Around the Interweb (03/21)

Christianity Changing China  

Read this very brief article in the China Daily (China’s official English language newspaper). It’s the testimony of a university student who converted to Christianity.  

Now if you’ve been following China for any length of time you might be picking your jaw up off the floor. Get this: 

  • The official and highly controlled newspaper of the Communist government is featuring a story of a religious conversion of an exceptionally bright university student who found meaninglessness in existence apart from God.
  • He was given a Bible by a colleague, and the reader is not led to believe this is a bad thing.
  • He converted to Christ after reading it and now is experiencing fulfillment.
  • And he’s now happily attending an unregistered church (i.e house church).

Whoa. 

We know the church is unregistered because yesterday the China Daily ran an article on house churches that are thriving in Beijing and featured that church. In fact, this particular unregistered church has actually been allowed to purchase property for a church building.  

This doesn’t discount the fact that persecution still occurs in China. But we need to let this news soak in. This little article is huge. God is doing something incredible in that great nation 

 Keep praying. 

HT: Desiring God (via Z)  


In Other News  

Tullian Tchividjian: Counterfeit Gospels  

The latest on Matt Chandler’s health & cancer treatment. Overall pretty encouraging. Keep praying.  

The latest on Michael Spencer’s health. The prognosis is grim. Pray hard.  


  

Want a free copy of Start Here by Alex & Brett Harris?   

Here’s how:   

  1. Subscribe via email or feedburner (comment and let me know)
  2. Send a message on Twitter
  3. Comment or email and say you want in

You can enter multiple times. All names will be entered into a spreadsheet and the winner will be chosen at random via Random.org. Contest closes Friday March 26, 2010. The winner will be announced after confirming their mailing address. Best of luck and thanks to all who enter!  

Read a review of the book.  


In Case You Missed It  

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:  

Jude: Contending to Keep Us From Stumbling  

A review of Brian Tome’s latest, Free Book  

P.T. Forsyth on the orator and the preacher  

Introducing our new daughter, Hannah Grace

Signing Bibles and Sweating to Avril Lavigne: An interview with Matthew Paul Turner

Matthew Paul Turner is a blogger, speaker, and author of Churched: One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess, The Christian Culture Survival Guide, and several other popular books. His latest, Hear No Evil: My Story of Innocence, Music and the Holy Ghost, was officially released yesterday by Waterbrook Press (read the review here). Turner attended Nashville’s Belmont University, where he received a BBA in music business, and is the former editor of CCM magazine. Turner has written for Relevant, HomeLife, Christian Single, and other magazines.  

Online, he’s perhaps best known for his blog, “Jesus Needs New PR,” where he regularly pokes fun at some of the more silly aspects of the Christian subculture, as well as his running commentary on shows like The Bachelor and American Idol on Twitter. Love him or loathe him, Turner gets people’s attention (and a laugh while he’s at it).  

Today’s a special day, because he’s joining us over here for an interview, and I’m giving away a copy of Hear No Evil (provided by Waterbrook Press)! The giveaway details follow the interview. Enjoy!  


 AA: I’m not from a Christian background, so it’s been interesting/bizarre to read about your experiences in such a conservative setting. Because you’ve quite obviously gotten out of the bubble, how do you navigate the tendency to “overcorrect” that can happen?  

MPT: Though it might come across this way to some, I don’t write in hopes of “pro-actively” correcting my past (though it has helped me heal), I write to simply tell my story. Of course, that’s not to say that some people don’t read what I write and “see” that written in the context. I suppose if I’m tempted to “over correct,” it’s in my desire to not exclude anybody from God’s story. And to protect and defend those who most often get excluded. I spent years hating a lot of people and excluding them from God’s story, and I’m certain I probably go too far once in a while in hopes of making that right.  

Did you seriously have people sign your Bible?  

Yes. Mostly evangelists. After they would speak, there’d be long lines of people waiting to get their Bibles signed.  

Have you ever found an answer to why Dylan has a career?  

Sure. He’s a fantastic thinker, poet, and champion of ideas… but I still don’t think he’s a good singer. :)  

What’s the weirdest song you have ever seen co-opted for a church service?  

Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated”– to make it worse, there was a guy who was interpreting the song with sign language. And I am not lying, when the girl finished singing and he finished signing, HE was covered in sweat. Forehead, shirt, armpits–all wet from attempting to translate a Christianized version of Avril’s song to the three hearing impaired people who were at church that day. [Read more...]

Crave: Stories of Simple Obedience

Crave by Chris Tomlinson has given me a lot ot think about this week, specifically about taking steps of simple obedience, trusting God in what He’s asking me to do today.

If you’re unfamiliar with the book, you can read the review here and the first three chapters below (via Scribd). After the jump, learn how you can win a free copy of Crave.

An Act of Simple Obedience

This weekend, I’m sharing with our church about a step of obedience that we took this past Christmas, sending letters telling our families about how God used the events of 2009 to reveal more of Himself to us and grow us in our faith. [Read more...]

A Post-Christmas Present for you-A Winner Has Been Chosen!

And the winner is… Bryon Harvey.

Many thanks to all who entered!


As a post-Christmas present, I’m giving away one copy of John Piper’s wonderful book, Don’t Waste Your Life—and you could win it.

About the book:

John Piper writes, “I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider this story from the February 1998 Reader’s Digest: A couple ‘took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30-foot trawler, play softball and collect shells. . ..’ Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: ‘Look, Lord. See my shells.’ That is a tragedy.

“God created us to live with a single passion: to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.”

