Thinking Out Loud

November 21, 2013

Open Up the Window and Let Hope In

What if you had a friend who had never read a Christian book? Assuming there wasn’t a particular issue you’d been discussing — you just wanted to give them a taste of Christian authors — you’d probably choose something from that catch-all category, ‘Christian Living,’ and odds are good your default choice might be something by Max Lucado.

But what if your friend was at an earlier stage of life and might relate better to someone who is raising a young family, with all the turbulence that tends to bring? I think one of the three books by Nashville pastor Pete Wilson would make the ideal gift, and furthermore, I think Max would agree.

Pete Wilson - Let Hope InPete Wilson’s third book, Let Hope In: Four Choices That Could Change Your Life Forever (Thomas Nelson) continues the conversational and transparent writing (and preaching) style evidenced in Plan B, and Empty Promises. Packed with stories from Pete’s life (so far) and illustrations from other sources, the book connects with readers on various life challenges, and could be read devotionally over a couple of weeks, or in a concentrated reading over a couple of days.

The premise of the book is simple: All of us are impacted and impaired by our past mistakes and failures, and we have to override what those past experience are telling us and, with God’s help make proactive choices.

There’s a really lame ‘footnotes’ page at the back that gives you the impression that not a lot of research went into Let Hope In. That is simply not the case, as a closer look reveals the scripture passages alluded to, but not directly referenced. Or as one reviewer suggested, ” Every chapter is filled with quote-worthy statements, scriptural support, and stories.” The book is informal, almost casual yet is still rich in application points.

Mostly, the thing about Pete Wilson’s writing that shines is that he’s working through the same issues as all of us do; he is a fellow traveler on the journey; he writes about the things that all of us long for.

Read an excerpt from the book at Christianity 201..

Watch a video preview for Let Hope In.

Read what others are saying about Let Hope In.

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March 27, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Forgivenall

Our opening image this week apparently dates back to the mid ’90s and was sourced on a Dutch website whose name translates approximately as End Time Space. Click the image to link.

Several possible links for this week were important enough to become their own posts here. Be sure to check back at topics covered since Thursday.

  • First, please consider following my Twitter feed; not because of my great wisdom, but because I’m following some other really cool people. 
  • The radio host of “Canada’s most listened-to spiritual talkback show,” Drew Marshall takes to television this weekend. 
  • Is the Pope Catholic?  This blogger dares to ask: Is the Pope born again
  • Here’s a good breakdown of pastor blogs fitting into ten (or eleven!) categories. Actually, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Just in time for Passover, the Maccabeats are back.
  • If you or someone you know has been involved in a marital affair, here’s a reminder to skip the what questions and look at the why questions.
  • This week the Dictionary of Christianese defines Godincidences. (They’re like God Winks.)
  • This has been around for awhile, but if you haven’t watched this timely 3-minute video, check out Peter Rollins’ I Deny The Resurrection
  • A Canadian Mennonite pastor is dealing with a couple of strange baptism requests: “They don’t know much about Jesus, but they want to come to him, to sign up to follow, even though they don’t have much of an idea what they are getting into.”
  • One hundred and eleven podcasts later, and you can still listen to episodes of A Christian and An Atheist.
  • Here’s a good analysis on how the church should multiply (real growth) instead of simply poaching (transfer growth) from other churches.
  • And on that same blog we found a link to a piece on how tradition(s) can trump what Jesus explicitly taught
  • Know a single who is saving their first kiss? You might identify with this video trailer, but trailer for what? (Found at TWW.)
  • Russell Moore is asked whether or not reading fiction is a waste of time. He answers that fiction can  “awaken parts of us that we have calloused over.”
  • And congrats to Russell on his new title with the SBC.
  • Pete Wilson and Cross Point Church have invaded downtown Nashville. Their new church building opened this past Sunday.
  • For gay Christians, the F-word is fear.  Read this two part post starting with the article and then, especially the author’s story.
  • Pastors’ Corner: Five sources of ministry distractions, including Platform Jacking and Funny Money.
  • If you’re thinking of being in Vancouver, British Columbia from July 29 to August 2, 2013, you could sign up for this business ethics course.
  • When you are trying to make it as a writer, a rejection letter can be crushing, and create a need to reaffirm your calling.

