Tim Keller Part 2: Marriage Sermon

As I mentioned in my previous post, I listened to one of Keller’s marriage sermons 3 times in 2 weeks.  It’s a powerful message.  I’ve uploaded it so you can listen to it (link below).  This is only one in the series of 9.  You can purchase the entire series at Redeemer’s online sermon store for $22.50 (all 9 sermons in mp3 format).

I chose to share some quotes which are obviously out of context … so listen to the message to get the full understanding of each quote

“…(many things) cloud our understanding of marriage.”
“Marriage is not something that man made up in a cave.”
“Self-centerednes is the main problem in any marriage.  Self centeredness is the main enemy of any marriage …  self centeredness is the main cancer in any marriage.”
“You can decide to treat your own flaws as more serious than the others and treat the needs of the other as more important … Regardless of what the other person does.”
“You can say ‘I’m going to work on my self-centeredness’ regardless of what the other person does”
“Essence of marriage is a promise.  10 years from now I’ll be there.  20 years from now I’ll be there.  It’s a promise.”
“The purpose of marriage is companionship.”
“No one else is more important than that relationship (with your spouse)”
“Marriage has to be #1”
“Whether you’re married or not .. we see that it’s our pride and self centeredness which can only be dealt with the gospel.  And the gospel is ‘you are more wicked than you ever dared believe and more loved than ever dared hope.’  It does the 1-2 on your ego.”

Ok.  I’m going to upload the 2nd message too because it’s that good.  If you like both then download the entire series at http://sermons.redeemer.com/store/index.cfm?product=18279.

Reason For God by Tim Keller

Recently I finished the book Reason For God by Timothy Keller.  Keller is a pastor in New York City at Redeemer Church.  His book is a challenging read that I definitely suggest you pick up.  He does a great job looking at several questions and doubts about the Christian faith including (but not limited to):

  • Why does God allow suffering in the world?
  • How could a loving God send people to Hell?
  • Why isn’t Christianity more inclusive?
  • How can one religion be “right” and the others “wrong”?
  • Why have so many wars been fought in the name of God?

He addresses each doubt and explains each reason. He uses stories, philosophy, reasoning to explain each.  It’s a wonderful, thought-provoking read for both believers in Christ as well as skeptics.   The book motivated me to research other teachings and sermons from Keller and here’s what I found:

  • 374 sermons, interviews and other videos on YouTube
  • A sermon store on Redeemer.com that seemed more exhaustive than iTunes theology section
  • A half dozen or so free sermons including “reason for God”, “the Prodigal Son”, “Parenting”, “Stewardship”, “Suffering and Tragedy” as well as others
  • All time favorite sermon series include: Marriage, Cultivating a Healthy Marriage Part 1, Proverbs, Friendship, Practical Grace, The Trouble with Christianity, In Christ Jesus, and Christ: Our Treasury.

I downloaded a few of the Marriage sermons.  I’ll write a separate post with some notes from it.  It was an excellent sermon that I listened to 3 times in two weeks.  Anyway, if you have a moment on the computer to listen to a sermon or have a mp3 player, take a few moments to download and listen.

Powerful song from third day

Below are the lyrics and a video from a Third Day song “Cry out to Jesus”.  It’s a powerful song that I’ve listened to several times.  I thought I’d share it …

To everyone who’s lost someone they love

Long before it was their time

You feel like the days you had were not enough when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains

Keeping you back from your life

You believe that there’s nothing and there is no one

Who can make it right

Chorus

There is hope for the helpless

Rest for the weary

Love for the broken heart

There is grace and forgiveness

Mercy and healing

He’ll meet you wherever you are

Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that’s struggling just to hang on

They lost all of their faith in love

They’ve done all they can to make it right again

Still it’s not enough

For the ones who can’t break the addictions and chains

You try to give up but you come back again

Just remember that you’re not alone in your shame

And your suffering

Chorus

When your lonely

And it feels like the whole world is falling on you

You just reach out, you just cry out to

Jesus Cry to Jesus

To the widow who suffers from being alone

Wiping the tears from her eyes

For the children around the world without a home

Say a prayer tonight

Chorus


Bouncing Back: Devotional

As many of you know Kelly writes devotionals for HomeWord, today I received this one in my inbox.  I’m not sure when she wrote it but it’s very timely considering economic environment.

Bouncing Back 
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden 

Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.
— Proverbs 25:11 (NLT)

As a junior in high school, I was devastated when I was cut from the top volleyball team and sent to the second team.  I felt disappointed, embarrassed and dejected.  That evening, I spoke with a friend who passed on these words of wisdom, “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce back that matters.”  I wrote the quote on my mirror and committed to doing my best for this new team, instead of sulking over my personal loss.  Instead of continuing to fall and spiral, I committed to bounce back.

