Thursday, July 15, 2010

Free audiobook for July: A.W. Tozer's "The Pursuit of God"!

Friends, grab this while you can.'s free book this month is A.W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God.

Get the book here:

Use the coupon code JUL2010 at checkout.

Tozer has many wonderful insights into the life of Christ's followers, and our passion for God.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Desiring God audiobook for free this month!

I'm sorry I didn't discover this earlier in the month, but here you go: has John Piper's book, Desiring God, for FREE this month. I haven't read this book before, but I've read some other Piper work, and I know he's a man who follows Jesus. And anytime someone talks about desiring God, I think we ought to listen.

So there you go.

And if you are interested, there are many other deals right now at They are having their twice-yearly sale, which marks most audio books down to $7.49! The sale started yesterday and runs through Dec. 4. Get over there and nab some cheap downloads while you can, audio fans!

One sweet deal I noticed is this: you can get the ESV audio Bible for
only $7.49. That's marked down from $39.98, friends. This is your chance for an audio version of my favorite translation.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Willard - Knowing Christ Today

Today, I'm just writing to quick update to say that I recently finished listening to the audiobook of Dallas Willard's newest book, Knowing Christ Today.

Like all of his other books, this one was rich. He is writing about a topic I have heard him speak about at length elsewhere: the Christian worldview as knowledge rather than mere belief.

I am going to have to go through the whole book again before I have really solid feedback on it. It is philosophical in nature, but very accessible to anyone who knows a bit of the "language."

What I'm interested in is what other readers think about Willard's "Christian Pluralism," which he discusses for a while in the book. I'm assuming it must be making warning bells go off for many evangelicals. I myself am not sure what to make of the idea. (One review on Amazon addresses the issue negatively.)

If you've read the book and have insights or opinions on the topic either way, please post your thoughts in the comments section. Don't just rant, please. I'm after fair-minded, thoughtful ideas.

I know this book contains a lot of ideas Willard has wanted to write about for some time. I'm looking forward to listening again. I'd love to hear your opinions as well.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Audiobook sale at ChristianAudio

Until July 3rd, ChristianAudio is having a sale. Almost everything is $7.49. This is an excellent deal. Usually their prices are very good anyway, and now they're giving an even better deal. Now is the time to get those Christian audio books you've been eyeing!

If you want recommendations, let me point you to my recommended reading list on the right.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May updates

I'm updating you today with a number of various topics. Thanks for reading.

Free Willard talks

As I continue on the journey as one of Christ's apprentices, I continue to find Dallas Willard's teaching to be the most helpful and thorough when it comes to training as a disciple of Jesus. I hope you'll head over to and download all of the free Dallas Willard talks they have available there. As a matter of fact, I'll make it easy for you by linking to each one individually:
These audio files will give you a good idea as to what he writes about in his books. If you like what you hear, please read his books, beginning with Renovation of the Heart and The Divine Conspiracy. There's no better teaching on the topic of becoming an apprentice of Jesus and understanding the true gospel.

Willard's new book

It's been a few years since Renovation of the Heart, and now, Dallas Willard has finally authored another book, Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge. I am eager to acquire and read this book. Willard's website says: This book deals with the disastrous effects of divorcing the teachings of Jesus Christ and his people from the domain of human knowledge. Its aim is to reposition the substantial teachings of Christianity ("Mere" Christianity) as a body of knowledge in the contemporary world.This is a topic that J.P. Moreland wrote about in the first section of Kingdom Triangle, and I am looking forward to diving in deeper with Willard's long-awaited new book.

Designed for analogy

Have you noticed how useful analogy is for communication and understanding? We use analogy all the time to compare things and make our ideas more accessible to listeners. I have come to believe that God designed the world in such a way that analogy would be incredibly easy. He has created a cosmos in which parallels exist all over the place. And, just as analogy is useful in every topic of discussion, I think that God specifically intended that many things we experience and see on Earth would help us to better understand him. One obvious and common such analogy is that of a parent with his or her child. The things we can learn about God through our own parenting experience are many, and they are the kinds of things you won't learn by reading, but only through the experience of that analogous relationship. By training and observing our own children, and our responses to them, we can gain insight into God's role as our father. Analogy can also be useful in defending your Christian worldview. Just listen to someone like William Lane Craig or Greg Koukl teach and you'll see what I mean. As you observe the world around you, take note of how God created everything in such a way that analogy is easy, and it is everywhere.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Prewrath radio online

For those of you who appreciate the prewrath view of the rapture, you might like listening to Prewrath Radio Online. You can subscribe to the podcast here.

I've only just discovered this podcast and started listening, but it looks to be a podcast in defense of the prewrath position. I thought you might like to know about it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A roleplaying analogy for the spiritual life

This morning, while thinking, a profound thought came to mind. It was a meaningful thought to me and I'll explain why.

I have been trying to learn to hear God (I recommend Willard's book, Hearing God). I heard J.P. Moreland say in one message that when the Spirit speaks to Christians, there is a certain "flavor" to the voice, and that learning to listen to God includes learning to recognize that unique flavor or tone. I'd call it a "vibe" in my own language. Well, I'm still struggling to understand listening to God, but when this interesting thought came to me this morning, it had the flavor of something that I wouldn't have come up with on my own. It just kind of popped into mind and made sense to me. I'm wondering if this is what the Spirit sounds like as he speaks to us?