preaching-to-choir_from fritzcartoons-dot-com

October 22, 2012

Cross Point Crosses 10-Year Milestone

Filed under: Church — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:39 am

Congratulations to Pete Wilson, the leadership team and the congregation(s) of Cross Point Church in Nashville on the occasion of their 10th anniversary. Yesterday the church celebrated with an all-campus, two-hour long service which was also streamed online from the Municipal Auditorium with guests Natalie Grant and Carlos Whittaker. While many churches trace their roots back to starting small, this church had very humble beginnings, but has grown by leaps and bounds… and the best is yet to come!

May 16, 2012

Wednesday Link List

If you missed the bonus edition of the link list this week, be sure to click over to Monday.

  • Quotation of the day, from Arminius, after whom Arminianism is named: ““Next to the study of the Scriptures which I earnestly inculcate, I exhort my pupils to peruse Calvin’s Commentaries…” (appropriately, as quoted on an Arminian blog.)
  • Canadian author, apologist and television host Grant Jeffrey passed away on the weekend. His independent publishing catalog was purchased years ago by Random House subsidiary Waterbrook Press, with Wikipedia listing 34 titles including one scheduled for next January.
  • At Age 30, Chris Galanos is the youngest person to pastor a megachurch in the United States. Needless to say, it’s in Texas.
  • If you have ever struggled to sing the bridge to “Blessed Be The Name” — the “You give and take away” part — you might resonate with this article and many comments.
  • On the 20th anniversary of New Wineskins magazine, Keith Brenton deals with the emotional issues that arise when one reaches a crossroads in terms of their committment to their church home. To stay or to go, that is the question. 
  • Julie Clawson learns the hard way that when you’re in the fitting room trying on swimsuits, you’re a captive audience for the woman who wants to stand outside the door and share her faith. Not sure if this would work at the menswear store.
  • Lots of Bible-related links today; that’s a good thing, right? Now picture yourself sitting alone in your room reading your Bible. In the grander scheme of things, you’re not really alone.
  • Francis Chan makes a rather provocative statement about mission and worship, and — just like Andy Stanley’s fifteen minutes of controversy last week — the words get wrenched from the heart of what he’s saying. Gee…that’s never happened before.
  • How does a Bible translator feel when a new English version is introduced, knowing so many people still don’t have a Bible or even a complete New Testament in their language.
  • The Amish weren’t supposed to have cars, but did anybody say they couldn’t fly? In a community where the official ruling was still pending, a young man takes up flying in 1917, and where the Great War is going on, he also is an exception to the practice of exemption from military duty. All this makes The Wings of Morning a rather interesting looking novel.
  • The Gay issue. It’s the toughest challenge the church has faced in years. And each gay person is going to have contact — good or bad — with professing Christians. And for every 17 interactions, you have to hope one of us gets it right.
  • Pete Wilson boards a helicopter for a flyover of a piece of property central to a complete relocation of Cross Point in Nashville, and also celebrates a God-blessed history in this 15-minute video.
  • Sports Department: Victor Goetz is a championship golfer, however he’s also quite blind. He typically finishes with a score of 105. He also earned a Paralympic gold medal in lawn bowling.
  • Pop goes the music department: A new Owl City EP released yesterday with help from Matt Thiessen of Relient K.
  • A Lutheran (LCC) pastor thinks you can preach a perfect sermon but still get a failing grade if you’ve answered all the wrong questions or left people with the wrong mandate.
  • Michael Hyatt sits down with the originators of a rather unique new English Bible translation, The Voice. This edition uses a dramatic script format where applicable, and I’m hoping at some point to get a copy so we can delve into it here in much more detail. (There’s a page sample from one month ago at this blog when the usual suspects got upset about a particular phrase translation choice.)
  • For those who follow the Fundy Follies, Right Wing Watch blog is doing a series based on the student handbook at Liberty University; this link deals with the policy of random drug testing. Too bad thought-monitoring hasn’t been invented yet.
  • Which is a great lead-in to twelve easy steps the rest of us can follow that provide an absolute guarantee that we’ll never be mistaken for a Fundy.
  • ‘You and I in a little toy shop, buy a bag of balloons for the Bibles we bought…’ — They weren’t red balloons, but they carried Bibles into North Korea, and GPS tracking devices verified that they reached the target.
  • You’ve seen the line, “If you love Jesus click ‘like.'” Does that mean that if I don’t click, I don’t love Jesus? Is Facebook theology becoming shallow, or were the FB-ers who post this drivel spiritually shallow to begin with?
  • Now then, as to that Archie comic above. If you’re old enough to remember the “even then it was awkward evangelism” Spire Christian Comics and want to relive those memories, Carp’s Place has them waiting for you on .pdf files…
  • …And since one Archie deserves another, I thought we’d end with TV favorite 1970’s bigot, Archie Bunker; and if you dare, a link to Archie reading the creation story from Genesis, which isn’t quite the same as Linus reading the Christmas story.

