C.S. Lewis on How Friendship Reveals Christ

Friends Helping a Friend Cross the Line in a Race

Friends Helping a Friend Cross the Line in a Race

Friday is for Thinking

.          Yesterday, I read a quote from THE REFORMED PARISHIONER that showed the genius and insight of C.S. Lewis in a new way. The author was summing up an observation from Tim Keller’s book, The Prodigal God (highly recommended).

C.S. Lewis’ quote is a reflection on the results of the loss of his friend Charles Williams.

“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s [Tolkien’s] reaction to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald…In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each of us has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” to one another (Isaiah 6:3). The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall have.”

Keller sums it up:

“Lewis is saying that it took a community to know an individual. How much more would this be true of Jesus Christ?”

This is what should inspire us to be engaged with other Christians, with all of their foibles (and ours too) and problems. We need one another to fully see Christ. This is why we need to involved in what I refer to as “burden-bearing fellowship” with one another. When we buy too deeply into the America stream of individuality and privacy we cut ourselves off from the opportunity to know Christ better.

This is certainly part of what Jesus implies when he says in Matthew 25:40: (cf. vss. 34-40)

 ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

We gain greater visions of Christ as we serve one another and the needs of those around us, particularly the poor and oppressed. So let’s be found building friendships with one another. Let’s be found stepping out of endless TV watching and entertainment-pursuing lifestyles and become engaged in the messy pursuit of love of imperfect people made in the image and likeness of God–a God who took on flesh and died for sin so that reconciliation between God and man and man with man could take place.

The Bible is Not about You

Saturday Musings

We read our Bible’s but we miss the bigger, larger picture when we miss the larger and better narrative. The Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 is all about JESUS.  Tim Keller helps us to see that in this short video from 2007.

Come and worship and adore Him who gave his life for us.

Lazy Atheists; John Stewart’s Prejudice; Tim Keller on Suffering; Government Homosexuality Numbers; Smart Phones Making us Dumb and more

Weekend Links

Dan, Owen and Ellie (Day One of Being a Big Brother)

Dan, Owen and Ellie (Day One of Being a Big Brother)

I am a grandfather again!  Meredith and Dan just had their second child. Young Owen has a baby sister, Ellie Leta, born this morning weighing 7lb. 1 oz and measuring 18″ long.  We are excited for them and us and excited to see our new family member. Enjoy the weekend links.

Better Thinking about Politics and Cultural Engagement

A Primer on Race  (Joseph Stowell–pre-eminent black conservative and economist reviews a new book on race and how some help hurts the ones we try to help.)
Atheists Were Not Always as Intellectually Lazy as Richard Dawkins (Know Nothing: The True History of Atheism—Gone are the days when atheists took important questions seriously.)
How many Americans are Homosexual: New Government Survey Tells Us  (Much lower than they expected and revealing of a number of other lifestyle choices.)
Megyn Kelly Eviscerates John Stewart Over His Misleading Information in the Hobby Lobby Case  (What, a journalist doing her job?!)

Better Thinking About Ministry

9 Reasons Tim Keller’s Book on Suffering is a Book You Ought to Read  (Review of Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering)
10 Reasons Some Churches are Not Reaching Millennials (Frank Powell—some good counsel and insightful observations.)
God and the Gay Christian: A Response to Matthew Vines and Others  (Al Mohler—great interview with some weighty and compassionate thoughts.)
Three Reasons Why Staying Neutral is Not Biblical  (And unhelpful. Leslie Vernick brief article on counseling.)
Still Learning on Sundays: The Community as Gospel Apologetic  (Ed Stetzer–very short but helpful in answering those who want to distance themselves and the rest of us from the importance of gathering regularly in Christian community.)
9 Things You Should Know about Mormonism  (Pray for your Mormon neighbors.)
Six Ways Your Smart Phone is Changing You  (An interesting article and interview with David Wells.)

