J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

What I’m Reading – What About You?

Birthdays give me the chance to gather in a few more books to read as Amazon gift cards are typically great gifts that people give me.  Right now, I’m reading a bunch of books across a bunch of genres.  I would love to know what you are reading as well.

 

The War Within – I just finished this book this morning and will be posting a review soon.  It is a book about counseling and working through sexual purity covering everything from internet pornography to counseling affairs.  The book is anonymous which means it is more honest than most.

 

Think by John Piper – I got this book in a buy one get one free at CCEF.  Only a chapter in so far, but Piper deals with the subject of what right thinking looking like for one who claims Jesus as their Savior.

 

Money, God or Gift by Jamie Munson – This book written Mark Driscoll’s administrative pastor talks about a biblical approach to money.  Three chapters in, it feels like a Driscoll book but without the sarcasm.

 

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin – Great novel about a young woman’s foray into the high end art world.  Steve Martin writes tremendously better than he chooses movies at this point in his life.

 

The Chris Farley Show – This is the 4th life story of a drug addict that I’ve read in the last 3 months.  Farley’s life is retold by his best friends, and at the half way point, it is tremendously sad.

 

Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick – I haven’t started it yet, but I received this book from the publisher for a blog review, so look for that soon.  I must admit that I’m tremendously skeptical about this one.  I’ll let you know.

 

So with that, what you are reading these days?  What has been the good or bad?  I can’t wait to hear from you.

November 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Fighting Worldliness This Holiday Season

I recently finished reading “Worldliness” a collection of essays by such authors as C.J. Mahaney and John Piper. Though small, this book is incredibly practical and theologically sound. It focuses not on the list of things to do or not do to maintain holiness and avoid worldliness, but instead, it offers practical tips as to how we should guard our hearts from drifting into a love of this world. In this area, I would agree with the book. The issue of our love for the world lies not the things we avoid or indulge, but rather the issue of our love for the world lies in what our heart is drawn to or even away from.

CJ Mahaney, in his article, offers a practical guideline as to how we know if our hearts are drifting away from holiness and into a love of this world. He describes it in way: “It begins with a dull conscience and a listless soul. Sin does not grieve you like it once did. Passion for the Savior begins to cool. Affections grow dim. Excitement lessens for participating in the local church. Eagerness to evangelize starts to wane. Growth in godliness slows to a crawl.”

I thought there was great wisdom in this explanation. Each thing he mentions can gradually creep into our lives while we are so often are unaware of its presence. For example, does sin grieve us at it once did or have we grown accustomed to it? Do we worship and participate in the life of our local church out of obligation or passion? Have we lost our excitement for sharing the truths of the Gospel to those who need it or have we by default left it for someone else to do?

These things might not immediately warn us of a heart that is moving toward worldliness, but if they are present, they are evidence of a dimming passion for Christ. If our passion is dimming for Christ, the only remaining passion is for this world. Mahaney warns of not taking these things seriously. He samples a typical response.

We say, “Oh, it’s not serious. I’ve just been in a busy season. Yeah, I’m not as excited about the gospel or the Christian life as I used to be, but I’m fine. I’m still attending church. It’s not like I’ve left God or anything. I’ve just been preoccupied lately. I’ll get back on track soon.”

Mahaney’s response is dead on. We don’t want to admit that our hearts have grown dim in passion for Christ and grown alive in passion for this world. I found this article and the other ones as well just incredibly encouraging and immensely practical. Check it out if you can.

This article also appears at the Raleigh Examiner. Read it there and help me earn a penny.

December 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Questions to Be Asked in Light of Pastor Matt Chandler’s Tumor

Pastor Matt Chandler’s recent seizure and surgery are beginning to have a profound effect on many people. Chandler was already an incredibly influential speaker/pastor/writer, and now through his incredible testimony in the midst of suffering, his Godly influence is spreading.

Learning from his mentor John Piper, Matt has spoken of the privilege of suffering while the world watches and written of “not wasting his tumor.” The video before his surgery can be found here.

When it comes down to it, Chandler and Piper are Godly men who realize that God ordains all things ultimately to bring Himself glory.

While watching from a distance, I have found the entire ordeal inspiring, encouraging, and convicting. Rightfully so, there are a host of questions that should arise from even the smallest interaction with these guys and their teachings. Each should challenge and convict and hopefully more people will walk closer to God in the midst of suffering instead of wandering further away.

Following are a list of helpful questions to ask as you consider your own heart in the midst of suffering:

• What areas of my life am I bitter about?
• Where am I mad at God?
• What good might God intend through this difficult circumstance?
• How is my suffering small compared to the suffering of so many?
• What things should I be more thankful for?
• Am I waiting on anything from God before I will serve God?

This article appears at the Raleigh Examiner. Read it there and help me earn a penny.

December 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment