Tag Archives: Discipleship

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

Monday Picks ~ 10-9-2017

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

One Uncomfortable Implication of Praying for God’s Will to be DoneMichael Kelley
“When we pray for God’s will to be done, we are implicitly stating that our will should not be done. We are giving over our plans, our dreams, and our aspirations to the will of God. We are, in a sense, dying. Submission to God’s will requires this of us.”


Do you think we’ll ever completely understand the intricacies of God’s creation? Not in this life…

Scientists Somehow Just Discovered a New System of Vessels in Our BrainsJames Hamblin
A transparent model of the brain with a network of vessels filled inYou are now among the first people to see the brain’s lymphatic system. The vessels in the photo above transport fluid that is likely crucial to metabolic and inflammatory processes. Until now, no one knew for sure that they existed.

Doctors practicing today have been taught that there are no lymphatic vessels inside the skull. Those deep-purple vessels were seen for the first time in images published this week by researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.


Noteworthy for pastors…

Atheists Again Get Pastors’ Best Benefit Ruled UnconstitutionalJeremy Weber
Atheists Again Get Pastors’ Best Benefit Ruled UnconstitutionalOnce again, a federal judge has declared that the longstanding clergy housing allowance violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment.


Maybe you need to read this today…

God Is Not Ashamed of YouDan DeWitt
Christian, God is not ashamed of you. You may very well be ashamed of you. God isn’t.

This truth is presented in the book of Hebrews twice. It’s repetition is driving home a point that our hearts desperately long to hear but often avoid. We shrink back from it because we know ourselves too well. God must be ashamed of us. We would be if we were him.

But he isn’t. He knows us better than we know ourselves. And he’s not ashamed of us. He doesn’t regret us. He doesn’t wish he didn’t save us. Hebrews give two reasons for this…


I hate sentences that begin with “at your age”…
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Bizarro

Weekend Picks ~ 10-6-2017

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

First, a couple of good articles on “Thoughts and Prayers”…

The first was written in 2015 following the San Bernadino shooting…

On ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ After Another Mass Shooting
Andy Crouch
On ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ After Another Mass Shooting …we must never settle for a false dichotomy between prayer and action, as if it were impossible to pray while acting or act while praying. Nonetheless it is vital, whenever possible, to pray before acting lest our activity be in vain.

To insist that people should act instead of pray, or that we should act without praying, is idolatry, substituting the creature for the Creator. It insinuates that goodness can be known, possessed, or done apart from relationship with the only One who is truly good. While our neighbors who do not share our faith will not agree, for people with biblical faith this prideful declaration of independence is idolatry, the original sin of humanity, and the ultimate source of the evil in the world and in our own hearts.


Then there is this one published today…

I’m Done PrayingKevin Seguin
Picture“Our thoughts and prayers go out…” to the victims, to their families, to the shooter’s family, to our leaders. It’s the same old song and dance, isn’t it? It’s such a predictable response that people predictably make jokes about how predictable the response is.

Personally, I think the time for praying is over…


What kind of leader would you like to be?

Effectiveness Isn’t EverythingDarryl Dash
EffectivenessOne lifted an entire nation out of despair. He led with vision and inspired passion. His life impacted everyone alive today. He set in motion an industrial and scientific revolution that led to the invention of many things we enjoy today. By the time he died, everyone knew his name.

The second leader lived in the same era. He ran a school of a hundred students. He wrote a few books, was regarded by those who knew him as intelligent and faithful, but died with his life’s work incomplete.

Which leader would you like to be? Adolf Hitler or Dietrich Bonhoeffer?

“My point is simple,” Jethani writes. “Effectiveness isn’t everything.”


An important reminder for Christian Americans…

Majority Rule has Never Been the American Way, and It’s Not Jesus’ Way EitherTim Fall
Some might say that in a democracy the majority rules. Those in the minority can only hope to convince enough people to agree with their position so as to become the majority the next time.

That might be how it is in a strict democracy, but the United States is not a strict democracy. It’s a constitutional democracy. Despite what the majority desires, if the desire conflicts with the U.S. Constitution the majority will not get what it wants…

At no time does the Constitution allow the government to become “the mere instrument of the major number.” …

The way of Christ is the way of protection of the downtrodden, those unable to speak for themselves. This is the way of God for all his people, regardless of politics, regardless of being in the majority or minority.


“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Defining AuthenticitySeth Godin
Image resultFor me, it’s not “do what you feel like doing,” because that’s unlikely to be useful.

You might feel like hanging out on the beach, telling off your boss or generally making nothing much of value. Authenticity as an impulse is hardly something to aspire to.

It’s not, “say whatever is on your mind,” either.

Instead, I define it as, “consistent emotional labor.”

We call a brand or a person authentic when they’re consistent, when they act the same way whether or not someone is looking. Someone is authentic when their actions are in alignment with what they promise.

Showing up as a pro.

Keeping promises.

Even when you don’t feel like it.

Especially when you don’t.


