this went thru my mind


Art: Isn’t That King David? Nope, It’s Just Dave

“I know that putting modern clothes on classical sculptures isn’t a new idea. Michelangelo’s David has had modern clothes for years. But the skirts, T-shirts and shorts in these images look so comfortable and fit so well, these ancients torque suddenly into moderns. It’s like these two French artists have developed a new way to time travel.”

Atheism & community: In the Bible Belt, Offering Atheists a Spiritual Home

“With Sunday’s service — marking the start of Community Mission Chapel in Lake Charles, which Mr. [Jerry] DeWitt called a full-fledged atheist “church” — he wanted to bring some of the things that he had learned from his years as a religious leader to atheists in southern Louisiana.”

Choices, discernment, ethics, & guidance: The Jesus Compass

“The acrostic stands for: * Jesus – Are any of Jesus’ sayings or actions relevant to the question? * Church – What are the teachings of different Christian churches / denominations? * Obey Conscience – What might an individual Christian’s conscience tell them to do? * Ministers & priests – How might a minister or priest advise a Christian to act? * Prayer – How might praying help a Christian to make moral decisions? * Agape – What is the most loving thing to do? * Saints – How might the lives of famous Christians inspire others to behave? * Scripture – What Biblical quotations or teachings are relevant?”

Communication, diversity, getting along, relationships & unity: 8 Ways Those From More Liberal-Progressive and Conservative-Evangelical Persuasions Can Better Love Each Other

“1.  remember first, that other person is a child of God, made in God’s image. … 2. respect each other’s biblical conclusions. … 3. lay down our ‘if they would justs…’ … 4. never pull the ‘but God says’ or ‘but it’s clear in the Bible’ card. … 5. acknowledge our own blind spots. … 6. celebrate what we do agree on. … 7. always put relationships above our positions. …  8. trust that God is big enough for our differences.”

Education, humanities & writing: The Decline and Fall of the English Major

“In 1991, 165 students graduated from Yale with a B.A. in English literature. By 2012, that number was 62. In 1991, the top two majors at Yale were history and English. In 2013, they were economics and political science. At Pomona this year, they were economics and mathematics. …

“What many undergraduates do not know — and what so many of their professors have been unable to tell them — is how valuable the most fundamental gift of the humanities will turn out to be. That gift is clear thinking, clear writing and a lifelong engagement with literature.

“Maybe it takes some living to find out this truth. Whenever I teach older students, whether they’re undergraduates, graduate students or junior faculty, I find a vivid, pressing sense of how much they need the skill they didn’t acquire earlier in life. They don’t call that skill the humanities. They don’t call it literature. They call it writing — the ability to distribute their thinking in the kinds of sentences that have a merit, even a literary merit, of their own.”

Love: Are You Agapephobic

“When you have a problem, ask this: How does love solve this? Every answer you find is another step toward God.”

this went thru my mind


Aging & scams: Why It’s Easier To Scam The Elderly by Patti Neighmond

“The older adults rated the trustworthy faces and the neutral faces exactly the same as the younger adults did, but when it got to the cues of untrustworthiness they didn’t process those cues as well,” she says. “They rated those people as much more trustworthy than the younger adults did. In a small follow-up study using brain imaging, Taylor’s findings suggest older adults may have less activity in the very area of the brain that processes risk and subtle danger.”

Archaeology & ancient peoples: Did Moses Know the Alphabet? Was There Writing in Ancient Israel? A Lecture with Dr. Alan Millard at Lanier Theological Library [55 min. video; there’s a great, brief bit of humor regarding graffiti from 16:54-17:18]

“… there is the question of how early in their history the Israelites could write their records, rather than relying on oral tradition. This lecture will explain how discoveries in the Holy Land are helping to answer these questions and consider if it matters whether Moses could write, or not.”

Bethlehem: Bethlehem: Then & Now by Mitrib Raheb

“At the time of Jesus, Bethlehem was a little town of 300-1,000 inhabitants. What people might not know is that the city of Bethlehem today is not in Israel but in Palestine, and that it is a bustling city with 28,000 people. One third of them are Palestinian Christians.”

Culture, ethics & trust: Gallup’s Ethics by Profession by Ed Stetzer

“Gallup releases their listing of professions and the public’s perception of their ethics. Sadly, “clergy” are about in the middle of the pack. But, be thankful you are not a car salesman.”

Loving your enemies: Can Israel Love Its Enemies in Gaza and Keep Its People Safe? by Morgan Guyton

“Many of my fellow Christians see Jesus’ command to “love our enemies” as an impossible moral standard that we are exempted from fulfilling by accepting Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. What’s even more ludicrous to many is to claim that Jesus’ teachings are relevant not only in private life but in the most complex geopolitical situations. I am convinced that loving your enemies is not only a moral standard but could be a very successful foreign policy strategy, even though it gets laughed out of the room by the same people who claim to advocate “Biblical” values in our government. What would loving your enemies look like in the greatest foreign policy crisis in the world now? What would it look like for Israel to love Gaza?”

Poverty: Poverty Pictured by Larry James

“Mental … spiritual … social … physical.”

this went thru my mind


Anger: Anger is Not a Sin by Kathy Escobar

“As a body of believers, it does seem like anger, sadness, and hurt are not tolerated very well. We want people to go to their room when they’re angry and come out when they’re happy again, to change their attitudes quick, to get on with the business of feeling good as quickly as possible. Even though we say it’s not true, it sends a message to all of us that God loves us more when we’re happy and is disappointed with us when we’re sad. This message gets all tangled up with our faith.”

