Worthwhile September 27, 2019

First off this week is the fact that on this day in 1979 my love was born. She has done quite a bit of growing since then and for that I am thankful. Happy birthday Stacy!

It has been a full week of exciting ministry but I did come across a few important bits for you to peruse.


Tackling acedia. The ancient category of spiritual boredom, or worse, sinful apathy. I think we probably diagnose differing layers of issues but for Christians, and as this article suggests pastors, acedia is a terrible root cause if it exists. Harold Sankbeil has a full article on Gospel Centered Discipleship about it.

Acedia means a lack or absence of care. And that’s deadly. Whenever we grow numb to Christ’s saving work and the Father’s gracious gifts by which he makes us and preserves us, spiritual boredom takes hold, followed by apathy and subsequent despair.”

As you can imagine, when this happens for those responsible for the spiritual health of others, things can get sketchy. Sankbeil gives some good clues to combat acedia and warning sings to watch for.

“God your Father in heaven for Jesus’ sake will take care of you, of that you can be sure. He is the almighty Maker of heaven and earth, and yet at the same time he is your true Father. That means you are his true son, dearly loved. He is guardian and keeper of all his beloved children. He guides you waking and he guards you sleeping. Under his protection you can safely rest even in the most distressing hours of your life.

“So call upon him in every trouble, won’t you? Pray, praise, and give thanks to him. He is good, and his mercy endures forever. Whenever you are at the end of your rope—mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted—he will then be your strength and stay.”

Read the whole thing here.


Going back then a couple of years, after a few questions about the Passion translation of the Bible, and as a local church plant posted a verse from it that I thought was a terrible misreading of Scripture, I wanted to get to the bottom of its dangers or value.

Andrew Wilson does not disappoint as he gives some good guardrails. Essentially the Passion Translation is no translation at all and for that reason we should steer clear of it.

Read Wilson’s thoughts here.


Finally, last week I had some questions on our Church’s view of the gifts of the Spirit and how we desire them today. I have always found resources from The Village Church helpful and thought you might too.

Check out their page of talks and articles.


That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the first days of fall. Nebraska is hosting ESPN’s College Gameday on Saturday so you should watch that! GO BIG RED!

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!

Passing on Passivity

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Hebrews 2:1–4 (ESV)

One conversation I always bristle at, and have had often, goes a little something like this: “I still love Jesus and I know I am saved, but since it is all about grace I don’t NEED to study Scripture or talk to other Christians about my faith, I don’t NEED to come to church on Sundays…”

As you can imagine this conversation is usually with someone that has stopped attending the gathering of the saints, or refuses to participate in small groups, or is confounded by their lack of growth and hope when they have no “Scriptural diet.” And I get it, I feel the same pull toward passivity all the time.

But this is not what we are meant for when we respond to the glorious good news of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection for us. We are meant to press into it not be passive about it.

Calling it mining the depths of the gospel or whatever you prefer, just dive into it and keep going. As the author of Hebrews offers, “we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”

That’s the danger, drifting. Assuming and eventually losing the hope you have in the justification granted by Jesus, and certainly no experience of the sanctification promised. We even lose a sense of truth as we wander distracted by the lights and voices of our world.

If you find yourself tempted in this way, take up and read, see Christ in Scripture and in the community of believers around you. Find people that will stay on the journey with you. Pay attention to the gospel because you are prone to forget it. Do everything you can to prevent drifting away. Pass on the passivity.

Shalom

Christmas infiltrates the mess of human brokenness and hurt in order to unravel it, to bring healing and wholeness. This is the peace Christ brings, this is the peace Christ is.

As those that believe in Jesus, this is what we give our lives to, bringing the peace of Christ to every broken place. To every hurt. That there would be healing and wholeness.

How will you bring Shalom?

Another great “peace” of creative work from the Bible Project.