~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~
- Here’s an interesting interview with Tim Keller on “God’s Work and Ours”: http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/god-s-work-and-ours-an-interview-with-timothy-keller
- Tim Challies offers a helpful article on the value of work here: http://www.challies.com/christian-living/do-all-jobs-have-the-same-impact-value
- Ligonier Ministries recently posted this article “Thinking about Vocation”. You can read the article here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/thinking-vocation/
Book Reviews ~
- Rethinking Retirement: Finishing Life for the Glory of God by John Piper
- The Seven Decisions: Understanding the Keys to Personal Success by Andy Andrews
Movie Reviews ~ Ragamuffin
Music Review ~ John: A Misunderstood Messiah by Michael Card
Concert Review ~ Chris Tomlin and Brandon Heath at the US Cellular Coliseum July 19
Experiencing God at Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center
by Teri Williams, Director
Having been part of a Pregnancy Center ministry for many years, I have listened to many in leadership describe incidents of “God is working in our midst”, “God has provided in an amazing way just what we needed”. Yes, it was incredible to hear about, but it is even more amazing to watch! Genesis 23:16 says, “Surely the Lord is in this place…” The evidence being in the fruit only He can bear. The following examples are just a glimpse;
- We have a new volunteer, Cindy Brown. She is an advocate at WPC in Peoria that I have known for a long time. She called me one day and said,” Teri, the Lord has impressed upon me that you could use some help!” Amazing.
- Being asked to pray by a client who has said multiple times,” I don’t believe in God”.
- STUCK, our new Bible study curriculum has been so well received; clients are asking to view more of it!
- We have 2 churches who have stepped up to say; we will provide brand new cribs for women who earn them through the EWYL (Earn While You Learn) program. Word is getting out into the community about this as well!
- Free advertising that is bringing in new clients!
- One client who accepted Christ this spring!
- New clients, new babies, sonogram appointments and even phone calls from people considering abortion!
Yes, it is exciting. If you would like to partner with us in this ministry, please contact:
Teri Williams, Director
Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center (309-647-4102)
1055 W. Locust
Canton, IL 61520
Last week Tammy and I completed week four of our summer book club – Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts. We drove out to Evergreen Lake and enjoyed the beauty (and even ran into some great friends bringing their pontoon boat in!), while covering the third language “Receiving Gifts” and the questions from the Study Guide (available for download at this link – http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resource/the-5-love-languages/. Here are a few passages we highlighted:
- I examined the cultural patterns surrounding love and marriage and found that in every culture I studied, gift giving was a part of the love-marriage process.
- A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or “She remembered me.” You must be thinking of someone to give him a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn’t matter whether it costs money. What is important is that you thought of him. And it is not the thought implanted only in the mind that counts, but the thought expressed in actually securing the gift and giving it as the expression of love.
- Gifts are visual symbols of love.
- If receiving gifts is my primary love language, I will place great value on the ring you have given me and I will wear it with great pride. I will also be greatly moved emotionally by other gifts that you give through the years. I will see them as expressions of love. Without gifts as visual symbols, I may question your love.
- If your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts, you can become a proficient gift giver. In fact, it is one of the easiest love languages to learn.
- Make a list of all the gifts your spouse has expressed excitement about receiving through the years. The list will give you an idea of the kind of gifts your spouse would enjoy receiving.
- If receiving gifts is his/her primary love language, almost anything you give will be received as an expression of love.
- If you are a spender, you will have little difficulty purchasing gifts for your spouse; but if you are a saver, you will experience emotional resistance to the idea of spending money as an expression of love.
- There is an intangible gift that sometimes speaks more loudly than a gift that can be held in one’s hand. I call it the gift of self or the gift of presence. Being there when your spouse needs you speaks loudly to the one whose primary love language is receiving gifts.
- Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give if your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts. Your body becomes the symbol of your love. Remove the symbol, and the sense of love evaporates.
- If the physical presence of your spouse is important to you, I urge you to verbalize that to your spouse. Don’t expect him to read your mind.
- At the heart of love is the spirit of giving.
Each chapter ends with a helpful discussion question.
