Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hobby with the City

"Ever notice how churches tend to create their own Christian version of hobbies in their city? If they like to cycle, then instead of joining one of the countless cycling clubs [in the city], they create a Christian cycling club! Instead of joining a Run-Tex club, they form a Christian running club. Church League sports. It’s pathetic. Instead of joining a city league, churches create their own leagues so they can play one another!"

Compelling quote from Jonathan Dodson, a church planter in Austin, on how to get out of your Christian ghetto and live missionally.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Books About Theology You'll Actually Read

I have to read a lot of dull, dense, and technical books about Theology. And although I learn a lot from many of them, I could never recommend them to someone who isn't a Pastor or a scholar. But here are some books that I think do a great job of making good theology accessible and interesting. My wife Rachel has read three of these and would agree.

1. The Prodigal God, by Tim Keller. The essential message of the Gospel told afresh -- and in only 133 pages with a huge font!
2. The Baker Pocket Guide to World Religions, by Gerald McDermott. Ever wonder what all the religions actually teach? Precise and concise -- 138 pages.
3. The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis. My favorite Lewis book -- a thought-provoking story that will challenge your understanding of sin and hell. 146 pages.
4. The Reason for God, by Tim Keller. Hands down the best book to read or give to a friend if they have doubts about Christianity. Long, but fascinating -- 336 pages.
5. Confessions of a Reformission Rev., by Mark Driscoll. The autobiographical story of a church planter. Driscoll is rude and crude and will make you laugh out loud! 185 pages.

Here are some I haven't read yet, but have heard also fall into this category:

1. You Can Change, by Tim Chester. On gospel-centered sanctification.
2. Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask), by Eric Metaxas. Witty and satirical thoughts about doubts on Christianity.
3. Counterfeit Gods, by Tim Keller. The doctrine of sin told afresh.
4. Sophie's World, by Jostein Gaardner. This one's about the history of philosophy -- but told in the form of a novel to a 14-year old girl.

Anybody else have one to recommend?

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Wonderful Exchange

"This is the wonderful exchange which, out of his measureless benevolence, he has made with us;
that, becoming Son of man with us, he has made us sons of God with him;
that, by his descent to earth, he has prepared an ascent to heaven for us;
that, by taking on our mortality, he has conferred his immortality upon us;
that, accepting our weakness, he has strengthened us by his power;
that, receiving our poverty unto himself, he has transferred his wealth to us;
that, taking the weight of our iniquity upon himself (which oppressed us), he has clothed us with his righteousness."

- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.17.2