Ode to a Great Pastor

(Written in honor of my pastor’s retirement on February 27, 2011 – also his 65th birthday)

So it was about 18 years ago that I was introduced to Don Chasteen at Red Lobster in South Durham. He was about 5 years younger than I am now. I was a 34 year old stud (even still had some hair) and I thought he was an old pastor dude. I guess I know what  30 somethings think about me now. But I digressify. This is not about me  – it is about him. I have grown to love, trust, and respect him over the years and wanted to detail some of the reasons why.

He is before anything else a husband and a father – He has modeled over the years the importance of taking care of your family. I have watched him over the years with his wife, kids, dad, and mom. He has made countless trips over the years to SC to make sure that things were taken care of. He pastored his own family before he pastored the family God called him to shepherd.

He is a GREAT pastor – I will say publicly what I have come to believe: He is a very good preacher, but he is an incredibly great pastor. He genuinely loves and cares for people. A lot of pastors like to bury themselves in their office surrounded by books. He is much more at home ministering to people and demonstrating to them the love and compassion of Christ. I don’t think the people at Ridgecrest have ever doubted how much their pastor loved them.

He is a peacemaker – He strongly values unity in the body of Christ. He has made sure that Ridgecrest has been known for the health of its body life and not for any petty differences that might exist among its people. This is most visible in the way that we handle “business”. We do not, as a matter of fact, have business meetings. Too many churches have been torn apart by business meetings that got out of hand. We have church conferences – where we discuss our business in a God-honoring, Spirit-led way and then get on about God’s business not man’s. He has led our church to be a healthy lighthouse of hope in the Durham community.

He is a plodder – (Okay, I notice that I am working on a string of 3 “P”s here – not intentional but maybe subconsciously in his honor) – I mean this in the best possible way. He will admit, as he has on many occasions to me, that he takes his time about making big decisions. And while in my youthful exuberance I have been ready to plow ahead at 1000 mph, he has shown me the wisdom of taking things slow, making sure things are done right, and proceeding when the people were ready – not just when I was ready. This has been perhaps one of his greatest leadership lessons to me.

He is not in any way, shape, or form a micro-manager – To most people this will not mean much but to those of us who call him “boss” it means everything. He has never acted like a boss to those of us fortunate enough to be on his staff. We have been colleagues working alongside one another for the advance of the gospel and the shepherding of God’s church. He called us to partner with him in this great mission, gave us a job to do, and then let us do it. He let us make decisions. He gave us the freedom to fail. And we always knew that he had our back. I cannot think of a better environment for me to have been in as I have grown and matured as a pastor.

He values loyalty – Ridgecrest is very unique. There are very few churches who have multiple staff pastors who have served together as long as those at Ridgecrest. This is primarily because the Pastor is loyal to his staff and they in turn are loyal to him. Believe me when I say that more staff pastors than not are looking for a great pastor to work alongside. Note that I said alongside – not under. I have never felt like I was working under our pastor. And yet I have always submitted to his authority and leadership. That’s the kind of relationship that he breeds in his staff.

He is both faithful and full of faith – Let me differentiate. To be faithful is to be true to one’s word and a keeper of promises; to be trustworthy. To be full of faith is to trust God even when it is difficult to do so. It is not hard to do either of these for short periods of time. But for 40+ years of ministry Pastor Don has exemplified both of these qualities. Rare indeed!

He loves the Word of God – or should I say that he lives the Word of God. Either would be correct. He spent the first 20 years of his ministry believing in and trusting the Bible as God’s inerrant, infallible Word in a time when it was not politically correct to do so even among Southern Baptists. Our seminaries were by and large exporting liberal pastors into churches – and all the while he continued to preach the Bible as Truth. This is without a doubt why Ridgecrest continues to be a healthy, vibrant church while many other churches are wondering where all their people have gone.

