Tag Archives: Preaching

Tuesday Picks ~ 10-10-2017

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

This made the rounds a few weeks ago. I share it again in case you missed it, or just decided to skip it. Don’t. It’s important…

Seek First to Understand: Can Public Discourse Be Saved?
Glenn Packiam
https://mysteryoffaithblog.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/img_0068.jpgWe don’t understand each other.

And I’m not sure how hard we’re trying.

This is not a post about athletes or anthems, flags or protests. *Take a deep breath.* This is about how we talk— or more accurately— how we listen to one another.

Years ago, Stephen Covey wrote in his ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, we should ‘seek first to understand, and then to be understood’. So in the effort to aid our understanding of one another, I’d like to offer some thoughts on how controversial and heated topics can become a pathway into empathy, and lead to better public discourse. I want to reflect for a moment on emotions, symbols, and language


My church has been transitioning from “Menu” to “Map” for a while now. The consumers haven’t made it easy…

Menus Create Church ConsumersEric Geiger
Church consumers treat their local churches like a country club; they have paid their fees and deserve a certain level of service in return. They threaten to join another club if things are not to their liking. Church consumers are not motivated by the mission but by themselves. Church consumers gather to evaluate, not to worship…

A menu approach to ministry is similar to a restaurant. People are offered long lists of programs and activities. Often new ones are added to appease someone who wants something new on the menu…

A map approach to ministry is very different. Church leaders want to take people somewhere—toward maturity in Christ—and they provide a process to grow. They articulate a clear direction and they invite people on the adventure….


A good reminder for those who prepare to preach each week…

After a Man Travels to The Furthest Reaches of the Known World He Had This to SayMike Leake
Stairs Beneath the Canopy 2 by Geoff Box on 500px.comJudson was one of the early missionaries. He was the first Caucasian missionary who was a Protestant to travel to Burma to share the gospel. He had been there for some 30 years and came back to his sending church…

I’m glad that they now have the message that a man traveling to the farthest away point in the world had nothing better to tell them than the wondrous story of the dying love of Jesus!

Isn’t this true of us as well? And isn’t this a sobering reminder for us preacher to focus all of our illustrations and preaching on this one great aim—exalting Jesus!


Know your bees…
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Wrong Hands

Thursday Picks ~ 7-6-2017

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

The ‘Church’ of Facebook?Alex Duke
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/made/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/church_facebook_1200_700_c1_.jpgI’m deeply thankful for Zuckerberg’s desire to leave the world better than he found it. I’m even more thankful he sees the need for humans to connect to communities and even institutions in order to do so. His intuition about our need for relationships is exactly right…

But with all its grandiose plans to change the world, this kind community sets a remarkably low bar for us as humans in relationship; it’s strictly opt-in, strictly self-directed, strictly un-real, and available only for a few…

Real churches on the other hand—they’re hard…

And though it sounds quaint, these real churches are also actually here. They exist in space and time, and they’re filled not just with second-hand stories but with open-armed bodies that we’ve collapsed into after yet another miscarriage, yet another “no” after a job interview, yet another unexpected death. What’s more, these churches are open to all—no e-mail address or internet connection required—and they make known their beliefs to the world through sounds more magnetic than the dull whir of a modem or the clickety clack of a keyboard. These real churches simply sing and preach and pray—and in it all we find something far grander than even man’s most optimistic hope to change the world. We find the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10).

Can you believe such a thing is within our reach?


Why Trump’s Vengeful Tweeting MattersDavid French
http://c4.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/styles/original_image_with_cropping/public/uploaded/donald-trump-mika-brzezinski-vengeful-tweets-degrade-american-political-culture.jpg?itok=z-88D5QXWords still matter, and the president’s words are often reprehensible. Even those who say, “Talk to me about what he does, not what he tweets” know this to be true. How can I tell? Because these same people incessantly point to liberal words and are unceasingly outraged by liberal tweets. Indeed, they often act as if a random news anchor’s comments are somehow more consequential than the president’s. I know. I see the clickbait everywhere.

A conservative can fight for tax reform, celebrate military victories over ISIS in Mosul, and applaud Trump’s judicial appointments while also condemning Trump’s vile tweets and criticizing his impulsiveness and lack of discipline. A good conservative can even step back and take a longer view, resolving to fight for the cultural values that tribalism degrades. Presidents matter not just because of their policies but also because of their impact on the character of the people they govern. Conservatives knew that once. Do they still?


