Tag Archives: Aging

Weekend Picks ~ 6-30-2017

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

The Case for ‘Christian’ ArtSteve Turner
https://storage.googleapis.com/relevant-magazine/2017/06/Hero-64.jpgNo one ever told me that it would be wrong for a Christian to become an actor or a songwriter, a novelist or a dancer. It was implied…

But because art is also a record and reflects the questions and anxieties of the time, I would like to see contributions that reflect a Christian understanding of that time. I also would like to see them in the mainstream arts rather than in the religious subculture.

I am not saying this for evangelistic reasons. I don’t expect art to convert people, although I realize that art plays an important part in shaping our understanding of the world. I am saying it because debates are taking place in cinema, painting, dance, fiction, poetry and theater on issues where Christians have something to say, and yet they are not even being heard.

I think we should be in those debates as part of our mandate to look after and care for the world rather than because of the command to make disciples. We are not entering the debates to tell people what to believe. Art tends to show rather than to tell. It allows people the opportunity to experience another way of seeing the world. But if we are not there, people are denied the opportunity of encountering our perspective.

Finally, Jackie Robinson’s Faith Is Getting the Attention It DeservesPaul Putz
Finally, Jackie Robinson’s Faith Is Getting the Attention It DeservesTwo books shine a long-overdue spotlight on the Christian convictions of the man who broke baseball’s color barrier…

…There is a God-shaped hole in the heart of 42, the 2013 film that depicts the inspiring story of Jackie Robinson. Observers noticed it at the time, pointing out that the film mostly ignored the role that faith played in Robinson’s life and in Branch Rickey’s decision to sign him to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947…

From Long and Lamb’s book, Robinson emerges as a committed and thoughtful mainline Protestant comfortable within black and white Christian communities. Well versed in the Bible and connected to Protestant institutions throughout his life, Robinson saw faith as a source of inspiration, hope, and American identity. He grew up with a personal moral code taught by most white and black Protestants in the early 20th century—no smoking, no drinking, no premarital sex. But he was also shaped by the social witness distinct to the black church, believing that Christians had a responsibility to combat racism in American society, that anti-racism was a mark of true Christianity, and that many white Christians were failing to practice what they preached. As for June Fifield’s concern that Robinson recognize the help of Branch Rickey, she need not have worried. “When I came to believe that God was working with and guiding Mr. Rickey,” Robinson wrote, “I began to also believe that he was guiding me.”

Creating DiscomfortSeth Godin
http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/images/og.jpgIf you’re seeking to create positive change in your community, it’s almost certain you’ll be creating discomfort as well.

Want to upgrade the local playground? It sounds like it will be universally embraced by parents and everyone who cares about kids. Except that you now bring up issues of money, of how much is enough, of safety. Change is uncomfortable.

It’s way easier to talk about today’s weather, or what you had for lunch.

Usually, when we’re ready to launch something, we say, “this is going to help people, this is well crafted, I’m proud of it.”

What’s a lot more difficult (but useful) is to say all of that plus, “and this is going to make (some) people uncomfortable.”

I Hope I Die Before I Get OldJared C. Wilson
cristian-newman-67308What makes Richard different from these old coots who go out shaking their fist at the things of grace? Well, God. But also: Richard decided to die before he got old. He decided to die before he died. May we all do the same.

I think I’m more like Hobbes, how about you?
Calvin and Hobbes – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 6-22-2017

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

I Am the Center of the UniverseJared C. Wilson
greg-rakozy-76863I can only come to one of two conclusions about my frustration over this inevitable fact of life: either I am the center of the universe and you all don’t know, or — I am not the center of the universe and I am upset that you all know.

I wake up this way. I bet you do too. We wake up in self-sovereignty mode. Then we get frustrated because we keep running into people who think they’re the center of the universe. It’s frustrating.

This is an absorbing and inspirational story…

How One Deep South Church Left Segregation Behind
Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/how-one-deep-south-church-left-segregation-behind-6.jpgElbert McGowan grew up five minutes from Trinity Presbyterian Church on the north side of Jackson, Mississippi. He passed by it daily. Never once did it cross his mind that one day he’d end up the pastor in that building. In fact, he never even considered entering the door.

