~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~
Movie Review: The Giver, rated PG-13
- How Can I Develop a Christian Conscience? (Crucial Questions Series No. 15) by R.C. Sproul
- Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig by Jonathan Eig
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:
- “While you should develop good study habits for the new semester, here are some real keys to the classroom you probably won’t find in your syllabus.” Read the article “Five Back-To-School Basics” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/five-back-to-school-basics
- John Piper writes that he has a passion to make God’s name holy, and he wants us to join him in that passion. Read his article “The Deepest Desire of the Christian Heart” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-deepest-desire-of-the-christian-heart
- In this three-minute video, John Piper continues his series, in partnership with YouVersion, through the Bible’s ten most-highlighted passages. With these verses, he wants you to avoid wasting your life by staying in the path of God’s grace and purpose for you.
- Cynicism is a problem in our world today. Read about that and a solution to it in this article titled “The Sin in our Cynicism”: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-sin-in-our-cynicism
- We often have a plan for our lives, but the reality is, there are many times when God intentionally messes up our plans. And that’s a really good thing. Read this article from Desiring God titled “When God Messes with Your Life Plan”: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/when-god-messes-with-your-life-plan
YOUR CHURCH AND PASTOR:
- Here’s an article that you may have an opinion on. The author suggests that we may need to fact check our pastor’s sermons. What do you think about that? http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2014/07/25/you-might-want-to-fact-check-your-pastors-sermon/33257
- Here is a helpful article on four traits of healthy church membership. Read it here: http://theaquilareport.com/4-traits-of-healthy-church-membership/
- This short article lists eight ways that the enemy attacks churches. Do you agree? Are there some that are not listed? Check out the article here: http://theaquilareport.com/8-ways-the-enemy-attacks-churches/
LOOK AND LISTEN:
- Bryan Chapell is the senior pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church and former long-time president at Covenant Seminary. His new book is The Gospel According to Daniel: A Christ Centered Approach. Read this interview with him from By Faith magazine: http://byfaithonline.com/the-gospel-according-to-daniel/
- Here is a wonderful prayer from Scotty Smith about hearing the Spirit’s voice, and not those of the enemy. Read it here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2014/08/13/a-prayer-for-hearing-the-spirits-voice/
- Here’s a classic episode from my all-time favorite radio program/podcast – In the Studio with Michael Card. Wayne Shepherd is the host and guests are Dr. Roberta Wallace and Sam Levine. Listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/harvestkc/in-the-studio-guests-dr-roberta-wallace-and-sam-levine
- Charlie Peacock asks whether we are culture makers or culture takers and shares stories about people who are using their powers for good in this post titled “Talkabout: Use Your Powers for Good”: http://godpeopleplace.com/2014/08/talkabout-use-powers-good/
- Charlie Peacock also offers an interesting take on presumption in his article “The Prison of Presumption”. Read his article here: http://godpeopleplace.com/2014/08/the-prison-of-presumption/
- Even though we often look forward to going to the ocean, R.C. Sproul writes that there will be no sea in Heaven. Read his article here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/there-will-be-no-sea-new-heaven-and-new-earth/
- In this short four-minute video, R.C. Sproul talks about what a privilege it is to address God as “Father”. Watch it here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/privilege-addressing-god-father/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=ligonierministriesblog
- Dr. Alan Zimmerman’s “Tuesday Tip” is sent out free to his subscribers each Tuesday morning. This one, titled “Make Time Your Ally” has some good points on making better use of our time: http://drzimmerman.com/tuesdaytip/make-time-your-ally.php
- Last week we reviewed the film Boyhood. Here is Russell Moore’s review of the film.
TO MAKE YOU SMILE:
- “Don’t try to fix it. I just need you to listen.” Every man has heard these words. Perhaps you’ve seen “It’s Not About the Nail” before, but even if you have, it’s worth seeing again. Check it out here: http://vimeo.com/66753575
- You gotta add this to your bucket list – barefoot skiing behind an airplane.
- Did you see Taylor Swift last week on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon? Check out their “Ew!” segment here: http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/segments/10346
- Here is a compilation of the 10 best baseball fan catches: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/89539474/?partnerId=ed-8546870-658620023#!bDEAZo
- I got a chuckle out of this church sign that appeared in Christianity Today’s CT Entertainment e-newsletter, and oh so true.