On CoastingDarryl Dash
CoastingI’ve seen plenty of average preachers who’ve applied themselves and become competent preachers. And I’ve seen some gifted preachers apply themselves and become excellent. The ones I worry about the most are the gifted preachers and pastors who’ve decided to coast.


Simultaneously funny and sad…

NPR Tweeted the Declaration of Independence on July 4 and Some People Flipped Out
Every year, NPR reads (and lately, tweets) the Declaration of Independence to celebrate the Fourth of July. It’s a time-honored tradition but, this year, for some reason, a truly depressing number of people took it the wrong way. The Declaration was, of course, a call to arms—a rallying cry to overthrow tyranny and establish a new government in its place.

Given that modern American culture is wildly politicized and all too often poorly informed, it’s perhaps not surprising that a lot of people interpreted the tweets as a publicly funded media outlet encouraging citizens to rebel against President Donald Trump.


Historic Status Updates…
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Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 4-13-2017

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

Frances FitzGerald on how evangelicals lost their way
David Gushee
When religious folk get entangled with secular politicians in the political arena, the politicians always win. They have home field advantage. The earnest religious types get played. And the people in the pews start heading for the exits.

Faithful Christian discipleship does involve bearing witness to Christian convictions in public. But drawing the line between this dimension of Christian proclamation, on the one hand, and getting used by politicians, on the other, has proved very difficult for evangelical Christians since at least Billy Graham. It’s a sordid story, and it has shaped American religion and public life for more than a generation.


Pastor, Don’t Waste Your Exclamation Points
Jared C. Wilson
exclamation
Pastor, our people don’t usually get excited about what we tell them to be excited about. Have you figured that out yet? Instead, they get excited about what they see actually excites us.

This means we ought to steward our exclamation points wisely. If you’re one of those rah-rah guys firing on all emotional cylinders for everything from bake sales and the book table to baptisms and baby dedications, you create an equality between minutiae and missional milestones that can be disorienting, and ultimately dulling. But more directly, just remember that if everything is exciting, nothing is.


If you haven’t seen The Planet Earth it is simply amazing. It’s way beyond any documentary I’ve ever seen. It’s true that God is not present in the film, but it still leads me to worship…

Planet Earth II: Missing the Maker in the Majesty
John Stonestreet
There’s almost religious reverence and wonder spilling from every scene, as if the producers themselves know that a greater purpose lies behind the beauty of the things they see—as if they know that all of this living magnificence is more than the result of time, chance, and natural selection, but have no One else to credit…

As a feast for the senses, I can’t recommend “Planet Earth II” highly enough. But as an articulation of a worldview, it’s strikingly dissonant. In the face of so much majesty and order that cries out in testament to a Designer, modern man offers only empty personification, as if creation created itself.


 

Who Would Jesus Abort? Confessions of a “Christian” Abortion DoctorRussell Moore
BABY
Willie Parker is an abortion doctor. He says he’s not ashamed of that. Willie Parker also says he is a born-again follower of Jesus Christ. That one’s more complicated…

Parker is a kind of circuit-riding abortionist, spending time at various abortion clinics all over the South. The book, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice is one part an autobiography, and one-part a political manifesto for the legality—and even the goodness—of abortion. Even as one who has to wade through all sorts of material assaulting human dignity, I found that I would gasp at the lackadaisical nature of Parker’s reflections…

To dehumanize the unborn child, to reduce the child’s mother to her ability to make “choices” about the life and death of others, is to dehumanize Jesus. In Christ, after all, God has “anthropomorphized” himself. And we are introduced to Jesus in the biblical story, just as John the Baptist was, as an unborn child (Luke 1:44). To keep doing his job, Parker must depersonalize the women and children he encounters. He must depersonalize God into an unblinking, non-judging cosmic abstraction.


Preparing to Preach on EasterDarryl Dash
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Preachers face temptations in preaching. I find that these temptations escalate around Easter. We face the temptation to impress, to rely on gimmicks, and to overcomplicate the message. It’s easy to focus on all the wrong things.

We should desire to communicate as effectively as possible. It’s not wrong to try to be clear and to improve our communication skills. It is wrong, though, to rely on our skills as the source of power, or to switch the focus to us from Christ…

Get out of the way this Easter. Don’t give into the temptation to impress. Keep the focus on Jesus.


