Tag Archives: Music

Thursday Picks ~ 1-19-2016

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

Selling Birthrights Darryl Dash
170119Esau’s story isn’t a one-off. It’s repeated every day…

It only takes a few minutes to trade something of eternal value for what will only provide a moment’s pleasure. It’s like the man in Washington State who sold a rare coin collection, worth over $100,000, at face value. He paid for a pizza with a Liberty quarter that’s worth up to $18,500.

Stupid, but no more so than the man who trades in decades of marriage for a dalliance, or a fruitful ministry for a moment’s pleasure.

I read The Shack a few years ago and I have to admit, I was quite moved. As with most popular works like this, critics abound. Theology scholars can pick it apart (and they should, it’s their job and we should listen to them), but I believe there is value here anyway. On one level, it’s a cheesy work of Christian fiction. But on another level, it’s a metaphor that paints a picture of the Godhead, not in multisyllabic theological terms, but in a tangible human way. For me, the value was in helping to bring God near. I’m curious to see if the movie does the same.

Why ‘The Shack’ Is So ControversialRelevant Editors
You’ve probably seen the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of William Paul Young’s wildly popular novel The Shack recently going around the internet. As is probably expected, the movie, which hits theaters in March, is reigniting the controversy surrounding the book.

If you’ve been around Christian circles long, you know this controversy isn’t new. But if you may not know—especially if the controversy is news to you—what exactly all the fuss is about.

Fear of the Working ClassGene Veith
616px-AlfredPalmerRamagosa…I see this problem as a pathological form of classism–bigotry against people of a lower social class than yourself.  Classism used to be a taboo like racism, with which it has lots of similarities, but no more.

The working class used to be the base of the American left and the Democratic party.  Ironically, this phobia or classism of today’s liberals against the working class was arguably what elected Donald Trump, as Democrats wrote off industrial states like Wisconsin in order to pursue millennials, techies, and other cool people.

The left has come a long way from “workers of the world unite!” to the fear of plumbers.  At least there is little danger today of a Communist revolution.  Today’s left has become far too bourgeois.

A longish profile of a fascinating guy…

How Kirk Franklin Is Pushing the Boundaries of Gospel
Vinson Cunningham
Franklin (seated) blends secular sounds with an uplifting devotional message.
One of the problems, he said, is gospel’s dual role as artistic endeavor and as purveyor of religious experience. “They don’t come to gospel for the production or for the beats,” he said of his audience. “They come because they wanna be ministered to. So sometimes it’s, like, Well, if that’s all I’m good for, what do I do with all these ideas, and these creative dreams, and growth I want to do as an artist? I wanna give you Jesus, but I wanna give you Jesus with an 808. I wanna give you Jesus with some strings.”

Map of the modern brain…
Wrong Hands

Designations of Seasonal Ariose Vocalizations

Designations of Seasonal Ariose Vocalizations
Couched in Verbiage Chosen with a View to Obfuscate,
Consequently Providing Personal Amusement
in the Process of Providing Said Vocalizations
With the More Common Designations

In other words, name the Christmas songs.
For the solutions, click “Listen Here” after each title.
This will take you to one of my favorite versions of the song.
Have fun!

1. Quiescent Nocturnal Period of Time (Listen Here)

2. The Primary Birthday (Listen Here)

3. Elation Directed Toward the Orb (Listen Here)

4. The Lilliputian Lad Who Was a Rhythmic Instrumentalist
(Listen Here)

5. Ourselves, the Sovereign Triumvirate (Listen Here)

6. Unremarkable Municipality in the West Bank (Listen Here)

7. The Thing Manifested Itself At a Point In Time Midway Between Dusk and Dawn When The Atmosphere Was Free of Obstruction (Listen Here)

8. Festoon the Concourses (Listen Here)

9. My Solitary Yuletide Yearning is a Matched Set of Anterior Dentition (Listen Here)

10. A Fortnight, Less 48 Hours, of Noel (Listen Here)

11. The Vibrations of the Idiophones Were Detected By My Auditory Nerves On the Twenty-Fifth of December
(Listen Here)

12. I Have Hopeful Expectations of a Holiday Devoid of Color
(Listen Here)

13. Consecrated Period of Darkness (Listen Here)

14. Can You Identify This Neonate? (Listen Here)

15. Let Those Who Are Filled With Fidelity Amass (Listen Here)

16. Are Your Aural Perceptions Equivalent to My Own?
(Listen Here)

17. Pay Attention, The Spiritual Couriers Are Performing
(Listen Here)

18. The Legendary, Portly, Perennial Gift Giver Is En Route
(Listen Here)

19. Take an Expedition Beyond the Timberline to Broadcast the News (Listen Here)

20. Group Salutations for a Jocund Observance of the Deific Incarnation (Listen Here)

The Psychiatrist’s Three Room Apartment  (Listen Here)

Merry Christmas!

