Sacred token, signed by the president.

The inside cover of my wife’s grandfather’s pocket Bible, his constant companion as a merchant marine serving in the military during WWII:

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When you get to a page like this, keep reading. What follows is even better. It’s far better than the previous page describes as “A Sacred Token.”

Howard Zoet signed the cover page on March 26, 1942. He read the Bible often because he loved the God of revealed in its pages more than life itself. Grandpa Zoet was changed as he read and responded. No mere “sacred token” here.


Happy Labor Day weekend. Thanks for reading.

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Route 66: A Crash Course in Navigating Life with the Bible [book review].

20110825-053822.jpgEver left reading a so-called “Christian” book feeling empty? It happens to me all the time. Even as a new Christian 15 years ago I was almost shocked how sappy and substance-less the market was for books branded to help Christians grow. Whenever a solid book comes along, combining substance and style, I take heart. (There’s a false dichotomy separating those two, as if to be faithful and true we cannot be compelling? Or to be creative we must become soft on the true message?) I’m convinced that for us to have substantial lives we need to be challenged with solid truth and not just palatable platitudes. Please, no more easy-believism.

I was invited to participate in a blog tour for the new book, Route 66: A Crash Course in Navigating Life with the Bible, by Krish Kandiah. Here’s my review provided freely in response.

Buckle up, we have quite the adventure ahead. The subtitle of Krish Kandiah’s latest work Route 66 [paperback|kindle] summarizes the intent well: “a crash course in navigating life with the Bible.” Oftentimes the driving metaphors used in Bible summaries are such a far reach that it’s painfully obvious the message has morphed to fit into a new mold. Route 66 employs the metaphor of a touring a highway, navigating life with a guide in hand (Route 66 here in the States; think of the winding road in the Pixar animated CARS if that helps). Why 66? That’s the number of books in our English Bible.

What makes this book unique is the author is not content to try to fit God in the glovebox. He is not in the car along for the ride with us. He is in the driver’s seat, showing us the way. Unfortunately that’s rare in popular level Christian writing. Encouraged by the opening pages I grabbed my keys and began down the road optimistic about what lay ahead. Continue reading

First thoughts.

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.”
—A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: HarperCollins, 1961), p. 1.

Perpetually thankful.

“Our heavenly Father, finally, is good (Psalm 135:3). His goodness extends throughout our lives. Perhaps the best way to apply the doctrine of God’s goodness is to live a perpetually thankful life (1 Thessalonians 5:18). In so doing we will honor Him who gave His Son for us — the greatest expression of mercy and kindness the world has ever known.

Meditation on these attributes is meant to provide fuel for faith and love of God. Every Christian would do well to consider them in personal devotions and to be involved in a God-centered local church dedicated to a “high view” of God, with preaching that expounds the truths of God’s nature. A vibrant devotional life and involved congregational life cannot trouble-proof one’s Christian walk, but each will greatly assist the believer in looking beyond this world to the realm where our Redeemer dwells.”
—Owen Strachan & Doug Sweeney, “The Beauty of God,” Jonathan Edwards On Beauty (The Essential Edwards Collection), p. 45.

There is a better way to become holy.

“The Most High is holy (1 Samuel 2:2). He is spotless and pure. He has no blemish, and none can find fault with Him. As the Lord is holy, so are we called to be holy (1 Peter 1:13-16). The chief way to become holy is not to start out by following a list of rules, but to examine the Lord’s character, to know His Word, and to follow the example of His Son. The local church will help us greatly in learning what it means to be holy, for there we find people who are living holy lives not to check off legalistic boxes, but to present their entire beings as a thank offering to God. How crucial, then, that we join and become active members in our local churches, where we can learn God’s Word and encourage one another to conform our lives to it.”
—Owen Strachan & Doug Sweeney, “The Beauty of God,” Jonathan Edwards On Beauty (The Essential Edwards Collection), p. 45.

Constant contact.

“The Lord is wise (Proverbs 2). Over all the false wisdom that we trust, and over all the foolish thinking we think is wise, the wisdom of the Lord is right and true. In a world where so many clamor for our allegiance, we must remember that only the Lord is truly wise. Our hearts are calibrated by our sinful natures to stray from Him and His wisdom. We cannot forget this reality, and we need to constantly read Scripture to come into contract with divine wisdom and to keep ourselves from embracing folly.”
—Owen Strachan & Doug Sweeney, “The Beauty of God,” Jonathan Edwards On Beauty (The Essential Edwards Collection), p. 44.

Shaped by awesomeness.

“The Creator is powerful (Psalm 93). He is the only one who truly deserves the title awesome. His strength, like His scope, is limitless. He can do whatever He pleases. Contemplating this trait will enable us to claim strength in areas where we are weak and to find release from self-dependency. Sooner or later, our strength will fail. We will inevitably and repeatedly lose the ability to control our lives and create good for ourselves and our loved ones. How helpful it will be for us to talk about the might of God and to allow our understanding of this strength to shape the way we live our lives in dependence on the Lord.”
—Owen Strachan & Doug Sweeney, “The Beauty of God,” Jonathan Edwards On Beauty (The Essential Edwards Collection), p. 44.