Just for Fun and Health

Two Women’s Normal Boring Chitchat becomes Hilarious When Lip-synced by Their Son and Nephew  (Funny)

Thomas Sowell; Bonhoeffer; Tim Keller and Suffering; Millennials and how to Reach them; God and Gayness; Pornography Danger and much more

Weekend Links

Bayoone Tear (A gift from Russia to the USA to commemorate those who died on 9//11/2001)

Bayoone Tear (A gift from Russia to the USA to commemorate those who died on 9//11/2001)

Late with the Links. Went for 20+ miles on the bike this afternoon. Completely bushed now. Can’t wait to see my bride tomorrow—returning from a funeral in West Virginia. I’m such a fortunate blessed man. 

Better Thinking about Politics and Cultural Engagement

A Primer on Race  Thomas Sowell—pre-eminent black conservative and economist reviews a new book on race and how some help hurts the ones we try to help.)
Atheists Were Not Always as Intellectually Lazy as Richard Dawkins (Know Nothing: The True History of Atheism—Gone are the days when atheists took important questions seriously.)
This Map Shows Why County Rights Need to be Protected  (Startling map of where people are and who is dictating to the country how others ought to live.)
The Forgotten Lesson of Bonhoeffer’s Life for the American Church  (Let’s be a church that doesn’t need a Bonhoeffer. Let’s live out what it means to belong to Christ before the church fails in its mission to America.)

Better Thinking About Ministry

9 Reasons Tim Keller’s Book on Suffering is a Book You Ought to Read  (Review of Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering)
10 Reasons Some Churches are Not Reaching Millennials (Frank Powell—some good counsel and insightful observations.)
God and the Gay Christian: A Response to Matthew Vines and Others  (Al Mohler—great interview with some weighty and compassionate thoughts.)
Married Men: Your Porn Habit is an Adultery Habit  (Jesus says so. Another on target post from Matt Walsh.)
A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism: A Rebuttal  (There is a lot of nonsense out there with regard to the doctrine of submission in marriage. This article addresses one of the most recent abuses of this doctrine. Ladies, if your man is abusing you, pray and seek outside help to get him to stop. Don’t fight the battle alone. He is wrong and you need protection.)

10 Fun Facts about Millennials  (Information is important if we are to reach the next generation.)

There are a lot of great things being written and discussed out there but the new book, How to be a Christian without Going to Church is not one of them. This Review will give you the material you need to fight the unchurching of some millennials.

What I’m Learning About Life from Jack Bauer and 24  (Kirsten Wilson is a professor at Colorado Chrisitian University. I don’t know her but her father has led a remarkable life and for a brief period, was one of my students. [If you knew him, you would know how absurd that sounds. I should have been his student.] Insightful article.)

Ending Abortion

This Supermodel was Pro-Abortion Until She Talked to Planned Parenthood  (Exposing the evil of abortion.)

For Fun and Health

How Cell Phones are Changing and Destroying Restaurant Culture and Maybe much more (Fascinating. People put your cell phones away and show some consideration to the wait staff.)

Tim Keller on Prayer; Disputing Matthew Vines; John Piper; Kevin DeYoung; Same-Sex Adoption; Christians Under Fire; Mark Howell

Weekend Links


Freshly Cut Garden Lettuce  Waiting to be Washed

Freshly Cut Garden Lettuce
Waiting to be Washed

Two days and my wife returns from a good visit with her mom in West Virginia. I’m looking forward to my lonely house being filled with her radiant smile and presence. This week’s links are filled with controversy. Good time to remember that Jesus is in control and is always trustworthy.

Better Thinking about Small Groups

Do You have an Acts 2 Small Group in an Acts 17 Culture? (Mark Howell—good questions and directions from a small group guru.)

Better Engagement with Politics and Culture

Full Screed Ahead (New York Times—Frank Bruni, op-ed columnist. This is a must read if you read anything on the internet. You may not agree with all of the analysis but there are some significant points made about the trivialization of journalism.)
Scary, Scary, Scary, Scary  (End the Department of Education if this is the result of 35 years of their work. Especially since some of these students (sic) are from my alma mater. Our educational system, elementary through college is failing and parents need to wake up.)
Glorious Days for Radical Islam  (Thanks to our President and a chaotic foreign policy.)
Colleges and Evangelicals Collide Over Bias Issues  (The abuse of the constitution continues to change the face of America.)


