Tag Archives: Parenting

Tuesday Picks ~ 6-27-2017

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

Good explanation of an important recent SCOTUS decision…

Why a Church Playground Matters for Religious Liberty
Joe Carter
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/playground-swing.jpgThe issue of whether a church playground can qualify for states grant to purchase rubberized surface material seems rather trivial. So why is the decision considered a significant victory for religious liberty? Here are three reasons why this ruling matters:

1. It upholds the First Amendment understanding of religious liberty…

2. It’s a win for equal participation of religion

3. It requires the state to treat religious people fairly


Perhaps you need this encouragement today…

Victory over Porn Is Closer Than You ThinkJimmy Needham
Is actual, extended freedom from besetting sin really attainable, or am I bound to this sin until death, like a leech on my soul? It might seem like a silly question to those who aren’t in the throes of addiction, but having been a porn addict for a decade, it was a question I desperately asked for years.

If you find yourself in this seemingly hopeless cycle, there is good news for you: victory, real and lasting victory, is possible…


What Your Kids Really Need is Your Authentic Christian Life Melissa Edgington
So, you see, I found out that what God has called me to is much higher than lesson planner. I do need to teach my children scripture. I need to give them sound doctrine. But, I can teach these things to my children, as the Bible says, when we sit at home, when we walk along the road, when we rise up and lie down. In other words, impressing the things of God on my children is an all-day, every day, life-long pursuit. It is more than a curriculum. It is a way of life.


Yeah, no. I think I would sort of say that I agree…

3 Phrases Smart People Should Stop SayingEric Geiger
I have listened to a lot of podcasts. Some sermons, some NPR, some HBR, and some random ones too. All really smart people, smarter and more articulate than I am.

Yet I have noticed some recurring phrases that make the intelligent people seem less so, that blunt the impact of their words and distract from the message. …here are three phrases smart people should stop saying…


Parenting transitions made easier…
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Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Weekend Picks ~ 6-16-2017

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

This is big, isn’t it? …

A Resolution Condemning White Supremacy Causes Chaos at the Southern Baptist ConventionEmma Green
It affirmed that “there has arisen in the United States a growing menace to political order and justice that seeks to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide our people, and foment hatred, classism, and ethnic cleansing.” It identified this “toxic menace” as white nationalism and the alt-right, and urged the denomination to oppose its “totalitarian impulses, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that infect the minds and actions of its violent disciples.” It claimed that the origin of white supremacy in Christian communities is a once-popular theory known as the “curse of Ham,” which taught that “God through Noah ordained descendants of Africa to be subservient to Anglos” and was used as justification for slavery and segregation. The resolution called on the denomination to denounce nationalism and “reject the retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases, and racial bigotries of the so-called ‘alt-right’ that seek to subvert our government, destabilize society, and infect our political system.”


Twenty Relics of Church PastThom Rainer
The question I asked was basic: “What did you have or do in your church ten years ago that you don’t have or do today?”

The top twenty responses were, for me at least, a fascinating mix of the expected and the surprises. They are ranked in order of frequency…


This is excellent. It’s also harder and more important than it sounds…

Your Child Is Your NeighborJen Wilkin
If you asked me the single-most important insight that has shaped my parenting, it would be this: Children are people...

Recognizing my children as my neighbors has impacted the way I discipline them, the way I speak to them, the way I speak about them to others. It has required me to acknowledge how quick I am to treat those closest to me in ways I would never treat a friend or a co-worker. It has helped make my children objects of my compassion instead of my contempt. I am better able to celebrate their successes without taking credit for them, and to grieve their failures without seeing them as glaring evidence that I’m a terrible parent. Recognizing my children as my neighbors has freed me up to enjoy them as people rather than to resent them as laundry-generating, food-ingesting, mess-making, fit-throwing financial obligations.

