Tag Archives: Church

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 Unfortunately today, in many churches, theology is looked at as unnecessary, or outdated or even tedious.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.

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Weekly Scoop

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After a couple weeks hiatus, the Weekly Scoop is back, so without further ado, here are the links you should take the time to check out.

The movie Frozen has been a huge hit. Here is a great review of the movie: The Cold that Bothers Us.

A couple weeks ago, Donald Miller stirred up the waters in a post about why he does not regularly attend church. Ed Stetzer responded in a great way: Should I stay or should I go.

As a father to a daughter, I can definitely relate with this father’s open letter to his dauther: From the make up aisle.

Trent Hunter blogs his response to a question his son asks him: I hope my son’s life is in danger.

If you are young and see yourself as a leader, check out this post from Catalyst Conferences: 5 Ways to excel as a young leader.

A great post by Tim Challies regarding how Christians should respond to the new “Son of God” movie coming out: Writing checks to Mel Gibson.

Kevin DeYoung brings a great post about who in the church should be able to baptize: Who can baptize?

Well, thanks for checking in and I hope you take the time to check out these links. If you feel there is an article I should post to, please comment below and I will look into it for next week.


Weekly Scoop

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It’s Friday which means it’s time for the Weekly Scoop. Here are a few links I came across throughout the week that I believe would be worth your time. You will find links that challenge you to think, encourage you, open your eyes to something new and even cause you to laugh. Here they are:

First, Donald Miller, on his Storyline Blog this past week posted a couple articles explaining why he does not regularly attend church. I share a link to them here because we as Christians need to be prepared to have conversations like these: I connect with God elsewhere and Why I don’t go to church often.

As you can imagine, the previous two posts caused quite a stir, but one of the best responses was written by Mike Cosper: Donald Miller and the Culture of Contemporary Worship.

Here is a post for married couples: Mark Driscoll posted a great blog over at Resurgence on 1 Thing We would have changed in our marriage.

Here is an interesting post on the topic of men and child support related to women and abortion: Child Support.

This past week, Bill Nye and Ken Ham held a debate in Kentucky that was live streamed on CNN. I did not watch it but I followed along with it somewhat on Twitter. I read this blog the next day: The Ham-Nye creation debate: a huge missed opportunity.

Michael Hyatt posts a podcast on how to become a better conversationalist. I love the stuff Michael puts out and if you do not follow him, I highly recommend you do: Becoming a better conversationalist.

One for pastors, here is another great post by Justin Lathrop: 5 ways to avoid stress as a pastor.

Lastly, if you have never seen a Hoops and Yoyo card, you are missing out. Here is one for this Friday: It’s I Don’t Care Friday.

 

Thanks for checking out the weekly scoop. If you like what you see feel free to subscribe by clicking the bottom right link that says +Follow. You can also follow me on Twitter using the link on your right. Lastly, share this with your Twitter followers as well. If there is a post or article you think I should include on my next weekly scoop, mention it in the comments below.


Weekly Scoop 10/19

The government is back in business, the baseball playoffs are getting closer to the World Series and the NBA season will be starting soon. Liberty University’s homecoming was today and a big college football game is about to happen this evening between Clemson and Florida State; Death Valley will be quite alive tonight. With that said, I am going to go ahead with this week’s Weekly Scoop. The following links are ones I believe will be worth your time to check out:

Simply stated, this guy’s story is one that you should check out. This is a true example of how the church should be: http://blog.vyrso.com/2013/10/14/chasing-god-one-mans-journey-into-americas-slums/.

Ann Voskamp shares a letter one of her friend’s wrote on her blog. I decided I would share it as well. It is a letter to the church from Anita Renfroe. This is my prayer for the church as well: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/10/dear-church-why-its-okay-to-really-need-each-other/.

Another great story I saw making its way around social media this week was this story about a 15 year old orphan not just attending a church, but standing up during the service to ask if anyone wanted to adopt him: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2463498/Orphan-Davion-Only-goes-church-asks-adopt-him.html.

