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Archive for February 2nd, 2013

In a panel discussion with Greg Beale, Carl Trueman offers a provocative analogy at the end of a longer conversation on media and materialism. The entire panel is worth a listen. The concluding minutes are particularly pastoral. This particular quote begins at the 1:21:19 mark:

Pornography and violence—it’s like the guy running down your street wielding a chainsaw wearing a ski mask. You see him coming. You get into your house. You lock the door. You phone the police. Commercials, things like that—it’s like sitting in your house and the chimney’s blocked, and the house is slowly filling up with carbon monoxide. And by the time you realize the deadly dangers there, it’s too late. You’re already dead.

Paleoevanglical

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A very thought-provoking analysis of the Super Bowl by Covenant College professor, Matthew Vos. It is an essay–which means it is somewhat lengthy, is heavy on rational thought, and should make you at least pause and think about the ideology of the Super Bowl. You will probably find yourself a bit defensive at first about some of his initial observations, but at least give it an honest and full  read.   You can find it here.  Here’s an excerpt.

I contend that the way we consume iconic national events like the Super Bowl better depicts what we really believe about women and their so-called roles than do our formal theological statements, denominational position papers, teachings about the spiritual disciplines, and admonitions toward modesty and fidelity. For in the invisibility of normality, there we find our idolatry. And in my experience, theology can’t touch the Super Bowl. Churches near where I live cancel evening services for it, and some even project the festivities on sanctuary screens. We’re a far cry from theological forbears like Calvin, who, according to author Shirl James Hoffman, made quite a stir after soberly reflecting on what sort of recreations one might participate in on Sunday, and indulged in a game resembling bowling in his after-worship time on the Lord’s day. Getting turned on by a Kia Optima ad (or did you miss this commercial?) would likely not fit with his notion of doing all for the glory of God. Or, perhaps we can just ignore these contradictions to our faith. Why not? But, while you, my brothers and sisters in the faith, are watching the Super Bowl, what will you tell my daughters? And at least as important, what have your sons learned about my daughters? For until we suspend our mantra that all of life is a sacred calling unto the Lord, a game is never just a game. And so here are my ponderings about Super Bowl XLVI—with an eye on the women.

 

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Karene shares 7 simple ideas for carving out more time for reading.

1. Reduce your intake of social media and replace it with a book. 

2. Shake up your routine. 

3. Go audio.  

4. Turn off the TV. 

5. Set a family goal.  

6. Find a new reading spot. 

7. Join a book club. 

Read a short paragraph about each one here.  (If you go there, you will find out how much time the average American spend on Facebook and TV.  The TV one might amaze you.).

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A great reminder from Trevin for people who think themselves “disciplined” and dislike interruptions:

I confess. I’m a control freak.

To give my attitude the best spin, I could say it’s because I’m “disciplined” and like to map out my time. But that’s not the reality. Truth is, I like to be in control because it makes me feel powerful and secure. The heart issue is that I’m looking for security in something other than God. So, it’s idolatry, not discipline.

If you like to be in control of your circumstances, then you know what interruptions are like. They’re frustrating. They get in the way of your plan. They need to be avoided or discarded or dealt with as soon as possible so you can get back to being in control, right?

Wrong.

Those of us who follow Jesus shouldn’t act this way when interrupted. We shouldn’t see interruptions as obstacles to our plan but opportunities to embrace God’s plan.

Read on to see how Jesus handled interruptions and you will be challenged to show compassion instead of frustration the next time you are interrupted.

 

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I’m going to start employing this.  Wish I would have heard this years ago.

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest difference. For many years I’ve used the 3 R’s I learned from Ben Patterson to pray through Scripture. This simple tool has helped me pray the Bible more than any other single strategy. I’ve used in my devotional times and have employed it often in leading others in prayer.

1. Rejoice
2. Repent
3. Request

With every verse in the Bible we can do one (or more likely, all three) of these things. We can rejoice and thank God for his character and blessings. We can repent of our mistakes and sins. We can request new mercies and help.

Right now I just flipped opened my Bible and landed at Psalm 104. Verse 1 says “Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty.” How might you pray through this verse? Well, at first blush you might see nothing more to do than praise God. “Dear Lord, you are very great. You are clothed with splendor and majesty. Amen.” But try that again with the 3 R’s.

Rejoice – O Lord, you have richly blessed me more than I deserve. What a privilege that I can call you my God. Thank you for making me a little lower than the angels and crowing me with glory and honor too.

Repent – Forgive me for being blind to your splendor and majesty. Though you are very great, my circumstances and disappointments often feel greater. I’m sorry for being so ungrateful and taking your blessings for granted.

Request – Give me eyes to see as you are. Tune my heart to sing your praise. Help me see your glory in the world you’ve created, in the people around me, and in the face of Christ.

Obviously, some verse lend themselves to prayer more easily than others. The Psalms are particularly prayer-worthy. But with the simple strategy of Rejoice, Repent, Request there shouldn’t be a verse in the Bible that can’t be used as a prompt to pray.

Kevin DeYoung

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