The Boston Typewriter Orchestra…


The oppression of Earl…
Non Sequitur – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 4-11-2017

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

For the Christian PerfectionistFaith Chang
https://reformedmargins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/pexels-photo-362749-1.jpegI’m not writing here about people who are Christians and happen to be perfectionists in other areas in life. I’m referring to those of you who love the gospel, live in the church without hidden sin, but struggle, maybe even to the point of despair, with the feeling of never being good enough before God.

You know and love Jesus, and you glory that your sins are no longer yours to carry. You know that your position before God is by grace alone, and have experienced the joy of his forgiveness. You desire to do God’s will and to walk in obedience to him. And you live under the constant fear of making a mistake before God.

Christian perfectionist, this piece is for you…


10 Ugly Numbers Describing Pornography Use in 2017
Tim Challies
As technology changes and as new generations grow up, the pornographic landscape inevitably changes. I went looking for updated numbers and want to present some of them to you today. All of these are based on credible studies carried out in 2016 or 2017…

In 2016, people watched 4.6 billion hours of pornography at just one website (the biggest porn site in the world). That’s 524,000 years of porn or, if you will, around 17,000 complete lifetimes. In that same time people watched 92 billion videos (or an average of 12.5 for every person on earth). Significance: So many people are using so much porn today that it is really impossible to tabulate.


Are We Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing?
Kevin DeYoung
large_make-the-most-of-holy-week-l503ynhwThis is not the week for being savvy and sophisticated. This is the week for being simple. Sin and salvation. Death and resurrection. Let every preacher preach this gospel and every congregation hold fast to this word (1 Cor. 15:1-2).

Holy Week is a check-up for the Church. To use a tag line that’s already overused, if your core message for this week is something other than “Christ died for our sins,” you’re doing Christianity wrong. If you want to preach about gender equality or social justice or progressive dispensationalism or the extra Calvinisticum, do it a different week. This week is about a substitute for our sin and an empty tomb for our justification.


Why our churches need more gray hairDenny Burk
In sum, Paul says that older men must be those who do not panic in the face of a challenge. They do not get angry when provoked. They do not fear in the face of a threat. The older men are to be as solid as an oak. They are to be the kind of men to whom people look when something is broken and no one knows how to fix it. They are the kind of men who are sought out for their wisdom and ability to speak truth into very difficult situations.

They are exemplary in faith and in love for wife and children and church and neighbor. They face trials with perseverance and courage. They are the kind of men that you want your son to grow up and be like.

Churches desperately need their older men to exemplify being sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Churches need an army of laymen who believe well, love well, and suffer well. And churches need them because these older men are the pace-setters for the rest of the church.


Take eight minutes and be inspired and encouraged…

“When I look at the story, I realize who Barabbas really is. That’s me. That’s you. That’s us.”

“We can pretend like some people are better than others and that’s why they’re blessed, or we can all come to the honest conclusion that it’s God, and it’s God alone.”


And those people are right. It’s unnatural…
Off the Mark

Tuesday Picks ~ 3-21-2017

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

You are not unknown to God…

To the Unknown PastorJordan Standridge
shepherd-carrying-sheep1It is said that there are creatures in the depths of the oceans that remain undiscovered to this day. Astronomers keep finding new stars and new planets each and every year that, for millennia, have been seen only by God.  Every undiscovered animal, plant, and planet brings glory to God by the mere fact that He sees them, and He gets glory from their beauty even if He is the only one who knows that they exist.

In much the same way… I believe that God has men whom He has specifically placed around the world that bring Him glory every single Sunday, and no one other than their congregations know anything about them…

While we all want to complain about the state of the Church… I think it’s helpful to remember… that there are many men around the country and around the world who faithfully shepherd their congregations, joyfully counsel them, diligently prepare and spend as many hours preparing for sermons that they will preach to a couple dozen people as others do to thousands, and please their Savior through their joyful attitude throughout.


Some good (and hard) advice here for preachers…

Preaching and PersonalityGary Millar
http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-preaching-is-truth-through-personality-phillips-brooks-120-45-39.jpgSome people are more interesting to listen to than others. I’m sorry, but it’s true, and it’s now out there. Some people make me sit on the edge of my seat, and others have the gift of encouraging me to slide back as far as I can go. So what makes the difference? What makes a talk engaging rather than sleep-inducing? Some people have written books about this, but even the very best of these leave something out. Yes, we can make sure that our language is arresting, and our structure clear, and our application rich and our biblical theology compelling—but there is another factor which is slightly harder to address. It’s the personality factor…

…They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and there’s something in that. But it’s also deeply inauthentic. In contrast, there is real freedom in accepting that you are who you are, and learning to speak in your own voice. Although I would say though that this is more easily said than done.


