Blessed are the Introverts, for they shall keep the Earth operating

My title of this post may be a little pretentious, but I think it makes the point I hope to expound on in this brief article.

By now, many may have seen the numerous Christian and secular books published in the last few years on the general topic of introverts, as well as the sub-genre of books written for introverts to encourage them, and also to possibly help the extroverts out there realize that all of us introverts are not snobs, creeps, weirdos --- and in Christian circles, unspiritual.  I am and always will be an introvert, and have seen first-hand the challenges we introverts face in churches, as well as dealing with our own senses of guilt and frustration that we are not "really sold out to Jesus" like our extroverted counterparts.  Much could be written about how Western society is basically set up to promote and lionize extroverts.  But what is probably most hurtful to me and other Christians like me are the spoken and unspoken messages from pulpits, books, websites and blogs that if one is not living "radically" for God (see Platt, Chan, Claiborne, McManus, et al), then you don't really love/trust God and are more interested in yourself than others.  But have you noticed that probably about 90 percent + of Christian leaders are themselves extroverts (even if they say they don't think so)?  All of us true introverts know that we would never do or think about 99.999% of the stuff we hear and read from celebrity Christians.

But numerous secular (as well as a few done by Christian groups) show over and over again that the people who really get things done in this world --- but with little to no fanfare --- is us introverts.  That is because we tend to be less distracted, more highly responsible, diligent, willing to stay out of the spotlight, to get things accomplished.  As a man (but I could very easily say the same things about women), fighting traffic, nonstop semi-pornographic images, coarse language and even coarser attitudes, working at a job that might feel pretty close to Hell, cleaning the dog poop, clearing and washing the dishes at home, and other mundane things ad infinitum are the REAL "radical" Christians.  And oh yes, who is it that works the soul-sucking jobs to help pay for the needs of missionaries, pastors, relief organizations and struggling Christian outreaches to the margins of society?  Us introverts, that's who!

I will probably have much more to say along these lines in future posts, but would love to hear from other true introverts so we can commiserate a little; but better yet, to encourage and spur each other on to hang in there and keep showing up day after day.  God knows, and He sees!

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Review: Christian Interpretations of Genesis 1

Reposted review from Domain for Truth on a new book examining 4 views of how to interpret Genesis 1

The Domain for Truth

Vern Poythress. Christian Interpretations of Genesis 1.  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, September 20th, 2013. 32 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Westminster Amazon

This is another work in the “Christian Answers to Hard Questions” series published by Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing.  Here the author Vern Poythress looks at how Christians should interpret the first chapter of Genesis.  Although the author is a New Testament professor I think Poythress is more than capable to write on this subject given his expertise in hermeneutics, linguistics, science and theology.

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The Lord is My Shepherd

A thorough and thought-provoking breakdown of Psalm 23. Reposted from Domain of Truth

The Domain for Truth

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Purpose: Today we shall see the three seasons in our lives in which Christ is our shepherd so that we would trust in Him and have Him as our…

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The Beauty of God’s Design

Why did God have so many specific directions for building the Tabernacle and all its elements? Article reposted from Call2Witness tackles that…..

Call 2 Witness

 “Build an altar of acacia wood, three cubits high; it is to be square, five cubits long and five cubits wide. Make a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar are of one piece, and overlay the altar with bronze.

Make the altar hollow, out of boards. It is to be made just as you were shown on the mountain. 

“Make a courtyard for the tabernacle. The south side shall be a hundred cubits long and is to have curtains of finely twisted linen, 10 with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases and with silver hooks and bands on the posts.

19 All the other articles used in the service of the tabernacle, whatever their function, including all the tent pegs for it and those for the courtyard, are to be of bronze. 

Exodus 27:1-2, 8-10, 19 (New International Version)

Not…

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The Bible Tells Us So

Since this continues to be a divisive issue for so many Christians, here is a book review reposted by Musing on Science and Theology to consider…..

Musings on Science and Theology

I recently received a copy of an intriguing book (due out next week) courtesy the publisher. Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design brings together leading proponents of Young Earth Creationism (Ken Ham), Old Earth Creationism (Hugh Ross), Evolutionary Creationism (Deborah Haarsma) and Intelligent Design (Stephen Meyer). Each is given the opportunity to express their own view and to respond to the essays provided by the others. Within the necessary length constraints each contributor was encouraged to put forth the strongest argument for their position. If you are interested in this issue – either personally or pastorally – this book can be an excellent resource.

The book begins with Ken Ham and his description and defense of young earth creationism (YEC). I would summarize his argument as four-fold.

(1) A young earth (ca. 6000 years old) is the straightforward and clear teaching of Scripture. He provides a number of…

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Review: Was Jesus Really Born of a Virgin?

Review of a book about the virgin birth of Christ. Reposted from Domain of Truth

The Domain for Truth

Brandon D. Crowe. Was Jesus Really Born of a Virgin?  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, August 16th, 2013. 32 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Westminster Amazon

This booklet is part of the series “Christian Answers to Hard Questions” published by Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing.  As the title for this particular work suggests this booklet looks at the question “Was Jesus Really Born of a Virgin?”  The author Brandon D. Crowe who presently serves as an Associate Professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary.  Crowe has written this helpful resource that is accessible for the layman.

