Archives For Faith

You and Me Forever

Where does one draw the line between sharing one’s own experiences with particular Godly lifestyle choices and simply making excuses for one’s own decisions? That’s the question I kept asking myself as I listened to the audiobook edition of You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis & Lisa Chan. Don’t get me wrong: I agree with the basic premise of this book (that the way to have a great marriage is to put God first before even your marriage) and am happy to see the Chans write a book promoting this premise. And the great news is that this message does come across throughout the book. Unfortunately, it is mired in personal anecdotes that kept bringing me back to that question. Case in point: Francis says that he frequently travels and is away from his family. His children understand that he has to put God first and, therefore, might not always be there when they want him. While that sounds great, I would be willing to bet that he has a neighbor who is similarly not there when his children want him, but his excuse is that his work pays for their lifestyle. It’s just two excuses for the exact same result.

Again, I’m not saying this book is awful. There’s truth to be found. For example, Lisa says that she leads a Bible study on being a Godly wife. After many years, she has come to realize that we focus too much on “Godly wife” and “Godly husband” and that if we focused more on “Godly” we wouldn’t need the rest of it. I think that’s a great point and it’s not the only one in the book. Also, Francis and Lisa do use scripture throughout the book.

So, should you bother to listen to or read this book? Maybe. I still think it’s a great premise, but, honestly, the book has caused me to question that premise.

The narration is excellent. The book is read by the authors and they did a phenomenal job.

Oh, by the way, the summary of the book leads one to believe that this book is beneficial to singles as well. Here’s how that works: you need to get married today so that you can enjoy the wife/husband of your youth by focusing on God rather than your spouse. Personally, I believe that God gives us all singleness for a time for a purpose, just as he gives some people marriage for a time for a purpose. While single, we must focus on God’s purpose for our singleness. If we marry, then we must focus on God’s purpose for our marriage. The Chans are stuck in the common Christian attitude that marriage is absolutely God’s plan for us all, which has lead so many people to ignore God’s call for their lives.

never ever give up

Review: Never Ever Give Up

By Nate LaClaire —  September 28, 2014 — Leave a comment

What would you do if you learned that you had an inoperable brain tumor? Rather than focusing on her own problems, Jessie Rees focused on what she could do to help other kids who were suffering.

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being church doing life

If you had asked me a few months ago for my opinion regarding “fresh expressions of church,” I think I would have looked quizzically at you and then said that I wasn’t sure what you meant but couldn’t imagine it was something of which I would be in favor. That was before reading Being Church, Doing Life: Creating Gospel Communities Where Life Happens by Michael Moynagh.

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9781610458719_1-2

This book by Chip Ingram delves into some of the touchiest subjects imaginable: sex, homosexuality, abortion, politics, right and wrong, and the environment.

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Before I get started with the music, I want to apologize to those who have been expecting an update on my road trip. The government shutdown sent me back home (despite being on the road for 11 days, I was only 10 hours from home) to await the reopening of the National Parks. I will be posting about my first 11 days later this week, including some awesome shots of Niagara Falls. I resume my trip next week, but with an altered route.

A blog with only old posts is useless, so I am now revisiting my blogging schedule and bringing my editorial calendar out of retirement. I am behind publishing book and audiobook reviews and have a number of other posts in the works, so expect things to change this week.

Now, to the music…

Still by Hillsong

Days of Elijah by Judy Jacobs

Today Is The Day by Lincoln Brewster

Be Unto Your Name by Hillsong

Untitled Hymn (Come To Jesus) by Chris Rice

In Christ Alone (I Stand) by Owl City

smith and cottrell

I know that this is no way to begin a review, but I can’t hold it back: these are two beautiful little books!

