Archives For Blogging

Imagine you were privileged to be at a place where you were going to be introduced to the greatest person alive today. His reputation is one where the most influential people in the world would all agree that there is no greater. Imagine what his introductions would be like? We have all heard the hyped up intros, haven’t we? The keynote speakers at conferences, the guest preacher at the church service, the honorary guest at a reception . . . we have been there.

God, through the Apostle John, gave an introduction to a man named John the Baptist. Jesus said of this man “among those born of a woman there has arisen no one greater” (Matt. 11:11). When he entered the scene of human history, certainly there would be a introduction fitting for such a supreme title.

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.”

Wait, what? That’s it? “A man.” Okay. What kind of man? Just a man? I thought he was the man. “His name was John.” Could you have picked a more unique, more memorable, more fitting name for such an individual? There is nothing here in this introduction that tips us off to the extraordinary person John the Baptist was in human history.

You think that, following such an ordinary introduction, his list of accomplishments would soon follow to make up for a bland beginning. And yet, it seems to be all the more paradoxical. The Apostle John says John the Baptist “was not the light.” This was confirmed through the testimony of John the Baptist who, at every point, told people who he was not. “I am not the Christ.” “I am not Elijah.” “I am not the Prophet.” Finally, when asked to explain who he was, John could only describe himself as a voice in the wilderness. And when his followers pressed him to be more aggressive and increase his influence, John could only respond by saying, “I must decrease.”

So there you have it. The man who Jesus said was without comparison (Jesus excluded of course). His life did not end with him on a throne but in prison. He did not have a crown on his head but ended with his head on platter. How could it really be true what Jesus said about John the Baptist? Is there really none greater?

Of course, those who have read the Bible know the rest of the story. But this is instructive to us in the age of self-promotion and platform-building, is it not? The paradox of greatness according to Jesus runs on a totally different set of tracks than the world of raw, selfish ambition. What can we learn from the life of John the Baptist, since, after all, he did it better than anyone else?

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We are just days away from the upcoming 2014 Band of Bloggers gathering. The last update I received is that we have just a few spaces left before the event is sold out. You can still register here. One of the things that I try to do with each Band of Bloggers gathering is connect publishers with this audience of bloggers, authors, and Christian leaders from around the world and give away some of their most recent or forthcoming titles. It’s a challenging task to get all of it together, and as recent as a few weeks ago, only a few books had been secured for the event. But then things just started to fall in place as many publishers and organizations responded generously to support our gathering.

This year, I am excited to share that we are giving away 29 books for every person who attends, for a total of 7,250 books. That’s the largest number we have ever given away. There are 20 physical titles and 8 e-books in all, for a total of $425 (retail price). If you do the math, we are giving away $106,250 worth of books at our event this year that costs only $15 to register. I hope that those who receive these titles below will enjoy them greatly and let the publishers know that by reading, plugging, and/or reviewing them so that others too can be directed to these great resources.

Here are the titles for this year’s book giveaways:

Physical Titles:

  1. Gospel-Centered Teaching: Showing Christ in All of Scripture by Trevin Wax (LifeWay)
  2. Growing Up: How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples by Robby Gallaty (Cross Books)
  3. Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confused World by Andreas Kostenberger, Darrell Bock, and Josh Chatraw (B&H)
  4. Transformational Groups: Creating a New Scorecard for Groups by Eric Geiger and Ed Stetzer (B&H)
  5. Recovering Redemption: A Gospel-Saturated Perspective on How to Change by Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer (B&H)
  6. Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm by Mark Sayers (Moody)
  7. Neighborhood Mapping: How to Make Your Church Invaluable to Your Community by John Fuder (Moody)
  8. United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity by Trillia Newbell (Moody)
  9. Torn to Heal: God’s Good Purpose in Suffering by Mike Leake (Cruciform)
  10. Contend: Defending Your Faith in a Fallen World by Aaron Armstrong (Cruciform)
  11. Eternity Changes Everything: How to Live Now in Light of Your Future by Stephen Witmer Good Book Company
  12. What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman (Zondervan)
  13. Visit the Sick: Ministering God’s Grace in Times of Illness by Brian Croft (Zondervan)
  14. Know The Heretics by Justin Holcomb (Zondervan)
  15. Proof: Finding Freedom Through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones (Zondervan)
  16. Magnificent Obsession: Why Jesus Is Great by David Robertson (Christian Focus)
  17. The Gospel According to Daniel: A Christ-Centered Approach by Bryan Chapell (Baker)
  18. The New Calvinism Considered: A Personal and Pastoral Assessment by Jeremy Walker (Evangelical Press)
  19. Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry by Paul Tripp (Crossway)
  20. Five Views of Inerrancy (Zondervan)

E-Book Titles:

  1. Reformed Means Missional: Following Jesus into the World by Samuel T. Logan (New Growth Press)
  2. Calvin on the Christian Life: Glorifying and Enjoying God Forever by Michael Horton (Crossway)
  3. Joy for the World: How Christianity Lost its Cultural Influence and Can Begin Rebuilding It by Greg Foster (Crossway)
  4. A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships by Paul Miller (Crossway)
  5. everPresent: How the Gospel Relocates Us in the Present by Jeremy Writebol (GCD)
  6. Captive to Glory: Celebrating the Vision and Influence of Jonathan Edwards by John Piper (Desiring God)
  7. Doctrine Matters: Ten Theological Trademarks from a Lifetime of Preaching by John Piper (Desiring God)
  8. Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God’s Grace by John Piper (Christian Focus)
  9. Losing Your People Without Losing Your Mind by Dustin Neeley
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Why I Started Blogging

