Worth Reading - 12/29

Here are some links worth reading this weekend:

1. Consider how you use your leisure time. Free time isn't free. Redeem the time:

Even though our society’s conceptions of free time don’t bring true rest, health, or flourishing, Christians often buy into them. To enjoy leisure well, then, we need to understand God’s reign over leisure and his purposes for it.

First, Christians must recognize that all of our time comes under the Lordship of Christ, whether we’re working or recreating. God doesn’t care just about our work; he cares about our time. Even in our free time, we’re responsible to God for our use of it. We don’t have a pass to do whatever we want.

2. Alastair Roberts put together a solid post about the nature of the gospel regarding some recent discussions in the Twitter-sphere. Even if you are blissfully unaware of the kerfuffle, the article is worth your time.

In our world, ‘gospel’ has become a heavily-charged floating signifier, which has become unmoored from its biblical particularity. Christians can treat the specificity of the biblical narrative as if it were a launch pad from which the rocket of a universal and deracinated ‘Gospel’ were propelled into the orbit of the earth. While the biblical narrative is one of a very particular people and God’s historical dealings with them, the ‘Gospel’ is a departicularized and dehistoricized declaration of justification by grace through faith alone for the individual in need of salvation. The word ‘gospel’ then becomes attached to all sorts of other terms in various forms, to give them an added oomph of piety (e.g. ‘gospel-centred’).

Yet this doesn’t work. The biblical gospel is a highly particular message. It is a message that comes at the fulness of time, to a particular people, and has a highly specific context and content. It isn’t about a timeless mode of salvation or a universal soteriology of grace, but about the particular declaration that God has visited his people in the Messiah, bringing forgiveness and judgment to Israel, that his kingdom has been inaugurated and that it will be established over the whole world. All of this is summed up in the gospel proclamation: ‘Jesus is Lord!’

3. An encouraging post by Aaron Earls at Facts and Trends about how the Word of God spread over 2017.

Globally, the most shared, bookmarked, and highlighted Bible verse on the app this year was Joshua 1:9: “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

In the United States, the verse with the most interactions in the Bible App was Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

This year, YouVersion saw even more people turn to the Bible App to explore God’s Word, many in some unexpected places.

Downloads in India increased by 228 percent this year, while the number of downloads in Iraq grew by 155 percent. Mozambique saw downloads increase by 243 percent, and downloads in Angola jumped by 733 percent.

4. One man gets around the drive to work by swimming:

Benjamin David was fed up with the stress of commuting on busy city roads. So he now packs his laptop, suit and shoes into a waterproof bag, straps it to his back and swims 2km to work along the Isar River in Munich, Germany.

Depending on the season, he wears swimming trunks or a long wetsuit – as well as rubber sandals to protect his feet from glass or the occasional bicycle laying in the river.

5. Destin Sandlin explodes a tomato and his sound guy discusses sound for slow motion films. This one's interesting, but mostly just fun.