- 99 Thoughts for Youth Workers by Josh Griffin
- A Walk Through the Bible by Leslie Newbigin
- Adventures in Missing the Point by Tony Campolo & Brian McLaren
- Book Manuscript by my main man Scott Wozniak
- Christianity & Social Order by William Temple
- Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton
- Dad’s Everything Book for Daughters by John Trent
- Darwin In A Nutshell by Peter Whitfield
- Devotional Classics Edited by Richard J. Foster & James Bryan Smith
- Everything Must Change by Brian McLaren
- Foreign to Familiar by Sarah A. Lanier
- God Has A Dream by Desmond Tutu
- In The Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership by Henri J.M. Nouwen
- It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado
- Love is an Orientation by Andrew Marin
- Love: The Words & Inspiration of Mother Teresa
- Martin Luther by Edwin P Booth
- Miles to Cross by Mike Howerton
- Myth of a Christian Nation by Gregory Boyd
- Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Peace Child by Don Richardson
- Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life by Tony Dungy
- Refuel by Doug Fields
- Reverse Mentoring by Earl Creps
- Sabbatical Journey by Henri J.M. Nouwen
- Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire
- Simple Church by Thom S. Rainer & Eric Geiger
- Streams of Living Waters: Celebrating the Great Traditions of the Christian Faith by Richard Foster
- Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright
- The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. Edited by Clayborne Carson
- The Case of Roe v. Wade by Leonard A. Stevens
- The Chris Farley Show by Tom Farley, Jr., and Tanner Colby
- The Coming of God by Jurgen Moltmann (only read 1/2)
- The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
- The Divine Hours Pocket Edition by Phyllis Tickle
- The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas by Mahatma Gandhi
- The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing & Why by Phyllis Tickle
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Horse & His Boy by C.S. Lewis
- The Illustrated Guide to World Religions by Dean Halverson
- The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey
- The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Love Dare by Stephen & Alex Kendrick
- The Meaning of the Millennium Edited by Robert G. Clouse
- The Millennium Myth by N.T. Wright
- The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission by Leslie Newbigin
- The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
- The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
- The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
- The Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter & Matt Smay
- The Words of Gandhi
- The World as I Remember It by Rich Mullins
- The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen
- UnChristian by David Kinnman & Gabe Lyons
- Walking by Henry David Thoreau
- When Generations Collide by Lynne C. Lancaster & David Stillman
- Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
- William Booth: Soup, Soap, and Salvation by Janet & Geoff Benge
- Also read several books with my daughters: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Jungle Book, The Secret Garden, Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables
I just finished reading a little book by William Temple (1881-1944) called Christianity & Social Order. Fantastic! In the book he lays out principles to guide Christians in their involvement in social life. Talk about a guy who was ahead of his times! Challenging and well worth the read!
“The Christian churches today largely define faith as knowing, and even being certain about your knowing, when in fact it means exactly the opposite! Faith is being willing not to know, and still being content, because God knows.” – Richard Rohr
“Ignorance does not result from what we don’t know! Ignorance results from what we think we do know—but don’t! Most ignorant people are, in fact, quite certain.” Richard Rohr
“The deep hidden stream of Christian meditation, mysticism, adoration, thanksgiving, wrestling with the anguish of the world in the presence of God, and celebrating the joy of the world in the presence of God, is waiting to be rediscovered and explored.” – N.T. Wright The Millennium Myth, p. 84).
Today our church services were canceled due to a snow storm that whacked us overnight. This was a common occurrence for our family growing up in upstate New York, and when it would happen, out family would have our own little church service. I thought I would pass along a short Bible study for you to do at home today by yourself or with others. May you know the love and peace of the Lord today!
Read Luke 1:26-37
“26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.”
What are the descriptions given to Mary about her child? (1:31-35)
What are some of the characteristics of Mary that you see in this passage?
Read the account of Gabriel’s prediction of John’s birth to Zechariah in 1:5-25. How was Zechariah’s response to the angel similar to Mary’s? How was his response different?
When Mary questioned the angel (1:34), he answered her question. When Zechariah questioned the angel (1:18) he was made unable to speak. Why? (1:19-20)
After the angel had answered Mary’s question, what was her response? (1:38)
In His sovereignty God chose Mary for the important task of giving birth to His one and only Son, Jesus. A study of her life will reveal important insights into her character and some clues as to why she was a candidate to be used by God in such a special way. For the sake of our purposes today we want to take a few minutes to focus on four aspects of Mary’s response and posture in this particular scene.
- Greatly Troubled. When Gabriel spoke to her, Mary’s first reaction was one of disturbance. Most of us would have been freaked out simply because we were seeing an angel! But Luke says that Mary was agitated – filled with inner commotion and turmoil – not because she had seen an angel, but because of what he said and the nature of his greeting. Interestingly, he had not even gotten into the details of his message yet. All he had said up to that point was “Hi Mary. You’re highly favored! God is with you.” That was enough to throw Mary into a troubled state.
- Um, I Have a Question! After an attempt at reassuring her, Gabriel goes on to tell Mary the meat of his message: that she is going to give birth to the Messiah. The second thing she did was ask him a question. “Um, Mr. Angel, sir! That’s really nice and all, but I have a question – it’s kind of an “In the Know” thing: How can this be? I have never even been intimate with a man before, and I think that’s kind of the way things work.” Gabriel then goes on to tell her that the Holy Spirit is going to cause her to become pregnant in a mysterious way.
- Master and Servant. After getting this cleared up … sort of (I would still have some serious questions, wouldn’t you?!) … the third thing we notice is Mary’s statement: “I am the Lord’s Servant”. The Greek word used for Lord is kyrios and was a term of reverence and respect. It was a title given to God recognizing His supreme control. Mary viewed God as her Master and properly saw herself in light of this reality – as a servant whose sole purpose was to fulfill the desires of her Master.
- I Submit. Fourth, and finally, Mary says, “May it be it me according to your word”. Gabriel came bearing the word of the Lord, and Mary’s response demonstrated that she was fully submitted to the plans and purposes of God.
Like Mother Like Son
When Jesus was confronted with one of the most difficult moments of His earthly life in the Garden of Gethsemane on His way to the cross, He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Like 22:42).
God chose Mary for the special task of bearing His Son because of her readiness to fully embrace the will of God. Is it possible that Jesus had the character to fully embrace the will of God – not just because of who He was the Son of God, but also because He saw it modeled by His mother while He was growing up? The Bible doesn’t say, but it is interesting for us to ponder this possibility.
The reality is that God is looking for people who are willing to walk in total submission to His will. Are we going to have concerns? Yes! Will we have questions? Absolutely! But like Mary and Jesus let us embrace an attitude of submission to the will of our Creator. Let us surrender to the One who created us and truly and ultimately knows the reasons for which we were given life. Let us follow Him – walking in faith, trusting that He knows best.
What are some of the fears you have when you think about submitting to the will of God? Explain.
What is at risk when you say “yes” to God’s will?
What is at risk when you say “yes” to your will?
If you’re in a group, share with one another areas of your lives that you are not fully submitted to the Lord in. Then take some time to pray for each other.