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~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~
- Can I Have Joy in My Life (Crucial Questions no. 12) by R.C. Sproul
- The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul
- Crazy Busy: A Mercifully Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung
- Part 2 – What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman
- Guardians of the Galaxy, rated PG-13
- Boyhood, rated R
- The Hundred-Foot Journey, rated PG
~ THIS AND THAT ~
IN THE NEWS ~
- Here is Albert Mohler’s response to Ann Coulter’s column “Ebola Doc’s Condition Downgraded to ‘Idiotic”: http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/08/07/are-christian-missionaries-narcissistic-idiots-a-response-to-ann-coulter/
- You can read Tammy’s reply to Dr. Mohler and others – in the blog post that precedes this one (below) entitled, “Christian Piling On – Flag on the Play!”
- With all of the publicity about the Fifty Shades of Gray film trailer, I thought it would be good to pass along this article about fifty shades of strange: http://theaquilareport.com/50-shades-of-strange/
- Here’s a great story about Adam “Waino” Wainright, star pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. Wainright is a believer and does a lot to give back to others. Read the article here: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/joe-strauss/strauss-waino-s-world-reaches-far-beyond-the-cardinals/article_fd50dda3-cd8a-58a2-af32-d08eedd3b3c2.html
- Boston Red Sox slugger David “Big Papi” Ortiz in St. Louis for a series against the Cardinals last week took time to visit our favorite BBQ place Pappy’s Smokehouse – – http://www.pappyssmokehouse.com/. You can read about it here: http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/columns/joe-holleman/papi-meets-pappy-lots-of-meat-on-the-bone/article_215817f6-3c91-5fd0-8302-cd3af6985539.html
PASTOR MARK DRISCOLL, MARS HILL CHURCH ~
Pastor Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church—based in Seattle, Washington and the author of over 15 books. Mars Hill Church grew beyond all expectations to 13,000 people (and counting) and gathers weekly across 15 locations in five states. In 2012, Mars Hill was recognized as the third fastest growing church in the country.
- Mark Driscoll, who is showing up in the news more and more, and not for positive reasons, apologized to his congregation for comments he posted under the name of William Wallace II back in 2000 that have recently resurfaced. Read the story here.
- “Hoping that “the name of Christ will not continue to be dishonored,” the Acts 29 church planting network founded by Mark Driscoll has removed the Seattle pastor and his Mars Hill megachurch from membership. Read the entire article here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2014/august/acts-29-removes-mars-hill-asks-mark-driscoll-matt-chandler.html
- A related Mark Driscoll article comes from Carl Trueman as he asks a question some will not want to answer: http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/08/the-question.php
- LifeWay Christian Resources, which bills itself as “one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services,” announced that it had pulled Mark Driscoll’s books from their website and more than 180 stores nationwide. Read the article here.
- And one more article on Driscoll, “Character is King” from our favorite blogger Tim Challies.
PROBING QUESTIONS ~
- Why do we suffer? Is it in vain? R.C. Sproul writes “Because of Christ, our suffering is not useless. It is part of the total plan of God, who has chosen to redeem the world through the pathway of suffering.” Read his article here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/christ-our-suffering-not-vain/
- Predestination: Can I Be Sure I Am Chosen? Once we bring up the doctrine of predestination, people want to know if they are themselves among the elect. Read this article from Ligonier Ministries on here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/predestination-can-i-be-sure-i-am-chosen/
- What is the key to sexual happiness? This article from Desiring God states that “It is learning that sex isn’t everything; God is. Marriage isn’t everything; God is. Though they are all good gifts in their rightful context, they fail in comparison to the eternal glory and awesome wonder of our God. True happiness always comes from trusting and enjoying God.” Read the article here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-single-man-s-journey-to-sexual-happiness
- How much do you know about Hamas? Check out this informative article about nine things you should know about Hamas: http://thegospelcoalition.org//article/9-things-you-should-know-about-hamas
TO MAKE YOU SMILE ~
- Here’s some humor for anyone who has ever had a hard time putting the fitted sheet on the bed.
- Two cities that we have visited frequently – Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia are the top two friendliest cities according to this article from USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/dispatches/2014/08/04/conde-nast-traveler-friendliest-unfriendliest-cities/13577157/
- Did you see Jimmy Fallon and Julie Roberts compete in a game of “Face Balls” recently on The Tonight Show? If not, check this out: http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show#segments/9586
- Holy Cow! A 65-year-old Cubs fan makes crazy grab, throws another ball back. We grudgingly share this video with you.
