Even though I’m a St. Louis Cardinal fan, I had the utmost respect for Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, who died last week. Banks was my brother’s favorite player growing up and there was no better ambassador for major league baseball.
It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame…
Let’s play two! ~ Ernie Banks
This book guides you through thinking about the giants of the faith and the messages they had for us ~ Elijah: God loves you on your bad days. Elisha: Give your best wherever God puts you. Job: God sees the big picture. Jacob: Let God have control of your life. Deborah: God specializes in the unexpected. Isaiah: God has a reason for your encounter with Him. Jonah: God always gives us a second chance. Joshua: God is greater than your greatest challenges. Daniel: Have a purpose bigger than yourself.
- Christianaudio’s FREE audiobook of the Month. My top book of 2014 was Everyone’s a Theologian by R.C. Sproul. That is the free audiobook of the month from Christianaudio.
- 24 Free eBooks from Desiring God. Over the past two years, the team at DesiringGod.org has published a series of ebooks made available to their readers free of charge. The ebooks range from material written by John Piper, individual biographies, and multi-author volumes, with each one downloadable in three electronic formats (PDF, MOBI for Kindle, and EPUB for iBooks and other readers). Some also include a paperback option as well.
- John Piper’s Foreword to Rise. John Piper wrote the foreword to Trip Lee’s new book Rise.
- The Daring Mission of William Tyndale, New from Steven Lawson and Reformation Trust. In The Daring Mission of William Tyndale, the latest addition to the Long Line of Godly Men series, Dr. Steven J. Lawson traces this daring mission, which was ultimately used by God to ignite the English Reformation yet would cost Tyndale his life. From one man’s labor, we’re reminded of God’s faithfulness to preserve His Word and equip His people.
- A More Generous Calvinism? Kevin DeYoung looks at Deviant Calvinism: Broadening Reformed Theology, a new book by Oliver Crisp, a professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.
- 20 Books That Are Changing Ministry. Tullian Tchividjian, John Ortberg, and 16 other ministry leaders share the books that have shaped their lives and work.
- Russell Moore’s Upcoming Book. Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel will be published in August. Moore writes “This book is a vision for Christian social engagement in an era in which Christianity is increasingly strange. I think we should own the strangeness, because it’s the freakishness of the gospel that changes things.”
- 8 Lessons from the School of Prayer. Check out this excerpt from Praying With Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation (2nd ed.) by D. A. Carson.
- 10 Recommended Christian Books on Prayer. Here are some excellent recommendations from our friend Kevin Halloran. Don’t forget to check out his excellent blog.
- David Platt’s New Book: Counter Culture. Andy Naselli shares ten excerpts/quotes from Counter Culture.
- St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny will release his book The Matheny Manifesto on February 3.
- The Good, The Bad, and the Grace of God. The latest book from the Duck Commander gang is from Jep and Jessica Robertson. It will be published June 23.
- The “Rise” of Rapper and Pastor Trip Lee. A Q&A with Trip Lee on pastoring, porn, and John Piper. Trip Lee is one of my favorite music artists. At 27, he is also a pastor and recently released his second book.
- New Ringo Starr Album. Postcards from Paradise, the 18th solo album by the former Beatles drummer will be released March 31. The album will featuring eleven new and original songs, and guests including Joe Walsh, Dave Steward, Richard Marx, Peter Frampton and many others.
- Top Super Bowl Commercials. The Budweiser puppy has done what the Seattle Seahawks could not — it won back-to-back Super Bowls.
- Native American Reservation Declares “Jesus Christ is Lord” With 30-Foot-Tall Billboard. Last month, the government of the Crow Nation reservation in Montana declared “Jesus Christ is Lord” with a public billboard that can be seen right from the Interstate. Standing 33 feet tall, the giant sign reads “Jesus Christ is Lord on the Crow Nation” along with Psalm 33:12.
- Duck Dynasty Wife: The More Christians on Reality TV, the Better. An interview with Jessica Robertson, who is married to Jep.
- Here’s The Faith In American Sniper You Won’t See In The Film. Sarah Pulliam Bailey writes “Chris Kyle, often described as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, wrote in his autobiography that he prioritized his life in the following order: God, country, family.” But we don’t see his faith portrayed in the film, much like Louis Zamperini’s faith was not portrayed in Unbroken.
- Bradley Cooper “Air Guitar”. Did you see the actor nominated for an Academy Award for his role in American Sniper play air guitar to a Neil Young song on The Tonight Show recently?