June 4, 2011

Kid’s Perspective: Micah in Middle School

This is actually one of about ten videos that Cross Point Church did in a series called Students Speak Out; though I don’t remember reading about it on Pete Wilson’s blog.  You’ll see them all indexed if you click through to the source page; check out the menu on the right side, including videos that were just posted a few days ago.   I heard about this on Justin and Trisha Davis’ blog, Refine Us.   If you’ve checked out the featured pages here, you’ll know them as the authors of Eight Things That Nearly Destroyed our Marriage.   Anyway, from the context, I take it that Micah is their son…  Take a minute to listen to hear his heart and how life looks from a kid’s perspective…

If you’re the parent of a tween or teen, I’d encourage you to click through on the first link above and watch the whole series.  Or, here’s another one to get you started. 

Update:  For reasons we’ll never know, the whole Students Speak Out series of videos was removed.  It’s unfortunate, I think this thing connected on several levels.

March 23, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Intro, intro, blah, blah, blah… [nobody reads this paragraph anyway…]

  • Opening and closing cartoons today are from Sacred Sandwich
  • So what do you when you’re Rob Bell and everybody who has read Love Wins and everybody who hasn’t read Love Wins is asking, “What’s up with that?”  Answer: You do what you do best and go on tour renting large auditoriums in places like New York.
  • Though I’ve never been able to visit his church, this five-minute clip demonstrates why Pete Wilson is one of my favorite pastors.
  • Honestly, I don’t make these links up.  The choir members at the big glass church must sign the “Crystal Cathedral Worship Choir and Worship Team Covenant” affirming the church’s stand against homosexuality.   Yet oddly: “John Charles, a spokesman for the cathedral, said this does not mean gays are banned from the choir.’This contract is to educate choir members about what our church believes in,’ he said.”  Read for yourself.
  • My prediction:  Within 3-5 years a segment of Calvinists and neo-Calvinists will complete their breakaway from the rest of us and form an isolated denomination called The Gospel Coalition that will separate them from both Protestantism and Evangelicalism.  They’re already building concensus for their own hymnbook.
  • The Message Bible translator — and I do mean “translator,” not “paraphraser” — Eugene Peterson has a new book out, The Pastor, A Memoir (HarperCollins) and it’s reviewed at Christianity Today by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, co-editor with Shane Claiborne on the recently released Common Prayer liturgical resource.  The review contains this quotation from the book: “”North American culture does not offer congenial conditions in which to live vocationally as a pastor. Men and women who are pastors in America today find that they have entered into a way of life that is in ruins.” The impression one gets of a book that is half autobiographical and half prescriptive.
  • Ryan Dueck asks the musical question, “Why Should We Then Blog,” which should be must-reading for those of us who blog.
  • Hannah Goodwyn at CBN News has a list of the top ten current Christian bestsellers you should read, though I personally disagree with her #1 choice, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  All are recently released except for Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.  And no mention of Crazy Love which we covered here yesterday.  Not sure why people do these lists.  Not sure why I just linked to it.
  • Speaking of books, Jason Hood writes at Christianity Today that Eric Metaxas’ book on Bonhoeffer may lead to misunderstandings as to where, from an Evangelical perspective anyway,  the subversive/pastor “fits in” theologically.
  • Meanwhile, Sherry at Semi Colon blog recommends using Bonhoeffer‘s Cost of Discipleship this year for Lent.
  • If you watched the Grammy Awards, or have an awareness of current music, you may be somewhat aware of a song that was performed as “Forget You,” but also has another similar, but different title that can’t be printed here.  So here’s an equally disturbing parody of the song from a Christian perspective, “Bless You.”
  • Mark Almlie at Out of Ur asks the question, “Is being a Protestant single pastor like being a married Catholic priest? Is it an oxymoron?”  Okay, that was really two questions.  If you’re an Evangelical, have you ever known or had a pastor who was unmarried?
  • Zac Hicks’ worship blog reviews a Neue magazine article and carefully differentiates between traditionalism and tradition.
  • The original Friendly Athiest (the one that’s not Matt Caspar) breaks out the list of the Ten Most Religious and Ten Least Religious U.S. States.  By the way, is it just me or is “Utah Jazz” a rather conflicted name for a sports team?
  • Anthony Bradley says the best apologetic is simply to live a radical Christian life, and that’s how believers in earlier generations understood it.  “Being different is a struggle for American Christians who often find it desirous to be as much like our society in every way except for the occasional Sabbath from culture for religious activities.”
  • Thom Rainer, CEO of Lifeway, which regular readers know is one of my favorite Christian publishing company in the whole world [Note to not regular readers: That was a lie] offers four principles for pastors and leaders who find themselves in a change-resistant church.
  • For Lent he went on an all-beer diet.  Seriously.  It’s a long story. He’s now up to day 15 of 40.  Personally, based on yesterday’s post, I’m not so sure that J. Wilson is going to go the distance.  The above link is to his blog, this one to a media story about him.
  • Link suggestions are always welcomed.  Here’s another from Sacred Sandwich (click images to link).


February 23, 2011

Wednesday Link List

In addition to usual type of links this week, there are some general links to the whole of some blogs you know and some that will be new to you.

