Worth a Look

 

Apr

17

2014

Trevin Wax|2:05 am CT

Worth a Look 4.17.14

WorthALook1Kindle Deal of the Day: The Doctrines That Divide: A Fresh Look at the Historic Doctrines That Separate Christians by Erwin Lutzer. FREE.

Lutzer examines various controversies that exist within the broad spectrum of Christianity, presenting the issue and the biblical understanding of the doctrine.

Russell Moore – Same-Sex Marriage and the Future:

We must prepare people for what the future holds, when Christian beliefs about marriage and sexuality aren’t part of the cultural consensus but are seen to be strange and freakish and even subversive. If our people assume that everything goes back to normal with the right President and a quick constitutional amendment, they are not being equipped for a world that views evangelical Protestants and traditional Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews and others as bigots or freaks.

Michael Bird – How God Became Jesus, and How I Came to Faith in Him:

Bart Ehrman’s narrative suggests the more educated you are, the less likely you are to believe. My life proves otherwise.

10 Reasons Some Pastors Don’t Desire to Go to an Established Church:

I offer today some of the reasons pastors have shared with me, explicitly or implicitly, why they don’t see God calling them to established churches.

Danny Akin – Confidence in the Midst of Decline:

How should we as God’s people respond to the present state of things? Should we despair? Should we panic? Should we even throw in the towel? Of course not! Thankfully, the hope and confidence of God’s people is not in statistics or trends, but in the God who plans and secures the success of his global purpose!

 
 

Apr

16

2014

Trevin Wax|2:05 am CT

Worth a Look 4.16.14

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKindle Deal of the Day: Risen: 50 Reasons Why the Resurrection Changed Everything by Steve Mathewson. $2.99.

In the spirit of John Piper’s Fifty Reasons Why Christ Came to Die, Steven D. Mathewson unpacks the New Testament Scriptures that speak of the reasons Jesus was raised from the dead.

Adam Mabry, a church planter in Boston, reflects on the Boston Marathon bombing a year later:

  • Everything changed.
  • Nothing changed.
  • We Must be Changed.

The Power of Story – Captivated by the Gospel:

As Christians, we understand all people are confronted by a host of master narratives that compete with, and often contradict, the gospel of Jesus Christ. We also believe God has revealed the true story of the whole world. The story of Christ is, as C.S. Lewis put it, “the true myth.”

Nancy Guthrie – Please Don’t Make My Funeral All About Me:

I just got home from another funeral. Seems we’ve gone to more than our share lately. And once again, as I left the church, I pled with those closest to me, “Please don’t make my funeral all about me.”

“Something That Was Not Imaginable 40 Years Ago Has Happened:”

The historian Lawrence Stone said the scale of marital breakdown in the West since 1960 has no historical precedent. It is unique. And as a civilization we seem unable, or at least unwilling, to do much of anything about it.

 
 

Apr

15

2014

Trevin Wax|2:05 am CT

Worth a Look 4.15.14

WorthALook1Kindle Deal of the Day: Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We’ve Made Up by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle. $3.89.

This is not a book about who is saying what. It’s a book about what God says. It’s not a book about impersonal theological issues. It’s a book about people who God loves. It’s not a book about arguments, doctrine, or being right. It’s a book about the character of God.

Tim Keller – Cultural Engagement that Avoids Triumphalism and Accommodation:

The term “cultural engagement” is so often used by Christians today without a great deal of definition. This account of Paul and Athens gets us a bit closer to understanding what it is by showing us what it is not. Christians are to enter the various public spheres—working in finance, the media, the arts. But there we are neither to simply preach at people nor are we to hide our faith, keeping it private and safe from contradiction. Rather, we are as believers to both listen to and also challenge dominant cultural ideas, respectfully yet pointedly, in both our speech and our example.

4 Ways to Improve Your Church’s Website:

Lack of resources no longer has to hold churches back from representing themselves digitally. By cleaning up a cluttered website and investing in keeping it current and relevant, churches can serve the body of Christ in deeper ways than previously possible.