Monday Picks ~ 11-21-2016

Picks Monday

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

I have to constantly remind myself of this…

Encourage One AnotherDane Ortlund
…the great privilege we have when we gather with other believers—other obnoxious believers, other theologically imprecise believers, other spiritually sleepy believers, other frustrating believers, other sinning believers—is of passing on horizontally a taste of what we’ve been given vertically…

The question, then, is why do you speak the words you do? Why do you speak the way you do? What is the aroma of your words? Are you spraying bullets, forgetting God has set down the gun rightly aimed at you? Do you speak to others the way you wish to be spoken to? What kind of speech has given you life as you consider meaningful relationships in your past? Do you ever—ever—look another human being in the face and say to them the following words: “May I tell you something I admire about you?”

I highly recommend this introduction to a sermon by my friend, Steve Cuss…

The Elephant (And Donkey) In the Room and the Kingdom ManifestoSteve Cuss
In God’s kingdom, powerful people always move toward powerless people. Jesus was the very model of finding marginalized people, humans that society had deemed unclean or unwelcome and welcomed them into community…None of us who encounter Christ stay the same.  Behold the old has gone and the new has come. In Christ, you are a new creation. The church exists as an outpost of God’s Kingdom welcoming all humans and honoring their inherent dignity and value.

Russell Moore said, “We’re not getting anywhere as long as we gather in church with people we’d gather with if Jesus were still dead.”

I understand that recent days have caused a great deal of harm and damage, but we as a church are part of a global Kingdom. Many are concerned that the values of the Kingdom are being lost in our country today and quite honestly, you have every reason to be concerned. You are not wrong in your analysis. Nations rise and nations fall and no one knows if we are rising or falling right now. … Historically in nations that are falling, the privileged are the most surprised. But the church does not need external cultural judo christian scaffolding to prop it up and keep it animated from the outside. What I’m saying is, the church does not need a culture to share its values in order to be the church.

I wish our president-elect would learn how to respond from his vice president-elect…

Pence on Getting Booed at ‘Hamilton’:
That’s What Freedom Sounds Like
While being interviewed on Fox News Sunday, Pence said, “My daughter and I and her cousins really enjoyed the show. ‘Hamilton’ is just an incredible production, incredibly talented people. It was a real joy to be there. When we arrived we heard a few boos, and we heard some cheers. I nudged my kids and reminded them that is what freedom sounds like.”

The powerful seduction of ‘powerless’Seth Godin
Image result for seth godin
Where do conspiracy theories come from?

…People make up inane theories about various cabals that are secretly controlling this or that.

In fact, the more information and leverage we each have, the more inclined the culture seems to embrace stories of puppetry, conspiracy and control.

Because it lets us off the hook…

She’s been quoted a million times, but people don’t really listen to the essence of Marianne Williamson’s quote: “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

This is enervating. It would be so much more comforting if it were up to someone else…

On the other hand, knowing that we can connect, publish, inspire, lead, build, describe, invent, encourage and (especially) teach, means that there’s no one better than us and no time like right now.

And if it helps, go find, organize and connect with others who feel as committed as you do.

Of course it’s frightening. But it’s important and it’s our turn.

Important stuff for church leaders…

“I Want My Old Church Back!”—Five Responses
Thom Rainer
i-want-my-old-church-back-five-responsesBut change is difficult. These members want their old church back. They want to do things the way they’ve always done them.

That church of the past, however, will not return. The pace of change is faster than ever, and it will only increase.

How do we respond to these hurting, and sometimes, angry people? Here are five responses…

Our Sunday worship at WOCC began with this song yesterday. I love it! In fact, it’s still running through my mind…

You have bought me back with the riches of,
Your amazing grace and relentless love.
I’m made alive forever with you, life forever
By your grace I’m saved,
By your grace I’m saved.

