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Archive for the ‘Recommended Reading’ Category

This article was my reading before bed tonight, something to spur my mind to meditate. It was successful enough to merit sharing.

Excerpt: “After some deliberation, they conceived a question that would surely hang Jesus on the horns of a dilemma. Either answer would incriminate him, divide the crowd, and give them cause to arrest him.
On Monday morning, as Jesus was teaching in the temple, the appointed delegation made their way to him through the crowd. The spokesman loudly asked, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”
Jesus, sitting, leaned back a bit and squinted up at them. The tension was thick.
Then he answered, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, where did it come from? From heaven or from man?”
This was a stunning counter. They faltered. The crowd began to murmur. Their hesitation was humiliating.”

Click to read: Exposing the idol of self-glory, by Jon Bloom.

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NRBVResource: This is a short, easy read by By Gregory Koukl that explains the value of reading more than one verse during quiet time. According to Greg, it is “the most important thing I could ever teach you.”

He goes on: “If there was one bit of wisdom, one rule of thumb, one single skill I could impart, one useful tip I could leave that would serve you well the rest of your life, what would it be?  What is the single most important practical skill I’ve ever learned as a Christian?  Never read a Bible verse.  That’s right, never read a Bible verse.  Instead, always read a paragraph (at least) if you want to unlock the meaning of a passage.”

Click to download the resource

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1175999_82392776Resource: “An approach to extended memorization of Scripture” by Dr. Andrew Davis.

Summary: Dr. Andrew Davis expounds on not only the value of Bible memory, but the value of memorizing passages instead of single verses. We struggle enough to discipline ourselves to memorize a single verse. How can we be expected to tackle a passage? Davis offers practical ways to accomplish such a task, as well as retain what has been committed to memory. Many of his techniques can also be used to memorize single verses.

Link to free download

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1154835_6061744510 questions to ask yourself

Donald Whitney, in his book, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, poses 10 questions.
1.    Do you thirst for God?
2.    Are you governed increasingly by God’s Word?
3.    Are you more loving?
4.    Are you more sensitive to God’s presence?
5.    Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others?
6.    Do you delight in the Bride of Christ?
7.    Are the spiritual disciplines increasingly important to you?
8.    Do you still grieve over sin?
9.    Are you a quicker forgiver?
10.     Do you yearn for heaven and to be with Jesus?

I’m convicted.
The “increasing” and “more” facet of these questions is conspicuous. Though I might could get away with claiming the presence of spiritual qualities in my life, I am convicted in knowing I often lack progress. There’s a stinging difference that pierces the self-righteousness in my heart.

Time to plan.
Because a convicted heart is practically worthless if it doesn’t motivate us to draw upon the grace and strength of Christ Jesus to live differently, now is the finest opportunity available to implement a change. Start with prayer, and then get specific. What’s the best way to grow in one of these areas? The hungry heart seeks an answer.

What do you think?
Do any of these questions prick your heart, making you evaluate anything on a deeper level? Do you have another question you use to diagnose your heart that is not on the list?

(This book isn’t part of the free resources Weekend Resource, but it is inexpensive and concise read. Worth every penny and minute you’ll invest.)

Here is a link to a fellow blogger and a related post of his: http://www.fallenandflawed.com/true-salvation-test/

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This appeared on ESPN.com. It did more than tear my eyes up; it opened my eyes a little further to what it means to look out for the interests of others and humbly serve those who are needy and no one cares. Not just catering to those who have more than they need already.


By Rick Reilly
ESPN The Magazine

They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.
It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.
Did you hear that? The other team’s fans?
They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, “Go Tornadoes!” Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.
It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on—by name.
“I never in my life thought I’d hear people cheering for us to hit their kids,” recalls Gainesville’s QB and middle linebacker, Isaiah. “I wouldn’t expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!”
And even though Faith walloped them 33-14, the Gainesville kids were so happy that after the game they gave head coach Mark Williams a sideline squirt-bottle shower like he’d just won state. Gotta be the first Gatorade bath in history for an 0-9 coach.
But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That’s because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.
This all started when Faith’s head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team. Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.
So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. “Here’s the message I want you to send:” Hogan wrote. “You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth.”
Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan’s office and asked, “Coach, why are we doing this?”
And Hogan said, “Imagine if you didn’t have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you.”
Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!
“I thought maybe they were confused,” said Alex, a Gainesville lineman (only first names are released by the prison). “They started yelling ‘DEE-fense!’ when their team had the ball. I said, ‘What? Why they cheerin’ for us?'”
It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. “We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games,” says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. “You can see it in their eyes. They’re lookin’ at us like we’re criminals. But these people, they were yellin’ for us! By our names!”
Maybe it figures that Gainesville played better than it had all season, scoring the game’s last two touchdowns. Of course, this might be because Hogan put his third-string nose guard at safety and his third-string cornerback at defensive end. Still.
After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that’s when Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. “We had no idea what the kid was going to say,” remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: “Lord, I don’t know how this happened, so I don’t know how to say thank You, but I never would’ve known there was so many people in the world that cared about us.”
And it was a good thing everybody’s heads were bowed because they might’ve seen Hogan wiping away tears.
As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.
The Gainesville coach saw Hogan, grabbed him hard by the shoulders and said, “You’ll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You’ll never, ever know.”
And as the bus pulled away, all the Gainesville players crammed to one side and pressed their hands to the window, staring at these people they’d never met before, watching their waves and smiles disappearing into the night.
Anyway, with the economy six feet under and Christmas running on about three and a half reindeer, it’s nice to know that one of the best presents you can give is still absolutely free.
Hope.

Article: http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section=magazine&id=3789373&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab1pos1

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Advent Conspiracy

If you haven’t seen this already, check it out.

“The story of Christ’s birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love.

So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.

And when it’s all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy.”

http://adventconspiracy.org/

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