Links I like

Spurgeon’s Sorrows

spurgeons-sorrows

Be sure to pick up a copy of Spurgeon’s Sorrows by Zack Eswine for $5.50 (or $4.50 when buying four or more) at Westminster Bookstore.

Quoting “Heretics” Approvingly

Mark Jones (note: the quotation marks are important):

Who are Reformed Christians, theologians, and pastors allowed to read? Or, more specifically, who are we allowed to cite positively in our writings and conversations? Are we allowed to speak positively of anything N.T. Wright has written, for example, without getting accused of all sorts of things?

Consider Thomas Goodwin, an important member of the Westminster Assembly who helped craft the Westminster documents. Those he read and cited approvingly provide a fascinating test case into how a Reformed theologian from the seventeenth century regarded the writings of those from within and those from outside his own theological tradition.

Our seared conscience on abortion

Matt Chandler:

One of the things I have found so interesting around this topic in particular is when I sit across from unbelievers, they will often bring up … scientific data to prove their point. “How could I believe that? Look at this!” The reason I’m becoming more and more inclined that what we’re dealing with here is no longer sane but rather insane is the science of the matter falls on deaf ears when you speak to those who are secular around this matter.

Stress destroys your brain

Jane Porter:

But before you get stressed about your ever-shrinking noggin, know that we are talking about prolonged chronic stress here. There are plenty of healthy kinds of stress we experience in small doses—the kind you feel before an important meeting or presentation, for example, that can give you a boost of energy and adrenalin.

A Word for Writers and Publishing Houses

Joey Cochran shares a thought-provoking quote from William Bridge.

How to Write More Gooder

Kevin DeYoung:

I wish I knew better how to articulate the keys to good writing. When I write it is a very intuitive process. After the fact I can look back and tell you why I did what I did, and looking at an intern’s paper I can point out what needs to be improved, but coming up with the ten most important principles of effective writing has so far eluded me. What I can point to are a few simple practices which may help a great deal.

You might also enjoy my similarly titled eBook on this subject.

My Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal For This Year – It’s Not What You Think

Mark Altrogge:

Maybe BHAGs work for companies and even for some churches. But I would submit that the Bible encourages a different kind of BHAG. Here’s the Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal that I am going to shoot for this year: to be faithful. Better yet, I want to be faithful in a few small things.

The Bible doesn’t encourage us to pursue greatness, but to be faithful servants. To be faithful in small things.

Saturday is for Sabbath (2)

Today is Saturday, and it’s been an incredibly stressful week.

A wise man, when talking about stress, service and responsibility, once said, “Know the size of your plate.” To continue with this analogy, if the amount of stuff I could comfortably handle could fit on a dinner plate, the amount I’ve got would fit on a buffet table.

But I continue to try to Sabbath and learn to deal with what I can as God enables me.

Today’s agenda is pretty simple:

Pray and read my Bible.

Read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Go for a family walk and/or Daddy-Daughter date

Write a letter to one of my oldest friends, Scott, and his new bride, Brittany (they’re getting married today!).

And, maybe have a nap.

That should be a pretty full day.


How are you spending your Saturday?

Recharging

recharging

You know what’s the best thing about a long weekend (and, in my case, an extra long one at that)?

Getting a chance to recharge.

My in-laws kindly invited us up for another weekend in Grand Bend (which we gratefully accepted). Although I’m not a beach guy, it’s really nice to get away from the regular routine. It’s funny, the last vacation I had (our attempt at a “stay-cation” in August), was actually one of the most stressful weeks Emily and I had all summer. Because there’s always stuff to do, time commitments, plus quality time with Abigail and Emily, sometimes things just get put off. And so that week was spent frantically playing catch up (got most of it done, in case you were wondering).

So this weekend has been much appreciated.

We were at the beach on Sunday morning, and my mother-in-law commented on the almost hypnotic quality of the ripples of the water. I looked and honestly, all I could see was the evidence of God’s grace. It may seem like a small thing, but it’s actually quite pleasant to look at.

I’ve gone out for a couple of walks along Ontario Street (Highway 21), which is also very pleasant, despite the stream of traffic trying to go to the beach. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to just sit and read…

And it’s nice.

I kind of feel like I’m able to breathe a bit easier.

I’m still struggling to effectively deal with stress. I don’t like having more on my plate than I can possibly address. Nor do I like having actually found my limit for how much I can actually do (for what might be the first time).

All that adds stress.

But what adds more stress is not taking the time I need to actually function like a human being. To be, as a friend recently told me, needlessly absolute and negative in my language.

So I think I’ll be able to go back to the regular day-to-day with a bit of a clear head. I’m hoping it lasts longer than a couple days.

And if it doesn’t… well, I guess I’ll look forward to the next opportunity to recharge.

Week Five: Am I an Adrenaline Junkie?

This week, at the request of my mentor, I’ve been reading a book called Adrenaline and Stress, by Dr. Archibald D. Hart. Because of the recent events in our lives at the Armstrong home, we’ve all been feeling a greater deal of stress, and the truth is, I’ve never learned to manage stress well.

I always thought that I was immune to stress. That I could handle it, because, well, “I’m a man.”

Stress “helped” me function. It made me more productive. For five years, I worked a job with extreme deadlines and unrealistic expectations. 60 hour weeks were the norm. And I could do it. When I left there, I didn’t know quite what to do with myself at Compassion, because I didn’t have the enormous workload. I was actually stressed about not having anything to do. Now, the opposite is the case. But here’s the thing:  I have a great deal of trouble relaxing. I don’t vacation well. I don’t know how to take time off. And I don’t sleep much or well.

[Read more…]