Category Archives: The Church

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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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.


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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Mission Drift and how to Avoid It.

Mission Drift

“In its simplest form, Mission True organizations know why they exist and protect their core at all costs. They remain faithful to what they believe God has entrusted them to do. They define what is immutable: their values and purposes, their DNA, their heart and soul.” (p. 27)

Mission Drift is a book that will help any organization, charity, church face the future with a steadfast foundation. What is that steadfast foundation? God. This book builds on research that helps the reader realize that any organization is prone to wander from its original mission. Many Ivy League universities started as places to train young men for the ministry. However, if you look at them now, they have strayed from that purpose and are far from what the founders intended. You can go all around the globe and find many ministries, charitable organizations, trust funds who were founded for one specific purpose and with a mission in mind, who have now drifted. This happens over time and to keep it from happening, it takes intentionality. Staying true to your mission does not just happen, it has to be made to happen. For some organizations or charities, it might mean turning down donations from companies or people who want you to change who you are, or maybe just not mention God or Jesus Christ as much.

What will you do as you go through life? Do you have a mission that is founded? What is it? How do you know that you will not drift from it in the future? Do you work at a church, charity, or any other organization that is currently Christian? What will keep it from changing in the future? This book is written to help you answer that question. Mission Drift is for leaders and people in leadership positions who help make decisions that guide organizations or ministries into the future.

The authors Peter Greer and Chris Horst write Mission Drift not simply from observing and researching, but also from experiencing it themselves in their own lives. They write from a point of view of having experienced what it takes to remain mission true. They combine their own personal experience with research to help the reader understand the importance of this topic. As time continues to march towards the return of Jesus Christ, life is not necessarily going to get easier for Christians. As a matter of fact, according to the Bible, it will get more difficult. So as Christians, should we fold or continue to stand true and not drift from the mission God has given us? The Bible only gives one answer to people who claim to follow Christ: to persevere regardless of circumstances. We need to be equipped and ready for what lies ahead, and Mission Drift will help you.

As a youth pastor, I can see the effects of drifting from a mission. It is not always a dramatic shift all at once, rather, it is something that takes place over time. So if you are in any kind of leadership position with a ministry, church, charity or Christian organization, read this book.

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

 


Does Theology make you sleepy?

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Is this your response when you hear the word “doctrine” or “theology”? If so, you are not alone. Unfortunately today, in many churches, theology is looked at as unnecessary, or outdated or even tedious. People who profess to be followers of Christ do not even attempt to bother with theology. This is sad but also alarming because how can we claim to know God through Christ Jesus without in some ways seeking to understand theology and along with that, doctrine? I do not understand how it is possible but that is the state of the church today. In many cases, you start a study on theology and you would hardly find enough people worth turning the lights on for. On the other side, start a study on the book of Revelation and you will pack the church out. Everyone is interested in what will happen in the future, but not everyone is interested in knowing God. Many people are interested in understanding what benefits knowing God will have for their life, but not many are interested in simply knowing God. We are like kids at Christmas time, extremely interested in the gifts to be opened but not so much anything else.

Many people could care less what theology and doctrine mean to their lives. They do not want to take the time to truly understand how theology and doctrine relate to every aspect of their lives. Incorrect doctrine and theology has ruined churches and Christians throughout history. Many people in the past have done things in the name of Christianity that if they had simply taken the time to the knowledge and study of Theology, they would have seen their error. To this day, there are people who hate Christianity due to the barbaric acts done in its name.

So what do we do? How do we combat this? How do we bring about a change in this mindset in this day and age? We need to teach theology and doctrine to our churches. We need to help the people in our care understand how theology plays into their lives Monday through Saturday. We cannot simply remain on the surface, we have to go deep. But we have to do it in a way that draws them in, not pushes them away. To do that, we have to be leaders who are first students. It is hard to teach something that someone does not first have an understanding and it is hard to get other people to want to know something that we have not taken the time to study and know as well.

That is where this book comes in. Edited by Nathan Holsteen and Michael Svigel, Exploring Christian Theology is written “as guidebooks for a church, that overall, is starving for the very doctrine it has too long avoided” (p. 9). This is the first of 3 volumes and they “will offer introductions, overviews, and reviews of key orthodox, protestant, evangelical tenets without belaboring details or broiling up debates” (p. 9). These books are written for the purpose of helping people who may not have read much theology to be able to understand key concepts and ideas of Christian thought.

