The Eternal Current: A Review

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A few years ago I attended a service called The Practice for the first time. A friend of mine recommended the service to me, so I decided to go and check it out. The first few times I went, it was because of who was speaking that night, someone like Shauna Niequist, Sarah Bessey, or Ruth Haley Barton. After a couple of times, I found myself wanting to attend because I was drawn to the service instead of just the speaker. Now, I look forward to attending every couple of months as a kind of a personal retreat after busy seasons of ministry.

The Practice is a service and a community that embraces the idea that “A Sunday service is not the main event but rather a training ground to help all of us become people who can live the way Jesus would if he were in our place.” Because of that we should engage in practices together that prepare us to walk in this world as followers of Jesus. Every service is centered around liturgy and practice and sends you with a charge to live out what you’ve just learned. It’s this idea of a practice based faith that Aaron Niequist writes about in his book The Eternal Current. Continue reading

Books, Blogs, & Bargains

Books:

This week I want to share with you a couple of books that I’m looking forward to reading and I think are definitely worth checking out.

2Q==The first book is Brimstone: The Art and Act of Holy Nonjudgment by Hugh Halter. I’ve read a couple of Hugh Halter’s books and believe that there is a lot of wisdom in what he has to say. Looking at the description of this book, I believe that this is a well timed book that we need to take to heart. The world is a crazy place, and I believe we need a little more love and a little less judgment from the church. Continue reading

Books, Blogs, & Bargains

I want to be more intentional about sharing with you what I’ve been reading, both in print and online. That being said, here are some books, blogs and bargains.

Books:

17234575Recently I watched The Giver. This lead me to reread The Giver and subsequently to discover that there are in fact three more books that follow The Giver. If you haven’t already, I would recommend reading these books. I know that they considered kids books, but there’s a lot packed into these fairly short books. They offer up some interesting commentary on society when you compare the stories to the in which world we live. They’re quick reads, but I bet that you won’t be disappointed. Continue reading

Book Recommendations

I love books and I love to tell people about books. Here are some ebooks that are currently on sale (I don’t know for how long) and are very much worth your time & money. I don’t know when the book sales end, but you should definitely check them out.

Introverts-in-the-churchIntroverts in the Church

Around the time that I graduated from college, I realized that I was an introvert. Now this doesn’t mean that I am a recluse or extraordinarily awkward around people. Instead, it has more to do with how I process thoughts and get my rest and it wasn’t until my senior year of college that I really began to understand what this meant. Continue reading

The Dangerous Calling of Ministry

The call to full-time ministry is a dangerous call. For some it is dangerous in the sense of outward persecution, but for most who will read Paul David Tripp’s book the danger is spiritual. Speaking from personal experience and from his experience counseling other pastors, Tripp describes the hazards encountered in full-time ministry. He shares how he has suffered and seen others suffer from the perils of personal sin, pride, burnout, and mediocrity. At the heart of all of it, however, is a failure by ministers to sit under their own teaching and to take to heart the scripture they spend so much time studying. We can become so good at studying and teaching about scripture and about spiritual disciplines, that we rarely spend time applying scripture to our lives and practicing Spiritual disciplines. There many points of application that readers can take away from Dangerous Calling, but  I believe this is one of the the most important points to remember. I don’t think that most ministers would admit to thinking that they’re above their own teaching, but it is very easy to live like it. I know personally I enjoy studying and reading about scripture and get so caught up in the act of studying and learning that I sometimes fail to worship the God I meet in scripture or practice what I learned.

Along with sitting under your own teaching, Tripp also reminds ministers to remember whose glory we are seeking in ministry. We are not seeking our own glory. Everyone in the church, ministers included, should be seeking the glory of God and avoiding self-glory. When we recognize that we are aiming to glorify God, we recognize that we are all sinners saved by grace, even seminary grads.  Last May, I graduated from Seminary and received my M.A. in Christian Education. I love my education and thankfully my professors seek teach more than knowledge. They taught us not only to study but to serve and worship God. I’m now pursing full-time ministry and am very thankful that I came across some recommendations for prospective ministers from bloggingtheologically.com. The first book was Dangerous Calling, and I’m glad I read it. It’s a good reminder for someone like me who is going into ministry that even though I have received a seminary education I am not above it all.

If you’re going into ministry, you should read this book. If you’re in ministry, you should read this book. If you are close to someone in ministry who is having difficulties, you should read this book. If you’re an elder at a church, you should read this book. This book doesn’t cover every problem that a minster might have, but it serves as a good reminder for anyone connected to ministry or serving in ministry. It can be dangerous to be in ministry if you neglect yourself and forget whom you are serving.

I went to the library and got this book based on the recommendation from bloggingtheologically.com. I wasn’t asked to write a review, but my wife says that I should write more book reviews. You should go to your library and get books, libraries are wonderful.

Exploring the Virtues in Tolkien and Lewis

13587295Both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were godly men and their writing was informed by their faith. Although not always evident to everyone or plain in all of their stories, they crafted their characters and worlds to reveal the virtues of the Christian life. It is more obvious in the work of Lewis, whose fiction works clearly represent Biblical stories and virtues. Tolkien’s work is more often praised for the depth of the fantasy world that he created. Unfortunately, many have chosen to obsess over the characters and the world itself and not examine the virtue, or lack thereof, built into his characters. In his book On the Shoulders of Hobbits, Louis Markos examines the virtues behind the stories and characters. He shows how the faith of Tolkien and Lewis undergird the stories of Middle-Earth and Narnia. Continue reading

Does Love Win?: A Review of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins

6e43d-love-winsThere has been a lot of discussion around the internet about Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins. Before this, I have been a supporter of Rob Bell. I have read all of his books (except drops like stars), seen most of the nooma videos, and watched two of his longer videos. And while I have not always agreed with him, I think that he’s a great communicator and has brought some great insights to the table. That being said, while I try not involve myself in internet debates, but I felt that it was appropriate to share with the few people who read my blog about Love Wins and what Bell actually says in the book (You should check out my friend David’s blog post about this as well).

There were a lot of people crying heresy and accusing Rob Bell of universalism. Those claims were based mostly off of the title and a book trailer. After actually reading the book, I believe that claims of Bell’s flee from Orthodox Christianity have been greatly exaggerated. Continue reading