Author Archives: thetoddlynn

About thetoddlynn

Follower of God, Husband, Father, Youth Pastor.

Review of Glory Song by Matt Redman

Glory Song by Matt Redman CD Review

I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to review this CD. I have been a huge fan of Matt Redman’s since I first heard him lead worship at Passion 2003. His music always finds a way to encourage me in my walk with Christ as he writes in a manner that truly allows God to speak to the listener. There have been numerous times I have used Redman’s music for personal times of worship and it is always an encouraging time. In Glory Song, Matt produces another work that will be used to make much of Jesus.

One of my favorites from Glory Song is the song Gracefully Broken.

And multiply, God, all that I am

And find my heart on the altar again

Set me on fire, set me on fire

 

Here I am God

Arms wide open

Pouring out my life

Gracefully Broken

 

My heart stands in Awe of Your Name

Your mighty love stands strong to the end

You will fulfill Your purpose for me

You won’t forsake me, You will be with me

This song is a reminder of the fact that grace does more than just save us, it breaks us and helps us remember how much we need God’s love and grace to bring us to Himself. In various chapters in the book of Psalms we are reminded of God’s steadfast and unending love. This song speaks to that truth as well.

Another song that hit home was Questions (You are Faithful).

In all of our questions,

All of our searching

When we are wrestling

You don’t let go

In all of our fears and doubts

All of our anxious thoughts

When we are restless

Still we are held

Lord I believe

But help my unbelief

 

The questions come

But You remain

The battles roar

But still You reign

And I believe

One thing will never change

You are faithful

You are faithful

Every one of us will go through difficult times where we question whether God is still with us. We will go through times where we will have questions that many times might seem to go unanswered. This song is an amazing reminder God is always faithful and He will never leave us, in our darkest times and our times of deepest searching and questioning, He is still there.

There are other songs I could include but I will stop with these two. Give this CD a chance as it will definitely be worth it.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for a sample of the product in exchange for this review. Opinions on this post are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

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Parenting according to the Gospel…A Book Review

Simply put, this book is a must read for any parent serious about raising their children according to the Bible. From the moment I first opened the book until I wrote this review, I found myself challenged with how I parent my children.

This is an area that I constantly struggle with and this book has been a great encouragement for me to read. The author does not write from the perspective of having been the perfect parent in that he shares some of his own struggles and what he learned from them. Every chapter begins with a story or a couple stories of a parenting situations every parent has experienced or has seen fleshed out in public areas that leave us shaking our heads. The unfortunate part of the stories he shares, is they are too often all too familiar to me as having done it myself.

But the author does not leave us to wallow around in self-pity knowing how far we have fallen from our big pre-parent aspirations, but encourages you to move forward with the principles he shares and how they can, as the front cover of the book says, “radically change your family.” And this is the best part of the book, it is gospel centered. This is not a feel good book about parenting and how you can do it all on your own and all you need to do is pull yourself up by your bootstraps kind of book. It is a book that causes you to fall at the foot of the cross, admitting you cannot do it on your own and asking God to help you do it. This is not the approach most American parents want to accept but it is necessary for us to raise children in a God-honoring and gospel-centered way. If our goal as a Christian parent is not to raise children who love God, then what is our goal? What are we hoping to accomplish? If we do not have a goal in our parenting, then how can we know whether we are parenting the right way or not? The last things we as Christians should do is just go about our parenting ways with no ultimate end in mind besides helping them be successful adults. Our goal should be to raise children who fear and honor God with their lives and follow Him as a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. If that is your goal, or if that is what you deeply long for your goal as a parent to be, then this book will give you direction and guidance in how to make that happen.

One quote from the book that truly stands out is this one Crossway also posted on their Instagram account:

“The goal of parenting is not control of behavior, but rather heart and life change.”

