links: this went thru my mind

 

Bible interpretation: My Problem With the Bible [essential reading]

“I have a problem with the Bible, but all is not lost. I just need to read it standing on my head. I need to change my perspective. If I can accept that the Bible is trying to lift up those who are unlike me, then perhaps I can read the Bible right.”

Church, language, race & worship: 5 Reasons People Avoid Visiting A Bilingual Service

“I still have people tell me: ‘I would visit the bilingual service, but I’m not bilingual.’ Explanations about how one only needs to know either one of the two languages used seem to fall on deaf ears.”

Discipleship, generosity, giving, minimalist, possessions & selflessness: 5 Practices Toward A More Radical Christian Life [essential reading]

“The older I get the more convinced I become that as rich Americans, you and I are at a tremendous disadvantage to experiencing the depths of the Kingdom Jesus came to inaugurate. … While I’ve traveled to more than 40 countries and spent nearly 8 years living outside the US, it has been my time in India (and more specifically my time in the slums and brothel areas) that has most motivated me to rid myself of American materialism so that I’m free to embrace the Kingdom Jesus spoke of.”

Free will & God: Open Theism Simplified

“Why would Open Theists think that God knows the future as partly composed of possibilities, and not only a future of settled facts in the mind of God?”

Immigration, love & racism: If People Excluded “Illegal Immigrants”, We Wouldn’t Have Jesus

“Under God’s law, Ruth was an ‘illegal’ and to be excluded– but thankfully, she was not. A man named Boaz comes along and becomes the hero of the story by ignoring a law that was ultimately unloving. Boaz marries Ruth, and they have a family. Like Jesus demonstrated by healing on the Sabbath, Boaz realized that it’s better to love than to obey the law. … We only have Jesus because someone loved an ‘illegal’ immigrant.”

Means & provision: If God Will Provide, Why Are My Means So Meager?

“Without a trust that God will provide, it will seem we work harder and get less.”

Tithing: * There’s More to Tithing Than 10%; * Tithing for New Covenant Believers–Yes or No?; * Why I Tithe – Part 1

* “Even if you give 10 percent faithfully, it doesn’t mean you’ll come away with the right perspective about the other 90 percent.”

* “God is pleased when our giving reflects our love for Him regardless of the percentage or amount.”

* “While I respect and understand differing perspectives. I believe the Bible teaches we are to offer God the first-fruits of our income. Gross, not net.”

the church Jesus goes to

 

I know where Jesus goes to church. Without a doubt. He goes to the church that lives deliberately, boldly, and consistently …

pursuing peace and reconciliation. Though it lives in a world saturated with anger, disrespect, snarkiness, and insult, with a will it refuses to go there. It’s done with living by rage, choosing righteousness instead. It’s not defined by its own insecurities and its ability to utter barbed wit in retort to those who mock it, but by its humble confidence in its Christ and its dependence on the provision of God’s Spirit in every situation, no matter how dark or difficult. Imagine: a church made distinctive to all by not being abrasive and hard to live with.

unruled by its wants. Though surrounded on every side by people chasing after every kind of lust and sanctifying all sorts of unfaithfulness in every relationship, it isn’t seduced to do the same. It doesn’t seek its own will, but whatever God’s will is for it. Instead of searching for meaning in whatever it perceives as sexy (not just sex itself, by whatever is “sexy”), it finds its meaning in its Lord and Savior, for he is enough, and more. Picture this: a church known to the world for its contentment and reliability.

by its words of honesty. Though the culture in which is resides is given over to dishonesty and deception, it quietly walks its talk. It practices what it preaches, not merely what’s “practical” in the moment. Its ways aren’t determined by always choosing what works out for its own best interest, but by going after the truth that true love can truly rejoice in always. Capture this vision: a church perceived as genuine and true by all who care to truly engage it.

extending mercy generously. Though its world is largely driven by retaliation and payback, fueled by fear and the never ending yearning for hard justice, it walks by faith on higher ground. It thrives on the Spirit of compassion, not the spirit of competition. Its life map is not of doing whatever would instill fear in others of it, but to do whatever would help install faith in others in the God it follows. Draw it in your head like this: a church characterized by selfless giving and costly care.

loving the unlovable. Though seemingly all of society continually calls it to elicit indifference, ill will, hate, or anything and everything else that dehumanizes, it chooses to love with the love of the divine instead. By so doing, it traffics in forgiveness, not fierceness or fighting. This is because it seeks its definition not in its enemies, but in him who allowed his enemies to spike him to a tree. Place this before your eyes: a church that will mount the cross with its Lord, and die with him. Daily.

