this went thru my mind

Evangelism: Paul Smith rounds out his outstanding series entitled Positive Evangelism with these two posts: The Role of the “Evangelist” and Summary and Final Thoughts. All of these posts are “required reading.”

* “… if evangelism is a gift, then the one who uses it is simply a recipient, and not the source of the gift. This simple but profound truth must be remembered!”

* “… in a human constructed evangelistic program salvation is reduced to one visible point in time that can be quantitatively measured, whether it is being baptized or some other point such as ‘saying the sinner’s prayer.’ However, in the gospels salvation is envisioned as a growing and maturing relationship with Jesus.”

Fatherhood: Dear Son by Jeff Goins

“Dear Son, Welcome. You’re only three days old, so before we get too far, I want to set a few things straight.”

Generation conflict, faith & church: Why Generational Strain? by Terry Rush

“Why is it that with each oncoming generation the faith system perpetually fights-pushes-pulls-tugs and strains its way forward? I mean it when I say that some parts of a progressing and maturing church are like pulling teeth. … From my labors I see two possible explanations.”

Hatfields & McCoys: ‘Hatfields & McCoys’: Real Historical Ties to Churches of Christ?

“Anderson ‘Devil Anse’ Hatfield, the patriarch of the family, was baptized by a Christian Church/Church of Christ itinerate minister in the area by the name of W. Dyke Garrett. This was later in his life, and a couple of his sons were baptized at the same time.”

C.S. Lewis & pacifism: Could C.S. Lewis Have Imagined a World Without War? by Stanley Hauerwas

“I am a pacifist. Lewis was anything but a pacifist. I want to show that his arguments against pacifism are inadequate, but I also that he provides imaginative resources for Christians to imagine a very different form of Christian nonviolence, a form unknown to Lewis, with which I hope he might have had some sympathy.”

Francis Chan & the Restoration Heritage: Francis Chan and Churches of Christ/Restoration Movement Influence? by Matt Dabbs

“If you have listened to his preaching you have probably noticed that Francis Chan says things that of us who have grown up in Churches of Christ find really familiar. … Chan actually did attend a church with Restoration roots while in seminary in Los Angeles for 6 months.”

Small groups: The Five Myths About Small Groups by Thom Rainer

“Discipleship manifests itself in the local church most often through small groups. But building effective small groups takes a lot of work, and can be difficult to implement. They often struggle to be successful and transformational because of wrong expectations, beliefs, or myths about how they work best.”

Transition: Escape from No-Man’s-Land by Dan Rockwell

“The temptation of transition is going back. The pain that drove you to change in the first place doesn’t seem so bad, anymore. At the same time, painful uncertainties about the future rise like dragons from the mist.”

Understanding the Bible: * Three fine posts by Timothy Archer are “required reading”: Piety isn’t Always Pithy, Why Some People Don’t Like Educated Preachers, and The Bible as Books; * Old Testament Law and The Charge of Inconsistency by Timothy Keller

* “Piety isn’t always pithy. Biblical concepts can’t always be explained in 30-seconds or less. Not every principle can be explained during an elevator ride. Not every problem can be solved by throwing a proof text at it. … We have to be willing to take the time to work at understanding the Bible.”

“* … how do we convince people to have the patience to do serious Bible study? How do we encourage them to read the Bible, while still saying, “You can’t always take a text at face value”? How do we make the Bible accessible to the masses while maintaining intellectual integrity?”

* “I find it frustrating when I read or hear columnists, pundits, or journalists dismiss Christians as inconsistent because ‘they pick and choose which of the rules in the Bible to obey.'”