THEOLOGY ~ Knowing God:
- By Grace, We are Free in Christ. Sinclair Ferguson writes “Jesus Christ is able to set us free because He has dealt with the sin that enslaves us.”
- How to Offend a Room Full of Calvinists. Tim Challies writes “Do you want to know how to make a Calvinist angry? Do you want to know how to offend a whole room full of them? Just bring up the old line about Reformed theology being incompatible with evangelism. We have all heard it, we have all read it, we have all rejected it.”
- Does James 2:24 Deny Justification by Faith Alone? R.C. Sproul writes “I’m convinced that we don’t really have a conflict here.”
- The God-man or a Madman? Jon Bloom of Desiring God writes “You can’t be neutral when it comes to Jesus. He doesn’t give you that luxury. If you really listen to what he says, you either need to believe that he is the Preeminent Son of God and worship him, or you need to get as far away from him as you can. He demands a hot or cold response and spews anything lukewarm (Revelation 3:15–16).
- Why the Prosperity Gospel Is the Worst Pyramid Scheme Ever. Nicholas McDonald shares how the prosperity gospel, sometimes known as the health and wealth gospel, is strikingly similar to a pyramid scheme in at least three ways.
- If the Lord Marks Iniquity, Who Should Stand? R.C. Sproul writes “The Psalmist asked the question: “If the Lord marks iniquity, who should stand?” This query is obviously rhetorical. The only answer, indeed the obvious answer is no one.”
- To the Church in America Today. Watch this seven minute video clip in which John Piper speaks directly to the hearts of Christians who feel increasingly unwelcome and alien in the America we know today. Stop expecting everything to go well. Stop trying to fit in here. Instead, fuel your life with the invincible and eternal hope of knowing Jesus Christ forever.
- A Prayer for Resting in the Sovereignty of God. Here’s another wonderful prayer from Scotty Smith.
- 13 Ways You Waste Your Money. Tim Challies writes “About once a year I go through a phase—a deliberate phase—in which I evaluate our family finances to see where we’re doing well and where we aren’t doing so well. I especially look for places we are spending money we don’t need to spend—bills that are too high, subscriptions we no longer need, and all of those little money-wasters that eventually add up. And over the years, I’ve collected quite a list of ways that we, and perhaps you, waste money.” He asks “Where do you find that you are tempted to waste money?”
- God Works All Things for Your Good. Marshall Segal of Desiring God writes “In this three-part series through Romans 8:28, John Piper mines layer after layer of comfort and strength from this dense promise. If you’ve never reflected on this verse, you will be stunned by its power and relevance for your life. And if you have known it, maybe even memorized it, we believe you will discover new depths of God’s sovereign love for you.”
- May Jesus’s Name Be Known Through Me. Marshall Segal of Desiring God writes “God will reveal his fame even through his bread-less, bag-less, penniless, but faithful followers. God will exalt the name of his Son through us — going before us in the hearts of our listeners, then sending us to speak the good news to them, all the while promising to go with us and provide us with everything we need along the way, and finally fulfilling and completing all that he calls us to do. Jesus’s name will be known, and believed, and treasured. May it happen through me.”
- 10 of Winston Churchill’s Best Quotes. The fiftieth anniversary of Churchill’s death was last week.
- Some of us are memory haunted. Horror left its stain. Broken brained we need mercy not scolding, a grace that won’t quit. Zack Eswine
- Being productive is not just about getting things done. It’s about being a useful person, making a contribution, and leaving things better than you found them. Matt Perman
- You will never see the preciousness of a Savior, if you do not see the reality of your sin. Kevin DeYoung
- Here’s one way I can know that I’ve forgotten the gospel of grace: when your sin bothers me more than my sin. Tullian Tchividjian
- To honor God as God, we must worship Him as He and He alone decrees. R.C. Sproul
- If you don’t feel like praying, pray to God to give you the desire. Tim Keller
- God calls you to the kind of work that you need most to do, and that the world most needs to have done . . . the place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. Frederick Buechner
- Our aim is to joyfully magnify Christ—to make him look great by all we do. Boasting only in the cross, our aim is to enjoy making much of him by the way we work. John Piper
- When it is the Lord’s work in which we rejoice, we need not be afraid of being too glad. Charles Spurgeon
- We are so quick to tweet, Facebook, and Instagram but we treat prayer with a sense of delay? Tim Keller
- When we turn a godly passion for excellence into an idol of our own self-justification, we miss the truly radical thing God is doing. Michael Horton
- As we’ve been forgiven, accepted, and loved in Christ, so let us do so to others. That’s the surest sign we “get” the gospel. Scotty Smith
- God doesn’t need our good works, but our neighbor does. Martin Luther
- The only Christian work is good work well done. Dorothy Sayers
- The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. Samuel Johnson
- If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep the streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and earth will have to pause and say, “Here lived a great street sweeper, who swept his job well.” Martin Luther King Jr.