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BOOK REVIEW: RECAPTURING THE WONDER: Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World

 

Recapturing the Wonder: Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World by Mike Cosper (IVP Books; 2017)

Recapturing the Wonder by Mike Cosper tackles the very real difficulties that Christians in the West face to try to connect with and commune with a transcendent God, while all the world around us screams that there is no God or no better place other than the broken and disenchanted world all around us. Cooper makes a point of discussing the “disenchantment” of society in the West in anything outside our sense experiences, and that there is no absolute truth, and nothing to hope for after one dies. While fully and honestly admitting that life is very hard —- even for Christians (no “name it and claim it”) —- still, God’s grace can be easy at times to appropriate. This is the aim of Cosper’s book.

After a brief review of our post-modern and materialistic society and its impact on all people, including Christians, the author quickly launches into what he calls “pathways” to regaining our enchantment for the world around us, as well as the spiritual realm which is actually more real than what we can see and experience with our five senses.

The pathways that Cosper fleshes out are: One —- Re-enchanting Our World; Two —- Experiencing Grace; Three —- Bringing Scripture to Life; Four —- Withdrawing With God; Five —- Practicing Abundance; Six —- Throwing a Feast; and Seven —- Writing a Rule of Life. Cooper writes not as an expert in mastering these pathways, but rather as a fellow struggler who is learning how to live a transcendent life through wrestling with God, like Jacob did in the Old Testament. I believe a vast majority of believers struggle mightily in this area of living as God being the most real Person and true reality, and would greatly benefit from a book like this one. Highly recommended!

BOOK REVIEW: LIFE IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD: PRACTICES FOR LIVING IN LIGHT OF ETERNITY

Life in The Presence of God: Practices for Living in Light of Eternity by Kenneth Boa (IVP Books; 2017)

Ken Boa is a prolific and most eloquent author in his former books, and Life in The Presence of God upholds those characteristics in spades. The theme if the book is to try to be a more practical and accessible resource to help Christians truly experience the presence of God on a daily and ongoing basis. Boa takes his inspiration from famous writers of the past who wrote about their own struggles to achieve a vital and ongoing sense of God’s presence; such as Brother Lawrence, Frank Laubach, and Thomas Kelly. Boa states that while these writings have much value to them for inspiration, they all lack one very vital element —- how to actually put into practice the disciplines and choices needed to draw closer to God and to have His presence as a normal occurrence in the life of believers. The author aims in this book to correct that problem and to try to focus on small and simple steps that grow gradually moe involved and fulfilling one time and consistent practice.

The book is divided into two parts: Part One provides the biblical basis for believers to strive for a near-constant awareness of God and His closeness; and Part Two provides the steps and building blocks to achieving greater awareness of God. Boa mentions the growing body of knowledge of his the brain works — how it remembers, how habits are formed, and the plasticity of the brain to learn or relearn tasks. Thus, the majority of the book shows how once can rewire their brain, learn to see the world through God’s eyes, reorganizing your time to make learning these skills a priority, the importance of confession and repentance to do away with any blocks in relating to God, and the very great importance that community has in helping us to shape our abilities to see ourselves and others through God’s viewpoint.

This book is written in an accessible and engaging manner, as Boa shares insightful experiences and anecdotes to strengthen his case. The book also allows readers access to online training guides. Boa is a most entertaining, yet deeply spiritual and practical all at once. This book is highly recommended for anyone who has despaired of their lack of closeness with God, and given real hope and tools to live in this world as a subject of the Kingdom of God.

Observed by Grief

A wonderful meditation by Australian pastor Stephen McAlpine on C.S. Lewis’ “A Grief Observed”

Stephen McAlpine

I have been reading CS Lewis’s little tome, A Grief Observed, and it is simultaneously wounding and healing.  Like his great contemporary George Orwell, Lewis’ brevity is his  strength.  I read some to my daughter last night. We marvelled.  The plethora of periods.  So many brave full stops!  A man writing with confidence and elan even in grief.

There is too much of the book to like.  So much I cannot quote any of it here.  If you don’t have a copy, buy one.  Read it as soon as possible.  Read it in your grief.

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But read it in your joyous non-grief to prepare you for your grief to come.  For come it surely will.  Non-grief is a neologism demanding the removal of the hyphen. Demanding to be a thing defined by its true, and polar opposite – grief.

Non-grief is neither truly the thing nor the place, merely…

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Five Minute Friday: Excuse

Short, thoughtful article on Paul’s statement in Romans that nonbelievers are without excuse for choosing not to recognize evidence of His handiwork all around us.
Reposted from “Along the Way”

Along the Way

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

Most of the time, I eat healthy.

Sometimes, I get very anxious and eat an unspecified number of Cheez Its.

Ah, humanness.

No wonder that an element of Spirit Fruit is self-control. We just can’t muster that stuff up on our own. Oh, we might do well for awhile. But the urge to run wild is always there, simmering just beneath the surface.

Kate says: excuse.

Go.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…

– Romans 1:20 (NKJV)

Some Bible verses make us deeply uncomfortable. This has to be one of them. Even though we who believe know, down in the core of ourselves, that God alone can save us and set us free, and even though we want everyone we love to possess that same…

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trusting God

Reblogged:
Who Do We Really Trust?….

Jesus community

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

There is nothing more basic to life than simply trusting God. Trusting God and trusting in God. We really can’t get and do enough of that in this life, because questions and problems can come at us from so many angles.

In the end it’s a simple question of do we trust God, or do we not? And the trust for us amounts to accepting the witness of God’s word in the gospel, and all of God’s promises which come from or are related to that.

A big part of trusting is focus. We try to study and make the best decisions in life, praying through all of that, and then we settle into leaving it in God’s…

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