Tag Archives: Abortion

Weekend Picks ~ 11-17-2017

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

Nobody Brags About Being MaryDanny Franks
It’s easy to brag about being Martha. We check things off the list and charge ahead with projects and get stuff done. Marthas generally feel accomplished all while feeling harried. Marthas can point to what they’re doing as a sign of how worthy they are…

While we understand the importance of sitting and resting, it’s hard to tell people that that’s what we’re focusing on. When people say “I had a really slow morning with a really long quiet time,” Marthas translate that into “I didn’t feel like getting out of bed and I have trouble managing my life.”


Is your church a movement, a monument, or a mausoleum?

Movement, Monument, MausoleumRay Ortlund
Image result for Movement, monument, mausoleum
The responsibility of a church’s leaders is to discern when their movement is starting to level off as a monument. It is at this crucial point that they must face themselves honestly and discover why they have lost their edge, go into repentance and return to the costly commitments that made them great to begin with. They may need to deconstruct much of what they have become, which is painful and embarrassing. But if the leaders will have the humility, clarity, and courage to do this, their church will go into renewal and re-launch as a movement once more. Jesus will become real again, people will be helped again, and those bold, humble leaders will never regret the price they paid.


This article gave me lots to think about…

Graphic Abortion Display Evokes Volatile Reactions, But God Is Always at Work Behind the ScenesRandy Alcorn
Display at Portland State UniversitySatan wants to discourage people from doing what’s right by convincing them it makes no difference. That’s simply not true, though often we can’t immediately see the results…

There’s no doubt that pictures of what abortion does are horrific, but they can be a powerful tool, similar to how the Holocaust was so evil that words alone couldn’t describe it. Descriptions of Nazi death camps had long been published in American newspapers, but when these papers started printing the pictures of slaughtered people, the public finally woke up. If not for the pictures, even today most of us wouldn’t understand or believe the Holocaust.

Was the solution to the Holocaust to ban the disgusting pictures? Or was the solution to end the killing?

Is the solution to abortion getting rid of pictures of dead babies? Or is it getting rid of what’s making the babies dead?


How Reading Makes Us More HumanKaren Swallow Prior
cassattban.jpgTaken together, their findings suggest that those “who often read fiction appear to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective.” It’s the kind of thing writer Joyce Carol Oates is talking about when she says, “Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”


Color My World…
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Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Weekend Picks ~ 10-27-2017

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

The atheist’s case against abortion: respect for human rights Kelsey Hazzard
The “pro-life generation” had a large presence at the annual March for Life in Washington on Jan. 27. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)I am an atheist, a 29-year-old woman, well-educated at secular institutions, and I lean liberal on many issues, including same-sex marriage and climate change.

I am also a dedicated pro-life activist, working to make abortion unthinkable.

The abortion industry would have you believe that people like me do not exist. They would have you believe that the pro-life movement is almost exclusively old white men, with a few pearl-clutching church ladies thrown in. This characterization is insulting to both young and old….

The pro-life pioneer Dr. Mildred Jefferson said it best: “I am not willing to stand aside and allow this concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged, and the planned have the right to live.” That’s a sentiment that anyone, from any religious or nonreligious background, can get behind.


I am very curious about the future of this…

Inside the Museum of the BibleMartyn Wendell Jones
Inside the Museum of the BibleOn November 17, Museum of the Bible (MOTB) will open its doors to the public for the first time, claiming to be the most cutting-edge museum in DC. Lavish exhibits, futuristic technology, and hitherto-unseen artifacts await visitors on the upper floors, as do lingering questions about the museum’s perceived association with antiquities smuggling. But the most enduring questions surrounding the museum will undoubtedly concern its intent. As its leadership has walked back the apologetic messaging of its early days in favor of a more open-handed mission of “engaging” all people with the Bible, skeptics may smell a ruse while some Christians may wonder if the museum is holding back…


It’s happening, and has been happening for some time…

How Holocausts HappenPhil Moore
How Holocausts Happen imageThis summer, I spent a difficult day at the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. I stepped inside the gas chambers where the Nazi prison guards killed 1.5 million people in two short years and, like the other tourists who stood there with me, I wondered how such a holocaust could have happened. On the way out, one of the tour guides confronted the question we were all thinking. His parting words were a chilling quote from the Auschwitz survivor, Primo Levi: “It happened, therefore it can happen again.”…

…the words of Primo Levi kept echoing around my head. Not “It happened, therefore it could happen again” – the parallels with our own day were too clear – but rather, “It happened and it is happening again.”