  • Here’s a C201 post dealing with the subject of balanced worship that also contains a couple of classic CCM songs. Check out Worship with Both Hands.
  • Sadly, the hostage drama off the coast of Somalia did not end well. Our prayers are with the families of the two couples who perished in the rescue attempt.
  • Trevin Wax raises the issue of Evangelical churches baptizing children by immersion at very, very young ages. Here’s the link, and we’ll also return to this discussion on the weekend.
  • Got 66 minutes?  Elevation Church (Steve Furtick) has put together a video on their church’s story on the occasion of their fifth anniversary.
  • Speaking of videos, here’s the latest from Hillsong at GodTube.
  • Speaking of the number 66, here’s an idea: A series of word images (or clouds) processed in the style of Wordle of the text from each book of the Bible sold as 11 x 17 posters at 66 Clouds.  See sample at right.
  • Once again, another biting commentary at Shaun Groves’ blog. “According to some college chaplains… long term exposure to Christian music may have unsavory side-effects. They feel like they’re fighting bad theology and unbiblical perceptions created by the music business. Their students grew up listening to K-LOVE in the minivan on the way to school with mom. They grew up in “event-driven” churches singing songs from “stars” who also came to town to play concerts.Did the industry change the church/students or did the church/students change the industry? ” Read the full article.
  • Bluefish TV inexplicably decides to make a total mockery of purity rings. They’ve finally produced a video that isn’t appropriate to show at church or at youth group. So guys, why bother?
  • Philip Yancey returns to Christianity Today with this question, Is America Going the Way of Europe in Turning Its Back on Christianity? Using the example of the Netherlands, he shows that dramatic change can occur within just two generations.
  • Follow Pete Wilson’s ten day trip to Kolkata, India — he’s back now — by linking to his blog and scrolling back to February 9th and reading forward.
  • Random link: I really enjoy Stuff Fundies Like.  This site has a lot more edge than that other Stuff…Like blog, and is, in reality, more like a Fundamentalist version of Growing Up Catholic. (Or if you grew up in the Evangelical world, you might call this, “Killing Me Softly With His Blog.”) If it’s not part of your online routine, check it out, and go right back to the beginning and read every single post!
  • More serious random link: I don’t know any blogger who has faithfully kept the pro-life agenda on the front burner like La Shawn Barber.  Blogging since November, 2003, her blog is a history of events in that movement, and textbook must-reading for anyone who wants to understand this issue.
  • Here’s how Drew Marshall described Chad and Sarah Markley: “They grew up in the church, got married, fought everyday, then began to get wasted and party on the weekends just to escape and cope, even while Chad was leading worship in their church. Eventually porn crept into the marriage. Eventually Chad became a workaholic. Eventually Sarah had an affair with Chad’s friend. Eventually one of Sarah’s friends told their pastors. Eventually…” This couple survived her three-year affair and discussed it openly on last week’s show — online audio available Friday — and continues to discuss it at her blog.
  • Here’s another general link, not to a specific post, but I think this blog deserves an award for its most unusual name.  Check out Jamie, The Very Worst Missionary.  (Loved her Feb 3 post for her son’s 13th birthday.)(And the rest of her honesty and transparency.)
  • Warning to all concerned: Never show up at The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky on Date Night with a same sex date. (Typical date night pictured at right.) And tickets are non-refundable. But step back for just a moment: Why do they even have a date night?  (“Hey Lisa, we’re going to the Creation Museum tonight.” “Oh Mark, you pick the most coolest places.”)
  • If you gave up sports a long time ago, but you’ve still got a thing for statistics, here’s more analysis on the differences between the old NIV and the new NIV.
  • Let me see if I’ve got this one right: Your kids go door to door selling “magabooks” (half magazine, half book) which answer the musical question, “Will My Pet Go to Heaven?”  All for just $14.95 U.S.
  • One last general link here, from which yesterday’s post here at Thinking Out Loud was stolen borrowed; reiterated here because this grandfather of all blogs has been around since January of 2000. Yikes! It’s in its twelfth year! Check out GraceWorks.ca
  • Tomorrow begins the fourth year of this blog! How will we celebrate? Stay tuned. (Actually, I have no idea at this point…)
  • Our closing picture this week — I know you would have preferred another shot of Adam and Eve at the Creation Museum — is from Cathy at the USAToday blog, Faith and Reason.  Just so ya know, the church is Catholic and the retail is $39.99 U.S.

October 6, 2010

Wednesday Link List

Here are some highlights from my blog travels in the past week:

