Tag Archives: Discipleship

Weekend Picks ~ 6-2-2017

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

The Professionalization of the HomeCourtney Reissig
We live in a modern society, where the work of the home is increasingly outsourced and professionalized. This is a large part of why we have a hard time as seeing it as valuable when we are doing the work only for the home—and not some other enterprise…

The value our work brings to the world that God has made is not measured in perfection, professionalization, or our ability to recreate that pin we saved yesterday. It’s all an illusion attempting to veil the reality that we aren’t living in the perfection of Eden any longer, and sometimes you burn dinner. God has always been concerned with our heart, not perfection. God has always been concerned with faithfulness.

While outsourcing and professionalization of the work began as an attempt to free women up in their increasingly busy lives, it’s become a full-blown industry that makes the rest of us wonder if the ordinary work we are doing is really good enough. If it’s not five-star quality, can it really be of value?


Get in the MiddleDrake De Long-Farmer
PictureIf we wait for when we feel like worshipping, following Jesus or growing it may never happen. But if we choose GET IN THE MIDDLE of the storm of what God’s presence and what He is doing, it is in this place that the work of softening that dry and tired soil can happen and the work of His Spirit can transform our lives, our circumstances and our faith.


Wonder Woman and the Gender WarsRussell Moore
The Apostle Paul…knew about Wonder Woman.

Or, at least the apostle knew of the goddess on whom Wonder Woman was based—Diana or, in her Greek name, Artemis. The Pauline teaching on men and women in the letter to the Ephesians wasn’t written in a void but in the shadow of the temple of Diana, a temple that was one of the wonders of the ancient world. The gospel erupted the city into controversy (Acts 19:21-42) because the news of Christ threatened the silversmiths’ industry of Artemis idols (Wonder Woman action figures, I guess you could say)

Like our time, the ancient world had a complicated view of women’s empowerment. On the one hand, goddess temples filled the empire. On the other hand, so did temple prostitution and misogyny. Some important rights for women have been gained, of course, but we haven’t completely overcome all of that. Wonder Woman does indeed represent power, but she also is, in every iteration, designed to be sexually attractive to men. The 1970s-era television series noted in its theme song, “Fighting for your rights, in your satin tights, and the old red, white, and blue.” The rights and the tights were both part of the package—and, from the looks of things, still are.

The apostolic witness broke through all of that, even in the hometown of Diana. The biblical revelation teaches some very real, creational distinctions between men and women. That revelation also tells us that women are, from the beginning, created to be co-heirs with men, and joint-heirs with Christ, of the reign that is to come. Mars and Venus end their warring when both come into submission to Jesus.


How Mr. Rogers Became Chuck NorrisAaron Earls
Mr. Rogers hero Chuck NorrisObviously, no one was capable of the fictional feats credited to Chuck Norris, but we wished it could have been otherwise. Today, the unshakable kindness of Fred Rogers seems almost as impossible.

Everything is filtered through political labels, resulting in more and more name-calling and dehumanization language and behavior. We don’t want someone who is unstoppable in his strength; we need someone who is undeniable in his goodness.

In 2005, we wanted Chuck Norris to inspire courage and keep fighting. In 2017, we need Mr. Rogers to bring comfort and challenge misconceptions.

We still need heroes, but as Mr. Rogers said, not all heroes wear capes. Not all heroes can execute roundhouse kicks either. Some simply do all they can to reflect goodness and light into the world around them.


Casual Fridays…
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Bizarro

Thursday Picks ~ 6-1-2017

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

Christians, Repent (Yes, Repent) of Spreading Conspiracy Theories and Fake News—It’s Bearing False Witness
Ed Stetzer
Christians, Repent (Yes, Repent) of Spreading Conspiracy Theories and Fake News—It's Bearing False WitnessI’m speaking to Christians (and not saying they are all in one party). I’m talking to Christians (in this one situation) about how our worldview should make us different. We cannot use moral equivalence to justify our own behavior. Our definition of sin doesn’t come from comparison of others. It comes from God’s standard of holiness. And our justification doesn’t come with comparing ourselves with others, but rather from Christ’s finished work on the cross.