Garden Lettuce, Just Washed And Waiting for My Tastebuds!

Garden Lettuce, Just Washed
and Waiting for My Taste Buds!

Better Thinking about Ministry

4 Principles about Praying Better Prayer from Augustine  (Gospel Coalition—Tim Keller , worth reading, more worth applying.)
9 Fascinating Facts About Those Who Attend Mega-Churches (Get the facts before you do you analysis.)
Why “God and the Gay Christian” is Wrong   (Christianity Today, Christopher Yuan—Christopher is a former member of New Song Church and bold defender of the faith and the biblical view of sex, marriage and homosexuality. Good article.)
How are Women Saved through Child-bearing?  (John Piper–excellent treatment of a difficult text to understand.)
Think Before You Post  (Sound counsel from Kevin DeYoung.)

The End of Homosexuality  (Good resource on a hot button topic.)

For Fun and Health

Warning: Ingesting this Substance Could be Hazardous to Your Health  (Not a joke, then it is.)
Losing Belly Fat After 40  (I need to make some changes.)
Eight Reasons to Stop Using Bottled Water  (Some of these are overstated, but some are spot on and include good alternatives.)
Why We No Longer Have Health Insurance  (More and more families and churches are going to choose this route.)

Speaking of Homosexuality; Heaven; Suffering Well; Tim Keller; Dennis Prager; Richard Dawkins

Weekend Links

Looking forward to being back in the pulpit for the first time in four weeks.  And I’m looking forward to having my wife back after a long visit to visit and care for her mother in West Virginia. Enjoy your weekend.


Dragon's Blood Trees in Yemen, Socotra region

Dragon’s Blood Trees in Yemen, Socotra region


What is the Gospel and How Do We Ensure We Tell It?  (Book review of a new Paul Washer book.)
Can the Scriptures that Speak of Homosexuality be Nullified?
(A fine article by Dr. John Carpenter, PhD. that facts checks some popular but erroneous defenses of homosexuality as normal.)
Heaven: The Logic of Eternal Joy   (Book review of a new book by Jerry Walls, reviewed at Apologetics 315.)

Book Reviews

Tim Keller wants You to Suffer Well  (And so does God.  Review of Tim Keller’s book, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering, by Matt Smethurst.)


Refreshing Worship One Hymn at a Time  (The Indelible Grace website includes new charts for musicians.)
A Reformed Critique and Appreciation of Ana-baptist Criticism of the Neo-Reformed Movement in America (Now that’s a title!  Great article and the last paragraph is very helpful.)

Better Engagement with Culture

Dennis Prager’s Challenge to Richard Dawkins (The atheists are on the run, they just have a microphone to scream into. They are all paper tigers.)


Dogs vs Cats; Planned (Sadomasochism) Parenthood; Tim Keller; Rick Warren: Hobby Lobby; Reading the Bible; Doctrine

Weekend Links

Dog and Cat DiaryVacationing. Few Links. Little time, got to get back to relaxing. As always, presence on the list doesn’t mean complete endorsement of all the particulars.

Better Thinking About Life, Rights and Sex

Planned Parenthood Supports Sadomasochism : I Know, It Sounds Crazy But it’s True 
Rick Warren Comments on the Hobby Lobby Morning-After Pill Lawsuit 

Better Thinking About Doctrine

A Definition of the Gospel from Tim Keller (A good place to start a discussion on what the gospel is)
Are Your Kids Likely to Loss their Faith? (Fact checking the fear creating comments of some pastors and ministries)
How I Changed My Mind on Millennialism (Sam Storms—agree or disagree, but defend your position with grace, love and text.)
How Not to Read the Bible in 2013 (Many will be attempting to read thorough the Bible in the New Year. Here are some practical tips on what to avoid in attempting to do so.)
A Better Way to Take the Focus Off Athletes and Sports Teams and Place it on Jesus (TheBibleOutLoud.com)

Better Thinking about Hurricane Relief

Hurricane Sandy Victim Blasts President Obama: “He’s a Phony and a Liar” (Video—we have got to get better politicians in Washington)

Christian response to Immigration; Tim Keller on Idolatry and Calvin; Bono; Michael Breen; Sharia and British Law;

Weekend Links

Wouldn’t mind living here.

