Monthly Archives: February 2013

Picks of the Week: The Trinity, Jordan, Masculinity, and Dude Perfect

Every Friday I am going to be pointing out some of my favorite books, articles, podcasts, videos, and the like that I’ve encountered in the past week. I’ll try to include mini-reviews for each that will do nothing if not inspire, maybe even require, that you check them out. Perhaps not. And keep in mind, just because I recommend it, doesn’t mean I agree with it in all of its details or even in general. Finally, don’t leave me out to dry. If you are interacting with these posts, possibly even enjoying them, give me a heads up. Subscribe to the blog. Leave a comment. Shoot me a message. Give me a hug.

#1 Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves – Don’t be shocked if a book almost always ends up in the number one spot. I like to read books. A lot. But even if there was something I would rather do than work through a book, nestled into my favorite chair, with a french-pressed coffee in my baseball mug and Pilot G-2 (05) pen in hand…this book would still take the top spot. Over the past few years, I’ve slowly come to the realization that the Trinity is fairly significant to the Christian faith. Now, I’m not a complete fool, I’ve always known it was supposed to be important. I knew that the claims of anathema and heresy have often located themselves at the outskirts of this doctrine and that it is in the Trinity where Christianity is set apart from all other religions/beliefs. So, I knew I had to believe in the Trinity and I knew the Bible reveals a Triune God. But it was always explained as “mysterious” (thus confusing) and rarely practical. Reeves says it well at the end of his introduction, “What we assume would be a dull or peculiar irrelevance turns out to be the source of all that is good in Christianity. Neither a problem nor a technicality, the triune being of God is the vital oxygen of Christian life and joy.” Read this book. It’s a mere 130 pages. Think deeply on the biblical truth it expounds and delight in our amazing God – Father, Son, and Spirit. (If you want to get crazy, read Fred Sander’s The Deep Things of God alongside Reeve’s book. A little longer, a little deeper & academic, but a worthy complement.)

#2 “Michael Jordan Has Not Left The Building” by Wright Thompson – I am a product of the 90‘s. Which means I love “Saved by the Bell,” Tim Allen, Baseball Cards, SNL, and Michael Jordan. Though my artistic abilities never surpassed a kindergarten level, I can still draw, to this day, a near-perfect Chicago Bull’s logo. My trapper keepers from elementary and middle school are evidence of the hours of painstaking practice that produced such expertise. I watched Jordan & Pippen come to Market Square arena and together score more than the entire Pacers squad, 44 & 40 respectively. I have Coca-Cola cans from the year Jordan drilled the final shot to make UNC the NCAA National Champs. Seeing and reading about Jordan now, however, is difficult for my middle school self. I struggled through his severely disappointing HOF induction speech, didn’t know what to make of the article Thomas Lake wrote about his treatment of his high school basketball coach, and now this. It’s hard to read this article (and the cover article from SI), and not begin to wonder whether what made him unreal on the basketball court was worth it. I don’t want to make a judgment about a man I hardly know, especially a childhood hero of mine, but there is wisdom in considering what makes us who we are, where we place our identity, and what we stake our life on. For Christians, the Bible makes it clear that the answer to these questions is in Christ and what He has done in His life, death, and resurrection. Competing identities are easy to find – marriage, family, athletics, school, job, popularity, looks, house, etc – but all will fail you, or you will fail in them. But Christ has not and will not fail us, and if we place our identity first and foremost in Him, then we will find not burdens, but rest and peace. Check out this article and be reminded of the grace we have in Christ, and that we have been truly freed in Him.

#3 “Redeeming Masculinity” by Darrin Patrick – This talk provided the soundtrack for a couple of my workouts this week and it’s definitely a worthwhile listen. It’s obviously a talk directed to guys and that comes across in both Patrick’s content and his delivery. And while the talk is certainly not short (coming in at over an hour with the Q&A), it is an easy listen, and there is a great deal of wisdom presented throughout. I am always aided by reminders of the power of God’s grace in the Gospel and the devastation caused by the all too appealing path of legalism. Patrick is money in this area and others, especially when he delves into his call for a “band of brothers” mentality.

#4 “Dude Perfect: Johnny Football Edition” – Sure, this video may be a case of my suspension of disbelief, but I really don’t care. I love it. And it may be just because his name is “Dude Perfect.” Brilliant.

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Lent for Baptists? Yes!

For too many of us, Lent is merely a season of more fried fish and less chocolate. It is a time reserved for Catholics and dieters, but out of bounds for us of the Baptist persuasion. But in our neglect, I think we are missing out on a fantastic opportunity to think deeper on our faith. Pastor Tim Keller once noted that there are two truths you must understand in order to grasp the grace of God in salvation – 1) how lost you are, how dire your condition is, how big the debt is and 2) the sufficiency, freeness, and fullness of the provision in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ for you. Simply put, we must understand the enormity of our debt due to sin and the enormity of the payment Christ made on our behalf. And in a world where such truths are so out of place that they are offensive, a season of designated reflection can be exceedingly helpful. Lent is just such a season, where we join with Christians throughout the world and think deeply on the depths of our sin and the depths of Christ’s work. Here are a few practical ways you might make much of Christ in this season of Lent:

  • Fast: abstain from something you will notice, something that “satisfies” you, and in its place feast on the Word of God and the Eternal Word Jesus Christ. (Ex. A meal, a type of food/drink, a device, a habit or hobby, etc.)
  • Read the Bible: Read through a Gospel in a different translation. (Ex. New Living Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible)
  • Memorize the Bible: Think deeply on and memorize a passage of Scripture. (Ex. Eph. 2:1-10; Rom. 8:31-39; Matt. 5:3-12; Phil. 2:5-11; Titus 3:3-8)
  • Pray: Devote extended time to prayer. (Ex. Start a prayer journal, walk your neighborhood praying for others, pray for a church, ministry, school, or business)
  • Serve Others: In your home, in your community, in the church. Look for a need and seek to meet it. Use your gifts & think outside the box.
  • Study: Read The King’s Cross by Tim Keller
  • Events: Take advantage of activities, studies, & events during the season. (Ex. Men’s & Women’s Lenten Breakfasts, Good Friday Service, etc.)

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 13th. Remember to fast throughout the week and feast on Sundays! You might check out the sermons on Feasting & Fasting from November 2012 (www.fbccville.org). Don’t forget to encourage your families, friends, and others to join you in worshiping our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ in this season!

(This article was one I submitted in a church newsletter)