Posts by Jonathan

Husband. Father. Friend.

Worthwhile: August 23, 2019

Labor Day is closer now than Memorial Day so we are into the fall. Next weekend the Nebraska Cornhuskers begin their football season and my Saturdays will be busy!

There was a lot of action this week in the sharing of choice material, including what I share today, so hopefully you were able to engage in the meaningful things and pass over the drivel!


Let’s get rolling with the glory of Christ. Given the rash of recent “departures” from Christianity, Erik Raymond has a short piece on the consistent indifference to the glory of Christ. That Jesus is ignored in the statements on leaving the church.

He holds out a mark for us to remember and rally around – who Jesus is and how we have faith in him. He also quotes John Owen to spur us on.

No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight in heaven who does not, in some measure, behold it by faith in this world. . . . On Christ’s glory, I would fix all my thoughts and desires, and the more I see of the glory of Christ, the more the painted beauties of this world will wither in my eyes and I will be more and more crucified to this world.

Read it here.


Next a downer. You don’t comprehend as well what you read on a screen versus paper.

This from an article from Karen Swallow Prior at ChristianityToday: “In an article aptly titled “Your Paper Brain and Your Kindle Brain Aren’t the Same Thing,” PRI reports that the habit of superficial comprehension developed in digital reading transfers to all reading such that “the more you read on screens, the more your mind shifts towards ‘non-linear’ reading—a practice that involves things like skimming a screen or having your eyes dart around a web page.” In reporting on another study published in 2017, Inside Higher Ed notes that “readers may not comprehend complex or lengthy material as well when they view it digitally as when they read it on paper.”’

While this has implications for those of us trying to convert to digital (my wife fears a future of hoarding books – I think it would be a dream!) The real concern is in Bible reading. Personally I have noticed that digital Bible reading loses something in the engagement arena and Prior asks the right questions to get us thinking about paper over pixels.

“In a Word-centered faith, the ability to read well is central. As a “People of the Book,” Christians have a particular calling to preserve and promote the gift of deep reading from physical Bibles. Pastors can model, lead, and teach the way.”

Read the article here and then open you paper Bible!


J-Pipes also has some principles on productivity that are worthwhile. Ten invitations to think through and apply. Usually productivity advice comes in the form of action steps (wake up before dawn, drink bulletproof coffee, have a planner, take cold showers) put Piper has perspective in the right place.

I know that his previous calls to have a life goal has been a help to me in framing what I take on and what I attempt to avoid.

Give it a read or listen and be encourage as you produce.


Lastly as you enjoy this weekend… go to church. And find one that will welcome you this way. At Reservoir we have used the Ortlund inspired and refined “Welcome of the Church” during our call to worship and we mean it.

This video of that welcome has been making the twitter rounds and it is more than a good reminder, let’s all paint our church doors red!

Sanctification and Weight Loss

I start diets and new exercise regimens but I rarely stick to them long term. Usually I chalk up my lack of resiliency as a result of diminished returns. I just don’t see progress that is worth the effort. And I really like sugar!

Weight loss, or just plain health, takes time. It is an invested process that arrives on the far end.

But when my perspective changes and the incremental gains (or losses at it would be) are not what is most important then the strategies are easier to stick with. When I am committed to health rather than look or longevity over momentary whims, that is where resiliency develops.

All that said, I think sanctification is similar. The significant difference being that you don’t achieve sanctification yourself, like your justification it is a gift promised and delivered by God. But you don’t reject the gift because it takes a long time.

When you set your mind on the glory of Christ, health, and longevity in him you can keep pressing on with expectancy. Petitioning the Lord to work transformation in you.

So what will it be? Angst at the process’ timeline or trust in God’s plan and promise? Let’s go with God.

Someone Has Been There Before

As I have discipled or mentored people in varying seasons of life one helpful conclusion for everyone has been that someone has gone through the same things before them. Once you recognize there are others with insight to give, you are likely to heed it.

Increasingly I have noticed a trend of disillusionment toward the experience of others. Those I try to encourage exude an attitude that says their story or circumstance is unique and no one would have any clue what they are going through.

I get the temptation toward that feeling. Just on the base level of our selfish sinfulness or course we would lean toward narcissism as if we are all that matter, or have ever mattered. And this is why community is so vital as we pursue life, and especially pursue Jesus.

When we awaken to the reality that others have faced similar or the same situations, we enter into a gracious space of being understood. This is where bearing with one another happens. This is where growth happens.

So please, don’t think you can or should go it alone because your situation is a one-of-a-kind. Someone has been there before, and they are probably closer than you think.

Onward.

Worthwhile August 16, 2019

The back to school edition… which means it is slim. As a parent of three elementary aged kiddos, and a PTA president it has been a busy week. I also had a couple great meetings our elders, and local pastors for care and encouragement.

It’s the good life though. I wouldn’t trade it.

For our weekend reviewing and viewing, three bits, one of which you may have seen.


First out of the gate is a class piece from Jennie Pollock on Think Theology. She writes to open our thinking to viewing the calming of the storm story in Mark 4.

We all have heard sermons on the sleeping Jesus and the disciples waking him in fear for their lives.

Jennie does good work here, not condemning the disciples for cowardice and waking the sleeping Savior, but her take does lend us a bit of a gut check about just who we think Jesus is.

In the end, we can live in confidence because our Savior controls all things…

Give it a read here.


Next, to what you may have already seen. Anderson Cooper interviewing Stephen Colbert and asking about suffering.

It is a great take on gratefulness and the reality of suffering. By Anderson’s posture it seems he wants to believe what Colbert does but it is just beyond reach. We know better. Or should. Because we are not alone in our suffering, or the experience of it, we can cling to Jesus for hope and help.

Watch the whole seven minutes, you will be encouraged.


And finally some thoughts on leadership from Seth Godin:

“Leaders create the conditions where people choose new actions.

“The choices are voluntary. They’re made by people who see a new landscape, new opportunities and new options.

“You can’t make people change. But you can create an environment where they choose to.”

Now to go and do likewise…


Happy Friday. Enjoy your friends. Laugh more. Be grateful in all circumstances. And know that in Jesus you are loved more than you can imagine.