Archive for the ‘books’ Category


So right now I am reading the brilliant book Miracles by C.S. Lewis, I came upon two passages that I think really bear repeating. I thought I’d share them here today as a little bonus.

The mention of that nation [Israel] turns our attention to one of those features of the Christian story which is repulsive to the modern mind. To be quite frank, we do not at all like the idea of a “chosen people.” Democrats by birth and education, we should prefer to think that all nations and individuals start level in the search for God, or even that all religions are equally true. It must be admitted at once that Christianity makes no concessions to that point of view. It does not tell of a human search for God at all, but of something done by God, for, to, and about Man. And the way in which it is done is selective, undemocratic, to the highest degree. After the knowledge of God is universally lost or obscured, one man from the whole earth (Abraham) is picked out. He is separated (miserably enough, we may suppose) from his natural surroundings, sent into a strange country, and made the ancestor of a nation who are to carry the knowledge of the true God. Within this nation there is further selection: some die in the desert, some remain behind in Babylon. There is further selection still. The process grows narrower and narrower, sharpens a last into one small bright point like the head of a spear. It is a Jewish girl a her prayers. All humanity (so far as concerns is redemption) has narrowed to that.

A little bit later in that same chapter, Lewis refines his point.

For when we look into the selectiveness which the Christians attribute to God, we find in it none of that “favoritism” which we are afraid of. The “chosen people” are chosen not for their own sake (certainly no for their own honour of pleasure) but for the sake of the unchosen. Abraham is told that “in his seed” (the chosen nation) “all nations shall ve blest.” That nation as been chosen to bear a heavy burden. Their sufferings are great: but as Isaiah recognized, their sufferings heal others. On the finally selected Woman, falls he utmost depth of maternal anguish. Her Son, the incarnate God, is a “Man of Sorrows;” the one man into whom Deity descended, the one Man who can be lawfully adored, is pre-eminent for suffering.

Leave it to Lewis to break down the point of what He calls (and this writer agrees is) God’s greatest miracle; the incarnation. God always knows what He’s doing and He is always working for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Trust Him!


Well it’s two days after Christmas and I am pleased to report that my family blessed me with a total of ten books, eight of which are a boxed set of classic theological books by C.S. Lewis. I was thrilled to dig in.

I have to be honest. When one reads some of C.S. Lewis’ works of fiction, amazing though they are, their clear language and understandability make it easy to forget that he was a professor at one of the top. There is no such difficulty with this book. This is heady stuff, that will no doubt require several more reads over the course of this life. Breaking it down to it’s simplest elements this book is, as the cover blurb states, a defense of universal values. Lewis calls these values the Tao, and he goes to great lengths to show how these values occur almost universally to all cultures, religions, etc. To violate these values is to lose our humanity. I found this book fascinating and I will not doubt read it again.


I love reading the Jesus Bible this year. It’s basically an NIV Study Bible, but what makes it unique is that all the commentary throughout show how the various passages point to Christ. It also contains several long form essays on various spiritual points from people such as Louie Giglio, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias and Randy Alcorn. I’ve always believed that all Scripture points to Christ. This Bible shows us how. I also found the Jesus Bible very helpful in my preaching this year, because whether I was preaching from Old Testament or New, the commentary helped me keep Christ first and foremost. This was a great devotional Bible for this year, and I highly recommend it.


Right here at the beginning, I am supposed to mention that I got this book free from the publisher in hopes that I would give it a review. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Have serious doubts that I am anywhere close to the demographic the author probably imagined as her audience. She’s a 20 something year old single woman a 56 year old happily married grandfather, but I have to tell you, I found this book thoroughly engaging. The book speaks of living in the presence and Kingdom of God. Zaldivar is a wonderful storyteller, who gives just enough of personal anecdotes to illustrate her points, yet often leaves them open-ended enough for the reader to draw his or her own conclusion. The book is powerful, challenging and very biblical.

Zaldivar subtitles her book Finding the Holy in the Here and Now and she delivers quite well on this. This book is about living for Jesus in the here and now with an eye toward eternity. This book is targeted to women, but I will tell you every one can gain something from reading it. This is her first full length book and my prayer is that she writes many more. This is one I fully intend on passing around. Pick it up and read it. You won’t be disappointed.