As a parent, this is a hard pill to swallow. I want to be able to parent in such a way and through what I say get my children to accept what I say and do what I say. But the issue with that is I do not have the power to get any child to change on my own. Only God has the ability to bring about heart change and eventually life change. And this makes it tough on us because it means no amount of yelling or threatening or anything else will bring about the change we hope or desire in our kids, only God’s grace can bring about that change. This book points us to remember that each and every day in each and every parenting situation that arises.

All that said, this is a book I would purchase for every parent in my church if I could. It is a book I would highly encourage and recommend for any parent, soon to be parent or married couple who aspires to have children in the future.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting / Flyby Promotions for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for this honest review.


ESV Family Devotional Bible Review

family-devo

Once again, Crossway produces a magnificent product. I have always been impressed with their products and the Family Devotional Bible is worth the purchase.

Do you sometimes worry that you are not giving your kids the type of teaching or encouragement from the Bible you wish you were or think you should be? Do you believe that since you are not a Bible scholar that you shouldn’t be teaching the Bible? Have you been wanting to start having a family devotion time but was unsure how to start or what to do? This Bible is for you.

The Family devotional Bible will be a great asset for you and will make family devotions something to look forward to however often you want to do them. The Bible contains 130 devotions for you to share with your family as well as questions to guide family discussions and a key verse to be used for memorization or to help remember the main point of the story. The devotions are based on key stories and characters throughout the Bible but never make them larger than who the whole Bible is actually about, God. Each devotion comes back to the main point of the Bible, which is the Gospel and pointing people to Jesus Christ. The questions are great in that they are easy enough for younger children but will even help adults to truly understand how every story in the Bible is meant to point us to Jesus Christ. There are also full color maps in the back to help you and your children understand more about certain parts of the Bible.

One of my favorite parts of this Bible is the fact it is in the English Standard Version (ESV). Some people might not like the translation but I have always found it to be easy to read and understand. Here is a little note about the ESV translation:

The ESV is an “essentially literal” translation that seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. It seeks to be transparent to the original text, letting the reader see as directly as possible the structure and meaning of the original. (from biblegateway.com)

If you are a parent wanting to find a way to encourage regular Bible reading in your family, then give the ESV Family devotional Bible a chance. You and your children will be glad you did.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting / Flyby Promotions for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for this honest review.


Rediscovering Discipleship – A review

rediscovering-discipleship

Rediscovering Discipleship is by far the best one I have read on discipleship, ever. This book, as the subtitle says is really all about “making Jesus’ final words our first work” (front cover). Unfortunately, in many churches, discipleship is more a program or something left for the “professional ministers” instead of something pursued and engaged in by every follower of Christ. One could make the claim this has done more harm to God’s church than any sin. Ed Stetzer, in the foreword, makes this statement: “The Bible tells us that we should be conscious of ourselves and of our teaching…In other words, it matters how you are growing and how you’re leading your people to grow” (p. 11).

Here is how Robby defines discipleship:

Discipleship is intentionally equipping believers with the Word of God through accountable relationships empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to replicate faithful followers of Christ. (p. 155)

Discipleship should not simply be a committee in a church, or even a program, it should be the life of the church. Discipleship should describe how a church grows, how it lives and breathes. Discipleship should be at the root of everything done in the church. If the ultimate goal and purpose of a program or event is not discipleship, what is it? For many, it simply stops after evangelism. After an individual is “hooked” they are left to themselves. There is nobody there to help them take the next steps in their walk with the Lord. This is extremely detrimental to the life of any church because many churches stop there. After someone makes a profession of faith they are left to figure things out on their own. But that is not how it should be, once someone has made a profession of faith, the work of discipleship begins.

