Thursday Picks ~ 12-15-2016

xmas-thursday-picks

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I bet there are at least one or two of these that will hit you where you live, like they did me…

10 Ways to be a Christian this ChristmasKevin DeYoung
300px-Nativity_tree2011We love Christmas. We can’t wait for the day to come, and many of us can’t wait for the season to be gone.

But whether you love every nook and cranny about the holidays–or consider most of it “noise, noise, noise!”–there is no excuse to be grinchy and scroogeish. Here are ten ways we can remember to be Christians this Christmas…


This is a challenging article…

The Greatest Need in Special NeedsAbigail Dodds
When special needs kids are young, it’s easy to sentimentalize their disability as something that’s oh-so-precious and dear. It’s easy to think that God gave them their disability in order to help the church be more caring, or to somehow show us a simpler and purer person than those of us with the mental ability to really be sinful. But those are half-truths. We can’t forget that special needs kids need God…

When we sentimentalize kids with special needs, we do them a great harm. They may have an innate happiness or preciousness, but the realities of sin and redemption still apply…

We may think that folks with cognitive disabilities and delays in our church are mainly there as some sort of object lesson to enable our spiritual growth, forgetting that God wants spiritual growth for all of us. Or we may think that they’re so different from us that all effort to train them in the Lord would be meaningless, forgetting that in the deepest sense, they’re exactly like us — humans who simply need the gospel.


So is this…

Even if He Doesn’tMelissa Edgington
1sryerojdue-tao-wenShe tearfully told us that God had spoken to her and had assured her that this pregnancy would be different. She believed He had promised her that this baby would be perfectly fine, and she told us so with confident conviction. “He isn’t going to let anything happen this time,” she said. “I’m holding on to His promise.”

Even as she spoke the words, I cringed inside…

Someone had taught her wrong thinking about God. Somewhere along her Christian path, some teacher or mentor had told this woman that God is good because He does what seems right to us. She had been taught that we are to name what we want and claim it territorially, as if we can instruct God on the best way to do things. And, in her desperation to hold onto the hope that she would never again have to endure the death of a child, she convinced herself that God had promised her that she would never have to.


If we demand our way, is it really worship?

Worship MattersEd Stetzer
Worship Matters…believers are called to engage in worship, not argue about it. It’s a mark of maturity that we do so, and often we do so in churches that worship in ways that are, perhaps, different from our preferences.

Yet, worshiping in ways that are not about us makes sense, doesn’t it? That’s at least a part of what it means to offer up worship as service. In other words, it’s not about us, but about Jesus.

Many believers, driven by their preference, make the emotional worship experience all about themselves. But that misses the very point of Christian worship. It must be directed beyond ourselves to Christ.

Worship matters. Yet, at its heart, worship is not about us. My hope is that we might actually worship by putting aside our preferences, focusing on Jesus, and making it all about Him.


A classic holiday short…
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Off the Mark

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