links: this went thru my mind

 

Application & moralizing: Moralizing Scripture…the Rush to Application and Misappropriating the Text

“…  let us be careful when we moralize scripture and rush to application that we don’t, in the process, undermine the text and the power of God to do greater things than make us nicer people.”

Capital punishment & death penalty5 Death Penalty Myths Debunked

“In advance of the release of our 2014 Global Death Penalty Report tomorrow, here are 5 of the most common misconceptions about the death penalty.”

Children, church & parenting: Let the Children Come to Me…Unless They’re Too Loud, Distracting, or Difficult

“The church in America has raised a whole generation that has never really been spiritually formed by the larger church gathering.”

Cinema, film, movies & Noah: * To See or Not to See the Movie Noah? [required reading]; * What’s Really Behind Christians’ Rejection of Noah?

* “Art often needs to speak honestly about evil, and I hope we don’t sanitize the Bible to the point where we forget just how well it does that. I get the pushback about Noah going off script, and being concerned about disinformation. But I think our real problem is that, unlike Christians of earlier centuries, we no longer understand what art does or how it works.”

* “This week Christians will have the chance to see Noah. And in an ironic twist, Paramount Pictures and the director find themselves defending their film against strong criticism from Christians, the audience they assumed would be the first in line to see this biblically epic story. In what has become a reversal of roles, Hollywood has heard the cry of Christians for bible based films (and the allure of their money, no doubt) and produced an epic picture and now Christians are the ones rejecting it. And in this case, it’s Christians who may not be completely honest about their reasons for rejecting it as we’ve formerly accused Hollywood of being in rejecting bible based films in the past. And the only public leg we have to stand on is the presence of biblical errors in the movie.”

Friendship, Jesus & sinners: Setting the Record Straight on Jesus, ‘the Friend of Sinners’ [essential reading]

“… does it matter that we correctly understand Jesus’ social habits? It does actually. Because Christians believe they must “live as Jesus did.” If the faithful only build relational bridges with those who are open to converting, they will find it increasingly difficult to exist in a pluralistic, post-Christian culture.”

Ministry: * Dear Churchgoers …; * The Friendless Pastor

* “Now I understand you might think I should know all the things that are happening with you. I really do want to. Most of my fellow pastors would agree. We love to know the things that are going on in your life. We want to hear all about it. But there’s a good chance that we won’t know if you never tell us.”

* “It’s ironic that pastors, who talk the most about the need for community, experience it the least. … We have too many relationships and too few friends.”

LIFE group guide: covering the Spirit’s medley

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (Mar. 16) in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. This sermon (entitled “Covering the Spirit’s Medley”) works out of Ephesians 5.18-21 and is the third in a three-part series entitled Sing!

To find previous group discussion guides, look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous issues.

Reason

Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of this sermon series, or this particular sermon, in a series.

To stress the significance of singing in our life together as seekers of God.

Revelation

These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this morning’s sermon.

• Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5.18-21 NRSV)

• Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5.18-21 NIV)

• Don’t get drunk on wine, which produces depravity. Instead, be filled with the Spirit in the following ways: speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts; always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; and submit to each other out of respect for Christ. (Ephesians 5.18-21 CEB)

• Don’t destroy yourself by getting drunk, but let the Spirit fill your life. When you meet together, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, as you praise the Lord with all your heart. Always use the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to thank God the Father for everything. Honor Christ and put others first. (Ephesians 5.18-21 CEV)

Relation

Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump, to help the conversation begin. Choose one to discuss.

1. Music is on that you like. And so, you [choose one]: (a) bob your head, (b) tap your foot, or (c) drum your fingers?

2. Name a song you think has been “covered” better than it was performed by the original band.

Research

These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this morning’s sermon.