Greek philosopher or ailment? Take the quiz…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/greek-philosopher-or-ailment.jpg
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 10-3-2017

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

Don’t Be Weirder Than You Have To BeStephen Kneale
The point here isn’t to avoid all forms of evangelism that anyone might find odd. You can always find someone who thinks your approach is weird, regardless of what you are doing, because they are essentially ashamed of the gospel. Some simply find the very sharing of the gospel itself weird. And, to a degree, they are right. But that is not a weirdness we can avoid.

The point is that we shouldn’t be weirder than we have to be. Whilst we cannot compromise on sharing the gospel itself, we must think very carefully about how we are coming across when we do it. Is our very approach to evangelism going to put people off even before we have said anything at all?


The Pleasure/Happiness GapSeth Godin
Image result
Pleasure is short-term, addictive and selfish. It’s taken, not given. It works on dopamine.

Happiness is long-term, additive and generous. It’s giving, not taking. It works on serotonin.

This is not merely simple semantics. It’s a fundamental difference in our brain wiring. Pleasure and happiness feel like they are substitutes for each other, different ways of getting the same thing. But they’re not…

It’s possible to find happiness in the unhurried child’s view of the world, but we’re more likely to find it with a mature, mindful series of choices, most of which have to do with seeking out connection and generosity and avoiding the short-term dopamine hits of marketed pleasure.


Don’t Use Your Theology As a WeaponMichael Kelley
Careful here, because I’m not saying that the gospel should not be proclaimed at funerals. And I’m not saying that there is never a time to point the grieving back to the words God has given us for comfort. I am saying, however, that truth like this must be wielded carefully and thoughtfully, lest we bring it down onto the heads of the grieving like a theological sledge hammer. Theology becomes a weapon when we, compelled by the insatiable need to respond, flippantly throw it around as if the circumstances around us are not wreaking real havoc in the real lives of real people.


May we all pray this prayer with Scotty Smith…

The Eternal Day of No More Meanness or Madness
Scotty Smith
As much as we love the vision of animals and creation living in perfect harmony, we long, a gazillion times more so, for the Day when people no longer harm one other in any way. No rancor or revenge, no more suicide bombings or human trafficking; no more in-home lootings or concert-going shootings. No more automatic guns; just automatic kindness.

No more profiling or despising, stereotyping or marginalizing. No more racism, sexism, or tribalism. No more demeaning or dismissing, meanness or madness, hard hearts or harsh words. No more loving poorly… in any way, shape, or form. Every thought we think, word we speak, and choice we make will be an expression of your beauty, Jesus.

Hasten the Day when God’s glory will cover the earth like water covers the sea; the Day when knowing the Lord won’t be something we do, but who we are; the Day when we will finally and fully love one another as you love us.

Until that Day, keep us groaning with hope and growing in grace, living on mission and loving as you love. So very Amen we pray, in your powerful and patient name.


Swiss Army Boot…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDkvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwOTMwXzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Monday Picks ~ 10-2-2017

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

What You Miss When You Don’t Gather With Your Church
Scott Slayton
…we may think about what “I” might miss. “I won’t hear the sermon today, but I can read a book, listen to Christian radio, or catch up on the podcast.” “I love to sing worship music, but I can do that in the car on the way to where I am going today. I don’t have to go to a building to sing praises to Jesus.” We make these excuses to ourselves and use them to justify how “I” can make up for what “I” am missing when “I” miss gathering with the church…

…When only thinking about what you aren’t getting, you view the church with a consumer mentality. The church becomes another place where you receive goods and services. However, when you begin to see the church as a people to whom you belong, your motivation for gathering changes. The main worship gathering, community groups, and having people over for dinner become a means for you to give as well as receive.


#TakeAKneeDeacon Godsey
Image result for take a kneeInitially Kaepernick chose to protest these injustices by sitting down during the anthem; after speaking to combat veterans who supported his aim, but were troubled by his method, however, he heeded their advice and chose to kneel, an action typically associated with respect and prayerful reflection…

Our purpose here is not to discern whether the #TakeAKnee protest is one you agree or disagree with, but to focus on what it means for us as followers of Jesus – those who have publicly taken a knee before him as Lord, declaring our exclusive allegiance to him – as we listen to and interact with the hearts, minds, perspectives and experiences of our siblings in Christ when they are driven to take desperate measures to address desperate circumstances


https://www.challies.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ChalliesOcct1-7-01.pngGod is good not because he gives us answers,
but because he gives us himself.

—Joni Eareckson Tada


What It Takes to Become a Person of Influence
Michael Hyatt

1. Be Present

2. Be Consistent

3. Be Empathetic

4. Be Counted

There’s more to influence than these four behaviors, but they are the foundation. If you’re focusing on volume and views before these, you’re in trouble. But if any leader who adopts and develops these four behaviors will see results.