This week marks the 50-year anniversary since the British Parliament passed the Abortion Act, on 27th October 1967. During that half-century, the lives of eight million babies have been terminated under British law. While it’s true that the scale of the British slaughter is very small compared to that in China, where 336 million babies have been aborted since 1971, it is over five times as many human lives as were exterminated at Auschwitz-Birkenau, so let’s note the parallels…


Research Reveals the 5 Biggest Influencers on Your Child’s Spiritual HealthEric Geiger
What do you think makes the biggest impact on a child’s spiritual development? Dinner as a family? Parents who don’t miss special events? Having church friends? Being at a good Christian school? Being at a church with a vibrant kids and student ministry?

While surely those are all good things and things I want for may daughters, none of them showed up in our recent LifeWay Research study on how kids really grow spiritually

…So what did show up in the research as the biggest influencers? … I am going to briefly offer the top five. If you care for your kid’s spiritual journey, this research is gold…


@RealGeorgeWashington…
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Bizarro

Thursday Picks ~ 10-26-2017

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

The Stupidity of SinKevin DeYoung
prodigalEveryone who knows the Bible, knows people, or knows his own heart, knows this to be true: sin makes us stupid…

Sadly, we’ve all seen it before. From friends and family. Maybe from a trusted pastor or ministry colleague. It’s easier to see in others–the defensiveness, the blame-shifting, the excuse making, the nonsense of exchanging decades of faithfulness for minutes of folly. But what’s clear when looking at others can be hard to spot in ourselves. Just like the proverbial piece of lettuce on the lips, we can be last to realize how stupid we’ve become because of sin.


Red FlagsJamie Brown
I have made some wise decisions regarding whom to add to the worship team, and I have made some not-so-wise decisions. I’ve learned that there are some things to look out for (i.e. red flags) when considering whether or not someone should be asked to join the worship team.

Here are some red flags to be looking for (in no particular order of importance)…


Important, Popular or ViralSeth Godin
Image result for seth godinImportant work is easily dismissed by the audience. It involves change and risk and thought.

Popular work resonates with the people who already like what you do.

Viral work is what happens when the audience can’t stop talking about what you did.

Every once in awhile, all three things will co-exist, but odds are, you’re going to need to choose.


Discriminating Against People with Down Syndrome
Alan Shlemon
Abortion of a child with Down syndrome is unjust discrimination. Unborn children with Down syndrome are bona fide human beings but are being discriminated against because they have a characteristic that some people arbitrarily believe disqualifies them from being valuable and protected.

… in an age where society decries discrimination and values diversity and inclusiveness, it’s hard to believe there are those who argue it’s morally preferable to abort a child with Down syndrome. The pro-life view, by contrast, is the view that is inclusive, upholds diversity, and doesn’t discriminate.


Not All There…
Off the Mark

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…
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Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 4-13-2017

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

Frances FitzGerald on how evangelicals lost their way
David Gushee
When religious folk get entangled with secular politicians in the political arena, the politicians always win. They have home field advantage. The earnest religious types get played. And the people in the pews start heading for the exits.

Faithful Christian discipleship does involve bearing witness to Christian convictions in public. But drawing the line between this dimension of Christian proclamation, on the one hand, and getting used by politicians, on the other, has proved very difficult for evangelical Christians since at least Billy Graham. It’s a sordid story, and it has shaped American religion and public life for more than a generation.


Pastor, Don’t Waste Your Exclamation Points
Jared C. Wilson
exclamation
Pastor, our people don’t usually get excited about what we tell them to be excited about. Have you figured that out yet? Instead, they get excited about what they see actually excites us.

