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Your weekly installment of what we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.

Articles of the Week

How to Succeed Financially Without Failing Spiritually, John Rinehart. I (Chris) have never really thought of the cycle Rinehart portrays here: Work -> Prosper -> Rest -> Forget -> Sin. But it seems to be a perfect depiction of the lives of many Americans. Very few of us start out with the explicit goal of forgetting God, but inertia draws us that way. So is it possible to succeed financially without falling into this vicious cycle? Rinehart thinks so. The key? “Worship Jesus and give like crazy.”

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There Will Be Blood

Posted by Pastor J.D. on February 15, 2017

Most Bible reading plans start off with the Torah—the first five books of the Old Testament. If you’re following along with the Summit’s Bible reading plan, you’re squarely in the middle of the book of Leviticus. You can be honest: that’s usually about where the excitement of reading the whole Bible grinds to a halt. Genesis is amazing. Exodus is exciting. But you get to Leviticus, and the litany of laws makes you want to jump ahead to the New Testament.

Leviticus can seem like a strange book, to be sure. It’s got a lot of odd rules that don’t make sense to us. But right in the center of the book, we get a glimpse into the most important ceremony in all of the Old Testament—a day so holy and so crucial that the Jews simply called it, The Day.”

This ceremony is just as relevant for us, thousands of years later, because it deals with a deep problem that every single one of us has—the problem of guilt and shame. If you’ve ever struggled with feelings of inadequacy, or had a nagging sense of fear that others will “find out” about who you really are, this is the story for you.


Billy Grahams’ Ministry in Four Words

Posted by Pastor J.D. on February 13, 2017

My wife, kids, and I recently had the chance to visit the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC. We’ve long been impressed with Graham’s life and ministry, and this trip only increased our appreciation for Graham.

As I reflect on Billy Graham’s six decades of ministry, four words stand out:

1. Conviction

As we looked over various exhibits and heard stories about Graham’s life, Veronica commented to me, “He wasn’t complex, and not usually ‘profound.’ But you can tell that he really believed what he was saying.” And it’s true: Billy Graham had struggled with the hard questions, so when he spoke with assurance, it wasn’t the naïve assurance of a neophyte. It was the absolute assurance of someone who has wrestled with questions of faith.

During the beginning of Graham’s ministry, theological liberalism was on the rise in mainline denominations, and Graham’s faith was shaken. He often told the story of a moment when, in the height of his doubts, he took a walk in the woods. During that walk, he finally acknowledged, “I either believe God has spoken or I don’t. I believe Jesus Christ is God’s Son, and I believe the Bible he authorized is his Father’s word, just like he said it was. I’ll believe it by faith—even the parts I don’t quite understand.” (my paraphrase)

Graham’s conviction was contagious. Conviction always is. It reminds me of David Hume, the 18th-century atheist philosopher, who consistently went to hear the preacher George Whitefield at his evangelistic rallies. Someone recognized Hume, and—surprised to see him there—said, “I thought you do not believe in the gospel.” Hume answered, “I don’t, but he does.” That was the draw that Billy Graham had at his rallies: he believed in his message so deeply that he drew in some of the most skeptical and non-believing.

At this point, you can’t name a single one of Billy Graham’s friends who drifted with the tide of theological liberalism; but Billy changed the world.

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