Showing posts with label Recommendations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recommendations. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Public Prayer is Always Subversive

I shared this via my Google Reader account, so it should be hitting my Twitter and Facebook streams shortly. It's good enough to post at more length here, however.

Jared Wilson, writing at The Gospel-Centered Church:

Public prayer is always a subversive act. I don't care if you're in the churchgoer-thick of the Bible Belt or the post-Christendom wasteland of New England: praying to the Triune God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and John the Baptist in public announces to everyone that Jesus is King and our "Caesars" are not. It announces that our governmental Caesars are not sovereign and the great Caesar of Self -- or the great "Pope Self," if you prefer Luther's twist -- are not sovereign. This is a subversive act. Increasingly so in every part of the Western world.

But especially so here in the Northeast.

This means that push-back on public prayer should not surprise us. You can claim your rights and freedoms all you want; the second you declare there is a God who is sovereign over all and that his Son is the only Way to eternal life, even if you're doing it with your eyes shut, head bowed, and mouth shut, you are telling anybody who disagrees not only that they're wrong, but that they're deadly wrong. And people don't like that.

But push-back on public prayer should not deter us.

I do think American evangelicals conflate too often Christianity with American patriotism, which leads to wanting to fight battles the New Testament gives us no directive to fight. I don't know exactly where Rev. Smith is going with his final words, but the American flag is no talisman for prayer. Your prayer doesn't need it to reach God and your prayer doesn't need it to offend unbelievers. (In many cases, I would think it would be an unnecessary offense. Why insist on the flag? Just persist in prayer.)

Wilson elaborates on those thoughts a bit, so it's worth your time to read the whole thing (as well as the situation that inspired the comments).

I think the very best part of that post, though, is the two points bolded (and the bolding was in the original post): we should not be surprised when people are offended by our clear proclamation of the gospel. People always have been. We should expect resistance, persecution, trouble. While our freedom is precious and beautiful and good—and I treasure it deeply—fighting for our "rights" as Christians can (does not always, but can) obfuscate our real mandate: making Christ known.

It is good for some, perhaps even many Christians to be involved in protecting religious freedom in this country. At the same time, Christians should be known as people who are not easily offended or affronted, who are not protective of our rights, who are ultimately more concerned for others' salvation than worried about their own persecution. Again, I am not saying that protecting religious freedom is bad; I am just pleading that we not make it an idol (or, in many cases, that we renounce the idol we have already made of it).

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Glory of Plodding

"Put away the Che Guevara t-shirts, stop the revolution, and join the rest of the plodders." —Kevin Deyoung, in one of the best short articles I've read recently, the Glory of Plodding:

And maybe that’s why so many Christians are getting tired of the church. We haven’t learned how to be part of the crowd. We haven’t learned to be ordinary. Our jobs are often mundane. Our devotional times often seem like a waste. Church services are often forgettable. That’s life. We drive to the same places, go through the same routines with the kids, buy the same groceries at the store, and share a bed with the same person every night. Church is often the same too — same doctrines, same basic order of worship, same preacher, same people. But in all the smallness and sameness, God works — like the smallest seed in the garden growing to unbelievable heights, like beloved Tychicus, that faithful minister, delivering the mail and apostolic greetings (Eph. 6:21). Life is usually pretty ordinary, just like following Jesus most days. Daily discipleship is not a new revolution each morning or an agent of global transformation every evening; it’s a long obedience in the same direction.

It’s possible the church needs to change. Certainly in some areas it does. But it’s also possible we’ve changed — and not for the better. It’s possible we no longer find joy in so great a salvation. It’s possible that our boredom has less to do with the church, its doctrines, or its poor leadership and more to do with our unwillingness to tolerate imperfection in others and our own coldness to the same old message about Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s possible we talk a lot about authentic community but we aren’t willing to live in it.