Simply put, this spreading of hate-driven speculation is bearing false witness…

When we bear false witness, we establish a reputation for blindly succumbing to unverifiable or groundless stories.

How can we effectively witness when we have negligently borne false witness? How can we then claim to be the body of truth itself?

…when you share such fake news and conspiracy theories, you are simply bearing false witness. That is a sin and it is time to repent.


I like this little devotional. Using coffee for his example just makes it better…

Giving Detailed Thanks for CoffeeRyan Higginbottom
coffee-mugWe glorify God when we thank him specifically. In particular, we draw attention to his generosity, power, and love when we delight in all the blessings that come from a particular gift. After all, God foreknew and planned every last blessing we experience!

My aim is to model this type of thanksgiving.

I love coffee. This isn’t exactly a controversial opinion on the internet, since roughly 114% of Twitter bios mention it. But I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about coffee recently. (I’m teaching a class on it in the fall.)

This is just a case study; coffee isn’t the point. My aim is thanking God everywhere, at all times, for all things. I’m just getting started; how about you?

God, thank you for coffee. What a good, pleasurable gift you’ve given…


What If Unbelievers Aren’t Miserable?Mike Leake
I’m convinced that one of the reasons we do not have a sense of urgency in sharing the gospel with our neighbors is because we don’t really believe they need it…at least not now. They seem to be getting along just fine without Christ—so why should we turn over the apple cart? And so we go about waiting for the wheels to fall off so we can share Christ…

But what if the gospel isn’t to make happy people happier? Or even to make miserable people moderately happy? What if the gospel isn’t merely a means to meet our unmet needs? What if the good news of the gospel is so much more? What if it’s about being transferred from a kingdom of darkness into a kingdom of light? What if it isn’t about smiles and frowns but instead about life and death? Then I’ve got a gospel to share regardless of your emotional state.

And it’s message is unchanging.


Who knew?

Most of the World’s Bread Clips Are Made by a Single CompanyEric Grundhauser
Everybody knows the bread clip.Bread clips! Consider them for a moment, if you will. They’re those flat pieces of semi-hard plastic formed into a sort of barbed U-shape—you know the ones. They can be found keeping bread bags all over the world closed and safe from spoilage, smartly designed to be used and reused. They’re all around us, constantly providing an amazing service, and yet still, they’re taken for granted. And it turns out they’re almost exclusively all produced by a single, family-owned company.


Future defense attorney…
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Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 5-30-2017

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

4 Reasons Superstars Hurt Local Church Ministry
Eric Geiger
You have heard the statement “A chain is only as strong as the weakest link.”

In terms of building a sports team, the cliché challenges leaders to be concerned with the weakest player on the team, to be concerned with raising their skill. Some coaches and leaders live like this is true and focus their energy on developing the weakest links. Others place their energy on recruiting and keeping the strongest links on their teams…

Which approach is correct for staffing in ministry? Convictionally, it must be to develop all the people and not to focus on superstars. Practically, it must be to develop all the people and not focus on superstars. Here are four reasons superstars hurt ministry in a local church…


Yes, I’m sorry, this is another post about millennials. But it is a good one…

On “Listening” to Millennials (and What Does that Even Mean)Derek Rishmawy
listeningHonestly, I feel bad for churches and older leaders trying to get a handle on reaching Millennials. One of the biggest things the recent literature tells churches to do is “listen” to Millennials. But that can be fairly confusing…

Even more importantly, what does “listening” even mean?


Wise and InnocentMichael D. O’Neil
But what of those of us who are not so comfortable with aspects of the progressive social agenda, who perhaps even find them antithetical to Christian convictions? What are Christians to do when it is wrong to withdraw from public engagement, but threatening to so engage? What might appropriate response look like?

