The Gospel Of Yes (book review)

I run into so many people who know so much about what Christians are against, and very little about what Christians are for. Or others who don’t want to step into a relationship with Jesus because they mistakenly believe that their life will then be ruled by a bunch of don’t-do-that rules.

Sadly, many Christians help perpetuate these stereotypes. That’s why I’m so excited about The Gospel Of Yes by Pastor Mike Glenn!

Pastor Glenn reframes the whole discussion from “No” to “Yes.” He makes the case that God is for us and wants to tell us “Yes!” From our relationships with others, to the way we view our circumstances, even to the way we think about prayer and Bible reading, there is a huge difference if we see it from the “Yes” paradigm.

Here’s a video review I was asked to do for other pastors:

I would encourage you to read The Gospel Of Yes to learn how to look at our relationship with God in a completely different light. I found this book very liberating!

I am a Multnomah book reviewer.

Thursdays With Oswald—Knowledge And Innocence

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Knowledge And Innocence 

     Knowledge of evil broadens a man’s mind, makes him tolerant, but paralyzes his action. Knowledge of good broadens a man’s mind, makes him intolerant of all sin, and shows itself in intense action. 

From Biblical Psychology

The Apostle Paul said it this way, “…I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil” (Romans 16:19).

I love how Secret Service agents are trained to spot counterfeit money. They don’t study the fake, but they study the real. They learn everything there is to know about genuine, authentic currency, so that they are able to spot counterfeit currency easily.

I need to put this into practice in my own life. I don’t need to study evil; I just need to be thoroughly immersed in the truth of Scripture. That will broaden my mind, help me to spot all counterfeit ideas, and prepare me to take intense action.

Be knowledgeable about what is good. Be innocent about what is evil.

It’s Not Me; It’s You

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the One Who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

I only want Christ lifted up; not me.

As Your Spirit gives me words to share, may people turn to You; not me.

May anyone who hears me desire more of You; not me.

May my messages create a hunger and thirst for You; not me.

I want people to find encouragement in You; not me.

May people only follow You; not me.

May everyone who hears me be impressed with You; not me.

It’s all about You; not me.

Quotes from “Porn-Again Christian”

Earlier today I posted a review of Porn-Again Christian: A Frank Discussion on Pornography and Masturbation. Here are some of the quotes from this book that really caught my eye

“Simply, according to God, marriage and sex are related, connected, and exclusive.”

“The cold hard truth is that most guys’ struggles are only known by their fellow Christian buddies and unless Christian dudes man up and stop arguing about stupid secondary theological issues and spend their energies holding one another accountable to get dominion over their underwear, then Christian friendship is nothing more than Christian fakery.”

“The act of lusting after the unclothed body of a woman is not a sin. The issue is which woman’s unclothed body you are lusting after. If she is your bride, then you are simply making the Song of Songs sing again to God’s glory and your joy. If she is not your bride, then you are simply sinning. It was God who clothed our mother Eve after her sin, and it is Eve’s daughters who undress themselves for themselves for the camera in violation of God’s desire that the female bodies he formed be seen only in their full glory by their husbands.”

“Pornography has the sad effect of objectifying people into objects with parts, thereby divorcing a person from their body and consequently diminishing their dignity.”

“The Bible is emphatically clear that God’s men should abstain from certain sins that war against their souls. First, God’s men should not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14). Second, God’s men should not covet their neighbor’s wife, even if her clothes leave little to the imagination (Exodus 20:17). Third, God’s men should not participate with prostitutes who use their bodies as a commodity to be rented for a good time or a good photo (Proverbs 23:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:15-16). Fourth, God’s men should not be polygamous, because their father Adam and Head Jesus each had one bride (Eve and the Church). Fifth, God’s men should not be fornicators who slide their hands, which God made to lift up in prayer (1 Timothy 2:8), up the shirt of their girlfriend, even if she asks (1 Corinthians 6:9-13).”

“Eve may or may not have been beautiful, but to Adam she was glorious because she was all he had ever known. Practically, he had no standard of beauty to compare his bride to—she was his only standard of beauty. In creation, we see the wise pattern that for every man his standard of beauty is not to be objectified, but rather it should simply be his wife. This means that if a man has a tall, skinny red-headed wife then that is sexy for him, and if his neighbor has a short, curvy brunette wife than that is sexy for him. Pornographic lust exists to elicit coveting and dissatisfaction that no woman can satisfy because she cannot be tall and short, endowed and waifish, black and white, young and old, like the harem laid out in pornography.”

Christian men, you MUST read this book!

Porn-Again Christian (book review)

The title of this book should let you know that it’s a PG-13 topic. And by that, I mean that Dads should be discussing these topics with their sons by the time they are 13 years old. Mark Driscoll is simply brilliant in Porn-Again Christian: A Frank Discussion on Pornography and Masturbation.

The Bible has the best ideas for not only safe sex, but for the most enjoyable sex. In fact, as Pastor Mark points out, the Bible is more explicit on the topic of married sexual relations than most pastors are!

God is the Creator. He only creates what is good. satan is a counterfeiter and a plagiarist. Anything that is good and will bring glory to God (like a marriage that is sexually satisfying), satan will pervert and distort and mar in his attempt to keep people from glorifying God and finding their fullest satisfaction in Him. This book uncovers the lies and calls biblical truth to the forefront.

Porn-Again Christian is written directly to Christian men. It is a wake-up call for these men to become real men and take the biblical lead in maintaining purity, in increasing the level of intimacy in their marriage, and in teaching their children the difference between God’s truth and the devil’s lies.

