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.”

this went thru my mind

Capital punishment: Why Capital Punishment is Not Such a Capital and Christian Idea by Ben Witherington

“Let me be clear that all the harangues in the world about what the OT says about capital punishment will not persuade me in the least that this makes it o.k. for Christians to participate in the legal taking of someone else’s life. Christians are not under any form of the old covenant, they are under the new covenant, and the new covenant is not just the old covenant renewed or Parte Deux, the sequel.”

Church attendance: Why Sunday Is Not On Your Travel Itinerary! by Mark Woodward

“I have a feeling that many, if not most Christians do not plan to go to church on Sundays when they are traveling. Sometimes we haven’t, but most of the time we try to and I’d like to tell you why.”

Church budgets: Church Budgeting Myths by Tim Spivey

“The area of church finance is riddled with myths. They have pure motives behind them, but they are myths all the same. If you buy into them, you’ll set yourself up for financial peril down the road. Here are a few with some observations.”

Church membership: Why I Have No Difficulty Helping “Issue Christians” to Move On by Ed Stetzer

“… we should always provide guidance, but we should not always provide a platform. “Issue Christians” want a platform with you and your church because they are passionate about an issue–don’t let that distract you or your church from being and doing all that God has in store. Move on… and move them on.”

Committees: If Committees Told the Truth by Seth Godin

“… we will compromise the art and the vision out of it, we will make it reasonable and safe and boring.”

Computing: (1) Online Traffic Shifts from PCs by Jameson Berkow and (2) What to Do if Your E-Reader Is Lost or Stolen by Eric Dye

(1) “For possibly the first time, the most popular online activities are being carried out on devices other than a PC …”

(2) “The last thing you want to happen after realizing your Kindle is missing, is to find someone purchased hundreds of dollars worth of e-books under your account. Here’s what you need to do if your Kindle, Nook or Sony Reader vanish.”

Frustration: 5 Steps for Handling Frustration by Rick Warren

“Here are five simple steps for dealing with frustrations in your life.”

Hebrews: Hebrews Recited by Joel Shorey

The book of Hebrews describes itself as a sermon. Joel Shorey memorized the entire book of Hebrews and recited it, without comment, as a sermon. This is a 45 min. video of that recitation. Wow.

Jealousy: Jealousy at the Boiling Point by Brian LaMew

“What are you really jealous for in life? Isolate your jealous feelings. What is it that you really are seeking after and will obtaining that actually give you the contentment you desire?”

Love: The Dangerous Myth of Unconditional Love by Dan Bouchelle

“Here is a hard truth to hear that you need to know: God is the only one who is truly capable of unconditional love.”

Parenting & sports: When Sports Becomes God by Jonathan McKee

“… maybe parents need to think ahead when it comes to signing up for sports and decide exactly how committed to a team or activity they are really ready to be.”

Occupy Wall Street: (1) A Devotion for Wall Street: Does Jesus have anything to say about the “Occupy Wall St.” protests? by Shane Claiborne and (2) The Health and Wealth of the Church by Christ Altrock

(1) “Woody Guthrie may be right. If Jesus came to Wall Street preaching the same message that he preached in Galilee… he might land himself on a cross again.”

(2) “Occupy Wall Street might force America’s top 1% to soberly reflect on the “soundness” of their own fiscal lifestyle. Perhaps it ought to force us all, especially Americans, to soberly reflect on the “soundness” of our own fiscal lifestyles.”

Twenty-somethings: 20 Somethings: Why are they Leaving and What Can We Do About It? by Matt Dabbs

“Boil down all the issues and here is what you get – the vast majority of churches have a ginormous culture gap within the congregation and are doing little to nothing to resolve it.”

Violence: God Hates Bloodshed by Richard E. Oster, Jr.

“The commitment of the early followers of Christ to humility, peace, non-violence, and meekness stands in stark contrast to the glorification of brute force and bloodshed prevalent in the entertainment values of so many cultures, both ancient and modern.”