For St. Louis Cardinals fans, Red October doesn’t refer to the color of the maple tree leaves. No, it means post-season baseball. Fans are arguably enjoying the greatest stretch in team history. On Tuesday night last week, on the strength of a Matt Adams’ home run, the Cardinals advanced to the National League Championship Series (NLCS) for the seventh time in the past eleven seasons. Now they’re tied 1-1 with the San Francisco Giants. I’ve been blessed to see the Cardinals in the World Series in 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2013. Will it happen again in 2014?
Extending Our Reach
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Recommended Resource ~ Lessons from the Upper Room by Sinclair Ferguson
For the last week, I’ve immersed myself in these twelve messages from one of my favorite Bible teachers. In fact, R.C. Sproul has described Sinclair Ferguson as the greatest Reformed Theology teacher of our generation. In this new series, Ferguson covers those wonderful chapters from the Gospel of John that cover his Upper Room or Farewell Discourse, chapters 13-17. The series runs about five hours, about the same time, Ferguson states, that the actual events described in these chapters took place.
A few things to highlight in this series are:
- Ferguson describes Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, kneeling and washing the feet of all, including ones that would soon deny and betray him. Shouldn’t we follow his example?
- If you are a Christian you follow a crucified Savior. We share in the fellowship of his sufferings.
- Simon Peter is probably the favorite apostle of many Christians because we are most like him in failing so often.
- Ferguson states that John 14: 1-3, often read at funerals, may be the most well-loved verses from the Gospel of John, more so than even John 3:16, because they are so comforting:
- Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
- Resources we have in the Gospel are greater than the troubles we face.
- Jesus says that He is the way to the Father in John 14:6: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
- Jesus must leave them so that He can send the Holy Spirit, something that the apostles couldn’t understand, and I’m sure it would have been difficult for us to understand as well.
- Jesus prayer to the Father in his so-called High Priestly Prayer.
I highly recommend this series to you. You can watch the first message from the series “Foot Washing in Five Stages” here: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/lessons-from-the-upper-room/foot-washing-in-five-stages/
You can find out more about how to purchase the series here: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/lessons-from-the-upper-room/
Guest Blog: Teri Williams, Director of the Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center
I am still marveling at the opportunity I had today. In all the years I have discussed options with pregnant girls/couples, rarely have I known the choice that was made regarding the pregnancy —if they were contemplating abortion–after they left. In fact, to my knowledge, I have only learned the outcome 3 times out of so many. Yes, this is hard.
The first time was actually several years ago. I had talked with a teenage girl, explained details of her options, including abortion, and she had left very unsure about carrying the pregnancy to term. So I was left to wait and wonder. I do know heaven will reveal truth, but here on earth we wait. Well one day I was at Big Lots : ). As I rounded the corner of the aisle—there was the same girl very obviously several months pregnant! My mouth dropped open, I may have even gasped and she turned to look at me. She smiled and said, “Yes, I decided to carry!” And we hugged.
Today, I actually had the privilege of meeting and holding the baby. His mom had texted me earlier in the week to come over and see him as I was “pretty much the reason he was even here!” That statement knocked me over! The memories of our many conversations have flooded over me. With her permission we are going to share parts of this situation with all of you on Facebook. I am still in awe and very thankful. To be continued.