Philip Nation – 8 Thoughts on Preparing an Easter Sermon:

A few in our ranks knew months ago what passage they would use and have already planned the sermon. Others have identified the passage and will prepare the message this week. We will all pray, read, study, and pray some more as the week speeds by. The following are a few of my own thoughts about preparing for the Easter sermon.

Christianity Today - Why Resurrection People Remember the Dead:

We proclaim that our deceased loved ones who trusted Christ are in the hands of a loving Savior. This is central to biblical faith. Yet on this side of the Resurrection, memory also plays a central role in keeping hope alive. Remembering our loved ones who have died is part of our Christian understanding of hope.

 
 

Apr

14

2014

Trevin Wax|2:05 am CT

Worth a Look 4.14.14

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKindle Deal of the Day: HCSB Study Bible $2.99.

Colbert the Catholic:

There’s no telling how Colbert’s faith will impact “The Late Show,” if at all, but it’s intriguing to see such a public figure embrace his religion so openly.

Ross Douthat – Diversity and Dishonesty:

This refusal, this self-deception, means that we have far too many powerful communities (corporate, academic, journalistic) that are simultaneously dogmatic and dishonest about it — that promise diversity but only as the left defines it, that fill their ranks with ideologues and then claim to stand athwart bias and misinformation, that speak the language of pluralism while presiding over communities that resemble the beau ideal of Sandra Y. L. Korn.

Remember Fort Pillow!

The obscure military post was the site of the worst atrocity against black troops during the Civil War.

25 Ways to Spot Leaders You Can Trust

 
 

Apr

09

2014

Trevin Wax|12:05 am CT

Worth a Look 4.9.14

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKindle Deal of the Day: My book for group leaders and teachers, Gospel-Centered Teaching: Showing Christ in All the Scripture is available for $2.99 as part of T4G’s promotion.

Together for the Gospel 2014 continues today. Watch it live here.

The Incredible Story of a Rwandan Genocide Survivor:

My name is Alphonsine Imaniraguha.  I was born and grew up in Rwanda, a country flowing with honey and milk in the heart of Africa. ”Alphonsine” is a French name meaning “a noble warrior,” and “Imaniraguha” is a Kinyarwanda name meaning “God gives you.” I was the second-born of five siblings.

Gavin Ortlund – When You’re Waiting in the Wilderness:

Of course, it’d be nice if ministry meant 1 Kings 18 fire-from-heaven power from start to finish! But most of our ministries can likely relate better to the metaphors of 1 Kings 17: hanging on until the ravens come again, trusting the jug and jar won’t run out tomorrow, scraping by until the drought finally ends, wondering why God hasn’t removed corrupt Ahab, and, all the while, waiting, waiting, waiting.

The Gray Havens have released a new single – “The Stone.” Check out my interview with former American Idol contestant, David Radford, here and here.

 

 
 

Apr

08

2014

Trevin Wax|12:05 am CT

Worth a Look 4.8.14

WorthALook1Kindle Deal of the Day: How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture by Michael Williams. $3.99.

By explaining each book’s theme and raising pertinent questions about the contemporary importance of that message, author Michael Williams sets readers on a path toward purposeful, independent reading and application of the entire Bible.

3 Tips on Being a Friend of Sinners:

If Jesus was a friend of sinners, we should be too, it seems — somehow, someway. And instantly, this discussion can drift into a much bigger one about Christians and culture and all that. But instead of going there, let’s just talk friendship for a minute. Friendship, which is not without its implications, is more practical and relevant than a primer on the church’s posture in society. So in that light, here are three tips on being a friend of sinners.

Alan Jacobs on why the Book of Common Prayer is still a big deal:

If you’ve ever pledged to be faithful to someone “till death do us part,” mourned to the words “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” or hoped for “peace in our time,” you’ve been shaped by Cranmer’s cadences, perhaps without knowing it.

