this went thru my mind


Apologetics, historicity of Christianity & scholarship: Epiphany – Five Reflections from a Life Time by Paul Barnett [required reading]

“Theology to be true depends on what happened historically.  If the Word did not actually become flesh in Bethlehem in the latter years of Herod, then the theology stated in John 1:14 is just empty words, akin to myth.”

Church guests, first impressions & welcome: The Other Side of Evangelism: The Importance of Receiving Those God Sends Our Way by Matt Dabbs

“We can go out and reach out to people all day but if we don’t receive them well then we may never gain access to getting into any deeper conversation with them than whatever they hear on their first visit, because they may never come back.”

Christianity & politics: Louie Giglio and Inauguration Day Prayer by Scot McKnight

“Louie Giglio did the right thing when he chose to back out of offering the Inauguration Day Prayer. He could have done the right-er thing by never accepting such an invitation. …

“Christian leaders and pastors need to be at the Prayer Breakfast or the Easter Breakfast, but not on the Inauguration Day platform — unless they line up with that platform’s agendas, and the most political ones and the most vocal ones and the most inflammatory ones are the ones that will determine suitability. Louie, you didn’t belong there. May all of us learn the lesson that Caesar is Caesar and Jesus is not Caesar.”

DiscipleshipHow To to Measure Discipleship by Geoff Surratt

“How do we measure discipleship? It is relatively easy to measure church attendance, giving, or small group participation, but how do we measure church members becoming more like Christ? … I think there are six vital areas that point to a growing disciple … Separate studies by the Willow Creek Association and Lifeway on discipleship came to the same conclusion; the single biggest factor in growing as a disciple is reading the Bible every day. It’s the magic pill of discipleship.”

Economy, education & food stamps: More Ph.D.s Needing Food Stamps

“While more than 293,000 master’s recipients needed public assistance in 2010, up from 102,000 in 2007, nearly 34,000 doctorate recipients used food stamps and other assistance programs. That’s a sizable increase from the 9,800 doctorate holders who needed support back in 2007…

“… one in six Americans received food stamps in 2011. That’s about 52.5 million people …”

Evil & hope: When the Children Cry by Paula Harrington

“Our hope isn’t in the United States nor is it in better or worse gun laws. Our hope is in the Christ.”

Grace: Grace, Electricity, and Sex by Dan Bouchelle [required reading]

“I grew up in a church that believed in God’s grace. We believed in it just like we believed in electricity. We believed it existed and we needed it. We were thankful for it. We knew we depended on it and would be in deep trouble without it. We didn’t want to give it up or live in a world without it. But, we didn’t understand how it worked and felt obliged to restrict its distribution to safe outlets so as to prevent its abuse, which would be our undoing. Grace was like sex. We liked it, but we didn’t talk about it freely because it was more than a little embarrassing. It made us feel exposed and vulnerable. Like with sex, people who got obsessed with grace could go overboard, losing both necessary discipline and holiness.”

this went thru my mind


Archaeology: Tuesday’s Travel Tip #7c — Emperor Worship Close to “Home” by Carl Rasmussen

“… Herod the Great had built  three Imperial Cult Temples — all less than 40 miles from Nazareth/Capernaum. By the time that Jesus began his public ministry these Imperial Cult Temples (namely those at Caesarea Maritima, Sebastia, and the one near Caesarea Philippi [= Omrit])  had been in existence for over 40 years!”

Politics: * Why I’m a Political Atheist by Caleb Wilde; *Faith & Politics: What to Do? by Scott Elliott

* “At this time in the political season, through the drum of political facebook posts, the incessant coverage from CNN, MSN, and FOX, I dig my heels into the ground and become more convinced of my position:  I’m an atheist.  The all-powerful god of politics doesn’t exist.  And he has no power to cause lasting change.  If he does exist, he has such limited power that he’s doesn’t deserve the adoration he’s receiving.  There’s no historical proof, no proof in personal experience and no reason to believe in the deity of political power. I’m a political atheist because at the end of the day, politics can’t transform, they can only guide.”

* “Here are a few articles on faith and politics I have found to be helpful. I do not agree with everything in each article, but I have found them to be challenging, thought provoking, and more right than wrong.”

U.S. economy: Is U.S. Economic Growth a Thing of the Past?

