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It’s that time, summer! The kids are winding down their school years and I am sure that most everyone is thinking, what can I read this summer? Let me encourage you as your vacations are planned to make sure and pack a book. There are many great books out there and there are many not so great books out there. Last year I wrote a blog post “What Not to Read” during your summer time reading. Let me give you ten books that I recommend this summer.
This list is in no special order but are based on books that I feel were worth the time to read. Whether you read diligently or are challenging yourself with just trying to read more than you already do, I encourage you to grab a book, spend some time reading it, and digest what you read. Let it be something the encourages you in your Christian walk and share it with someone else.
Summer Reading List:* Continue reading
I have a friend who is always willing to help, be there when there is a need, even when it is not the most convenient. I am beyond thankful for this friend. If you have someone like that, you know what a treasure that is to have. There is a man mentioned in the Bible named Tychicus who my friend reminds me of, and we can be encouraged to be more like him.
Be like who? Tychicus! Just say his name 3 times fast! He is mentioned by the Apostle Paul at the end of Ephesians as “the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord whom Paul was sending to them as an encourager (Ephesians 6:21-22).” At the end of Colossians, Paul again mentions this loved brother by adding that he is a faithful servant (Colossians 4:7). Continue reading
When one thinks of an institution they may think of education, government, the church, marriage, family, and even state correctional facilities. What is considered an institution? Which institution holds the most influence? Which one should hold the most influence? Each holds its importance. Marriage and family are rooted at society and carry a lot of influence but not most important. Education, good and does it molding of children and influences (negative and positive) should not be the most influential in our society. The government which has its own institutions within it, and holds power, is not the most influential.
Pastor and teacher Ray Ortland defines an institution this way, “An institution is a social mechanism for making a desirable experience easily repeatable. An institution is where life-giving human activities can be nurtured and protected and sustained.” Here there can be many institutions that fit this definition like sporting events but where more than ever can human activities be nurtured, protected, and sustained the strongest? It is the church. (The church in this meaning is the Biblical church made up of Bible believing Christians. Pastor Mark Dever defines the church as “The church is that collection of people who are hearing the Word of God, responding to it with their lives, and who have obeyed Jesus’ specific commands to be baptized and proclaim his death in the Lord’s Supper.”)
The other day I had a check up with my doctor. The doctor did the routine of checking on the health and asking for certain types of tests to be done to be able to assess how I am doing physically. You can check your weight, blood pressure, blood tests and other body factors to see where you are on the health meter. Continue reading
Do you read for the fun? Is that even a statement that you hear very often?
Some are seasoned readers who would say, “Reading is always fun!” I am not there. Reading is enjoyable (most of the time) but my problem is not enjoying reading, it is finding the time to read.
As a pastor, reading should be high on the list of things to do. I should always be challenging myself to learn more in theology, studying for messages, church life, christian living, etc. There are books I have to read, books I should read, and books that I want to read, but I don’t have the time at this moment to get to. I love receiving recommended books to read but those go to a long list of books that I may get to, one day.
To be honest, not everything I read is fun. The process of learning and being challenged is good but I don’t know if I would categorize it as always fun. There are times that I am really challenged with a book, and that’s not fun at times. Reading books that may convict me of sin and pointing me to the grace of God would not be considered always fun but needed. Continue reading
What are you pursuing? Today, it seems easier more than ever for ordinary people to become famous because of technology. The ability to communicate with the masses is right at our fingertips. Even as I write this blog, it is public for the world to see (not that they will). Just like anything we do, more than ever, we must ask ourselves what is the motive behind what we do. There are tips and tricks on how to grow a following. There are the do’s and don’ts on how to gain momentum. Personally, I struggle with this. I stagger back and forth to pursue being known and reminding myself what Scripture says.
There is an issue that seems to rear its ugly head in the American Evangelical world, and that is the rise of the celebrity pastor. This post is not to point out those who may fit that definition, but I pose a question. What does the Bible say about this? We are at a crossroads with technology by being able to use it in a positive way or dangerously with the promotion of self. This is nothing new to life, it is just clothed differently in a different decade with a different tool.
We see in the Bible that we are are called to confess our sin. For example, John tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous (just) to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).” We are called to confess and repent form sin and it is crucial that we do it (Mark 1:15).
Who are we confessing our sin to? In this passage, John is directing the reader to confess their sin to God as he is the one who forgives. God is the only one who forgives and He freely forgives because of Jesus did for us through his death and resurrection (1 Timothy 1:15). Continue reading
I just hit my mid thirties this year! Though I am not a Senior Pastor at the church I serve at, I realized that being in a sedentary job was catching up to me. As a kid I was always skinny or fit. I played sports. I could eat whatever I wanted and it didn’t matter. Things changed in my twenties when I wasn’t as active but still ate whatever I wanted. After having some different health challenges that took place in my early thirties I know I needed to change but why? It goes beyond what the mirror revealed when I looked at it.
An estimated 103.4 million people watched the 2018 Super Bowl take place which revealed the prominence it has in many homes throughout America. This is a staggering amount of people all watching the same thing around the same time, yet I hate to break it to you; this is still not the greatest thing, even since sliced bread. The greatest event that has taken place throughout history took place over 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ, who suffered and died, though he did nothing deserving of death, conquered the enemies of death and sin by rising again to life. Why? He did it for us. “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV). Continue reading
Yesterday marked the start of Passion week for Christians around the world with it being Palm Sunday. Every year, I try to direct my family on what did the last week of Jesus’ life look like? How can we look through the Gospels and see how he spent his week leading up to his death and crucifixion and ending with his resurrection? As a Christian parent we put the emphasis on what Easter is all about, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. A good resource that I keep going back to is The Final Days of Jesus by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Justin Taylor. Continue reading