Guys, there is no excuse for you to not read this book. You can click here to get the ebook version for FREE. The book is not very long, and you should be able to read it rather quickly. Look up the Scriptures Pastor Mark shares in this book, and then be the man God created you to be: the man who will say “No!” to the lies this culture has bought into about sex and pornography, and who will say “Yes!” to the fulfilling, satisfying relationship God intended your marriage to be.

Dads, this would be a great resource for you to use with your teenage son (and perhaps even your pre-teen son, if you deem it necessary).

C’mon men, let’s do it God’s way!

P.S. To whet your appetite for this book, later today I’ll be sharing some of the quotes that really caught my attention.

Walking For Life

Nope, this isn’t about exercising (although we’ll get a little of that in too). It’s about walking to make a stand.

Confused yet?

I’m talking about the annual LifeWalk for Alpha Family Center in Cedar Springs. I serve the God Who created life, and because I serve Him, I love life like He loves life. So I’m happy to throw my wholehearted support behind Alpha in their Lifewalk.

Can I ask for your help too? Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Sponsor me. I’ll be walking in LifeWalk, and I would appreciate your sponsorship. You can click here to send me an email letting me know how much you would like to pledge me. I’ll send you a receipt that you can use for tax purposes.
  • Walk with us. If you live near Cedar Springs, you can click here to download your own pledge sheet.
  • Pray. Pray for organizations like Alpha. Pray that our elected officials will enact pro-life legislation. Pray for the young women that find themselves pregnant, that they will turn to organizations like Alpha.

I am especially excited this year that Calvary Assembly of God will be a major sponsor for LifeWalk! We want to do all we can to support life, and I hope you will join with us.

Getting Out Of The Hole

Yesterday in part two of our Immersed series, we looked at how helpless we are in trying to break free from sin’s pull on our lives. That is, we are helpless to help ourselves.

But with the Holy Spirit’s help we go from helpless to hopeful!

In Romans 8, there are all of these contrasting statements about the sinful life versus the Spirit-led life. Our hope to move into the Spirit-led life turns on this phrase in verse 15: but by the Spirit. It is only by God’s Spirit that we can break free. To help illustrate this point, I read a rather long passage from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Several people have asked to see this, so here it is —

Now what was the sort of “hole” man had got himself into? He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself. In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who need improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realizing that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor—that is the only way out of a “hole.” This process of surrender—this movement full speed astern—is what Christians call repentance. Now repentance is no fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It mean unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing a part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad needs to repent: only a good man can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person—and he would not need it.

Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, is not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He could let you off is He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like. If you ask God to take you back without it, you are really asking Him to let you go back without going back. It cannot happen. Very well, then, we must go through with it. But the same badness which makes us need it, makes us unable to do it. Can we do it if God helps us? Yes, but what do we mean when we talk of God helping us? We mean God putting into us a bit of Himself.

When we invite Christ into our lives, He places “a bit of Himself” in us: the Holy Spirit. That enables us to be perfectly forgiven.

But then when we allow the Holy Spirit to immerse us in Himself, it’s not just “a bit of Himself” we get, but all of Him. This opens the door to deeper intimacy, greater closeness, and a more God-glorifying life!

I want to live immersed!

Do You LOVE Your Church?

Okay, pastors, here are some tough questions:

  • Do you love your congregation?
  • Do you think they’re some of the greatest people on earth?
  • If you didn’t pastor your church, would you attend your church?
  • Do you enjoy recreating with your church family?

This is an important principle: You cannot treat someone differently than you think about them.

Listen to what Paul said about the church in Rome —

I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. (Romans 15:14)

Do you hear what high regard Paul had for them? He told them that they were good people, growing in their relationship with Christ, and were competent to be teachers themselves!

Not only did Paul write this to them, but he bragged about them to others too

Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you. (Romans 16:19)

Pastor, Jesus called us to feed and care for His sheep. We can do this so much more effectively if we think so highly of those precious people.

I pray that you can answer a resounding, whole-hearted “YES!” to those four opening questions. I think that’s what Jesus would want.

Thursdays With Oswald—My Spiritual Personality

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Spiritual Personality

     When we receive the Holy Spirit, He so energizes our spirit that we are able to detect things that are wrong, and we are able to rectify them if we “mind” the Holy Spirit. This is the Scotch use of the term “mind,” and it means “remember to obey.” It carries with it the meaning of another Scotch word, “lippen,” that is, “trust.” Mind the Holy Spirit, mind His light, mind His convictions, mind His guidance, and slowly and surely the sensual personality will be turned into a spiritual personality. 

From Biblical Psychology

It’s not too often that I think of personality in a spiritual light. But God created me as a unique person, complete with my own personality. He gave me the personality He did on purpose: to glorify Him.

Left to myself, my personality is highly self-serving. But when I “mind” the Holy Spirit, He helps me live out my God-given personality in a way that is more and more God-serving and God-glorifying.

I love Chambers’ list:

  • Mind the Holy Spirit
  • Mind His light [illumination]
  • Mind His convictions
  • Mind His guidance

I’m working on “minding” better. How about you?

Men Of The Bible (book review)

Here’s the thing I especially like about Dwight Lyman Moody: He tells it like it is. He was not a pastor that tiptoed around an issue, nor did he have long flowery sermons. He always went right to the heart of the manner in such a straightforward way. So I was delighted to find the his book Men Of The Bible was written in this characteristic style.

Men Of The Bible digs into the lives of several men we read about in Scripture. Some of them are prominent, and some are rather obscure; some were godly men, and some were not. But in every instance, Moody gets right to the key points of their lives, and then shows us how to apply them.

Since the focus of the book is the men of the Bible, this would be an excellent resource for a men’s Bible study, or a small group meeting; although I think anyone would benefit from studying this very readable book.

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