Showing posts from March, 2017

Book in Review: The Problem of Pain

There is much good in Lewis's attempt to reconcile a benevolent God's existence with the reality of a painful world that we see everyday. In Problem of Pain he assaults any pretext for mankind understanding himself to be "basically good" with precise brutality. With a prophetic voice he speaks to a post-modern world where no one else understands themselves to be "depraved" and suggests how to recapture that foundational presupposition to Christianity. In my favorite chapter entitled "Human Wickedness" Lewis shows how the elevation of the virtue "kindness" over and above all other virtues, and the eradication of any sense of shame--have helped make modern man see himself as unworthy of hell and therefore no longer needy of a saving.

Lewis also shows how evil and pain often lead to good ends, ends we would not arrive at were it not for the struggle and hardship experienced. He writes, "Pain as God's megaphone is a terrible instrume…

New Blog Layout

Blogger just came out with some pretty sleek new blog themes, so I changed some things up on here; and I am pretty impressed! I think the home page now looks a lot more cleaner than it was before, and the subscription button (front and center) is a lot easier to find. I also like how my profile is quite easy to see on the left hand side of the panel. It looks very nice!

Another thing about this new "theme" is that it encourages sharing posts on different social media outlets with the "share" button located on the top right and bottom left of every post. This means if you read something on here that encourages you or makes you think, it is a lot easier for you to share it with others too. No excuses.

So let me know what you think. If you run across any problems with the new layout, let me know and I can do my best to address them. I am trying to tinker a little with some of the bugs (make sure a lot of my older posts transitioned well to the new format). I think this …

Using Technology Wisely

Living in a modern world has its benefits. We can communicate with practically anyone anywhere with just a few taps on a screen. We can access unlimited information by asking Siri. We can share instant updates of our lives with our friends with a simple photo upload to Instagram.

But as Uncle Ben once told Peter Parker, "With great power comes great responsibility." Technology indeed gives us great power, what we lack is the responsibility to healthily utilize that power. The average person in the US spends about 3 hours a day on their smart phone. Over the course of a lifetime that 3 hours a day come out to over 10 years spent staring at a screen (and this statistic does not account for other forms of technology such as TV, computer monitors, or Ipads). But time, as precious as it is, is not the only thing that suffers. Sleeping disorders are on the rise globally due to cell phone usage before sleep. Face to face social skills have plummeted in youth, parent child relationsh…

Book in Review: "Thomas Jefferson Art of Power"

Thomas Jefferson has always struck me as an interesting American figure. He was the author of the Declaration, the architect of Monticello, and the third President of the United States. But despite the indelible imprint he had left on this nation at so formative a period in American history, Jefferson has still remained largely a mystery to me.

Jon Meacham’s biography Jefferson: Art of Power helped largely to uncover that mystery.

And the Jefferson that is revealed is both remarkable and complex. He is someone who was devoted to his ideals of democracy and liberty; someone who was quite optimistic about humanity as a whole and yet ever fearful of monarchy of the past resurrecting in New World from. He was an incredibly driven man, an actor and a mover: Never satisfied by the status quo—ever reforming his government and himself. In Jefferson we see a blend of the idealist and the pragmatist. He was a man of romantic vision, yet he never hesitated to move forward when something less than …

Reader Question: "Is Repentance a One-time Thing?"

A reader of the blog recently asked me: “is repentance a one-time thing?”
Often we associate repentance as part of our conversion experience. The word implies a turning away from a former way of life. The old path is done for and when we repent we are now going in a different direction and pursuing a new object. Frequently in the sermons of the New Testament we see Peter, Paul, and John the Baptist conclude with the imperative application: “repent and believe!” The two are dependent on each other: to truly believe in Jesus for salvation is to repent and turn from your sins. To turn from your sins, to repent, is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
So in one sense, yes, repentance is a one-time thing that we do when we first believe the gospel. A natural response to the work of the Holy Spirit at salvation. If we do not experience this reorientation of direction away from sin and towards Christ at conversion, it would be wise to re-evaluate where we stand with the Lord.
But in another se…

Don't Be Jerome

I recently read Dr. Stephen Nichols' new and encouraging book A Time for Confidence. In the opening chapter Nichols provides us historic case studies of two early church fathers: Jerome and Augustine. Both were widely successful in their day. Both were incredibly scholarly. Jerome famously translated the Bible into Latin (known as the Latin Vulgate) and Augustine contributed greatly to church theology and Western Civilization alike with works like The Confessions and The City of God. Augustine also famously expunged the Pelagian Heresy in his day that denied the inherent depravity of man.
But despite the impressive accolades of these two men, they both had conflicting perspectives on the great calamity of their day: The fall of Rome, the downfall of a city that they both loved.
Case Study # 1: Jerome
Nichols writes the following:
When word of the sack of Rome by the Visigoths reached Jerome, he played Chicken Little. Jerome learned that in the mayhem surrounding the sack of Rome, a pi…

Finesse Leadership from Jefferson

When I think of an ideal leader, I often think of someone who is blessed with the gift of charisma. This is your type-A leader, your maverick, who fearlessly blazes a trail forward and compels others to follow by his powerful personality. Leaders in this mold are often gifted communicators. They naturally attract people to join in their cause which they champion with boldness and vision. They fight to actualize their vision into reality with fearlessness and are not afraid of a few hurt feelings along the way. These are your firebrands, like John Adams and Patrick Henry: "Give me liberty or give me death."

I am sure you can think of several leaders in your life who have sported this, what we will call “direct-model” of leadership. It is often highly effective.

But after finishing a book on the life of Thomas Jefferson, I am astounded by how effectively he led by other means. Jefferson was not a gifted orator. He was fairly mild mannered and soft-spoken, so much so that when gi…