Confessing the Sin of PlatformingJ.A. Medders
My heart hatched plans to artificially build a platform, increase my influence, and widen my readership. The blueprints for the tower were coming together. And then, conviction came right on time. Freedom rang too. God exposed the slimy residue of my heart. It wasn’t fun. It was quite embarrassing to admit—to tell my wife, my elders, and my agent—and now you. A blessed embarrassment.

I believed the lie I could make a name for myself for the sake of Christ. Baloney. That’s not how the Kingdom works. Sure, it might be how some Christian publishers work, but it’s not the way of Christ.


The Prodigal’s BrotherJennifer Johnson
But for me, this story is also an uncomfortable reminder that I don’t get to control God. If I’m only serving my Father as a way to get blessings and favor from him, my behavior actually lacks integrity. And if he is truly my Father, he is free to parent me and bless me however he sees fit, and what he does for others – even if I’ve been “better” than they are – is none of my concern.


Restraint…
http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/bizarro-03-14-17.jpg
Bizarro

Weekend Picks ~ 3-3-2017

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

Interesting historical perspective on information, truth, and trust…

Trust Without TeachersChad Wellmon
For centuries, universities and academies have served this cultural function. They were bulwarks against falsehood and institutions for truth…

Knowledge was tied to the character of particular people, teachers who cultivated traditions and cared for their students…

The proliferation of digital technologies affords not just more access but also more opportunities for individual actors—people, states, and institutions—to spread disinformation…

The bigger threat, in other words, is a cultural corrosion of belief, whereby citizens and users of digital technologies trust no one and no institution. No democracy could survive such a collapse in authoritative knowledge, knowledge that is widely trusted. Our common challenge, then, is how to work with our technologies and each other to understand what it means to know, trust, and act in an age of information superabundance.

…today trustworthiness resides neither in a purely mechanical domain nor in a purely human one. It resides at the intersection of the two. The engineers who design and manipulate these algorithms and the tech titans who own them are people.


Speaking of information, truth, and trust…

This Is How Your Hyperpartisan Political News Gets MadeCraig Silverman
The stories read like they were stamped out of the same content machine because they were. Using domain registration records and Google Analytics and AdSense IDs, BuzzFeed News determined that both sites are owned by American News LLC of Miami.

That company also operates another liberal site, Democratic Review, as well as American News, a conservative site that drew attention after the election when it posted a false article claiming that Denzel Washington endorsed Trump. It also operates GodToday.com, a site that publishes religious clickbait…

Now that it has at least two liberal sites and two conservative ones, American News LLC appears to be setting its sights on expanding its presence in the religious clickbait space. On Feb. 17 John Crane registered two new domains: DevoutAmerica.com and EthicalAmerican.com.


Church leaders, you may have experienced your own “letter from a concerned church member” and you may want to emulate this response…

Letter from a ‘Concerned Church Member’Jared C. Wilson

Dear Pastor,

I have thought a long time about whether I should write this letter to you. You know that I’m not one to complain. But after talking it over with five or ten other folks in the congregation and realizing that some people had similar concerns, I thought you had the right to know. Below are some suggestions to consider…

Dear ‘Concerned Church Member’Jared C. Wilson

Dear Concerned Church Member,

I received your letter with great interest, as I’m always grateful for the sharpening of my skills, knowledge, and, of course, personality. I know I always have room to improve as a pastor…

Since you did not sign your letter and most everyone you mentioned has gone unidentified…

Therefore, because I cannot respond to you directly, I am posting this letter to the bulletin board in the fellowship hall. See “you” at the next potluck!


What Constitutes a Pastoral Approach?Kevin DeYoung
lightstock_270942_small_tgc Pastors must be patient and kind, but “pastoral” is not another way of saying nice guy…

To be “pastoral” is to be tough and tender, courageous and comforting. The adjective must be sufficiently broad as to make sense of the broadness of the biblical imagery. Being pastoral is different than active listening combined with non-offensiveness. A truly pastoral approach exercises authority with compassion, provides protection through self-sacrifice, and looks after the weak by offering leadership that is strong.


