Monday, May 30, 2011

Desiring God- The DVD study

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." This is the main of point of Desiring God by John Piper and is the purpose statement that has directed his ministry over many years. I had already read the book (which I highly recommend that all Christians read), but was excited to receive the DVD set and study guide to view. The DVD set is broken down into 10 short clips of around 30 minutes each and the study guide is arranged to be used as a 12 week group study.

Piper teaches that the pursuit of pleasure for Christians is not optional, but essential. This pleasure is not a worldly pleasure where we seek to satisfy all of our fleshly cravings, but a pleasure where all desires are satiated in enjoying God. It is joy in God that we pursue and it is joy we are to fight for. Piper unpacks many scriptural texts and you will find precious jewels uncovered in the crevices of familiar passages. I had moments when I asked myself, "How did I miss that?" Piper's method of reading and understanding the Bible, through underling phrases and words and connecting them with lines and arrows, helped me to see the truths he was teaching. He teaches on finding joy in suffering, sanctification, worship, the ministry, evangelism and more.

After watching, I had an increased desire within me to enjoy God more than anything else and to pursue Him relentlessly. That will be my on-going prayer, for God to strengthen that desire and to help me be most satisfied in Him, so He will get the Glory. These DVDs are well worth the time spent watching.

I received this book free from Multnomah Blogging for Books program in exchange for a review.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Male and Female?

Kathy Witterick and David Stocker appear to be your typical parents. They have three children: Jazz, Kio and their youngest, Storm. But these parents are anything but typical. Unfortunately, they may be what could become typical. What makes them different is the fact that they have chosen to raise their children "genderless." (the two older children know they are boys)You may be asking the same question I asked which is "How can you raise a genderless child?" To this couple, this means that they will not tell anyone the sex of Storm, nor will they contribute to any gender social norms (blues and pinks for clothing, hairstyles, etc.) for any of their children. Nor will they use "he" or "she" when referring to Storm. To quote them, this is "a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation." David says, "If you really want to get to know someone, you don't ask what's between their legs."

I must admit that when I first read this, I was hoping these people were kidding. I knew they were not. I happen to have a schoolteacher friend that has a similar situation with a student, where the parent lets her daughter be a boy. I agree that you don't ask what's between someone's legs in order to really get to know them. His comparison of what they are doing as parents to knowing someone is a giant leap of logic and reason, even silly and ignorant. In fact, for the seriousness of the issue at hand, his response was lighthearted to the point of being irresponsible and, to me , quite unsettling. Gender is not something you get to choose. Saying someone is not a girl or boy (or even surgically changing genitalia) doesn't change the fact that they are a girl or a boy. God is very clear on human creation from the very beginning in Genesis 1:27 where we read:

So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.

Kathy and David have bought into the cultural lie that gender doesn't matter and is limiting in some way. God created male and female for the obvious reason of procreation, but also for having two defining genders to complement each other and join together as they image God on the earth. The marriage relationship, male and female, models God's relationship to man and Christ's relationship to the church. When these images are perverted and confused (which this situation and the whole realm of other gender perversions we see on a daily basis does), the very image of God is also confused and perverted. God is glorified and honored when men and women embrace their natural gender for the proclamation and fame of His name. When a human attempts to, or even claims the right to, appoint or assign gender, he has removed the lordship of Jesus Christ and placed himself on the throne as a false creator and this is a path to destruction.

I am saddened that these children are being stripped and robbed of truly knowing who they are, as created by God. This abuse in the name of freedom needs to be stopped. How will this gender denial play out in the future relationships and possible marriages of their children and future generations? Are Kathy and David even asking questions like this or is this a way for them to play out their own confusion vicariously through their children? Witterick writes, "In fact, in not telling the gender of my precious baby, I am saying to the world, 'Please can you just let storm discover for him/herself what (s)he wants to be?!'"

Sorry, Kathy, it has already been decided and it is my prayer that you will let God mold Storm and your other children (and you) in this decision that He has made in His divine will and surrender your will to His.