- Andy Andrews was a guest on Good Morning America last week talking about his new book Seven Decisions. Check out the three minute segment here.
- Here is an interview with Matt Chandler about his new book Recovering Redemption. Look for our review of this helpful new book in next week’s post. http://thegospelcoalition.org//article/recovering-redemption-interview
- Read this article from Desiring God that summarizes what a good teacher is from John Piper’s new free ebook The Marks of a Spiritual Leader. The article also tells you how you can download your copy of the book: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/8-traits-of-good-teaching
- Here is a helpful article on spiritual disciplines from Kevin Trax as he interviews Donald Whitney about the revised edition of his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Read his article “Spiritual Disciplines, Legalism and Laziness” here.
DATING, SEXUALITY AND PORNOGRAPHY:
- Aimee Byrd asks “Should we allow our kids to date or not to allow them to date? If so, what age will they be allowed? These are the questions my husband and I are up against now that our daughters are reaching that mysterious age” Read her article “To Date or Not to Date” here: http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/08/to-date-or-not-to-date.php
- Alastair Roberts writes about some of the core principles of the new sexual and relational morality in this article “Five Principles of the New Sexual Morality”: http://thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-principles-of-the-new-sexual-morality
- Churchgoing Christians who support same-sex marriage are more likely to think pornography, cohabitation, hook-ups, adultery, polyamory, and abortion are acceptable. And it’s reasonable to expect continued change in more permissive directions. Read the full article here: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2014/08/13667/
- Check out this article from the Gospel Coalition on helping your children with the problem of porn: http://thegospelcoalition.org/article/help-your-kids-say-no-to-porn
- 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!
- 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.com
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:Courtesy of World Magazine
- In the wake of Robin Williams’ tragic suicide, this article from Desiring God encourages those who are fighting for dear life to remember and believe that life is worth living, and “…. not listen to the darkness and it’s seductive, hope-depleting half-truth lies. It leads to a black hole. Listen to and move toward the Light. Light will dawn for those who trust him (Psalm 112:4). It’s a promise.” Read the article “Help for Those Fighting or Grieving a Suicide” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/help-for-those-fighting-or-grieving-a-suicide
- Speaking of Robin Williams, Eric Metaxas tweeted that friends told of a few times of seeing Robin Williams quietly attending services at Tim Keller’s Redeemer NYC Church. He was looking for answers. Ryan Hoselton shares some of Williams’ thoughts on heaven in his article “Robin Williams, Jonathan Edwards and Heaven on Earth”. You can read it here: http://thegospelcoalition.org//article/robin-williams-jonathan-edwards-and-heaven-on-earth
- And here’s one final article on Williams from respected columnist Cal Thomas: http://www.worldmag.com/2014/08/robin_williams_comedy_and_tragedy
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
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
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
- Read this article from the Leadership Journal on how two pastors are helping people integrate their faith and work: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/april/between-two-worlds.html
- Check out this article “Seizing Both the Extraordinary and the Mundane in Our Callings” about honoring our calling by embracing the extraordinary and the mundane in each day.
- Do you notice that you see common courtesy less and less at work these days? Read this article about that from the series “Love at Work”.
- Here is an article that will help you find the significance of your work. It is a part of a series on “Four Ways to Change How You See Work”.
- If you were asked to visually depict whether work was a curse or calling how would you do it? Check out this article to see how some artists did just that.
- Here are some of Martin Luther’s writings in which he comments on the high regard in which he held every vocation.
- Joyless, meaninglessness work can have an impact on our health. It also includes the audio from Tim Keller’s message “Humanizing Work”.
- Art Lindsley asks us “What happens when those in authority over you require you to do something in conflict with your conscience?” Read his article which includes examples from Scripture and church history.
- One of the balances we have with our work is finding a good work/life balance. Tim Challies writes that “One thing to keep in mind: There are many jobs and many vocations, but the Lord gives you only one family, one opportunity to love your wife as Christ loved the church and one opportunity to raise your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. “ Read his article “How Many Hours Can I Work?” here: http://www.challies.com/christian-living/how-many-hours-can-i-work
- This article from Desiring God states that “We humans are always seeking to discover new keys to success. But nowadays we’re hearing more and more about something of a rediscovery – grit”. Read the entire article “True Grit” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/true-grit
What’s Best Next Book Club – Part 3
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
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?