  • While you’re link hopping  here, you can stream audio from CCM Gold Radio – Christian music from the ’60s thru the ’80s; though it’s a bit like tightrope walking without a net, because they don’t tell you what you’re hearing, and there are many obscure songs.   Great for Christian music trivia, however; I’m just not sure how many songs actually support the claim to include the ’60s.   I have a 3,000-plus library of Christian music on vinyl, and only a small handful are pre 1970.
  • Then again, you’re going to have to switch media for this one:   Many of you know Pete Wilson from his blog and his new book, Plan B.   But how many of you have been to Cross Point to check out a Pete Wilson sermon?   I thoroughly enjoyed this experience on the weekend.  Go to the page for Pete’s new Empty Promises series, and click on week one, the introductory message.   I promise you 30 solid minutes of distraction-free preaching.
  • Tullian Tchividjian has been busy on Twitter compiling short statements expressing various aspects of the gospel.  Blogger Barry Simmons assembles a couple of lists at his blog The Journeyman’s Files both here and here.   Sample sentence: “When we transfer trust from ourselves to Christ, we experience the abundant freedoms that come from not having to measure up.”
  • Trevin Wax plays transcription stenographer to a recent address by Al Mohler as to how he came to his present position on women in pastoral ministry.   Check out some highlights.
  • What life goals are you working on?  Things you’re trying to cultivate in your life?   Ever feel lost or orphaned?   Kathy Escobar has three words for you.
  • Here’s another take on the new CEB (Common English Bible) translation, which the writer calls a “Good News Glut.”   We learn now that five publishers are involved, and many are motivated by providing an alternative for the NRSV crowd.
  • Just When You Thought You’d Heard Everything Department:  Don’t know if this conversion would actually ‘stick,’ but Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell says she became a Christian because of her love of Italian food, primarily meatballs.
  • This one’s been in my files for awhile… Author Max Lucado considers things spiritual and things sci-fi and everything in between in a consideration of what the next life might be like.
  • Bene Diction posted this link a few days back to an article by Regent College professor John Stackhouse on the appropriateness of criticizing other Christians in a public forum.   Should we shoot our own?
  • Related?   Here’s a comment from a reader at CT’s article on Rick Warren’s video appearance at the Desiring God conference, and John Piper’s negative attitude toward Warren in particular:  “All of us, including the most intellectual, will be taking a Theology 101 course in heaven…”
  • Author Wayne Jacobsen got an insider’s look at the making of the now-released movie adaptation of Karen Kingsbury’s book Like Dandelion Dust.
  • New music artist of the week is two-time ASCAP award winner John DeGrazio.  Check out his 2010 album Stronghold at his webpage.
