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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Bettelli Buzz Vol. 11: Springing Forward

Well, It's March and things are springing forward, but not the weather in Colorado Springs. It's still a cool 60 degrees in the day and 40 degrees at night. I'm told that Colorado gets most of it's snow in the March and April, so we will see. It's also March Madness Time (GO FGCU!) and this election is unbelievable. I'm predicting it's going to be Trump vs. Clinton for the final show down in November. Not the candidates I would have liked, but it seems like things moving in that direction. 

After Oklahoma I went back to Colorado Springs to work on my next trip. This past week a bunch of us went to a showing of The Young Messiah. 


So, I'm going to give a bit of a spoiler here...not really, just my critique. If you have a (biblical) brain, then there are a ton of things in this movie that you will criticize (not constructively...just being honest), as did I, but there is one message that rings true through the entire film that redeems it. 

First, I know Anne Rice wrote the book, and yes...I know she hates the Roman Catholic Church and is the author of Interview with a Vampire, and the other vampire books, and yes, I know she is a self avowed secular humanist that says she loves Jesus...not really sure how that works...but all that is out on the internet for your reading pleasure. I'm not going to sugar coat those facts or justify them in any way. They are what they are, and if that is enough for you to cry "HERESY" then, I say...you have a point.


At the very same time, at the beginning of this movie, you are informed that it is FICTION and you are asked to IMAGINE what it would be like for Jesus to be a kid. I don't know if I would imagine Jesus exactly the way Anne Rice or the producers of this film would imagine him to be, but that's not really my point. 

This movie was entertaining, it was also controversial, it was clean, and it's single message was: Jesus is the Son of God!

Some of you are thinking, "Well if they said it was fiction, doesn't that defeat your point?" Maybe...I don't know ;-)

You can't miss this message. All throughout the film each character seems to hint to this fact. This message builds and builds even to the end. 

Film is a very powerful tool of communication. Sometimes it has a way of piercing our thoughts with it's images in a way that is hard to do with words alone, while other times it is a poor substitution. 

If nothing else, my prayer is that this movie proves to be a catalyst to cause it's audience to question who Jesus really was. I pray that God uses it to draw his people unto himself. The Bible records crazier ways than this where God saved souls. I pray that it will cause believers to go to God's Word and read it! Yes, simply READ IT PEOPLE! Go see the movie and you be the judge. 

On another note...

Last week my son, George, competed in the ACSI Speech Meet. We talked about speaking very clear and pronouncing your words correctly. We also talked about making eye contact with your audience, and we prayed that God would help him to do his best. 


Well...what do you know...George brought home a SUPERIOR Blue Ribbon. So proud of you son! 

I had a great weekend because my beautiful wife, Louise, came to visit me in Colorado Springs. The first night she arrived I picked her up from the Denver Airport and we went on a date to our favorite eatery...Maggiano's Little Italy. Heck Yeah!!! Denver has our very favorite restaurant. Can you say RIGATONI D? One of the great things about this restaurant is that we always leave with left overs so we get to have this amazing food two nights in a row. 


While shopping in Colorado Springs, we stumbled upon a Mardel Christian Store. So, I knew the Green family (or the Hobby Lobby family as you might know them) owned this store, but I had never been inside one before. It was cool, and had a lot of great deals (unlike other Christian bookstores where everything is more expensive than Amazon). 


If you stock Wayne Grudem's and John Frame's Systematic on your bookshelf, you get my endorsement...just sayin...Yes, I know I'm a nerd, no need to make that comment. Isn't it scary that I know what you're thinking? :)

Anyway, another great week!

Book Buzz:

Saint Patrick: The Man and His Mission by John Holms $.99
Patrick of Ireland by Michael Hayken $1.99
50 Days of Heaven by Randy Alcorn $2.99
The Compelling Community by Mark Dever $2.99
The First Days of Jesus by Andreas Kostenberger $3.99
Who Am I? Identity In Christ by Jerry Bridges $1.99
Is Hell For Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven? with contributions from multiple authors including Timothy Keller and Albert Mohler $5.99
Scandalous: The Cross & The Resurrection of Jesus by D.A. Carson $3.99
Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray FREE
Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray FREE
School of Obedience by Andrew Murray FREE

Finally, if you like John Piper the Cross-Points website has put together a list of 28 books by John Piper that you can download for FREE! Pretty Sweet!