Little House on the Prairie…
Bizarro – Click image for a larger view.


Don’t you want to thank someone?

Don’t You Want to Thank Someone?
©2012 Andrew Peterson

Can’t you feel it in your bones,
Something isn’t right here,
Something that you’ve always known,
But you don’t know why.

‘Cause every time the sun goes down
We face another night here.
Waiting for the world to spin around
Just to survive.

But when you see the morning sun,
Burning through a silver mist,
Don’t you want to thank someone?
Don’t you want to thank someone for this?

Don’t you ever wonder why,
In spite of all that’s wrong here,
There’s still so much that goes so right,
And beauty abounds?

‘Cause sometimes when you walk outside,
The air is full of song here.
The thunder rolls and the baby sighs,
And the rain comes down.

And when you see the spring has come,
And it warms you like a mother’s kiss,
Don’t you want to thank someone?
Don’t you want to thank someone for this?

I used to be a little boy,
As golden as a sunrise,
Breaking over Illinois,
When the corn was tall.

Yeah, but every little boy grows up,
And he’s haunted by the heart that died,
Longing for the world that was,
Before the Fall.

Oh, but then forgiveness comes,
A grace that I cannot resist,
And I just want to thank someone,
I just want to thank someone for this!

Now I can see the world is charged,
It’s glimmering with promises,
Written in a script of stars,
Dripping from prophets’ lips.

But still, my thirst is never slaked,
I am hounded by a restlessness,
Eaten by this endless ache,
But still I will give thanks for this.

‘Cause I can see it in the seas of wheat,
I can feel it when the horses run,
It’s howling in the snowy peaks,
It’s blazing in the midnight sun,

Just behind a veil of wind,
A million angels waiting in the wings,
A swirling storm of cherubim,
Making ready for the Reckoning.

Oh, how long, how long?
Oh, sing on, sing on!

And when the world is new again,
And the children of the King,
Are ancient in their youth again,
Maybe it’s a better thing,

To be more than merely innocent,
But to be broken then redeemed by love.
Maybe this old world is bent,
But it’s waking up!
And I’m waking up!

‘Cause I can hear the voice of one,
He’s crying in the wilderness,
“Make ready for the Kingdom Come!”
Don’t you want to thank someone for this?

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!


Monday Picks ~ 11-7-2016

Picks Monday

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

How and why do you read the Bible? This is a part of my thinking behind God Questions

What If Our Bibles Rose Up and Judged Us?Trevin Wax
biblesIf you come to the Bible and all you like are the verses that inspire you but not the chapters that confront and strike terror in you, then you’ve got a coffee mug Christianity. You’ve got a God who will just affirm you as you are, not change you into what He wants you to be.

A timely historical perspective…

Past elections: ‘dire’ Christian predictions not new
David Roach
“Obviously, Christians will bring serious moral concerns into the voting booth with them, wanting to choose candidates with integrity, and candidates who support the right to life, religious liberty and other important issues,” Kidd said. “But we should also remember that no candidate or political party will do the church’s work for it, and that the Lord remains sovereign regardless of who wins.”

How they talk you out of votingSeth Godin
Image result for seth godinThe easiest way to win an election is to get the people who might vote for your opponent to not vote.

The media, with our complicity, has created a game where we end up disillusioned and disgusted. But it’s only the disillusioned and the disgusted voters who are capable of raising the bar in the long run.

Vote as if you’re responsible, because you are, especially if you don’t vote.

Vote as if it’s not anonymous, knowing that you’ll have to explain it to your grandchildren.

Work for justice. Progress is possible. It matters.

Do you feel entitled? Ask yourself these questions…

Killing the Culture of EntitlementDanny Franks
Entitlement will kill a church. It’ll kill an individual. It’ll kill a body of believers when we think we’ve arrived and the church exists to serve us. If it’s our world, we don’t serve others. Others exist to serve us.

Here are a few questions that will help us diagnose entitlement in our lives…

What makes Christian art Christian?

