links: this went thru my mind

Following are links to five articles on repentance that I’ve found to be of special interest and helpfulness.

Ash Wednesday – Applied Every Day

“So what’s the point of wearing ashes on Ash Wednesday? The cinder residue is reminiscent of the biblical act of repenting in dust and ashes’ (Job 42:6). … Many Christians have no connection with Ash Wednesday’s tradition. But we all have need of what it represents. Every day. Ash Wednesday represents our need to repent.”

Not Your Typical Ash Wednesday [essential reading]

“My name is Josh Patrick. I’m a 36-year-old pastor in the Nashville area. I’m married to a beautiful strawberry-blonde haired girl named Joni, and we have three daughters, ages 8, 5, and 2. Today is unlike any Ash Wednesday I’ve ever experienced. … 4 weeks ago today … it was determined that I had stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to my liver. And just like that, our little world was turned upside down.”

Lent: Because Sometimes Rich Christians Simply Need to Starve a Little [required reading]

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

An Ash Wednesday Prayer

“I’m sorry God, I truly am … I’m sorry that I have not loved you with all of my being.”

Litany of Penitence

“Have mercy on us, Lord. … Accept our repentance, Lord. … Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.”

this went thru my mind


Belief & doubt: How to Smartly Engage with the Young Doubters in Your Midst by Andrea Palpant Dilley

“Thirty-six percent of young people surveyed said they didn’t feel free ‘to ask [their] most pressing life questions in church.’ That’s a problem. Providing a space for open intellectual inquiry is essential for maintaining healthy conversation with people on the margins.”

Evangelism: Jesus 101 by Matt Dabbs

“This booklet is written to help guide you through the Gospel of Mark so that you can learn about Jesus, understand who He is, what He did, and find out what that means for you today.”

Memorial Day: Memorial Day by J. Daniel Kirk* ; * RE-Membering Memorial Day by Kurt Willems

* “This is Memorial Day in the United States. It’s a great day to be an American. And a dangerous day to be a Christian. … Let’s be careful how we remember today. Let’s be careful what we remember today. There is freedom that is bought with the price of precious blood. And it could never be gained by the swords, or guns, of war.”

* “Remember that violence always disrupts shalom. Jesus died, absorbing the violence of a military machine’s ultimate weapon for insurrectionists – the cross. This death unleashes the potential for shalom once again… something war can never bring.”

Pacifism: * Bonhoeffer Says; And a six-part series of posts by Paul Smith: * Pacifism and the Sermon on the Mount; * Reconsidering Pacifism – Definitions and Positions; * Reconsidering Pacifism – A Brief Old Testament Survey; * Reconsidering Pacifism – Gleanings from the New Testament; * Reconsidering Pacifism – A Personal Journey; * Reconsidering Pacifism – Final (and disjointed) Thoughts

* “I pray that God will give me the strength not to take up arms.” [Dietrich Bonhoeffer]

* “In the past several weeks I have been engaged with the related concepts of pacifism and discipleship in a number of ways. … As I have read, studied and mentally debated with these giants of my faith I have been forced to think, and to rethink, my understanding and my conclusions on this subject. Over the next few posts I will share with you my convictions, and the Scriptural and theological foundations which underlie those convictions.” [Paul Smith]

Parenting: Lament and Faith and Childhood: Why My Kid and I Read the Sad Psalms by Micha Boyett

“Faith is complicated for me. I didn’t want it to be complicated for my kids.”

Sermon on the Mount: The Sermon on the Mount: Study Guide by Richard Beck

“… a condensed but comprehensive moral inventory of the Sermon.”

feed your head


I’m occasionally asked “What do you read?” Which in effect is the same as asking “What do you feed your head?

I’m glad you asked. Not just because what you deliberately feed your mind is extremely important, but because I’m happy to share with you something of what my brain daily consumes.

Though my daily reading certainly isn’t limited to what follows, my daily, personal reading revolves around four key areas, two of which are from Scripture and two of which stem from other matters, but which often deal with Scripture. Those four areas are: (1) the Psalms, (2) a daily Bible reading schedule, (3) what I have lined up to come to me through Google Reader, and (4) select books.

This year, my reading in the Psalms will consist of reading three Psalms each day (one in the morning, one at mid-day, and one in the evening). I read each of these three Psalms three times: once to understand the text, once to pray the text for myself, and once to pray the text with others in mind. Naturally, the first reading is a “normal” reading while the following two readings are “slow rides.”

Each year’s reading from elsewhere in Scripture is different. It follows the church-wide reading track followed by by the church with which I minister. This year’s reading flows out of the Daily Companion Bible, a devotional edition of the Common English Bible. The reading is five-days-per-week (Mon.-Fri.) and will take me through a variety of OT and NT texts. Each week’s worth of reading centers on one particular theme.

My reading in Google Reader, that is the online articles that come to me through RSS, come from a wide variety of sources, all of which (save a couple of news feeds) are ministry related. If you’d like to see who some of the writers are that come to me via RSS simply read this post.

As to the books I read, they vary but the vast majority of them are ministry or Scripture related. Reading length over the course of a day naturally varies, but I would guess it would be somewhere between ten-to-twelve pages per day on average. Following are five books I plan to read over the course of the next three months.

  1. The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction by P.M. Forni
  2. How to Read the Psalms by Tremper Longman
  3. Talking Back to God: Speaking Your Heart to God Through the Psalms by Lynn Anderson
  4. New Testament Rhetoric: An Introductory Guide to the Art of Persuasion in and of the New Testament by Ben Witherington
  5. The Kingdom New Testament: A Contemporary Translation by N.T. Wright

Now that you’ve peeked inside my reading habits a bit, let me ask you a question.

Question: What do you daily, deliberately feed your head in the way of reading?