We are needy people.
Think of all the things that we need for survival: food, water, oxygen, sleep, and, depending on who you’re talking to, coffee. But God is not so. This is what is known as God’s “aseity”—the fact that God derives all that He needs from Himself. There are many passages in the Bible that speak to this, but I want to highlight two:
R.C. Sproul expounds on God’s aseity when he writes, "If we go a few days without water or a few minutes without oxygen, we die. Likewise, human life is susceptible to all kinds of diseases that can destroy it. But God cannot die. God is not dependent on anything for His being. He has the very power of being in and of Himself… This is the supreme difference between God and us; God has no such dependence upon anything outside of Himself.”
Why does this matter, you ask? Because it is easy to forget we need God and easy to believe God needs us. A.W. Tozer wrote about this in his book, Knowledge of the Holy, where he writes, “Almighty God, just because He is almighty, needs no support. The picture of a nervous, (needy) God fawning over men to win their favor is not a pleasant one; yet if we look at the popular conception of God, that is precisely what we see. Twentieth Century Christianity has put God on (a leash). So, lofty is our opinion of ourselves that we find it quite easy, (even) enjoyable, to believe that we are necessary to God."
We don't worship God because He's needy, but because He's worthy.
But the truth is this: God does not need us.
God is not a divine egomaniac in need of his ego being stroked by finite man. No, He is an infinitely glorious God who is in need of nothing we have to offer. We do not come to church to worship because he needs it. We don’t worship God because He's needy, but because He’s worthy! And He is worthy because “from him and through him and to him are all things” (Romans 11:36) therefore, we lay down our lives and lift up our voices again and again and again because He is worthy of it all. Whereas we are finite and frail creatures in constant need, God needs nothing because He has all that He needs in and of Himself. And that, my friends, is a reason to worship.
After years of building a robust theological library, I am now making the switch to a digital theological library through Logos Bible Software (read more about why I made the change). This means that I am now selling most of my physical library at a highly discounted cost.
CONDITIONS OF THE SALE
I plan to have this portion of my library sold by September 1, 2018. If you are interested in purchasing any of the volumes listed, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (26 Volumes)
Pillar New Testament Commentary Set (16 Volumes)
Single Commentaries & Reference Books
Not that it needs to be stated again, but… I love books. A book is a piece of art. It’s cover, contents, and binding are all like splashes of color on a blank canvas that create beauty. This is one of the main reasons why many (myself included) will never ditch print books entirely.
In recent months, however, I’ve started to reevaluate my relationship with print books because of one reason: accessibility. While print books are aesthetically appealing they are not easily accessible. I cannot carry more than 2 books in my (awesome!) briefcase. I can’t search for a phrase or word in a book without having to rely on my often-failing memory. I can’t hold my entire theological library—well over 1,500 books—in my home. Therefore, I often forget what books I have on topics or themes that might be handy at any given time.
It is for these reasons that I started researching Logos Bible Software in March of 2018.
What I found was astonishing.
At the click of a mouse I could search my entire library for a phrase or word and flip through a library that can get as big as I want/can afford. I took the next couple of months to talk to veteran Logos users and read anything/everything I could get my hands on about the positives and negatives of switching from a print library to completely digital. After months of consideration, I was sold.
I made the decision to no longer buy print commentaries or reference books, but instead to buy them digitally on Logos. This means I must begin the tedious (and even painful!) process of selling my print commentaries and reference books—more to come on that :-)
It will no doubt take me years to replicate my print library, but I’m convinced that it will be well worth it in the long run.
Who isn't busy?
From work deadlines, projects at home, the kid's soccer practice, and everything in between—busyness is a concept all people can relate with. A busy Mom at my church once described her life as "something between a perpetual summer camp and a three-ring circus"—perhaps you can relate!
And yet there is a great danger lurking in living a life filled to the brim with "many things." Pastor and Author Kevin DeYoung expounds on this when he writes:
"As Christians, our lives should be marked by joy, taste like joy, and be filled with the fullness of joy. Busyness attacks all of that. One study found that commuters experience greater levels of stress than fighter pilots and riot police... When our lives are frantic and frenzied, we are prone to anxiety, resentment, impatience, and irritability all the while neglecting God... Busyness has killed more Christians than bullets."
So here is the question: is it wrong to be busy? After all, Jesus Himself was busy going from town to town, healing people and preaching the gospel. The Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians in 2 Thess. 3 that he toiled “day and night” for the sake of the gospel. In many respects, God calls us to be busy with Him as He works in the world.
The Bible, however, never advocates for the kind of busyness that is always looking ahead at the “next” thing, causing one to miss out on enjoying God's presence in the moment. Here is how I would define it: Busyness (the kind that hinders us from knowing Jesus more deeply) is the habit of running toward “the next” while missing God in “the now.”
This is precisely the danger of busyness. We become so concentrated about what’s coming next that we miss God in the now. Adele Calhoun reflects on this danger in her Spiritual Disciplines Handbook when she writes,
"We can get so busy doing urgent things and so preoccupied with what comes next that we don’t experience the now. Afraid of being late, we rush from the past to the future. The present moment becomes a crack between what we did and what we have yet to do. It is virtually lost to us. We don’t get to our futures any faster if we hurry. And we certainly don’t become better people in haste. More likely than not, the faster we go the less we become."
The danger of this is that we live a life so full of "do" that there is never any time to "be" with Jesus. So here is the question: will you embrace Him moment-by-moment, enjoying His presence in all that you do or will you rush quickly from one thing to the next? You choose.
*I preached a message on this very topic in November of 2017. You can listen to the message here.
Every year I have some sort of plan for reading through the Bible. Last year I took it slow and digested particular books of the Bible through inductive study and meditation (Philippians, John, Psalms). A few years ago I read through the entire Bible accompanied with a reading plan for Jim Hamilton's God's Glory in Salvation Through Judgment (highly recommend) and really enjoyed it.
This year I am reading through the entire Bible accompanied by Tom Schreiner's The King in His Beauty. Schreiner is one of my favorite theologians for the reason being that he does Biblical Theology so well in all of his writings (E.g. His book on covenants). The King in His Beauty is a beautiful culmination of deep theological reflection coupled with a cohesive thread Schreiner masterfully weaves through each book of the Bible.
The book is broken into nine parts:
Each "part" groups books of the Bible together to give the reader a well-rounded, cohesive view of the entire canon. Schreiner's goal is that the reader would leave the book with a greater understanding of the "major themes in the narrative" (p. xii, TKIHB). I believe that a careful reading of Schreiner's book, accompanied with focused Bible reading, will help you see the broader story line of the Bible in each book of the Old and New Testament.
I commend you to read through the Bible this year with TKIHB as an aid for helping you grow in your knowledge and love of God. You can find one-year and two-year reading plans here. May the Lord bless you and keep you as you read His Word this year!