Today's Devotions

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Worth Considering: JI Packer

  • The Christian Grows in Grace (JI Packer excerpt) +

    SANCTIFICATION THE CHRISTIAN GROWS IN GRACE Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Read More
  • The Ministry of the Spirit by JI Packer +

    The Holy Spirit is given to all Christians to transform them by his teaching, making them into God-focused thinkers and Read More
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good_and_beautiful_godThe idea behind James Bryan Smith’s The Good and Beautiful God (InterVarsity Press, 2009) is twofold. First, spiritual growth generally requires intentionality and discipline--hence the "soul training" exercises at the end of each chapter. Second, many Christians struggle with loving and growing in God. A common cause of these struggles is "false narratives," misconceptions about God that we may or may not realize we have, but that make a huge difference in our spirituality. ("God wants me to try harder," "God blesses me when I'm good but punishes me when I'm bad," etc.)


Smith works to uncover these narratives and replace them with Jesus' narratives. Living by Kingdom narratives not only encourages healthy spiritual growth, it also inspires greater love and appreciation for God. For me, Smith's method is especially helpful because he convinces my scholarly skeptic side, yet remains surprisingly accessible--without dumbing things down to the point of insulting readers' intelligence. The narratives he addresses are things I've struggled with, myself, and it's so refreshing that he doesn't just give me platitudes, but instead addresses them on a much deeper level.

The InterVarsity Press website offers good info on the book, including the table of contents.  The Good and Beautiful God is the first in Smith’s three-part “Apprentice” series. Additional material, including supplementary blog posts, audio files, and even a sample chapter, can be found on the series website: www.apprenticeofjesus.org.

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

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Audio & Video

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The Hit List

  • Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions, and Thanksgivings +

    Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, O Lord, turn from yourfierce wrath; change your mind and do not Read More
  • Thanksgiving +

    Why should we give thanks to God? Why should we come to him with our praises,? In the scriptures, there Read More
  • ACTS (Adoration, Contrition/confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) +

    Following this introduction to prayer, there are links to articles involving each of the four types of prayer-adoration, contrition/confession, thanksgiving, Read More
  • Thanksgiving: ACTS, A Blueprint for Prayer by Alex Kirk +

    Alex Kirk of Chatham Community Church discusses Thanksgiving, part 3 of his series on prayer-Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Read More
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Gems

  • Avoiding Casualties: A sermon by Jim Hugerich +

    Spiritual warfare is something that few Christians, regardless of their denomination, are accustomed to thinking about, let alone engaging in. Read More
  • Does God Control Everything?: Tim Keller sermon +

    Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC, has an insightful discussion about free will, pre-destination and God's omnipotence, Read More
  • A Healthy Obsession: a sermon by Jay Thomas +

    Jay Thomas's sermon in November, 2010 at the Chapel Hill Bible Church, "Why Am I So Obsessed with the Gospel?", Read More
  • Just People: a sermon by Francis Chan +

    Francis Chan's sermon at the Reality Church August 22 and 29, 2010. http://realitymessages.com/audio/20100822-Fearless-32kbps.mp3 http://realitymessages.com/audio/20100829-Fearless_Part2-32kbps.mp3 Read More
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