August 29, 2016

Commonplace Monday #49

"The major result of the many unrelenting scholarly attacks on the historical reliability of the New Testament has been to frustrate the attackers because again and again scripture has stood up to their challenges."
Rodney Stark


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

August 22, 2016

Commonplace Monday #48

"Man is a poetical animal and touches nothing which he does not adorn."
CS Lewis


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

August 18, 2016

Review: Jerry Baker's Great Green Book of Garden Secrets

Jerry Baker's Great Green Book of Garden Secrets Jerry Baker's Great Green Book of Garden Secrets by Jerry Baker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There were a few helpful tips and ideas in this book (although I'm not sure if coke on my plants did a whole lot...), but much of it was redundant. This book could have been fit into about 100 pages and contained just as much information, had there simply been a useful index added in the back. Instead, recipes and suggestions were repeated ad nauseam. My copy will probably be making the trek to Goodwill.

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August 15, 2016

Commonplace monday #47

"[The church is] the community of the joyful broken."
Larry Crabb


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

August 14, 2016

27 Years of Choosing Commitment

Today marks my parents 27th anniversary.

27 years of commitment, 27 years of struggle, 27 years of life together. 27 years of good, bad, and everything in between.

My parents are far from perfect (doesn't that go without saying, at least assuming that we have human parents?).

But today I want to meditate and dwell on one thing that I have learned from my parents that has already served me well, and I pray will continue to do so. What is this one thing? That staying married is a matter of desiring to stay married.

What do I mean? Well, there is a self-evident reality to this. Why do marriages, over half of them today, dissolve? Because one or both parties desire that they no longer wish to be yoked together. Now, my parents never sat down and explained this fact to me. But when you watch two people, who in very many ways are polar opposites in thought, opinion, personality, etc., and watch them disagree, be frustrated with one another, argue--many people in our society would ask, why? Why wouldn't you just throw in the towel, try again with someone you're more similar to? The answer is rather simple: you don't want to. You choose to love, to stand beside, to reconcile your disagreements with the person you vowed your life to 2, 9, 15, 23, 27, however many years ago.

There are factors, of course, at play in this decision. Children; the desire to give them a stable home. Faith; belonging to a church which holds up the value of marriage an the biblical teachings against divorce. Community; having friends and family who value marriage in general, but also your marriage in particular. In the end, though, what are each of these things influencing? Your choice, as two individuals, and as one couple, to stay together. To fight through thick, thin, and really thin. To enjoy and love one another, not just in spite of, but for your differences. Many factors at play, but what they are factoring towards is a choice. A choice.

I don't know if I can overstate the value of this in a world so obsessed with and overrun by the "need" to follow our hearts, our emotions, our feelings, our passions, or whatever other banal expression we can conjure. That when it comes to making this most important of human relationships work, what it comes down to is wanting it to work. And then doing the work.

It isn't magic, and it isn't rocket science. It does take dogged determination, hard work, and a willingness to bear with one another. My parents have been doing that for 27 years, and I am deeply, deeply grateful. Here's to many more.




August 12, 2016

Can You Leave Your Kids in Public School?

This is a question I was asking myself long before I ever had children of my own. I determined, along with my wife, that public school simply wasn't an option for us. And because we don't live near any private schools that I would consider, either, that leaves us with homeschooling.

Many parents whom I know, and for whom I have the utmost respect, do choose to send their children to school. I have no doubt that many of them have put much thought into this and feel they have good reasons for doing so.

But with the drastic shift in our culture, I wonder how long parents will continue to consider this a viable option? Consider this post from Rod Dreher over at the American Conservative.  The cultural pressure on our children today to conform to the Sexual Revolution's notion of normal is immense, and it is not happening "out there." It's happening in your local school, among kids that you would never guess it from. Most parents are either complicit in this, being totally carried by the same assumptions and opinions, or are oblivious.

In the above post, Dreher links to a documentary PBS did in the late 90's that is very illustrative of this point. I listened to the audio of the documentary last year when going through some youth ministry lectures from Covenant Seminary, and it was very eye-opening. If not totally surprising.