To be a Christian, it is not simply enough to know about God. A Christian should want to personally and intimately know God. Too many people who claim to be Christians only know about God, but they do not know God. That would be like claiming to be married without actually having a wedding and changing your lives to live together with your bride. It would be similar to being in a relationship with someone you have never met. Yet many people do that. They claim God loves them and knows them and that is all there is. “I know there is a God, and hopefully when I get to the end of my life, I will have done enough good to go to heaven.” Yes, it is true God knows us and loves us. It is true God sent Jesus to die for all of us. But it takes more than knowing about that, it takes personally knowing God and seeking Him with your life. The Bible says that even the demons believe there is a God, and they shudder because of it (James 2:19). So we are to be students of God seeking to know Him more and more as we live our lives.

This volume focuses on two aspects of theology: God’s Revelation, Scripture and Truth as well as the Trinity. These are not simple ideas to grasp or understand fully but this book presents the topics in a manner that will help the average Christian reader or lay person understand the importance of knowing these topics and how they relate to our relationship with God. One of my favorite parts of the book came after the topic was explained. Included on each topic are chapters that cover the topic in history, facts to never forget, dangers to avoid, principles to put into practice, voices from the past (this is simply thoughts on the topics from Christian thinkers of the past) and finally other recommendations for further study and reading on the topic.

If you are looking for a simple book to broaden your understanding of theology and doctrine, give this book a chance. I love how the book introduces the topic, goes into an explanation and then helps the reader understand the topic through the various means mentioned. It is a simple but effective presentation that would be beneficial for any Christian to deepen their understanding of God as well as whet their appetite for more.

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


Want a great marriage?

From this day forward

From This Day Forward is a simple but effective book on how to have a lasting marriage. Many Christians like to point their fingers at the gays and homosexuals saying they are ruining marriage. However, they are not ruining it. Who is ruining marriage then? Those heterosexuals who fail to live up to the commitments they made at the altar. Love is tossed around as a simple feeling or emotion. While it can be that, love is a choice and a commitment. I once heard it said “You do not fall in love, you fall in holes.” This is definitely something I have come to see in my own marriage. I did not fall in love with my wife, I chose to love her. Yes we had all those great feelings and emotions that all couples experience on their journey towards marriage but we also came to the conclusion that love is more than those butterflies in our stomachs, it is a choice, and it is a choice we made to love each other.

Unfortunately, many “Christians” are falling for the world’s idea of love over God’s. What this means is the church has been infiltrated with the wrong idea of love. Marriages are crumbling within the church just like it is outside of the church. Divorce is mentioned more often than it should be within the church. It is even seen as a way out if your spouse fails in some area or another. Instead of sticking through thick and thin, divorce is seen as an escape route. Craig and Amy address this in From This Day Forward.

This book does not break any new ground and or share any amazing new secret or wisdom to a happy marriage, but it is written in a practical and encouraging way to challenge couples that even though hard times can and will come, it is still possible to have a happy marriage. In the book, they address five commitments couples, whether married, dating or engaged, should make to fail proof your marriage. The five commitments are 1-Seek God, 2-Fight Fair, 3-Have Fun, 4-Stay Pure, and 5-Never Give Up. As you notice, these commitments are not rocket science and you have probably heard them mentioned before, but married couples would do well to actually commit to remember and practice them. If this were to happen within the church, I could almost guarantee that the church would be a happier and more welcoming place. Can you imagine a community coming together often who were practicing these five commitments? Wow. It would be amazing to see this happen. Imagine a church where married couples only spoke positively about their spouse to other people? Imagine a church where couples spoke of how they loved each other? Imagine if even the jesting and joking among married couples were to cease? Younger people would get a better idea of what marriage is supposed to be about. When we first star dating someone, we do not even think about joking on them like married couples do after marriage. And when we get engaged we do not suddenly begin to talk negatively about them, even to other people. But it seems after being married for so many years, it becomes natural for couples to begin talking and joking about each other to other people. Who is hurt in these jests? Those younger people hearing us talk about marriage in this manner. If this is what happens when someone gets married, then why should I get married? I would just rather date someone so we can stay in love. That is what we are simply telling younger people when we act this way.

