- We recently took a trip to Chicago to see Hamilton the musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton written by Ron Chernow. See my review of the book here. In 2016, Hamilton received a record-setting 16 Tony nominations, winning 11, including Best Musical, and was also the recipient of the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The Chicago performance was amazing, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The performance featured an outstanding cast, led by Wayne Brady in the role of Aaron Burr. Did you know that Burr’s grandfather was the great theologian and pastor Jonathan Edwards? Additional tickets for the Chicago production have put on sale through January 7. Check them out here.
- Ministry Update. I wanted to briefly give you an update on a few things I’m working on. The first draft of a short book, tentatively titled God Values Your Work, was completed a few months ago, and is being reviewed by my editor. I have two opportunities to speak on faith and work in June. One will be on discipleship at work and the other will be encouraging church leaders to help those they minister to see the value of their work and how they can integrate their faith and work. Would appreciate your prayers for the book and the speaking opportunities that the Lord would be glorified.
- Rule # 6: Redeem Your Time. Tim Challies offers this rule in his series of “8 Rules for Growing in Godliness”. He writes “Just as money is endowed to a college to further particular programs or support certain kinds of students, time is given to us to accomplish specific purposes.”
- 5 Productivity Tips for the Busy Mom. Tim Challies shares productivity lessons he and his wife shared during a time when their lives were veering out of control.
- Tim Keller on Why You Should Catechize Your Children. Tim Keller discusses in this new videowhy Christians should catechize our children in the 21st century.
- Looking for Real Happiness in a World of Worry. Randy Alcorn writes “Worry is the product of high stakes and low control, coupled with expecting the worst. There’s no greater enemy of happiness.”
- Known By Our Gratitude. How can we alter our perspectives and be known for what we are for, instead of what we are against? What this message from Ann Voskamp, in which she unpacks what can dynamically transform our communities.
- How Calvinists Miss the Key to Happiness. Tony Reinke writes “At root, the joy of Calvinism is a joy purchased by Christ and emerges from the ever-present Spirit within us.”
PUTTING SIN TO DEATH:
- How to Mortify Sin. Sinclair Ferguson writes “The first thing to do is: Turn to the Scriptures. Yes, turn to John Owen (never a bad idea!), or to some other counselor dead or alive. But remember that we have not been left only to good human resources in this area. We need to be taught from “the mouth of God” so that the principles we are learning to apply carry with them both the authority of God and the promise of God to make them work.”
- When Feeling Temptation’s Lure. Scotty Smith prays “Thank you for your promise, that for everytemptation we face in life—every one of them, you will always provide a way out. Show us what that looks like today, even in this very moment.”
- The Dead End of Sexual Sin. Rosaria Butterfield writes “In the writings of John Owen, I was shown how and why the promises of sexual fulfillment on my own terms were the antithesis of what I had once fervently believed. Instead of liberty, my sexual sin was enslavement. This seventeenth-century Puritan revealed to me how my lesbian desires and sensibilities were dead-end joy killers.”
- Lies at the Heart of Addiction. David Murray writes “It doesn’t matter what kind of addiction it is—drink, drugs, food, gambling, porn, spending, tanning, people-pleasing, people-critiquing, control, digital technology, etc.—lies are at the heart of them all.”
- 10 Ugly and Updated Numbers about Pornography Use. Tim Challies writes “These numbers prove statistically what we already known anecdotally—that pornography is a significant issue afflicting our society and our church.”
TO MAKE YOU SMILE:
- Church Hunters, Episode 1. Sick of your old, boring church? Find a new one that meets YOUR needs with the new hit show Church Hunters…hosted by Aaron Chewning.
- Pastor Admits ‘Doing Life Together’ Just An Excuse To Do Whatever. I’ll admit that I’m not a big fan of the phrase “Doing life”. The Babylon Bee reports “Pastor Doug Gosport, 53, admitted that his recent forays into “doing life together” with people in his church and community were really just an excuse to do whatever he felt like doing, sources confirmed.”
