this went thru my mind


God & natural disasters: * What Jesus Might Say About Sandy by Mark Galli; * 5 God Excuses to Avoid After a Natural Disaster by Kent Annan [required reading]

* “”Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

* “‘We might not understand, but it’s all part of God’s plan.’ Or ‘It was meant to be.’ … do we want the kind of God that the logic of our straw-patched statements creates?”

Millenials: The Care and Keeping of 20somethings by Nicole Unice

“…  how does a leader of any age work with 20somethings? What do they offer us, and what can we offer them? In my own practice of counseling and ministry, I’ve found there are four essentials to understanding the next generation.”

Latter Day Saints/Mormons: Ministering to Mormons

“If we are going to be effective in reaching this culture, we can’t simply try to change people’s doctrine. While doctrine is important, reaching Mormons is not primarily a doctrinal issue. Mormonism affects a person’s entire worldview. So we have had to think deeply about how we address their culture, not just attack their beliefs.”

Muslims & world population: The Future of the Global Muslim Population

“The world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35% in the next 20 years … Globally, the Muslim population is forecast to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population over the next two decades.”

Sharing the good news: Evangelism with the Never-Churched by Jack Jackson

“When evangelism is seen as a journey lived in relationships, never-churched persons can address their questions, hear the gospel articulated, and then respond to the invitation to take the next step in faith.”

it’s time to be civil (13)


4. Listen. ‘Much of the conflict in our lives can be explained by one simple but unhappy fact: we don’t really listen to each other.’ ( Michael P. Nichols) …

“We are ineffective listeners when we let our past experiences interfere with the attention we should give to our present moments. For instance, we often let what we already know – or believe we know – of others alter our perception of what they are telling us at this very moment, in this unique set of circumstances. …

“Oftentimes it is not the past but the future that makes us poor listeners. When we listen with the future in mind, we are focused not on the speaker but rather on the outcome of our verbal exchange. We let the pursuit of our own goals take precedence over everything else. …

“Now, I am not suggesting that we should completely ignore past experience and abstain from pursuing personal goals when we interact with others.That would not only be impossible but unwise. I am saying that as listeners we have an obligation to concentrate on just listening before doing anything else.”

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); pp. 48,50-51

this went thru my mind


Church attendance: Roll Call by Tony McCollum

“Churches don’t have a roll call before services but perhaps they should.”

Culture wars & judgment: Judging the World by Jonathan Storment [required reading]

“See judgment was always meant for those of us on the inside, not primarily for those on the outside. And I would argue that the Western church has reversed this. We have churches filled with people who are Christians but don’t look much like Jesus, yelling and screaming judgment at people who don’t even claim to want to be like Jesus. But on what basis? They don’t believe like we believe, they don’t have the same hope, they have no reason to try and live like Jesus.”

Golan Heights: The Golan Heights—Bastions, Burials, Battles, and Borders by Wayne Stiles

“For thousands of years, the Golan Heights in Israel served history in countless ways—from pasturelands to burial grounds, from battlegrounds to borders. It’s no wonder this region has remained the envy of its environs—even to today.”

Hurricane Sandy & prayer: For Those Serving by Scot McKnight

“A prayer for those serving those who are suffering and displaced due to hurricane Sandy …”

Influence: The Ten Ways to Gain Influence by Dan Rockwell

“Increasing your influence means gaining permission to lead. … People want to join with others and make a difference in the world. In short, they want to be led. But, if the led don’t consent to your leadership, command and control are your only options. When leadership is influence, those you lead give permission to your leadership. They aren’t forced.”

Pro-life: Why I Am Pro-Life by Thomas Friedman [required reading]

“In my world, you don’t get to call yourself ‘pro-life’ and be against …”

Spiritual formation: Spiritual Formation Movement: A Challenge

“We don’t believe classes create mature believers. Classes create smart believers.”

it’s time to be civil (12)


3. Think the best. ‘We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light. (Ralph Waldo Emerson) …

“… I expect that everyone I meet will turn out to be good, rather than bad. … What I find exciting in a new acquaintance is the thought: Maybe I’m making a discovery here; maybe someone is entering my life who is nice. …

“Are you comfortable with who you are and what you have accomplished? Sometimes it is dissatisfaction with ourselves that makes us judge others unfairly. Make sure that you are not projecting onto others the least attractive traits you perceive in yourself. …

“So, when it comes to people, have great expectations: it will be good for your soul, and it may touch theirs too. At the same time, don’t discount the possibility of unpleasant surprises. It people let you down, don’t rush to judgment, but don’t disregard the disenchanting evidence, either.”

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); pp. 44,45,46

this went thru my mind


Facebook & politics: Ten Commandments of Talking Politics on Social Media by Marcus Goodyear

“… let’s hold each other accountable in this network to a higher level of discourse for the next few months with these Ten Commandments of Talking (or blogging) Politics.”

Fear of God: Is the Fear of God Something We Should Outgrow?

“… what does John mean when he says ‘perfect love casts out fear’?”

Politics: The Campaign Ad We’ll Never See (Too Bad) [required reading]

“… what matters is that we work together as fellow Americans to see that it happens.”

Father, hear the prayer we offer


One of the moments I look forward to and relish each Sunday morning at MoSt Church is the prayer and benediction led by one of our shepherds. Some of the thoughts, words, and tone offered in those moments rings in my ears the rest of the day, indeed, for the rest of the week.

Following is a sample of one of those prayers. This one was offered up yesterday morning at MoSt. May this prayer become your prayer.

Father, thank you for the ways and how often you reveal yourself. Thank you for catching our attention and aweing us with your creation and what you do. There is nothing like being moved by discoveries of you. It is my prayer that some of those discoveries have taken place this very morning. It is my prayer that our eyes have been opened to the use of your people in ministry. Most of us have believed in you so long that it’s hard to imagine anything else. A lot of us have heritages of faith going back for generations for which we can never thank you enough. We’ve been given every advantage possible to develop faith. As long as it’s easy, as long as the price is not very high, we can maintain. We have no right to ask for more but we are. Bring us along like the babies we often still are. Allow us to know you through your Spirit. Allow us to become more like you in our thinking and what we understand. Father, for our thorns that at the best are irritating and for some seem impossible, please hold us. Let us feel our spiritual skin against your spiritual skin. Let us realize your security and love. May it sustain us and enable us to share it with those around us. In Jesus name, Amen.

it’s time to be civil (11)


2. Acknowledge others. ‘Every action done in company, ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.’ (George Washington)

“Acknowledge others’ existence, their importance to you, their feelings, and the things they do for you. Acknowledgement comes in many forms: remembering someone’s name, paying a thoughtful compliment, summarizing what was just said for a newcomer to the conversation, holding a door open to let someone through, welcoming, thanking, and just plain saying hello. …

“… yet we often play the game of invisibility. We see someone we know coming our way, but instead of saying hello or even just nodding our acknowledgment, we proceed as if that someone were invisible or we weren’t there. Is a glimmer of acknowledgment in a fleeting encounter so burdensome? Are we shy? Are we lazy? Are we prey to misguided pride? Are we so goal-directed that we won’t bother with anything that doesn’t advance our progress toward our goal, whatever that might be? Are our souls shrinking beyond repair?

“We can’t feel gregarious every moment of our lives. At times we will be turned inward, unavailable to others, protective of our space and frame of mind. And that’s all right. Sometimes we need that to recharge, after the great expenditures of physical and nervous energy required by today’s life. We can, however, do without the invisibility game. It is insincere and petty. Let’s at least nod each other into existence. And let’s not play another game, either, that of waiting to be acknowledged before acknowledging in turn.”

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); pp. 41,42-43