Category Archives: Other People’s Stuff

Things I found interesting today.

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

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

 

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
getty
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

My Picks for Tuesday 11-24-2015

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

In Defense of Christmas Cheer -Trevin Wax
Merry-Christmas-holiday-family-fun-time-lifepopper-food-magic-gathering-6“It seems that every year I come across blog posts chiding Christians for allowing the shopping season to overtake the church’s calendar. Or bemoaning the early encroachment of Christmas music (“It’s the most wonderful time of the” — NOT YET!). Or reminding us that the real reason for the season must remain front and center in a world of sentimental mush…

‘Joy and singing and big family dinners and giving and receiving and caring for the poor’ may not be what the original Christmas was all about, but it’s certainly part of Christianity as an atmosphere, is it not?”


Five Mistakes Pastors Make On Social Media -Marty Duren
Five Mistakes Pastors Make On Social Media“Social media is like a phone, car, newspaper, magazine, hammer, weed whacker, or skillet. It can be used constructively or destructively, but it has no inherent morality. Blaming social media for being misused is misguided.

For pastors, the potential good uses for social media far outweigh the bad ones. In our constantly interconnected world social media provides the opportunity to have influence far beyond our immediate circle of contacts. Pastors should avail themselves of the possibilities social media provides as a tool useful for the Kingdom.”


They Calmly Sang On -Ray Ortlund
capt-ship_storm_WIP_04“When the next 9/11 hits us, may we serve others in every way we can.  But through it all, and even right now, may we not yield to hysteria.  May we calmly sing on, because we have in Christ a hope that nothing in this world can destroy.  Our serenity will make an everlasting difference to others.”


A cheerful giver…
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Click image for larger version

My Picks for Monday 11-23-2015

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

Possibly the best article I’ve read on the refugee crisis…

Building His Church in a Refugee Crisis-David Crabb
Building His Church in a Refugee Crisis“Do you see the enormity of the possibility here? We have spent years plotting and praying to get missionaries into some of the most difficult places in the world. Now, four million hurting and broken people from at least eighteen unreached people groups are coming to the West. ‘Is it safe?’ sounds like a question a government would ask. And it should ask; a government should seek to protect its people. But Christians ask, ‘What is God up to?'”


On a related note, it might be helpful to remember who some of these refugees really are. “Photojournalist Magnus Wennman traveled around Europe and the Middle East, capturing these children of war as they tried to find some rest in a frightening, uncertain world.” These are some beautiful and moving photos…

Syria’s Lost Children -Magnus Wennman
Where-the-children-sleep-refugees-09


7 Signs It’s Not Really A Team -Ron Edmondson
power meeting from above“Those are a few clues which tell me it’s really not a team. There are certainly others…You can call it what you want – could be a group, or an association, or even an organization. But it’s not a team…

It should be noted. There are times when we don’t need a team. We need a leader who will stand even if alone and lead people to places they can’t yet see but where they need to go. I have found those times to be rare when I have a healthy team. This post addresses teams – and we need them more often.”


Don’t get bogged down in this one. Just keep reading to the end.
Our God is an awesome God…

Why Fractals Are So Beautiful-Joel Bezaire
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/64988.jpg?w=1600“…when I study the amount of complexity in a fractal—zooming in closer and closer, yet never losing any resolution or altering its appearance in any way—I am reminded that the same painstaking detail went into God’s plan for my life. I break out in praise. And then I want to zoom in a bit more.”