Read the whole story here:

Parents keep child's gender secret -

Friday, May 20, 2011

How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen

For years I have talked about writing, both fiction and non fiction. This blog and my previous one, Thin Places, were birthed out of this desire. If it has crossed your mind to put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard) to create a non-fiction book, then How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen is a must read. Larsen has been a literary agent since the early 1970's and brings his vast knowledge and experience to this book. He reveals everything an aspiring writer needs to know to write and sell his or her non fiction book idea. This is not a book about writing style, though there are some helpful tools in that matter. This book is about how to outline and put everything together to get published. Larsen writes early on that "this requires a fundamental shift in your thinking from being an artist to being a merchant, from being a writer with something to say to being an author with something to sell."
Publishing is a business and Larsen provides a must-have resource for anyone with that dream or gnawing book idea that needs to get out. I plan to keep this book close by as I try to get my ideas into a marketable form. We all read enough non-fiction, don't you think it's time we write something of our own?
Get to writing and get this book.

This book was provided at no charge from in exchange for this review.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Next Story by Tim Challies

If you are reading this, you are engaged in the use of technology. You may be reading this on your computer or even your phone. If you have set yourself up as a follower of my blog, then you may have heard a BEEP! as you received an email on your phone, alerting you to the fact that I had posted something. It is difficult- I would say impossible- to live in this digital age and not be "connected" with some sort of digital device.

This digital age we find ourselves in has not always existed. In fact, I remember the day of rotary phones, 8-track players, and television with a very limited number of channels (I was fortunate enough to grow up in the Atlanta area when Ted Turner was getting his conglomerate started, so we had a few extras. If you don't know who Ted Turner is, then Google his name and you will see what I mean). I am what Tim Challies, in his new book The Next Story, would call a digital immigrant...I remember the pre-digital world. My children, however, are digital natives...they were born into it.They move from one device to the next effortlessly and , unfortunately, with little thought or reflection to how they are being affected by it.

In The Next Story, Challies provides us with an excellent resource broken into two main sections: the first helping us to understand technology and the history of the digital that has brought us to where we are today; the second part helps us to understand the implications of this digital world we live in and how to be discerning, as a Christian, in our use of it.

Because I think everyone should read this, Christians and non-Christians alike, I am not going to go over all the details of the book, but will highlight the points that I found most helpful. In Chapter 5 of The Next Story, Challies discusses "media" or "mediated information", basically meaning there is a medium ( a device of some sort) that stand between the sender and the receiver of information. He points to the introduction, and the eventual dominance, of "the screen" into our lives. This began with the movie screen, that people went to another location to view, and has become controlling in our lives where we may be monitoring multiple screens at the same time (i.e. looking at our laptop while watching television and keeping tabs on our cell phone simultaneously). Until reading the statistics Challies provides on the average time spent looking at "the screen", I was oblivious to was just a typical day for me. Is this good or bad? The answer depends on if the things that God says are important are being sacrificed on the altar of technology. It could be face-to-face time in real relationships or the false intimacy of Facebook "friends", neglected responsibilities, or disintegrating ability to think deeply about the things that matter, primarily the things of God and his purposes and will. When I seriously looked at it, I was convicted by what I saw in myself and my use of technology.

Another aspect that I found so intriguing about this book was the discussion of truth and relevance and the subtle way these can be undermined with our use of technology. Challies educates his readers about how Google and Wikipedia function and how they try to determine for us what is relevant and true about any particular topic. For instance, if you do a Google search on any topic, it will be determine the most "relevant" link for you to go to find your information, with Wikipedia usually being either the first or second choice. Interestingly, many people will blindly accept as truth what Wikipedia says, not understanding the fact that anyone can write or edit a Wikipedia article, without any regard for accuracy or truthfulness, or of the writer being an authority on the subject. I am sure you can see the implications of all this. Basically, the consensus determines truth and relevance in this digital age, which is why Christians must be discerning. We know that God is Truth, so we must hold to God's Word as the Truth source.

I highly recommend this book and hope you will read it. It will help you in traversing the digital landscape as we live in The Next Story.

Thanks to Tim Challies and Zodervan for providing me this book to read and review. I highly recommend Tim Challies'blog at