So Pastor, on a personal note let me just say this on behalf of Linda and myself. Thank you for investing in our lives for the past 17 years. Thank you for not only being a pastor to our church but a pastor to our family. Thank you for letting me use my creativity and unique way of doing things. Thank you for letting me try out all those “Shay’s Stupid Games” on all those poor unsuspecting people. Thank you for demonstrating servant leadership in a way that made me feel valued and appreciated.

We love you,

Shay and Linda

Thats the Pastor on the drums. Then Al, Mark Harper, and me. (2004)

Pondering the Passages: John 15:1-8

This Week’s Passage: John 15:1-8 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

This Week’s Memory Verse: John 15:4 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

It is pretty obvious what the KEY WORD is in this passage. The word “remain” is mentioned 8 times in these 8 verses. Of the major translations, the NIV is the only one that uses the word “remain” The KJV, NKJV, ESV, and NAS all use the word “abide”. While I generally favor the NIV (largely because it is a solid translation and it is the one I grew up with), I really like the word “abide” in this passage. To me, it carries a depth and richness in it’s meaning that the word “remain” does not have. So that’s the word I will use as I reflect on this passage.

There are 2 things that I want to comment on in this blog: 1) the promises mentioned here for believers who “abide”, and 2) what “abiding” actually means. Lets look at the latter first.

What Does It Mean To Abide

Remain. Continue. Stay. Dwell. Live. Look up the word “abide” in a dictionary and these are some of the words that you will find. The illustration that Jesus uses about the vine is perfect to give a practical picture of what it means to abide. In order for a branch to stay healthy and to produce fruit it MUST stay connected to the vine. It MUST draw all it’s nourishment from the vine. It MUST continually look to the vine for it’s strength, for it’s vitality, for it’s life. If the branch is broken off – it stops producing fruit, it cannot receive nourishment, and it dies. Abiding in Christ means that you stay connected. It means that you look to Christ for your strength and nourishment. It means that you find in Him everything that you need in order to live. You don’t try to look other places because they will not satisfy your needs when you are in Christ and cannot satisfy the longings of your heart when you are not in Christ.

The Promises for Those Who Abide

There are three of them spelled out in these verses:

1) Verse 4: If we abide in Him, He will abide in us! – The misconception is that we have invited Jesus to come into our life. (“Just pray this prayer and invite Jesus into your life and you will be saved.”). The truth of the gospel is that He has invited us to come and experience life in Him.  He is the One who extends the invitation to us. And if we come and find our dwelling place in Him, His promise is that He will NEVER leave us or abandon us or bail on us. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying – “if you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved?” If we abide in Him, He WILL abide in us!

2) Verse 5: If we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit! – No ifs, ands, or buts – the promise is that we WILL produce fruit… and a lot of it. And it will happen naturally. It’s not something that you will have to try to make happen. I have never seen a branch on a peach tree straining for all its worth to produce peaches. As long as it is connected to the trunk of the tree in a healthy way it will produce peaches. That’s what it is there for. If it is not producing peaches then that is an indication that something is wrong. So the question I have to ask myself is this: am I producing fruit, and if not, why not? And if so do I need  a good pruning to take place in my life so that I will be even more fruitful.

3) Verse 7: If we abide in Him AND His words abide in us God WILL answer prayer! – Have you ever been in a relationship where you were so connected that you often knew what the other person was thinking and what they were going to say? That’s the kind of connection you have with Jesus when you are abiding. And that’s why God will answer when you pray – because you are thinking along the same lines as He is, you are thinking His thoughts. So when you pray, it’s as if He already had in mind what you prayed for and was just waiting for you to verbalize it. Elsewhere in Scripture this is referred to as “praying according to God’s will” (see 1 John 5:14).

Note the phrase “and His words abide in us.” This is why I’m a fan of what we are doing with these passages. As we ponder these powerful passages of Scripture and as we take the time to memorize His Word, more and more His words are abiding in us. And the promise of Jesus is that when we abide in Him and His words abide in us then He WILL answer prayer.

Now that is a promise I really like. I’m just sayin’!