I’ve been working on a project. It started off as a blog post and ended up taking on a life of it’s own. What ended up happening was a post on failure turned into another post on failure, which led to fear of failure which led to fear. From there I started to think about faith as the way to overcome fear, and the reason we can have faith is because God is faithful and because God is faithful we must be faithful. All of these F words, and before long, I had an unusual idea that really speaks to my mission for helping and encouraging creatives in the church and before long, I was off on a whole other piece, with an intriguing title. Lots of words are in place (50,000 plus, lots of editing be done and it’s a slow process, but I’ve generated a cover. What do you think?


If you’ve been following along, you know that I wrote a few posts on failure recently. What you don’t know is those posts on failure triggered something in me that has caused me to do a lot of writing over the last few weeks, exploring a lot of areas of importance for the creative Christian life, predominantly around the areas of failure, fear and faith. Here is a little sample of my writings on faith.

“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” Leo Buscaglia

So how does faith apply to the creative life? I think Dr. Buscaglia really hit the nail on the head with the above quote. Our gifts, our talents, our abilities, experiences and a host of other things are given to us by God. Further, in a very real way, they are His investment in us. He gives them to us, knowing how He made us, and the way He “wired” us, in anticipation that we who love Him will faithfully use these gifts for His purposes in our world. I love this. We call these gifts “talents” which is interesting. A talent in Jesus’ day was a unit of measure, specifically it was a way to measure precious metals like gold, and so it could be said, maybe a little facetiously, that our talents are worth their weight in gold. They have value and if they are gifts from God, and I believe they are, then talents are something of great value that God entrusts to us. As a minister of the Gospel, I believe a big part of my calling is to help people to come to believe in God, or at least to work to that end, but our talents say something different to us. Oh, we still need to believe in God, but our talents tells us God believes in us. And so those of us who have a creative bent should be investing at least some of those creative gifts into accomplishing God’s purposes on earth. One might imagine that there are two primary applications of this principle, serving others and sharing the Gospel.


I’ve been pending a fair amount of time thinking about fear and failure for an upcoming project. Here’re some things that occurred to me recently.

What is failure? I’m sure we could find a definition in the dictionary that would suffice. I’m sure, if we were together in person, you could give me a definition in your own words. The problem is, it’s a sliding scale and everyone defines it differently. You might think of the teacher handing you back a paper with a lot of red ink, and maybe even a big red F in the corner, likely with a circle around it for emphasis, as if the failure was entirely your own. Maybe the F was on your report card. By the way, have you ever noticed most schools skipped right over “E.” A, B, C, and D represent nothing but a level. They are not initials for some word, like “lofty” or “proficient” or “mediocre” which is essentially what they mean, yet we don’t get L’s or P’s or M’s, so there is no earthly reason, why the grade below D is F, except that F means failure and the grading system wants to make sure you didn’t miss the fact that you failed and are therefore a failure. Maybe you’d equate failure with not reaching a certain level in your career or a time when you let someone, maybe even yourself, down. It might reflect a time when you just couldn’t reach the goal. It might even be something your rational mind knows was not your fault, but still you take the blame.

For some failure becomes their name, as in “I’m a failure.” Others will adopt it’s cousins, like “Loser” or “Waste” or “Idiot.” It manifests in questions, like “How could I be so stupid?” Sometimes we think we’re failures because someone labeled us as such. Other times we just see the evidence on the faces of those around us. For me it was all of the above. Sometimes I’d hear statements like “If brains were dynamite, you wouldn’t have enough to blow your nose.” Other times it was the C on the report card in a field of A’s and B’s. Ironically, that C was for something most people don’t even teach anymore, Cursive. This brings me to another point. A grade of C, is essentially translated as average. For most people C is okay, you’re not the best but neither are you the worst. Most people would see it as maybe needing improvement, but nothing to lose sleep over. For others, a C might as well be an F. In their minds, average, being on par with everyone else equates with failure. Further, why was it so easy to miss the A’s and B’s and the lower grade of C becomes the focus. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this. I can get a hundred positive comments and one negative and that one negative becomes my entire focus. I’m almost positive I’m not the only one and that needs to change.