1. Using the translations above, what are synonyms for “debauchery” (vs. 18)?

2. Using the text above, in what four specific ways are Christians to be “be filled with the Spirit”?

3. Using the text above, ID: (a) what Christians do to each other and (b) what they do to God.

4. Describe the roles (a) God our Father, (b) Jesus Christ, and (c) the Spirit play in the text above.

Reflection

These questions assist our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us in our encounter with God’s word.

1. How is being “drunk with wine” and “filled with the Spirit” similar? How do they differ?

2. Your life is a song. How does the music you’ve made the week before affect Sunday singing?

3. Over the long haul, which most powerfully influences your personal faith: sermons or songs?

4. How can you use Christian music/spiritual songs to reach out to those who are yet to believe?

Response

These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid in living out today’s message in the coming days.

1. Learn a new, spiritual song. Learn it so well you can easily sing all of it by memory. Repeat.

2. Carefully consider the words of several songs in our hymnal. Use such as prompts for prayer.

this went thru my mind

 

Bible literacy & reading: What People Quote vs. What They Read

“… people read the Bible primarily as a loosely organized collection of inspiring quotes surrounded by confusing babble … this way of reading the Bible is a rejection of the flow and structure of the canon.”

Children, parenting & technology: Resisting the Siren Call of the Screen [required reading]

“The message we communicate to our kids, she writes, is: ‘Everybody else matters more than you.’ Children, she declares, ‘are tired of being the ‘call waiting’ in their parents’ lives.’”

Church, community, discipleship, faith & fellowship: Passing on the Faith in a Makeshift Choir Stall

“It’s hard to pass on the faith … when people of different age groups don’t engage each other intimately.”

Faith & youth: On Moralistic Therapeutic Deism as U.S. Teenagers’ Actual, Tacit, De Facto Religious Faith [essential reading]

“Here we summarize our observations in venturing a general thesis about teenage religion and spirituality in the United States. … The creed of this religion, as codified from what emerged from our interviews with U.S. teenagers, sounds something like this …”

Tradition: Breaking Tradition [essential reading]

“… every tradition, at one point, was a break with the status quo. Every tradition started off with trying to do something new and fresh and compelling. And over time, what was once revolutionary becomes static and codified. We stop paying attention to what the tradition was trying to do, and only focus on what it did.”

this went thru my mind

 

Art: Isn’t That King David? Nope, It’s Just Dave

“I know that putting modern clothes on classical sculptures isn’t a new idea. Michelangelo’s David has had modern clothes for years. But the skirts, T-shirts and shorts in these images look so comfortable and fit so well, these ancients torque suddenly into moderns. It’s like these two French artists have developed a new way to time travel.”

Atheism & community: In the Bible Belt, Offering Atheists a Spiritual Home

“With Sunday’s service — marking the start of Community Mission Chapel in Lake Charles, which Mr. [Jerry] DeWitt called a full-fledged atheist “church” — he wanted to bring some of the things that he had learned from his years as a religious leader to atheists in southern Louisiana.”

Choices, discernment, ethics, & guidance: The Jesus Compass

“The acrostic stands for: * Jesus – Are any of Jesus’ sayings or actions relevant to the question? * Church – What are the teachings of different Christian churches / denominations? * Obey Conscience – What might an individual Christian’s conscience tell them to do? * Ministers & priests – How might a minister or priest advise a Christian to act? * Prayer – How might praying help a Christian to make moral decisions? * Agape – What is the most loving thing to do? * Saints – How might the lives of famous Christians inspire others to behave? * Scripture – What Biblical quotations or teachings are relevant?”

Communication, diversity, getting along, relationships & unity: 8 Ways Those From More Liberal-Progressive and Conservative-Evangelical Persuasions Can Better Love Each Other

“1.  remember first, that other person is a child of God, made in God’s image. … 2. respect each other’s biblical conclusions. … 3. lay down our ‘if they would justs…’ … 4. never pull the ‘but God says’ or ‘but it’s clear in the Bible’ card. … 5. acknowledge our own blind spots. … 6. celebrate what we do agree on. … 7. always put relationships above our positions. …  8. trust that God is big enough for our differences.”

