20 December 2012

1. This short film on adoption from the I Like Giving campaign, via Justin Taylor.

2. This article, Joy Comes to the Rescue, from Desiring God, about keeping our hearts.

3. This article from Ravi Zacharias in response to the tragedy at Newtown last week.

13 December 2012

1. Standing on Your Tiptoes, by Elyse Fitzpatrick. 
What I need to remember is that the Father didn’t spare his own Son, but gave him up for me. If he would do that, wouldn’t it stand to reason that he will grow me in the way I need to be grown, when I need to be grown? He’s already graciously given me everything I need to be pleasing in his sight. So I can rest in his work and wait for the fruit of it to appear in its season, in his time.  I can trust that even when I fail he’s using my failure to make me more like him–more humble, more dependent, and more thankful for grace.
2. On Stereotypes, Risk, and Jesus--Mark Driscoll interviews John Piper. 3. Just added Beasts of the Southern Wild to my film list after reading this review

02 December 2012

1. It's always someone's first Sunday at your church. Josh Reich: Resurgence.
2. New favourite song. "Only at Mars Hill can you turn a song about war into a song about Christmas."
3. New favourite album: Joy Has Dawned, by King's Kaleidoscope.

23 November 2012

20 November 2012

From Trevin Wax:
We will never be effective missiologically if the main source of our energy is spent rooting out every sinful tendency we have in our hearts. There is no end to discovering our depravity. The paradoxical truth is that the more we rest in the goodness of our Savior, the more progress we make in our fight against sin.

04 November 2012

I should re-name this blog 'What I'm reading now that I don't want to forget'.

1. 'Four ways to pray the gospel over your life' by JD Greear. These are stellar. Regarding number three ('Your presence and approval are all I need today for everlasting joy'): 'It’s one thing to know that Jesus is your possession; it’s another for that approval to have such weightiness in our hearts that our captivity to other idols is snapped.'

2. 'Be stressed out and do not sin' by Jonathan Parnell. 'God's unfailing love for me in Jesus reaches down into the details of my life and wields them for my good.... I can bank on the fact that he's got all this under control. And that makes me a different person.'

03 November 2012

From Taryn Clark: 'This is what I do' --her account of life in the aftermath of Sandy. "Someone asks me why all of us are doing this and I tell him, 'Because we’re the church. We’re followers of Christ, doing His work. This is how we live our faith.'"

01 November 2012

1. 'Seven Practical Steps to Cultivate a Heart For the Lost' from John Piper posted by Justin Taylor. Good stuff yo.
2. 'Two Ways the Gospel Changes Your View of Sin'. Tim Keller. Resurgence.

20 October 2012

le 20 octobre 2012

I should be working on my Cézanne paper for art history. 

1. From Jonathan Dodson's post over at the Resurgence:
The gospel is good news whether someone perceives it to be good to them or not. But the only reason we know is because we experience its grace-saturated goodness in our everyday lives. We know the gospel is good, not just in theory, but in the experience of suffering, parenting, dating, working, and so on....The trouble, of course, is that there are so many people who don’t know the power of the gospel like you and me. They don’t know how the gospel is good news for them.
2. 'Five Tips for Authors Who Also Happen to Be Mothers' from Sibella Giorello, an author I happen to know. 
3. And thanks to Sibella for a link to here, an article about a book and a Pringles analogy.
4. Soundtrack.

08 October 2012

le 8 octobre 2012

1. From the Wall Street Journal, this article by Camille Paglia, 'How Capitalism Can Save Art'
2. Hospitality: from David Mathis
In a progressively post-Christian society, the importance of hospitality as an evangelistic asset is growing rapidly. Increasingly, the most strategic turf on which to engage the unbelieving with the good news of Jesus may be the turf of our own homes....

The reason this is no minor biblical theme is because the streams of hospitality flow deeply from the well of God. Christians love the stranger, because we have been loved by the Father when we ourselves were strangers. Hospitality rises in its purest form when we heed Paul’s counsel, “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
In Jesus, we find ourselves now to be the enemy who has been loved, the sinner who is saved, the stranger who is welcomed. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). And welcomed strangers should be quick to learn to welcome other strangers. 

06 September 2012

1. This article from Desiring God by Jonathan Parnell on what love really is: a work of divine grace that causes joy to well up in our hearts which overflows into giving to others. This has changed my week and hopefully my whole life!
2. This article by Christine Hoover on how believers are no longer orphans and how this truth changes our lives. We don't have to take care of ourselves. We don't have to be strong. We don't have to protect ourselves from being taken advantage of. We can be dependent. We are free to be weak. We are loved. We are accepted, we belong. We can trust God. We don't need to be scared of getting close to people. We are not on the outside looking in. 
3. Another article: 'Practicing the Presence of the Holy Spirit' by Justin Taylor on Richard Lovelace's book.