- Bill Clinton Calls Mike Pence’s Strict Marital Practices ‘Excessive’. The Babylon Bee reports “In a candid new interview, former President Bill Clinton commented Friday on the recent revelation that Vice President Mike Pence refuses to dine alone with women who are not his wife, saying the strict guidelines are “ridiculous” and “excessive”.
- Introvert Fires Off Smoke Bomb To Escape Church Greeting Time. I could certainly relate to this story. The Babylon Bee reports “The mandatory time of greeting one another during a church service has always been the bane of the socially awkward church member’s existence. But self-described introvert Carla Weslow announced Friday that she has found an innovative way to beat the system: a powerful new smoke bomb she has developed over the past seven years.”
IN THE NEWS:
- Mike Pence’s Truths Table and the Law. Richard Phillips writes “The last week provided more disturbing information on the collapse of civilization and reason in secular America.”
- Ten Thoughts About the “Billy Graham Rule”. Denny Burk shares ten brief reflections on what is known as the “Billy Graham Rule”.
- Simone Biles’ Dance to ‘Good, Good Father’ Is Incredibly Personal and God-Focused. Megan Briggs writes “If you followed the Olympics at all in 2016, you know Team USA was composed of more than a few Christians. Their performances and sportsmanship turned many a head—and even now, one Olympian in particular is doing it again by bringing Father God into the spotlight on the television show Dancing With the Stars.”
- Who Would Jesus Abort? Confessions of a “Christian” Abortion Doctor. Russell Moore writes “Willie Parker is an abortion doctor. He says he’s not ashamed of that. Willie Parker also says he is a born-again follower of Jesus Christ. That one’s more complicated. His new book on why Jesus would support his abortion practice shows us the end-result of a cultural Christianity in which the self can redefine anything: Jesus, the gospel, morality, justice, even life itself.”
NOW THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION!
- What If My Husband Looks at Porn? Kara Garis writes “Through a lot of counseling, tears, discussions, and prayer — a long process of healing and grace-filled restoration in Christ — God has shown me several truths that might minister to other wives like me.”
- Are Short-Term Mission Trips Valuable? Randy Alcorn writes “Some have asked me, wouldn’t it be better just to take the money spent on short-term trips and send it to the mission field instead?”
- What is True Conversion? Steven Lawson writes “What does the word conversion mean? In the biblical sense, conversion means a turning—a spiritual turning away from sin in repentance and to Christ in faith. It is a dramatic turning away from one path in order to pursue an entirely new one.”
- 20 Resources on the Protestant Reformation. Andy Naselli shares these helpful resources as we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
- 2017 Gospel Coalition Conference Recap. The Gospel Coalition 2017 National Conference celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Here is a recap of the conference in videos and pictures.
- A Time for Confidence: Trusting God in a Post-Christian Society. Ligonier Ministries has introduced this new series from Stephen Nichols. Here’s a description “As members of a society that is quickly abandoning its Christian past, followers of Christ often feel disoriented or even frightened. When human leaders and political advocates fail us, doubts arise and the road to compromise beckons. In this series, Dr. Stephen J. Nichols points to the almighty God as the source and ground of our confidence. Though the whole world may shake around us, His kingdom is unshakable. This is a time for confidence.” You can watch the first lesson free.
- Ask Anything Live. Here is the video for Albert Moher’s Ask Anything Live, episode 1.
- If you love anything in this world more than God, you will crush that object under the weight of your expectations. Tim Keller
- When you feel exposed in prayer and it starts getting uncomfortable, don’t pull back from God. He is just starting to work. Paul Miller
- Time misspent is not time lived but time lost. Thomas Watson
- Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. Soren Kierkegaard
- You don’t have to be awesome & do everything today. You simply have to believe that the One who is Awesome loves you through everything. Ann Voskamp
- If we do not abide in prayer, we will abide in temptation. John Owen
- My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior. John Newton
- They who truly come to God for mercy, come as beggars, not as creditors. Jonathan Edwards
- We are not reborn because we believe. We believe because we are reborn. Martyn Lloyd-Jones