Amy Grant’s new Christmas album reignites the old ‘What’s Christian enough?’ questionJennifer Cooke
http://www.soundslikenashville.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Amy-Grant.jpgAnd here we are again, Christmas 2016. Grant has released her first (all new) Christmas record in nearly 20 years, and the debate is on again. “Is it Christian enough for Christian retail to support?” LifeWay Christian Resources, the large Southern Baptist retailer, decided it was not. It’s their choice, and it’s okay.

But I can’t help but think of the heart behind a lot of the songs that would be considered “not Christian” on this album, specifically one called “Melancholy Christmas.” It is a song about isolation and loneliness during the holidays and the need for connection.

If you see something…
Bizarro – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 11-3-2016

Picks Thursday

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

A friendly reminder…

I Am an Alien Resident of the United States of America
Bruce Ashford
I Am an Alien Resident of the United States of AmericaWhen I meet the Lord one day, I will meet him first and foremost as a Christian. But I will also meet him as an American. Being an American is not the most important aspect of my identity, but it is an inescapable aspect and one for which I will give account. For that reason, I owe it to my nation to live an upright life in an off-kilter nation, that I may seek the peace of the city where God has caused me to be born, that I may pray to the Lord for it, for in its peace we will have peace.

Take a few minutes to study these four graphs, then ask yourself: “Why do I think the world is becoming a more dangerous place to live?” Is it possible we only listen to sources that have an interest in generating fear?

What if the curves were going the other way?Seth Godin
Infant mortality

Four ways to look at the state of our world.

What sort of story are we telling each other?


God doesn’t need our permission…

Lux in Tenebris: How God Is Moving on Secular Campuses
Owen Strachan
salt-company-1It can feel to the church today like the darkness is closing in. If you close your eyes, all can seem lost. But if you open your eyes, you see points of light. You see gospel advancement. You see strategic initiative. You see local churches leading ministries to students while also calling them to meaningful membership in the local church. This is the model I believe we need moving ahead. Parachurch ministries can do great good, but I believe they will do most good when partnering closely with local churches. This is especially true as campus access grows dicey in places.

Friends, God is moving on secular campuses. In some cases, the odds seem impossible. But God loves facing seemingly impossible odds. He loves to use small things, foolish things, to shame the world. We do not know where we are headed. But we know this: we are not alone. God has gone ahead of us.

Now is not a time for retreat; now is a time to go big, trust God, and reach out to sinners like us in truth and in love.

I don’t really like the “click-bait” title, but Ed, who knows something about interpreting survey data, asks some legitimate questions about a recent survey…

Evangelicals: This Is What It Looks Like When You Sell Your Soul For A Bowl Of TrumpEd Stetzer
Evangelicals: This Is What It Looks Like When You Sell Your Soul For A Bowl Of Trump
the NY Magazine article highlights something very important—the people of God, who are called to hold to the highest standard of morals and ethics, now rank as the highest group percentage-wise of those who say that these things don’t necessarily matter. This is a problem of huge proportions…

Remember the question: “an elected official can behave ethically even if they have committed transgressions in their personal life.” When that was Bill Clinton, Evangelicals were “nope” but now that it’s Trump, they’re “yep.”

That’s the definition of selling out.


One of my favorite songs of the past few years being sung in Times Square. Reminder: We still have more religious freedom in the U.S. than most of the world can possibly imagine.
This gave me legitimate goose bumps…

Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 10-6-2016

Picks Thursday

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

Please, fellow Christ-followers, let’s not forget what’s truly important…

What Christians Should Do This Election Season — Give Space, Show GraceTrevin Wax
photo-1464660756002-dd9f9a92b01bChristians, of all people, should remember that politics is not ultimate. There are more important things in life, truths that unite us across party lines into one body of Christ. Most of the issues we debate at the dinner table must fade away at the Table of our Lord.

So should we resort to publicly shaming people who decide to vote for one of these candidates? Twist the arms of those who, out of conscience, withhold their vote? Pounce on people when something happens you think makes them regret the decision they’ve made?

When we blast people who have come to a different ethical conclusion about the best way forward this election cycle, we give the impression that this year’s election choice is ultimate. We look just like people on the right and left who live and breathe politics because they don’t see anything higher.

This won’t do. I have too many friends and family members and fellow church members on all sides of Election 2016 to let their choice in the voting booth affect my affection for them.