In The Power of an Ordinary Prayer, Grammy and Dove Award-winning singer/songwriter Michael W. Smith invites readers to “enter into the heart of prayer and discover how the joy of God’s transformation can truly change your world.” He begins by introducing readers to the value of praying blessings over those we love and then spends the rest of the book dissecting a specific prayer that he prays into six distinct blessings. Each chapter begins with a snippet from the prayer followed by scripture, quotes, and stories that delve further into the blessing. Throughout each chapter readers are encouraged to stop and reflect as well.

In He Knows Your Name: Surprised by God When You Least Expect It, Dove Award-winning singer/songwriter Travis Cottrell reminds readers that God is the hope, strength, and deliverance that each of us needs so desperately every day. He encourages us to surrender ourselves fully to God and in so doing experience His presence like never before. He does this through quotations and stories from scripture, from his own life, and from others. Each chapter begins with a scripture and ends with quotes, a prayer, and questions for reflection and application.

Each of these beautiful books would make a wonderful gift for any Christian or, for that matter, anyone else. Each would also be an excellent choice as a personal devotional. Buy them today – you won’t regret it and the truth found within them just might change your life.

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) – Matt Redman

I Have Decided – Elevation Worship

Here I Am To Worship – Hillsong

Be Lifted High – Elevation Worship

Featuring The Heart of Worship, Mighty to Save, Thy Word, and more!

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Happy Easter! This week’s selection of worship music includes The Wonderful Cross, Saved the Day, and others!

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It happened like this: I woke up at my new normal wake-up time (5am) on January 2 ready to start my first workday of 2013 on the right foot. I read my morning devotions, spent a few minutes in prayer (too few, I admit), and replied to a couple of emails. Then I headed downstairs for breakfast and a shower. Everything was seemingly going very well, but there was this one problem: I couldn’t get Straight No Chaser’s The Christmas Can-Can out of my head. You see, my family’s annual Christmas get-together with some family friends had taken place on Sunday, so we had been playing Christmas music from my iPod most of the day. This lead to me humming Sara Groves’ Toy Packaging all day on Monday and Tuesday. One might think that The Christmas Can-Can was an improvement and one might be right, but this simply would not do for my internal playlist for the first workday of 2013. On top of that, I couldn’t endure another day of a one-song internal playlist. Not. At. All.

So, in between donning articles of clothing, I created a new playlist on my iPod for my morning commute. It featured a selection of mostly up-tempo songs, many secular, that I felt would get me in the right “take no prisoners” mood for the day. My goal: world domination. In one day. Sweet. To the end of this list, I appended various songs that I found along the way and thought, “Oh, that would help me get Christmas music out of my head as well.”

But God. I have a client who loves to repeat that phrase. But God. It’s found throughout scripture:

“You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to . . . save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20)

“Their beauty shall be consumed in the grave . . . . But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave” (Ps. 49:14-15)

“My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps. 73:26)

(Thanks to Julie Ackerman Link for the references)

Well, on January 2 I had a “but God” experience. I got in my car, hit play on my iPod, and hit the road. First up, We Are Young by Fun. Now, if you suddenly find yourself rolling on the floor laughing about the fact that We Are Young would be featured on the playlist previously described, enjoy. I will not apologize nor explain. I refuse. Ahem. What song I was expecting next I will not say, but it turns out that I had left Shuffle turned on after Sunday’s 12 hours of Christmas cheer. Consequently, my iPod pulled a song from near the end of the playlist, Ginny Owens’ I Am. Next, a TobyMac song. TobyMac certainly has a “take no prisoners” vibe – I mean, look at his name – but the particular song chosen was City On Our Knees. Then, another Ginny Owens song. After that, TobyMac’s Hold On. Then another TobyMac.

Somewhere in here, the tears started flowing. You see, I set out to conquer the day on my own. My playlist was all about embracing the moment, taking control, pushing ahead, and leaving everyone else in the dust. But God. He used my iPod’s Shuffle technology to send me a better message for the day. Embrace the moment, yes, but with a different purpose in mind and following Someone Else’s beat. Thank you, Lord.

How about you? How has God used music (or other randomness) to correct your path?