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Showing posts from May, 2016

Book in Review: "Renaissance"

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Call it what you want. Renaissance. Revival. Healing of a massive scale. We need it here in the west. Through self sufficiency and "relevance" our churches have grown sterile. Through comfort and distractions we Christians have forgotten what is at stake and have thereby taken our eye off the ball. A sharp rise in the religious "nones," a reversal of the moral compass, the explosion of the gender revolution, and the lack of power in both our churches and in our lives--all cumulatively show: We need help.

Guinness's book Renaissance looks to offer hope to the church in the Modern age, and while he has been a severe critic of the modern church in other works (such as the "The Last Christian on Earth"), "Renaissance" is strangely optimistic. Why? How could there be hope in a time like this you ask? Guinness says, "Let there be no wavering in our answer. Such is the power of the gospel that the church can be revived, reformed and restored to…

An Appeal to Restless Hearts

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The Confessions of St. Augustine is a classic work from the 4th Century church Father whose name (Augustine) dons the title. It is part auto-biography, part prayer--in which Augustine emotionally and introspectively writes to God his journey from sin to eventual wholeness through Jesus Christ. It is the story of a restless heart, something I believe all of us who are human understand far too well.
Augustine's own story is not something he is particularly proud of. He recounts the sin and folly of his youth, mourning with much pain his: pride, arrogance, deceit, and lust. He does not make light of his sin or reason it away, "for a soul commits," Augustine says, "fornication when she turns away from you and tries to find outside you things which, unless she returns to you, cannot be found in their true and pure state."

So Augustine restlessly wanders from thievery, pleasure, intellectualism--hoping to find that ultimate rest in the things God has made, but coming …

Jesus Hates Death Too

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A hospital is an eerie place. The blank walls and waxed floors mixed with the soap dispensers and nylon gloves create a sterile environment that to me feels strangely unnerving. Some rooms are filled with patients who are waiting for treatment or recovery. Other rooms contain people waiting for the haunting inevitable, transforming the hospital into a queasy gateway which leads out of this world and into the next. All the while the background noise of beeping heart monitors only further add to the aura of mortality.
Few things can make you feel as powerless as a hospital. There is nothing you can do to change the outcome of a friend or family member trapped within its walls. You just sit and wait. You cry and pray. Perhaps worse of all, hospitals force you to consider big questions that many of us would rather ignore for the time being. It forces you to think about death. It compels you to consider what comes next, and how to be prepared for it. Hospitals also prompt tough questions of…

The Biggest Transition of All

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As a cautious young man, I am rarely a fan of big changes. I often react negatively or fearfully to anything that challenges the perceived safety given to me by the norm. I appreciate consistency and stability. I like things to stay the way they are, and even changes to my sports teams require a period of mourning before I eventually come to terms with the new reality.
But worse still than big changes is a long drawn out period of big change, also known as a transitional period. This might be where a big change is coming down the train tracks, and you can see the train approaching in the distance, but to your chagrin it is still a long, long way off. As bad as confronting the change is, the horror is compounded by the time it takes to wait for the change to occur, leaving you in a nebulous “in between” stage for an extended period of time. In such situations all you can really do is your best to prepare for the future with all anticipation, while at the same time trying your best to li…

Book in Review: "God of the Mundane"

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Matthew Redmond's book, "The God of the Mundane: Reflections on Ordinary Life for Ordinary People" is both honest and thought provoking as Redmond openly expresses his struggles with monotony and living an average life. I appreciated this honesty and though written with a slightly disparaging tone, Redmond addresses an important topic that is often overlooked. As a young man living a pretty ordinary life myself, I can relate and agree with Redmond! God is a God of the mundane and the everyday.

I appreciated the emphasis put in this book on being "faithful where God has placed you." This is not the glamorous or even radical Christianity we often admire, and perhaps none of us will even see the fruit of what we have done in our respective lifetimes; but God sees it. In my favorite chapter of the book ("Nobody wants to be George Bailey") Redmond attacks legalism very hard as he describes the underlying arrogance in our hearts when we need to do something …

An Appropriate Method?

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As my friend and I were entering the Verizon Center for game two of the Flyers vs. Capitals (a miserable game for several reasons) we were confronted by an interesting spectacle. There were your usual pregame festivities going on. Fans were walking throughout the streets donning their favorite player’s name on their backs. There were a couple of guys drumming on plastic buckets, adding some needed rhythm to the pregame energy as people ate pizza outside. There was a general sense of excitement in the air, and I was excited! This is the NHL playoffs, Let’s go!
And then my friend and I heard some shouting and my attention was drawn to a man holding a massive sign with the words “Repent, wrath is coming” and below it “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved.” On the back of the sign there was another message which stated “the pope is an antichrist.” Another man with a megaphone was speaking (very boldly) to the masses about the nature of sin, the reality of hell, and the hope of …