This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      Why the Devil Didn't Think He Won When Jesus was on the Cross: I hadn't thought this through as clearly until I read this JA Medders post. His final reason is the strongest: " Fifth, as Jesus was hanging on the cross, he is tempted to get himself down from the cross. Why? This would cease his substituting death for us—Satan wouldn’t be disarmed and defeated. But Jesus did the Father’s will, he died and rose again for us. Defeating Satan every step of the way."

2.      How to Mend a Relationship That has Been Broken for Years: Vital Signs delivers consistently difficult, but healthy advice on matters related to conflict: Joseph Grenny offers, " I have come to believe that my capacity for joy in life is a function of my capacity to love imperfect people. And the most aggressive calisthenics of that capacity is practicing vulnerability at times of the most acute emotional risk."

3.      Seeing the Individual's Face: Jennie Cesario with one of the most beautiful reflections I've read in a while: "[T]o grow in the love of God is to expand my heart and vision in this way. To, little by little, allow more faces to become particular to me, more faces to become dear — whether they’re next to me in a church pew or against me in the voting booth; whether they’re my kindred or my worst enemies."

4.      What Teens Value Most: Helen Gibson reports on Pew Research Center's latest poll on teens. In it, having a career they enjoy ranks first, then helping others who are in need, and third is having a lot of money. Getting married is fourth and having children is fifth with less than 40% of teens saying they desire to have children one day.

5.      Is God Anti-Gay? Sam Alberry reflects on this big question during a Gospel Coalition panel (this is a podcast).

Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill

Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill

What a unique (and desperately needed) book!  In Washed and WaitingHill is earnest, honest, and incisive. The book is part autobiography, part practical theology, part self-help: and all of this in 150 pages. 

Chapter 1 alone is worth the price of the book.  After the Prelude, where Hill, sets up the book on an autobiographical level, he digs into the practical theology as it relates to homosexual practice.  This book isn't the place to look for a robust defense of the orthodox theology on homosexual practice (which Hill holds to).  There are plenty of other places to look for that (I would recommend Sam Alberry's Is God Anti-Gay? and Kevin DeYoung's What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality?). 

What Hill does do in this section is confront head-on what to do with the fact that for those with homosexual inclinations, if they are committed to following a biblical Christianity, there will always (on this side of eternity) be an unsatisfied longing.  What do we make of this?  How could God not want his children to be happy and to experience love? 

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      Pastor, Fall on the Sword Before You Wield It: Trevin Wax with a piercing exhortation: "'Rightly handling' this sword means we should teach it correctly, and the pastor must experience the piercing of this sword before he wields it in battle."

2.      How to be a Friend to those who are Same-Sex Attracted: Bekah Mason provides sage advice birthed through her own story: "In the end, both legalistic condemnation and progressive license left me seeking more contentment and completeness than either could offer. One group had fallen short of acknowledging the genuine nature of my feelings and the other had overlooked the very real conviction I held about human sexuality by explaining it away as 'residual guilt from my legalistic childhood.'" Side note: I dislike the title that the editors gave this article. Please don't be put off by it.

3.      31 Questions to Help You Be a Better Parent: Some gems in this list, like these: "3. When I’m honest, what top five values do I feel most compelled to instill in my children? Would those line up with the top five values God would want my children to have? 8. How do I believe other people see each of my children? How do I feel about that? What portion of others’ opinions could I learn from, and what should I set aside? 9. Are my children developing more into givers than takers? 11. What are the events on the timeline of my children’s lives that have the most impact? 19. In what areas are my children most vulnerable? 28. How am I doing on teaching them biblical conflict resolution? Am I teaching them to be true peace-makers … or peace-fakers, or peace-breakers?"

4.      12 Pastoral Commitments (Or, How to Pray for Your Pastor): Kevin DeYoung's list is spot on. May God shape us into pastors like this!

5.      This Octopus Hunts... on Ground: Yikes. I think I might find another beach if I witness this in person.