Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Favorites - Tyler on Today 
It's good to see Tyler back on the road performing with Mat Kearney.  CLICK HERE to view their Today Show performance from Wednesday, February 25.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday Thinking - Taking Things Literally

There are some things that you just can't understand if you insist on being literal. You weren't born yesterday, right? So you already know that about language. You know I'm not literally talking about your birth date when I say "you weren't born yesterday."

TED Talk manuscripts are translated into 105 different languages by volunteer translators. Idiomatic phrases pose interesting problems for translators. You might understand what someone means when they say "you can't put lipstick on a pig," but how would you say that in Chinese? And even if you do translate it literally, would anyone who speaks Chinese actually understand your meaning?

Every language has idiomatic phrases. TED Talk translators were asked to share some of their favorites in a recent blog post. They were asked to share the phrase, to then translate it literally, and then to explain the non-literal meaning.

Got any idea what any these idiomatic phrases might mean?
Click the link below to see if you're right.

“You have tomatoes on your eyes.”
“There’s no cow on the ice.”
“To slide in on a shrimp sandwich.”
“It fell between chairs.”
“To blow little ducks.”
“The carrots are cooked!”
“The thief has a burning hat.”
“You can sharpen with an ax on top of this head.”
“Pay the duck.”
“It’s a roll with butter.”
“Did you fall from a Christmas tree?”
“Willing to borrow a cat’s paws.”*
“The pussy cat will come to the tiny door.”
“Balls of a swan.”
“To talk about the wolf.”
“Showing water to someone.”
"Buying something for an apple and an egg.”
“A dog with feces scolds a dog with husks of grain.”
“50 steps are similar to 100 steps.”

To see the language of origin and the meaning of these phrases and more, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday Words - A Sense of Him

Not merely in the words you say,
Not only in your deeds confessed,
But in the most unconscious way
Is Christ expressed.

Is it a beatific smile,
A holy light upon your brow;
Oh no, I felt His Presence while
You laughed just now.

For me ‘twas not the truth you taught
To you so clear, to me still dim
But when you came to me you brought
A sense of Him.

And from your eyes He beckons me,
And from your heart His love is shed,
Til I lose sight of you and see
The Christ instead.

“Indwelt” by Beatrice Clelland.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday Tome - Home
The next novel on my reading list is Home by Marilynne Robinson. My wife, Cheri, has been reading this book while leading a discussion group on it for MacLaurinCSF at the University of Minnesota. The book is a continuation of the story Robinson began in her novel, Gilead, which Cheri and I both really enjoyed. Cheri tells me that Home has been even more moving and beautiful than Gilead, so I'm really looking forward to getting started this week.

From Publisher's Weekly...
Robinson's beautiful new novel, a companion piece to her Pulitzer Prize–winning Gilead, is an elegant variation on the parable of the prodigal son's return. The son is Jack Boughton, one of the eight children of Robert Boughton, the former Gilead, Iowa, pastor, who now, in 1957, is a widowed and dying man.

Jack returns home shortly after his sister, 38-year-old Glory, moves in to nurse their father, and it is through Glory's eyes that we see Jack's drama unfold. When Glory last laid eyes on Jack, she was 16, and he was leaving Gilead with a reputation as a thief and a scoundrel, having just gotten an underage girl pregnant.

By his account, he'd since lived as a vagrant, drunk and jailbird until he fell in with a woman named Della in St. Louis. By degrees, Jack and Glory bond while taking care of their father, but when Jack's letters to Della are returned unopened, Glory has to deal with Jack's relapse into bad habits and the effect it has on their father. In giving an ancient drama of grace and perdition such a strong domestic setup, Robinson stakes a fierce claim to a divine recognition behind the rituals of home.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Music - Things Above

Since you have been raised with Christ,
Set your hearts on things above
Where Christ is seated
At the right hand of God.
Set your mind on things above–
Not on earthly things–
For you died
And your life
Is now hidden with Christ in God.

Set your mind on things above.