Phil Cooke shares a story ESPN put out that shares a pro-life perspective. Not many channels are willing to put something like this on TV, especially a sports channel. I applaud ESPN for sharing this story and I pray more like them make the news: http://philcooke.com/espns-unexpected-pro-life-video/.

If you like posts that cause you to be amazed at how beautiful this planet is and how awesome God is, check out this link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/10368294/Surreal-landscapes-around-the-world.html.

Last, I want to share an article by Ed Stetzer on discipleship. There is a movement happening in the church centered on discipleship. This is a great movement and important simply because the church is to be making disciples. Check out what ed Stetzer has to say about it: http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2013/august/better-discipleship.html.

Thanks again for joining me for this week’s weekly scoop. If you see something that you feel is worthy of sharing, please contact me and let me know so I could include it in the future.


Covington…Here we come!!

Well, since my last post not related to a book review there has been a pretty big change in the life of thetoddlynn. My wife and I, and our daughter too, will be moving to Covington, VA where I have accepted the position of youth pastor at Temple Baptist Church. My new ministry will begin June 1st which means my time at Journey will end on May 31st. Marcie and I have had so many memories at Journey and while we are sad that we are leaving and will miss everyone so much, we are also looking forward to this new opportunity.

From the very beginning of this process, God has been clear that this is the next step He wanted us to take. Having lived in Covington for 8 years of my life from 1989 through 1997, I never expected God would lead me back there. When I first heard that a church in Covington would be looking for a youth pastor, my initial response was “no way!” Maybe with a little more emphasis though. However, as I prayed about it and sought after God’s leading, it became obvious I should send in my résumé for consideration. After sending it in, Marcie and I continually committed it to prayer and asked God to make it crystal clear what He wanted us to do. We were hesitant because of the ministry that we had at Journey and how we had built some strong relationships with the youth and did not want to leave that. However, the more we prayed, the more God kept opening the door and leading us towards Covington. Through this whole process God has constantly shown Himself to Marcie and me in numerous ways to encourage and comfort us that this was His leading, and not our own.

Marcie and I have had numerous conversations regarding what God might want for us in the future. I would try to encourage her that with the heart God has given us for students, we needed to be ready to go anywhere and do anything. In my pride, I really thought God was using me to help prepare my wife for some kind of move whereas; God was actually preparing my heart. As I said before, I never saw myself moving back to Covington. I constantly challenge the youth at Journey to be willing to step out of their comfort zone and share the love of God with those students they come in contact with each and every day in school. It is so easy to be passive in our relationship with God when God calls us to be intentional.

Intentional.

That word has been on my mind constantly in the last couple months. What do I want to be remembered for when people look back on my life? When I look back at my life, what do I want to see? How do I want people to say I lived? How do I want to live each and every day?

With intention, intentionally. Not just letting life pass me by but living intentionally. Being intentional with my wife. Being intentional with my daughter. Being intentional with the ministry God has given me. Living intentionally and sharing the Gospel intentionally with my words and with how I live.

The first way God has chosen to help me live intentionally is to follow Him intentionally to Covington, VA where I will get the awesome opportunity to pour into students of all ages, from elementary kids to college students.

One verse that has stood out to me through this whole process, one that I have tried to live my life by is Acts 20:24:

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God.

This is the ministry that God has given my wife and I. This is the course that He has laid out for us. We are excited about this new chapter about to begin but at the same time, sad the chapter we are in is about to come to a close. I am very thankful for social media and text messaging so we will still be able to keep in touch with the youth we have poured our lives into the last 2 ½ years. These last couple years really helped bring Marcie and I to the point we are at right now and it’s been amazing to look back and see God’s constant provision and direction in our lives. Even though it might not have come in the way we would have wanted, it has come in a way that has lead us to lean more heavily on God and learn to trust Him with every area of our lives. He is in control. God never promises us an easy life but He has promised to go with us every step of the way.

