Worthwhile: July 12, 2019

Happy Friday friends. We are moving into the second half of July and making all the plans for fall. New projects. Renewed vigor. And the same need of daily naps.

Start your weekend with some reading, and listening, with these worthwhile bits of the internets. From a perspective hard to swallow all the way to Christian music that is genuine and artistic.


“Here his concern is only with the basic question of where authority and rule lie in world events. He will reply that all events originate in heaven, all individuals are stirred and guided by the Lord, all empires rise and fall at his direction: there is no other ultimate agent.”

J. Alec Motyer on Isaiah 41

First up is a topic that comes with quite a lot of controversy but deserves our thoughtful engagement. Reparations. Now answer this question, have you ever really deeply thought about it or do you immediately jump to impossibility when thinking of the topic?

Well, I want to encourage you to actually take the effort to understand the idea and think Christianly about it. Timothy Thomas has published what I think is a fair look at reparation with stirring to rethink it.

“Imagine I came to you and confessed that I had stolen something from you many years ago, something that made it exceedingly difficult for you and your family to prosper. But rather than compensate you for my theft, or even return what I had stolen, I merely apologized. Naturally, you would be unsatisfied by my words. Imagine if I had said: “But it happened so long ago. You’ve overcome so much in the meantime, and your family has found a way to flourish in the face of hardship, even without what I stole from you. So returning or replacing it isn’t going to change anything. It’s only going to stir up bitterness. Besides, we’re both Christians, and you of all people should understand forgiveness.” You probably wouldn’t consider my apology contrite or Christian.”

Head over to Christ and Pop Culture and give it a read.


Next up, giving your church away. I have long had the hope and vision for leading a church planting church – one always sending, seeding the kingdom with mature faithful saints, even if it means we are a small church forever without acclaim.

Alan Frow and the people of Southlands have been living this out as a medium-sized multiplying church and Alan has a forthcoming book on the very idea I think we should all jump on and he has been sharing snippets on his blog.

In this glimpse into the book Frow talks about embracing the pain of subtraction and it gives a helpful look into what it means to pursue multiplication. It sometimes hurts but it worth it because it is what Jesus has called us to.

Give it a read and order the book when it is available later this month!


Lastly, Brett McCracken doesn’t want you to think that all Christian musicians have to offer is what you hear on KLOVE.

“The reputation of Christian music has not been the greatest in recent decades. Often accused of being derivative, sugarcoated, and samey-sounding, “Christian music” as a genre has become such a liability that many musicians understandably avoid the label like the plague.”

Brett goes on to present 14 artists to watch. Each has been producing quality, theologically sound music. Read his take here and then change up your summer playlist.


Cityalight is on McCracken’s list and this song has been wrecking me this week.

Have a great weekend and run to Jesus with all of who you are. He loves you and will give you strength.

Worthwhile: June 21, 2019

I have clearly been in summer mode and am slacking a bit on the worthwhile posts. And that’s okay, you are spending more time outside on adventures anyway, right?!

Three bits for you as you head into the weekend. Questions for those suffering, dieting like a believer and an oldie but a goodie.


David Powlison died June 7 after a battle with cancer. He was a gem in his gracious writing and example. Justin Taylor has shared Powlison’s five questions to ask when you are suffering and they are worthwhile.

What hardship are you facing?

What life-giving word from him speaks to you?

What input do wise friends give you?

How can you honestly wrestle your way toward trusting him?

What should you do next?

Taylor unpacks these a bit and you can read it here.


Next, are you working toward that beach body? Well what do we make of our dieting no matter our goals? Christel Humfrey suggests a higher purpose for your dieting.

For the Christian, a healthy diet is about more than following rules, shedding weight, looking good or proving our worth.

Four clues follow as to why we diet and the might encourage you. Check it out.


Finally, from the archives is Sam Storms’ case for covenantal membership in the local church. Eight biblical guides for linking with other believers in commitment and covenant.

This is one of the frequent questions I get, “why membership?” Storms gives some worthwhile marks we need to take to heart.


That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend and if you are in San Diego Reservoir Church is hosting a prophecy workshop tomorrow on the pursuit of this gift of the Spirit. We would love to have you join us.

Worthwhile: June 7, 2019

Did you know that today is national donut day? Go get one!

Travel last week and summer in swing this week. There are still a few worthwhile bits of the internet for you to check out.

Post-Christian cities, praying for your food and graduating with gratitude.


Barna has released its look at the most “post-Christian” cities in the U.S. As Barna says:

To qualify as “post-Christian,” individuals must meet nine or more of our 16 criteria (listed below), which identify a lack of Christian identity, belief and practice. These factors include whether individuals identify as atheist, have never made a commitment to Jesus, have not attended church in the last year or have not read the Bible in the last week. 