"Things Above" by Dave Burkum from "This Is the Testimony," © 2005 by Dave Burkum, lyrics adapted from Colossians 3:1-3. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN OR BUY

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Supplication - When We Face Temptation

Almighty God, we ask you to help us when we face temptation. We remember that Jesus was tempted during the forty days he fasted and prayed in the wilderness, and so we know he understands our weaknesses and temptations. Father God, just as you strengthened Jesus to overcome temptation, we pray that you will strengthen us by your Spirit, that we too might overcome temptation and escape the sins that entangle us.

Thank you for the forgiveness and renewal you have given to us through Christ.  Help us to extend forgiveness to each other in his name. Help us become a redemptive and healing community. Help us to have a saving and healing influence in our world.

Help us, O Lord, to be in the world as Jesus was in it. Help us to be truly engaged with our world, and yet to be truly different from it. Help us to be instruments of your grace and power.

Where there is hatred, let us bring love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is discord, unity. Where there is doubt, faith.  Where there is darkness light. Lead us away from temptation and deliver us from evil.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Favorites - Cactus Blossoms on CMT

There's a nice article about the Cactus Blossoms and a video posted on the CMT Americana Blog this week. Those guys just keep getting better and better.  CLICK HERE

The Cactus Blossoms Stick to Brotherly Harmony
The Cactus Blossoms are two brothers — Jack Torrey and Page Burkum – whose blood harmony harkens back to the golden era of the Everly Brothers. Just by coincidence, I first heard them sing at Hymie’s Vintage Records in Minneapolis back in 2011. I was in the Twin Cities on vacation, visiting a friend who frequents the music scene there. She casually mentioned that I might like to go see these guys, since I’m a fan of traditional country. Wisely, I bought their CD as a souvenir — it was a hometown record release party after all – and the disc has been in my car ever since.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday Thinking - Getting Past "Other-izing"

Elizabeth Lesser suggests an idea that might help you understand and humanize others rather than label and dismiss them. She has some good thoughts for us all to consider. When is the last time you took the initiative to love and listen to someone with ideas, beliefs, and opinions very different from your own? When will be the first or next time?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wednesday Words - Remember, You Are Dust

Psalm 90
A prayer of Moses the man of God.

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3 You turn people back to dust,
    saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”

4 A thousand years in your sight
    are like a day that has just gone by,
    or like a watch in the night.
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
    they are like the new grass of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new,
    but by evening it is dry and withered.

7 We are consumed by your anger
    and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
    our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
    we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
    Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
    Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
    that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
    for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
    your splendor to their children.

17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday Tome - The Seven Big Myths about Marriage

In preparation for our upcoming Valley Married Couples Retreat and spring/summer premarital counseling, I've decided to do a little personal refresher study. I'm reading The Seven Big Myths about Marriage: What Science, Faith, and Philosophy Teach Us about Love and Happiness by Christopher and Jennifer Kaczor.  While the book is written from a Catholic perspective, I think much of the content will serve a much broader Christian perspective. We'll see.

At the very least, I think the book will be thought-provoking. Peter Kreeft, whose books I've enjoyed through the years, had this to say about 7 Myths: "Reading this book is good exercise for your head... If I were a pastor, I would make this book required reading for engaged couples in all my marriage classes."

Table of Contents...
Introduction: Happiness and Identity
1. The First Big Myth: "Love is Simple"
2. The Second Big Myth: "Marriage is a Fifty-Fifty Contract"
3. The Third Big Myth: "Love Alone Makes a Marriage"
4. The Fourth Big Myth: "Cohabitation is Just Like Marriage"
5. The Fifth Big Myth: "Premarital Sex Is No Big Deal"
6. The Sixth Big Myth: "Children Are Irrelevant to Marriage"
7. The Seventh Big Myth: "All Reproductive Choices Are Equal"

The Publisher's Description...
This work explores some of the most interesting and vexing problems in contemporary life. Appealing to reason rather than religious authority, the book tackles the most controversial and talked about positions of the Catholic Church - on contraception, on marriage, on reproductive technologies, on cohabitation, and on divorce - arguing for the reasonableness of the Church's views on these issues.