What I learned that day is that what happens to me in life doesn’t count as much as how I react to those things.  I had a choice the day I was cut from the team: I could wallow in misery and quit the team, or I could choose to fight through my circumstances and work hard to improve.  Each day, choices like these present themselves.  When people are cruel, I can choose to accept their apology or let my bitterness grow.  When I am treated unfairly, I can vengefully plot a way to get even, or I can seek the Lord’s wisdom and demonstrate patience as He shows me what to do.  When I am fired from a job, I can learn from why things did not work or I can blame everyone else around me for my misfortune and never learn, grow or change.  When I am congratulated for a job well done, I can either pat myself on the back or thank the Lord for providing me with the skills to succeed.

Life throws different circumstances our way every day, both good and bad.  Wherever you are in your life, it is important to remember that people are watching and looking to see how you are living your life.  You will long be remembered, not only for what happened to you in your life, but for how you handled life’s circumstances. When those circumstances cause you to fall, I challenge you to bounce back!

To comment on today’s devotional, click here.

GOING DEEPER:

1. Think about a time in your life when you have reacted well to a disappointing circumstance and another time when you have reacted poorly.  Why do you think you reacted the way you did in those circumstances?

2. Why are our reactions as Christians so important?  How can you help make sure you are someone who bounces back?
FURTHER READING

James 5:10-11; Ephesians 5:6-9; Titus 2:6-8

2009: The Contrarian Resolution

As many of you know Kelly writes for HomeWord, a ministry that “seeks to advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches to build God-honoring families from generation to generation.”

On Jan 1, 2009, they published one of Kelly’s devotionals – “The Harder You Try”.  I was reminded that so often the things we try to do or vow to do are not actually the things we should be doing.  Check out her devotional and you’ll see what I mean…

The Harder You Try

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.—Ephesians 2:8-10

A few years ago, I was given an old set of golf clubs and told to learn the sport.  I’m an average golfer, some good shots and some bad.  There was a day, a few months ago, where if you had been watching me play you would have thought I had never picked up a club in my life.  I kept trying harder and harder.  Sadly, like almost every shot that day, each swing seemed to send the ball in the wrong direction.  The harder I tried the worse I got.

The book of Luke records an encounter with Jesus and two sisters, Mary and Martha.  Jesus was visiting their home and Martha was busy doing chores and preparing dinner in order to serve her guest.  While she did this, her sister Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to all Jesus taught.  The more Martha worked, the harder she tried, the more frustrated and angry she became until she couldn’t take it anymore!  She pointed out her sister’s laziness, hoping Jesus would tell Mary to get up and help, only to be disappointed when he commended Mary calling her choice worthy.

What are you doing to please the Lord in your life?  Putting up the appearance of a perfect home?  Volunteering at the local soup kitchen?  Buying gifts for those in need?  These are wonderful ways to give of ourselves and serve the Lord, but don’t get caught in the trap of always trying to do things for God only to miss out on the opportunities to be with him.  We plan, work, and create trying to “do more”, yet only to be disappointed. God cares more about your devotion than about your resumé.  He cares more about your attitude than all the gold stars you have earned. Trying too hard to work for the Lord will only result in frustration.

As this New Year dawns and you make resolutions of all you want to accomplish, be sure to pray and evaluate where you are in life and what He would have you to do.  Be sure to take time this year to sit at His feet.  Commit to stop doing simply for doing’s sake.  Realize that before you can do God’s work, you must first be His person. There’s no better way to become all God intends for you than to spend time with Him. Make this your highest priority, and everything else will fall into place.

GOING DEEPER:
1. Mary and Martha both loved Jesus.  When you think through their story, what was Jesus really trying to show Martha?

2. Who are you more like, Mary or Martha? Why?

FURTHER READING:
John 6:27-19; Luke 10:38-42; Romans 9:31-33

I hope you enjoyed.  If you want to receive the daily devotionals in your inbox just sign up here.

Girl Perfect Book Review

Kelly’s first cousin, Jennifer Strickland (Porter), will have her first book ready for purchase this September. Kelly had the opportunity to read it before it was out. Her official review:

“This is honestly one of the best, most heartfelt, most compelling,
pure and truthful books I have read. I have no doubt that Jen’s dream
will come true of being able to reach out to young women everywhere
with the love of Christ through her life story. Hold onto your hats!
You cannot read Girl Perfect without looking deeper into your relationship with the Maker!”

