Links & Quotes

There is something very important that mature leaders need to remind themselves of so that they can help emerging leaders become successful. You can watch out this full conversation about mulligans and do-overs on the most recent episode of The Craig and Greg Show. Be sure to check out all of my videos on my YouTube channel.

In my sermon on Sunday, I talked about the sovereignty of God over world affairs and world leaders. This is a great reminder from John Newton:

Merat Sultan was born in the shah of Iran’s palace in 1876. He became the chief of police and of the army in Tabriz, Iran. When the Russians invaded and occupied that area, they made plans to execute Sultan. How he escaped actually led him to a relationship with Jesus as Sultan became a Christian. Check out this fascinating story from the website Praying For Muslims. I would also urge you to check out their weekly prayer guide.

My wife and I are reading through the He Gets Us devotional series on YouVersion. I love this picture of Jesus that comes from He Gets Us #3: Questions Jesus Asked

“No voice. No contribution. No significance. No meaning.

“Invisible.

“That’s the way many women probably felt at the time Jesus lived. And every person with an illness—cancer, leprosy, epilepsy, mental disabilities—every one of those people were marginalized. In Jesus’ day, what careers were on the lowest rung of the corporate ladder?—fishermen and shepherds. Yet when you read every account of Jesus, who do you see Him hanging around? Fishermen, shepherds, women, and people dealing with health issues.

“Jesus wanted it that way. He took every opportunity He had to bring people in from the fringes and give them His full attention. He saw them. He listened to them. He loved them in ways they’ve never been loved before. They had never experienced anything like it.”

T.M. Moore wrote, “We are becoming so accustomed to the forsaking of traditional values, the undermining and fragmenting of long-established institutions, and the breakdown of morality and civility that we can begin to think that these conditions are the new normal, the best we can hope for in an age in flight from God. Everywhere we look in our day, the prophetic words of William Butler Yeats, in his 1919 poem, ‘The Second Coming,’ seem to be coming true: ‘Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world./The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/the ceremony of innocence is drowned.’ But the appearances, which press upon us daily, are only a matter of perspective.” Check out the rest of his post.

When things are going well, how can we talk about our success in a way that glorifies God? John Piper had a thoughtful answer to a businessman who asked how he could talk about the success of his business and make God look great while he was doing so.

Book Reviews From 2022

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I love reading, and I love sharing my love of good books with others! Here is a list of the books I read and reviewed in 2022. Click on a title to be taken to that review.

Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge

Cary Grant

Contending For Our All

Father Sergius

Hank Greenberg: The Story Of My Life

Living In A Gray World

Out Of The Depths

Roots Of Endurance

Simple Truths Of Leadership

Spurgeon And The Psalms

Susanna Wesley

The Holy War

The Legacy Of Sovereign Joy

The Poetry Of Prayer

The Self-Aware Leader

Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?

Who’s Pushing Your Buttons?

Here are my book reviews for 2011.

Here are my book reviews for 2012.

Here are my book reviews for 2013.

Here are my book reviews for 2014.

Here are my book reviews for 2015.

Here are my book reviews for 2016.

Here are my book reviews for 2017.

Here are my book reviews for 2018.

       Here are my book reviews for 2019.

Here are my book reviews for 2020.

Here are my book reviews for 2021.

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Poetry Saturday—The True Aaron

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See Aaron, God’s anointed priest,
Within the veil appear;
In robes of mystic meaning dressed,
Presenting Israel’s prayer.

The plate of gold which crowns his brows,
His holiness describes;
His breast displays, in shining rows,
The names of all the tribes.

With the atoning blood he stands,
Before the mercy-seat;
And clouds of incense from his hands,
Arise with odor sweet.

Urim and Thummim near his heart,
In rich engravings worn;
The sacred light of truth impart,
To teach and to adorn.

Through him the eye of faith descries,
A greater Priest than he;
Thus Jesus pleads above the skies,
For you, my friends, and me.

He bears the names of all His saints,
Deep on His heart engraved;
Attentive to the state and wants
Of all His love has saved.

In Him a holiness complete,
Light and perfections shine;
And wisdom, grace, and glory meet;
A Savior all divine.

The blood, which as a Priest He bears
For sinners, is His own
The incense of His prayers and tears
Perfume the holy throne.

