Tag Archives: Church

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…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/rock-n-roll-crayon-colors.jpg
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 11-16-2017

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

The Enduring Appeal of Creepy ChristianityDavid French
http://c2.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/styles/original_image_with_cropping/public/uploaded/cult-christian-celebrity-quest-certainty-damage-church.jpg?itok=CjN4CybMThe desire for certainty in an uncertain world yields terrible results…

The scriptural response to this fundamental uncertainty is unsatisfying to some. Faith, hope, and love are vague concepts. The Bible doesn’t have a clear, specific prescription for every life challenge. But rather than seeking God prayerfully and with deep humility and reverence, we want answers, now. And thus we gravitate to those people who purport to offer more than the Bible.

Read this book to discover how, by nursing, regulating their babies’ sleep patterns, and teaching their obedient young children how to silently express their desires through hand signals, you can help prepare them for happy, godly lives. Read that book to discover that if you control every aspect of your child’s education and dating lives, they’ll learn more, avoid sin, and launch into lifelong, happy marriages. Watch this sermon to discover the formula for health and wealth.


Feeling Disconnected? Here’s a Fix.Danny Franks
Whatever size church you attend, there will come a point where you feel left out. Unknown. Like you don’t have the friendships and relationships you’re craving.

Feeling connected isn’t correlated to size. It seems counterintuitive, but connection is not a size issue. You can be deeply known in a megachurch, and you can skate on the fringes in a rural country church where attendance runs double digits…

We’ve found that serving on a ministry team is a the #1 “connection factor” to help people feel engaged in the church and a be a part of the mission. Had you asked me this several years ago, I would have bet money on small groups. And while small groups are a close second, people who serve actually rank their felt engagement a bit higher.

“You can’t come in, sit down, be entertained by the band, get pumped up with a God pep-talk for the week ahead, and leave. If you don’t serve inside your church, you are not only missing out on being known by the people you regularly serve with, but you are depriving the rest of the church of your specific, God-given gifts and talents”


Netflix Thinks You’re Bored and LonelyTrevin Wax
Image result for Netflix Thinks You’re Bored and LonelyAt a conference sponsored by the Wall Street Journal last year, Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, offered a purpose statement for his entertainment juggernaut: “Fundamentally, we’re about eliminating loneliness and boredom. . . . That’s what entertainment does.”

Eliminating boredom and loneliness. Chew on that for a while, and you’ll realize that only one of these issues is truly a problem, while the other is actually an opportunity…

Without boredom, how do we teach children how to behave in a restaurant, how to sing and pray and listen in church, or how to politely carry on a conversation that isn’t immediately interesting?

We shouldn’t treat boredom as a problem to be solved…

Is loneliness resolved when the members of a family all retreat to their own tablets or devices to watch the shows that have been tailored to their interests?…

Boredom and loneliness. The church has the opportunity to be countercultural…

Boredom and loneliness often go together. Our inability to embrace boredom keeps us from going deeper in our relationships. Then, shallow relationships boomerang back in the form of loneliness and more boredom.


What the God of Peace Will DoDarryl Dash
Romans 16:20“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (Romans 16:20)

Every word in that verse matters. Every word encourages…

I used to read benedictions like “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” as throwaway lines. No longer. The longer I’ve been alive, the more I realize I need this present-day grace that’s available because of the past work of Jesus and the future, complete defeat of evil. I need this grace today.


Connecting the dots…
Calvin and Hobbes – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 11-9-2007

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

When Everything Is MissionsKevin DeYoung
https://johnbotkin.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/worldmap.png…we are not all missionaries and not everything is missions, and if we don’t get these definitions correct we will not be effective in carrying out the mission Christ gave to the Church.

…the old slogan “every member a missionary” is not really accurate. We are all called to be witnesses and disciple makers, but the Latin word missio, like the Greek word apostelein, refers to sending or being sent. A missionary… means (a) sent (b) across a boundary to where the gospel is not known, (c) to see a church planted that (d) can reach that region with the gospel once the missionary leaves. When everything is missions and everyone is a missionary, this task is obscured or forgotten…

Should churches support Christian schools at home and college ministry on secular campuses in the United States? Should we work to have excellent and engaging youth and children’s ministries? Should we be concerned by poverty and homelessness and clean water? Yes, yes, and yes. But … if we think all of this is missions we will end up neglecting the very task laid out for us in the Great Commission. When everything is missions, missions gets left behind.