In these five commitments, a foundation is laid for a strong marriage. But it takes commitment and choosing to live according to these commitments. This has to be a daily choice for both spouses to make towards each other and to remember constantly, even in the heat of the moment when a fight or argument seems imminent. Marriage takes work, but Craig and Amy in this book lay these five commitments as foundations for any marriage. Let me share with you a couple quotes from the book that stood out to me:

“Become the kind of person you would like to marry…I will seek the One while I prepare for my two” (p. 28).

“Imagine how hard it must be to divorce someone you’re genuinely seeking God with. What are the odds that God’s direction to you is going to be, ‘Yeah, you should just split up’? Not likely” (p. 42).

“All couple fight, but healthy couples fight fair” (p. 53).

“One of the best ways you and your spouse can become slow to anger is by communicating regularly and honestly when you’re not facing conflict…work on your marriage during non-conflict times” (p. 61).

“When you’re married, fun is not a luxury; it’s a requirement…Without romance, without adventure – without fun – marriage is reduced to a simple business arrangement” (p. 85).

“We decided that our marriage will be as good as we decide it will be” (p. 141).

That last quote I feel sums up the main theme going through this book: if you want to have a great marriage, decide to make it great. Most things of great substance in someone’s life do not happen as an accident, it happens as a result of making choices. So if you want to have a great marriage, decide to make it great. Do not wait to see if it happens because if you wait, it will pass you by and you will miss out on years of fun as a married couple.

From This Day Forward is a great book and one I will use in the future when counseling and talking with couples getting married as well as couples already married. I also recommend singles read it as well. This book will go right up there with another book I reviewed called True Love Dates. So if you are dating and expecting to get married, engaged, or already married, pick this book up and read through it with your spouse and practice what it teaches. Choose to have a great marriage.

In compliance with regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I received a complimentary copy of by Zondervan in exchange for this review.


The Unbelievable Gospel

Unbelievable Gospel

 

Are you fearful of sharing your faith? Does striking up conversations regarding faith cause your palms to sweat and your head to spin? Do you find it hard to know when and where to bring up your relationship with Jesus in conversation or how to even try to transition? Or do you maybe wonder why it seems people are not open to the gospel message as much as it seems people used to be? If you answer yes to any of those questions, you are not alone. Many Christians would be right there with you, including myself, even as a youth pastor. The Unbelievable Gospel is the book for you.

Having never heard of Jonathan Dodson before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the insight and wisdom shared within this book is helpful as well as challenging for the individual seeking to learn how to truly engage the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jonathan, the founding pastor of City Life Church in Austin, TX, blends in personal stories to help people learn from what he himself has experienced.

One of the main themes woven throughout this book is that we as Christians need to have a way to share what we believe that helps other people see that it is in fact worth believing themselves. A point Jonathan argues is that many people do not see the gospel as something worth believing and thus when Christians try to share the gospel with them, they are not interested. This can be due to many various things going on in their lives but in many situations, it comes down to Christians not presenting the gospel in an attractive or believable fashion. Thus, Mr. Dodson wrote The Unbelievable Gospel to “show us how to communicate and embody a gospel that is believable, personal, and culturally engaging” (Back cover). How does he do this?

The book is divided into 3 sections: Defeaters, Re-evangelization, and metaphors. Defeaters is all about the things that pull at us and keep us from sharing the gospel. Re-Evangelization helps the reader recover the Gospel and “remind us of the need to continually communicate the eternal gospel in new ways to various cultures and people” (p. 100). Lastly, metaphors is the practical part of the book “filled with examples of how to share a believable gospel” (p. 142). Metaphors is where Jonathan simply started sharing story after story in hope of “stimulating our missional imagination” to help us see it is not difficult to share the gospel in a believable way, it just takes us being willing to listen to culture and the people around us to find ways into their lives. Mostly gone are the days where we simply just asked people to come to church or an evangelistic meeting with us; today, people want to hear and see the gospel lived out before their eyes. When people see authentic faith lived before them, it gives us more of a voice with them but we also have to be mindful of the people we are sharing with and be listening for ways to engage people in a way that is personal. We cannot simply use gospel presentations anymore.

