links: this went thru my mind

 

Authority & personal experience: Sola Experienca is For Real. [essential reading]

“There was a time when experience saluted Scripture.”

Belonging, change, church membership, expectations & transformation: * Performance Anxiety; * Corporate vs. Individual Christian Identity [essential reading]

* “Choosing a church (or non-church) where we ‘fit,’ may be the strongest guarantee that we will never be asked to change. This, I suspect, is why we do it. In church, as in the rest of life, we don’t want transformation as much as we say we do. We’d rather have comfort. The best thing many of us could do is envisage church as an opportunity to embrace that which is outside of us, that which does not – at least on the surface – appeal to what we already are.

* “The documents of the NT, with a few exceptions, are addressed to communities and not to individuals.  Many of us know this and it may not be too shocking, but the significances of this reality must continue to transform how we envision Christian identity.”

Commitment, endurance, faithfulness, love, selflessness & vision: Father-Son Duo, Team Hoyt, Celebrates 37 Years of Inspiring Teamwork With One Last Boston Marathon

“In 1962, Dick and Judy Hoyt welcomed their son, Rick, into an unsuspecting world — a world that would forever be changed by their presence and sacrifice. Because of complications with his birth, Rick was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. … Dick remembers the advice of the doctors who suggested that his son would essentially be non-functioning, and that he should place him in an institution. Dick refused.”

Gossip: Gossip is a Spiritual Issue

“Whether it’s cloaked in a prayer request, ‘concern’ for another or simply news from the grapevine, Christians have a problem with gossip. I have yet to find a place where gossip isn’t present on some level or another.”

Hearing, listening, preaching, responsibility & sermons: When Hearing Fails

“We can control what we preach, but we cannot control how the message is heard. This is frustrating, but it is also something we need to come to grips with. We have no power or control over how another person hears our words.”

Jesus, sacrifice, & suicide: Did Jesus Commit Suicide?

“So Jesus did not kill himself, but he did act in such a way so as to bring about his death.  In some extraordinary way he seemed to control those final hours and what ultimately happened to him.”

Marriage: Letter to Our Grandsons on Choosing a Wife [essential reading]

“The typical thinking has always been that the main issue for marriage is ‘do we love each other?’ It isn’t.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Accountability, awareness, Christian faith, knowledge, social injustice & violence: We Cannot Say We Did Not Know [essential reading]

“The sage in Proverbs 24:11-12 warns us to rescue those being led away to death: ‘If you say, “We did not know this” – does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it? And will he not repay all according to their deeds?'”

Children, parenting & sex: 7 Suggestions for Talking to Children about Sex

“I recognized that helping my children live pure and healthy sexual lives would be a challenge in a culture that is often defined by sex. I wanted to be the primary influencer in their development as adults, because I knew no one had a stronger desire for them to make wise choices than me.”

Church membership: The 7 Commandments for Choosing a Church

“If you don’t like the church where you are, the problem is probably you (or at least partially you… but probably mostly you).”

Forgiveness, intercession, love & ministry: The Chaplain from Missouri Who Tried to Save the Black Souls of the Nazis at Nuremberg

“… he would ultimately minister 13 of 21 of Hitler’s most malevolent Nazi leaders on trial in Nuremberg after World War Two for their heinous war crimes.”

Guests, visitors & welcome: 7 Ways to Connect with Guests Beyond the First Greeting

“Your God is awesome. Your church is wonderful. Yet guests who visit your church don’t often return. No true connection was made. A parking lot greeter in our church expressed that concern: ‘We’ve got to figure out how to actually connect every guest with another person. Our flippant hellos or glad-you-cames just aren’t adequate.’ Why not challenge every member of your church to use these seven tips to connect with guests.”

Youth ministry: Tribal Youth Ministry (Part 1): The Necessity of Age Desegregation in Our Churches [essential reading]

“This article is by Duncan Campbell and is the first of three outlining his approach to transitioning youth ministry toward a more intergenerational approach. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest questions facing churches today as we are beginning to see the connections between our traditional approaches to youth ministry and the disconnect from parents and other adults being a part of the faith development of our children, and the mass exodus from church by young adults.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Bible classes, children & Sunday School: I Wonder If Sunday School Is Destroying Our Kids

“Here is how we destroy the gospel message. Look at almost any Sunday school curriculum. You’ll find …”

Church membership: I Am a Church Member by Thom Rainer

“I will be a functioning church member: The church is a unified body made up of many parts. All parts must function in their role or the church becomes weak. I will be a unifying church member: Unity is every church members’ responsibility. Gossip and unforgiveness break down unity. I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires: Church membership is about servanthood. I will pray for my church leaders: Without ongoing prayer for leaders by church members, our churches will not be healthy. I will lead my family to be healthy church members: Show your children and spouse how to love the church unconditionally. I will treasure church membership as a gift: When we view membership as a gift, our sense of entitlement fades.”