That’s because the church was exclusively white, and McGowan is black…

One move, one church plant, and two pastors later, McGowan doesn’t just drive past anymore. He pulls open the church doors every day. He has an office and a desk with photos of his family. He runs the meetings; his kids run down the hallways.

And every week, he preaches to a congregation that’s one-third African American…

“What the Lord is doing in and through [this church] is nothing short of astonishing,” Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) chancellor Ligon Duncan wrote. “Only God could accomplish what has been done here.”

A Vision for AgingDarryl Dash
Flourishing old tree“The world’s ambition is to ‘stay young’; the Bible’s, to grow old fruitfully.”

When I was a student pastor, I met an aged pastor’s wife. Her late husband had been a legend in our circles. She was in her later years, and I was in my early twenties. After visiting her, I’d comment to Charlene that I thought she had a younger soul than I did.

Youth is more beauteous to the eye, says Charles Simeon, but age is more pleasant to the taste. That pleasantness is something to experience.

Coffee Evolution…
Wrong Hands

Tuesday Picks ~ 5-23-2017

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

Beware the Graduation SpeechKevin DeYoung
lightstock_70824_medium_tgcIf you are graduation this spring, I hope you enjoy all the festivities and have a great time with family and friends.

Just don’t believe everything you hear in the graduation speech.

The truth is: you can’t do anything you set your mind to. You can’t be whatever you want to be. You aren’t the last, best hope for planet earth. You shouldn’t always follow your dreams. You shouldn’t always believe in yourself. And you shouldn’t expect life’s most meaningful gifts to come through unchecked self expression.

Facts are not the antidote for doubt Seth Godin
Drink enough water and you will cease to be thirsty.

And yet, a doubting person can be drowning in facts, but facts won’t change a mind that doesn’t want to be changed. More facts don’t counter more doubt. Someone who is shaking his head, arms folded, eyes squinted and ears closed isn’t going to be swayed by more facts.

Instead, doubt surrenders to experience. And experience can only happen if there’s enrollment…

Doubt comes from fear, which is why it’s so difficult to earn enrollment…

Three Ways to Exhort the AgingR. Paul Stevens
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/how-to-encourage-elderly-1.jpgThe challenges of later life are similar to midlife but ramped up a notch. Aging people are challenged by the surrounding youth culture. Rapid changes, especially in technology and the internet, leave them behind. Their mobility and energy are reduced. Formalized and institutionalized retirement sets people up for a season of continuous leisure and sloth. This leads to profound challenges to self-worth, as people are no longer identified by their career.

Aging people experience progressive losses: parents, friends, colleagues, career, driver’s license, and perfect health. Then life-threatening health challenges are encountered, usually heart disease or cancer. And finally, there is the certainty of death.

In these realities, though, there are implicit spiritual incentives to grow. Here are three ways to encourage and exhort the aging…

…Aging is not the progressive loss of humanity. It is the reverse. It should make us more human and not less. Like all spiritual growth, we must cooperate with the God who loves us and seeks to humanize us. And this involves battling the vices of aging and nurturing the virtues of late life.

Off the Mark

Weekend Picks ~ 5-19-2017

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

The Death of ExpertiseKevin DeYoung
…the problem is not that people are dumber than human beings used to be. We have more information than ever before. The problem is that we are more confident in our abilities and less willing to learn than previous generations—a lethal combination of militant arrogance and invincible ignorance. American colleges and universities have produced students who are undereducated and overly praised (77). We’ve mistaken critical thinking for relentless criticism. Which means we don’t engage with others “as iron sharpens iron,” but as an axe fells a tree. Public policy debates have devolved into shouting matches between equally uninformed persons duking it out with exchanges of contradiction, random factoids, and shaky sources (40). Too many online debates traffic in confirmation bias and conspiracy theories that are by definition nonfalsifiable. And when we aren’t pronouncing all the experts wrong, we are certain that anyone can be right. If the Declaration of Independence announced these truths to be self-evident, we now believe all truths are self-evident (x). Who needs experts when everything is obvious?