  • Michael Belote at Reboot Christianity has a great word picture of a typical gathering in the first century church, but to get there, link here first for a quick eight-question quiz.
  • No actual link on this one, but I’m currently reading Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis … out loud! Working away one chapter a night, and with my youngest (who’s now 16) listening, I figure many of the chapters started out as radio broadcasts anyway, so why not cover the book in its original form.   It also slows me down to catch all the nuances of Lewis’ masterful apologetics.
  • At least one Target store would rather slash women’s clothing to pieces than donate it to an orphanage in southeast Asia.   Why?   They’re afraid someone else might get the product and try to return it for refund.
  • It remains one of my all time favorite cartoons; so I’m thankful to a reader who sent a much better rendering of it than the one I posted… I think you already know the cartoonist’s name, right?

  • And here’s an edgy one appearing September 14th from Tom Pappalardo at The Optimist written in response to the migration of Roman Catholics out of New England, which leaves the northeast with a reputation once exclusively belonging to the northwest:

May 3, 2010

Pete Wilson: An “A” Quality Examination of Life’s Plan B Experiences

I believe that with this single book, Pete Wilson moves outside the circle of American pastors and bloggers and into the arena of people we consider major Christian voices for this generation.

I had a bit of an advantage here.   After years of being aware of Nashville pastor Pete Wilson through his blog, and listening to several of his sermons and video posts, I was able to hear his voice in my head as I read each page.   I’ve been impressed over the years with Pete’s complete honesty and transparency as someone walking the journey of life as we all do, albeit in the set-apart position of vocational ministry.

So I really, really wanted to be included among the 500+ people who are posting reviews of this book today as part of a blitz by the publisher, Thomas Nelson.    The book is Plan B – What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up The Way You Thought He Would? Knowing this was his first time in print having to compete for the attention of North American Christians in a crowded publishing market, I was a little unsure how Pete would fare.

Here’s my review:

This is a landmark book.

Using a large number of examples from the lives of people Pete has pastored in Kentucky and Tennessee; combining in the Biblical examples of David, Joseph, Job, Ruth, and even Jesus; and finally mixing in quotations from some of today’s most popular contemporary Christian authors; Pete delivers a treatment of his subject that would be thorough enough to meet the most rigid academic requirements, but is delivered in a totally grassroots, down-to-earth, unpretentious style.

However…

This is not an easy book to digest.   Life is hard.   This is not a feel-good book with rhyming couplet sayings.   There are chapters that seem to ask more questions than provide answers.   In the end — spoiler alert! — there is no pastoral closing scene with a golden sunset or a rainbow against a blue sky.

