links: this went thru my mind

Bible translation: The Politics of Bible Translation

“… all translations are on a spectrum of more or less formal and more or less dynamic. Now one more complication: each translation will vary for individual words or phrases or clauses. Each of these Bibles is good. Let’s use them all, and rejoice that we have such wonderful access to the Bible.”

Discipleship, small groups, spiritual development, & transformation: Small Groups & the Transformed Life

“What do transformational small groups look like, and how do we make our groups more effective?”

Humility, learning & legalism: The Philosopher [required reading]

“The great apostle Paul once worried that he might have been wrong. It’s a sobering thought.”

Prayer: What Americans Pray For and Against (Per Max Lucado’s LifeWay Survey)

“Who prays? Men are less likely to talk to God than women: one in five say they never pray (22 percent), vs. 1 in 10 women (11 percent). Roughly 20 percent of whites (19 percent) and Hispanics (20 percent) say they never pray; in contrast, only five percent of African Americans say the same.”

Singles: To the Church, about Singlehood [essential reading]

“Not all members of the body of Christ are called to marriage, but all are called to be part of the body of Christ. We are complete in him alone and we are all adopted into one family no matter our place in society or our relationship status. We have to create a culture that celebrates, embraces and encourages individuals whether married or not.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Church, discipleship, small groups & transformation: * The Surprising Truth About Discipleship and Spiritual Disciplines; * Is Church Too Easy? [essential reading]

* “… groups play an important role in the spiritual lives of the people in our churches. What will surprise you is just how important that impact is.”

 

* “If our goal is to ‘teach people to obey’ all that Jesus commanded, then we may want to rethink our commitment to comfort on Sundays.”

Churches of Christ & humility: Eating in the Church Building

“Bottom line. The Church of Christ has done and is doing some great things. At the same time, we have done many wrong-headed, incorrect, ungodly things. We need to recognize this fact, and admit to ourselves and the world that we are as fallible as any church ever.”

Jesus, nonviolence & pacifism: The Pacifism of Jesus: Reclaiming Christianity’s Challenge [essential reading]

“It may seem odd, even totally counter-intuitive, but following the words of Jesus should be hard. If it is a ticket to earthly dominance, to preservation of the status quo, we have to ask, ‘Is this really the gospel?’”

Independence, others, self & unity: Forgive Us For Our ‘Go-It-Alone’ Attitude

“Enable us to know great joy as forgiven people, united as followers of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Church, consumerism & mega-churches: How Churches Became Cruise Ships

“Today, half of all churchgoers in the United States attend the largest 10 percent of churches. What rarely gets reported, however, is that on average 50 smaller churches close their doors every week in the U.S. The church-as-destination model hasn’t advanced the church in America, it has consolidated it.”

Children, parenting & technology: * 9 Most Dangerous Apps for Kids; * Five Ways to Mess Up Your Kids [required reading]

* “New apps are constantly being created, so it’s important to monitor what your child downloads. Being aware of the online tricks predators use will help you know what to look for …”

* “… it is possible to parent in such a way as to make it difficult for them to grow up, mature, and live as Christ-followers. The following are some ways to mess up your kids …”

Discouragement & ministry: Seven Ways to Hurt Your Pastor

“… they are real people who can really be hurt. The pastors I spoke with this past week shared with me seven common themes of the things that hurt them the most. So, if you really want to hurt your pastor, follow these guidelines carefully.”

Hispanics, immigrants & jobs: Latino Jobs Growth Driven by U.S. Born

“For the first time in nearly two decades, immigrants do not account for the majority of Hispanic workers in the United States. Meanwhile, most of the job gains made by Hispanics during the economic recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-09 have gone to U.S.-born workers …”

Small groups: Two Common Misuses of Small Group Ministry

“Small groups are actually best as a context for the ‘one anothers.’ Whether your church is big or small, you need some kind of system where people can show and be shown the kind of love the Bible commands the church to show. They often pop up in the New Testament as ‘one anothers,’ and this is what small groups are best for.”

this went thru my mind

 

Faith & marriage: * Marrying Out of the Faith; * Interfaith Unions: A Mixed Blessing

* “Interfaith couples tend to marry without thinking through the practical implications of their religious differences. They assume that because they are decent and tolerant people … they will not encounter difficulties being married to someone of another faith.”

* “Before the 1960s, about 20 percent of married couples were in interfaith unions; of couples married in this century’s first decade, 45 percent were. … interfaith marriages often come with a heavy price. They are more likely than same-faith unions to be unhappy and, in some circumstances, to end in divorce. They also tend to diminish the strength of religious communities, as the devout are pulled away from bonds of tradition and orthodoxy by their nonmember spouses.”

Law, people, and righteousness: Four Kinds of People

“It is helpful to see that there are four kinds of people in the world … law-obeying, law-relying … law-disobeying, law-relying … law-disobeying, not law-relying [and] … law-disobeying, not law-relying.”

Same-sex marriage: * Nelson Lund: A Social Experiment Without Science Behind It; * How Different are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships?

