased songs from their excellent Fading West film. The EP is titled The Edge of the Earth and you can buy it on iTunes for just $6.99. Look for a review in next week’s blog.
  • Songs of McCartneyHere’s an interesting new project – the songs of Paul McCartney sung by artists such as Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Steve Miller, Heart, Jeff Lynn (Electric Light Orchestra), Yusuf (Cat Stevens), Willie Nelson and others. The two CD and DVD set will be released November 18.
  • You can watch below an exclusive 29 minute behind-the-scenes jamming session filmed at Paul McCartney’s “Early Days” video shoot. The official video was launched earlier this summer and the end of it sees Paul playing with a group of blues guitarists, including Johnny Depp. This exclusive footage captures an impromptu jamming session that broke out between Paul and the musicians on the day of the shoot. Watch it here: http://c4483579.r79.cf2.rackcdn.com/EarlyDaysJam_MFMclimatepledge_Web.html
  • As Bruce Springsteen gets ready to turn 65, read this article on why he still matters: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/09/13/why-springsteen-still-matters-at-age-65/15600175/
  • Bob Seger has a new album coming out Ride Out, his first new album of new material in eight years, on October 14. On the album Seger covers one of my favorite John Hiatt songs “Detroit Made”. The songs seems like it was written for Seger to cover. Check out Seger performing the song in concert here: http://ultimateclassicrock.com/bob-seger-releases-detroit-made/
  • Music superstar Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2012. He went on one final farewell tour. ‘Glen Campbell I’ll Be Me’ tells the story of the shows, and a great cast of contributors includes Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Sheryl Crow, Taylor Swift and Edge. Check out the trailer for the film here: http://www.u2.com/news/title/ill-be-me

BOOKS:John Maxwell

  • What is the novel that R.C. Sproul says that every Christian should consider reading? Go to Justin Taylor’s blog to find out.
  • Gene Veith offers his contribution to Justin Taylor’s series on a work of fiction of that every Christian should consider reading. Check out his recommendation here.
  • John Maxwell’s next book will be Good Leaders Ask Great Questions. It will be released on October 7.      Michael Horton book      
  • And speaking of upcoming books of interest, Michael Horton’s new book is titled or-di-nar-y: 1. Sustainable Faith in a Radical World. It even features an orange cover, just as David Platt’s Radical book did. It will be published October 7.
  • In his article “Christian, Do You Make it Your Daily Work”?, Tim Challies summarizes chapter two of John Owen’s classic Overcoming Sin and Temptation, a book that has been precious to generations of Christians as they have battled sin and pursued holiness. He indicates that reading his article will deepen your hatred for sin and spark your love for holiness. I plan to refer to the article often. Read it here. http://www.challies.com/reading-classics-together/christian-do-you-make-it-your-daily-work?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_content=5575&utm_campaign=0

PROBING QUESTIONS

IN THE NEWS:

PRAYERS, ARTICLES, ETC.:

TO MAKE YOU SMILE:

 Visions of Vocation Book Club – Week 3Visions of Vocation

Steven Garber was the speaker at my Covenant Seminary graduation in May. Tammy and I are reading his newest book Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good. Below are passages we highlighted from our reading of Chapter 3 – The Landscape of Our Lives:

  • To understand this cusp of a new century—marked as it is both by the sociological reality of the information age and the philosophical movement we call postmodernism—we have to pay attention to the novelists, filmmakers and musicians who are culturally upstream, as it is in their stories, movies and songs where we will feel the yearnings of what human life is and ought to be.
  • Whether staged or celluloid, in print or on computer disks, they are fingers to the wind. Why? Artists get there first.
  • Take U2, for example. It is hard to imagine students of history in some future era making sense of the dawn of this millennium without studying their music. Pop icons, yes. But prophets as well, as they have set out for themselves and their audience a vision of human life under the sun that has been as enormously entertaining as it has been politically and socially attentive.
  • While there are scores of songs that offer artful windows into the human heart, in their album Zooropa, the song “Numb” captures better than almost anything else what it feels like to be alive in the information age.
  • For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, the song is a finger on the pulse of the ABC/BBC/CBS/NBC/CNN/FOX/MSNBC on-all-the-time culture. And U2 gets at it brilliantly, profoundly. Artists do get there first. I feel numb.
  • A growing chorus of critics brings their voices to bear on the meaning of the information age, wondering what it means, and will mean, for all of us.
  • Describing the contemporary world as “an info-glut culture,” he has asked with probing seriousness, “But have we become any wiser?” The words echo across the landscape of our time.
  • One of the best known voices bringing a critical eye to bear upon the information age is Neil Postman, who for twenty-five years wrote as widely and perceptively as anyone on the challenge of learning to learn and live in a technological society.
  • With an uncanny eye and ear, he picked up on the tremendous challenge of holding onto one’s humanity in an information-saturated culture.
  • Carr instead draws on brain physiologists to argue that our very brains are being rewired so that we are seeing life differently, and we are reading the world differently. Scanning our way down the computer screen, hyperlinking as we do, we are decreasingly able to read more carefully, with the kind of discernment that critical reading requires. In a word, Carr calls our contemporary practice “the shallows.”
  • Of all that has been written on this phenomenon, Colin Gunton’s Bampton Lectures at Cambridge University, The One, the Three and the Many: God, Creation and the Culture of Modernity, seem the wisest. Brilliant and far-ranging, he argued that disengagement is the essence of modern life. Looking out at the world, we want to understand it, we want to respond to it—and yet we find it so very hard to do so in any morally meaningful way. Knowing what I know, what am I to do?
  • An info-glut culture? Yes, in more ways than we know, on more levels than we can understand. I feel numb. While the artists get there first, the world at large catches up, and we all wonder, What am I going to do?
  • As probing as that question is for all, some have decided, with a shrug of the mind and heart, whatever. Sometimes playful, often more cynical, the word itself is a window into the complexity of life; we feel overwhelmed in so many different ways all at once. How else to respond than with a heartfelt “whatever”? From casual conversations in families and among friends to core curricular commitments at major universities, “whatever” seems to many the best response to the way the world is—and isn’t.
  • Thoughtful, honest human beings wonder, Knowing what I know, what am I going to do? To do nothing seems less than human, seems less than right.
  • Whether we read the philosophers or not, the belief that we have no access to certainty, particularly to moral absolutes, to the world of “basic right and wrong in the universe,” is in the cultural air we breathe.
  • In a post-Enlightenment world, there is no voice, no perspective that carries more weight than any other, because no one has access to certainty about anything. There is no Story to make sense of stories, no Truth to make sense of truths, no Metanarrative to make sense of narratives. All claims to the contrary are “totalitarian” and are not to be tolerated. The worst face of postmodernism is that nothing has metaphysical or moral weight; it is the culture of whatever, a nihilism for Everyman.
  • To get what I want when I want it. To do what I want to do when I want to do it. Baldly stated, that is the way I have described morally malformed people to my children over the years, like a driver along the interstate who bullies everyone else, a politician who with Machiavellian cynicism skillfully uses the system to advance his own ambitions. Very, very bright people do not always make very, very good people. You can get all A’s and still flunk life.
  • Human lives and history are at stake here. No wise person, therefore, will step into this analysis with a cheap critique. But Solzhenitsyn’s analysis of the notion that “it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual be granted boundless freedom with no purpose, simply for the satisfaction of his whims” was profoundly prescient. He saw where the line in the sand was, and would continue to be, in the culture of whatever.
  • Few films have captured this dilemma with as much cinematic brilliance as Run Lola Run.
  • For the foreseeable future, we will never become a completely postmodern culture. At best, we are stretched taut between times. Airplane schedules, with all the technological complexities of air traffic controllers, with the mathematical precision required in allocation of air space, with the interrelatedness of computers across continents and oceans, require modern consciousness, the ongoing commitment to certain things—“facts”—being true for everyone all the time. But the on-the-street ethos, the air we breathe, is plainly that of postmodernism, and its worst face is the culture of whatever.
  • Seeing what I see, hearing what I hear, what am I going to do?
  • From mime artists in Paris, to attorneys walking the killing fields of Rwanda, to young, eager human rights activists in Washington, to graduate students at Yale, how does one learn to see with the eyes of the heart, to see oneself as responsible for the way the world is and isn’t? Not a cheap question, and there are no cheap answers.

Next week we’ll look at chapter 4. Won’t you join us?

Faith-and-WorkIntegrating Faith and Work

Part 1: http://www.rzim.org/just-thinking-broadcasts/faith-under-fire-christian-ethics-in-the-workplace-part-1/

Part 2: http://www.rzim.org/just-thinking-broadcasts/faith-under-fire-christian-ethics-in-the-workplace-part-2/

Part 3: http://www.rzim.org/just-thinking-broadcasts/faith-under-fire-christian-ethics-in-the-workplace-part-3/

Part 4: http://www.rzim.org/just-thinking-broadcasts/faith-under-fire-christian-ethics-in-the-workplace-part-4/

 Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?

