Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Daily Reads - 1/31/17

But I Do, Dad
Wow, this was an emotional read! I really appreciate this poem. It reminds me to value the moments that I still get to enjoy with my dad. It also provides me with perspective as I look forward to being a dad myself!

7 Questions to Ask Before Posting About Politics on Social Media

7 Ways to Do Political Punditry Wrong
Fellow Christians, lets be shrewd, wise, and gracious in how we address issues and truth. The world IS watching!

Choose Courage Over Outrage
"We don't admire courage anymore; at least not real courage. In our culture, the quiet, settled resolve to do the right thing in the face of overwhelming opposition has been drowned in a sea of manufactured outrage. Outrage should not be confused with courage, even though it often tries to dress in courage's clothing."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Daily Reads - 1/24/17

Photo Credit: Pixabay

5 Cheap But Meaningful Ways to Make the Most Out of Date Night
What a privilege to date my wife! There are some good reminders and suggestions in this article.

Why and How My Wife and I Give to the Church
Giving can be a difficult and sensitive topic for pastors and the church to talk about. In this article Chuck Lawless demonstrates a healthy perspective on giving to the local church.

Solitary Ruminations on Trump's Inaugural
One of my college professors offers some thoughts on President Trump's inaugural.

The Value of Christian Protest
"Prayer is an under-estimated resource for affection social change. Therefore, prayer is a powerful form of protest for Christians..."

Planned Parenthood's Most Misleading Statistic

Biblical Success
I need this reminder regularly.

Words Matter: Recovering Godly Speech in a Culture of Profanity
"God created our mouths to be fountains of blessing, not gutters of cursing. He exhorts us to build up others with our words, 'giving grace to those who hear' (Eph. 4:29). How can we do this in a culture inundated with profanity and unwholesome speech?"

John 10:11-15 - I Am the Good Shepherd

My message from Sunday: I Am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-15)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Daily Reads - 1/19/17

Pray For Your Church Leaders
Yes please!

Divine Words for Desperate Parents
"To raise a child toward godliness, we need much more than the good advice parenting experts have to offer. We need what only the Scriptures have to offer."

The Danger of Entertaining Lies
Somehow, Satan has found a way to often engage my mind in what he has to say. To listen to his lies is to play with fire. I am reminded of how Jesus responded to Satan's temptations: "It is written..."

Breaking Down the Dividing Wall of Hostility: The Unifying Impact of the Gospel Across Cultures
God is doing amazing things in India and around the world!

When the Beloved of God Are Hated by the World
How do we endure hatred and persecution of the world?

Love & Irritability
Love... is not easily provoked (1 Cor. 13:4)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Daily Reads - 1/16/17

How Martin Luther King, Jr Overcame 'Christian' White Supremacy
Written by Russell Moore, this article is full of conviction on MLK Day.

4 Questions to Ask When Looking for a Church
I'm afraid that some people don't consider these questions as intently as they ought. I might add another one that appropriately questions my own motives: "Will I serve others at this church?"

12 Reasons I Love My "Small" Church
I love to see this perspective in God's people: "I am so thankful to the Lord for my (church)."

A Pastor's Letter To His Young Self: Why Community Isn't Enough
A good reminder that a friendship community is not the same as a church community.

More than Hashtags: Fight for Human Dignity
Even as we hear more and more news of murder, war, genocide, and refugees camps, here are some simple steps to get you thinking about what you can do.

Reading King's Letter From Birmingham Jail
Justin Taylor provides some good background and commentary on a highly influential letter written by Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Prayer for MLK Day
The pastoral prayer that Kevin DeYoung gave yesterday at University Reformed Church.

Being Sensitive in Sharing Scripture with the Suffering
When is it appropriate to use Romans 8:28 when trying to comfort someone going through a difficult time?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Daily Reads - 1/12/17

How to Prioritize Family Prayer as a Leader
Amen. "One of the most obvious signs of the primacy of God in the Christian home is prayer."