Except for the days that it hasn’t. And on those days, I must be reminded again what Scripture teaches about loving my neighbor, confess that I haven’t loved my child that way, and begin again. And Scripture provides ample help. Here are just a few “unlikely” parenting verses that point me back to neighborliness on the days that don’t go as they should…


Carey uses a lot of this article examining our current culture and you will likely find yourself bemoaning its deterioration. Don’t stop there…

7 Ways To Live Out The Gospel in a Post-Truth, Post-Fact CultureCarey Nieuwhof
post-truthThe Gospel is perhaps the very best antidote we have to the current cultural turbulence…

The Gospel:

is anchored in the idea that truth (and even love) is objective and available to all.

calls us to die to ourselves so that others may live.

values all people.

calls us to confess, to repent, and to put something bigger than ourselves above ourselves.

If the church starts to mimic culture in this seismic shift we’re seeing, we will tear ourselves away from the very thing that will save us.


Assisted Miming for the Blind…
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Bizarro

 

A Father Who Sings

https://scontent-ort2-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/17904453_10210748649245135_3022210157647973630_n.jpg?oh=8f6df3a4b11e9dbc7088d2aee31da509&oe=59E765C0
Good Friday service at The Christian Village at Mount Healthy. April 14, 2017.

My dad can’t sing.

It’s true. He has one note. It’s not musically identifiable, but it’s low.

That never stopped him.

I remember hearing him “singing” in the shower in the mornings getting ready for work.

I remember sitting next to him in church and trying to sing a harmony part. It was hard.

But he still sang. He still sings.


When I was young I knew my parents loved me. If you had asked me I would have said so. The evidence was there. They provided for me. Sure, they punished me when I did wrong, but they always forgave me. They went to my band concerts. They put up with my immaturity. For these reasons and more, I knew they loved me.

But I discovered a whole new perspective on a parent’s love when I had my own kids. I began to understand how you can be so angry you can’t see straight, so hurt you feel like your heart has been ripped out, and so proud you could burst…all at the same time!

It was then that I began to appreciate the depth of my parents’ love for me.

Sadly, I realize that some reading this may not have had the same experience of a loving family. You may find what I’m about to tell you incomprehensible. But trust me, it’s true.

But honestly, even if you grew up with a loving family like mine, you may still find this difficult to swallow, but here goes…

How do you think God feels about you?

God feels about you the same way a good dad feels about his kid. Sometimes he’s mad at you. Sometimes his heart is ripped out by you. Sometimes he’s bursting with pride. Sometimes he feels all that simultaneously.

And sometimes he sings.

The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

This is a beautiful description of the way I know my dad felt about me. No, he couldn’t sing a lick, but that didn’t stop him.

And this is the way God feels about you.

In the last line of this verse is the word “exult.” This a good translation because the original word means dancing or leaping for joy.

That’s God when he thinks of you.

Can you imagine?

This idea may be foreign to you. Perhaps, like so many, you’ve come to think of God as caring more about rules and laws. When you imagine God seeing you, your feelings are more like what you feel when you see a cop in your rearview mirror.

Make no mistake, God does have a very specific way he expects us to live.

So did my dad. There were things I did, or maybe didn’t do, that I knew I would be punished for. I didn’t want to be punished so I avoided those things. Well, at least I didn’t want him to know about them.

As I matured, and grew to know my dad’s heart, I was motivated less by the punishment and more by the desire to please my dad and make him proud. I knew he “exulted over me” and I wanted to give him good reason to.

My dad lives in a nursing home now. He hasn’t punished me in decades. But I still find myself being guided by what I think would make him proud that I’m his son.

I live for his “singing.”

I will forever be grateful that he has given me an earthly example of how God feels about me.

Honestly, I don’t know if we can even talk about God having “feelings” in the same way we experience them, but this passage of scripture seems to indicate that he does.

Jonathan Edwards was a famous preacher in the early 1700s. He is most famous for his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Yes, it’s true that God hates sin and punishes the unrepentant.

But my Father’s Day prayer is that, through the grace of Jesus, you can grow to picture yourself not so much as a sinner in the hands of an angry God, but more as a child in the arms of a singing Father.

Lloyd

Tuesday Picks ~ 6-13-2017

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

What Would Aristides Say About Your Church?Eric Geiger
The world watched how early believers cared for one another, how they supported one another in challenging times, and how they longed to meet together. The world always takes notice when Christians love one another as Christ commanded. Unity is always attractive, and unity among God’s people piques the world’s curiosity.

