~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~
- What is the Church? (Crucial Questions Series Book 17) by R.C. Sproul
- You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis Chan and Lisa Chan
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.
- The Drop, rated R
- Mom’s Night Out, rated PG
- 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!
~ THIS AND THAT ~
- 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.
- Here’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
- 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.
- 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
- What is the abomination of desolation? In this first installment in a new series that analyzes perplexing passages of the Bible, Dr. Dan Doriani from Covenant Seminary answers this question: http://thegospelcoalition.org//article/what-is-the-abomination-of-desolation
- What does the Bible say about what meekness means? It is hard to define. Read Kevin DeYoung’s article “Blessed are the Meek” here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/09/11/blessed-are-the-meek/
- How does the Gospel directly shape and direct your pursuit of holiness? How do we practically bring the Gospel to bear on the various facets of our lives, so that we might conduct our lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel? Mike Riccardi answers those questions by considering twelve different biblical virtues and showing how the Gospel draws a straight line to each of them. Read his article.
- Should Christianity be cool? Here is Gene Veith’s take on it: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2014/09/should-christianity-try-to-be-cool/
- What kind of procrastinator are you? If your answer is, “I’ll think about it tomorrow”…. NO! Take a look at this flowchart right now: http://nathanielclaiborne.com/a-flowchart-to-figure-out-what-kind-of-procrastinator-you-are/
- Are you looking at your phone too much? Here are seven signs: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/7-signs-you’re-spending-too-much-time-looking-your-phone
- Can Facebook really ruin your marriage? There is some evidence that Facebook is a growing factor in divorce cases. Check out Aimee Byrd’s article to see what she thinks: http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/09/can-facebook-really-ruin-your.php
- Have you heard about Covenant Eyes? It’s a Christian company whose service is built upon Job 31:1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?” Read more about it here.
- Do you have football idolatry? Kevin DeYoung asks three questions to help us diagnose the problem here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/09/09/three-questions-to-help-diagnose-possible-football-idolatry/
IN THE NEWS:
- Chick Fil-A Founder Truett Cathy died last week. Read this article about him and his mission.
- Last week we were saddened to see the video of NFL player Ray Rice punching his then fiancée (now wife) in an elevator. John Piper addressed this on his Ask Pastor John podcast. You can listen to him or read the transcript here: http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/john-piper-s-message-to-ray-rice-special-episode
- Charlie Peacock offers an interesting article “Discrimination or Intellectual-Lite?” in light of recent decisions made about campus student groups. Read his article here: http://godpeopleplace.com/2014/09/indiscriminate-discrimination-intellectual-lite/
PRAYERS, ARTICLES, ETC.:
- Check out this five-minute excerpt from a message delivered by John Piper at Bethlehem College & Seminary, on the meaning of worthiness in the Bible with a straightforward application for our lives.
- Here is a wonderful prayer from Scotty Smith for strength when facing temptation: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2014/09/05/a-prayer-for-strength-when-facing-temptation/
- Research was completed which revealed nine factors as the most common paths to poor decision making. This article discusses them, in order from most to least significant. Read it here: http://theaquilareport.com/9-habits-that-lead-to-terrible-decisions/
- Here’s another wonderful prayer from Scotty Smith for when you are feeling restless. Read it, and sign up to receive Scotty’s daily prayers here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2014/09/12/a-prayer-for-those-days-when-youre-feeling-restless/.
- Tullian Tchividjian writes about the performance idol and wanting a “do over”, much like we did when we were children. Read his article “I Want a Do Over” here: http://www.pastortullian.com/2014/09/10/i-want-a-do-over/
- Owen Strachan offers ten ways by which godly husbands can practice Christlike headship in their home. Read them here: http://cbmw.org/men/manhood/10-christlike-headship/
TO MAKE YOU SMILE:
- Did you see Meghan Trainor, Jimmy Fallon and the Roots perform the number one song “All About the Bass” using classroom instruments on The Tonight Show? If not, check it out here: http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/segments/11186
- And speaking of The Tonight Show, did you see their version of “Family Feud”, featuring Steve Harvey and Jason Segel? If not, check it out here: http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/segments/11351
- We’re on a roll here and can’t stop now. Did you see Hugh Jackman and Jimmy Fallon play pool bowling on The Tonight Show? If not, check it out here: http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/segments/11531
Visions of Vocation Book Club – Week 3
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?