How to Get the Strength You Need to Be a Mom
Hopefully this is an encouragement to all you moms out there!

How Do I Use My Dinner Table for Evangelism?
This is something good to think about: how can I use my home to reach out and welcome others in, and to give them a safe place to hear the Gospel and see the grace of God lived out?

6 Ways to Stir Your Affections for Weekly Preaching
Encouraging for me today.

What Does the World's Oldest Piano Sound Like?
I think that the piano is a wonderful instrument. This video is fun!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Daily Reads - 1/10/17

Photo credit: Lightstock

This Year, The Psalms - Psalm 1
A short devotional on Psalm 1.

Why Kids Ask Why (And How to Respond Lovingly)
It is important that we discern the motive behind a child's "why." Sometimes, we can miss a golden opportunity to help shape our child's worldview and encourage them towards a biblical perspective.

Five Ways to Flourish in Journaling
Journaling is a valuable tool that when done right, can be a real encouragement to you and to others.

Six Questions to Diagnose Subtle Gossip
Ahh, the subtle but hurtful sin of gossip. This is a helpful reminder to be careful with our words.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Daily Reads - 1/9/17

Photo credit: Lightstock

Paul's Prayer for the Church
A short meditation on Ephesians 3:14-21.

Seven Steps to Strengthen Prayer
Prayer is the chief instrument that God has given to us to do battle with the enemy. Let's discipline ourselves in this vital area of spiritual growth.

The Humility of Love
The example of Christ is so counter to our egotistical, narcissistic culture... and counter to our own proud hearts. "Scripture is clear: Pride and self-centeredness are hostile to true, Christlike godliness. Jesus repeatedly and emphatically condemned pride. Both His life and His teaching constantly exalted the virtue of humility. Nowhere is that more clear than in John 13."

What's Wrong With Producing a "Worship Experience"?
Expert from an excellent interview about the problem with viewing a church service as an "experience" rather than a time to worship God.

Wisdom for Reading the Proverbs
Sometimes it can be difficult to read and understand the Proverbs. This article provides some reminders for how we ought to approach this beautiful book of wisdom.

The Best Kind of Self-Care is Care for Others
True joy comes in serving others. And I love this post was written by a missionary.

What We Need to Learn From the Early Church
Good thoughts from Tim Keller.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

This Day in... 1998

January 8th always brings back memories for me. It was the day, nineteen years ago, that my family waved goodbye to the around 15 friends who went to the airport with us, and boarded a plane headed for Cairo, Egypt. It would be a huge culture shock for me and my family, but I can honestly say that I am thankful for those years of growing up in Egypt.

  1. There's something about moving to a new place, with a new culture, and without any kind of familiarity that makes me find my security and foundation in the One who knows me, knows all things, and who is with me all the time. A testimony of my time in Egypt would not be complete without a testimony of God's love and care for me in those years. He met the needs of my family and my personal needs too. In fact, He gave me far more than I ever deserved. I can remember trying to talk my mom into buying us computer games before we moved to Egypt because I thought that we wouldn't have anything else to do once we moved there. The picture that I had in my mind was that Egypt was completely covered in sand and dirty streets and a bunch of concrete. And for a nine-year old boy who loved to play sports, this was a terrifying thought. But when I think of how God provided my family with a wonderful place to live, friends, a church, nearby fields and gardens, sports leagues to play in, the opportunity to take piano lessons, a pool to swim in, and opportunities for travel, desert camping, and beach trips to the Red Sea, I am overwhelmed with gratitude, good memories, and all the reason in the world to trust that God will always take care of me.
  2. Moving to a new place and experiencing a new culture also drew me closer to my family. Even though we all made friends and had experiences outside the home, my parents and siblings became my best friends. And I am so thankful for this! My two brothers and sister (and eventually, second sister!) became my chief "play-partners" and we got to know each other really well. Even in high school, when I was working hard on baseball and preparing to go to college, my brothers were the ones who pushed me and worked out with me. And I am thankful for the close relationship that I was able to develop with my mom and dad as well. I have such good memories of times spent with them: going to the corner market or "Road 9" with my mom, or going to downtown or playing baseball with my dad. In addition, I loved the times that our family did ministry together. Whether it was going to a training with my dad or having people in our home, doing ministry together as a family is one of the most effective ways to bond as a family and realize that we are a team. God definitely used our "Egypt years" to grow us closer together as a family, and I am grateful.
  3. God also used my time in Egypt to provide me with a full vision of ministry. One of the difficult things about living in a place like Cairo is that there is a lot poverty and suffering on full display. Right out in the open. In addition, Egypt is a heavily Islamic country, so many of my daily interactions were with Muslims. To grow up with so much suffering and unbelief provided me with the opportunity to develop a worldview that recognized the need for the Gospel to be preached, taught, explained, and lived out. Often I talk with other Americans who talk about being "sheltered" during their childhood, and I thank God for my time in Egypt. It is really difficult to be "sheltered" in that kind of an environment. It doesn't make me a better person, for just because I grew up in Egypt doesn't mean I learned every lesson I should have learned. But I thank God for where He placed me during my childhood and the opportunities for ministry that He gave to me and my family.
There are many more things I could write about our time in Egypt, but for now I will just say that I have wonderful memories of my time there, and January 8th is a day that those memories are most brought to mind.

