Apple’s Unintentional (But Funny) War on the Culture of Self

Social media is given to its own special form of “As the World Turns.” Another day – more flair for the dramatic. Today’s helping comes to us from the hallowed halls of Apple in the form of a glitch within their latest iOS 11 update.

The glitch – affectionately dubbed the “i glitch” – is prohibiting users from typing a lowercase ‘i’ within several apps, making routine communication annoyingly difficult. The result? Gems such as this from Twitter user @mcwm:

The whole iPhone experience is mesmerically centered upon one’s self and his or her personal interaction with the device, hence the given name for the it in the first place. It is a world within a world, and one that is increasingly separated from fleshly interaction. Some would say it’s a complete and utter separation from reality, a point which I am inclined to agree with.

All this serves to make the glitch infinitely more comical than it should be and, at the very least, helps us to know how incredibly often we refer to ourselves in texts and on social media. Those small boxes and their question marks are quite telling.

If only Apple’s next update could include the “me” glitch as well.

Two New Works on Edwards

 

The Jonathan Edwards Encylopedia
(Ed. Harry Stout)
Release Date: November 30, 2017
Publisher/Pages: Eerdmans – 700 pages
MSRP: $60.00

From Eerdmans:

With more than four hundred entries, The Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia provides a wide-ranging perspective on Edwards, offering succinct synopses of topics large and small from his life, thought, and work. Summaries of Edwards’s ideas as well as descriptions of the people and events of his times are all easy to find, and suggestions for further reading point to ways to explore topics in greater depth.

Comprehensive and reliable, with contributions from the premier Edwards scholars in the world, this encyclopedia will be the standard reference work on one of the most extraordinary figures in American history.

 

A Reader’s Guide to the Major Writings of Jonathan Edwards
(Eds. Nathan A. Finn & Jeremy M. Kimble)
Release Date: November 30, 2017
Publisher/Pages: Crossway – 240 pages
MSRP: $21.99

From Crossway: 

Jonathan Edwards is widely considered one of the most influential theologians in American history. For those seeking a primer on his most important works, this book is a key resource for students, pastors, and anyone who wants to learn about this famous theologian for themselves—his thought, his theological reflections, and his vision for the Christian life.

This guide serves as a supplement to his major writings, including his personal resolutions, theological treatises, philosophical works, and writings on the Christian life, offering key background information, concise summaries, strategies for reading, and applications for the modern reader. The contributors, including Nathan Finn, Jeremy M. Kimble, Dane Ortlund, Joe Rigney, and Paul Helm, share their expertise on Edwards to make the riches of Edwards’s thought more accessible to today’s students and pastors.

 

Knowing What It’s Like

I’ve been wanting to push something into this space for a while now. I just could never put a finger on what it was.

Lately I’ve been thinking about this crazy, uprooted season of life we’re in and I’m stirred when I consider that every little moment is all a part of what God is doing in and through us both presently and in our future ministry endeavors.

If I’m not mistaken, there are others out there who are like me. We know what it was like to hear/feel/discern/sense the call to ministry. We understand the meandering that makes up the next few weeks, months….and years. We know what it’s like to not know what’s next. Uncertainty becomes the new norm and trust in the midst of that uncertainty becomes the new banner over us.

Praise God we have men and women, led by God in their own right, who have sought to slide in next to us. Their message? “This is what’s important in the call to the pastorate.” “These are the need-to-know’s when you’re headed to the mission field.” “It may be difficult, but the call to be a godly spouse is both sacrificial and sacred.”

The advice at our disposal makes me blush.

But lately I’m realizing that lost in the countless amount of things proposed to us, there aren’t many places anyone can hear from us.

Continue reading “Knowing What It’s Like”

On Union with Christ: Revisiting the 2014 DG Conference

Just a quick post to pass this along. I regularly revisit the collection of sermons from the 2014 Desiring God Conference for Pastors, primarily because of the conference’s theme for that year – “The Pastor, the Vine, and the Branches: The Remarkable Reality of Union with Christ.”