In this context, Jesus’ words from Matthew 10:16 provide guidance: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (NASB).

Because Jesus has sent us out, our place is indeed, “in the world,” and even among the “wolves.” Christians must not withdraw from public space and public dialogue, but their presence is to be wise and innocent. Sometimes Christian engagement in the public sphere is less than wise; at other times it is far from innocent. Wise engagement is required lest we be ravaged; innocence is necessary lest we give ground for accusation or inflame existing tensions.


Live Above the Culture of RevengeMichael Kelley
It begins with recognizing that I, myself, am not able to dispense true justice and therefore any attempt at revenge is always flawed. I don’t know who really deserves what because I don’t know the depths of my own heart and sin much less anyone else’s…

… our job is to recognize first and foremost that we, too, ought to have justice dispensed against us. And when we grasp the immensity of how grievous our own offenses are perhaps it takes some of the fire out of our own desire for revenge.


Watch Repair…
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Bizarro

Weekend Picks ~ 5-26-2017

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

Why Homesickness Is HealthJen Pollock Michel
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/homesick-2.jpgNostalgia may have disappeared from our medical dictionaries, but we haven’t cured the ache for home. To be human is to know the grief of some paradise lost. Each of us—however happily settled—suffers a foreboding sense of rupture, as if we’ve been cut off from some hidden source of happiness…

Home represents humanity’s most visceral ache—and our oldest desire…

The biblical narrative begins and ends at home. From the garden of Eden to the New Jerusalem, we’re hardwired for place and for permanence, for rest and refuge, for presence and protection. We long for home because welcome was our first gift of grace, and it will be our last.


In the 80s I was in youth ministry and almost 30 years old, but pretty much addicted to Ms. Pac-Man…

Children of the ‘80s Never Fear: Video Games Did Not Ruin Your LifeMichael Z. Newman
https://www.arcade-museum.com/images/109/1092874315.jpgThere is a particularly American tradition of becoming enthralled with new technologies of communication, identifying their promise of future prosperity and renewed community. It is matched by a related American tradition of freaking out about the same objects, which are also figured as threats to life as we know it…

Somehow, a generation of teenagers from the 1980s managed to grow up despite the dangers, real or imagined, from video games. The new technology could not have been as powerful as its detractors or its champions imagined. It’s easy to be captivated by novelty, but it can force us to miss the cyclical nature of youth media obsessions. Every generation fastens onto something that its parents find strange, whether Elvis or Atari. In every moment in media history, intergenerational tension accompanies the emergence of new forms of culture and communication.


This is a wonderful guide for a powerful personal worship time…

70 Prompts for Praising GodLianna Davis
70 prompts for praising God. a theology blog for women.

“My mouth is filled with Your praise,
and with Your glory all the day.”

Ps. 71:8

Praise Him with me through this list of 70 prompts…


This reflection on a father, being a father, and our heavenly Father really touched me…

Broken ShadowsBrad Larson
https://cbmw.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/AdobeStock_53546475-554x360.jpegFathers are shadows. As the light of God shines upon them, their children who come after them should be able to rest in the shadows of God’s grace. A benevolent, loving God should not be something hard to believe in. But the problem is that we fathers are broken shadows. We are fallible and sinful and underqualified to shepherd other eternal human beings.

That’s where grace comes in.


Walt Mossberg has been writing a weekly column on tech stuff since 1991. This is his final piece and he predicts a fascinating future…

The Disappearing ComputerWalt Mossberg
I expect that one end result of all this work will be that the technology, the computer inside all these things, will fade into the background. In some cases, it may entirely disappear, waiting to be activated by a voice command, a person entering the room, a change in blood chemistry, a shift in temperature, a motion. Maybe even just a thought.

Your whole home, office and car will be packed with these waiting computers and sensors. But they won’t be in your way, or perhaps even distinguishable as tech devices.