Next Weeks Passage: Philippians 2:4-11
Next Weeks Memory Verse: Philippians 2:4-5

Pondering the Passages: Hebrews 12:1-3

This Weeks Memory Verse:  Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

This Weeks Passage:  Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

So I’ve been up in the stands before rooting for my favorite team and favorite players. You have too. Sometimes the fans are on their feet applauding a great play. Sometimes they are trying to cheer their team on to greatness. Sometimes stunned to silence by lackluster play. Sometimes silenced because of worry due to injury. And sometimes vigorously booing because their team just stinks.

So I’m trying to imagine this cloud of witnesses from Hebrews 11 who are in the celestial stands watching me compete (so to speak) in the 2011 Spiritual Olympics. Are they on their feet? Are they stunned to silence? Are they on the verge of walking out? This passage begs the question, “How am I doing as I run the race that God has called me to?” Am I running well? Is the crowd on their feet or have they been silenced? Are they murmuring among themselves about the pitiful performance they are watching?

This is a picture I need to keep in mind so that I take seriously the rest of this passage and work diligently to run a great race. I have a tendency to get lazy and if I am not careful or deliberate then I fall into bad exercise habits – both physically and spiritually. Here are a few thoughts about the passage…

“throw off EVERYTHING that hinders” – this would be the stuff in my life that is not sinful – just not helpful. Even good things can be a hindrance. I would say that I have thrown off some things that hinder but not EVERYTHING. So difficult to do in the culture in which we live.

“the sin that so easily entangles” – Reminds me of the phrase “O what a tangled web we weave…” We (and by we I mean me) kind of play with sin. Flirt with it. Not realizing that all the while it is entangling me. And by the time I realize it, it is messy. So I end up trying to run this race for God with ropes wrapped around my legs. No wonder I get tripped up.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus” –  I can’t even begin to tell you how easily distracted I get. Probably the thing that commands my undivided attention more than anything is a good movie – especially a riveting drama. And yet the gospels portray a a drama that is second to none – one that involves action, adventure, romance, and even some comedy. Me thinks I need to read the story of Jesus again “for the first time.”

“for the joy set before him” – One of the hardest things I’ve ever done is run a sprint triathlon (a  1 mile swim, 12 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run). I can remember pushing through the pain at the end, telling myself to just keep moving because of the joy I would have in finishing the race – which was true. I felt incredibly satisfied to accomplish my goal of completing the race. And yet this feeling will not come close to comparing to the JOY of crossing the finish line upon death and hearing the thunderous applause of heaven. Again as we ponder these passages I seem to be reminded to keep the goal of heaven ever present in my mind as I push toward the finish line.

“Consider Him” – Is there anything that I have ever gone through that even comes close to what Jesus went through on my behalf? I think not! But consider Him! Have I ever been mocked and spit on by an angry crowd? I think not! But consider Him! Have my friends ever denied knowing me because they were ashamed of me? I think not! But consider Him! Have I ever been stripped naked and nailed to a cross? I think not! But consider Him! Have I ever felt the wrath of God fall upon me because my sin so completely repulsed and disgusted Him? I think not! But consider Him! When I intentionally take the time to “consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men” I am forced to make a life transforming decision: Am I willing to surrender my allegiance to Jesus knowing that I may be called upon to endure what he endured OR do I just pack it in and say I’m not willing to pay that kind of price?

“grow weary and lose heart” – It is easy to start something strong and with enthusiasm, it is another thing to finish something strong. It is so easy to get tired and discouraged and distracted – especially in a race that can be so painful and difficult at times. I’m reminded again by these verses that not only do we need Jesus to finish strong but we also need each other to finish strong. We cannot run the race alone. We were not meant to run the race the alone. We need the Holy Spirit to empower us daily from within. We need the crowd of witnesses to cheer us on from afar. And we need the encouragement from those running the race with us to  finish the way that we started.

I’d love to hear what grabbed you as you pondered this passage. You can post your comments by clicking on the bubble at the top right. But if you have questions or thoughts that you don’t want to post but want to dialogue about then feel free to e-mail me at sreyner@Ridgecrest.cc.

