Randy’s Weekly Reads (6/5/15)

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This has been a great week of encouraging articles. I could have listed five more, but for now, here’s my favorite “reads” from this past week:

3 Current Cultural Crises That Provide Great Opportunities for Leaders (If You Seize Them)

I thought this piece by Canadian pastor and author Carey Nieuwhof was insightful and a proper assessment of the culture and the opportunity leaders have if they seize it. I loved this statement: “The crisis in our culture isn’t a crisis of information, it’s a crisis of meaning.”

 5 Reasons Why America Remains the World’s Only Superpower

I have always been a history buff, and while this piece is not typical of what I usually highlight, I still found it incredibly informative, and a reminder to all Americans, and especially all Christians in America, of just how influential America is on the world’s stage.

 Seeing the Invisible God

I was thoroughly encouraged by this article by counselor and professor Ed Welch. He addresses a question all of us have asked at one time: Can’t I just see God, at least once? His answer is profound as he shares that God has already answered that question.

Lastly, Pastor Ray Ortlund had a great quote from scholar Francis A. Schaeffer describing what the real problem is in our culture, and life in general:

“The central problem of our age is not liberalism or modernism, nor the old Roman Catholicism or the new Roman Catholicism, nor the threat of communism, nor even the threat of rationalism and the monolithic consensus which surrounds us [nor, I would add today, postmodernism or materialistic consumerism or visceral sensualism or whatever].  All these are dangerous but not the primary threat.  The real problem is this: the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, individually or corporately, tending to do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh rather than of the Spirit.  The central problem is always in the midst of the people of God, not in the circumstances surrounding them.”

Francis A. Schaeffer, No Little People (Wheaton, 2003), page 66.

I hope you have a great weekend!

RA

Randy’s Weekly Reads (5/15/15)

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What a week of stimulating and edifying articles! I could have put five more here, but these nuggets of gold will due for now. Read on!

When God Interrupts Your Plans

This article by Christina Fox was the most convicting article I read this week! I love how she reminds us – no, really challenges us – to think of life’s interruptions as “divinely placed opportunities to grow in grace.”

And, she finds a noble ally in author and pastor Paul Tripp:

You and I don’t live in a series of big, dramatic moments. We don’t careen from big decision to big decision. We all live in an endless series of little moments. The character of a life isn’t set in ten big moments. The character of a life is set in ten thousand little moments of everyday life. It’s the themes of struggles that emerge from those little moments that reveal what’s really going on in our hearts. (Whiter Than Snow, 21)

The One Sure Mark of Christian Maturity

This gem is from one of my favorite bloggers Tim Challies, and it’s a powerful reminder of what true spiritual maturity is: “This means that spiritual maturity is better displayed in acts than in facts.” Be sure to read all of the article, especially as he quotes Titus 2:14 at the end! Good stuff!

What Does It Mean to Accept Jesus

Sometimes I love an article just because of a great illustration in it. This article by pastor Ray Ortlund does a great job of using a common, ordinary event to explain what accepting Jesus should, and shouldn’t mean. Do you like it?

I hope you are inspired by these, and that you have a blessed weekend!

RA

Randy’s Weekly Reads (5/8/15)

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Before I share some of the great articles and blogs I’ve read this week, I wanted to apologize for not publishing any new content this week. I created this blog to help you with your Quiet Time, and I take that seriously. I’ve been working on a great study – James 1:13ff – but it’s just been incredibly busy this week, and for some reason I’ve been led to continue working on it.

But, I do want to give a sneak preview of what I’ve learned through my research. In James 1:13ff he gives a brief analysis of temptation and sin. Here’s some of what we’ll get into next week:

“Sin always amplifies its benefits and minimizes its cost.” Tim Challies

“If we do not abide in prayer, we will abide in temptation.” John Owen

*The problem is not desire itself; the problem is when we seek to fulfill desire in ungodly ways.  (Me)

“If God is ‘untemptable’ as the passage literally proclaims, why am I so ‘temptable’?

