When the Boots Come Out

I have a friend, a young man, in his first pastorate. He found himself on the wrong end of a gun this week. No, not a literal gun; just one of those smoking guns the Enemy loves to whip out inside the church, on occasion, in order to do harm and mischief. I find it one of the reasons I miss my father-in-law’s prayers so much. He would always, always, always ask that God “keep us from evil, harm, and danger.”

I find it hard to believe that a mature (read “in age and years”, not necessarily in development) Christian, who has been in the church for many years and traveled about a good amount, has never heard of the doctrine of “election.” while it may be that it has been preached or taught, perhaps it was never using those clear terms. That might be understandable. However, I find little sympathy when someone who should know his Scriptures well, doesn’t know about Ephesians chapter 1, or Romans chapter 9, or john chapter 6. To me, that’s inexcusable and to be repented of…not the agreement upon a doctrinal position, but having read the Word so selectively or blindly or naively that you have never read those passages and thought, without guile or predispositions, “hmmmm, I wonder why this is teaching about God and how He works in our lives?” sometimes I fear our sentimentally- and experientially-based churches and Christian teaching is dooming the Body of Christ in this land.

Give me elders and deacons who immerse themselves in the Bible and not The Daily Bread!!!

Ah well, now that that’s off my chest, I’ll get back to song that was in my head:

These boots are made for walkin’
And that’s just what they’ll do;
One of these days these boots
Are gonna walk all over you.

Okay, I’m going to the prayer closet. I think the Lord’s got some walkin’ to do on me.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled program.

New post…first in long time

Trying this from my iPad 2!

Regret-Free Living – a book review

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About the book

Regret-Free Living takes the focus from what was and what might have been and shines a bright light onto the path of what is and what is to be. Christian counselor Stephen Arterburn speaks honestly and forthrightly about what it takes to build strong, healthy relationships. Drawing on his own positive and negative experiences, he offers specific steps to rid yourself of relationship regrets, open your heart to healing, and move forward in love.

Arterburn’s practical counsel shows you how to recognize the signs and qualities of both happy and unhappy relationships, admit guilt and accept responsibility, find and give forgiveness, set boundaries, love and give out of fullness, and much more.

This is your invitation to, with God’s help, rid yourself of relationship regrets and begin building healthy, guilt-free relationships. Will you accept it? The choice is yours.

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About the Author

Stephen Arterburn is founder and chairman of New Life Ministries and host of the nationally syndicated New Life Live! daily radio broadcast. A nationally known speaker, he’s been featured on Oprah, USA Today, US News & World Report, the New York Times and many other media outlets. Steve founded the Women of Faith conferences and is a bestselling author of more than 70 books including the multi-million selling EVERY MAN’S BATTLE series. Steve and his family live in Laguna Beach, California. Visit http://www.newlife.com


My Review

Very practical. Very understandable. I’m sure this will prove to be a helpful book to many, especially those within the target audience: those who have made bad decisions, most pointedly, in their relationships, and need some good advice to help them dig their way out.

I found this book very easy to read, a trend that seems to be more and more popular in self-help/relational living/counseling books for the everyday person. the chapters are well-titled; you can look at each in the table of contents and have a pretty good idea what that chapter will be about. Within each chapter are helpful descriptions of the areas of concern and the steps to take to deal with that area.

If I have any reservations about this book, they would be two-fold. First, as I began to read, I had a hard time knowing who the target audience would be, other than “just about everybody who has regrets.” I felt like more like a listener to the radio program Arterburn has, and that each day is self-contained, and not necessarily connected to the previous.

Second, and this is a concern I always bring to the table whenever I read a “therapeutic” type book, is this: Does this book have me laying it down and looking to my Savior, Jesus Christ, for everything it’s just suggested? I have to admit, I just never sensed this to be the case here. Don’t get me wrong. Arterburn frequently directs us to look to God for help and forgiveness. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder how much better it could have been had the cross of Jesus Christ been far more central. Coming to Christ, knowing what the cross has accomplished, preaching the gospel to myself everyday is the only true way of living daily life in all its facets without regret.


Regret-free Living may be purchased here: Bethany House Publishers.


Disclaimer

This book was provided for review purposes only by Bethany House Publishers.


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Friday Five

How do I miss these things? Why wasn’t I notified? Where are the CNN headlines? (Or at least dozens of those little scrolling thingies that consume nearly 1/4 of your TV screen and prove to be so obnoxious.) I’m really bummed that I have to celebrate this a few days late, but better late than never, I guess.

January 21 was National Squirrel Day. And I missed it.

However, as providence would, uhm, er-r-r, yes – provide, October 2010 is National Squirrel Awareness Month, and the second week of October has been designated National Squirrel Awareness Week. I’m not sure why National Squirrel Day isn’t in the middle of that week, but I’m guessing it’s because a squirrel is in charge here!

Well, to honor our little furry geeks, here are five, short video clips:

Thanks to Abraham Piper for bringing up this grand celebration.