Next weeks passage: John 15:1-8
Next weeks memory verse: John 15:5

February 14, 1981 Revisited

30 years ago today I wrote my fiancee a “love letter” based on 1 Corinthians 13. We were still a little more than 5 months away from our wedding day. I’m still learning to love but I am very proud to say that this 30+ year love adventure that my bride and I have been on is one that I would excitedly do all over again. In fact, it just keeps getting better. Here’s what I wrote then and what I still mean now.

Love is patient:

This is the one thing I’m being forced to learn as the Lord takes this time to prepare us for each other and for Himself. It’s been said that anything worth having is worth waiting for. You, my love, will be well worth the wait though I long to be with you now every minute of every day.

Love is kind:

This is something the Lord must teach me – not just an everyday kindness which makes me seem like a kind person, but an out of the way kindness which can only spring from love. I would hope that as we grow together I would love you more and more in a kind way – sensitive to every need, passion, and affection.

Love does not envy:

On the basis of this definition I would have to say that I don’t know how to love. Envy oft overwhelms me; whether I am envious of looks, intelligence, athletic ability, spirituality, leadership qualities, degree of worldly success, or whatever – it does not and cannot stem from love. I would pray that we would look to the Lord to meet all our needs and not look at the worldly standard of living which is quite lacking in manifest love.

Love does not boast:

With each definition it is getting tougher and tougher to love. “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast about this: that he knows and understands me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” I wonder if it’s ok for me to boast about how much I love you?

Love is not proud:

Another stumbling block. Pride bites at our heel in everything we accomplish. There is always that tendency to say, “Look what I’ve done!” I pray that as our life together is a testimony to the love of Jesus that the world might see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven.

Love always protects:

I already feel very protective of you. Perhaps the only way I can protect you now is in my prayers – but I look forward to loving you into security, safety, and soundness of mind, soul, and body.

Love always trusts:

No doubt this is crucial to a marriage relationship. I hope you will always trust me to do what’s best for us. At least you can always trust that I love you more than anybody else in the world and that my love is always there to lift you up and carry you into glory.

Love always hopes:

I have so many hopes, dreams, and aspirations for us. I pray that God would give us hopes and dreams that would shake us from our apathy and complacency and settle us into the fellowship of faith that always reaches out to others in love.

Love always perseveres:

No matter what we go through in our pilgrimage I will always be at your side to sustain you and to be sustained by you. Let us keep our eyes on the cross for the sheer joy set before us and continue to pursue a love which will surely bring glory, honor, and praise to the Lord.

Love never fails:

I may fail but my love for you will never fail. You have given me so much joy that I am always motivated to love you more and more. And there is so much about you to love that I could never love you too much. But God knows I will try.

The love that I have waited for
The love I’ve never known before;
The love that gives me so much joy
I don’t know what to do.
The love that moves my heart to sing
The love that only you could bring;
The love that means the most to me
Is all because of you.

I love you Linda,

February 14, 1981

Pondering the Passages: Philippians 3:7-11

This Weeks Memory Verse:  Philippians 3:7-8a “ But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…”

This Weeks Passage: Philippians 3:7-11

7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Often times when I look at a passage there are questions that immediately spring to mind. Other times I am struck by phrases that stand out. As I pondered this passage there were particular words that grabbed my attention.

Whatever” – in other words Paul is saying that no matter how much success he has had from the world’s perspective none of it matters a hill of beans. Christ has captured his heart and Christ is his everything. Question I ask myself: Has my heart been unequivocally captured by Christ?

Surpassing” – It’s almost as if Paul cannot think of a superlative that would do justice to how he feels about knowing Christ. He was not content to just say the “greatness of knowing Christ”  – he had to add surpassing greatness. Question for me: Does knowing Christ mean anywhere near as much to me as it did to Paul?

