“It’s amazing how much God can accomplish if we don’t care who gets the credit.” ~Me, an adaptation of something I heard many years ago and can’t remember who said it!
Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page
Steve Zollos’s new book, Time for the Talk: Leading Your Son into True Manhood (Shepherd’s Press), looks like a very helpful resource.
From the preface to dads of young boys:
In daily conversation, “The Talk” is usually polite shorthand for “telling children where babies come from.” Here, however, I give the phrase a big promotion and a much more significant job description. Let me explain.
This book is written to you, the father of a young son. It is built on the conviction that raising your son is really no big deal . . . unless you plan on him becoming humble, courageous, morally pure, faithful, selfless, and self-controlled: in other words, a godly young man. To get there your son will need a lot of help, and you, as his father, are certainly the best man for the job.
Through “The Talk,” as I define it in this book, you will help your son learn to trust in the Lord, and not his own understanding. You will open a channel of communication based on truth and love that will endure for life. You will talk directly to him—and with him—about difficult subjects you two have probably never ventured to discuss before. If done in the encouraging way I suggest, you will become a trusted confidant—his lifelong friend.
If this doesn’t sound easy, you’re right. In fact, if you haven’t tried it, it’s probably harder than you think. That’s why I wrote this book. Within these pages I have made every attempt to integrate the truth of Scripture into the process and the topics associated with “The Talk.” Having “The Talk” with your son will require prayer, patience, and your own willingness to change.
Think about that for a moment. Unless you are a very rare breed of father, this book is going to suggest that you need to alter certain ways of thinking and living. To serve your son the way you need to, to help him become the man God wants him to be, you are going to have to change. That’s what you’re signing up for here. Your son is getting older every day and, as I suggest throughout this book, it’s best if you can begin The Talk when he is about ten or eleven, or as soon thereafter as possible. Are you ready to help him? Are you ready to change?
You can download a PDF of the table of contents, the preface for dads, the preface for moms, and a couple of chapters.
“The challenge for us is to live in such a way that we are radically dependant on and desperate for the power that only God can provide.” ~David Platt
Today marks the fourth Sunday before Christmas, signaling the beginning of the Advent season. “Advent” is from the Latin word for “coming” — translated from the Greek word parousia. It’s a stretch of four weeks where we reenact and remember how the Old Testament saints longed for Messiah to come.
On this side of the nativity and the cross, knowing about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, Advent shows us that we’re still waiting. The redemption that Jesus accomplished for us is not yet consummated (Romans 8:19–25). Noel Piper writes,
So here we stand in the middle. Advent is the season of looking back, thinking how it must have been, waiting for the promised salvation of God, not knowing what to expect. And at the same time, Advent is a season of looking ahead, preparing ourselves to meet Jesus at his Second Coming. (Treasuring God in Our Traditions, 77).
Get This Free Download
One free resource to recommend is the new Advent Guide (PDF) from the Village Church, Texas. This is an excellent guide made up of two sections each week: one for personal reflection and one for family devotionals. It includes three appendices with helpful practicals and is put together in a nice design. Check out the contents:
Week 1: Promises and Patience
Theme: Our God makes and keeps promises, and his people are called to wait with patient longing.
Week 2: Awaiting and Advent
Theme: God made a particular promise of a Messiah, and Israel longed for his coming.
Week 3: Incarnation and Implications
Theme: God fulfilled the promise of a Messiah in the first advent of Jesus Christ.
Week 4: Resurrection and Return
Theme: After dying to redeem his people from slavery, Christ rose from the dead and promised to come again to redeem us fully.
Week 5: Watching and Waiting
Theme: As we await the second advent of Christ, we are called to a life of prayerful and prepared patience.
A: Passages for Contemplating and Considering Christ
B: Recommended Resources for the Season
C: Recommended Activities for Family Devotion
You can also get the free online book (PDF) of Treasuring God in Our Traditions.
Yesterday, I continued in the series, “Jesus: In His Own Words”, my attempt to let Jesus speak for himself, clarifying who he really is. We opened up John 8:12-20 where Jesus declares, “I AM the Light of the World.” Here’s a snippet from the message…
Jesus says, “I am the One who, where there was death, brings life; I am the One who, where there were lies and doubt, brings truth and faith; I am the One who, where there was despair, brings hope; I am the One who, where there was destruction, brings restoration; I am the One who, where there was danger brings security; where there was bondage, brings freedom.”