The “human whisperer”?

http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/bz-panel-11-17-15.jpg
Dan Piraro

 

 

Weekend Picks 11-20-2015

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

Eight Words from Jesus in a World with Refugees -D. Glenn
Eight Words from Jesus in a World with Refugees“Jesus calls us to follow him. Sometimes it is clear how we do this, and often it is not. In trying to grapple with what it means to follow Jesus as it relates to the current refugee crisis, it is worth rehearsing at least eight things Jesus expects from those who follow him. May he give us all wisdom in how best to apply them…”


This post by Richard Ostling (aka The Religion Guy) is from last February, but it is timely and informative…

Is Islam a “religion of peace”? -Richard Ostling
Capture“In this tangled discussion one point is obvious: This great world religion is embroiled in an increasingly dangerous internal conflict as an expanding faction of militant ‘Islamists’ or ‘jihadis’ works to abolish Muslim thinkers’ consensus across centuries about justifications for violence, the proper conduct of warfare, and who has the authority to decide such matters. John Esposito, a Georgetown University expert, calls it a ‘struggle for the soul of Islam.'”


It’s good to be reminded that when we’re talking about refugees we’re not just talking about an “issue” but about people’s lives. Take some time to read their stories…

Humans of New York Refugee Stories -Brandon Stanton
“For ten days in September, I travelled to Greece, Hungary, Croatia, and Austria to learn the stories of refugees traveling across Europe. These are some of the stories I learned…”


You may need to free yourself from other distractions for a few minutes while you are challenged by this next piece…

The Illusion of Respectability -Allen Guelzo
The Illusion of Respectability“In every example where the courts, the celebrities or the culture-makers have trampled heedlessly on biblical norms, there are some initially robust outbursts of resistance, then a nervous glancing around to see whether anyone has joined the resistance. When it develops that the resistance is unpopular, the objections trail away so that a respectable place in society can somehow be retained…

The real measure of the integrity of the Christian scholar is distance, not proximity, to respectability.”


How to Be a Christian in the Era of Cable News Fights
-Victoria Le Sweatman
“How many times have you heard or read any of the following words in the past few months? “Refuglican,” “libtard,” “teabagger,” “gun nut,” “fascidiot,” “feminazi.” How many times have you heard somebody refer to liberals, conservatives or some other group as being in general “stupid”? How many memes have you seen that address the opposite political faction in a way that belittles them?

And how many of the people you’ve observed using this kind of language called themselves Christians?”


Happy Holidays!

https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/anatomy-of-the-holidays.jpg
Source: Wrong Hands

My Picks for Thursday 11-19-2015

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

Before You Debate, You Have to Agree -Trevin Wax
theview
“…in a world of constantly-flowing, often-contradictory information, we rarely get to have a satisfying debate because we don’t agree on what the situation is. You can’t debate a “good” interpretation or discuss the “best way forward” if there’s no common ground of agreement…

The temptation for conservatives and liberals alike is to sideline the truth in advance of the cause. As Christians, we must resist such a practice. We are a people of truth. We should care about getting the facts right. We should be the least gullible people online and the first to challenge viral posts or Facebook videos that reinforce certain narratives with inaccurate information.”


What Refugees in Your Neighborhood Need from You
-Heather Evans
What Refugees in Your Neighborhood Need from You“Sitting in a bare apartment with people who speak a different language and come from a different culture is unglamorous and often awkward. It lacks the adventure and experience of traveling to a foreign land. It requires far more staying power than a two-week trip. But this presents Christians with a call to practice hospitality. God has called us to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19), and this is the mission field coming to us. It is here in our midst and accessible.”


It would un-Jesus him -Ray Ortlund
Öèôðîâàÿ ðåïðîäóêöèÿ íàõîäèòñÿ â èíòåðíåò-ìóçåå Gallerix.ru“I tell you again that he cannot reject you.  That would be to alter his whole character and un-Christ himself.  To spurn a coming sinner would un-Jesus him and make him to be somebody else and not himself any longer.  ‘He cannot deny himself.’  Go and try him; go and try him.”  -Charles Spurgeon


https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/anatomy-of-generations1.jpg
Source: Wrong Hands

Signs You’re Growing in Grace

grow n grace
2 Peter 3:18

I ran across this list by Scotty Smith recently and thought it was very insightful and worth a little time of introspection. I hope you do, too.