The Gospel at WorkThe Gospel at Work Book Club – Session 3

We recently completed week three in the book club for The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to our Jobs by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert. Read the highlighted passages from CHAPTER 4 – THE KING’S PURPOSE IN OUR WORK and CHAPTER 5 HOW SHOULD I CHOOSE A JOB?

What's Best NextWhat’s Best Next Series – Part 7

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from CHAPTER 13 Clarifying Your Roles.

Os Guinness

 

 


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Lake Geneva

Lake GenevaLake Geneva, Wisconsin

Last weekend we celebrated our birthdays with a long weekend at beautiful Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I love Wisconsin, having often vacationed in Hayward growing up and having enjoyed a few vacations in Door County more recently. We had visited Lake Geneva a few times over the past decade, with this time being the first time we had spent two nights (though one more night would have been perfect!). We stayed at the Mill Creek Hotel for the second time. It is a 33 room boutique suite hotel, which is located perfectly in the heart of the shopping (about a hundred shops) and restaurant district near the Riviera Docks.

The center of Lake Geneva is Geneva Lake, a deep (140 feet at the deepest) clear water lake which is surrounded by beautiful homes (many dating back to the early 20th century when many business leaders from Chicago built homes at the lake). A walking path is available which allows you to make the full 21 mile walk around the lake, or as much of it as you would like.

There are about a thousand piers on the lake, and on a busy summer day there will be that many boats on the lake. We experienced two days of great weather, and since it was after Labor Day, the lake was far less crowded. We would recommend you take one of the many different boat cruises that depart several times a day from the Riviera Docks. The Riviera once featured big bands and singers such as Louis Armstrong and a young Frank Sinatra, and now is a popular destination for weddings. We enjoyed meals at Popeye’s and Scuttlebutts just across Wrigley Avenue from the lake. We also had some great pizza at the Next Door Pub, watching the Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers just an hour away from Lake Geneva.

If you’ve never checked out Lake Geneva, we highly recommend the three hour and fifteen minute drive. You can take in a movie at the Showboat Theatre, play golf, take long walks or eat at any number of excellent restaurants as you enjoy the beauty. You won’t regret it!

TamMy Amazing Wife

Last weekend we celebrated Tammy’s birthday. In fact we celebrated both of our birthdays with a long weekend trip to one of our favorite places – Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. As I thought about Tammy’s birthday, I was again reminded how blessed I am to be her husband. She is my Proverbs 31 woman.

Initially, the Lord used Tammy to help draw me to Him. I was raised Roman Catholic and went to church every Sunday, but it made no difference in my life. When we met she was focused on her career in Accounting, with goals of achieving her CPA (Certified Public Accountant) designation and becoming a partner in an Accounting firm. But the Lord had other plans for her. Early in our marriage she became seriously ill and her life changed into one of service. Over the past 30 years, she has served as a Hospice volunteer, at a Catholic worker house, a soup kitchen (12 years), as the treasurer at our church (18 plus years), and will soon begin her next journey of service as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer. I appreciate so many things about Tammy, but her spirit of service is amazing. Thank you Lord for Tammy!

 Coram DeoCoram Deo

What makes our blog different from all of the others out there? I see four components to what we hope to do each week. We aim to:

Look at art (music, movies, and books) from a Christian worldview.

  • Contemplate culture (news, theology) and share important articles with you.
  • Consider how to integrate faith and work.
  • Share articles, videos and cartoons that will make you smile.

~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

Book Review ~

Movie Reviews ~

  • If I Stay
  • The Trip

 Quotable: My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior. -John Newton

~ THIS AND THAT ~

IN THE NEWS -

BOOKS -

PROBING QUESTIONS -

MUSIC -

  • Here are a few upcoming music releases that I’m excited about:
    • Michael W. Smith Christmas album – September 30
    • Peter Furler Christmas, featuring David Ian – October 7
    • Rise by Trip Lee – October 28
    • Love Ran Red by Chris Tomlin

ARTICLES OF INTEREST -

JOHN PIPER AND DESIRING GOD -

LIGONIER MINISTRIES -

TO MAKE YOU SMILE -

Visions of Vocation Book Club Week 2Visions of Vocation

Steven Garber was the speaker at my Covenant Seminary graduation in May. Tammy and I are reading his newest book Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good. Below are passages we highlighted from our reading for the second week of our book club:

  • The Last Butterfly is about moral imagination, about learning to see with the heart in the context of one’s calling, right in the middle of the push and shove of life, full as it is of complex responsibilities.
  • Our propensity to deceive ourselves about our place and purpose makes it so very difficult to see the truth of our lives, to understand the meaning of our moment in history and our responsibility to it.
  • The importance of The Last Butterfly is that it asks the viewer this probing question: In the context of one’s calling, how does one learn to see with the eyes of the heart, to see oneself as responsible for the way the world is and isn’t?
  • In a captivating though sobering chapter, “The Duties of Law-Abiding Citizens,” she described Eichmann as reading his world through this lens: This was the way things were, this was the new law of the land, based on the Führer’s order; whatever he did he did, as far as he could see, as a law-abiding citizen. He did his duty, as he told the police and the court over and over again; he not only obeyed orders, he also obeyed the law.
  • The distinction mattered to Eichmann. In the pharisaism of his heart, he understood his employment as a public vocation with professional responsibilities, so that it was important to not only do one’s duty but to obey the law—even if the law was one and the same with the fatally flawed Führer himself.
  • Arendt painstakingly set forth the historical details of the Nazi vision in general, and Eichmann’s role in particular, always returning to the question, “Why didn’t he see these people as neighbors? What perversion of law and order made it possible to go to work day by day, year after year, making choices with horrific consequences, and to see it all as “my duty”?
  • Also perplexed by Eichmann and the court, she tried to find language sufficient to communicate the moral meaning of his actions, and offered the word thoughtlessness—he did not think things through, he was not thoughtful about what he did and what it meant. In the narrowness of his vision of neighbor, of citizen, of employee, he failed to follow through on the moral implications of his beliefs and behavior.
  • Eichmann’s failure to see truthfully enabled him, by just doing his job, to oversee Theresienstadt, the “city of the Jews” in The Last Butterfly. The film is what we call historical fiction, but Eichmann’s role was far from fictional. Blind to the meaning of who he was and what it meant, he made sure that the trains left on time for Auschwitz, going to bed at night certain that “with the killing of Jews I had nothing to do.”
  • But the harsh truth is that the twentieth century produced other holocausts, some more terrifying than that of Nazis, and to own that history is part of our human responsibility even in the midst of our ordinary lives in ordinary places.
  • Over time Gary decided to leave the Department of Justice to find a way to address injustices small and large wherever they might be found. If in the Philippines it was child prostitution, in India it was child slavery. And so three years after the Rwandan genocide, the International Justice Mission was formed. Now, fifteen years later, IJM has developed networks of attorneys, investigators and trauma social workers in nations on every continent.
  • Two stories, one century: Eichmann and Haugen. Where one did not see a neighbor in need, the other understood that moral, political and social injustice is in fact always one more window into a neighbor’s need. The question that searches the deepest places is this: Why did Gary feel responsible? He had eyes to see that he was in fact responsible to do something, because someone had to say no. And he found a way in the context of his calling to do just that.
  • Over the years I have read and reread Percy’s work, dwelling in his vision of learning and life. He is, after all, the one who wrote that “it is possible to get all A’s and still flunk life.”
  • An observation about the human condition from his novel The Second Coming, the second of two novels about Will Barrett, his words are a warning about the temptation that lurks around the corner of everyone’s heart—to believe that competence can be separated from character, that excellence can be defined in merely academic terms without a corresponding concern for the kind of people we are. Do we have eyes to see what is really important? What really matters?
  • Along the way, principally in conversations with good friends, he was drawn to mere Christianity, to the gospel of the kingdom which was strange good news for someone like him who longed for something to believe about life and the world that could make sense of his life in the world.
  • What the literati saw in Percy’s work was his unflinching willingness to look at sorrow and anguish and not blink. Eyes that see, yes—but what do we see? He was not a romantic—that was not a possibility. Rather he was a realist to the core. What the reviewers missed was his deeply rooted commitment to seeing human beings as “pilgrims in the ruins,” that we are glories and shames at the same time.
  • “But I always want some hint of hope in my writing.” What did he mean? And why did it matter?
  • Honest readers of Percy’s work acknowledge that he was painstakingly honest about the sorrows that are ours as human beings, and his hints of hope were never more than that.
  • There is one great question in his work: “Knowing what you know about yourself and the world, what are you going to do?”
  • Attentive as he was to life, and to his life, Percy was writing about the challenge of being alive in the modern world. So much to see, so much to hear, so much to know—what will we do?
  • That is the most difficult dilemma for thoughtful, serious human beings: What will you do with what you know?
  • If most of Europe was Eichmann-like, offering “the obedience of corpses” in thousands of terribly ordinary ways, there were exceptions. In every nation there are people who choose otherwise, who have eyes to see that something is wrong and that they can do something about it.
  • Taken together they are some of the best stories in the whole of history, reminding all of us what it means to be a neighbor, what it means to have eyes that see.
  • In thousands of important and different ways, each is a story formed by the asking and answering of the question, knowing what I know, what will I do?
  • Always and everywhere, this is our challenge as human beings. Can we know and love the world at the very same time? Knowing its glories and shames, can we still choose to love what we know? Is there any task more difficult than that?
  • Knowing what I know about the way the world is, what am I going to do? A mime in Europe had to answer, as did the Nazi bureaucrats, as did the Justice Department lawyer, as do all of us. Percy’s question echoes through the heart of every human being, and it is especially poignant for those coming out of the starting blocks of early adulthood with a life of knowing and doing on the horizon. The question requires an answer if we are going be human.