~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~
Book Review ~ Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
Movie Review ~ The Judge, rated R
Music Review ~ The Greengrass Session by Keith and Kristyn Getty
~ THIS AND THAT ~
DOCTRINE AND THEOLOGY:
- Sinclair Ferguson writes: “If God has given us the Scriptures to be the canon or rule for our lives, it follows that we must regard them as the supreme authority for our lives.” Read his article “The Authority, Sufficiency, Finality of Scripture” here: http://www.inerrantword.com/180015375/blog/180004060/220000070/The_Authority,_Sufficiency,_Finality_of_Scripture
- Tim Challies writes of six great reasons to study doctrine. Check them out here: http://www.challies.com/articles/6-great-reasons-to-study-doctrine
- Covenant Seminary offers a number of courses free online, including my favorite course at seminary, Disciplines of Grace, taught by Scotty Smith. Check out all the courses here: http://www.covenantseminary.edu/resources/
- John MacArthur writes that “Overconfidence is a sure way to fall into temptation and sin. To assume you’re beyond the world’s grasp, immune to its enticements, and free to do whatever you like is often the first step toward the harsh realization that you’re not.” Read his article “The Danger of Overconfidence, Part 1” here: http://www.gty.org/blog/B141008?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_content=946704&utm_campaign=0
- Don Whitney writes “When it comes to discipline in the Christian life, many believers question its importance. Devotion to prayer declines into drudgery. The real-life usefulness of meditation on Scripture seems uncertain. The purpose of a discipline like fasting is a mystery. Why not leave spiritual discipline to those who seem to be more disciplined by nature and let the rest of us “live by grace”?” Read his article “No Coasting into Christlikeness”.
- Tim Challies writes that “To become a Christian is to accept the lifelong challenge of becoming who you are — of putting sin to death and growing in holiness.” In his article “What to Expect When Battling Sin”, he tells us three things you ought to expect when battling sin, based on John Owens’ book Overcoming Sin and Temptation.
- Kevin DeYoung writes about things that we won’t regret here: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/10/08/what-we-wont-regret/
- Sinclair Ferguson gives a definition of discernment, the importance of it and how it affects our lives in his article “What is Discernment”? You can read it here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/discernment-thinking-gods-thoughts/
- Check out the article “Lead in Dating Your Wife: A Guide for Husbands” from the Southern Blog. This is the fourth post in a series from A Guide to Biblical Manhood. Download the whole guidebook as a free PDF here. Read also: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 of this series.
- I heard recently from my friend Jonathan Gerstner, now a pastor in Arizona. You can find his sermons at his church’s website at www.churchaz.com.
- Each day John Maxwell offers a short video on a word of the day that someone writes in about. This one is about the word “Organize”. Watch it here: http://www.johnmaxwellteam.net/archive/daliymwm/Your-Word-Today-is-ORGANIZE-4114.html?e=&u=Lou
DESIRING GOD – JOHN PIPER:
- David Mathias of Desiring God writes that “It is at the height of Christian virtue in a fallen world, and its exercise is quite simply one of the most difficult things you can ever learn to do.” What is he writing about? Self Control. Read his article “Self Control and the Power of Christ” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/self-control-and-the-power-of-christ
- Desiring God has introduced a new video podcast from John Piper called Look at the Book. You can check out the Look at the Book labs and sign up for the video podcast here: http://www.desiringgod.org/labs
- Stephen Miller of Desiring God writes that “Sometimes it seems as if many believers feel the need to alter who they are when they come to God in prayer, particularly when others are around.” He goes on to state that “Jesus taught the Apostles pray simply, humbly, confidently, according to God’s word, and for God’s glory.” Miller sums up Jesus’ teach in five guiding principles. You can read them in his article “Be Yourself in Prayer” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/be-yourself-in-prayer
LIGONIER MINISTRIES ~ R.C. SPROUL:
- Don’t forget to check the Ligonier Ministries site from 12:01 a.m. — 11:59 p.m. ET each Friday for their “$5 Friday” specials. Here’s a link to the site: http://www.ligonier.org/store/collection/5-friday/
- R.C. Sproul writes that Christians should be people of forgiveness. In this article, he looks at the teaching of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 18, verse 21 and following. Read his article “Christians Should Be Forgiving People” here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/christians-should-be-forgiving-people/
- R.C. Sproul Jr. addresses the question “How can I tell if someone has truly repented of grievous sin?”