Lord” – Paul could have stopped with”knowing Christ Jesus” and we would have gotten his point, but he went on to add “my Lord”. Why? What was he trying to communicate to his readers? In 2:11 of this book Paul declares that “Jesus Christ IS Lord”. Here, however, he declares that Jesus is “my Lord.” There is a big difference in knowing on the one hand that Jesus Christ IS Lord and on the other hand knowing Him as my Lord. For Christ to be Lord means that I have pledged allegiance to Him alone and completely surrendered everything about my life to Him – relinquishing control once and for all and allowing Him to dictate how I will live this life. Question for me: Have I done this?

Rubbish” – This is  one of my favorite words in the Greek New Testament. It is the word “skubala”. Here it is translated rubbish. Other translations have it as dung or refuse. What the word really means is “crap”. A few things I thought about with regard to crap: 1) Nobody is saving it up – you never hear anyone say, “Hey, I’ve got a bunch of really great crap I’ve been collecting, come on over to the house and I’ll show it to you” 2) It’s not something you would ever spend money on – there is no such thing as a Crap Store and I never see coupons like “20% off all our crap”  (- on second thought maybe you do.) 3) It actually started out as something good – but over time it devolved into something that is only good to flush away. 4) The best thing about crap is getting rid of it. It feels really good to get rid of all your crap. Conversely, there is this thing called impaction that is not only unhealthy but does not feel good at all – in other words, trying to hoard crap can actually be painful. 5) You never really hear people talking about their crap (unless you are in my middle school Sunday School class) – When is the last time you heard someone say. “Man I’ve gotta tell you about this great crap I had this morning.”

Now, put all this in the context of what Paul is saying in this passage. EVERYTHING to him was just a bunch of skubala compared to knowing Christ. Question for me: On a scale of 1-10, how much of a crap-lover am I? Am I willing to get rid of all my crap if it means I can know Christ better?

Found” – We all know the Amazing Grace verse “I once was lost but now am found…” I think for the most part we get the fact that we were completely lost. But I kind of think we equate our lostness to a game of hide and seek – where when the game is over if we still have not been found we come out of our hiding place and allow ourselves to be found. This is not the gospel AT ALL. We were so lost  that even if we tried to be found we never would be. The ONLY way we were ever found is that The Shepherd of our Souls went looking for us and did not give up until He FOUND us – wandering hopelessly and helplessly  and desperately in the desert of our eternal lostness. We try really hard to get found by doing all the right things, being “religious” enough, giving away enough, helping others enough. Paul is saying here that not only is all our crap worthless but so is our attempt to make ourselves holy by acting righteous. The ONLY way to be found, he says, is by…

Faith” – At first glance it would seem that God has made it much easier for us to be found. Quit trying to do do do (he’s already said that that is like do-do in His sight), instead just believe – have faith. Sounds easy right? It is easy… until you understand what saving faith really is. Let me try to define it as I am coming to understand it – then you tell me which is easier. Faith in Christ involves total surrender on my part. It is no longer about what I want or what I need or what I dream about. It is about Christ and what He wants. Faith says each day “I die to myself and live for Him.” Faith acknowledges that apart from Him I am nothing. Faith submits willingly and joyfully to His “whatevers” and completely discounts my whatevers. Faith acts intentionally and courageously to pursue a gospel centered, gospel saturated life. Faith boasts in the cross and the work of Christ – not in my efforts no matter how good they may be. Faith waits patiently for God’s timing instead of plowing forward with all my great ideas. Faith prays.

Just the act of writing all that out helps me recognize how puny my faith is compared to Paul. Not sure I’m really liking this passage now that I’m having to deal with and personalize it. Just a bit too convicting for me. I do however like the idea of the last word I will comment on:

Power” – The idea of power is intoxicating. And then I’m reminded that the kind of power Paul is talking about comes in a completely different looking package than what most of us want. Check out what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: “But (the Lord) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. See, here is where Paul and I are 2 different cats. I, myself, delight in strength, in compliments, in encouraging affirmation, in easy times, in good health, in wealth, in fun. So far to go! So much to learn!