The other verse that has been laid on my heart is Matthew 28:19-20 which the way we have translated it says “Therefore, Go and make disciples of all nations…” The word so often translated in our Bibles as “go” really means “as you are going.” It has the understanding with it that as we are living our lives, be making disciples. Wherever God places you in life, wherever He leads you, make disciples. As we begin this transition, we go with that command, to make disciples in Covington, VA. So Covington, ready or not, here we come!!!

I pray this little recap of our lives challenges you. Not because we are great people of God but because we are people trying to serve a great God.

It’s all about the Gospel.


Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp

 

Dangerous Calling

This book is, simply put, a must read for any individual who desires to enter full-time, part-time or lay pastoral ministry. I would actually go so far as to say that this book would be an eye-opener for anyone in the church because many people in the church do not truly understand everything a pastor faces in his life and ministry. Paul David Tripp does an amazing job of capturing the dangers and temptations that face not just the pastor, but his family as well. Dangerous Calling takes a long, in-depth look at pastoral ministry and reveals what could be considered a darker side of ministry.

Before reading this book, I was only vaguely familiar with Paul Tripp and his ministry, and most of my exposure was through Twitter and a couple podcasts. I must confess that I am pleased I went with the recommendation to review Dangerous Calling. As a part-time youth pastor for the last two years, I have faced only portion of what many pastors have faced throughout their ministry. However, everything I read in Tripp’s book was presented in a clear and understandable way. What Paul writes in this book makes perfect sense and was not only a challenge to me, but also an encouragement because it shows that I am not alone in my struggles, nor will I ever be alone.

From the very beginning of the book, you see that Paul Tripp is not trying to hide behind a façade of seemingly perfect ministry. He is more than willing to share his own personal stories of struggle and weakness as a pastor that God brought him through and used in his own life and ministry to bring him to where he is today. He helps the reader understand that he is not above them looking down on them, but trying to walk alongside of them to encourage them and help them so they do not make some of the same errors he has made. He also uses stories from pastors who have come to him for help and encouragement. However, all of these stories and examples and insight are meant to bring us to the understanding that pastors still need the same grace we preach just as much as those we preach to need it. Pastors have not arrived at a certain level of holiness that has allowed them to become a pastor. Pastors are not above the gospel. Pastors are not at a place in their spiritual walk where they need something besides the gospel to keep them going. The hope of glory according to the Bible is Christ IN us, not Christ AND us. So the gospel includes everything we need to live a life that brings glory to God and leads us into a more intimate relationship with the Lord. This gospel is the same for everyone, from the newest follower of Christ to the most seasoned and battle-worn disciple. We are all saved by the same grace and are all called to make disciples. The temptation thought that faces many pastors today is the idea that they have arrived and they are somehow above those they are preaching too. This could not be further from the truth. Paul Tripp does an amazing job at explaining this in a way that helps humble a pastor but yet encourage them and push them towards the gospel.

I believe this book would do well in the hands of any seminary student as well and would be a very beneficial and insightful text for any would-be-pastor. In one part of the book, Paul shares stories from different seminary classes he has had the opportunity to teach and how it opened his eyes to how seminary is a very beneficial tool to help train ministry leaders, but it can also be extremely dangerous as well if the student’s heart is not truly where it needs to be. This topic is discussed in chapters entitled “Big Theological Brains and Heart Disease” and “More than Knowledge and Skill.” Being a pastor takes more than just theological knowledge and communication skills and counseling wisdom. Being a pastor takes a heart that seeks to chase and follow after God’s heart step by step. If the heart is not in it, the person filling the pulpit will do little to truly fill the role of a pastor in their local church. Dangerous Calling served as a great reminder and heart check for me in my ministry. Many times I have found myself falling short of my calling and with how I respond to and love people and this book brought me to an understanding of how I daily need God’s grace and to preach the gospel to myself in order to give me a heart after God’s own heart. The heart is the key to any ministry position and if our heart is left to wander, our ministry will wander as well.