I know I’ve enjoyed researching and meditating on that topic. I hope you’ll check it out next week and more importantly, be encouraged and challenged by it. For now, here’s two great reads I enjoyed this past week:

Difficulty Does Not Mean Desertion

This is a powerful and timely article by pastor and blogger Erik Raymond. I’m still wrestling with all the truth in this excerpt:  “It may be spiritual persecution, social pinching, physical suffering, or just the chaffing of life in a fallen world. We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that our present realities are neither a surprise to God nor a subversion to his plan. What’s more, we can be assured that since he is our Father, by means of gospel adoption, then every station of life is a station ordained by love. Difficulty does not mean desertion. If there was a better situation to be in at the present moment then divine love and wisdom would have put you there.”

The Real Reason We Fail To Pray

This gem is my author Michael Kelley! I’m not sure I agree it’s the “real reason”, but he has a great point! I won’t spoil it for you – read it and see what he says is the real reason. Do you agree?

Have a great weekend!

RA

Randy’s Weekly Reads (5/1/15)

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Time marches on! I can’t believe it’s already the end of the week, and also now it’s May! I only have two articles for you this week, but they’re good ones – enjoy!

Why God’s Will Isn’t Always Clear

I loved this article by Jon Bloom and particularly this insightful quote: “But one reason why God usually doesn’t give us specific guidance in our sometimes-perplexing decisions is that he places a higher priority on our being transformed than our being informed in order that we will be conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29).”

How Captain America is Practically Biblical

Anyone who knows me quickly discovers I’m not a big comic book movie fan (did we really need five Spiderman movies since 2002?), but my family – that’s another story. Consequently, it has been a challenging week in my house since all the talk has been about the new sequel Avengers: The Age of Ultron. Well, believe it or not, I found a great article by Paul Asay about the biblical lessons that can be gleaned from at least one of the heroes. Enjoy, but I still not seeing the movie anytime soon 🙂 !

Have a great weekend!

RA

Randy’s Weekly Reads (4/24/15)

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Hard to believe we’re already at the end of another week! I actually had trouble picking through all the great articles and essays I read this week. But at last, here are my picks from this past week. I hope you enjoy them and I look forward to seeing you next week as we continue our study of James!

8 Lies Christians Believe About Success

I needed this post by Emily T. Wierenga. In a brief essay, she dispels many of the false beliefs about success in our current culture. I especially needed to read point seven – check it out!

3 Reasons You Aren’t Allowed to be Theologically Dumb!

Amen, and Amen! This articles by Chris Martin reminds everyone, not just Millennials,  that they are a theologian whether they want to be or not! And what a way to close an article: “It’s about time Millennial evangelicals start loving the God who created them more than a god they’ve created.” Again, amen and amen!

7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Wailing Wall

I know this is different from most of the articles I usually recommend, but I love history, especially when it concerns Jerusalem! Notice what they do with each prayer that is written at the Wailing Wall.

Have a great weekend!

RA

Randy’s Weekly Reads (4/17/15)

education-548105_1280 It was another great week of inspiring and encouraging articles. Here are a few of them that are worth your time:

Jesus Wept!

I always enjoy reading good articles that focus on the theological significance of John 11:35! Enjoy!

Fasting is Feasting on God

My wife and I just came off a fast a couple of weeks ago, and I was riveted by this article by Pastor Sam Storms. I marveled at this statement: “Fasting is not something you do for God. It is instead your appeal that God in grace and power do everything for you.”

An Analysis of Hebrews 11:24-26

This was the best thing I read (actually saw and heard!) last week. When you have about eight minutes to spare, click the link, turn the volume up, press play, and marvel at what a gifted Bible teacher can do by the power of the Holy Spirit (and with access to a cool software program!).

Have a great weekend!

RA

Randy’s Weekly Reads (4/10/15)

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As we wrap up another week, here are a few of the wonderful articles that inspired me this week.

6 Things Jesus Does With Sin

A great reminder by blogger Jared C. Wilson of what Christ has done for us.

Must Christianity Change Its Sexual Ethics?

This is the best article I read this week! It’s historical, and yes prophetic as it seeks to encourage the Church to stay true to its teachings in the face of an ever-changing culture.

Sometimes Flight is the Best Fight

I found this to be a thoroughly biblical, even philosophical (there are allusions to Plato throughout!) and highly creative article by Jon Bloom describing the nature of temptation, and how oftentimes the best way to fight it is to run!

Have a great weekend!

RA