links: this went thru my head

 

Apps, books, reading & technology: Oyster: The Netflix Of Books

“Oyster … is already being called the ‘Netflix for books.’ That’s a lofty moniker, but the app may just live up to the hype – it offers access to over 100,000 books for $9.95 a month!”

Conspiracy theories, culture, fear, paranoia & suspicion: Suspicious? In ‘United States Of Paranoia,’ It’s Not Just You

“… polls show a great deal of Americans — in some cases a majority of Americans — believing in secret cabals.”

Facebook: * How to See What Your Facebook Profile Looks Like to Others; * We Post Nothing About Our Daughter Online [required reading]

* “After all, you might not want the entire world to know of your woe-filled past relationships.”

* “The problem is that Facebook is only one site. With every status update, YouTube video, and birthday blog post, Kate’s parents are preventing her from any hope of future anonymity.”

Faith, finances, money & security: Give Us This Day Our Lifetime Supply of Bread? [essential reading]

“I’m only trusting in God if I pray, ‘Give us this day our daily bread,’ and then thank Him that I have had bread to eat at the end of that day.”

Gossip: 5 Alternatives to Gossip [required reading]

“One of the chief reasons why it’s hard to resist gossip is that we often can’t see any alternatives.”

Health insurance: Uninsured in Texas and Florida

“Low-income residents of Texas … desperately need health insurance, as shown by the Census Bureau’s Small Area Health Insurance Estimates for 2011, which were issued last week. The report found that more than 25 percent of the population in Texas under age 65 (5.7 million people) was uninsured, the highest rate in the nation.”

Leadership & listening: Seven Secrets to Listening When Time is Short

“The need to feel important closes ears and open’s mouths. Listening is both humble and humbling. Talking makes you feel important. Listening to others makes them feel important.”

Suffering: The Value of Suffering

“But does that change all the many times when suffering leaves us with no seeming benefit at all, and only a resentment of those who tell us to look on the bright side and count our blessings and recall that time heals all wounds (when we know it doesn’t)?”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceAbortion: The Problem with “Safe, Legal” Abortion

“This absolutely horrifying story from The Atlantic about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, now standing trial for murder in Philadelphia, gives the lie to the traditional argument that making and keeping abortion legal ensures that it will be done safely and with concern for the health and well being of the mother. … I encourage you to go and read the entire article, if you can stomach it. It is a true American horror story. It also reveals issues of racism, mistreatment of the poor, the exploitation of women, and the failures of government and journalistic institutions.”

Ancient warfare & horses: Iron Age Weapons—From Cold Metal to Warm-Blooded Animals

“Advanced ‘martial arts’ schools for horses and riders developed war horses trained in special athletic movements designed to inflict maximum damage with their hooves in battle. It has developed over the centuries into what we now refer to as modern dressage, a sport in the Olympics since 1900.”

Churches of Christ, military service, pacifism, prayer, & war: A Prayer by J.N. Armstrong

“J.N. Armstrong was the first president of Harding University and the son-in-law of James A. Harding. He believed that Christians were not to participate in war.”

Fear, hope, idolatry, power, & security: North Korea May Bomb the Hell Out of Us and Blow Us to Smithereens, Yet We Will Cling to the Instability of Hope by Kurt Willems

“‘Peace through strength’ is good for us all, or so many believe. … Too often, the Christian hope is co-opted by the hope of Caesar … We followers of Jesus in the empire of America have a choice. We can put our trust in empty sloganeering. We can trust in the horses and chariots of the military. Or, we can place our lives in the midst of reality, the unstable yet sure hope we have in Christ Jesus.”

Forgiveness & violence: Warren Forgives Seller of Gun in Son’s Suicide

“Pastor Rick Warren has shared some of his thoughts via Twitter during the past week as he and his wife Kay grieve the loss of their youngest son, tweeting Thursday (April 11) that he has forgiven the person who sold Matthew the gun used in his suicide.”

Gun control, gun lobby, NRA & politics: A Senate in the Gun Lobby’s Grip by Gabrielle Giffords [required reading; and I say, "Amen!"]