Next week we’ll look at chapter 3. Won’t you join us?

Faith-and-Work

Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us? How Then Should We Work

  1. How then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work by Hugh Whelchel 
    This week we begin a new book club on Hugh Whelchel’s book How Then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Whelchel is the Executive Director of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and has a passion and expertise in helping individuals integrate their faith and vocational calling. This week we cover the material in the book through the first chapter. Click here to read the passages I highlighted in CHAPTER 1.What's Best Next
  2. What’s Best Next Series – Part 6        
    We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from CHAPTER 12: Finding Your Life Calling (Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page).The Gospel at Work
  3. You can also read excerpts from The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert and excerpts from our past book club – The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. 

Integrating Faith and Work

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Coram Deo – Before the Face of God 9.4.2014

~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

Movie Reviews:
• The One I Love, rated R
• Magic in the Moonlight, rated PG-13

Book Reviews:
Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

Quotable:
If you are a Christian, and you refrain from committing adultery or using profanity or missing church, but you don’t do the hard work of thinking through how to do justice in every area of life – you are failing to live justly and righteously. -Tim Keller from Generous Justice

Visions of Vocation Book Club Week 1Visions of Vocation

Steven Garber was the speaker at my Covenant Seminary graduation in May. Tammy and I are reading his newest book Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good. Below are passages we highlighted from our reading for the first week of our book club:
• Percy describes the novelist as “a physician of the soul of society,” and in his essay “Another Message in a Bottle,” he argues, “Bad books always lie. They lie most of all about the human condition.” That insight has become foundational to me, and it is a rare day that I do not draw upon it in conversations.
• Why is it that we care? Why is it that we see ourselves implicated in the world, in the way the world is and isn’t—and in the way it ought to be? And why does it seem that some do not care? I have thought about those questions for most of my life, and they continue to run through my heart.
• But it is also true that whether our vocations are as butchers, bakers or candlestick makers—or people drawn into the worlds of business or law, agriculture or education, architecture or construction, journalism or international development, health care or the arts—in our own different ways we are responsible, for love’s sake, for the way the world is and ought to be. We are called to be common grace for the common good. That is the vision of the Washington Institute, which is my work. Our credo is that vocation is integral, not incidental, to the missio Dei, and we work that out in many different ways in our teaching and writing, courses and curriculum. This book is an effort within that larger work, inviting you in its own way to “come and see” that this vision of vocation is being lived into by men and women, younger and older, who are committed to a faith that shapes vocation that shapes culture.
• “Seek the well-being of the city” was Jeremiah’s prophetic word to the exiles in Babylon, for “when it flourishes, you will flourish” (Jeremiah 29:7 paraphrase). To learn to see—to see ourselves implicated in history, to see that we share a common vocation to care not only for our own flourishing, but for the flourishing of the world—is the vision that has brought this book into being.
Chapter 1 To Know the World and Still Love It?
• More often than not, people want to do the right thing. They want their lives to matter, their visions to shape the way the world works for the common good, at least as they understand the good. In a thousand different ways they want their ideas to have legs. That is what makes Washington, Washington. Who we are and how we live together is the stuff of this city. Laws are imagined, laws are debated, laws are legislated.
• After the lecture, I noticed some young men who were a bit older than the typical undergraduate. They were a group of musicians who called themselves Jars of Clay. I knew of them, but did not know them, and they had their own questions to ask. So we talked and a conversation began that continues to this day. Over the months, they asked about books and essays to read and I was increasingly impressed with their moral seriousness. One day we talked about Africa and their desire to put their creative energy behind an effort to address its complex need for clean blood and water. I told them that a week earlier I had been in Phoenix, Arizona, speaking at a conference called “The Faces of Justice,” and had met a young woman named Jena Lee from Whitworth College who had impressed me with her articulate passion for Africa. It is a long story, but when Jena graduated that spring, she moved to Nashville to work with the Jars of Clay guys to begin Blood:Water Mission. Years later there are more than a thousand different projects in Africa that have grown out of Blood:Water Mission’s work. Jena has done a remarkable job, taking the band’s life and hopes, connecting them to hers, and birthing an organization that is healthy and responsible. The board has grown, and one of its prized members has been Clydette, who is still at USAID doing her work on the global threat of tuberculosis. She has brought all that and more to bear for the sake of the vision and work of Blood:Water Mission, with gladness and singleness of heart marking her vocation.
• To know the world and still love it? There is not a more difficult task that human beings face.
• How do we see what is awful and still engage, still enter in? How can we have our eyes open to reality and understand that we are more implicated, for love’s sake, now that we see?
• As Clydette and Jena have been my teachers, so has Simone Weil. In the 1940s, on the last night of her life, Weil wrote, “The most important task of teaching is to teach what it means to know.” To teach what it means to know? Found in the journal at her bedside, these were the final words of Simone Weil, the French philosopher who died in the 1940s. While her social position would have allowed otherwise, her own passions and commitments led her to the decision that while others suffered during the war years, she would eat only that which was available to the ordinary people of France. And simply said, she starved herself to death. Where did this seriousness of heart come from? Why did she see the world as she did? Why did the weightiness of the world mean so much to her? And why would knowing become that which mattered most? The ideas of Marx and Lenin and Trotsky failed her and her country, was there an answer to be found anywhere? She discovered it finally in the God who cries, the God who has tears. Among many essays that she wrote, there is one that I have loved most, called “On the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God.”
• Weil argues that it is in learning to pay attention that we begin to understand the meaning of life and of learning. What does she mean? To pay attention is to see what matters and what does not matter. It is to discern rightly, to choose well. Yes, it is to know as we ought to know, to know in a way that leads us to love. She calls this kind of study sacramental, as it is a kind of learning that is born of a love of God for the world—and in it a calling to love as God loves because we know as God knows. Her vision is formed by the story of the Good Samaritan, because in it she sees the primary issue as one of having learned, or not learned, to pay attention to things that matter.
• Two religious leaders, men much like the expert in the law, walk by and do not see a neighbor. They see a man, but do not see a neighbor—someone their law requires them to care for—and they pass by, having justified their indifference religiously, historically and sociologically. They had not learned to pay attention.
• In contrast, the Samaritan does see a neighbor and stops to care for him because he has learned to pay attention, to understand what he sees and why it matters. Weil also calls this kind of seeing sacramental, because it is a kind of learning that connects heaven to earth. Sacraments always do that—they give us the grace to understand that the universe is coherent, that things seen and unseen are equally real, equally true. And they allow us to understand that the most ordinary elements of life can be made holy—even our learning, even our labor, even our love.
• When we see all of life as sacramental, as the graceful twining together of heaven and earth, then we begin to understand the meaning of vocation, which in their very different ways are what the stories of Clydette, Jena and Simone Weil are each about. We can begin to see that all of life, the complexity of our relationships and responsibilities—of family and friendships, of neighbors near and far, of work and citizenship, from the most personal to the most public—indeed, everything is woven together into the callings that are ours, the callings that make us us.
• There is nothing we are asked to do that requires more of us than to know and to love at the same time. Mostly we choose otherwise. Mostly we choose to step away, now knowing as we do.
• Whether it is in the most familiar of relationships, as in marriage, or in the most far-reaching of responsibilities, as in the global AIDS crisis, when we begin to really know what someone is like or what something or someplace is like, the calculus of our hearts more often than not leads us to conclude that it will no longer be possible to love. How can we, after all? Now we know!
• One of my deepest commitments is to the “come and see pedagogy” of the Gospels.
• We learn the truest truths, the most important things, only when we look over the shoulder and through the heart, only when we can see that ideas have legs and that worldviews can become ways of life.
• So when I travel around the country and beyond, I talk about people I know who in their very different ways are connecting what they believe with the way that they live in and through their vocations.
• In fact, they are showing that it is possible to honestly know and to responsibly love as they take up the callings and careers that are theirs. And so time and again, I will say to those who have asked me to speak, “Come and see.” Yes, come and see that what I am saying is possible. People actually do live like this—and you can too.
• We do not have to play games with ourselves or with history, pretending that the world is a nicer place than it ever can be, that somehow really awful things do not happen, that horribly sad moments are not ours to live with and through.
• We do not have to decide that the only livable responses are the most perennial responses, the ones that human beings have made since the beginning of time, those of cynicism and stoicism. Both of course are ways of protecting our hearts from being hurt again, ways of “knowing” that do not ask us to love what we know.
• Rather they are ways of knowing that allow us to step away from history and from our responsibility for the way that history unfolds. They give us the ability to say no to the tragedies and heartaches of life, and to protect ourselves from being hurt by becoming too close to what will inevitably bring pain.
• We can choose to know what is going on in the world and still love the world. But we need good reasons to do so.
• And I began to wonder, Is there something that is more true than what I have believed? Is there an account of the universe that makes more sense of griefs like this?
• John does record, “Jesus wept,” but Warfield digs deeper and opens windows into the heart of God, incarnate in Jesus, who twice is said to have “groaned severely in his spirit.” He does what a good reader of the text will always do and asks about the meaning of John’s words. What he found surprised me. The very words that are used are the same ones that Greek poets used to describe a warhorse ready to enter battle, a stallion rearing on his hind legs, nostrils flaring, angry at what he sees and ready to enter the conflict as a warrior himself, even as he carries a warrior in armor on his back.
• There are moments when we can do nothing else than cry out against the wrongs of the world. It is just not the way it is supposed to be! Outrageous, it is outrageous! Tears matter, and sometimes they are very complex.
• We all cry—but what is important here is why we cry and when we cry and what our crying means for who we are and how we live.
• The tears of God are complex. They must be tears of sympathy, even empathy, as Aslan weeps for Digory’s mother and as Jesus weeps with his friends at the death of their brother. But sometimes they are also tears of anger at the unnaturalness of death, at the distortion of death, at the skewing of human hopes, as Jesus “groaned severely in his spirit” at the death of Lazarus.
• So, reader, come and see. In these next pages, you will meet my friends from near and far, men and women who incarnate the reality that we can know and still love the world, even in its wounds—perhaps especially in its wounds—whether they be in family or friendship, psychological or sociological, in economic life or political life, in the arts or in education, in small towns or on complex continents. As the poet Bob Dylan once sang, “Everything is broken.” Yes, everything, and so we must not be romantics. We cannot afford to be, just as we cannot be stoics or cynics either.
• But the story of sorrow is not the whole story of life either. There is also wonder and glory, joy and meaning, in the vocations that are ours. There is good work to be done by every son of Adam and every daughter of Eve all over the face of the earth. There are flowers to be grown, songs to be sung, bread to be baked, justice to be done, mercy to be shown, beauty to be created, good stories to be told, houses to be built, technologies to be developed, fields to farm, and children to educate.
• All day, every day, there are both wounds and wonders at the very heart of life, if we have eyes to see. And seeing—what Weil called learning to know, to pay attention—is where vocations begin.