- Sin will usher in the greatest and the saddest losses that can be upon our souls. Thomas Brooks
- Instead of starting with our plans and dreams, we need to begin with God, who freely created, sustains, and directs history to his ends. Michael Horton
- Unchecked, the new tolerance will sooner or later put many people in chains.” D.A. Carson
- Talk is cheap. When all is said and done, a lot more is said than done. Dave Kraft
- I believe one of the next great moves of God is going to be through the believers in the workplace. Billy Graham
- Christians necessarily believe we depend on God for everything—a prayerless Christian, then, is a contradiction in terms. Tim Keller
- There is no way to work your way to God. There is no way to climb up to heaven. There is only one way, and that is through Christ. Kevin DeYoung
- When we behold the face of God, all memories of pain and suffering will vanish. Our souls shall be totally healed. R.C. Sproul
- You are not what you have. You are not what you do. You are not what other people say about you. You are the Beloved! Henri Nouwen
- Father, free us from under-believing the gospel and over-believing our worries. Scotty Smith
- If you feel compelled to respond every time you’re criticized it reveals just how much you’ve built your identity on being right. Tullian Tchividjian
- The hand of the wicked can’t stir one moment before God allows them to begin, and…one moment after God commands them to stop. J.C. Ryle
- The joys of heaven will surely compensate for the sorrows of earth.” Charles Spurgeon
- The more we see our own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God’s grace appears. Tim Keller
- Some of you are sitting at home saying, ‘I don’t need a church to love God,’ and I am here telling you that you are so wrong. Francis Chan
- So here’s some relief to perfectionists out there: Give up! Stop climbing and fall into God’s gracious arms. Michael Horton
- Walking in the light means we pursue obedience and are honest about our remaining darkness. Kevin DeYoung
- Christians are defined not by our heritage, but by our mission; not by our blood, but by His. Mark Dever.
- The church is not full of hypocrites. It’s full of repentant sinners. Huge difference. Burk Parsons.
- Do your best to succeed and push the limits without violating them. Ken Blanchard
- We will either deal with our “stuff” or our “stuff” will continue to deal with us. Scotty Smith
- Suffering can serve us. Suffering tests our trust in God’s promises. And we have a great interest in knowing the truth about our trust in Him. Mark Dever
- That fact that Jesus Christ died is more important than that fact that I will die. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- Sometimes God has to remind you that you’re a sinner so that you can be set free from your self-righteousness. Tullian Tchividjian
- Seattle Seahawks Assistant Coach: “Jesus is Better Than the Super Bowl”. David Daniels interviews Seattle Seahawks Assistant Coach Rocky Seto about football and his faith.
- Competing for God’s Glory on the Gridiron. Matt Perman interviews Kurt Earl, a teacher and a coach at Lincoln Christian School in Lincoln, Nebraska.
- John Maxwell on confrontation. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell talks about confrontation.
- All Things Well. The February 2015 issue of TableTalk has a theme of Labor and Rest: Finding the Right Balance. In Burk Parson’s Coram Deo article, he writes “As Christians, we are called to labor well and rest well, and only when we do both as God has directed us will we find the right balance in life.”
- Portrait of a Better World: Gene Cornelius. Bob Chapman writes “Gene wants all his teammates to find their work meaningful. He wants them to go home at the end of the day feeling valued, that their contribution made a difference. And as a leader, he wants to help facilitate that feeling in his team.”
- This Four Letter Word will Determine Your Future. In this Tuesday Tip, Dr. Alan Zimmerman looks at how to get hope working for you.
- Faith and Work Ministries. Here’ a helpful list of ministries — local, national, and international — focused on faith and work compiled by the Center for Faith and Work at LeTourneau University.
- 7 Characteristics of Good Employees. Brad Lomenick offers 7 keys to help us be a better employee, partner, or peer to others in our organizations.
- Pastor, Why Not Visit Their Workplace? Greg Forster writes “If you’re a pastor, every week congregants visit you in your workplace and watch you do your job. Part of your job is to prepare them to take what they learn from you in your workplace and carry it back to their own workplaces. Wherever they do their work—on the job or in the home—they need your support to persevere in honesty, diligence, self-control, and generosity, in the midst of terrible brokenness. One of the most important things you can do for them is return the favor. They visit you in your workplace regularly. Why not visit them in theirs?