Challenging…

The Age of Consent in the Age of Exposure
Stephen McAlpine
171030-kevin-spacey-one-time-use-mn-1105_3ca02a0124fbd8ec428b62fd34b24235-focal-760x380Now? Sexual liberty finds itself in a bind.  At the very time sexuality is dominating the culture at an even more rapid rate than before, and in an age when you are defined by your sexuality, the small matter of consent is rearing its head.  And there is much confusion…

The iWorld embraces three taboos that serve to limit individual freedom if it affects another person’s individual freedom:

  1. One may not criticise someone else’s life choices or behaviour.
  2. One may not behave in a manner that coerces or causes harm to others.
  3. One may not engage in a sexual relationship with someone without his or her consent.

…The fact is, taboos two and three are not merely modern inventions, they are woven into the fabric of the world that God has put together and which he has revealed in Scripture. They were commands of God long before they were secular taboos. Modern culture just assumed it was smarter than God by attempting to isolate these two taboos from all of the other commands about sex that have been broken with gay and straight abandon down the centuries. And the result is a mess…

Harvey and Kevin’s real concern is that Hollywood has no confessional, no altar, no service of reconciliation. Hollywood creates movies that extol forgiveness, redemption and restoration, but all they’re doing is piggy-backing on the biblical story while stripping it of transcendence. The awful reality is much different…


An excellent tribute to an excellent player…

Halladay Was Everybody’s HeroJoe Posnanski
Halladay was everybody's heroRoy Halladay simplified pitching. This was at the heart of his baseball greatness. He took this big, sprawling, complicated thing, this intricate art form weighed down by so many details — by pitches, counts, batting styles, scouting reports and arm slots and fluctuating strike zones and high-leverage situations and low-leverage situations — and he boiled it down to its essence.

Halladay refused to complicate things, and so he made it all look so easy. It wasn’t easy…

Halladay was the most admired pitcher of his day. Everyone knew how hard he worked. Everyone respected the way he went about his business. Everyone watched in wonder how Halladay made pitching simple. And most of all, everyone longed to have just a little bit of his poise, just a little bit of his class, just a little bit of his sense of self.

Roy Halladay achieved the hardest thing a great athlete can achieve. He was everybody’s hero.


“Then I think to myself, what a wonderful world…”

The World’s Tiniest Wonders, Revealed Through PhotomicrographyAnika Burgess
Nsutite and cacoxenite minerals (Image of Distinction). Since 1975, Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition has attracted photographers and scientists interested in showcasing miniscule wonders. This year’s winning entries, drawn from the work of more than 2,000 participants in 88 countries, reveal that the very, very tiny can still have a startlingly large visual impact.


An infamous day in musical history…
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Bizarro

Tuesday Picks ~ 11-7-2017

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

A Small Rural Church Is Hard to KillBart Barber
A Small Rural Church Is Hard to KillWhen you … look at the story of a small church in a rural town, this event defies ranking or evaluation.

For the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, it is an extinction-level event…

The death of 26 members would traumatize any church, but for a church this size, it threatens the church’s very existence. It threatens that small church; it frightens every small church. Most of the pastors of small churches across the nation know someone whom they could imagine committing a similar crime…

A single scandal involving a key personality can make an entire network of megachurches vanish without a trace in the span of a few months. I predict a better outcome for First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.

People are less likely to abandon the church they attended with their grandparents. I believe that members who have been on the sidelines will step up. Sister churches in that rural area will reach in and give a helping hand. The martyrdom of these believers will bring people to Christ.

I believe that the gates of hell remain the principal threat faced by smaller churches. I believe that the gates of hell will not prevail against Christ’s church.


Is Your Sacrifice for Jesus Getting in the Way of Your Faithfulness to Jesus?Michael Kelley
…I wonder if sometimes our sacrifices for Jesus actually get in the way of our faithfulness to Jesus.

There are opportunities all around us right now, right where we are. Opportunities to share the gospel with a neighbor. To teach a children’s Sunday school class. To tell the hard truth to a friend. To tithe to our church. But none of these things have the appearance of being large and audacious. But each and everyone of them is a small example of the kind of day in and day out faithfulness Jesus has called us to.