In Him my weary soul has rest,
Though I am weak and vile
I read my name upon His breast,
And see the Father smile. —John Newton [Levitcus 8:7-9]

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Links & Quotes

I thought this was brilliant insight from the weekly Cultural Translator newsletter from Axis—

In the Q&A portion of one of his lectures, Jordan Peterson was asked about his thoughts on abortion. At one point he said, “The discussion regarding the legality of abortion is nested inside a larger discussion about the morality of abortion, and that’s nested inside a larger discussion about the proper place of sexuality in human behavior. And to me, that’s the level at which the problem needs to be addressed.” Although he doesn’t offer specific prescriptions about how to do that, it’s a helpful way to position the conversation.

In many people’s minds, sex is appropriate whenever the parties involved consent to it. In this view, sexual activity outside of marriage becomes a foregone conclusion. Abortion is then regarded as a necessary adaptation for this new undeniable sexual ethic. In that same Q&A, Peterson says, “Let’s say you are in a position where you are inclined to seek an abortion. The question is: how did you get there?” The literal answer for 99% of pregnant women is via voluntary sexual intercourse—but when our culture frames “sexual expression” as an inevitability, it can seem hard to envision other safe paths forward apart from abortion.

For some, it’s too late to think proactively. Along those lines, one of the primary pro-choice arguments has been that having children too soon will plunge parents into permanent poverty. But when the church is at its best, it has rallied together to provide for those who could not provide for themselves. Acts 2:44-45 says about the early church, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” Other ancient sources record that the early church was known for saving and protecting unwanted children, who were sometimes left outside to die.

Although some may frame “celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision” and “thinking about how to be more holistically pro-life” as somehow in tension, the early church models both a care for babies and for their mothers. May God give us grace to do the same.

The 1440 Daily Digest had an interesting article for the July 4th weekend entitled “Happy Birthday, America.” 

Congratulations, America—Monday marks the 246th commemoration of the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress. The Congress actually voted to separate from Great Britain two days earlier, and possibly didn’t sign the document until August. Some argue the US didn’t really become a country until we began operating under the Constitution in 1789.

Still, since then, the country has grown from 13 colonies with about 2.5 million people to 50 states and 14 territories with a population of more than 330 million. The economy has swelled to roughly $24T. Advances in public health—public sanitation, the germ theory of disease, and more—have cut the child mortality rate from more than 45% to under 1%, and our citizens live 35 years longer on average.

We’ve built almost 4 million miles of paved roads and more than 5,000 public airports. More than 2.7 million miles of power lines electrify the country, with about 85% of households having access to broadband internet and 92% having at least one computer. In 1800, 95% of the population lived in rural areas, and now about 83% live in urban areas. The US has also been responsible for more than 800 human visits to space—the most of any other country with a space agency.

While there will always be challenges to face and improvements to make, we’ve come a long way since the beginning. So grab a hot dog and your drink of choice—here’s to the next 246 years.

“The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis.” —Thurgood Marshall

This is a good way of looking at the blessings we have in America: 24 charts that show we’re (mostly) living better than our parents

“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” —Harriet Beecher Stowe

“I have reason to praise Him for my trials, for, most probably, I should have been ruined without them.” —John Newton

Poetry Saturday—Oh The Lamb

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In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object met my sight,
And stopp’d my wild career.

Oh, the Lamb, the bleeding Lamb,
The Lamb on Calvary,
The Lamb that was slain and liveth again
To intercede for me.

I saw One hanging on a Tree
In agonies and blood,
Who fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near the Cross I stood.

Sure never till my latest breath
Can I forget that look,
It seem’d to charge me with His death,
Tho’ not a word He spoke.

My conscience felt and owned my guilt,
And plung’d me in despair,
I saw my sins His blood had spilt,
And helped to nail Him there.

A second look He gave, which said,
“I freely all forgive,
This blood is for thy ransom paid,
I die, that thou may’st live.”

Thus, while His death my sins display
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.

Oh, the Lamb, the bleeding Lamb,
The Lamb on Calvary,
The Lamb that was slain and liveth again
To intercede for me. —John Newton

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10 Quotes From “The Roots Of Endurance”

John Piper’s intertwining of the biographies of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce in The Roots Of Endurance was masterfully done! Especially because, unlink the previous books in Pastor John’s “The swans are not silent series,” all three of these men knew each other and interacted with each other. Check out my full book review by clicking here. 