Here are a couple noteworthy quotes from the book:

“In pastoral ministry, it is very hard to keep what God says is important, important in your heart.”

“It is critical to understand that your ministry will always be either propelled by or victimized by what you treasure.”

Being a pastor is much more than just a position to hold or a profession to seek. Your life is always under pressure from both the internal and external. Internally you have a battle raging as a follower of Christ and as someone attempting to lead and shepherd other Christians. You also face external pressures from those very people within your church as well. These pressures can eventually lead a pastor to crack, especially if their heart is not in the right place.

There are so many other quotes I could include or points I could make that I drew from this book but I am just going to strongly encourage you to actually pick up a copy of the book as well and read it for yourself. I highly recommend reading it as your eyes will be opened to the dangerous calling that pastors face. If you are following God’s leading in your life to be a pastor, this book will be great. Or, if you simply want to understand how you can minister to your pastor, this book would be well worth your time.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for this review. Thanks for taking the time to read this review and feel free to leave comments or questions.


Waiting on the World to Change?

 

Am I waiting on the world to change or am I actively trying to make a difference? Am I so focused on my own life (my job, my bills, my family, etc.) that it is possible for me to live a day without having any meaningful contact with other people? If I were to just keep on waiting for the world to change, would it happen? Or will the world only change when we get involved and get our hands and feet a little dirty?

This morning I noticed a Tweet by Justin Holcomb with a title that just hooked me in to reading the story. If you do not know much about Justin Holcomb, you can check out his website: http://justinholcomb.com/.  Justin is a pastor at Mars Hill Church and serves as Executive Director of The Resurgence (you can Google those names if you are interested in finding out more) and has written a couple books and I have just recently been exposed to his work. I thank the Lord that I was. This morning, he tweeted a link to the following story: http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/03/justice/ohio-rape-online-video/index.html?c=homepage-t. As I said, the title of the tweet just pulled me in and even at 3:30 AM, I found myself shaking my head in disbelief and wondering how humanity has come to this point where taking advantage of someone is actually ok.

I know I am not alone in wondering that. If you read the news consistently, or watch TV, you are left wondering how have we come this far? The biggest story to recently get people thinking about how far humans have come is when the 20 children were killed in Newtown, CT. Mostly everyone agrees that it is just sad. Then, as I was reading the story this morning, my heart just hurt. As I was working, I could not get the story out of my head. I believe that since I am a father to a 2 year old daughter, every time I hear or read of something being done to a girl or boy, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief. How can this happen? Not only how can this happen, but how can enough people be ok with events like this that we just turn our heads in some ways? How can everyone not see the necessary changes we need?

But what is going to bring about the change that so many people agree needs to happen? Will stricter gun laws bring about change in this country and keep people from going into elementary schools, high schools, colleges, movie theaters and malls and murdering others? Will making abortion illegal keep them from happening? Will keeping schools from handing out condoms keep teens from getting in bed together? Will posting the Ten Commandments in school and public buildings make everything right? I would have to say no, and I feel many of you would agree with that. Why?  We are dealing with the wrong thing. We are trying to keep the end result from happening instead of targeting the real issue, the cause of all of this, the human heart. If the heart does not change, actions will not change. No matter how hard we make it for young people to have abortions, they will still have them unless the heart is dealt with. No matter how hard we make it to get your hands on a gun, people will still murder unless we first deal with the heart. (This alone is evidence by the fact that a city with what seem to be the strictest gun laws also has one of the highest murder rates.) If the heart is not addressed, then no law is going to bring about true and lasting change.

This post is not going to solve everything or even bring to light some earth-shattering evidence. I just want to make a couple statements and share my thoughts. First, the story that I have been mentioning comes from a small town in Ohio where one of the bright spots is the high school football team. The issue at hand in that area is the story that a couple players from the football team raped a younger girl, and then took to social media (twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc.) and made a joke out of it. The first part of what I just said is sad enough, but then for them to actually make a joke about it? In one video, a guy is laughing while he is being questioned by one of his friends concerning what happened. This individual is not alone as you can hear other people along, with the individual recording, in the room laughing at what happened. How did we get to this point where younger men have no respect for younger girls and women in general? Where did we get to the point where people just do not respect others at all? People have lost respect and interest for life in general.