Anyhow. Please follow the link to the Dreher piece, and seriously consider, is sending my children to school a wise option for their discipleship?

August 11, 2016

The kind of quotes worth mulling over...

Head over here to check out my wife's "Witsdom Wednesday", kind of like Commonplace Monday, but a little different.

Who is Jesus?




God creates by speaking; but His speech is not like our speech. His speech is not the reverberating of atoms (for when God first spoke there were no atoms!). His speech is His creative action and revelation of Himself, especially through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.”1


Today we are going to start our look into God the Son, the Word of God. Our study will split into two parts, first taking a shorter look at the Son as He eternally has been with God, and then next week taking a more extended look at His coming to earth, His work here, and where He is now. I want to emphasize here again, that these videos are only giving you the tip of the iceberg on these subjects, an introduction. There is so much more we could say, and hopefully as we cover more ground some of these things will start to fit together better in your mind.  Continue Reading here... 

August 08, 2016

Commonplace Monday #46

"I rejected the church for a time because I found so little grace there. I returned because I found grace nowhere else."
Phillip Yancey


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

August 05, 2016

Why do We Need the Bible?



Introduction:


Knowing who God is, and responding appropriately, is the most important thing in our lives. Proverbs 1:7 says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”[1] You might even question if there is a God. I'll be honest with you, we aren't even going to grapple with that question, and here's why:

“18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” [2]

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”[3]

The question is not, “is there a God?” He has made that clear[4]. The question is, “who is He?”




Why we need the Bible

This leads us into our study today. How do we answer this question of who God is? You may have noticed that three times already I have referenced the Bible. That should give you a clue as to where we're going. The reason we must approach the Bible to know God is that it [the Bible] is God's revelation of Himself. Other religions and systems attempt to seek knowledge of God via other means. Means which, invariably, fall woefully short of true knowledge of God. Why is this? It is because, “God makes himself known on his own terms, when, where, and how he chooses. God can be an object of our knowledge only if he has revealed himself to us. Consequently, theology can exist as a legitimate enterprise only when it begins with God's self-revelation.”[5]

What makes us think the bible is God's self-revelation? Well, there are many places we could turn, but let's look simply at one of them.

“20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”[6]

The men who wrote the bible did so as the were carried along by God, and thus they spoke the very words which He wanted them to speak. This wasn't some sort of mechanical dictation, as you can see from the many styles and personalities of the writers which come through, but this is no mere human book. This book is the word of God Himself. In looking at the bible we will cover four main points, which you can remember with the acronym “SCAN.”

S- the bible is Sufficient

C- the bible is Clear

A- the bible is Authoritative

N- the bible is Necessary[7]

Now, while SCAN is a handy way to remember these four points, I believe we will be better served if we walk through them in reverse order.


August 04, 2016

Review: City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era

City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era by Michael J. Gerson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A brief, helpful, book on why Christians ought to engage in, but not hope in, the political realm. We are citizens of the City of God, called to act for the good of the City of Man. Well worth your time.

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Review: The Message of Ecclesiastes: A Time to Mourn, and a Time to Dance

The Message of Ecclesiastes: A Time to Mourn, and a Time to Dance The Message of Ecclesiastes: A Time to Mourn, and a Time to Dance by Derek Kidner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kidner's sense for both the deep despair of Ecclesiastes and its underlying hope is a combination rarely achieved. His prose is striking and memorable, a perfect reading companion for this book of Wisdom Literature.

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August 01, 2016

Commonplace Monday #45

"The key to faith's power is that it embraces the future grace promised by God, and is more satisfied with this than with the pleasures promised by sin--even if it costs us our lives."
John Piper


Commonplace Monday is a series of posts wherein, on Monday mornings, I share short quips, sentences -perhaps as much as a paragraph- which I have collected in my various commonplace books and files. If I wrote down or recall where it came from I will certainly give attribution. However, sometimes I write down things and not where they came from. So if you see anything like that here and recognize it, that's what comment sections are for. 

About Me

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I love Jesus, my wife, and my kids. Writing and teaching are two things I have a passion for. Gardening and fishing are cool, too. I blog @ willdole.com, you can reach me @ contact@willdole.com