So, I’m trying to do two things, and I hope you’ll join me…


God Would Never Ask Me to Sacrifice My Kids….Right?
Amy Medina
The cost of following Jesus in North Korea is not just your job, not just your well-being, not just your freedom… but your whole family.  Your mom, your brother, your children can be put in a prison camp, raped, or run over by a steamroller because you chose Jesus.

It’s incomprehensible.  Unfathomable.

I know so little of sacrifice… 

Besides….God would never ask me to sacrifice my kids….right?

Yet I worship the same God who has asked exactly that of the North Korean Christians. I stand under the same sky, breathe the same air, and have the same kind of soul as they do.   Who am I to think that he wouldn’t ask the same of me?

What we do online is not only public, it is influential…

Every Click CountsDavid Mathis
Every click is a kind of vote. Every time you click, you say, in effect, I want this — and more of this. And someone hears you…

Negatively, the implications are plain enough. Every unrighteous click expresses and encourages sin. Every sordid click casts your vote for more sordidness online…

…but don’t hear me saying I’m down on the Internet … We should not only mind the dangers, but also open our eyes to the remarkable opportunities.

Every righteous click has some small righteous effect in our world. When you make a good click, you register a vote for righteousness. And what content you “share” will be seen by others who otherwise may not have seen it. What you “like,” and comment on, contributes to algorithms that serve up quality content to others, even people you do not know. Clicking alone will not complete the Great Commission, but it’s not irrelevant. You make the world a better or worse place with every click.

I don’t really think this sounds like the Beatles, but it is kind of fascinating…

Artificial Intelligence Program Tries to Write a Beatles Song: Listen to “Daddy’s Car”Ted Mills

Flow Machine has returned with an interesting development: two upcoming albums of A.I.-created songs, from which two tunes have been released to give you a taste of computer creativity. French composer and musician Benoît Carré helped out with the arrangements and production of the songs, and also wrote the lyrics, so it’s not completely an A.I. creation, we should note.

So what should we make of “Daddy’s Car,” above, an attempt to create an A.I song in the style of the Beatles? The opening seconds feature the three-part harmony of “Because,” but when the band kicks in, it’s closer to the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds than the Fab Four. (If anything, it’s closer to the High Llamas.)

But does it sound like it was written by a human? Yes.

Dr. Frankenstein’s secret formula…
Off the Mark

The “Old” Songs

There’s a great song by Ron Kenoly with the line:

Some try to keep Him wrapped in a manger.
Some try to keep Him nailed up on a cross.
Some try to keep Him held down in the cold dark grave,
But He’s coming on a white horse!

Of course, the point is that Jesus isn’t simply some historical figure of the past, but he is very much alive today.

I think we tend to forget that important truth. In fact, if we’re completely honest, I think it makes us a little uncomfortable. We’re much more comfortable thinking of him as a historical figure than as an active, living person who wants to be involved in everything we think and do. If he exists only in the past we can study him, understand him, and box him up.

What an amazing man he was!

He changed the course of history.

The year is 2016. Two thousand and sixteen years from…what? See that? Every day we change the calendar we acknowledge the impact Jesus had on our world.

But here’s the thing: he’s not done.

He’s still alive. He still changes history.

Ok, I’m going to make a transition here. Go with me…

I love the old songs. Really, I do! When I sing the songs I grew up singing in church, I remember those days when my faith was still new. I grow nostalgic about the little church that played such a significant role in my spiritual life. The people who loved me, tolerated me, and influenced me. I am indescribably grateful for them all! It’s good to look back and see how God has worked in the past.

But the church isn’t about nostalgia.

The church is about the living Jesus.


There’s not a thing wrong with loving the old songs. It’s why we have “oldies” radio stations. It’s why the Gaither “Homecoming” concerts are always so well attended. It’s why people still get together and sing “Sacred Harp” music. It’s why I still listen to “big band” music. It’s even why we have symphony orchestras and opera companies. There is great art, and culture from the past represented by all this music. It absolutely should be preserved and enjoyed.

But that’s not the church’s job.

We don’t keep “real” worship alive by singing the old songs. We don’t keep Jesus alive by preserving the preferences and culture of a previous generation. Jesus is alive without our help. Maybe even in spite of it. We cannot keep him contained, and it’s wrong for us to try.