HT: Challies

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Putting My Foot Down"

One of the great joys of spending some time at FLI a few summers ago was making some good friends—friends of the you-may-not-talk-often-but-you-can-count-on-them-to-be-awesome variety. One of those friends is Jenni Stringham. One of the ways she's awesome you should check out here and here. In short, she's found a way to turn something very practical—running for exercise—into an opportunity to help those in desperate need. (Since I wrote on the very topic of the body of Christ serving in the world on Pillar today, this is good timing!)

In her introduction to the project, Jenni wrote:

It is estimated that at least 27 million people are currently enslaved around the world.

The industry generates more than $32 million annually,
making it the second most lucrative crime.

Two children are sold every minute - over 1.2 million children per year.

A majority of those are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

...

As a part of Tread on Trafficking, I will be keeping track of all of the miles that I walk, run, and bike and raising money for efforts of Love146 to end child sex slavery. If you are interested in donating, you can visit my donation site. If you are interested in participating, you can get registered and get started. Even though the event starts tomorrow, people can continue to register after it begins.

Raise awareness and take some action concerning one of the major humanitarian crises we face today. Be an agent of change.

Go read. And maybe donate!

Friday, April 30, 2010

An Immense Announcement Demanding Attention

This one, unlike the last one, is not about me, but about a friend. Stephen Carradini is one of the best writers with whom I am personally acquainted. I have known him for three and a half years, and have had the opportunity as a friend and mentor in that time to watch him grow in his knowledge of God. I have watched him grow from a self-assured boy into a humbler man, seen him deepen in his faith, and heard him say at least a dozen times, "This is the worst day of my entire life. Seriously."

Two nights ago, he went public with his newest art project: Gospelized. The project is an experiment in finding an artistic and unique way to comment on the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ's atoning work in history. You should read it. Stephen is not only doctrinally solid; he has a vision of God-honoring artistic excellence that matches my own and the talent to execute it well.

From his About page:

Short: Gospelized is an ongoing art project about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Stories, essays, poems, pictures, drawings, songs and more will grace these pages daily in an honest exploration of what the gospel means to an artist.

Long: I am distressed by the lack of Christians making good art.

You should read the rest of the "long" description... and then you should read some of the essays, poems, and songs he has posted. You should add him to your RSS feed reader, have his posts delivered to your inbox, or check his site every day. I say that not because he is my friend (or at least: not merely because he is my friend) but because he is endeavoring to do what is all-too rare in our Christian circles: make good art. Rarer yet, he is succeeding. You will enjoy his art, and you will come away understanding God and the gospel better.

What are you waiting for? Go read Gospelized!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How Mono is like Sin, and other ramblings

It's been a month since I last blogged here. I've had mono, and one of the consequences has been an inability to focus for long periods of time. For obvious reasons, that puts a bit of a damper on my blogging ability. Seeing as I have a pretty solid commitment elsewhere on a regular basis, the result has been my absence from this blog. (I'd have been more worried if I had more regular readers!)

Before anyone asks, I haven't a clue how I got the silly disease. The only woman I've ever kissed, my beautiful and amazing wife Jaimie, has never had mono, and I don't share drinks with people. Mysterious infections are even lamer than unmysterious infections.

it's in times like this that I'm particularly grateful for a job like the one God provided. I'm blessed by being able to actually take the doctor's orders and stay home and rest. Mono is what's often called a nuisance disease: you don't feel terrible, and in fact you're often relatively functional. Bad spells of headaches, dizziness, and extreme fatigue are offset by the relatively regular times in between. The trick is, you won't get better unless you rest... a lot. So, when the doctor prescribed bedrest, I counted myself blessed to have a job with good short-term disability benefits, so that I can stay home and rest.

Being unable to concentrate for long periods of time has been strange. Normally, when I'm at home sick, I do a lot of reading. I've done comparatively little in the last two weeks, though, because I've simply been unable to drive my mind through any substantive books. I've managed a little Star Wars, a little Asimov, and a very little bit of a neat anthology I picked up recently, Leland Ryken's The Christian Imagination. It's a good one, but as is often the case with anthologies, it doesn't have a solid line of thought through; it's organized by theme, so it gets a little repetitive. Not really the best recipe for overcoming mental stamina problems...

