Archive - November, 2009

Black and White or Ambiguously Clear?

Watch this interview with Eugene Peterson and see if you have a response:

Has our preaching become too “black and white”? Perhaps even more so than the Scripture we preach on? What’s there to be said about the mystery of this whole Gospel story? Where did it go and how do we get it back?

Bottom line: Does a younger generation want to be “told what to do” or do they want to “connect the dots” themselves? One or the other? Both?

Holla.

Happy Thanksgiving from BeDeviant.com!

Happy Thanksgiving. Now go eat some pumpkin pie!

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What are you thankful for to-day?

When Your Theology Plays Catch-Up

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For discussion: What happens when your theology catches up with you? What happens when all the books with long words, endless debates about the nature of the Trinity and parsing of Greek verbs finally comes home to roost?

In other words, what happens when theory meets reality? What bends? What breaks?

A Lesson in Desire

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I’ve been meditating on this passage from Scripture:

Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.

When we break this down, it could be read a few different ways:

  • Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
  • Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

The first one says that God will give you whatever your heart desires. The second one says that God will deposit into your heart what he desires you to desire. The second version is more faithful and less dangerous, and here’s why:

We have no idea what we should be desiring.

A Lesson From a 10-Month Old

11540_550645410659_63803653_32423156_3006126_nI liken this to my relationship with my son, Finnegan. As he grows older, he will begin to show interest (read: desire) in certain things: toys, whining, popsicles, tantrums, snuggling, saying “no”, being read to, staying up past his bedtime, sharing, not taking naps, and giving kisses to his mommy. Some of these desires are very good. Some of them are very bad and detrimental to his health and well-being.

But how does he know which is which? He doesn’t. At least not yet. He’s 10 weeks old. That’s why my wife and I are there for him. We are there to encourage the good desires (right now it’s smiling. Down the road it will be saying “please” and “thank you”) while discourage the bad ones (eating all of the candy he harvested from a night of trick-or-treating.) As he grows, hopefully he will begin to anticipate what his mom and I will say to the desires that he has. As he learns more and more about us as parents, and more about himself as a person, he will begin to reject the bad desires and engage the good ones.

I think all of us are a lot like Finnegan. We have all these desires and needs and really have no clue what to do with them. Instead of feeling guilty or wrong about having them (say, like wanting to make more money or wanting a chocolate milkshake), what if we asked God to give us back the ones he wants us to have? What if we asked him to give us back the desires of our hearts that he wants us to have?

My guess is that a lot of us would be shocked at the things God wants us to desire. As we take delight in him, we begin to see that he’s much nicer than we’ve been led to believe. We begin to see that our desires are really off in some ways, but are right and true in a majority of other ways. We begin to see that God actually likes it when we’re happy. Go figure.

With that, what do you desire?

How to Manage Your Online Identity

Deviant

If you’re on Facebook or Twitter; if you’ve ever posted a video on YouTube or Vimeo; if you’ve posted an online resumé on LinkedIn–you need to worry about managing your online identity.

As social media sites grow, so will your involvement with them. You will become more “embedded” into the web culture. Unfortunately, this is not up for debate. If you’re not managing your online identity, someone will be managing it for you. There are some funny “@FakeSoAndSo” on Twitter (@FakeJohnPiper is my personal favorite), but what happens when someone claiming to be you isn’t so nice as to distinguish their falsity?

Enter: The digital business card. You can see mine by going to Card.JustinWise.net. I put this URL in all of my email signatures to let people know where they can find me online. An easy way to manage my identity online.

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It’s simple. It’s sleek. It works like it’s supposed to. Slick.

The purpose is to provide an endorsed location of all the places where I “reside” digitally. Sort of like a “I’m Justin Wise and I approve this hyperlink” type gig. A one-stop shop for people who are looking into what I’m up to on the web.

Do yourself a favor and grab the DBC theme. Buy a “yournamehere.me” address, install WordPress and rock that baby like it’s your job. Your online identity will thank us later!

Top 3 Posts of the Week!

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Here’s a recap of the top three posts from BeDeviant.com this past week. If you haven’t had a chance to stop by the site, check out these posts and get up-to-date. These got the most traffic on the site, were shared the most, and had the most comments.

  1. Infant Baptism: Yes or No? We asked the question. You gave the answers (and boy, did you!) Read the discussion and add your voice.
  2. Cultivate & John Maxwell – Separated at Birth? Coincidence or controversy? Take a look at the logos from the Cultivate conference and John Maxwell’s latest book and see if you notice any similarities.
  3. How to Have a Spiritual Life Like a Saint: Ever wondered what a “quiet time” was? Further more, how do you “do” it? We take a practical look at how to have the spiritual life of a saint.