ARTICLES, PRAYERS, ETC. ~
- A great way to start the day is to listen to Albert Mohler’s The Briefing, a daily worldview analysis about the leading news headlines and cultural conversations. This will be some of the best twenty minutes you will spend each day. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or listen on Dr. Mohler’s website here: http://www.albertmohler.com/category/the-briefing/
- In addition to their primary site (www.ligonier.org), Ligonier Ministries has two sites that I would like to recommend to you. They are Renewing Your Mind (www.renewingyourmind.org), which contains the daily radio program, and RefNet (www.refnet.fm), which features 7 X 24 of excellent teaching from R.C. Sproul, Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, Ravi Zacharias and others.
- My friend Freddie Cornejo makes wonderful signs on a machine that he built (see the one below that he made for me which is in my office at work). The signs are available at a very reasonable price. To find out more and see other samples of his work, go to his Creative Routing Facebook site.
FOR YOUR CHRISTIAN JOURNEY ~
- Here’s an article by R.C. Sproul Jr., that we would all benefit by reading, “The Irony of an Arrogant Calvinist”.
- John Piper writes that “Being a Christian means experiencing the supernatural every day. Living as new creatures in Christ is amazing beyond calculation.” Read his article titled “The Incalculable Wonder of Being a Christian” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-incalculable-wonder-of-being-a-christianHere is a lengthy profile on Matt Chandler, author and pastor of the Village Church in Texas, and survivor of brain cancer: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/08/meet-the-texas-preacher-who-survived-brain-cancer-and-may-be-one-of-the-most-prominent-pastors-youve-never-heard-of/
- Russell Moore writes that the article profiling the “abortion ministry” of Willie Parker in the current issue of Esquire magazine is one of the most disturbing he’s ever read. Read the rest of Dr. Moore’s article here.
- An emphasis of mine is to finish the race strongly. This was emphasized in John Piper’s Rethinking Retirement and J.I. Packer’s Finishing Our Course With Joy. Scotty Smith’s “A Prayer for Finishing Strong” resonated with me. I hope it does you to. Read it here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2014/08/03/a-prayer-for-finishing-well-3/
- And while we’re at it, here’s another excellent recent prayer from Scott on owning our shame and bringing it to Jesus: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2014/08/06/a-prayer-for-owning-our-shame-and-bringing-it-to-jesus/
HELPFUL TIPS ~
- I found this article about six things not to say at a funeral of interest. Read it here: http://birdchadlouis.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/please-dont-say-these-six-things-at-my-funeral/
- David Murray recently posted helpful tips for hospital visiting. Check them out here.
- This article from Christianity Today states that we need to remember that leadership is Biblical, theological, and contextual. Read the article here.
- John Maxwell writes that “Asking the right question of the right person at the right time is a powerful combination because the answers you receive set you up for success.” He has written Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, which comes out this October, to show the impact that questions have made on his life, share the leadership questions he asks himself and others and answer questions from others. Read more in this article titled “You Only Get Answers to the Questions You Ask” here.
- Tim Challies recently looked at Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. He found it to be “a helpful little book that I cheerfully commend”. Read Tim’s review here: http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/women-of-the-word#keep-reading
- Reformation Trust’s free e-book of the month is R.C. Sproul’s classic Surprised by Suffering. To find out how to download your copy, go to http://www.ligonier.org/blog/surprised-suffering-free-ebook/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=ligonierministriesblog
- Sinclair Ferguson’s new book From the Mouth of God: Trusting, Reading and Applying the Bible is now available from Banner of Truth Trust. Check it out here: http://banneroftruth.org/us/store/christian-living/from-mouth-god/
- And speaking of The Banner of Truth Trust, they are in the process of adding e-books to their store. That’s great news. We’ll let you know when they are available.
- Trip Lee will return this fall with Rise, his first album in more than two years. A book Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story will follow in January.
- To celebrate 20 years of music making, Jars of Clay has recorded a collection of 20 intimate acoustic versions of their songs chosen by their fans. The project has two songs from each of their studio albums recorded live, along with the accompaniment of small string ensembles, and a few friends. The album, which releases August 19, also includes two new tracks.
