Good Reads 03.15.17 (on: #prayer #parenting #singleness and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On parenting and prayer: Seven Things to Pray for Your Children by Jon Bloom

So, pray for your children. Jesus promises us that if we ask, seek, and knock, the Father will give us good in return (Luke 11:9–13), even if the good isn’t apparent for forty years. And because Jesus regularly asked those who came to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51), we know that he wants us to be specific with our requests. (click here to read more)

On parenting and discipleship: Don’t Farm Out Your Child’s Discipleship to the Youth Pastor by Clark Forbes

What I tell them isn’t usually the answer they’re looking for: the best practice and strategy for helping kids know the gospel, come to saving faith, and grow as a disciple, is a parent investing in the discipleship of their child. Nothing helps a teenager know the gospel like seeing it modeled in the home; not just taught or spoken to them, but modeled through their parents’ relationship to each other and to the kids. (click here to read more)

On singleness and God’s Mission: Single, Satisfied, and Sent by Marshall Segal

While it may seem like two categories at first, we soon discover in application that there are three: the single, the married, and the not-yet-married. After all, as any single person knows, a desire for marriage does not a marriage make. My hope in reflecting on Paul’s words is to restore hope and ambition in the hearts of the not-yet-married and set them solidly on mission in their singleness. (click here to read more)

On the God-centered focus of preaching: You Are Not the Story by H. B. Charles Jr.

After watching a few minutes of a news telecast, I find myself turning the channel in frustration, grumbling to the reporter on the screen, “You are not the story!”

Unfortunately, many of us who stand in the pulpit need this reminder just as much as those who sit at the news desk. Christian ministers are charged to preach the word (2 Timothy 4:1-2). The Lord commands it. The truth demands it. The hearers need it. Yet there is always the danger of inserting ourselves into the sermon – by our content or delivery – that the message is obscured.

People should not leave the sermon having learned more about the preacher than Christ. When we stand to preach the word, we should prayerfully whisper to ourselves, “You are not the story.” (click here to read more)

On the ups and downs of spiritual growth: Why Do Spiritual Highs Fade? by James Beevers

So, if there is to be any lasting effect from these events and experiences, it must have at the bottom seeing and savoring Jesus Christ — and this is often what camps, conferences, and events provide. Anything of true, durable worth from these experiences comes from seeing God clearly as he really is. This can come from sermons, or discussions, or singing in worship, or late night conversations, prayers, and devotions.

When we see the light of the glory of Christ most clearly, the things of this world seem dim and worthless by comparison. Why have sin, good as it may look, when we can have Christ? (click here to read more)

 

 

Good Reads 10.05.16 (on: happiness, singleness, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On happiness: God Wants You to Find Your Happy Place (an interview with Randy Alcorn)

Something would be terribly wrong if we weren’t grieving for this world and those who suffer. But is it okay to be happy when we live in a world of hurt? And beyond that, is it actually God’s calling? Because if God commands us to rejoice, he must empower us to rejoice. He must want us to be happy. That’s what got me interested in God’s happiness. Is God happy? Can he be happy when he sees so much sin in the world, when he knows what his Son endured on his behalf, when he sees the persecution of his people? Can we? Clearly, the answer is yes. (click here to read more)

On singleness and prayer: Nine Prayers for the Not Yet Married by Marshall Segal

Singleness can be a long, lonely, and confusing road, especially when it’s unwanted. Through most of my twenties, I felt like I was born wanting to be married. God finally gave me a wife a little more than a year ago, but not before walking with me through a winding decade of temptation and sometimes failure, of waiting, wanting, and wondering why not yet. (click here to read more)

On adoption: Adoption: God’s Glorious “Plan A” by Laura Wifler

The longer I’ve known Christ, the more I’ve seen the ugliness of my sin. As I study and learn from him, the more holy, sacred and perfect he becomes— and the more I understand my desperate need for a Savior. And as his righteousness is revealed, I become more broken in sorrow yet overflowing with insatiable joy for what he has done for me. That he would make me — a flawed, undeserving, rebellious, unattractive human — his daughter with all the same rights and inheritance as his Son, is, well, just plain mind-boggling to me. There is no reason God should have loved me, but he did. He redeemed me. He reconciled me to himself and restored me to be a part of his family.

And that, my very own story of redemption, right there — that is adoption. And the day I fully grasped this, was the day we began the process to adopt two children from Eastern Europe. (click here to read more)

On church attendance and membership: 3 Quick Questions Before Quitting Your Church by Tim Challies

Here’s the first question: Have you been praying for the people of this church? Your love for others grows in direction proportion to your prayer for them. As you pray for people, you find that you love them. You are called to pray for your enemies in the hope that they will become your brothers and sisters and for strangers in the hope that they will become your friends. How much more, then, are you to pray for your fellow church members? (click here to read more)

Good Reads 08.12.15 (on: singleness, parenting, what matters in life, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Be sure to check them out!

On the greatest things in life: See the Invisible Kingdom by Ann Voskamp

Again, today, that’s always the call: Slay the idol of the seen. Slay the idol of focusing on what can only be seen, lauded, noticed. Today, a thousand times again today, I will preach his truth to this soul prone to wander, that wants nothing more than the gracious smile of our Father: “Unseen. Things Unseen. Invest in Things Unseen. The Unexpected Priority is Always Things Unseen.” (click here to read more)

On singleness and the Christian life: 11 Ways Single Christians Enjoy their Singleness without Wasting It by David Qaoud

Being single, you probably have more free time right now than you will ever have in any other season of life. Don’t waste this time. Instead, use it wisely by spending intentional time in Scripture and prayer, serving your Church and community, growing in your career, learning new trades, reading books, building healthy friendships, and potentially serving in overseas missions. You’ll still be able to do those things if and when you get married, but you just won’t be as flexible as you are right now. So steward this time wisely. (click here to read more)

On parenting and prejudice: Parenting Our Children’s Prejudice by Zack Owens

And so, as Christian parents, it is a delight to see our children conformed to the image of their Savior — one who draws close to the rejected and brokenhearted. Jesus comes near to those who were once far off, alienated, separated, told to “sit at my feet,” and those whose very lives are discarded because they provide for us no tangible benefits. (click here to read more)

On the heart change of a doctor who used to perform abortions: What’s It Like to Abort Your Own Child? by Bethany Jenkins

We in the pro-life movement have no enemies to destroy. Our weapons are chaste weapons of the spirit: truth and love. Our task is less to defeat our opponents than to win them to the cause of life. To be sure, we must oppose the culture and politics of death resolutely and with a determination to win. But there is no one—no one—whose heart is so hard that he or she cannot be won over. Let us not lose faith in the power of our weapons to transform even the most resolute abortion advocates. (click here to read more)

On the heart of the gospel message: More than Good Advice by N. T. Wright

Over the years, I realized that many Christians have settled for a version of good advice: “You might need to say this prayer,” or “You might want to avoid certain types of behavior,” or “You might need to go to church from time to time.” Now, I’m all in favor of people saying prayers, reordering their behavior in the power of the Spirit and showing up for worship on Sunday. But that’s not good news. That’s good advice. It’s a system we plug into, rather than an event that transformed the world. (click here to read more)