A Theology of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter

googe-facebook-amazon-twitter

We use Google to try and feel omniscient like God. God knows all things, and with Google we feel like we can know all things, too.

We use Facebook to try and feel omnipresent like God. God is in all places at all times, and with Facebook we feel like we can be present everywhere, too.

We use Amazon to try and feel omnipotent like God. God can do all things effortlessly, and with Amazon we feel like we can get anything we want with a single click.

And Twitter, well, Twitter is just the devil.
  

12 Favorite Productivity Principles

I am a pastor and have a variety of tasks to fulfill each week – study, prayer, counseling, visitation, teaching, administration, etc. I also enjoy reading about productivity and learning how best to use my time for both professional and personal pursuits. I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way and have compiled my twelve favorite productivity principles below. I trust you will find them helpful in your life as well.

(Note: You can also access all twelve principles in one longer posting here: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

Links to individual articles in the series:

1. 20/20/MIT – First things first
2. Morning, afternoon, evening rule – Finding your rhythm
3. Habit stacking – Habits are hard, but routines are routine
4. Ideal weekly schedule – A place for everything, and everything in its place
5. Appointments, tasks and information – Using the right tool for the job
6. Task processing – One thing at a time (micro-tasking)
7. Working with resistance – Resistance is not futile
8. 10-3-2-1-0 rule – Countdown to a good night’s sleep
9. Capture notebook and pen – One book to rule them all
10. “Briefcase” principle – Avoiding the last-minute rush
11. “Default” principle – Choosing enjoyment over easy
12. “Do it first” principle – Tell what you’ve done, not what you will do
00. Miscellaneous – Your mileage may vary
 

Putting on the Armor of God

         Overcoming Sin and Temptation series

Many of us have heard about the armor of God, but we may not understand how each of the individual pieces of armor relate to the spiritual battles we face each day. Here is a quick summary of the armor and how each piece protects you against the enemy.

Put on your armor (Ephesians 6:10-18)

1) The belt of truth protects against the enemy’s lies (14a)
   – John 8:44

2) The breastplate of righteousness protects against the enemy’s accusations (14b)
   – Revelation 12:10

3) Gospel shoes protect against the enemy’s distractions (15)
   – Matthew 28:18-20

4) The shield of faith protects against the enemy’s spiritual attacks (16)
   – 1 John 5:4

5) The helmet of salvation protects against the enemy’s physical attacks (17a)
   – Luke 12:4; 1 Peter 5:8-9

6) The sword of the Spirit forces the enemy to retreat (17b)
   – Matthew 4:11

7) Prayer reminds us that the battle is the Lord’s, that we can’t do any of this on our own (18)
   – Zechariah 4:6

Note: For more detail on each of these pieces and how they protect you, please see the sermon, “Preparing for Battle” from the Overcoming Sin and Temptation series.

How (and why) I read 150 books a year

Many people are looking for ways to read more books. I decided to share my approach in case it may be helpful for you or others you know. I made the goal to read 150 books a year back in 2017. Since then, I have reached or exceeded that goal each year. So, here is how and why I read 150 books a year.

Click here for full article: How (and why) I read 150 books a year

The Great Texas Road Trip

My wife and I took a road trip around Texas earlier this year. We traveled two thousand miles in eight days and had a blast. If you would like to read about the trip, I wrote up a journal of our eight days on the road. Click here to read about The Great Texas Road Trip.

Texas Map Trip

 

Afraid of Death No More

Sunday’s Easter message was called Afraid of Death No More, taken from Hebrews 2:14-15 and other Scriptures. Here is a brief outline of the message:

Seven fears related to death:
   1) Fear of the process: Jesus is with you
      – Psalm 23:4
   2) Fear of non-existence: You will be alive and well
      – John 11:25-26
   3) Fear of bodily decay: You will receive a new body
      – 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; Philippians 3:21
   4) Fear of loss: To live is Christ and to die is gain
      – Philippians 1:21
   5) Fear of punishment: No condemnation for those in Christ
      – Romans 8:1
   6) Fear of leaving loved ones behind: We will be together
      – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
   7) Fear of the unknown: Heaven will be perfect in every way
      – 1 Corinthians 2:9; Revelation 21:1-4

Three questions:
   1) Where did I come from?
   2) Where am I going?
   3) What happens when I get there?
      – Hebrews 10:26-27; Matthew 28:5)

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.
 

