this went thru my mind

 

Church: * 10 Reasons to Be Involved in a Church; * The Main Reason People Leave a Church by Thom Rainer [required reading]

* “… give church another chance. By getting involved, you’ll discover that what you once viewed as a chore is actually a blessing. Here are 10 reasons why.”

* “… the main reason people leave a church is because they have an entitlement mentality rather than a servant mentality.”

Computers & computing: Is Google Set to Kill Off the Password?

“The search giant [Google] is experimenting with USB keys, mobile phones and even jewelry that can act as a physical ‘key’ to give users access to their account. The firm’s security bosses are set to publish their findings next month – and say they could soon be commonplace.”

Divorce: How Divorce Affects Young Adults’ Religiosity

“… children of divorce make up the leading edge — or what she calls the ‘broken leading edge’ — of a growing number of adults who say they are spiritual, but don’t affiliate with a particular religion.”

Pornography: Chronicling Porn’s Damaging Effects

“It has never been easier to access pornography, and massive amounts of it.”

Racism: The Flames of Heaven by Jonathan Storment

“… I don’t think racism is really a white problem, or a black problem…it’s a human problem. … I would think the church would be the one group who could do something about this.”

this went thru my mind

 

Church: Church Steps: How People Move Through the Steps by Matt Dabbs [required reading]

“…  thinking in steps, not in programs. … All of us should be thinking … ‘how can I help someone get to the next step?'”

Church, discipleship & the missional movement: Problems With Missional by Matt Dabbs

“There have been some posts addressing the problems with the missional movement. Here are a few you may want to read.”

Church unity: The Dangerous Center Aisle of a Church by Ron Edmonson

“Would you join a church that couldn’t get along with itself?”

Football: A Conversation With James Franklin

“James Franklin … is the starting quarterback for the University of Missouri … He is the fourth child of Willie and Pam Franklin. His father, a well-known minister in the Dallas area, was once a standout receiver for the University of Oklahoma and played in the NFL for the Baltimore Colts. … “

Free will: Free Will as a Reflection of God by Neal Whitlow

“… what if our free will wasn’t just a curious experiment during God’s creative process? What if there was no highly debated executive decision on the part of the Trinity who decided to breathe life into a man who had the freedom of choice to defy the perfect and holy Creator of the Universe and go his own way? What if our free will was actually the result of being made in the image of God?”

Islam: Survey of Islam by Dr. Timothy Tennent

Legalism & Phariseeism: 6 Warning Signs We’re Becoming Accidental Pharisees by Larry Osborne [required reading]

“I’ve found that becoming a modern-day, accidental Pharisee is a lot like eating at Denny’s. No one wants to go there. We just end up there.”

Patience: Jesus as Oprah by Richard Beck

“No worries. Jack’s a Christian. His Lord commands him to be patient.”

Privacy, porn & social networking: Parasite’ Porn Websites Stealing Images and Videos Posted by Young People

“A study by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) reveals that 88% of self-made sexual or suggestive images and videos posted by young people, often on social networking sites, are taken from their original online location and uploaded on to other websites.”

Same-sex issues: Let’s Face It by Carole Lattin

“… “the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. It’s holiness … the goal is to lay down the lesser love of homosexuality and embrace the greater love of Christ’s atonement.”

this went thru my mind

 

Archaeology: That’s not a sling stone… THIS is a sling stone

“Excavated a couple of days ago at Khirbet Qeiyafa …”

Church & Jesus: Churches Converted to Jesus by Terry Rush

“We in the Church of Christ have lost our way along with any other group who has elevated stance and status over Jesus.”

Culture: Unwrapping Our Imaginations From The American Dream

“American preachers have a task more difficult, perhaps, than those faced by us under South Africa’s apartheid, or Christians under Communism. We had obvious evils to engage; you have to unwrap your culture from years of red, white and blue myth. You have to expose, and confront, the great disconnection between the kindness, compassion and caring of most American -people, and the ruthless way American power is experienced, directly and indirectly, by the poor of the earth. You have to help good -people see how they have let their institutions do their sinning for them. This is not easy among people who really believe that their country does nothing but good, but it is necessary, not only for their future, but for us all.”

Employment, happiness & ministry: The Ten Happiest Jobs

“#1. Clergy:  The least worldly are reported to be the happiest of all.”

Global warming: * The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic; * Global Warming, a New Study

“Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.”

