Live From New York

SNLI recently finished reading a book on the history of Saturday Night Live. It’s called Live From New York and walks through the creation and evolution of the show. The book is longer than I realized and also proved tougher to read. That’s because it’s quote after quote from different people. While it’s tricky to get into the flow of reading it, taken together it provides loads of behind-the-scenes perspective into a cultural icon.

My favorite quote:

“When I came here Lorne told me, ‘We don’t go on the air because the show’s ready, we go on because it’s eleven-thirty.'” Darrell Hammond

That’s an incredibly profound look into the creative process. At some point it’s got to go out. Anyone who has ever tried to produce something knows this tension.

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Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

After receiving two separate recommendations for Nabeel Qureshi’s book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, I figured it was finally time to read it. I’m glad I did. Nabeel tells his story of growing up as a devout Muslim and his journey with the God of the Bible.

The book follows the journey of Nabeel’s friendship with a Christian named David. You learn early on that these two guys are smarter than most, and their conversations have a deep foundation in apologetics. Both men are rooted in their beliefs and eager to show the other the error of his ways. It is in the context of this friendship that Nabeel is able to see his Muslim faith in a new light.

He sheds light into many aspects of Islam that the typical person may not understand. As one example, Nabeel says,

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You Have Been Set Free

You Have Been Set Free

It’s sad how often Christians live as if God’s power in us makes no tangible difference. We intellectually accept the Holy Spirit but rarely live as if it should change anything. Reading through Romans chapter six this week gave me a great reminder of our liberation in Christ.

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Borrowing Hope

We made the video about Brian’s story (see above) and showed it at Central this past weekend. Not surprisingly, it has connected with many people. It’s worth taking six minutes of your day to watch it. I’ve known Brian for many years and have watched him go through this journey. It’s easy to talk about God when it goes well and you don’t feel like you need Him to do much. But we see the power of God in our weaknesses and I love the picture of the church we see in Brian’s story. My favorite thing he says in the video is “What do you do when you don’t have any hope? You borrow hope from other people that love you.”

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Being Mentored by Seth Godin

Being Mentored by Seth Godin

I was able to see something I had been doing for years in a new light this week. This new insight was as a result of having the privilege to be mentored by Seth Godin. You are likely familiar with Seth’s brilliance from one of his many bestselling books.

Here’s the particular issue we were working to improve. For many years I’ve had an email subscription on my blog (see the signup box at the bottom of this post). Those tend to be my more committed readers who want to personally receive an email each day I have a new post. As those of you who receive that email know, you don’t actually receive the entire post in the email. This is intentional. Otherwise, you’d never need to go to my blog. Then, I wouldn’t get any of the traffic stats for my site.

As a result, I send out an email to a committed network of people with the first paragraph or so of a post. Then, I hope they click the link to read the full post on my site. In tracking the numbers of this, it’s a minority that actually do this with each post. But, that’s what the logic of the day tells you to do to help your blog.

Seth caused me to ask the question like this: Would I rather have more traffic on my blog (but less people actually read what I write), OR, would I rather have less traffic on my blog (but more people actually read what I write)?

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With Great Power

With Great Power

There’s that famous line from the Spiderman movie: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” I wonder, is that true of God’s power as well? Specifically, when we have His power? The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us who follow Him today (Romans 8:11). While those of us in America often downplay (or flat out ignore) this, the reality is that this is no small matter. But how should this look? God once healed people and cast out demons through handkerchiefs and aprons that had simply touched the Apostle Paul (Acts 19:12).

That’s weird.

Or remember that God asks Moses what was in his hand. Eventually, his staff would be used in all matter of miracles. Moses received a tangible item infused with God’s power. So much so, that Moses even had the ability to use this item—equipped with God’s power—for something against God’s will! The second time Moses needs to get water out of a rock he is told to speak to the rock in order to make it happen. Instead, he strikes the rock with his staff as he had previously done (Numbers 20:11-12). Despite being different than what God instructed, it works. Think on that for a second. God allowed Moses to use his God-powered staff to disobey God. The staff didn’t only work when Moses followed instructions. It worked when it was in Moses’ hand.

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