Worthwhile

Worthwhile December 6, 2019

We are toward the end aren’t we? Another year wraps up, a decade comes to and end. And we have more than enough opportunities to read, hear, and see what everyone has done, enjoyed, or transformed from over the last years, or ten as it might be.

I should probably get to work on my year fine’ manifesto… maybe later.

Today I want to share two such lists, and a great article about Keller. May your calendar be full of healthy reflection and significant anticipation of what is to come!


Jared Wilson is a great dude. He writes a ton and has strong opinions. All gospel rich. He has shared his top ten books of 2019 (ones he has read this year.) It’s a worthwhile list.

Of the books on his list, I read Virgil Wander earlier this year and immensely enjoyed it and really want to read On the Road With Augustine by Smith.

Check his list here.


In the same vane. Andrew Wilson is an avid (if that is even the right word) reader and he has formed his best books of 2019 list as well. His list of books read is long, maybe enviable.

Of his list, there are a number I want to read, and his top book, Dominion by Tom Holland is on my self ready for a free moment… maybe my first book of 2020.

Read what he read here.


Lastly today, if you haven’t already seen it, Pete Wehner has a new entry in the Atlantic on Tim Keller’s Moral Universe. Wehner interviewed Keller and he shares the formation of his faith and how he processes life and lands on Christian responses to the issues of our day.

Keller is among the most valuable authors and pastors of a generation so all of us should take noticed when he speaks. One quote that is being shared to no end on social media hits the nail on the head when it comes to what professing Christians are consuming:

“most Christians are just nowhere nearly as deeply immersed in the scripture and in theology as they are in their respective social-media bubbles and News Feed bubbles. To be honest, I think the ‘woke’ evangelicals are just much more influenced by MSNBC and liberal Twitter. The conservative Christians are much more influenced by Fox News and their particular loops. And they’re [both] living in those things eight to 10 hours a day. They go to church once a week, and they’re just not immersed in the kind of biblical theological study that would nuance that stuff.” Too often, he believes, there’s no relationship between a proper Christian ethic and the way it translates into political and cultural engagement. It’s not the doctrine that’s at fault, Keller would argue; it’s the way people are taught and interpret it. It’s a failure of imagination and hermeneutics.”

Spot on. I shared in a recent talk on politics to pastors that the people in our pews hear us for 40 minutes a week and consume more tv news than they do Bible by at least 100 times. It is sad but true. So we persevere and teach, get excited about theology, and create culture that looks like that described in Scripture rather than the news.

Read the insightful article here.


Tonight we are celebrating Winter at the kids’ school. Hope you have some refreshment and enjoyment planned for your weekend! Onward friends. Aslan is on the move…

Book Review

After Easter Now What Does the Church Do?

Okay pastor. You have survived Easter. You took out all the stops, you rang the bell and poured on the hospitality. You even preached your heart out. Perhaps attendance was the highest it has been in a long time and it seems some of the visitors might even stick around.

What now? Where do you go from Easter and how do you keep the momentum? May I suggest you preach the gospel and let that drive the church?

Wait you say, I preach the gospel, every year at our revival service! No I mean every week, from every text, for the glory of Jesus and the good of your church.

Enter Jared Wilson’s book “The Gospel-Driven Church: Uniting Church-Growth Dreams with the Metrics of Grace.”

Wilson gives a practical guide to transitioning to gospel-centrality (which believe it or not is not a normal thing in the evangelical world).

Grab the book, hang with other gospel-driven pastors and get going into grace. It is what the church is meant for!

Here are some choice quotes to whet your appetite:

“Healthy, fruitful churches are made up of Christians who are searching out God’s ways and following the trails of doctrine in the Scriptures straight to the throne. “

“Real Christianity cannot be reduced to methods and ordinary human metrics. It must always for the supernatural.”

“May we never mistake our busyness and bigness for the breath of God.”

“The gospel refers to the good news that God sent his Son Jesus to live a sinless life, die a substitutionary death, and rise from the dead so that sinners who repent and trust in Jesus will be forgiven and have eternal life.”

“A gospel-centered church is one that explicitly and intentionally connects its teaching, programs, ministry philosophy, and mission to the content of the gospel.”

“The gospel will hold and sustain your church in a way all the relevant programming, applicational teaching, and worship experiences never will.”

“Gospel-driven preaching is preaching that proclaims and exults in the revealing of God’s glory in Christ.”

“The power of salvation and the sanctification that follows comes only from the gospel, not the law. In other words, the power for to-dos comes not from to-dos, but from the “was-done” of Jesus Christ.”

“The gospel is not fully preached until people have been called to respond. The call can sometimes look like practical application points, but more generally it looks like prophetic pleading that urges hearers to turn from their way and embrace the way of Jesus. “

“A church centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ will be turned inside out because the gospel rightly grasped compels a church to join God’s mission in the world. “

“Over time, the gospel preached, applied, and empowered by the Spirit will coalesce a church around Christ, and from this gospel focus, people can be galvanized to move outward in mission.”

“If you want a gospel-driven ministry, you must resign your will to the supremacy of the glory of Christ and trade your personal ambitions for the beauty of Christ’s bride.”

Book Review

The Pastor’s Justification

Last week I finished The Pastor’s Justification by Jared Wilson and quickly ordered a bunch of copies to send to friends. While most readers know that I am a big Wilson fan, rather than slather on praise from a groupie I thought I would pass on a review by someone a bit more respected.

Zach Eswine has his own story of pastoral ministry and pursuing Jesus and he commends this new book to us. Of The Pastor’s Justification Eswine says:

“When I finished the last sentences of Jared Wilson’s book, I took off my reading glasses and rested the paperback on my lap. These four words then looked at me with invitation: “Recover your first love.” Behind the words was the lover himself, Jesus. I was smitten again and grateful. Attention to the loveliness of Jesus describes the strength of this book…

“To set Jesus in front of us again in our pastoral vocation, Wilson first takes us back to Scripture by helpfully meditating at length on 1 Peter 5:1-11. Then he fleshes out what the five solas of the Reformation reveal to us about our pastoral task in Christ. He understands well the demands of pastoral work, revealed by his of use personal stories, the Bible, history, and quotes from Eugene Peterson, C. S. Lewis, and Dietrich Bonheoffer. He invites us at every turn to the person and promises of Jesus as the true and saving measure for our lives and ministries…

“Pastors, this book is a quick read. But it points you to something deep and lasting. Wilson aims to see you refreshed, refocused, and replenished by helping you meditate again on your first love…”

Read the whole review here.