We should make a deliberate effort at the outset of every day to recognize the person of the Holy Spirit, to move into the light concerning his presence in our consciousness and to open our minds and to share all our thoughts and plans as we gaze by faith into the face of God.
We should continue to walk throughout the day in a relationship of communication and communion with the Spirit mediated through our knowledge of the Word, relying upon every office of the Holy Spirit’s role as counselor mentioned in Scripture.
We should acknowledge him as the illuminator of truth and of the glory of Christ.
We should look to him as teacher, guide, sanctifier, giver of assurance concerning our sonship and standing before God, helper in prayer, and as one who directs and empowers our witness.
We should particularly recognize that growth in holiness is not simply a matter of the lonely individual making claims of faith on the basis ofRomans 6:1-14. It involves moving about in all areas of our life in dependent fellowship with a person: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16 NASB).
When this practice of the presence of God is maintained over a period of time, our experience of the Holy Spirit becomes less subjective and more clearly identifiable, as gradually we learn to distinguish the strivings of the Spirit from the motions of our flesh. (pp. 130-131)

27 August 2012

1. From a sermon by Steve DeWitt via Justin Taylor:
You can put all the parameters in place, have accountability partners, and date high quality Christians, but sexual desire will overwhelm all the boundaries unless in my heart I have one thing – a greater desire for God’s pleasure than sexual pleasure. That doesn’t just happen. I have to stoke my desires for God while starving my desire for sexual fulfillment.
2. From Tullian Tchividjian:
God uses his law to crush hard hearts and his gospel to cure broken hearts. The law is God’s first word; the gospel is God’s final word. And when we rush past God’s first word to get to God’s final word and the law has not yet had a chance to do its deep wrecking work, the gospel is not given a chance to do its deep restorative work. Sinners never experience the freedom that comes from crying “Abba” (gospel) until they first cry “Uncle” (law). 

11 August 2012

paying attention in a distracted/distracting world

1. This quote from Russ Ramsey, via Justin Taylor:
So many things in life fall into this category—events you simply cannot bottle for later—like the birth of a child, the funeral of a loved one, a sunset, the presentation and enjoyment of a great meal, a surprise party, a concert, climbing out of a cold tent in the mountains and restoking the campfire as you watch the sun come up, sifting through the rubble of a flood or a fire, kissing your daughter’s forehead as the nurses wheel her off to surgery, asking your girlfriend to marry you, or watching a thunderstorm roll in. 
In our amazing era of digital immediacy, I can tell the world where I am and what I’m doing while I’m doing it. I can present myself as a busy man living a rich and full life. I can take pictures of my meals, log my locations, snap photos of the people I’m with, and weigh in on what’s happening around the globe 140 characters at a time. But none of these things mean I’ve been paying attention. 
The degree to which we are able to be present in the moment, psychologists say, is one of the chief indicators of mental health and security in our personal identity. I can buy that. And I would submit that this takes a lot of courage.
2. Last week I read the following quote from Jonathan Harris via SwissMiss
The more you document your own life, the more you check in, you tweet, the more you post photos of what you did last night, the more you do all of this stuff, or even in my case, the more you listen for little lines of dialogue that can make their way into stories, the more you photograph moments, in a way, the more you start to step out of those moments, and if you do that too much, you become a spectator to your own life.

01 August 2012

1. This post by Tim Keller, 'The Gospel vs. Moralism.' 
'Every sin is rooted in the inordinate lust for something which comes because we are trusting in that thing rather than in Christ for our righteousness or salvation. We sin because we are looking to some- thing else to give us what only Jesus can give us. Beneath any particular sin is the general sin of rejecting Christ’s salvation and attempting our own self-salvation.'
2. This post by Jen Smidt about fearing God. 'The fear of the Lord leads to life and whoever has it rests satisfied; (s)he will not be visited by harm.'  Proverbs 19:23

30 July 2012

1. This article by Tullian Tchividjian on self-forgetfulness and sanctification.
2. This article by Perry Noble about dealing with conflict and how not to deal with conflict.

16 July 2012

why we sin

From Rick Gamache's sermon and Desiring God:

We sin because we forget God’s steadfast love and abundant mercy. When we are not ravished by him, we forget the superior pleasures that there are in God and give ourselves to the inferior pleasures of sin. And this is why David says, “Against you God, you only have I sinned.” He goes deep with his confession because he knows repentance is the way back to fellowship with God....
Sexual sin is a symptom of lack of fullness of joy and gladness in Jesus. It’s a symptom of a lack of being ravished by the love and kindness and mercy and goodness and beauty and excellence and majesty and glory and honor and power of God.

