Book Review The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller

Book Review The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller
The cover image for this book was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller is a book designed to correctly orientate a believer’s thoughts in the correct direction. This book is extremely short. It’s less than an hour to listen to. The book is based on a segment of 1 Corinthians in which Paul declares he doesn’t care what others think. He doesn’t even care what he thinks (1 Corinthians 4:3).

I hesitate to say much more about the content of the book because of how short it is. It’s a lovely sermon, but I found myself thinking, “That’s right, I shouldn’t care … but I do, so how do I stop?”

And therein lies the problem I had with the book. It felt like I read this amazing prologue to a book I’d love to read, only I didn’t get the whole book. My problem is not in understanding how I should think, but in training myself in that correct way of thinking.

That’s what I wish the book had. This book had a beautiful message, but it didn’t have much if anything in the way of actionable guidance. Naturally one should seek scripture, and I am working on it. This book correctly identifies the problems of “anxiety” and “shame” and their origins. I just wish it had the rest of the content.

The basic premise is perfect, but as someone who does struggle with this issue, I wish there was more applicable or actionable information.

The portrait of Timothy Keller was taken from his Amazon author page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

One takeaway I had from this is to constantly remind myself, “God is my judge!” Honestly, that’s helped. Even in what was a particularly stressful time recently, that helped me (or at least I think it did). So this book becomes a call to action for me that lacks the directions after the call is answered.

This isn’t to say the book isn’t good. I enjoyed what I heard. It’s a wonderful message.

Thanks for reading,

Book Review: Anxious For Nothing by John MacArthur

Book Review: Anxious For Nothing by John MacArthur

Anxious for nothing
Image of the book’s cover was taken from for review purposes under fair use doctrine. 

I have been, and feel I will always be, a man of ambition. I’m constantly after something. I’m task and goal oriented. The bulk of my earthly motivations are built around a specific and (usually) measurable goal.

There are a lot of advantages to this. I consider myself reliable. People tend to come to me for results, and I would like to think I deliver. My drive has helped me to publish the books I’ve published and be recognized at work.

But that drive wears on not just me, but those around me. I say again, I’ll always be a man of ambition, but I don’t want my ambition to cause more selfishness than I already tend to demonstrate. I don’t want my ambition to push those I love away or blind me to things that I already have.

Those are the reasons I choose to read Anxious for Nothing as my next book by John MacArthur. Reading this has given me a new perspective on how to separate drive from stress. I’m still growing in this, but having a biblical perspective on life has already dramatically reduced my number of rants. I’m certain I used to have a daily average. Not only is this frame of mind sinful, it’s also just exhausting. I’d be mad at a coworker. I’d be annoyed at one of my friends. I’d be frustrated over my sales. All of these things are self centered. This book is essentially a blunt reminder that we trust God to provide for us. For one (such as myself) who seeks to move and do, that action can become sinful (and unhealthy) if it leads to stress and resentment.

Image of John MacArthur taken from his website for review purposes.

This book points out that fact, and it provides biblical reasoning for why that thinking is unnecessary. It’s hard for me to do, but the more I let go of my own pride, the more I find things working out. I don’t currently further endorse the phrase “let go, and let God.” My problem isn’t with the literal words, but the connotation they might have. If I just sit in my chair without eating or drinking, I’m going to eventually starve to death.

So rather than detract from MacArthur’s valuable insight, I choose to focus on a single verse:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

The more I focus on that, the more I find my other efforts bearing fruit. MacArthur’s book is an arrow pointing to a frame of mind that can truly bring peace to anyone working with stress or frustration. I’d recommend it to anyone, but it’s probably best suited for believers who may be feeling overwhelmed or stressed about their daily life.

Thanks for reading,


Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 3

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 3

See Part 1 here.

See Part 2 here.

The Surgery and the Call


I made an effort to keep the night of the surgery as normal as possible. I went to trivia, my friends supported me by not asking questions or putting me in position to think too much.

I went home, said my prayers, read my chapter in The Bible and went to sleep.  At some point, I got a text saying she was in recovery. She’d be out for a while, but they’d know how things went when she woke up.