“The ordinary so extraordinary” by Madeleine L’Engle

Here is a wonderful Christmas poem by Madeleine L’Engle:

“The ordinary so extraordinary”

He came, quietly impossible,
Out of a young girl’s womb,
A love as amazingly marvelous
As his bursting from the tomb.

This child was fully human,
This child was wholly God.
The hands of All Love fashioned him
Of mortal flesh and bone and blood,

The ordinary so extraordinary
The stars shook in the sky
As the Lord of all the universe
Was born to live, to love, to die.

He came, quietly impossible:
Nothing will ever be the same:
Jesus, the Light of every heart—
The God we know by Name.

L’Engle, Madeleine. Miracle on 10th Street (p. 65). The Crown Publishing Group.

A Christmas Sonnet by William Leighton

Here is a wonderful poem and theological reflection by William Leighton (1841–1869) on the incarnation of Jesus as the infinite God-man at Christmas.

“Great Son of God, but born the son of man”

Great Son of God, but born the son of man,
One subject of a double substance framed:
Wherein nor manhood lost, nor godhead won
But of them both at once one Christ was named.

Before all times begot, in time created,
The Lord of Lords, a servant form retaining,
And yet no former form thereby abated:
In servant’s form, the form of God remaining.

Great Son of God, than whom there is no greater
No not the Father in His great divinity,
As God creator and as man a creature:
(For more and less, agree not in infinity.)

Teach me to know how man by God assumed
Is both, and yet not man by God consumed.

 
William Leighton (1841–1869) was a Scottish poet who died of typhoid fever when he was twenty-eight years old. His family moved to England when he was seven years old. He began writing poetry at a young age and was an active member of several literary societies. A number of his poems were published in local literary papers while he was still living, and several collections of his poems were published in the 1870’s following his death. A complete edition of The Poems of William Leighton was published in 1890. (Source: Dictionary of National Biography/Wikisourse)
 

Hebrews 11 “Growing in Faith” Series

We just completed a series of Sunday morning messages on “Growing in Faith” from Hebrews 11. Here are the links to the various sermons in the series.

Growing in Faith Series
(Click here for a PDF of all the sermon outlines for the series.)

Hebrews 11 - Growing in Faith

1) Faith: Being Certain of What You Do Not See – Hebrews 11:1-2
2) Creation: Understanding the Power of God’s Word – Hebrews 11:3
3) Abel: Giving God the First Portion – Hebrews 11:4
4) Enoch: Believing God’s Goodness – Hebrews 11:5-6
5) Noah: Heeding God’s Warnings – Hebrews 11:7
6) Abraham (1a): Following God’s Leading – Hebrews 11:8
7) Abraham (1b): Following God’s Leading – Hebrews 11:9-10
8) Abraham (2): Believing God’s Promise – Hebrews 11:11-12
9) The Patriarchs: Longing for Heaven – Hebrews 11:13-16
10) Abraham (3): Unquestioning Obedience to God’s Commands – Heb 11:17-19
11) Isaac, Jacob, Joseph: Trusting God with the Future – Heb 11:20-22
12) Moses and His Parents: Fearing God Rather Than Man – Heb 11:23, 27-28
13) Moses: Identifying with Christ and His People – Hebrews 11:24-26
14) The Red Sea: Trusting in God’s Deliverance (1) – Hebrews 11:29
15) Jericho and Rahab: Trusting in God’s Deliverance (2) – Hebrews 11:30-31
16) Old Testament Believers (1): Triumphant in Victory – Hebrews 11:32-35
17) Old Testament Believers (2): Triumphant in Suffering – Hebrews 11:35-38
18) New Testament Believers: Something Better for Us – Hebrews 11:39-40
 