The first sermon was from Dr. John Piper and remains the best exposition of John 15:1-11 I’ve ever listened to. I’m encouraged by Piper’s handling of the text here and my heart soars with every listen at the beauty of this doctrine that seems so difficult to lay hold of.

A video of Piper’s sermon is below and all the messages from the conference can be found at Desiring God’s website.

Why I Chose Residential Seminary at 28-years-old

I get it. Twenty-eight isn’t that far down the line. And looking at my stage of life, I wasn’t as “ingrained” as one could be at that age, but still. Relatively speaking, my wife and I were enjoying life where we were. We were surrounded by close friends, both our families live in our hometown, I was on staff at a great church, and on and on it goes. To say we were comfortable is an okay way to describe it. To say that’s why we left would be missing it completely.

I’ve read the books about risking and forsaking. I’ve heard the stories of God’s provision when it just didn’t seem like things would be possible. But I don’t number my own story among those, really. At least not yet anyway.

There were and are easier ways to do this. Online education is completely in vogue. And more to the point, online seminary training is making waves because who wants to leave their church? So what was it that moved us to, well, move us?

One day I hope to make a more formal case for residential seminary training, but what you’ll find here is me as purely as I can manage.

Continue reading “Why I Chose Residential Seminary at 28-years-old”

The Sure Ground of the Gospel

Over a year ago we responded to the call to step away from a ministry position I’d held for 7+ years to move halfway across the country for seminary training. In a lot of a ways it has felt like starting over. New town. New friends. New church. New stories to carry. New brothers and sisters to trust with carrying our own.

Continue reading “The Sure Ground of the Gospel”

The Imperfect Disciple – Available for Pre-order

During my time at Midwestern,
I’ve had the privilege of working alongside Jared C. Wilson at the
For the Church website.

But long before my arrival on campus, Jared’s voice was influential in renewing my gospel focus as a 20-something in ministry and I continue to be grateful for the way God uses him as each new title is published.

On May 2nd, Jared’s latest book, The Imperfect Disciple, will be released to the wild. If anything is certain, we can trust it will fit its billing as a book written about discipleship for “people who screw up, people who are weary, people who are wondering if it’s safe to say what they’re really thinking.”

If you’re headed to Indianapolis next week for the TGC Conference, you can pick it up early. Otherwise, you can pre-order from Amazon or ChristianBook.com today.

Peterson’s Prose

I love reading most anything Eugene Peterson has written. I’m currently revisiting his The Pastor: A Memoir, and this little bit jumped out at me:

That line! The one about the lilacs and apple trees. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just write, “It was late spring”? This is what makes Peterson’s writing breathe for me and I get so lost in it.

Just an observation. I’ll get back to reading.

Present for the Gospel

Perhaps it was like any other night – a jail full of captives under the watchful eye of a faithful guard in the evening’s waning hours.

It was midnight and the guard had fallen asleep to the sounds of prayers and hymns, acclamations made by Paul and Silas despite their seemingly hopeless circumstances. The two had been dragged into the marketplace, mocked and beaten, carried away to prison, and placed in the innermost cells where their feet were fastened into stocks. With no other recourse, praise seemed appropriate.

Their voices reverberated off the prison walls (the passage tells us other prisoners were listening) and, at one point as they prayed and sang, the earth began to shake. The rumble of the ground breaking, the very foundations of the jail trembling. The doors of the prison cells flung wide, the prisoners’ bonds were now loosened.

The guard, awakened by the chaos and instantly panicky, rose to find the prison doors now open. Supposing the prisoners had already escaped and resolving to avoid the shame of it all, he reaches for his sword and goes to turn it on himself. For this guard, saving face would mean losing his life. Or so he thought.

Continue reading “Present for the Gospel”

Getting People to God

“Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.” – John Piper, from God is the Gospel