this went thru my mind

 

Competition: More Than a Sabbath: My Fast from Competing by Tyler Charles

“Personal success isn’t the goal, ultimately. Faithfulness is.”

Culture wars: God, I Thank You I’m Not Like Those Others: The Meta-Sin of Culture Wars by Kurt Willems

“… in light of the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector recorded in Luke 18:9-14 there is no righteous high ground for those slugging it out in the in the muddy trenches of the recent culture wars.”

Demeanor & manner: 4 Questions to Ask Regarding Your Manner by Jim Martin

“What does my manner say about me?”

History: Publisher Pulls Controversial Thomas Jefferson Book, Citing Loss Of Confidence

“Citing a loss of confidence in the book’s details, Christian publisher Thomas Nelson is ending the publication and distribution of the bestseller, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson. The controversial book was written by Texas evangelical David Barton, who NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty profiled on All Things Considered Wednesday. The publishing company says it’s ceasing publication because it found that ‘basic truths just were not there.’ … In it, Barton calls Jefferson a ‘conventional Christian,’ claims the founding father started church services at the Capitol, and even though he owned more than 200 slaves, says Jefferson was a civil rights visionary.

“‘Mr. Barton is presenting a Jefferson that modern-day evangelicals could love and identify with,’ Warren Throckmorton, a professor at the evangelical Grove City College, told Hagerty. ‘The problem with that is, it’s not a whole Jefferson; it’s not getting him right. The book’s publisher came to the same conclusion.’”

Leadership & mission: Why “Leaders” Are Not the Church’s Greatest Need

“…  in the context of a business or an organization that is defined by a mission, these are appropriate and salutary principles. … Fine for business, but it is at this very point that we run into a problem when we talk about the church. Why? Because the church is not defined by her mission. Now it is right to say that the church has a mission, that the church is missional, that mission is a central component of what she does. It is not right, however, to define the church as a mission and subsume one’s entire ecclesiology under that rubric.”

Memory: To Boost Memory, Shut Your Eyes

“… evidence that a few minutes of wakeful rest may have an effect even on long-term memory consolidation.”

Ministry & results: Give Up On Results by Dave Jacobs [required reading]

“… do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no results at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the righteousness, the truth of the work itself.”

Newcomers: 10 Ways to Ensure I’ll Never Revisit your Church by Ben Reed

“I’ve visited a lot of churches. … It’s one thing to get people in the door once. But to get someone to visit again, and begin to call your church their home? Much tougher. … there are a few things we’ve learned that will guarantee someone won’t come back.”

Nigeria: Five Things to Know About Religious Violence in Nigeria by Lauren Markoe

“While Muslims and Christians are attacking each other, the combatants also divide along ethnic and cultural lines, and grievances often have little to do with religion.”

Options: 7 Steps to Finding a Better, Third Option by Michael Hyatt

“We are a culture that is accustomed to thinking in terms of two options. … When two sides disagree, here are seven steps to help you find the third option …”

Passive-aggressive behavior: Passive-Aggressive Postures & Evangelical Culture by Tim Gombis

“I naturally share my culture’s destructive and manipulative tendencies and subtle grasping after power and leverage in relationships.  Exposing these tendencies through critical self-reflection can help us discern how to cultivate fruitful and life-giving relational dynamics.”

Spiritual deafness: For Lack of Ears by Dan Bouchelle

“We are limited in our time and energy and, like Jesus, we would be wiser to invest our time with those who have ears.”

Violence: * Batman, Neo-Nazis and the Good News of Jesus by Lee C. Camp [required reading]; * The Myth That Redemptive Violence is a Myth: Part 1 and Part 2 by Matt Dabbs [read the comments, too]

* “The non-violent, suffering love of Jesus was a direct challenge to the myth of redemptive violence. One of the dirty secrets of the early church is the fact that for the first three centuries of Christian history, the leaders of the church insisted that Christians do not kill — including in so-called justifiable war. This consistent and insistent teaching of the early church is so ignored by so-called conservative Christians as to be laughable, if it were not so tragic.”

* “Violence, as I understand it, is the ultimate idolatry in that we are putting ourselves into the place of God. We decide who is innocent. We decide whose life is most important. We decide who gets to live and who gets to die. It’s my opinion, that that is not our place.”

