a prayer amidst the killing


Father God, my mind is flooded tonight with words and my heart is heavy with them.

ISIS. Massacre. Genocide. Air strikes. War.

In the name of Jesus, I ask that you give wisdom to all this world’s leaders who seek peace.

Confound and confuse, divide and defeat, all who seek the death of innocents.

Shield and deliver the harassed and oppressed, the abused and persecuted.

Protect all who seek to bring relief.

Intervene in this lost world’s ways and stop this cancer of killing. Deliver us from evil.


this went thru my mind (on violence)


V-for-violenceAbuse: No More Silence: An Interview with Boz Tchividjian of G.R.A.C.E.

“Q. What are some of the most common mistakes churches and Christian organizations make when it comes to preventing child abuse? A. Silence is one of the most common failures of the Christian community in preventing child abuse.”

Arms suppliers: China Edges Out U.K. As World’s Fifth-Largest Arms Supplier

“Made-in-China weapons have moved into the No. 5 slot, displacing U.K.-manufactured arms, but the Asian giant still trails far behind the U.S. and Russia, whose weapons account for 30 percent and 26 percent of the market, respectively, according to a new report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute … China’s biggest customer? Pakistan. It made up 55 percent of Beijing’s arms exports between 2008 and 2012, the Institute says.”

Capital punishment, death penalty & justice: The Death Penalty Has a Face: A DA’s Personal Story [required reading]

“…  my father was … a Church of Christ preacher  so I sat through a lot of funerals as I grew up. … It may seem strange to say but I never really thought much about my feelings regarding the death penalty before I became district attorney. I was raised in a Southern conservative place with small town values by parents who believed in and practiced their Christian faith in every way. I guess support for the death penalty was simply a given.

“During my years as DA I have prosecuted more than thirty murder cases. In seventeen of those cases I was faced with the decision—seek death or offer life. Three times I chose death. It was always difficult, but as I got older and more experienced, I felt the weight of the decision grow. I held the life of another human being in my hands. Of course a twelve-person jury plays a large part in giving the death penalty, but I could stop it. All I had to do was say life, and the prisoner lived. …

“I have heard all the arguments in favor of the death penalty. In fact, I’ve made them all—it saves lives of future potential victims; it gives the loved ones of the victim closure; it’s society’s ultimate response to the most heinous of criminal acts. But, in the end, it simply remains that the state has responded to the taking of a life by taking another. …

“Over the years I have come to believe that the time for the death penalty has passed.”

Iraq War: * Was the Iraq War Worth It? A Christian Reflection for the Tenth Anniversary of the Invasion; * What America Learned in Iraq

* “… the war has devastated the church in that country. While there had been considerable religious freedom under Saddam Hussein, after the invasion suspicion and hostility toward Christians dramatically increased.”

* “The costs of the second Iraq war, which began 10 years ago this week, are staggering: nearly 4,500 Americans killed and more than 30,000 wounded, many grievously; tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis wounded or killed; more than $2 trillion in direct government expenditures; and the significant weakening of the major regional counterweight to Iran and consequent strengthening of that country’s position and ambitions. Great powers rarely make national decisions that explode so quickly and completely in their face. It may seem folly to seek a silver lining among these thunderclouds. But there are three flickers of light that offer some hope that the enormous price was not paid entirely in vain. These coins offer a meager return on our enormous investment, but not collecting them would be an insult to the memory of all that we have lost.”

Non-violence, outreach & preaching: Is Preaching Nonviolence Bad for Evangelism? by Kurt Willems

“Jesus and the Apostles did little in their preaching to soften the cost of discipleship. The price only goes on sale when we promote our own agendas rather than the priorities of the reign of God.”

this went thru my mind


Bible interpretation: On Not Harmonizing by J. Daniel Kirk

Boredom: The Arrogance of Boredom by Dan Bouchelle

Church, comfort, learning & maturity: The Church is Not Trained to Be Disturbed by Terry Rush is so very, sadly true.

Civil religion: Why it’s unbiblical to affirm ‘In God We Trust’ by Bethany Keeley-Jonker

Coffee: 17 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Morning Coffee by Lindsey Savino

Comfort, encouragement, speech & words: What to Say When Someone is In Pain by Bev Hislop

Death & life: * If Only by Ben Witherington. Wow. * Richard Beck’s ongoing series on The Slavery of Death is required reading. Here is a link to part one and the most recent post, part thirteen. Read two posts a day and catch up.

Discipline: 5 Steps to Developing More Discipline by Michael Hyatt

Evangelism, gospel & preaching: Critical Concerns With Gospel Presentations is a three-part series by Peter Mead. Here are links to parts one, two, and three.

Facebook: The Unfaced Book World is telling.

