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.'”

this went thru my mind


Change: How the Tech Parade Passed Sony By by Hiroko Tabuchi

“… Sony, which once defined Japan’s technological prowess, wowed the world with the Walkman and the Trinitron TV and shocked Hollywood with bold acquisitions like Columbia Pictures, is now in the fight of its life. In fact, it is in a fight for its life …”

Church: How Your Small Rural Church Can Do Something Big by Whitney Hopler

“… your church’s small size doesn’t have to limit its potential to impact the world in big ways.”

Church problems: * There’s The Door: Dealing with Conflictual Christians by K. Rex Butts; * Remaining Patient: Dealing with Sinful Behavior Among the Church by K. Rex Butts

* “… there comes a time when certain church members must be told ‘There’s the door’ and then told to leave.”

* “While we never want to approve of any sinful behavior, not all sinful behavior has the same consequences upon the local church, its mission and spiritual health.”

Conversion: The New Conversion: Why We ‘Become Christians’ Differently Today by Gordon T. Smith

“It is not be an overstatement to say that evangelicals are experiencing a ‘sea change’—a paradigm shift—in their understanding of conversion and redemption, a shift that includes the way in which they think about the salvation of God, the nature and mission of the church, and the character of religious experience. Although there is no one word to capture where evangelicals are going in this regard, there is a word that captures what they are leaving behind: revivalism.”

Faith: The Maximum Faith series: The Importance of Brokenness by George Barna

“The data indicate that very few people – barely one out of ten adults in the United States – could be considered to have been broken by their understanding of and distaste for their offenses against God. And a huge majority of Christians believes that you can be saved without experiencing such brokenness. Sadly, they are wrong. There is no salvation without brokenness.”

Feeding the hungry: Cuts to SNAP Will Hurt Texas Families Struggling to Afford Food by Larry James

“A cut of this magnitude would affect over 300,000 Texas families who will struggle to put food on the table without the support SNAP provides.”

Gated communities: The Injustice of Gated Communities by David Greusel

“… more than 10 million American households exist sheltered behind walls. While that’s just under 10 percent of U.S. households, it represents a sizeable minority hunkered down in fortified bunkers. … One question to ask about gated communities is, how real is the threat they purport to avoid?”

Pets: Do Pets Go to Heaven?

“An author, a professor, and an animal advocate weigh in.”

Politics: The Impermanent Republican Majority by Timothy Egan

“For those who believe that demography is destiny, there was no more jaw-dropping figure from the 2004 presidential election than this finding from the nation’s far-flung metropolitan frontier: George W. Bush carried 97 of the nation’s 100 fastest growing counties.”

Poverty: David Lipscomb on the Poor (parts 3 & 4)

“Lipscomb encourages a private, daily sharing of resources instead of a public, occasional large gift. The former arises out of a lifestyle but the latter arises out of a desire for reward. The former is the daily life of a Christian but the latter is more tuned to the formal religion with its love of a holy place that is “worldly.” The former practices the gospel in sharing with the poor but the latter practices the religion of building and forms.”

Preaching: The Sermon That Makes Them Mad by Joe McKeever

“… ministers are not sent to make the church happy. They are sent by God to make Him happy, and to make you the members holy and healthy.”