A great word for those who lead…
“You have to decide whether you will be a servant or a celebrity, whether you will magnify Christ or promote yourself.” ~Warren Wiersbe
Cyber Monday is a new tradition—the day that online retailers offer deals to match or surpass the deals offered by retailers on Black Friday. I have been keeping tabs on various online stores and ministries looking for deals that will be of particular interest to Christians.
Here are some excellent Cyber Monday deals:
Amazon always has great Black Friday deals. You pretty much need to visit the site to see them all. Start here, then go here. (Also, Mark Driscoll book’s Doctrine is on sale in Kindle format for $3.99)
Banner of Truth has some fantastic deals on sets and some individual titles. For example, you can get John Owen’s collected works (16 volumes) for $198, the two-volume biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones (written by Iain Murray) for $39 or Dallimore’s two-volume life of George Whitefield for $40. The complete Puritan paperback series (45 volumes) can be had for $235. And so on. There is lots more. If you’re having trouble spotting the deals, click on the “Book Catalogue” button at the top of the page and then look to the sidebar.
Centricity Music is offering all of their albums at $4 for downloads or $5 for CDs for the whole weekend. Artists include Andrew Peterson, Downhere, Matt Papa, Me in Motion, and others.
Crossway has a long list of deals today only. They include Bibles, reference works and books.
Cruciform Press is offering bundle deals. You can buy bundles of ebooks at $25 for 7 books (there are 2 bundles, each with 7 different books). If you prefer printed books, you can get subscriber pricing rather than regular pricing if you buy 5 or more titles.
Cumberland Valley Bible Book Service will be offering an across-the-board 10% discount. This will take many of their prices below what you’ll find anywhere else.
Desiring God has several of John Piper’s books marked down to $5: Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ; Spectacular Sins; Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God; Contending for Our All; The Power of Words and the Wonder of God; What Jesus Demands from the World. The offer ends at 3 PM CST.
Eternal Perspectives Ministries has some of Randy Alcorn’s bestselling books on sale. Included are Courageous at $6.99, Heaven at $9.99, The Treasure Principle at $3.99 and The Resolution for Men at $6.99. You’ll need to use the code blackfriday and will need to ship to the continental US.
Indelible Grace has a bunch of deals on their music: Matthew Smith CDs for $7.99, a 3-pack of Even When My Heart Is Breaking for $9.99, or all 6 Indelible Grace studio CDs for $64.99, plus other great deals.
Lifeway has quite a long list of items for sale in-store and online.
Logos is selling 3 new resource bundles as well as 12 great commentaries and standalone references at good discounts. Base packages are discounted 15%. They are also giving away $250 dollars of Logos credit to 5 winners.
Monergism Books has a series of coupon codes that will drive down prices on all of their products. Use coupon code EXTRA5 to take 5% off your order. If you spend more than $75, use coupon code EXTRA10 to take an extra 10% off your purchase and to get free shipping. If you spend $350 or more, use coupon code EXTRA15 to get an extra 15% off your order. These offers will be valid from Friday until Monday. Also, they have a few notable ebook deals: What Is the Mission of the Church? by Greg Gilbert and Kevin DeYoung is $5.99; Joy by Lydia Brownback is $1.99; The Godly Home by Richard Baxter is $1.99; Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey is $2.99.
New Growth Press is offering the brand new The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski for just $9.99 (regular price is $29.99). The same deal can be had at Westminster Books.
Reformation Heritage Books has a significant list of books on sale. A few highlights: A New Testament Biblical Theology by G.K. Beale is $30.00; 365 Great Bible Stories by Carine Mackenzie is $12.00; Reformation Heroes by Joel R. Beeke and Diana Kleyn is $15.00; The Enemy Within by Kris Lundgaard is $5.00.
Sovereign Grace Ministries has a bunch of their books and music on sale.
Vyrso (Logos’ ebook company) has limited time free downloads of several Christian authors as well as deep discounts of up to 80% on a large number of titles. There will be a couple of free books available for download on Friday and Monday so check back both days to get a copy of these limited freebees. The Vyrso app is free to download and works on iPhone, android, iPad, and android tablets.
Westminster Books has all of their ESV Bibles on sale at a 45% discount. On Monday they will also have the brand new The Gospel Story Bible at just $9.99 (regular price is $29.99—link will go live on Monday).
Facebook Facts 2011 - Globally, we spend 9.3 billion hours spent on Facebook each month. Really?
McDonald’s USA. A map of ever McD’s in the contiguous USA. Wow. That’s a lot of fries!