Tim Brister —  June 28, 2012 — 15 Comments

I’ve been blogging now for over seven years. I’ve logged 2,457 blogposts during that span of time that has, to some degree, become quite biographical. Having now upgraded the blog, I thought a little re-introduction was in order. People have various reasons for starting a blog. Most of those reasons don’t last as more blogs go into nonexistence each year than get started. Having hung around for seven years now, I thought this would be as good of a time than ever to share why I started blogging in the first place.

How I Was Introduced to Blogging

I first heard about blogging as a mainstream form of media in 2004 during “Rathergate“. Bloggers were able to do the job mainstream media would not and could not do in exposing the falsified documents regarding then President George W. Bush’s supposed avoidance in going to serve in the Vietnam War. I remember reflecting on this phenomenon–how some no name people can have the opportunity in a flattened world to influence an entire nation with this new online platform. I was intrigued to say the least, but it was not enough to get me into the world of blogging.

In the Spring of 2005, a good friend of mine was “researching” in the first floor of Boyce Centennial Library (Southern Seminary’s library) on what was then called a “Xanga blogring.” For those of you around back in 2005, you remember Xanga and Blogger were quite popular. My friend encouraged me to check them out, and so I decided to join both. One was going to be comedic in nature (Xanga), and the other was going to be devotional in nature (Blogger). I had a communications dilemma because my monthly online newsletter fell upon hard times as I lost all the contact information of hundreds of friends and family who were interested in keeping in touch while I was in seminary. I figured a viable solution was to transition from an online newsletter to a digital journal of sorts through blogging.

In the beginning, I shared my experiences in seminary and mostly my devotional thoughts from personal study and Bible intake. I honestly did not know what I was doing and had never heard of the word “hyperlink” before in my life. I also did not have a name for my blog and felt that at least I could do that. Without much thought (literally less than five minutes), I tentatively called it “Provocations and Pantings”, and here’s the reason why.

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I’ve been saying I will do this for over four years. I finally did it. I switched to from the same theme I’ve had since 2006! I don’t know if you can be old school when it comes to blogging, but I feel like I am “traditional” in that sense. But alas, the itch got the best of me, and now I’ve upgraded to a new look with new features thanks to help of my good friend Josh Shank.

For those who don’t know Josh, he’s the guy behind Rocket Republic and who I’ve used for the majority of my design work, including all of PLNTD’s logos, conferences, and websites as well as Band of Bloggers. I have been sitting on this Standard theme for almost a year, and I wiped the dust off so that Josh could do his thing and create this custom template happily taking the place of the old sapphire theme. If you are looking for help in the area of website design, print work, branding, or any other form of signage, I encourage you to check out Rocket Republic.

So what’s new with version 2.0 of P&P? As far as features go, I have:

  • Provided a way to subscribe via email
  • Enhanced social media sharing
  • Incorporated Instagram into the sidebar
  • Opportunity for advertising
  • Included Kindle notes
  • New, easier way to contact me
  • New navigation header

Some of the reasons or goals I hope for this new online home for me include:

  • Greater versatility and customization of content
  • Cleaner, simpler format for reading, whether on site or RSS
  • Options for podcasting and/or web conferencing (or live-blogging)
  • Streamlined content from my work in the various roles I fulfill

I still have a few kinks I’m working out on the site, but I’m glad to have finally made the switch! I do have a request to make for those of you who read my blog (and perhaps have never commented before). Could you offer some feedback about the new look and format? Do you see anything I can make better? I will be tweaking it in the coming days, so your thoughts would be really helpful in that process.

Lastly, if you don’t mind, would you be willing to share this with your friends either on Facebook or Twitter? I’m hoping to connect with new folks who might be interested or helped by the things I am writing on the gospel, the church, and our mission to make disciples, train leaders, and plant churches. Thanks!

Subscribe to Provocations & Pantings | Contact Timmy Brister

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One Shining Moment

Tim Brister —  April 5, 2011 — 3 Comments

There have been some great moments over the past six years of blogging here at P&P.  The Ask Anything 9th inning rally comes to my mind.  So does the Puritan Reading Challenge.   Then again there is P2R Memory Moleskine.  And now there is one more to add, thanks to so many of you who worked the social networks of Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.

Last night, it was declared that I was the winner of the 2011 SBC Voices Blog Madness.  It was a lot of fun, and I was really encouraged to see friends and family root my little blog on.  In order to even make it to the final round, I needed a substantial comeback in the 2nd round to edge out Dr. Russell Moore much to the chagrin of some folks.  But alas, the madness is over, and I realize what a great community of folks I have to connect with online.

This little win marks six years to the month that I started blogging.  2,100 posts later, P&P is still chugging along, and it seems like now that so much of that has become biographical.  Thanks for joining me in the journey and encouraging you in the gospel. It has always been my desire to make much of Jesus here.

For all of us, the best seat is the back seat.
For all of us, the best ground is the background.

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