Spotlight II: Not Coming to a Screen Near You
Stephen McAlpine
88039381_still-01spHollywood loves a good sequel.  Especially when that sequel guarantees a lot of money.  There’s nothing a Hollywood mogul loves more than getting his hands on a lot of money. Actually, as we’re finding out, or as we’re finally being told as if we didn’t already know,  that’s not true.  Money’ is second on the list when it comes to what a Hollywood mogul loves to get his hands on.

So the sequel I’d most like to see up on the big screen this summer is Spotlight II, a followup to the original, and brilliant, Spotlight that focussed on the sexual sins of the Catholic Church in Boston. Those sins were overlooked by politicians and police alike, but were exposed by the fearless Spotlight team reporters at the Boston Globe.

Spotlight II could star Michael Keaton and all the crew, only this time the spotlight will be firmly turned back on itself, as Hollywood does the definitive piece on the sexual sins it has covered up, and has kept covered up by dint of its power and influence.

And the script virtually writes itself, doesn’t it?  All you have to do is take the original Spotlight script and replace the words “Catholic Church” with the words “Hollywood Establishment”.


At least he died happy…
Non Sequitur – Click image for a larger view.

 

Weekend Picks ~ 11-3-2017

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

This thought-provoking series of articles has stretched my imagination and caused me to want to read Eugene Peterson’s book “Reversed Thunder”

Heaven Is EarthyJohn Frye
Heaven is immediate, not remote in either time or space. “Heaven is not what we wait for until the rapture or where we go when we die, but what is, barely out of range of our senses, but brought to our senses by St. John’s visions. … The vision of heaven is not a promise of anything other than what we have already received by faith; it does, though, promise more, namely, its completion” (172). Heaven is not a fantasy. It is not an escape from what is. If we don’t like what is, we may not like heaven. Heaven is the cosmos brought to completion.


Three Shifts to Increase Global EngagementDavid Dummitt
Three Shifts to Increase Global Engagement 
Global engagement isn’t a new idea to American churches. Mission programs, global outreach projects, generosity campaigns, and more have been a part of churches in the United States for centuries. Many methods, strategies, and best practices have come and gone, but like everything else, we need to evaluate what we are doing and adjust where we fall short of maximum effectiveness. 

Here are three shifts American churches can make to increase global impact…


You will need to free your mind from the “hijackers” for a while to read this longish article. Good luck…

‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopiaPaul Lewis
A company paying Facebook to use its levers of persuasion could be a car business targeting tailored advertisements to different types of users who want a new vehicle. Or it could be a Moscow-based troll farm seeking to turn voters in a swing county in Wisconsin…

Williams, 35, left Google last year, and is on the cusp of completing a PhD at Oxford University exploring the ethics of persuasive design. It is a journey that has led him to question whether democracy can survive the new technological age…

That discomfort was compounded during a moment at work, when he glanced at one of Google’s dashboards, a multicoloured display showing how much of people’s attention the company had commandeered for advertisers. “I realised: this is literally a million people that we’ve sort of nudged or persuaded to do this thing that they weren’t going to otherwise do,” he recalls…

“The dynamics of the attention economy are structurally set up to undermine the human will,” he says. “If politics is an expression of our human will, on individual and collective levels, then the attention economy is directly undermining the assumptions that democracy rests on.” If Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are gradually chipping away at our ability to control our own minds, could there come a point, I ask, at which democracy no longer functions?

“Will we be able to recognise it, if and when it happens?” Williams replies. “And if we can’t, then how do we know it hasn’t happened already?”


My experience as part of the leadership team of a multi-site church, who recently made the hard decision to close a campus, confirms the truth of this insightful article…

How to Tell a Campus Pastor from a Church Planter
Tammy Kelley
campus pastorIf you lead a multisite church and you’re trying to identify future Campus Pastors, you need to understand these differences or you may end up planting a church by accident. Likewise, if your mission is church planting, you will better set up new plants to succeed if you get this role right.

Here are several of the most distinctive traits of both groups…


Also, road-trippers…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/what-the-explorers.jpg
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 11-2-2017

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

Politics and MotherhoodJames Taranto
Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters by [Komisar, Erica]Motherhood used to be as American as apple pie. Nowadays it can be as antagonistic as American politics. Ask Erica Komisar.