- Philip Ryken writes that “Union with Christ is one of the central theological principles of the Christian faith”. Read his article “Union with Christ: A Matter of Spiritual Life and Death” here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/union-christ-matter-spiritual-life-and-death/
- Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul celebrated the twentieth anniversary of their radio program Renewing Your Mind last week. Read about it here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/renewing-your-mind-celebrating-20-years-and-still-growing/
- Justin Taylor interviews some of the authors of Fallen: A Theology of Sin. This got my attention as a few of my former professors at Covenant Seminary wrote chapters or edited the book – Robert Peterson, David Calhoun and Robert Yarbrough. In addition, Bryan Chapell, former President of Covenant Seminary and current Senior Pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, also wrote a chapter.
- The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible will be released October 28. It features new stories and testimonials by Phil Robertson and his son Al, a pastor with more than 22 years of experience. Together they offer fresh wisdom on biblical values and how everyday people can apply them to their lives. Features include:
- Full text of the New King James Version Bible
- A personal welcome note from Phil and Al Robertson
- 125 articles on the top 24 most-searched topics on BibleGateway
- Life application and scripture references supplement each article
- 30 days of life-changing testimonials
- Topical index and reading plans
- Jennifer Knapp, a former Contemporary Christian singer, who later announced that she was a lesbian, is out with a new book. Kevin Trax gives an overview of the book here in his article “Facing the Music with Jennifer Knapp”.
- Chris Tomlin’s highly anticipated album Love Ran Red is now available for pre-order on iTunes. The deluxe edition will include 16 songs. When you pre-order the album you will receive the songs “Greater”, “Waterfall” and “Jesus Loves Me”. The album will be released October 27.
- NEEDTOBREATHE introduced their mixtapes of songs they listen to.
- R.C. Sproul Jr. writes “The best music, however, strives to inform and inspire.” Read his article “The Magic of Music” here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/magic-music/
- Have you seen the music video for Steve Taylor and the Perfect Foil’s single “Only a Ride”? If not, check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pgyvfNEC7s&feature=youtu.be
- Have you seen Beach Boy legend Brian Wilson’s new video for his classic song “God Only Knows”? Check it out here and see if you can spot the 29 stars that appeared in the video (without reading them in the article): http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/10/07/god-only-knows-bbc-music-lorde-elton-john-stevie-wonder-pharrell/16868875/
IN THE NEWS:
- Albert Mohler writes that “A giant milestone in the moral revolution passed last week when the U.S. Supreme Court turned down every single appeal from several states on the issue of same-sex marriage.” He goes on to write that “The remaining federal courts were put on notice that same-sex marriage is now the expectation of the Supreme Court and that no appeal on the question is likely to be successful, or even heard. You can expect the lower courts to hear that message loudly and clearly — and fast.” He writes that “The decision made clear by the Court will lead, automatically, to the fact that 30 states will have legal same-sex marriage within weeks, if not days. The news from the Court means that the vast majority of Americans will live where same-sex marriage is legal, and three fifths of the states will have legalized same-sex marriage.” Read his entire article “The Vindication of Antonin Scalia — A Sad Milestone for Marriage and Morality” here: http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/10/06/the-vindication-of-antonin-scalia-a-sad-milestone-for-marriage-and-morality/
- Ebola is in the news these days. Check out the article “Ebola Explained: What You Should and Shouldn’t Worry About” here: http://www.wired.com/2014/10/ebola-virus-infection-transmission-death-explained/
TO MAKE YOU SMILE:
- Did you Jimmy Fallon and Jada Pinkett Smith play “Rock, Paper, Scissors on The Tonight Show recently? If not, check it out here: http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/segments/13526
- Jimmy Fallon teamed up with will.i am for Ew!, currently a novelty hit on the iTunes charts. Check out the video here: http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/segments/13111
- I got a chuckle out of this church sign sent to me by my friend Sharon.