It’s sad to me that we’ve forgotten how to have a sense of humor without taking sides…

Jimmy Fallon Was on Top of the World. Then Came Trump. Dave Itzkoff
He is weathering the most tumultuous period in his tenure there — a predicament for which he has himself to thank, and one that raises the question of whether the multitalented but apolitical Mr. Fallon can ride out the current era of politicized, choose-your-side entertainment, when he just wants to have a good time…

As strongly as ever, Mr. Fallon believes it should be a place for a wide swath of viewers to get their entertainment and laughs, and that this philosophy will steer it through a period of intense polarization.

“I don’t want to be bullied into not being me, and not doing what I think is funny,” he said more defiantly. “Just because some people bash me on Twitter, it’s not going to change my humor or my show.”

I love this!

Comfortably HumanJohn Frye
Screen Shot 2016-10-15 at 9.10.12 AMThe invitation to the morning meal reminds the disciples that it’s just fine to be human as they know it, even as they try to shake away the memories of their cowardly behavior at Jesus’ arrest. What can they say? What can they do? How will they impress Jesus? They are in the presence of someone who rose from the dead! They can’t top that. They dare not speak. Jesus does. “Let’s eat!” A plain old human thing to do. Jesus could have said, “Foolish creeps, you abandoned me, let’s do a serious Bible study. Now!”

I wonder if Jesus is impressed with the ways we try, and try hard, to experience newness. Is Jesus   slightly annoyed by our earnest attempts to be “spiritual,” whatever that means? We want to tell Jesus all about what we learned in the Word and Jesus wants to know how we like the fish…

The best word that comes to my mind about being spiritual is this: relax. We give the lie to all we say about God’s unconditional love the moment we try to be something we are not. Over the years I’ve met too many hyperactive Christians trying their hardest to assure God (and all who watch them) how special they are. God’s deep, unceasing love for them is missed or misappropriated in their frantic pursuit to be holy. The underlying error in their thinking seems to be that “holy” and “human” are adversarial.

Don’t Hide Those Gray HairsCandice Watters
A multibillion dollar beauty industry keeps the charade going, all the while showing little-to-no respect for the elderly.

When it comes to getting older, our culture offers three options: delay, disguise, or despise.

Don’t Delay – Embrace

Don’t Disguise – Teach

Don’t Despise – Flourish

Dilbert – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 4-11-2017

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

For the Christian PerfectionistFaith Chang
https://reformedmargins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/pexels-photo-362749-1.jpegI’m not writing here about people who are Christians and happen to be perfectionists in other areas in life. I’m referring to those of you who love the gospel, live in the church without hidden sin, but struggle, maybe even to the point of despair, with the feeling of never being good enough before God.

You know and love Jesus, and you glory that your sins are no longer yours to carry. You know that your position before God is by grace alone, and have experienced the joy of his forgiveness. You desire to do God’s will and to walk in obedience to him. And you live under the constant fear of making a mistake before God.

Christian perfectionist, this piece is for you…

10 Ugly Numbers Describing Pornography Use in 2017
Tim Challies
As technology changes and as new generations grow up, the pornographic landscape inevitably changes. I went looking for updated numbers and want to present some of them to you today. All of these are based on credible studies carried out in 2016 or 2017…

In 2016, people watched 4.6 billion hours of pornography at just one website (the biggest porn site in the world). That’s 524,000 years of porn or, if you will, around 17,000 complete lifetimes. In that same time people watched 92 billion videos (or an average of 12.5 for every person on earth). Significance: So many people are using so much porn today that it is really impossible to tabulate.

Are We Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing?
Kevin DeYoung
large_make-the-most-of-holy-week-l503ynhwThis is not the week for being savvy and sophisticated. This is the week for being simple. Sin and salvation. Death and resurrection. Let every preacher preach this gospel and every congregation hold fast to this word (1 Cor. 15:1-2).

Holy Week is a check-up for the Church. To use a tag line that’s already overused, if your core message for this week is something other than “Christ died for our sins,” you’re doing Christianity wrong. If you want to preach about gender equality or social justice or progressive dispensationalism or the extra Calvinisticum, do it a different week. This week is about a substitute for our sin and an empty tomb for our justification.

