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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.

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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.

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!

“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.

Fire Up Speaker Notes

Hello amazing, inspiring future teachers of America,

Here is a link to my speaker notes — no promises that they are pretty or that I touched on all or anything contained within them!

 

Parent-Teacher Conferences and the Goodness of God

When I woke up this morning, I grumbled in my heart: it was conference day, and I knew that meant I wouldn’t be leaving work until 7pm. Do you ever have meetings at work that require you to stay late?

Well, during mine tonight, God gave me some grace to see a lot of blessings, despite having to be at work and away from my family for longer than I would have chosen. Mostly, these blessings centered around the opportunity conferences give me to get to know people better.

Meeting my students’ parents is always a privilege. It is fun to see the physical resemblances, and it is a joy to complement parents on the positive attributes I notice in their children. Also, it’s nice to get to talk to fellow staff members during the down time.

Anyways, I guess what I’m trying to say is, God is good! Even in those mandatory meetings that require us to work later hours sometimes, He is sovereign, and, as a Father who is constantly parenting us, there are opportunities for thanksgiving and growth in every situation.

May we grow in joy at our jobs, and may that joy make us better at what we do.

A Helpful Meditation on 1 Peter 5:10-11

Lately, suffering seems to be a recurring theme in the lives of some of my friends, so I found this explication of 1 Peter 5:10-11, by Ray Ortlund, to be especially helpful. It is amazing what the simple act of breaking down the Scriptures idea-by-idea quickly shows them to be the storehouses of wealth that they are.

May the direct, personal involvement of God comfort those who suffer.