Worthwhile: April 19, 2019

This is an important weekend. Today is Good Friday, commemorating the Cross of Christ and Sunday is Easter marking his resurrection. Don’t be tempted by the candy and Spring decoration, dive into the significance of a Savior that would die for you and defeat death in his resurrection.

We start with why we call today Good, then on to sticking with what we are meant for in the Church, and a big finish with a nap.


David Mathis wrote a piece a couple of years ago for Desiring God about the goodness of this Friday. How we can call the worst day of history Good.

God was at work, doing his greatest good in our most horrible evil. Over and in and beneath the spiraling evil of Judas, the Jewish leaders, Pilate, the people, and all forgiven sinners, God’s hand is steady, never to blame for evil, ever working it for our final good. As Peter would soon preach, Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God”

Read for yourself and be reminded.


Next up is Trevin Wax’s talk from the Gospel Coalition conference this year. In it Wax invites us back to Orthodoxy. Where there is temptation toward other things, the main thing is the best thing. It is thrilling even.

We live in an age that resists authority, dogma, and institutions. Those who challenge historic doctrines and practices are seen as heroic and courageous, as if there is something inherently attractive and exciting in being heterodox. To defend the faith, we must not merely rely on rational arguments in favor of orthodoxy but also display the beauty and power of Christian truth in a way that makes the appeal of heresy pale in comparison.


And finally, take a nap. It’s science. Napping is good for you and will make you more productive and an all around nicer person. So plan for it, add a nap to your routine and see the benefits!

Worthwhile: March 1, 2019

Already March. Were you ready for that?! Things keep coming at us fast. Hopefully, you will get a chance to take a break and breathe in the rest of Christ this weekend.

A couple of items worth thinking through this week. Not a lot in the way of articles but some perspective from my roles as pastor and father.


First up is a tweet from Dan White Jr. A pastor and author with a forthcoming book on love. Dan tweeted a reflection from counseling that struck a chord on the Twittersphere, certainly with pastors.

Ghosting is essentially disappearing from someone’s life. You avoid them, you don’t communicate, not texts, calls or interaction on social media or more importantly, non-digital life.

I have been a pastor for nearly ten years and my experience is much the same. It is a strange vocation and since it is people-oriented role, meeting, becoming friends, and eventually losing people is normative. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

The hard bits are when it happens seemingly without cause. I get it if I was harsh or drove someone away, but even when you labor to care for someone and they vanish it can leave you broken.

I have even had people who have made a verbal commitment to commit and stand alongside me in ministry disappear over the years. My personality make-up doesn’t get as affected by it as some others but it is noticeable.

So maybe the take away is that we generally should try to avoid ghosting people, be open to deep relationships and allow our pastors to be among them.

And it goes both ways, sometimes pastors “ghost” people. As I was reminded by a young man who once served at my previous church. We shall call him “Marques.” Of course, he wasn’t ghosted since I stay in contact with him and even bought him burritos once when he visited San Diego! While moving away can feel like ghosting, hopefully, you have farewell parties to make the separation anything but a surprise!


Next up, and more importantly, is anxiety. And specifically anxiety in our kids. We have dealt with this in our home and are always on the search for solutions and ways of avoiding it. I am looking forward to some forthcoming work by Jessica Thompson to apply the gospel to kids and anxiety. It is everywhere and as a PTA member, I talk to parents about it all the time.

This article from John Thornton in January on Vox was super helpful to me. And the big takeaway is that kids carry their parents’ economic stress. From the burden of planning their futures so young and living with parents struggling to pay off debt and thrive in this economy can be too much.

I know first hand this is real, when my oldest daughter was in second grade she submitted a report at school that one of the things she feared was “taxes.” Clearly, she got that from me complaining about money and fearing taxes myself (which I am reminded I need to work on!)

Hear what Thornton has to say. Love your kids. Free them from some of these burdens. And live.

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?