* “A significant number of organizations representing social and behavioral scientists have filed briefs promising the court that there is nothing to worry about. These assurances have no scientific foundation. Same-sex marriage is brand new, and child rearing by same-sex couples remains rare. Even if both phenomena were far more common, large amounts of data collected over decades would be required before any responsible researcher could make meaningful scientific estimates of the long-term effects of redefining marriage.

“The conclusions in the research literature typically amount at best to claims that a particular study found “no evidence” of bad effects from child rearing by same-sex couples. One could just as easily say that there is no reliable evidence that such child-rearing practices are beneficial or harmless. And that is the conclusion that should be relevant to the court.”

* “In this debut article of the NFSS, I compare how the young-adult children of a parent who has had a same-sex romantic relationship fare on 40 different social, emotional, and relational outcome variables when compared with six other family-of-origin types.”

Small groups: 9 Great Things Many Group Members Hate About Small Groups

“If a group leader is going to see transformation at a meaningful level in a group member’s life, the group leader cannot give the group member a pass on these expectations. Rather, the group leader must graciously and wisely move the group member into these seemingly dangerous places.”

this went thru my mind

 

Banks, money, oppression & payday loans: Major Banks Aid in Payday Loans Banned by States

“While the banks, which include giants like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, do not make the loans, they are a critical link for the lenders, enabling the lenders to withdraw payments automatically from borrowers’ bank accounts, even in states where the loans are banned entirely. In some cases, the banks allow lenders to tap checking accounts even after the customers have begged them to stop the withdrawals. “Without the assistance of the banks in processing and sending electronic funds, these lenders simply couldn’t operate,” said Josh Zinner, co-director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project, which works with community groups in New York.”

Corporate worship, judgmentalism & maturity: Thumbs Up? Thumbs Down? by Terry Rush [required reading]

“In ministry, in outreach, in worship, and in study, life is about God being glorified. Too many across the broad range of Christian concepts plop themselves down upon padded pews to judge the hour’s program. Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Yet Jesus didn’t construct a court of judgment. He is building a church that would give Father attentive glory.”

Church names: Should Your Church’s Name Include Its Denomination?

“Churches with denominational references (vs. none) in their name are: Four times more likely to be perceived as ‘formal.’ Three times more likely to be perceived as ‘old-fashioned.’ Almost three times more likely to be perceived as ‘structured and rigid.’ Three times less likely to be perceived as ‘open-minded.’ … The main caveat is age … In general, older Americans are more comfortable with denominational church names than are younger people. People age 65 and older are especially likely to see non-denominational names as the church trying to hide what they believe … and as making them feel uncertain … as well as to see denominational names as welcoming new visitors … and as a church they might consider visiting … On the other hand … Younger adults are also more likely to see non-denominational names as welcoming to new visitors …, as a church for people like them …, or as one they might consider visiting …”

Learning: The Lesson You Never Got Taught in School: How to Learn! [very interesting]

“A paper published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest has evaluated ten techniques for improving learning, ranging from mnemonics to highlighting and came to some surprising conclusions.  … Be aware that everyone has their own style of learning, the evidence suggests that just because a technique works or does not work for other people does not necessarily mean it will or won’t work well for you. If you want to know how to revise or learn most effectively you will still want to experiment on yourself a little with each technique before writing any of them off.”

Marriage: 25 Years of Evangelizing My Husband

“On Sunday mornings I would tear up. If only my husband was sitting next to me at church. If only he would thumb through a Bible. If only he could hear this sermon. From my balcony view, I would glare at the backs of other husbands, arms draped over their wives’ shoulders. Surely these husbands led nightly devotionals, volunteered at Vacation Bible School, and prayed before meals. If only …”

Ministry: A Letter to the Church, from a Pastor by Ron Edmonson

“I’m blessed with so many pastor friends. I have the opportunity, through my blog and personal ministry, to interact with hundreds of pastors every year. After hearing many of their concerns, I decided to write a letter to the church. Obviously, I can’t and won’t attempt to speak for every pastor, but this will represent many.”

Parenting: * Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls by Kate Conner; * Dear Boys

* “All attention is not equal.  You think you want attention, but you don’t.  You want respect.  All attention is not equal.”

* “You’ve got to wake up in the morning determined to meet your potential head on, to no longer judge your success by the products that they’re peddling, but to judge yourself by standards that have existed since the beginning of the time: Am I going to make excuses or am I going to make something happen? Am I going to make my life count or am I going to waste it?  Am I going to make my life about what I have or about who I am?”

Small groups: Why Small Groups Don’t Fail by Scott Boren

“Small groups work when leaders operate like shepherds. They do the under-ground, consistent, steady work of caring for the sheep. That is hard to promote and measure. It’s different from developing programs in the church which can be seen and measured as we build buildings, develop budget-dependent programs and attract more and more people to a centralized venue. Small group ministry happens without such clear sizzle. But it’s the way people grow and it’s the way that we impact the world with love.”

Time management: Respect Yourself and Take Back Control of Your Calendar

“Your time is your life. So when you surrender control of your calendar to other people, you put them in control of your destiny. Our digital world has broken down the natural boundaries on how and when people can tell you what they think you should be doing.”