Tag Archives: Prayer

Monday Picks ~ 10-9-2017

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

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


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

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

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


Noteworthy for pastors…

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


Maybe you need to read this today…

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

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

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


I hate sentences that begin with “at your age”…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMTAvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcxMDA0XzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Weekend Picks ~ 10-6-2017

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

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

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

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

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


Then there is this one published today…

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

Personally, I think the time for praying is over…


What kind of leader would you like to be?

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

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

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

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


An important reminder for Christian Americans…

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Showing up as a pro.

Keeping promises.

Even when you don’t feel like it.

Especially when you don’t.


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

Tuesday Picks ~ 10-3-2017

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


May we all pray this prayer with Scotty Smith…

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

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

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

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


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

Wednesday Picks ~ 7-5-2017

It’s the day after Independence Day, (aka the 5th of July). I suppose this is the reason I came across several well-written and challenging articles on the subject of Christianity and patriotism…

Let’s begin with this prayer by Scotty Smith…

No Matter the Political Temperature, Living as Servants, not CynicsScotty Smith
http://trinitynews.ie/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/praying-hands.jpgHelp us, as well, to live and love to your glory–no matter our passport, the political atmosphere, or how pleased or disgusted we are with the government. Instead of being cynics, may we be servants and intercessors; instead of withdrawing out of disgust, may we be engaged with hope and kindness; instead of seeking judgment on our government, may we seek its peace and prosperity; instead of throwing political grenades, may we seek love mercy and work for justice in our communities.


Can Patriotism Become Idolatry?Zack Hunt
https://storage.googleapis.com/relevant-magazine/2017/07/patriot.jpgI’m not sure there is a clearly defined moment when patriotism becomes idolatry because it happens in such subtle ways, but you definitely know it’s occurred when you stand in the front of your sanctuary and contemplate where to move the stars and stripes so as not to offend anyone during worship.

Unfortunately, that struggle is not unique. I can’t count how many pastors have told me they leave the American flag in their sanctuaries simply because they’re afraid of the vitriol that would be unleashed by some of their parishioners if the flag moved. I’m left dumbfounded every time I hear that story from yet another pastor somewhere in America.

How far have we fallen as a Church, how lost are we in patriotic idolatry that we’re worried about offending people if we remove a symbol from our sacred space that demands our allegiance to something other than the God we’ve come there to worship?

God bless America?

How about God save the Church?


I Love You, America, But Not Like ThatBrian Zahnd
Flickr_-_USCapitol_-_Apotheosis_of_Washington,_War (1)Yes, America, I love you…but not like that. Not in the way of supreme allegiance and unquestioned devotion. You see, my heart belongs to another. I’m a Christian and I confess that Jesus is Lord. The Savior of the world is the crucified and risen Son of God, not “We the People.” The gospel is the story of Jesus, not the American story. I know your 16th President claimed that America was “the last best hope of earth,” but it’s simply not true. The last best hope of earth is Jesus, not you…

…America, I’m one of your citizens. And I love you like a sister. I’ll seek the common good. I’ll gladly pay my share to help provide for education, infrastructure, healthcare, emergency services, and everything else it takes to live in a civilized society. (I’d like for you to spend a lot less on bombs and killing machines, but I understand that’s not up to me.) Yes, America, I love you like a sister. But not like I love my Lord. Not like I love God. I cannot love you like that. I cannot pledge unconditional allegiance to you. But I can promise to be a good citizen by attempting to love my neighbor as myself.


Thank God for the Idea of AmericaKevin DeYoung
It has often been said that America was founded upon an idea. The country was not formed mainly for power or privilege but in adherence to a set of principles. Granted, these ideals have been, at various times in our history, less than ideally maintained. But the ideals remain. The idea persists.

If one sentence captures the quintessential idea of America, surely it the famous assertion contained in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Almost every word of this remarkable sentence, 236 years old today, is pregnant with meaning and strikingly relevant…

There’s a reason the Founding Fathers did not wax eloquent about safety and security. It’s because they believed freedom and liberty to be better ideals, loftier goals, and more conducive to the common good.

Caps lock…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDcvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwNzAzXzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Tuesday Picks ~ 6-20-2017

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

Don’t Take for Granted the Fragile Blessing of Civility
Trevin Wax
LightstockA civilized society uses persuasion and argument to make a case and will not tolerate those who engage in violence toward opponents on the other side of the political aisle.

But what if we are at the precipice of losing this hallmark of civility?

Recent developments should trouble the heart of anyone who loves liberty…

I would be the last to compare our recent political violence with Nazi fascism or Communist tyranny.

But I mention these examples because they took place in advanced, civilized nations where such violence would have, at one time, been considered unthinkable. Citizens overlooked the small but growing number of signs that led to these disasters. For this reason, we must recognize the seriousness of this present moment.