Another question is why has this happened? Well, all we need to do is look at what our society has allowed to happen and look at examples being set for our children and young people. What seems to have more of an impact on our minds than anything? What we feed it of course. If we feed our mind large amounts of music, TV shows, video games or movies with offensive, crude or poor themes, it will become ingrained in our head and we will become less sensitive to it and less bothered by it. A quick look at TV shows today show people young and old who care less about anyone other than themselves and only care about getting what they want. People are taught that unfaithfulness, cheating, lying, and stealing, among other things, are ok, as long as they are not caught. What is sad is that many within the church have become calloused to this with what we allow in our homes. We justify it by saying it won’t be a big deal, it’s just a little harmless entertainment. However, what can seem harmless is quite capable of destroying lives as well as bringing us to the point we are at now left wondering what happened.

So once again, what will change it?

What is going to change the culture we live in? What is going to change the world? What is going to get people to actually treat others with respect? The simple answer is God. It will not change with the next vote. It will not change with enforcing certain laws. The only thing that can truly change the society we live in is for Christians to truly allow God to get a grip on their life and to truly take the Great Commission and the Great Commandment seriously, realizing it is not just a suggestion, but a requirement for those who profess Christ. We are called to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” Salt cannot be effective unless it comes in contact with what it is flavoring. Light cannot be seen if it is hidden. For us to have an impact on the world we cannot run from it, seclude ourselves from it, or avoid it, we have to come on contact with it. How are we showing young people to respect others? How are we showing love to our neighbors? How are we caring for those living on our block and right next door? Have we even tried reaching out to those next to us and tried getting to know them? How do we actively love others? I am currently reading the book Dirty God by Johnnie Moore and the chapter I just finished mentioned something that I want to quote here.

What if a billion Christians began to live a lifestyle of grace as wildly as Jesus did? What if we cared enough about others to say and do what needs to be said and done, whether it’s popular or not?

Jesus lived in such a way that people were drawn to Him. The disciples also lived to where people saw a difference in their lives and wanted to hear about Jesus because of what they saw in them. Christians in the early church lived differently from the world around them to the extent that they were easily picked out of society/culture. Jim Elliott, a famous missionary, is known for giving his life trying to reach a group of natives in South America. One of the quotes he is most known for is this: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” That quote has served as inspiration for me many times along with Jim Elliot’s life. Acts 4:13 ends with this statement: “And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” This statement is made in relation to Peter and John. They had just been arrested for testifying about what they had seen and heard with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.

To close, I just want to ask: can that be said about you? Can people recognize that you have been with Jesus by spending time in His Word, in prayer, in fellowship with other believers? One thing is for sure, if we were to truly live out the grace that God has given us, the world couldn’t help but change. So what is holding us back? What is holding me back? This will not completely rid the world of evil in that it will always exist until Jesus returns but think of how many could be changed and how many lives could be rescued by Christians living as though we are in a real Spiritual battle.

God, please help me to live and share your grace with everyone I come in contact with. I pray that those who see me and talk to me recognize that I have been with Jesus. Help me to live in constant awareness of the Spiritual battle going on all around me right now.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Comments are welcome.


The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons

The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons

Being an avid reader, I love picking up books by authors who I am unfamiliar with. Gabe Lyons is one of those authors. With this being the first book I have read by Gabe Lyons, I was unsure what to expect but what I came across was a very well written and thought through book. Gabe helped start Catalyst as well as founding a “learning community that mobilizes Christians to advance the common good in society.” This is evident from the moment you open the book.