Culture & society: How the Last Decade Changed American Life

“One of the greatest self-perception changes over the past decade is in how Americans see themselves in relation to others. For all the technological advances in the past decade, the desire for human connectedness remains. Ten years ago, slightly over one out of 10 Americans self-identified as lonely. Today, that number has doubled—a paradoxical reality in the full swing of the social media age.”

Israel & Palestine: What God May Be Up to In the Land of the Bible

“Regarding day-to-day life in Israel and the West Bank …”

Ministry: Ministry Fence Posts (parts 1 & 2)

“Without properly set and upheld boundaries, individuals will more likely experience exhaustion of both body and spirit.”

this went thru my mind

 

Christianity: Christians First by K. Rex Butts

“… for Christians, our national/ethnic identity belongs to the old self that has been crucified with Christ in the waters of baptism. We may need to refer to our national/ethnic identities for legal and business proceedings in this world, but they should never be the identity we live out of. … it is no longer our national or ethnic identities that determine what we say and do. … Once we realize this, a world of missions opens up right in our very own neighborhood.”

Church: * Church: Institution for Overactive Consciences?; * My Church is Too Small by Marc Cortez

* “… church is a movement and not an institution …”

* “My problem … was with my vision of the church. I saw the church as a means to an end, and that end was my own spiritual growth.”

Church membership: 40 Reasons to be Part of a Local Church by Jesse Johnson

“At the bare minimum, there are forty different commands in the New Testament to live life in some sense with other believers. While certainly it is possible to do some of these with Christians in general, the weight of this list should convince you of the necessity of having on going relationships with other believers.”

Speech & words: An Open Letter to Ann Coulter by John Franklin Stephens [required reading]

“Come on Ms. Coulter … why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?”

This is cool: Google’s Street View Goes Into The Wild by Steve Henn

“Google’s Street View maps are headed into the backcountry.”

this went thru my mind

 

Assumptions: Better to Ask than Assume by Rubel Shelly

“Lots of confusion could be eliminated and far more progress made this week by following this simple rule: When something isn’t clear, ask. Don’t assume. Don’t guess. Don’t mind-read. Trying swallowing your pride and saying, ‘I’m not sure I understand. Do you mind explaining that to me?'”

Bible geography & interpretation: Studying the Land by Wayne Stiles

“Studying historical geography, in my own experience, has permanently marked my life and changed the way I understand the Bible.”

Church & self: Church as Self-mortification? by Richard Beck

“A big part of church is learning to say No to yourself.”

Church leadership & successWhy Are So Many Church Leaders Falling? by Shawn Lovejoy

“Here’s my basic conclusion: the main reason so many of us are struggling stems from our basic definition of success. Our root problem is that we have exchanged God’s definition of success for our own. We have begun to measure success the way the world does.”

Church membership: Leaving Church … for Another Church by K. Rex Butts

“… the reasons for which we leave one church for another is a luxury that only a culture of affluence, division, and denominations can afford!”

Reading: Top 10 Most Read Books in the World [infographic; I've currently only read #1, #9, and #10]

“Based on number of books printed and sold over the last 50 years.”

Shopping: Skip Impulse Buys with a 30-Day List

“Take a minute to create a 30-day list, and every time you want to buy something that’s not absolutely necessary … put it on the list with the date it was added to the list. Make a rule never to buy anything (except necessities) unless they’ve been on the list for 30 days.”

Spiritual growth: How Spiritual Growth Really Happens by Brian Jones

“A Christian taking credit for growing closer to God is like a rooster taking credit for the sun coming up in the morning. Bible study, worship, prayer, etc., are all vital parts of the Christian journey and powerfully aid in creating the context in which God can draw near to us. However, in the vast majority of instances God makes himself known to us in spite of what we try to do, not because of it.”