What is surprising is not that there are post-Christian cities ranking with 45% or higher, but where they are. San Diego is ranked 38th most post-Christian but my hometown of Omaha jumps off the list at 34. The town I did grad school, Toledo, OH is 35…

Check the list and see where your city ranks. Then get to work and tell someone about Jesus!


Also funny to me last week the remark from someone that because a comedian told them they didn’t need to say grace before a meal, they discontinued the practice. Ha.

First, if a comedian is your life coach or source of Christian teaching, go to church (and I realize most pastors try to be comedians). Next, praying before meals, or other adventures for that matter, are about expressing gratitude to God for his gifts, his provision in our lives. If anything we should be praying more, not less.

Jeremy Writebol gives us a good model, “Prayer at the regular intervals of normal, ordinary life fuel our dependence on God.”

“Praying at a meal is a part of pursuing Jesus in all of life. When eating a meal, give thanks for it. The pattern to implement is this: First, pause before the meal. Second, pray aloud, expressing gratitude for God’s provision of the food. Third, if so desired or needed at the moment, express others’ petitions. Then, eat.”

Read the rest here and get to praying… and eating.


And finally, it is graduation season. Don’t let it get you down. While seasons of transition can at times leave us grieving we can look forward with hope and thankfulness. In fact it is good to grieve, the right way.

Melissa Kruger shares more and it might just be what you need to get through the graduations! Read it, live it.


That’s it faithful friends. Have a great weekend. I will be preaching a wedding and partying with the best of them. Onward with grace and peace.

Worthwhile: May 24, 2019

Long weekend ahead. Which means either you will have more time for delighting in great reading or you will be busy with burgers and hotdogs on the grill. Either way, breathe deep, find some people you like, and enjoy the gifts we have been given.

Four nuggets of good if you missed them earlier in the week. Grace, devices, discipleship and a place for all of us. Cheers!


First up, Sam Storms in a surprisingly short post for him, helps us think through ways we don’t fully embrace or understand the grace of God. It is a helpful list to think through and not meant as a guilt trip but an invitation into the true grace of Jesus.

I even found myself on the list, needing more embrace and understanding of grace. Help Lord!

Check the list for yourself, find grace and be free!


Are you reading this on your phone? Well, don’t put it down just yet… John Thomas has a review of Competing Spectacles on Christianity Today. Tony Reinke wrote the book encouraging discipline in our media age and seeing Christ as our treasure.

If you are hesitant to tackle the whole thing perhaps the review is a good place to start and be stirred to something less screen driven.

When we seek out glory in the passing spectacles of this world rather than in Christ, the culprit isn’t an ever-expanding buffet of shallow entertainments; our own sinful hearts are to blame. Adam and Eve didn’t have an endless selection of forbidden fruits tempting them to reject their Maker; they only needed one. And our spectacle-craving eyes have been looking elsewhere ever since.

Read the review, think it through, look to Jesus.


Next up, how should we approach the church, as consumers or as disciples? Matt Chandler punches our expectations in the face and calls for an end of consumeristic Christianity. Don’t go to church to be entertained or coddled, go to be equipped for ministry!

This is an important perspective from a large church pastor and it is helpful for all believers as we envision the future of the church in increasingly more hostile environments. The gimmicks won’t work, mission will.

Faithwire essentially unpacks Chandler’s sermon, which you can also watch. It is worth hearing and strategizing through. Check it for yourself.


Coming in last this week, among the least… is an encounter with neighbors we don’t always expect. Earlier this week I tweeted that I wanted to be a pastor for those that eat at McDonald’s and drink cheap coffee wherever they find it. Mostly because I want to pastor myself!

We live in a far too stylized world and the mess of artisan hipness has a stranglehold on the church. But it is the church that is the remedy to the mess.

David Zahl shares stories from Chris Arnade’s upcoming book chronicling his journey to highlight the back bench and back roads of America.

But he went further than mere surprise. “Soon I saw my atheism for what it is: an intellectual belief most accessible to those who have done well.” Woah! I couldn’t believe his guts then, and I can’t believe them now. In a world in which ‘de-conversion’ narratives seem to grow sexier with each passing day (just peruse latest issue of the New Yorker if you don’t, er, believe me), no one wants to surface the privilege component—to say nothing of social class. But it’s getting harder and harder to ignore.

How can we be more accepting and welcoming of the least? How can we recognize the effort to keep up the facade isn’t worth it? Take up and read. Be encouraged.


That’s it folks. Have a splendid weekend.