The church’s urban focus overlooks working-class whites
Anthony Bradley
©iStock.com/Jennifer GarciaBy overlooking the working class and small towns, we are inadvertently missing new opportunities to bring the gospel and holistic redemption to areas where the majority of America’s poor people live, where suicide rates are surging, where we find the new frontier for America’s worst HIV problems, where the mortality rates for middle-aged white women are at all-time highs, where manufacturing is dying out, where Americans are the most depressed and nihilistic about life, where America’s drug use is the highest.


Quoteworthy…

“Many a brilliant thirty minute sermon was undone by the preacher carrying on to the fifty minute mark.” -Carl Trueman

http://www.challies.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Challies_Feb26-Mar4-05.png


Behold the power of coffee…
http://assets.amuniversal.com/d146b7b0d43401344eb0005056a9545d
Dilbert – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 12-6-2016

xmas-tuesday-picks

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

Written for women, but applicable to all…

Sisters, Jesus Is Not Your CheerleaderMelissa Kruger
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/sisters-jesus-is-not-your-cheerleader-1.jpgIf your devotional, Bible study group, or conference is more focused on who you are than who Jesus is, it’s time to pick up a new book or find another group…

If there’s no cross in our Christianity, no denial in our own lives, we have to wonder if we’re following the real Jesus…

When our devotionals or teachers speak more about finding our lives than losing them, we miss out on the wonder of the Christian life. If we’re frightened to call others to the narrow path—the life of a living sacrifice—it might be because we’re still hanging our hopes on this present world. Yet when we fix our hope on heaven, we’re liberated to pour out our lives on earth. And, to our surprise, we find our lives precisely by giving them away.


You may find this interesting…

Who Was St. Nicholas?Kevin DeYoung
There is no record of his existence attested in any document until the 6th century.  By that time Nicholas, whoever he had been, was already famous.  The emperor Justinian dedicated a church to him in Constantinople.  Initially, Nicholas was most well known in the East.  But by 900, a Greek wrote “The West as well as the East acclaims and glorifies him.  Wherever there are people, his name is revered and churches are built in his honor.  All Christians reverence his memory and call upon his protection.”  In 1087, Italian sailors stole his supposed relics and took them from Myra to Bari, Italy.  This greatly increased his popularity in Europe and made Bari one of the most crowded pilgrimage sites.  It is said that Nicholas was represented by medieval artists more than any other saint except Mary.


Coercion from any side is not the answer…

The Left’s Doomed Effort to Coerce the Right
Megan McArdle
https://assets.bwbx.io/images/users/iqjWHBFdfxIU/iH.i6tJXMEm0/v0/1200x-1.jpgEventually both sides of those religious disputes noticed how fragile their victories were, how easily the swordpoint conversions were reversed when the fortunes of war shifted, and how devastating their own subsequent losses often were. They decided that it was better to live uneasily together than to try to stamp out the other side…

With America seemingly dividing into two countries, riven by intractable value differences, this is a lesson that culture warriors on both sides need to relearn. Really, what is the cost to society if two HGTV hosts are allowed to thrive without disavowing their pastor’s comments on same-sex marriage? The far greater risk comes from trying to compel them to do so, whether through hard government power or soft private coercion.


I like this idea!

A Novel Idea for Preaching ChristmasH.B. Charles Jr.
matthew-1-21-nlt-web-001You feel they have heard the major text and key narratives before. And you fear being a bad steward of the opportunity by repeating yourself.

If this is the situation you find yourself in, I would like to offer a novel idea. Preach the key passages and stories anyway. Don’t look for something new to say. Dig deep in the word of God to find fresh water from the old wells…

Don’t look for something new to preach this Christmas. Preach the rich cast of characters around the manger. Preach the key stories about the birth of Jesus. Preach the major Old Testament prophesies fulfilled by Christ. Preach the meaning of meaning of the Incarnation from the epistles. Preach Jesus!


Learning from an expert…
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Off the Mark

Weekend Picks ~ 11-11-2016

Picks Weekend

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

7 Ways Successful Creatives Think Differently than Unsuccessful OnesMichael Hyatt
creative teamThe easy answer is the wrong one. It’s not talent. Talent definitely plays a role. But it doesn’t explain why some creatives with marginal skill become successful and others with extraordinary abilities never really make it…Instead, I think the determining factor is to be found in how they think. Successful creatives cultivate a different mindset than unsuccessful ones. This is evident in seven ways…


Yes, He Thought Trump Would Win. No, He Didn’t Use Hard Data.Jennifer …the thing I like most about being right is that it puts some pressure on conventional punditry, which I think is really a pernicious influence on our nation.

