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Showing posts from January, 2021

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The Next Right Thing

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One of the most important tasks given to every one of us is very simple : do what's in front of you to do.   How much of my life had been spent wondering who I'm supposed to be? How many hours spent pondering what's next? How many days wasted pondering hypothetical futures? All the while, neglecting what's right in front of me. Have you ever found yourself in a similar position? I'm thinking about this in light of 1 Samuel 17:11. This chapter is famous for the one on one battle between David and Goliath, in which the boyish underdog marches out to meet the seasoned warrior of imposing resume and incredible size. Any first time reader expects the young idealist to be slaughtered, but instead he is delivered. God gives him the victory, and the legendary career of Israel's greatest king begins. But if you're paying attention earlier in the narrative, it shouldn't ever come to David being a hero. His heroism, born of his firm confidence in the ability

Review: The Reason For Sports by Ted Kluck

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The Reason For Sports: A Christian Fanifesto by Ted Kluck My rating: 5 of 5 stars I picked this up while walking through a Christian book store (back when those existed). The timing in my life could not have been more critical. I was just coming to the point in life where my relationship with God started to seem really central and I was diving hard into "discipleship." Which was good. But as in most good things, excess was near at hand. I was questioning whether Christians who were "serious" about their faith should waste time on make believe. Fiction books and sports being the two most pertinent examples in my own life. Ted took my hand and walked me off the ledge, by skillfully showing 1) fun is actually a God-given gift. The enjoyment of athletics is a gift from above. Or to borrow from Dr. Suess, sports are fun and fun is good. 2) More importantly, through his portraits of people, especially Tyson and Williams, Kluck helped me to see what my own sports experi

Commonplace Monday

  "These days we have no true childhood, only a diseased precocity, introducing children to things that any decent man of Whittier's day, or of Armstrong's, would have considered unutterably vile. Therefore we have no true adulthood either, only a prolonged infantility, a curdled adolescence followed by old age and death." Anthony Esolen, Life Under Compulsion, pg 70  

Review: 9 Mark of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever

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Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever My rating: 4 of 5 stars Dever's book is helpful. I've listened to a lot of 9 Marks interviews and sermons/lectures and read extensively from their website, so not a lot of the content here was new to me. But because they were originally sermons, it was helpful to watch a skilled expositor teach topically. Homiletically helpful, one might say. View all my reviews

Commonplace Monday

  "Lacking a church is not equivalent to lacking a decent supermarket or movie theatre; it is like lacking a hospital or a source of water. It is an utter necessity." Sam Allberry, Why bother with church? , pg 19

My Top 16 Books of 2020

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Longtime readers of this blog-and virtually anyone who has any idea that this blog even exists-are most likely aware of my habit of posting a top 10 list of my favorite reads from the previous year. Anyone who knows me in real life also knows that I can be somewhat indecisive, and narrowing this year's list down to 10 seemed like more decisions than I wanted to deal with. So I'm pleading a special case for a special year, and giving a top 16 list.  Other differences from previous lists include my inclusion of re-reads (because I was hit so deeply by my re-reading of Till We Have Faces ), allowing multiples from the same author (the Carson books deserve it), and how I've written (I normally stack these books up in front of myself, but I'm in the process of moving, and so they're pretty well all packed up). 1. Till We Have Faces- CS Lewis I cannot communicate forcefully enough the impact of re-reading this book. I think the first time I read Till We Have Faces was 4

On my desk

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 Currently reading: I'm also listening to "We Were Soldiers Once: And Young", which is excellent and I will be purchasing a copy.

Review: Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin

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Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin My rating: 5 of 5 stars My wife's bible study group is going through this book, so I thought I'd read it. It's very good. An excellent apology for and introduction to studying the scriptures which could easily be repackaged for a male audience. View all my reviews

Commonplace Monday

  "Church leader, are you as interested in promoting the kingdom of Christ as you are your own church's program? Getting catholic and working with other churches means making sacrifices and losing control." Jonathan Leeman, One Assembly, pg 107

The God You Need

  I'm working on a sermon for this coming Sunday out of 1 Samuel 15. I did an overview last week of chapters 13-15, focusing on what I take to be the main point: Saul's descent, highlighted by repeated failures to obey the voice of the Lord. So the thrust of the sermon, then, was that you and I are to take Saul as a warning, that failure to obey God altogether, or even to "obey" on our own terms, is a dangerous course to take. The end of that way is death. Instead we are to see that obedience is better than sacrifice. To listen to God's voice is better than the fat of rams. There is no act of service or outward penitence or sacrifice which replaces the simple, humble, heart posture of obedient service. Listen, obey. Hear, do.  But how can we be sure this will pay off in the long run? Why is it worth it to bear fruit in keeping with repentance? Can we actually trust God to reward those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11)? God Unchanging The emotional importance of

The Evil of Anarchy

Hazarding any sort of guess about what people in the future will remember about our day is just that: a hazard. Memories are short, the news cycle rapid, and it seems plausible that nearly anything could be quickly forgotten.  But the events of today feel different. Violent protestors stormed the Capitol building of the United States, disrupting the counting of electoral votes, and creating a situation in which one woman was shot dead. This is not the sort of event which is supposed to happen in our country. The peaceful transfer of power is central to our ongoing stability as a nation. And until now, such a transfer seemed a forgone conclusion. But today, we learned what we should have already known: words matter. The stoking of unfounded fears, anger, and conspiracy theories by the President of the United States, the fanning of those verbal flames by media personalities, and the willingness of many people to act on what was (at least tacitly) encouraged has led to a lawlessness that

Review: Pilgrim Theology by Michael Horton

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Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples by Michael S. Horton My rating: 4 of 5 stars I love reading Horton. I'm not reformed (at least not in the legitimate, Westminster/Dordt, fashion), so I often differ with him. But he writes with a clarity and beauty of expression that is often missing in modern theology. View all my reviews

Commonplace Monday

  "Idolatry consists not only in the worship of false gods, but also in the worship of the true God by images." Charles Hodge, quoted in J.I. Packer, Knowing God, pg 44