The author quotes Heather Zempel, the leader of the discipleship ministry at National Community Church in Washington, DC:

The first model of discipleship that we see in history is the Relational model, which was the dominant approach to spiritual growth during the first few centuries of the church. It is built upon the premise that discipleship will occur naturally when Christians live in community with one another. Relational discipleship was vitally important during the early church because there was no New Testament and there were very few copies of Old Testament writings available to the common people. Spiritual truths were conveyed through the stories of the apostles and their letters to the churches. (p. 92)

Robby then follows that with this statement perfectly showing what happened to this movement, or the church:

Unfortunately, what began as a grass roots, relational movement eventually turned into a structured hierarchy that quenched efforts at discipling those not pursuing professional ministry roles. The common understanding of the church changed from being a people to a place, from a body to a building. The ministry was seen as something done exclusively by the clergy, while the laity sat idle and took on a more passive role. Institutionalized ministry replaced individualized ministry. (p. 92)

Perfect way to describe what has actually happened in the church throughout history. Discipleship is how the church reproduces itself and remains alive and growing. Discipleship is how God molds His children into the image of His Son. When discipleship is simply reduced to another program offered by the church, we suffer and the church suffers. God desires fully devoted followers of Him, not partially committed followers who only come to Him when life gets hard or when they need something. God is molding and shaping us into the image of His Son and discipleship is how God does this.

From the time Jesus called His first disciples to His crucifixion, Jesus was involved in discipleship. He was training them, preparing them for/ life after He ascended into heaven. This was God’s plan A from the very beginning and there is no plan B. God does not see discipleship as optional like many churches do. He sees it as foundational.

One of the main reasons I enjoyed this book so much is because it really helps paint the picture of what discipleship should be all about. It is not a difficult read but is encouraging and refreshing in that it explains what discipleship is all about and should be all about, and then goes into application by helping the reader understand how they can actually disciple someone. The last part will serve to be extremely beneficial for the Christian who has wanted to disciple but just does not know how.

Here are a couple quotes from the book:

Train yourself and your people not to be impressed with success in the church that does not accomplish the goal set forth by Christ: making disciples. (p. 23)

Discipleship has an end goal: to be conformed into the image of Christ – to talk the way He talked, walk the way He walked, and respond the way He responded. (p. 79)

Discipleship wasn’t a ministry of the first-century church. It was the ministry of the church…shouldn’t it be ours as well? (p. 85)

Just remember, you cannot microwave disciples. It’s a crock-pot recipe. And it takes time for maturity to take root. The wait is long, but the results are worth it. (p. 138)

Fortunately, Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, did not prescribe for us a single model of how to disciple. Instead, He gave us a mandate: Make disciples! He didn’t give us a single process; he left us with several principles and showed us by His own examples. (p. 154)

A church member once said to me, “your talk talks and your walk walks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” The way you live speaks volumes about the degree of disciple-making taking place in your church.

Rediscovering Discipleship is all about what the title says, rediscovering discipleship. If you are involved in church leadership, a volunteer, or someone who has just begun their faith journey, this book is for you. It will help you understand how intentional and purposeful God is with His children. He does not simply want people to place their faith in Him and then live life how they want to. Choosing to respond to Jesus’ call to follow Him is just the beginning. After responding to the call is when the work really begins, and does not end until our lives end. Get this book, read it and apply it. You will be glad you did. I just think, if every Christian in the world were to take what this book says to heart, apply it and make disciples, there would be no more unreached people in the world today. Besides, what more motivation do we need to make disciples than the fact we are commanded to by Jesus?

 In compliance with regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I received a complimentary copy of this book from Cross Focused Media LLC in exchange for this review.


H3 Leadership – A Review

Lomenick-book-300x300

Brad Lomenick follows up his previous leadership book, The Catalyst Leader, with another leadership book sure to turn gold. As I read H3 Leadership, I felt as though I was sitting down having coffee with him, listening to him share gold nuggets of wisdom found from successes as well as failures. While The Catalyst Leader was born out of successes and triumphs, H3 comes more from struggles and even failures. This book came as a result of taking a sabbatical from Catalyst and the wisdom he shares is great and would help any leader regardless of their specific field.

Towards the end of his time at Catalyst, Brad was struggling and as a result of this, his leadership was suffering. Sure Catalyst was still being what Catalyst is known for, but the people under him were noticing this was a different Brad. He needed some time off and this was confirmed through a couple friends of his and thus Brad decided to take some time off from his leadership at Catalyst. As he took time off and began using this sabbatical to actually benefit himself, he says it became evident to him this was his best move and was necessary. He binged on Netflix, traveled, got together with some of the leaders he had been privileged to build relationship with through Catalyst and through this time, H3 Leadership took shape.