“A Koch-funded reanalysis of 1.6 billion temperature reports finds that ‘essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.'”

iPad/iPhone apps: Aesop for Children by the Library Of Congress

“The Aesop for Children interactive book is designed to be enjoyed by readers of any age. The book contains over 140 classic fables, accompanied by beautiful illustrations and interactive animations. The Aesop for Children interactive book is designed to be enjoyed by readers of any age. The book contains over 140 classic fables, accompanied by beautiful illustrations and interactive animations.”

Knowledge: The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge by Maria Popova

“In an age obsessed with practicality, productivity, and efficiency, I frequently worry that we are leaving little room for abstract knowledge and for the kind of curiosity that invites just enough serendipity to allow for the discovery of ideas we didn’t know we were interested in until we are, ideas that we may later transform into new combinations with applications both practical and metaphysical.”

Lust: * Lust: A Topic We Just Don’t Talk About…and Are Dying Because of It by Matt Dabbs; * Hey Married People: Quit Checking Out People You’re Not Married To by Trey Morgan; * Can Porn be Used Responsibly? by Kurt Willems

* “The only thing I can really remember really being taught about lust in church  growing up (aside from the above story) was that it was the phrase, ‘It is okay to let a bird land on your head but don’t let it build a nest.’ In other words, seeing someone and thinking they are attractive is one thing but taking that a step further in your mind was a sin. The next logical question in the mind of a teenage boy is this, ‘at exactly what point does the bird’s nest building begin?'”

* “Whoever you’re married to, is what you should be ‘into.'”

* “… porn always removes God from the center replacing the Divine with lustful desires. Porn never glorifies God or embodies what St. Irenaeus proclaimed: ‘The glory of God is humanity fully alive.’ Porn distorts God’s image-bearers, thus misrepresenting our perception of God’s glory.”

Politics & morality: Parting the Red (and Blue) Sea by Cameron Nations

“The Church remains its strongest and purest when it holds a ‘from the margins” mindset.'”

Relationships: 21 Ways to Upgrade Your Relationships by Jim Martin, parts one, two, three & four.

“What are some practical ways to invest in the relationships that really matter?”

Small groups: Create a Caring Church by Brett Eastman

“If you want to create a church community that really cares for one another, the best way to do it is through small groups. When small groups become the vehicle for care-giving, the whole church gets involved in sharing one another’s burdens—a much more personal approach than relegating the task to a committee. The whole congregation should be making hospital visits, taking meals to people when they’re sick or something’s happened, doing childcare when someone’s in crisis and giving money when somebody’s lost a job. The best way to make this happen is to get everyone in groups where they love and care about each other.”

The Christian objective: Who Moved the Goalpost? by Dan Bouchelle

“… somehow, the goal of becoming fully formed in Christ got reduced to ‘going to heaven.'”

Violence: And Brief (and let’s hope final, but If I know me probably not) Comment on God’s Violence in the Old Testament by Peter Enns

“I am taking the time to talk about God’s violence in the Old Testament because it is a window onto a large and perennially central theological topic that can be expressed as follows: What is the Bible, anyway, and what are we supposed to do with it? To put it another way, What do we have a right to expect of the Bible as the Word of God? Or yet another way, Does the Bible give us unerring, brute factual information, or are we seeing something more complex and subtle there?”

this went thru my mind

Archaeology & backgrounds. Man alive, talk about a double punch! Just this past Sunday morning while preaching from Matthew 5:27-30, I made reference to the Valley of Gehenna as Jerusalem’s “trash dump.” Then this week I come across this post by Tedd Bolen entitled The Myth of the Burning Garbage Dump of Gehenna. I’ve read and heard of the “Jerusalem trash dump” business from careful scholarship for many years now, so, needless to say, this came as a great surprise to me. That was the first punch. What was the second? My scheduled sermon topic tomorrow morning is … wait for it … lying. Doh! No kidding.

If you’re even half as interested as I am in what life was like in the places where Christianity first got a foothold in the ancient world, you will likely be very interested in a new blog that is about all thing related to the ancient city of Corinth. It’s called simply Corinthians Matters. The site’s self-description reads: “This site is devoted to the archaeological and historical research and study of Corinth and its territory.  The site is also designed to educate the public on the ongoing archaeological work of the sites and microregions of the eastern territory.” This site is the work of David Pettegrew, an “Assistant Professor of History at Messiah College near Harrisburg, PA where he teaches classes in Greek and Roman History, Late Antiquity, Historical Mediterranean Archaeology, and Latin.”

