What Keeps You Up at Night: How to Find Peace While Chasing Your Dreams, Pete Wilson, W Publishing Group, 2015.
Pete Wilson is the founding and senior pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee. What Keeps You Up at Night? is his fourth book, where the main idea is that God has a purpose for each of us. Though Wilson never uses the word, you could refer to it as your vocation. What keeps us up at night is fear and uncertainty about fulfilling this God-given purpose.
From there, Wilson explores various ways in which fear keeps us from chasing our dreams – or God’s dreams for us. Fear prevents us from living into the holy life God has called us to. Wilson also provides some practical steps to overcome that fear. Prayer and trust in God are the strongest recommendations. Wilson writes:
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The Sky is Falling, The Church is Dying, and Other False Alarms, Ted A. Campbell, Abingdon Press, 2015.
Ted Campbell, a United Methodist clergy person and professor at Southern Methodist University, uses his position in the church as a historian to examine the claim that the church is dying. He addresses the myth, as he calls it, focusing on the mainline churches – or old-line churches – that seem to be suffering from a membership hemorrhaging. All while it appears that the more contrastive, evangelical churches are growing.
This has been a commonly stated problem for the mainline church, which Campbell identifies as United Methodist, Presbyterian (USA), Episcopal in the USA, United Church of Christ, among others, since Dean Kelley’s Why Conservative Churches are Growing was published in 1972.
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Below is my sermon from yesterday, on Christian Education Sunday. It is a sermon in rhyme. As requested, the text is provided as well (though I probably have a few commas in the wrong places). If you use the Podcast app, you can listen by subscribing here.
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In her book, “For the Love,” Christian writer, blogger, and DIYer, Jen Hatmaker provides a collection of essays ranging from helicopter parenting to the future of Christianity. The idea for her book comes from a phrase she acknowledges she says a lot: “For the love.” It’s like saying, “Good grief,” or “WTF?” in different situations. Each essay (chapter) covers something that she has encountered that has caused her to utter the words, “For the love.”
The target audience for this book is the large number of women readers that have been congregating around Hatmaker for the last several years thanks to successes like her book “7.” Having said that, I enjoyed reading this book (there were some sections I skipped over). Haymaker comes from an evangelical background, which she explains at different points, highlighting the good things that came from that and the more challenging things. At her current place in life, a 40-something writer, mom, and pastor’s wife, she recognizes that church no longer needs to be the way it was.
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It has been almost seven months since I have been to L’Arche in Lynchburg for Spiritual Life Night. I went tonight and it was like a homecoming of sorts. I was invited to stay and sing (not realizing that was why I was there). I was asked about baby J and Megan. There were bright smiles and huge hugs.
Then, without instruction or directions, chairs became to circle up and we all took our places. The red song books were handed out, and one by one we sang each person’s favorite hymn. It was gloriously out of tune. And it was awesome! Through “I’ve Got the Joy” and “Amazing Grace,” we made a joyful noise.
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These are not always the first words used to describe a Vacation Bible School. You are more likely to hear words like loud, chaotic, messy. But that was not the chance at Peakland last week. While talking to Kristin, our VBS director at Peakland, she said, “My goal was for someone, somewhere, to have a spiritual experience.”
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Baby J has hit a milestone. She now sits up with very little help, or without her arms extended out for balance. And she is quite proud of herself.
Every once and awhile though, she’ll get super excited about this newfound ability and falls face first.
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The first Sherlock Holmes story was published in 1887. Ever since, the brilliant detective has fascinated readers and viewers. Trisha Priebe’s devotional attempts to draw from the Holmes canon spiritual truths to inspire the Christian’s life. The publisher states that “this book investigates the spiritual truths we can discern from this enigmatic fictional character – a brusque, stubborn, and arrogant man who also shows honor, trust, and self-sacrificing friendship.”
Unfortunately, Priebe’s investigation does not reveal all that it could reveal.
I liked the concept, which is what drew me to read the book. I’m always interested in how others make connections between faith and pop culture – and yes even though Sherlock Holmes’ first appearance was in 1887, he is just as part of our pop culture as James Bond or Bruce Wayne. The best parts of this book are the first half of each of the devotionals where Priebe shares information about the different stories or events leading up to the writing of those stories. Here she reveals interesting facts about the character, his legacy, and his creator Arthur Conan Doyle.
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This is the sermon I preached Thursday afternoon at Westminster Canterbury in Lynchburg for their Thursday afternoon Chapel. I used Mark 5:21-43 as my text. You can also listen on iTunes’ Podcast app. Click here to subscribe.
Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, Rachel Held Evans, Nelson Books, 2015.
Searching for Sunday is one of the best books I’ve recently read. Rachel Held Evans is one of those Christian writers whom readers are divided on. You either love her or you don’t. Her latest book is no different. Some have gone to great lengths to explain why she has theologically missed the boat, or have longed for more. Others rejoice at this book. They have longed for the honestly that Evans communicates seemingly with ease about the realities of the Church.
I have not read a lot of her writing. I read a couple of her blog posts from time to time. Megan has read more of her books than I have. A friend of mine said how much he enjoyed and appreciated the book.
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