What are you enjoying right now?
Sometimes, we need to step back and ask a question like that.
Philippians 4:8 challenges believers to think and dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable.” So the Facts & Trends staff would like to regularly share our “Favorites” at the moment.
It might be a new book or podcast we’re enjoying or something going on in our lives we want to share. Hopefully, you’ll think about things that are your favorites right now and maybe find something else to add to that list.
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor), online editor: This week I started Russell Moore’s latest book, Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel. In our rapidly changing culture, Christians will have to relearn what it is like to be a faithful, loving minority. Moore’s book helps point the way forward.
The ERLC president strikes a balanced tone that is realistic about the current situation, but ever hopefully in the promise of Jesus in Matthew 16:18—“I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Living in this promise, the church can go confidently into the public arena and contend for the faith in a winsome manner.
Moore’s book provides guidelines for Christians to do what Moore has been doing personally—standing confidently on the gospel without demonizing those who disagree. Every Christian who wants to living out the mission of Christ in our country should get a copy of Onward.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: My husband, Keith, and I recently returned from a mission trip to southern Europe. The town where we served has a population of 35,000 and less than 100 evangelical Christiana. Our 30-member team, made up mostly of students, partnered with a local evangelical church in their mission of reaching the community with the gospel.
In the mornings we trekked the ancient city streets meeting business owners and using our limited language skills to strike up conversations. Our afternoons were spent playing games with kids in the local parks. Each day our conversations progressed a little further. On our final days in the city several members of the team (with help from an interpreter) were able to share their testimonies and the gospel with their new friends and connect them to the local church.
It was a joy to come alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ and encourage them in their mission. And I marveled as God broke down language and culture barriers to allow the gospel to be shared. I recommend every Christ follower get a passport and take an international mission trip with their church or missions organization. Not only will God use you to bless others but He will open your eyes to a world waiting to hear the good news.
Matt Erickson (@_Matt_Erickson), managing editor: To mix up my exercise routine while simultaneously taking in the beauty of the great outdoors—I see deer and a variety of birds almost every time—I like to run or hike at a local state park a couple times a week.
When I’m by myself, I’ll either listen to music or a sermon podcast. Lately, it’s been mostly sermon podcasts. Specifically, it’s been a series called Built by Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta. I used to live in Atlanta and I’ve heard Louie preach on many occasions. Hearing him preach now is like returning to a favorite book—familiar and yet still rewarding. His passion is a good shot in the arm.
The combination of physical movement, beautiful surroundings, and encouraging truth coming through my headphones is one of my favorite ways to spend time these days.
Lisa Green (@lisaccgreen), senior writer: My sister moved to a new house just a mile and a half from mine, and I’m overjoyed at the chance to spend more time with her. As I helped her move in, we wrestled with the piano. Should it go near the door? Will it fit on that wall? Naturally we couldn’t resist playing a few notes, and soon we were dragging out the tattered hymnals from our childhood.
She and I grew up in a home filled with music. Our dad was the song leader at church, and our mom played the organ. Best of all, they both sang in an amateur Southern gospel quartet, which meant we got to hang out at weekend church singings. At home, the four of us would gather around the piano and spend hours in four-part harmony, singing our way through the song books just for the joy of it. Music became a family tradition.
Despite years of lessons, I never gained much skill at the piano, but suddenly it didn’t matter. We were singing and ignoring the wrong notes. Singing and skipping right over the forgotten words. Her alto took the lead on I’ll Meet You in the Morning. I struggled to remember the lyrics of‘Til the Storm Passes By and promised to find sheet music for He Will Pilot Me. We left the piano but kept singing, two voices in harmony: He Leadeth Me. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. Rock of Ages.
She’s only a mile and a half away. I think a new tradition has been born.
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: Thursday, July 23rd was National Hot Dog Day. And I love hot dogs, so they are my favorite this week. Here’s some cute hotdog “links”: dogs dressed like hotdogs, hotdog infographic (you all should be using mustard), history of hotdogs (sausage dates back to 9th Century B.C.).
What has made you smile so far this week? What would be your favorite today?