Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Books Read in 2011 - a running list

Finished in June:
Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson: A fun book that you are able to read in about an hour (available at your local library). This was a good book for the folks like me who get anxious about change in life and work.
The Brothers Karamazov (Giant Thrifts)  by Dostoevsky - I wasn't as enthralled as others seem to be regarding this book. What did I miss?
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (classic!) - fun book to read aloud with Carrie over vacation.
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Fast-Growth Firm by Verne Harnish (recommended by a wiser pastor who has worked in large and small churches) - fun read for a pastor, quite applicable to the church in some ways.
Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1)  by Orson Scott Card
Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by Pastor David Platt
The Silver Chair (The Chronicles of Narnia, Full-Color Collector's Edition) by CS Lewis: I listened to this via Focus on the Family's stellar readers' theater edition in the car with my family. Get the whole set: The Chronicles of Narnia: Never Has the Magic Been So Real (Radio Theatre) [Full Cast Drama]
A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet) - another read aloud book with Carrie
"Preaching to a Postmodern World" - Finished my read through of Tim Keller's and Edmund Clowney's Classnotes from a Doctor of Minstry course offered in 2002. Notes can be found here.

Currently Reading:

A History of the American People  by Paul Johnson (a wise Brit speaking truth about the founding and progression of this fascinating country)
Genesis in Space and Time (Bible Commentary for Layman) by Francis Schaeffer
The Meaning of the Pentateuch: Revelation, Composition and Interpretation by John Sailhamer

The Business of Heaven: Daily Readings from C. S. Lewis (I have been going through Lewis' daily readings since March)
The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative by Chris Wright
Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin (slowly but surely)
Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders (reading this a few chapters a month with my mentor)
Naked by David Sedaris - modern, secular writer/comedian dealing with the humor/complexities of life. Recommended by sister-in-law and boyfriend. Looking forward to talking with them about the book when completed.


PREVIOUS MONTHS:

Finished in May:
The Cross of Christ by John Stott (a must read for pastor and laymen alike).
The Complete Anne of Green Gables - My wife and I read aloud 3 of the books in this very humorous classic.
Matthew, Mark, Luke (The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 8) (Expositor's Bible Commentary, The)  Matthew by DA Carson - Stellar work  by a young Don. (by far my go-to resource when going through the Gospel of Matthew this past year)
The Message of Matthew: The Kingdom of Heaven (Bible Speaks Today) by Michael Green. This was the only other Matthew commentary that was read to near entirely in the Matthew series. I'm learning that I don't need as many commentaries for a sermon series as I originally thought. In the future 3-4 will be sufficient.
If Those Who Reach Could Touch by Gordon and Gail MacDonald. An encouraging read for those who desire to bless others at the soul level. 
Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treador by CS Lewis: I listened to these via Focus on the Family's stellar readers' theater edition in the car with my family. Get the whole set: The Chronicles of Narnia: Never Has the Magic Been So Real (Radio Theatre) [Full Cast Drama]


Finished in April:
Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes (men's small group)
Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God  by John Piper. Jesus tells us to love God with our mind . . . are you doing this?
Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture, and Create Movement (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series) by Will Mancini 

The Magician's Nephew and The Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis. I listened to these via Focus on the Family's stellar readers' theater edition in the car with my family. Get the whole set: The Chronicles of Narnia: Never Has the Magic Been So Real (Radio Theatre) [Full Cast Drama]


March:
That Hideous Strength (Space Trilogy, Book 3)  - by CS Lewis: If you had a tough time reading CS Lewis' The Abolition of Man this fiction book will help you like it did me.
Locking Arms: Shoulder to Shoulder, Man to Man...God's Design for Masculine Friendships by Stu Weber: I really enjoyed this book.
Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community (Re:Lit) - Possibly one of the best books on the market on what it means to be the church.
 Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy - by Eric Metaxas - A heroic tale of one man's willingness to walk with Christ by faith (not your typical Sunday School hero).
Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue (The Guilford Family Therapy Series) by Edwin Friedman (very very interesting)
Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia S.) by CS Lewis. I listened to this via Focus on the Family's stellar readers' theater edition in the car with my family. Get the whole set: The Chronicles of Narnia: Never Has the Magic Been So Real (Radio Theatre) [Full Cast Drama]

February:
When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steve Estes (a masterful work on human suffering, while maintaining God's sovereignty, power, and goodness)
Freedom Cry by Matthew Burden (the first book of a 3-part epic called, "The Hidden Kings Trilogy," that every fantasy lover and Tolkien fan should buy)
Perelandra (Space Trilogy, Book 2) by CS Lewis (fun science fiction that attacks a myriad of topics: the Fall into sin, human responsibility, divine sovereignty, evil, temptation, etc.)
RESTORING YOUR SPIRITUAL PASSION by Gordon MacDonald - I love most things Gordon has to say about life, the soul, ministry, etc.