Forgiveness: If Rwandans Can Forgive Killings, We Can Forgive the Waitress by Jeremy Cowart

Justification: New/Old Perspective on Justification is a series by Scot McKnight. Here are links to part one, two, three, four, and five.

Leadership & Joe Paterno: Leadership Lessons From Happy Valley by Tim Spivey

Meetings: 18 Rules for Creative Meetings by Brad Lomenick

Perspective: Study links regular religious service attendance, outlook on life

Reading: If you’re not reading, you’re missing out. This could be the most helpful post you’ve read in a long time – Michael Hyatt’s spot-on post entitled 5 Ways to Make More Time to Read.

Sexual abuse: * Remind Your Staff About Handling Abuse Properly by Brandon Cox * The Problem With Pederasty and the Penn State Scandal by Ben Witherington * Discounted Prices on Background Checks Through LifeWay by Erin Freshwater * Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network * The National Sexual Assault Hotline is 1-800-656-4673

Spiritual maturity: 5 Signs of Spiritual Maturity by Clint Archer

this went thru my mind

Abuse: The Real Damage Done in Abuse by Phil Monroe.

Archaeology: Sacks of Human Waste Reveal Secrets of Ancient Rome by James Owen.

Bible: Frequent Bible Reading Tied to Social Justice, Openness to Science. Hmmm, actually reading the Bible can actually change your life. Imagine that.

Blessing/prayer: The Fourfold Franciscan Blessing by Richard Beck.

Forgiveness: Casey Anthony and the Challenge of Forgiveness by Patrick Wanis.

Grief: The Grieving Process by Chaplain Mike

Thinking: How to Train Your Brain, a guest post by Jeff Henderson on Michael Hyatt’s blog.

this went thru my mind

Church: Someone finally got around to writing that article I’ve always intended to write, but never did. Ever since I first saw what would become one of my favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption, James Whitmore’s character, Brooks, has been on my mind. I thought I had a copyright on the contents in my head, but apparently Dan Bouchelle walked around in there, took some pictures and notes, and then typed it up for all to see … and did a far better job than I could have ever done with it. Thank you, brother. Too Institutionalized to Live on the Outside is brain food.

Church leadership: Todd Rhodes’ post Dirty Little Secret is perfectly honest and spot-on.

Courage: The Freedom Riders. James Zwerg: “I asked God to give me the strength to remain nonviolent and to forgive the people for what they might do.” “The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom shall I fear?” If you read no other post here, read this one by Richard Beck … and this one, a follow up.

Covetousness: That’s the topic in most of this coming Sunday morning’s adult Bible classes at MoSt Church as we begin to draw near to the conclusion of our study of the Ten Commandments. Here’s a good illustration of “coveting gone wild” – Is Extreme-Couponing Gluttony or Good Stewardship? by Jerod Clark.

Domestic violence: Why Pastors Struggle With Confronting Domestic Violence by John Shore.

Faith: Terry Rush on faith in his post A Mistaken Doctrine That Holds the Church at Bay.

Generational differences: Matt Dabbs has it so right in his post entitled The Gospel-Epistle Generation Gap.

Human: What does it mean to be human and what do we humans need in relation to God? I think Brian Mashburn’s post entitled My Neediness is one of his best … and that’s saying a lot!

Humor: What a hoot! Now if it was my funeral it would either be a matter of wheeling the casket in at the last minute or doing two or three things at the same time while the funeral was going on, right? Read Late To Your Own Funeral by Matt Dabbs and grin. Ben Witherington’s Fractured Fairy Tales From the Farm is hilarious. Reminds me of the Monty Python classic on SPAM.

Lying: I recently preached a sermon on honesty and lying and taught a class on the ninth of the Ten Commandments (“you shall not bear false witness …”) just last Sunday morning. Here’s a fine article by Sarah Sumner that appeared just yesterday on The Seven Level of Lying.

Marriage: Trey Morgan’s post entitled Six Reasons Not to Have An Affair says it clearly and concisely.

Mission: Everything needs rethinking. Regularly. Times and contexts change.  Methods of mission must as well. David Fitch’s post The Important Task of Creating Missional Rhythms in a Community kindly and clearly reminds us of such.

Progress: You can spend your life trying to address and shore up weaknesses or you can play on your strengths. That’s true of people groups as well as indivduals. Jim Martin’s post What Strengths are You Building On? is good stuff.

Torture: I agree with this. Do you? Torture will always be wrong by Linda J. Gustitus.

Just for fun: Ever wondered what a map of the location of the top fast food burger chains in the U.S. would look like? Check out Data Pointed’s visual representation of the eight largest burger chains and see the overwhelming winner in Texas is … not who you’d probably guess.