Nine Ways to Build Intimacy with Christ

Leighton Ford on nine ways to build intimacy with Christ:

1. At bedtime, be at peace with the Lord (Psalm 4:4-8, Eph 4:26)

2. During sleep, rest in the Lord (Psalm 3:5, 121:4, 127:2)

3. When sleepless, commune with the Lord (Psalm 63:6,7)

4. In the morning, ask of the Lord (Psalm 5:3)

5. During the day, talk to the Lord (Psalm 25:4,5)

6. On the Sabbath, remember the Lord (Psalm 95:6-8)

7. In times of trouble, wait for the Lord (Psalm 37:5-7)

8. At all times, praise the Lord (Psalm 34:1)

9. Always and forever, be at home with the Lord (Psalm 27:4, 23:6)

From: Leighton Ford, Nine Ways to Build Intimacy with Christ (6230 Fairview Road, Suite 300, Charlotte, NC 28210).

Found in: Michael Frank Sabo, The Life I Want in Christ, p. 107.

C. S. Lewis: Discouraged about Writing

C. S. Lewis was fifty years old, looking back on his writing career and wondering if he had anything left to offer. He wrote to a friend on January 14, 1949:

“As for my own work, I would not wish to deceive you with vain hope. I am now in my fiftieth year. I feel my zeal for writing, and whatever talent I originally possessed, to be decreasing; nor (I believe) do I please my readers as I used to…. If it shall please God that I write more books, blessed be He. If it shall not please Him, again, blessed be He. Perhaps it will be the most wholesome thing for my soul that I lose both fame and skill lest I were to fall into that evil disease, vainglory.” (Hooper, Collected Letters 2.905-906)

Later that same year Lewis wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first of seven books in The Chronicles of Narnia series, the work for which he is best known today.

Are you discouraged? Don’t give up! You never know what God still has in store for you to do!
 

A Quarantine Prayer

A quarantine prayer:

“Dear Lord, as our hair grows longer, and our patience grows shorter, please give us strength for these troubled times!”

 

Coronavirus Q & A and the Bible

The following is a Coronavirus Q & A session I did for our church this week answering the following five questions about coronavirus and the Bible:

1. Is the coronavirus God’s judgment for sin on the earth?
2. If God is all-good and all-powerful, why doesn’t he stop the suffering?
3. Why do Christians sometimes get sick and die?
4. Does the coronavirus mean that Jesus is coming back soon?
5. How does God want me to respond to the coronavirus?

Click here for a transcript of the video.

Coronavirus Q & A (Video length: 20:30)

 

Coronavirus and God’s Protective Care

Today’s message was called Coronavirus and God’s Protective Care, taken from Psalm 91:1-16. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. Trust God (1-2)
   A. Dwell in the shelter of the Most High (1)
   B. Say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and fortress.” (2)

II. Do not fear (3-8)
   A. God covers you with his wings (3-4)
      – Psalm 57:1
   B. God is with you day and night (5-6)
      – Psalm 121:3-6
   C. God is with you no matter how bad it gets (7-8)
      – 1 Peter 3:14

III. Look to God for protection (9-13)
   A. No harm will befall you (9-10)
      – Psalm 139:16
   B. God’s angels are guarding you (11-12)
      – Matthew 18:10
   C. God gives you power over the enemy (13)
      – Luke 12:4-5
Two errors to avoid when claiming God’s promises:
   1) Do not be foolish and test the Lord (Matthew 4:5-7)
   2) Do not limit God’s promises to this life only (Philippians 1:21)

IV. Rest in God’s love (14-16)
   A. God rescues and protects his people (14)
   B. God answers the prayers of his people (15)
   C. God gives eternal life to his people (16)
      – John 10:28
Nothing can separate us from God’s love! (Romans 8:37-39)

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.