A Forever Home for a Dead Dog

When King David showed grace to Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9:8, Mephibosheth bowed down in humble amazement and said: “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?”

Those of us who have experienced the Son of David’s even greater grace, often feel the same way don’t we? We bow in awe and wonder, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?” Think about that and then watch a beautiful video illustration of your salvation (RSS/email click here).

O, yes, I remember my miserable lostness, my ugly sores of sin, my suspicions of my Savior, and my first crumbs of grace. I remember His gentle winning love, His undergirding arms, His warm welcome, His tender washing, His patient healing, His delight in me.

And, wonder of all wonders, He’ll never make a video to find a “forever home” for me.

Because I’m already forever home.


Check out

Jonathan Edwards: A New Teaching Series from Stephen Nichols
Watch the first video free.

Get rid of these six things
I’m heading in this direction too.

What is burnout and how can I recover?
Brad Hambrick with a video to accompany his excellent booklet.

Love and Inter-racial marriage
5 principles for engaging with a disapproving family. And here’s Trillia with her own story: When a black woman married a white man.

5 Counseling Principles from Thomas Brooks
I totally agree with #2: Bible Meditation Is More Important than Much Reading

Naturally increase your brain power today
Worth a try.


My “Anti-Mohler” Summer Reading List

I love Al Mohler. I love 99% of his articles. I didn’t love his 2013 Summer Reading List. What a litany of bloodshed, suffering, death, and destruction! I’d hate to see the Winter Reading List.

Here’s my challenge: If you can read all this “death-lit” in 3 months without getting totally depressed or neurotic, I’ll give you $100 worth of “life-lit!”

But I don’t really want to encourage you to try. So here’s my alternative Summer Reading List, you might call it a Philippians 4:8 Reading List. Or maybe even an Anti-Mohler Reading List (using “anti” in the theological sense of “in place of” rather than “against”). It’s an eclectic  mix of happiness science, entrepreneurship, biography, and creativity as you’ll see from the Amazon descriptions. Apart from one that is written from a Christian angle, they aren’t “Christian” books, they’re just books I found stimulating, enjoyable, thought-provoking, and helpful in various ways over the past year. So have at it, and let’s see who’s thriving in three months time!

The Happiness Project
The Happiness Project describes one person’s year-long attempt to discover what leads to true contentment. Drawing at once on cutting-edge science, classical philosophy, and real-world applicability, Rubin has written an engaging, eminently relatable chronicle of transformation.

 

Upside: Surprising Good News about the State of our World
Did you know that global poverty has been cut in half over the last several decades? That infant deaths have decreased dramatically in recent years? That Christianity is a growing and influential force in Asia and Africa? Maybe the world isn’t in a downward spiral after all. In an age of pessimism, this book offers good news to Christian readers looking for glimpses of hope.

 

Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
Flourish builds on Dr. Seligman’s game-changing work on optimism, motivation, and character to show how to get the most out of life, unveiling an electrifying new theory of what makes a good life—for individuals, for communities, and for nations.

 

The Happiness Advantage
Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.

 

$100 Start-up: Reinvent the Way you Make a Living, Do What You Love, Create a New Future
Still in his early thirties, Chris is on the verge of completing a tour of every country on earth – he’s already visited more than 175 nations – and yet he’s never held a “real job” or earned a regular paycheck.  Rather, he has a special genius for turning ideas into income, and he uses what he earns both to support his life of adventure and to give back.

 

The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators
By identifying behaviors of the world’s best innovators—from leaders at Amazon and Apple to those at Google, Skype, and Virgin Group—the authors outline five discovery skills that distinguish innovative entrepreneurs and executives from ordinary managers: Associating, Questioning, Observing, Networking, and Experimenting.

 

Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality
As the founder and CEO of Behance, a company on a mission to empower and organize the creative world, Belsky has studied the habits of especially productive individuals and teams across industries. Now he has compiled the principles and techniques they share, and presents a systematic approach to creative organization and productivity.

 

InGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity
Imaginative. Innovative. Ingenious. These words describe the visionaries we all respect and admire. And they can describe you, too. Contrary to common belief, creativity is not a gift some of us are born with. It is a skill that all of us can learn. International bestselling author and award-winning Stanford University educator Tina Seelig has worked with some of the business world’s best and brightest, who are now among the decision-makers at companies such as Google, Genentech, IBM, and Cisco. In inGenius she expertly demystifies creativity, offering a set of tools and guidelines that anyone can use.

 

Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People who Will Change the World
In this groundbreaking book, education expert Tony Wagner provides a powerful rationale for developing an innovation-driven economy. He explores what parents, teachers, and employers must do to develop the capacities of young people to become innovators.

 

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
An astonishing new science called “neuroplasticity” is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable. In this revolutionary look at the brain, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., provides an introduction to both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they’ve transformed. From stroke patients learning to speak again to the remarkable case of a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, The Brain That Changes Itself will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.