As I'm thinking about mono, I realize that in a lot of ways, its day to day effects are an excellent picture of how sin works in the life of a Christian. In some ways, you barely notice its effects, especially once you get used to them. But the effects are always there, dragging you down, preventing you from doing what you truly want to do. I can't play Ultimate, write blog posts easily, read long, difficult books, or even go to work. Similarly, sin keeps me from loving my wife as well as I want, from reaching out to neighbors or peers with the gospel effectively, or serving selflessly in the church. It attacks in subtle ways that, save for the rare flareups, are hardly noticeable. But, like mono, it simply will not go away unless you get serious about dealing with it. I'll paraphrase John Owen: if you're not attacking mono, it's attacking you, and the same thing goes for sin.

Hopefully I'll be back to normal soon, posting here at least once a week and going to work and even, a few weeks later, playing some Ultimate. In the meantime, if you want blog posts from me, head over to Pillar on the Rock, if you want Ultimate somebody's playing it near you, and if you want work, well, there's always some to be done (though I'll definitely pray for you if you're out of work in the current recession).

Come back next time, when I'll get really crazy and compare sin to some sort of carnivorous plant! (No promises.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Announcement: new blog on church

Three months, a full and complete scrap-and-redesign, custom CSS and HTML, content preparation, and lots of prayer have culminated in a beginning today.

Pillar on the Rock, a new blog by PJ King and yours truly, went live at 11 am today.

The blog is focused on the church: her purpose, her function, her Biblical character, and her King. PJ and I are not experts by any means; we're simply two twenty-something guys who are deeply passionate about the church. We certainly don't think we have all the answers, and you'll find that a good deal of our content is other people's content: we will be pointing out good articles, blogs, and books that talk about the church.

You can expect at least two posts full of original content every week—one from each of us, debuting on Mondays and Thursdays. The other weekdays will have posts pointing to other blogs, highlighting insightful quotes, and the like. Occasionally, if we're particularly motivated and particularly unbusy, you might see more, but we're not making any promises.

I'd be remiss not to mention our brilliant, Godly wives who have been incredibly patient and helpful as we've worked over the last two months. Jaimie has put up with a lot of long afternoons spent doing image design and coding, and she's been an invaluable help in making decisions along the way. I've no doubt she will continue to be an inspiration and help as we go forward.

I hope you stop by and take a look around, and I hope God encourages and challenges you through Pillar on the Rock!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Name-Calling and Image-Bearing

My friend Jessica just made an excellent post over at her personal blog. You should also take a look at some of the ministry she's doing - there's some fantastic stuff there. (N.B. She's dealing with significant sexual addictions, so it's not light reading.)

Yesterday, as I drove to school, for some reason, I was thinking of Christianity. Recently, I have been working with a ministry that is predominantly Catholic. Mind you, I am not Catholic and do not intend to convert to Catholicism. In fact, I have been dubbed 'the Protestant' by their founder. The fact is, this Catholic ministry is doing more than any 'Protestant' ministry has done. Why is that?

...Do you realize that the world gave them that name [Christian]? It means "Christ-followers" or "Christ imitators." The world, at that time, had seen Christ, so they would know what a Christ follower would look like. Hence, the coinage of the term.

However, it has now come to mean anything from right-wind extremists to anti-government. Now, I know Jesus was not loved and He told us that we would not be accepted because He wasn't accepted, but would someone like to tell me why we are instigating this problem? Did Jesus instigate? No. He didn't. Did Jesus walk up to people, smack them upside the head and say, "You better listen to me, because I am God"? No! Jesus loved them. He reached out to them. He fellowshiped with sinners, and THAT is why people hated Him. Too often now the church is all about hating sinners, which would be why the world hates us.

My thoughts were capitalized last night when author Ted Dekker posted a similar line of thinking on his Facebook page.

