Tuesday Picks ~ 6-6-2017

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

Our First JobDarryl Dash
Reading BibleWe tend to focus on roles, skills, and techniques. They’re important, but they’re not our first job. Our first job is to cultivate a heart that’s seeking after God…

Every morning we begin the process of waking up again. We wipe the sleep from our eyes, splash water on our faces, and move from grogginess to engagement at our own particular speed. The same is true of our souls. Every morning we need to wake up our souls again to the grandeur and beauty of God, and make it our pursuit to follow him…

Our first job is the one we often forget: to cultivate a heart that’s seeking after God. Everything else flows from that.


Serial Killer Released After Explaining Murder Was Only 3% Of What He Did -Babylon Bee
“My client’s opponents are determined to label him a ruthless killer, as if that’s all he does. In actuality, homicide was really only 3% of his daily activities during the decade in question…”

“He even held a job during the entire time in question, providing valuable services to society, which his accusers completely overlooked,” the attorney added.


Six Attitudes That Kill Evangelism in the Church
Thom Rainer
…why are our churches less evangelistic today?

That question could be answered from a number of perspectives. But one of the key explanations is simply an attitude problem. There are several dangerous and debilitating attitudes in churches that are killing evangelism. Here are six of them…

I have seen churches make dramatic turnarounds when just one person decided to be radically obedient to the Great Commission.

The question should not be: “What about them?”

The question should be: “What about me?”


Why C. S. Lewis’ ‘Mere Christianity’ Received Bad ReviewsTrevin Wax
LewisBBCtalks-firstprintingLooking back at these reviews, there is a delicious irony in the fact that Lewis and Mere Christianity are still read today, while most of his critics who charged him of being “out of date” are forgotten. Those who believed they were at the vanguard of newest biblical scholarship and modernist trends in theology have now been surpassed by other movements and are largely ignored by most churches throughout the world.

Meanwhile, Lewis’s legacy lives on. Why? Because Lewis had learned to see through the “chronological snobbery” that overtakes so many scholars…

True to form, the chronological snobs sneered at Mere Christianity, just like their descendants sneer at traditional Christian beliefs today–everything from our belief in miracles to our reaffirmation of Christianity’s distinctive sexual ethic. But, as Dean Inge has said, those who marry the spirit of one age are always widowed in the next.

That’s why we, like Lewis, don’t have to “dig in.” We can simply stand, smiling, trusting in the power of truths that have stood the test of time, knowing the gospel will go forward in faith while the heresies will go out of fashion.


Do as I say, not as I did…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9aaXRzLzIwMTcvMDYvWml0cy4yMDE3MDYwNl85MDAuZ2lm
Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Luke 21:5-9

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.

Luke 21:5-9
And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Do you think the end is near?
Why?
How much longer, would you say?
How will you know you’re not being “led astray”? (v. 8)
Has there ever been a time when there weren’t “wars and tumults”?
“The end will not be at once.” What do you think that means?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Monday Picks ~ 6-5-2017

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

This was written in January. Don’t know how I missed it…

6 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2017
Carey Nieuwhof
church trendsIf your church is still defined by what you ‘offer’ members to satisfy them, and isn’t defined by how you love each other and the world around you, the clock is ticking faster than ever…

I promise you, if you think you can speak to a group of believers and non-believers the way you would speak to believers alone, you’re wrong.

You certainly don’t need to alter the foundational message, but you do need to rethink your approach.


I thought this photo was a fake. I’m sure there’s a sermon illustration here somewhere…

Man who mowed lawn with tornado behind him says he ‘was keeping an eye on it.’
https://images-cdn.9gag.com/photo/aVqAR6n_700b.jpg
Cecilia Wessels snapped the picture of her husband, Theunis, on Friday evening as the twister passed near their home in Three Hills.

She said cutting the grass was on her husband’s to-do list, and as he started the task, she went for a nap…

“It looks much closer if you look in the photo, but it was really far away. Well, not really far, far away, but it was far away from us,” he said.

“I was keeping an eye on it.”


Prioritize Your ChurchTim Challies
No ministry can outshine it, no program can replace it, no power can topple it. The local church is God’s plan, and he has no backup.