This is ambient computing, the transformation of the environment all around us with intelligence and capabilities that don’t seem to be there at all.


Smarter phones…
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Wrong Hands

Thursday Picks ~ 5-25-2015

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

Judgment is a Lazy Substitute for IntimacyMichael Kelley
Judgment is lazy. …when judgment rears up; that’s when I’m tempted to make a snap evaluation of a person based on a given snapshot I see before me.

What I don’t know is the truth of the situation… I don’t know, and I’m content not to know. That’s because judgment is, frankly, easy.

It takes no time. It takes no real effort. And it certainly takes no sacrifice. It is based purely on assumption. This is why you could say that judgment, among other things, is a lazy substitute for intimacy. And this is not the way of Jesus.


Most of these are way too common…

5 Ways Ministry Leaders Start the Journey to Failure
Ron Edmondson
One of the hardest things I do in ministry is interact with those who are no longer in ministry, but wish they were. They’ve been derailed. They messed up and either they got caught or the guilt got the best of them and they confessed.

In recent years, I’ve had numerous ministry friends who lost their ministry due to moral failure, poor leadership, or simply burnout…

Watching this process over the years there appear to be some common reasons failure occurs. It doesn’t start at the failure. It starts months – and, perhaps years – prior. My hope is if we expose some of them we can catch a few people before it is too late.

So, let me ask, do any of these apply to you? …


Is Performance A Dirty Word? (And What it Means for Worship Musicians)David Santistevan
IS PERFORMANCE A DIRTY WORD-In more conversations than I can count, I’ve heard performance thrown around as a dirty word.

“This is not a performance. This is worship.”

I get where these comments come from. Matter of fact, I’ve said them myself. What I want to guard against is demonizing performance. If you play music in your local church, there’s no need to avoid the word performance or think of it as something less than true worship.

Performance and worship don’t need to be mutually exclusive…


Not quite as intimidating as the original…

(But I gotta admit, these guys are pretty good.)


Just like at the movies…
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Bizarro

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
http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/images/og.jpg
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.


R2D22…
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


Re-accommodation…
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Dilbert – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 5-16-2017

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

Is This What Revolution Looks Like? If So, the Church is Blowing It.Tim Suttle
blog pics.001I’m not saying church should take over the government. I’m just saying our society is ready for a revolution, and we are sitting on the one story that can actually bring true peace. Instead of embodying and sharing that peace, most Christians cling to party loyalty over and above Jesus.

Let’s face it, Christians. This is our big chance and we are blowing it.

The church is perfectly designed to enter into this moment with the revolutionary love of Jesus Christ that seeks the good of neighbor and enemy alike. The gospel calls any Lordship of party or nation into question before the cross. The revolutionary love of Jesus is how enemies become friends, how neighbors get back to neighboring, how old wounds can be healed, and how old sins are forgiven.


Learning for LifePhil Jenkins
https://www.evangelicalmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/sapling-growing-800x400.jpgIt is very rare to encounter someone who would label themselves as ‘un-teachable’. So maybe a little honest self-examination is in order. How teachable are you? When did you last decide to read a book that challenged your assured perspective on an issue? When did you last accept advice from someone younger than you? Do you tend only to respect people who agree with you? Do you ask questions or do you share your opinions? Do you get defensive when other Christians speak into areas of your life like your marriage, your parenting, your priorities, or your walk with God? And if your answer to the last question is, ‘It depends who does it,’ then maybe you are not as teachable as you thought you were!


I don’t agree with the Calvinist theology in his third point but the parenting principles are good…

3 Mistakes Parents MakeJordan Standridge
Recently my family has been blessed with the addition of a wonderful baby girl. After three boys, this has been a most welcome surprise. Being the father of four children is daunting, but it is a privilege that I’d like to make the most of.

