Archive - November, 2012

Fools Need Experience

Crawford Loritts:

“Experience is not always the best teacher, but it is the only school a fool will attend.”

From his book Never Walk Away: Lessons on Integrity from a Father Who Lived It.

There are many things we don’t have to do to know they’re dumb.  One aspect of wisdom is being willing to delay gratification–to say no to an immediate pleasure because of the long-term consequences.  One aspect of foolishness is the seemingly uncontrollable need to do what we feel like doing–to be impulsive, impetuous, and focused on the short-term, not the long-term.

John Piper’s Sermon Preparation

In doing an Internet search, I came across a 200 page Doctor of Ministry dissertation by Sunghyun Pae.  It’s entitled “John Piper’s Sermon Preparation: A Model for Pastors Who Emphasize The Supremacy of God in Expository Preaching.”   Here’s the Abstract:

This dissertation aims to answer the question, How can the preacher complete the
process of his expository sermon preparation to manifest God‘s glory and exalt His
supremacy in preaching by studying Piper‘s life and methods? Based on an analysis of
Piper‘s writings and selected sermons, this project investigates Piper‘s background and
influences on his God-centered life and theological system. It then discuses Piper‘s
principles and skills of biblical exegesis, and it looks into the major influence on Piper‘s
biblical exegesis. It also describes Piper‘s philosophy of preaching: Piper‘s motivation
and purpose of preaching, and it investigate great preachers who impacted Piper‘s
preaching. It then discuses Piper‘s skills of expository preaching. Finally, it offers a
summary of the findings and an application.

I know next to nothing about D.M. dissertations, but I’m posting it here in case pastors or others in ministry want to ever comb it for nuggets of gold.  (The dissertation received an A+ grade from his committee.  Nice work, Dr. Pae!)

Pluralism and Tolerance

D.A. Carson:

Genuine pluralism within the broader culture is facilitated when there is a strong Christian voice loyal to the Scriptures–as well as strong Muslim voices, skeptical voices, Buddhist voices, atheistic voices, and so forth. Genuine pluralism within the broader culture is not fostered when in the name of tolerance none of the voices can say that any of the others is wrong, and when this stance is the only ultimate virtue.

-From The Intolerance of Tolerance, Eerdmans, 2012

Chapter 2, which unpacks just how widespread intolerance is today, cloaked in the garb of so-called “tolerance” and consistently directly at those who believe in exclusive truth claims (not just Christians, but usually Christians), is alone worth the price of this book. Here’s a five minute clip of Dr. Carson discussing these matters:
Continue Reading…

Israel, Gaza, ‘Divine Right,’ and John Piper

Great post by Matt Smethurst, associate editor for The Gospel Coalition.

The Story: After eight days of bloody conflict, Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire, The New York Times reported yesterday. Five Israelis and more than 150 Palestinians have been killed along the Israel-Gaza border during the past week.

Such events raise typical and salient questions. Does Israel possess a “divine right” to the “Promised Land” in the Middle East? What is the “Promised Land,” anyway? The interminable Israeli-Palestinian conflict has always been freighted with biblical significance; Israel, after all, isn’t calling their anti-Hamas campaign “Operation Pillar of Cloud” for nothing.

But are such appropriations legitimate?

Read the whole thing.

The Conviction to Lead – Albert Mohler

I previously mentioned this book. Here are a few short promo videos with Dr. Mohler discussing his new book.

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Great Quotes on Great Leadership

Tim Challies lists some great quotes from what sounds like an excellent new book by Dr. Albert Mohler. Here are the first two:

Christians are rightly and necessarily concerned about leadership, but many seem to aim no higher than secular leadership standards and visions. We can learn a great deal from the secular world and its studies and practices of leadership, but the last thing the church needs is warmed-over business theories decorated with Christian language.

Without apology, the Christian leader is a devoted student and a lifelong learner. Convictional intelligence emerges when the leader increases in knowledge and in strength of belief. It deepens over time, with the seasoning and maturing of knowledge that grows out of faithful learning, Christian thinking, and biblical reasoning.

Read the rest.

Tim Keller’s Every Good Endeavor (a review)

While others have written more scholarly defenses of the theology of vocation, Every Good Endeavor is the most accessible and helpful book I’ve ever read on integrating a Christian perspective with our daily work—-whether that work be “blue-collar” or “white-collar,” physical or mental, menial or high-profile. Moreover, Keller simultaneously (and winsomely) speaks to non-Christians who are trying to make sense of the frustrations and pleasures of their work lives.

Keller begins with God’s plan for our work: The idea that work preceded the Fall, that work gives dignity to humankind, and that work allows us to cultivate the created order such that others are served. Keller also relates our vocation to the gospel doctrine of justification by faith alone:

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Tim Keller’s New Book on Work and Vocation: 70% Off!

Every Good Endeavor, which released Nov. 13 , deals with the important topic of work and vocation.  This week only, WTS Books is offering the first copy at 70% off (about $8.10).  I’ve already read the entire book (see my review) and consider it the best book I’ve ever read on the subject of God and work.

When I saw it come out, I was immediately intrigued, since Keller first introducing me to Dorothy Sayers some years ago, and in particular her essay Why Work?. That essay was instrumental to me when I wrote Thriving at College.

Keller’s book is divided into three parts:

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The Skills Gap

Great 60 Minutes story last week on the skills gap. Excerpt:

Every month since January 2009, more than 20 million Americans have been either out of work or underemployed. Yet despite that staggering number, there are more than three million job openings in the U.S. Just in manufacturing, there are as many as 500,000 jobs that aren’t being filled because employers say they can’t find qualified workers.

It’s called “the skills gap.” How could that be, we wondered, at a time like this with so many people out of work? No place is the question more pressing than in Nevada. The state with the highest unemployment rate in the country. A place where there are jobs waiting to be filled.

Continue Reading…

The Liberal Gloat

Extremely insightful, even-handed, and well-written post-election analysis by Ross Douthat.  An excerpt:

Consider the Hispanic vote. Are Democrats winning Hispanics because they put forward a more welcoming face than Republicans do — one more in keeping with America’s tradition of assimilating migrants yearning to breathe free? Yes, up to a point. But they’re also winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren’t assimilating successfully — or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates. The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems.

Likewise with the growing number of unmarried Americans, especially unmarried women. Yes, social issues like abortion help explain why these voters lean Democratic. But the more important explanation is that single life is generally more insecure and chaotic than married life, and single life with children — which is now commonplace for women under 30 — is almost impossible to navigate without the support the welfare state provides.

Read the whole thing.

HT: Jay W. Richards

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