Church programming: 10 Reasons to Underprogram Your Church by Jared C. Wilson

“We are inundated constantly with opportunities for activity from other churches (which we don’t want to turn down lest we appear uncooperative and standoffish), advertised ‘movements’ local and national (which are good at getting people excited and distracted), and ‘good ideas’ from our own community (which we are reluctant to deny lest we break someone’s heart). But what all this so often amounts to is a church that is merely busy, and busy does not always equal diligent or faithful.”

Fear: The One Question I Ask When I’m Afraid by Jon Acuff

“Where is God in this fear?”

Marriage: One Of The Biggest Mistakes Couples Make In Their Marriage by Trey Morgan

“By far, one of the easiest ways for couples to kill their marriage is when they stop pursuing one another. Your goal everyday should be to work just as hard to keep your spouse as you did to win him/her in the first place.”

Ministerial ethics: National Association of Evangelicals’ Code of Ethics for Pastors

Singing: Sunday Hymns: The Hymn That Let the Individual In! by Mark Woodward

“In 1701, Isaac Watts wrote a communion hymn, which he first titled Crucifixion To The World By The Cross of Christ. We know this hymn today as When I Survey The Wondrous Cross … Nevertheless, this hymn stirred up controversy because it is the first known hymn to be written in first person.”

The sinner’s prayer: The Sinner’s Prayer: A By-gone? by Scot McKnight

“… the problem is that The Sinner’s Prayer replaces King Jesus himself for too many.”

Time & priorities: * The ‘Busy’ Trap by Tim Kreider; * Slay Your Dragons Before Breakfast by Michael Hyatt

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets.”

“I face a dragon named Lethargy every morning. …If I don’t slay this dragon before breakfast, he usually gets the best of me.”

rock solid: reflecting on the Ten Commandments

This coming Sunday morning at MoSt Church, most of our English-speaking adult Bible classes (9:00 a.m.) will conclude their study of the Rock Solid: The Ten Commandments with something of a summary of their study of the Ten Commandments. Make good use of the following questions to assist you in your preparation for class.

1. List the Ten Commandments in order. Which ones are easiest for you to remember and which ones are the most difficult?

2. There are over six hundred commands in the OT Law so why do you suppose there are “Ten” Commandments? Why not nine or a dozen? What might be the significance of there being “ten?”

3. The exodus, God’s deliverance of Israel from their bondage in Egypt, preceded God’s giving of the Law to Israel at Mount Sinai (Ex. 20:2; Deut. 5:6). Exodus preceded Sinai; grace always comes before law. Why is law without grace unable to produce people of real character?

4. The first four commandments deal directly with our relationship with God and the last six commandments pertain particularly to our relationship with other people. There are a few statements of explanation or justification, as well as motivation, in the giving of the first four commandments, but with the exception of the case of the fifth commandment, there are no such statements connected with the last six commandments. Why do you suppose this is the case and what difference does it make?

5. All of the Ten Commandments are woven together and are critical to a healthy life together as people of God. Imagine a community where one of the commandments is missing completely (e.g. – all of the commandments are kept except the principle of Sabbath). How might that gap in ethics come to affect the other values in place?

6. By means of the Ten Commandments, God deliberately planted his values in his people, Israel. What is wrong with allowing people to “discover their own values?”

7. Augustine once wrote: “We do not walk to God with the feet of the body, nor would wings, if we had them, carry us there. But we go to God by the affections of our soul.” How would you say the practice of the Ten Commandments shapes the affections of our soul for God? That is to say, how is it that a person who practices the Ten Commandments is opening themselves up to a better understanding and deeper relationship with God?

8. While the Ten Commandments are obeyed by individuals, they were given to a community, Israel. How is living in community with others who share these same values critical to the development and reinforcement of the Ten Commandments? In other words, why do we need each other in order to live out the Ten Commandments?

9. What are some ways you might be able to work God’s ten teachings in the Ten Commandments into your everyday conversations with your friends?

10. What is the best thing you have personally gleaned from this study of the Ten Commandments?

faith 101

There is one God the Father. All things come from him, and we belong to him. And there is one Lord Jesus Christ.  All things exist through him, and we live through him.

But not everybody knows this. (1 Corinthians 8:6-7a CEB)

Everything comes from God our Father and belongs to him, including us. Our Father works through the Jesus in his doing of everything. Consequently, what we enjoy and are enabled to do is because of our God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

To deliberately choose to grow in sensitivity to the fact that our lives are sustained and purposed by God himself is our unspeakable priviliege, responsibility, and joy. These thoughts are so basic and central to our beliefs as Christians that surely every Christian knows such.

However, Paul’s concern is that not all Christians do know such. The evidence for such ignorance he sees in the common confusion among the Christians in the church at Corinth. His diagnosis was simple: their ethics were haywire because their faith was misplaced.

The same holds true for today. Our Christ-like behavior is to rise up from our core beliefs. If what we truly believe in life is what we’re focused on throughout the day, our behavior will show evidence of such. But, if we ignore or displace our core beliefs, our resulting behavior will not be an imitation of Christ, but of self, at best.

Father God, you are the source and sustainer of all things. Your Son and my Savior Jesus, is the instrument you use to make these things happen. May each hour of this day I dedicate as service to you in the name of Jesus. Amen.