God means for each Christian to be involved in a local church, and his Word knows nothing of Christians who will not be part of one…

If the local church is central to God’s plan for his world, it is equally central to God’s plan for your life. And for that reason I must ask: What is your relationship with the local church? Are you part of a church? Are you involved in it? Are you contributing to it in meaningful ways? You cannot expect to thrive or even to survive without it.

This may be hard for us to admit. We are men! We are strong and fierce and independent! But God means to teach us that we are not as strong as we might think. In fact, we are so weak that we desperately need the help of others. We need to be strengthened by the elderly, we need to be taught by the disabled, we need to be encouraged by the children, we need to be stirred by the unloved, we need to be humbled by the feeble. It is in the local church that we learn to run well.


Greatest hits are exhaustingSeth Godin
The web has pushed us to read what everyone else is reading, the hit of the day. But popular isn’t the same as important. Popular isn’t the same as profound. Popular isn’t even the same as useful.

To make something popular, the creator leaves out the hard parts and amps up the crowd-pleasing riffs. To make something popular, the creator knows that she’s dumbing things down in exchange for attention.

The songs you love the most, the soundtrack of your life–almost none of them were #1 on the Billboard charts. And the same goes for the books that changed the way you see the world or the lessons that have transformed your life.


Oops…
Off the Mark

Luke 21:1-4

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.

Luke 21:1-4
Jesus[a] looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.[b] And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Are you rich or poor?
Do you give “out of your abundance” or “out of your poverty”?
Have you ever used your “poverty” as an excuse not to give?
Can you even imagine giving all you have to live on?
Why would you think that sounds foolhardy?
Don’t you know me?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Weekend Picks ~ 6-2-2017

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

The Professionalization of the HomeCourtney Reissig
We live in a modern society, where the work of the home is increasingly outsourced and professionalized. This is a large part of why we have a hard time as seeing it as valuable when we are doing the work only for the home—and not some other enterprise…

The value our work brings to the world that God has made is not measured in perfection, professionalization, or our ability to recreate that pin we saved yesterday. It’s all an illusion attempting to veil the reality that we aren’t living in the perfection of Eden any longer, and sometimes you burn dinner. God has always been concerned with our heart, not perfection. God has always been concerned with faithfulness.

While outsourcing and professionalization of the work began as an attempt to free women up in their increasingly busy lives, it’s become a full-blown industry that makes the rest of us wonder if the ordinary work we are doing is really good enough. If it’s not five-star quality, can it really be of value?


Get in the MiddleDrake De Long-Farmer
PictureIf we wait for when we feel like worshipping, following Jesus or growing it may never happen. But if we choose GET IN THE MIDDLE of the storm of what God’s presence and what He is doing, it is in this place that the work of softening that dry and tired soil can happen and the work of His Spirit can transform our lives, our circumstances and our faith.


Wonder Woman and the Gender WarsRussell Moore
The Apostle Paul…knew about Wonder Woman.

Or, at least the apostle knew of the goddess on whom Wonder Woman was based—Diana or, in her Greek name, Artemis. The Pauline teaching on men and women in the letter to the Ephesians wasn’t written in a void but in the shadow of the temple of Diana, a temple that was one of the wonders of the ancient world. The gospel erupted the city into controversy (Acts 19:21-42) because the news of Christ threatened the silversmiths’ industry of Artemis idols (Wonder Woman action figures, I guess you could say)

Like our time, the ancient world had a complicated view of women’s empowerment. On the one hand, goddess temples filled the empire. On the other hand, so did temple prostitution and misogyny. Some important rights for women have been gained, of course, but we haven’t completely overcome all of that. Wonder Woman does indeed represent power, but she also is, in every iteration, designed to be sexually attractive to men. The 1970s-era television series noted in its theme song, “Fighting for your rights, in your satin tights, and the old red, white, and blue.” The rights and the tights were both part of the package—and, from the looks of things, still are.

The apostolic witness broke through all of that, even in the hometown of Diana. The biblical revelation teaches some very real, creational distinctions between men and women. That revelation also tells us that women are, from the beginning, created to be co-heirs with men, and joint-heirs with Christ, of the reign that is to come. Mars and Venus end their warring when both come into submission to Jesus.


