links: this went thru my mind

 

 

Art, Christians, cinema, film, movie & the movie Noah: Will Evangelicals Miss the Boat on Noah?

“Not much has changed since the late Francis Schaeffer wrote in Art and the Bible, ‘I am afraid that as evangelicals, we think that a work of art only has value if we reduce it to a tract.’”

Brain, exercise, health & regulation: * The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains; * The Only 8 Moves You Need to Be Fit

* “… the real issue was not this particular group of 12 chemicals. Most of them are already being heavily restricted. This dozen is meant to illuminate something bigger: a broken system that allows industrial chemicals to be used without any significant testing for safety. The greater concern lies in what we’re exposed to and don’t yet know to be toxic.”

* “Human movement can be reduced to three basic categories: pushing, pulling, and hip extension (squatting, jumping, running, and even riding a bike). Functional fitness begins with learning good form for this essential repertoire and then gradually adding weight and difficulty to build stability and strength. Doing these exercises correctly with five pounds, in other words, is better than doing them poorly with 100.”

Church & discipleship: Deep Before Wide: A Vision for Returning Discipleship to the Church

“Discipleship is laboring in the lives of a few to give away your life and the gospel.”

Confession, Lent, repentance & sin: No Needy Among Us?

“This is one of the best arguments for seasons of confession like Lent. Without it, church starts becoming a place for ‘fine’ people to get together. We show up on the weekend with all our junk in order, and if we can’t at least look like that, chances are we just won’t go at all. We learn to stuff down this sense that all is not right in the world and all is not right with us.”

Critical thinking  & statistics: 3 Ways to Recognize Bad Stats

“We need to be shrewd when it comes to statistics and reality: things are not always as they seem.”

Forgiveness, Fred Phelps, grace & hate: * Hate and How to Overcome It: How Should We Respond to the Tragic Death of Fred Phelps?; * The Problem of Fred Phelps; * Fred Phelps: Life of Fear

* “… since a hateful man has died after distorting a message of Jesus’ love, I suggest that we consider three ways to respond …”

* “… to celebrate a death, especially one of such a tragic life, feels like we are starting to be on the wrong side of good.”

* “I pray when Phelps looked into the face of God, he saw a God he didn’t recognize. The God of all Creation, the One True God that casts out all fear. The God who loves us all enough.”

Payday loans: Garland Adopts Strong Payday Lending Regs

“An ordinance with real reforms to these predatory products …”

LIFE group guide: sing! with a song in your heart

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (Mar. 2) in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. This sermon is the first 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. Words underlined are stressed in the Greek.

• When they had sang a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Mark 14.26 NIV)

• Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise … 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. (Ephesians 5.15,18-20 NRSV)

• Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. (Colossians 3.16 NRSV)

• Without question, the mystery of godliness is great: he was revealed as a human, declared righteous by the Spirit, seen by angels, preached throughout the nations, believed in around the world, and taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3.16 CEB)

• So let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise through him, which is the fruit from our lips that confess his name. Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices. (Hebrews 13.15-16 CEB)

• Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. (James 5.13 NLT)

Relation

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

1. What are some of your all-time favorite songs or artists, Christian or otherwise.

2. Tell us of a song or album that has made a significant impact on your life. How so?

Research

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

1. Ps. 118 could be what was sung in Mk. 14.26. Read Ps. 118. How does it fit the context?

2. Scholars think 1 Tim. 3.16 is a part of a hymn. What other parts of Scripture are song?

Reflection

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

1. One might have legitimate reasons not to sing, but what are some common excuses?

2. Why is it that words sung to music often touch us more deeply than unsung words?

3. “The Christian songs I enjoy singing most are about ___. They have ___ in common.”

4. Who receives the most good from singing: the singer or the one sung to? Why?

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. Every day this month, use the song CD provided for our upcoming praise workshop.

this went thru my mind

 

Bible maps & Israel: Touring Israel in Google Street View [very cool!]

“Google has rolled out a rather substantial Street View update this morning, covering hundreds of towns in Israel and updating various other cities across the world. Some of the highlights include the Sea of Galilee, the Western Wall …”

Capitalism, government, Jesus & socialism: Jesus, Socialism, and Capitalism by James F. McGrath

“… Jesus said nothing about implementing any Christian principles in government, unless one includes the future Kingdom of God he envisaged as involving ‘government.’”

Confession, pride, repentance & sin: Four Things Christians Can Learn from the Lance Armstrong Debacle by Ed Stetzer

“The rise and fall of Lance Armstrong should serve as a reminder for us all as to how easy it is for us to allow sin to destroy all that we have. The patterns evident in this story are not new.”

