Worthwhile September 20, 2019

Is Fall actually upon us? In SoCal that means overnight temps in the 50’s and 60’s with daytime temps between 75 and, well 100. Ha. I occasionally miss a Midwest autumn with the smell of falling leaves and chill in the air. It smells like football season and Thanksgiving. Ah, nostalgia.

This week I have a trio of phenomenal articles and a video, all worthwhile. Take up and read, and watch.


First out of the gate was a stirring piece by Jared C. Wilson on the recent suicide of Jarrid Wilson. No relation just the same name. “There Should Be Two of Us” is honest and a reminder to all of us that our friends, the people we associate with and those around us can all suffer from depression. Maybe we become more equipped to love, stick with, and care for those in pain.

I am doing well now, and have been for a long time, but I know the feeling of everything being too much, the weight of the fear of never getting better, the emotional drowning of all those breakers and waves. I have heard the lies that nothing will change, that nobody really understands, that people would be better off without the burden of me, and all the rest. And in brief doubtful moments I believed them.


That is the enemy speaking. I don’t know what brought me back from the brink, really. A different kind of fear, I suspect. The fear of missing out on what might happen tomorrow. More than likely, tomorrow would be just the same as today. Every day seems to bring the same pain, the same worry, the same hopelessness. But what if tomorrow’s different? Do I want to rob myself of finding out? And do I want to hurt those I love? A residual curiosity about what might happen if I don’t give up thankfully proved slightly stronger than the despair.


For seriously depressed persons, I know these thoughts don’t come easily, if they come at all. For those seriously struggling with suicidal thoughts, the illness crowds out rationality and logic, as well as sentimentality and hope.


But it is in these moments, perhaps, that faith is most faith. If you cannot see the light, as the saying goes, cast an anchor in the dark. Doubt your doubts. Believe what you can’t. 

Read the essay on For The Church.


Next a call to weak leadership by Darryl Dash. It’s not what you think but a call to biblical leadership fully aquainted with weakness and the need for the Spirit’s power to lead.

“I’m convinced our most common leadership model within the North American church resembles that of the Corinthians. We long for the so-called super-apostles. We want the gifted, the successful, the articulate, the men and women who get things done. Our leaders are allowed to suffer, but only in the past tense. We want winners, people who’ve beat the odds…It’s time to rewrite our leadership playbook. It’s time for leaders who’ve learned the power of weakness.”

Dash looks at Paul in 2 Corinthians for guidance and I think he is on to something. This last week I have been meeting with groups in our church to discuss a new network partnership for us. These talks have also brought on questions of the church’s future and I was quick to share that like Paul I am often “burdened beyond my strength.” And that is exactly where I want to be so I keep trusting Jesus.

Think of how you lead, and give it a read here.


Thirdly, this bit from the last book written by David Powlison shared by Justin Taylor. In it Powlison gives a front row view of a heart given to Christ. What it means to suffer and have hope. Ultimately hope in our Savior.

In the midst of my confusion, unbelief, and fear of death, God used Ezekiel 36:25–27 to bring me to faith. It was my first encounter with the belt of truth that Jesus gives his people. It was my first encounter with the sword of the Spirit that exposes and heals. At that moment, I knew the truth of what Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). It was God who shone his light into my heart and awakened me from the slumber of sin and death.


Now more than four decades later, I am staring death in the face. Instead of my faith failing, the promise of a new heart holds true. God is still shining into the darkness of my heart to give me the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. The reality of death has made the truth of God’s Word come alive to me. 

Read the rest here.


Lastly, here is a short video description of discipleship that is spot on and might spur something in us.


Have a wonderful weekend. Stick close to your people, breathe deep, go for a walk, and go to church. You are loved. You are worth it.

Worthwhile September 13, 2019

It’s Friday the thirteenth. That’s bad right? Maybe something fun will happen today.

I took a week off so today there are four bits of goodness for your weekend reading. Be encouraged, perplexed and try to keep rhythm.


The week began with the sad news that a well-known pastor had taken his own life. Jarrid Wilson was a Southern California mega-church associate pastor and author. He also was a vocal and active advocate for raising awareness of mental health issues as he shared of his own struggles with depression.

In light of this loss Justin Taylor shared snippets from Mark Meynell’s When Darkness Seems My Closest Friend: Reflections on Life and Ministry with Depression.

Three things you can do to help friends with depression are be present, persist, and reassure.

Read the list here. And if you find yourself on the edge please reach out to the Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255.


Next from Tyler Braun, a piece on the reluctant leader. Braun shares how he has questioned his own calling and finds a general reluctance from those that are truly called. In fact it is something that has kept him humble in ministry.

While it can be a good sign, it can also be a negative if it hides laziness or fear etc.

This is why reluctance can be powerful in leadership. From the start there is a sense of unknowing: is this the right fit? These questions keep the leader from believing they are bigger than the task.


There is also a great sense of hard-nosed tenacity toward the responsibility of leadership because reluctance never allowed the task to become too glamorous. Letdown is far less likely an outcome because the reluctant leader never believed it was going to be glorious.

The piece resonated with me because i have often noticed a soft reluctance in a leader indicates more preparedness for the role, at least in the church.

Read Braun on his blog Man of Depravity.


This week I also noticed this article on the STEM education and the waste it is. Of course I am interested because I have kids in STEAM (they have to include arts again) programs and am keenly interested. And it doesn’t appear to be a hit job from a classical education advocate.

The point is that technology corrupts education. Let that stew.

I need to finish it but wanted to share it with you. Especially given that the proven most effective piece of technology in the classroom is an overhead projector used by a competent teacher.

Read Jared Woodward’s article on American Affairs.


Lastly, a newsletter from John Starke on being rhythm oriented rather than goal oriented. It has me thinking.

As my wife says though you may not be either, it isn’t black and white.


That’s it homies. Listen to some George Clinton and the P Funk Allstars. Enjoy the weekend. You matter. People love you. Reach out. Breathe deep and experience the grace of Christ.

Worthwhile August 30, 2019

The last Friday of August is upon us and you are craving something worthwhile to read heading into the weekend. And just two bits from me today since I am in a hurry to get to the local library book sale!


First out of the gate is a lengthy piece from Matthew Anderson on pornography and the roots below it. “How Pornography Makes Us Less Human and Less Humane.” While Anderson’s piece is full, extremely long and you must be committed to finish it on a device, Andrew Wilson has clipped the most insightful piece. It comes down to curiositas.

Find Wilson’s quoting here and the full disortation from Anderson here.

You choose what to read depending on how much time you have!


Next up is An Open Letter to Pastors about teens in their congregations. While I agree with what I read I wonder if it would be more fair to make and open letter to parents of teens in a congregation so they know what the pastor is getting at.

Katherine Forester helps us think about discipling these adolescents in the church.

“The simple answers that were enough for us at a younger age aren’t enough now. We need solid theology and sound doctrine, the kind of teaching that acknowledges real difficulties and gives biblical answers to them. We need an apologetic that engages both the heart and the mind. And we need to know that asking these questions is not just okay, but necessary to the formation of a deeper faith…”

“…it’s important that we’re not constantly shuffled off to be only with people our own age. Youth groups have an important role, but that shouldn’t be the only way teens ever interact with the church. We need to be part of the whole church body, living and learning in vital community with the “mothers and fathers” as well as the younger “brothers and sisters” (1 Timothy 5:1–2).”

Give it a read yourself. Of course it is promoting the book Tranformed by Truth written by Forester who is a teen herself.


That’s it. Find some fun and some friends to share it with this weekend. And go to church!

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!