If anything, I got the impression that as someone who has been pastoring for just a little over a decade, Pete has had more than his share of being with people at the deepest moments of personal crisis and tragedy.

When I was pastoring in Kentucky, I would often ride with law-enforcement officials after someone had been murdered or killed in a car accident.  The officers liked having me along when they went to inform the next of kin.   I still remember the sick feeling I would get when we pulled into a driveway to do that sad job.  I would think, Inside that house is a family just living their lives, going through the normal routine.  They have no idea how my next few words are going to turn their very life upside down forever.

Not a book for people — including myself at times — who would like to bury their heads and deny that life often presents us with seemingly impossible challenges.  But a book that finds there is hope to be found at the foot of the cross.

I found the overall pacing and writing of the book very similar to another title (from the same publisher) Fearless by Max Luacdo.   I think that fans of Lucado’s writing would find this a very comfortable fit for their library, if they’re open to trying a new author.   I won’t labor the similarities, but they are many.

But I also think there’s another application here:  I think that pastors and counselors should buy this book, read it, and then have an extra copy handy to give to people who suddenly find themselves in the valley.    This is an author who understands, who gets it.

Finally, I think there’s yet another direction for Plan B, which is hinted at in an eleven-page set of study questions at the back:  This would be an excellent group study.   We all experience unique trials and we all process these difficulties differently.   What better healing process than to get people sharing some of the darkest times in their lives with others who have had, are having, or will have similar times where God seems conspicuously absent?   Combining the first two chapters also yields a viable 13-week adult study curriculum.

Those of us who’ve enjoyed Pete’s blog, Without Wax, or listened to sermons at Cross Point already knew what Pete Wilson was all about.   I believe with this single book, Pete steps into the circle of people we consider significant Christian voices in North America and beyond.

Plan B – What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up The Way You Thought He Would? by Pete Wilson (Thomas Nelson, 244 pages paperback, May, 2010)

June 15, 2009

Surfing Blogland: Psalms, Prayer and Tough Questions

Filed under: Christianity, Faith, God — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 12:37 pm

These Are A Few of My Favorite Psalms

You’ve got a Psalm or two that you know by heart or like to read, but could you put together a list of twelve key Psalms and why they mean something to you?   And getting the references right?  Blogger Bill Williams at A Spiritual Oasis does just that here.

When God Said, “No”

John Somerville is a blogger from South Africa, who reminds us that the phrase, God Answers Prayer can become trite if we think he always answers (a) right away, and (b) in the affirmative.   You can link to the original here. I’ve seen some of the last few lines before, but not this full-length version; someone sent it to John in an e-mail.   Check out the rest of John’s blog, too.

I asked God to take away my habit.

God said, No.

It is not for me to take away,
but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.

God said, No.

His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.

God said, No.

Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
it isn’t granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.

God said, No.

I give you blessings;
Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.

God said, No.

Suffering draws you apart from
worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.

God said, No.

You must grow on your own,
but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things
that I might enjoy life.

God said, No.

I will give you life,
so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said…Ahhhh,

finally you have the idea.

Dealing with The Tough Questions

Pete Wilson at Cross Point in Nashville asked his congregation to throw him some tough questions, and they did.  Over 200.   Unfortunately, Pete’s only doing a five week series on this.   For now.   You can stream audio or video at this page.   (Do the audio, it streams faster and Pete’s fashion sense is… well let’s say he’s a better pastor than he is a…)  BTW, if Pete’s name is new to you, his style is similar to Andy Stanley and his blog, Without Wax, is always linked on my blogroll.   Note: At this writing, only two of the three completed sermons are available; the others will follow.

Why More Is Less

The broadcast airwaves are now cluttered with commercials coming at us every 15 seconds.   Some networks are selling 10-second and 5-second spots.   It all reminds us of the “blipverts” from the Max Headroom TV series.   But if you want to go back to the old days, when sponsors took 60-seconds to tell their story, this clip may change your mind.  The commercial that never ends. [Note: This diversion is completely off-blog-topic.]

…Didn’t click on that Psalm link did you?   Well here it is…

Psalms

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