E-mail forwards: 3 Steps to Polite, Secure Email by Kim Komando

“I love my sister to death, but not when it comes to email. Every day when she gets off of work, I know I’m going to see a few dozen messages sent to me and everyone else she knows about some scam or some weird picture of a dog. Plus, my email address is visible to people I don’t even know. I hate to be mean to her, but I’d really like her to stop sending so many and so publicly! How should I break it to her?”

Gambling: I’m Losing Money. So Why Do I Feel So Good? by Randall Stross

“… Jon E. Grant, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Chicago, says … ‘The gambling problems of the people who are coming in for treatment, or who we see in our research, appear to be more severe than they were 10 or 15 years ago’ … and the popularity of multi-line slot machines is one reason. Addiction specialists are concerned that the near-wins and false wins served up by digital gambling technology set off the same reward mechanism in the brain that is activated by actually winning a game.”

God, love & power: God is Love, Not Control by Mark Love [required reading]

“… when we say that God is in control, I think what that should mean to us is that there is nothing that can happen to us outside of God’s love for us. Neither famine, or nakedness, or sword. Not even death itself can separate us from the love of God which is ours in Christ Jesus. And this love is not just God’s good feelings toward us. It is not primarily sentiment, but power. God puts this love to work in us, pouring it into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, so that no matter what our life’s circumstances are,we find our condition changed, our life transformed, our world more hospitable.

“And this allows us, I think, to picture God more faithfully when disaster does strike. Our picture of God in these moments should be less as the cause and more as the one who grieves with us, the one who bears our suffering, the one who will not let us go no matter what. This we can speak of confidently.”

Gold: A Rumble in the Jungle

“It is estimated that up to a fourth of global gold production now originates not from licensed, regulated and monitored mines, but from often illegal, unregulated artisanal, or informal, mines … “

Marriage & missionaries: Cinderella Lied by Dan Bouchelle [required reading]

“‘And they lived happily-ever-after.’ I don’t know whether to say ‘aaaawwww’ or throw up. Depends on how much pain I’ve been listening to lately. So, here is the true end of Cinderella …”

Spiritual growth & maturity: Fridays with Benedict: Chapter 4, What are the Instruments of Good Works? by Richard Beck

“What does spiritual growth and maturity look like? What’s on the syllabus of this spiritual education?”

this went thru my mind

 

Confession & sin: Confession – The Church’s Tragic Silence by Paul Smith

“Could it be that there is no forgiveness of sins in the church today because there is no confession of sin?”

Discipleship: Discipling Doesn’t Happen Very Well in Age Specific Groups Alone by Matt Dabbs

“We also need to foster relationships that integrate/interconnect the generations where those more mature in their faith can mentor and disciple those who are far younger and less mature. This is going to take some guts and creativity and great communication of our purpose in doing this. I am afraid we are dying from isolation because we only know how to do half the process well to the exclusion of the other.”

God, genocide, holiness & Joshua: Exterminate Them Without Mercy: The Problem of Joshua, Genocide, and the Character of God by Kurt Willems [required reading]

“For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses. (Joshua 11:20 ‘Exterminating them without mercy.’ How does this fit with the God of love we see revealed throughout the whole of the Bible and particularly in Jesus Christ?”

Gospels & Jesus: Did We Get Jesus Right? Simon Gathercole Looks at the Apocryphal the Gospels [49 min. video]

“In the following video Simon looks at the New Testament gospels and the apocryphal gospels.”

Jordan River: Saving the Jordan River by Noah Wiener

“The Jordan River is the setting of some of the Bible’s most iconic scenes. A visit to the river, however, reveals a different landscape from the Biblical depictions. Agricultural waste and runoff from nearby communities pollute the water, and dams on the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers have reduced the water flow to four percent of its volume in the early 20th century. On Tuesday, the Israeli paper Haaretz announced that the ‘Environmental Protection Ministry and the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee are expected within weeks to submit a plan to the cabinet to allocate NIS 99 million’ to clean the Jordan river.”

Missions & missionaries: Answering 7 Common Objections to Long-Term Missions by Ben Stevens

“I cannot escape the conclusion that a major change in the tides has come … regarding missions. Time and time again I encountered intelligent people, both laymen and pastors, who argued passionately that long-term, cross-cultural work is ‘no longer the way God does things.’ …  So let me briefly introduce the most popular objections and offer an alternative way of looking at each of them.”

Pacifism: The Long Journey of a Christian Pacifist by Ben Witherington [required reading]

“Killing leaves blood on your hands, whether it’s manslaughter or pre-meditated murder or vehicular homicide. Killing is forever. If I ever did that, even by accident, or even while just intending to protect someone else’s life, I’d still have to do some serious repenting afterwards. All human life is sacred, and I have no right to take someone else’s life away. Ever. And BTW, the Bible says leave vengeance entirely in the hands of the Lord, he will repay.”

