Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Favorites - MacLaurinCSF Benefit Tonight


MacLaurinCSF Benefit
Friday, September 30, 2016, 7 PM

Where: Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 Fourth Street South, Mpls, MN 55455

Cost: General Admission:  $25

Hey Longtime Christian Student Fellowship Friends!

You're invited to a big event on the University of Minnesota campus (Ted Mann Concert Hall) where you will enjoy an exciting update on the future of what used to be CSF and The MacLaurin Institute.

We will unveil a new name for our organization and a bold vision for a new kind of community at the U of M—a vision that you are a part of. Hear from Leith Anderson, Sara Groves, and U of M students as we launch into this transformative future together.

If you haven’t already purchased tickets, now is the time to do so. Buy your tickets right now by visiting maclaurincsf.org/allthings. Once you’ve done that, or if you can’t come but want to help us spread the word about the event, RSVP on Facebook—and invite your friends there.

Free tickets are available for all students, pastors, and campus ministers. Email Matt at kaul@maclaurin.org with your address and quantity and he’ll send you tickets.

This event is going to be encouraging and exciting. You won’t want to miss it!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thursday Thinking - Democratic Debate

https://youtu.be/HkgHLK9_Zt8
THE LOST ART OF DEMOCRATIC DEBATE
Speaker: Michael Sandel
Published on Mar 23, 2013
View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-lost-ar...

Democracy thrives on civil debate, Michael Sandel says -- but we're shamefully out of practice. He leads a fun refresher, with TEDsters sparring over a recent Supreme Court case (PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin) whose outcome reveals the critical ingredient in justice.

Michael Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard University. His writings—on justice, ethics, democracy, and markets--have been translated into 27 languages.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wednesday Words - Immortal Autumn


I speak this poem now with grave and level voice  
In praise of autumn, of the far-horn-winding fall.

I praise the flower-barren fields, the clouds, the tall  
Unanswering branches where the wind makes sullen noise.

I praise the fall: it is the human season.
                                                                  Now
No more the foreign sun does meddle at our earth,  
Enforce the green and bring the fallow land to birth,  
Nor winter yet weigh all with silence the pine bough,

But now in autumn with the black and outcast crows  
Share we the spacious world: the whispering year is gone:  
There is more room to live now: the once secret dawn  
Comes late by daylight and the dark unguarded goes.

Between the mutinous brave burning of the leaves  
And winter’s covering of our hearts with his deep snow  
We are alone: there are no evening birds: we know  
The naked moon: the tame stars circle at our eaves.

It is the human season. On this sterile air
Do words outcarry breath: the sound goes on and on.  
I hear a dead man’s cry from autumn long since gone.

I cry to you beyond upon this bitter air.


Archibald MacLeish, “Immortal Autumn” from Collected Poems 1917-1982.
© Copyright 1985 by The Estate of Archibald MacLeish.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday Tome - Insights on Prayer

A good friend of mine recently asked for a few book titles on the subject of prayer. Below are the books I recommended with links and publisher's descriptions. All three are pretty down to earth and practical.

A Praying Life
by Paul E. Miller

Author Paul Miller shares his insights and conclusions about how to connect the broken pieces of your life and allow prayer—even poorly delivered—to fill the gaps with meaning and substance.
Miller's down-to-earth approach and practical nature will help you see that your relationship with God can grow and your communication with Him can get better.

Parents will find Miller's family-life experiences especially helpful.
Includes bonus chapter from Prayer Begins with Relationship by Cynthia Hyle Bezek.

Prayer
by Tim Keller

Christians are taught in their churches and schools that prayer is the most powerful way to experience God. But few receive instruction or guidance in how to make prayer genuinely meaningful. In Prayer, renowned pastor Timothy Keller delves into the many facets of this everyday act.

With his trademark insights and energy, Keller offers biblical guidance as well as specific prayers for certain situations, such as dealing with grief, loss, love, and forgiveness. He discusses ways to make prayers more personal and powerful, and how to establish a practice of prayer that works for each reader.

Dr. Keller’s previous books have sold more than one million copies. His Redeemer Presbyterian Church is not only a major presence in his home base of New York, it has also helped to launch more than two hundred fifty other churches in forty-eight cities around the world. His teachings have already helped millions, the majority of whom pray regularly. And with Prayer, he’ll show them how to find a deeper connection with God.


Present Perfect 
by Greg Boyd

A “Holy Habit” That Will Change Your Life! Experience true spiritual transformation: invite God’s presence into your life! Popular author, theologian, and pastor Gregory Boyd shows you how—simply, practically, and effectively—in this thoughtful and accessible book. Discover: • How to pray continually • What it means to “take every thought captive” • How to wake up to God’s ever-present love God is closer to you than the air you breathe. He is present in every given moment.

Wake up to his presence! Turn off the mental chatter that keeps you from seeing his glory. Embrace the holy habit of inviting God’s presence into your life, and be transformed! Wake Up to God’s Presence! We long to be transformed. Yet our minds are filled with endless trivia and self-centered chatter. To-do lists. Worries about the past. Speculation about the future. We forget to live in the present moment … and to invite God to be with us there.

After reading classic contemplative authors Brother Lawrence, Jean-Pierre de Caussade, and Frank Laubach, theologian and pastor Gregory Boyd longed to experience the presence of God for himself. For two decades, he’s attempted to implement the “practice of the presence of God” in his own life … sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing. What he’s learned as a fellow pilgrim on his spiritual journey can help you find true spiritual transformation as you begin to practice the discipline of inviting God into every moment.

