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…

Worthwhile: August 2, 2019

I just did a double take when typing August… This summer has flown by and I hope you have carved out time for adventure with other people, the reading of good books, and extra naps in the afternoon heat.

If not, take this as permission to catch up this weekend. Go for a hike, invite someone(s) over for a good meal, and sleep in (on Saturday, wake up and go to church on Sunday!).

A few items this week that will hopefully be worthwhile. The unfornuate, the wise, and the call to something better.


Starting off is an interview with a filmmaker from two years ago in a Canadian magazine. The film was a documentary on the effects of pornography. In 2016 it was a political conversation for our Northern neighbor. But the issues raised still stand.

Porn is one of those things that has waves of resistance and then a baseline attitude of acceptance, as if it is a normal part of life and it’s best to not talk about it. Even with data proving the devastating effects it is pervasive still.

Well why not review the effects and determine to forge a new way forward. Get support of those that will remind you of what is better and healthier.

Read the interview here.


Next up, the wise. Tim Keller.

I often listen to Keller sermons while out on a run. In this talk he gave to seminary students he gave some wisdom on the dangers for anyone in ministry. It is a doable 30 minutes.

There is something for all of us in it. Avoiding false identity and those things that ruin us in the pursuit of success. Instead finding our justification and bearing in Christ we are more able to survive.

This might also give you insight into the battle pastors are in the midst of. My friend Elder Bill shared it this week and I trust he was being helpful not accusing me of error!

Listen here.


Lastly in our brief worthwhile list this week is an invitation from Seth Godin to living in surplus.

To spend a bit less than you make, so you’re never worried about paying the rent.

To drive with the flow of (metaphorical) traffic, because not only is it safer, it frees you up to dream.

And to measure yourself against no one but yourself. Raise your standards as often as you can, but not because someone else you chose out of the lineup of success is somehow ahead of you.

It is a better life and I am on my way! Check it.


There you have it. Enjoy life this weekend. Know you are never alone. Go for a walk, say hi to strangers and find a place that will tell you the truth of Jesus and his love for you.

Why Plant Churches

Church planting is a regular topic of conversation in the halls of the seminary. After all there are tons of young men with a call to ministry and one way that often plays out is in the planting of new churches. The topic however is much less regular in the halls of storied and established churches across the country. In these institutions there is often conversation about regaining numbers or creating new programs for the body but rarely discussions about sending out from within to plant new churches.

Church planting is the biblical model and the most successful path to new conversions and life change in our communities. But don’t take my word for it. Tim Keller, pastor of a growing multi-site church in NYC, wrote a persuasive piece titled “Why Plant Churches” and I commend it to you. Some key quotes from the article include:

“Continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for 1) the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and 2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city.”

“New churches best reach a) new generations, b) new residents, and c) new people groups.”

“New congregations empower new people and new peoples much more quickly and readily than can older churches. Thus they always have and always will reach them with greater facility than long-established bodies. This means, of course, that church planting is not only for ‘frontier regions’ or ‘pagan’ countries that we are trying to see become Christian. Christian countries will have to maintain vigorous, extensive church planting simply to stay Christian!”

“Older churches in general will never be able to match the effectiveness of new bodies in reaching people for the kingdom.”

“It is a great mistake to think that we have to choose between church planting and church renewal”

“Vigorous church planting is one of the best ways to renew the existing churches of a city, as well as the best single way to grow the whole Body of Christ in a city.”

There is so much goodness in the article that you must read it yourself here.

The good news is that this is not a new concept. The article is from 2002 which at more than a decade old isn’t vintage but it has proven as solid since. What will we do with the call to plant churches? How can we move?

 

HT: Jared Wilson