Punditry has no scientific basis but simply reacts to the latest polls, which miss the fundamentals of an election and what really drives our politics…


7 Simple Ways To Raise Non-Materialistic Children
Bob Lotich
If you want to raise kids who aren't always obsessed with the latest and greatest, and who don't wrap their self-esteem in their possessions, then check out some of these tips to raise non-materialistic children ...Ironically, many children raised in wealth demonstrate the same tendencies as those who are raised in extreme poverty: depression, despair, attempted suicide, drug and alcohol use, and shoplifting. Why this behavior? The parents, who are often too busy making money, sacrifice meaningful time with their children....
Admittedly, raising children in a world obsessed with stuff is a tough, tough job.

As savvy advertisers target these kids from early youth, and as their peers are quick to sport whatever the latest and greatest may be, the parents must be vigilant in teaching their children that such possessions do not make one happy, and, in fact, are detrimental to true happiness.

So . . . in this materialistic society, how does one go about raising non-materialistic children?

These tips will help…


How Churches in America’s Least Religious Region Talk About SexualityTone matters, he said, since being contentious will get you nowhere. But being bold matters, too.

“I don’t take the approach that we shouldn’t talk about the issues,” he said. “I preached this Sunday on family. I explained the sexual ethic Jesus lays down. You’re either going to be married or live like a eunuch. If you haven’t been married, that’s how you’re supposed to live.”

When Mabry preaches on tough topics, he often hears, “I can’t believe you talked about that.”

His response: “You talk about it. Professors talk about it. Why can’t I talk about it?”


We’re living in Improbable Times…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/improbable-times.jpg
Wrong Hands

Monday Picks ~ 10-3-2016

Picks Monday

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

Andy Stanley has received a lot of criticism for his comments in a recent sermon called The Bible Told Me So. Below is his response to that criticism. I highly recommend this article whether you’ve followed this debate or not. It is a well reasoned, biblically informed, and persuasive defense of his approach to preaching to a post-Christian society. Whether you’re in church leadership, or simply one of those faithful members who wonder why things are so different than they used to be, I believe this will be a helpful, and possibly challenging read. It’s not short so you may need to set aside a little time, but it is extremely worthwhile.

Why ‘The Bible Says So’ Is Not Enough Anymore
Andy Stanley
andy-stanley-message-method-in-a-post-christian-americaOnce upon a time our faith was stronger than Roman steel and tougher than Roman nails. Against all odds a small band of Jesus followers defied an empire and claimed their leader came to replace the temple. Two-thousand years later, we’re still standing. All over the world. And we have the internet! So I’m not worried. But I’m not sitting around praying for revival either. I grew up in the pray for revival culture. It’s a cover for a church’s unwillingness to make changes conducive to real revival. You want revival? Start assuming there are post-Christian people in the room. All the rooms. Begin evaluating through the eyes and ears of post-Christians.

Don’t know any?

That may be part of the problem…

Years ago our organization made several decisions to better position us to minister to and recapture the attention of post-Christian people. We adjusted our sails. We cast our nets on the other side. We … you get the picture. And why wouldn’t we? The data Barna and others have collected should cause all of us to stop and rethink what we’re doing. Al Mohler’s statement should cause our hearts to skip a beat. As I mentioned earlier, it was about eight years ago that I adjusted my preaching to compensate for an increasingly post-Christian audience. I adapted my approach. An adaptation that, as we’ve seen, left some of my conservative Christian brothers and sisters wondering about my orthodoxy. I get that. I just wish they would ask more questions and make fewer accusations. I’m easy to find.


Is Politeness Killing Your Prayer Life?Christel Humfrey
Christians in North America are generally polite pray-ers. We tend to pray correct, respectful words that we think God wants to hear. But let’s be honest . . . many of our prayers are tentative, repetitive, and somewhat boring.

I’m all for politeness with acquaintances. But real relationships require more…

Intimate relationships require authentic feelings. Our innermost thoughts—however wrong or immature—are shared in trust. So why do we keep God at arm’s length? Are we trying to be something we’re not? Are we afraid to trouble Him? God is our Father, yet we often treat Him like a distant relative.


