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Archive for November, 2012

Why Am I So Unhappy?

I Am My Worst Enemy

Why are so many people so unhappy in so many different circumstances? Why are so many Christians, who supposedly have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in their hearts, so not joyful?

At first glance it would seem that circumstances are to blame. Can you blame a guy for being unhappy when he hasn’t had steady work for six months and he might lose his home? You wouldn’t think so, until you meet the six-figure Christian businessman who hates his job and is just hanging on until retirement. The twenty-something single woman doesn’t think she can be happy until she gets married and has children. But the thirty-something housewife with four kids can barely make it through the week without collapsing in a trembling heap of exhaustion. Circumstances aren’t to blame. There’s something much more sinister at work.

That something is my sinful, discontented heart. Jesus spelled it out in Mark 7:21–23 when he said, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” The problem is me. I am my own worst enemy. The raging, covetous, discontented desires come from within. They’re not the product of my circumstances, and the desires won’t be satisfied when circumstances change.

First it’s marriage. We dream about meeting that perfect someone—a person who likes long walks and French poetry and is kind toward animals and strangers alike. Or at least someone who is decent looking and doesn’t have a criminal record. Finally, after years of yearning, the wedding day arrives. But the idol factory doesn’t shut down after the wedding day. As soon as the marriage god is appeased, the factory belches forth the idol of a new house. Then it’s a new car, an end-of-year bonus, and a sweet retirement package. There’s no downtime, no coffee break, no union strike in the factory of our hearts. They are constantly churning, constantly stirring up discontentment, constantly producing new idols.

Then “catastrophe” strikes. The dream promotion is handed to someone else. A relationship never materializes. Our desires are thwarted, and we don’t get what we want. When we don’t get what we so desperately want, we throw the adult version of a temper tantrum. Our passions rage within us. We become angry at God and discontent with life. We grumble and complain, and happiness appears to be out of reach. We become a casualty of war.

Shutting Down The Factory

So is there any hope for raging discontents like me? Can the circus of discontentment in my heart ever be stopped? Thankfully, it can. In Philippians 4:11–12 the apostle Paul said, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”

These words should startle us and cause us to catch our breath. Paul says that he has learned to be content in every situation. Not just happy, comfortable, “why, yes, I will have another latte” situations. Every situation.

Paul could find contentment in any season and any circumstance. He knew how to be brought low, and few people were brought lower than Paul. He was thrown into filthy prisons, savagely beaten with rods, stoned within a breath of death, whipped until his back was a bloody, dripping mess, driven out of cities, betrayed by friends, and shipwrecked on multiple occasions. In the midst of all this, Paul found contentment. The difficulties faced by Paul make my life look like a Boy Scout campout.

Paul also knew how to be content in the midst of prosperity. Prosperity and contentment don’t always go together. In fact, they rarely do. Rich people are unhappy just like everyone else. Members of the yacht club need to learn contentment too.

In 1 Timothy 6:6 Paul says of contentment, “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment.” False teachers were invading Timothy’s church and telling people that if they were godly they would also be rich, that if they followed Jesus, they would get their Lexus chariot or Rolex sundial or whatever it was they wanted. But Paul won’t have any of that nonsense. He says that following Jesus isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. If you follow Jesus, you will have every spiritual need met. Forgiveness, adoption, spiritual strength, everything. And if we have all our spiritual needs met and are content with what we have, that is great gain. If we have every spiritual need met and are content with what we have, what more could we want? We have everything we need for joy. Following a Jesus genie who gives us whatever we want is not great gain. Contentment is great gain.

If you need any further motivation to pursue contentment, there you have it. Godliness + Contentment = Great Gain. I’m into gain. And when God himself, speaking through the Scriptures, says that something is great gain, we need to pay close attention.

Adapted from The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence, by Stephen Altrogge

November 29, 2012 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life & Doctrine,Sanctification,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Author @ 8:00 am | 1 Comment »

3 Limitations We Face In Ministry, and What We Can Do About Them

First, we can only be at one place at one time, which means that Jesus will teach most of us to live a local life. We will resist and want to act like we are omnipresent. But he will patiently teach us that as human beings we cannot be, and this admission will glorify God. Others will likewise resist Jesus and want you to be omnipresent. They will use his name to praise or critique you accordingly, but they too will have to learn that only Jesus can be with them wherever they are at all times. This fact is actually good news for them and for us.