Ben Reed – 9 Unintended Benefits of Small Group Life:

Healthy small groups teach us more than they often set out to teach. We are molded and changed in so many ways, because God uses others in mighty ways to make us more like Jesus. In fact, you can’t be like Jesus without others. It’s impossible. You can’t serve others, love others, be generous with one another, or accomplish any of the “one another” commands in Scripture by yourself.

9 Things You Should Know about the Chronicles of Narnia:

The end of March marked the sixty-fifth anniversary of C.S. Lewis completing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. Here are nine things you should know about the Lewis’ beloved novels…

 
 

Apr

07

2014

Trevin Wax|12:05 am CT

Worth a Look 4.7.14

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKindle Deal of the Day: Adoniram Judson by Jason Duesing. $0.99.

This volume seeks to honor the life and mission of Judson while retelling his story for a new generation.

Serving Appetizers – Worship Services That Keep Their Promises:

If we only acknowledge the “already” aspect of the kingdom, then our worship services will become ever-escalating spectacles of excitement, celebrating themes of victory and inevitable success.

Millennials and the False Gospel of “Nice:”

One might argue that young evangelicals aren’t fleeing core conservative institutions, but flooding them.

Perhaps the doom and gloom story seems familiar – if also wrong – because we’ve heard it so many times before. As young scholar Matthew Lee Anderson puts it, the “change or die narrative is presented as a perennial problem.”

From Mozart to Dickens – How History’s Greatest Thinkers Managed Their Time:

The graphics are broken down into 24-hour periods with each person’s various activities color-coded in different categories…

Crimea Adoptions to America Blocked By Russia:

“Hundreds of Ukrainian orphans were in the midst of the adoption process,” Tom Davis, CEO of Launch Hope, wrote for On Faith. “They had their eyes and hearts set on a new family, but thanks to the Russia invasion, those hopes were dashed to pieces—adoptions are on hold.” Davis says a “nationally known leader who has worked with orphans for over 20 years” told him, “There are 4,350 children trapped in Crimea we can do nothing about.”

 
 

Apr

03

2014

Trevin Wax|12:05 am CT

Worth a Look 4.3.14

WorthALook1Kindle Deal of the Day: Surprised by Hope by N. T. Wright. $2.99.

N.T. Wright tackles the biblical question of what happens after we die and shows how most Christians get it wrong. We do not “go to” heaven; we are resurrected and heaven comes down to earth–a difference that makes all of the difference to how we live on earth.

Ritual Sacrifice in Silicon Valley:

Grammar and diction unworthy of an editor aside, one of the most striking things about this passage is its tone, or perhaps we should say its genre. The remedies demanded (public recantation, propitiatory sacrifice) are of the sort necessitated by ritual defilement, rather than the giving of offense. It is also clear that Thomas does not merely wish Eich to say that he has changed his views, he truly, sincerely, desperately hopes that Eich be transformed. The key realization is that the howling mob which Thomas has ginned up is only partially an instrument of chastisement. It is also intended to educate. Thomas is in this to save souls.

Michelle Van LoonAged Out of Church:

Church should be a place of meaningful connection with God and others at every stage of our lives, but nearly half of more than 450 people who participated in an informal and completely unscientific survey I hosted on my blog last year told me that their local church had in some painful ways exacerbated the challenges they faced at midlife. As a result, they’d downshifted their involvement in the local church from what it had been a decade ago.

Scot McKnight on the Passover dimension of the atonement:

Why were the Israelites liberated from Egypt? To receive the Torah and to enter the Land and to obey God in covenant faithfulness by worshiping God at the core of life. So, if I may, I suggest that we are liberated in a Passover-ish way by Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from among the dead so that we might worship God, obey the Lord in the power of the Spirit, and to enter into the fellowship of the church as God’s mission for this world.

