Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Midweek Meditation: "The First Circle - Dream Big" (Mark Batterson)

Following the introduction last week, we move to the first circle of Batterson's exhortation: Dream Big.

"Drawing prayer circles often feels foolish. And the bigger the circle you draw the more foolish you'll feel. But if you aren't willing to step out of the boat, you'll never walk on water. If you aren't willing to circle the city, the wall will never fall. And if you aren't willing to follow the star, you'll miss out on the greatest adventure of your life.

In order to experience a miracle, you have to take a risk. And one of the most difficult types of risk to take is risking your reputation. Honi already had a reputation as a rainmaker, but he was willing to risk his reputation by praying for rain one more time. Honi took the risk - and the rest is history.

The greatest chapters in history always begin with risk, and the same is true with the chapters of your life. If you're unwilling to risk your reputation, you'll never build the boat like Noah or get out of the boat like Peter. You cannot build God's reputation if you aren't willing to risk yours. There comes a moment when you need to make the call or make the move. Circle makers are risk takers. 

Moses had learned this lesson well: If you don't take the risk, you forfeit the miracle."

(Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker, Zondervan, 2011, p46)

Monday, October 17, 2016

BookPastor >> "The Future of Our Faith" (Ron Sider and Ben Lowe)

This review was published on March 31st, 2016 at Panorama of a Book Saint.


TITLE: The Future of Our Faith: An Intergenerational Conversation on Critical Issues Facing the Church
AUTHOR: Ronald J. Sider and Ben Lowe
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2016, (240 pages).

We have all heard of the generation gap. Between the old and the young, there are differences in opinion, perspectives, and ideas. Put them altogether under one roof and we are in for some inter-generational challenges on many different issues. Whether it is about old, hanging on to traditional and proven ideas, or about the young, eager to try new methods and innovative projects, in order to help all get along, there need to be a wider sphere of understanding of each other. Every generation will have their own set of challenges. Each generation will have lessons to be shared with the others. Two of the best things that two generations can do for each other are to educate each other graciously and to engage each other constructively. In this book, we see nine different scenarios of of engagement and honest sharing of opinions from a Baby-Boomer generation and a Millennial. Billed as an inter-generational dialogue on eight critical issues, authors Ronald Sider and Ben Lowe share the same common faith and passion for the Church. The issues may be important but it is the learning of how each generation approach the same issue that is even more important. With greater understanding comes lesser tensions. With greater willingness to learn from each other means sharing resources so as to lay the groundwork for blessing the generations of the future.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Before the Computer...

Before the computer

An application was for employment
A program was a TV show
A cursor used profanity
A keyboard was a piano!

Memory was something that you lost with age
A CD was a bank account!
And if you had a broken disk,
It would hurt when you found out!

Compress was something you did to garbage
Not something you did to a file
And if you unzipped anything in public
You'd be in jail for awhile!

Log on was adding wood to a fire
Hard drive was a long trip on the road
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived
And a backup happened to your commode!

Cut--you did with a pocket knife
Paste you did with glue
A web was a spider's home
And a virus was the flu!

I guess I'll stick to my pad and paper
And the memory in my head
I hear nobody's been killed in a computer crash
But when it happens they wish they were dead!

Source: Unknown

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Midweek Meditation: "The Circle Maker"

In the book, The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson shows us the way to pray without ceasing. Using the circling metaphor, he seeks to encourage us to circle ourselves with prayer, constant prayer. Based on the first-century Jewish sage, Honi, whose faith was expressed in fervent prayer, he describes three types of circles. For the next five weeks, we will be dealing with the topic of prayer according to the Circle Maker.

"God has determined that certain expressions of His power will only be exercised in response to prayer. Simply put, God won't do it unless you pray for it. We have not because we ask not, or maybe I should say, we have not because we circle not. The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked.

Now here's the good news: If you do pray, all bets are off. You can live with holy anticipation because you never know how or when or where God is going to answer, but I promise you this: He will answer. And His answers are not limited by your requests. We pray out of our ignorance, but God answers out of His omniscience. We pray out of our impotence, but God answers out of His omnipotence. God has the ability to answer the prayers we should have prayed but lacked the knowledge or ability to even ask." (Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker, Zondervan, 2011, p16-7)

Monday, October 10, 2016

BookPastor >> "Four Views on Hell"

This review was first published on March 26th, 2016 at Panorama of a Book Saint.


TITLE: Four Views on Hell: Second Edition (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)
AUTHOR: Preston Sprinkle, Denny Burk, John G. Stackhouse Jr., Robin Perry, and Jerry Walls
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, (224 pages).

The topic of hell and eternal damnation has been a controversial topic recently. Since Rob Bell's Love Wins, which is essentially a book that not only rejects the existence of eternal hell but advocates the position of universalism, many Christians are caught in a bind about what exactly does the Bible teach about hell. A number of outspoke critics railed against Bell. A popular Christian pastor, Francis Chan was so upset about Bell's universalist approach that he responded with Erasing Hell. The chief editor of ChristianityToday publication wrote God Wins to counter Bell's ideas. While these books appeal at a popular readers' level, there are some people who would like a more in-depth treatment of the topic of hell, damnation, and eternal suffering. Enters this book which is part of Zondervan's Counterpoints series. Four different perspectives are provided not simply for readers to pick-and-choose but to be understood and to learn from. If not everybody have the whole truth, surely, together, we can all draw a bigger picture that we can learn from. Each view comes with three responses. The main purpose of this book is to lay out the different views of hell for the purpose of instruction and illumination, so that there will be bridges of understanding of all sides. This book is not new. The first edition was published in 1996 with the literal view (John F. Walvoord), the metaphorical view (William Crockett), the conditional view (Clark H. Pinnock), and the purgatorial view (Zachary J. Hayes). This second edition has been updated with four new contributors.

Friday, October 07, 2016

The Language of Nature

Amazing fungi. What we lack is the communication needed to understand the intelligence in life.


Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Midweek Meditation: Fourth Century Wisdom (Ambrose, Bishop of Milan)

On Christ
"When we speak about wisdom, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about virtue, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about justice, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak of peace, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about truth and life and redemption, we are speaking of Christ."

On Riches and Possessions
"Riches are the beginning of all vices, because they make us capable of carrying out even our most vicious desires."

"To renounce riches is the beginning and sustaining of virtues."

On the Virtuous Quality Expected of Clergy
"One of the duties of fortitude is to keep the weak from receiving injury; another, to check the wrong motions of our own souls; a third, both to disregard humiliations, and to do what is right with an even mind. All these clearly ought to be fulfilled by all Christians, and especially by the clergy."

On Fasting
"Do not limit the benefit of fasting to abstinence from good, for a true fast means refraining from evil. Loose every unjust bond, put away your resentment against your neighbour, forgive him his offences. Do not let your fasting lead to wrangling and strife. You do not eat meat, but you devour your brother, you abstain from wine, but note from insults. So all the labour of your fast is useless."

On Holding the Tongue
"Bind up thy words that they run not riot, and grow wanton, and gather up sins for themselves in too much talking. Let them be rather confined, and held back within their own banks. An overflowing river quickly gathers mud."

"Let no word pass your lips in vain, no meaningless word be uttered."

Latest Posts