Why our churches need more gray hairDenny Burk
In sum, Paul says that older men must be those who do not panic in the face of a challenge. They do not get angry when provoked. They do not fear in the face of a threat. The older men are to be as solid as an oak. They are to be the kind of men to whom people look when something is broken and no one knows how to fix it. They are the kind of men who are sought out for their wisdom and ability to speak truth into very difficult situations.

They are exemplary in faith and in love for wife and children and church and neighbor. They face trials with perseverance and courage. They are the kind of men that you want your son to grow up and be like.

Churches desperately need their older men to exemplify being sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Churches need an army of laymen who believe well, love well, and suffer well. And churches need them because these older men are the pace-setters for the rest of the church.

Take eight minutes and be inspired and encouraged…

“When I look at the story, I realize who Barabbas really is. That’s me. That’s you. That’s us.”

“We can pretend like some people are better than others and that’s why they’re blessed, or we can all come to the honest conclusion that it’s God, and it’s God alone.”

And those people are right. It’s unnatural…
Off the Mark

Tuesday Picks ~ 3-14-2017

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

Complaining Never Wins the CultureTrevin Wax
Jesus still speaks to his church: Do everything without grumbling. You want to be blameless and pure — faultless in this generation? Then you better start right here. Why? Because the Christian who grumbles will neither stand out in this generation, nor hold firm to the gospel.

Grumbling about this cultural moment usually leaves us wistful for another. But we will never be faithful in the present as long as we are yearning for the past. The only era we should long for is a future one, when the kingdom comes fully on earth as it is in heaven.

Suburban Sprawl and the Dying Dream of Community ChurchesTim Challies
Do you shop at the grocery store closest to your home, or at the grocery store you like best, even if it’s a little farther away? If you are like my family and live in the endless suburban sprawl that surrounds so many of today’s cities, you probably drive past several perfectly good grocery stores to go to one you prefer—one with the better selection of produce or the great coffee shop or that favorite generic brand. My guess is that you also go to a doctor you are comfortable with rather than one who is just around the corner, and that you go either to Lowe’s or Home Depot not on the basis of which is closer, but on the basis of which one you like best. These are the luxuries of modern-day suburbia, though we are so accustomed to them we hardly think it remarkable that the whole city is our neighborhood…

Let me ask another question: How many suburbanites do you know who go to church within walking distance of their home? How many do you know who attend the closest church? I suspect it is quite a short list. Here in the suburbs, church is one more thing we drive to and choose according to preference rather than proximity. I think it’s time we reconcile ourselves to this as a fact of modern, suburban life.

Five Reasons Growth May Be More Difficult in Your ChurchThom Rainer
Cultural Christianity is dying.

One no longer has to be a Christian or in a church to be accepted by society. That relatively easy pool of prospective attendees for our churches is disappearing.

But most churches keep doing what they’ve always done.

As a consequence, they are reaching fewer. They are declining.


The answer to that question is too complex for a simple blog post, but let me provide five high-level responses for now…

1. Church members are not being intentionally relational with those who are not in church.
2. Many churches are stuck in the past.
3. Church members are not regularly inviting people to church.
4. Many church members fail to act like Christians on social media.
5. If they come to church, they only have a mediocre experience.

Heroes for the Second HalfDarryl Dash
170314I’m well into the second half of my life. I’ve noticed that my heroes have changed from my early years in ministry. Qualities that used to look important now look repellant to me; qualities that used to look unattractive now look compelling and beautiful.

As I look at people I admire, here are three qualities I notice, compared with three qualities I used to value but now see as ugly…

Spinnin’ wheel got to go ’round…
Wrong Hands

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
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…
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 1-24-2017

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

I’ve appreciated Tim Challies’ series about aging. This one hits on something many of us older adults seem to want to forget…

Greater Age Brings Greater ResponsibilityTim Challies
Throughout the Bible, God associates aging with responsibility. With increased age comes increased responsibility. Here are five of the responsibilities that come with age and increase with age…

1. Maturity
2. Involvement
3. Example
4. Mentoring
5. Watchfulness

(Click through for his elaboration on each responsibility.)

