Worthwhile December 21, 2018

Here are some worthwhile things to read or check out, birthday edition! Today I turned 41. Older and wiser by the day!


Christmas is a joyous time, but for some of us, it can be a difficult and depressing time. David Murray has a letter if that is you, or if you want to be a help to those struggling. Read it here.


As China continues a crackdown on Christian churches, it is a good time to revisit Wang Yi’s letter to his church. He is a pastor under arrest.


Finally, as we head into Christmas weekend, check out this short show of the birth of Jesus. I will be showing it to my family Christmas morning and I think you will be encouraged by it.

Worthwhile – December 14, 2018

Tomorrow my oldest child turns nine. Next week I turn forty-one. Clearly I have much to learn of both being a parent and being an adult. So take everything I say with a grain of salt, or sugar, whichever is your preference. Or maybe you should kill your preferences… 

This week’s worthwhile is short because I found myself scheduling appointments for vehicle maintenance, replacing a windshield, and shopping at thrift stores for new soccer cleats for Junior. 


All abuzz in the Twittersphere was Andrew Sullivan’s column on America’s New Religions. He takes swipes at yoga, progress, and Trump. Still, it is important to think through the ways idolatry has become religion. Even those that claim faith in Christ but means really just right-leaning politics etc. Sullivan uses more words than necessary but brings up some important points for all sides to consider. And we can all pray for a resurgence of vital Christianity in our day. 


Speaking of vital Christianity, Sunday in China the government began to persecute and crack down on members of Early Rain Covenant Church, an unregulated “house church.” One of the pastors of the church encouraged members to keep meeting no matter how many staff or elders were imprisoned. Of his own situation Wang Yi said:

“Those who lock me up will one day be locked up by angels. Those who interrogate me will finally be questioned and judged by Christ.  When I think of this, the Lord fills me with a natural compassion and grief toward those who are attempting to and actively imprisoning me. Pray that the Lord would use me, that he would grant me patience and wisdom, that I might take the gospel to them. 

“Separate me from my wife and children, ruin my reputation, destroy my life and my family – the authorities are capable of doing all of these things. However, no one in this world can force me to renounce my faith; no one can make me change my life; and no one can raise me from the dead.”

https://christiandailyreporter.com/faithful-disobedience.html

Read Yi’s letter here and please be praying for the church in China. 

2018 in Books

This year I had the joy of reading some wonderful books and the bulk of them were of a similar genre, theology or Christian living. I guess that is to be expected but I did mix in some good fiction and social science along the way. 

You can get a snapshot of what I read here from Goodreads but there a few books I want to highlight and encourage you to read. 

My best book of 2018 was by far Gospel Humility from Andrew McCullough. While would could all use a dose or two of plain old humility, this book focused on the mission of the church to spread the gospel across the globe. It faithfully attacks presuppositions and gives us a bigger vision for the work every Christian is commissioned to. Here is what I said in my review: 

“Phenomenal and challenging look into setting aside some culturally defined views for the advance of the gospel. This is going to become a vital book for those doing cross-cultural work which is an increasingly real thing in the West as new groups move in and become part of the fabric of our culture. 

“With a humility of his own, McCullough guides you through a missions course well worth it. Take it up, read, and let it spur you onto the good works Jesus has prepared for you.”

If you are someone who believes in Jesus and desire for others to do the same, devour this book

The next book I commend to you is Creative Minority by Heather Grizzle and John Tyson. The book paints a vision for being a redemptive influence wherever God has placed us. Using our gifts, skills, interests, and vocations to serve others and adorn the gospel of Jesus to those around us. It is a little manifesto that you can rip through in one sitting or chew over for days. I used this book in a discipleship group at Reservoir Church and it was well worthwhile. 

Finally, my fiction recommendation from 2018 is Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. The beautifully imagined world in this tale deals with real-life struggle and gives a perspective of oppression, and the end to it, that our world could use (minus the violence!). I read this on summer vacation – it was Jimmy Fallon’s summer reading recommendation. It was a page-turner and a much-needed break from non-fiction in my collection for the year. 

Keep on reading friends and if you are looking for a place to start or head to next these three should be on your list! 

Read Faster?

This week I have been thinking through my year-end post about which book(s) were most meaningful to me. I set a goal for the number of books I wanted to read and while I came close I think I will end a bit shy of the 50 goal.

While there are a number of reasons for not meeting my goal I think the speed of reading is a big part of it. So in the next year, I want to try some techniques to increase speed while maintaining comprehension. Who wouldn’t want that?!

Here are some suggestions from Tim Ferris that I am going to implement right away. What are the techniques you use to read faster or better?