H3 stands for Be Humble, Stay Hungry, and Always Hustle. These are 3 components Brad says are musts for leaders to become and remain effective throughout their leadership. And for each one, he is able to use personal stories to illustrate the necessity for each. First off, for any leader to be effective and worth anything, there has to be a sense of humility as people do not want to be around someone who is proud. Eventually it sucks the life out of people around them. Second, something that needs to drive a leader is this ever pressing hunger to be all God made them to be both as a person and as a leader. This hunger to learn, grow, follow what God has laid in their hearts is what drives them. Lastly is the fact if you are going to be a leader worth anything, you have to hustle. In this life, there are always people who will be out there hustling for something, working hard for what it is they want to achieve. You cannot simply sit around and not pursue your dream and expect to reach it. If you want to achieve whatever dream or thing God has laid on your heart, it takes hustle. One person I think of as I think about this is Christine Caine. Seeing all her and her husband have been able to do through their ministry, A21, has been amazing. However, none of this would have happened if it was not for the fact they both fall under this H3 leadership idea. Having heard Christine speak a number of times, it is evident, at least from the public standpoint, she is humble, hungry and always hustling. God has used their team to bring freedom to many, many slaves and trafficking victims around the world.

This book is divided into 3 sections: Humble – Who are You, Hungry – Where are you going, and Hustle – How will you get there? Each section digs deep and gives the reader insights to be transformed into the leader God has called them to be. As I read, I found myself constantly highlighting and underlining as there is much truth found in this book. If you are a leader of any sort, I highly recommend this book.

Here are a couple quotes from the book to whet your appetite:

“Influencers should lead from the inside out so that their identity shapes their leadership rather than the other way around.” (p. 4)

“The best leadership moments will probably be the ones that nobody sees.” (p. 34)

“Leader can’t inspire others unless and until they are inspired themselves.” (p. 83)

“Establishing a habit of excellence begins with a core commitment to set a standard that scares the daylights out of you.” (p. 129)

“Great leaders are great finishers.” (p. 151)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Want to be a better father?

10 things great dads do

My review of 10 Things Great Dads Do by Rick Johnson

5 years and 2 months ago, my wife and I become the parents to a beautiful baby girl. In March of this year we became the parents to the cutest baby boy ever born…I might be a little bias. Outside of marriage, there is probably nothing that teaches people more about themselves than parenting and in 5 short years, I have had some great moments and some not so great moments. There are moments I look back at and wonder how I could have possibly responded and acted the way I did. Then there are times where I have the perfect parent mindset and I wonder why it does not remain forever. As anyone will tell you, parenting is hard work. It is a tough task for anyone. The only people who might say parenting is easy would be those parents who have abdicated their responsibility to actually raise their kids and pay others to do it.

As soon as you say you want to be the best parent there is, your child will unknowingly find a way to put you to the test. You might be on the way home from work and say I am going to be the perfect father when I get home. Then, you walk in the door to your house and it looks like a tornado has somehow picked out the inside of your home and completely turned everything around. The home you left when you went to work in the morning is a distant memory. Your wife is laying on the couch (if she doesn’t meet you at the door and tell you “good luck, I will be back in a month”) completely worn out from the day. Every room looks like my daughter turned into the incredible hulk and just went smashing through the house. On top of that, she has decided the walls would be her painting and coloring canvas instead of paper, the toilets are clogged because she used too much toilet paper after using the bathroom, water is all over the bathroom floor from her cannonball into the bathtub, the floors are a slip-n-slide due to drool from my teething son, and my daughter is running around the house singing “Let it Go” at the top of her lungs. Ok, so the truth is this has never happened to me, it may have to some of you but I just wanted to include this for dramatic effect. It seems when we decide to become better at something, the universe comes at you with all guns blazing. It is crazy how this happens. But every feeling you have had to this moment goes out the window as you just want to walk back out and try again in a couple hours.