I’ve got to admit, this trend really bugs me. I went to a fantastic concert last night which could and should have been a “family friendly” show, but heard the “f-bomb” spoken and sung more than once. Why is this okay?

Words Matter: Recovering Godly Speech in a Culture of ProfanityJon D.Payne
http://thinkingrightblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/profanity.jpgCorrupt speech has been around since the fall of mankind. But the extensive and wide-ranging use of profanity is a new phenomena in our culture. Even some high profile hipster pastors such as Mark Driscoll have foolishly used salty language from the pulpit, seeking to connect with their younger hearers. As Christian believers, it is critical that we view this modern profanity epidemic through the lenses of biblical truth. Now more than ever, when it comes to our speech, Christians must be decidedly countercultural.

We Are Not the Home Team: Christians and Culture in 2017Laura Elliot
Friends, we might not be David or Paul, but there are some things we can do to live well as the away team:

  1. Acknowledge our surroundings as the home team’s domain. In other words, we shouldn’t expect the world to think as we think, live as we live, or act as we act. We need to see our fellow players as they are: the lost who have been found or the lost who are still lost.

  2. Keep the season in perspective. Playing dirty in this game is not worth your integrity when the season is at stake. May we argue for religious freedom, for political positioning, for our “rights” as citizens? Sure. But fight as Jesus fought: Only as it served His Father’s purposes, without violating His Father’s character.

  3. Sing the fight song of the away team with boldness. Win the hearts of your opponents with love. Let’s face it. Feeling like you’re always on the away team, or always losing, is a tough position to be in. It feels a little strange singing your school’s fight song in someone else’s gym. But if we do, the world will take notice.

The Most Tragic Translation in HistoryMichael Kelley“Did God really say…” he said to the woman.

Those four words still haunt us today. They haunt us not only because of the devastating effects that came afterward, but because those same four words are at the core of every temptation, social evil, and moral compromise we still face…

Don’t wait up…
Bizarro – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 9-27-2016

Picks Tuesday

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

I can’t say I’m 100% consistent, but I try to make each of these things an ongoing part of my life…

Young is a State of MindDan Reiland
shoe10 lifestyle habits to help you remain young at heart:

1) Keep up with current culture.
2) Connect with young adults.
3) Keep up with the latest technology.
4) Focus on the future.
5) Invest in your health.
6) Meet new people.
7) Remain curious.
8) Stay positive.
9) Adapt to your energy.
10) Increase your faith.

Follow the link to read his explanations of each point.

Excellent, practical advice for helping grieving friends…

Yes, You Should Say Something: Overcoming Awkwardness with Grieving PeopleNancy Guthrie
LightstockWhat makes a great friend in the midst of grief is someone willing to overcome the awkwardness to engage. He or she comes alongside and is willing, at least for a while, to agree that this is terrible, unexplainable, the worst. No forced looking on the bright side. At least not yet. No suggesting you should be grateful for anything. At least not yet. To have a friend who, with a shake of the head and a sense of “How can this be?” refuses to rush too quickly past sharing a sense of agonized disappointment at the reality of death—what a gift.

We in leadership often become so distracted with those who are critical or complaining that we forget, or have little time left, to appreciate and encourage the ones who are serving…

All The Sheep Matter (And Have Names)Jamie Brown
1I wonder how many of our volunteers are just hungry for some sort of pastoral connection, however sporadically, by someone in church leadership, that shows that we know their names, we appreciate them, we value their contributions, and we are blessed by their gifts. I think for some people it helps them go from feeling like they’re filling a slot, to actually being a part of a body…

For those of us in any ministry position where it’s up to us to schedule, recruit, or manage volunteers, we have an important lesson from Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for his sheep. The sheep matter to Him, and so they should know that they matter to us too.

As Francis Schaeffer said, “He is there, and He is not silent.

Only Our God SpeaksRyan Shelton
Christian worship is unlike any other form of religious exercise because we worship the living God. Since our God is not like lifeless idols, we practice our faith differently than the rest of the world…

Because Christians worship a speaking God, we approach worship differently than any religious sect or worshiping community.

Remember to get your Boogie-Woogie Flu shot…
Wrong Hands