According to a Barna Group poll, only 9% of those outside the church think Christians in America are nice, loving people. Whatever happened to ‘you shall know them by their love?’ Throughout most of the world Christianity is simply no longer associated with the core beliefs of sacrificial love that birthed our faith. It has become like a large vessel of dirty bathwater, full of nasty associations that fly in the face of Jesus’ teaching which centered on love and the cry that ‘we judge not lest we be judged.’ A Newsweek cover story cited the dramatic decline of Christianity in the United States. We live in a post Christian world, many would say. They might be right. And who’s to blame them? No one wants to swim around in dirty bathwater.

But wait a minute. There is more than dirty bathwater in this vessel. There is something precious and live-giving! And there is a rising generation of thinkers who are as eager to protect and cherish that life as they are to throw out the dirty bathwater.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, we say.


His cry was to get back to what it means to follow Christ and forget all of the hoopla and drammada of religion. We cling so tightly to the label "Christian" and it no longer means what we think it means. We spend so much effort and energy defending our stand and faith that we look more like Pharisees than followers of Christ. It's ridiculous really. So, I think I am actually going to drop the whole label of "Christian." I am not a Christian, I am a follower of Christ. Sadly, yes, there is a difference.

I definitely feel her here, and I've felt a lot of the same frustrations. I think Luke didn't really care for the term "Christian" much, either... he keeps saying "the followers of the way" even after the term is introduced in Acts. And the term has a lot of baggage with it to be certain.

A few other thoughts stemming from her post: While I appreciate where Dekker and Barna are coming from - and I certainly do think that there's an issue with the church involved! - I'd hesitate to take that finding too far. Certainly Dekker overstates his case when he claims that Christians "in most of the world" are not living out Christlikeness. Problems in the US church are simply not universal, and there is a lot of good going on in the world church. Insofar as the critique is accurate - and I think it is, at least for the American church - there are a couple root issues that we need to deal with to address the issue.

First and foremost, I think "Christians" in America by and large aren't. We have churches full of people who think they are believers who give no convincing evidence of that fact. If, over the course of years, one's life displays no fruit - however much moralistic attempting goes on - then the person is simply not a Christian. We're not being kind to pretend otherwise; we're sending people to hell who think they're saved. That's problem number 1, and until we deal with it, we're not going to see the world's perspective change. The world doesn't see Christians as loving because it actually sees not Christians - not disciples - but a bunch of moralizing deists (to borrow a term from Matt Chandler) whose moralizing makes them arrogant. They need a good dose of the real gospel, the one that says that Christ has become the source of eternal salvation to those who obey him (see John 3:34, Hebrews 5:9). Faith produces works. If it doesn't, it's not faith. Solutions: preach the gospel, exercise church discipline (which means practicing meaningful church membership, among other things), and build a church environment that recognizes the basic necessity of community - it's not something cool on top; it's foundational in the healthy life of the church.

On a much smaller, but still significant scale, we need to remember that the world's definition of love and God's tend to differ pretty radically. At this point, anyone who makes any sort of moral stand is considered to be inherently "unloving." I don't deny that Christians have done much to exacerbate this. The doctrinal position we hold on homosexuality may be perfectly accurate, but we've done a very poor job in communicating that position in a way that demonstrates Christ-like love. It's tended to be, instead, either an arrogant superiority or simple fear that gets communicated. I.e. "We're better than you, you dirty heathen," or "Stay away, I don't want you contaminating [insert vulnerable loved one of choice]." Both of which are distinctly unChrist-like responses. All of that to say, yes there's a great deal of growing to do there, but we should judge ourselves not on the basis of the world's perception but simply on the basis of Scripture. It's critique is much louder than the world's ever could be. (And I think Jessica would agree with me there.)

It's not surprising to me that Catholic ministries tend to do a better job than a lot of Protestant ministries at actually working in the world. They, and the Eastern Orthodox, both have a much stronger grasp on incarnational theology - understanding how Christ's incarnation impacts our mandate here and now - than most Protestants. Protestants also, quite rightly, have a historical revulsion for any sort of "social gospel." Unfortunately, that's had a tendency to bleed over into Protestant views of all social action (except political, apparently!). To restore that, we need to deepen our own incarnational theology and recognize that, though our hope is for a kingdom to come, we have transformational, serving work to do in the here and now.