In today’s society, Christians have not been defined as being “thinkers.” Most people would probably define them as hypocrites, judgmental, and other similar demeaning words. However, this is far from the purpose God founded the church and what He desires from His followers. In Gabe’s first book, he wrote about how society/culture is having a growing disregard for Christians. The Next Christians speaks of how Gabe notices a trend of new Christians who are actively beginning to engage society and culture in a new way.

The Next Christians takes an invigorating look at how Christians can begin to truly impact culture. The previous generation did its best to avoid culture and tried to stay away because of how they were worried culture would impact them. Unfortunately, remaining on the defensive did not keep the culture from impacting the church in a negative way. Now though, as Christians, we need to actively engage the culture for us to have any chance at impacting the world for Christ. We have to be what the Bible calls the “hands and feet” of Jesus. And we have to do this in ways that Jesus did, by going to the broken. Jesus came into the world as a baby and lived among those He desired to reach and save. If we want to see a world changed for God’s glory, we need to do the same thing, be willing to go to where the hurting and broken live.

Towards the beginning of the book, Gabe writes about three different types of Christian approaches to the world: Separatist, Cultural, Restorers. While I might not completely agree with everything in this part of the book, I have to agree with the following statement: “Telling others about Jesus is important, but conversion isn’t their only motive. Their mission is to infuse the world with beauty, grace, justice and love.” If Christians were to truly live this way, the world would begin to change because they would see what following Christ is all about. And when people see genuine examples of Christ followers in the world, they take notice and people change.

This book was a great challenge and I would highly recommend it for anyone to read, especially for someone who feels God leading them into any form of ministry. It is a refreshing book that gives new light on how the younger generation, the next generation, of Christians can truly make a difference for Christ, and Gabe gives some great guideposts to how this can be done. Go ahead and pick up a copy, it will be worth your read.

Thank you for taking the time to read this review. I hope it gives you an idea of what this book contains and whether you want to take the time to read it or not. Feel free to check out any of the other book reviews on my blog: https://thetoddlynn.wordpress.com/ and follow for any new blog posts or reviews.

 

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review as a part of their Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.


What is Sunday to you?

I have been reading the story of Hudson Taylor in the book Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret. I highly recommend the book to anyone who desires to be encouraged in the spiritual walk with the Lord. With this post, I really just want to share a paragraph from the book. I pray that it truly gets you thinking about how we take Sunday’s for granted and how in other countries, people really are giving up whatever they have to worship on Sundays. I pray this challenges you.

“And Sunday had its teaching periods too. It cost the Christians not a little to close shop and store, sacrificing as far as their business affairs were concerned one day in seven. Yet Hudson Taylor and his colleagues knew that no strong, self-propagating church can be built up on any other basis. They determined therefore to do their utmost to make the sacrifice worthwhile, by filling the hours thus given to God with helpful and joyous occupation. Between the regular services, Christians, inquirers, patients, schoolchildren and servants were divided into classes and taught in a bright, personal way. This made Sunday a heavy day for the missionaries, for there were only four of them; but if it cost some toil and weariness, they were the better able to appreciate the sacrifices made by the converts. Some had to walk long distances and go without food the greater part of the day, and others had to face persecution and personal loss. But they were willing, most of them, for all it involved, if only they could have the Lord’s day for worship, for they were conscious of the difference it made all through the week.” (Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, p. 96)

After reading this part of the book, I was definitely challenged as to how I take Sundays for granted. I do not have to walk miles to get to church. I do not have to sacrifice hours on end in order to attend. I do not have to go without food either. Most of the people who attend church in this country take it for granted in that we are so willing to miss it. Parents even engage their children in activities where they are allowed to miss church. We sometimes even look for reasons to miss. Church has become just another thing to put on the schedule. But after reading this part of the book, I pray that God reawakens this desire in American Christians.

In conclusion, I love how the paragraph ends: “they were conscious of the difference it made all through the week.” Does church do that for you? Does the fellowship and encouragement received from fellow believers on Sunday make that big of a difference for you throughout the week?

 

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