Friday, June 15, 2012

Five for Friday - 6/15/12

A Dangerous Set of DVDs - I can't wait to get my hands on a set of these. They look to be life-changing.

The Praise Belongs to God - See the Gospel in action. Katie Davis is an inspiration. Jesus is a great Savior!

Dirty Little Secret of Endorsements - As one who typically looks to endorsements to help when buying books, I found this eye-opening and concerning. There are also theological implications here.

7 Reasons Movie Illustrations are Lame - I have found Cripplegate to be a very though-provoking and insightful blog. With the flood of movie-based Bible studies on the market today, this post offers wise counsel.

That Awkward Moment -  Great post from Desiring God concerning the persecution we face in America when we share the Gospel. I needed this.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday's Wisdom - Wisdom That is Always Relevant

It never ceases to amaze me how a book so maligned and written off by skeptics as being irrelevant so clearly and accurately speaks of man's condition at the most fundamental level. As I read this week's focus passage, I couldn't help but chuckle to myself. God really does know us. Are these words not as true today as they have ever been?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Five for Friday

What Do We Do With the Bible? (Part 4) – The final post in the series from NT Greek guru Bill Mounce. Especially not the last part regarding love of the Bible.

Walking Through Fire – Moving story of a cancer-stricken mother who would not abort her baby in spite of doctors, family, and even her husband telling her to. Tissue alert!

Letter to a 13-Year Old Asking How to Go Deeper in Bible Study – John Piper answers a question from a 13- year old. Sound advise that is helpful whether you are 13 or 103.

Can Christians Use Birth Control? – Albert Mohler offers extremely helpful counsel to Christians who wrestle with the use of birth control. Theology matters.

Running Out of Time – I know I’ve shared a lot of Jon Acuff lately, but he keeps writing killer stuff. Enjoy.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Five for Friday

Here are five post or articles I benefited from this week:

New & Notable Music - Blogmeister Tim Challies shares a few new Christian music projects you may not be aware of. I enjoyed Big Stories for Little Ones and Church Clothes this week. I didn't get a chance to listen to the other two he noted, but I'll check them out next week.

Why Are People So Cruel - Chris LoCurto is another one of the great guys on Dave Ramsey's team (I mentioned Jon Acuff last week). He shared this video and it literally moved me to tears. Every. Life. Is. Beautiful.

I'm Encouraged When an Unbeliever Hits Gospel Notes - Erik Raymond is a pastor who I've interacted with on a couple of occasions via his blog. He is a thinker and has a great eye for how theology (especially the Gospel) plays out in real life. "Then he spoke with prophetic clarity: 'Sometimes peace can only come through bloodshed man.'" Gospel gold.

What Do We Do With the Bible? Read It -Bill Mounce is pretty much the king of  Biblical Greek. I usually don't understand much of what he writes (my inadequacies, not his), but this series of posts matches the very heartbeat of what I desire to teach with my blog. Part 2 is below.

What Do We Do With the Bible? Meditate On It - Simply reading Scripture isn't enough to be changed by it. We have to actually engage the Word in order for it to conform our thoughts to it's. I often struggle with taking the time to meditate on Scripture, so this post has been especially helpful.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Five for Friday

Sorry, I missed a Friday or two. Here are 5 items that I deeply benefited from this week.

Kids Get the Gospel - Jon Acuff is quickly becoming one of my favorite reads. He is a very funny guy, but also "gets" the Gospel. I the course of one post I find myself shifting abruptly from deep belly-laughing to crying like a baby.

Trying Not to Complain Around Missionaries - Another gem from Jon Acuff. Humor with a great point.

Satan's Desire for Mothers - Julian Freeman offers great insight as to how Satan lies to mothers and God's truth in response to these lies. As a husband and father, this posted helped me know how to better pray for my wife.

God's Refrigerator Art - I've been wrestling a lot lately with the true nature of my relationship with God and his grace. This offering from the Resurgence ministered to me greatly.

Man with a Love Song - Okay, so this one isn't very "spiritual", but this guy has gotten me back into strumming on my ukulele. He is a wizard on the four-stringed jumping flea and I've been listening to the songs on this page over and over. A great reminder of God's common grace.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Defining My Focus

I started this blog several years back. I had just learned about blogs and since I enjoyed reading them and I have a love/hate relationship with writing, I decided to start one. It was simply going to be an online journal of what God was doing in my life. So I came up with a name, signed up for a Blogger account and in a few minutes hours I had my very own blog.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Five for Friday

On Fridays I will be posting a roundup of five blog posts that I found inspiring, practical, helpful, and worthwhile throughout the week. My hope is that they will serve you in growing in every aspect of your life.

Without further ado, here is the first edition of Five for Friday:

So You Want to Date My Daughter? - As a father of two daughters and two sons, I will be referring back to this one quite often. Jared Wilson nailed it!

No Stone Throwing - Speaking About Human Sexuality - While Christians should defend what the Bible says about human sexuality, we haven't always been so loving in actually doing it. Eric Metaxas helps us think about how we should speak about these things.

Ashamed and Disappointed - Tim Challies shares his thoughts about his recent experience with an abortion clinic in Louisville. Very thought provoking.

Speak for the Unborn - Denny Burk tells some of the history of a pro-life ministry that stands outside the abortion clinic that Tim Challies referred to, encouraging young women not to abort their babies.

