Holy Spirit

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      According to Research People With "Too Many Interests" Are More Likely to Be SuccessfulThis is really interesting and runs against the prevailing wisdom, "The warning against being a generalist has persisted for hundreds of years in dozens of languages. 'Equipped with knives all over, yet none is sharp,' warn people in China. In Estonia, it goes, 'Nine trades, the tenth one — hunger.' If being a generalist is an ineffective career path, why do 10+ academic studies find a correlation between the number of interests/competencies someone develops and their creative impact?"

2.      How to Move from Bitterness to Forgiveness: Roger Barrier responds to an important question that plagues so many. He begins his post with this advice, "Don’t minimize the hurts in your life. Mourn your hurts. Express them to a trusted friend or spouse and allow you to be comforted. Jesus died for those hurts. Talk honestly about them. Who has hurt you the most? With whom have you not reconciled? Who does the Holy Spirit bring to your mind when you think hurtful thoughts? Jesus said, "Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

3.      What Does it Mean to Be Baptized in the Spirit? Clear and helpful post by Adriel Sanchez. He reflects, "Understandably, people typically focus on the miraculous signs that accompanied the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. In doing so they often miss the big picture the Bible gives us with regard to this significant event in the history of salvation. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not primarily about speaking in tongues but about the beginning of a new creation, the advancement of a new temple, the giving of a new law, and the commissioning of a new group of prophets."

4.      How History's Revivals Teach us How to Pray: This is inspiring. Davis Thomas reflects on a very different sort of prayer than most of us are accustomed to, "I was confronted with how the Bible appears utterly unfamiliar with casual prayer, prayer of the mouth and not the heart. Travailing prayer—the kind of burdened, focused pressing my friends in the Hebrides described—seemed closer to the heart of prayer in Scripture. A stream of this manner of praying flows from the early church all the way through the Reformation."

5.      The Best Weapon is an Open DoorRosaria Butterfield on just how significant hospitality is. She concludes, "Perhaps our everyday lives would reveal that the hand of God reaches into the hardest situations imaginable and that nothing is impossible with God. Hospitality is the ground zero of the Christian life."

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.       What is the Biggest Factor in Economic Inequity? Marriage: Glenn Stanton reports, " Jonathan Rauch writing in the National Journal, certainly no conservative, notes that “marriage is displacing both income and race as the great class divide of the new century.” Isabel Sawhill, a senior scholar at the center-left Brookings Institute, boldly and correctly proclaimed some years ago that “the proliferation of single-parent households accounts for virtually all of the increase in child poverty since the early 1970s.” Virtually all of the increase!"

2.       The Spirit is Always in Agreement with the Word: Aaron Armstrong battles a mode of argument in favor among progressives, that the Spirit can move us past Scripture, "[I]f we can’t use the words the Spirit inspired [the Bible] to be our norming-norm, what do we use to determine whether or not we’re resisting him? Shifts in culture? Personal feelings and preference?.. After all, the Spirit doesn’t work apart from the word he inspired...It’s important that we wrestle with what’s going on in our culture, the shifts in beliefs and behaviors especially. But if anyone is going to make a convincing argument on why Christians need to change their views on a number of key controversial issues, it’s not going to be pitting the Spirit against Scripture."

3.       10 Things That Require Zero Talent: I love this little list from Paul Alexander. #4 and 8 on his list are: "Body Language: You say more with your body language than the words that actually come out of your mouth; Being Coachable: You can learn from anyone, but you have to choose to."

4.       Corporate America's Strange New Religion: Kevin Williamson reports on America's favorite new religion, "'Participants are regaining 62 minutes per week of productivity,' Stringer wrote. 'They are seeing an approximate dollar return, in terms of productivity alone, of more than $3,000 per person per year.' Never mind karma — this is a bottom-line issue.  'Mindfulness,' a meditation practice that is in essence Buddhism without Buddha, is everywhere in corporate America and celebrity culture."

5.       National History Museum 2017 Photography Winners: Stunning photographs. This evocative photo is probably my favorite. 

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

Happy Thanksgiving friends! 

I am thankful for you. I echo Paul's prayer in Philippians 1:3-5, "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now."

It is a gift to walk with you as we grow in faith, in love, and in hope. 

With gratitude,

John

 

1.      Dads, We Have a Powerful Influence in the Lives of Our Daughters: Charlotte Andersen reports, "'I see too many men buy into the idea of 'that's a girl's issue' or 'only a woman can understand another woman' and avoid talking to their daughters about sex, dating, or other 'girly' topics. They may assume their daughters should automatically fit into preconceived gender roles,' Dr. Brown says. 'I also see men who are locked into their own narrow view of what it means to be a father to their daughter. They believe that their only role is as a provider and protector, and they end up working too much and missing out on those wonderful father-daughter bonding moments. It doesn't have to be that way at all.'"

2.     The Worst Consequence of Skipping Church: Tim Challies reminds us that "Gathering with God’s people is not first about being blessed but about being a blessing. It’s not first about getting but about giving."

3.     5 Truths About the Holy Spirit: Alastair Begg on five important truths about the Holy Spirit. 

4.      Do You Love Your Wife Out of Obligation? The close of Brian Goins article shifts how we so often think about marriage: "In Scripture, God’s bride blossoms after the wedding day and becomes more beautiful and splendid over time, not because she “worked out” or “aged gracefully,” but because God loved her into radiance. If a man views the wedding day as the height of his bride’s beauty, then he will never love like Jesus. He’ll constantly be comparing what was rather than anticipating his role in what it could be. For Jesus, the wedding day was simply the start of a lifelong extreme makeover designed to advance His bride to royalty.

5.      We Are Sinking! This Berlitz commercial still makes me laugh out loud.

A God of Many Understandings? by Todd Miles

A God of Many Understandings? by Todd Miles

Miles begins A God of Many Understandings? with an event I remember well: “On Sunday morning, January 18, 2009, Gene Robinson, the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, stepped to a podium near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, to open the inauguration festivities for Barack Obama with an invocation and began his prayer, ‘O god of our many understandings, we pray that you will…’” (1). That simple opening to his prayer hit me like a tidal wave that day. “O god of our many understandings (?!)” At the same time I felt befuddlement, anger, and a sense that in that very phrase, Robinson had profoundly captured the essence of our modern religious sensibilities.

There have been plenty of books published over the recent years that have decried the slippage in the American church’s commitment to the exclusive claims of the gospel. But I promise you none have been written that are quite like this. The ambitious nature of Miles’s book is remarkable. The book is a biblical-theological tour de force that deals with a host of issues relating to the topic of the exclusive nature of the gospel.