The book's interdisciplinary approach, following the precedent of Thomas Aquinas, looks to human happiness and fulfillment, properly understood, in seeking the answers to questions about how to live. It aims to show to skeptical readers that what the Catholic Church teaches about controversial issues is rationally justified by considering evidence from psychology, sociology, and philosophy.

The foundation of Kaczor s approach is happiness. We all want to be happy. Every day, in whatever we do, we seek this goal. But what exactly is happiness? And how can we find it? The saints and psychologists agree: there can be no real happiness without authentic love-erotic love, friendship love, and self-giving love (agape).

From this foundation of happiness Kaczor explores the nature of marriage, and the love they promise to each other, which is agape, a self­giving love that is the choice to do good for the other. He also examines alternatives to covenant marriage, such as polygamy and same­sex marriage, as well as cohabitation.

Finally the book explores the value of children. To make sense of Catholic teaching on contraception, he says that we must first reconsider the value of fertility and having children. Only in this perspective, can one begin to understanding what the Church teaches.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday Music - Teach Me to Number My Days

Teach me to number my days
That I might present a heart of wisdom.
Teach me to number my days,
Everlasting Father, I pray–
Teach me to number my days.

A thousand years in your sight
Are like a day just gone by,
But I'm like grass at the break of day–
When the evening comes I will fade away–
I'll fly away.

So teach me to number my days
That I might present a heart of wisdom.
Teach me to number my days,
Everlasting Father, I pray–
Teach me to number my days.
Teach me to number my days.

"Teach Me To Number My Days" words and music by Dave Burkum (adapted from Psalm 90) from Songs for the Real World, © Copyright 1992 by Dave Burkum.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Supplication - The Gift of Your Love

O Lord, you have taught us what love is and what it does. And your word tells us that without love, the things we do are nothing. We ask that through your Holy Spirit you would fill our hearts with love. May the great gift of your love bring us together in peace.

May your love move us toward holiness and virtue. May your love make us truly alive in Christ.

Lead us away from temptation. Free us from selfishness and pride. Give us the honesty and humility to recognize our need for your grace and mercy. Forgive us our sins and make us ready to forgive others.

You reign over all things, O God.  May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. By your power and grace, help us to follow Christ and yield to his Lordship. Help us to be faithful in our walk with you. Make us a testimony of your saving grace.

Grant us hearts and hands that are ready and quick to serve in your name. Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever!


Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Favorites - Bands on the Run

I wish I had a private plane so I could make it to these concerts. It's getting hard to keep up with the kids, but I'm glad for all the great opportunities they're experiencing.

My son, Tyler, will be playing along with Matthew Perryman Jones for this unique event with the Nashville Ballet.

...But the flowers have yet to come
February 13-15
Choreography by Gina Patterson
Music written and performed by Matthew Perryman Jones

A revival of Gina Patterson’s wildly popular 2013 creation with Nashville-based singer/songwriter Matthew Perryman Jones. Local artist Emily Leonard lends her talents to this collaboration as she paints a large scale canvas during each performance.

My sons, Page and Jack (The Cactus Blossoms) will be performing at the 2015 Ameripolitan Music Awards next week.

2015 Ameripolitan Music Awards
Tuesday, February 17th 2015
Paramount Theatre, Austin TX

We’re not leaving Country Music behind, we’re taking “real” country music with us. Ameripolitan Music LLC and The Ameripolitan Music Awards were created to benefit and acknowledge artists whose work does not readily conform to the tastes of today’s “country” or other music genres and organizations. It also provides fans with a means of finding these artists and their music.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thursday Thinking - Sacrifice and Atonement

Fuller Magazine has posted a very good essay by theologian/author John Goldingay, "Sacrifice and the Death of Christ." It has some very good insights on the meaning and practice of sacrifice rituals in the Old Testament, addresses some commonly mistaken convolutions regarding sacrifice and God's wrath, and gives some interpretive guidance on Isaiah 53. If you're trying to understand how the death of Christ serves as a sacrifice for sin, I think you'll find this article to be very helpful.