Ms. Komisar, 53, is a Jewish psychoanalyst who lives and practices on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. If that biographical thumbnail leads you to stereotype her as a political liberal, you’re right. But she tells me she has become “a bit of a pariah” on the left because of the book she published this year, “Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters.

Christian radio stations “interviewed me and loved me,” she says. She went on “Fox & Friends,” and “the host was like, your book is the best thing since the invention of the refrigerator.” But “I couldn’t get on NPR,” and “I was rejected wholesale—particularly in New York—by the liberal press.” She did appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” but seconds before the camera went live, she says, the interviewer told her: “I don’t believe in the premise of your book at all. I don’t like your book.”


So much hard truth here…

5 Ways Revitalization is Hindered in Your Church
Joel Rainey
revitalization…revitalization isn’t easy. Some churches just want to grow so they can return to a previous time they have romanticized as their “golden age.” Some churches feel obligated to sit tight until the most resistant members finally agree to a new path. Still other churches allow long-time members to sabotage the route to new life. For the most part, these things happen, and are allowed to happen, because pastors do truly love their people and would prefer to see everyone move forward together. But refusing to make hard decisions and lead with clarity and strength can prevent the very revitalization your church needs from happening. What follows are five ways to prevent revitalization from happening in your church…


One Question You Need to Answer Every Morning
Michael Kelley
Today might have been a day when the first question that entered your mind was something like this:

Is today going to be any better than yesterday?

Is today the day when the pain will finally stop?

Is today the day when he will finally come home?

Is today the day when the job offer will come?

These are the questions of real life, and they’re all important questions. No – more than that. These are questions of the soul. And yet these are all questions that are informed by the answer to the first one:

Is the Bible true?

If the answer is no, or if the answer is maybe, then the answer to all your other questions is at best, I hope so. Or maybe. Or possibly. In the end, though, if you are not convinced the Bible is true, then you are placing all your hopes for that single day, and every other day that follows, on your ability to manufacture some measure of optimism for your current situation.

But if the Bible is true? That changes everything…


A teacher’s favorite question…
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Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Monday Picks ~ 10-30-2017

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

Four Reasons You’re Not Too Busy to Serve Your Local ChurchDanny Franks
To be clear: I’m not advocating for people who already have 15 ministry activities to take on a 16th. I’m not suggesting that people who are actively ministering in their community during the week should feel guilty because they don’t have an “inside the walls” ministry on the weekend.

No, I’m talking about the believer who isn’t currently, actively serving out of the overflow of their gifts and skill sets. Yes, they may be working 60 hours a week. Yep, they may have a job that keeps their weekend availability a bit unpredictable. But I believe that most Christians – with few exceptions – are wired to serve others, and for that reason, God dispenses grace for those believers to do what he’s wired them to do. Here’s why…


Noteworthy…

https://law.utexas.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/laycock_douglas.jpg

When First Amendment conflicts erupt at U.S. Supreme Court, it’s time to ask WWDD?Richard Ostling
Over a three-day period, 47 “friend of the court” briefs suddenly clogged the inbox at the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the most important religious liberty case of this term – if not of the coming decade. This is a crucial First Amendment showdown.

Almost all these briefs opposed Colorado’s use of an anti-discrimination law against Masterpiece Cakeshop for refusing to provide the cake for a same-sex wedding…

No specialist on America’s law of religion outranks [Douglas] Laycock, who’s a principled champion of both church-state separation under the Constitution’s “establishment of religion” ban and its guarantee of “free exercise” of religion. He also supports gay marriage. Thus, he sometimes backs the so-called “liberal” side and sometimes the “conservative.”

This time around (.pdf here), Laycock lands squarely behind the Cakeshop…


3 Reasons You Should Not Pursue Full Time Ministry
Dan Reiland
One of my great personal passions is to see sharp young teens and adults called to vocational ministry, but I’m also aware that those numbers will always be small compared to the gigantic army of Christians who are out in business and the non-profit sectors of society. It is this “army” that will be counted amongst the greatest force ever to change the world.