“On Wednesday, a minority of senators gave into fear and blocked common-sense legislation that would have made it harder for criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses to get hold of deadly firearms — a bill that could prevent future tragedies … Some of the senators who voted against the background-check amendments have met with grieving parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook, in Newtown. Some of the senators who voted no have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago, and expressed sympathy for the 18 other people shot besides me, 6 of whom died. These senators have heard from their constituents — who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them.”

this went thru my mind

 

Criticism: It’s So Much Easier To Criticize! by Stephen Altrogge

* “… if our relationships are lacking encouragement, it doesn’t matter how much we speak the truth, it won’t be received.”

Depression: Treating Depression With Psychiatry and Faith

“… many people think depression is nothing more than an intense episode of ‘the blues.’ Why are they wrong?”

Facebook & privacy: Get Total Facebook App Privacy With One Setting

“… what if I told you that changing one simple setting can radically improve your privacy on Facebook? It sounds like a ‘too good to be true’ claim, but it’s true.”

Fear & security: Everyday Idolatry: Security by Jonathan Stormented

“… the real risk of security is that you might be worshipping a god who is no god at all.”

Gossip: Addressing Gossip in the Church by Ron Edmonson [sermon; 27 min. video; essential viewing]

“Have you ever been the spreader of gossip? … Gossip is one those sins that no one admits to.”

Grief: Why You May Never Heal by Caleb Wilde

“The assumption to both Freud and Kubler-Ross’ model is that the end of the grief process (healing, acceptance) is a form of detachment from the deceased. But, I think they’re wrong. … Instead of saying that the end of the grief process is detachment and healing, I think we should say that the healthy end of the grief process is adjustment. It’s adjusting to the fact that your loved one is no longer here to share life experiences with you. It’s adjusting to the loss of the future, but there’s never a detachment from the past.”

Heaven: Heaven is for Real: A Book Review by Wayne Stiles [required reading]

“If this book’s story is real, Jesus needs to get His stories straight.”

Hope: How Hope Can Help You Heal

“Groopman’s research showed that during the course of illness, belief and expectation — two mental states associated with hope — have an impact on the nervous system which, in turn, sets off a chain reaction that makes improvement and recovery more likely.”

Illness & sickness: For a Sick Friend: First, Do No Harm

“Conversing with the ill can be awkward, but keeping a few simple commandments makes a huge difference.”

Jackie Robinson: Jackie Robinson and the Pattern of Jesus by David Mathis

“… if you are against him, you’re against all of us.”

Leadership & ministry: * Ministry Inside.115 by Jim Martin; * Something I’ve Learned as a Senior Leader

* “How do you stay sane when there is so much craziness that surrounds ministry? Good question. Craziness is everywhere.”

* “Not everyone will understand all the decisions a leader makes unless they sat where the leader sits.”

Listening, preaching & teaching: Exegetes at Church by Tim Gombis

“…  there’s a world of difference between a critical mind and a critical spirit.”

Parenting: Helping Your Teen Read the Bible by Chad Nall

“Let’s be honest, the Bible isn’t as easy to read as we would like it to be.”

Young adults: The Church and Young Adults by Joshua Graves

“In Robert Wuthnow’s After the Baby Boomers, three critical (in my estimation) observations are offered. … I will summarize Wuthnow’s observations and add additional reflection.”

this went thru my mind

 

Cancer: I Hate Cancer

“… cancer isn’t a person. I don’t get any picture from scripture that there’s anything wrong with hating an evil thing. When I think about cancer, I can’t help but hate it. No apologies. I hate it.”

Church visitors & guests, civility & hospitality: Ten Commandments for Guest-Friendly Church Members by Thom Rainer

“I travel a lot and spend a lot of time in different churches. I have had a church consulting firm that did “guest” visits as part of our services. Sadly, many times I do not feel welcome as a guest when I visit churches. The Bible is replete with admonitions of hospitality and servanthood. I just wish our church members understood that the servant-like spirit should also be manifest when we gather to worship. Guests are often uncomfortable, if not intimated, when they visit a church. We are to be gracious and sacrificial servants to them. In response to this need for more guest-friendly church members, I have devised the ten greatest needs, at least from my perspective. I will reticently call them “commandments” and throw in a little King James English for effect.”

