Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gospel-Centered Football

I am currently taking a course at Columbia International University called Biblical Foundations for Curriculum. I was particularly moved by a story about football and faith that Dr. Uecker read to us today. The event took place more than two and a half years ago but was news to me. Competitions like this need to be happening all the time. If your interested in learning more about prison ministry, I highly recommend checking out Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship.

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Some Recent Articles About Books VII

The Leisure Reading Racial Gap by Mark Bauerlein - "These numbers confirm the rule that the more young people read on their own, voluntarily, the better they do in school."

Amazon Kindle Tips, Tricks, & Resources by Nathan W. Bingham - I still do not own one, but perhaps you do.

Gospel Pioneer to China by Tim Challies - Vance Christie's biography of Hudson Taylor receives a favorable review.

How to Survive the Age of Distraction by Johann Hari - "...we need dead trees to have fully living minds."

These are some varied resources that I am using this summer at CIU.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Reviewing George Barna's Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions

I read Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions: Why Children Should Be Your Church's #1 Priority for one of my summer classes at CIU. The 145-page book was written almost eight years ago by George Barna, founder of America's leading marketing research firm focused on faith and culture. He says that most American churches fail to see that a child's moral development is set before they reach the age of ten. Churches need to place more of an emphasis on ministering to children or the energies placed on youth ministry needs to be (more) gospel-centered. Churches need to work with parents and help equip them to teach children a biblical worldview.

Although I do not find Barna's book to be a gripping read, I do applaud his efforts to remind us the importance of teaching young people the ways of the Lord. Many statistics are found throughout the eight chapters; however, more Scripture to support his claims would make this book much more powerful. Almost no Bible verses are found in the first two chapters - The State of American Children and The Spiritual Health of Our Children. The latter chapters do improve in this area as well as providing us ideas to help us produce spiritually mature children.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6      

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dad Life

Father's Day 2011

This morning the Holy Spirit brought Isaiah 64:8 to my mind, and I decided to share it with my family. This was a verse Megan and I memorized together when I lived in Korea almost ten years ago. It says, "But now, O LORD, you are our Father, we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand." Later at the 10:45 service at FEPC we sang Stuart Townend's contemporary hymn, How Deep The Father's Love. I found it particularly moving on this Father's Day and wish more songs like this were written. Once again I was reminded how I am deserving of nothing but eternal punishment. How incredible it is that in our sovereign creator's mercy and grace, He adopted us into His family. I am so thankful to be able to teach this to my daughters. Our Father is good.

How Deep the Father's Love by Stuart Townend

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Hendricks County Historical Museum

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Daddy Dates #7: Fishin' in Prestwick - Avon, IN

Grace really enjoys fishin' with me. She has a little difficulty
takin' a fish off the hook, but she is not afraid to do the job.
Here is Rose with a bluegill she caught in a pond behind my parents' home.
I am not exactly sure of this guy's measurements, but he 
was at least 20 inches. He snapped my line just after
 I pulled him in. The girls had never seen a largemouth bass 
and were a little shocked, but I was a very happy camper.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Some Recent Articles About Books VI

Five Reasons Why E-Books Aren't There Yet by John C. Abell - E-Books cannot replicate everything about the print book culture.

Building an eBook Library on the Cheap by Tim Challies - Looking for a deal?

House Collapsing Under Weight of Rescued Books by Alison Flood - I think they have too many books.

Reviewing Michael A. Zigarelli's Cultivating Christian Character

I chose to read Cultivating Christian Character: How to Become the Person God Wants You to be and How to Help Others Do the Same for a summer class I will be taking at CIU. Dr. Zigarelli attempts to answer the timeless question, "How do I become more like Jesus Christ?" His approach is driven by his research based on the experiences of more than 5,000 Christians around the world, however, I believe he misses the mark immensely. I do believe that Dr. Zigarelli desires for others to become better people, but his methods for understanding how to achieve a lasting transformation are largely man-centered. You will not find much Scripture in this book, and this is where the key to cultivating Christian character and living a God-glorifying life is found. This is not a secret that needs to be uncovered. If we want to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we need to read and study the Bible so we can understand how to rest in Christ's completed work on the cross. Yes, other spiritual disciplines like fasting, journaling, and serving others can certainly help us become more Christlike, but the renewing of our minds starts in the Good Book. Additionally, there is simply not enough of an emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit and on the glorious truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What you do find in Cultivating Christian Character are a lot of charts and graphs that try to dissect how to become what he calls a "high-virtue" Christian. The book concludes with notes, references, and a list of resources Dr. Zigarelli suggests for cultivating Christian character. Unfortunately, some of the resources have questionable theology. I am sure there are portions of this book that can help some people, but there are scores of resources available that can have a greater impact on your heart and mind. Perhaps you want to look into Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, and The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Although I do not agree with every theological stance these authors hold, these are books that Dr. Zigarelli recommends that I have benefited from.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Some Recent Articles About Books V

Finding Free Christian Kindle Books by Terry Enns - You don't have to own a Kindle to download these books.

Cambridge, Mass. Tops Amazon's List of 'Well-Read' Cities by Doug Gross, CNN - College towns dominate the top five.

It's The Last Dance by Donalyn Miller - Setting the stage for more reading.

Advice For Slow Readers by John Starke - Some good tips.