Kindle Deal of the Week: Grounded in the Gospel – A great work from two great communicators – J.I. Packer and Gary Parett, for $2.59.
Apologetics: From My Journal: As I spoke this week with a student about those who’ve never heard the gospel, I made a connection I’ve not heard before. If we assert that Jesus is the Creator of the world (John 1:3), and also that all people have rejected their Creator (Rom. 1:18-20), then it follows that people have already rejected Jesus before they’ve ever heard the gospel. In one sense, then, all people have already rejected Christianity because they’ve rejected the person at the heart of it.
Why, then, preach at all? Because the gospel is not just cognitive information about a person, but “the power of God for salvation…” (Rom. 1:16). People already know enough about Jesus to decide for or against him, and they have sided against. If it were merely a matter of cognitive transfer, circumstances would be unfair. But the gospel is the power of God to form rebels against Jesus into lovers of him. In that sense, then, it is the preaching of the gospel which is ‘unfair’, not its lack. The gospel is not a deserved first chance, but an undeserved second chance.
Preaching: From my Journal: Something I’ve noted this week is that the Puritans hardly had innovative things to say about the texts they preached. Rather, their focus was to add color to the plain meaning of the text. So promises become like “bags of gold, poured before us”, and sinners become “spiders, held above a burning fire”, and creation becomes “Volume I of God’s books written of Himself”. Far too often I focus on innovation, or evoking some hidden and deeper meaning from the text, than simply painting the plain meaning in contemporary colors.
Spiritual Life: 7 Ways Parents Provoke Their Children – This one sat with me all week.
Theology: Who Gave Paul His Thorn? Simple and profound, drawing from key biblical sources.
Fun: Ignatius, the Ultimate Youth Pastor – I forgot how much I loved this video.
A Glimpse of Truth: From Treasury of David: “Should a man live underground, and there converse with the works of art and mechanism, and should afterwards be brought up into the open day, and see the several glories of the heaven and earth, he would immediately pronounce them the work of such a Being as we define God to be.—Aristotle.
Writing: Orthodoxy – “Most of the machinery of modern language is labour-saving machinery; and it saves mental labour very much more than it ought. Scientific phrases are used like scientific wheels and piston-rods to make swifter and smoother yet the path of the comfortable.
Long words go rattling by us like long railway trains. We know they are carrying thousands who are too tired or too indolent to walk and think for themselves.
It is a good exercise to try for once in a way to express any opinion one holds in words of one syllable. If you say “The social utility of the indeterminate sentence is recognized by all criminologists as a part of our sociological evolution towards a more humane and scientific view of punishment,” you can go on talking like that for hours with hardly a movement of the gray matter inside your skull.
But if you begin “I wish Jones to go to gaol and Brown to say when Jones shall come out,” you will discover, with a thrill of horror, that you are obliged to think. The long words are not the hard words, it is the short words that are hard. There is much more metaphysical subtlety in the word “damn” than in the word “degeneration.” – GK. Chesterton.
Books and Lit: Lewis and Tolkien – This final class I’m taking at Gordon Conwell, from one of my favorite professors, is FREE on youtube. So, check this out.
Christians and Culture: Flushing Thousands of Years Down the Toilet – Dr. Murray’s thoughts are penetrating, sobering, and painfully true.
Leadership and Productivity Award: Think and Grow Rich: This book is basically a handbook on idolatry, but there are a couple of nuggets of good sense, like this one: “You either control your mind or it controls you. There is no half-way compromise. The most practical of all methods for controlling the mind is the habit of keeping it busy with a definite purpose, backed by a definite plan. Study the record of any man who achieves noteworthy success, and you will observe that he has control over his own mind, moreover, that he exercises that control and directs it toward the attainment of definite objectives. Without this control, success is not possible.” – Napoleon Hill