This means we ought to steward our exclamation points wisely. If you’re one of those rah-rah guys firing on all emotional cylinders for everything from bake sales and the book table to baptisms and baby dedications, you create an equality between minutiae and missional milestones that can be disorienting, and ultimately dulling. But more directly, just remember that if everything is exciting, nothing is.


If you haven’t seen The Planet Earth it is simply amazing. It’s way beyond any documentary I’ve ever seen. It’s true that God is not present in the film, but it still leads me to worship…

Planet Earth II: Missing the Maker in the Majesty
John Stonestreet
There’s almost religious reverence and wonder spilling from every scene, as if the producers themselves know that a greater purpose lies behind the beauty of the things they see—as if they know that all of this living magnificence is more than the result of time, chance, and natural selection, but have no One else to credit…

As a feast for the senses, I can’t recommend “Planet Earth II” highly enough. But as an articulation of a worldview, it’s strikingly dissonant. In the face of so much majesty and order that cries out in testament to a Designer, modern man offers only empty personification, as if creation created itself.


 

Who Would Jesus Abort? Confessions of a “Christian” Abortion DoctorRussell Moore
BABY
Willie Parker is an abortion doctor. He says he’s not ashamed of that. Willie Parker also says he is a born-again follower of Jesus Christ. That one’s more complicated…

Parker is a kind of circuit-riding abortionist, spending time at various abortion clinics all over the South. The book, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice is one part an autobiography, and one-part a political manifesto for the legality—and even the goodness—of abortion. Even as one who has to wade through all sorts of material assaulting human dignity, I found that I would gasp at the lackadaisical nature of Parker’s reflections…

To dehumanize the unborn child, to reduce the child’s mother to her ability to make “choices” about the life and death of others, is to dehumanize Jesus. In Christ, after all, God has “anthropomorphized” himself. And we are introduced to Jesus in the biblical story, just as John the Baptist was, as an unborn child (Luke 1:44). To keep doing his job, Parker must depersonalize the women and children he encounters. He must depersonalize God into an unblinking, non-judging cosmic abstraction.


Preparing to Preach on EasterDarryl Dash
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Preachers face temptations in preaching. I find that these temptations escalate around Easter. We face the temptation to impress, to rely on gimmicks, and to overcomplicate the message. It’s easy to focus on all the wrong things.

We should desire to communicate as effectively as possible. It’s not wrong to try to be clear and to improve our communication skills. It is wrong, though, to rely on our skills as the source of power, or to switch the focus to us from Christ…

Get out of the way this Easter. Don’t give into the temptation to impress. Keep the focus on Jesus.


The Boston Typewriter Orchestra…


The oppression of Earl…
Non Sequitur – Click image for a larger view.

Weekend Picks ~ 3-31-2017

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

We are in a “strange place” indeed…

Pence and PrudenceJonah Goldberg
http://c8.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/styles/original_image_with_cropping/public/uploaded/mike-pence-wife-marriage-practices.jpg?itok=mTYe6Xb2…it’s worth pointing out that infidelity needn’t be the issue. I doubt Pence would be a lothario save for those rules. Perhaps he followed them simply to reassure his wife? Or maybe this is none of our business? That would certainly be the attitude of many liberals if Pence were a Democrat and had actually cheated on his wife…

It’s a very strange place we’ve found ourselves in when elites say we have no right to judge adultery, but we have every right to judge couples who take steps to avoid it. But ultimately, I don’t think the important double standard is about marriage or adultery. It’s about traditional Christians. If the Pences were Muslims and followed similar rules, as devout Muslims indeed might, I doubt there’d be anything like this kind of liberal scorn. Of course, that’s unknowable. But liberals spend a lot of time and energy defending accommodations for religious Muslims — burqas, veils, gender segregation, etc. — that they would never make for committed Christians.