Two major caveats, though. First, it's worth note that in many of the Catholic ministries I've encountered - certainly not all - the sort of good works being noted here are motivated by bad doctrine. When salvation comes by works, as is certainly still taught in many parishes, the faithful Catholic has no choice but to work very hard indeed. There are segments of Protestantism that are just as industrious and for precisely the same reason. As we deepen our theology, and remember that faith produces works, we need to remember that it is still grace that saves. Indeed, a real understanding of grace should prompt us to work.

My second caveat is that we need to be careful not to mistake serving in the world for proclaiming the gospel (or the other way around!). Both are necessary components of our faith, and thankfully we are not left with a contradiction between the two. (Again, I've no doubt Jessica and I are on the same page here.) It's easy, in recognizing the need for social action because of the good news, to forget that we're here as ambassadors. Our purpose is to proclaim that good news. All our social action is gospel-oriented. I'm not speaking of a sort of action that only goes in with the aim of converts, but rather social action that is so Christ-centered that gospel-proclaiming will inevitably be a part of it. If ever we lose the cross and God's grace displayed therein, all our social works are in vain.

The challenge, then, is to go forth and work - to be Christ-followers, disciples, image-bearers, intead of merely name-bearers. Work in the world, proclaim the gospel of peace, and keep the cross and the empty tomb ever in sight.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Acts29 Church Planting Network

I just stumbled across the Acts 29 church planting network. I'm curious - I've heard them highly recommended by a couple of groups I trust. I can't wholeheartedly recommend them, as I've not done enough research. Their list of qualifications for church-planters is worth taking a good look at, regardless. It's thoroughly grounded in Scripture and quite practical.

One of the best chunks of the article:
In summary, only men of finest character are fit for leadership in God's church. What is not required according to the Bible is formal theological training, though such training can indeed be very beneficial. What is also not required is a salary, though an elder/pastor is worth an honorable wage (I Timothy 5:17-18). The issue of which men lead the church is of the utmost seriousness because the reputation of the gospel in the community and health of the church are contingent upon godly, qualified men who keep in step with Jesus and can lead the church to do likewise. In this way, the elders function as an accountable team much like Jesus first disciples and are therefore quite unlike secular notions of a business or non-profit organizational board. In addition to the qualifications of an elder, the Bible also provides the duties of elders/pastors.
  • Prayer & Scripture study (Acts 6:4)

  • Ruling/leading the church (I Timothy 5:17)

  • Managing the church (I Timothy 3:4-5)

  • Caring for people in the church (I Peter 5:2-5)

  • Giving account to God for the church (Hebrews 13:17)

  • Living exemplary lives (Hebrews 13:7)

  • Rightly using the authority God has given them (Acts 20:28)

  • Teaching the Bible correctly (Ephesians 4:11, I Timothy 3:2)

  • Preaching (I Timothy 5:17)

  • Praying for the sick (James 5:13-15)

  • Teaching sound doctrine & refuting false teachings (Titus 1:9)

  • Working hard (I Thessalonians 5:12)

  • Rightly using money & power (I Peter 5:1-3)

  • Protecting the church from false teachers (Acts 20:17-31)

  • Disciplining unrepentant Christians (Matthew 18:15-17).


I'd recommend you read the whole article. You might take a look around at the site, too, and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Theological perfectionism = bad

Good reading for the more theologically minded among us:
I suspect many Reformed people will find it difficult to sympathize with my claim that theological perfectionism is a problem. Most Reformed people would argue that lack of concern for theological precision is a much bigger problem facing the church today. And when one looks at the state of modern evangelicalism it is hard to disagree. There is too much error, not merely on the finer points of theology, but with regard to the very foundations. How many evangelicals can articulate the gospel clearly and accurately? But without denying the dangers of theological imprecision, I have come to believe that theological perfectionism is another problem we should be concerned about, especially we who are Reformed.

