From the Pastor’s Desk

Here are some of the things that have come across my desk this week.

The Dangers of Social Media: From Crossway Publishers, Tony Reinke points out 10 Things You Should Know about the Danger of Media. I found #7 particularly powerful: Media endangers our prayer life… “The worst of our compulsive social media habits are filling our days and corroding our prayer lives.”

How to Listen to Preaching: This is a great article on based on The Westminster Larger Catechism, questions 154-160.  As a pastor, my endeavor is to always be growing in my ability to write and preach sermons that are Biblical, Christ-Centered, God-Honoring, and effective in calling sinners to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and encouraging believers in their walk with Him. In this article, Joel Smit encourages the listeners in how they are to prepare themselves to hear the Word.

Today in Church History: On this day in 418 AD, a relatively minor Synod meeting of the North African Church assembled, but it made a major declaration.  The council met to take action concerning the errors of Caelestius, a disciple of Pelagius, denounced the Pelagian doctrines of human nature, original sin, grace, and perfectibility; and it fully approved the teaching of Augustine.

Allergy Season is Upon Us: As the Zyrtek bottle is nearly empty at my house, I recalled this article from a while ago. Here’s the take away illustration:

And Finally:

A random video about the massive city of an Ant Hill.

More Recommended Reading

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about what I’m reading, so I thought I’d share with you my current reading list as a recommendation.

Stuff Christians Like  -              By: Jonathan Acuff      Stuff Christians Like (Jonathan Acuff) – Okay, I’m starting with the guilty pleasure.  I’ve been a fan of their blog and website for a while now, and when I saw the book, I just had to get it.  It’s light, humorous reading, often poking fun at the little assiduities that Christians know are true but are never willing to admit.  Surpisingly, there are rare gems of insight that help you to see what the church is all about, stories that can move you.  Overall, a fun read.

The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & DevotionsThe Valley of Vision – Where “Stuff Christians Like” may be a guilty pleasure, “The Valley of Vision” is a heart breaking collection of Puritan Prayers, from writers such as Bunyan, Watts, Spurgeon, and others.  With a wrenching honesty before God, “The Valley of Vision” helps the reader articulate the groanings of the soul.  I’ve used portions of these prayers in worship, I read from these prayers to help suppliment my personal prayer time; an excellent read for those who desire to mature in prayer.

Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church  -              By: Kenda Creasy Dean      Almost Christian – (Kenda Creasy Dean) I’m reading this one in study with my Youth Ministry Director.  Based on the National Study of Youth and Religion Dean investigates why American teenagers are so positive about Christianity, and at the same time so apathetic about traditional forms of religious practice?
Dean explores the breakdown of the church into the false gospel of Moralistic Theraputic Deism, and offers insight into ways in which an authentic, meaningful, and life-changing Christian faith can be passed from one generatino to the next.  Not my normal cup of tea, but it has been very informative.

Jonathan Edwards: A Life   -              By: George M. Marsden      Johnathon Edwards, a Life (George Marsden) – Maybe I’ve never cared enough about someone else’s life to read a biography, but this is the first biography that I have ever willingly chosen to read – and I am so thankful for it.  I’m still working through this exhaustive volume on Edwards by George Marsden (640 pages), but I am loving every page.  On one page I’ll be laughing at the seemingly absurd reaction over the phrase “let all the people say, amen,” and on the next I’ll be moved to tears over the anguish and struggle of this man of God.  So often Edwards has been portrayed as a rigid puritanical despot, or whittled down to a well-spoken naturalist deist – neither of which is a fair representation of one of the greatest minds of American Christianity to date.

Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion  -              By: Ted Kluck, Kevin DeYoung      Why we love the Church (De Young and Kluck) – When everyone else is producing books on what’s wrong with the church and how to be the church without going to church, here are two guys who love the church and make a great appeal on it’s behalf.  The writing styles of DeYoung and Kluck balance one another well with a good mix of Biblical study, historical information, and humor.  As the cover says, “Whether you’re committed, disgruntled, hesitant, or disconnected from the body of Christ, this passionate resource will help you renew your love for the church in all its real-life guts, gaffes, and glory. DeYoung and Kluck’s valuable resource provides a solid reminder of the biblical mandate to participate in our local congregations. Relevant and encouraging!”

Good reading everyone!

SDG