Tools: Top 100 Tools for Learning 2012 by Jane Hart

“The Top 100 Tools for Learning 2012 as voted for by 500+ learning professionals worldwide.”

this went thru my mind

 

Confession: Coming Clean by Max Lucado

“Trust God’s ability to receive your confession more than your ability to make it.”

Discipleship: The New Monk Warriors by Greg Taylor [required reading]

“We want the fearlessness of warriors and the discipline of monks. As warriors our weapons are not guns and swords but love and prayer.”

Evangelism/outreach: Why Traditional Outreach Doesn’t Connect with Young Leaders by Brian Barela

“Successful outreaches in the future (or present) will focus their resources on influencing and mobilizing small groups of friends with content that they are already interested in and are talking about, instead of using resources to push people towards content that is unfamiliar.”

Politics: Is This the Nastiest Election Ever? by Peter Manseau

“Compared to the elections of 1796 and 1800, this contest has all the inter-religious animosity of a Lutheran versus Methodist slow pitch softball game. In the earliest of the nation’s two-party elections, the match-up of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson gave voters a choice, according to Adams supporters, between ‘God and a religious president, or Jefferson and no God!’”

President Obama: Obama’s Way [required reading]

“Hanging around Barack Obama for six months, in the White House, aboard Air Force One, and on the basketball court, Michael Lewis learns the reality of the Nobel Peace Prize winner …”

Speech/words: Learn to Say What is Appropriate by Jim Martin

“People who wish to speak and act in appropriate ways are willing to learn.”

this went thru my mind

 

Americanism: Is Americanism the Fourth Biblical World Religion? (Partial Review of Peter Leithart’s ‘Between Babel and the Beast’) by Roger Olson

“America became an agent not of God’s kingdom but an instrument for the spread of American institutions and American culture, and there was a tendency to see America ‘basking in [God’s] permanent favor.’ … Throughout American history, orthodoxy has been strong enough to check the danger of deifying America itself—check, but not eliminate. But the intellectual structure is in place for Americanists to think those who worship America are offering service to God.”

Certainty: Leaving Certainty Behind by Ted Gossard

“… I want to live and work as one whose hands are open and raised up toward God. Ready to be uncomfortable and challenged to the core on things I hold dear, or true, if and when they are challenged. Committed to the one who alone is my certainty and God, in and through Jesus together with others for the world.”

Confession, forgiveness, judgment & sin: * The Scarlet Letter: Dropping the Stones by Mike Cope [3 min. video clip]; * A People of Maybe by Jonathan Storment; * The Confession of Sins by Richard Beck; * Judging Others … A Word of Caution by K. Rex Butts

* “… this piece shot by Matt Maxwell …”

* “What the world needs to see is a people who are able to lovingly and gently correct each other without hate or envy, and for the purposes of Restoration.”

* “… the confession of sins pushes back on the triumphalism and self-righteousness of the church. … Not that saying the confession is a panacea and fix-all. But it has to have a salutary spiritual effect to take a moment each week to corporately say ‘We’ve sinned.’ We’ve sinned, often grievously so, against our neighbors by not loving them as we love ourselves in both what we’ve done to them and what we’ve failed to do for them.”

* “We are better off having said nothing at all than having said a word of judgment only to be exposed as a hypocrite.  So while on occasion circumstances may force us to pass a certain measure of judgment, we out to be very cautious in doing so.  And if I must error on one side or the other, I would rather error on the side of being too quick to forgive, show mercy, and offer generosity than being too quick to judgment.”

God: Thinking About God Makes Me Just Want to Keep My Mouth Shut by Peter Enns [required reading]

“My calculator broke.”

Women: * The Amazing Speeches of Women in the Conventions Makes the Silence of Women in the Church That Much More Deafening by Eugene Cho; * A Letter for Highland on Women’s Roles by Richard Beck

* “Before you throw stones or want to endorse me as a candidate for the next President, just hear me out. … about the importance of having the voices of both women and men in our lives.”

* “I’ve been struggling for some time with how I should best stand up for gender justice in my local church context.”

Bruner on John 20.19

 

“‘… while the disciples were gathered together behind locked doors because of their fear of the Jewish people …‘ In the mid- and late-first century, the Christian disciples were from time-to time, in fact, gathered together behind locked doors because of their fear of the Jewish (and other) people, if the accounts in the Acts of the Apostles and other first century records are to be trusted. But in the longer subsequent centuries, when Christians became the majority and the Jewish people the minority, it was usually Jews who hid behinds locked doors for fear of Christians. Our present verse must not be allowed to perpetuate the canard of unique Jewish evil; it should, with every reading of comparable texts of Scripture, after a long and sorry history, be an occasion for the Christian confession of sin.”

Frederick Dale Bruner, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Eerdmans, 2012), p.1161