Worthwhile August 9, 2019

What’s up?! It’s Friday and for some of us the last weekend before the new school year starts. Which means an end to the adventures of summer and the return to routine, kids at school and plenty of things to pull at our attention spans. I like routine, so the new schedule and three kids at school at the same time each day is enticing.

So what should you consume on this potentially last weekend of the summer? Here are a few options. Tailored to my preferences of course.


Killing your silly dreams.

I came of ministry age in an environment of visioneering. “God-sized” dreams that outpaced everything that has come before. Innovation for its own sake… so imagine my dismay when I read the requirements for elders in 1 Peter calling us to “shepherd the flock that is among you.” Wait, I want to shepherd the flock I design, I dream about.

Detrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together challenges us to kill our “wish dream,” and instead find gratitude for what God has given you in the midst of where you are. So kids, kill those dreams.

Chase Replogle shares his story and how Bonhoeffer wrecked him. Check it out on Christianity Today.


Sam Storms has a new book about speaking in tongues and while this can be a controversial topic, at least one that makes many people uncomfortable, there is much to learn from this scholar/pastor.

He was recently interviewed by Pneuma Today and shared that piece on his blog.

While you may not be convinced by one interview you will certainly be enlightened.

Praying in tongues enables us to bring our requests to God when we’ve run out of things to say. We are finite. Our minds eventually go dry and empty. But praying in tongues is the way in which the Spirit can articulate our prayers to the Father when we feel inadequate to do so. Also, tongues is a way in which we can sing our praises to God (1 Cor. 14:15) as well as give thanks to him (1 Cor. 14:16). 

Read the whole interview here.


Finally, I have long been a fan of Malcolm Gladwell and his inquisitive thinking. I tend to learn a lot from him in just asking the right questions of things. His podcast, Revisionist History is no exception.

Last week’s episode not only educated me on a couple of police-involved shootings, but also stirred some thinking about “disordered attachments.” Important stuff for us to think through, especially given our current political climate.

Listen to the episode here and think about subscribing. Warning: the topic is shootings so there are some hard moments of the story of one man being gunned down and why he was.


That’s it for this week. Live long and prosper, or at least take a nap. See you on the other side.

Worthwhile: May 24, 2019

Long weekend ahead. Which means either you will have more time for delighting in great reading or you will be busy with burgers and hotdogs on the grill. Either way, breathe deep, find some people you like, and enjoy the gifts we have been given.

Four nuggets of good if you missed them earlier in the week. Grace, devices, discipleship and a place for all of us. Cheers!


First up, Sam Storms in a surprisingly short post for him, helps us think through ways we don’t fully embrace or understand the grace of God. It is a helpful list to think through and not meant as a guilt trip but an invitation into the true grace of Jesus.

I even found myself on the list, needing more embrace and understanding of grace. Help Lord!

Check the list for yourself, find grace and be free!


Are you reading this on your phone? Well, don’t put it down just yet… John Thomas has a review of Competing Spectacles on Christianity Today. Tony Reinke wrote the book encouraging discipline in our media age and seeing Christ as our treasure.

If you are hesitant to tackle the whole thing perhaps the review is a good place to start and be stirred to something less screen driven.

When we seek out glory in the passing spectacles of this world rather than in Christ, the culprit isn’t an ever-expanding buffet of shallow entertainments; our own sinful hearts are to blame. Adam and Eve didn’t have an endless selection of forbidden fruits tempting them to reject their Maker; they only needed one. And our spectacle-craving eyes have been looking elsewhere ever since.

Read the review, think it through, look to Jesus.


Next up, how should we approach the church, as consumers or as disciples? Matt Chandler punches our expectations in the face and calls for an end of consumeristic Christianity. Don’t go to church to be entertained or coddled, go to be equipped for ministry!

This is an important perspective from a large church pastor and it is helpful for all believers as we envision the future of the church in increasingly more hostile environments. The gimmicks won’t work, mission will.

Faithwire essentially unpacks Chandler’s sermon, which you can also watch. It is worth hearing and strategizing through. Check it for yourself.


Coming in last this week, among the least… is an encounter with neighbors we don’t always expect. Earlier this week I tweeted that I wanted to be a pastor for those that eat at McDonald’s and drink cheap coffee wherever they find it. Mostly because I want to pastor myself!

We live in a far too stylized world and the mess of artisan hipness has a stranglehold on the church. But it is the church that is the remedy to the mess.

David Zahl shares stories from Chris Arnade’s upcoming book chronicling his journey to highlight the back bench and back roads of America.

But he went further than mere surprise. “Soon I saw my atheism for what it is: an intellectual belief most accessible to those who have done well.” Woah! I couldn’t believe his guts then, and I can’t believe them now. In a world in which ‘de-conversion’ narratives seem to grow sexier with each passing day (just peruse latest issue of the New Yorker if you don’t, er, believe me), no one wants to surface the privilege component—to say nothing of social class. But it’s getting harder and harder to ignore.

How can we be more accepting and welcoming of the least? How can we recognize the effort to keep up the facade isn’t worth it? Take up and read. Be encouraged.


That’s it folks. Have a splendid weekend.

Worthwhile January 11, 2019

Into the New Year we have sprung. Funny how it feels a lot like the last year. Political division. Work to be done. Schedules that keep us inundated. And of course the only real place of refreshment and peace, the gospel of grace.

This week two articles worth your time and thought. Both on similar perspectives. One on prayer and what one church, and maybe all of us, mean when we seek God. The second on a new move afoot to move from mere theological continuationism (believing the Holy Spirit works miraculously still today) to the actual experience of it in our churches


From Sam Storms, a reflection on his church’s days of fasting and prayer. At Reservoir we used a couple of quotes from Sam in our weekly prayer meeting as we desire the same things. One key quote:

By saying we seek “God himself” I mean greater manifestations of his presence, a tangible sense of his nearness, deeper and sweeter fellowship and communion with him, a heightened capacity to hear his voice, a movement on our hearts to feel and enjoy his affection for us, and an expanded power in us to enjoy and adore him with greater fervency. In seeking “God himself” we long to know him better, to understand his will and ways with greater clarity, to go deeper and deeper into the character of God, to be set on fire with a more passionate commitment to him and adoration of him. In seeking “God himself” we long for a satisfaction in our souls that is so rich and powerful that it drowns out the alluring and seductive appeal of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Sam Storms

Read the whole piece here.


Next is a quick note from Andrew Wilson about a comment from Tim Challies about the move afoot for Charismatic experience in our churches. Typically Calvinistic churches that believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit continue today have been reserved at best in the expression of these gifts or even the pursuit of them. But the wind is blowing. Times are changing and more and more leaders are moving from holding a theology to experiencing it.

This is something we have expressed at Reservoir, the desire to be Word and Spirit people not merely holding a doctrinal belief but living in light of it. Come Holy Spirit come.

What is the Gospel?

Our church is prepping a new series for the fall that starts with learning and being able to articulate the gospel. There are hundreds of definitions of the gospel and we use the term too often perhaps, thinking that those in our hearing understand what we mean or are trying to say by using the word. This is not the first post where I ask the question but I appreciate Sam Storm’s and his response to the question.