I have to admit I have never personally experienced anything this bad, but it does seem that every time I truly decide I am going to be more patient with my kids, something happens to test it. Up until reading this book, I had been praying and asking God to help me become a better father and husband. 10 Things Great Dads Do was the best book for me to read at my current stage in life. I am far from being a perfect dad. I have my good moments and my bad moments but unfortunately, it seems like the bad moments far outweigh the good moments. I do not want to be the dad who looks back and regrets how he parented his kids. I want to be the dad who looks back and cherishes every moment he had with his children and would not change a thing. I know this would only happen in a perfect world but I also know if I truly want to be the best father and husband I can be, it will take hard work, discipline and dedication. Some people might say it will take blood, sweat and tears, which can also be true but I think you get the picture. To be a good father, it will take work because our kids really know how to bring out the worst in us…and they never had to be trained for it. After reading 10 Things, I can honestly say I have been refreshed, encouraged and challenged to be the best father I can be as well as equipped with some helpful tips and advice on how to move forward in my quest to better fathering.

Rick Johnson shares from personal experiences as well as stories from other fathers in order to help dads make decisions to be great dads, and that is what it takes, a decision to do it and then the discipline to follow through. Anyone can be a great dad but in order to do so, you cannot forfeit your responsibilities, you have to embrace them. Along with this, there is enormous pressure on fathers. It has been proven that children without a father face a much more difficult life than children with fathers. Daughters and sons both need the presence of a father or the tide turns against them in life and life becomes an even more intense uphill battle. Thus, fathers really need to step up to the plate for the sake of their children, and the next generation. This book will encourage and equip you with ideas on how to become the father you long to be.

As a father, are you beat up? Are you discouraged because there seems to be more yelling than laughter in your home? Are you tempted to just become more withdrawn from your family and just hope above that everything will turn out ok and then you can come back in to your children’s lives? Or are you going through a great stretch in your life right now where everything is just peachy? No matter where you are at in your journey of fatherhood, this book is worth your time. I can honestly say I have been challenged to be a better father through this book and it has given me renewed energy to actually strive to be the best father I can be. If you know of a man in your life who is just getting beat up as a father and is discouraged, get him a copy of this book. It will help.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Revell Books in return for a review of the book.


The Irresistible Community

irresistible community

We as humans are built for community. We are hardwired to have friends and people in our lives that we do life together with. We are not made to live this life on our own. This is why when we see people who isolate themselves, we would not say they are living life to the fullest. We would agree they have withdrawn from reality and the world around them. By choosing to follow Christ, we become part of a community, part of the body of Christ. It is impossible to fully be a Christian and not involved in a community of believers in some way. You might disagree with that but as you read through the Bible, you see that God intended for us to be in community. God Himself is about community in that He created us for relationship with Him. Unfortunately, today we have become so “connected” through social media and the internet through smartphones and other devices we have actually become disconnected. And this is the world we live in today, a world full of people who desire community, some without fully knowing it, but who are in some ways running away from community. There are even people who call themselves Christians who are not involved in a community.

Bill Donahue addresses this issue head on for followers of Christ. In The Irresistible Community, he tackles what Christian community should mean, be about and what it should look like. Jesus has extended a call and offer for all people to follow Him and be involved in a community of Christ followers. It is only through this community that we are able to experience all God intended life to be about. The title itself helps us to understand that when Christian community is lived out and done right, it is attractive, even to those who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If Jesus was attractive to the “sinners” around Him, shouldn’t His church be the same way? Shouldn’t we be living in such a way that it causes those around us to wonder what we have?