7 Billion – This infographic video does a great job of showing how our population has gotten to 7 billion (and where it’s going next).
This is well said, and so true…
|Cory, one of my happily married friends, was annoyed with some of his single, male buddies.”Joshua, it’s so irritating,” he said. “I suggest a woman to them, but they say ‘she’s not attractive enough,’ or she’s lacking in some other area. And here’s the crazy part: In every case — without exception — the woman is way out of their league.”
I shook my head. “I know. I used to be like those guys, always finding a problem with every woman I dated. I didn’t realize I was the one with the problem.”
And my problem was pride. I measured women against a vague standard of perfection that eliminated each woman almost as soon as I met her. It was a pageant of sorts, where women were scored in a number of categories. And somehow I had gotten it into my head that I was worthy to be their judge.
The Perfect Christian Girl
I was like a lot of single, Christian guys. I just wanted to follow God’s will in finding a wife — that’s all — oh yeah, and I also wanted a modest version of the Cosmo girl. And, well, I didn’t want her to be too needy. Oh, and she also needed to be smart — really smart — but not, like, so smart that she made me feel stupid. And, of course, she needed to be spiritually mature (you know, like me). And one more thing: I wanted her to have a cool and fun personality (whatever that meant).
In other words, I wanted to date the perfect Christian girl — not a real woman.
Of course, I knew what a real woman was like. I grew up in a Christian home with lots of real women around, each of them imperfect in one way or another, yet fully feminine. These women had opinions, unshakable faith, curves, feelings, hormonal surges, weight fluctuations, talents, wrinkles and a regular need for affirmation. It didn’t bother me: It was part of who they were, and I loved them for it.
But when it came to prospective mates, I wasn’t so gracious. I figured I deserved to have the best qualities of every woman wrapped into a nice package, waiting at the end of a rainbow. And yet, despite meeting dozens of women in my quest, I could never find that perfect, Christian girl. But that didn’t stop me from looking for her — until I discovered that, in fact, I wasn’t the perfect Christian guy.
Dealing With Reality
Just before meeting my lovely bride, a series of unfortunate circumstances and poor decisions collided, bringing out my worst (seriously, trust me, it was ugly). When the train wreck was over, I felt I would be lucky if any Christian woman would take me. Though it may sound like it, I wasn’t suffering from low self-esteem. I was finally dealing with reality.
Before, I assumed my future wife should have the perfect intellect, teeth, personality, body type, people skills and past. But in the face of my brokenness, it occurred to me: An imperfect guy can’t demand something from a woman that he can’t give.
Around the time of that revelation, I met my wife at a party on Capitol Hill. Unlike before, I didn’t think, I’ll consider taking that girl out. I thought, I wonder if she would go out with me. I cautiously introduced myself, and as we talked, I found myself focusing on her qualities, rather than mentally trying to ferret out her deficiencies.
We eventually began dating, and I continued humbling myself — indeed, enjoying myself — leaving her feeling comfortable, honored and beautiful. As our relationship progressed, I found myself looking up at her, seeing her as a daughter of the King rather than looking down on her as another prospective contestant.
Essentially, I was loving her for who she was, leaving behind my job as a self-appointed judge in an impossible-to-win pageant. I pursued her all the way to the altar, and I’m still pursuing her today.
Are You Man Enough?
To those single guys out there who are trying to find the ideal woman, do the world a favor and give up. You’re not the ideal man — not anywhere close. And you would never get married if women held you to the same standard you apply to them.
But maybe you insist that you’re not going to settle for a woman who’s not everything you’re hoping for in a wife. Settle? Whatever the circumstances, believe me, she will be the one who settles for you and all your deficits. And until you realize this — through humbling circumstances or otherwise — maybe you should take a break from dating for a while and spend some time asking God to make you man enough to love a real woman.
From the pen of Jonathan Edwards…
You all have by you a large treasure of divine knowledge, in that you have the Bible in your hands; therefore be not contented in possessing but little of this treasure. God hath spoken much to you in the Scripture; labor to understand as much of what he saith as you can. God hath made you all reasonable creatures; therefore let not the noble faculty of reason or understanding lie neglected. Content not yourselves with having so much knowledge as is thrown in your way, and as you receive in some sense unavoidably by the frequent inculcation of divine truth in the preaching of the word, of which you are obliged to be hearers, or as you accidentally gain in conversation; but let it be very much your business to search for it, and that with the same diligence and labor with which men are wont to dig in mines of silver and gold.