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 your list.
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor), online editor: The sequels to the original Jurassic Park had me wary of seeing Jurassic World. It could have easily been a big-budget dinosaur fight and nothing more. And while it definitely was that, it captured a sense of wonder so many films miss.
Much like Jurassic Park, World explores the theme park through the eyes of a child, breathless in his excitement of seeing dinosaurs for the first time. Of course, that wonder turns to terror and the awesome becomes the awful. But the latter works best when cast in opposition to the former.
G.K. Chesterton said, “The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.” In this world that God has created, though it is fallen, there are still many wonders for us to witness. As creative agents made in the image of our creative God, we have many opportunities to explore wonders through our imagination. But too often we miss out when we are consumed by the everyday responsibilities we all share.
I am thankful that Jurassic World granted me the opportunity to see this fictional world with a sense of awe and wonder, which reminded me of the need to explore and create with that same sense in mind.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: This week I had the privilege of meeting and briefly chatting with Dr. Rosaria Butterfield, author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. In her book, the former English professor, tells the story of her journey into the Christian faith.
The former lesbian activist deftly describes what happens when Christ turns your world upside down. I appreciate her honesty and authenticity as she writes about her messy and difficult journey and how she began to obey God in her heart one step at a time. Her book offers a model of how Christians can carefully and compassionately share their convictions when asked about their faith by someone with a different worldview.
Butterfield challenges churches to become communities that are safe places for individuals to work through who they are and whose they are eventually. “The teaching, the prayers, and the friendships the Lord has given to me through the Body of Christ have blessed me richly,” writes Butterfield. “I’m grateful that the Lord brought me to a church that was as strong on teaching as it was on compassion.”
Matt Erickson (@_Matt_Erickson), managing editor: A friend of mine, along with some others, recently launched an outdoor apparel shop called Deep River Outfitters based on Ezekiel 47:1-12. The business/ministry is set up to give away 10 percent of sales to local ministries. (It looks like they’re partnering with The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Young Life, and Oconee Outreach Oopportunity.)
Currently, they carry T-shirts and some accessories. My friend has worked in youth ministry and is an outdoorsy/sporty kind of guy, so I’m sure this is a labor of love. And it’s a generous venture to boot.
Lisa Green (@lisaccgreen), senior writer: I’m sorry I never had the chance to meet Apple founder Steve Jobs, but I’m glad I never had to work for him. Walter Isaacson’s biography paints Jobs as a demanding leader, as obnoxious as he was brilliant.
In reading the biography, however, I realized that Jobs is a larger-than-life caricature of the contradictions in all of us. Yes, Jobs was visionary, but he was also rebellious. He could be sensitive, but he was also proud.
God sees us in all of our obnoxious, rebellious pride, and He loves us anyway. It’s a grace that is almost too profound to grasp.
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: My girls are at “VBS: Journey Off the Map” this week, one as a “guide” and one as an “explorer.” VBS is an awesome experience and great outreach tool for churches.
My favorite this week is the teachers, organizers, directors, ministers, parents, and everybody who serves Christ through VBS. I found a cute link on pinterest with “thank you” ideas for VBS teachers. It’s a good reminder to stop and thank everybody who makes an impact in the lives of children.
Ashley Parmer, intern: My favorite this week is the Scripture Joshua 1:9. This helps me when life gets rough. It has also aided me in encouraging others on how to get through any situation.
Often times, we focus on the problem and not the Problem-Solver. We can get so consumed in the conflicts, that we block out the One who can provide us comfort. No matter what we go through, our God will not leave us.
I think of the poem “Footprints.” There will always be two sets of footprints when He is by our side. And during the rough times, where He has to carry us, there may be one set. But He will never leave us to walk alone.
What has made you smile so far this week? What would be your favorite today?