You should read the rest of the article. I highlighted the first paragraph because I think he nails his point there. There is immense need within the church for a deeper commitment to theology, but there is also a danger of swinging so far in the direction of valuing theology that we value it for its own sake. When we start to care more about being accurate than about knowing God and sharing His incredibly good news with those who need it, we've completely missed the boat.

HT: Justin Taylor

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thoughts

A few thoughts I'll leave you with before what is likely to be a three day absence, as I'm taking a trip to Ft. Worth to visit Jaimie and her family (huzzah!).

It is good to discipline our bodies: to work at being in good shape, to spend time exercising. The exercise of our body is good for our mind, as well.

It is good to exercise our minds in ways that are perhaps not as natural as once they were. An essay on The Atlantic commented at some length on the ways in which the Internet is changing not only how we function externally in relation to information, but how it affects even the way our minds think and work. It's an important piece of writing; I recommend that you take the time to read through all of it.

I also recommend that you then take time to read at least one truly good book this summer: a great work of literature, or one of the classics of the Christian faith. You can draw on any you like, but a good place to start might be The Point's 2008 Summer Reading List. Books that challenge you, build up your mind, and force you to think are good for you, and we don't read enough of them. More than that: set aside time to work on whatever book you're reading in great big chunks, and take time to think about it. Letting a work of literature percolate through your mind is nearly as important as the reading itself is.

Swordfighting is good exercise.

The pursuit of God is the pursuit of the greatest joy and glory conceivable.

There are few things in this world fighting for. A life with purpose and meaning is one of them. A life with joy and passion, too. None of the things worth fighting for can be found without God.

Take some time to actively listen to some good music this summer: not merely to hear it as you do something else, but to sit quietly and listen to music. Learn to appreciate classical music: it's an acquired skill, not something that comes naturally to everyone, but well worth your time. I highly recommend the works of Arvo Pärt if you want God-glorifying modern classical music. Again, it may take some effort to appreciate, but it's well worth your time.

As I've written before: beauty requires work, both in creation and appreciation. But all good things in life are thus; why should beauty be any different?

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ comfort, sustain, and uphold you; may the glory of His name consume you!

- Chris

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Blog recommendations

A simple post, tonight: a few blogs to recommend:

My friend Britt Clay, a blog on his life that is often filled with wisdom from all that God is teaching him. He's a great guy, and I've been honored to invest in his life this past year.
Acts 20:22-24

His girlfriend, Lauren, who is one of the Godliest women her age I have the pleasure of knowing.
His Footprints Lead The Way...

My friend and another man I've had the privilege to invest in over the last couple years, Stephen Carradini. Look for a dry wit, amusing humor, and uncanny insight, as well as really good writing.
The World is a Moving Target (so I am always in motion)

My friend Clayton Canon, who I was blessed to serve alongside on the Walker Ministry Team last year, through thick and thin. A Godly man walking through some hard situations with considerable integrity!
"Here on purpose, for a purpose!"

And one of my best friends in all the world, Levi Wall. We've known each other all our lives, and he has been a steadfast encouragement to me in ways I can't even describe, much less give sufficient thanks to God for.
Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth

I hope you are blessed, encouraged, and amused by these blogs as I have been.

Grace and peace be with you!

- Chris

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Two brief thoughts

Two rather unrelated thoughts.

First, I like fiction, especially the truly good kind which is simultaneously well-written and has a theme and idea that point back to Christ. Dostoevsky was the master of this. For modern work, Stephen Lawhead isn't a bad bet (I'm working on some of his stuff now, and it's very, very good in both regards).

Second, I hate seeing friends hurt and being able to do nothing for them. I'm glad, then, that I can do something for them: I can pray. That we so often take as a small or trivial thing. It is not. In His sovereign wisdom, God has ordained that our prayers impact eternity itself. That is a very large thing indeed: and it is a great responsibility that we are given, to pray. I dare not take it too lightly. Truth be told, I sometimes wish I could wish away my friends' pain, but this I know for truth: God truly is in control, working all things for good.