Education, humanities & writing: The Decline and Fall of the English Major

“In 1991, 165 students graduated from Yale with a B.A. in English literature. By 2012, that number was 62. In 1991, the top two majors at Yale were history and English. In 2013, they were economics and political science. At Pomona this year, they were economics and mathematics. …

“What many undergraduates do not know — and what so many of their professors have been unable to tell them — is how valuable the most fundamental gift of the humanities will turn out to be. That gift is clear thinking, clear writing and a lifelong engagement with literature.

“Maybe it takes some living to find out this truth. Whenever I teach older students, whether they’re undergraduates, graduate students or junior faculty, I find a vivid, pressing sense of how much they need the skill they didn’t acquire earlier in life. They don’t call that skill the humanities. They don’t call it literature. They call it writing — the ability to distribute their thinking in the kinds of sentences that have a merit, even a literary merit, of their own.”

Love: Are You Agapephobic

“When you have a problem, ask this: How does love solve this? Every answer you find is another step toward God.”

this went thru my mind

 

Compassion, illness, prayer & service: Jesus My Patient [required reading]

“A prayer from Mother Teresa and used by her Sisters of Charity in their care for the sick, poor, and dying …”

Creation & faith: Seeing God in the Stars

“Dr. Jennifer Wiseman is an astronomer, author, and speaker. … As senior project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, she studies star-forming regions of our galaxy using radio, optical, and infrared telescopes. As director of the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she helps improve communication between scientists and faith communities.”

Immigration & the poor: Do Illegal Immigrants Actually Hurt the U.S. Economy?

“Illegal immigration does have some undeniably negative economic effects. … Labor economists have concluded that undocumented workers have lowered the wages of U.S. adults without a high-school diploma — 25 million of them — by anywhere between 0.4 to 7.4 percent. The impact on everyone else, though, is surprisingly positive.”

National debt: Our Debt, Ourselves

“I want to present a calmer view, by emphasizing six facts about the debt that many Americans may not be aware of.”

Shane Claiborne: Ask Shane Claiborne … (Response) [essential reading]

“… non-violence doesn’t mean getting stepped-on. The call to non-violence is to disarm violence. A part of the way we do that is suffering with those who suffer.”

this went thru my mind

 

Christ, Ephesians 5, marriage & the church: Is Marriage Really an Illustration of Christ & the Church? by Kristen Rosser [required reading]

“… the specific picture/illustration given them to imitate is not one of authority and leadership, but of giving and sacrifice. Husbands were told to love their wives the way Christ loved the church when He gave Himself up for her—gave up His power and position to come down to the level of a servant— so that He could raise the church up to His holiness. Husbands’ imitation of this picture of Christ would not involve holding onto their society-given rights and powers, but emptying themselves of them.”

Community, food & social class: Pay-as-You-Can Restaurants Dish Up Dignity in Denver [fascinating!]

“Going out for a meal tends to segregate age, race, and social class, based on one’s ability to pay. At Café 180, the serrated knife that separates wealthy and poor is laid down next to plate, fork, and spoon on the table of fellowship. Here is a radical culinary experiment in dignity and community. … as I pull out my wallet, the employee asks an odd question, one that stays with me all afternoon: ‘What would you like to donate today?’”

Drugs: Have We Lost the War on Drugs?

“After more than four decades of a failed experiment, the human cost has become too high. It is time to consider the decriminalization of drug use and the drug market.”

Les Miserables: The New Testament Parable that is Les Miserables by Marta Layton

“… the conflict between the two main characters – Jean Valjean and Javert – resembles a problem central to Christian morality: the tension between mercy and the law.”