Family & marriage: * Ideal or Idol: Avoiding the Family Cult at Church by Dan Bouchelle [required reading]; * Marriage and Women in the Pagan World of Bible Times; * What About Gay Marriage? by Patrick Mead

* “… the Bible just doesn’t say that much about family–at least not the issues people seem to want most. This is especially true with regard to the family counseling questions most people ask today.”

* “The next time Christianity is charged as a repressive, unenlightened, and backward religion, the critic should reconsider how repressive, unenlightened, and backward the world would be today, without the Christian defense of marriage.”

* “Want to have fun? Go through the Bible and try to construct what a marriage ceremony should look like and at what point a person is married. There is no single system or ritual. Marriage was a private, family agreement that varied from tribe to tribe. No license, no tax benefits or punishments … just a private covenant made between two people with the agreement of their community. Today, marriage has over 1,300 ramifications when it comes to taxes, insurance, and a host of laws, rights, and open or closed doors.”

Just for fun: The Dragonfly: Nature’s Drone, Pretty and Deadly

“When setting off to feed on other flying insects, dragonflies manage to snatch their targets in midair more than 95 percent of the time, often wolfishly consuming the fresh meat on the spur without bothering to alight.”

Ministry with the poor: Dallas Ministry Guru Larry James ‘a Rare, Talented Guy’

“The 63-year-old former Church of Christ preacher never imagined that he’d be an office-tower landlord, homebuilder, real estate developer, medical provider, caterer, food distributor and job trainer, much less the chief executive of a corporation with $15 million in revenue. But that’s what he’s become as president and CEO of CitySquare.”

Missions: * 6 Potential Problems With Supporting Native Preachers by Tim Archer; * 5 Ways To Improve Our Support Of Native Preachers

* “There are several growing trends in missions today. One is the … rejection of using American missionaries in favor of supporting local Christians. … Done correctly, this can be a highly effective use of limited church funds. Problem is, it’s much easier to do it wrong than it is to do it right. Here are some of the dangers that I think churches need to be aware of …”

* “Each situation needs to be analyzed on its own merit.”

Privacy & search engines: 7 Great Search Sites That Aren’t Google

“For a quick answer, Blekko is usually easier to use than Google. Instead of returning advertisers and other junk results first, it usually sends you links that actually answer your question. Blekko is more private than Google in normal mode. However, I recommend you use its “SuperPrivacy” mode for maximum privacy. This blocks ads and takes you to secure, encrypted sites by default. … Your number one concern when searching Google might be that it can return inappropriate content for innocent search terms. Yippy detects adult content and blocks it automatically.”

Social networking: 12 Simple Steps to Safer Social Networking

“For this article, I rounded up the three most important privacy settings you should be using, but probably aren’t, on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram. Five minutes of setup now could avert hours of social embarrassment and identity recovery down the road.”

The Bible mini-series: Getting Jesus Right: 2 Quick Comments on Week 4 of “The Bible” on the History Channel

* “It wasn’t written for the biblically knowledgable but for those whose biblical literacy minimal … One thing the last episode did very well was to get across something of theo-political tensions of 1st century Palestine.”

this went thru my mind

 

Baby boomers: Last Chances for Churches to Reach 50 Million Americans

“Here are a few (hopefully) helpful facts about the Baby Boomers and churches. Of course, our findings depict the majority of Boomers, not all of them at any one time.”

Baptism & rebaptism: Benjamin Franklin on Rebaptism

“In the years prior to the Firm Foundation (begun in 1884) there was practical unanimity on the question of whether one who had been previously immersed to obey God but without the knowledge of its saving import should be rebaptized. The answer was an unequivocal ‘No.’ … Anyone immersed upon a confession of faith in Jesus as the Christ, thought Campbell, was legitimately baptized and needed no further “re-do″ when they later learned that baptism was for the remission of sins.”