Quotable: When we think too lightly of sin, we think too lightly of the Savior. –Charles Spurgeon
Integrating Faith and Work: Connecting Sunday to Monday
- Dr. Timothy Ewest writes “The work rhythm of ancient Christians led them to believe that God wants to and does bless, with wealth, health and safety. Their wealth was no facade, nor did they treat it as such. They used it to serve the people of God (Acts 10: 1-48). But, when they compared what they had to the kingdom of God, these ancient Christians would freely give their money, lives, and security. Read his entire article “Generosity as a Historic Practice of Christianity in the Workplace”.
- Tim Challies continues his series on how he gets things done. Check out his article “How To Get Things Done: Time, Energy & Mission”.
- Steven Garber writes of two sermons or talks he gave recently. He writes: “I offered a vision, and then two ways into that vision. First, the story of a question asked of me some years ago. “Is it possible to have a contemplative life, and still live in Washington DC?” And then the stories of two good people whose lives teach us to see all of life as coherent; in fact to see all that we think, all that we say, all that we do, as sacramental.” Read his entire article “All of learning. All of labor. All of life.”
- Caroline Cross writes “In particular, my internship at IFWE and my Capital Fellows experience provide complementary insights into the Christian view of work and life. Threads of vocational theology are especially evident in the Capital Fellows reading assignments. From murder mysteries to systematic theologies, concepts of faith and work abound in the Fellows treasury. Take a look at what theology of work reading is on the Fellows bookshelf”. The three books she lists may surprise you. Check them out in her article “Three Books To Guide Your Spiritual Formation on Faith & Work”.
- Kevin Trax interviews Jenni Catron, author of Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence, a leadership book that he highly recommends.
- In this sermon from John MacArthur, he states that Scripture tells us that there is a secular, sacred dichotomy but whatever we do, we do for God’s glory. You can listen to, or read his sermon titled “Work, A Noble Christian Duty, Part 1” here: http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/53-14/work–a-noble-christian-duty-part-1?Term=work
- Andy Stanley’s Leadership podcast is one of my favorites. In his October podcast “The Principle of Strategic Presence” he looks at an important principle that too many leaders selfishly ignore. To listen to the podcast, go to http://andystanley.com/free-resources/
- Matt Perman is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors/bloggers to read. Check out his article “Becoming an Influential Leader” here: http://www.lifeway.com/churchleaders/2014/10/06/becoming-an-influential-leader/
- Matt Perman outlines eleven components of an effective management philosophy that is based upon the fact that humans are made in the image of God and that the glory of God is the goal of all things. You can read them in his article “Management in Light of the Supremacy of God. How Should Christians Think about Management?” here: http://whatsbestnext.com/2011/01/management-in-light-of-the-supremacy-of-god/
- Sometime back Tony Reinke of Desiring God interviewed Tim Keller about God’s work and ours. Keller addresses questions such as – what is the purpose of our work? What if we get stuck in a job we don’t enjoy? Why does it seem the church has such a hard time getting its arms around vocation in the first place? You can listen to the interview here: http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/god-s-work-and-ours-an-interview-with-timothy-keller
- R.C. Sproul asks how we can best serve God in our labor in his article “God’s Will and Your Job”.
- In this Tuesday Tip from Dr. Alan Zimmerman, he shares three cautions of workplace satisfaction.
- John Maxwell offers a “Minute with Maxwell” video each day in which he looks at one word. Recently, the word was “Service”. Check out his explanation of service here: http://johnmaxwellteam.com/service-live-2/
Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?
How then SHOULD We Work? Book Club – Chapter 5
This week we continue our book club on Hugh Whelchel’s book How Then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Whelchel is the Executive Director 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 Chapter 5: The Future: Work, Calling, and Cultural Renewal.
The Gospel at Work Book Club – Chapter 8
I’m involved in a book club with peers at work discussing The Gospel at Work by Greg Gilbert and Sebastian Traeger. Last week we looked at Chapter 8: What Does It Mean to be a Christian Boss?
What’s Best Next Book Club – Chapter 17
We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective – What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from Chapter 17: The Art of Making Time.