Why I’ve Stopped Reading All Those ’10 Reasons Your Church Isn’t Growing’ ListsKarl Vaters
Why I've Stopped Reading All Those '10 Reasons Your Church Isn’t Growing' Lists
…I talk to a lot of pastors who are also in your target audience. Like me, they want their churches to grow. And they’re looking for help.

But when an already-discouraged pastor reads a list telling them their church isn’t growing because they’re visionless, self-serving and petty, it doesn’t lift them up, it beats them down. Guilt doesn’t motivate, it discourages.

Besides, those petty attitudes aren’t true for us. Pastors who don’t care, don’t read church leadership blogs.

You know who is reading your blog? Good pastors. Hard-working pastors. Caring pastors. Discouraged pastors. Write with those pastors in mind.


Yes, there is another one. I find myself wearying of these, but I don’t want to succumb. I don’t think it’s a good idea to look away…

Five Takeaways from the New Undercover Video from Center for Medical ProgressTimothy Brahm
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/aeINzcwb3qU/maxresdefault.jpgDr. Taylor: Well the thing is, I mean the key is, you need to pay attention to who’s in the room, right? And like, you know, because the thing is the law states that you’re not supposed to do any maneuvers after the fact to try to cause [fetal] demise. So it’s really tricky. It’s really tricky so, most of the time we do dig, and it usually works. And then we don’t have to worry about that because Arizona state law says if any, if there’s signs of life, then we’re supposed to transport them. To the hospital.


‘One Anothers’ I Can’t Find in the New Testament
Ray Ortlund
coverjudgepeople-1The kind of God we really believe in is revealed in how we treat one another… Our relationships with one another reveal to us what we really believe as opposed to what we think we believe, our convictions as opposed to our opinions.  …when the gospel grips us down in our convictions, we embrace its implications wholeheartedly. Therefore, when we mistreat one another, our problem is not a lack of surface niceness but a lack of gospel depth. What we need is not only better manners but, far more, true faith.


A sustainable plan…

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Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 2-9-2017

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

Are You Not Ready to WorshipJamie Brown
1I always cringe when I hear worship leaders begin a service by asking the question “are you ready to worship?”

…Most people are somewhere on the spectrum of “not ready” when that first song starts up

So worship leaders can’t approach their congregations with the expectation that they’re “ready to worship”. And they certainly shouldn’t ask them that out loud!

Worship leaders should approach their congregations with the expectation that they’re probably not ready to worship. (But they shouldn’t say that out loud either.)

A worship leader who’s aware that his/her congregation is most likely filled with people who aren’t exactly fired up and ready for the kind of epic worship we see in those online worship videos will present a congregation with the gloriously good news of a great and faithful God, a gracious Redeemer, and a generously outpoured Holy Spirit, instead of a guilt-inducing pressure to hype something up that isn’t there to begin with.


It’s Not Me, It’s You: Why Communication May Not Be Your REAL ProblemTiffany Deluccia
Communication-issues-real-problemCommunication is often more effective than we think it is. The frustration comes when, truthfully, we are not actually communicating what we think we are communicating. Who we really are, what we really value and what we really believe seeps out. No fancy schmancy communications plan needed.

Still, when churches sense their message isn’t getting through, they often dive headfirst into changing the technology or the graphics, trying more announcements, redesigning the site, etc. Perhaps you lead at one of those churches. The problem is they are often trying to solve the wrong challenge…


Meet the Pro-Life Group Cracking Planned Parenthood’s Favorite Market -Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/client-photo.jpg“I think we have reason to be unbelievably hopeful and optimistic,” Fisher told pastor Matt Chandler on a podcast in December. “I do believe we’ll see legalized abortion ended in this country in my lifetime, and I don’t think that’s because it’s just some hopeful platitude. Data and politics point to it.” …

Human Coalition is looking to anti-slavery activist William Wilberforce for inspiration…

Along with working for political change, Wilberforce was “deeply engaged culturally through education, through transformation, through slave rescue, through attempting to work through other countries to try to create equal rights for all human beings,” Fisher told Chandler. “And so England went from a culture that found slavery to be completely acceptable to finding it to be completely reprehensible in one generation.”