…There is no room for partisanship on this question; it is every American’s patriotic duty to oppose any justification for violence against one’s political opponent.


Why Refusing to Resolve Conflict Hinders Prayer


In case you’ve heard something from someone who wasn’t in the room where in happened…

Southern Baptists and the Alt-Right: On Being in the Room Where it HappenedNathan Finn
Because I was there, I’ve been disappointed at some of the musings, pontifications, and even insinuations of those who weren’t there, including both secular media and armchair quarterbacks who were offering misinformed assessments. At no point and in no way was the resolutions committee being “soft” on the Alt-Right or other forms of white supremacy. At no point were Southern Baptists debating whether or not we ought to denounce these demonic impulses. At no point did Steve Gaines or anyone else force Southern Baptists to do something they didn’t want to do. At no point were Southern Baptists wringing their hands over how we would look in the media if we didn’t do something. At no point were we trying not to offend Trump voters—or any other voters, for that matter. None of that happened, and folks who suggest it did are either speaking out of ignorance or out of malicious intent, period.


Ripple Effect…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDYvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwNjE5XzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Luke 22:39-46

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 22:39-46
39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.[g] 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
“Father, if you are willing…”?
Jesus had to know I wasn’t willing, right?
“Not my will…”?
But he and I are One, right?
So, we have the same will, right?
Are you confused yet?
Twice he told them to “pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
Do you think they ever did?
Do you ever pray that?
Would you mean it if you did?
“Father, if you are willing…”
How would you finish that prayer right now?
“Not my will…”
Can you also pray that part of the prayer…and mean it?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


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…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDUvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwNTA5XzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Thursday Picks ~ 4-20-2017

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

Christian, You Don’t Have to Qualify Your Prayers
Michael Kelley
“…there’s something in me that tells me that this is not the kind of bold approach to the throne of grace that Jesus died for. This is not the intimate kind of communication that Jesus told me to cultivate by starting my prayer with, “Our Father…”

It’s respectful, sure – but it sounds a bit like one who is not sure of the character of the person he’s talking to.

So what is the alternative? Perhaps another way to pray is through exercising faith before, during, and after we pray…”


I appreciate this article a lot…

How I Found My Place (And My People) at a Megachurch
Sarah Short
I used to wonder why people would attend a megachurch.

I mean, THOUSANDS on THOUSANDS of people streaming into a building on any given weekend? Is that ANYONE’S idea of a good time? I actually wondered what people were thinking in CHOOSING a church so large as their place of worship when they could attend a smaller church down the street with easy parking, good ol’ fashioned potlucks, and a small community of people who all know each other…

Well, here’s how it went down for us: My family moved into the area and went searching for a church where the gospel was preached EVERY week and the people loved Jesus and had hearts for the lost people he came to save – not just each other. And, when we found that in a church TWENTY times the size of what we might’ve considered ideal, we stayed.

We’ve been at our church, a church of over 10,000 people, for six years. We have grown in our relationship with Jesus and in our passion to love people well in ways we never could’ve imagined. And as I sat down to think about WHY we’ve stayed and WHAT we love about our church, I wanted to share with you how we found our place and our people here…


Important for church leaders to remember…

The Hottest Thing at Church Is Not Your Pastor or Worship LeaderKate Shellnutt
The Hottest Thing at Church Is Not Your Pastor or Worship LeaderDespite a new wave of contemporary church buzzwords like relational, relevant, and intentional, people who show up on Sundays are looking for the same thing that has long anchored most services: preaching centered on the Bible.

“Sermons that teach about Scripture” are the No. 1 reason Americans go to church, according to a new Gallup poll


A practical application of new technology…
Off the Mark

Weekend Picks ~ 4-7-2017

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

This seems like an appropriate prayer for today…

Perfect Peace in a Perfectly Peace-less WorldScotty Smith
Image result for peaceMost kind and trustworthy Father, you haven’t promised us a storm-less, hassle-free, conflict-empty life. You offer us no formulas for decreasing the probability of upsetting things happening around us or disillusioning things happening to us. But you have promised something that transcends chaos and fear, wars in our world and wars in our hearts.

You’ve promised to give us your peace, no matter what’s going on…


Lay Aside the Weight of PassivityJon Bloom
So, the Holy Spirit speaking in 2 Timothy 2:3–7 wants us to have a soldier’s mind-set, which is very different from a civilian’s. A soldier expects to suffer the rigors and dangers of war; a civilian does not.

The Spirit wants us to have an athlete’s mind-set, which is very different from a spectator’s. “Every athlete [expects to exercise] self-control in all things” in order to win the prize; a spectator does not (1 Corinthians 9:25).

And the Spirit wants us to have a farmer’s mind-set, which is very different from an average customer’s. A farmer expects to work hard for long hours, over long months, in all kinds of weather, to realize a harvest; a customer does not.

