Monday, November 29, 2010

Understanding depression - A few resources

It is technically called depression, but it can’t be captured by a word. You feel numb, yet your head hurts; empty, yet inside there are screams; fatigue, yet fears abound. Things that were once pleasures now barely hold your attention. Your brain feels like it is in a fog. You feel weighted down.

Do you remember when you had goals? Things that you looked forward to? They could have been as small as going to a movie on Friday night or a job you wanted
to accomplish. Now you have very few goals. Making it through the day seems like

Do you notice what life feels like without goals? Every day is the same. There is no rhythm of rising anticipation, satisfaction, then rest. Each day brings a dreadful monotony, and you fear that tomorrow will be the same as today. The flatness of life feels like it is killing you.

Sleep? It’s a mess. You can’t get enough. You don’t even remember what it feels like
to wake up refreshed.

Have you ever seen Pablo Picasso’s paintings from his blue period? If you find a book on Picasso you might want to take a look. The pictures are not encouraging but
you would, at least, find that you are not alone. Triggered by a difficult relationship,
he did a series of paintings where people looked lifeless and everything was in shades
of blue and gray. Was he putting his feelings into his art, or was he faithfully presenting the world as he actually saw it? Either way, there are no sun splashed days with depression, just dreary overcast skies and a dull colorless world.

Picasso wasn’t the only one who struggled with what has come to be known as
depression. Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, the great English preacher
Charles Spurgeon, missionary David Brainard, and Bible translator J. B. Phillips were
some of the more well-known and accomplished people who talked and wrote about
their struggles. So although you may feel alone, many have walked the path before,
and many are walking it now.

Except from Words of Hope For Those Who Struggle with Depression

There is a lot of stuff out there on depression and even a little from a Christian perspective. But the folks at Counseling Solutions have posted a few great free resources written on understanding depression and how to a counsel a depressed person. I've read through a couple of them and skimmed another and found them quite helpful. Links to those documents are below

Words of Hope Those Who Struggle With Depression
The River of Life Flows Through the Slough of Despond
Counseling Those Who are Depressed

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hymns for Sunday - Reformed Praise is a website I enjoy and is a great collection of theologically rich songs centered on the gospel of grace. The contributors to this site have updated some hymns, written new tunes to hymns, and written new songs to promote singing old and new hymns in corporate worship and provide hymns that are theologically rich and centered around the gospel.

I have a few favorite songs from the site, click the name of the song to go to the lyrics and listen to them.

The Fury of the Wind
The Lord Is King
Merciful to Me

Friday, November 26, 2010

Recognizing your idols

On Wednesday night I heard a sermon by Pastor Mark Driscoll that really struck me, like hit me between the eyes and gave me a swift kick in the butt. He was preaching on idolatry and religion. He has a lot of great things to say by he gave a list of questions to ask yourself to see what some of your idols might be. It hurt and made me physically sick to go back and answer those questions. When I took a serious look at myself I realized the dreadful sin that I was committing against a Holy God, replacing the one, true, eternal God with temporary, futile idols.

Here's that list of questions that the Holy Spirit has used to prod me to more passionately pursue the true God and not the fleeting idols.

What am I most afraid of?
What do you long for most passionately?
Where do you run for comfort?
What do you complain about most?
What makes you happiest?
How do you explain yourself to others?
What has caused you to be angry at God?
What do you brag about?
What do you want more than anything?
What do you sacrifice most for?
If you could change one thing, what would it be?
Whose approval are you seeking?
What do you want to control or master?
What comfort do you treasure most?

Here's the link again to Mars Hill Church Seattle to find the sermon

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hymns on Sunday - Rock of Ages

Over the years the hymn Rock of Ages has become one of my favorite hymns. Honestly, I never knew much about Augustus Toplady, the author of the hymn. I definitely had no idea he and John Wesley spatted back and forth like they did. Well spat may be an understatement...
Toplady decided that Wesley and his preachers were the greatest danger to the church of Jesus Christ since, well, Satan.
I came across a great blog post from The Scriptorium highlighting the Wesley and Toplady relationship and the story behind the hymn Rock of Ages.

“Rock of Ages” is a great hymn, one of the best.

Here is the bad news: It was written out of spite, by a bitter and narrow-minded young man who couldn’t keep his personal hatred from over-flowing into his prayers and songs.

Here is the good news: God rescued the hymn from the defects of its author and his worst intentions, and Rock of Ages is every bit as good as you think it is. If you skip the rest of this blog post, remember that

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dog Eared Pages - multiple thoughts

October was a good month for reading. Instead of highlighting each book in its own post I'll mention a few briefly. Let me start by saying I recommend each of these books, but I'll begin with the one that was my favorite of the three.

Today's Gospel: authentic or synthetic? by Walter Chantry really focuses on a problem in much preaching and evangelism today. That being many messages are man centered and not gospel centered. Mr Chantry explains in greater detail some of the essential elements in evangelism, which include:
1. Preaching the Character of God
2. Preaching the Law of God
3. Preaching Repentance Toward God
4. Preaching Faith Toward God's Son
5. Preaching Assurance of Acceptance with God
6. Preaching with Dependence upon God

God's High Calling for Women by John MacArthur is a basic outline of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and the role of women in the church. I know that in our liberal feminist society today this is a bit of a touchy subject, but not one that can be ignored.

Found: God's Will by John MacArthur is a short booklet. I'd be my guess that most believers want to know God's will for their life. This booklet is not exhaustive, but affirms God has revealed His will in the scriptures. In a nut shell, MacArthur says that your desires are inline with the will of God if you make sure you are saved, saturated in the scriptures, living a holy life, submitted to authority, and prepared to suffer for doing right.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Why doesn't church feel like a family?

I found this excerpt from a sermon quite practical

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Hymns on Sunday - How Sweet the Sound

Another album available for free download on is a series of hymns, How Sweet the Sound, put together by Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD. The church did this project a couple years ago not just for listening but for memorizing these ten hymns. This is their explanation of the project:

In 2008 and 2009, our church family spent 10 months devoted to learning great hymns of the faith. Memorizing hymns is one of the ways we can obey Scripture’s command to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” Colossians 3:16.

We did this project because we want to benefit not only from the songs written in our lifetime, but also from hymns that have served the people of God for generations and will endure long after we’re gone. They are time-tested and true. They speak to every circumstance of life and point us to the wisdom, love and power of our gracious God and Savior.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Don't Waste Your Life Audiobook

Each month offers a free downloadable audiobook. This month they have made available Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper. I read this book a few years ago and it changed my way of thinking about who I was living this life for and what I was created for. I recommend checking this book out.