I’ve heard so many folks complain that the church of today is trying too hard to be “relevant.” (You can see the scare quotes when they say it.) They cynically assume that making use of pop music and modern technology is just a marketing ploy, attempting to lure the younger generation.

But, what if God is simply working in the lives of young, 21st century believers (as he has in every previous century) who in turn make use of the forms they know, and the skills they possess, to bring glory to Him? What if he is transforming the hearts of talented people, who then write music that speaks to and for this generation? What if Jesus is using methods and media that were unthinkable a generation ago to build his Kingdom today?

Personally, I’m more skeptical of someone who claims to be a Christ-follower but does his/her best to keep Jesus locked up in musty ritual and tradition than those who acknowledge the fact that Jesus is alive and well, and very much involved in the lives of people today. People for whom “pop culture” is simply culture.

Fifty years ago there were older people of faith who cared about me and my generation and encouraged us. I remember their names. I can hear their voices in my mind. Their lives still echo through my own.

It’s logical to assume that, at the same time, there were others who thought the things we did and the music we liked had no place in the church. They probably complained about our folk music, our noise, and our immaturity. I don’t know that for sure because, honestly, I don’t really remember them. I couldn’t tell you who they were.

So, here’s my question: Fifty years from now, when this generation looks back on their youth, which of those two groups will you be in?

I know which one I want to be in.



Tuesday Picks ~ 9-27-2016

Picks Tuesday

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

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

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

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

Follow the link to read his explanations of each point.

Excellent, practical advice for helping grieving friends…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Picks ~ 9-19-2016

Picks Monday

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

Are you reading the Bible wrong?

Stop Snacking on ‘Scripture McNuggets’
an interview by Drew Dyck
We’re not honest with people about the Bible. There’s this fear that if we admit it’s a difficult and challenging book, we’ll scare people off. We want to tell people, especially new Christians, about all the great things that will happen to them by reading it.

Since we’re not honest about what kind of book the Bible is, and how it’s supposed to work, when people start reading for themselves, they encounter all kinds of crazy material that doesn’t fit the paradigm that we’ve given them. They find stuff from ancient cultures, from different parts of the world, and they don’t understand it immediately. And it’s hard for them to get something they can apply to their lives every single day from just reading through the Bible. So it leads to cherry-picking verses. Because there are these gems, these verses that seem to contain important spiritual truths…

We need to start equipping people to understand the Bible on its own terms. We have to go back into the Bible’s world, rather than demanding it be immediately relevant to ours. We need to give them pathways from the ancient world into today’s world.

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

Six Reasons Why Your Church Members May Not Be Friendly to GuestsThom Rainer
Of the thousands of on-site and virtual consultations I have done, it is the most common sentence I hear from church members:

“We are the friendliest church in town!”

With rare exceptions, it’s just not true.

We surveyed guests who visited the church and found a dramatically different perception. Their most common comment is:

“The people at that church aren’t very friendly.”

So how do so many church members have such a disconnect with reality? I see six common reasons…

Do your young leaders really get to lead?

Young Leaders – Train or Control?Dan Reiland
12Stone Church Residents, the best young leaders in the country!
I don’t think any supervising leader intentionally sets out to control a young leader, but it happens. The young leader is inadvertently not trusted or trained and thereby not empowered to lead. Perhaps this is not exactly the same as controlled, but it “feels” that way to any sharp young leader.

An unhelpful side-effect of the celebrity pastor culture…

Respect Your PastorsJared Bumper
This, I am afraid, is the danger of celebrity pastors and digital discipleship. We see a Christian leader’s strengths from a distance and appreciate their ministry, but we are not close enough to see flaws. Conversely, we are so close to our elders and leaders that we see their flaws and fail to appreciate their strengths and their heart for us. Our exposure to great preachers and leaders inadvertently leads to us to fail to appreciate those in our own church who are over us and admonish us.

7 Things I Miss About 90’s CCMStephen Altrogge
http://theblazingcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/dc-talk-6-1700x956.jpgLook, I’m not saying that CCM music in the 90’s was perfect. But I long to return to the days of luxurious hair, vests, and military songs. Or maybe I just want to be young again. Actually, that’s totally it.

Because, yeah some music was good. But some was just plain awful. Kinda like my wardrobe.

Talk Like a Pirate Day…
Off the Mark