links: this went thru my mind

 

Afterlife, authority & heaven: Heaven Is For Real [essential viewing; a video 4:44 by David Platt)

“… our level of discernment in the church today on this topic is extremely low because the whole premise behind every single one of these books is contrary to everything God’s word says about heaven. … Not one person raised from the dead in the Old Testament or the New Testament ever wrote down what he or she experienced , including Lazarus, who had a lot of time in a grave for four days. … Paul sums it up in three verses. … Their visions are all fixated on the glory of God which defines heaven … Notably missing from all of the Biblical accounts are the frivolous features and juvenile attractions that seem to dominant every account of heaven on the best-seller lists. … Why … are we buying this stuff when we have the word of God?”

Anxiety, fear, stress & worry: This is You on Stress

” … There are things you can do to take the wind out of worry’s sails.”

Archaeology & the Western Wall: A Stonemason’s Chisel from the Second Temple

“Archaeologists associated with the Israel Antiquities Authority found a stonemason’s chisel which is believed to have been used by the workers who built the Western Wall in Jerusalem. … Most scholars believe that the Western Wall was one of the many building projects Herod the Great initiated during his reign. Among these projects was the Temple in Jerusalem, the Western Wall, and the fort at Masada.

“However, based on the dates of the coins found under the Western Wall, Shukron and Reich believe that the Western Wall was not built by Herod. The dates of the coins indicate that the Western Wall was built after Herod’s reign, probably by one of his heirs.”

Bible & interpretation: How To Completely Misuse The Bible In 5 Easy Steps

“The Bible is a notoriously difficult book (collection of books, actually) to understand. We’ve been wrestling with the meaning and implication of various texts within the Bible nearly since the moment it was written. … However, even though studying the Bible with a heart for understanding the message is difficult, it is the most beautiful journey I’ve ever set out on. … On that same note however, with the Bible being so difficult to understand, it is also easy to completely misuse it. Such a misuse, even done unintentionally, distorts the beauty of what actually lies inside. We’ve all seen it. In fact, we’ve all done it.”

Churches & social media: Using Caution with Social Media

“Whether you are a full-time staff person or a volunteer that is just starting out, you are representing the ministry you are serving in. As a member of this church, you need to understand that there are rules that must be followed online that simply cannot be violated. To help protect my ministry team, whether the church technology ministry, youth group, or a Saturday morning men’s Bible study, I have all volunteers commit to our social media policy.”

Communication & love: I Say This in Love …

“Sometimes people seem to think they can say anything — in any form — without considering the consequences — as long as they begin with that phrase. … let’s make sure we display love all the way through our conversations. Not just with the first five words.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Age, Boomers, faith, mid-life, & generations: Aged Out of Church [required reading]

“… Boomers are leaving the church in numbers that we usually think of when we talk about the exodus of the Millennial generation: “‘…during the past 20 years the percentage of unchurched Boomers has risen dramatically, jumping up 18 points! At 41 percent, they are now the generation most likely to be unchurched, surpassing the 39 percent level among Busters.’”

Attitude, complaining & grumbling: Grumbling & Complaining

“My heart has been a grumbling one recently. I could give you a few reasons I think why my grumbling is necessary or warranted, but the truth is that even talking about those situations would invite more grumbling. People talk about it being necessary to say how we feel, but I usually think there is more merit to say less about how we feel, and more about who God is in spite of our feelings.”

Bible, literacy, Millenials & reading: American Bible Society Report: The Bible in America, 2014

“Now there are just as many Americans skeptical of the Bible as there are engaged with the Bible. According to the fourth annual State of the Bible survey, 19 percent said that they were skeptical of the Bible. This number is up from 10 percent in 2011. This trend is even more pronounced among the Millennial generation (who range in age from 18-29).”

Children, courtesy, manners & parenting: Ten Forgotten Ways to Teach Politeness to Children

“Not every day is going to be a rip roaring success when trying to teach our children politeness, but if we are consistent, we will eventually see them get it right more than they get it wrong.  And, when they have successful and pleasant encounters with others, we are setting them up to be more successful in life.  These ten skills will serve them well all through adulthood, too.”

