Friday books

At every wedding I channel Jerry Bridges: “preach the gospel to yourself every day.”  I believe talking to ourselves is not a habit to break, but a discipline to cultivate.  In Spiritual Depression Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones suggested that we Christians often “…allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self.  He asks, Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?  I remember the “WOW!” that echoed in my stunned silence the first time I read those lines.  I am better at listening to/endorsing my natural inclinations than bringing supernatural truth to bear on them.  
Note to Self–Joe Thorn’s book on preaching to yourself, gives you a tool for doing what Bridges suggests, and makes much of Lloyd-Jones’ warning.  It’s the perfect book for your quiet time with each devotional just about a page and a half.  It’s written by you, to you.  But I think you’ll agree that most chapters have the eerily familiar voice of the Holy Spirit.  Which explains why it seems as if someone’s been reading your mail.
Dear Self,
Too often you let your sin anchor you in place.  You do not move beyond it or even see beyond it.  In some cases this turns into a form of self-pity when you are grieved by your sin, but not so deeply that you are moved to repent and discover joy in your salvation.  You feel victimized, defeated and beyond help. In some ways that actually relieves you of a sense of responsibility.  After all, what could you have done?

Now that’s talking to yourself!  At April’s Gospel Coalition conference I picked up copies of this for all the staff and elders.  Ask one of them what they thought.


My youngest son was 15 when it happened.  Driving to the office with the radio on that Tuesday morning, I was stunned to hear announcers reporting that a plane had hit one of New York City’s World Trade towers.  At work we switched on the TV in the youth room.  
We watched in fascinated horror as a second plane hit the second tower.  And then the Pentagon.  And then as the two towers collapsed on Manhattan.  And then the story of yet another plane crash: flight 93 buried itself in a Shanksville field.
It was a defining day.  It changed our president.  It changed our military mission.  It changed our intelligence efforts.  It changed America.
And it changed my son.  Sometime after 9-11 a huge American flag appeared on his bedroom wall.  Four years later he enlisted in the army.  The last two, a consequence of the first.  Putting on the uniform is not something I would have chosen for him, but I’m proud that he did.
The 9-11 attackers were all Muslims.  No revision of history will change that fact, or the fact that they saw themselves as pilots on a religious mission.  Prior to 9-11 I wonder how many Americans even knew there was a world religion call Islam.  Or that its adherents are only second in number to Christianity’s.  Or that it’s the fastest growing faith in the world.  Or that some interpretations of its holy book lead followers to force others to convert or die.  Or that there are already nations of the global family governed by its code.  In fact, the Islamic legal code of Shariah is practiced completely or in part by 35 countries.
I pray for Muslims.  I hope you do too.  And there should be no animosity towards them.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ… (2 Cor.4:4).  We who now know Christ were once every bit as blind.  It’s just that the gods we worshiped most likely produced self-indulgence rather than self-deprivation.  Does that make us more noble–or Muslims less worthy of God’s grace?
I’m thankful there are Muslims who are assuring Christians and others that they do not want to force us to convert…, or put us to death if we don’t.  Some point to the Qur’an’s assurance, there is no compulsion in religion (Surah 2:256)But their affection for both Muhammad’s words and deeds, makes Muslims preshaped to be receptive to the indoctrination–mainly by Saudi Wahhabism–that it is the duty of every Muslim to expand Islam by all means necessary, including armed conquest.

Therefore, as we pray for the light of the gospel to shine on these people created in the image of God, we can never forget that we have a nation to defend.  The pluralism which has resulted from our founding fathers’ wanting to establish a nation of unparalleled liberties, will not serve us well if we turn a blind eye to obvious threats from foreign powers or those cropping up among us at home.  Endurance of the republic demands both our prayers, and our vigilance. 

Good resources on good sex

In light of my sermon tomorrow morning on married sex, here are some good books for couples whether you’re dissatisfied with your sexual relationship, or you just want to make sure to keep the fires stoked.
  • Uncovered: Revealing the Secrets of a Sexy Marriage by Susie Davis 
  • Sheet Music by Kevin Lehman 
  • Intimate Issues  by Linda Dillow & Lorraine Pintus
  • The Gift of Sex by Cliff & Joyce Penner 
  • Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas 
  • Laugh Your Way to A Better Marriage by Mark Gungor 
  • A Celebration of Sex by Douglas Rosenau 
  • For Men Only  by Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn 
  • For Women Only  by Shaunti Feldhahn