Sacrifice and the Death of Christ
by John Goldingay
When Christians think about sacrifice, they commonly make two assumptions. One is that sacrifice is essentially a way of dealing with the problem of sin. The other is that it deals with sin by causing God to stop being angry with us. Neither Old Testament nor New Testament supports these two assumptions. Sacrifice does sometimes have something to do with sin, but dealing with sin is not its main object. God does get angry, but sacrifice does not relate to God’s anger.

The Meaning of Sacrifice
The New Testament speaks of sacrifice in a number of connections apart from seeing Jesus’ death as a sacrifice that deals with sin. For instance, when we give ourselves to God in response to God’s giving himself to us, it is an act of sacrifice (Romans 12). Paul talks about being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of the Philippians’ faith and of the Philippians’ gifts to him as an offering to God (Phil 2:17; 4:18). When we testify to what God has done, it is a sacrifice of praise (Heb 13:15).

The New Testament’s way of thinking coheres with the Old Testament’s way of thinking in this respect...


John Goldingay is the David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament in the School of Theology. His most recent publications include the 17-volume Old Testament For Everyone series (WJK/SPCK, 2010–15), which provides clear, concise comment on all the Old Testament Scriptures, and The Theology of the Book of Isaiah (InterVarsity Press, 2014).

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday Words - For Marriage

As spring unfolds the dream of the earth,
May you bring each other’s hearts to birth.

As the ocean finds calm in view of land,
May you love the gaze of each other’s mind.

As the wind arises free and wild,
May nothing negative control your lives.

As kindly as moonlight might search the dark,
So gentle may you be when light grows scarce.

As surprised as the silence that music opens,
May your words for each other be touched with reverence.

As warmly as the air draws in the light,
May you welcome each other’s every gift.

As elegant as dream absorbing the night,
May sleep find you clear of anger and hurt.

As twilight harvests all the day’s color,
May love bring you home to each other.

“For Marriage” by John O’Donohue in To Bless the Space Between Us (Doubleday) © 2008.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday Tome - The Love that Matters

I first heard of Charles Featherstone's memoir, The Love that Matters, through a post on Rod Dreher's blog at The American Conservative. Dreher had just read the unedited galley of the book on a flight to Boston and was very moved. He wrote:
"It [The Love that Matters] started out good, and it kept getting better, and finally I couldn’t believe how good this thing was. I’m not kidding when I say this: Charles Featherstone has written an American spiritual classic. I have never read a book like this — one that’s so ragged, raw, and real. I couldn’t put it down, except that one time, when the shock of recognition was so great that I had to set the book aside and think deeply about what I had just read. People are going to be talking about this book when it comes out." 
That was enough to make me preorder my copy. It arrived a week or so ago and yesterday I finished reading it for myself. It's an exceptional and ordinary story of a person trying to figure out who he is, what life is about, the discoveries he makes, the joys and traumas he experiences, and the person he becomes through it all.

I'm not sure what audience the book is for, but I am somehow in that audience. It's definitely something I would recommend to pastors, to those trying to make sense of calling, to those who feel marginalized by institutional church, and for those interested in what a spiritual journey looks like for an unchurched person looking for meaning and direction in post-protestant, post-modern, pluralist America.

Here are a few of my favorite passages, which are unsurprisingly toward the end:

"Suffering poses no theological puzzle for me. It challenges no long-held assumptions I have about God. Or the order of the world. It is the way of things. People are, more often than not, inexplicably brutal, cruel, and violent. I believed in God not despite my own suffering, or the suffering of the world, but quite possibly because of it." [p. 204]

"I didn't yet know if any of the people at seminary really cared about me, but they said they did. They spoke a lot about being welcoming and open to strangers, and while I was inclined to view those words as nonsense––lies no one really meant, things said mostly to make people feel good about themseles, designed to be discarded once the strangers proved to be too strange and dealing with them either too difficulte or too uncomfortable––part of me said no, stay, make them prove it." [p. 210]

"I don't know if any of this could have happened without the mess, without the pain, without reliving and going through some of the worst feelings I've ever had about myself and the world. But how true was that for me generally? . . . Anything could have happened. But we don't live in a theoretical world. I met God, learned to love, learned to be loved, in the things that actually took place. In the history that happened." [p. 214]

"Forgiveness is power, the power to say 'you do not get to tell me who I am.'" [p. 218]

"Prostestantism tolerates no ecstatic visions, except those of the social reformer. All others are irrational and unreasonable, to be explained away by a resort to soft science or medicated into oblivion.