- Lecrae is a believer who is a making a difference in the rap/hip-hop culture. His Anomaly may be my most anticipated album of the year. It will released on September 9, though he has released three songs thus far to those who have pre-ordered the album, including the lead single “Nuthin”, a message to today’s music artists who aren’t saying anything. Here are the lyrics:
(Chorus) Here we go again in circles
I think I heard it all
We been here before
But we need something more
What you say
I can’t hear cause you
Ain’t talking ’bout nuthin (ain’t talking ’bout nuthin)
What you talking ’bout
They be talking ’bout the same old thing
Imma have to call a foul in the game
What you talking ’bout
A little money now you all OG
Talking ’bout it’s all eyes on me
They ain’t talking ’bout nuthin
Let me guess you counting money to the ceiling
Difference ‘tween us like at least a couple million
It’s foreign cars, pretty girls everywhere you go
Yeah I heard it 30 times on the radio
Lou Vuitton ain’t gon’ pay you for that bragging
And Donatella prolly never heard your album
Yeah they probably ’bout to label me a hater
But I know these people greater than the songs they created
It’s little homies in the hood regurgitating
And everybody watching thinking that you made it
The truth is for a few designer labels and a little bit of paper now you 12 years slaving
Hey but you ain’t Lupita
So why you beat up and pushing people to lean on the devil
Copping a seizure
It sound like you put your feet up
You still a slave and money can’t buy you freedom partna’
Tell me why the song’s on in my car (hear the radio)
Why the song on in my gym (what they saying now)
And the song’s stuck in my head (I can’t take no more)
I still don’t know what y’all saying
Lemme lemme lemme do this
Imma be a straight shooter
And we was made in his image
Why we so Judas
Talking bread like we at the last supper
Throwing money at these women make it rain in the summer
I ain’t advertising brands on the radio
They expensive and I know they ain’t gon’ pay me for
Telling kids to go in debt, for the ‘vette that they’ll prolly never get
But I talk about it every song
And every song talking ’bout they selling work on every corner
Don’t talk about the laws, taking kids away from mommas
Don’t talk about your homie in the trauma cause he shot up
Or what about your young boy messing up the product
They don’t talk about the bond money that they ain’t have
And everybody snitch on everybody in the jam
They don’t talk about the pain, they don’t talk about the struggle
How they turn to the Lord when they ran into trouble
Imma talk about it
I don’t care if the world try to swallow me
I turn my back to ’em, tell ’em all follow me
I know you gon’ label me a hater
But inside you are greater than the songs you creating man
Hey man, the way I see it
I think we were made for more
Than just, ya know, the simple things that we aspire toward
We were made for more than just telling stories about
How much money we can get by selling poison to people
It’s time to talk about who we are and who we can be
And we need to build each other up and not put each other down
I feel like we not talking about nothing right now
Integrating Faith and Work
Am I desiring and seeking the temporal and eternal good of my neighbor with the same zeal, ingenuity and perseverance that I seek my own? -John Piper
The more a person counts as loss his own righteousness and lays hold by faith of the righteousness of Christ, the more he will be motivated to live and work for Christ. -Jerry Bridges
- JD Greear shares “26 Ways to Provoke the 1 Peter 3:15 Question at Work”. Read his article here: http://www.jdgreear.com/my_weblog/2014/08/26-ways-to-provoke-the-1-peter-315-question-at-work.html
- We all fail in some way at work. How do we handle it? Here is a helpful article on how to handle failure at work.
- Here’s a good article about three questions on productivity from Matt Perman, author of What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done: http://whatsbestnext.com/2010/09/3-questions-on-productivity-2/
- Here’s an article from the Your Work Matters series about who is influencing who at work. I think it will resonate with most, if not all of us.
- Read this article from the Leadership Journal which states: “As pastors, we would do well to heed the question of Dorothy Sayers: “How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of his life?” Any religion with little concern about the coalescence of faith and work must derive from a different book than the Bible.” Read the article “Where is God on Monday” here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/july/where-is-god-on-monday.html
- Tim Challies writes that “Work has intrinsic significance because it gives me the opportunity to do something with joy—with joy in the Lord. I can do my work in such a way that it glorifies God, or I can do it in such a way that it dishonors him. Anything I can do to God’s glory has significance. It has great significance!” Read his entire article “Work That Makes a Difference” here: http://www.challies.com/christian-living/work-that-makes-a-difference
- David Murray lists his top ten books on work here.
- I found this article of interest on how companies practice their various faiths.
- Here is another article in the “Idols at Work” series, this one on redeeming power at work. It’s worth your time to read.
- Andy Stanley’s leadership podcast is one of my favorites. In the latest episode he talks about being a “Beyond You” leader, something he spoke on at this year’s Leadercast event. You can listen to the podcast at this site http://andystanley.com/free-resources/ under “Podcasts”. You can review my notes from Andy’s Leadercast talk below:
Andy Stanley opened the event, and it was his job to tell us what it means to be a “Beyond You” leader, and to create a “Beyond You” culture in your organization. He stated:
- “Beyond You” leaders fearlessly and selflessly empower leaders around them as well as those coming alongside them.