Next week we’ll read chapter 2. Won’t you join us? To entice you, here are a few reviews of the book.

~ THIS AND THAT ~

IN THE NEWS ~

  • In our weekly Mark Driscoll update a Mars Hill Church member offers this article on forgiving her pastor. Read it here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2014/august/forgiving-my-pastor-mark-driscoll.html?paging=off
  • Gene Veith writes that “Fighting ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) is a worthy cause, worth dumping an ice bucket over your head.  The main beneficiary of the “Ice Bucket Challenge” is the ALS Association.  The problem with that group, though, is that they use a stem cell line from an aborted child.  There are, however, other ALS research organizations that honor the sanctity of life.” Read his article here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2014/08/better-places-to-send-your-ice-bucket-challenge-money/2015 Ligonier National Conference
  • Peter Jones and my favorite blogger Tim Challies have been added to the lineup for the 2015 Ligonier Ministries National Conference. The conference theme is “After Darkness, Light” and will be held February 19-21 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando. The conference features a strong lineup of speakers. In addition to Challies and Jones, speakers include R.C. Sproul, Kevin DeYoung, Sinclair Ferguson, Alistair Begg, Russell Moore, Stephen Nichols and more. You can find out more about the conference and register at: http://www.ligonier.org/events/2015-national-conference/
  • Kevin DeYoung, who pastors a church on or near the campus of Michigan State University writes that “With most major college getting whipped into a full frenzy, I thought it would be worthwhile to dust off a few thoughts about binge drinking on our nation’s campuses.” Read his thoughts here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/08/26/christ-and-keg-stands/
  • Recently the trustees of the Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board elected David Platt to serve as president. Platt will be leaving his position as lead pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama where he has served since 2006 to take on this new assignment. Read here why Russell Moore is radically happy about Platt assuming his new position.
  • There sure is a lot going on of concern in our world these days – Russia/Ukraine, Ebola, Israel/Hamas, ISIS, Ferguson and you could add much more. I got a chuckle out of this cartoon from World Magazine.

Obama - World MagazineTRENDING TOPICS ~

SPORTS ~

TO MAKE YOU SMILE ~

PROBING QUESTIONS ~

 INTERESTING ARTICLES, VIDEOS AND MUCH NEEDED PRAYER ~

     BIBLE STUDY ~

     DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE AND SITUATIONS ~

TIM KELLER ~

MOVIES ~

BOOKS ~Francis Shaeffer Book

  • This month’s free audiobook from Christianaudio is a good one. It is the classic How Should We Then Live? by Francis Schaeffer. Read about how to download your copy here: http://christianaudio.com/free/?utm_source=HomePage&utm_medium=InternalBanner&utm_campaign=FreeAudiobook
  • Great news! Banner of Truth is now offering e-books! They have released their first ten, including the classic Valley of Vision. Check out their e-book page here.
  • Not a Chance by R.C. Sproul and Dr. Keith Mathison, has been revised and expanded in light of recent scientific discoveries and ongoing attacks against God and reason, exposing the irrational claims of modern day science. Read about the new release and special pricing from Ligonier Ministries here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/not-chance-new-sproul-mathison/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=ligonierministriesblog
  • Justin Taylor is starting a new series on novels that every Christian should consider reading. The first contributor to share their list is Kathy Keller. Read her suggested novels here.  Francis Chan book
  • Francis Chan and his wife Lisa have written a book on marriage You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity. Christianaudio is offering a special introductory rate of $7.49 for the audiobook. In addition, all other Francis Chan titles are now 50% off at Christianaudio.com. Read more here.
  • UnPHILtered by Phil RobertsonUnPHILtered is the ultimate guide to everything Phil Robertson believes in. Balancing his sometimes off-the-wall comments with his strong focus on home and family life, it is sure to spark discussion, laughs, and a sincere appreciation for Phil’s unique approach to life. The book will be released this week.
  • Last week I re-read Radical by David Platt. The book ends with “The Radical Experiment”. Read about that here:  http://www.radicalexperiment.org/overview.html
  • NoiseTrade is offering a free download of the new book from Plumb. “Need You Now: A Story of Hope” is the incredibly honest and hugely encouraging new book by recording artist, songwriter, and performer PLUMB aka Tiffany Lee. Both laugh-out-loud funny and deeply moving, it is the story of beautiful and embarrassing moments on stage, the joys and trials of motherhood and unbridled forgiveness”. To download here: http://books.noisetrade.com/plumb/need-you-now-a-story-of-hope

MUSIC ~

  • Tim Challies takes a crack at the ten greatest hymns of all time here. Did he leave out any of your favorites?
  • Christian rapper Shope has released a new EP. You can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/allofshope/sets/shope-ep
  • Lecrae’s Anomaly will be released September 9. He has released four songs thus far for those who have pre-ordered the album. All four are charting in the top 44 on iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap chart, which on August 27 contained only 43 songs on the Top 200 not marked “Explicit” (of which 4 were Lecrae’s). He is truly making a difference in this genre. The latest song to be released “Say I Won’t” (featuring Andy Mineo) is also coming in at #10 at the overall iTunes top songs chart.
  • Lecrae is on the cover of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) Magazine. Download it here: http://www.ccmmagazine.com/getcurrentissue/
  • Dylan - Basement TapesThe Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 from Bob Dylan and the Band will be released November 4. The Basement Tapes Complete brings together, for the first time ever, every salvageable recording from the tapes including recently discovered early gems recorded in the “Red Room” of Dylan’s home in upstate New York. Garth Hudson (of The Band), worked closely with Canadian music archivist and producer Jan Haust to restore the deteriorating tapes to pristine sound, with much of this music preserved digitally for the first time. The six disc collection compiled from the summer of 1967 recordings, will feature 138 tracks and cost $59.99 on iTunes. Read this article from USA Today about the new collection. 
  • Bruce Springsteen has written a children’s book Outlaw Pete, based on his 2009 song of the same name. Read about the book here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/08/28/bruce-springsteen-childrens-book-outlaw-pete/14728461/
  • The hidden gem on 20, Jars of Clay’s 20th anniversary celebration album is “If You Love Her”, inspired by Blood: Water Mission (http://www.bloodwater.org/)

You go find water
You go find water
If you love her
If you love her
If you love her
If you love her
At all

You can watch Jars of Clay singing this beautiful song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YlW0j47OSQFaith-and-Work

Integrating Faith and Work:  Connecting Sunday to Monday

Book Review:
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

Whats Best Next Poster

 What's Best NextWhat’s Best Next Series – Part 5

 What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman. Zondervan. 352 pages. 2014

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from chapter 11.

