Why I am not a determinist

It is sometimes asserted that evil is not simply allowed but “ordained and guided” by God for the purposes of a grand narrative; it serves the “story” he is telling in creation. I think I get where people that hold this view are coming from, and I agree that the system (usually connected with Calvinism) has a high degree of explanatory power if you grant all of the inherent assumptions and interpretations of the biblical text.

That said, I find the deterministic view quite unsatisfying from biblical, theological, and pastoral points of view. Unfortunately I think the “God as author” metaphor (often very useful) is usually pushed to the breaking point and beyond. Continue reading Why I am not a determinist

This ESV Journaling New Testament could be a game changer for study and sermon prep

The Productive Pastor, Chad Brooks, just posted a pic of his study notes on Instagram. I had to ask him what Bible he was using. Turns out it was the new ESV Journaling New Testament, Inductive Edition.

I sometimes create my own version of this via copy & paste and Word, but this bound version of the New Testament text with wide margins and super-generous line spacing could really facilitate meditation, lectio divina, observation notes, definitions, etc. As such, it could also be a great volume to preach from if you wrote your notes directly in the text below each verse…certainly something to think about!

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Related: How and why you should keep a prayer journal

Amazing lightweight, compact, great-sounding headphones for travel. For under $20.

Wireless headphones are all the rage these days, as they should be. There’s delightful freedom in being able to start your music, podcast, or audiobook and roam about the house unteathered. Working out without wires is a true step up in terms of the quality of the experience. Add to this wireless freedom active noise canceling that can quiet ambient sounds like air conditioners, airplane engines, and the neighbor’s lawn mower, and you have a recipe for audio technology that deserves as be ubiquitous as it is. Bose, Beats, and Senheiser all deserve their place in the high-end headphones landscape.

However, these kind of headphones start at about $200 for a great experience. You can find some brands like Cowon selling similar headphones for about $50-$80, which can provide a good (though perhaps not great) experience. I have been pretty happy with some wireless, noise-canceling headphones in that price range. The thing is, wireless, noise-canceling headphones aren’t necessarily the best headphones for travel in every situation.  I found myself looking for something different for a recent trip I took. Why? Continue reading Amazing lightweight, compact, great-sounding headphones for travel. For under $20.