It is important to remember that God has entrusted four of His creations in my care and I must make sure that I am pleasing him in my parenting. As I’ve been examining my own parenting over the last few months I’ve noticed some troubling temptations that I am sure all parents face on a daily basis. There are three mistakes that we are tempted to make in our parenting…


I’ve thought this way. Maybe you have, too…

Just Around the Corner SpiritualityMike Emlet
You might call this phenomenon “just-around-the-corner spirituality.” That is, the idea that once you can get beyond present circumstances, your relationship with God will be able to grow deeper. If I can just get around this next corner, then I will be able seek after God in an undistracted and more wholehearted way. The problem is, I rarely (if ever!) round the next corner to this new and blessed world of undistracted communion with Christ! It looks like I’m stuck with today as the context of growth in my relationship with God…

So, are you frustrated today? Overwhelmed? Discouraged? Wrestling with discontent? Don’t wait for things to get better. Run to Jesus today—right now.


Forethought…
Non Sequitur – Click image for a larger view.

Monday Picks ~ 5-15-2017

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

The Impact of a Leader’s ApologyDan Reiland
Leadership elevates the importance of an apology…

It’s not my desire to overthink the idea of saying ‘I’m sorry’. We don’t need a strategy for this! But I’m motivated to write about it because the truth is that it’s not easy, and not done enough. When a sincere apology is offered, the redemptive impact is potentially life changing.

When we make a mistake, and certain virtues are practiced, an apology comes much easier.

So here are 3 pathways to help us all do the right thing at the right time…


What Rob Bell Gets Right and Wrong About the Bible
Collin Huber
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/rob-bell.jpgBell urges readers to let the Bible be what it claims to be, but his interpretation of the Bible falls short of his own standards…

In What Is the Bible?, Bell comes to the Bible having already decided who God is and how he interacts with the world. It’s neither the text nor tradition that gives the Bible authority, but the interpretations of its readers (272). Rather than allowing Scripture to govern his views, Bell’s prior conclusions reign supreme. As a result, his book substitutes revelation and tradition with a “natural” reading of the Bible meant to translate to a contemporary setting. After all, if Scripture is merely an evolving human story contributing to a more enlightened life, then it requires constant reinterpretation, which Bell is more than willing to encourage.


How Pixar Lost Its WayChristopher Orr
…the erosion of Pixar’s uncompromising creative independence can’t be reduced to a case of inadequate oversight. The Disney merger seems to have brought with it new imperatives. Pixar has always been very good at making money, but historically it did so largely on its own terms… But Lasseter, among his other obligations, now oversees Disneytoon Studios as well. In that capacity he served as the executive producer of 2013’s Planes and its 2014 sequel, Planes: Fire & Rescue. The two movies are—like virtually all Disneytoon films—shameless, derivative cash grabs. What makes them unique is that they are also explicit spin-offs of Pixar’s Cars franchise, a development that would have been almost unimaginable before the merger.


The Internet is Not a LibraryKevin DeYoung
libraryThe internet is only like a library if anyone can come to your library and put their term papers wherever they want, scatter their files on the floor, and line the walls with pornography…

At best, the internet is like a wild forest. No one controls it. No one manicures it. It just grows and grows. And in the forest you’ll find plenty of beauty. But be careful, eat the wrong mushrooms and you could die.

At worst, the internet is like a wide open garbage dump. Every day people dump more and more onto the pile. Sure you may be able to find something valuable, but you’ll have to wade through a lot of trash first.

So, by all means, enjoy a meal from time to time at the internet buffet. Explore the overgrown trees and breathtaking vistas. Bend over and pick up that love poem surrounded by rotten banana peals. The Christian blogosphere has plenty that is good and true and beautiful, and plenty that is nasty, brutish, and rarely short. Expect to find truth. Expect to find error. Just don’t expect it to be a library.