— Kelly Marie McFadden, writer and developer, HomeWord

For information on ordering a book, click here

What some others have said:

“Jennifer writes with a raw honesty about her journey in a world where
your value is determined by your appearance. The girl in the picture
was beautiful, but her depleted, hollow soul was the price. Deep into
her spiral, sitting at a table, she whispers the word ‘God’ and is
introduced to the One who could love her deeply and free her from
‘perfect.’ Few will ever live in the world she did, but many need to
hear her message of the tragedy of getting caught up in a pursuit of
externals and missing where true life, joy, and passion really lie.”

— Nancy Ortberg, Former Teaching Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church



I wish every young woman could read Girl Perfect to
help them be very careful what they dream for. And every mature woman
who reads it will surely be encouraged to be satisfied with who they
are and how they look. You or someone you know needs to not just read
this book, but to truly take it into your heart and spirit. I pray it
will illuminate truths you have never seen before.”

— Stephen Arterburn, Founder and Chairman, New Life Ministries

To read more reviews click here

“Last Lecture” professor dies

Nearly 7 months ago I discovered Randy Pausch’s last lecture on YouTube (see video below). I was very inspired and many of the words he spoke still resonate in my mind. I read today that he passed away.

By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated Press Writer

PITTSBURGH – Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist whose “last lecture” about facing terminal cancer became an Internet sensation and a best-selling book, died Friday. He was 47.

Pausch died at his home in Virginia, university spokeswoman Anne Watzman said. Pausch and his family moved there last fall to be closer to his wife’s relatives.

Pausch was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in September 2006. His popular last lecture at Carnegie Mellon in September 2007 garnered international attention and was viewed by millions on the Internet.

In it, Pausch celebrated living the life he had always dreamed of instead of concentrating on impending death.

“The lecture was for my kids, but if others are finding value in it, that is wonderful,” Pausch wrote on his Web site. “But rest assured; I’m hardly unique.”

The book “The Last Lecture,” written with Jeffrey Zaslow, leaped to the top of the nonfiction best-seller lists after its publication in April and remains there this week. Pausch said he dictated the book to Zaslow, a Wall Street Journal writer, by cell phone. The book deal was reported to be worth more than $6 million.

At Carnegie Mellon, he was a professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design, and was recognized as a pioneer of virtual reality research. On campus, he became known for his flamboyance and showmanship as a teacher and mentor.

The speech last fall was part of a series Carnegie Mellon called “The Last Lecture,” where professors were asked to think about what matters to them most and give a hypothetical final talk. The name of the lecture series was changed to “Journeys” before Pausch spoke, something he joked about in his lecture.

“I thought, damn, I finally nailed the venue and they renamed it,” he said.

He told the packed auditorium he fulfilled almost all his childhood dreams — being in zero gravity, writing an article in the World Book Encyclopedia and working with the Walt Disney Co.

The one that eluded him? Playing in the National Football League.

“If I don’t seem as depressed or morose as I should be, sorry to disappoint you,” Pausch said.

He then joked about his quirky hobby of winning stuffed animals at amusement parks — another of his childhood dreams — and how his mother introduced him to people to keep him humble: “This is my son, he’s a doctor, but not the kind that helps people.”

Pausch said he was embarrassed and flattered by the popularity of his message. Millions viewed the complete or abridged version of the lecture, titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” online.

Pausch lobbied Congress for more federal funding for pancreatic cancer research and appeared on “Oprah” and other TV shows. In what he called “a truly magical experience,” he was even invited to appear as an extra in the new “Star Trek” movie.

He had one line of dialogue, got to keep his costume and donated his $217.06 paycheck to charity.

Pausch blogged regularly about his medical treatment. On Feb. 15, exactly six months after he was told he had three to six months of healthy living left, Pausch posted a photo of himself to show he was “still alive & healthy.”

“I rode my bike today; the cumulative effects of the chemotherapy are hurting my stamina some, but I bet I can still run a quarter mile faster than most Americans,” he wrote.

Pausch gave one more lecture after his Carnegie Mellon appearance — in November at the University of Virginia, where he had taught from 1988 to 1997.

Pausch often emphasized the need to have fun.

“I mean I don’t know how to not have fun. I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left. Because there’s no other way to play it,” he said in his Carnegie Mellon lecture. “You just have to decide if you’re a Tigger or an Eeyore. I think I’m clear where I stand on the great Tigger/Eeyore debate. Never lose the childlike wonder. It’s just too important. It’s what drives us.”

Born in 1960, Pausch received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Brown University and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon.

He co-founded Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center, a master’s program for bringing artists and engineers together. The university named a footbridge in his honor. He also created an animation-based teaching program for high school and college students to have fun while learning computer programming.

In February, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences in California announced the creation of the Dr. Randy Pausch Scholarship Fund for university students who pursue careers in game design, development and production.

He and his wife, Jai, had three children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe.

___

On the Net:

Pausch’s lecture: http://www.cmu.edu/randyslecture/

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams