Several Blogs/Podcasts – Sam Thomas, who leads a Connect Group at our church, wrote THIS on “Putting Jesus First in 2021.”
And if you are not familiar with “The Briefing” by Albert Mohler it is worth checking out. It is a a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview. It is a podcast but HERE is a transcript of today’s analysis on “How Did Abortion Become Thinkable in American Culture?”
A Book Excerpt – “The problem with deception is that you don’t know you are being deceived. It simply feels as if you’re right. Deception feels incredibly rational. Idols function like spiritual forgeries, imitating God’s character but distorting it. That’s why theology is not merely for people in seminary. It’s important for all God’s people to know who God is so we can spot counterfeit gods when they approach our lives.
Idols give promises and warnings, and both the promises and the warnings are lies. Giving in to these promises will disillusion you, and heeding the warnings will harm you. False gods create false law, false definitions of success and failure, false definitions of value and stigma. Idols define good and evil contrary to God’s definition. They deceive us.” ( Beautiful Resistance by Jon Tyson)
Two Questions – At the end of my pastor’s message yesterday he asked two questions that are worth pondering:
What impact has the gospel had on your life?
What impact has God made in others through you because of the gospel?
Bernie Memes – When I first started seeing them pop up last week, my first thought was that “people have too much time on their hands.” Then I became one of those people.. Here are two that I created:
Two Verses From Hebrews 3 – Many of you know that I am currently pondering my way through the Book of Hebrews. These verses cut to the heart and have great application: ” 12Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Another Hike: Yesterday our Sunday hike started in downtown Hillsborough at the Weaver Street Market and took us via the Riverwalk to the Occoneechee Speedway loop and back. It was almost 4 miles. Lots of history at the Speedway. My friend Tony Fernandez who hiked with us told me about this special on PeacockTV that features Dale Earnhardt Jr and Richard Petty that recount some of the history of the track.
A Podcast – I’m listening to a podcast by Mark Driscoll. He is doing a sermon series called Pray Like Jesus. In the first message of the series he talked a lot about how our “father wounds” often contribute to an anemic prayer life. Worth listening to.
A Quote – As I pondered Hebrews 2 this past week I came across this quote from William Barclay that is spot on:
There are few people who deliberately and in a moment turn their backs on God; there are many who day by day drift farther and farther away from him. There are not many who in one moment of time commit some disastrous sin; there are many who almost imperceptibly involve themselves in some situation and suddenly awake to find that they have ruined life for themselves and broken someone else’s heart. We must be continually on the alert against the peril of the drifting life.
Time With Family – Our kids and grandkids were at at our house for the weekend. We played and picnicked at Duke Park which has some super duper slides on which I was part of a cousin train. Christy and Chad and Linda and I had our first Escape Room experience. It was really fun but WE DID NOT ESCAPE. In our defense, we chose a really hard challenge that only about 10% of groups escape from – and we were only a few clues away when our time ran out. And then on Saturday we celebrated Bowen’s 6th birthday. He is an awesome young man who loves to play and have boy fun but also has a very tender heart that looks out for and cares for other people – which he does fabulously with his younger cousins.
A Hike – We have gotten in the habit of taking a Sunday afternoon hike on most Sundays and exploring some of the great trails in and around Durham. This past Sunday we went to Occoneechee State Park and hiked the trail around Occoneechee Mountain.
A Podcast – I’ve recently been listening to a podcast by Mark Batterson from National Community Church. Here are a few choice quotes from his message on January 3, 2021.
“You are a unique expression of God’s imagination.”
“When you have a setback you do not take a step back because God is already preparing you for a comeback.”
A Book – I’ve been reading a book by J. T. English called Deep Discipleship. He says this on p.9: “I believe it is time for the church to ask some serious questions about our shared disease and how we can begin to create depth that might lead to breadth.Perhaps the church should start thinking about what it means to go deeper with fewer instead of going wider with many. What if our cultural moment is inviting the church to embody the depth and substance of the Christian faith, not a shallow spirituality that appeals to the masses.”
A Restaurant – Linda and I had our first take out dining experience at Spanglish in downtown Durham on Saturday. Very yummy. We got the Old Havana Ropa Vieja and 3 Empanadas. We will go back.
A Netflix TV Show – If you have not yet seen The Chosen it is very much worth watching. It is a show about the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of those who knew Him. Very well done. It takes some license with some of the things left unsaid in the gospels but creates a narrative that invites you to want to know Jesus better.