links: this went thru my mind

 

Boys, children, introverts, masculinity, parenting, sexuality & socialization: * We’ve Preached Modesty to the Girls. Now, Let’s Talk to the Boys [required reading]; * In the Whirled: Socializing our Kids to Death

* “I think it’s high time — perhaps past time — that we talk to the boys. …  there are three myths of masculinity that permeate our society. I’ve been conditioned by them, and I’ve mistakenly conditioned you by some of them too.”

* “We live in a day and age when working with others has never been more valued. We send kids to school at younger and younger ages so they can properly socialize. We encourage involvement in activities, lots of activities, for the same reason. … And yet, for roughly one-third of the population, solitude is just what they need.”

Betting, casinos, gambling, lotteries & wagers: 9 Things You Should Know about Casinos and Gambling

“This week the Council on Casinos, a group dedicated to fighting the spread of gambling in America, released a report on “Why Casinos Matter.” Here are nine things from the report on casinos and gambling that you should know.”

Church problems, leadership, ministry, power groups & relationships: Eight Types of Power Groups in Churches [required reading]

“The very thought of the presence of power groups seems contrary to the spirit and grace of the gospel. But power groups are very real in churches. … While a church may have more than one kind of group, only one of the groups will be the dominant power in the church.”

Churches, guests, greeting, hospitality & visitors: Welcome Visitors Tentatively Entering Your Church Doors

“Walking into a room where you know no one is not easy for many of us. … My hope is that the person, no matter the reason for coming, would find a gracious Christian community that is hospitable and lives and tells the story of God’s grace in Jesus Christ so people can experience the transformative story of the Gospel. Will you look for the unfamiliar person who is longing to be connected to our God?”

Funeral etiquette & manners: 10 Things You Should and Should Not Do at a Funeral

“…  some things should be non-negotiable when attending a funeral service …”

this went thru my mind

 

Discipleship: Churches Are Dying Because Christians Aren’t by Matt Dabbs

“In order to embrace Christ you have to first empty self by dying to life as you knew it. If you don’t teach that expect to develop Christians who can have one foot in the world and one foot in Christianity. … Churches are dying because Christians aren’t. Once you start teaching that and embracing that, the church will have the right starting place to grow into the life God is calling the world to.”

Disneyization: The Disney-ization of Faith by Chaplain Mike

“Unfortunately, many American Christian leaders seem to think the Disney way is the way forward for the church. I could write a long book about all the examples of this across our land, from the many ways we market Jesus in books, music, and media, to the kistchy excess of the televangelists and the corporate “excellence” of the megachurches, to iconic monuments like the Crystal Cathedral. So much of it represents the ‘Magic Kingdom’ mentality.”

Expectations: Expectations: A Major Trap by Terry Rush [required reading]

“The church has expectations to grow.  This is good to a point; until we are found as humans trying to manage the estate of the Divine.  The church has largely spent its time stripping God of both mystery and marvel by packaging Him in explainable terms.  Thus, very much struggle. Expectations from God’s free creativity is a far cry from our stingy and meager calculations.  May we open more to the Spirit of Him whom God sent.”

Fantasy sports & gambling: Fantasy Sports and Gambling: Line Is Blurred

“Government crackdowns have discouraged many potential gamblers in the United States from using online poker and sports betting Web sites. But an increasing number of people have found a legal way to play the odds online through daily fantasy Web sites. These sites, which allow users to wager thousands of dollars on the performance of professional athletes each day, have been protected under a federal law exempting fantasy sports from restrictions on online gambling. They make up a booming industry that has taken hold among players and is beginning to attract the attention of investors. … ‘It becomes akin to a flip of the coin, which is the definition of gambling,” said Robert Bowman, the chief executive of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the league’s Internet company.’”

Faith & judgmentalism: I Resign from the Church’s Compliance Office by Dan Bouchelle [essential reading]

“I’m tired of dissecting what is wrong with every other church or ministry out there. I’m even tired of the self-critique. I’m ready to focus on what I’m for and spend my time encouraging what is good in my own heritage and others.”

Leadership: Qualities of Church Leaders by Tim Archer

“If I’m going to look at a list of qualities for church leaders, I’m going first to the Sermon on the Mount. Then Galatians 5:16 and following. Then 2 Peter 1:5-8. After considering these qualities, I’d take a look at the traditional lists.”

this went thru my mind

 

Busyness & hurry: The Perils of the Quickaholic by Pete Wilson

“Margin is essential for the unexpected!”