Tammy added an excellent insight about the book. She said that this would be more of a Christian book if it pointed to God at the end of each chapter, just like a Christ-centered sermon does. We should love others as God loves: He is the giver of great gifts, He made us to spend quality time with Him…What about Acts of Service (giving His only Beloved Son to reconcile us to Himself), Words of Affirmation (I Peter 2:9), and Affection (Psalm 91:4)? Just think about it; Instead of loving others to fill their needs you can then love others sacrificially and without expectation of being loved in return.
~ THIS AND THAT ~
- My good friend Dustin Webb just started a new tree trimming and removal business. The name is….get this….Kick Ash. I love it! The story goes that Dustin needed to have an ash tree removed and was stunned at the cost and knew he could do it less expensively and fulfill one of his passions – exercise and physical fitness. I’m amazed at how many trees I’ve seen this year that have either died or are under stress. If you have a need, send Dustin an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 309-287-1147.
- The Passion 2015 conference has announced their speakers for their event in Atlanta January 2-4. The event will also be held in Houston.
TO MAKE YOU SMILE:
- A Boston Red Sox ball girl recently made a great play on a ball down the right field line. The problem was that it was a fair ball. Watch it here: http://wapc.mlb.com/cutfour/2014/07/18/85167556/red-sox-ballgirl-fields-fair-ball-immediately-regrets-her-decision
- Here’s a video of the opening of Diagon Alley’s Grand Opening at Universal Orlando. Hope to visit this in February: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/videogallery/80745763/UPDATED-VIDEO-Watch-it-snow-inside-Diagon-Alley
- St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster and former player recently celebrated his 75th birthday. Mike Shannon is much loved by Cardinal Nation, but at times is challenged by the English language. Take the hilarious Shannonisms quiz here: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/the-mike-shannon-isms-quiz/html_5252bc6e-ccaf-11df-898b-0017a4a78c22.html
- The General Synod of the Church of England voted on July 14 to approve the consecration of women as bishops of the church. Read Albert Mohler’s analysis here: http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/07/15/get-with-the-program-the-church-of-england-votes-to-ordain-women-bishops/
- Russell Moore takes a look at the complex border crisis in his article “The Road to Jericho and the Border Crisis”. You can read it here.
- Tullian Tchividjian writes that “We are desperate to associate with winners, and terrified that we’ll be associated with losers.” But Jesus is not like that. Read his article “Jesus is For Losers” here: http://www.pastortullian.com/2014/07/16/jesus-is-for-losers/
- Here’s a helpful article by Thom Rainer on six symptoms of a dysfunctional church: http://theaquilareport.com/six-symptoms-of-a-dysfunctional-church/
- Kevin DeYoung continues with his summer series of mini-interviews. This week it is with Mark Dever, Senior Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, which we have visited twice. Read the interview here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/07/18/books-bio-and-such-mark-dever/
- John MacArthur continues his series on the subject of spiritual growth, or sanctification. He writes that “The truth is legitimate spiritual growth takes work. In fact, Scripture teaches that true sanctification is the product of God’s enabling power and the believer’s godly self-discipline. Read his article “The Model and Motivation for Spiritual Growth” here: http://www.gty.org/blog/B140710
- Here’s a helpful article on decision making – “Making the Tough Call When Everyone’s Eyes are on You” by John Maxwell.
DESIRING GOD – JOHN PIPER:
- Jon Bloom of Desiring God writes that “With regard to God’s answers to prayer, expect the unexpected. Most of the greatest gifts and deepest joys that God gives us come wrapped in painful packages.” Read his entire article “The Unexpected Answers of God” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/thunexpected-answers-of-god
- Jon Bloom of Desiring God also offers this helpful article about when God is silent, quoting from songs by Andrew Peterson and Rich Mullins. Read his article here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/when-god-seems-silent
- Read “The Cool God is a Puny God” by Jon Bloom from Desiring God. http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-cool-god-is-a-puny-god\
- John Piper writes that he does not want to be a “regular guy”. Read his article here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/i-do-not-aspire-to-be-a-regular-guy
LIGONIER MINISTRIES – R.C. SPROUL:
- Ligonier Ministries continues work on the extensive update of The Reformation Study Bible (RSB). The updated RSB will be released in the English Standard Version (ESV) before spring, 2015 and in the New King James Version (NKJV) next fall.