"Because in Newton's cosmos, the the Protestant imagination, there is no God in disordered lives. Such people are, at best, the subjects of much sympathy, charity, and even professional management (whether from social workers or prison warders). But if they cannot get their act together, well, that must be proof that God doesn't really bless them. God blesses ordered lives, lives in which people make all the right decisions, plan the right plans, want the right things, save and acquire and achieve.

"Believers earn their blessing through their hard work, their patience, their adherence to expectations and norms. Because that's how God blesses the world.

"There's still a lot of this in Protestantism. Lutherans speak a great deal of God's unearned grace. And we are actually living that out here and there. But for many, our lived confession, how we really treat each other, is actually much harsher: 'If you really, truly need God's grace, you clearly have not earned it.'

"We are not kind, or as kind as we should be, to people whose lives are, for whatever reason, a mess. We don't want to see God––or God's call––in the mess. And we should." [p.227]

Monday, February 09, 2015

Monday Music - Come, Lord, Quickly

Look at the headlines – another shooting downtown today,
Too many absent fathers, too many teenage runaways.
Under the table crooked politics in DC,
Handguns go to High School, sex and murder on TV.

So many homeless, so many starving in foreign lands,
Civil war and ethnic cleansing, abortion on demand.
Porno on the playground, an epidemic of STDs,
Doctor assisted suicide, reckless sexuality.

Caught in the spiral of our downward spin,
The whole world groans for Your returning.
When will your dawning end this night of sin?
My eyes look up and my heart’s filled with yearning, Jesus.

It's on the Nightline – on the cover of a magazine –
Terrorists bomb a shopping mall, blood on the silver screen.
Marital breakdown – another family torn in two;
Cocaine at the corner store, another military coup.

Caught in the spiral of our downward spin,
The whole world groans for Your returning.
When will your dawning end this night of sin?
My eyes look up and my heart is filled with yearning, Jesus.

Amen!  Amen!  Come Lord!
Even so, Lord come quickly!
Amen!  Amen!  Come Lord!
Even so, Lord come quickly!

“My Eyes Look Up” by Dave Burkum, from So Far To Go, © Copyright 1993 by Dave Burkum. LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Sunday Supplication - Grace and Truth

O God, you have revealed your grace and truth through Jesus your only-begotten Son. We have seen your glory revealed in his birth, his life, his words, his transfiguration, his death, his resurrection, and his ascension.

Give us the faith to truly see Christ, and by his light, help us to see our own lives and our purpose. Strengthen us to take up our own crosses, to walk in his ways, and to be changed into his likeness from glory to glory.

We are thankful for your forgiveness and we ask that, as you have forgiven us our sins, you would help us to be quick to forgive those who have sinned against us.

We thank you, Father, for the grace and comfort you extend to us. We praise you for being a God of comfort and consolation. Help us to always look to you for the strength and hope needed to face our troubles.

Give us eyes to see the hurts of those around us. Give us hearts of compassion, and make us instruments of your peace.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Friday Favorites - Go Set a Watchman

What a wonderful surprise! My favorite news story of the week! Concerns have been raised about whether or not Lee is being used or pressured. I hope that's not the case. It would be sad if this is just a scheme to profit from Lee's legacy while tarnishing it. Time will tell.

Harper Lee to publish new novel, 55 years after To Kill a Mockingbird
Go Set a Watchman, completed in the mid-50s but lost for more than half a century, was written before To Kill A Mockingbird and features Scout as an adult

When an author’s debut novel wins the Pulitzer prize and goes on to sell 40 million copies, perennially topping lists of the world’s best-loved books, it’s understandable that they might be apprehensive about the reception of a second.

Harper Lee, who sent the literary universe into a spin on Tuesday after she announced she would be releasing a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird this summer – 55 years after her debut – appears to have no such fears. “It’s a pretty decent effort,” she said of Go Set a Watchman.