“Simeon with us—his heart glowing with love of Christ. How full he is of love, and of desire to promote the spiritual benefit of others. Oh! that I might copy him as he Christ.” —William Wilberforce, writing in his journal about Charles Simeon 

“It is hoped and believed that the Lord has raised you up for the good of His church and for the good of the nation.” —John Newton, in a letter to William Wilberforce 

“Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of man and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you.” —John Wesley, at 87 years of age, in a letter to William Wilberforce 

“Frustration is normal, disappointment is normal, sickness is normal. Conflict, persecution, danger, stress—they are all normal. The mind-set that moves away from these will move away from reality and away from Christ. —John Piper 

The remaining six quotes are exclusive content for my Patreon supporters. In addition to book quotes, there are videos and behind-the-scenes views that only these supporters have access to. I would love it if you would prayerfully consider supporting my ministry for just $5 per month.

The Roots Of Endurance (book review)

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I always glean so many valuable lessons when I read the autobiographies or biographies of notable people of history. The Roots Of Endurance is the third installment in John Piper’s excellent series “The swans are not silent.” 

This book looks at the lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce. Unlike the other books in this series, these men were all contemporaries and all of them had at least a passing relationship with each other. In fact, their lives and accomplishments were an encouragement to each other. 

Pastor John makes the case in this book that in order to endure through difficult times successfully, we must have a deep root into the joy of the Lord. This root nourishes our hearts to persevere successfully through long trials. These three men exhibit this endurance beautifully. John Newton had to endure his own struggles with his past, Charles Simeon contended with an obstinate congregation, and William Wilberforce battled pro-slavery forces in Parliament for years before the abolition of the slave trade was enacted.

All three of these men endured successfully because they trusted God so deeply. These roots of trust went deep and helped them to persevere for God’s glory.

As I have mentioned in my other book reviews from the series, anyone who enjoys biographies of godly leaders or the study of church history will thoroughly enjoy The Roots Of Endurance. 

If you would like to check out the other books in this series that I have previously reviewed, please click here, here, or here.

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Poetry Saturday—I Asked The Lord That I Might Grow

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I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek more earnestly His face.

‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray;
And He, I trust, has answered prayer:
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d grant me my request;
And, by His love’s constraining power,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart,
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this? I trembling cried;
Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?
‘Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free,
To break thy schemes of worldly joy,
That thou mayst seek thy all in Me. —John Newton

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11 Quotes From “Out Of The Depths”

John Newton’s autobiography Out Of The Depths contains a very interesting closing chapter. They are not the words written by John Newton, but the words spoken by him to his friends and parishioners. Here are a few that especially caught my attention. You can check out my full book review of Out Of The Depths by clicking here.  

“If two angels were sent from heaven to execute a divine command, one to conduct an empire and the other to sweep a street in it, they would feel no inclination to change employments.”

“A Christian should never plead spirituality for being a sloven. If he be but a shoe cleaner, he should be the best in the parish.” 

The remaining nine quotes are exclusive content for my Patreon supporters. In addition to book quotes, there are videos and behind-the-scenes views that only these supporters have access to. I would love it if you would prayerfully consider supporting my ministry for just $5 per month.

Out Of The Depths (book review)

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I’ve heard it reported (and I quite believe it) that “Amazing Grace” is the best-known song in the world. This song of God’s unfathomable grace was written by a pastor who was once a slave trader. Out Of The Depths is the autobiography of slave-trader-turned-pastor John Newton. 

This story is told largely through the re-printing of letters that John Newton wrote to a friend over a lengthy correspondence. The original letters were not preserved, so as Mr. Newton wrote them again, he said that he added details that he hadn’t included in the first writing. Then the book closes with some remembrances of a dear friend, and a compilation of some short maxims that Pastor Newton used in his sermons and in conversations with friends. 

One of the real benefits of Newton writing these letters so long after the actual events is his ability to look back at the lessons he learned through his various trials. Granted, many of his trials were brought on by his own stubbornness, but still the beginning of the message of grace from his memorable hymn is heard in the recounting of these stories. 

Another key aspect of his story is his relationship with his wife. She and her family were much more committed Christians than Newton was at the time he began to show an interest in his bride-to-be, but neither she nor her family allowed the courtship to proceed until Newton had entirely surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. Their marriage was a source of great strength and encouragement to Pastor Newton. 

I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy learning about the key figures of church history. 

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