PETA disclaimer: No squirrels were harmed in the posting of this blog.


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I Am Unworthy

Now, I realize that this post’s title would be something a lot of my regular readers would heartily agree with. However, After watching this video of Al Mohler’s personal library, I walk into my very humble little space of study at Cornerstone EFC and am humbled even more. I could wallow in self-pity merely out of the grandeur of Mohler’s digs. I could be saturated with envy over the sheer numbers of books, let alone the beauty of how it’s all arranged. Or I could find myself despairing because I will never have that many books, never read that many books, nor having read them, be able to, at a moment’s notice, have someone grab a random book off any shelf and give you a several sentence synopsis of that book (Mohler did this in one of Together for the Gospel’s earlier videos a couple of years ago).

No, I’m unworthy because the books I have at present are a sign of God’s grace. Had Christ not died on the cross for me, had God the Father not chosen me before the foundation of the world to be one of His adopted children, had not the Holy Spirit re-birthed me spiritually, giving me a heart of flesh instead of the crusty old heart of stone I once had, I would not only not have the books I have, I wouldn’t have read them nor understood any of them. So, yes, I’m unworthy and yet, but by God’s good grace & mercy, I have my books. Most of them have proven very helpful. I’d thought of creating a short video of my library, but what’s the point of a three second video?

Let me know what you think of Mohler’s place.

Al Mohler – Study Video from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.


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Some Thoughts on Prayer

Kay, over at Musings of an English Muffin, wrote this the other day:

I struggle with prayer. When you’re a mother of young children, it’s quite difficult to carve devotional time out of the day. Early mornings don’t work because as soon as my mattress creaks because of me sitting up, at least one, maybe two of the little ones hears it and comes in.

I’ve settled into a habit of evening prayers, and that’s no bad thing, but I find myself afflicted with a reluctance to pray, and it happens every single time. Yet without fail, once I start to pray, I carry on for a reasonable amount of time and it’s a great blessing.

Prayer being a blessing is no surprise, of course. But am I alone in the wrestle beforehand, be it shopping lists springing to mind or sudden doubts about my standing before God?

No, Kay, you’re not the only one. You are joined by many, many brothers and sisters who struggle in “focusing” our minds during a time of prayer.

I have no doubt that we ought to be able to focus our minds some of the time, But I don’t think it’s always going to be possible. First, our minds are often prone to wander in their thoughts, even when praying. You start praying about work and that reminds you of the project that’s due and your part of it isn’t ready yet and if only your co-worker would have gotten his part done earlier and then there was that special staff meeting they called and o-o-h that manager, he makes me so mad sometimes. Oh, sorry Lord, I forgot where I was.

Second, there are just so many distractions: radios, TVs, iPhones, cell phones, home phones, chat rooms, Facebook and Twitter and the newspaper and … well, you get the hint. And I didn’t even mention spouses or children or other people.

Third, the devil knows what we’re up to and he will try to nail us to the wall while we pray. He’ll whisper in your ear how unworthy you are to be trying to approach God. Why you can’t even let your mind focus for 60 seconds; who do you think you are? And what must God think of you? Pathetic!

I’ve been reading, A Praying Life, by Paul E. Miller. It’s a wonderful book and is helping me a great deal. In the opening portion, Miller teaches that when we pray, we should become like a child. This means, that in our prayers, we ought to remember how to play. Little children, when they play don’t sit for hours with just one toy. More often, they’re here, there and everywhere, playing with all kinds of toys. When we pray, we should come, but not fret if our mind wanders. Instead, we should follow our minds, letting those “distractions” and other thoughts become our prayer requests before the Lord.

This isn’t easy for me. I like organization. I like to focus. I’m not good at multi-tasking. However, I’m learning that it’s okay, from time to time, to take a long, wandering prayer walk.

How about you? What “style” works better for you when you pray?


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Sunday’s Hymn

This past Lord’s Day we sang a song right out of the Scottish Psalter, 1650. It was actually in our hymnal, but the tune was from that Psalter. I was thrilled about this. I wish we’d do more psalms from the psalter… and try them a capella. That’s how the Scots would have done it.

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Words: Scottish Psalter, 1650
Music: Hugh Wilson, 1764-1824

O thou my soul, bless God the Lord
And all that in me is
Be stirred up His holy name
To magnify and bless.

Bless, O my soul, the Lord thy God,
And not forgetful be
Of all His gracious benefits
He hath bestowed on thee:

All thine iniquities who doth
Most graciously forgive,
Who thy diseases and and pains
Doth heal, and thee relieve:

Who doth redeem thy life, that thou
To death may not go down,
Who thee with loving kindess doth
and tender mercies crown

Who with abundance of good things
Doth satisfy thy mouth;
So that, even as the eagle's age,
Renewed is thy youth.

This is the hymn tune, “Martyrdom,” to which we sang this marvelous psalm:

Martyrdom (also, “Alas, And Did My Savior Bleed?”


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