Jesus Is by Judah Smith

Jesus Is - Judah SmithOur life group is finishing a discussion on Judah Smith’s recent book Jesus Is ________. It is a great introduction to the incredibly engaging Jesus we find in the Bible. I’ve posted about a sermon of Judah’s before and mentioned how much I admire his unique delivery and style. While different from me in a number of ways, I enjoy his outlook on faith and his understanding of Jesus.

Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book. What I can’t capture is how well Judah’s humor seeps through the content.

In reality, for many people, the greatest hindrance to receiving the grace of God is not their scandalous sins—it’s their empty good deeds.

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Would You Pray More?

Gavin JerniganWould you pray more if you were able to see the results of your prayers?

What if you could receive a thank you from the people who were affected by your prayers?

Flashback to shortly after our first year of marriage. Michelle and I were on the “five year plan” for kids. I wanted a boy and a girl and my free time somewhat preserved. Instead, we were told that because of some medical complications, we should start trying to have kids immediately if we wanted any biologically. This was quite the blow to our comfortable plan. Instead of having at least three more years of just us we instead changed to preparing to have a baby in nine months. The only challenge was that we couldn’t get pregnant. Even with month after month of trying.

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The Skeptical Believer

the skeptical believer - daniel taylorAfter reading Daniel Taylor’s book The Myth of Certainty a few years back, I was really excited to read his latest book called The Skeptical Believer. While much of the book is an extension of thought from what I’d previously read, this book seems like he is trying to really hit every angle of the discussion. As a result, it felt much longer than it needed to be. The other unique thing to this book is that Taylor includes commentary from his “inner atheist” to contradict some of the points he makes. While this is certainly creative, I found it to be a distraction at times.

Nonetheless, there is plenty to chew on in this one. In particular, Taylor does a great job challenging our current culture’s obsession with acquiring certainty in our faith.

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.

Desiring truth is not selfish; requiring certainty is. It is insisting that God and life provide you with a level of proof about ultimate things that will make your own commitments risk-free.

Demanding certainty is metaphysical gluttony. You are insisting on a state of knowledge inconsistent with the human condition.

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Why Doesn’t God Do Something?

As I’ve written about recently, Michelle and I have been going through the foster certification to become licensed foster parents. In Arizona alone, there are currently more than fourteen thousand kids displaced without a home.

So here’s an update: it’s getting harder and harder for us.

Keep in mind, we still haven’t “done anything” yet. We are still plugging away at our weekly classes and other requirements. But week after week of hearing stories of despair about kids starts to take its toll. Although tempting, the solution isn’t to abandon the training and remove ourselves from the opportunity to bring new children into our home. The solution we need in this situation and any situation in which reality creates a sense of despair is to figure out what God is doing in all of it.

I once read a powerful quote from Wolfgang Simson addressing this feeling: “A spiritual stronghold is a mindset, impregnated with hopelessness, which causes us to accept as unchangeable, that which we know to be contrary to the will of God.”

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Interview with Tyler Reagin

I’ve had the privilege of establishing a friendship recently with Tyler Reagin. Tyler is the Executive Producer of events like Catalyst and the Leadercast event. Tyler is shockingly humble and has an emotional IQ to envy. If you haven’t heard of him yet, you will. For those of us in the church culture, Catalyst has been and continues to be on the forefront of shaping the culture of the American church.

tyler reagin - catalyst

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August with C.S. Lewis

Year with C.S. LewisThis post is part of my series through A Year with C.S. Lewis.

Here are my favorite quotes from the assorted C.S. Lewis books that are covered in the month of August in the book. They can be categorized into two areas.

First, a few profound thoughts about sex:

The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. The Christian attitude does not mean that there is anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.

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