this went thru my mind

 

Anti-intellectualism: The Role of Education and Authority In the Church by Paul Smith

“… every time we tear down someone because they have a greater education than we do we tear down that part of the body of Christ. Not only that, but we tear down our future. We guarantee that our sons and daughters will choose fields of expertise other than Bible and theology, because everyone knows you can’t be a good Christian and be smart at the same time. Can somebody help me here? What is it about ignorance that is so appealing?”

Archaeology: A Sumerian Temple at Ur by Claude Mariottini

“… archaeologists have found a Sumerian temple in the ancient city of Ur, the traditional place of Abraham’s birth. According to the archaeologists, the temple is dated to 2500 B.C.”

Bible: Wishing the Bible was a Self-Help Book by John Acuff

“The Bible makes a pretty horrible self help book. Sometimes, that’s what I want it to be. … Perfection is my secret goal, not a deeper relationship with God. But unfortunately, the Bible is refusing to cooperate.”

Church: Church, Jesus, Faith, and the Institution by Patrick Mead

“… we are only institutionalized as much as we want to be. When men grab too much power, the bunnies and snowflakes move along. But faith doesn’t cease and neither does kingdom work. If you are in a church that is in conflict or is over controlled, you have options. You can leave or you can stay quietly or you can stay and work on changing things. But you don’t have the option of leaving the larger fellowship of believers and you don’t have the option to be a “loner Christian” when Christ called us to community. So whichever decision you make – stay with the group, snowflake.”

Communication: 5 Strategies for Becoming a Better Conversationalist by Michael Hyatt

“… conversations should be like a game of ping pong. You wait for the ball to come over the net, then you hit it back to the person on the other side. Then you do it all over again—and on it goes. In a good conversation, there is both give and take. This is something we have intentionally tried to pass on to our own children.”

Community: The Wisdom of Stability by J.R. Daniel Kirk

“Stability in Christ is always stability in community.”

Forgiveness: Broken Trust in God’s Country

“‘A hundred years from now, what will be the difference about how much money we had here?’ asked Emery E. Miller, a village resident and a proponent of the alternative plan, at the first creditors meeting. ‘But a hundred years from now, there will be a difference in how we responded to this from our moral being, from a moral level — the choices we made to forgive or not to forgive.'”

Google & your privacyHow to Opt Out of Google’s New Privacy Policy (Sort Of)

“Google’s new privacy policy will take effect on March 1. It consolidates Google’s 70 or so privacy policies across its products – from Gmail to YouTube to Blogger – down to one, and will pull data from users logged in to Google.”

Kind words: Don’t Wait for a Funeral to Give a Eulogy by Michael Hyatt

“We should start eulogizing those who mean the most to us before they leave us.”

Lies, damned lies & statistics: Santorum, Stats, and Dropout Rates of Religious College Students by Ed Stetzer

“This past Thursday (February 23), Rick Santorum told talk show host Glenn Beck that ’62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it.’ … Long story short: There are dropouts (and returns), but there is no statistical difference that the dropout rate among those who attended college than those that did not attend college.”

Ministry: 10 Things About Pastors You Need to Know by Joe McKeever

“He is a flawed, fallible human like the rest of us, and not some saintly somebody unacquainted with temptation and failings.”

Singles: An Unmarried Boomer

“As Baby Boomers age, their propensity for divorce—even in later age—is creating a generation of middle-aged unmarrieds. Now, as the first Boomers are turning 65, this ‘singlehood’ trend could have implications for the quality of life of these older Americans.”

Tradition & traditionalism: Pelikan on Tradition & Traditionalism

“Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. And, I suppose I should add, it is traditionalism that gives tradition such a bad name.”

elders: an elder’s prayer (1)

 

James Casey served as an elder of the Missouri Street Church of Christ for thirty-seven years (1967-2003). He was a man in whom it was easy to see faith, hope, and love and deep humility, genuine wisdom, and great courage were not lacking. He was a man in many ways, as we say, “ahead of his time.” I was privileged to serve under his leadership as such during the final ten years of his service and what a great joy in particular it always was for me to hear him pray. Words are simply not adequate to express the way he blessed my life over and over again during that time, often through his prayers.

Due in part to my relentless encouragement and insistence (more like nagging, actually) for him to submit a piece to Image magazine regarding eldering, “Casey” (as his friends were want to call him) penned “An Elder’s Prayer.” Denny Boultinghouse, Image‘s editor, kindly published it in the July/August 1996 issue (pp. 34-35). Image magazine is no longer in publication and Casey passed on to be with our Lord this January; however, his “Elder’s Prayer” deserves preservation and remembrance. With that in view, today, tomorrow, and Friday I’ll reproduce “An Elder’s Prayer” here. If you are an elder, you may want to make this prayer, or parts of it, your own. If you are not an elder, may it teach you as to some of the ways you can pray for your elders.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your good servant, James O. Casey, an elder’s elder.
_

Father, into our hands you have entrusted your flock. What a fearful responsibility! We thank you for that trust, but we do feel the added burden on our shoulders and the occasional inconvenience, but Lord, are we really prepared for the dedication you expect of us? We feel so helpless at times, Father! What can we do?

We call your sheep by name, Lord, but they do not come. We lead them to pasture, but they do not eat. What can we do to make the food for palatable? Could it be that we have fed them stale and unattractive food? Could it be that they have seen the argumentative nature we have developed from the food we revel in and thus shy away from the table? Father, we don’t want to feed them anything that is not on your menu, so please help us provide the proper food in its most luscious and appetizing form – the kind that will make them want to come back for more. Grant us the ability to discern when to feed them milk and when to provide meat.

Lord, forgive us for trying to drive them rather than lead them. Help us understand where effective leadership ends and lording it over begins.

Many times, Father, we have failed to strengthen the weak. It is so much easier to neglect them and hope they will survive on their own. Forgive us for not putting forth the effort required to determine and meet their needs – that is, their real needs – not that which coddles them, but that which causes them to grow strong and enables them to exercise their senses to discern both good and evil.

Forgive us, O Lord, for allowing the sick to go unattended. We know the Good Shepherd applies healing balm to his sick lambs, but we often let them die while we argue about the cure, then blame them for having been so sickly.

How often, Lord, have we seen your little ones fall prey to the wolves and receive serious injury on themselves. After all, we frequently warn them to stay near the flock for protection! But we know that these wolves come in many forms – even in the negative spirit of the lawmaker – yet we allow them to come in unchallenged, and the sheep are eventually overcome.

Why, O Lord, would a sheep want to stray from the flock and eventually get lost? What? You say he may not have planned to get lost? Do you mean he may have simply gone looking for greener pasture and strayed over the ridge and out of sight? Forgive us, Lord, for not noticing his lack of interest in remaining with the flock and for not searching for him when he was eventually missed. We have no excuse, Lord, because our Shepherd taught us the importance of looking for the lost one when the ninety-nine were safe at home.

praying for a change (13)

 

 

“From that time Jesus began to announce, ‘Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!'” (Matthew 4.17 CEB)

Lord,

As I seek change in my heart and habits, may I perceive those changes as not merely something:

 

  • of good for me,
  • of benefit to others,
  • and for the betterment of this world.

Instead, may I hear your announcement as it truly is:

  • a word straight from you, my Creator and Sustainer,
  • a clear warning not stand in the way of your will and work,
  • and a call to join you in the progression of your ways into and through all that is.

Amen.