These will give you plenty to talk about over coffee with you friends. You might become the most interesting person in the room, Just remember, I don’t necessarily agree with everything in them.

Better Engagement with Politics and Culture

A Personal Note from Bill O’Reilly to the President (Short and sweet.)
Finding meaning in the Madness: Looking back in the election. (I know you are tired of the election and punditry but this is a brilliant analysis of where we are at this political moment in history.)
The Sings of Political Idolatry (Tim Keller—a not to miss article)
U2’s Bono on the Future of Changing the World and Who will Do It 

Better Understanding of the World

Sharia Law Challenging British Law and Setting New Models for America? (President Obama is NOT a Muslim. He is at least a nominal Christian. That said, he has a relativistic theology that owes more to liberal politics than it does to the Bible. With such a leader, is this where the election just past may take us in the future.)
The Law of Unintended Consequences: The Cobra Effect in the Church (Unintended consequences are everywhere with human plans. Here’s a thought provoking article about some of those consequences.)

The Issues Before the Church

Defining the Emerging Church and Cousins Who are Sometime Mistaken for It (Helpful in a typically Mark Driscoll-ish way, i.e. clear, funny, controversial and mostly accurate)
A Christian Response to Immigration (Alvin Sanders—Alvin’s blog on leading God’s people to a diverse kingdom. Some good ideas from a Free Church in California.)
Review of The Year of Biblical Womanhood (Mary Kassian—a prominent complementarian and friend of Rachel Held Evans reviews the controversial book.)
Tim Keller’s Surprising Discoveries from a Year of Reading Calvin’s Institutes (Gospel Coalition—John Piper has advocated this type of reading for years, a singular focused immersion in the mind of one author. Keller’s article summarizes some of the fruit of that adventure into Calvin’s Institutes.
Why the Missional Movement will Fail (Michael Breen—I have linked to this article before but it is worth a second look or a first if you missed it the first time.)
The Election Outcome Could be a Prophetic Announcement (Jack Hayford)

Church Planting, Michael Breen; Missional Movement Fail; R.C., Piper and Keller

Weekend Links

Politics, Japan, Biblical Interpretation, a smattering of John Piper, Tim Keller and R.C. Sproul, with a little bit of Al Mohler thrown in with Michael Breen and Tullian Tchividjian—-so much to choose from. This weeks links are the last for two weeks. I will be traveling to Japan to speak at a conference five times and will be unable to post them next Saturday. But enjoy this week with the oft repeated mantra, I don’t endorse all that is in them but find them helpful in shaping my thinking.

A tsunami carries buildings across waters in Kamaishi city port. (I will be visiting this region of japan for two days prior to a speaking engagement in Osaka October 22-29. Please pray for lasting fruit among the Japanese.)


Salaried Obama Campaign Worker Breaking the Law and Committing Voter Fraud (
I Am Going to Vote (John Piper—you don’t like either candidate for an office, should you vote? Here’s how John Piper decides.)
Do Christians really Take the Bible Literally? (The answer may surprise you. We have got to become wise in how we engage with culture.)

Thinking Better About Christian Practice

What about the Sabbath? (Gospel Coalition—Ray Ortlund, a short but worthy article about holiness.)
Sell All that You Have? (R.C. Sproul—thinking about seriously about the words of Christ.)
Begin Your Day with a War in Your House so You Can Have Peace Through Christ (John Piper)
How Many People Does it Take to Change a Marriage in 10 Days? (Philip Wagner—a creative and helpful article and what looks to be a very good book.)
Christians and Suffering (Tullian Tchividjian—new book reviewed by Aaron Armstrong at Gospel Coalition)

Thinking better About Doctrine

There is No Love (of God) without Wrath (in God)  (Tim Keller)
Christians and Science (NPR interview with two prominent Christians over the historicity of Adam and Eve—Al Mohler and Calvin college professor Daniel Harlow)

My Friend and Fellow EFCA Pastor Matt Mitchell Posted a Series of Links from the recent Theology Conference held at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School on the Issue of Biblical Complimentarianism. It is well worth listening to all of the messages linked there.