- Fearlessly. Leaders who are not afraid of the 25 year-old kid who is smarter than you. “Beyond You” leaders will pour themselves these leaders even though they may take their place someday.
- Empower. Every leader has power. What leaders need to learn is how to leverage your power/influence for the sake of those around you.
- Andy stated that the Big Idea is: The value of a life is always measured by how much of it was given away. He said that this is often apparent when we hear about the impact someone has had on others at their funeral.
- “Beyond You” leaders celebrate generosity and selflessness. We celebrate generosity, but sometimes envy accumulation.
- We should spend more time on leveraging influence for the sake of others rather than accumulation.
- He gave us three things to begin doing:
- Make as few decisions as possible. Refuse to make decisions that other people can make. This is empowering. We need to say: “You decide”. As your organizational authority increases, your organizational IQ decreases. As you go up, you’ll know less and less about more and more things because you are responsible for more. You have authority, but not competency. Just because I have the authority, I don’t have to use it. Give it to others.
- Work for your team. “Beyond Leaders” ask: “What can I do to help?” How can I leverage my influence/power/position to help you do what I’ve hired you to do? How can I work for you? I want to loan you my influence/power/position. Ask for 1-3 things you can do to assist your team members.
- Empty your cup. “Beyond Leaders” should ask: “What can I do to fill their cup”? Some object and say that they will do this when they’re the boss. No, start now.
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 nine: Discovering Your Own Love Language. Here are a few passages we highlighted:
- Discovering the primary love language of your spouse is essential if you are to keep their emotional love tank full. But first, let’s make sure you know your own love language.
- What is your primary love language? What makes you feel most loved by your spouse? What do you desire above all else? If the answer to those questions does not leap to your mind immediately, perhaps it will help to look at the negative use of love languages. What does your spouse do or say or fail to do or say that hurts you deeply?
- If it grieves you deeply that your spouse seldom gives you a gift for any occasion, then perhaps your primary love language is “Receiving Gifts.” If your deepest hurt is that your spouse seldom gives you quality time, then that is your primary love language.
- Another approach to discovering your primary love language is to look back over your marriage and ask, “What have I most often requested of my spouse?” Whatever you have most requested is probably in keeping with your primary love language.
- Another way to discover your primary love language is to examine what you do or say to express love to your spouse. Chances are what you are doing for her is what you wish she would do for you.
- Thus, you may discover your own language by asking, “How do I consciously express my love to my spouse?”
- I have suggested three ways to discover your own primary love language:
- What does your spouse do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language.
- What have you most often requested of your spouse? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.
- In what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel loved.
- Two kinds of people may have difficulty discovering their primary love language. The first is the individual whose emotional love tank has been full for a long time. The second is the individual whose love tank has been empty for so long that he doesn’t remember what makes him feel loved. In either case, go back to the experience of falling in love and ask yourself, “What did I like about my spouse in those days? What did he do or say that made me desire to be with him?” If you can conjure up those memories, it will give you some idea of your primary love language.
- Another approach would be to ask yourself, “What would be an ideal spouse to me? If I could have the perfect mate, what would she be like?” Your picture of a perfect mate should give you some idea of your primary love language.
- Having said all of that, let me suggest that you spend some time writing down what you think is your primary love language. Then list the other four in order of importance. Also write down what you think is the primary love language of your spouse. You may also list the other four in order of importance if you wish. Sit down with your spouse and discuss what you guessed to be his/her primary love language. Then tell each other what you consider to be your own primary love language.
- Once you have shared that information, I suggest that you play the following game three times a week for three weeks. The game is called “Tank Check,” and it is played like this. When you come home, one of you says to the other, “On a scale of zero to ten, how is your love tank tonight?” Zero means empty, and ten means “I am full of love and can’t handle any more.” You give a reading on your emotional love tank—10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, or 0, indicating how full it is. Your spouse says, “What could I do to help fill it?” Then you make a suggestion—something you would like your spouse to do or say that evening. To the best of his ability, he will respond to your request. Then you ask your spouse the same questions, in the reverse order so that both of you have the opportunity to do a reading on your love tank and to make a suggestion toward filling it. If you play the game for three weeks, you will be hooked on it, and it can be a playful way of stimulating love expressions in your marriage. Incidentally, if you have still not discovered your primary love language, keep records on the Tank Check game. When your spouse says, “What could I do to help fill your tank?” your suggestions will likely cluster around your primary love language. You may request things from all five love languages, but you will have more requests centering on your primary love language.
You can take this assessment to determine your love language here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
Next week we will cover Chapter 10: Love is a Choice. Won’t you join us?