Psalm 16:11 says, "You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Be Edified!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Bettelli Buzz: Vol. 10 My first trip to Oklahoma

So have you ever heard the phrase, "work hard, play hard?" Those seem to be the best words to describe my week.

Last week I took my first semi-solo trip to Oklahoma. I got to visit so many great people who love Jesus and loved Focus on the Family. I say it was a semi-solo trip because two of the days, my friend John Bethany, who is the Vice President of Global Outreach, flew in to Oklahoma on Tuesday to go on some of my visits and one very important appointment to Hobby Lobby.



One of the families I met, love to hunt. They decided to show me their freezer with all of their deer meat. Welcome to Oklahoma!



Before I left Oklahoma, I visited a very trendy coffee shop called Cuppies & Joe. One of the best cups of coffee ever! 


In Oklahoma, I also got to see my good friend Michael Beiler. Michael is working on his master's degree at OU. We had a great dinner and got to hang out for a bit. 

After Oklahoma I flew back to Tampa Bay to be with my family for the weekend.


Homecomings are the best! When I'm home, I enjoy the little things so much more. In the above picture, I got to take my boys to school. Then I got to take my wife and my little princess out to lunch at PDQ.


Almost every year we have been making it a family tradition to go to the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, FL. This year all of my wife's family joined us. We had a blast eating strawberry shortcake, enjoying the carnival rides, and downing every piece of fried food we could find. 





One of the cool perks of the Strawberry Festival is that they always have great concerts going on throughout the day. My oldest son, George, was so excited because he got to see Lecrae for the first time!


My five year old son was so excited because I bought him some ice cream...however I don't have a picture of his ice cream...here I am with my strawberry shortcake though.


Lecrae was AWESOME! Yep, we sat in the back (the FREE seats). 


On Sunday, we went to BLDG28 Church to worship. This is the church where I used to be on staff. God has blessed this church so much. This past Sunday B28 celebrated it's 5 Year Anniversary! It started with a group of around 30 and is almost 400 after 5 years. Soli Deo Gloria! I am amazed at what God is doing in Clearwater, FL. 


We decided that we wanted to spend some last minute family time together before I had to fly back out to Colorado, so we hit the beach. It was a little windy, so Louise had to bundle up.


Later that day, my wife and kids drove me to the airport to say goodbye. It was great to be home. I can't wait to see them again soon. 


The very next day I met some friends from Clearwater up in the mountains for a little skiing and snowboarding! 


I had a great time with the Lathrop family! Let me just tell you...these guys are PROS! They were Black Diamond Beasts! They made it look so easy! I, on the other hand, had quite a yard sale. 


All in all, it was a very productive and fun week! If you asked me, "how is your life?" My answer would be, "better than I deserve." 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (ESV)

Book Buzz:

The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink $.99
The Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards $2.99
Spiritual Mindedness by John Owen $.99
Answering Your Kid's Toughest Questions by Elyse Fitzpatrick $1.99
Understanding the Bible by John Stott $2.99
God's Unfailing Purpose by Michael Barrett $.99
Systematic Theology by Louis Berkoff $1.99

Think Biblically by John MacArthur $2.99
The Upper Room by John MacArthur $3.99
Fools Gold by John MacArthur $2.99 
Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur $2.99

Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement by Carl Trueman and others $.99 
Perspectives on Israel and the Church by Robert Saucy and others $.99   
Perspectives on Your Child's Education by Timothy Jones and others $.99
                
Be Edified!


Tuesday, March 01, 2016

The Bettelli Buzz Vol. 9: A Busy - Work Week March 1, 2016

So I am beginning to get into the Focus on the Family groove...These past two weeks I have been planning my first trip to Oklahoma. Those of you who don't know, my official title at Focus on the Family is Assistant to the President. I represent Jim Daly and Focus on the Family in Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. So I do a lot of traveling in my position. It's a privilege to work for a ministry and a leader who's #1 objective is to reach people with the love of Christ.