“I’ve become absolutely convinced that remaining aware of God’s presence moment-by-moment is the single most important task in the life of every follower of Jesus,” Boyd writes. “I’m convinced this challenge is implied in our commitment to surrender our life to Christ, for the only real life we have to surrender to him is the one we live moment-by-moment.” Join Boyd on this transformational journey of a lifetime!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Supplication - To Live for Your Glory

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear us than we are to pray. Your readiness to provide for our needs is greater than our readiness to live for your glory. You remove our fears, you graciously bless us, and you draw us into fellowship with you through Jesus Christ our Savior.

Thank you for your promise to forgive and purify us. Thank you for being the one who saves. Forgive us our sins. Renew us by your Spirit. Show us how to act, think, and live as Christ.  As you have forgiven us, make us merciful and ready to forgive those who have sinned against us.

O God, when we are afraid, help us to be still and put our trust in you. When we feel like running in the face of challenges and obstacles, give us the courage to stand firm. Be our help, our shelter, and our deliverer.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Favorites - MacLaurinCSF Benefit, Sept. 30


MacLaurinCSF Benefit
Friday, September 30, 2016, 7 PM

Where: Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 Fourth Street South, Mpls, MN 55455

Cost: General Admission:  $25

Hey Longtime Christian Student Fellowship Friends!

You're invited to a big event on the University of Minnesota campus (Ted Mann Concert Hall) where you will enjoy an exciting update on the future of what used to be CSF and The MacLaurin Institute.

We will unveil a new name for our organization and a bold vision for a new kind of community at the U of M—a vision that you are a part of. Hear from Leith Anderson, Sara Groves, and U of M students as we launch into this transformative future together.

If you haven’t already purchased tickets, now is the time to do so. Buy your tickets right now by visiting maclaurincsf.org/allthings. Once you’ve done that, or if you can’t come but want to help us spread the word about the event, RSVP on Facebook—and invite your friends there.

Free tickets are available for all students, pastors, and campus ministers. Email Matt at kaul@maclaurin.org with your address and quantity and he’ll send you tickets.

This event is going to be encouraging and exciting. You won’t want to miss it!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thursday Thinking - Living Beyond Circumstances

http://www.valleycc.org/sermon-series-info.html
I'm starting a new teaching series at Valley Christian Church this Sunday. The series will be a study through Paul's letter to the Philippians. We will be considering what Paul has to say about living in a world where you don't know what's coming next. Is it possible to live in a way that you can follow Jesus and live with purpose and hope no matter what the circumstances?

http://www.biblestudytools.com/video/you-know-it-s-coming-but-this-powerful-version-of-philippians-4-delivers-the-chills-anyway.html



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday Words - September Tomatoes


The whiskey stink of rot has settled
in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises
when I touch the dying tomato plants.

Still, the claws of tiny yellow blossoms
flail in the air as I pull the vines up by the roots
and toss them in the compost.

It feels cruel. Something in me isn’t ready
to let go of summer so easily. To destroy
what I’ve carefully cultivated all these months.
Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit.

My great-grandmother sang with the girls of her village
as they pulled the flax. Songs so old
and so tied to the season that the very sound
seemed to turn the weather.

"September Tomatoes" by Karina Borowicz,  Copyright © 2013.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuesday Tome - The Divine Conspiracy

One of the books I'm reading right now is You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith. It's proving to be a really terrific book. As I read, I'm frequently reminded of another book, The Divine Conspiracy, by Dallas Willard. I'm thankful for writers like James K. A. Smith who are keeping the topic of spiritual formation alive and well.


Here are a few excerpts from The Divine Conspiracy...
We must understand that God does not "love" us without liking us - through gritted teeth - as "Christian" love is sometimes thought to do. Rather, out of the eternal freshness of his perpetually self-renewed being, the heavenly Father cherishes the earth and each human being upon it. The fondness, the endearment, the unstintingly affectionate regard of God toward all his creatures is the natural outflow of what he is to the core - which we vainly try to capture with our tired but indispensable old word "love".
___________________

Kingdom praying and its efficacy is entirely a matter of the innermost heart's being totally open and honest before God. It is a matter of what we are saying with our whole being, moving with resolute intent and clarity of mind into the flow of God's action. 
___________________
Many people have found prayer impossible because they thought they should only pray for wonderful but remote needs they actually had little or no interest in or even knowledge of. Prayer simply dies from efforts to pray about ‘good things’ that honestly do not matter to us. The way to get to meaningful prayer for those good things is to start by praying for what we are truly interested in. The circle of our interests will inevitably grow in the largeness of God’s love.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Supplication - Saving and Reaching

O Lord God, we recognize your power and might. We believe you are the author and giver of all good things.  By your grace and mercy, place in our hearts a deep and true love for you. Help us to follow Jesus. Nourish us with all goodness. And help us to bear the fruit of good works as your Spirit does your transforming work in us.

We confess our sin and ask you to forgive us.  And beyond forgiveness, we ask that you would change us and strengthen us that we might overcome temptation and escape the sins that entangle and diminish us. We also ask for the grace and generosity to forgive others, even as you have forgiven us.

O God, we thank you for saving and reaching out to us. Thank you for being a God of deliverance and provision. Help us to embrace the calling we have in Christ and to find our purpose and fulfillment in him.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.