Book Review: Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World by Michael Horton
Concert Review: Toby Mac, Matt Maher and Ryan Stevenson at Braden Auditorium – Dec. 11
~ THIS AND THAT ~
IN THE NEWS:
- The Gospel According to Peanuts. In his 2011 article, Lee Habeeb of The National Review wrote of the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas writes “What people don’t know is that the Christmas special almost didn’t happen, because some not-so-smart television executives almost didn’t let it air. You see, Charles Schulz had some ideas that challenged the way of thinking of those executives 46 years ago, and one of them had to do with the inclusion in his Christmas cartoon of a reading from the King James Bible’s version of the Gospel of Luke.”
- Panera’s War on Christmas. No Christmas decorations or music at Panera. See this post from my friend Dan.
- Wheaton College hires lesbian to serve as Ministry Associate for Spiritual Care in the Chaplain’s Office. All I can ask is what was Wheaton College, known to be a relatively conservative Christian college, thinking by hiring Julie Rodgers? Here’s an article on the issue from Carl Trueman, who I enjoyed a class on B.B. Warfield with at Covenant Seminary a few years back. And check out Julie Rodgers own words for yourself at her blog and decide if this was a wise hire for a Christian college. http://julierodgers.wordpress.com/
- NFL Star Gives It All Up … to Be a Farmer. Former St. Louis Rams center Jason Brown decided that football no longer could sustain him, and, after making $20 million of his contract, walked away from the NFL to serve others.
- 14 Best Books of 2014. Tony Reinke lists his top books of the year with Tim Keller’s book Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God being number one.
- The Strange Oprahfication of Rob Bell. Samuel James writes “Without intending malice or slander, I have to suggest that Bell is sounding less like a preacher of Christianity (even a liberal one) and more like the newest member of an affluent, West Coast cult.”
- Pope Francis Says Dogs Can Go to Heaven. The remark is being seen by some as a reversal of conservative Catholic theology which states that because they are soulless, animals can’t go to heaven, the New York Times reports.
- Golden Globe Nominations Announced. Check them out here. http://www.goldenglobes.com/2015_72nd_Golden_Globes_Nominees
- Season premiere of The Following starring Kevin Bacon begins March 2.
TO MAKE YOU SMILE:
- Did you see on The Tonight Show recently Jerry Seinfeld, Martin Short, Miranda Sings and Jimmy Fallon play Pictionary?
- The Assault on the Virgin Birth of Christ. John MacArthur writes that the challenges have taken many forms, from mockery to outright denial
- John Piper looks at the popular Christmas hymn, O Come All Ye Faithful.
- Revisit John Piper’s poem “The Calvinist” and watch a new video in which Piper discusses the poem.
- The Incarnation: It’s Relevance. William Boekestein looks at the intimate connection between this important doctrine and personal piety.
- The Only Intelligible Explanation for the Incarnation: A. T. Robertson on the Virgin Birth of Christ. Albert Mohler writes “And as for the virgin birth, A. T. Robertson said it best: “The virgin birth is the only intelligible explanation of the Incarnation ever offered.” And so it is, and ever was, and always will be.”
- ‘God plus’ or Bust; lose the incarnation, lose it all. Matt Smethurst writes “It’s nearly impossible to overestimate the significance of the Incarnation for Christian belief. To deny the Incarnation is to undercut the very scaffolding of orthodoxy, for a non-divine Jesus is neither the one whom the New Testament presents nor he for whom believers throughout history have lived and died.”
- The Moment of Truth: It’s Reality. Steven Lawson writes that “’What is truth?’ is the key question for today, when the idea of absolute truth is increasingly and soundly rejected in our culture.
- The State of Theology: Take It or Leave It. Stephens Nichols continues his series on a recent survey of religion in America that Ligonier Ministries commissioned. He writes “We, too, have our battles with bad theology and bad ethics in American culture and in American Christianity. Like Machen in his day, we need to take the same courageous stand in our day. We cannot afford to adopt a take it or leave it attitude when it comes to thinking about and obeying God’s Word. We must take it.”
- Christmas Spending is a Test of Your Treasure. David Mathis of Desiring God offers five truths to rehearse for Christmas spending and year-end giving.
- 20 Politically Incorrect Thoughts on Church in America. Tony Morgan decides to offend some church people.
- 4 Seasons When You Will Face Temptation. Tim Challies continues his excellent series on John Owens’ book Overcoming Sin and Temptation.
- Alzheimer’s, the Brain, and the Soul. Tony Reinke in writing about author Elizabeth Elliot asks “In other words, how does robust faith survive despite the onslaught of deterioration in the brain?”
- The Greatest Need Of Young Mothers Is… David Murray offers an idea for ways older women can serve younger women in the church.
- An Advent Prayer for Waiting and Repenting of Impatience. I have to admit, this is another one of those prayers form Scotty Smith that really hit home with me.
- FREE! Tenth Avenue North Concerts in Peoria. The group behind the hit songs “By Your Side” and “Hold My Heart” will perform three free concert services at Northwoods December 27 & 28.
- The Modern Hymnal: An interview with Keith Getty.I think you’ll enjoy this interview with Keith Getty, perhaps today’s best modern hymn writer.
- Carrie Underwood sings “Something in the Water” on The Tonight Show – one of my top songs of the year.
- New Paul McCartney Song “Hope for the Future”. Watch the video here which turns the former Beatles into a singing hologram and plunges him into the video game ‘Destiny.’
