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Don’t Anchor Your Identity In A Role (via David Powlison)

This video is directed towards pastors and other Christian ministry workers, but is applicable to everyone.
The danger of allowing a role to define your identity is that every role has a limited time frame.
When the role ends identity can come adrift.
Identity for the Christian must be found in the eternal.

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The Cost Of Teenage Optimism (via David Zahl at Mockingbird)

A post by David Zahl dealing with the implications of a social science report that finds that tries to engage with optimistic teens turning into disillusioned 30 somethings.
From the report itself:

The researchers can only speculate about why getting older is less fun than ever, but it seems the downturn in happiness among today’s thirtysomethings is the lasting effect of an overly optimistic youth, Twenge said. “This is something I’ve thought about for a while,” she told Science of Us. It’s the natural, if unintended, backfiring of a childhood filled with messages like, You can be anything you want to be!
Soaring expectations, if left unmet, can lead to crushing disappointment; this is the kind of common-sense statement that happens to also be backed up by a raft of psychological research…

From Zahl’s reflections:

When we embrace an inflated anthropology, we set ourselves up for disappointment and confusion, rather than wonder or compassion. For example, a vaunted view of ourselves all but dictates how we will respond to the horrific events that transpired in Paris last week. Empathy is too frightening for what it might say about us, and so we demonize. We classify the perpetrators as completely other–bad as opposed to good, savage as opposed to enlightened, victimizers as opposed to victims–which only furthers the same dehumanization that makes such acts possible in the first place. Perhaps that’s too close to the bone.

Read the whole post at Mockingbird.

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Walking Out A Thoughtful Life In Regard To What We Love (via Sandra McCracken)

Sandra McCracken and Sara Groves perform McCracken’s song Dynamite (from her album Desire Like Dynamite).
Here’s what McCracken has to say during the song:

“Some friends and I went on a pilgrimage to meet Wendell Berry one afternoon and had a conversation with him about life, life living in a city, what does a sustainable life look like, what does the word sustainable mean … all these kinds of conversations. Out of that came a few things that he directed us towards. One was where does the water in your area come from, and your energy?
I remember hearing the quote from Jonathan Edwards years ago, and it came up as I was exploring these themes, that we are shaped by our greatest desires. So we are free to choose, but we are always a slave to our greatest desire. As we’re motivated, as our life … we make small decisions through the course of the day, or we’re formed by habits. At the same time, at the base of those habits, is what we love. And so looking honestly at that is important work. It’s often hard work just staying awake, or becoming awake to it, and then being able to walk out a thoughtful life in regard to what we love.”

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The Battle Against Being Satisfied With Too Little (via Paul Tripp)

From Paul David Tripp:

…I am persuaded that the problem with the body of Christ is not that we are dissatisfied with what we do not have, but that we are all too satisfied with what we do have. We are comfortable with a little bit of holiness, a little bit of ministry, a little bit of sacrifice, a little bit of wisdom, a little bit of satisfying glory that only the grace of Christ is able to give us. I am deeply persuaded that we must resist with all of our might the kind of self-satisfied spirituality that marks the life of so many believers. And I am further persuaded that this pseudo-spirituality is one of the cruel deceptions of a wily enemy.
What is the danger of this kind of spirituality? It never results in truly Christ-centered, grace-driven, God-glorifying, heart-satisfying righteousness. True righteousness only ever begins when you come to the end of yourself. Only when God leads you to the place where you begin to abandon your own agenda and false righteousness, does true righteousness take hold. And only then can a passion for selfless service and true worship grow in your heart.
But the battle is ever-present, and I am afraid that at the same moment we are nibbling at the table of the Lord, we are often stuffing ourselves at the buffet of the world. No wonder our hearts are not satisfied; we are feasting on food that has no capacity to satisfy. And no wonder we are addicted; as we feed on what cannot satisfy, we must go back again and again and again.
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House,Shepherd Press, 2009, pp 94-95.

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Living Without Worry by Timothy Lane – A Review

ldworry_mediumborder.hjog6xdm752qmagw2ebqmrohfru27xedLiving Without Worry (Good Book Company, 2014) by Timothy Lane is a helpful, concise, and accessible treatment about the roots of anxiety and methods of dealing with it. While recognising different degrees of anxiety and various physiological conditions that may contribute to, or arise from, extreme situations, Lane offers basic principles to try navigate the circumstances of worry in a positive manner.
Identifying causes of worry that arise from past (actions done by the individual, or to the individual), the future (situations that may arise), the present (what is happening now); Lane goes on to unfold a pattern by which the individual identifies how these circumstances supplant or distort focus on God and then cultivate a perspective that expresses trust in God.
Scripture is skilfully used to both provide the pattern of the counsel as well as the context for trusting it. Helpful questions practically unfold the process and an important section contextualises the process in terms of recognising that circumstances in life will provide opportunities to give in to worry and fear, but these are used by God to grow the faith of his people.
Personally, as a long-standing worrier who is inclined to periods of melancholy, Lane’s analysis rings true and his counsel resonates as being a constructive pattern to dealing with the various situations in life that can easily lead to anxiety. Even as I read it for this review I found current situations causing apprehension giving way to a sense of God’s power and purpose that brings peace.

The .mobi edition of Living Without Worry upon which this review is based was provided by Cross Focussed Reviews as part of a Living Without Worry blog tour. A positive review was not required as a condition of its provision.

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Christians Never Outgrow The Gospel (via Jerry Bridges)

Jerry Bridges (courtesy of Desiring God) on why the Gospel is not confined to becoming a Christian, but is our companion all through our lives as Christians.

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Come And Hear Again About The God Who Works His Purposes Through Your Weaknesses

I hope if you attend Christian worship tomorrow you won’t be subjected to a lesson in moral improvement, an exhortation about how God can use you by your following a list of steps of moral improvements drawn from Bible narrative turned into object lessons.
I trust you’ll hear about God’s redemptive love, which always achieves its purposes not by making people better so that they’re useful, but by making the imperfect actions of people serve His better purpose of bringing His people into family and caring for and preserving them.

Mark Altrogge has a few more thoughts on the subject.