The title of this book includes the tag line “An invitation to life together” which is what I believe God wants us to do, live life together. But how do we do that? How do we live life together? We are all messy and we have lives that cause people to not want to know us so shouldn’t I keep people at a distance? Dr. Donahue helps the reader understand how life can be done together in community and done in a way so people are drawn to it and not turned away from it. The Irresistible Community is divided into 3 parts: join the fellowship of the table, practice the ministry of the towel and live in the circle of truth. To truly experience community the way God intends, each of these 3 parts has to be included.  I have experienced this in my own life, when I am involved with a group of Christians, our lives have been greatly impacted when we have times of fellowship around a table, make time to serve together and then also allow the truth of God’s Word to guide us, community happens and there is nothing greater in this life. Unfortunately today, this has been lost, even in the church. The church should be a community of people who understand the church is who they are, it is not simply a building or something they do on Sundays or special holidays.

Read this statement which is taken from the back cover of the book:

Using the relationship of Jesus to His disciples in the upper room, Bill Donahue presents a simple but compelling approach to community life. Using a table, a towel, and the truth, Jesus created an “irresistible community” where everyone found a place to belong, lived fully in the truth, and served others with joy. (Back cover)

As you read this book, you will find yourself longing for this type of community wherever you are. Why does this longing grow within us? Because it is why we were created. Bill Donahue addresses the topic/issue of Christian community in a thought provoking manner that will challenge but also encourage and inspire you to look for community in your own life. Though living in community is not always easy, he helps us see that there is more life to be experienced in community than can be experienced outside of it. This book is one that I would highly recommend anyone currently serving in Christian ministry to read as well as those who see themselves in some type of ministry in the future. This book would also be a great asset for any church planter. Go get a copy for yourself, or a friend or your pastor, it will be well worth it.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Baker Books in return for a review of the book.


Into the Fray

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I had never heard of Matt Mikalatos before requesting this book but the idea of the book of Acts basically retold for today intrigued me. I never thought of Acts as being a tough book to understand or read through but as I read Into the Fray I was reintroduced to the story of Acts through storytelling that grabbed my attention and caused me to think again of how miraculous and amazing the stories written and shared in this book of the Bible actually are. Unfortunately, many times we read over them without a second thought and we do this to our own detriment.

There are many main characters throughout the book of Acts, for instance, Paul, Peter, Barnabas, the Philippian jailer, Lydia, the demon possessed girl, the Ethiopian eunuch and many more. However, the story of Acts is unequivocally the story of how God worked in the early church through the Holy Spirit to draw many people to Himself and cause the church to spread throughout the world like a wildfire. If not for the Holy Spirit, none of what is shared in Acts would have been possible. The church never would have impacted the world as it did and it would have torn itself to shreds from within. How else could the stories shared in Acts have actually happened apart from the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit? It would be impossible.

How does the author go about reaching his objective? Each chapter begins with a retelling of a story in Acts as if it happened today. He does not cover every single story in Acts in this manner because the book would have been well over 700 pages. Instead, he picks 14 stories to share using language from today that does not take away or add anything to the story, but simply retells it from a revised perspective. But why is this even necessary? Could people not just read the book of Acts as it is and be amazed? Yes. This book is not trying to take the place of Acts in the Biblical canon, it is simply retelling stories that many times we read over and have lost the amazement of how miraculous many stories actually are. For example, one story that many people in Christian circles just kind of gloss over is the story of Ananias and Sapphira. This story should produce a fear in people about how seriously God takes things in His church. This couple sold land, and gave money to the church, but apparently were deceptive in their giving and thus they were both killed for it. In Acts 5:11, it says that as a result of Ananias and Sapphira, “great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.” Imagine if this kind of fear came upon the church today? Imagine how much of an impact it would have on how people interact with each other and how people go about with their daily lives? Unfortunately, we read stories like this and simply believe God just does not deal with people like that anymore and thus the story is just read over without much thought given to it. You also do not hear many sermons on this topic today but imagine if we did?

Simply stated, Matt Mikalatos does a great job with this book and his retelling of some of the stories from Acts. As I read through the book, I found myself challenged in what I thought about God and how He works. Have I been guilty of trying to control how God works? Or have I simply been presenting myself to God to work in whatever manner He chose? While reading through Acts, it is easy to see that even though there were times of disagreement between people in the church, they allowed Him to move in and through them as He saw fit. They did not put restrictions on God as we many times do today. Imagine a church today with the fear of God and mindset of the church in Acts? It would truly be an unstoppable force.

