David Murray

How Healthy are You?

How Healthy are You?

“How easy is it for you to handle the stressors of life today? How hard are simple decisions?”

A few months back, Josh Reich, pastor at Revolution Church and author of Breathing Room, shared with a pastors’ group I recently started attending. He asked a series of questions that have served as a great mirror for me in the past few months to assess my health.

It’s a strange thing that it’s a difficult thing for us to assess our own emotional and spiritual health. We’re usually pretty aware when our physical health is off, whether it’s an upset stomach or a headache or a sore back. And yet, I suspect that you have those days where you really don’t know how well you are doing emotionally and spiritually.

In Matthew 11, Jesus casts a vision of what following him looks like. You’re probably familiar with the verses. Read Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase and ask yourself how much this resembles your life:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Isn’t that a beautiful vision of the Christian life? Are you living into Jesus’ “unforced rhythms of grace”? Can your life be characterized by its lightness?

Christmas Eve Recommendations

Christmas Eve Recommendations

Merry Christmas,

As you celebrate your Christmas, here are some bonus recommendations for you.

May the joy and hope of Immanuel reign in your home and in your hearts,

John

1.       Did the Gospels Borrow From Pagan Myths? Timothy Paul Jones examines this claim: “In the simplest possible terms, here’s what these critics contend: The most marvelous claims in the Gospels—a miraculous birth, for example, as well as the idea of a deity who dies and rises again—are paralleled in pagan religions that predate Christianity; therefore, early Christians must have fabricated these miracles based on their knowledge of pre-Christian religions.

2.       The Lord Gave Us A Casket for Christmas: Erik Naykalyk shares his heartbreaking story, “Exactly three weeks to Christmas Day, God decreed to take my home ad flip it upside-down. Twelve days before Christmas, we lowered my son’s casket into the cold, hard, December ground. And I’ve never been looking forward to Christmas more in my entire life. No, seriously. Never.”

3.       A Letter to the Depressed Christian at Christmas: David Murray reflects, “Depression is tough at the best of times. Perhaps it’s the best of times, such as holiday times, when it’s especially tough. The thought of mixing with happy people fills you with dread. The thought of remembering lost loved ones fills you with gloom. How can people be so happy when you are so sad? How can people celebrate when you are in mourning? It jars your soul and scrapes your tender wounds, doesn’t it?”

4.       200 Years of Silent Night: Keith and Kristyn Getty consider the power and beauty of one of the best and longest sung Christmas carols: “God’s heavenly peace is still so evident in these enduring lyrics and chords, its soothing effect one of the marvels of our modern holiday traditions—like a distant whisper somehow soft enough, yet also loud enough, to reach us in the deafening noise.”

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       Three Predictors of Porn Use: Jay Stringer explains, "Perhaps you’ve found yourself not able to turn off your allure to porn. If so, a far more beneficial approach to recovery than combating lust is to focus on the themes that drive and necessitate your use of pornography. Until these themes are transformed, you will find yourself in the same, pernicious cycle of pornography use."

2.       How to Heal the Damage Caused by Family Conflict: Mark Gregston wisely reflects, " Not following up on hurtful actions of confrontations to either correct the mistakes you’ve made or affirm the relationship is what allows conflict to cause damage to your relationship with your child.   Remember that you’re not only resolving issues that you have with your child, but, more importantly you are setting the example of conflict resolution and teaching your child how to admit fault, assume a position of humility, and ask for forgiveness for any wrongdoing; all characteristics in a person’s life that are more caught than taught."

3.       5 Honest Struggles Church Leaders Don't Want to Admit: Carey Nieuwhof with a good reminder of the lies leaders can easily get entrapped by, "Greater faithfulness should result in greater impact in ministry. Pursue God, and pursue a great mission. Both are critical. But God doesn’t reward the most faithful with the best results."

4.       The Best Preacher in the World: David Murray says, " Every church needs two preachers. We need a human preacher, one who is visible, audible, tangible. But we also need a divine preacher, one that is invisible, inaudible, and intangible. I’m speaking of the Holy Spirit, without whom the work of the human preacher is in vain."

5.       Girl Scout Marketing Meeting: Jon Crist will have you laughing at the silliness of the Girl Scout's marketing plan.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      Arizona's Monsoon Season Begins: Incredible footage of an incredible season here in Tucson. 

2.      How the Worst Moment in My Life was Also the Best: David Murray shares the story of Matthew Bryce and considers it in light of our salvation: "Just over a week ago, Matthew Bryce decided to go surfing off the Scottish coast. Within a few hours the tide and wind had blown him thirteen miles out to sea. He watched the sun set, knowing he would not survive the night."

3.      How Self-Forgetfulness Makes us Happier: Randy Alcorn on how self-forgetfulness makes us happier: " However, people who think a lot about Christ and His grace, the great doctrines of the faith, and how to love and serve others tend to be happy people. By redirecting attention from ourselves to God, we adopt a right perspective that brings happiness."

4.      What to do when singleness lasts longer than expected:  Marshall Segal shares, “Marriage is a good gift and a terrible god. Most of my grief in my teenage years and even into my twenties came from giving more of my heart to my future marriage than to God. It’s easy to anchor our hope and happiness in a wife or husband and to define our growth, maturity, and worth by our marital status. And when we worship love, romance, sex, or marriage—and not God—we welcome the pain and disappointment.”

5.      7 Things to Consider Before You Make a Political Post: Thanks to Tim Challies who pointed me to Scott Slayton’s sage advice.  

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      Watch the World’s First Roller Coaster: The fun history of the roller coaster.

2.      The Common Yet Neglected Problem of Burnout: Some excellent infographics on burnout. 80% of Americans say they have experienced burnout. 26% of men and 31% of women experienced burnout for longer than one year.

3.      Why God Will Disappoint You, and Why That’s Good: Zach Barnhart reflects on the powerful thought that "God loves us enough to disappoint us." 

4.      8 Ways God Works Suffering For Our Good: Tim Challies on how God beautifully and purposefully uses suffering in our lives.

5.      Where Atari and Chuck E Cheese Came From: The same man founded Atari and Chuck E Cheese. This is his fascinating story.