Life

Book Review: Balance, by Gregory Tyree

Let me start off by saying that I am not generally a fan of “self-help” books or anything that might resemble them. That being said, I really enjoyed this book, Balance by Gregory Tyree. 

First of all, Gregory is a really good writer. His writing style is friendly, and easy to follow, and makes you want to continue reading. He isn’t overly technical, nor is he too “wordy”. He says what he needs to say and he moves on. This is a quality that I wish more writers possessed.

Secondly, Tyree’s illustrations are helpful, clear, and serve to hammer his points home. While I usually find charts distracting, and even at times annoying, the charts in this book I found quite useful. Even his self-assessment tools are extremely helpful, not only to help make his points, but also to make you think about the areas of your life that you may be struggling.

Most important of all, this book is truly a beneficial book. While written from the perspective of a Christian and a Pastor, anyone can be helped by reading this book. Whether most of us realize it or not, there are areas in all of our lives in which we struggle in, or are less successful than we are in others. Gregory does a great job of helping us pin-point those areas without coming off “preachy” or overly critical. In fact, he sees himself as a “fellow struggler”, which is in some ways is quite reassuring.

I personally am very glad I ventured outside of my normal reading habits and gave Balance a read. I’m confident that Gregory has given me many helpful, practical, and easy to follow steps that will allow me to begin to cultivate balance in my life in a way that I’ve not done in the past. I pray that as I continue to take these steps, and as the grace of God continues to work in my life and ministry, that I will become a better husband, father, pastor, and friend. I believe that this book is certainly a tool, that will aid me in this process.

Balance, by Gregory Tyree is available in paperback or kindle. Click HERE to check it out.

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Breath of God

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“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16

We live in a world today in which we have more access to the Bible than at any other time in history, especially here in our own country. If I were to go into almost any home I would find at least one Bible, and perhaps several. On my smartphone right now I have every major translation of the Bible along with several commentaries and other reference materials to help me understand the Bible. You can go into almost any bookstore and purchase a Study Bible that has notes to help you understand the Bible and gives you information that Bible Scholars of yesteryear only dreamed of having at their fingertips.

Yet, even with all of this being true, we have never lived in a time in which people were so ignorant of the Bible and what it says. This is a sad truth.

Psalm 1:2 tells us that the blessed man takes his delight “in the law of the LORD.” Basically the Psalmist is speaking of the Word of God, or God’s instructions. So that is my question, do we delight in the Word of God? My dear reader, do you delight in the Word of God? Do you read it? Do you meditate on it? Is it on your mind in your day to day life, and is it your guide?

Why should you read the Word of God? Why should you delight in God’s Word? 2 Timothy 3:16 that I quoted above tells us that the Scriptures are breathed out by God. The Bibles that we read, the Bibles that we are able to hold in our hands are the very breath of God. So, when we sit down and read the Bible, when we meditate on the Word of God, when we drink deeply of the truths of Scripture…we are breathing the very breath of God. This is an amazing truth.

And what happens when we breathe in the breath of God? We get life! In Genesis 2:7 we see that it was when God breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of man that he became a living being. This is an amazing truth…that we can breathe in the very breath of God, and through it we find life! Yet, so few of us take advantage of this awesome privilege.

Many people will say, “Well I don’t really need to read the Bible, I just follow my heart and do what I think is right.” But this is a dangerous thing. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.” Friends, just “following your heart” will lead you astray. We are humans with human emotions. We are fickle. We change our minds. But the Word of God doesn’t change. God doesn’t change.

If we want to know who God is, the only place we can learn that is through His Word. If we want to know how to live a life that pleases God, that truth is only found in the Scriptures. If we want to know the blessings of God, and the wonderful treasures that he has in store for us through His Son Jesus Christ…we can only learn these things in His Word.

Please don’t forsake the reading of the Word of God. Delight in the Word of God. You have the amazing privilege to breathe in the very breath of God and find life in its pages as it points you to the One who is the Life. Jesus Christ Himself. Turn to the Bible and be blessed.

Life Art

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I used to hate it when I’d discover that my kids had drawn in my journals…Now I kind of love it. What better way to remind myself where my life was as I was writing these words down. What a great way to keep my priorities in check. Even when I find the drawings over my greatest thoughts (this is sarcasm) I am reminded how small I am. How short life is. These days won’t last. One day I’ll long for little inconveniences, and the times when my kids wanted to be just like me.

Ruminations

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Ruminations: Reflections In The Midst Of The Journey  is a selection of my writings that I’ve written over the last four years, most of which have appeared here on the blog, and edited into book form. I’m very proud of the way this collection came together, and excited to share it with you. If you would like to grab a copy of the book you can find it over on Amazon, the links are below.