- New Dylan Album. 73 year-old Bob Dylan will release Shadows of the Night on February 3. You can pre-order it now on iTunes, and receive the song “Full Moon and Empty Arms”. The album is expected to be an album of cover songs, many of them recorded by Frank Sinatra. Go figure. Another song that is included on the album is “Stay with Me”. Dylan never fails to surprise. Here’s a live recording from October 26 of “Stay with Me”, another song from the album which Dylan has been closing his live sets with recently. Dylan commented, “It was a real privilege to make this album. I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time but was never brave enough to approach 30-piece complicated arrangements and refine them down for a 5-piece band. That’s the key to all these performances. We knew these songs extremely well. It was all done live. Maybe one or two takes. No overdubbing. No vocal booths. No headphones. No separate tracking, and, for the most part, mixed as it was recorded. I don’t see myself as covering these songs in any way. They’ve been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day.”
- By definition, the big difference between mercy and justice is that mercy is never ever obligatory. -RC Sproul
- Good people don’t go to Heaven, forgiven people do. -Lecrae
- Grace does not make sin safe. But grace does make sinners safe. -Matt Chandler
- Forgetfulness of God’s grace is one of the greatest tools in the enemy’s war against our souls. -Mark Dever
- Christianity is not “Jesus is our example.” Christianity is “Jesus is our substitute.” – Tullian Tchividjian
- The Christian is the most contented man in the world, but he is the least contented with the world. -C.H. Spurgeon
- You pursue excellence when you care about something other than your own excellence. -Michael Horton
- Are you living to justify yourself, or are you living because you are justified? -Tim Keller
- When you look at the Cross, what do you see? You see God’s awesome faithfulness. -Sinclair Ferguson
- When sin lets us alone we may let sin alone. -John Owen
- The utter destruction of our culture isn’t just around the corner. It has been here for some time. -R.C. Sproul Jr.
- What is the deepest root of your joy? What God gives to you? Or what God is to you? -John Piper
- We don’t merely need the money from work to survive. We need the work itself to survive and live fully human lives more than money. -Tim Keller
- The cross is the place where the Judge takes the Judgment.–Tim Keller
- The desperate addict is closer to the heart of grace than the devout moralist. – Tullian Tchividjian
- Jesus may ask of you far more than you planned to give, but He can give to you infinitely more than you dared ask or think. -Tim Keller
- Everything you need to know about leadership in a single verse. Dave Kraft shares leadership principles from Exodus 32:34.
- Characteristics of an Antiquated Leader. Ron Edmundson writes “Leadership principles and practices have had to change because organizations and people have changed.”
- New Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast Episode. This month Andy continues to explore the idea of Keystone Habits through an interview conducted with Charles Duhigg.
- 5 Surefire Ways to Sharpen Your Skills. John Maxwell provides five suggestions on how to sharpen our skills in a strength area. He also mentions his new book JumpStart Your Leadership, a 90-Day Improvement Plan, which releases on December 16.
- Proactive. Check out what John Maxwell has to say about this word in this “Minute with Maxwell” video. http://johnmaxwellteam.com/proactive/
- Interview with Joy, Inc. Author Richard Sheridan. He recently appeared on the EntreLeadership podcast. https://www.entreleadership.com/
- Seven virtues of Christian managers: Lessons from Romans 12-16. Gregory F. Augustine Pierce writes “There are many Christian virtues that managers can practice. I define a Christian virtue as “a habit based on a long-standing belief that God is love.” Here are seven such virtues, with a quote for each from the Letter to the Romans as translated by Eugene Peterson in The Message.
- The Fitting Job for You. An excellent devotion I recently read in Ligonier Ministries’ TableTalk Magazine.
- Visiting with Mary and Martha: What about the work? Ann Boyd writes “Mary “chose the better part,” and I do appreciate that — but what about the work Martha was doing? Even after sitting with Jesus, the dishes are still there. How can we resolve this tension?”
- When Hope is Gone. Dan Miller writes about a time a few years ago when he and his wife did a presentation at the Tennessee Prison for Women: “It gave me a new perspective on how easily we can complain about our “circumstances.” It also reminded me that often when fewer options are available, hope seems to be more present. Believing that all hope is gone is a personal choice. Circumstances do not dictate that – only we can choose to believe that.”
- Serving a Generation in Search of Meaningful Work. Bethany Jenkins interviews Gregory W. Carmer, who among his other responsibilities directs the Christian Vocation Institute, a collection of programs, including the Elijah Project, which helps students explore the theological underpinnings and practical out-workings of vocation.
- 7 Ways to Thrive with a Bad Boss. Dan Rockwell writes “If you don’t have a bad boss now, you’ll have one soon.” He gives us seven ways to thrive under that bad boss.
- The heart behind “Why you hate work”. Brian Gray writes “Christians must embrace the biblical vision of work which claims that all work which is not sinful can be sacred. In God’s economy of spirituality, what we do is far less important than why we do it, how we do it, and who we are and are becoming as we engage our work.”
- We Were Made to Work. Chris Armstrong writes “At the very beginning of Genesis, God shows himself as a working God, who creates valuable things. And then right away we see that we ourselves as made in his image, also to work.”
Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?
What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman
We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. This week we conclude the book.
God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life by Gene Edward Veith Jr.
When we visited St. Andrews Chapel where R.C. Sproul is one of the pastors, this book was the church’s “Book of the Month”. I’m excited to read it. We’ll look at a chapter each week – won’t you read along with us? This week we cover Chapter 7: Your Calling as a Citizen.