 

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey
On December 10, 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven- year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist experienced a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. For Taylor, her stroke was a blessing and a revelation. It taught her that by “stepping to the right” of our left brains, we can uncover feelings of well-being that are often sidelined by “brain chatter.” Reaching wide audiences through her talk at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference and her appearance on Oprah’s online Soul Series, Taylor provides a valuable recovery guide for those touched by brain injury and an inspiring testimony that inner peace is accessible to anyone.

 

The Survivor’s Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save your Life
Each second of the day, someone in America faces a crisis, whether it’s a car accident, violent crime, serious illness, or financial trouble. Given the inevitability of adversity, we all wonder: Who beats the odds and who surrenders? Why do some people bound back and others give up? How can I become the kind of person who survives and thrives? The fascinating, hopeful answers to these questions are found in THE SURVIVORS CLUB. In the tradition of Freakonomics and The Tipping Point, this book reveals the hidden side of survival by combining astonishing true stories, gripping scientific research, and the author’s adventures inside the U.S. military’s elite survival schools and the government’s airplane crash evacuation course.


Check out

You won’t finish this article: Why people online don’t read to the end
I’m sure this doesn’t apply to any of my readers.

Lawless Law
Painfully logical article from R.C. Sproul Jr.:”Jason Collins is the first male professional athlete to admit he mistreats men. For that he has received magazine covers, applause from the entire Good Morning American television crew, congratulatory phone calls from the first lady, and a thumbs up from her husband. Where, I am left wondering, was all this for the first male professional athlete to admit he mistreats dogs?”

Perhaps the Best Sports Video I’ve Ever Seen
I know many pastors like this too.

Shepherding a sick wife
Kyle Worley’s wife has Cystic Fybrosis. Beautiful picture of Christ and His church.

The Ultimate Kinsman Redeemer
Stephanie Van Eyk: “It is as if the compliers of the Hebrew Bible placed the book of Ruth directly after Proverbs to describe the marriage between the wise man and the virtuous woman.”

Why is it so hard to do business in America?
With two budding entrepreneurs in my family, I’ve been stunned at the difficulties of setting up the simplest business in the USA.


Children’s Bible Reading Plan

This week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first year of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Jason Henry, a missionary in Mongolia, has very kindly collated and produced the second year of morning and evening readings in Word and pdf.

And here’s the first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

And here are the daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books. Further explanation of that here.

Old Testament

New Testament


John Piper on Biblical Counseling

I continue my interaction with the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s new book, Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling by looking at John Piper’s contribution in Chapter 1: The Glory of God – The Goal of Biblical Counseling.

Piper’s Thesis: Only by uniting teaching with feeling, doctrine with delight, will the church attract people to her for counseling.

Piper’s Concern: The church, especially the Reformed church, has a reputation for teaching truth in a cold, boring, and detached way. This inevitably deters people from coming for the sympathetic and loving guidance that only the Bible can provide.

Piper’s Challenge: Preachers and counselors ought to be “joyful leaders who commune with the truths they contend for.” Know God truly and feel Him duly to give Him all His glory.

Piper’s Definition: Biblical counseling is God-centered, Bible-saturated, emotionally-in-touch use of language to help people become God-besotted, Christ-exalting, joyfully self-forgetting lovers of people.

Comment

I love Piper’s fundamental point, that preachers and counselors must work harder to combine knowledge with feeling in all their communications. I don’t doubt that many needy people turn away from the church and to the world because they want more than cold hard data, they want more than a logical and systematic presentation of the facts.

They want to talk to someone who has been transformed by what they believe, who is excited about what they say, who exudes hope and optimism, who enjoys what they do, who loves and loves being loved. But they also want someone with something to say. Delight plus doctrine. Truth plus feeling. Reflection plus affection.

Complex
This was a bit of a “heavy” chapter with which to start the book. I needed to read it three or four times before I really got what Piper was driving at. His fundamental point is quite simple (and profoundly helpful), but the style and presentation is quite complex. For example, consider Piper’s definition of love:

Love is doing whatever you have to do at whatever cost to yourself in order to help another person stop finding pleasure in being made much of and help them get to the mature, God-exalting, Christ-besotted, joyfully self-sacrificing, self-forgetting delight in making much of God for the sake of others.

Wow! I’m not sure if I’ve ever loved.

Contrast?
I’m also not sure about the contrast that Piper draws here. He insists that there are “two profoundly different root sources of satisfaction. One is being made much of; the other is seeing and savoring God and making much of God.” And he asks: “Do you feel more loved when God makes much of you or do you feel more loved when God, at the cost of His Son, enables you to enjoy making much of Him forever?”

I don’t see these as opposites. I see them as two truths that must be held together. Can we not see both as true? Piper denies this. He says, “God is not into making much of us.”

I disagree.

Though there is nothing in the believer to make much of, God does make much of us, even when we do not make much, if anything, of Him.

If I can’t feel loved until “God, at the cost of His Son, enables me to enjoy making much of Him” then there are many times in my life when I will not and cannot feel God’s love.

The wonder of the Gospel is that God makes much of us even when we do not make much of Him. In fact, maybe I feel most loved when God makes much of me despite me not making much of Him.

He loved me, and gave himself for me.