I’d encourage you to read the book along with me, and to visit Matt’s website at http://whatsbestnext.com/ and in particular The Toolkit: http://whatsbestnext.com/toolkit/

 

Don’t Waste Your Life at Work

Next to the Bible, this book has had the most impact on my life. I’ve tended to read the book each year since it was published in Don't Waste Your Life-0012003. There are many things I would like to share below from “Chapter 8: Making Much of Christ from 8 to 5”.
• It would be a mistake to infer from the call to wartime living in the previous chapter that Christians should quit their jobs and go to “war”—say, to become missionaries or pastors or full-time relief workers. That would be a fundamental misunderstanding of where the war is being fought.
• The war is not primarily spatial or physical—though its successes and failures have physical effects. Therefore, the secular vocations of Christians are a war zone. There are spiritual adversaries to be defeated (that is, evil spirits and sins, not people); and there is beautiful moral high ground to be gained for the glory of God. You don’t waste your life by where you work, but how and why.
• The call to be a Christian was not a call to leave your secular vocation. That’s the clear point of 1 Corinthians 7:17-24. Therefore, the burning question for most Christians should be: How can my life count for the glory of God in my secular vocation?
• Our aim is to joyfully magnify Christ—to make him look great by all we do.
• Boasting only in the cross, our aim is to enjoy making much of him by the way we work. The question is, How? The Bible points to at least six answers.
1. We can make much of God in our secular job through the fellowship that we enjoy with him throughout the day in all our work.
• When the saints are at work in their secular employment, they are scattered. They are not together in church. So the command to “remain there with God” is a promise that you may know God’s fellowship personally and individually on the job.
• One way to enjoy God’s presence and fellowship is through thankful awareness that your ability to do any work at all, including this work, is owing to his grace.
• This is the way God speaks to you through the day. He encourages you, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). He reminds you that the challenges of the afternoon are not too hard for him to manage: “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27). He tells you not to be anxious, but to ask him for whatever you need (Philippians 4:6), and says, “Cast all your anxieties on me, for I care for you” (paraphrase of 1 Peter 5:7). And he promises to guide you through the day: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).
2. We make much of Christ in our secular work by the joyful, trusting, God-exalting design of our creativity and industry.
• So if you go all the way back, before the origin of sin, there are no negative connotations about secular work. According to Genesis 2:2, God himself rested from his work of creation, implying that work is a good, God-like thing.
• To be sure, when God sends us forth to work as his image bearers, our ditches are to be dug straight, our pipe-fittings are not to leak, our cabinet corners should be flush, our surgical incisions should be clean, our word processing accurate and appealing, and our meals nutritious and attractive, because God is a God of order and beauty and competence. But cats are clean, and ants are industrious, and spiders produce orderly and beautiful works. And all of them are dependent on God. Therefore, the essence of our work as humans must be that it is done in conscious reliance on God’s power, and in conscious quest of God’s pattern of excellence, and in deliberate aim to reflect God’s glory.
• When you work like this—no matter what your vocation is—you can have a sweet sense of peace at the end of the day. It has not been wasted. God has not created us to be idle. Therefore, those who abandon creative productivity lose the joy of God-dependent, world-shaping, God-reflecting purposeful work.
• True personal piety feeds the purposeful work of secular vocations rather than undermining it. Idleness does not grow in the soil of fellowship with God. Therefore, people who spend their lives mainly in idleness or frivolous leisure are rarely as happy as those who work. Retired people who are truly happy have sought creative, useful, God-honoring ways to stay active and productive for the sake of man’s good and God’s glory.
• So the second way we make much of God in our secular work is through the joyful, trusting, God-exalting design of our creativity and industry. God created us for work so that by consciously relying on his power and consciously shaping the world after his excellence, we might be satisfied in him, and he might be glorified in us. And when we remember that all this God-exalting creativity and all this joy is only possible for undeserving sinners like us because of the death of Christ, every hour of labor becomes a boasting in the cross.
3. We make much of Christ in our secular work when it confirms and enhances the portrait of Christ’s glory that people hear in the spoken Gospel.
• There is no point in overstating the case for the value of secular work. It is not the Gospel. By itself, it does not save anyone. In fact, with no spoken words about Jesus Christ, our secular work will not awaken wonder for the glory of Christ. That is why the New Testament modestly calls our work an adornment of the Gospel.
• So one crucial meaning of our secular work is that the way we do it will increase or decrease the attractiveness of the Gospel we profess before unbelievers. Of course, the great assumption is that they know we are Christians.
• Should Christians be known in their offices as the ones you go to if you have a problem, but not the ones to go to with a complex professional issue? It doesn’t have to be either-or. The biblical mandate is: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23; cf. Ephesians 6:7).
• So the third way we make much of God in our secular work is by having such high standards of excellence and such integrity and such manifest goodwill that we put no obstacles in the way of the Gospel but rather call attention to the all-satisfying beauty of Christ. When we adorn the Gospel with our work, we are not wasting our lives. And when we call to mind that the adornment itself (our God-dependent, God-shaped, God-exalting work) was purchased for us by the blood of Christ, and that the beauty we adorn is itself the Gospel of Christ’s death, then all our tender adornment becomes a boasting in the cross.
4. We make much of Christ in our secular work by earning enough money to keep us from depending on others, while focusing on the helpfulness of our work rather than financial rewards.
• The curse under which we live today is not that we must work. The curse is that, in our work, we struggle with weariness and frustration and calamities and anxiety.
• Able-bodied people who choose to live in idleness and eat the fruit of another’s sweat are in rebellion against God’s design. If we can, we should earn our own living.
• How then do Christians make much of Christ in working “to earn their own living”?
• First, by conforming willingly to God’s design for this age. It is an act of obedience that honors his authority.
• Second, by removing stumbling blocks from unbelievers who would regard the lazy dependence of Christians on others as an evidence that our God is not worthy of following. “Work with your hands . . . so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12). We honor God by earning our living because this clears the way for non-Christians to see Christ for who he really is. Aimless, unproductive Christians contradict the creative, purposeful, powerful, merciful God we love. They waste their lives.
• Third, we make much of God by earning our own living when we focus not on financial profit but on the benefit our product or service brings to society.
• This is paradoxical. I am saying, yes, we should earn enough money to meet our needs. But, no, we should not make that the primary focus of why we work. In other words, don’t focus on mere material things in your work. Don’t labor merely with a view to the perishable things you can buy with your earnings. Work with an eye not mainly to your money, but your usefulness. Work with a view to benefiting people with what you make or do.
• So don’t labor for the food that perishes. Labor to love people and honor God. Think of new ways that your work can bless people. Stop thinking mainly of profitability, and think mainly of how helpful your product or service can become. You are not working for the food that perishes. Your goal is to enjoy Christ’s being exalted in the way you work.
• None of us in our vocations should aim mainly at the food that perishes—leave that to the Lord. We should aim instead to do the will of him who sent us. And his will is that we treasure him above all else and live like it.
• If we simply work to earn a living—if we labor for the bread that perishes—we will waste our lives. But if we labor with the sweet assurance that God will supply all our needs—that Christ died to purchase every undeserved blessing—then all our labor will be a labor of love and a boasting only in the cross.
5. We make much of Christ in our secular work by earning money with the desire to use our money to make others glad in God.
• So my point here is that, as we work, we should dream of how to use our excess money to make others glad in God. Of course, we should use all our money to make others glad in God, in the sense that our whole life has this aim. But the point here is that our secular work can become a great God-exalting blessing to the world if we aim to take the earnings we don’t need for ourselves (and we need far less than we think) and meet the needs of others in the name of Jesus.
• God clearly tells us that we should work to provide the needs of those who can’t meet their own needs.
6. We make much of Christ in our secular work by treating the web of relationships it creates as a gift of God to be loved by sharing the Gospel and by practical deeds of help.
• But now I want to say that speaking the good news of Christ is part of why God put you in your job. He has woven you into the fabric of others’ lives so that you will tell them the Gospel. Without this, all our adorning behavior may lack the one thing that could make it life-giving.
• Christians should seriously ask not only what their vocation is, but where it should be lived out. We should not assume that teachers and carpenters and computer programmers and managers and CPAs and doctors and pilots should do their work in America. That very vocation may be better used in a country that is otherwise hard to get into, or in a place where poverty makes access to the Gospel difficult. In this way the web of relationships created by our work is not only strategic but intentional.
• In conclusion, secular work is not a waste when we make much of Christ from 8 to 5. God’s will in this age is that his people be scattered like salt and light in all legitimate vocations. His aim is to be known, because knowing him is life and joy. He does not call us out of the world. He does not remove the need to work. He does not destroy society and culture. Through his scattered saints he spreads a passion for his supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples. If you work like the world, you will waste your life, no matter how rich you get. But if your work creates a web of redemptive relationships and becomes an adornment for the Gospel of the glory of Christ, your satisfaction will last forever and God will be exalted in your joy.
Peace