Let me share a couple quotes with you:

“Surprisingly, it isn’t all that hard for someone to mistake clear gospel preaching with moral, religious teaching…This is why gospel preaching and teaching, as good as they are, are not enough. We need everyday evangelists, people who are willing to rub shoulders with those outside the church, hang out at their parties, take them to lunch, and ask enough loving questions to surface true beliefs. It takes time, conversations, and patience for people to get grace, to get it down into their hearts.” (p. 62)

“We desperately need to set apart Jesus as Lord in our hearts, not what others think as Lord. This is where deep security is found.” (p. 95)

“People need to know why Jesus is worthy of their faith.” (p. 143)

“An evangelizing church is a praying church. The church that evangelizes has to pray because it knows evangelism is ineffective apart from the powerful work of the Spirit, who responds both to our prayers and to God’s will.” (p. 203)

Are you looking for some renewed energy and motivation for sharing your faith? Has your approach to share the gospel kind of gotten stale? The Unbelievable Gospel will give you energy and ideas for how to share with people what we as Christians believe is the most important aspect of our lives. I am going to be looking for ways to use this book with my church youth group. I would also love to see a church curriculum come out of this book as I believe it would personally help the people in the church where I currently serve. The gospel is life changing and life giving and as followers of Christ, it is our mission to be sharing it with people we come in contact with. This book will help encourage you to engage the world.

In compliance with regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I received a complimentary copy of by Zondervan in exchange for this review.


Should Christians defend Same-Sex Marriage?

Samesex marriage

 

Same-sex marriage has been the topic you use to stir up controversy for years now. Political parties have been divided and businesses sued all due to how this topic drew a proverbial line in the sand daring people to stay on the opposite side and not support the movement. Today, if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and fear-monger. All you have to do to see that is look at how the Duggar family has been attacked recently as well as Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty. It is either support us or else. How did this country get to this place? How did we arrive at this point in history? Is there any chance for recovery from it? Is there any chance for the Biblical perspective on marriage to stand strong again?

Is homosexuality a sin? Is God really ok with people who practice homosexuality? Should Christians support marriage between homosexuals? How should Christians and churches respond? In the name of the “new tolerance” Christians are being shut up and people are trying to change what the Bible says to defend their lifestyles. So how should we as Christians respond? So what is or should be our response?

That is where this book comes in. Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet do an excellent job at covering the topic of same-sex marriage in-depth. This book helps people understand this: “Same-sex marriage is here. It went from unthinkable to legal at a dizzying pace. The question is: Now what?” (Front cover) This topic matters, especially to followers of Christ who want to stand with the Bible and its truth. There is a battle that will continue to be fought and for Christians, it is imperative that we know what we believe, know why we believe it and know how to defend it.

Throughout this book there is never a harsh word written towards anyone who labels themselves a homosexual or gay. You will not find it. There is no fear-mongering or trying to get people to see gay people, as unequal or unworthy of human rights. You will not find any hatred. This book is written in a loving but truth seeking manner. Same-Sex Marriage is about helping Christians learn to live “fully engaged in the world.” (Back cover) If we want to move forward and defend the Biblical definition of marriage, we need to understand a few things. We need to understand how the homosexual movement got us to this place, we need to be willing as the church to learn from the past and then we need to be able to look forward to the future and use what little voice we have left in the public square to stand for truth. If we truly want to engage the world around us as Christians should, then we need to be able to “balance humility, conviction, truth and hope.” (Back Cover)

Let me share 5 meaningful and powerful quotes from the book with you:

“A strong marriage culture brings stability to the lives of the individuals who are involved and to the entire community.” (p. 49)

“Unfettered freedom is destructive. Marriage brings incredible freedom, but only when properly understood.” (p. 127)

“Regardless of our words, reality hasn’t changed: sex still makes babies, society still needs babies, and babies still deserve a mom and a dad. We need a word for the unique relationship that best manages those things in a society. Expanding marriage to same-sex couples leaves us without one.” (p. 58)

“A culture in which sex is cheap is a culture in which people are devalued.” (p. 125)

“The most important question is not ‘What are we going to do about same-sex marriage?’ It is ‘What are we going to do about marriage?’