Okay, I realize this has been a very long post. So much in this passage that grabbed me. How about you? I’d love to hear what grabbed you as you pondered this passage. If you have questions or thoughts that you don’t want to post but want to dialogue about then feel free to e-mail me at sreyner@Ridgecrest.cc.

Next weeks passage: Hebrews 12:1-3
Next weeks memory verse: Hebrews 12:1

The Life of God in the Soul of Man: A Personal Review

The Life of God in the Soul of Man
by Henry Scougal

This book was written in the mid 17th century by a young man who was a Professor of Divinity at Aberdeen University by the age of 19, then pastored a church for several years before dying at the age of 27.

So why did I choose this book to read and review this week as I am intentionally trying to renew my mind? This is what John Piper says of this book: “There are some books whose vision is so deep and clear that truth rings from the page like the toll of a large bell, perfectly obvious, but rare and precious. They unfold the heart of man and God with such forceful illumination that the truth is not just shown to my mind but created in my heart…so it went as I grazed in the green pasture of this remarkable book.”

Personally, I did not find the book very easy to read as Scougal wrote in the language of his day. But as I marched through the pages of this short book (135 pages) I found several nuggets of truth that were worth the time to find and which challenged my heart while engaging my mind. If nothing else, I read the words of a man who was passionate about his desire for God and rigorous in his pursuit to know Him. Here are some of the nuggets I found – I will quote them without comment – as they speak for themselves. You will need to ponder them to fully understand them.

“Humility imports a deep sense of our own meanness, with a hearty and affectionate acknowledgment of our owing all that we are to the Divine bounty; which is always accompanied with a profound submission to the will of God, and great deadness toward the glory of the world, and applause of men.”

“The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love.”

“Any person that is engaged in a passionate affection will easily forget his ordinary gratifications, will be little curious about his diet or bodily ease, or to divertisement he was wonted to delight in. No wonder, then, if souls overpowered by divine love despise inferior pleasures, and be almost ready to grudge the body its necessary attendance for the common accommodations of life, judging all these impertinent to their main happiness, and those higher enjoyments they are pursuing.”

“Let us frequently remember the shortness and uncertainty of our lives, and how that after we have taken a few turns more in the world, and conversed a little longer amongst men, we must all go down into the dark and silent grave, and carry nothing along with us but anguish and regret for all our sinful enjoyments; and then think what horror must needs fill our soul, to find itself naked and all alone before the severe and impartial Judge of the world, to render an exact account, not only of its more important and considerable transactions, but of every word that the tongue hath uttered, and the swiftest and most secret thought that ever passed through the mind.”

“The soul of man is a vigorous and active nature, and hath in it a raging and inextinguishable thirst, an immaterial kind of fire, always catching at some object or other, in conjunction wherewith it thinks to be happy; and were it once rent from the world, and all the bewitching enjoyments under the sun, it would quickly search after some higher and more excellent object, to satisfy its ardent and importunate cravings; and being no longer dazzled with glittering vanities, would fix on that supreme and all-sufficient Good, where it would discover such beauty and sweetness as would charm and overpower all its affections.”

Next Weeks Passage: Philippians: 3:7-11

Next Weeks Memory Verse: Philippians 3:7-8a “ But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…”

Books That Will Help You Grow Spiritually

I recently had someone ask me for a list of books  that they could read that would help with their spiritual growth. Thought I’d share that list here. Would love for you to add your thoughts about books that have really spurred you on in your walk with the Lord. Each book is hyperlinked to Amazon or CBD if you want to read more about it.

Knowing God – J. I. Packer
In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day – Mark Batterson
The Holiness of God – RC Sproul
Don’t Waste Your Life – John Piper
The Gospel for Real Life – Jerry Bridges
Living the Cross Centered Life – C.J. Mahaney
Prayer – the Great Adventure – David Jeremiah
The Life You’ve Always Wanted – John Ortberg
The Prodigal God – Tim Keller
Radical – David Platt
Crazy Love – Francis Chan
A Call to Spiritual Reformation – D.A. Carson

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