A whole new American dream.

GOOD has a great new infographic out: Not Your Parent’s American Dream: a whole new national ideal [flat, larger version], based on the 2011 MetLife study on the American Dream.

Overall, the new generation of young adults (Gen Y) is more likely to want to own a home than get married. I dare say it’s much easier to buy a home than build one that shall abide in love and peace. Marriage is seen as more an “non-essential” than going to college or owning a home. Yet, which of those pursuits is more rewarding? After owning four homes, I can say it’s overrated. There’s no price one can put on a thriving, happy, godly marriage.

Click below to see the whole graphic, which is a wealth of information (no pun intended), though I wish it more clearly showed what the “American Dream” looks like now across generations. (There are some good clues.) It goes without saying — but I shall say it — that we, the new, hip, cool, new kids on the block — Millennials (Gen Y) and the now less-famous Gen X (my generation) — are living the lifestyle benefits come our way through the hard work and persistence of those before us. I doubt our nation’s founders envisioned the luxurious lifestyles we now enjoy; today, even the middle class lives like kings.

In the course of the last few years, Kari and I have begun to dream anew about our hopes and goals. We dreamed out downsizing our life and becoming more generous, giving away more than we spend on ourselves. There were times when that seemingly noble dream had to die, and I’m grateful to journey through our momentary life story, together, and on the same page. Truly, it’s more blessed to give than to receive.

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The Reality of the Resurrection.

For the rationalist, relativist, religious, reservationist, resentful, and realist in all of us:

“… the perfect life Jesus lived is imputed to us, and we are declared righteous. God looks at us, and instead of seeing our sin, He sees Jesus’ righteousness.” —Greg Gilbert

Jesus is the One by whose risen life justifies. Repent and believe. Christ is risen indeed.

(A Spoken Word piece written by Odd Thomas for Trinity Church of Portland.)

[in]complete: What does it mean to ‘Accept Jesus’?

You may have heard it before: an invitation from Evangelical Christians to “accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.” What on earth do we mean by that? (Or, since it sounds like religious jargon and we can be poor messengers: what should we mean when we say that?)

Ray Ortlund illustrates the modern idea of ‘accepting Jesus’ in two ways:

You and I are not integrated, unified, whole persons. Our hearts are multi-divided.

There is a board room in every heart. Big table. Leather chairs. Coffee. Bottled water. Whiteboard. A committee sits around the table. There is the social self, the private self, the work self, the sexual self, the recreational self, the religious self, and others. The committee is arguing and debating and voting. Constantly agitated and upset. Rarely can they come to a unanimous, wholehearted decision. We tell ourselves we’re this way because we’re so busy with so many responsibilities. The truth is, we’re just divided, unfocused, hesitant, unfree.

That kind of person can “accept Jesus” in either of two ways. One way is to invite him onto the committee. Give him a vote too. But then he becomes just one more complication.

The other way to “accept Jesus” is to say to him, “My life isn’t working. Please come in and fire my committee, every last one of them. I hand myself over to you. Please run my whole life for me.” That is not complication; that is salvation.

“Accepting Jesus” is not just adding Jesus. It is also subtracting the idols.

—Ray Ortlund, Jr., Christ is Deeper Still (emphasis mine)

We shall not merely invite Jesus into our lives. Our lives are a mess! Rather, Jesus invites us into His life. Through what He has done on the cross — in defeating sin, Satan, and removing all the obstacles we have before a holy God — after all that: God accepts us. And then cleans out our heart idols. They were terrible leaders anyway.

“You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”
1 Thessalonians 1:9

Shortcuts to getting into college.

Some college admissions departments are now asking prospective students to provide 25-word, Tweet-worthy college essays.

I remember having the option to write my entrance essay on a “word processor” and save it to a 3.5″ floppy disk and mail it back to the admissions office. It was that or a hand-written version.

Wut do ya think — are these questions too silly?

http://www.hulu.com/embed/olBoxB4Jj2y0Spu2nZTjiA

“I’m At Ur Admissions Site, Writin’ My College Essay”

How to fight your fears.

How shall we fight our fears?

Pastor John Piper gives five steps that are not always easy: A.P.T.A.T.

  1. Admit honestly — I can do nothing without Christ.
  2. Pray. (“God, help me not to be afraid. Please help me! Jesus, be near me.”)
  3. Trust. (In what? Preach the Gospel to yourself on this specific fear.)
  4. Act in obedience to God’s word.
  5. Thank God for whatever good comes.

“By the work of the Holy Spirit, God defeats temptation by awakening joy through belief in the word of God which is at work in us. And that word is most centrally the good news that Christ died for us so that all the promises of God are Yes in him.”

This is how we live.

—John Piper, sermon “The Word Is At Work In You,” video excerpt posted as A Tool To Help You Live.

Page CXVI » these are a few of your favorite hymns.

Most people have a favorite hymn. Perhaps you request yours and long to sing it with the church gathered on Sundays. I generally enjoy singing the old hymns as much as newer songs. Yet, since no church gathering can should cater to the favorites of everyone, here’s a great way to revisit your favorites anytime.

Page CXVI is a project started with the idea of making hymns accessible and known again. They are some of the richest, most meaningful, and moving pieces of music ever written.

HYMNS I, II, III, IV

If you haven’t already, check out Hymns I, II, III and IV available directly from pagecxvi.com or as a digital download from and

Perhaps you know some of these (most recent albums first).

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