1 Comment

Coram Deo ~ 8.27.2014

~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

Book Reviews

  • What Works: Common Sense for a Stronger America by Cal Thomas
  • Recovering Redemption: A Gospel-Saturated Perspective on How to Change by Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer

 Music Review

  • 20 – Jars of Clay

 Movie Reviews

  • When the Game Stands Tall, rated PG
  • A Most Wanted Man, rated R
  • The Lunchbox, rated PG

~ THIS AND THAT ~

UPDATES ON YOURS TRULY:

  • Bucket List Update – due to the continuing fighting between Israel and Hamas, as well as the inability to obtain travel insurance to that area, I’ve had to drop out of the trip to Israel with Michael Card, scheduled for early January. While this is a disappointment, I hope to attend a future trip with Michael and his team.
  • I’m Currently Reading – Heaven is a Place on Earth by Michael E. Wittmer. I’ve always got a number of books going, and a big stack in my ‘on-deck circle’, so click on the link for more info.

IN THE NEWS:Gettys Tour Photo

  • WBNH welcomes Keith & Kristyn Getty and Friends and the Hymns for the Christian Life concert.  This will undoubtedly be the inspirational worship concert of the year in our area!   Keith and Kristyn appear at Grace Presbyterian Church, Peoria, on Friday evening, October 17, at 7:00 pm. The concert with the Gettys will feature their full stage band and full choir including members of the Grace Presbyterian Church! Tickets are on sale NOW!   They are $15 for general admission, $10 each for groups of 10 or more.  Children 15 years old and younger will be admitted free with a paid adult, but they will need a ticket.  Tickets are available at WBNH, Route 9 at Mayflower Drive just east of Pekin; at Hoerr’s Berean Bookstore in Peoria; and at Christ Church, located at 1301 N. Linden Street just south of Raab Road in Normal.  You can also order them on the WBNH website, www.wbnh.org. We saw the Getty’s lead worship at Moody’s Founder’s Week a few years ago. I can’t wait for this concert!
  • Hall of Fame quarterback and believer Jim Kelly got good news on his cancer last week. Read about it here: http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11383849/jim-kelly-no-evidence-sinus-cancer-doctors-say
  • Downtown Disney was opened in 1975. The area is being changed over to Disney Springs, to be completed in 2016. Check out more about the transformation of the area here: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/travel/attractions/the-daily-disney/os-new-disney-springs-renderings-revealed,0,4916209.story
  • In our weekly Mark Driscoll update, he has stepped down for six weeks while an investigation into the charges against him takes place. Read more here.

         FERGUSON, MO. AND RACE RELATIONS:

ARTICLES, VIDEOS, PHOTOS and PRAYERS:

BOOKS:

MUSIC:

  •  Upcoming concerts of interest are:
    • John Wilson at Northwoods Community Church in Peoria on August 30.
    • Switchfoot at Olivet Nazarene University on September 19.
    • Brandon Heath at the First United Methodist Church in Springfield on October 23.
  • Russell Moore writes “In recent days, singer/songwriter Vicky Beeching announced that she is a lesbian, and that she disagrees with the historic Christian sexual ethic. Prior to this, Beeching wrote many songs used as praise choruses in evangelical churches. Some are asking if they should continue to sing her songs in corporate worship.” Read the rest of his article “Should We Stop Singing Vicky Beeching Songs” here: http://www.russellmoore.com/2014/08/19/should-we-stop-singing-vicky-beeching-songs/
  • Lecrae has released a fourth song from his forthcoming Anomaly album, to be released September 9. It is “Say I Won’t” featuring Andy Mineo, and it’s another good one. Can’t wait for the full album!
  • Melanie Penn is the Creative and Events Director for City to City, Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s (Tim Keller’s church) church-planting ministry, and is also a singer-songwriter. Read more about her in this article titled “Singer in the City”.
  • The Dove Award nominations came out last week. I’m torn on “Artist of the Year”, in which three of my favorites were nominated – Lecrae, Switchfoot and NEEDTOBREATHE. Read about all of the nominees here: http://www.ccmmagazine.com/article/2014-dove-nominees/
  • In 1967, during the creation of the original Basement Tapes, Bob Dylan left a large number of long-lost handwritten lyrics unrecorded. Now for the first time Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), and Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons) have come together to create and record new music to these lyrics. The album of 20 completed songs, Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes was produced by T Bone Burnett and is slated for release November 11.

MOVIES:

  •  Here’s some early chatter about the new movie Exodus: Gods and Kings, in which one of our best actors Christian Bale will star as Moses. I’m sure we will hear a lot more about this film before its release.

TO MAKE YOU SMILE:

 “That’s cool but partner this just in
That you going live forever whether you want to or not
Some of us going end up holy some of us going end up hot.”
-“No Regrets” by Lecrae

The 5 Love Languages Book Club    5 love  

Last week, Tammy and I completed our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts. We covered chapters eleven, twelve and the rest of the book. Here are a few passages we highlighted:

Chapter 11 Love Makes the Difference

  • Love is not our only emotional need. Psychologists have observed that among our basic needs are the need for security, self-worth, and significance. Love, however, interfaces with all of those.
  • If I feel loved by my spouse, I can relax, knowing that my lover will do me no ill. I feel secure in her presence.
  • My sense of self-worth is fed by the fact that my spouse loves me. After all, if she loves me, I must be worth loving.
  • Feeling loved by a wife or husband enhances our sense of significance. We reason, if someone loves me, I must have significance. Without love, I may spend a lifetime in search of significance, self-worth, and security.
  • When I experience love, I am more secure in my self-worth and can now turn my efforts outward instead of being obsessed with my own needs. True love always liberates.
  • Love is not the answer to everything, but it creates a climate of security in which we can seek answers to those things that bother us. In the security of love, a couple can discuss differences without condemnation. Conflicts can be resolved. Two people who are different can learn to live together in harmony. We discover how to bring out the best in each other. Those are the rewards of love.
  • Can emotional love be reborn in a marriage? You bet. The key is to learn the primary love language of your spouse and choose to speak it.
  • What does your spouse do to make you feel more “significant”? How about what you do for them?