Church Planters and Planting

Are We Overlooking Valuable Potential Church Planters? (An Interview with Paul Williams and the Orchard Group)
Why the Missional Movement Will Fail (Michael Breen)

Killing Calvinism; Killing Sin; Dispensing with Good Enough; Suffering Well; and so much more

Weekend Links

Weekend links for your edification. I found these helpful and instructive. Some of them need some “wiggle room.” Some are suggestive rather than definitive. Some will alarm and others will encourage. But all will stretch you and give you more fuel to change your world. I hope the annotations will help you decide which are most significant for you. As always, I don’t embrace all of them equally.

Building Better Christians

Killing Calvinism 7 (Changed by Beholding—two and a half minute video. Good job brother. We are wrecked and in desperate need of a Savior.)
Killing Sin (John Piper—another three minute video on a topic we don’t struggle enough about. Oh how we need to kill sin in our lives, for the glory of God, for the joy of all around us.)
The Good Enough Person (Tim Stafford—this is a very brief synopsis of an article (with a link to the article) about the difference it makes when we view ourselves as depraved sinners rather than as people who are basically good. The cancer of sin must be battled daily in the former view. In that latter view, it just needs to be managed.)
A Biblical Perspective on Suffering from B.B. Warfield (Reformed Bibliophile—a great thinker on a perennial topic, suffering—one that was a major theme of Paul’s new believer follow-up—see 1 and 2 Thessalonians)

Defending the Faith

A Simple Tool to Help the Next Time Jehovah Witnesses Come Knocking (Defending/Contending—JW’s need the gospel too. Don’t let them in. Don’t send them away empty handed.)
Old Testament Law and The Charge of Inconsistency Are Christians Inconsistent in Their Use of the Bible? (Tim Keller—-short answer, yes, we have clay feet, but Tim Keller calls journalists to be more consistent in how they deal with Christians and their use of the Bible with regard to homosexuality.

Building Better Leaders

Aspirin for Aneurysms (Leadership Freak—applying half-hearted solutions to serious problems is a recipe for disaster. Heal your problems, don’t just cover them up.)
What Young Leaders Should I Invest In and How? (Leadership Freak–another fantastic article on how to identify the leaders of tomorrow to invest in today.)
The Forgotten Leadership Virtue (Leadership Freak—neglect this virtue in yourself and others at your own [and your organization’s] risk.)
Why it is So Easy for Leaders to Fake It (Francis Chan—as of this posting,  I have not gotten to read this article, but I respect Francis for his honesty and know that it will be a good read.)
Swagger (Lisa Bloom—an important new book on raising boys and men in a culture that despises them.) 

Engaging with Culture

 Innovative New School in Detroit Graduates First Class with Every Student Headed to College (Great story of a Detroit turn around that shows how necessity + creative flexibility + high standards produced a school like no other in America.)
Ten Characteristics of Growing Churches (Perry Noble)
The Most Dangerous Person in the Church (Erik Raymond—you will recognize him/her quickly from the description here but you will also learn a little bit about how to deal with them.)
Is the Private Sector Doing Fine? (Keith Hennessey—If you don’t understand how the president could be so out of touch with reality, or if you think that he is playing with numbers in a funny way and not telling the whole story but don’t know where to begin your analysis—this is the place to start. Great article.)
What Does the Real Jobless Rate Look Like ? (An article, the content of which, all the media knows but won’t report.)
The Immigration Ploy or How President Obama is Locked into Short Term Thinking (Thomas Sowell)
Vulgarians on the Loose! (Ann Coulter—a scathing admonishment of the vulgarization of the culture)