links: this went thru my mind

 

ALS & Lou Gehrig: Put Down That Bucket of Ice Water. Read Lou Gehrig’s Story. Learn About the Science of ALS. Then Donate.

“If social pressure isn’t enough to convince you to donate to ALS research, the heart-wrenching story of Lou Gehrig and the science behind the illness that shares his name should be.”

C-sections, healthcare & pregnancy: The Cesarean-Industrial Complex

“New research finds that compared with those born vaginally, C-section babies go on to have a  22 percent higher risk of obesity, nearly double the risk of celiac disease, a 20 percent higher risk of asthma and type 1 diabetes, and up to an 800 percent higher risk of sensitivity to allergens.”

Churches of Christ, division & fellowship: * What Makes a Church a Church of Christ?; * Top 10 Ways Churches of Christ in America Can Survive and Thrive in the “4th Great Awakening” [essential reading]

* “…  if we are serious about letting the Bible draw the lines, set the standard and call the shots then we need to be as gracious as what we find in scripture and stop saying people aren’t Christians or churches aren’t really churches over matters as serious as anything on this list or as trivial as the crazy things people divide and disfellowship over until they get it all perfect.”

* “How can we look through this cultural maelstrom and not only survive, but thrive?”

Expectations, honesty, parenting & reality: Lies We Tell Our Kids

“When we say they’re smart … they assume school should require little effort. When we suggest they’re ‘amazing’ … they wonder why everyone doesn’t adore them and want to be around them. When we tell them they’re gifted … they get confused that people won’t pay big money for their talent. When we say they’re awesome at their sport … they don’t understand why talent scouts don’t recruit them.”

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.

LIFE group guide: come together anyway

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church tomorrow (Jan. 12). This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. This sermon is the second in a series entitled Gatherings. This series will run through the month of January.

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 explore and emphasize the importance of our gathering together as a church.

Revelation

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

• I have a serious concern to bring up with you … I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. I bring this up because some … brought a most disturbing report to my attention—that you’re fighting among yourselves! I’ll tell you exactly what I was told: You’re all picking sides, going around saying, “I’m on Paul’s side,” or “I’m for Apollos,” or “Peter is my man,” or “I’m in the Messiah group.” (1 Corinthians 1.10-12)

• Brothers and sisters, I couldn’t talk to you like spiritual people but like unspiritual people, like babies in Christ. I gave you milk to drink instead of solid food, because you weren’t up to it yet. Now you are still not up to it because you are still unspiritual. When jealousy and fighting exist between you, aren’t you unspiritual and living by human standards? (1 Corinthians 3.1-3)

• … I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. (1 Corinthians 11.17-19)

Relation

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

1. What are the main excuses you hear folks offer for not “going to church?”

2. Name something you deeply love and appreciate about our church family.

Research

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

1. Scan 1 Corinthians. Make a list of the most obvious sins in the Corinthian church.

2. Scan 1 Cor. Make a list of the apostle Paul’s “prescriptions” for the Corinthians’ “sin sickness.”

Reflection

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

1. Every sin we commit, private and public, always affects the whole church.” Discuss.

2. If it were not for the good I’ve experienced in the life of the church I would be __________.

3. A friend says “I quit church due to all the hypocrisy.” A constructive response?

4. What does truly “healthy talk” about sin in each other’s lives sound like?

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. Work at developing a mind and way that is always aware of, and sensitive to, the unchurched.

2. Deliberately encourage two people this week: one who has “quit church” and one who has not.

LIFE group guide: come together

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church tomorrow (Jan. 5). This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. This sermon marks the start of a new sermon series entitled Gatherings.

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 explore and emphasize the importance of our gathering together as a church.

Revelation

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

• They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. … Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2.42,46-47)

• Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. (Hebrews 10.25a)

Relation

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

1. What things do you enjoy most that happen when your friends/family get together?

2. Whenever I’m not “at church” I really miss __________.

Research

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

1. Itemize everything Christians did “together” in Acts 2.41-47.

2. Read Hebrews 10.19-25. What specifically do the “let us” phrases tell us to do? (vs. 22a,23a,24a). What are the motivations behind each of them? (vs. 22b,23b,24b-25)

3. Find and mark every occurrence of “church” and “together” in the book of Acts.

Reflection

These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.

1. As God saves you he adds you to his church. Why does he think you need others?

2. Few people deliberately “quit” church; most folks simply “drift” away. How so?

3. What are the most common excuses you hear people use for “skipping church?”

4. What harm comes from seeing “church” as just a “place” to “get something out of?”

5. What benefits are there for all when a Christian devotes them self to church life?

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. Work hard during all church gatherings to consistently replace self-oriented questions that come to mind (“What am I getting from this?”) with selfless ones (“How can I maximize my contribution to this moment?”).

2. Purge negative talk about “church” from your lips (and listening). Pray daily on this.

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.”