Catholicism: How to Elect a Pope

Infographic

Expectations, jobs, stress, work & workload: Dealing With a Crushing Workload

“The workload isn’t going away. This isn’t just a temporary artifact of a struggling economy, it’s mass-scale experimentation with a new way to do business in the connected economy. To thrive moving forward, you and I need to develop some tools to deal with the pressure.”

Gambling: Tech Industry Sets Its Sights on Gambling

“Look out Las Vegas, here comes FarmVille. Silicon Valley is betting that online gambling is its next billion-dollar business, with developers across the industry turning casual games into occasions for adults to wager. At the moment these games are aimed overseas, where attitudes toward gambling are more relaxed and online betting is generally legal, and extremely lucrative. But game companies, from small teams to Facebook and Zynga, have their eye on the ultimate prize: the rich American market, where most types of real-money online wagers have been cleared by the Justice Department.”

Hispanics: Hispanic Population Trends

“Pew Research has compiled key findings from a new analysis of the Hispanic population …”

Immigration & immigrants: A Portrait of U.S. Immigrants

“… a new analysis of the nation’s foreign-born population …”

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

 

Church: 17 Signs Your Church Might Be Dying by Trey Morgan

“Just a few days ago I visited with a man that was very concerned about the church where he was attending. … He and I got to talking about some of the signs they were seeing that pointed to their church dying out. We made quite a list, and of course a few were tongue-in-cheek. I thought I might share a few with you today.”

Criticism: Handling the Unknown Critic by Patrick Mead

“Elders are not doing their job when they just listen or when they just disregard. They weren’t called to take it – they were called to lead, and that means you might need to have a stern, firm talk with someone who was convinced they were the only one right… and that they were right because their fathers and forefathers were right. Do not allow those who claim to defend the faith cause it to shipwreck. And, while you’re thinking of it, write your minister and elders a love letter. Pray for them daily and tell them you are doing so. Lift up their hands so that they do not become weary and the battle swing against us.”

Doubt: Real Christians Don’t Have Doubts … Do They? by Tim Keller

“A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.”

Drugs: My Life With Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Addiction by Gary Stromberg

“My office, on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, was set up like a huge living room with couches, overstuffed pillows on the floor, rock star posters lining the walls and a coffee table, the centerpiece of which was a large crystal bowl, filled at all times with a generous supply of cocaine. The house rules were ‘help yourself if you’re here on business — but no take-outs!’ We were regularly visited by our clients, including The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Doors and Steppenwolf. As you could imagine, my office was a very popular place.”

Gambling: A Christian Understanding of Gambling by Albert Mohler

“The nationwide explosion of legal gambling may well be the most underrated dimension of America’s moral crisis. … According to some estimates, as much as one-third of the nation’s money supply now moves through the gambling industry each year … The Bible is clear on this issue. The entire enterprise of gambling is opposed to the moral worldview revealed in God’s Word.”

Google: How to Remove Your Google Search History Before Google’s New Privacy Policy Takes Effect

“On March 1st, Google will implement its new, unified privacy policy, which will affect data Google has collected on you prior to March 1st as well as data it collects on you in the future. Until now, your Google Web History (your Google searches and sites visited) was cordoned off from Google’s other products.”

Humor: HTTP 404 Error: Wall Not Found

Leadership: 4 Ways to Become a Leader Want to Follow by Michael Hyatt

“… what separates the leaders we want to follow from the leaders we have to follow?”

Marriage: Keep Your Marriage Out of the Ditch by Jim Martin

“As I write this particular post, I am thinking about couples in their 20s. Perhaps you’ve been married for a few years. You may even have a small child or two (but not necessarily).”

Parenting: Why Take Your Children to Church? by Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp

“Nothing matters as much as the souls of our children. If we can help them know God, have faith and live a selfless life to help them to heaven is there truly anything that should hold us back from that goal?”

Photography: The Praying Otter

“This ‘once in a lifetime’ photograph taken by photographer Marac Andrev Kolodzinski, waited patently in freezing cold weather at the Whipsnade Zoo in England.”

Saturday night services: Should We Start a Saturday Night Service? by Brian Jones

“I surveyed pastors for one full year about Sat. night services and decided to launch one … We killed it … four months later.”

Shepherding: 2 Things to Avoid in Shepherding by Bev Hislop

“Active listening is not a physiological ability, it is a learned skill.”