With that context in mind, here are three things that are not good reasons to pursue full-time vocational ministry…


Change of plans…
https://i.imgur.com/qVzUjKPh.jpg
Bizarro

Monday Picks ~ 10-16-2017

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

How to Develop Authority as a Worship Leader
David Santistevan
Most would prefer to sing, close their eyes, and worship their hearts out…in front of people. The problem with that is it’s not leadership. There needs to be a heart to love, lead, and connect with people in the room. That is why you are a leader. That is why you are on stage…

Many people mistake an authoritative, anointed worship leader as one who just knows how to work a room. Authority is different…


I was helping lead a prayer meeting at my church yesterday evening and one of our elders received this text from Don Tingle, a missionary we know and support:

Please ask the church to be praying for my wife’s family. In the bomb blast in Somalia seven family members were killed, and 11 were injured. One of the injured is a young mother expecting a baby. Thank you.

Bombing In Somalia Kills Hundreds; Death Toll Expected To RiseVanessa Romo
“In our 10 year experience as the first responder in #Mogadishu, we haven’t seen anything like this,” Aamin Ambulance workers tweeted…

“Today’s horrific attack proves our enemy will stop at nothing,” Farmaajo said, adding a plea to come together. “Let’s unite against terror,” he urged.

“Terror won’t win,” he exclaimed in a separate tweet.

No one has taken responsibility for the attack. But Yarisow told NPR he blames the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group for the attack. He believes this is the “terrorists” striking back against the government because of its renewed offensive against Al-shabab.


Noteworthy…

Willow Creek Chooses Co-Ed Pastors to Succeed Bill HybelsKate Shellnutt
Willow Creek Chooses Co-Ed Pastors to Succeed Bill HybelsThe historic transition will make Willow Creek one of the largest churches in America with a woman in the lead pastor position, as well as the only major evangelical megachurch with male-female lead pastors who aren’t married.


I’m looking forward to seeing this film…

‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ Offers a Cautionary Tale for the Instagram AgeSeth Tower Hurd
On the surface, it may not seem like post WWI England has much to say about life in 2017 America. But there are two narratives running side by side in Goodbye Christopher Robin. The first is a more or less straightforward account of how one of the most beloved children’s authors created a timeless world of imagination.

But underneath that is a narrative that pushes the audience to question the price of fame. In a world where dance moms demanding flawless performances dominate reality TV, and “backpack kid” can go from anonymity to starring in a Katy Perry video and appearing on Saturday Night Live in a matter of weeks, it’s good to see a movie that forces you to ask about your contribution to a world where children are pushed into elite sports and extracurricular activities at earlier and earlier ages, often crowding out time for unstructured play.


Epic Backfire…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/ck3/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9aaXRzLzIwMTcvMTAvWml0cy4yMDE3MTAxNF8xNDQwLmdpZg==
Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Weekend Picks ~ 10-13-2017

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

Why Can’t We Disagree Well? Reflections on Colin Kaepernick, VP Mike Pence, and Listening WellEd Stetzer
Why Can't We Disagree Well? Reflections on Colin Kaepernick, VP Mike Pence, and Listening Well…what has become clear in the past month—and what was driven home in Sunday’s antics by leaders who should know better—is that debate over these protests has spiraled away from Kaepernick’s objective. Those who point out that the protest has forced us to talk about injustice don’t realize that we’ve been hijacked by discussions of patriotism.

My disappointment with the protests has nothing to do with their content—a message we so need. Instead, I am saddened that they were so easily lent to this kind of co-option.

On this point I agree with President Obama, who recognized the cultural import of the anthem and flag:

I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing. But I also want people to think about the pain he may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.

Indeed, listening is key…

Unfortunately, people frequently boil down disagreement to: you have to agree with me or you are [blank]. Each community fills in that blank with whatever pejorative term applies: racist, unamerican, ignorant, bigoted, elitist, etc. There are times when these viewpoints do get voiced and need to be called out as such. But often, it is not the content of the disagreement that provokes these responses, but the disagreement itself.


And on a related note…

Seeking SonderSeth Godin
http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/images/og.jpg
Sonder is defined as that moment when you realize that everyone around you has an internal life as rich and as conflicted as yours.

That everyone has a noise in their head.

That everyone thinks that they are right, and that they have suffered affronts and disrespect at the hands of others.

That everyone is afraid. And that everyone realizes that they are also lucky.

That everyone has an impulse to make things better, to connect and to contribute.

That everyone wants something that they can’t possibly have. And if they could have it, they’d discover that they didn’t really want it all along.