08 July 2012


1. This article about Troy and Sara Groves and their new Art House North in Minnesota.

14 June 2012

Jay Erickson: "[I]t [living next to a hospital] has caused me to realize again in a new way that there is nothing sad about the death of a Christian. The only sadness (and I do not intend to belittle this aspect) is in the loss of companionship by those left behind. And yet, to contrast this, the level of tragedy is so vast for the passing of an unbeliever. "

I love these words, from a missionary pilot in Zambia who died for the sake of the gospel. And I pray for a grander, bigger vision of Jesus, that I too will be compelled to give my life away for His sake. 

From Ken Currie:

Here's one answer: God gives most of us this awareness of awkwardness so that we would never, not for a second, trust in or magnify ourselves and drift away from the magnificence of the gospel. This awareness in evangelism makes the gospel tangible. It means I need the gospel right now myself. Not only does my hearer need Jesus at this moment, but so do I!
Jesus died for disciples who do a poor job of witnessing. He died for those of us who have all too often failed to commend him because we feared it might get awkward. But he also died to give us the grace to press through the awkwardness to testify to him.
May God give us the grace to rebound from our many failures and grace not to fold in the face of awkwardness in telling others the most important news in the world.
So true. 

29 May 2012

creativity for God's glory

From Stephen Altrogge on Desiring God:

Every man, woman, and child is creative. When we create, it pleases God, because He sees us reflecting his image. He sees us “imaging” him to the rest of the world. God loves to see his image shine throughout the world.

But creativity is hard work. It takes work to create a poem or garden or car engine or piece of furniture. It requires killing our laziness and working faithfully over extended periods of time. It requires a willingness to receive criticism with humility. It requires sweat and elbow grease. It requires diligence and faithfulness. It’s easier to not make anything at all. To be a consumer. To suffocate the creative gifts that God has given us.

26 May 2012

notes 26 may 2012

1. This blogger talks about why she doesn't make her son share.
2. This quote below from Jonathan Dodson via Desiring God encouraged my heart so much. 
 Prayer is about love not about lists. It is about drawing near to God, not about impressing God. It is about enjoying his grace not enduring guilt. In fact, our genuine guilt for loving something altogether more than we love the Father is gone in Christ. God so loved us that he sent his only Son to be cut off in death so that we might be wonderfully united with him in life. Prayer is a response to the Father and the Son; it is a warm reaction to what they have together done for us. Prayer is communion with God, a cementing of souls together in a common delight, in this case, a delight in God and his grace towards us in Christ. It begins and continues with honest words about our loveless lives, our guilt-ridden approaches to prayer, and a shameless embrace of God's reckless love and grace.

I love this definition of and reminder about gospel community. Via Vitamin Z.

14 May 2012

From Lydia Brownback, via Desiring God
I was paralyzed by the volume of projects on my plate and found myself unable to make headway with any of it. I came home one day and cast myself onto my bed and cried out to God, “I just can’t do this anymore, Lord!”
Over the next day or so he answered my cry with the conviction that my trouble had more to do with my attitude than with my workload. It wasn’t his enabling that I’d really wanted. It was free time. In my desire to fill up more hours with relaxation and personal comforts, I had ceased to see that the work on my plate was a gift, as all kingdom work is. In writing and speaking, I’m not doing God any favors; he is blessing me with the privilege of getting to do it. (italics mine)

05 May 2012

notes cinco de mayo

1. Mozart and Vince Gill by Doug Wilson.
2. Fine Culture and Folk Culture from John Piper via Justin Taylor.
Intrinsic vulnerabilities of high culture include elitism and snobbishness. In demanding high levels of intellect and skill, it easily inflates the ego of those who succeed in it, and tempts them to look with contempt on folk culture with its simpler achievements. It easily isolates technical expertise from the larger issues of life and attempts to give it intrinsic value instead of defining its value in relation to other, more important spiritual and personal realities. It is inevitably less accessible to average people and therefore tends toward performance rather than participation, and this performance orientation carries again the tendency toward an atmosphere of aloofness and distance.
Folk culture keeps the truth clear that elite groups of intellectuals and artists that look with contempt on the common man and his needs and tastes are not admirable persons no matter how accomplished their talents. Folk culture has the potential of reminding us that God must have loved the common people because he made so many of them. Folk culture is by nature incarnational: it clothes its claims with the skin of ordinary people and affirms implicitly the value of getting through to the mind and heart of the masses.
3. How Classical Education Shapes Us as God Intended by Bradley Green.
4. "Stop telling people to 'Be Jesus to people'". Jeff Vanderstelt via Justin Taylor