The Gendercide of Unwanted Girls:

For females to support the abortion of females is philosophical cannibalism and physical destruction in the name of progress and personal freedom. If one person’s freedom stops where another’s body starts, then abortion is the most heinous behavior ever foisted on a generation. Abortion is no more about a woman’s reproductive rights than Charles Manson’s infatuation with The Beatles was about music appreciation.

I’m excited to see the launch of the new Send North America blog. One of their launch posts is an article of mine on how Tim Keller and Andy Stanley preach with unbelievers in mind.

Whether you are closer to Stanley’s paradigm for ministry or Keller’s, you can benefit from a few suggestions for how to engage the lost people listening to you preach.

 
 

Apr

02

2014

Trevin Wax|12:05 am CT

Worth a Look 4.2.14

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKindle Deal of the Day: United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity by Trillia Newbell. $2.99.

United will explore the importance of pursuing diversity in the church by sharing the author’s unique experiences growing up in the south and attending a predominately white church.

Well-Oiled Machine or Well-Watered Garden?

Jesus invented the church; let’s allow him to lead it while we cultivate a flourishing well-watered garden first and a well-oiled machine second . Let’s plant more gardens in and around our machines. A church is a living, breathing group of people who have been promised abundant life, not life in a machine. Our structures are needed, but they should serve our mission.

Alex Chediak on how to prepare your teen for college:

How to address sexual purity with your teen, whether to go to a Christian college, financial barriers, and more.

7 Reasons to Slow Down Your Sermon:

Recently, I’ve been working on slowing my preaching down. I’m not a particularly fast speaker, but I often don’t leave intentional spaces and pauses. Normally, this is because I’m nervous. I’m afraid they won’t get the joke, or they’ll think my mind blanked out. But really, space in preaching – slowing down – is a gift. Here are 7 reasons why.

A correction regarding the report about North Korea executing Christians:

Several weeks ago, we told you of reports coming out of North Korea that 33 Christians were awaiting execution for their involvement in planting 500 underground house churches. We cited the Washington Times and the Christian Postand it has since come to our attention that their source may not be entirely accurate.

 
 

Apr

01

2014

Trevin Wax|12:05 am CT

Worth a Look 4.1.14

WorthALook1Kindle Deal of the Day: He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado. $2.99.

Linger on the hill of Calvary. Rub a finger on the timber and press the nail into your hand. Taste the tinge of cheap wine and feel the scrape of a thorn on your brow. Touch the velvet dirt, moist with the blood of God. Allow the tools of torture to tell their story. Listen as they tell you what God did to win your heart.

How to Read Fiction and Become a More Interesting Preacher:

There is a saying that goes, “There’s no such thing as uninteresting people, just uninterested people.” This applies to preachers, too. Of course, there are plenty of ways to be “interested.” Read biographies, do some work with your hands once in a while, keep up with what his happening culturally (art, politics, entertainment, etc.).

I’d like to focus on just one place to cast your interest in order to become a more interesting preacher: great works of fiction.

Gloria Furman – God Meets Busy Moms Right Where They Are:

When my first baby was born I sensed that my perspective on the nature of my spiritual life was being rattled and reshaped. In the midst of a venting session with a dear friend I confessed that I felt I’d forgotten the Lord since I became a mother.

Michael Kelley – The Joyously Annoying Memory of Children:

Whereas my kids are reminding me of the promises I made, it seems that God is the One doing the reminding most of the time.

Inside the Pixar Brain Trust:

How can a manager ensure that his or her working group, department, or company embraces candor? By putting mechanisms in place that explicitly say it is valuable. One of Pixar’s key mechanisms is the Braintrust, which we rely on to push us toward excellence and to root out mediocrity. It is our primary delivery system for straight talk. The Braintrust meets every few months or so to assess each movie we’re making. Its premise is simple: Put smart, passionate people in a room together, charge them with identifying and solving problems, and encourage them to be candid. The Braintrust is not foolproof, but when we get it right, the results are phenomenal.