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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Changing your mind about God

Book Review: The Gospel of Yes, by Mike Glenn

A. W. Tozer wrote that the most important thing about you is what you believe about God, because what you believe about God determines what you believe about everything else. In his new book, The Gospel of Yes, author and pastor Mike Glenn sets out to change how we think about God.

Many of us, myself included, grew up with the unspoken belief that God was against us. Yes, he provided forgiveness and salvation, which is a good thing. But he left us with a heavy burden of perfection. All of the do’s & don’ts (mostly don’ts) of the Christian life kept us on the performance treadmill. We were so busy trying to avoid sin that we never had the time or energy to enjoy the abundant life.

Beginning in the book of Genesis, Mike Glenn sets out to demonstrate that God really is for us. Even when he says “No,” such as in the 10 Commandments, he is really saying “Yes” to a deeper relationship with himself. Rather than the Christian life being a burden, Mike points out that God has a unique, good plan and purpose for each one of us. When we change our mind about God, we can discover our identity, true value, and unique purpose for our lives.

In the first half of the book, the author traces God’s promises to show that God is for us. In the second half, he tries to explain that God has a unique purpose for each of us. I think the first half of the book is stronger than the second half. While the second half is encouraging, it only whets your appetite to discover what your unique purpose is. It would be more helpful if it guided the reader in the discovery process. It probably needs a companion volume to take it further.

I think the book could benefit from more focus. It struck me as too broad and trying to cover the waterfront. While our opinion of God and his purpose for our lives are related, they both need greater exploration and depth.

There are a couple of occasions where the author uses proof texts to justify his points. The most glaring, in my opinion, is where he uses the phrase, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no” in Matthew 5:37 as the thesis of the book. That verse, however, is about speaking with integrity rather than punctuating your words with oaths or promises. It does not relate to either God’s promises or our purpose. While we should change how we think about God, we need to make sure our thinking is in line with what Scripture has revealed. If not, we can wind up with new errors in our thinking.

While the book is somewhat encouraging, its weaknesses keep it from being a great book.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Books

 

Crossing the Cascades

Driving from Seattle to Spokane this past weekend, we crossed over the Cascade Mountain range. Seeing the snow-capped peaks, I was reminded of Bilbo Baggins comment to Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring–“Mountains, Gandalf. I long to see mountains.”

Fortunately, we don’t have to go far to view the beauty of God’s creation.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Photos, Washington State

 

Friends and mentors

Kent & Barbara Hughes are two people I would drive out of my way to spend time with. From 1986-89, I served on Kent’s staff at the College Church in Wheaton, IL. Since that time, Kent has mentored me from afar through his books and commentaries. Though retired, Kent & Barbara are still active in ministry, investing in their extended family and pastors and wives through a conference ministry.

When I resigned from my church in February, I sent a note to friends and family around the country asking them to pray for us. Kent & Barbara responded immediately saying they were praying for Carol and me. They also invited us to visit them at their home in Spokane so they could encourage us in person.

Kent & Barbara have had their share of hardship and difficulty. They have experienced pain and grief, both personally and professionally. They acknowledge the reality of aging and changing health. Yet they are positive and encouraging. They have great confidence in God.

Kent & Barbara took the time to listen to Carol and me, asked good questions, acted indignantly to how we were treated, offered words of encouragement, and prayed for and with us. They reminded us that God sees everything and would be a just judge at the proper time. Their main concern was for our children and whether or not they loved Jesus. To them, that is what mattered most. They affirmed that God still has good plans and a great future for us. We still have much to offer in ministry. However, they cautioned that it may be far different from what we expect. Barbara suggested that if another church did not offer me a position, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to get a job to pay the bills and serve as a well-trained layman in a church.

Wherever God takes us during this next phase of ministry, we want to find some friends who are like the Hughes’—positive, encouraging, and passionate about life and God. We need to be more like that as well—intentional about mentoring those who will follow us.

It was a weekend well spent, worth driving out of our way for.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Family & Friends, Mentors, Photos

 

Thanks for serving

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Memorial Day, Photos

 

Base camp

For the third summer in a row, our youngest daughter is working for La Vida, the outdoor education program of Gordon College. This year, we were able to visit La Vida’s base camp, near Lake Clear in upstate New York. It allowed us to meet some of the staff and view the region that has meant so much to Caitlin over the years. Although it was a rainy day, we still enjoyed the beauty of the area.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Gordon College, La Vida, Photos

 

Ski jumps and Bobsled runs

While in upstate New York, we visited Lake Placid, home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games. It was fascinating to visit the venues for ski jumping and the bobsled/luge runs. You have to wonder at what point did someone think jumping off a cliff and soaring through the air wearing a pair of skis was a good idea. Also, the idea of sliding on concrete and ice? I’ll watch them on TV, thank you very much.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in New York State, Photos

 

Oxylymoronic

After celebrating graduation on Saturday at Gordon College, we drove to Saranac Lake, New York. We drove Caitlin’s car to the camp where she will be working this summer. Along the way, we stopped at a rest area in New Hampshire.

I don’t know about you, but I found the following scene eerily incongruous.

 

Normally, I expect to find free coffee at rest areas. But a state run liquor store at a state rest area? That’s a new one for me!

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Photos

 
 
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