28 April 2012

notes le 28 avril 2012

Kevin DeYoung posted this great D. A. Carson quote:
Doubt may be fostered by sleep deprivation. If you keep burning the candle at both ends, sooner or later you will indulge in more and more mean cynicism—and the line between cynicism and doubt is a very thin one. Of course, different individuals require different numbers of hours of sleep: moreover, some cope with a bit of tiredness better than others. Nevertheless, if you are among those who become nasty, cynical, or even full of doubt when you are missing your sleep, you are morally obligated to try to get the sleep you need. We are whole, complicated beings; our physical existence is tied to our spiritual well-being, to our mental outlook, to our relationships with others, including our relationship with God. Sometimes the godliest thing you can do in the universe is get a good night’s sleep—not pray all night, but sleep. I’m certainly not denying that there may be a place for praying all night; I’m merely insisting that in the normal course of things, spiritual discipline obligates you get the sleep your body need. (Scandalous, 147)

19 March 2012

le 19 mars 2012

1. "A woman who fears the Lord is one who, despite her desire for a date, fears being far away from God more than she does missing out on a man who is easily fooled by her exterior." -Jen Smidt
2. "When Christians press mute, people are left to make up their own versions of Christianity.... Actions might remedy a perception of personal self-righteousness, but only words can clarify the meaning of the gospel." -Jonathan Dodson

15 March 2012

this is brilliant

Justin Taylor: What are some of the things you have found most helpful in your own walk with the Lord in terms of developing a sanctified imagination?
Kevin Vanhoozer: Before I answer that, let me say something about the very idea (for which I am grateful) of a “sanctified imagination.”
First, I find that the imagination is a vital ingredient in my sanctification. I need to keep the big biblical picture (creation-fall-redemption-consummation)
in mind as I attempt to live day by day, minute by minute, as a follower of Jesus Christ who desires above all to have one’s thought and life correspond to the gospel. To do that, I have to keep the gospel story (together with its presuppositions and implications) in mind, and I have to connect my story to that of Jesus. That requires imagination.
Second, the imagination is “sanctified” because it is “set apart” for the purpose of making just these kinds of connections.
There are vain imaginings, of course. These tend to be the ones that encourage us to see our lives as part of some other picture where God is either absent or other than the Father of Jesus Christ.
As for practical helps for cultivating a sanctified imagination, let me mention two.
First, reading. Reading is the way we learn to inhabit the world. Not the natural world, but the cultural world: the world of meaning. Martha Nussbaum has some wonderful essays in her book Love’s Knowledge on how the novels of Henry James train us to attend to the moral significance of the details of human life. If we can learn moral sensitivity from Henry James, how much more can Christians learn, say, about speech ethics from the epistle of James, not to mention all the
Old Testament narratives, Jesus’ parables, and the Gospels themselves.
My concern is that many Evangelicals are suffering from malnourished imaginations. This impedes their ability to live coherently in the world–that is, according to a meaningful metanarrative. We want to believe the Bible, but we are unable to see our world in biblical
terms (this is a major theme of my Pictures at a Biblical Exhibition that I mentioned above). That leads to a fatal disconnect between our belief-system and our behavior, our faith and our life. If faith’s influence is waning, as two-thirds of Americans now think, I believe that it is largely because of a failure of the evangelical imagination.
Reading, then, is a kind of strength-training that flexes the muscles of our imagination. Those who read widely are often those who are able to employ metaphors that connect ordinary life to the wonderful real world of the Bible.
The second way I exercise my biblically rooted, theologically formed imagination is by viewing myself as part of the ongoing action that the Bible recounts. My task as a disciple of Jesus Christ is to continue the theodramatic action–the plot of salvation history–in a manner that is consistent with what the Father, Son, and Spirit have already done and are still doing. To some extent, the theologian is a worker in dramatic fittingness whose task is to help us understand the drama of redemption, both theoretically and practically. We need practical understanding of the gospel so that we can speak and act faithful and orthodox lines in new cultural scenes. It is by seeking to live by the word in the power of the Spirit that our imaginations become sanctified. I need a sanctified imagination as I seek each day to improvise my life to the glory of God.