Daily Reads - 1/8/17

Did 2016 Expose America's (and the Church's) Fame Addiction?
An on-point article with a message that we Christians in America need to hear: let's not feed our culture's obsession with fame and popularity.

I really benefited from reading this article on Jonathan Edwards' view of how God works in my life through my reading, memorization, and meditation upon His Word.

A very pastoral reflection from Dr. Michael Easley.

A little satirical humor from Babylon Bee.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Daily Reads - 1/7/17

5 Takeaways From Pew Research Center's 2016 Social Media Update
Facebook continues to be the main social media platform...

Christians the Most Persecuted Group in World for Second Straight Year: Study
We should continue to be in prayer for our brothers and sisters who endure persecution for the sake of the Gospel.

4 Ministry Lessons I Learned From a Small Town Saint
Often the greatest ministry legacy is left by those who quietly go about loving and serving God and people. They may not be in the "lime-light," but their reward in heaven is great.

National Geographic's "Gender Revolution": Bad Argument and Biased Theology
In it's January 2017 issue, National Geographic ran an article that explored what it called the "Gender Revolution." One article in particular, "Rethinking Gender" evidenced a thinking that is not only unbiblical, but also counter to natural law.

Stay Strong to Serve
A good reminder of a more proper motivation to exercise and stay healthy.

7 Writing Tips From Charles Spurgeon

Possibilities in Spare Moments
Imagine how much we could accomplish if we made better use of our spare and passive moments.

Photo credit: Lightstock

Friday, January 6, 2017

Daily Reads - 1.6.17

8 Tips for Taking Good Sermon Notes
Notetaking can sometimes really help me listen carefully and remember better what a pastor or speaker says. We should all learn to be better listeners.

I'm Better Than You
It is so easy for me to fall into the trap of this mindset of superiority. Not only is it not true... it unbiblical. Reminds me of the Spurgeon quote: "If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be." "Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" (1 Peter 5:5)

Essential Truths for Your Everyday Work
Following Christ gives significance, meaning, and purpose even in the every day tasks of our lives.

Photo credit: Lightstock

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Daily Reads - 1/5/17

5 Reasons to Eat Together As a Family
Consistently eating together as a family created a special bond for us growing up, and it is something that my wife and I desire to do well when we have kids. In this article, Tim Challies does a good job articulating several reasons to make the effort.

Biblical Archaeology's Top 10 Discoveries of 2016
Including the unsealing of the Tomb of Christ!

18 Things I Will Not Regret Doing With My Wife
Tim Challies did a series a few years back on "18 Things." There are a couple more below...

18 Things I Will Not Regret Doing With My Husband

18 Things I Will Not Regret Doing With My Kids