- What does a holistic life of worship look like when we are at work or at school, when we are engaged in the daily tasks that make up the bulk of our lives? The following excerpt is from John Piper’s sermon: “What Is the Will of God and How Do We Know It?” which recently ran on the “Ask Pastor John” podcast. Listen to it here: http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/worship-in-the-workplace
- Rich Sheridan is a truly human leader, he just happens to have another name for it. He calls it “instilling joy” in his team members. His first book Joy Inc. – which I’ve just started – is a great story and how-to book about Rich’s journey to build a better information technology workplace. Read about Rich in Bob Chapman’s article “Putting Joy to Work”.
- A few years ago, Michael Lindsay conducted a comprehensive study of national leaders—the largest of its kind—to identify commonalities among many of America’s most publicly influential figures. In this video, the president of Gordon College in Massachusetts sits down with Mark Mellinger to explore what he found. Watch the full 11-minute video to hear Lindsay discuss networking, burnout, the biggest problem in the leadership book genre, and more. When you’re finished, watch Lindsay sit down with two other institutional presidents, Albert Mohler and Philip Ryken, to discuss evidences of a maturing evangelical mind.
- I recently listened to a sermon titled “Godliness and Work” from Beau Hughes, one of the pastors at the Village Church (where Matt Chandler is the lead pastor). His message was from a series on 1 Timothy about what we can learn from the church of Ephesus so that we can live in Godliness. In the passage covered Paul is giving instructions to slaves. Hughes begins his message with comments on the shooting and following events that had taken place in Ferguson, Missouri. You can listen to the sermon here http://www.thevillagechurch.net/sermon/godliness-and-work/
- Read about three reasons God cares about your work from a prayer attributed to Brother Lawrence.
- Dr. Amy Sherman (author of Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good – see our overview here), a senior fellow at the Sagamore Institute, recently addressed a crowd of 120 pastors and ministry leaders at Leadership Journal’s third “Redeeming Work” event. Speaking in historic Mile High Station, a renovated steel factory, Sherman gave three clear reasons “why vocation really matters.”
- John Piper writes that God “made you to work. And he cares about what you do with the half of your waking life called “vocation.” He wants you to rejoice in it. And he wants to be glorified in it.” Read twelve questions to consider about our next job: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/how-to-decide-about-your-next-job
- Here are some words of wisdom from pharmaceutical industry consultant Boyd Clarke about how to take criticism. This is part of an ongoing feature of short video clips from a YouTube channel run by The High Calling called “60 Seconds to Significance“. It features approximately one-minute talks about work and calling, including practical tips on faith in the workplace and advice on dealing with tough questions. Watch the video here.
- Steven Garber, author of Visions of Vocation, writes about the Come and See Conference.
- In this second part in a series on Historical Practices of Christians in the Timothy Ewest focuses on how Finding Purpose in Your Work Means Joining God in His.
- Dr. Art Lindsey writes “Not only did Jesus make good tables, but his toil was not in vain. If Jesus’s work for twenty years was not in vain, then how does that change the way we evaluate our own lives or those of others?” Read his article “The Meaning of Work in Life and Death”.
- Here are ten wise leadership lessons from Faith Whatley. http://www.lifeway.com/churchleaders/2014/06/05/10-wise-leadership-lessons-ill-never-forget/
- Last week’s Tuesday Tip from Dr. Alan Zimmerman highlighted the importance of laughter. Check out “Laugh Your Way to Success” here: http://drzimmerman.com/tuesdaytip/laugh-your-way-to-success.php
- What’s Best Next workshop sessions 1, 2 and 3 from Matt Perman.
- The Theology of Work Project blog is exploring five must-study books of the Bible for forming a theology of work. This article on Nehemiah is second in a series that started with Genesis. Read “Must-Study Books of the Bible for a Theology of Work: Nehemiah Builds for the Common Good”.
- On this week’s podcast, Andy Andrews answers a listener’s question about the distinction between coaching and mentoring.
- Here are a couple of faith and work related book suggestions, three of which I’m reading now.
- Ravi Zacharias recently completed a four-part series on “Faith Under Fire- Christian Ethics in the Workplace” on his Just Thinking podcast. You can listen to them here:
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 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 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.