A Spiritual Checkup: Do you need one?

checkup-square-291x300A checkup is generally understood as when a person goes to a doctor for an examination to make sure they are healthy.

A checkup is often scheduled.  When date and time are given for a checkup, for the most part, the person keeps this appointment.  The person takes seriously their health. They want to know the status of their health.

As a race, humans desire to live long, healthy lives, and thriving lives.

Do we take the same approach to our spiritual lives?  If not, why?  Perhaps it’s our longing or lack thereof.

A spiritual checkup is simple:

  1. Do we long for God (Psalm 42:1-2)?
  2. Do we engage in those spiritual disciplines which are designed to draw us nearer to God (Scripture reading, prayer, meditation, etc)?
  3. Do we serve one another in love?  Do we serve the least of these?  How do we serve the strangers among us?

Christ, the One who called us to himself, says that love for God and love for our neighbor are what really matters (Matthew 22:34-40).

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What is the Point of a Martin Luther King JR Holiday?

If not to challenge all of us to recognize and celebrate the brotherhood of all humanity, despite one’s ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, politic bent–and in the process, we create safer space for all.

It’s time for us to seek to understand our differences and eliminate the “other.”  We tend to fear what we do not understand.

True love drives out fear, and love seeks to understand so that there will be no fear.

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Merry Christmas!!!

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” –Luke 2:8-14 ESV, bold added

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Book Review: “Who is this Man?” by John Ortberg

  • 9780310340492_p0_v4_sPaperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Reprint edition (November 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310340497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310340492
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches


An Overview

A few weeks ago, with Christmas around the corner, I wanted to read a book on the life of Jesus. I had purchased John Ortberg’s Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus a couple of years back. It was sitting on my shelf.

While a number of Ortberg’s titles are in my collection, Who Is This Man? is the first I’ve read in its entirety. Ortberg explores how the life of Jesus has impacted human life and history, from humanity’s dignity, to the arts, culture, government, marriage, education, womanhood, etc. Along the way, Ortberg interacts with a number of authors here and there, from different traditions and so on.

A Critique

As mentioned above, this is my first Ortberg in its entirety. He did not disappoint. Who Is This Man? reads quite well. While written on the bottom shelf, so to speak, the reader gets the impression that the book is well researched.

I was reminded once again, especially with Christmas only days away, of the impact of the life of Jesus, Immanuel, “God with us” (Isa. 7:14; see Matt. 1:23).  Ortberg does an outstanding job of reminding us of this. We tend to forget this. Only consider the calendar and how we refer to someone’s death. “Joseph Stalin died in the year of our Lord 1953” (p. 181).

Before the “Epilogue: A Staggering Idea,” Ortberg titles the three preceding chapters, beginning with “Friday,” “Saturday,” and “Sunday,” respectively. I like the concluding structure to the book. For the most part I get “Friday” and “Sunday” but thought he could’ve done more with “Saturday.” Of course there are the silence, disappointment, and despair of “Saturday.” But I believe Ortberg missed a great opportunity to point to Jesus as our Sabbath, our Rest, if you will. “On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56 ESV). Now reflect on Matthew 11:28-30 and Jesus invitation to rest in him.

At any rate, I commend Ortberg’s Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus. We really need to be reminded of how Jesus has indeed impacted human life and history. It’s not just about a book.

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