Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Taking a Shortcut to God?

We live in a culture of experts. Everywhere one turns, there are professionals touting advice on everything from how to repair your car to how to fix your marriage. And, in Christian circles, some have even started to believe that there are “God experts”—people who can pray in just the right way that God hears them or who worship in such a way as to make God listen. We begin to rely on these people as our sole source of information about God, rather than make the effort to encounter Him directly ourselves.

In his new book, Secondhand Jesus: Trading Rumors of God for a Firsthand Faith (David C Cook, June 2009), author and worship pastor of New Life Church Glenn Packiam summons readers upon a passionate quest—a holy pursuit—to truly experience Christ’s power and love for themselves. “God wants us to know Him deeply and personally,” Packiam says. “But there are no shortcuts to God. The Bible tells us that ‘The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.’” (Matthew 7:14, The Message)

God has offered us firsthand knowledge of His love, His grace, and His power. Yet so often, we too easily settle for someone else’s descriptions, the Cliff notes from another’s spiritual journey. We are content for others to do the heavy lifting and then give us the bottom line. And, like any secondhand information, after enough times through the grapevine, the truth about God deteriorates and crumbs of rumor are all that remain.

But when life derails, and things don’t go as we had planned, our thin view of God is challenged. In those critical moments, we can choose to walk away from God, or to let our questions lead us home. When we choose to wrestle with God, to engage Him individually, we—like Jacob and Job and David—will see rumors die and revelation come alive.

Crushing rumors of God that many Christians mistakenly hold, Secondhand Jesus isn’t a five-step formula, but rather a challenge to Christians to own their faith by questioning their preconceived ideas about God. “It’s time to hear the magnificent, Divine Invitation,” says Packiam. “It’s time to take God up on His offer and embrace the mystery and majesty of knowing Him for ourselves.”

Author Bio

Glenn Packiam is an associate worship pastor at New Life Church and the director of New Life School of Worship in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was one of the founding worship leaders and songwriters for the Desperation Band. Glenn’s worship songs, like “Your Name,” “Everyone (Praises),” “My Savior Lives,” and “We Lift You Up,” are being sung in churches all over the world. Glenn is also the author of Butterfly in Brazil. He and his wife, Holly, and their two adorable daughters, Sophia and Norah, live in Colorado Springs.

New Twist for my Blog

For some time now I have been writing pseudo-professionally, and because of that you may start to see some changes to my blog. I do a little writing for the B&B Media Group, and they promote and market a lot of really good books. As a result of my relationship with B&B Media, I'm going to start posting some press releases of some of the books they promote so that you will be aware of what's "out there" that you may want to add to your reading list. I hope this will prove helpful to you and to B&B. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Christmas Quotes

"I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses." - Taylor Caldwell

"Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year." - Victor Borge

"Sing out with joy for the brave little boy who is God, but he made himself nothing." - Andrew Peterson

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Quotes continued....

"There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle –the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture." - Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Quotes

From now until Christmas day I'm going to share some of my favorite Christmas quotes with you. Enjoy!

  • "Today as I read the accounts of Jesus' birth I tremble to think of the fate of the world resting on the responses of two rural teenagers." - Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

5 Awesome Gifts for Men

I'm putting together a list of Christmas goodies that any intelligent man would want this year. I own some of these, but would love to have others. Without further hesitation, I bring you Steve's list of Awesome Guy Christmas Presents:

1. Keurig Single Cup Home Brewing System - I recently acquired this lovely machine as a pastor appreciation gift. It's awesome. I hate brewing a pot of coffee when all I really want is one cup. With this bad boy there are no messy coffee grains, no filters to bother with, and no re-warming of old coffee because you feel bad throwing out half a pot at the end of the day. Plus, it makes a really good cup of joe. This is a must have for the coffee lover.

2. Under Armour Boxerjock - OK, I'm not going to post a picture of these, but trust me when I tell you that this is simply the finest pair of male undergarment ever invented. Also trust me when I say that every man needs to replenish all or some of his underwear each year. Enough said.

3. Kindle - If there's one item on this year's list that I covet most, it's the Kindle. This electronic book reader is like having an entire library of books in a device the size of a thin paperback. Here are only a few of the features the Kindle offers:

  • Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines
  • Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback
  • Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered wirelessly in less than 60 seconds; no PC required
  • 3G Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle; no annual contracts, no monthly fees, and no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Global Coverage: Enjoy 3G wireless coverage at home or abroad in over 100 countries.
  • Paper-Like Display: Reads like real paper without glare, even in bright sunlight
  • Carry Your Library: Holds up to 1,500 books
  • Longer Battery Life: Now read for up to 1 week on a single charge with wireless on, a significant improvement from the previous battery life of 4 days
  • Built-In PDF Reader: Your Kindle can now display PDF documents natively. Native PDF support allows you to carry and read all of your personal and professional documents on the go.
  • Read-to-Me: With the experimental Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you, unless the book's rights holder made the feature unavailable
  • Free Book Samples: Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy
  • Large Selection: Over 360,000 books, including 101 of 112 New York Times® Best Sellers, plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs.
  • Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases are $9.99, unless marked otherwise. When traveling abroad, you can download books wirelessly from the Kindle Store or your Archived Items. U.S. customers will be charged a fee of $1.99 for international downloads.
Santa, if you're listening, I'd really love to have a Kindle.

4. DigiMemo Tablet - The unique toy records your notes, ideas, drawings, sketches and flowcharts as you create them, and stores them as image files to flash memory or to an optional CompactFlash card in real time. What could be easier or more natural than handwriting your notes using a pen on ordinary paper? I would use this thing a lot for taking notes at meetings, conferences, etc. Very cool.

5. Powermat Charger - My son likes to chew on my iPhone charger, and it seems like we're always looking for that stupid cord. The Powermat charger is a mat that is roughly the size of two mouse pads that allows you to charge your phone and other devices by simply laying them on the mat. Pretty awesome!