Second, we cannot do everything that needs to be done, which means that Jesus will teach us to live with the things that we can neither control nor fix. We will want to resist Jesus and act as if we are omnipotent, but we will harm others and ourselves when we try. Others will also resist Jesus. Using his name, they will praise or critique us according to their desire that we fix everything for them and that we do it immediately. But they will have to learn too that only Jesus can fix everything and that there are some things Jesus leaves unfixed for his glory.

Third, we are unable to know everyone or everything, which means that Jesus will teach us to live with ignorance, our own and others’. In other words, we are not omniscient. Jesus will require us to stop pretending that we are. Others will resist Jesus and in his name praise us or critique us on the basis of their estimation of what we should know. They will have to learn that only Jesus knows everything they need; his invitation to faith and to trust in his knowing is a good one.

What Do You Need to Surrender?

Ask yourself this question: Which are you more tempted to pretend that you are: an everywhere-for-all, a fix-it-all, or a know-it-all? What do you feel you will lose if you stop pretending in these ways and entrust yourself to Jesus?

Jesus invites everywhere-for-alls, fix-it-alls, and know-it-alls to the cross, the empty tomb, and the throne of his grace for their time of need.

Adapted from Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being, by Zack Eswine

November 27, 2012 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Church Leadership,Life & Doctrine,Ministry | Author: Crossway Author @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »

Crossway Cyber Monday Sale: 40% Off Storewide and Select Great Deals

Today is the last day of our Thanksgiving Weekend sale. We’re discounting all books and Bibles on Crossway.org by 40%, and are also offering a number of other products at larger discounts.

Here are a few in particular you’ll want to check out:

ESV Study Bible, Larger Print
(Genuine Leather, Black)
$109.99 $30
Dangerous Calling
by Paul David Tripp
$22.99  $10
The Hole In Our Holiness
by Kevin DeYoung
$17.99  $10
The Explicit Gospel
by Matt Chandler with Jared Wilson
$17.99  $10

These are just a few of the specially priced items. You can browse the full list here.

We hope you’re able to find some great gifts through this sale!

November 26, 2012 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Andrew Tebbe @ 10:02 am | 0 Comments »

Black Friday – Cyber Monday Sale: 40% Off Crossway.org and Other Larger Discounts

From today through Monday we’re offering our readers a 40% off storewide sale on Crossway.org.

We’ve also marked down 20 other books and Bibles at even bigger discounts, including recent releases like Dangerous Calling, The Hole in Our Holiness, and Date Your Wife. See below for the full list.

$30 Bible Specials

ESV Study Bible, Larger Print, Genuine Leather, Black
($109.99  $30)
ESV Literary Study Bible, TruTone, Brown/Parchment
($64.99  $30)

$20 Bible Specials

ESV Journaling Bible, TruTone, Raspberry/Chocolate
($44.99  $20)
ESV Literary Study Bible, Hardcover
($74.99  $20)

$10 New Releases and Top Titles

Dangerous Calling
by Paul David Tripp ($22.99  $10)  Recognizing the widespread struggles facing pastors today, Tripp exposes and exhorts the cultures that train and support our church leaders so that they can lead well.
The Hole in Our Holiness
by Kevin DeYoung ($17.99  $10)  Given the lack of holiness in our culture today, DeYoung presents a popular-level treatment of sanctification and union with Christ, helping readers to see what matters most—being like Jesus.
The Explicit Gospel
by Matt Chandler, with Jared Wilson ($17.99  $10)  Popular pastor and worldwide speaker Matt Chandler writes his first book to remind the church of what is of first and utmost importance—the gospel.
The Kingdom of God
Edited by Christopher W. Morgan & Robert A. Peterson ($18.99  $10)  First-rate evangelical scholars collaborate to articulate a robust theology of the kingdom of God across multiple disciplines.
The Deity of Christ
Edited by Christopher W. Morgan & Robert A. Peterson ($24.99  $10)  This multidisciplinary treatment of the doctrine of Christ’s deity combines evangelical scholarship and rich application with substantial and accessible theological content.
The Glory of God
Edited by Christopher W. Morgan & Robert A. Peterson ($23.99  $10)  Köstengerger, Longman, Gaffin, and other collaborating scholars from multiple disciplines guide believers through a biblical and theological treatment of the glory of God.
Suffering and the Goodness of God
Edited by Christopher W. Morgan & Robert A. Peterson ($23.99  $10)  Offers biblical truths concerning suffering, and challenges believers to emulate God’s grace as they minister to those who are suffering.