Aristides, a 2nd century Greek philosopher, wrote an apology concerning what he had observed of Christians. What he observed is a beautiful picture of the early Christian church. From his findings we get a sense of why their community was attracting so much attention, both favor from a watching world and persecution from those who hated Christianity. Below are a few things he noted about the Christians with quotes from “The Apology of Aristides.”


The Moment that Changed Eric Liddell’s Life
Jordan Standridge
Eric was having to make an important decision; of course, no one was going to force him to speak or to have a public ministry. But I’m sure that Eric was counting the cost. Some people may say no big deal, but this was a huge deal. Especially for such an introvert.

This decision was going to affect the rest of his life…

This year, we celebrate 500 years of the Reformation. And looking back at the Reformation, I think we can all be overwhelmed. As we hear stories of Luther, Tyndale, and Lady Jane Grey, we see boldness in the face of entire nations, popes, and scores of cardinals and executioners, and we wonder whether we would ever be able to stay committed to Christ when we could possibly be burned or lose our heads. But most of us will probably never have to face that test. Most of us will simply be called to be faithful in the circles God has sovereignly placed us.

The question is will we be faithful to speak unashamedly of our love for Christ when He calls us to?


7 Things That Get Harder as Your Church Grows
Carey Nieuwhof

2 big takeaways for me…

1. The point of church is not for everyone to know everyone. The point is for everyone to be known.

2. If you’re not fine with others receiving the credit, you’ll eventually stunt the church’s growth to the level of your insecurity.


A politically incorrect Father’s Day guide to sex, masculinity and daughters…

Dad Meets the Sexual RevolutionWilliam McGurn
…most dads accept that part of the job is a willingness to be the unfashionable one; that is, to love enough to speak unpopular truths when the world cheats your children with fifty shades of grey. For all the complaints about “toxic masculinity,” genuine masculinity seems hard to come by. Surely the greater male dysfunction of our time is perpetual adolescence, and a culture that encourages the man-child.

So this Father’s Day, looking over the three greatest blessings in his life, this dad pines for the day when we might again speak honestly and openly about the profound differences between male and female sexuality, when the heart might be taken as seriously as the orgasm—and when young men pursing young women might even rediscover the marvelous possibilities of moonlit summer evenings.


The value of a drummer?
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Zits – Click image for a larger view.

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…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/future-phones.jpg
Wrong Hands

Thursday Picks ~ 5-18-2017

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

These are important reminders for worship leaders…

Eight Of The Most Common Worship Leading Mistakes
Jamie Brown
No worship leader ever stops making mistakes…

So our goal is not to become flawless worship leaders… Our goal is simply to keep being humbled by our awareness of our imperfection, and to keep growing, so we can more effectively point our congregations to Jesus in the power of the Spirit, not the power of our own professionalism.

To that end, here are eight of the most common worship leading mistakes…

But never forget this, worship leader: you have no idea what’s happening in people’s hearts, you can’t possibly know all that God is up to, and you most likely won’t ever know the short-term and/or long-term impact of your faithful leadership in people’s lives over the course of years’ worth of Sundays that help them remember and proclaim the good news of the gospel.


I found this strangely fascinating…

On This Day in 1926: The Scandalous Disappearance of Preacher Aimee Semple McPhersonhttp://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/files/2016/05/reviving-sister-aimee.jpgWhat if I told you that one of the most famous fundamentalist preachers of the 1920s and 30s was not a man but a woman, and not just any woman, but one who went through two divorces and who became something of a sex symbol. So how did something like that happen in that day and age?


Yes! So very yes!

Don’t Pity Parents, Pray for UsAaron Earlsparent pray pity
Once people know I’m a parent, it’s inevitable. I know the words I’ll hear shortly.

Without fail, they are going to say something like, “I don’t envy you. With all the issues out there, I don’t know how you can be a parent these days.”…

…Yes, there are specific challenges to being a parent in 2017. But there were challenges for my parents during the Cold War and the emergence of home computers.

How did my grandparents manage their kids during the turbulent 1960s? How did my great-grandparents shepherd their children through the Great Depression and world wars?

Parenting is challenging no matter the era because parenting is challenging period. But in His wisdom, God has made me a parent today…

Christian parents don’t need your pity. They do, however, desperately need your prayers.


