Videogames and Men

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We need more writing like this:

“As any football fan or regular participant in golf, ultimate frisbee, or Settlers of Catan will confess, embracing make-believe battles isn’t in itself a sinful or even unwise act. What matters is one’s perspective. For anyone who plays videogames, there must be a commitment to proper perspective. The game is not the ultimate reality, even while playing it. The player should see the game as an experiment, not as a genuine set of priorities and goals, but as a pretend set of priorities and goals. Videogames should be viewed as opportunities to practice and explore the values and commitments we make with ourselves and with our God. Just as men ought not genuinely despair over a lost football game, men who play videogames should learn to accept failure as an integral part of the experience.” – Richard Clark, Videogames and Men

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Fasting by Jentezen Franklin

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Neon lights mix with the sound and smell of sizzling fajitas, nothing like a Mexican food restaurant in East Texas.

My pastor and I had a lunch meeting a few weeks ago. During the meeting, he encouraged me to start fasting as well as read Fasting by Jentezen Franklin. I have since done both.

fastingjentezen

In the book, Jentezen discusses a Biblical command that is often ignored, fasting. Matthew 6:1-18 serves as the Biblical aircraft carrier from which he launches his book. The following are some quotes and notes I jotted down while reading.

“Jesus said, “when you give…” and “When you pray…” and “When you fast.” He made it clear, that fasting, like giving and praying, was a normal part of Christian life. As much attention should be given to fasting as is given to giving and to praying.” (p11)

According to the book, there are three types of fasting:

  • Absolute fast
  • Normal fast
  • Partial fast (giving up particular foods or drinks for an extended period of time).

“Whenever you begin a fast, remember, if it doesn’t mean anything to you, it won’t mean anything to God.” (p35)

“…fasting is a constant means of renewing yourself spiritually.” (p71)

This one was interesting:

“When you fast, you abstain from food for spiritual purposes. I have heard people say that they were planning to fast TV or computer games or surfing the Internet. It is good to put those things down for a time of consecration if they are interfering with your prayer life or with your study of God’s Word or you ministering to the needs of others, but technically, that is not fasting. Fasting is doing without food for a period of time, which generally causes you to leave the commotion of normal activity. Part of the sacrifice of fasting, seeking God, and studying His Word is that normal activity fades into the background.” (p111)

What do you think? Any thoughts on fasting?

Book Review: The Jesus Bible, NIV

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The Jesus Bible, NIV is a children’s Bible that focuses on how Jesus is interwoven throughout scripture. Helpful features include:

  • A timeline of Jesus’ life
  • A simplified Family Tree of Jesus
  • Devotions for every day of the year
  • Biblical book introductions that answer the question of, “Where is Jesus in this book?”

The Good:
The Jesus Bible, NIV is presented in an easy to use format. As my son grows older, I can see myself working through this Bible with him. Parents should keep in mind that The Jesus Bible, NIV is geared towards kids ages 9-12.

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I also like how the daily devotionals are short and simple to read. They include an opening theme verse, thought for the day, and a closing prayer. The devotionals serve as a great introductory tool to get children into a daily habit of reading scripture.

The Bad:
I have two complaints against The Jesus Bible, NIV: 1) The hardbound version that I was given to review is heavy. I realize that this does increase the life span of the Bible due to durability. But yet I wonder if a child would indeed carry a Bible that is so heavy. 2) I dislike the pink font that is used throughout the Bible. I think a more gender neutral color could have been chosen.

In Closing:
If you are looking for a children’s Bible that points towards Christ, look no further than The Jesus Bible, NIV.

I was given a copy of this book by BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

The Call of the Wild Monkey

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Early in my career, I was sagely advised to immediately process any item that came across my desk. Call it a game of office hot potato. A quick turnaround time ensures that the proverbial monkey stays off ones back.

What is the Monkey?
When the ball is in your court, the monkey is on your back. The monkey is anything that clings to you and refuses to let go until completed.

How does one battle a Monkey?
Guns, lots of guns. Maybe even a bigger boat, versus a smaller one, if one wishes. The key is to face the task, do what you can do deal with it, and then send the task back into the darkest of jungles.

The Call of the Wild Monkey
Often the monkey is 100% your responsibility; other times the furry creature has been bestowed upon you by someone wishing to share their work/responsibility with you. Their stress, their monkey, quickly becomes your own bundle of screeching joy.

There is a word that can destroy the wild monkey. That word is no. Can you say it with me?

NO.

A Quote from The Next Story

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“If technology is so easily twisted and abused, our gut response may be to avoid it. We can try to carefully avoid using any form of digital technology, fleeing the temptation and the opportunities for evil they encourage. And yet for most of us, avoidance is not an option, nor is it necessarily the most biblical, God-honoring response, as we will see. Our task, then, is not to avoid technology but to carefully evaluate it, redeem it, and ensure we are using it with the right motives and for the right goals.” – Tim Challies, The Next Story

A Response to Donald Miller: Who is Teaching You?

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Dear Don,
Back in college, God used your book Blue Like Jazz to help me battle through the rampant hypocrisy and legalism I was experiencing on a daily basis. Other Christians were causing me to want to walk away from Christianity and Christ himself due to their actions. Your book showed me that a Christian can indeed smoke a pipe and drink without fear of condemnation. You showed me that a Christian can be human. I thank you for that.

Father Fiction

I don’t know if you know yet but good books for a young dad are hard to find. Your book Father Fiction could be the best book about being a dad I have ever read. By the time I finished reading it, my perspective on fatherhood was forever changed. I now look at my son as God looks at him. Thank you once more.

As you can see, you have been a big influence in my life. Which is why your blog post entitled “I Don’t Worship God by Singing. I Connect With Him Elsewhere.” surprised me. You see, I don’t have a problem with your learning style nor the fact that you do not connect with God by singing. I can understand that.

“It’s just that I don’t experience that intimacy in a traditional worship service. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of sermons I actually remember. So to be brutally honest, I don’t learn much about God hearing a sermon and I don’t connect with him by singing songs to him.”

“Interestingly, I learn a great deal by teaching, which is interesting to me.”

What troubles me is that you say that you learn through teaching. Don, if you only learn by teaching others, who is teaching you? Who are you allowing to influence you spiritually on a weekly basis?

I am not naive enough to say that I know you, even though you have been there for me when I have most needed someone to be authentic. But I am concerned, Don. No man is an island. I think it is great that you have a company and people who surround you. But again, if you are only teaching others, who is teaching you?

You have made yourself an island with full anti-aircraft weapons at ready.

Your concerned friend and brother in Christ,
Bryan

Edit: Jonathan Leeman wrote a very heartfelt response to you, Don. I especially liked the part where he talks about Tom and the body of Christ.