Chapter 12 – Loving the Unlovely

  • In what many have called Jesus’ greatest sermon, I read the following words, which I call love’s greatest challenge. I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. . . . Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” love those who love them.
  • Is it possible to love a spouse who has become your enemy? Is it possible to love one who has cursed you, mistreated you, and expressed feelings of contempt and hate for you? And if she could, would there be any payback? Would her husband ever change and begin to express love and care for her?
  • I was astounded by this further word from Jesus’ sermon: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
  • “As I understand that, Jesus is stating a principle, not a way to manipulate people. Generally speaking, if we are kind and loving toward people, they will tend to be kind and loving toward us. That does not mean that we can make a person kind by being kind to him. We are independent agents. Thus, we can spurn love and walk away from love or even spit into the face of love.”
  • That is why loving someone who is not loving you is extremely difficult. It goes against our natural tendencies. You will probably have to rely heavily upon your faith in God in order to do this. Perhaps it will help if you read again Jesus’ sermon on loving your enemies, loving those who hate you, loving those who use you. And then ask God to help you practice the teachings of Jesus.”
  • “Perhaps it would be helpful for us to distinguish between love as a feeling and love as an action,” I said. “If you claim to have feelings that you do not have, that is hypocritical and such false communication is not the way to build intimate relationships. But if you express an act of love that is designed for the other person’s benefit or pleasure, it is simply a choice. You are not claiming that the action grows out of a deep emotional bonding. You are simply choosing to do something for his benefit. I think that must be what Jesus meant.
  • Perhaps you need a miracle in your own marriage. Tell your spouse that you have been thinking about your marriage and have decided that you would like to do a better job of meeting his/her needs. Ask for suggestions on how you could improve. His suggestions will be a clue to his primary love language. If he makes no suggestions, guess his love language based on the things he has complained about over the years. Then, for six months, focus your attention on that love language. At the end of each month, ask your spouse for feedback on how you are doing and for further suggestions. Whenever your spouse indicates that he is seeing improvement, wait one week and then make a specific request. The request should be something you really want him to do for you. If he chooses to do it, you will know that he is responding to your needs. If he does not honor your request, continue to love him. Maybe next month he will respond positively. If your spouse starts speaking your love language by responding to your requests, your positive emotions toward him will return, and in time your marriage will be reborn. I cannot guarantee the results, but scores of people whom I have counseled have experienced the miracle of love.
  • Choosing to love and expressing it in the primary love language of their spouse has made a drastic difference in their marriage. When the emotional need for love is met, it creates a climate where the couple can deal with the rest of life in a much more productive manner.
  • With empty love tanks, couples tend to argue and withdraw, and some may tend to be violent verbally or physically in their arguments. But when the love tank is full, we create a climate of friendliness, a climate that seeks to understand, that is willing to allow differences and to negotiate problems. I am convinced that no single area of marriage affects the rest of marriage as much as meeting the emotional need for love.
  • The ability to love, especially when your spouse is not loving you, may seem impossible for some. Such love may require us to draw upon our spiritual resources.
  • For a free online discussion guide please visit:   http://www.fivelovelanguages.com

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What if I cannot discover my primary love language?
  2. What if I cannot discover my spouse’s love language?
  3. Does your love language change as you get older? I think that our primary love language tends to stay with us for a lifetime. It is like many other personality traits that develop early and remain consistent.
  4. Does the five love language concept work with children?
  5. Do children’s love languages change when they get to be teenagers?
  6. What if the primary love language of your spouse is difficult for you?
  7. Are some of the love languages found more among women and others with men?
  8. How did you discover the five love languages?
  9. Do the love languages work in other cultures?
  10. Why do you think The Five Love Languages has been so successful?
  11. What if I speak my spouse’s love language and they don’t respond?
  12. Can love be reborn after sexual infidelity?
  13. What do you do when a spouse refuses to speak your love language even when they know it?
  14. Can emotional love return when it has been gone for thirty years?
  15. I’m single. How does the love language concept apply to me?

The Five Love Languages Profile for Husbands and Wives. An interactive version of this Personal Profile is also available Visions of Vocationat www.5lovelanguages.com.

Next week we will start a new book Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good by Steven Garber. Garber was the speaker at my graduation ceremonies at Covenant Seminary in May. Won’t you join us?

“Every time I look in the mirror
I’m in a shadow of doubt
Maybe I’m as lost as the next guy
Just have to find, just have to find out.”
-From “Reckless Forgiver” by Jars of Clay

 Faith-and-Work

Integrating Faith and Work

 “Grouches of the world unite!
Stand up for your grouchly rights!
Don’t let the sunshine spoil the rain
Just stand up and complain.
Let this be the grouches’ cause: Point out everybody’s flaws!
Something is wrong with everything
Except the way I sing!”

- “The Grouch Anthem” by Oscar the Grouch

 What’s Best Next Series – Part 4What's Best Next

What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from chapter 10.

I’d encourage you to read the book along with me, and to visit Matt’s website at http://whatsbestnext.com/ and in particular The Toolkit: http://whatsbestnext.com/toolkit/

The Gospel at Work Book Club – Session 2The Gospel at Work

In last summer’s “Calling, Vocation and Work” course, taught by Professors Williams and Matthews, I got my first interest in seeing how I could integrate my faith with my work. Recently, I started a book club at work with a few friends to read and discuss The Gospel at Work by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert. My hope is that this book club will be the beginning of a local “Faith and Work Movement”. Read the highlights from Chapter 3 “The Gospel in the Workplace”, which we discussed in our second session.

R.C. Sproul Ligonier Minisries


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Regarding Ferguson, Missouri by Tammy Pence

Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy (Proverbs 31:8-9; Prov 17:26).

I would like to encourage everyone to read Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile’s two posts: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/

Here’s a few quotes:

This post is a recognition that evangelicalism is useless in its own back yard, with its own neighbors, while it changes its twitter avatars to identify with persecuted Christians half a world away.

Orthodox evangelicalism is dead to the marginalized because it’s so allergic to the margins. It wants its mainstream, its tree-lined streets of cultural acceptance, its reserve and respectability….the church has turned her head, closed her eyes, and pressed tight her lips.

“Well, the most pervasive mistake I have made was in believing that because our cause was just, we could be sure that the white ministers of the South, once their Christian consciences were challenged, would rise to our aid. I felt that white ministers would take our cause to the white power structures. I ended up, of course, chastened and disillusioned.” Martin Luther King in his book, Why We Can’t Wait

I have been concerned about the militarization of the police (using tanks, etc.). I realize their rationalization is that they want to be as well armed as the criminals. I am ashamed of strong-arm robbery and the rioting and looting occurring in Ferguson. Before the shooting of Michael Brown, I watched the video of an unarmed man, Eric Garner, choked to death by NYC police. What was his crime? He allegedly possessed “untaxed cigarettes.” I love our police protection, but they have options available to them before using deadly force. What has happened to the Protect and Serve attitude vs. looking at community members with distrust and suspicion?

It has been 13 days since Michael Brown was shot and killed. We have not heard the official autopsy results, nor have we heard the officer’s account of what happened. If it was a police officer that was shot and killed, do you think 13 days would go by without information on the investigation? It’s time for Christian people to stand up for justice.   If our leaders won’t show leadership courage then we need to start a grassroots movement.

He has told you, O man, what is good;  and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,  and to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8


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It’s Back to School Week! (Groan….)

back-to-school-funny

~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

The GiverMovie Review: The Giver, rated PG-13

 Book Reviews:

Ice Bucket Challenge Inspires Unprecedented Giving to ALS

The ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” is filling social media feeds and celebrities have joined in on the craze. The challenge has helped raise $15.6 million in donations, compared with only $1.8 million during the same time period last year, according to the ALS Association

Watch: 20 great celebrity ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/08/18/ice-bucket-challenge-celebrities/14224359/

Donate to support research to find a cure for ALS and provide much-needed services to patients and their families:  http://www.alsa.org/donate/

~ THIS AND THAT ~

DESIRING GOD ~ JOHN PIPER:

YOUR CHURCH AND PASTOR:

LOOK AND LISTEN:

MOVIES:

TO MAKE YOU SMILE:

BOOKS:

DATING, SEXUALITY AND PORNOGRAPHY:

MUSIC:

  • St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Matt Holliday has been using “The Heart” by NEEDTOBREATHE (one of my favorite songs of 2014) as his walk-up music lately.
  • Last week, Paul McCartney closed down Candlestick Park in San Francisco (it will be demolished). The Beatles had played their last live show on tour at Candlestick in 1966. McCartney played “Long Tall Sally”, the last Beatles song ever played on tour. Read more here: http://www.paulmccartney.com/news-blogs/news/paul-unveils-never-before-released-beatles-photos
  • Upcoming music releases this week include 20 by Jars of Clay, Anchor by Colton Dixon, Oxygen by Lincoln Brewster and In Motion: The Remixes by Amy Grant.
  • Tickets for Keith and Kristyn Getty’s October 17 concert at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria go on sale later this month. If you sign up to receive the WBNH radio newsletter you will be able to purchase discounted tickets. Read more here: http://www.wbnh.org/about-us/good-newsletter/
  • Speaking of the Gettys, check out this promotional video for their fall concert tour: http://www.gettymusic.com/tourfall.aspx. Look for more information on tickets very soon!Michael W. Smith Christmas
  • It’s been a busy year for Michael W. Smith. First he released Hymns, a collection of traditional hymns for Cracker Barrel, then he released Sovereign, a new worship album, and on September 30, he will release his fourth Christmas album, The Spirit of Christmas with friends such as Bono, Michael McDonald, Carrie Underwood, Amy Grant and others. Read more here: http://michaelwsmith.com/michael-w-smith-to-bring-nostalgia-back-this-christmas/
  • My good friend Chris Meyer has a band that I’d like to tell you about. It’s not just any band. They are a self-described group of normal folks who love music and give back to their community. So they take 80% of the funds they bring in and give it back to families and individuals in need (20% is needed for equipment, printing, etc.). They do not personally take any funds from their shows. Blurklezurps is a made up name that one of the band members used as a kid when his brother would ask him what was wrong with him as he had Tourette Syndrome (TS). The band decided they loved this name for two reasons:  First, no one in the band had had TS! Second, they are just a bunch of people who make mistakes and deal with everyday life like everyone else – they are just a bunch of Zurps! The Zurps started out 7 years ago and feel very fortunate to have helped numerous families and individuals in need over this time.  Chris says that “To see the smiles, tears, hugs, and to see some of them healed and then also to mourn with those that lost the battle but in the end they came to know Christ, that is a biggest gift our group has known – to know we touched a life that in turn gave theirs to God!” To find out more about the band and see where they are playing next, check out their website: www.theblurklezurps.comThe Zurps