How Mr. Rogers Became Chuck NorrisAaron Earls
Mr. Rogers hero Chuck NorrisObviously, no one was capable of the fictional feats credited to Chuck Norris, but we wished it could have been otherwise. Today, the unshakable kindness of Fred Rogers seems almost as impossible.

Everything is filtered through political labels, resulting in more and more name-calling and dehumanization language and behavior. We don’t want someone who is unstoppable in his strength; we need someone who is undeniable in his goodness.

In 2005, we wanted Chuck Norris to inspire courage and keep fighting. In 2017, we need Mr. Rogers to bring comfort and challenge misconceptions.

We still need heroes, but as Mr. Rogers said, not all heroes wear capes. Not all heroes can execute roundhouse kicks either. Some simply do all they can to reflect goodness and light into the world around them.


Casual Fridays…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDUvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwNTMwXzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Luke 20:45-47

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.

Luke 20:45-47
45 And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 47 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
If you haven’t read the first 44 verses of Luke 20, go back and do it before you consider this:
Who are the modern day, 21st century scribes?
Who would Jesus say we should beware of?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Thursday Picks ~ 6-1-2017

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

Christians, Repent (Yes, Repent) of Spreading Conspiracy Theories and Fake News—It’s Bearing False Witness
Ed Stetzer
Christians, Repent (Yes, Repent) of Spreading Conspiracy Theories and Fake News—It's Bearing False WitnessI’m speaking to Christians (and not saying they are all in one party). I’m talking to Christians (in this one situation) about how our worldview should make us different. We cannot use moral equivalence to justify our own behavior. Our definition of sin doesn’t come from comparison of others. It comes from God’s standard of holiness. And our justification doesn’t come with comparing ourselves with others, but rather from Christ’s finished work on the cross.

Simply put, this spreading of hate-driven speculation is bearing false witness…

When we bear false witness, we establish a reputation for blindly succumbing to unverifiable or groundless stories.

How can we effectively witness when we have negligently borne false witness? How can we then claim to be the body of truth itself?

…when you share such fake news and conspiracy theories, you are simply bearing false witness. That is a sin and it is time to repent.


I like this little devotional. Using coffee for his example just makes it better…

Giving Detailed Thanks for CoffeeRyan Higginbottom
coffee-mugWe glorify God when we thank him specifically. In particular, we draw attention to his generosity, power, and love when we delight in all the blessings that come from a particular gift. After all, God foreknew and planned every last blessing we experience!

My aim is to model this type of thanksgiving.

I love coffee. This isn’t exactly a controversial opinion on the internet, since roughly 114% of Twitter bios mention it. But I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about coffee recently. (I’m teaching a class on it in the fall.)

This is just a case study; coffee isn’t the point. My aim is thanking God everywhere, at all times, for all things. I’m just getting started; how about you?

God, thank you for coffee. What a good, pleasurable gift you’ve given…


What If Unbelievers Aren’t Miserable?Mike Leake
I’m convinced that one of the reasons we do not have a sense of urgency in sharing the gospel with our neighbors is because we don’t really believe they need it…at least not now. They seem to be getting along just fine without Christ—so why should we turn over the apple cart? And so we go about waiting for the wheels to fall off so we can share Christ…

But what if the gospel isn’t to make happy people happier? Or even to make miserable people moderately happy? What if the gospel isn’t merely a means to meet our unmet needs? What if the good news of the gospel is so much more? What if it’s about being transferred from a kingdom of darkness into a kingdom of light? What if it isn’t about smiles and frowns but instead about life and death? Then I’ve got a gospel to share regardless of your emotional state.

And it’s message is unchanging.


Who knew?

Most of the World’s Bread Clips Are Made by a Single CompanyEric Grundhauser
Everybody knows the bread clip.Bread clips! Consider them for a moment, if you will. They’re those flat pieces of semi-hard plastic formed into a sort of barbed U-shape—you know the ones. They can be found keeping bread bags all over the world closed and safe from spoilage, smartly designed to be used and reused. They’re all around us, constantly providing an amazing service, and yet still, they’re taken for granted. And it turns out they’re almost exclusively all produced by a single, family-owned company.


Future defense attorney…
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Zits – Click image for a larger view.