My Picks for Monday 11-30-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

So far, I haven’t heard a definitive motive for the recent shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs. I’ve heard plenty of speculation, inferences and attempts to tie it to a “radical pro-life” agenda. There was at least one person involved in that day whose “radical pro-life” stance was on full display, but we haven’t heard very much about him…

Swasey’s Last Sermon-Jordan Standridge
garrett Swasey“Swasey was shot while saving people at a place he abhorred. He was an elder of a church that believed in the inerrancy of Scripture, and that abortion is evil.

Let that sink in.

A man who hated abortion and hated murder–who gave his life helping others–didn’t hesitate about going to Planned Parenthood to save lives.”


Church Growth:
Feeding the Flock In a Count-the-Sheep Culture
-Karl Vaters
Church Growth: Feeding the Flock In a Count-the-Sheep Culture“We want numbers to verify our successes.

There are two huge problems with that sentence – and they’re found in the words numbers and our.

First, not all successes have numbers to verify them.

Second, the successes of the church are not our successes.

We need to start getting comfortable, in the first instance, with Success Without Numbers and in the the second instance, with Success That’s Not Ours.”


The Christian Century No One Predicted  -Justin Taylor
9780801097461“No scholar—or as far as that goes, not even a madman—predicted that at the end of the twentieth century Christianity would not be recognized even as a cultural factor in Europe by the nations that today compose the European Union.

No prognosticator predicted that more Christians would be worshiping each Sunday in China than in Europe or North America.

And, what might be surprising to us today, even the greatest mission leaders at the Edinburgh Missionary Conference in 1910 had pretty much given up on Christianity in Africa. Most of the missionary leaders, even in their most optimistic moments, thought Islam had the upper hand and believed Africa would become a Muslim continent. Fast-forward and we find that the opposite is true, for there are more Christians than Muslims in Africa today.


What am I…?

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Source: Off the Mark

Genesis 29:31-30:24

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Genesis 29:31-30:24
31 When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben,[a] for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” 33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.[b] 34 Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.[c] 35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah.[d] Then she ceased bearing.

(Follow link to read the rest.)

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Do you recognize these names?
Kind of messy isn’t it?
Do you find it odd that I would work this way?
Notice the first verse, 29:31.
Who do I love, and why do I love them? Think about that today.

Genesis 29:1-30

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Genesis 29:1-30
(excerpts below – click link for the whole passage)

16 
Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17 Leah’s eyes were weak,[a] but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. 18 Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.

26 Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27 Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” 28 Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Have you noticed that I’m not really in a hurry?
Do you love anything or anyone this much?

My Weekend Picks 11-27-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

When Culture Leaks  -Danny Franks
“Is it possible that what we have gained through experience, we have lost through habit, and that what we have gained through organization, we have lost in enthusiasm?”


Why Controversy Is Sometimes Necessary-Albert Mohler
“The only way to avoid all controversy would be to consider nothing we believe important enough to defend and no truth too costly to compromise…

To our shame, the church has often been divided over the wrong controversies.”


Bleak FridaySteve Dennis
https://stevenpdennis.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/cropped-o-shopping-bags-facebook.jpg“Get ready. The stories about Black Friday will start ramping up today. And by the time you awaken from a tryptophan induced haze on Friday morning,  you can expect your TV to be chock-a-block with shots of reporters standing outside Walmarts and Best Buys and Apple stores and within some big fancy mall opining on what it all means.

Spoiler alert: it means nothing. Absolutely nothing.

For consumers, it’s mostly a con.”


The vulnerability of ‘thank you’  –Seth Godin
“Thank you as in: I couldn’t do it without you. As in: I don’t want to do this alone. As in: I was afraid. And mostly: I would miss you if you were gone.

Thank you brings us closer together.

Thank you is a limb worth going out on.”


This Unusual Child
“If you were going to start a revolution that would change the world forever, how would you go about it?”

I’m really looking forward to this new series beginning this weekend at WOCC

 

Genesis 28:10-22

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Genesis 28:10-22
10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder[a] set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it[b] and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel,[c] but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21 so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, 22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
You noticed that this is the same promise I made to Abraham, right?
Two generations ago.
Have you noticed that I’m not really in a hurry?
Did Jacob deserve to be My chosen one?
Was he better than Esau in some way?
So, why did I choose him?

Genesis 27:42-28:9

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Genesis 27:42-28:9
42 But the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son and said to him, “Behold, your brother Esau comforts himself about you by planning to kill you. 43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban my brother in Haran 44 and stay with him a while, until your brother’s fury turns away— 45 until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereft of you both in one day?”

46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I loathe my life because of the Hittite women.[a] If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?”

28 Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. God Almighty[b] bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!” Thus Isaac sent Jacob away. And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.

Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and gone to Paddan-aram. So when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Rebekah was really a manipulator, wasn’t she?
Did that help My plan in any way?
Did that hurt My plan in any way?
What do you see deception doing to these relationships?

My Picks for Wednesday 11-25-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Giving Thanks for My Taste Buds -Tim Fall
“When you stop to think about it – believe me, I have – God didn’t have to give us such wonderful senses of taste and smell so we can enjoy our food so much. He could have given us merely moderate senses so that we would eat what we need to for sustenance but not necessarily have the ability to enjoy food to such an extravagant degree.

And that’s what it is, extravagance. Our God has created us with extravagant grace and it’s a common grace for all, just like being able to breathe air and enjoy the feel of warm sunlight on our skin and marvel at the sights offered by a walk through a pine forest. To that list I add taste buds. Ex-tra-va-GANCE!”


What Is Thanksgiving Day?  -Stephen Nichols
“We might think that times of adversity and challenge would spawn ingratitude, while times of prosperity would spawn gratitude. Sadly, the reverse is true. ”


Laquan McDonald and the Christian’s Response
This article offers five suggested Christian responses. All are good but number 3  strikes me as particularly lacking:

“Engage in conversations with people who are different than you. Ask questions, listen intently, and share experiences. We all have much to learn from one another. Diversity of culture, opinions and experiences are a beautiful thing. None of us has the complete picture. Let our differences grow us, not separate us. Get outside of your comfort zone and engage someone outside of social media.”


Christmas Release Rundown -Jeremy Armstrong
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It’s that time of year! Christmas music everywhere! Here are some new releases from The Getty’s, Chris Tomlin, MercyMe, Paul Baloche and more.

 


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Source: Off the Mark