First gig…
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Zits – 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.

Thursday Picks ~ 5-11-2017

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

The Revenge of Analog DiscipleshipTrevin Wax
Lightstock
Is digital on the way out? Is analog on the way in?

…the revenge of analog does not mean that ebooks will now go away. It means that print is not dead, nor will it die, and what is printed may matter more.

There is no such thing as digital-only discipleship. It’s all analog, because we are embodied people who long for real life community that goes beyond virtual hangouts…

Disciple-making is accomplished by modelers, not just messengers. We develop not merely through cognitive transfer, but also through witnessing the lives and choices of other disciples we encounter on our way. Perhaps this is the reason why the Old Testament emphasizes the meditation and memorization of Scripture alongside conversations about the Law that take place in the daily rhythms of life.

The teachers who make the biggest difference on our lives are those who not only give us knowledge but who know us well enough to speak truth into the specifics of our lives, to give counsel from their vast experience and biblical storehouse.


For your consideration…

The Case for Free-Range KidsLenore Skenazy
Basically, to be a good parent in America today you are expected to imagine the anguish and regret you’d feel if your child died and it was all your fault because you let him do something unsupervised.

My crime was that I hadn’t indulged in what I call “worst-first thinking”—imagining the worst-case scenario first and proceeding as if it were likely to happen. My old-fashioned belief in my son and my city earned me the title “America’s Worst Mom.” (Google it!)…

…So how can we give our kids back the freedom that gave us not only incredible childhood memories but a country bursting with innovation and entrepreneurship? After all, we can’t expect to raise the next generation of risk-takers if they are not allowed to take any risks!


Lots for worship leaders to think about here…

Let Worship Be Local Too: On the Influence of Industry on Sunday MorningRyan Mayo
What are we asking Sunday worship to do for us? This is the root question behind the “worship wars” of recent decades, although that argument typically takes place a few inches above this root. Many American churches have asked at least two inappropriate questions to evaluate our worship ethos. The first is “what music makes us feel like we’ve worshiped?” The second is “what songs and sounds will grow our church?”

These questions have forced out better ones and reveal our real agendas for Sunday liturgies. We have asked our worship practices to bear loads they are not meant to bear, and they have succeeded… These new functions also allowed industry practices and industry pressures to crowd out the old functions, and we are worse for it.

Corporate singing can accomplish many tasks, and church leaders should take great caution when they assign a telos to Sunday music. Singing binds together generations of Christians through common song. Singing catechizes. Singing is also, as Marva Dawn has reminded us, a necessary-and-extravagant “waste of time[1].” Singing can also be conscripted to attract certain groups and/or repel others, or it can produce heightened feelings in our congregations. Singing can dwarf the preached Word of God and relegate it to the status of a lecture, or singing can prepare the ears to hear it. Whether through invitation or through neglect, there is an ever-expanding worship music industry that will exert pressure on our liturgies and, by extension, the theology and practice of our congregations.


Prom Prep…
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Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Monday Picks ~ 5-8-2017

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

What I’ve Learned about Pastoral MinistryKevin DeYoung
lightstock_9791_medium_tgc…if you live long enough, you’ll find that everyone is hurting. You’ll discover people’s marriages aren’t as good as they seem, or their kids are more troubled than they let on, or there’s a miscarriage or infertility, or there’s a parent who’s sick, or someone whose death is still the source of constant sadness, or there is a strained relationship, or there is an addiction, or there is an invisible illness. There’s just a lot of pain out there.

Everyone you talk to is a sinner and a sufferer. As a young person filled with good theology, it’s easier to know the sinner part. And we can’t forget this, otherwise we will be poor friends, and I’ll be a poor pastor. Compassion without follow through or correction is not real love. But that’s only one part of the equation. You have to remember people are carrying around a lot of hurt, a lot of sadness, a lot of fears. I’ve had to learn that people are not just sinners; they’re sufferers too. And that shapes how you deal with sin and extend mercy. I hope I’ve learned that.


