this went thru my mind


Christian symbolism: Get Your Crane Bumper Sticker? by Nijay K. Gupta

“The crane became a symbol of renewal and resurrection in early Christian iconography because its migratory flight announced the coming of spring. The crane is also a model of Christian vigilance.”

Church: * What Holds the Church Back from Success? by Terry Rush; * 5 Issues that Keep a Church from Growing by Ron Edmonson

* “Jesus believed and did many things not balanced; not safe. … He was executed because he refused to abide by the rule-of-thumb balance which is really spelled s-a-f-e-t-y.”

* “I am frequently asked, especially by pastors in declining churches, what keeps a church from growing … what causes a church to decline. … Here are 5 issues that can keep a church from growing.”

Elections, politics & voting: * Thou Shalt Follow These 10 Commandments of the Presidential Election by Eugene Cho; * Vote Like a Christian by Justin Simmons; * Why I’m Not Voting by Branson Parler

* “The Presidential election is only weeks away…and it’s getting ugly out there. I mean … really ugly. And before you think I’m just talking about the political process, the political parties, or the respective candidates, I was actually talking about you, me, us, and them…the people. And by people, I’m also especially talking about Christians.”

* “With no party having a monopoly on morality, how do I decide how to cast my vote in a way that reflects a commitment to my faith?”

* “First, I will not vote because the nature of the political system, especially surrounding presidential politics, is grounded on a different set of values than Scripture. … Second, I will not vote as a symbolic gesture regarding the relative importance of the political system. … the heresy of nationalism or civil religion is not a fringe position, but a standard creed of American Christians, whether Democrats or Republicans, mainline or evangelical.”

Lord’s Prayer & women: Can Patriarchalists Pray the Lord’s Prayer? by Richard Beck

“I expect that … a lot of the men (and women) who preach 1 Tim. 2.12 as normative for the church actually believe that Gal. 3.28 describes what heaven will look like. That is, I don’t think most patriarchalists, at my church at least, think that men will have authority over women in heaven. They believe that men only have authority over women now, on the earth. And if that’s the case I return to my question: Can patriarchalists pray the Lord’s Prayer? Can they pray ‘Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?’ and mean it?”

Marriage: 10 Things Wives Should Avoid Doing In Their Marriage by Trey Morgan

“I’ll have a list for the husbands later this week, but for now, wives … here are 10 things that wives tend to do that really hurt their marriage …”

War: Karl Menninger on War

“The whole war business is a horrible, irrational, despicable business, an archaic and traditional method of deciding a disputed point, whose survival is a disgrace to and refutation of civilization. … And the whole business is disguised in a cloak of romantic glory and sentiment which makes it palatable and even marketable, as fiction, drama, etc., and spoke of in terms of ‘pride’ and ‘glory.’”

this went thru my mind


Boredom & youth: Engaged in the Fascinating by Terry Rush

“… as a kid I wanted nothing to do with churches when I got older because of one thing; superficially boring. What has changed my perspective?”

Facebook: Facebook May Let Kids Under 13 Join With Parent’s Help by Ruger Yu

“Facebook is really going after the youth market.”

Frisbee: Frisbee – God’s Favorite Sport by Jon Acuff

“You’ve had that same thought too right? I’m not the only one am I?”

Preaching: If I Could Just Preach What I Really Believe … by Dan Bouchelle

“One of the secret dreams of many preachers and missionaries is having the freedom to preach exactly what they believe about every subject. Because few of us started a work from scratch, almost all of us find ourselves in a community of faith with some deeply ingrained beliefs and practices with which we disagree.”

Productivity: Five Ways to Cope With the Productivity Squeeze by Glynn Young

“The reality is that virtually all of us work jobs that used to be done by at least two or three people.”

Resurrection of Jesus: Things Which Ought to Be Better Known about the Resurrection (video)

“The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the central tenets of Christian faith. Yet Dr. Peter Williams is concerned that there are some important details the average Christian doesn’t understand very well. So, in this video lecture, he walks us through some of those issues.”

Sermons: 3 Questions to Ask When You Hear a Sermon by Wayne Stiles

“Even Jesus had listeners who missed it.”

Standing desks: * Best Standing Desks by Mark Lukach; * Ernest Hemingway’s Standing Desk [I use the exact same arrangement as Hemingway; now if I could only write like him]

* “… why would I want to buy a standing desk at all?”

