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Archive for July, 2010

Are We Partnering With the Accuser?

are-we-partnering-with-the-accuserIn A Way With Words, Christin Ditchfield identifies ways we can be tempted to use our words to wound:

  • Unsolicited or unbiblical advice
  • Not so constructive criticism
  • The truth not spoken in love
  • Humor that “gets out of hand”
  • Gossip
  • The silent treatment

Another way is to cast up the past (pp 28-29).

According to the dictionary, to cast is to “throw or hurl or fling.” That’s what we do when we cast up the past. We get into an argument, and we throw in people’s faces every mistake they’ve ever made, every sin they’ve ever committed. We remind them over and over of their greatest moral failure, their most humiliating defeat. It’s our way of putting them in their place or pointing out why they can’t expect us to trust them. God says he’s forgiven and forgotten, but we haven’t—and we want to be sure they know it. They might think they have good news, an exciting opportunity, or hope for the future. We think we’re doing them a favor by bursting their bubble and reminding them of how wrong they’ve been before. Believe it or not, there is someone whose official job is to cast up the past, to throw it in everyone’s face: his name is Satan. The Bible calls him “the accuser of our brothers,” because that’s what he does day and night (Rev. 12:10). He works overtime to torment believers with the memory of sins and failures that have long been covered by the blood of Jesus. Do we really want to be his helpers?

Learn more about A Way With Words.

July 15, 2010 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,Sanctification,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:26 am | 0 Comments »

A Way With Words: What Women Should Know About the Power They Possess

waywithwords1The average woman speaks over 50,000 words a day! Proverbs 10:19 says, “Where words are many, transgression is not lacking.” In A Way With Words, Christin Ditchfield addresses the power women possess in the words they speak. Power to build up or tear down. Power to encourage and teach, or power to manipulate, control, and deceive.

Here’s a book that will both challenge and change the way women think about the words they speak and the incredible opportunity they have to impact the lives around them for God’s glory.

July 14, 2010 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 6:27 am | 0 Comments »

Why Are Movies So Powerful?

why-are-movies-so-powerful

In Meaning at the Movies, Grant Horner explains:

Where does culture come from? Why have culture at all? The simplest formulation is that culture is the sum total of beliefs and practices distributed among various people groups throughout time. But it is more than just what we believe and what we do; it is also our whole framework for comprehending the world, for making sense, or trying to make sense, out of life.

Perhaps thirty centuries ago, Solomon decided to try to think his way through the meaning of life: And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. (Eccles. 1:13–14)

meaning-at-the-movies3I believe culture is what we produce in our attempts to understand the world. It is what we believe and what we do to deal with the twin problems of meaninglessness and death. Humans were designed to have the total fulfillment and infinite pleasures of knowing an indescribably beautiful God while living in an unending state of intensely blissful perfection. Instead, we find ourselves frustrated and trapped in continual futility, while still retaining a sense that we are immortal and should be filled with peace and joy. This only furthers the frustration of our existence. Culture is the attempt to create a system that allows us to live in peace, in pleasure, and with a sense of meaning, a feeling of fulfillment.

And this is why movies are so powerful and so popular. They are the absolute center of modern culture. They attempt to explain us to ourselves. Culture is the web of ways we have of both looking at the world and living in the world. It is the collection of our conscious interactions with our world, our neighbors, and ourselves. We could say that culture is how we are programmed to interpret and understand the world and ourselves as part of that world. Narrative film—which has been part of human culture for a little more than a century now—is perhaps the richest aspect of human culture, for it shows us, in a form that seems to be quite universally accessible, what we are like.

Learn more about Meaning at the Movies.

July 13, 2010 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,The Arts,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Staff @ 6:00 am | 0 Comments »

A Radically Different Approach to Film—A Call to Discernment

9781433512285What do Christians “do” with movies? Do we treat them the same way as those who don’t know the God of the universe? “Like everything else in human life, a radically different approach to film is necessary for believers,” explains Grant Horner, author of Meaning at the Movies.

Horner is calling Christians to really think about the worldviews expressed in movies. Meaning at the Movies challenges us to not zone out to mindless entertainment, but to actively discern and interact with the messages we are exposed to.

“Discernment takes hard work,” Horner explains. “We easily confuse error and truth; it is the most basic consequence of living in a fallen world. Truth and error are often so entangled in this world that we can even despair of detecting them, much less separating them. But we must learn to discern. How many times have you walked away from a film unaware that you have bought into subtle philosophies and worldview positions that could undermine your faith? We should walk away—we can walk away—stronger for having been exposed to error, and exposing it as error.

Non-Christians will generally have as primary motivations for film-watching entertainment, pleasure, vicarious living, an event to share with friends or loved ones, and so forth. For the believer, every moment is an important decision; some of these decisions will please God, and others will please only ourselves. We need to increasingly choose the former over the latter.”

Horner does not simply list criteria for judging film art; instead he encourages Christians to develop biblical discernment in film and culture. Read chapter 1 or learn more about Meaning at the Movies.

July 12, 2010 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,The Arts,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Staff @ 7:49 am | (2) Comments »

7 Things to Simplify Your Life

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Dave Kraft, author of Leaders Who Last gives 7 practical tips to simplify life and ministry:
(Original Post from the Resurgence)

  1. Turning down opportunities that might be a good use of who I am but not the best use of who I am. Just last week I said no to two people who offered me a great chance to do something.
  2. Never saying yes to anything over the phone, but buying time to think and pray about it.
  3. Practicing the theology of enough. I have no list of things that fall into the category of: I would be happy if______.
  4. Asking God to deliver me from an unhealthy appetite for acclaim, approval, position, power, and honor that would push me to do more and more for the wrong reasons.
  5. Praying to be released from the restless, gnawing greed for more money and more stuff.
  6. Daily reminding myself of who I am and who I am not—being content to be me.
  7. Carving out sufficient time alone with God for humble contemplation—to give him opportunity to quiet my anxious heart and keep me focused on my “few themes.”

It’s not easy living “simply” in a culture that demands more, rewards competition, and admires power and position. But, by God’s grace, I’m going to live in biblical simplicity.

How are YOU doing? Do you need to do some spring-cleaning in your life and ministry? How about a retreat to think through some things and be reminded of who you are in Christ and the “few themes” he wants you to be about?

July 10, 2010 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,Sanctification,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Staff @ 6:00 am | 1 Comment »