Paperback 5.99

Kindle 3.99

The Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us..that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you…” (1 John 1:1-3 ESV)

In a world full of competing world views, philosophies, and religions, Christianity is sometimes lumped together as just one more point of view set forth in a world full of ideas. Even Christians sometimes fall into this trap. We walk around touting the superiority of our religion like we’re sports fans who follow the winning team. I think we sometimes forget though, the Bible isn’t simply a book touting a particular way in which to see the world…though I suppose this is part of it. The Bible isn’t simply a book that poses one more theory of how the world works best…though this too is part of it.

The Bible isn’t simply a book of ideas about the world around us…The Bible is a book about a person. The Apostle John makes that clear in the first 3 verses his first epistle. The Apostle John goes out of his way to explain that he saw Jesus with his eyes, he heard Jesus with his ears, he touched Jesus with his hands.

John wasn’t just putting forth ideas and philosophies…John was talking about a real person at a real place and time who accomplished a real salvation for a really sinful people. John wasn’t arguing logic…John was talking about life. Life made manifest amongst us in the person of Jesus Christ. God who took on human flesh, who lived and walked amongst us…

The Bible isn’t some abstract book of principles. The Bible is a a history book about a historical person. The Bible is a book about Jesus. The Bible is a book about life.

Those of us today who find ourselves talking about the Bible, and proclaiming the beauties of Christ can’t say as John did that we’ve physically seen Christ or touched Him. But we can testify to the very real life that he’s given us. We mustn’t fall into the trap of simply arguing ideas and logic. We’ve never beheld the incarnation of Christ with our eyes, but through the testimony of the Scriptures and the miraculous work of the Spirit, the life of Jesus is manifested in us…and in a very real way Jesus is incarnated in our lives. Through us, the body of Christ, the life of Jesus is given flesh and blood to do his work and proclaim his Gospel…

To be continued…

Forever Changing

It has been quite a while since I’ve blogged. It’s a bit strange. Over the past several months I believe that God has given me more insight into things than I’ve had in a long time, maybe ever. Several times I’ve said, “I need to blog about this.” But it just didn’t happen. Even if I sat down to blog, I just felt like I shouldn’t…or couldn’t.

I wonder if God was just telling me to shut up. Shut up and listen. I’m not very good at that. Even though I wasn’t blogging, I don’t know that I was doing a very good job of shutting up. Insights that I believe God was giving me…I didn’t write them…I didn’t even apply many of them. I thought about them. Pondered them. Wondered. Then moved on.

Life has been happening. At a frightening pace. Perhaps busyness was the main reason for the silence. Either way, God has been teaching me. I know it. I hope I’ve been learning. I hope I’ll be changed. I hope I’m changing. I would love to slow down. I don’t know how. I’m learning.

I feel free to write again. I think I do. Perhaps I’ve learned more than I think. I’m still learning, this I do know. Grace is unstoppable. This is a fact. This is exciting. Something new is happening. This blog will be different. My writing will be different. My life is changing. Forever changing. This is good, and scary. Exciting. A journey that is not exciting is hardly worth taking. I’m excited about the new journey. But then again, I guess it has always been the same journey. Maybe now I just have a better idea of where I’m going…or at least how to get there.

The Choice Seems Easy…

As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear,” says the LORD.All humanity will come to worship me from week to week and from month to month. And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror.” Isaiah 66:22-24 NLT

The choice seems pretty easy doesn’t it? Life or death. Eternity as one of God’s beloved worshiping Him forever…Or we can choose death. We can choose rebellion. We can choose an eternity apart from God. When put in these terms the choice seems rather clear…well obviously you would choose life.

The truth is though, apart from God we always choose death. We will always choose rebellion.

“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.” Romans 8:5-8 NLT

Thus, we see our need for Jesus. We need the very life of God to live within us, for apart from the life of Christ there is nothing but death.

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” Colossians 1:19 ESV

“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him…” Colossians 2:9-10 ESV

The grace of God in granting me life boggles my mind. If you have been given that life it should boggle yours too…for it is only grace. I know that it has nothing to do with me, because I know exactly how wretched I am apart from Christ. Apart from Him, we are all wretched and swimming in our own death. That is the beauty of grace. From that wretchedness beauty arises…and that beauty is nothing less than Jesus himself.

If you don’t know that you have this life, but feel that you want it…that you need it…you desire this beauty…Perhaps it is God telling you that you are indeed his. Is he calling you? Is he showing you how beautiful Jesus Christ is? I pray that perhaps he is.