Weekend Picks ~ 3-17-2017

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

10 Things You Should Know about St. Patrick
Michael A. G. Haykin
4. Patrick’s mission to Ireland from around AD 430 to 460 was virtually the only evangelistic mission in fifth-century Western Europe.

It would seem that many Roman Christians felt that the so-called “barbarians” beyond the Roman Empire were not worth evangelizing. People in his home church in Britain actually opposed his mission to Ireland because they felt he was throwing away his life among the godless Irish.

I really enjoyed reading about his thoughts on this…

Reflections on Becoming an American CitizenDavid Murray
WelcomeYes, people get upset about illegal immigration, but America is still a country that warmly welcomes legal immigrants. At our ceremony there were maybe 3-4 other white Europeans and the remaining 73 new citizens were a dazzling array of diverse colors and cultures. The Judge encouraged a celebratory atmosphere and it was a beautiful sight and sound to behold!

I love America. I know America has big problems, many of them seemingly insoluble. But it’s still a wonderful place to live and to raise children. I wish my (now) fellow citizens could see that more. Yes, the days of a dominant Christian culture are over, but Christians are still a sizable and influential minority. There are many strong churches with many engaged and zealous young people. There are excellent Christian schools and energetic homeschooling communities. There are multiple opportunities to start businesses and an optimistic culture that encourages entrepreneurship. The military is awesome. The salmon fishing is fantastic. And I’ve even come to love football (the one that they play with their hands), especially college football.

I found this interesting and a little eye-opening. I fear the days of free speech are over. This is from Australia but you can see this happening here as well…

The Phoney War Is OverMurray Campbell
P1014033The days of free speech in Australia have come to an end. From today, public speech comes with a cost…

The catalyst for this cultural epitaph was a video produced by the Bible Society. Understand what people are so angrily protesting about:

  1. The video does not present a hate filled preacher spitting out vitriol.
  2. The video does not present a Christian leader carefully and winsomely articulating the Bible’s view on marriage.
  3. The video shows a gay man who supports same-sex marriage and a heterosexual man who does not, and they are engaging in a respectful conversation about marriage while enjoying a beer.

What is so reprehensible about this video? Nothing, of course, but in the eyes of the self-determined moral judges of our age, this video debunks the myth they have spun, that civil speech and questioning same sex marriage cannot go together. From Canberra to Spring St, from SBS to The Age, we have been told that, unless we support same sex marriage without qualification, we are bigots and homophobes. The problem is, this video dismantles that myth. But instead of engaging with it, there has been outrage because there is no forgiveness for those who dare denude the same-sex marriage narrative.

The video referenced above was sponsored by Cooper’s beer, interestingly, and has been removed from the post at their request. I wanted to see what the fuss was about so I looked for it and found it here. It really is worth watching. It shows that civil discussion and disagreement really is possible…

While we’re on the subject of marriage, I think this is an important question for churches to consider…

Of Ministers and MarriagesNicholas T. Batzig
“Does God expect lawfully ordained ministers to officiate the weddings of believers?” The answer I give may surprise you.

I’m not entirely sure that ministers of the Gospel are responsible for officiating weddings–yes, even a Christian wedding…

In a day when special interest groups are seeking to ensnare and overthrow the church of God with cries of discrimination concerning the ministerial refusal to officiate certain weddings, it would certainly do us good to consider whether it is even a God-ordained, Scriptural responsibility of ministers to officiate weddings. As you do, you may actually come to the conclusion that it is our prerogative to officiate the weddings of believers, but not a God-ordained responsibility of ministers.

This is so, so good. I wanted to quote the whole thing!

Be Patient With Your ChurchMelissa Edgington
The local church is never going to be perfect… No church anywhere will ever achieve perfect Christ-likeness, ever. Because every, single church is filled with people who struggle every day against their own sins, their own selfish tendencies, their own desires for glory.

We have to be patient with each other.

Chances are, if you aren’t attending a local church because you had a bad experience there, you’re eliminating the entire church from your life over one thing…

And then, others of you are active members of churches, but you are impatient to see things done your way. You are frustrated… You feel like Sunday school is outdated, or you hate the concept of home groups. You place so much value on your pet issues that you ignore all of the good that your church is doing…

Or you are a pastor. You are concerned about the slow spiritual growth of the congregation. You can see how things could be better, and you want them to change as soon as possible. You are so tired of being held back by old ways or being pushed into new ways. You feel like you are constantly dealing with silly issues instead of the real work that you feel called to.

To all of you, I say it again: have patience with your church.

Let’s imagine for a moment that Emerald’s coach had no patience… After a few pitches, the coach starts to get red in the face. He turns to another player on the field and makes a comment about how bad Emerald is at baseball. Then he gets on Facebook and posts a status update about how he hates pitching the ball to her. He marches up to the plate and tells Emerald that if she doesn’t figure out how to hit the ball pretty soon, he’s walking off of the field, and he’s never coming back.

Do you think any of those things will make Emerald hit the ball on the next pitch?

Only twelve steps…
Non Sequitur – Click image for a larger view.

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