Sleep deprivation: What Lack of Sleep Does to Your Spirit by Lynn Casteel Harper

“I am talking to the segment of society with a measure of privilege (which includes me) that has a choice — whether we admit it — between adequate and inadequate sleep.”

Solomon’s temple: What Did Solomon’s Temple Look Like? Answers from Ain Dara

“The exact design of the Solomonic Temple as described in 1 Kings 6 and 2 Chronicles 3 has been illuminated by an important excavation at Ain Dara in northwestern Syria.”

Syria: Syrian Christians Ask for Prayer

“Syrian Christians say their greatest need right now is prayer, according to Open Doors, an international ministry supporting persecuted Christians and religious freedom around the world.”

Thankfulness: I Begin Every Day Telling God About Him by Terry Rush

“Each day begins the same. As soon as I awaken, I begin telling Him thank you. There is so much for which I am naturally thankful. We are instructed to tell Him so. We are to live so.”

Thinking: Don’t Attempt Serious Thinking On the Run: How to Think Seriously by Dave Jacobs

“Certain things are necessary for serious thinking to occur, they are …”

Worship, leading: Multiple Intelligences in Worship by Anne Perry

“Many personalities and levels of spiritual experience comprise a worshiping audience. What inspires some may be dullsville for others. The fact is that multiple intelligences make up each congregation.”

this went thru my mind

 

Attitude: 7 Mental Mistakes That Stop You From Living a Life of Freedom and Peace by Henri Junttila

Biblical interpretation: Meaning: The Thin or Thick of It by Mark Love

Charitable giving: Remembering Those Who Truly Need a Holiday Gift by Joshua Becker

Children & technology: The Emergence of Digital Childhood — Is This Really Wise? by Albert Mohler

Church: Why Corporate Church Won’t Work by Mike Breen

Encouragement: After They Said “Brain Tumor” by Robert Ratcliff

Facebook: 12 Things You Didn’t Know Facebook Could Do by Paul Boutin

Failure: How to Compost Your Failures by Michael Hyatt

Gambling: What Do You Think About Gambling? by Michael Harbour

Gratitude: A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day by John Tierney

Homelessness in America: Hard Times Generation: Families Living in Cars

Just for fun: Find Out What Flights Are Overhead With Wolfram Alpha. Several dozen planes fly over our neighborhood every day. I’ve often wondered, “Where did that one come from?” or “Where is that one going?” Now I can know and it couldn’t be more simple. Amazing.

Leadership: A Leader of Uncommon Strength by John Johnson (on Teddy Roosevelt)

Money: The Money Chart (an infographic). Wow!

Of left and right: Moving Right is Never Wrong by Scot McKnight is “required reading.”

Politics: How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich by Tim Dickinson

Productivity: 27 Productivity Killers: Why Nothing Ever Gets Done!

President Obama: Obama Delivers Very Christian Message at Christmas Tree Lighting

Twitter: The Beginners Guide to Twitter by Michael Hyatt

this went thru my mind

Business: Four Destructive Myths Most Companies Still Live By by Tony Schwartz

Church & leadership: Should Christian Organizations Adopt the Business Model? by Roger Olson

Criticism: 5 Positive Things Critique Can Do For You by Jeff Berryman

Elders & leaders: * The Power of Elders by Terry Rush is “required reading” by all, elders or otherwise. * “The Fifteen Hour Rule”: A Challenge to All Church-Planters – Quit Working More Than 15 Hours!! (on your churches) by David Fitch

Gambling: The Billionaires Betting On Internet Gambling by Nathan Vardi

God, Calvinism & more: * Dan Bouchelle has a very good series of posts on God, the following link being to part 1 of that series: Why I Don’t Pray for God to Reveal to Me What He Has Already Chosen. * Richard Beck’s post entitled Your God is Too Big is not to be missed.

Heart: The Four Disciplines of the Heart by Michael Hyatt

Hermeneutics, homosexuality, sexuality, violence, & war: On Christian Communion: Why is Killing Okay But Not Sexuality? by Richard Beck is the “must read” post in this list.

Jesus: Ben Witherington’s series on the literacy of Jesus is interesting. Here’s the link to the first post in that series Was Jesus an Illiterate Peasant? and here are links to parts two and three. Four part are projected.

Megachurches: What Does the Average Megachurch Look Like? by Ed Stetzer

Politics: The Shaping of a Candidate: A Look at Mitt Romney’s Faith Journey by Jessica Ravitz

Television: 51 Untruths I’ve Learned From Television by Joshua Becker