That’s the same goal Human Coalition has for abortion, Matthews said.

“We’re trying to make it unthinkable and unavailable.”


When you’re ready for baseball season and it’s still February…
Calvin and Hobbes – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 1-26-2016

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

I’m saddened in several ways by this executive order…

Evangelical Experts Oppose Trump’s Plan to Ban RefugeesKate Shellnutt
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/75277.png?w=940Christian aid groups responsible for resettlement mourned and criticized the impending decision to stop accepting any refugees into the US for the next four months. A circulating draft of the order puts an indefinite ban on refugees coming from Syria, and a month-long pause on anyone entering America from a handful of Muslim-majority nations.

“Our concern is that this action really does further traumatize a group of people that have already borne so much tragedy,” said Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, one of nine agencies that partner with the federal government to resettle refugees. “The human toll is really crushing.”…

“We have never had an opportunity like we have right now to reach people who are coming to our shores, in many cases from places we have no access to,” said Arbeiter. “The risk that we have right now is that we are closing the doors to the very people that we say we want to share the gospel with.”


The Case for BoredomKevin DeYoung
I don’t get bored as much as I should. Chances are neither do you. And the chances are exceedingly good that your children aren’t as bored as they should be.


Abortion Over the AtlanticSamuel James
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55ee26e7e4b0c46828edb319/t/5609742fe4b0d12d957bea9b/1443460145054/
In many ways liberals have styled themselves the party of scientific literacy ever since the Scopes trial. Whether the cause celebre was removing creationist literature from public schools, lending platforms to overpopulation worries, or climate change, progressives have, for what feels like the last half-century, presented themselves as the political ideology that welcomes scientific consensus and expertise.

Except, that is, when it comes to abortion.


This is the last article in this series and I recommend them all.
These are my decisions for this part of my life…

Aging Brings Life-Shaping DecisionsTim Challies
What are the choices we will have to make as we age? What choices will lead us to age well? What decisions do we need to make right now?

-Choose Zeal Over Apathy
-Choose Discipline Over Complacency
-Choose Learning Over Stagnation
-Choose Involvement Over Isolation
-Choose Hope Over Despair


Fun with portmanteaus…
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Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Monday Picks ~ 1-23-2017

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

First, two good articles about how we Christians should approach “alternative facts”…

Facts Are Our Friends: Why Sharing Fake News Makes Us Look Stupid and Harms Our WitnessEd Stetzer
Facts Are Our Friends: Why Sharing Fake News Makes Us Look Stupid and Harms Our WitnessChristian, if you post fake facts, you reflect on the faith—and that’s bad for the gospel and it hinders the mission.

Integrity matters.

Many Evangelicals voted for Trump, and many Evangelicals are serving in his administration. That means they have influence, and this would be a good time to use that. It would be a good time to say that “the truth will set you free.”

It’s time for them to say that facts matter. And it’s time for them to call the Trump administration to do the same. But, first, we need to get our own act together…

If there was ever a group that should care about the truth, it should be the people who believe “the truth sets you free.”


“Alternative Facts” and Christians as Gullible Skeptics
Trevin Wax
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…the plague of misinformation infects conservatives and liberals alike, and Christians and non-Christians as well. But surely Christians are called to show a better way…

If we are to be faithful in a world of “fake news,” “alternative facts,” and biased sources, we are going to need to be more careful with the statistics we share, the news stories we read, and the sources we trust. Gullible skeptics, either on the right or left, don’t stand out from the world. And what we need today is for Christians to care about getting the facts straight, whether or not they’re useful or beneficial to “the party line,” because we believe in a God who tells the truth.


Then, two good articles about abortion and sanctity of life…

In a Country Where Abortion is IllegalDave Hare
We tend to think that unjust things happen in third-world countries. But have you ever considered that the practices of your nation are shocking to someone in the third-world? I am not talking about just culture shock, but real moral outrage.

This is the response that I receive when I have talked to some of my neighbors about abortion in America. They have been genuinely repulsed by the fact that abortion is legal in the States.


