Are You Crazy Busy?

I got and read Kevin Deyoung’s new book yesterday, Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About A (Really) Big Problem which has since then dropped in price to $7.99. This is a very quick read, which is really helpful when I’m so busy!

The book is broken up into 3 main parts: the problem plaguing many in the Western world today (being too busy), followed by 7 plagues of busyness, and finally, a “what now?” conclusion chapter. The introduction set the stage for this current dilemma with some very helpful questions (like “Do you check work e-mails and phone messages at home?”) as well as some statistics that I had often pondered but never had concrete answers to (like the fact that our annual hours have increased from 1,716 in 1967 to 1,878 in 2000, which is an extra hour every day compared to the British, and 2 more hours a day than the Germans and Italians).

The meat of the book are 7 diagnoses Kevin suggests we need to use to self-evaluate. The most impactful for me were chapters 5 – ‘You Can’t Serve Others without Setting Priorities’ and 7 – ‘You Are Letting the Screen Strangle Your Soul.’ I far too often just say yes to everything that comes my way, and while this can be for very good things, is it always the best use of my time? Absolutely not! Kevin says, “Efficiency is not the goal. But if Jesus is any example, God does expect us to say no to a whole lot of good things so that we can be freed up to say yes to the most important thing he has for us.” I know for many people in my generation (early 30s even in to high school) the threat of technology invading our lives is a constant struggle. Even during youth group I see a majority of the students on their cell phones (always in their Bibles, right?). I just this week turned all the notifications off on my cell phone which has honestly been such a burden lifted off me (I’m planning to blog on that later).

The final chapter, while very good, seemed to be adding just one more mandate onto an already busy life – the need for prayer and devotions. While I agree this is something that needs to be the utmost priority in our lives, I don’t think it should be because we need to, but because we want to spend the precious time in communion with our God.

While this is a very good book about the busyness of our current lives, it felt a bit unfinished to me. As Kevin admits in the beginning of the book, “I’m writing this not because I know more than others but because I want to know more than I do.” David Murray has written a very good addendum to this book with some practical steps people can implement in their own lives in order to get rid of some of the busyness in their own lives.

“A man may preach from false motives. A man may write books, and make fine speeches, and seem diligent in good works, and yet be a Judas Iscariot. But a man seldom goes into his closet, and pours out his soul before God in secret, unless he is serious.”

-J.C. Ryle ‘A Call to Prayer

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Narcissism was a bad thing, until we started calling it “self-esteem”

A great piece on humility verse self-esteem.

The Matt Walsh Blog

I have no self-esteem. If you asked me to rank the people for whom I have the highest esteem, I doubt I’d make the top 20 of my own list. Maybe I could crack ten thousand, but I keep meeting or reading about people who are better than me in so many ways, consequently I plummet further down the charts. I’m actually very happy about this, luckily I’m not the best thing that humanity has ever produced, and God help us if all the better people die off and leave me at the top of the heap.

That said, I don’t dislike myself, I don’t have a problem with my self-image, I don’t have low self-esteem. I’m saying I have NO self-esteem, for the same reason that I have no pet unicorns. Self-esteem is a nonsensical fantasy. It’s a false Gospel. It’s a meaningless fabrication that exists only in your…

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The Romance of Domesticity

The Romance of Domesticity

I often feel a certain amount of discontent as I see people I was once close to in college doing really cool things like shooting music videos, or creating incredibly detailed websites, or taking cool hiking adventures, or having babies. Often this is combined with a slight twinge of jealousy as I look at my life and ask, “What the heck am I doing?” I think often I have a huge desire to do something new and exciting just for the sake of the experience. This article reminded me that there is a certain amount of romance in the monotony of life.

Why I Don’t Often Have Solos in Church

One of the things that seems to not be fading away with some of the people I’ve talked to in my church is a desire to “be blessed” by people singing solos in church. The funny thing is every time I ask them when they would like to sing a solo I get the same response of, “Oh not me! I just want to listen to someone else!” Even when I invite them to join the Christmas choir they’re either too busy or want a much more passive role in the worship service. So today I’m going to talk about why I’m not a big fan of solos in church.

First, I don’t enjoy or encourage solos in church because they have a tendency to distract attention from God instead of giving him the glory. This has happened to me on the rare occasion that I lead worship through music on piano. Many people tell me they just “love” hearing me play piano. While I appreciate the sentiment and encouragement, I worry that the piano playing may be getting in the way of the sole attention and focus being on God!

Tied in to this, solos tend to generally end up being about the person and their gifts than the whole body. I know this is a temptation for anyone in a visible leadership position, and I’ve found it to be especially true of those involved in music.

Second, I don’t encourage solos in church because I can’t find a good biblical basis for it. I see many instances of corporate singing within the whole body (Exodus 15:1, 1 Chronicles 16:23, Psalm 21;13, Psalm 30:4, Matthew 26:30, Acts 16:25, Ephesians 5:19, Hebrews 2:12, Revelation 15:3) but I can’t find anything about using solos during our corporate gatherings.

Wait a minute, you may say, what about a sermon? That is in a completely different category! We have many examples in Scripture of someone getting up in front of people to teach and/or preach, yet I still can’t find an example of a person getting up to sing for people to passively listen.

Third, while I think solos could be used and could be beneficial and encouraging to the body, I don’t encourage them because I have never seen them done well. It generally begins with the person telling about why they chose this song and what it means to them, whether or not it fits with the theme of the service that day, or if the song is biblically sound, or even relevant to the congregation today.

Thus far at church, I’ve been content to do our annual Christmas choir, perhaps a special song during our Christmas Eve service and one during our Easter service. At this point I don’t see a need to extend beyond that, and am going to try to continue encouraging the congregation to join us in singing praises to God. I know I need the reminder on a daily basis that God alone deserves all my praise, honor and glory.

Men and women are not equal

A great article about why men and women are not equal. Men and women are not equal.