Book Recommendation from a Pastor
“All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment,” by Hannah Anderson
Recommendation by Pastor Eric Cai
When you think of the word ‘discernment’ what first comes to mind? The skill and ability to point out what’s false, erroneous, bad, and wrong? Typically, the word ‘discernment’ appears in the context of someone assessing the wisdom of pursuing a relationship, the wisdom of listening to this podcast over against this other one, the wisdom of voting for this person or that person. For many of us, the word ‘discernment’ carries a more defensive connotation; we see discernment as a protection mechanism that shields us from the threats of a dangerous world.
To be sure, the world is dangerous. Pastor Jason’s sermon yesterday reminds us that this world is full of tribulation, distress, falsehood, and instability. But what if this defensive posture is only half the picture of what biblical discernment truly is?
When we say that someone has a discerning eye or a discerning palate, we mean to say that this person is able to spot what is of value, good quality, and distinct over against something that is cheap, bland, and insignificant. So why is it that, almost always, in Christian contexts, when we say that someone is discerning, we typically mean that this person is able to spot what’s bad, rather than what’s good? Have we lost what it means to be truly discerning Christians?
In her book, “All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment,” author Hannah Anderson suggests that biblical discernment is simply “developing a taste for what’s good. It’s developing an instinct for quality, a refined sensibility, an eye for value—to know the difference between what’s good and what’s not in order to partake of the good” (13).
Anderson sees and conceives of discernment as goodness through the lens of Philippians 4:8, where the apostle Paul calls the Christian to think and pursue that which is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Discernment is ordered toward that which is good, not merely just a rejection of that which is bad. To be sure, in the pursuit of goodness, we sift and discard what’s bad, but only for the sake of pursuing what’s truly good.
In light of the upcoming holidays with unbelieving friends and family members, perhaps this vision of goodness is what our world precisely and desperately needs to see from Christians today. If you’re curious to recultivate this oft-mistaken virtue, take up and read All That’s Good. May we, Lighthouse Community Church, be people who are marked by goodness and pursue goodness only because we have been marked and pursued by a God who is good.
- “Because worldliness is a disposition of the heart, we can’t simply retreat into religious contexts to escape it. We also can’t rely on adopting certain positions or practices to avoid it—especially if we use them to avoid the more difficult task of examining our own heart motives. As long as we’ve picked the “right” education for our children, go to the “right” church, watch the “right” movies, and vote for the “right” candidate, we won’t have to face the deeper truth about how easily our hearts are led astray. We could be consumerist, pragmatic, and completely worldly but never know it because we see our choices as “right” and thus are convinced that we are as well” (54-55).
Alasdair Groves shares how our emotions, when properly exercised, can complement the truth of God’s Word and allow us to engage and worship God more fully. Lots of wisdom and consideration in this article.
As a complementary article to this past Sunday’s sermon, we draw strength and comfort from the life and death of Christ. In the midst of troubling times, we can have the blessed assurance that God is sovereign and good.
Here, Ed Welch helps us examine our words more closely. As Christians, we must not only speak the truth, but to do so with love and humility, imparting grace. We can honor God and love others not only in what we say, but how we carry a conversation.
Tragically, Challies’s son died last week. He shares raw insights on the struggles of his loss compounded by the difficulties of this season. I think this article may resonate with many of us on why we miss the church. As we lament and grow through this season, may it also cultivate a greater appreciation and service of the body of Christ now and when we can regather again.
Discipleship is a long game, for both parents and children. May we strive for faithfulness in everything, especially little moments that may bear fruit later down the road.
Sometimes we overcomplicate evangelism. Instead of tripping ourselves up or being petrified by hypotheticals, let us be faithful in sharing the good news of Christ knowing God is faithful.
This article provides good diagnostic questions on how we engage with people online as well as other mediums. Whether it’s politics, coronavirus, or any other topic, let us be most passionate about Christ and may that be reflected in what we post or say.
Rivers & Robots – We Have Overcome
Here’s a good song to further reflect on yesterday’s sermon. We may endure tribulation in this world, but we have peace in Christ.
Another song has been redone and released by the Gray Havens. This version has a soothing vibe melded to lyrics speaking of our eternal home.
Been enjoying this song. A simple cry and yearning to deepen our relationship with God.
Need more book recs? Here are some recommended to help nurture gratitude during a time when it’s easy to complain about our circumstances.
Ever curious how people were saved in the Old Testament? Steve Lawson provides his answer on this common question that may have puzzled many of us. May it cause us to marvel at God’s redemptive plan and celebrate the gift of salvation.