links: this went thru my mind

Age & habits: 15 Things to Start Doing By the Time You’re 30

“… everything on this list is worth doing in your twenties …”

Books, faith & reading: Why Christians Must Be Readers

“Whether you like it or no, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way.”

China & Christianity: Risen Again: China’s Underground Churches

“The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is wary of organized religion, and has alternately tried to crush, discourage, or co-opt Christian groups. But having survived the ravages of the Cultural Revolution, the faith is now flourishing: a 2010 study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences estimated there are 23 million Christians in China. In 2011, Pew Research put the figure closer to 67 million, or 5% of the population.”

Church, marriage & singles: The Bible’s Special Word About Singleness

“The church can be a difficult environment for single people to navigate. Theologies that emphasize Christian fulfillment through marriage and parenting have caused marriage and the nuclear family to be so elevated that many singles feel like there is no place for them in Christian community.”

Doctrine: The Job of Doctrine

“[T]he job of doctrine is to hold us still before Jesus. When that slips out of view, we begin instead to use this language to defend ourselves, to denigrate others, to control and correct–and then it becomes a problem.”

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.”

this went thru my mind

 

Age & generations: Your Twenties Matter

“What if we – especially the church – recognized the value and importance of young adults in their twenties and put together a process to help them maximize the opportunities you  have in your twenties (and never have again in your life)?”

Archaeology: Have the Tombs of the Kings of Judah Been Found?: A Response An Answer to Hershel Shanks’s Question by Fr. Riccardo Lufrani

“In a 1987 issue of BAR, Hershel Shanks presented a summary of Amos Kloner’s 1986 article … ‘Have the Tombs of the Kings of Judah Been Found?’ … I hope to answer his question.”

Church attendance: Five Reasons Why You Need To Attend Church (Hebrews 10:22-25) by Bob Russell

“Why should followers of Christ participate in weekly worship services?”

Church leadership: Polity Model Comparison by Tim Woodroof

“Our traditional model of elder-led churches fails the “sniff test” for effective church leadership not because there is something wrong with elders. I love elders. I appreciate their work and dedication. I believe in their leadership. Their loving, careful, prayerful guidance of churches is necessary. May their tribe increase. What’s flawed is the polity model itself. Any polity model that asserts only elders derive spiritual authority from Christ, draws elders away from the maturing goal that is the raison d’être of church leadership, prevents shared leadership responsibilities among a variety of roles, ignores the need for different gifts and capabilities for effective leadership, and lacks any mechanism for meaningful accountability of leaders is—at the least—a different polity model than is suggested by Ephesians 4:11ff and what is known of the early church.”

Communication: How to Pitch Anything in 15 Seconds

“A message map is the visual display of your idea on one page. It is a powerful and tool that should be a part of your communication arsenal. Building a message map can help you pitch anything (a product, service, company, or idea) in as little as 15 seconds. Here is the three-step process to using a message map to build a winning pitch.”

Culture & faith: Shopping in the Walmart of Belief  by Richard Beck

“What we see around us isn’t a binary choice between faith and unfaith. Rather, we face choices amongst faiths, unbelief being one choice amongst these. What characterizes modernity is the radical range of choices now in front of us, a marketplace of beliefs and ideologies.”

Preachers: Pastors Who Didn’t Make the Cut by Ron Edmonson

“Pastors, just so you are reminded, most (actually all…but for my self-righteous friends I’ll say most) of us wouldn’t qualify for any position in the church if it weren’t for grace!”