An ancient toilet provides evidence of biblical history…

The wrong kind of throne: Toilet discovered at 2,800-year-old shrine reveals Biblical tale of desecration of religious sites by King HezekiahRichard Gray
Archaeologists have discovered a stone toilet (pictured) in a shrine hidden within the city gate at the ruins of the city of Tel Lachish in Israel. It is thought to have been installed as part of a crackdown on religious cults by King Hezekiah 
It was one of the most zealous religious crackdowns in the history of Judaism and saw the numerous cults in ancient Judah smashed to pieces.

Now evidence of the reforms implemented by King Hezekiah, which are described in the Old Testament, around 2,800 years ago have surfaced in a surprising form.

Archaeologists digging at the site of an ancient gate to the ruined city of Tel Lachish in Israel have uncovered the remains of a shrine that was desecrated during the purges in the 8th century BC…

…perhaps the greatest sign that the shrine had been the site of one of King Hezekiah’s crackdowns was the installation of the toilet within the inner sanctum of the shrine.

This stone with a hole cut through the centre would have been the ultimate desecration of the Holy site.


Reminder: October is Pastor Appreciation Month…

If God gives you influence the enemy gives you attention!Ron Edmondson
preacher
Pray for a pastor or church leader today. And, drop them a quick note to let them know you did.

 


Urban lumberjacks…
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Bizarro

 

Weekend Picks ~ 9-30-2016

Picks Weekend

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

I can’t tell you how much I love this article…

Shut Down the Bus Tours: What Older Church Members Should Really Be DoingCarey Nieuwhof
older church membersToo many churches have played into the trap of trying to cater to the needs of perfectly capable over-50 adults in their church, as though they were a demographic to be appeased, and not mobilized…

Biblical community is more nuanced and powerful than hipsters ministering to hipsters and seniors ministering to seniors. It’s about pairing up the generations to learn from each other, serve side by side and build into each other.


Attendance numbers alone won’t tell you. Here’s how to tell…

You Know You’re Really Preaching the Gospel When…
Dave Harvey
gospelPastoral ministry isn’t like sports, in which even the most obscure statistics (average yards per carry on third downs after 3:00 PM) are quantified and assigned value. Ministry isn’t like business either, with a bottom line that is either distinctly red or distinctly black. Ministry isn’t like manufacturing, which is often boiled down to the how many you sold and how much you made on each sale. No, ministry is much more nebulous. Earthly equations for determining a pastor’s success or failure are much more difficult to come by…

So how can a pastor tell when he’s faithfully preaching the gospel? Here are several indicators. You know you’re preaching the gospel when…


I appreciated this reminder…

This Is What It Means To Be IncludedTim FallPhoto: http://brooklynsplayground.org/
Two year old Tatum Bakker had never been able to swing on a playground swing set until they visited Brooklyn’s Playground on their way through Pocatello, Idaho. It’s a playground designed for children who are physically able and for those who are less able to play on together, named for the little girl who started it all, Brooklyn Fisher…

It’s a place where everyone can come together and play to their heart’s content.

It sounds like heaven to me. Literally…

God’s home is a place where everyone gets to participate and enjoy everything, living life to the full. (John 10:10.)


Given my forgetfulness, I would find this idea very helpful…

Maybe You Need To Declare a Name Amnesty Sunday
Tim Challies
Is It Time To Declare a Name Amnesty SundayIt’s probably a silly idea. It’s probably the kind of thing we came up with late on a Friday afternoon and laughed about before realizing, “Actually, maybe there’s something to this.” Somehow it became a bit of a tradition for Grace Fellowship Church and, even better, one we rather enjoy. We call it “Name Amnesty Sunday” and we hold one every few months. Let me tell you how it works and how it might benefit your church.

You’ve had the experience. I know you have. You’ve seen new people at church and meant to meet them, but never got around to it. Now they’ve been attending for 3 or 4 months and you know it will be just plain awkward to march up to them to introduce yourself. After all, what kind of a church member, or church leader even, waits that long before making introductions?

Maybe it’s worse than that. Maybe you met them the week they first visited, you spent a few minutes chatting and getting to know them, then walked away and realized, “I’ve already forgotten their names.” Now you’re in that cringe-worthy spot where you nod or wave or say “hello” every Sunday while hoping they don’t figure out that you’ve forgotten who they are.

Or maybe you don’t even remember whether or not you’ve met them. You have a vague memory of meeting them or someone like them, but is it possible you’re remembering intention rather than reality? Now you find it easier just to keep your distance.

What can you do? You can declare a Name Amnesty Sunday…


O.T. Clickbait…
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Wrong Hands – Click image for larger view.