Monthly Archives: January 2012

Book Review: Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God

I finally finished a book that has been on my to read list for a long long time.  A special thanks to Mike O for picking up Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God for me off my My Amazon Wishlist.

If you’ve been around Chi Alpha at UVA long enough, you know that Gordon Fee is a special theologian.  He’s Pete’s theological hero, he has spoken at one of our retreats, and he authors one of the books that we use for our internship.  Kind of a big deal.

Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God is a book in which Fee asks us to read Paul anew, nay to read Paul correctly.  While the book is informative, Fee doesn’t back down from the fact he’s trying to be persuasive.  And persuasive he is.

One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Fee is that he boils it all down to being the eschatological people of God.  We are people marked by the Spirit, and as the community of God we live in the now but not yet times.  Our thinking, being, and doing should flow forth because of this reality.

This is why we need the Spirit.  As we live in the hope of what is to come, the Holy Spirit is the person of the trinity that is there for us now.  He helps to bring the coming of the kingdom into our own lives now.

I appreciated all of Fee’s book.  The beginning and the end were the best for me.  Maybe I didn’t focus enough, or just felt like it wasn’t as revolutionary but his stuff on Conversion in the middle wasn’t the best I had read from him.

He makes a great case for why we are the people of the Spirit and what we should do with this presence, this delicious presence he calls it.

I highly recommend Fee’s book, especially if you want to understand the third person of the Trinity better!



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January 28, 2012 · 9:23 am

Book Review: Enemies of the Heart

I got a copy of Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley to review the other day from Mulnomah.

I’ve always enjoyed Andy, and have found him to be really good at many of the things that he focuses on.  This list includes, money, margin and then the topic of this book.  The enemies of the heart.  The subtitle of the book is breaking free from the four emotions that control you.

This book was born out of a series they do at Northpoint on these four things.  The last time they did it it was branded around the word owe.

I owe you – guilt. You owe me – anger. I owe me – greed. God owes me – jealousy.

Andy gives some great insight into each of these four areas and how to spot them in your own life.  Thankfully, this is not where Andy stops with the book.  He takes a good portion of the book to help people understand how to work these things out of our hearts.  The last section is on why it matters in the long haul.

Like always, I found Andy to be incredibly pastoral and always pushing towards an application.  It’s a great book for anyone to read, because chances are we all deal with at least one of these enemies of the heart.


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College Students

I found a very interesting article over at Gospel Coalition today. Check it out and let me know what you think…

I found them to be great points. I can say that we’ve definitely see students respond to hard truths here. Students want depth and authenticity and will go anywhere to find it.

I will also say that we are really beginning to focus on the nations more than ever. I, wrongfully, thought students wouldn’t be interested… I couldn’t have been more wrong. They have embraced God’s heart for the nations!

Have you seen the other ones in action especially? If you’re a college student, what do you think of this list? Anything you would add?

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Quarterback Smorterback

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of all this Quarterback talk.  I’m tired of quarterbacks getting all the credit for everything.  I’m tired of quarterbacks winning the MVP when it should have been the kicker (see the national championship game).  I’m tired of all the quarterback sound bites.  Just tired of it.

On the radio this morning, I heard a sound bit from the Herd.  He said that you can win with a bad quarterback, but you can’t win the super bowl.  It’s sound bites like that that just continue the trend of this trash of an idea.

Tired of it.

There’s a lot more to a football team than the quarterback.  You can win without great quarterback play.  I would even argue you can win super bowls without them.

Three of the four teams left this weekend focus on defense.  It’s the major focus.  They also all have great running games.  That’s their strategy for success.  It’s not as much about the quarterback.

It is possible to win without a great quarterback.  It’s possible to win without a great running back.  It’s possible to win without a great cornerback.  You just have to work around it.  Stop giving the quarterback that much credit.

The odds are stacked for the offense.  The quarterback can’t even be touched anymore, of course he’s going to put up great numbers.  I’m not impressed.

I’m tired of the MVP of the year always being a quarterback.  I’m tired of the MVP of the Super Bowl automatically being the quarterback.  It’s ridiculous.  And as far as I’m concerned it’s the easy way out.

I don’t like the Patriots, but I really hope they lose big time this weekend so that it’s clear that defense and a running game win championships.



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My Next Fun Savings

I save money up for purchases.  I normally keep a stack of bills on my dresser that are earmarked for my next “fun” purchase.  My last one was an iPad.  That one, as you can imagine, took quite a while to save up for.  (The stack of 20s was quite impressive also).

I save money like this because I see it as the only smart option for purchases.  Credit Card and store  card debt is not gtg, so I save my extra cash and fun money as it comes.  Sometimes it takes several months, sometimes it doesn’t.

Other than telling you that I don’t believe in debt.  I thought I’d share with you the thing which I desire to save my money up for now.

It’s a watch.

But it’s not just any watch.

It comes from Cabelas.  Yeah, that Cabelas.  The world’s foremost outfitter.  And definitely my favorite store that I’ve never been in ( I don’t think Amazon is a store…).

It’s not just any Cabelas watch either.  It tells time.  Of course.  But it also tells location.  Pretty fascinating.  But the real reason this is the watch I want….


It tells TEMPERATURE!!!  How cool is that?  Epic.  That’s what it is.  I know, I’m old and I want to know the temperature all the time.  So, why not have it on a watch?

That’s a little peak into the spending habits and savings goal for me right now….

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UVA dook thoughts

First of all, I don’t really believe in moral victories when it comes to sports teams.  I just don’t.  So, I’m not going to give you we should hang our head high after hanging with and almost beating dook last night talk.  (Also, I have taught my computer to learn how to spell “dook”).

