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Book Review: “In God’s Underground”

9-8-14_in-gods-undergroundHave you ever read a book so captivating that you could hardly put it down? And when you did put it down, you still couldn’t shake it from your mind? This is one such book.

“When the outer world is cut off from sight, a new sense opens for the unseen.” – Richard Wurmbrand

“In God’s Underground” is the autobiographical story of Richard Wurmbrand, a Lutheran minister who suffered immense persecution at the hands of the Soviet Union when they invaded Romania in the mid-1900’s. Over the course of more than fourteen years of imprisonment and unthinkable torture for the sake of Christ, his focus remained fixed on the opportunity set before him: to minister the good news to people around him who so clearly needed it.

Near the beginning of the book, Wurmbrand recounts his life before Christ and the lack of lasting satisfaction it brought.… Read more

The Best Missions Sermon

Last week, David Platt was elected as the new President of the International Mission Board. He began the job immediately and will be stepping down from pastoring in the coming weeks.

I don’t know what specific skills are required of the IMB’s President, but when it comes to having a heart for missions and the unreached peoples of the world, Platt seems perfect for the job.

Two years ago at the Together for the Gospel conference, Platt preached a sermon titled Divine Sovereignty: The Fuel of Death-Defying Missions. It was (and still is) the best missions sermon I’ve ever heard.

If you want to see the heart of the IMB’s new President on display, watch this sermon.

Let’s be in prayer for David and the whole Platt family as their lives go through a major change of direction here, and ask our Lord to do a magnificent saving work in the world through David’s leadership.… Read more

Rend Collective – Second Chance

Rend Collective is a group I’ve known about for a while, but to my own detriment I had barely ever listened to their music until recently. The good news is that I’ve been listening to them nearly-exclusively for the last month in order to make up for lost time.

Words to describe the band: Joyful. Fun. Energetic. Irish. Bible-Based.

And I love them.

Fragments of brokenness
Salvaged by the art of grace
You craft life from our mistakes

Black skies of my regrets
Outshone by this kindness
New life dawns over my soul

Oh Your cross, it changes everything
There my world begins again with You
Oh Your cross, it’s where my hope restarts
A second chance is Heaven’s heart… Read more

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Courtship vs. Dating?

In recent weeks a blog post branding courtship as “fundamentally flawed” has spread like wildfire through evangelical/conservative/homeschool circles. Its author pits courtship and dating against each other and uses a mixed bag of worldly wisdom and biblical truth to declare dating the winner.

The responses to this post among married couples have been split, with some attacking it and others defending it. But among young singles, the response is different; from what I’ve observed, the majority seem to find the post’s ideas liberating, a breath of fresh air that they wish their parents would share.

So is it worth reading?

If you’re looking for an answer to the problems you see in courtship, then no. While the author does point out legitimate areas of concern in the way some handle courting, his proposed solutions to these issues come primarily from his own life experiences, not from Scripture.… Read more

Worthy Reading

A First Glimpse at ‘Look at the Book’

John Piper

One of the differences between presentation (preaching) and preparation is that presentation is well-ordered, and preparation is messy. Without circling things, and underlining, and drawing lines, and making notes, and doodling in the margins, and making connections, and marking repetitions, I would be utterly adrift in a biblical text.

Gospel People Say Goodbye

Jared Musgrove

Godly people hold one another with an open hand. Godly people who are about the gospel say goodbye often, confident in our union together as the family of God and confident that we will celebrate again. We WILL see one another again at the marriage supper of the Lamb. We will be with God together. For all time.

When God Seems Silent

Jon Bloom

So you desire God and ask for more of him and what do you get? Stuck in a desert feeling deserted.

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Community God’s Way

Community is a beautiful thing.

Due to the brokenness of the human heart, that sentence may not describe your life experience thus far. But community itself isn’t the problem; God is proof of that.

The Almighty has eternally existed in three persons – Father, Son, and Spirit – all of whom fully enjoy perfect fellowship with each other. And because they love community, they wanted to share it with us, and we were created as relational beings.

This present life will never allow the kind of Trinity-level perfect relationships that the next life guarantees, but that doesn’t mean we should hide out in a bubble until it’s heaven time. There would still be a messed up sinner inside the bubble. Instead, it means we must lean more heavily on the grace of God to enable and empower the kind of relationships that honor Him.

God’s design for the church involves displaying the true beauty of community.… Read more

Book Review: “What’s Best Next”

8-13-14_whats-best-next“What’s Best Next” is a book I was pressured into buying. I can’t use the word “forced” in place of “pressured” because that would be an outright lie, but “pressured” fits quite well. You see, only a small number of my book purchases are new releases at new release prices. Frequent sales on Kindle titles make it hard to justify buying many books at full price, but there are some books that beg to be read immediately. And in my mind at one point, “What’s Best Next” wasn’t going to make that list. Yes it had a strong foreword from John Piper, and yes the subject of productivity intrigued me, but overall I had committed to hold off and hope for a sale.

Then the reviews started pouring in like boulders, crushing my resolve. I won’t reiterate the ecstatic blurbs here, since you’ll likely hear enough of my own praise to inform whether or not you’ll read the book, but these highly positive reviews are what “pressured” me into buying it at full price, and with a great deal of excitement.… Read more

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When My Love Grows Cold

Despite my introverted tendencies, I love being around people. It can exhaust me after an extended period of time, but I still love it. It does my heart good to spend time with others.

That said, there is one surefire way I can grow cold in my love toward other people: by isolating myself from them. I’ve noticed that if I spend too much consecutive time on administrative or academic work, without any face-to-face people interaction, my love for others grows dim. Rather than solitude leading me to yearn for the pleasure of social interaction, it often does just the opposite. I can get so caught up in my own world and the work I’m doing that I subconsciously think of relationships as more of a nuisance than a joy.

The cure for this is easy: I simply have to spend time around people once again. The self-centered walls of my heart come tumbling down when I’m confronted by the presence of others.… Read more

Worthy Reading

My Shelves are Full of Mentors

Kyle Worley

The books on my shelf speak to me. I can hear them whispering. Some of these books have been speaking to me for more than a decade. Our conversations are scribbled in the margins, and we often meet for coffee as I sit in my chair underneath the lamplight. These books answer questions, lead me to prayer, make me laugh and speak truth into my life.

Screwtape on How to Ruin The Gospel Coalition

Josh Blount

You say your patient has gotten involved with something called “The Gospel Coalition.” Ugh. Even the name reeks of the Enemy. I have done some research, and I agree with you completely—you must act now. Your Patient is dallying with deadly stuff, and much harm can be done. But all is not yet lost.

Ten Thousand Things We Can’t See

Jonathan Parnell

In this moment of disarray, when everything is turned upside down, when everything we expected is dismantled, the psalmist stops and remembers.

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Three Impressions from T4G

Last week brought me the incredible blessing of spending several days in Louisville, Kentucky at the Together for the Gospel conference. These are not in-depth notes, but merely some first impressions in the aftermath of the conference. Once I’ve been able to re-watch the messages and better digest and apply the teaching from Scripture, I hope to write up some more practical takeaways and post them here. For now though, three impressions…

1. Our culture is changing

My first T4G was in 2012, and it is incredible how much the world seems to have changed since then. Society’s level of tolerance for Christianity has declined significantly in the last two years, and as a result this year’s conference exuded a different feel for me. It could be that I was less informed about cultural issues two years ago than I am now, but I recall that the last conference had more an air of peacetime while this one contained signs of warfare.… Read more

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Beholding Christ

Beholding the Glory of the Lord, Being Transformed into the Same Image

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