Most people slip by in life without a passion for God, spending their lives on trivial diversions, living for comfort and pleasure, and perhaps trying to avoid sin. This book will warn you not to get caught up in a life that counts for nothing. It will challenge you to live and die boasting in the cross of Christ and making the glory of God your singular passion. If you believe that to live is Christ and to die is gain, read this book, learn to live for Christ, and don’t waste your life!

How To Enter:

There are a few ways to enter, and you can enter multiple times. So, if you subscribe to the RSS feed, follow me on Twitter and leave a comment on this post, you’ll be entered three times.

  1. Leave a comment below telling me why you want to win a copy of Don’t Waste Your Life
  2. Subscribe to the blog either via email or an RSS feed.  Leave a comment to let me know
  3. Link to this post and/or add Blogging Theologically to your blog roll. Send me an email (aaron.armstrong9_at_gmail_dot_com) or a comment with a link to your post
  4. Follow me on Twitter and retweet the following–RT: @AaronStrongarm is giving away a copy of Don’t Waste Your Life by @JohnPiper.  Find out how to win! http://bit.ly/8xYgSy

This contest will end on Thursday, December 31st, at 12:00 noon. The Randomly selected winner will be notified via email and announced here once they’ve confirmed their mailing address.

This contest is open to residents of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Many thanks to all who participate.

Sunday Shorts (10/25)

tim-kellerCounterfeit Gods—The Personal Story

Tim Keller shares his story of ministry idolatry:

Like many younger ministers I worked far too many hours, never saying “no” to anyone’s request for my pastoral services. When salary increases were offered to me, I turned them down. When administrative help was offered to me, I declined. I was quite proud of being the kind of person who worked very hard, never complained, and never asked for any help. This regularly brought me into conflict with my wife, who rightly contended that I was neglecting my relationships to her and to my young sons. It also led to health problems, although I was only in my early thirties…

It wasn’t until I began to search my heart with the Biblical category of idolatry that I made the horrendous discovery that all my supposed sacrifices were just a series of selfish actions. I was using people in order to forge my own self-appreciation. I was looking to my sacrificial ministry to give me the sense of “righteousness before God” that should only come from Jesus Christ.

HT Justin Taylor


Book Giveaway at Devotional Christian

Tony Kummer’s giving away 22 top devotional books—and it’s a pretty wonderful selection!


Martin Luther’s Here I Stand—Free at The Listener’s Bible

In celebration of Reformation Day (October 31st), The Listener’s Bible store is offering a free download of Martin Luther’s Here I Stand, narrated by Max Mclean. Here’s the product description:

In the late afternoon of April 18, 1521, in the city of Worms, Germany, Martin Luther, a 37 year-old Catholic monk was called to defend himself before Charles the Fifth, the Holy Roman Emperor. The speech he delivered that day, Here I Stand, marked the beginning of the Reformation, a critical turning point in Christian history, that decisively altered the spiritual map of the world.

In this recording, Max McLean introduces the events leading up to the Diet of Worms: Martin Luther’s prayer the night before he delivered his speech; Luther’s stirring defense; the Catholic church’s rebuttal; and, Luther’s final heartfelt response.

This offer is available until November 1.


In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Dug Down Deep, impressions on the first chapter of Josh Harris’ forthcoming book—and Josh Harris linked back with some really kind words!

O2: Breathing New Life Into Faith, reviewing Richard Dahlstrom’s new book on building a sustainable faith

Be Intolerant of the Right Things, thoughts on D.A. Carson’s “The Intolerance of Tolerance

J.I. Packer: What is a Christian? a passage from Packer’s classic work, “Knowing God”

Sunday Shorts (10/04)

And the Winner is…

The winner of the A Million Miles in a Thousand Years contest is Amber! Congratulations, Amber—your copy of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years will be on its way shortly.

Free Audio Book of the Month: Just Courage

Christianaudio.com is offering Just Courage: God’s Great Expedition for the Restless Christian by Gary A. Haugen, president of International Justice Mission, as its free audio book of the month. Use the coupon code OCT2009 when purchasing.

Phil Johnson on Rob Bell: Performance Artist

Over at Pyromaniacs, Phil Johnson examines Rob Bell’s interview in the Boston Globe about how recovering the “spiritual context” of the word evangelical, from it’s use as as a synonym for “religious right-wing politicos”:

In fact, listen to Bell’s own cockamamie claim about what the term properly describes: “I embrace the term evangelical, if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That’s a beautiful sort of thing.”

So is that what Bell considers “a spiritual context,” or did he already forget what he had just been saying about how the term became politicized and corrupted in the first place? Hmmm.

HT: Challies

In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Pray Without Ceasing, why prayer is essential in the life of a church and its people.

Book Review: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, examining the good and bad of Donald Miller’s latest.

King Jesus, fixing our eyes on the wonder of the risen Christ.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years-The Contest!

This contest is now closed.


Yesterday, I (and a few thousand other bloggers) reviewed Donald Miller’s new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years—and my friends at Thomas Nelson have generously provided one copy to give away to you.

Want to win a copy? Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Add your name and email to the Google Doc form or use the form below:[ Form Removed ]
  2. Tell me a story—Leave a comment telling me why you’d like to read this book. The more entertaining the better.

It’s that simple.

The winner will be selected at random and notified via email to arrange mailing. The winner will also be welcome to review A Million Miles in a Thousand Years for publication here should he or she wish.

The contest closes on Saturday at midnight (EDT), so enter before it’s too late!