Thursday, August 14, 2008

Super Commendable?

Continuing in the vein of “whatever is commendable” from my last post, I was finally able to listen to the mp3 of Tim Keller preaching on Luke 15 and the parable of the Prodigal Sons. I had gotten a taste of this message when I first heard Keller when he spoke here in Richmond back in 2006. Somewhere I and had read about about this message, but was only recently able to access it. (Thanks, Steve McCoy for the great work cataloging Keller resources!)

At the risk of overstating, this is simply one of the most profound messages I have ever listened to. It seems like I’ve heard more sermons on this parable in my lifetime than any other single topic, and each time I recall learning something new. This one, however, is off the charts new and helpful for me. Maybe I’ve led a sheltered life, but this is the first time I have heard someone focus on the contrast between the elder and younger brothers. What Keller does with it gets to the heart of the good news as well as anything I’ve heard or read.

I know I’m guilty of frequently saying this or that is a must read or listen, but I wish someone had given me a link to this message before now.

Whatever is Commendable

In Philippians 4:8 the Apostle Paul tells us
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (ESV)

Such is my main purpose for blogging: upon discovering that which is worth commending, writing with a mind to publicizing it helps me contemplate it more deeply. In addition, I imagine that through the marvel that is the internet, friends or others might benefit from my pointing them to things worthwhile by Paul’s criteria.

For that reason I’m adding to my blog roll, Enjoying Jesus, which just happens to be written by a longtime friend, Jamie Calabrese. I first met Jamie when I was director of our local pregnancy resource center and she came through the training program and eventually ended up serving on the board of directors. Last summer my wife, Carol, and I were blessed as we travelled down to the Billy Graham Training Center with Jamie and her husband, John, to hear John Piper speak. (I wrote about that here.) Recently, Jamie has acquired the blogging bug with wonderful result. Writing poignantly of everyday experience and how the gospel affects her thinking, her thoughts are uncomplicated yet frequently profound. For an example, check out Begging Earnestly where her thoughts on a friend’s fundraising plea challenged me to rethink the way I view similar requests from acquaintances.

See for yourself.