There’s a good way to complain…

The self-healing letter of complaintSeth Godin
Image result for seth godinYou’ve been wronged. The service was terrible. You went unseen, disrespected and abused. You didn’t get your money’s worth. The software is sloppy, the people were rude, the entire experience was lousy.

A letter to the organization is called for. At the very least, you’ll get an apology, some free samples, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll fix the problem for everyone who comes after you. How generous of you to dig in and share the vitriol.

Better put a sharp point on it, personalize it and make it sting…

Here’s a different tack, a selfish one that pays off for everyone involved…


I’ve encountered almost all of these erroneous beliefs at one time or another…

The 12 Mistakes Dead Churches MakeBarry Cameron
The Twelve Mistakes Dead Churches MakeEvery year thousands of churches, unfortunately and unnecessarily, have to close their doors. Why? Because they kept doing the things that did them in. To put it another way, they held some highly defective, very destructive beliefs that determined their demise. Here are the mistakes dead churches make.

Dead churches erroneously believe …


“I Just Want Her To Be Happy”Leonard Sax
https://www.firstthings.com/uploads/article_590361e549076.jpgIt is no use letting kids do whatever they desire unless you have first educated their desire. The first job of the parent is to educate the child’s desire: to instill a longing for something higher and better than video games or pornography or social media, whether that something be found in science, in music, in the arts, in nature, or in religion…

As an American parent, I struggle every day against the culture of “I just want her to be happy.”


Polar opposites…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/antarctic.jpg
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 4-6-2017

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

Interesting and insightful…

The Strange Persistence of GuiltDavid Brooks
McClay is describing a world in which we’re still driven by an inextinguishable need to feel morally justified. Our thinking is still vestigially shaped by religious categories.

And yet we have no clear framework or set of rituals to guide us in our quest for goodness. Worse, people have a sense of guilt and sin, but no longer a sense that they live in a loving universe marked by divine mercy, grace and forgiveness. There is sin but no formula for redemption.

The only reliable way to feel morally justified in that culture is to assume the role of victim…


I appreciate so much this thoughtful testimony…

Why I Gave Up AlcoholSarah Bessey
I think that conviction has gotten a bit of a bad rap in the Church over the past little while.

It’s understandable. We have an overcorrection to a lot of the legalism and boundary-marker Christianity that damaged so many, the behaviour modification and rule-making and imposition of other people’s convictions onto our own souls.

But in our steering away from legalism, I wonder if we left the road to holiness or began to forget that God also cares about what we do and how we do it and why.

Conviction is less about condemnation than it is about invitation. It’s an invitation into freedom. It’s an invitation into wholeness.

Perhaps our choices towards those invitations from God are really an intersection for our agency or free will and the Holy Spirit’s activity – maybe that’s where transformation begins.

I quit drinking because I felt like God asked me to quit drinking. I’ve never regretted saying yes to God.


Warning: Challenging stuff here…

Raising Persecution-Ready KidsMelissa Edgington
Lately I have felt such a sense of urgency. Why are Christians continuing to treat this faith as if it is a poorly producing side business in the middle of a hugely prosperous life? Why are Christians abandoning their church families so their kids can play baseball on Sundays? Why are Christians refusing to teach their children the hard truths of Scripture, and why are they reluctant to learn them themselves? Why are Christians satisfied with a faith that only vaguely informs their decisions, that only mildly affects their thinking, that only produces warm feelings and never heart-crushing, soul-wrenching grief over their sin?

Our children are facing a different world than we have known. Their faith is going to have to be real and alive and immune to the mesmerizing but useless distractions of this world. Our children are going to need a faith that devours their entire lives, that dominates every thought, that changes the way they see and hear and understand everything around them. We simply cannot continue to categorize our lives, badly arranging our priorities around things that don’t last. If we keep sending the message that this faith is just part of our lives and not the only thing that matters, then our children will continue to believe us.

They will settle for a version of Christianity that will not stand.


I Went to Amazon’s Physical Bookstore And…
Randall Payleitner
Amazon BooksOne of the largest tech companies in the world just opened a physical store where 90+% of the merchandise for sale is based on 500-year old technology…

Here were my biggest nine impressions after spending an hour at the newest bookstore in Chicago…


Financial planning…
Non Sequitur – Click image for a larger view.