Ministry: Jim Martin: An Interview about Life and Work [required reading]

“Who are the people who have influenced you in the way you both do and think about ministry? … How do you keep abreast of contemporary events, cultural shifts, etc.? … If you could visit with one of your favorite authors who is now deceased, who might that be? … How do you organize your life/ministry for the week? What seems to be beneficial? … What do you do intentionally to keep your soul alive? … What about your ministry brings you joy?”

Writing: On Writing by Joshua Graves

” … writing won’t change your life. … Writing is hard work … Your goal should not be to “publish” … Writing is an act of faith and discovery. … Writing is always merely an extension of your life. … Writing is a communal experience. … Writing is confession. Writing is about telling the truth as you see the truth.”

this went thru my mind

 

Bible translation: Famous Bible Translation Mistakes Throughout History by C. Michael Patton

“Here are some of the more infamous and fun mistakes that translators and printers have made throughout the years.”

Cancer: Cancer in the U.S.A. [infographic]

“One in four people will die from some form of cancer in the United States.”

Community & meals: Meals Matter to the Mission by Tim Chester

“… the meals of Jesus represent something bigger. They represent a new world, a new kingdom, a new outlook. But they give that new reality substance. Jesus’ meals are not just symbols; they’re also applications. They’re not just pictures; they’re the real thing in miniature. Food is stuff. It’s not ideas. It’s not theories. It’s, well, it’s food, and you put it in your mouth, taste it, and eat it. And meals are more than food. They’re social occasions. They represent friendship, community, and welcome.”

Criminal justice, forgiveness, justice, prison, punishment & reconciliation: Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice?

“… Andy felt her say, ‘Forgive him.’ His response was immediate. ‘No,’ he said out loud. ‘No way. It’s impossible.’ But Andy kept hearing his daughter’s voice: ‘Forgive him. Forgive him.’”

Fear: Fear: This is a Heart Issue (Part I) by John T. Willis [required reading]

“Fear is a character of the heart which is necessary for human life. Therefore, fear is a gift of God. Fear is absolutely essential for all human beings to be who God created us to be. But, all human beings can abuse God’s gifts. In this and the next blog or blogs, we will discuss briefly what the Bible teaches about fear.”

Government assistance: Don’t Force Us to Obey the Bible! by James McGrath

“Time and again, I have heard conservatives say that taxing the rich to care for the poor is antithetical to Biblical teaching because it is essentially forcing people “at gunpoint” to give, rather than allowing them to be charitable of their own free will. Typically, those same people want to see other aspects of their religious values, from marriage to prayer, enforced through legislation.”

Guns: If You Choose to Own a Gun by Tim Archer [required reading]

“… some suggestions for Christians who choose to own guns …”

Just for fun: Real Life Hobbit House

“This is so awesome, it almost hurts.”

Les Misérables, mercy & politics: The Political Theology of Les Misérables by Richard Beck

“Two candlesticks–one act of mercy–saved them all. And in contrast to Javert and Enjolras I wonder if those two candlesticks isn’t the political theology we are all called to embrace.”

Ministry, spiritual formation & writing: * The Writing Pastor: An Essay on Spiritual Formation by Peter R. Schemm Jr.; Out of the Cave by Peter J. Leithart

* “None of us will likely have the influence of Augustine or Luther or Bonhoeffer. But our writing still matters. It matters because it can help us to make progress in our own hearts and minds. So as an exercise in pastoral ministry, we will explore some benefits that come to the soul of a pastor through the discipline of writing. These apply particularly to pastors but are not limited to the vocation of pastor. Each benefit is personal and formative: (1) depth of mind, (2) clarity of thought, (3) pace of life, (4) quiet and solitude, (5) the ministry of words, and (6) a life of prayer.”

* “A writer has control in the cave he never has outside.”

Romans: Romans by Douglas Moo [links to 53 lectures & discussions]

“Dr. Douglas Moo, from Wheaton College Graduate School, offers an exegetical examination of the book of Romans. This course was recorded during a D.Min. seminar at the Carolina Graduate School of Divinity in May 2012.”