“The U.S. and economic growth have consistently gone hand in hand. The country’s history has consistently been accompanied by economic progress, and since the end of World War II, the U.S. economy has averaged GDP growth of more than 3% per year. Of course, that kind of growth doesn’t just grow on trees. The development of the U.S. has coincided with the most technologically impressive period in human history. The U.S. Constitution was ratified in the midst of an Industrial Revolution in England that would soon spread throughout world.”

this went thru my mind


Bible: C. S. Lewis and How the Bible Shows God’s Humility by Peter Enns

“Lewis says that neither Jesus nor Scripture are quite what we might have expected. Both are humble. And it is precisely this humility that drives us to see ‘the real sanctity, the real beauty, and sublimity’ in both.”

Civil War: Why Shiloh Matters by Winston Groom

“The Battle of Shiloh began at sunrise on April 6, 1862 … A great battle had indeed been anticipated; at stake was control of the Mississippi River Valley, which would likely decide who won the war. But the Battle of Shiloh was not the outcome that anyone wanted. … Americans north and south … were suddenly confronted with the sobering fact that Shiloh hadn’t been the decisive battle-to-end-all-battles; there was no crushing victory — only death and carnage on a scale previously unimaginable.”

[Personal note: Prior to the Civil War, some of my ancestors owned the land on which a significant portion of the Battle of Shiloh was fought.]

Economy: 50 Amazing Numbers About Today’s Economy by Morgan House

“In no particular order, here are 50 things about our economy that blow my mind …”

Opinions: Is Everyone Entitled to Their Opinion? by Seth Godin

“If we’re going to do great work, it means that some people aren’t going to like it. And if the people who don’t like it don’t have an impact on what happens to the work after it’s complete, the only recourse of someone doing great work is to ignore their opinion.”

Pacifism: From Religious Outsiders to Insiders: The Rise and Fall of Pacifism in the Churches of Christ by Michael W. Casey [required reading]

“… most in the mainstream Churches of Christ moved away from pacifism in the 1920s …”

Parenting: Should Your Kids Go To Haiti? by Mark Woodward

“Research … has shown that summer mission trips correlate at the top of those adolescent experiences that help secure faith in your children!”

Prayer: How to Pray for Your Pastor by Tim Spivey

“Praying for your minister is one of the most simple but valuable ways you can bless your church. It will bless your life as well. Some might ask, what specifically should I pray for? Good question.”

this went thru my mind


Attitude: 7 Mental Mistakes That Stop You From Living a Life of Freedom and Peace by Henri Junttila

Biblical interpretation: Meaning: The Thin or Thick of It by Mark Love

Charitable giving: Remembering Those Who Truly Need a Holiday Gift by Joshua Becker

Children & technology: The Emergence of Digital Childhood — Is This Really Wise? by Albert Mohler

Church: Why Corporate Church Won’t Work by Mike Breen

Encouragement: After They Said “Brain Tumor” by Robert Ratcliff

Facebook: 12 Things You Didn’t Know Facebook Could Do by Paul Boutin

Failure: How to Compost Your Failures by Michael Hyatt

Gambling: What Do You Think About Gambling? by Michael Harbour

Gratitude: A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day by John Tierney

Homelessness in America: Hard Times Generation: Families Living in Cars

Just for fun: Find Out What Flights Are Overhead With Wolfram Alpha. Several dozen planes fly over our neighborhood every day. I’ve often wondered, “Where did that one come from?” or “Where is that one going?” Now I can know and it couldn’t be more simple. Amazing.

Leadership: A Leader of Uncommon Strength by John Johnson (on Teddy Roosevelt)

Money: The Money Chart (an infographic). Wow!

Of left and right: Moving Right is Never Wrong by Scot McKnight is “required reading.”

Politics: How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich by Tim Dickinson

Productivity: 27 Productivity Killers: Why Nothing Ever Gets Done!

President Obama: Obama Delivers Very Christian Message at Christmas Tree Lighting

Twitter: The Beginners Guide to Twitter by Michael Hyatt

this went thru my mind

Capital punishment: * Capital Punishment: Dying a Slow Death? by Scot McKnight and * Death Interrupted by Shane Claiborne.

Economy: 28% – Recession Takes Its Toll on Household Wealth (Pew Research Center).

Marriage: 5 Ways to Kill Your Marriage by Jim Martin.

Poverty: Five Misconceptions About Poverty in America by David Beckmann.

Sexuality: What’s A Christian Response To Chaz Bono? by Tim Spivey.

Time: 5 Ways to Redeem Your Ride to Work by Trevin Wax.

Worship: “Our Children Don’t Get Anything Out of the Service”: Worship as Training for Life by David Fitch.