Water: Here’s Where Farms Are Sucking The Planet Dry

“The map itself isn’t hard to grasp. The colored areas show the world’s largest aquifers — areas which hold deposits of groundwater. The blue ones are doing fine; more rainfall is flowing into them than is being pumped out of them for homes or irrigating fields. … The aquifers that are painted red, orange, or yellow, meanwhile, are being drained rapidly. … See those large grey shapes, below the map? Each one is a magnified reflection of an over-exploited aquifer.”

questions and answers (3)

Q. “Please explain … what you understand the Bible to teach on Christian fasting.”

A. “I think the Scriptures teach very plainly that it is the duty of Christians to fast. The Savior, in the Sermon on the Mount, gives directions for giving alms (Matt. 6:1-4), for praying (verses 5-15), and for fasting (verses 16-18). The three duties are treated here exactly alike, as though they are equally binding. He does not here command either one of them, but assumes that they will all be observed by his disciples, and gives direction as to how they are to be observed. … Christians should fast when tried and tempted, which affliction and sorrow come upon them, when they grow cold and lukewarm in the service of God, when the flesh gains the ascendancy and they become forgetful of their duties to God and indifferent to their spiritual condition or that of the world. When they feel these states begin to approach, fasting and prayer will help them much. When trouble, lukewarmness, and sin come upon a church, they should fast and pray, that deliverance may come through an increase of faith and devotion.”

Questions Answered by Lipscomb and Sewell edited by M.C. Kurfees (McQuiddy Printing Co, 1921); p.228

Note: “Lipscomb” is “David Lipscomb” and “Sewell” is “Jesse P. Sewell,” prominent leaders in the Restoration Heritage, particularly Churches of Christ, in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s in the United States.

this went thru my mind

Archaeology: Unless you’ve been in outer space you probably encountered in the news this week the report that “one of the largest and best-preserved collections of ancient sealed books has been discovered in a cave in Jordan and are believed to be some of the earliest Christian documents.” Don’t bother believing any of that “fair and balanced reporting” for a minute; it’s just more of the usual sensationalism that gets labeled as “news.” For the low down on what’s up you’d be well served to read Todd Bolen’s post Early Christian Lead Books Discovery: Some Problems. If you’re interested in reading still more, Larry Hurtado‘s posts entitled Other Views on the Lead Codices and More on the Lead Codices would be a good place to go. Hurtado is a highly respected New Testament scholar, particularly in the area in question (Christian origins and early Christianity). His “chill dude” and “this is all soooo bogus!” comments alone are worth the price of admission. Or hey, just cut to the chase and read over at PaleoJudaica exactly how we know they’re f-a-k-e.

Churches of Christ: I really like Mike Cope’s take on Ted Campbell’s post Why the Churches of Christ Were RightCampbell is a church history prof at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology.

Climate change: Merely mention the phrase “global warming” in most of the circles I frequent and you’ll instantly lose track of all the eye rolls you get in response. You’ll also risk going deaf from the sound of minds slamming shut. Let’s just say I’m living in the land of skepticism. However, I am a believer in global warming and believe we humans play a huge role in it. And now that you know such, you can understand why I like John Cook’s simple post How to Talk With Climate Change Skeptics.

Fasting: As appears to be the case, I’m finding virtually everything Richard Beck writes to be required reading. His post entitled True Fasting is certainly no exception. In fact, one of his posts regarding all of the ongoing hullabaloo regarding Rob Bell and the upheaval in the evangelical world concerning such is the best thing I’ve read on the matter.

Internet pornography: My sermon this coming Sunday morning at MoSt Church is from Matthew 5:27-30 and deals with the subject of lust. Powerfully relevant to that discussion is just how pervasive is Internet pornography in our digital age. Take a look at this infographic on the matter from 2010 and get on your knees and pray. Incidentally, I’ll be displaying the infographic via PowerPoint during the course of Sunday’s sermon.

Marriage: Trey Morgan‘s post entitled Nine Big Lies About Marriage is good, good stuff every couple would do well to read together. And along the lines of marriage and family, take a good look at Dale Hudson‘s four-part series of posts entitled Post Modern Family Ministry. Here are links to all four parts: 1, 2, 3 & 4).

Tony Campolo: I need only say his name. Whether you always agree or not with everything the man says, he is fearless in his stating matters and never fails to make you think, and I enjoy both of those qualities immensely. Join the enjoyment by reading Losing Faith: Life’s Questions and Why Christians Don’t Like Jesus.

War: Timothy Archer’s brief post entitled Deadly Mirage is worth your consideration. Katie at WIT penned a spot-on post when she wrote Who are the Soldiers of the Body of Christ? And what about doing what we’re doing now in Libya? I appreciate Rachel Held Evans’ transparency in her post Rachel, The Worst Pacifist. And is if often the case with outstanding posts, the comments that follow them are often filled with gems not to be overlooked. Such is the case with all three of these fine posts.

And just for fun: Stand on MoSt Church‘s front steps and you can see the ships going up and down the Houston Ship Channel not very far at all away. Which usually brings up the question, “I wonder where in this old word that ship came from or where she’s going?” Well, now we can know, and we can know, quite literally, globally. My good friend Bill Ehlig clued me in on MarineTraffic.com Imagine ships of every size (all the way down to tugs and yachts!) positioned in real time all over the earth and linked with photos and descriptions of such and you’ve got it. Fascinating stuff, and potentially addictive to all sea lovers.

Never stop reading. Never stop thinking. Never stop being open to growing in your awareness of what is. And never, ever stop being willing to change your mind.