- Four Things to Do When You Make a Mistake at Work. David Rupert shares four things we must do when we make a mistake at work.
- What Makes a Good Life. Steven Garber in comparing the lead characters from the films It’s a Wonderful Life and Birdman writes “At the end of his film, George is surrounded by a community of family and friends who gather round, singing a glad song that remembers to remember the truest truths of a good life. When all is said and done, all the Birdman has is himself, and at the end of the day and the end of the film, that isn’t enough.” In his book, Charlie Self specifically challenges Pentecostal believers, calling them to a level of discipleship that integrates faith, work, and economics so that believers view their work in light of God’s design for flourishing their communities”.
- Stay in Your Own Lane or Own the Whole? Eric Geiger writes “Perhaps you have had a leader challenge you to “stay in your lane.” Whether your mind conjured up a football analogy or lanes on an interstate, you got the message. Quit trying to lead everyone else’s area, and focus on yours. And perhaps you heard a different message in a different meeting when the leader told the team, “Everyone must help shoulder this. We all must own this. So which one is it? Do I stay in my lane or do I own the whole? And if you are a leader, you may have wondered, Which message do I deliver? Both.”
- Bringing faith and work and people together: Flourishing Churches and Communities by Charlie Self. Mikel Del Rosario writes “In his book (Flourishing Churches and Communities), Charlie Self specifically challenges Pentecostal believers, calling them to a level of discipleship that integrates faith, work, and economics so that believers view their work in light of God’s design for flourishing their communities.”
- How to Stay Relevant in a Constantly Changing Marketplace. Michael Hyatt writes “Instead of obsolescence, we can take steps to ensure ongoing relevance. Here are seven ways to stay relevant in today’s marketplace. I’ve seen these work in my own life and also the lives of people I’ve coached.”
- A Call to Transform Our Work and Professions. Stacy Jackson writes “The high calling to work is a call to transform our organizations, our jobs, and our responsibilities. It is a call to consider how industries such as banking, consulting, education, and manufacturing must change. It is also a call to explore a right view of strategic planning, marketing, finance, sales, and various other valuable roles. Our work cannot remain the same when we recognize its eternal purpose. Once we realize the high calling of our work, the real work begins.”
- Is There Room in Our Theology of Work for Rest and Recreation? Andrew Spencer writes “In many ways, the culture in which we live has lost sight of a vision of work that resonates with what we see in Scripture. Two aspects of this vision that we’ve forgotten are rest and recreation. Though work has been part of God’s design for humans since the very beginning, there is a place in a theology of work for understanding the importance of these things.
- Are You TOO Nice? 4 Ways to Be Compassionate and Fair. Madeleine Homan Blanchard writes “As a manager, you really do have to be kind and understanding when people go through rough times. But you also need to balance sympathy for the needs of an employee with common sense about the needs of the team and the business.” She offers four ideas that may help.
- Patrick Lencioni: How to Make Your Company Healthy and Wealthy. Is it possible to have a company where politics are minimized, clarity is king, and team members are passionate about what they do? Absolutely. Listen this this episode of the EntreLeadership Podcast.
- Danger: Highly Flammable! This article from Christian Faith at Work states that the “bottom line is that we have to see the spiritually ‘flammable’ potential in our business.”
- 3 Lies that can Shipwreck a Leader. Here’s a short but helpful article from Scott Cochrane.
- Four Things All Leaders Should be Fearful of and Protect Themselves From. Dave Kraft writes “There are things every leader should be genuinely and honestly fearful of and seeking protection from. Here are four that I have been thinking about.”
- What Should be the Legacy of a Successful Leader? John Maxwell writes “I believe the greatest legacy a leader can leave is having developed other leaders.”
- 7 Good Reasons for a Leader to Learn and Use the Word “No”. Ron Edmondson writes “I hate disappointing people. And every time I say the word “No”, someone isn’t happy with my answer. That’s reality”.
- What Does a Leader Do? Matt Perman, quoting Marcus Buckingham, writes that “A great leader does not control people, he rallies them. He rallies them to realize and bring about a vision of a better future.”
- Five Ways to Expand Your Leadership Potential. Ron Edmondson writes “In my experience, my leadership influence grows the fastest when it grows through the people I’m supposed to be leading.”
Faith and Work Book Club – Won’t you read along with us?
The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters by Albert Mohler
We’re reading this excellent book from Albert Mohler, one of the best that I’ve read on leadership. It is broken down into 25 relatively short chapters. Won’t you read along with us? This week we look at Chapter 3 Convictional Intelligence.