News of its publication this summer stunned fans of the 88-year-old author, who have waited for a second novel from Lee since 1960, when she released her debut tale of racism in the American south.
The novel was written by Lee before To Kill a Mockingbird, but is set some 20 years later. It features Lee’s beloved character Scout as an adult, returning to her home town of Maycomb from New York to visit Atticus, her lawyer father, along with many of the characters from Lee’s debut...

Click Here to Read the Complete Article

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Thursday Thinking - The Power of Empathy


Published on Dec 10, 2013
What is the best way to ease someone's pain and suffering? In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.

Voice: Dr Brené Brown
Animation: Katy Davis (AKA Gobblynne)

Watch Dr Brené Brown's full talk:
The Power of Vulnerability.

Dr Brené Brown is a research professor and best-selling author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead (Penguin Portfolio, 2013). She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.

Find out more about the RSA:

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Wednesday Words - The Patience of Ordinary Thing

It is a kind of love, is it not?How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they're supposed to be.
I've been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

"The Patience of Ordinary Things" by Pat Schneider from Another River: New and Selected Poems. © Amherst Writers and Artists Press, 2005.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Tuesday Tomes - Current Books

These are the books I'm currently reading.
The descriptions are from the publishers.

I'm reading this one over the next few months with my Wednesday Night Pathways Class.

The Story of Stories (Karen Lee-Thorpe)
In Story of Stories readers join Karen Lee-Thorp on a guided tour of Scripture where she retells the Bible's major stories, draws out the significance of overlooked subtleties and shows how individual vignettes contribute to Scripture's overarching story of redemption.

This is the selection for my current Valley Book Club. ––

Every Good Endeavor (Tim Keller)
With deep conviction and often surprising advice, Keller shows readers that biblical wisdom is immensely relevant to our questions about work today. In fact, the Christian view of work—that we work to serve others, not ourselves—can provide the foundation of a thriving professional and balanced personal life. Keller shows how excellence, integrity, discipline, creativity, and passion in the workplace can help others and even be considered acts of worship—not just of self-interest.


This one is a personal selection and I should finish it this week.

The Love that Matters (Charles Featherstone)
''I read the unedited galley on the flight to Boston this morning. It started out good, and it kept getting better, and finally I couldn't believe how good this thing was. I'm not kidding when I say this: Charles Featherstone has written an American spiritual classic. I have never read a book like this--one that's so ragged, raw, and real. I couldn't put it down, except that one time, when the shock of recognition was so great that I had to set the book aside and think deeply about what I had just read.''
--Rod Dreher, author of The Little Way of Ruthie Leming --Wipf and Stock Publishers


This is one I'm reading as a prep resource for my current teaching series at Valley.

Preaching the Parables (Craig Blomberg)
A guide to preaching the parables that shows how to first interpret the parables, then proclaim their significance.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Monday Music - I Press On

I press on to take hold of that
for which Christ took hold of me.
I press on to take hold of that
for which Christ took hold of me.

I press on through the thick and thin,
I press on everyday;
I press on through the lose and win,
For I know he's the way.

I press on to take hold of that
for which Christ took hold of me.

"I Press On" by Dave Burkum from Fireside: Worship and Scripture Songs, © Copyright 2006 by Dave Burkum. 


Sunday, February 01, 2015

Sunday Supplication - Good Things to Do

O God, you are our strength. We put our trust in you. We come to you in prayer because you are merciful. We come to you in our weakness because you are gracious and faithful and able to help us do what we could never do on our own. Help us to fulfill your purpose for our lives. Help us to walk in your ways. Help us to please you in our attitudes and our actions.

We confess our sins and ask you to forgive us.  We ask that you would change us and strengthen us. Help us overcome temptation and escape the sins that entangle and destroy us. Give us the grace and generosity we need to forgive others, just as you have forgiven us.

O God, you have fearfully and wonderfully made each one of us. You know the purposes you have for us and you have equipped us to accomplish those purposes. Help us, as we seek you with whole hearts, to discover our gifts and to understand how we can use them to serve you. Give us good things to do and willing heart to do them.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.