Tag Archives: Fun

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…
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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.

Tuesday Picks ~ 10-31-2017

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

Three Reasons You Should Go Trick or TreatingEd Stetzer
Three Reasons You Should Go Trick or TreatingI am going to argue that Christians not only can but should put on their costumes, pass out candy, and greet guests at the door each time Halloween rolls around.

Here are three reasons you should plan on trick-or-treating…


Think you know what it takes to translate the Bible? Turns out we’re all Bible translators…

More Than Bible TranslationGreg Pruett
More Than Bible Translation That’s when I understood that the first translation of the Word people read is our lifestyle. We physically represent the good news of the justice of Jesus walking around among the people.  

That’s how I learned the truth of the maxim we often repeat: “It’s never outside the scope of Bible translation to obey the Bible.” …

…Bible translation is not about producing books. Our rallying cry is not, “A Bible on every shelf.” For me and for my teammates, it’s all about life transformation, the actual impact of the Word of God on the lives of the people. Our output is not Bibles, but churches using the Bibles for transformation.


A Message of Appreciation to Joni Eareckson Tada, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of Her Life-Altering Accident
Randy Alcorn
In 1967, 50 years ago, a diving accident left Joni Eareckson Tada a quadriplegic at age seventeen…

Who at that time would have said, “God is clearly working out His gracious purpose in this young woman’s life”?

…the fact that Joni would be celebrating something so difficult, which a sovereign and loving God has used so greatly, shows the kind of character and Christ-honoring perspective she has.


We’ve got a long trip ahead…
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Bizarro – 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…

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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…
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Bizarro

Weekend Picks ~ 10-27-2017

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

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

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

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

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


I am very curious about the future of this…

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


@RealGeorgeWashington…
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Bizarro

Thursday Picks ~ 10-26-2017

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


Not All There…
Off the Mark

Tuesday Picks ~ 10-24-2017

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

Five Parenting Myths I Used to BelieveScott Slayton
Like every difficult thing in the world, the rewards of parenting help me weather the challenges. The hugs, the laughs, the smiles, and the blessing of seeing my kids grow dwarf the sometimes-heartbreaking realities that accompany raising children. To experience the good times, I first had to abandon some ridiculous preconceived notions and myths I believed about parenting.

There are five parenting myths I believed that were harmful and wrongheaded…


If you’re first reaction is to skip this, maybe you shouldn’t…

The Right and Wrong Way To Close Your MindTrevin Wax
Lightstock…look for people who are like-hearted, not necessarily like-minded. The goal is pursuing truth, not uniformity of thought. Thinking requires engagement within a healthy community that shares your convictions as well as interaction with like-hearted people who don’t…


I found a few of these surprising…

The 15 Most Influential Websites of All Time
Alex Fitzpatrick, Lisa Eadicicco & Matt Peckham
The web, or “world wide web” as we used to say, turns 27 years old on December 20. On that date, nearly three decades ago, British engineer and scientist Tim Berners-Lee launched the world’s first website, running on a NeXT computer at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland.

The website wasn’t much at the time, just a few sentences organized into topic areas that laid out the arguments for the concept. But it established vital first principles still essential to the web as it exists today…

It’s been a wild ride since…

Here’s TIME’s collection of the 15 websites that most influenced the medium, and why…


5 Things Leaders Need to Give UpEd Stetzer
5 Things Leaders Need to Give UpThere’s a great saying that good leaders don’t see people as impediments—they seek to make people partners. But to implement this approach to leadership in daily life, we need to realize that partnering with people means sacrificing for them. Drawing from Brad Waggoner, author and executive vice president at LifeWay, here are five things leaders need to be ready to give up for the people they’re leading…


Books on Tape…
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Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.