$5 Books

Date Your Wife
By Justin Buzzard ($10.99  $5)  An intensely practical guide for husbands looking to strengthen, save, or spice up their marriage and pursue their wives from a place of security in the gospel.
Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God (Hardcover)
by John Piper ($19.99  $5)  John Piper demonstrates from Scripture that we don’t need to choose between glorifying God with our heart or with our mind. It’s not heart or mind, but heart and mind.
Am I Called?: The Summons to Pastoral Ministry
By Dave Harvey, Foreword by Matt Chandler ($12.99  $5) Harvey explores biblical principles and revealing questions to help prospective pastors discern their calling.
The Innkeeper (Hardcover)
By John Piper, Illustrated by John Lawrence ($12.99  $5)  John Piper’s classic poem is accompanied by beautiful illustrations and tells the story about the innkeeper who provided the stable for Jesus’s birth.
Feminine Appeal (Original Cover)
By Carolyn Mahaney, Foreword by Nancy Leigh DeMoss ($14.99  $5)  A pastor’s wife mines the treasures of Titus 2 to explore seven feminine virtues that have transformed the lives of countless wives and mothers.
The Three Wise Women: A Christmas Reflection
By Christin Ditchfield ($11.99  $5)  A story about three women that played an important role in the Christmas story.
The Crossway Illustrated Bible Handbook
Edited by Tim Dowley  ($19.99  $5)  This handbook is designed to help you answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the Bible.
You Are Mine and If Only I Had a Green Nose (2 Books in 1)
By Max Lucado, Illustrated by Sergio Martinez  ($19.99  $5)  Punchinello’s hard-learned lessons show us how important it is to be who we were created to be, and why that matters.

Note:  There are only a few products that do not qualify for the 40% discount (including products ordered in case lots).

Be sure to keep an eye out for a storewide Crossway.org ebook sale in the beginning of January.

November 23, 2012 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Ted Cockle @ 6:00 am | 0 Comments »

Introducing 2 Greek-English Editions for New Testament Study

Crossway is pleased to add to its original language Bibles with the release of two new Greek-English New Testaments—one print, and one digital. Regardless of your experience with Greek, these are two resources that will benefit your studies.

 

Greek-English New Testament: Nestle-Aland 28th Edition and English Standard Version

This is an essential volume for students, pastors, and scholars who work with the Greek New Testament. On each spread, one page displays the Nestle-Aland Greek text, 28th edition, while the adjacent page contains the corresponding ESV text. It’s available from Crossway for $60 (sign up for Crossway Impact and get it at 50% off until the end of November).

Interior spread of the Greek-English New Testament

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See also Crossway’s Hebrew-English Old Testament

 

Greek-English Parallel New Testament ebook: NA27—ESV

The Greek-English Parallel New Testament features the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece text and the English Standard Version New Testament. Each verse in the Greek text appears above the same verse in the ESV translation. A two-level, interactive Table of Contents and improved navigation make it easy to move between passages. The Greek-English Parallel New Testament is the first Greek-English parallel ebook to contain both the Nestle-Aland Greek Text (27th revised edition) as well as a major, copyrighted English translation. It’s available on all major ebook platforms. Buy it on Crossway.org for $19.99.

Layout of the Greek-English Parallel New Testament

November 21, 2012 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,Digital,E-Books,News & Announcements | Author: Andrew Tebbe @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »