An Infographic about Evangelism (credit goes to Randy Newman)

In his book Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well, Randy Newman got me thinking about evangelism in a new way. I tried putting it into an infographic; let me know if it’s helpful.

Financial Infidelity?

I found this article interesting. Christians believe that lying is lying is lying — it is a misrepresentation of reality, and God, as the ultimate reality / the Shakespeare to our tragicomedy lives, has not made us to be misrepresenters of reality. Because of this, things fall apart when we lie.

Yet, within a marriage, one function of which is to essentially re-enact the beautiful unity and intimacy and love that the trinity constantly expresses, lying is especially destructive. Though I knew this in my head, I hadn’t thought of it as a kind of cheating on your spouse.

May the Lord make us more like Him.

Leland Ryken on “Why Christians Should Read Camus”

I couldn’t stop reading this post by Leland Ryken. If you’re a literary type, read this, and I bet you’ll be looking for a copy of The Stranger within minutes.

What does “Gospel-Centered” Mean?

I thought this article at the Resurgence did a great job of summarizing gospel-centered theology. To me, it’s the most comprehensive, all-encompassing, Bible-beautifying way to center a life on Christ. Gospel-centered theology was the first thing that captured my heart with the intellectual depth of the Christian life.

Anyways, this is just a quick post to shout out the article!

Book Review: A History of US (Vol. 1): The First Americans

“It is always easy to do and thinks as everyone else does. And here we are, at one of the most important reasons for studying history: to learn from the mistakes of others” (98). So writes Joy Hakim in her first installment of an 11-book series called A History of US. In the chapter quoted, Hakim goes on to ask, “[The explorers] meant to do good. Many people told them they were doing good. Does that excuse them? Does it make a difference to the victim? Is it right to force others to believe as you do? Is it possible?” (99).

These are heady questions for any reader, but the fact that they are posed in language that a 9-year old can comprehend makes this an incredibly thoughtful, rigorous, and important US History text.

In A History of US: The First Americans, readers will find unbiased, white-wash-free accounts of the people and places of United States history from prehistory to 1600. Though sure to disappoint teachers in search of textbooks that perfectly align to state standards, broken down into chapters and sections and subsections with an accompanying set of worksheets, this book is an incredible resource for any history classroom dedicated to authentic historical work.

The First Americans is broken into 39 article-style chapters, each of which is rife images of primary sources. In every chapter, Hakim invites curiosity, discussion, and even debate–in other words, this material encourages the flow of the lifeblood of any history classroom.

In the book’s initial chapter, “Why History?”, Hakim reveals her book’s theme:

I believe the United States of America is the most remarkable nation that has ever existed. No other nation, in the history of the world, has ever provided so much freedom, so much justice, and so much opportunity to so many people.

Characteristically, Hakim immediately follows her theme by saying, “That is a big statement. You don’t have to agree with it. Arguing with a book’s theme is okay” (10).

Because of its constant invitation to debates, its honest look at history, its probing questions, its quality prose, and its extensive use of primary documents, I will be heavily drawing from and promoting this book in my ninth grade humanities classroom.

How does the gospel change everything?

For the past few months, I’ve mostly been stumped when trying to articulate what I mean by this claim: the gospel changes everything. In my head and heart, there is no better or more comprehensive way to describe why the Jesus makes so much sense to me and why living with Him energizes and motivates me.

I first heard this claim while a member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, but they certainly didn’t coin it. However, in a newsletter article titled ” Covenant Renewal and Redeemer’s DNA,” Tim Keller does a good job of getting me closer to understanding what it means for the gospel to change everything.

“Unless the Lord builds the house”

My wife gave me a “verse of the day” this morning — this isn’t habitual, and she had a slight grin on her face when she read it for me. But as she was reading Psalm 127:1-2, and as I was reflecting on it afterwards, this small act on her part was a beautiful picture of how God makes the husband-wife relationship one of necessary interdependence.

First, the passage: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain that you rise early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep.”

The revolutionary nature of this verse on where my heart has been cannot be overstated. It is good for us to labor–clearly, this verse supports that. However, it is fleeting, pointless, without lasting value, IF I do it apart from the simple belief that God, not me, will make the labor beneficial.

For example, when I sit down to grade a pile of essays, I am daunted. This is largely because I feel that my grading is the only factor that will impact my students’ writing. And, while I need to be ever pursuing a form of writing feedback that most benefits my students, I am not grading in a Christ-exalting way if I believe that my feedback effectiveness is the only factor that will impact my students. This is obvious in any school: some of the most technically sound writing feedback practices yield relatively small results, and some of the most technically unsound practices yield inordinately large results. There are factors at play in any classroom that are intangible; in my classroom, I must remind myself that that factor is and always has been God.

For the skeptic, this faith need not cause squirminess: what is the problem with a teacher who is dedicated to excellence, but who also does not suffer burn-out because he/she is not placing impossible pressure on him/herself? Such faith encourages the flourishing of both student and teacher.

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