So there they are, your top 5 posts of the week! Recap, refresh, re-read, re-tweet! Have you enjoyed today’s post? Would you kindly consider subscribing to our feed through RSS or email? That way, you’re never out of the loop! BeDeviant.com comes to you, how brilliant. Thank you!

Cultivate & John Maxwell – Separated at Birth?

John Maxwell, legit leadership guru, has a new book coming out. It’s called Everyone Communicates Few Connect. I haven’t read it (it’s not out yet), but I anticipate it will sell well and be a good read.

But a few of my fellow Cultivators noticed something that I posit to you. Could it be that Maxwell’s design team “borrowed heavily” from the Cultivate 09 imaging? You decide:

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What do you think? Creative coincidence or design doppelgangery?

How to Have a Spiritual Life Like a Saint

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Call it what you want, but a “quiet time” (a.k.a. QT, devotions, devotionals, devos, God time, date with Jesus [editor’s note: *shudder*], etc.) has been a staple of the evangelical diet for decades. And for good reason.

The primary purpose of this time is to get with God and let him speak to you–through his Word, through prayer, through other literature, through music, etc. Although this practice can quickly lead into a “checklist” activity (i.e. “I must have my quiet time with God or he won’t love me anymore!” We snicker, but I knew kids in college who truly believed this. And it showed. Striving much?), it is profoundly helpful in hearing God’s voice in your life.

So how do we do it? What does a quiet time even look like? If you’ve been wondering how, or if you want to start, here’s a quick and easy guide to get your devotional wheels turning:

  1. Find a consistent time. I find mornings work best, but maybe you’re a night owl. Pick a time and own it.
  2. Find a consistent place. After time, you’ll develop a “holy place” that you’ll look forward to going to day after day.
  3. Have a reading plan. The “flip and stick” method of Bible reading rarely works long-term. Plan to read a chapter a day. Or read through the Gospels three times. Wade through Genesis on your own pace or find a reading plan to take you through the Bible in a year. Find something that works for you.
  4. Use a devotional book as needed. One such book I use on a consistent basis is A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants. It is small, but it will launch your life with God into the stratosphere.
  5. Most of all, listen. Spend intentional, set-apart time to listen for God’s voice. After all, that’s the whole point of spending time with him: to hear his voice.

As you do this, you’ll begin to discern what his voice sounds like for you. Life’s problems won’t magically go away, but you will find yourself deeply rooted and grounded in his reality, not your own. If it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that God’s reality is way better than my own.

Do these things and you’re well on your way to having the spiritual life of a saint!

What Everybody Ought to Know About the Web

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The Harvard Business blog had an article the other day that was, aptly titled, “Five Mind-Blowing Web Stats.” They were, in fact, mind-blowing. The stats boiled down look like this:

  1. There has been a 40,000-fold increase in websites from 15 years ago. We’ve gone from 5,000 to 200+ million.
  2. The blogosphere is doubling between once and twice a year, and there are nearly 1 million blog posts per day.
  3. There have been over 5 billion tweets.
  4. Google receives nearly 2 billion queries per day. Facebook is adding 700,000 new users per day.
  5. Half of the top-ten websites are between 5-6 years old. Start-ups have more potential than ever to explode and take someone’s spot.

In light of this and a recent article from ReadWriteWeb that states blog posts have a longer shelf life, a few thoughts pop into my mind:

  • We are well on our way to becoming a web-synergistic culture. For instance, in the last week I have found myself on more than one occasion responding to a tweet by sending that person a text. Or vice versa. Someone might email me and I respond with a direct message. Or a quick text. Or I might just do it the old fashioned way and go see them. Point being, the media we use to communicate are beginning to overlap with one another.
  • After taking a look at my Google Dashboard, I became slightly alarmed at just how much information Google knows about me. What do they know about you? What will we do if Google ever decides to start charging for their services? At what point does technology become “too big to fail”?
  • Twitter is here to stay. Words like “tweet,” “DM,” “hashtag,” will become a part of the cultural fabric and the “at sign” will become the most famous punctuation mark ever.
  • The growth of Facebook is staggering. I hesitate only a little in saying this, but it’s not going anywhere either. Facebook, in my opinion, is not the next MySpace.

One of the primary reasons I believe the Internet has flourished in the way that it has is because people want to be connected–to information and to each other. Community is a meta-theme of the Internet. Keep that in mind.

Do these stats surprise you? Confuse you? Scare you? What do you think are some implications of Harvard Business’s findings?

HT: Jeremy Anderberg for the research

Infant Baptism: Yes or No?

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What is your opinion on infant baptism and why?

(And no, “I think it’s dumb” doesn’t count. Neither does, “Because it’s tradition!” I want good, thought-out reasoning as to why you believe what you believe.)

Ready? Go!

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