In one of the last chapters, Matt writes the following: “May God grant us the ability to speak the good news we have experienced without embarrassment, with boldness, and with simplicity.” It is a statement I have been challenged to begin praying in my own life. I long to see God work in and through my life as He did in the book of Acts. He is the same God today as He was then and is perfectly capable of doing the same thing today that He did in Acts. I pray that I would not lose the wonder of seeing and desiring God to move in my life in the same way He did in the New Testament.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Baker Books in return for a review of the book.


Back to WordPress

After a brief 2 year excursion with Bluehost, I have decided to come back to WordPress for the time being. I am looking forward to sharing thoughts, book reviews, questions and ideas with you all through thetoddlynn.wordpress.com. If you have not, feel free to follow me and be notified every time a new post is published.

Also, if you have any ideas you would like to see discussed or shared about on this blog, feel free to comment below.


Jesus IS the Answer

Jesus IS the answer

What this world needs is Jesus. There is no better way to put it.

Jesus is the only answer to pain and evil and suffering. He took our pain upon Himself so death is not the end for us. Apart from Jesus, there is no answer to the big three headed monster of pain, evil and suffering. We just have to hope against hope that we live a better life and don’t experience any pain, evil or suffering. But if something does happen, we are left to simply shrug our shoulders and keep going through life more numb. Other religions ignore it but Jesus is the answer for it through a relationship with Him.

Jesus is the hope of this world. Jesus resurrected from the dead to conquer death and the grave which gives us hope that no matter how bad this world gets, it is not our final home. There IS something better coming. When He was crucified, He didn’t just die as a good man. He died as the Son of God and because of this, He defeated the grave and because of this, we have hope that even though there is pain evil and suffering in the world, we have hope that when we also die, it is not the end and life only gets better for eternity.

Jesus is love. God is love and we love because He first loved us. We only know what love is because of God. Jesus was that love personified to show the extent to which God loves us. How else can we explain what love is? How do we know love apart from a loving God? Do animals know love? Not in the same way humans do.

Jesus is truth. How can we say anything is true or not true if there is no standard? Our emotions are not a good enough standard. We need an absolute standard that stands the test of time. If there is no absolute truth then we are free to do what we want. The man who shot and killed the 2 reporters this morning is simply acting upon what his emotions led him to do. If there is no truth, how can we say what he did, or what anyone else does is wrong? Apart from Jesus, we are left to the simple rule of the animal kingdom, where only the strong survive.

Jesus is life. Apart from Jesus, we cannot experience true life because life only happens through Jesus. This world has so many things that promise a life to the full. They all fall short of offering true life. Drugs, alcohol, sex, and anything else this world offers only leads to bondage and addiction. Jesus leads to freedom which is how life is best lived.

Jesus is God. As God, Jesus is able to be this and so much more. The true question comes in do you follow Him? Do you know Him intimately or do you know Him as an acquaintance? Saying you know Him but not allowing your life to show it is living a lie. Saying you know Jesus but living for yourself is a lie.

If you truly know Jesus and follow Him, the Bible has simple ways to know if someone is a Christian or not:

  1. Do you love God more than anything else?
  2. Do you love your neighbor as much as you love yourself?
  3. Are you making disciples?

How you answer those three questions will reveal if you know about Jesus, or know Jesus and follow Him. It is extremely sad what happened this morning to Alison and Adam. I pray for their families and I pray they had a personal, life changing relationship with Jesus Christ.

The answer this world needs and already knows IS Jesus. And for those who consider themselves followers of Christ, the world needs us to give them Jesus. We can offer the world nothing more and nothing less. It is time for Christians to take seriously what the Gospel of Matthew says in 16:24:

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

That is how we change this world. Will you?

My prayers go out to the family of Alison and Adam.

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