My Brother Can't Cry - A beautiful article by Zach Bradford about his disabled brother. Zach does a wonderful job explaining the power of the Gospel in the lives of those with disabilities.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday’s Wisdom – The Ornament of Instruction

“Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. “ - (Pro 1:8-9 ESV)
It felt strange to type the title of this weeks Wednesday’s Wisdom post. “Ornament” seems, being something desired and valued, a misplaced metaphor for “instruction.” However, as we learned in a previous post, wisdom is having God’s perspective of the world and what goes on in it. And if God describes instruction as an ornament, we should align our understanding of instruction as close as we possibly can to His. So in this week’s post, we are going to try to understand how instruction is a really a precious gift to be desired and valued, instead of a condescending interaction to be offended by.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Big Picture

The Bible is a often a very intimidating and misunderstood book, though it need not be. I remember as a teenager thinking of the Bible as a mystical book full of magical power and that in order for the magic to work in my life, I had to read it differently than I would any other book. I can remember listening to preachers quote the Bible and not having a clue as to what they were talking about. I concluded I was missing the big picture and thought that the only way to get this knowledge was by some kind of supernatural experience with God. While much of this way of thinking had to do with the teaching of the particular denomination I was apart of, it lead to me reading Scripture and then waiting for the magic to happen. And when the magic didn’t happen, I would get frustrated and conclude that either  it didn’t work or I didn’t have the gift to “do it right.” Finally quit reading the Bible altogether.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday's Wisdom - Fear God

Last week I let Spring Break and the fact that I was working on my SpeakEZ Attire project be my excuse for not getting Wednesday’s Wisdom in. Perhaps that wasn’t so wise. So, in catching up, this week we will investigate what it means to fear God, which Solomon tells us, is the beginning of knowledge.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction."

I've heard "the fear of the LORD" explained as simply "reverence” or “respect for God" in an effort to lessen the "fear factor" so to speak. But to speak of the fear of the LORD as merely reverence or respect is to bring God down to be less than what He truly is.

I can remember as a teenager in high school being faced with choices to either do what I knew to be right or what I knew to be wrong. For example, on Friday nights after a ball game, I could either go home or go out drinking with friends. I always chose to go home. What could motivate a teenage boy to choose going home over partying with the boys? My father. Now have always loved and respected my earthly father. But I have come to realize it was not my love and respect for Dad that motivated me to choose home over partying.  It was fear. Pure fear. I knew that if I chose to do what I knew was wrong and my daddy found out, there would be a day of reckoning. And, honestly, I was afraid of what he might do to me.

I feared my earthly father. No, I didn't walk timidly around him anticipating a random act of violence. I didn’t avoid his presence or speaking to him because he was a volatile and abusive man. He was none of those. What I feared was his wrath toward my disobedience. And this fear motivated me to make the right choice on more than one occasion.

I believe that is a good illustration of the fear of the LORD. God is not a tyrant. He loves us more than we could ever comprehend. We don't have to tiptoe around Him. As His child, even when I was in the depth of my depravity, His love for me was the same as it is today and as it will be throughout all eternity. And because He is the perfect Father, He will always discipline me when I stray from Him. And that scares me. It also brings about knowledge.

The other day my son ran out toward the highway. And after I ran and snatched him away from the danger and applied superior force to his posterior side, he gained the knowledge that running onto a busy highway is dangerous. He has never seen what a vehicle traveling 65 MPH will do to a little boy upon impact. But he knows that there is something about that highway that initiates a strong reaction from his father who loves him. And hopefully, the fear of that reaction will keep him from running toward the road until he can understand the real danger such an act poses.

That is why I believe Solomon wrote that the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge. We may not completely understand exactly why God struck Ananias and Sapphira dead when He did, but we do learn that God’s discipline can be a matter of life or death. And we fear. And that kind of fear is a good thing.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

SpeakEZ Attire

I've been a Christian for over a decade now, and one thing, among many, that hasn't gotten any easier is initiating a conversation with somebody about spiritual things for the purpose of sharing the Gospel. I love the Gospel. I love to share the Gospel. I've traveled through neighborhoods, door to door, sharing the Gospel.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday’s Wisdom – To Know Wisdom

The author of Proverbs 1, identified in verse 1 as King Solomon, lays out the purpose of this book in verses 2 – 6.
To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth-- Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles.
- Pro 1:2-6 ESV
One can have intellectual knowledge without having wisdom. In fact, in our age of skepticism there are many who claim to be wise due to their intellectual prowess. There are, and have been throughout history, great thinkers who, though wise in worldly wisdom, were actually void of true wisdom that only comes from God.

Friday, March 23, 2012

She Had A Dream

She was nineteen, pregnant, and scared. Single and unable to support herself and a baby, the thought of having to tell her parents was more than she could bear. The baby's father had given an ultimatum; either the baby goes or he does. So she scheduled an appointment to "have it taken care of."

But as she drifted off to sleep on the night before her scheduled abortion, she had a dream.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Introducing Wednesday's Wisdom

Wisdom has always had an attraction to me. As a child, I always loved the old, wise sage-type characters in books in movies. My all-time favorite is Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid. He had such simple, yet profound, answers for every situation Daniel-san faced. I often dreamed of being that kind of father to my sons and daughters. It didn't take long after becoming a father for me to realize that I don't possess this type of wisdom. Sometimes I wonder if I ever will.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Not By Bread Alone

"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" - Matthew 4:4

A recent study by LifeWay Research found that the main correlating factor in spiritual maturity is biblical literacy. It is impossible to overstate the importance of reading and understanding the Scriptures in the life of a believer. As Jesus stated when He quoted Deuteronomy to the devil, the Word of God is more necessary than the food we eat. Food can only temporarily satisfy and nourish our body, but God's Word eternally satisfies and nourishes our souls.