06 March 2012

the creativity crisis

Just finished reading NurtureShock. Excellent, insightful read. However, I realised that I'm terribly grateful that the Bible is the trustworthy authority! Science can give great insights but findings are often contradictory or unclear because humans are so complex--made in the image of GOD, no less!
Anyways, someone linked to this article on the creativity crisis, by the same authors. Very interesting read.

03 March 2012

notes: le 3 mars 2012

1. This post by John Piper to remind us to tell the histories of horror; don't let ourselves or our children forget what atrocities Hitler did. 
2. From this post by Jon Bloom about strengths vs. gifts. 
 We tend to think of our strengths as inherently part of our identity. Strengths are our value-add; our competitive edge. But gifts connote grace. A gift does not originate with us. It’s something we receive from God and steward for his sake. Therefore our gifts are not so much our identity as our offering. And since God has given us these gifts, he’s not obliged to always put us in places where we can use them fully.

24 February 2012


Weekly (Sundays of Lent) or daily (week before Easter) devotionals for Lent from Noel Piper.

19 February 2012

notes 19th feb

“From my experience, you can’t wait around to find what you love. You gotta work your ass off. And then you find what you love by doing piles and piles of work.”
- Kate Bingaman Burt
This seems to be a major theme. Via swiss miss.

11 February 2012

When you’re called to be a Christian, you’re automatically called to be different from everyone else.  In today’s world of basketball, it makes you really different, because the things that society values aren’t necessarily in line with what God values. Much of it comes down to humility.  We as Christians are called to be humble.  And if we really understand the gospel, we will be humble.  We should be humble, and understand that everything that is good comes from God.
From an interview with Jeremy Lin, Christian and pro basketball player. I'm thinking a lot about vocation and work and what it means to be a Christian first. These words apply not only to basketball but all lines of work. 
HT: Justin Taylor


1. Read 2 Contents, 2 Realities by Francis Schaeffer, per Ray Ortlund“When there are the two contents and the two realities, we will begin to see something profound happen in our generation.”

2.  From Jon Bloom and Desiring God:
In this age, Jesus grants us the gospel rest of ceasing the impossible labor of self-atonement for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). But in embracing the gospel we find ourselves also drafted into a war — a war to keep believing the gospel and a war to spread it to others. In this age we “strive to enter that [complete] rest” of the age to come (Hebrews 4:11).
 3. Bon Iver, Beth/Rest.

04 February 2012

kisses from katie

This story is amazing.

22 January 2012

'Ten Resolutions for Mental Health'

I may have posted this before, but I need the reminder myself. 
These are by Clyde Kilby, a professor at Wheaton College, from here.

1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.
2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle, and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death when he said: "There is darkness without, and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendor, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing."
3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence, but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.
4. I shall not turn my life into a thin, straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.
5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.
6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their "divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic" existence.
7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the "child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder."
8. I shall follow Darwin's advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.
9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, "fulfill the moment as the moment." I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.
10. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls himself Alpha and Omega.
Five Things We Can Do For the Unborn from John Piper. 

May we not dare to believe that by the grace of God and the perseverance of his people in prayer and piety and political pressure there could emerge in the coming decades a consensus for life, and that the 21st century could look back on our generation with the same dismay that we have looking back on the slave laws of this land and on the concentration camps of World War II. Nationwide reformation has happened before — with Wilberforce in England and Lincoln in America. It can happen again. May God help us! - John Piper

20 January 2012

it's a girl!

Three words, which, as the following trailer shows, can be deadly.

HT: Justin Taylor

06 January 2012

These paintings, these poems and these demonstrations which we have been talking about are the expression of men who are struggling with their appalling lostness. Dare we laugh at such things? Dare we feel superior when we view their tortured expressions in their art? Christians should stop laughing and take such men seriously. Then we shall have the right to speak again to our generation. These men are dying while they live, yet where is our compassion for them? There is nothing more ugly than an orthodoxy without understanding or without compassion.
- Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There.
via Vitamin Z.

04 January 2012

To wake in the morning and to know that whatever darkness lurks within our hearts, the light of Christ is sufficient to dispel it all is surely glorious.
--Carl Trueman

01 January 2012

Bonne Année!

I think that Proverbs 6:6,7 will be my verse for the year: 'Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise. Without having any chief, officer or ruler, she prepares her food in summer, and gathers her sustenance in harvest.' From John Piper: 
What I would like to do here is to try to persuade you to set aside time each week in the coming year to plan—and specifically to plan your life of prayer and devotion and ministry. The bulldozer of God's Spirit often arrives at the scene of our heart ready to begin some great work of building, and he finds that due to poor planning there are piles of disordered things in his way. We're not ready for him.
From Desiring God.