Free Book Alert – Be Basic by Warren Wiersbe

The world has become a confusing place. Every day we are confronted with cloudy moral issues that once seemed clear. When did the simple things get so complicated? But instead of wondering how we got here, maybe we should revisit how we got started. And there’s no better place to start than the beginning of God’s Word, the book of Genesis.

Part of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s best-selling “BE” commentary series, Be Basic has now been updated with study questions and a new introduction by Ken Baugh. A respected pastor and Bible teacher, Dr. Wiersbe takes an insightful look at the fundamentals for a life well lived. Return to the beginning and discover life-changing truths about relationships, faith, sin, and spiritual fulfillment. Because in life, the key to a happy ending is found at the beginning.

Download the book here.

Gospel Points – Dinner Dialoguing with Atheists Part 2

This podcast features part two of a three-part series on how to have
dialogue with those outside the faith. My guest is John Cobbet-Walden who once self-identified as a Christian but has now embraced atheism. Over the past few years John and I have maintained a healthy discussion about our beliefs despite the fact that we have such monumental disagreements. In last week’s segment John spoke of his departure from Christianity. This week John and I get into some of the basics of how to have a respectful conversation, some misconceptions about atheism and finally the role faith plays in our worldviews.

This and That

My Top 10 Theology Stories of 2015 – Consider my list an admittedly foolhardy attempt—written from the vantage point of an American who subscribes to The Gospel Coalition’s confessional statement—to discern the most important theology stories of 2015. And consider it an opportunity to reflect on whether your priorities align with God’s and a challenge to spread good news in a world that seeks peace but finds none apart from Jesus Christ. – Collin Hansen

Should Christians Be Encouraged to Arm Themselves? – What is the moment of life-threatening danger for? Is it for showing how powerful and preemptive we have been? Is it to show our shrewdness — that we have a gun in our back pocket and we can show you something? That is a response learned from Jason Bourne, not Jesus and the Bible. That response appeals to everything earthly in us, and requires no miracle of the new birth. It is as common and as easy as eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. – John Piper

Gospel Points – Dinner Dialoguing with Atheists

JohncwGuest – John Cobbett-Walden, teacher and musician

Description – This holiday season will no doubt feature those awkward dinner conversations that are sure to cause tension and division.  Often times these conversations will center on the issue of our faith.  Can we have meaningful dialogue with those outside the faith, even atheists?  I believe the answer is yes.  Joining me on the podcast for the next three weeks is John Cobbett-Walden.  John grew up in a Christian home, attended a Christian church and even spent time teaching in a Christian school before abandoning his faith.  For the past few years John and I have been engaging each other on social media, discussing our differences in what I believe to be a meaningful way.  So, I asked John to join us and chat about how to have these conversations without the rancor and division that so often accompanies such talk.  In this first segment I ask him to describe his departure from Christianity.

Stream it here.

Download it here.

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Movie Review – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Let me begin by stating I am no hardcore Stars Wars fan.  The first movie came out the year I was born and I have fond memories of watching the third (Episode 6) in the theater when it first came out.  I remember loving the Ewoks.  I watched all of the re-mastered ones when they came out, even showing up at the midnight showing of the first sitting next to a guy in a Chewbacca mask.   I really was not much of a fan of the prequels, and I really hate Jar Jar Binks.  Yet, I watched them all because I felt an obligation to see just how Anakin turned into Darth Vader.

That having been said, I saw Episode 7 for two reasons.  The first is simply because having watched all previous six movies, I feel that continued sense of obligation.  Second, I have to admit, that I am a marketer’s dream – I easily get caught up in the hype of the moment.   So, while I wasn’t about to camp out over night for a week to be the first into a midnight showing, when the chance to view the movie this morning appeared, I took it.

I thought that perhaps at a nine o’clock Monday morning showing I could beat the masses.  No such luck.  My wife and I showed up over a half hour early and still had to wait in a line.  The theater was packed.  Yet, we were still able to get decent seats that didn’t feel too crowded.  We sat down and over 30 minutes of previews later, we finally got to the movie.

Without giving away too much, I can say the movie lived up to the hype.  If you are a big Star Wars fan to begin with, you will absolutely love it.  While it was a bit too long for my taste, they inserted enough humor to keep me paying attention.  And let me say, it was my kind of humor!  Seeing some of the original characters was great.  They were blended in perfectly alongside new heroes.  The plot is quite reminiscent of the originals filled with plenty of illusions to them.   This really is a worthy successor to that first trilogy.  If you’re into special effects and action-filled fight scenes – this is your movie!  But, this is not just eye candy.  There is quite a bit of depth in the story-line to force you to think through just what is happening in light of the larger metanarrative.  There’s also a good deal of moral and theological undertones that make for good conversation, but I’m going to save all of that for a future Gospel Points podcast.

So, out of five stars, I give it a 4.5.  This is the movie you’re looking for…