Tag Archives: just do something

Whatever You Can Do

Good word from Dr. Anthony Bradley:

We should stop telling kids they can be whatever they want to be. It’s a lie. Here’s the truth: you can be whatever you can do! So, go develop and cultivate a skill.

Or, in the words of Kevin DeYoung, just do something. No, really. Just do it.

2012 Year In Review: Non-Fiction

Top Ten

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1. THE WAGES OF SPIN by Dr. Carl Trueman
I predicted back in April that this book would probably be “the best piece of non-fiction I read in 2012.” Turns out I was right. This essay collection is short, sharp, challenging, and frequently hilarious: a prime example of why Trueman is one of my favorite writers. Full review
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2. TEN WAYS TO DESTROY THE IMAGINATION OF YOUR CHILD by Anthony Esolen
The title is potentially misleading: this is not a book exclusively for parents. Anybody can (and should) read this book, because anybody can (and will) benefit from it. It’s a witty, gritty, and delightfully subversive assault on the Bastions of Modern Educational Theory and Practice, and Esolen’s satiric flair is worthy of Uncle Screwtape himself. Full review
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3. WORDSMITHY by Douglas Wilson
My favorite writing book. Whether you want to write full time, or merely have a passing interest in it – this slim little volume should be on your shelf. It’s just that good. Full review
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4. BLACK HAWK DOWN by Mark Bowden
One of the ugliest, most beautiful books I’ve ever read. Ugly for its depiction of modern warfare; beautiful for its depiction of the men who endured it. A must-read if there ever was one. Full review
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5. JUST DO SOMETHING by Kevin DeYoung
Want to know what the subtitle is? How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc. That pretty much tells you everything you need to know. Full review
Continue reading 2012 Year In Review: Non-Fiction

Book Review: Just Do Something

Ladies and germs, allow me to introduce you to one of the best books I’ve read this year or any year: Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung. And in case you’re wondering what that “something” is, you can start doing it by reading the rest of this review.

The subtitle of the book is How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc. Which pretty much tells you everything you need to know. DeYoung is no fan of hyper-spiritual approaches to “finding the will of God”; approaches that bear far more resemblance to hocus-pocus flimflam than to scriptural living.

Too many Christians these days have a tendency to “tinker” – with jobs, with churches, with relationships, even with doctrine – all while worrying about finding God’s perfect will for their lives. Even worse are the people who don’t do anything at all, mired in frustration and anxiety and indecision. What would happen if they took the wrong job, bought the wrong house, or married the wrong person? Wouldn’t that totally screw up any chance they had of staying in “the center” of God’s will?

So they wait. And do nothing.

But here’s the thing: God hasn’t promised to tell us what to do every step of the way. He doesn’t need to. He’s already revealed His plan for our lives: to love Him, to obey His Word, and to live for His glory. Or, in the words of Matthew 6:33, to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

Put side the passivity and the quest for complete fulfillment and the perfectionism and the preoccupation with the future, and for God’s sake start making some decisions in your life. Don’t wait for the liver shiver. If you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you will be in God’s will, so just go out and do something.

The only chains God wants us to wear are the chains of righteousness – not the chains of hopeless subjectivism, not the shackles of risk-free living, not the fetters of horoscope decision making – just the chains befitting a bond servant of Christ Jesus. Die to self. Live for Christ. And then do what you want, and go where you want, for God’s glory. (p. 61)

DeYoung expands on this idea over the course of a hundred-twenty pages; and even though that might not seem like much, it’s no light or easy reading. It’s challenging, thought-provoking, and aggressive (in a good way). Tullian Tchividjian gives the best, most succinct summary of what Just Do Something is all about: “This book shows that discovering God’s will happens not as we ‘let go and let God,’ but as we trust God and get going.” Bingo.

Speaking for myself, the finest chapter is the one dealing with employment and marriage, which features some of the best writing on those two subjects that I’ve ever encountered. I’d like to quote the entire thing to you, but since I can’t, I’ll content myself with sharing a couple favorites.