- Chris

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ooh! Ahh! Amazing!

I simply must recommend you to my new favorite website. My dear friend Laurie Goree showed me this site while we were at Glorieta, and I am terribly excited by the possibilities it opens up.

My friends, you must check out Bible.org.

More particularly, you must look at the online Bible they have there. Some of the coolest features I know of on any Bible study website.

Want to study a particular verse in the original language? Click on the link at the start of the verse and you'll have multiple translations, and the original Hebrew and/or Greek immediately on hand. Want to find all occurrences of a word in Scripture? Double click it. Want to see background notes on particular translation issues? They're right at the bottom of the screen. Want to see an outline of the book you're reading? It's there on the right side of the screen.

And the rest of the website has some great tools available as well - examples, illustrations, etc. I can't recommend the site highly enough. Between this and Bible Gateway, I'm pretty well set.

(That's not to say that I'm not looking forward to a full release of Logos for Mac, though!)

God's grace be with you.

- Chris

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My sister!

I've got another blog you ought to read! My sister just started blogging at Moving Onward to the Goal. That makes four of the five members of my family blogging (though I confess I hope she blogs more frequently than my incredibly busy mom and dad). I hope you're as blessed by her as I am: she is an incredibly Godly woman, and I count myself honored to be her brother.

Enjoy the reading!

Edit, 5/29/08: My sister has moved her blog to a new name and site, Reflections and Ponderings.

- Chris

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Blog recommendation

I've been reading Dr. Del Tackett's blog, Truth Observed, for a couple months now, and have been consistently impressed (and humbled by) his understanding of God's word, philosophy, history, and the like. There aren't many better people I've run across discussing those topics in the blog world, or indeed even in regularly published texts. His commitment to the holy word of God and to the truth as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ are very much an encouragement and a blessing. I highly recommend you all read his blog (in fact, if you have a choice between reading his and mine, I think you'd be better served reading his).

I was astounded when I realized that this man would be teaching one of my classes here at Focus on the Family Institute - and the time I have spent with him in class have only confirmed the picture I had of him from his work on the Truth Project and his blog. He is one of the most passionately dedicated man I have known in his heart for Scripture and for the glory of God.

Seeing the blog world and the "real world" converge this way has been really interesting.

I pray God's peace and love and comfort be with all of you.

- Chris

Thursday, June 21, 2007

"You're a great guy, but..."

Quick recommendation before I sleep tonight. I'm tired. But I have to highly recommend this article from Boundless, called "You're a Great Guy, But..." by Suzanne Hadley. It's an experience I'm familiar with; indeed, I've joked with some friends in the last year that the seven most terrible words for a guy are "I think you're a great guy, but..." because the basic meaning of whatever comes after that is exactly the same: "I'm not interested." God often uses that for His glory and for the advancement of His purposes in our hearts; but nevertheless it's not a pleasant thing to hear. Suzanne does a great job of addressing both men and women in that situation, and I really respect the way she presents the best ways of going about that rather sticky conversation.

As a side note, I have to say that the two girls with whom I've had that conversation nailed it: delivering it respectfully and in a way that affirmed me, while still noting firmly their lack of interest. That's a hard thing to do, and I respect them immensely for doing it and doing it rightly: in a way that honored God.

It is now time for a brief bit of Bible study, journaling, and then sleep. Tomorrow is coming quickly! God bless you all.

- Chris

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I don't really know...

I'm not really sure what I have to say tonight; and I'm going to try to keep this short since I have to be up early tomorrow. There are a couple things that have been bouncing around my heart and mind, but mostly I'm just tired. First, a song, by Aaron Shust, who really has a heart to glorify God immensely. Go check out the rest of his music!