Class Structure…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/class-structure.jpg
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Supernatural

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/51d6fb5ee4b0108eefde6503/t/52e002ece4b005e9de02ddba/1390412526539/%3Cuntitled%3E+33.jpgWorship gatherings are not always spectacular, but they are always supernatural. And if a church looks for or works for the spectacular, she may miss the supernatural. If a person enters a gathering to be wowed with something impressive, with a style that fits him just right, with an order of service and song selection designed just the right way,
that person may miss the supernatural presence of God.
Worship is supernatural whenever people come hungry to respond, react, and receive from God for who He is and what He has done.
A church worshipping as a Creature of the Word doesn’t show up to perform or be entertained; she comes desperate and needy, thirsty for grace, receiving from the Lord and the body of Christ, and then gratefully receiving what she needs as she offers her praise—
the only proper response to the God who saves us.

– Geiger, Eric; Chandler, Matt; Patterson, Josh . Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church

Weekend Picks ~ 9-29-2017

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

Review of a book that many should read who probably won’t…

How to Think in a Post-Truth WorldAndrew Wilson

Timely, because we’re currently swimming in a sea of punditry, post-truth, partisanship, and perpetual news, which seems to be making engaged thoughtfulness harder and harder. Encouraging, because in spite of all this, Jacobs is optimistic about the possibility of thinking

 

(Click here to read more about this book or to order from Amazon.)


Noteworthy…

Matt Chandler’s Village Church Ends Multisite Era
Kate Shellnutt
Matt Chandler’s Village Church Ends Multisite EraThe Village Church, the multisite Texas megachurch led by Matt Chandler, will transition from several campuses across the Dallas–Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex to individual autonomous churches within the next five years, leaving behind a multisite model for a deeper commitment to local ministry and church planting.


On Hugh Hefner’s legacy…

One Man’s Dream Destroyed MillionsJon Bloom
This is precisely what we humans are so prone to do: to view others, and the world, as a projection of our own fantasies. Even we Christians can lose sight of the world as a battlefield of horrific cosmic warfare, with people caught in its crossfire needing to be rescued, and see it as the place where we want our dreams — self-centered, self-serving, self-exalting, self-indulgent dreams — to come true. The more we indulge such fantasies, the more inoculated and numb we become to reality and the less urgent we feel about the real needs of other real souls…

…on the occasion of Hugh Hefner’s death, let us resolve all the more to abstain from fantasy passions of the flesh, which wage war against our souls — and not just ours but others’ souls as well (1 Peter 2:11). When we look at a woman, whether she’s Marilyn Monroe, the girl from Ipanema, a co-worker, classmate, fellow church member, another man’s wife, or our own wife, let us say to ourselves and, when needed, each other: “she is not your playmate!”


2 Lessons from a Bygone ChurchRob Tims
What we can do with our family ancestry we must do with our spiritual heritage. Our faith is not new. We come from a long line of spiritual generations, and we stand much to gain by considering their wins and losses … what they did well and where they failed … if we are to serve the Lord at least as faithfully as they did…

I see two things the church today must emulate from the first church … things that we may be ignoring today.

First, we see a church that embraced diversity, and diversity at the leadership level….

Second, we see a church that gives itself to worship and mission (not one or the other)…


Normal teenage behavior?
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Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 9-28-2017

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

Take some time to read what these soldiers and veterans think…

With Liberty and Justice for AllMarybeth Glenn
https://collisionofchurchandstate.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/flag.jpg?w=1280&h=416&crop=1Instead of listening to the opposition and constructing an argument of substance they, once again, used our heroes like pawns in a game, and when they post a picture of a grieving family they think they’ve earned the right to yell “CHECKMATE!” Disliking the protests is one thing, declaring that all those who disagree with you are unpatriotic lemmings who don’t respect our military is another – and it’s shameful…

The pressure to stay silent in the face of possibly having a loved one disagree with you or feel betrayed can be overwhelming, but despite what the angry and often hypocritical masses suggest, supporting the protesters and respecting the military are not opposing ideals…

Turns out plenty of our heroes and their enemies are on the same side… Plenty of veterans made their stance clear…


Boy, have I lived this!

Rejecting the Weekly VerdictJamie Brown
1It’s a dangerous situation for worship leaders. Every day of their week leads up and builds up to Sunday, the day of all days, the day when they stand before their congregations and, in the course of a few hours, either succeed at their job (in which case they feel like a success) or fail at their job (in which case they feel like a failure), or do OK at our job (in which case they feel just OK). It’s what I call the weekly verdict.


Always Looking, Never Wanting to FindMark Loughridge
http://rediscover.archspm.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2013/11/lake.jpg
What they want isn’t God, but a magic genie, an Aladdin’s lamp to rub in a crisis, who will genially disappear when he isn’t needed. Or a sense of connectedness to something greater which bigs up our own sense of self-importance without ever challenging us with our smallness and wrongness.

It’s cool to search, but the last thing many want is to find the living God, or be found by him.


Renaissance artist, or coffee? Take the quiz…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/renaissance-artist-or-coffee1.jpg
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.