After all, what else could a person honestly conclude after reading what Jesus candidly said in Matthew 5.21-26,27-32,33-37,38-42,43-48?

And so, I have to ask: what might a church become if it understood and made these matters its chief means of worshiping and following Jesus Christ? In a week? A month? A few years? Over the course of a lifetime? Or after several generations?

Would it not become more and more like the One it worshiped? And wouldn’t that be what both the Lord, and they, wanted most of all?

Let’s find out. Let’s go to church with Jesus!

this went thru my mind

 

Age of the earth & time: I Just Realized: My Age x 100,000,000 = the Age of the Earth, Which is Ridiculous by Peter Enns

“If 4.6 billion years is scaled to one mile, my life span is .00005 feet, or .0006 inches. That’s 6/10,000 of an inch. You can’t see that with the naked eye.”

Depression: How to Win Over Depression by Terry Rush

“Never will it be what others do for us that will defeat depression.”

Discipleship: Alan Hirsch on Making Disciples [2 min., 53 sec. video clip; required viewing]

“Everyone’s a disciple and no one ever stops being a disciple. … If we don’t disciple, the culture surely will.”

Hanukkah: The True Meaning of Hanukkah

“Hanukkah is one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays in America. But unlike Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Passover (or even the lesser-known Sukkot and Shavuot), all of which are explicitly mentioned in the Torah, Hanukkah gets only a brief, sketchy reference in the Talmud, the voluminous collection of Jewish oral law and tradition written down hundreds of years after the Maccabees’ revolt.”

Hell: Questions About Hell

“What does hell mean to Jesus?”

Jesus: Jesus, the King of Israel by Ted Gossard

“Jesus as Lord is to be king over the whole earth, but his rule starts over God’s people. And that rule extends beyond God’s people through conversion, never at the point of a gun, or the tip of a sword, but by the way of the cross. “Jesus and him crucified” is the message people need to hear. This king reigns on a cross and by way of a cross.”

Maturity, selflessness & service: Selflessness Leads to Spiritual Maturity by Jay Guin

“… on average only about 50% of those surveyed claim to be engaged in any meaningful service to others. (And I’m skeptical that the real numbers are even that high.) Therefore, at least 50% of our members do not sacrificially give or serve others. Just what kind of gospel are we teaching?”

Persuasion & words: The 5 Most Persuasive Words in the English Language

“… you might be surprised just how effective these deceptively simple words can be.”

Poverty: Profiting From a Child’s Illiteracy by Nicholas D. Kristof

“… the bottom line is that we shouldn’t try to fight poverty with a program that sometimes perpetuates it.”

this went thru my mind

 

Assumptions: Better to Ask than Assume by Rubel Shelly

“Lots of confusion could be eliminated and far more progress made this week by following this simple rule: When something isn’t clear, ask. Don’t assume. Don’t guess. Don’t mind-read. Trying swallowing your pride and saying, ‘I’m not sure I understand. Do you mind explaining that to me?’”

Bible geography & interpretation: Studying the Land by Wayne Stiles

“Studying historical geography, in my own experience, has permanently marked my life and changed the way I understand the Bible.”

Church & self: Church as Self-mortification? by Richard Beck

“A big part of church is learning to say No to yourself.”

Church leadership & successWhy Are So Many Church Leaders Falling? by Shawn Lovejoy

“Here’s my basic conclusion: the main reason so many of us are struggling stems from our basic definition of success. Our root problem is that we have exchanged God’s definition of success for our own. We have begun to measure success the way the world does.”

Church membership: Leaving Church … for Another Church by K. Rex Butts

“… the reasons for which we leave one church for another is a luxury that only a culture of affluence, division, and denominations can afford!”

Reading: Top 10 Most Read Books in the World [infographic; I've currently only read #1, #9, and #10]

“Based on number of books printed and sold over the last 50 years.”

Shopping: Skip Impulse Buys with a 30-Day List

“Take a minute to create a 30-day list, and every time you want to buy something that’s not absolutely necessary … put it on the list with the date it was added to the list. Make a rule never to buy anything (except necessities) unless they’ve been on the list for 30 days.”

Spiritual growth: How Spiritual Growth Really Happens by Brian Jones

“A Christian taking credit for growing closer to God is like a rooster taking credit for the sun coming up in the morning. Bible study, worship, prayer, etc., are all vital parts of the Christian journey and powerfully aid in creating the context in which God can draw near to us. However, in the vast majority of instances God makes himself known to us in spite of what we try to do, not because of it.”