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!

Worthwhile August 16, 2019

The back to school edition… which means it is slim. As a parent of three elementary aged kiddos, and a PTA president it has been a busy week. I also had a couple great meetings our elders, and local pastors for care and encouragement.

It’s the good life though. I wouldn’t trade it.

For our weekend reviewing and viewing, three bits, one of which you may have seen.


First out of the gate is a class piece from Jennie Pollock on Think Theology. She writes to open our thinking to viewing the calming of the storm story in Mark 4.

We all have heard sermons on the sleeping Jesus and the disciples waking him in fear for their lives.

Jennie does good work here, not condemning the disciples for cowardice and waking the sleeping Savior, but her take does lend us a bit of a gut check about just who we think Jesus is.

In the end, we can live in confidence because our Savior controls all things…

Give it a read here.


Next, to what you may have already seen. Anderson Cooper interviewing Stephen Colbert and asking about suffering.

It is a great take on gratefulness and the reality of suffering. By Anderson’s posture it seems he wants to believe what Colbert does but it is just beyond reach. We know better. Or should. Because we are not alone in our suffering, or the experience of it, we can cling to Jesus for hope and help.

Watch the whole seven minutes, you will be encouraged.


And finally some thoughts on leadership from Seth Godin:

“Leaders create the conditions where people choose new actions.

“The choices are voluntary. They’re made by people who see a new landscape, new opportunities and new options.

“You can’t make people change. But you can create an environment where they choose to.”

Now to go and do likewise…


Happy Friday. Enjoy your friends. Laugh more. Be grateful in all circumstances. And know that in Jesus you are loved more than you can imagine.

The Kingdom and Your Patch of Grass

I should say patch of sand given I live near the desert…

Maybe it is time for us to see the Kingdom of God as the thing of importance rather than our little patch of it. Instead of our own brand we could build partnerships and gospel unity for the fame of Christ in our cities.

I promise this is where the good stuff is. Outposts of Jesus’ new reality working in unison not to draw a crowd but to see the Kingdom go forth for the glory of God.

Let’s do it.

The Hit of a Finished Task List

A month ago I started using a new planner. It promised increased productivity and goal setting. I suppose it has been helpful. The first day I used its system of planning and executing I felt super efficient and accomplished. The high has worn off by now but I still love a finished task list.

The feeling of finishing what the day required. The burden of responsibilities lifted as they are handled ahead of schedule. The freedom on the other side of the lists action items.

Funny thing is that I set the list. I generate the tasks so how hard I work, or the amount of “productivity” is determined at my whim. Some days are easier to feel accomplished!

But when the list comes to an end there is a hit of success. Sure there is some chemical reason, maybe dopamine or something. The sense of relief of coming to the end. It feels good.

I wonder if this is why we are so list oriented when it comes to things best lived without a list. Like relationships and faith. In both we think we need to accomplish a set of items to earn love or approval. And I suppose that makes sense to an extent. But who wants to live a “love” relationship where everything is tit for tat? Transactional relationships miss the good stuff, the unconditional stuff.

Same thing in relationship to Jesus. i am convinced he will love me more if I finish this list of discipleship tasks, or if my church is bigger (my struggle), or if I share the gospel with at least three people a day… you know your list. And it gives us a hit of self righteous accomplishment but it misses the good stuff.

I want to dwell in the unconditional more because that is what I see when I encounter Christ in Scripture. Redemption received not because we finish a list, but because he loves. It’s true for you too.

So set your task list for the day, and maybe make one item to “enjoy the grace of Jesus today” knowing that he accomplished the list required for eternity, for life with God.