Bible. Did you know that Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby, is a long-time Bible collector? Read more in this CNN article entitled Eyeing a national museum, a collector’s bibles hits the road.

Bible interpretation: The “most loved verse” of most, Philippians 4:13, is the subject and Timothy Archer comes right out and says what needs to be said. This may be the most important post you’ll read of those listed here simply because it reminds us that unless Scripture is understood in its context, it will be misunderstood and misused. Spot-on, brother. I Can Do All Things. Incidentally, this verse is a good illustration of why I’m a fan of the Common English Bible. The CEB renders Philippians 4:13 quite well, capturing its meaning in its original context: “I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength.”

Church. It seems as though this must be “National Write Some Exceedingly Good Stuff About Church Week.” Quite a number of fine pieces came through my Google Reader this week about church. Following are three of the best. Dan Bouchelle’s post entitled Too Busy to Bother Driving is required reading. Here’s an excerpt:

“Most churches are busy doing all manner of things. … if not truly important things. But, rare is the church that has a true biblically informed operational vision that guides all they do and gives them the framework to decide what not to do. Everyone with a good idea and the willingness to put some time in can develop a program that consumes church time and resources. … The core problem, I think, is that there is no real consensus about why the church exists. The congregation came into being sometime in the past but no ones seems to remember why because vision leaks. It has been years, if ever, since the entire leadership gathered around the Word and prayerfully asked and studied critical questions like the following …”

Dave Jacobs makes an equally important point in Not All Healthy Things Grow and Reproduce. Who will believe his report, though? I, for one.

Wade Hodges hit the nail on the head as well with his post Before You Go: Leave Your Ideal Church Behind.

And without a doubt, if the post Church in China to Risk Worshipping in Park doesn’t humble us, I shudder to think what it would take to do so. See ya’ Sunday, right?

Computing. Do you subscribe to any e-mailings from businesses who use Epsilon? I do. And if you don’t know if you do, then you’ll definitely want to read Mike Lennon’s post Massive Breach at Epsilon Compromises Customer Lists of Major Brands as well as Kim Komando’s advice on the matter.  Jason Stellman’s Googling Ourselves to Death reiterates a point I’ve made earlier here. We all need reminding. And speaking of “all” and “reiterating,” this infographic regarding Web Use Through the Generations just doesn’t ever get old to me. Why? It speaks volumes of how people communicate and how they learn things, things we do well to be aware of if we want to communicate Christ to people and ways that can be effectively heard.

Death & dying. Rob Moll’s piece entitled The Art of Dying addresses a crucial question: “How should the Christian community respond when a member is told he or she has a terminal illness?”

Hate. This ol’ world is not in short supply if it. Unfortunately, it’s not in short supply among many who claim faith in Christ, either. Two posts I saw this week give additional application points to a subject I dealt with the Sunday before last (anger). They are Julie Clawson’s piece entitled Embracing Creation Theology and Rubel Shelly’s FAX of Life entitled People Who Burn the Quran.

Humor. Wish I had wrote this piece. Top Ten Signs Your Pastor Has Caught You Napping During His Sermon. You think this is funny being one who sits in the pew, you ought to read this as a preacher. Pretty funny!

Kindle. “Free” is one of my favorite words and books are one of my joys in life, so when PC World clues me in on how to Find Free and Discounted Kindle E-Books I couldn’t help but take notice. If you have a Kindle, eReaderIQ is a good thing to know about.

Pornography. My sermon last Sunday morning (Toward a Life Without Lust) dealt, in part, with the subject of porn. Jonathan Stormented’s post Cruciform Sex is good stuff along this same line.

Sabbath. Michael Hyatt’s ten minute video interview of Craig Groeschel has some good thoughts on God’s expectations for us in terms of the use of our time and the application of the Sabbath today. If you’re just too busy for ten minutes (well then, you really need this lesson on the Sabbath!), skip to the 6:30 minute mark of the video and go from there. We study the fourth of the Ten Commandments (“keep the Sabbath holy“) in most of our adult Bible classes tomorrow at MoSt Church. And there’s a superb, brief excerpt entitled Busyness from one of Eugene Peterson’s first books, Working the Angles, a classic on ministry.

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.