A sign you’re growing in grace is less bombast about not being a legalist & more humility because you “get” the gospel.

A sign you’re growing in grace is less theological arrogance & greater appreciation for diversity in the Body of Christ.

A sign you’re growing in grace is you work much harder at remembering names and forgetting slights.

A sign you’re growing in grace is that everybody notices it
but you.

A sign you’re growing in grace is movement from destructive cynicism towards redemptive engagement. Anybody can spew.

A sign you’re growing in grace is that you’re less like a drive-by-shooting with criticisms & more of a healing presence.

A sign you’re growing in grace is evident when you receive feedback non-defensively and give it clearly & lovingly.

A sign you’re growing in grace is evident when people don’t feel like they have to walk on egg shells around you as much.

A sign you’re growing in grace is when you say, “I’ll be prayin’ for ya”, and you follow through on at least 50%.

A sign you’re growing in grace is committing fewer homicides in your heart of slow drivers.

A sign you’re growing in grace is praying for our government rather than simply being cynical about our government.

A sign you are growing in grace is that you are more disgusted with your critical spirit than offended by others’ sins.

Lloyd

My Picks for Wednesday 11-18-2015

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

Christmas Is Not for Cranks -Kevin DeYoung
“…surely we can do better than communicate to the watching world, “Screw you! I’ll get you to say ‘Merry Christmas’ if it’s the last thing I ever do, jerk!” If the idea is to keep words like Christmas in the public square–and hipper-than-thou Christians take note, that’s not a pointless goal–there are better ways to go about it.”


When Evil Strikes: A Christian Answer to
‘Isn’t Religion the Problem?’-Karl Vaters
When Evil Strikes: A Christian Answer to 'Isn’t Religion the Problem?'“After church, I was asked a poignant, difficult question. ‘How do I answer my non-Christian friends when they ask me why I’m a Christian? They’re telling me that the problem is religion and belief. When I try to tell them Christians aren’t like that, they point out the Crusades and Westboro Baptist Church. I don’t know how to respond to that.’ Here’s what I told him…”


 If your concern is truly “just making sure they’re real refugees and not terrorists” you should put your mind at ease. Read this to see what has to be done before a person is admitted to the U.S. as a refugee…

Is it easy for Syrian refugees to get to America? -Marty Durenrefugee camp Jordan
“The Economist recently reported nearly 750,000 refugees have come to American since 9/11
. Many of these are from war-torn, majority Muslim countries. To date, only two of these have been arrested on terrorist charges
(two Iraqis in Kentucky were aiding al-Qaeda in Iraq).”


I have good friends who are professors. I seldom feel this way…

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(click image for larger size)

 

My Picks for Tuesday 11-17-2015

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

If you are having trouble with the “what to do with refugees” issue, please read and consider this article. It’s beautiful, timely, and challenging…

The Good Samaritan, a Retelling -Marty Duren
“God bringing to Christians those who need Christ is not a thing to fear. It is a time for preparation for gospel advance. But, it will do no good if all our actions and words indicate we have no good news for those who need it.”


This excellent article was published back in March but it seemed like it might be a good time to share it again…

What ISIS Really Wants-Graeme Wood
“The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.”


The Point of RevengeTim Fall
– a lesson from The Princess Bride and the Apostle Paul
Inigo Revenge“‘I have been in the revenge business so long. Now that it’s over I do not know what to do with the rest of my life.’ . ..I love that line … because the purpose of revenge, in my personal opinion, is completely worthless and pointless.” -Mandy Patinkin


Another insightful and challenging post by Carey Nieuwhof…

How Pastoral Care Stunts the Growth of Most Churches
-Carey Nieuwhof
shutterstock_62970499“If a church is going to grow, congregations have to let go of the expectation that their pastor will be available for every medical emergency, every twist and turn in their lives, every family celebration and every crisis. That’s a tough sell for many congregations, but if a church is going to grow, it has to happen.”


…because they become part of the offering…