January:
Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by CJ Mahaney (short, but sweet reminder on the Gospel of Christ)
Watership Down: A Novel by Richard Adams (great piece of fantasy fiction, highly recommend)
The Message of Job (Bible Speaks Today) by David Atkinson (easy to read commentary on Job)
Tender Warrior: Every Man's Purpose, Every Woman's Dream, Every Child's Hope by Stu Weber (a good reminder for men, and current and future fathers and husbands).
Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life by CS Lewis (Lewis' autobiography of his spiritual journey to meet the Person behind all tastes of earthly joy . . . a tough read, but a great read for the Lewis-lover)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pastor Blooper Reel

From time to time (like daily/hourly), I make mistakes. Some funny, some embarrassing. Luckily, I have a wife and friends who help me identify these life bloopers.

For example, twice in this most recent sermon (and used previously), I have said in a somber/warning tone that humans "Stick their thumbs up" at God (as if this is an act of pride or rebellion). Somehow I've butchered the expressions "thumbing your nose" and "looking down your nose" at someone, and instead by my tone I have left people scratching their head on why it's wrong to bum a ride off God from the side of the road.

In addition, I had 2 Cor. 13:15 as a cross reference in a handout I passed out to the church this past week. Turns out 2 Cor. 13:15 doesn't exist. So either people realized that 2 Cor. 13:5 is the correct reference or they are wondering if their pastor is adding to the Bible.

Or at my first wedding, I thought it would be a good idea to fumble the ring hand-off from the best man. As if this wasn't already embarrassing enough, the ring fall on a stone floor in a chapel with excellent acoustics (Smith Chapel, Indianola, Iowa). The sound traveled so smoothly the guy in the back row may have thought he had dropped something.

The list could go on . . . I almost caused brain damage to a teenager in a youth group game. I have been personally rebuked for bathroom humor at the pulpit (kindly and appropriately, by the way). I have mentioned movies and shown movie clips that were beyond the pale. I have taught younger Bible study members how to build bombs (that led later practitioners to the emergency room).

I can think of a few other embarrassing actions and words that have come out this week too, but I'll save those for another time. But it is interesting how our personalities bring out the worst in us sometimes. Glory to God, I am saved by grace and not by performance. Glory to God, he works despite us quite often.

For those at Cornerstone Church who have withheld pointing out these foibles or the others, I appreciate your loving-kindness and forbearance.

Any other business folks, moms/dads, or pastors out there that have any bloopers to highlight to join the "we're all human" party?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Freely Saved or Something Else?

NIV Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

From Ephesians 1, I believe God saves us by the grace He freely bestows on rebellious sinners through Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:6). The only other alternative is that I'm required to do something or be something to merit salvation from sin, death, and hell. Tim Keller observes, "Unless you say, 'just because God opened my heart [I believe]', then you have to say that you are a Christian because you are (even slightly) more open, more repentant, more humble."  Either we are given sufficient grace by God for spiritual transformation (that is "conquering grace"/grace alone) or there is something 'good' in the human person that helped us get where we were supposed to go. There are only 2 alternatives to thinking about salvation. Either God freely saves for His glory alone or we allow for some human, secondary force resulting in my salvation (contra Isa. 42:8; Eph. 2:8-9, see also Romans 3:10-18 as a reminder of humanity's sinfulness).

My response: profound humility before God and profound humility before others. I am better than no one. Only by the grace of God am I what I am. There is no good in me, except that which Christ has wrought through His life, death, and resurrection.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Proctor family vacation 2011










Images of vacation: the two big boys resting and reading; the four (almost five!) of us riding the train at Bellevue Park; the sleeping pig at the petting zoo; Caleb's fascination with the chickens; aww...cuddling with a baby goat totally unprompted; hiking by the bear warning (we saw no bears, just cactus!); and a few silly shots with our friends, Gabe and Jonas.  All in all, a fabulous trip!