This past week has been filled with so many different activities. I don't want to bore you, so I'll hit the highlights.

This week I got to experience "chapel" at Focus for the first time.

Our chapel speaker was Dr. Ken Fentress. Dr. Fentress is the senior pastor of Montrose Baptist Church in Rockville, Maryland. He is also one of the board members at Focus on the Family. He was also a dean and professor of OT and Hebrew at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he looks like he could be on the offensive line for the Broncos. He's a big guy, and when he speaks, he speaks with power. Chapel was amazing, but what really stood out to me was a lecture he gave the day before on "wisdom in the workplace."



He said some things that really stuck out to me:

"When you extract God from the equation of knowledge you turn knowledge into ignorance."

"Affirming one's wisdom will have a profound effect on their productivity."

"Asking for wisdom is one of those prayers that God will always answer YES to, however you must have made up in your ind that you will obey before he gives it to you."

"People with good sense have a habit of always learning."

"As long as I keep a learning posture, I will always keep growing."

"Good sense involves the constant recognition to analyze."

"Wisdom helps you keep your emotions in check."

I look forward to hearing Dr. Fentress again at Focus. God truly used him to throw some TRUTH in my face. If you are interested in this, let me know and I will see if Focus recorded it.

This past week, my son, George, competed in the ACSI Spelling Bee. He was representing his school, Northbay Christian Academy, for the 3rd grade class. He came in 5th out of 42 contestants. If you can't tell, I'm a very proud father. :)


So who likes In & Out Burger? I do, I do...well, we don't have one in Colorado Springs, but we do have a Drifters. A friend from Focus took me there for lunch a few days ago, and it felt just like In & Out, except it had surfboards and Endless Summer posters on the wall. It was AWESOME! I think I've found my place in this world :)


This past Sunday, I visited Black Forest Chapel...cool name for a church, huh. My Uncle Mike is the pastor there. Uncle Mike has a Ph.D. from TEDS. Yeah, he studied under D.A. Carson, Wayne Grudem, and Doug Moo...no biggie... He preached a great sermon on the sovereignty of God on Sunday. Soli Deo Gloria!




If there is one continued prayer request I have, it's to continue to rest in God's hands through this whole transition. It's not easy. House hunting is not easy, while I realize just the ability to house hunt is a gift of grace, in my depravity I grow so stressed out about it. So, God is teaching me to rest in his timing. I know it's nothing like the anxiousness Abraham probably felt as he lead Isaac up the mountain, but it's still something that I struggle with. Thanks for all of you who have been praying for me and my family through this transition. Your prayers are greatly appreciated...keep them coming! :)

Phil. 4:4-7 says, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

This passage is my prayer!


Here is you Book Buzz. It's a good list this week. Some great titles to choose from.

Beating the College Death Trap by Alex Chediak $1.99
Do More Better by Tim Challies $5.99
Onward by Russell Moore $2.99
Questions and Ethics by Russell Moore $1.99
Same-sex Marriage & the Future by Russell Moore $1.99
Standing Strong by John MacArthur $1.99
The MacArthur Topical Bible by John MacArthur $3.99
Is Hell for Real or does Everyone Go to Heaven? by Keller, Mohler, Packer, etc... $1.99
Atheism Remix by Albert Mohler $4.99
Biblical Words and Their Meanings by Moises Silva $1.99
Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Miller $0.99
John Calvin's Sermons on 1 Timothy by Ray Van Neste $2.99 (FREE with Kindle Unlimited)
Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley $3.99
Becoming Worldly Saints by Michael Wittmer $1.99
Don't Stop Believing by Michael Wittmer $1.99
Heaven is a Place on Earth by Michael Wittmer $1.99
The Gospel At Work by Sebastian Traeger $1.99
Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem $1.99
Washed & Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill $1.99
I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler $4.99
Writers to Read by Doug Wilson $2.99

Be Edified!