- R.C. Sproul has been working with an award-winning composer to produce a work of new hymns. Recordings are taking place at this time. The new hymns will be debut in a concert at Saint Andrew’s Chapel, where Sproul is Co-Pastor on February 18, 2015, just preceding the 2015 Ligonier Ministries National Conference.
- I’m a big Kindle fan. I prefer to do all of my reading of books and devotionals on Kindle. Amazon has just announced “Kindle Unlimited”, an e-book subscription service. Read about it here: http://time.com/#3004637/amazon-kindle-unlimited/
- Tim Challies provides an overview and some of his favorite quotes from R.C. Sproul’s book The Glory of Christ here: http://www.challies.com/quotes/the-glory-of-christ
- One of our favorite preachers/authors Sinclair Ferguson will be releasing a new book From the Mouth of God: Trusting, Reading and Applying the Bible. The book can be pre-ordered from Banner of Truth here: http://banneroftruth.org/us/store/christian-living/from-mouth-god/
MOVIES AND MUSIC:
- Ron Howard has announced that he will be filming a documentary on the Beatles as a live act. He will be interviewing Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison for the project. Read more here: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6157669/ron-howard-to-direct-beatles-documentary
- One of my favorite singer/songwriters (and now authors) Ashley Cleveland reports that Bart Peters, a film maker in Los Angeles and the head of original content for Direct TV is making a documentary on Ashley based on her excellent book Little Black Sheep. Peters has brought Morgan Neville, who won an Oscar this year for his documentary: “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” on board as co-producer. Filming has already begun and there is a loose plan to finish by the end of the year.
- Big Daddy Weave will be in concert at Lincoln Christian University on August 16. One of the organizations that will benefit from the proceeds is the local Immanuel Health Center. To find out more, go to: http://fantheflamechristianconcerts.org/
- Chris Tomlin will release his new album Love Ran Red this fall. We can expect it to include his new single “Waterfall” and “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)”, my favorite song of 2014 thus far. Here are the lyrics to “At the Cross”, which I believe has the potential to have the impact of Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”:
There’s a place where mercy reigns and never dies
There’s a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down
At the cross
At the cross
I surrender my life
I’m in awe of You
I’m in awe of You
Where Your love ran red
And my sin washed white
I owe all to You
I owe all to You Jesus
There’s a place where sin and shame are powerless
Where my heart has peace with God and forgiveness
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down
Here my hope is found
Here on holy ground
Here I bow down
Here arms open wide
Here You save my life
Here I bow down
Here I bow down
- Want to learn more about God…for FREE? Covenant Seminary offers 45 courses in which you can listen to lectures free. Find out more about the classes here: http://www.covenantseminary.edu/resources/
- Does my suffering have purpose? Yours does as well. Read the article here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/is-my-suffering-meaningless
- Do you struggle with complaining and whining? Here’s another wonderful prayer from Scotty Smith that hit a little too close to home: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2014/07/15/a-prayer-for-repenting-of-my-complaining-and-whining/ You can sign up to receive Scotty’s daily prayers at the above link. You might also want to check out his book Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel Centered Faith: http://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Prayers-Days-Gospel-Centered-Faith/dp/0801014042/?tag=thegospcoal-20
- Do you know what Christians are saved from? Check out this article from Richard Phillips to find out: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-are-we-saved/
- Can a Christian lose their salvation? R.C. Sproul says “no”. Read why here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/can-christian-lose-their-salvation/
- Are you familiar with what is meant by perfectionism? Read this article by Stephen Nichols on B.B. Warfield and perfectionism.
- Did you know that Buzz Aldrin took communion on the moon back in 1969? Read this article from Eric Metaxas: http://www.ericmetaxas.com/blog/communion-on-the-moon-july-20th-1969/
- Doesn’t it seem like for some people their smart phone is a part of their body? They are never without it. Text them any time of the day or evening and you will get an immediate response. Check out this article from Desiring God on six ways in which our smart phones are changing us: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/six-ways-your-phone-is-changing-you
Quotable: You don’t give God authority over your life. He has it, totally. – John Piper