However, there were some things that gave me great hope from last night.  So, instead of moral victory talk I’ll say what I’m excited about as we continue further into the ACC season.

1. Akil Mitchell.  Last night showed the athleticism that Akil has and I’m excited to highlight that down the stretch.  That put back jam at the end of the game was nasty and I want to see more of that.  I thought he and Mike worked well on the block moving the ball to each other also.

2. Mike Scott.  Well, we already knew Mike was a big part of the offense and could score whenever he wanted against weaker opponents.  Last night showed he can take over games against bigger guys down low.  I had concerns about him going up against the Plumlees and Reggie Johnson.  He’s disproved those thoughts handily.

3. Jontel didn’t turn the ball over last night.  That’s impressive against an aggressive dook team.  Very impressed.

4. We played very well in one of the most hostile environments in college basketball.  That is a very good sign as we continue to go on the road and eventually end up playing at neutral sites.  I like that we were able to rise to the occasion last night.

5. Anybody else notice that Assane didn’t miss any shots last night?  Made all his field goals and free throws?  And won the opening tip?  Did that really happen?


So, those are five positives from last night heading into the teeth of the ACC season.  You notice anymore?

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Book Review: Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

Well, I got a copy of Circle Maker and read it!  First of all, it should be noted that I’m a Mark Batterson fan.  I’ve read all of his books, occasionally attend his church, and enjoy his leadership musings.

I can’t imagine writing a prayer book.  It seems like one of the hardest things to do.  How do you stay true to the Bible and encourage people to continue dreaming that God would do big things?  How do you push people to have a high view of God but not promise that everything will always go your way?  How do you tell stories of miracles that God has done and not sound like a braggart?

For all these reasons, I would never write a prayer book.

Luckily, Mark is able to handle these tensions quite well in Circle Maker.

Mark uses several Scripture pictures all throughout Circle Maker and really grounds the book both in Scripture and in examples of how God has come through for some big requests in the life of NCC and in the lives of people he knows.  These stories are both motivational and convicting.  They challenged me to pray bigger prayers and to dream bigger dreams.

Even with this challenge, Mark is sure to point out that we have to pray in the will of God for the glory of God to have full effectiveness in our prayer life.  This isn’t a magic formula and there’s no guaranteed output for a specific input.  I appreciated how Mark was able to toe the line of being very motivational but grounded in the big Scripture pictures.  He even tells at least one story of a couple who have been praying for something personally and have never seen it happen.

The book is broken down into three sections, Dream Big, Pray Hard, Think Long.

I found the pray hard section to be the most convicting.  Mark speaks a length about praying through and continuing to pray for things even though we don’t see them happening yet.  While, I don’t know that I believe that we all have guardian angels, Mark gives some good biblical background and good biblical stories to illustrate this point (think Daniel and the angel Gabriel and the Israelites and the story of Jericho).

The last part of the book was my favorite.  Mark takes the time to share with us his life goal list.  I enjoyed that section of the book and have even started my own life goal list.  I put some reaches on there so that I would have to start praying in some miracles for them to happen.

Overall, I think a prayer book should be judged on the following criteria: Did it make me want to pray more?

I can honestly say that Circle Maker did make me want to pray more, and I hope it does the same for you!

ps. Primal is still my favorite Batterson book, so you should check that one out if you haven’t yet…

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Due Date

As you may know, Katie and I are having a boy. We are currently due in the beginning of May. This is important. Very important. It is very important that we do not have the baby early.

The reason for this is a book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. In his book (which I haven’t read), Malcolm says that people succeed because they’re outliers. They were either held back or were older than all the other kids their age and they stood out as outliers.

So, last night Katie and were driving home from taking Emma to see her cousins and I was thinking about a post from Coby Massie. He was talking about a curve ball and his future son.

That got me thinking.

My son will be born in May. All stars cut offs are in May. So, my son should be the oldest on his all star team. This. Is. Awesome.

This also means if my son doesn’t make the all star team, it’s my fault. Yup, all my fault.

No pressure. No pressure at all.

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BCS National Championship Game

So, I watched the Rematch last night.

And I liked it. A lot.

I love defense. And it was there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen defense like that before. I honestly have to think that Alabama team had one of the best defenses ever. Ever. That was domination. 39 rushing yards and less than 100 yards total in a BCS Championship Game. I love it.

Watching the speed of the defense and their ability to cover sideline to sideline was mesmerizing. That doesn’t even mention the domination of the defensive front. They dominated that side of the game like they were playing against the JV squad.

To be upfront, I had picked LSU and rooted for LSU during the game. I didn’t think that Alabama should have been playing in the game but not only did they play they dominated. There was just never any point where it felt like LSU was gonna crawl back into the game.

Alabama was better defensively, offensively, and from the coaching side. I couldn’t believe that LSU kept running the option. It made no sense why they kept trying that when clearly Alabama had the speed and ability to shut that down handily.

One ridiculous side note. Nick Saban brought a laser scanner if some sort for all of the team meals. He wanted to make sure all the food was properly cooked so there wouldn’t be any food poisoning or ill effects from that aspect. That’s incredible attention to detail and a but superfluous as far as I’m concerned.

I’m not at all disappointed that Alabama won. I’m confused about the season. LSU beat three BCS bowl winners (Alabama, Oregon, West Virginia), Alabama looked like the best team in the country last night, but OK State only lost to Iowa State immediately after a tragedy that no one can imagine. A playoff only up tells you who was the best at the end of the year, the BCS was supposed to take care of the whole season. It fell short this year.

Your thoughts on the game?


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