So what was the "thought" I'm referring to? Hold on for one more minute while I give you a little background.

One of my favorite hobbies is participating in tabletop roleplaying games (RPGs). I join some friends of mine once a week at lunch to play an RPG. (I sometimes write about roleplaying here.) I'm sorry if the language I am about to use sounds like Greek to you, but I must explain it so that what follows will make sense.

The game we are currently using is called Spirit of the Century. In this game, characters can acquire a number of skills of different types. These skills explain the activities at which the character is good, great, or mediocre - like athletics, driving, sneaking, acts of strength, etc. There are two broad categories of skills in the system used by Spirit of the Century: active and passive. Active skills are those things that require an effort or action taken by the character. This requires an intentional act of the will to accomplish something, be it running a race, making a good first impression, or examining the details of a painting. Passive skills are those qualities that are always "on" in the character. For example, alertness, endurance, and resolve. A character doesn't actively try to be alert. They simply are alert or they aren't, by default, and there are varying degrees to how alert someone can be, by nature or by practice. Endurance means the person has a natural or practiced ability to hold up under pressure. This isn't a concsious effort - it just resides there in the person. Resolve is similar, but refers to endurance of the mind rather than the body.

So this morning, the thought that came to mind was something like: "In the spiritual life, our goal is to make the things of Christ into passive attributes within us. We are to transform our living from the active pursuit of well-doing to the changed nature of passive, ever-present, Christlikeness." This is really just a rewording of a principle that others have stated in better words.

I recently read an article from Christianity Today in which Dallas Willard and Richard Foster were interviewed. In this interview, Willard explains that spiritual formation (or "character formation") is not to be mistakenly understood as "behavior modification". Rather, spiritual formation is intended to change the heart (the deep part of a person that determines how we think and act) so that it becomes like that of Christ himself.

My sense is that this morning, the Spirit was giving me new wording for this principle to color it more vividly in my mind. And that's exactly what it did. The same principles I've read over and over in Willard's books were made all the more clear this morning as the idea of active vs. passive popped into my mind.

For instance, my nature is to be prideful. The antithesis of this condition is humility, which is not present in my nature. Being a follower of Christ, I know that I am to be humble and not improperly prideful. There are two options before me. The first option is to mentally "muscle it".

Given a situation where I feel my pride swelling and the urge to perhaps boast or make myself look good, I can remember the lessons I learned from Jesus and fight the pride down. I can tell myself, "You're not as great as you think you are." This is an act of humility. Active. Behavior modification. I am consciously struggling on a case by case basis against the flesh by my will to do good. But the goal of spiritual formation into Christlikeness is to make that humility passive. Then, in the same situation, there won't be a desire for boasting. That part of me has been taken away, or at least diminished in some measure. Where I used to desire attention for self, I now desire for attention to be directed to Christ, or the Father, or to the good of another person. This is passive - true transformation. It's always "on", rather than a case by case skill to exercise by willful exertion. This is the goal.

As another example, take giving in secret. I can consciously make myself give money or goods to someone in need, and I can even keep it secret. This is a choice to do what I know is right, the desire to do a good deed, the pursuit of a righteous action. Now, this isn't a bad thing. But again, the goal is to make is so that my nature is to behave in this way. So, rather than choosing on a case by case basis which good deeds to perform, I do these things by default, because my changed heart leads me to do it. My passive state of heart should become that of a secretive giver.

This applies to many sins and virtues. You can decide how it looks in your own life. Maybe you struggle with lust. The goal is to not fight down each case of lust day to day (active), but to lose that lustful desire altogether, redirecting that time and energy to the good of God's kingdom. Maybe you find yourself reluctant to serve others in any capacity. The goal is not to force yourself into every opportunity for service, but to regenerate that part of your heart to serve others joyfully by nature, as a passive state of being, so that it is no longer a struggle but a delight. Maybe you struggle with the delicious desire to gossip and slander. Rather than biting your tongue in each conversation with your friends as you avoid speaking those nasty thoughts, the goal is to reform that part of your heart so that you naturally see the good in people and delight in building others up, and living with a quieter tongue and a listening ear. The struggle flees as the passive state of the renewed heart takes over in you.

Active vs. passive. This is the meaningful thought that came to mind this morning, and I am thankful. It has given me another way to meditate on the journey of character formation. This all sounds very good, you might think, but it sounds so difficult. Maybe you've been wanting to change for months or years, but there is very little change. Let me encourage you by saying that there is a way to pursue change. You are not powerless. Let me direct you to some resources that will guide you in the journey of heart transformation. All you need to do is carefully and thoughtfully read about and put into practice what these authors advise. Pick up the following list of books, in this order, and you will learn something very valuable about spiritual formation into Christlikeness. Also make note of the other books listed in the right-hand column of this blog. If we are going to grow and change, we need to be intentional about our pursuit. These books tell us how and why.

Renovation of the Heart: A thorough overview of transformation of the inmost depths of your being.
The Spirit of the Disciplines: A theoretical, historical, and practical overview of Christian spiritual disciplines.
Celebration of Discipline: A very practical and detailed guide to several classic Christian spiritual disciplines.
The Divine Conspiracy: A comprehensive look at discipleship and the life of the disciple.