That everyone is lonely, insecure and a bit of a fraud. And that everyone cares about something.

Sonder might happen to you. When it does, it will help you see the world in a whole new way. Because, if you let it, the feeling can persist. A feeling that can allow you to see others the way you’d like to be seen.


6 Reasons Pastors and Church Leaders Must be More Courageous TodayThom Rainer
courage courageousThough there have certainly been more difficult times in the course of Church history for pastors, leading a church today is much tougher than it was 20 and 30 years ago. There have been some demographic and cultural shifts that reflect this reality. But some of the challenges can only be understood in the context of spiritual warfare.

So, what are some of the specific reasons pastors and church leaders must be more courageous today? Though my list is far from exhaustive, allow me to name six of the key factors…

Church members: may I encourage you, even exhort you, to pray that your pastors and church leaders will have the courage they need to lead God’s churches?


Every single day…

3 Things to Say to Your Kids Every DayArt Rainer
As parents, the words we say to our kids can make a significant difference in their lives, both in the present and future. I am nowhere near the perfect parent. Many of my days end with parenting regrets, things that I know I could have done better or differently.

But there is something that I don’t regret. Every morning and every night I tell my kids three things…


I love this insight into what happened with Jacob & Esau… and us…

Something Better Than the LandCourtney Reissig
Something Better Than the Land
God gave Esau the land, but sent Jacob down to Egypt. Jacob was part of God’s chosen people. Jacob was the one God picked. Jacob was the one God used to grow his people. Jacob was the one who blessed the nations through his family line. But instead of the land, he went down to Egypt. And we all know what happened there.

Esau got his land right then, Jacob never got it in his lifetime. At first glance, it can seem like Esau is the favored one, the blessed one. It looks like he wins. He isn’t sent into slavery. He doesn’t wander in the desert. He doesn’t face enemies on every side (as far as we know). He gets the land immediately. He gets his best life now.


Collective nouns…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/collective-nouns.jpg
Wrong Hands

 

Thursday Picks ~ 10-12-2017

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

Do Christians Have to Care About Everything?Aaron Earls
Should Christians care about everything?
Is it your job to do something about everything? No, it’s not, but it is your’s and my job. Let me explain.

The first thing the cause-oriented millennial or burdened baby boomer needs to hear is, “You’re not Christ. You’re part of His body. And there is a difference.”

Yes, we are to follow Christ who will one day bring justice to every unjust situation, but we are not Him. He’s called us to follow Him and work to bring justice in this world now, but you cannot accomplish as an individual what God has tasked to the entire church.


If you didn’t want to read the whole thing you could skip the intro and scroll down to his six scenarios…

When To Panic and When NOT to Panic When People Leave Your ChurchCarey Nieuwhof
Deep down, it hurt so much every time someone left. I felt like I had let them down, like I let the church down, like I had failed…

 

I realize some of this is irrational and much of it might be unhealthy, but it hurts when someone goes.

However, if you let it fester, you’ll begin to live in fear all the time.

In fact, you can end up with people-pleasing as your main goal. You will lead in a way that you hope is going to prevent the greatest number of people from leaving.

That’s a terrible strategy…

Here are six scenarios that can happen when someone walks out the door…


Trevin makes some important and challenging point here…

Welcome Everyone, Affirm No One Trevin Wax
LightstockSome Christians believe it would be good to remove unnecessary offense by downplaying human sinfulness, but such a move severs the root of what makes grace so powerful. It is precisely because we’re bad, not good, that God’s love in sending His Son to die for our sins is so significant.

The trouble is, grace is unimaginable in a world where everyone believes grace is deserved. And when grace is transformed into entitlement, the definitions change, for both those inside and outside the church.

In a culture that thrives on self-affirmation and self-determination, “showing grace” now means accepting someone else’s definition of their own righteousness. Our age of expressive individualism leads us to find meaning in the identities we’ve constructed for ourselves, and then to expect (no, demand!) that others affirm our self-construction and give us their blessing…

Where does this leave the church? We welcome everyone and affirm no one.

That’s right. We don’t even affirm ourselves. The last thing we need is a club of self-righteous people who pat themselves on the back for meeting their own standards of righteousness.


Only one thing holds them back… 
Non Sequitur – Click image for a larger view