What If You Aborted a Future Janitor?Jared Wilson
Suppose we could save the future Einsteins and Beethovens from the abortionist. It would still be as tragic and sinful to have otherwise commenced with the offing of future stay-at-home moms, truck mechanics, and janitors. You know, all the “ordinary people” of which there are many more than the so-called extraordinary people. More boldly put: abortion is wrong, whether you happen to be aborting the next Mother Theresa or the next Adolf Hitler.

Pro-lifers, let’s not play that game. Leave utilitarian arguments to the self-appointed engineers of utopia. Let’s be Christians living in the kingdom of God instead.


Good idea…
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Dilbert – Click image for a larger view.

Weekend Picks ~ 12-16-2016

xmas-weekend-picks

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

I was just talking with someone about this last night. I always find these posts by Joe Carter helpful…

9 Things You Should Know About Aleppo and the Syrian CrisisJoe Carter
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/8211986232_63f6a929f9_b.jpg
The recent struggle for control of the Syrian city of Aleppo has brought renewed attention to the ongoing war crimes that have devastated the Middle East nation. Here are nine things you should know about Aleppo and the Syrian crisis…


When Christmas isn’t Good NewsRob Tims
6491-fx-6-0-12-6-8-0Christmas was not good news for Herod. Jesus was a threat to all he held dear.

And Jesus could be that for you and I today.

King Jesus wants my hard-earned crown.


No Gullible Bumpkins Here: Christmas and the Virgin Birth
Mike McKinley
…roughly a century ago influential theologians began to doubt whether or not that was actually true. They pointed to the virgin birth of Jesus as a superstition that intelligent, modern people simply couldn’t accept. After all, we all know that there is no such thing as a baby being born to a virgin. That’s impossible! If Christianity was going to flourish in the scientific era (or so the thinking went), it would need to jettison these kinds of “myths” that were an insult to our reason and intelligence.

On the surface, that might sound reasonable. But if you look closely, you will see that it does not really do justice to Luke’s narrative. Mary and Zechariah and Elizabeth were not gullible bumpkins who didn’t know how babies were made and believed fantastical stories (nor, for that matter, were Luke and his original readers). They found the whole idea just as unlikely as you and I might, but that’s exactly the point! The great theological truth that Luke is bringing to the forefront by including these events in his “orderly account” is that God’s salvation will come in a seemingly impossible way.


This is an excellent, thoughtful and encouraging article…

If Abortions Are Declining, Why Keep Fighting Roe v. Wade?
Aaron Earls
pregnancy abortion pro-life pro-choice
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the current rate of 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years is the lowest since 1971.

From a pro-life perspective, this is undeniably good news. But should this lead us to change our tactics in the work to prevent abortions?

With this news and previous stories like it, many Christians have taken this as an opportunity to step out of the public and political fight against Roe v. Wade and move toward easier cultural and political wins that could lead to a continued reduction of abortions…

My ultimate desire would be to see us so change the narrative that abortion is all but eliminated prior to any laws ever being changed, and the laws are changed to reflect the perspective of the citizenry.

But that final part is more than ceremonial. It matters what our laws say about life. Pro-life absolutely means more than outlawing abortion, but it doesn’t mean less.


I have a very good friend who has ministered in the same small town in Ohio for several decades. I doubt that I will ever have the kingdom influence that he has had…

A Word of Encouragement to the Small Town Pastor
Ron Edmondson
Many times the small city pastors compare themselves to the big city churches. They compare numbers rather than progress. They compare size rather than context. They compare notoriety rather than influence.

And, because of that, many times, they don’t know how well they are really doing.

I see the connections, networking and influence the small town pastor has and I wish I could have this kind of Kingdom influence in my city. I see the respect they command in their community and know, in my context, in many ways they are miles ahead of me.

Small city pastor. God is using you. You are making a Kingdom difference. You just sometimes don’t know how well you are doing.


Forgiveness…
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Pearls Before Swine – Click image for a larger version.