Among the things I’ve read online this week, I’ve found the following to be especially worthwhile.
Church: Six Dramatic Trends Impacting Small Churches by Chuck Warnock.
“(1) Loosening denominational ties … (2) greater use of technology … (3) increasing informality in worship … (4) aging membership … (5) increasing member education and affluence … and (6) increasing growth and popularity of large churches.”
Guidance: Wondering If You Should Wait on God? by Jon Acuff.
“… I have discovered one tiny verse that’s challenged how I view the waiting dilemma. The verse is Mark 15:43, and it’s really simple. It’s such a fragment of a fragment of a much bigger story that it’s easy to overlook it.”
Immigration: Biblical Principles Applied to Immigration Issues by Timothy Archer is good stuff.
“… I want to have a serious discussion on immigration issues. To get the thought process started, I wanted to … bring a number of different biblical principles into the discussion.”
Ministry: Pastors Feel Privileged and Positive, Though Discouragement Can Come.
“… the finding of a survey by LifeWay Research of 1,000 American Protestant pastors conducted Aug. 17-24, 2011.”
Oil: U.S. Oil Consumption Infographic.
“U.S. Oil Usage is an attempt to educate the average person about where U.S. oil comes from, how it is being used and how U.S. consumption compares with that of other major oil consumers. The information is both shocking and concerning!”
Parenting: Adam Marshall tipped me of to this excellent article by Jonathan McKee entitled ‘Dad, Can I Go to the Homecoming Dance?’
“WARNING: The following blog might offend some of you. The subject matter I’m talking about is pretty vile, and I’ve chosen to go ahead and just say it like it is. If you’re offended… GOOD. You should be. Because this is the crude reality most of our kids are facing right now, and parents need to open their eyes to it.”
Poverty: Two recent posts that will make you sit up and think are Could You Make It On Food Stamps? by Larry James and Do Church Pantries Do More Harm Than Good? by Josef Kuhn.
“The USDA recently reported that 14.5 percent of Americans are food insecure. … “In June of this year, a staggering 45.2 million Americans filed to get food stamps because they either are facing or living in poverty. More than half of food stamp recipients are children and 8 percent are individuals over the age of 60.”
“Q. You say churches and charities can harm those they propose to help. How? A: Typically, the giving is one-way: those of us with the resources give to those with a lack of resources. One-way giving tends to make the poor objects of pity, which harms their dignity. It also erodes their work ethic and produces a dependency that is unhealthy both for the giver and the recipient.”
Preaching & sermons: Adam S. McHugh’s post entitled Why You Can’t Express the Most Important Things just might be the most significant thing you read anytime soon regarding preaching and hearing sermons.
“… a person that can very clearly delineate the points of a sermon, may not have actually fully listened.”
Racism: Are You a Christian Racist? by Peter Scazzero. Take the eleven question quiz.
“… 21st-century racism is different from that of the past. Contemporary racism is not conscious, and it is not accompanied by dislike, so it gets expressed in indirect, subtle ways.”
Spiritual gifts: Matt Dabbs continues his series on spiritual gifts. Check out How to Determine Spiritual Gifts and Five Flaws With Some Spiritual Gifts Inventories.
“(1) I am not really certain they measure spiritual gifts given to you any more than they just confirm the things you enjoy doing. … (2) There are some things that I just may have never been exposed to that I have no idea I am gifted at unless I try. … (3) There may be things I am gifted at doing that don’t bring me enjoyment. … (4) An inventory is only as good at determining something as you are at accurately reporting it. … (5) They are impersonal. They don’t know you.”
Temptation: Quotes from C.S. Lewis make up this post entitled What to Remember When Fighting Temptation. Trey Morgan’s post entitled Overcoming Sexual Temptation is also full of good stuff.
“One of these days my funeral will come. I could care less if anyone mentions if I was a good minister or could preach a good sermon. I do not care if anyone mentions that I ever helped anyone. My only goal, as they stand over my dead body, is that they say,“He was faithful to God, his wife, and he was a good dad!”
Women: John Willis’ series on the role of women continues. Biblical Female Teachers, Deacons, Elders, Preachers (part 6).
“Biblically, both males and females fit the function of elders or shepherds.”