Civilians are passive during war; spectators are passive during competition; an average customer is passive during the growing season. As Christians, we are not called to easy passivity, but to rigorous activity.


There’s an important balance to be maintained here…

Being Professional in MinistryNicholas T. Batzig
John Piper’s Brothers, We Are Not Professionals is one of the books that pastors in the Western world would do well to read annually. In that work, Piper puts his finger on the gaping wound of a corporate mindset that has plagued the church in North America for far too long…

Nevertheless, I have often thought that a complementary volume–bearing the title, Brothers, We Could Be a Little More Professional–might be in order for some. After all, there is proper use of the word professional (i.e. “to exercise mature competency and skillfulness in one’s vocation”) that should characterize the lives, preaching and pastoral care of ministers. All ministers should seek to be as professional as possible in those things in which God has called them. Here are a few areas that I have in mind…


This is a crucial insight for church leaders…

The Danger of RestlessnessDan Reiland
Leaders in very large churches tend to be driven and get restless when the church isn’t growing as fast as experienced in recent years or even just months…

This restlessness causes high capacity driven leaders to divert their primary and creative energies from core activities to launch new endeavors within their churches…

The irony is that this investment of leadership energy is often the very thing that slows or prevents the primary mission, to reach more people for Christ and help them mature in their faith.

The better investment of leadership energy is to dig deep into the basics and stay focused there.


Speaking of being professional, would you want this job? Mike Rowe should feature this one on his show

It Was Once Someone’s Job to Chat With the King While He Used the ToiletNatalie Zarrelli
King William III and his mid-17th century "close stool," which is on display at Hampton Court.In the 1500s, the King of England’s toilet was luxurious: a velvet-cushioned, portable seat called a close-stool, below which sat a pewter chamber pot enclosed in a wooden box. Even the king had one duty that needed attending to every day, of course, but you can bet he wasn’t going to do it on his own. From the 1500s into the 1700s, British kings appointed lucky nobles the strangely prestigious chance to perform the king’s most private task of the day, as the Groom of the Stool.


Moms know best…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9aaXRzLzIwMTcvMDMvWml0cy4yMDE3MDMzMV85MDAuZ2lm
Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 3-28-2017

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

There is something important here for Christian leaders in all fields to remember…

The Pagans Who Will Save Christian Publishing
Samuel James
http://blogs.mereorthodoxy.com/samuel/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2017/01/book-809887_640.jpgWe asked Dr. Henry if he saw any hope in the coming generation of evangelicals.

And I will never forget his reply.

“Why, you speak as though Christianity were genetic,” he said. “Of course, there is hope for the next generation of evangelicals. But the leaders of the next generation might not be coming from the current evangelical establishment. They are probably still pagans.”

“Who knew that Saul of Tarsus was to be the great apostle to the Gentiles?” he asked us. “Who knew that God would raise up a C.S. Lewis, a Charles Colson? They were unbelievers who, once saved by the grace of God, were mighty warriors for the faith.”


Several typos in this article (which I always find annoying and distracting), but this is still a good point to remember…

God Does Not Answer “Selfie” Prayers!H.B. Charles
It is not wrong to bring your personal needs and wants to God in prayer. It is our privilege in Christ to come with confidence to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus commands his disciples to ask, seek, and knock in believing prayer. But remember that the priority of prayer is God and is glory, not you and your desires.


Google and Facebook Can’t Just Make Fake News DisappearDanah Boyd
Fake news is too big and messy to solve with algorithms or editors — because the problem is….us.

…I understand why folks want to do something now — there’s a lot of energy in this space, and the underlying issues at play have significant consequences for democracy and society. Yet what’s happening at this present moment is not actually new. It’s part of a long and complicated history, and it sheds light on a variety of social, economic, cultural, technological, and political dynamics that will not be addressed through simplistic solutions. Racing to implement Band-Aids may feel good, but I worry that such an approach creates a distraction while enabling the underlying issues to flourish.


Interesting insight…

Moral Relativism Is DeadTed Olsen
Moral Relativism Is DeadIt isn’t that conservatives and liberals have shrugged off transcendent ideas of right and wrong. Rather, they each appeal to a different transcendent moral foundation. We are not in an era of moral relativism but moral pluralism.

That’s not necessarily good news: It’s hard to build a unified society when we hold radically different moral visions. It’s even hard to have a conversation when we view each other as immoral.

But it does offer evangelistic opportunities. Our Great Commission was never to convince liberals that there are objective moral truths. Our neighbors already have a deep sense that something has gone terribly wrong in our world, that “all have sinned.” In our conversations with unbelievers, we owe them the respect to try to understand their moral commitments and frustrations. They very well may be motivated to look for answers, especially as they find their best moral efforts frustrated. The fields are ripe for the harvest.


Honesty is not always the best policy…
http://assets.amuniversal.com/36ac5ed0ea5101346b24005056a9545d
Dilbert – Click image for a larger view.