I’m not big on waiting. I wasn’t patient when I joined the Navy, and ten years of being a Sailor wiped out whatever remaining patience I had.  There wasn’t much to do but wait.

I went back to sleep and woke without word.

I went to work and started my day and didn’t hear anything. My family was plenty busy supporting my mom, and I understood that, but it didn’t keep me from getting frustrated.

Eventually, I got word that she’d woken up and passed the first string of memory tests.  This information is a bit shaky as I was hearing from a few different family members. The trick was, the doctors needed to work with my mom. In addition to that, they needed to do tests on the part of the tumor they took out.

The next bit of good news turned out to be that the tumor was isolated, meaning, as I understand it, it didn’t travel from anywhere or to anywhere.

The plan evolved into mom recovering and then going home. My mom and I have a lot in common. The relevant trait now is our desire for comfort and familiarity. I could imagine just how much better my mom would feel while being home.

I’m not sure if it was one or two days that passed, but I waited. I knew exactly how many people loved my mom and wanted news or to talk to her, so I wanted to wait to make sure I wasn’t just adding to the list of phone calls or to the pressure my family was already under.

As it happens, I had the chance to call her on Friday, the same day I usually call my mom to see how things are, the same day I’d last called her and felt frustrated at how distracted she was. I honestly still feel a bit guilty about that.

When I called, I could hear a few of my siblings talking to her. My dad was around. I’d already texted him to make sure that it was a good time.

I’m not going to try and type the actual conversation. For one, that was more than a few weeks ago. Also, what matters more is simply how jarring the conversation was.

My mom is articulate. She and I talk about books and movies all the time. She’s usually quick with a joke, and there’s always an awareness about her.

That’s not how she was when I talked to her. I knew she’d just literally gotten out of brain surgery, but hearing her fight to work with words and convey her thoughts hit me like a hammer.

What really matters is that even fresh from surgery, tired and struggling to communicate, my mom mad two things perfectly clear:

“I’m going to get through this, and I’ll be okay.”

Her strength and determination brought me to tears. She was going to spend another night at the hospital. Then she’d go home and rest while the doctors did tests and found out if the tumor was cancerous.

That was the plan, but it didn’t happen that way.



Questions and Revelations

It seems like you’re leaving a few things out.

I am. My family was under a ton of stress, and they were exhausted. Was there tension? Of course there was. But to explain those tensions and how it affected each member of my family would, I feel, invite too much opportunity for judgment or misperception. If what you want to know is we all struggled, and our nerves were wracked, well, we did, and we were.  However, in times like this it can be too easy to state one point of view, which creates a bias that’s unfair.  So, better to stick to the things that matter, the events that happened, and the fact that my mom was out of surgery and already determined to beat this, whatever it turned out to be.


How’d you handle the stress?

Poorly. I’m a temperamental man to begin with. I made sure my coworkers knew what was gong on. I had to ask them to more or less observe me, and let me know if I was acting unprofessional or overly angry. I promise I wanted to. I wanted to shout at every student who didn’t understand or listen. Honestly, I wanted to find something, someone, anything, anyone, and hit it as many times as I could until I felt better.  I didn’t.

Trials are when we learn the most about ourselves. (At least, they’re one of two major times we learn about ourselves.) By that point, I knew that if one more thing happened or went wrong, I was going to flip.  I’ll explain more about that in the next segment. Here, I just want to make sure you understand that at this moment, I felt like I was close to breaking.

I wanted to make sure that no matter how bad it got, I worshiped. I mentioned about the Israelites in the last segment. They were still fresh in my mind. They complained and demanded of God. My goal at that point was to be patient and praise him.

I can’t explain how hard that is. What got me through was focusing on those Israelites. I refused to be like them. I wanted to be grateful for what miracles I’d already witnessed (a successful surgery, and my mom passing the first few cognitive tests) and trust that God would handle the rest in his time.


If you have other questions regarding my faith or thoughts or actions at this point, feel free to ask, and I’ll add them to the blog.  I try to ensure these passages are self reflective. My chaplain told me to take this opportunity to look at myself, but at the moment, those were the only real thoughts going through my mind. Questions might help me remember other thoughts or parts of The Bible I’d overlooked while typing this post.

Thanks for reading