Culture & sin: 5 Overlooked Cultural Sins Threatening the Church [essential reading]

“What if the biggest threats to the church weren’t the things we thought they were? What if the very foundation of our country’s culture actually resembles the culture of our churches? We may find that we’ve been blind to more subtle and subversive influences that are having a greater impact on the church than the issues that consume us. Here are just five overlooked cultural norms that are contrary to the Kingdom and are sinful within the Kingdom, unknowingly supported by many of us. …  Competition … Celebrity … Patriotism … Fear … Individuality.”

Gospel, moralism & preaching: Moralism is Not the Gospel (But Many Christians Think it Is) [required reading]

“… one of the most seductive false gospels is moralism. This false gospel can take many forms and can emerge from any number of political and cultural impulses. Nevertheless, the basic structure of moralism comes down to this — the belief that the Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior.”

Marriage, relationships, technology & Twitter: Frequent Twitter Users Are More Likely to Cheat on Their Spouses, Get Divorced: Study

“Comparing his two studies, Clayton was surprised to find that the length of time a couple had been together did not affect whether they would be negatively affected by one partner’s Twitter activity.”

Twitter is my ministry friend

 

TwitterWhen Twitter first appeared on the scene, I didn’t really appreciate it because I couldn’t see much use for it. My reasoning was that whatever Twitter could do, Facebook could do better.

What a mistake! Now Twitter is my friend; my very good friend.

For example, most of the news I encounter through NPR during the course of the day I receive via Twitter.

No small number of the fine blog posts and articles I read I’m first made aware of via Twitter.

I can do some shameless self-promotion of my own blog posts thanks to Twitter.

And I can keep up with some of what’s happening in the lives of some of my friends by scanning their tweets.

But perhaps the biggest plus for me in the use of Twitter is the never-ending stream of great quotes that appear there. Ever since my college days I’ve been a quoteaholic and Twitter feeds my need. Stimulating quotes often spark further thought and sometimes they even grow into entire lessons or sermons. If you’re a teacher or preacher, this fact alone will make Twitter worth your while.

Take for example this sampling of just seven of the quotes I’ve gleaned from my Twitter feed over the course of just the past twenty-four hours.

“Sometimes it’s hard for me to see God, but we’ve done life together long enough that I don’t wonder if He sees me.” – Rick Atchley  (@RickAtchley)

“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.” – John Green (via Ian Morgan Cron; @iancron)

“Hey youth guy, when you’re 80 that cool tattoo will look like a chocolate bunny left in hot car.” – The Surly Deacon (@TheSurlyDeacon)

“Life is best lived under the weight of the cross.” – Leonard Sweet (@lensweet)

“Sin is always a matter of the heart, so the grace of redemption is the work of the rescue and renewal of the heart.” – Paul David Tripp (@PaulTripp)

“You cannot get tomorrow’s strength until tomorrow. Why then try to carry tomorrow’s burden today?” – Leslie Weatherhead (via Max Lucado (@MaxLucado)

“The enemy has got NOTHING on us–except what we give him by being afraid that he’s got something on us!” – Greg Boyd (@greg_boyd) (via Kurt Willems @KurtWillems)

Whether you use the standard Twitter client or use something like Tweetbot (like I do), if you’re in ministry and you’ve yet to try Twitter, you’re missing out. I urge you: repent.

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.”

this went thru my mind

 

Church & expectations: Not As You Envisioned It by Timothy Archer [essential reading]

“Church is never going to be exactly the way you envision it. And that’s a good thing.”

Generosity: How Generous are You? by Jim Martin

“…  Christian leaders would do well to be generous.  In fact, I believe there is nothing to be lost by being generous.  The result is that you get to participate in adding value to others’ lives. Four suggestions. 1. Be generous with your friends. … 2. Be generous with your resources. 3. Be generous with your praise and affirmation. 4. Be generous with your attention.”

Healthcare: The Future of Healthcare [infographic]

“…  the convergence of personal medical data and technology …”

Les Misérables: Les Misérables: Valjean or Javert? by Katelin Hansen

“Both Javert and Valjean are Christian men, acting in the name of God. But as Morgan Guyton notes, they represent two different Christianities and ‘Javert’s Christianity is winning big time in today’s America.’”

Obedience: Fridays with Benedict: Chapter 5, Obedience by Richard Beck

“… I find value in Benedict’s directives about obedience. … If we aren’t practicing monastic obedience, and I’m not suggesting that you should, where are we getting some equivalent formation? Where are we learning to mortify our will today?”

Twitter: Vine: A New Way to Share Video

“… we’re introducing Vine: a mobile service that lets you capture and share short looping videos.”