On getting a job:

God calls His people to do lots of different things. Sometimes you feel a sense of calling to your job and, you know what, sometimes you don’t. You just work. I’m extremely thankful that I love what I do for a living. I feel badly for people who only tolerate their jobs, or worse. But we must all serve the Lord with heart, soul, strength, and mind wherever He’s placed us. Unfortunately, we’ve turned the idea of calling or vocation on its head. The Reformers emphasized calling in order to break down the sacred-secular divide. They said, if you are working for the glory of God, you are doing the Lord’s work, no matter whether you’re a priest or a monk or a banker. But we’ve taken this notion of calling and turned it upside down, so instead of finding purpose in every kind of work, we are madly looking for the one job that will fulfill our purpose in life. (p. 103)

On getting hitched:

Pray less that God would show you who is the right husband or wife and pray more to be the right kind of husband or wife. If everyone was praying to be the right spouse, it wouldn’t matter nearly so much who is the “right” spouse. Dump your list of the seventeen things you need in a wife and make yourself a list of seventeen things you need to be as a husband. (p. 106)

You need to read this book. Everyone does. So don’t think about reading it; don’t talk about reading it; don’t agonize over whether your TBR pile can possibly handle another addition. Order a copy, crack the cover, and get going.

Just do it.

Romance and Bad Theology

“I’ll never forget my poor beleaguered roommate talking with me after he took a risk and told a nice young lady that he liked her. They went on a long walk. He was pretty sure she would reciprocate his declaration of affection. But it turned out she wasn’t interested. She was a sweet girl, a good Christian. She didn’t mean to have bad theology. But instead of just saying ‘I’m not interested’ or ‘I don’t like you’ or ‘Quit stalking me’ or something, she went all spiritual on him. ‘I’ve been praying a lot about you,’ she demurred, ‘and the Holy Spirit told me no.’ ‘No?’ my confused roommate asked. ‘No… never,’ she replied.

Poor guy – he got rejected, not only by this sweet girl, but by the Holy Spirit. The third person of the Trinity took a break from pointing people to Jesus to tell this girl not to date my roommate. I didn’t know that was in the Spirit’s job description. But I bet at any Christian school there are scores of men and women blaming God for their breakups.”

– Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something (p. 50)

On the Bookshelf X

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
I’ve read mixed reviews on this one – people loved it and people who found it disappointing. I’m not sure which side of the fence I’ll fall on, but I can say that it’s an interesting read so far. I’m no dyed-in-the-wool Apple fanboy, but Jobs was a fascinating individual. His impact on the tech world was tremendous… and that’s still probably an understatement.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Described by one reviewer as “an utterly serious and sad, but damn funny book.” I’m looking forward to this one with mixed feelings: on the one hand, it’s an anti-war satire (and a pacifist I am not); on the other, it’s a classic novel which seems to demand a reading, regardless of one’s political views. So I’m giving it a go. I hope I don’t regret it.
Biblical Logic: In Theory and Practice by Joel McDurmon
“God created logic and reasoning as He created man, and He created it for man, and therefore we should find it reasonable that God’s Word has something to say – if not a lot to say – about logic, rationality, and good judgment.” I enjoy reading McDurmon’s articles on American Vision, so I’m excited to finally pick this one up.
The Evan Gabriel Trilogy by Steve Umstead
“Umstead has created what I can only describe as a Tom Clancy-esque world a few hundred years into the future.” After reading that, I knew there was no way this series was not getting added to my shelf. I’m relatively new to military sci-fi, but it strikes me as a rather terrific combination, don’t you think? Here’s hoping this series is as smashing as it looks.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
I first heard about this one from Tim Challies, who gave it a glowing recommendation; then my Mom bought a copy, read it, and loved it. Now I’m reading it. This Pulitzer Prize winner is narrated by 76-year-old John Ames, “a preacher who has lived almost all of his life in Gilead, Iowa. He is writing a letter to his almost seven-year-old son, the blessing of his second marriage. It is a summing-up, an apologia, a consideration of his life. Robinson takes the story away from being simply the reminiscences of one man and moves it into the realm of a meditation on fathers and children, particularly sons, on faith, and on the imperfectability of man.”
Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung
Otherwise entitled How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc. God appeared to me in a dream and told me this book was going to be awesome. Oh, wait…
1984 by George Orwell
Orwell’s classic needs no intro from me. I’ve been told that it’s incredibly dark and depressing – which strikes me as appropriate, considering the subject matter. Dark stories don’t usually bother me anyway, as evidenced by the fact that two of my favorite novels are The Road and Crime and Punishment.

What’s on your bookshelf right now?