IN THE NEWS:

  • Russell Moore writes about the shootings and subsequent violence in Ferguson (St. Louis) last week. He writes “Ferguson reminds us that American society has a long way to go in healing old hatreds. Our churches are not outposts of American society. Our churches are to be colonies of the kingdom of God. Let’s not just announce what unity and reconciliation ought to look like. Let’s also show it.” Read his article here. 
  • I had two classes with Dan Doriani at Covenant Seminary, the most recent being “Christian Ethics” in the Spring of 2013. Dr. Doriani was recently elected to the Gospel Coalition Council. Read more here: http://www.covenantseminary.edu/the-thistle/doriani-elected-to-gospel-coalition-council/
  • Did you read about the $1 million baseball memorabilia find on the PBS Antiques Roadshow program recently? If not, check this out.  

ROBIN WILLIAMS:Robin WilliamsCourtesy of World Magazine

Thoughts on Robin Williams ~ From Guest Blogger Katie Krolik

Terrible news last night. Peter Pan, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Genie…is gone. It’s hard to believe that someone who brought so much joy and, by all human standards, “had it all” left the world in such a dark way.

I would never claim to be remotely profound, in fact, 99 percent of the time I either don’t know what to say or I say completely the wrong thing. But, as I was driving to work this morning and nearly every radio station was talking about Robin, it had me thinking.

There is a lot of talk about mental illness in light of Robin’s passing. No doubt, depression is a very real and ugly thing. I’ve lived through that darkness and it was scary. By God’s grace, I was pulled out of the muck and found a reason to have hope.

Sometimes though, I think the term “mental illness” can be used a little loosely. Sometimes I think it is similar to the way that multitudes of excited, energetic kids are quickly “diagnosed” with ADD/ADHD and put on medication. Guess what, they are KIDS, and kids are usually energetic. (By the way, Ethan was one of those kids. His 1st grade teacher suggested that we have him tested and put on meds. Funny, after she moved his seat from facing directly in front of the class computer, and away from a group of other “talkers”, he showed no other signs of “ADD”. He doesn’t have ADD, she had way too many distractions around a young boy. At the end of the year, she admitted that she was completely wrong to try to diagnose him.)

Similarly, I think there should be a clearer identification and more education on what is and what are the signs of true clinical depression. It is our human condition to go through valleys. That doesn’t always equate to mental illness. There is a part of us that is missing, incomplete. We are lacking something, and we are all looking for something to fill the void. That is ingrained in all of us. But on top of that, God sometimes allows us to experience pain, hurt, disappointment, betrayal, and loss. Why? I learned that unfortunately, we don’t always get the answers this side of eternity. But, we know from His truth that He does all things out of love. That is who He is. I think He uses pain to teach us, bring us closer to Him, show us how weak we are and our need for Him, and even to bless us.

At the end of the day, we are not much different than Robin. We ALL have the capacity for self-destruction. We all are in need of a loving Savior to save us from ourselves. To love us when we don’t love ourselves. And to adore us when we feel utterly alone.

We will experience pain. That is a promise that comes from scripture. But where do we get our hope from? If we rely on the things of the world, when the valley comes, and inevitably it will, what will we have to stand on, to look to, to pull us up and give us a reason for hope? I am ‘Chief of Sinners’, and I am still learning every day. But by God’s constant prodding (because I am a slow learner), I lean more on Him as the source of my joy and certainly my hope. People will fail me, things lose their shine, and money is an imaginary security that can be gone tomorrow. When I was in the depths of despair from when I was 18 to 24, dealing with/running from tremendous grief and hurt, God was the one who rescued me time and time again. He loved me before I loved Him, before I surrendered to Him, and when I was in the midst of my sin. He gave me a reason to not only live, but to really breath in the freedom from darkness that only His power can bring.

The point of this is, when you hear the term “mental illness”, don’t let it gloss over the fact that in a way, we all have an illness. It is called sin and it makes us less than what we were designed to be. Sometimes medication is an absolute necessity. But I think the first question we have to ask is if our hurt is from a regular human longing that can only be cured by the ultimate Healer. His name is Jesus.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” Psalm 30:11-12

 Quotable

A religion of head-knowledge and theories will prove of no avail either in this life or that which is to come. -C.H. Spurgeon

Quotable

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus to all of my haters For the ones that think I forgot Him   And the ones who won’t let me say it I ain’t scared no more.  -Lecrae from “Fear”

 Integrating Faith and Work

What’s Best Next Book Club – Part 3What's Best Next

What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman

There is much to learn from this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. So much so, that I’m going to share lessons learned from the book over a period of several weeks. I’ve highlighted a number of passages in Chapters 8 and 9 and would like to share some of them with you.

I’d encourage you to read the book along with me, and to visit Matt’s website at www.whatsbestnext.com and in particular The Toolkit: http://whatsbestnext.com/toolkit/

Next time we’ll pick up with chapter 10.

 The 5 Love Languages Book Club Week Nine   5 love

Last week, Tammy and I continued our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts. We covered chapter ten: Love is a Choice. Here are a few passages we highlighted:

  • Love doesn’t erase the past, but it makes the future different. When we choose active expressions of love in the primary love language of our spouse, we create an emotional climate where we can deal with our past conflicts and failures.
  • It’s the “I don’t love her anymore” mind-set that gives men the emotional freedom to seek love with someone else. The same is true for wives who use the same excuse.
  • Thousands of husbands and wives have been there—emotionally empty, wanting to do the right thing, not wanting to hurt anyone, but being pushed by their emotional need to seek love outside the marriage.
  • Fortunately, I had discovered in the earlier years of my own marriage the difference between the in-love experience and the emotional need to feel loved. Most in our society have not yet learned that difference.
  • The in-love experience that we discussed in chapter 3 is on the level of instinct. It is not premeditated; it simply happens in the normal context of male-female relationships. It can be fostered or quenched, but it does not arise by conscious choice. It is short-lived (usually two years or less) and seems to serve for humankind the same function as the mating call of the Canada goose.
  • The in-love experience temporarily meets one’s emotional need for love. In time, however, we come down from that natural high back to the real world. If our spouse has learned to speak our primary love language, our need for love will continue to be satisfied. If, on the other hand, he or she does not speak our love language, our tank will slowly drain, and we will no longer feel loved. Meeting that need in one’s spouse is definitely a choice. If I learn the emotional love language of my spouse and speak it frequently, she will continue to feel loved.
  • However, if I have not learned her primary love language or have chosen not to speak it, when she descends from the emotional high, she will have the natural yearnings of unmet emotional needs. After some years of living with an empty love tank, she will likely “fall in love” with someone else, and the cycle will begin again.
  • Meeting my wife’s need for love is a choice I make each day. If I know her primary love language and choose to speak it, her deepest emotional needs will be met and she will feel secure in my love. If she does the same for me, my emotional needs are met and both of us live with a full tank.
  • Few men, suffering from an empty emotional love tank, leave their marriage until they have prospects of meeting that need somewhere else.
  • Speak it frequently. “What if the love language of your spouse is something that doesn’t come naturally for you?” I am often asked this question at my marriage seminars, and my answer is, “So?” You see, when an action doesn’t come naturally to you, it is a greater expression of love.
  • Love is something you do for someone else, not something you do for yourself.
  • We discover the primary love language of our spouse, and we choose to speak it whether or not it is natural for us. We are not claiming to have warm, excited feelings. We are simply choosing to do it for his or her benefit. We want to meet our spouse’s emotional need, and we reach out to speak his love language. In so doing, his emotional love tank is filled and chances are he will reciprocate and speak our language. When he does, our emotions return, and our love tank begins to fill.
  • Love is a choice. And either partner can start the process today.
  • A key thought here is the idea of speaking our mate’s love language whether or not it is natural for us. Why do you think this is so fundamental to a healthy marriage?

Next week we will cover the two remaining chapters and finish our study of the book. Won’t you join us?

 R.C. Sproul Quote

 

 

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