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!

Paying Attention

I have noticed something quite worrisome as of late. No one pays attention. There seems to be too much information coming at us each day and to be honest, we are all narcisistic so we have little attention span for worthwhile things unless we are convinced they are about us.

The email that you receive but don’t read. The article you skim without absorbing (that’s me). The conversation you can’t track with because your mind is across the room. Noise upon noise and we don’t know how to listen right, hear what is said or read what is written. (Knowing this I realize the slim chance anyone will read this!)

Then reading a book on Missions by Andy Johnson I came across this gem:

“I once rented a vacation apartment on the sixth floor of a building with no elevator. The owner had been very clear in every email, stating, “This apartment is on the sixth floor and there is no elevator.” Still, the significance of her disclosure didn’t really hit me until I was panting on the fifth-floor landing, hauling suitcase number two of three up the winding stairs. Yet, as I stood there trying to remember the symptoms of a heart attack, I couldn’t feel angry toward the owner. She had been up-front about it, all along. I should have paid more attention.”

Oh man, this is good. We all have stories like this because we don’t pay enough attention.

Think about it. Awaken to what’s important. And please pay attention!

Much Desire Yet So Little Time for Words

There are a small number of websites/blogs that I follow through an aggregate reader. Giving me the opportunity to read and learn from a varied collection of voices each day. And I so desire this. I want to be on top of the latest news inside and outside the church. I want to understand theological wrangling that helps me see Jesus in right and good ways. I want to gain the ability to use all of life as an illustration in the stories I tell and write for myself.

The thing is, I don’t have the patience, or more culturally appropriate, the time for all the words these people are writing.

If I wanted 12,000 words on an issue I would buy a book not subscribe to your blog! There are headlines that draw me in, with excitement I begin to wade through text but then a kid asks a question, or has the volume of their morning cartoons too loud. Slack pings another notification that demands attention. Whatever else happens and I fall to distraction. I get off-track and give up. Because there are too many words.

So what you are left with is a partially-read wanna-be that has a stockpile of desire to take in more content, to be refined, but has so little time for words.

And lest I become my problem (wait, I am the problem) I will end it here.

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.