* “Other famous users of standing desks included Winston Churchill, Lewis Carroll, Donald Rumsfeld, Charles Dickens, Otto von Bismarck, Henry Clay, Thomas Jefferson, John Dos Passos, and Virginia Woolf.”

picture Bible commentary


It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. (John 20.19-20 CEB)

filled with joy!


NOTE: He is risen! Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow, Easter Sunday, Apr. 8. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon (Filled With Joy!) that morning. The primary text for this sermon is John 20.19-23. You’ll find these LIFE group discussion guides categorized each week here on my site under the category title “LIFE group guides.”


To drive home the deep meaning of Jesus’ resurrection for us as his disciples.


It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they aren’t forgiven.” (John 20.19-23 CEB)


Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.

1. Tell us about a truly victorious or especially joyful moment in your life, be it big or small.

2. If you were to die, come back from the dead, and speak to your loved ones, what would be the first thing you’d say to them?

3. Tell us what Easter Sunday was like for you when you were a wee one.


These questions are meant to help us grapple with Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.

1. According to this passage (John 20.19-23), how much time passed between Jesus’ resurrection and his appearance to his disciples?

2. What did Jesus mean when he said “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you?”

3. How would you say the reception of the Holy Spirit is tied to our grasp of Jesus’ resurrection, our life in light of his resurrection, and the mission he’s given us?

4. How does Jesus’ resurrection affect our understanding of forgiveness (vs. 23)?

5. One-third of this text is what the risen Christ said. Sum up his words in your own words.


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

1. How has human history been affected by the fact Jesus’ body has never been found?

2. If archaeologists discovered the body of Jesus tomorrow, how would your life change?

3. What has the resurrection of Jesus done for your fears?

4. What sort of peace do you have in your life because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

5. What joy do you have in life because of Christ’s resurrection?

6. Given the resurrection of Jesus, what would you say is your mission in life?

7. What can you do to help others to see and hear, as it were, the risen Christ today?

this went thru my mind (a)


Civil War: New Estimate Raises Civil War Death Toll by Guy Gugliotta

“For 110 years, the numbers stood as gospel: 618,222 men died in the Civil War, 360,222 from the North and 258,000 from the South — by far the greatest toll of any war in American history. But new research shows that the numbers were far too low.”

Continuing revelation: “God Told Me” and Other Embarrassing Phrases Christians Use by Brian Jones

“Whenever someone tells you something that begins with the three words ‘God told me’ you should immediately …”

Evangelism: Know Your Neighbors? by Matt Branaugh

“We all need a place to start. … The challenge is realizing where we are starting from.”

Generations: How To Reach a Lost Generation 5: 25 Reasons Young People Are Leaving the Church by Matt Dabbs

“There are many more but this is a start. It is good to be aware of these issues because they point to something deeper that needs to change in our very paradigm of what we view church to be.”

Great commission: The First Great Commission: Mercy, Not Sacrifice by Mark Love

“We all know how the gospel of Matthew ends: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go into all the world, making disciples…” These verses, are less well known. “Woe to you scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites! You cross land and sea to make a single covert and make the new convert twice the child of hell as yourselves” (Mt. 23:15). It would appear that Jesus is after something more than missionary zeal.”

Health: Kitchen Cures Doctors Swear By by Marisa Cohen

“‘True, some home remedies are simply old wives’ tales, but others have stuck around for generations because they actually work,’ says Philip Hagen, M.D., preventive medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic.”

Jesus wept: Jefferson’s Bible and the Tears of Christ by Makoto Fujimura

“Predictably, ‘Jesus wept’ [John 11.35] did not make into the Jefferson Bible. John 11 was cut out entirely, falling onto the floor of his Monticello home and discarded, along with Martha’s confession. Jefferson’s rationalism allowed only a distant deity that made sense in reference to objective ‘scientific’ calibrations, not ephemeral marks of compassion.”

Preaching: The Awful Task of Preaching by Terry Rush

“Preaching is transitory. I don’t know how it is for others, but for me the burden of speaking to a church about God is increasingly burdening….in a wonderful way. It scares me more week by week.”

The resurrection of Jesus: ‘People have very odd ideas about Jesus’ (Sam Hailes interview of N.T. Wright)

“Anyone who is in any sense a Christian cannot with any consistency believe that Jesus stayed dead. … if you say Jesus died and nothing happened but the disciples had some interesting ideas, then you have cut off the branch on which all classic Christianity is sitting. This generation needs to wake up, smell the coffee and realize serious Christianity begins when Jesus comes out of the tomb on Easter morning. This is not a nice optional extra for those who like believing in funny things.”