I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at his right hand
Stands one who is my savior

I take him at his word and deed
Christ died to save me this I read
And in my heart I find a need
For him to be my savior

That he would leave his place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my savior

My savior loves, my savior lives
My savior's always there for me
My God he was, my God he is
My God he's always gonna be

Yes, living, dying; let me bring
My strength, my solace from this spring
That he who lives to be my king
Once died to be my savior

That he would leave his place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my savior

My savior loves, my savior lives
My savior's always there for me
My God he was, My God he is
My God he's always gonna be

I pray we all come to understand the depth of those words. Our God does love and live, and He is always there; He is eternal and unchanging. That's a sure rock we can cling to, when we're weary and worn, when the waves come crashing in against us and we don't know what to do. I've been blessed to have relatively few waves this semester - indeed to see God restoring things I didn't know if I'd ever see come right this side of eternity; to see Him changing my heart in ways I could never have foreseen; to see Him fulfilling promises I didn't expect to see fulfilled for far longer. I am blessed beyond belief, beyond any curse that could ever be. And that is more than enough. Yes, there are trying moments - but He is teaching me to smile and even laugh in the midst of them, because it is His moment, not mine, whether it be good or ill. To be able to laugh when one's heart is breaking, because one has that joy inexpressible... that is a blessing beyond measure; and it comes from Christ alone. I'm not very good at that, yet, but I'm learning. I love you all. Grace and peace guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Oh... and please go read Romans 10:13-15 and Philippians 1:27-2:11. And then be encouraged! I could write a lot about both, but instead I'm going to sleep!

- Chris

Monday, February 19, 2007

Two more blogs

I'm recommending another couple of blogs to read tonight. I know... not many for a while, and then a spurt of several in a row here. I've had the pleasure of seeing some friends who are very grounded in the Word and very attentive to the Spirit start blogging, and I've been blessed to find a few others while roaming the blogosphere. God has blessed me immensely through these!

The first one is my father's blog, Learning to Live in the Light. It's very different in tone from mine - or indeed from any I've read. It's also very much a blessing because of that. He brings a very different perspective to the table than most bloggers I've read. It has a more visceral, experiential feel to it, and because of that it communicates at a different level and in different ways than say, mine or Curious Servant's do. I think you'll be immensely blessed. Speaking from the vantage point of having him as my father as well as a friend and a fellow blogger, I can vouch for his wisdom and his heart to honor God with his words and his life. I hope you're blessed and encouraged.

The second blog is my friend Katie's. She's another person who's absolutely on fire for God, and completely sold out on the cause of advancing the gospel to the nations. She's got a heart for missions, and she's so passionate about the word of God that it really humbles me at times. Her posts are focused on exactly that: the word and its application. (Hopefully she'll post more frequently than she has been thus far!) You can find her at For His Glory. Be blessed!

I pray you are all filled with the wonder of who God is and how marvelous is His work in our lives. Grace and peace with you!

- Chris

Friday, February 16, 2007

Blog rec 2

I'm recommending another blog (I know! Two in just a few days!), this one from a friend just in the blog world. I've never met Ame, but I have been blessed by her repeatedly. I first ran into her on the Boundless Line blog responses, where her older and wiser perspective provided a nice contrast to most of the rest of us (gangling youths that we often are). I then noticed her posting on Curious Servant's blog - which, if you're not reading, you should be, as he's a very Godly man doing his best to glorify his creator in the midst of what are often very trying circumstances... and he's succeeding marvelously. Given both of those, I finally tracked her down to her own home blog, by which I have been blessed immensely. She writes deeply and passionately about her life as a single mother of two, with all the challenges posed by that situation - and with the grace of God to support her in the midst of it. I hope you'll take the time to read what she has to write. You'll be blessed, encouraged, and - more than likely - convicted by it. So go read AMExpression! Grace and peace be with you all.

- Chris

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Blog rec

I'd love for you all to read my friend PJ King's blog, Heading For Africa. He's prepping for a short-term (relatively speaking) mission trip this summer from May through August, and doing so with a lot of other immense responsibilities on his shoulders. He's been a blessing to me whenever I've interacted with him, and he has an immense heart for God and to advance the gospel. (And he's engaged to one of my best friends!) I hope his words are a blessing and an encouragement to you (and that he updates regularly!).

God bless you all. Happy Valentine's Day.

- Chris