I Read Dead People


One day, I will make that into a t-shirt and feel all clever about it, even though the idea has probably already been taken.

Don’t get me wrong. I love reading the newest books by new authors. I look forward to new books by folks like Max Lucado, Jan Karon, and Francis Chan, among others.

But sometimes it’s good to read something by someone who’s no longer living. And by that I don’t mean recently deceased.

I’m talking about people like C S Lewis or G K Chesterton. People like Jane Austen or Bram Stoker. Or if you really want to get daring, go back even further and read the works of William Shakespeare or St Augustine.

It’s good to step outside of the Western 21st-century mindset to gain a fresh perspective. Especially when it comes to faith.

I’m currently reading G K Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, which I highly recommend to anyone who wants a deeper read. This is the guy who greatly influenced C S Lewis and whose book The Everlasting Man was instrumental in Lewis coming to faith. As if you needed extra incentive.

In the past year, I’ve read Anna Karenina by Tolstoy and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Both are newer translations of the old classics that really make the text come alive in a new way and the characters seem more alive and real.

I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the one book that I read by an author who is still alive. In fact. I can actually get in touch with him to ask him what he meant on certain parts and why certain people acted the way they did.

Spoiler alert: it’s the Bible. All the other books I’ve read are great, but this one is the only one that’s living and active. It’s the only book that’s God-breathed. It’s the only book where I can figure out the craziness that is my life and make it work.

I suggest you try it sometimes.

Some thoughts about worship

Jesus didn’t die for our good works or good intentions. He didn’t die to make good people better. Or for that matter to make bad people good. He died to make dead people come alive. He died for our dark places, our wicked deeds. He came to take our blame and our shame and give us His perfection. Jesus died to make us worshippers.

John Piper says in effect, Worship, not missions, is the purpose of His people. The reason that missions exists is because for so many peoples, worship does not. People can’t worship a God they don’t know. People can’t worship a god made in their image that is too small to save or love or rescue anybody. Redeemed people worship a real God. Really when you look at it, missions and evangelism are both forms of worship– declaring the great worth and works of God to all peoples.

Worship is Romans 12:1-2, offering our bodies as living sacrifices. In the Old Testament, part of worship was offering sacrifices like bulls and goats. Since Jesus did away with the old sacrificial system, what we bring as our offering of worship is ourselves. Worship is giving to God our bodies, our souls, our true selves. Worship is giving back to God what was already His and acknowledging that He owns it all, including us.

Worship is James 1:27. When we give to the widow and the orphan, we give to Jesus. Whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Jesus. Jesus didn’t choose the popular or strong or wise; He chose the throwaways of the world, the lepers, the outcasts and the abandoned to be His worshippers. Worship also means keeping yourself unstained by the world, to be set apart and different. Worship is either a 24/7 lifestyle or it’s nothing at all.

Worship is taking your two loaves and five fishes and watching Jesus turn it into a meal for thousands. When we give what little we call our own to Jesus, He takes it and not only blesses the multitudes, but gives back to us more than we can contain.

Worship means to kiss, to adore and to sacrifice. It is saying that God is supremely worthy of all of me. It means I will give my life away on a daily basis for the Kingdom of God. It means that every breath is a praise and every thought a prayer.

Honestly, after all this, I still don’t really know what worship is. I’m not very good at it. Or I should say I am not very good at worshipping the right thing, i.e. Jesus of Nazareth who died on the cross and rose triumphantly from the grave and has all authority in heaven and on earth, including authority over my life.

In the New Testament, when people worshipped, they fell on their faces. In the book of Revelation, the apostle John fell on his face before Jesus as a dead man. That’s what I pray for: to die to everything else, to fall on Jesus, and live to Him, with Him and for Him only.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.