Children, manhood, movies & the learning of gender roles: How Movies Teach Our Kids about Gender [watch the 12 min. TED talk video; required viewing]

“What are movies teaching our kids about gender, about what it means to be men and women? That’s the question Colin Stokes asks in this recent TED Talks video.”

Colors: A Designers Guide to the Psychology of Color [infographic]

“Color is far more powerful than we give it credit for.”

Computing, privacy & security: How to Sacrifice Your Online Privacy for Fun and Profit [required reading]

“You have value—and not just as a good friend, loving family member, and upstanding member of society. You’re also a valuable commodity that companies buy and sell. Your age, browsing habits, and friends lists are all hot properties. And yes, all this data is recorded, packaged, and sold to the highest bidder by your favorite websites.”

Culture & sin: Americans Reveal Their 3 Favorite Sins

“‘Temptations and America’s Favorite Sins,’ a survey conducted by the Barna Group, a Christian research firm, concludes that the moral struggles that vex most Americans aren’t the salacious acts that drive the plotlines of reality television shows. Most Americans are too worn down or distracted to get snared by those vices, the survey concludes. The top three sins seducing most Americans: procrastination, overeating and spending too much time on media.”

Drugs & prison sentences: The Drug Laws That Changed How We Punish

“Half a century ago, relatively few people were locked up, and those inmates generally served short sentences. But 40 years ago, New York passed strict sentencing guidelines known as the ‘Rockefeller drug laws’ — after their champion, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller — that put even low-level criminals behind bars for decades. Those tough-on-crime policies became the new normal across the country.”

Loving your enemies: Love Your Enemies … Sort Of?

“‘Love Your Enemies … It Pisses Them Off’ or ‘… It Makes Then So Damn Mad’ or ‘… Nothing Annoys Them So Much.’ No doubt these lines are supposed to be funny. But in fact they diminish the love Jesus called for by delighting in the negative response some people might have when they are greeted with unexpected love. Such statements infer that the very aim of loving those at odds with us is to strike a blow against them, albeit of an unconventional sort. Yet the love that Jesus advocated was not some sort of unconventional blow but a blessing.”

this went thru my mind

 

Discernment & the Holy Spirit: The Church as a Community of Discernment

“…  I wonder what conditions are necessary to say, ‘it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.’ I wonder if most congregations have orchestrated their life together so that this is a possibility. And if it isn’t–if the church isn’t conceived of to express its life as a matter of faith–then what do we imagine the church is, and how do we imagine that God is related to it? Is it really a church?”

Facebook: Protect Your Privacy From Facebook’s Newest Feature

“The feature in question here is Facebook’s Graph Search.”

Finances, generations & responsibilities: The Sandwich Generation: Rising Financial Burdens for Middle-Aged Americans

“Nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older). And about one-in-seven middle-aged adults (15%) is providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.”

Hell: Hell is for Real by Jason Micheli

“During the course of my ministry, I’ve met far too many people who’ve been hurt by Christians who spoke callously or cavalierly about Hell.”

Journaling: The 7 Benefits of Keeping A Journal by Michael Hyatt [podcast]

“If I had to sum it up, I would say journaling has afforded me seven benefits. 1. Process previous events. 2. Clarify my thinking. 3. Understand the context. 4. Notice my feelings. 5. Connect with my heart. 6. Record significant lessons. 7. Ask important questions.”

Lent: Why Lent? by Kai Nilsen

“‘Lent? What’s that? Are you talking about the fuzzy stuff I often find in my belly button?’ (Lint!)”

Security: More Than A Dozen Brands Of Security Camera Systems Vulnerable To Hacker Hijacking

“Eighteen brands of security camera digital video recorders (DVRs) are vulnerable to an attack that would allow a hacker to remotely gain control of the devices to watch, copy, delete or alter video streams at will, as well as to use the machines as jumping-off points to access other computers behind a company’s firewall, according to tests by two security researchers.”

Twitter & Vine: Twitter’s New Vine App – Opportunities for the Ministry by Ben Lichtenwalner

“How can we use this new medium for the ministry? Below are some thoughts to get us started.”