How summer blockbusters are created…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/blockbuster-movie-plot-generator1.jpg
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Weekend Picks ~ 5-12-2017

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

Three great soundbites that make terrible theology
Matt Fuller
Punchy sound bites are great—they’re memorable and help us get some things clear in our head. Jesus often used punchy sentences without any nuance: “If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out.” Yet most of us recognize that if we turned that sentence of great preaching into an absolute statement, then there would be a lot of Christians stumbling around without any eyes.

There are other very helpful sound bites that often get used in church. They are good preaching and make a helpful impression upon us. But, again, we don’t want to turn them into absolute statements or our faith will similarly stumble. Let me mention three common ones related to sin…


Ever wonder what your worship team sees?

My View from the Worship TeamRyan Higginbottom
worshipI’m on the worship team at church, so when it’s time to sing, I’m looking out at the congregation. I see it all—the joy, the struggles, and the boredom. I’m reminded how Jesus welcomes all of us, that his body is made up of all sorts of different people…


Set aside a little time for this one. It is worth every second…

A Necessary Pairing: The Theology of Marriage and of Compassion Wesley Hill
wes-hill-horizontal.jpgI tell you friends, when I read that – when I encountered that way of thinking about things … that my calling was to see how God might want to take … this thing in my life that feels so central and so confusing, that God might want to take that and use it as the thing that would lead me to give myself away in love to my community – that was a paradigm shift for me. It caused me to begin to ask the question: What could a future look like as an intentionally celibate Christian, who wasn’t just living in an apartment off by himself eating frozen pizzas on Friday night, but who was devoting himself to a community, devoting himself to friendship, forming thick bonds of kinship with fellow Christians?

That was a revolution in my thinking – that my calling might not be to spend the next 20 years of my life in therapy trying to find the childhood moment where things went wrong. But my calling was instead to find that certain social role that only I can play…

… this is the challenge for you, to cast a vision – and it doesn’t have to be one vision; I think there are 100 different models that this could take for your students – but to cast a vision [for your students]: “This is what a hopeful future looks like for you. If you’re same-sex attracted, and you’ve tried everything, and you haven’t experienced one iota of change in your same-sex attraction, and you’re wanting to give your life to God in celibacy, that does not have to equal loneliness. That does not have to equal isolation. … There’s a life for you. There’s a future for you that doesn’t simply look like alienation from your fellow believers in the church who seem to be so fixated on the nuclear family.”


Powerful…

How does the church move the world?Mindy Belz
How does the church move the world?Dawlat Abouna is a deacon in St. George’s Church [in Baghdad, Iraq]. He had a library in his home where he kept documents tracing his Christian ancestry in Iraq to A.D. 1117. … I asked: How is your family? With so much turmoil, are worship services continuing?

Dawlat answered: “Oh yes! We have started two new groups here at the church—one to pray for our persecuted brothers in the north, and one to pray for our enemies.”

At St. George’s over the years, Islamic militants aimed crippling bomb attacks. The church built blast walls, planted hedges over them, and continues to hold services and to serve the community. Hundreds of mostly Muslim women line up to collect food parcels every month as part of one program.

In the United States we live in a time of political upheaval, social fracturing, and racial strife. Calling out one’s enemies has become high art. Checking into social media requires dodging a barrage of insults and ire. How many of us pause to pray before we post? How many of us pray for those who make our lives hard, whether they live nearby or far away? …

Over and over in the book of Acts we see the early church praying boldly, suffering mightily, thanking its persecutors for scattering its people, and doing it all over again. It may look as if the church is being pushed around, but in reality it’s how the church moves the world.


I’ve often wondered about this guy…

Why Doesn’t Anyone Preach on the Proverbs 31 Husband for Mother’s Day?Tim Fall
http://homewaresinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/relaxing-on-recliner-300x199.jpg

…here’s what yesterday was like for me.

9:00 – Got out of bed. I woke up earlier but my wife told me to sleep in because she had everything covered. I have so much confidence in her I just had to roll over and go back to sleep…


Tick, tock…
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