Go pick up a copy and read it with your family, teach it in your church and use it as a way to engage the world around you. We as Christians cannot come at this by attacking the other people. We must be willing to have conversations with people, engage them. That will open the door for us to speak truth.

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


The Dude’s Guide to Manhood

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This is the second book I have read by Darrin Patrick, the first being For the City which he and Matt Carter wrote together. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about this book before reading it. With a title like The Dude’s Guide, one could get the feeling the author is being prideful in writing a book such as this, claiming to know what it takes to be a man. Using terminology such as “The Dude’s” anything could be a ploy to grab at the heart of any male. However, I have to say this book is neither of those. I am glad I did not let the title push me away from reading it because this is a book that I needed to read and one I believe every man should read.

Why do I say this? Simple. As you read through this book, you are presented with a true, biblical perspective on what a man should be. Culture has skewed our perspective on what men should be. The world tries to say men who are more into video games than work are still growing up, thus why adolescence has been extended to past college. Men who cheat on their wives are in many cases no longer looked down on. Men who work so much they do not have time for their children are in some cases praised. Men are allowed to be vulgar, uncommitted, even lazy among other things. And because society has allowed this, men have dropped to that level. Men and porn are about as synonymous as baseball games and hot dogs or beer. It is not just expected that men will look at porn and we should just accept it. TV shows and movies now present this as just acceptable, even with a married man. All of this is just sad. Men have stooped to the low that the world has said is ok for them. We need a new standard, especially among Christians, to get men to be men.

How do we do this? One way would be to get this book, read it and then apply it to your life. At the end of the book, Darrin ties everything he just wrote together with the fact that for us to be men, we have to start with God and our relationship with Jesus. Without God, living as a true man is impossible. Without God, we will continue to settle into what the world says is ok or acceptable for men. If all we do is try to attempt everything Darrin writes in this book and use it as a 10 step program to become a better man, we will fail somewhere along the way. Without our relationship with Jesus fueling us in this fight, we will become overpowered and live in defeat.

This book is not for the weak. It is easy to succumb to the world’s pull and allow ourselves to live as weak men. But that is far from what God has called us to be. Our ultimate example of what a man should be is Jesus Christ. How he treated people, how He loved people, how He touched lives should be what drives us. God’s ultimate goal for men is to become like His Son and that is the standard by which we need to measure ourselves, not by those men around us. I am planning on using the discussion guide from this website, http://thejourney.org/media/dudes-guide-manhood, to help facilitate a men’s study at my church.

Men, get a copy of this book. Women, buy a copy for the man in your life. Churches, have your men go through this book. The church and the world need men to start being men again, and not the counterfeit men the world has put before us and claimed is manhood. The men presented in beer commercials are not the men God has called us to be. Even the most interesting man in the world, as one commercial claim, is a far cry from true and authentic manhood. There is so much more to being a man then just sleeping with as many women as possible and drinking beer and smoking cigars. God has called us to this and it is much more fulfilling than the counterfeit men the world produces.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.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.”


Weekly Scoop 3/28

Friday means time for the Weekly Scoop. Here are a few links for some great reading over the weekend.

It has been almost 13 years since the twin towers fell. Here is the story of One World Trade Center: http://time.com/world-trade-center/

Here is a great video on being raised without all the “stuff” that this generation has: Were you born in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s?

As the father to a little girl, so many of these hit home: Things little girls wish their daddies knew.

Want to start journaling? Here are a few reasons you should as well as how to start: Journaling 101.

I do not always read Matt Walsh’s blog, but when I do, I am typically not disappointed. Here is a response to a feminist.

Did science just make a discovery that points to God? It appears that way. But even if science discovered something that claimed there was no God, would it affect your faith? Does this big bang breakthrough give evidence for God?

One of the most important questions in the world is “Who is Jesus” because how you answer the question determines everything about your life. Here, Bono gives his answer to the question.

For pastors, church leaders, volunteers and even regular church attenders, here is a great link on how to make visitors feel welcome. 7 ways to connect with visitors.

Lastly, this video by David Platt is challenging because it comes around the question of what if we truly were as enthusiastic about Jesus as we were about some of the other things in our lives? This parable hits home.

Thanks for taking the time to check out the Weekly Scoop. Feel free to share this through Twitter, Facebook or email with others you believe would benefit from any of the above articles.