links: this went thru my mind

 

Church decline: To the Dying Church: Maybe Death Is a Blessing

“How very God-like of God to make death the beginning of a blessing.”

Congregational singing, corporate worship, singing & song-leading: The Church Singing

“Why We Sing … Five Qualities of a Congregational Song … Reflections on “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?” … My Congregation Barely Sings; How Can I Help? … Rediscovering Jesus’ Hymnbook.”

Gospel, holy kiss, hospitality & table fellowship: Embodying the Gospel: Two Exemplary Practices

“Against those contemporary patterns of thought that segregate thinking and doing, or “theory” and “practice,” this essay urges that Scripture works with a more integrated and communal understanding of human life, and thus of Christian faith.”

Generations & Millenials: Millennials in Adulthood [required reading]

“The Millennial generation is forging a distinctive path into adulthood. Now ranging in age from 18 to 331, they are relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry— and optimistic about the future. They are also America’s most racially diverse generation. In all of these dimensions, they are different from today’s older generations. And in many, they are also different from older adults back when they were the age Millennials are now.”

One another & unity: The Centrality of the “One Another” Passages for Christian Unity

“This is more than just a list of more things to do. This is about how we see others and our own obligation to be supportive of those around us. This is a call away from self and pride to make a difference in the lives of those around us. If Christian embraced this kind of vision for people and way of life…I am convinced we would make a huge impact on the world.”

Jesus, nonviolence & violence: Jesus Said, “Buy a Sword.” What Did He Mean?

“…  justifying the use of violence by citing this passage [Luke 22.35-38] is as unwarranted as citing the temple cleansing passage to this effect.”

Preaching, sermons & thinking: 2 Big Problems with Overly Simple Sermons [essential reading]

“Here’s the problem: sometimes reality is more complex than our desire for simplicity allows. … When simplicity becomes king, the pulpit is often its kingdom.  I think too many preachers have taken Einstein’s quote to heart. They’ve heard too often that good communication must be simple. So they force everything into that mold, talking about complex issues like poverty, suffering, ethics, and even the gospel, as though these were relatively simple and easy to understand. They’re not, and pretending otherwise sets us up for one of two problems (probably both): we create simpletons [and] we create despisers.

Respect: When You Fail to Show Respect

“I am not suggesting that people needed to be ‘nicer.’ The problem runs far deeper than this.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Boys, children, introverts, masculinity, parenting, sexuality & socialization: * We’ve Preached Modesty to the Girls. Now, Let’s Talk to the Boys [required reading]; * In the Whirled: Socializing our Kids to Death

* “I think it’s high time — perhaps past time — that we talk to the boys. …  there are three myths of masculinity that permeate our society. I’ve been conditioned by them, and I’ve mistakenly conditioned you by some of them too.”

* “We live in a day and age when working with others has never been more valued. We send kids to school at younger and younger ages so they can properly socialize. We encourage involvement in activities, lots of activities, for the same reason. … And yet, for roughly one-third of the population, solitude is just what they need.”

Betting, casinos, gambling, lotteries & wagers: 9 Things You Should Know about Casinos and Gambling

“This week the Council on Casinos, a group dedicated to fighting the spread of gambling in America, released a report on “Why Casinos Matter.” Here are nine things from the report on casinos and gambling that you should know.”

Church problems, leadership, ministry, power groups & relationships: Eight Types of Power Groups in Churches [required reading]

“The very thought of the presence of power groups seems contrary to the spirit and grace of the gospel. But power groups are very real in churches. … While a church may have more than one kind of group, only one of the groups will be the dominant power in the church.”

Churches, guests, greeting, hospitality & visitors: Welcome Visitors Tentatively Entering Your Church Doors

“Walking into a room where you know no one is not easy for many of us. … My hope is that the person, no matter the reason for coming, would find a gracious Christian community that is hospitable and lives and tells the story of God’s grace in Jesus Christ so people can experience the transformative story of the Gospel. Will you look for the unfamiliar person who is longing to be connected to our God?”

Funeral etiquette & manners: 10 Things You Should and Should Not Do at a Funeral

“…  some things should be non-negotiable when attending a funeral service …”

this went thru my mind

 

Baptism, children & parenting: Baptism – When are Kids Ready? by Brandon Baker

“Every kid is different and I don’t believe there is a magic baptism age. But I think this is a good starting point for children in the church even if they aren’t asking about baptism.”

Bible interpretation: The Superman Verse – Phil. 4.13 and What It Does Not Mean by Ben Witherington [required reading]

“Here is a rendering of the verse in context. ‘I know a humbled state, and I know also surplus. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of how to be satisfied, even if hungry and being able also to do without. I am able/strong enough [to endure] all things in Him who empowers me.’ What Paul is saying is that no matter what his circumstances, God has given him the strength or ability to endure and be satisfied, even when he must do without, even when he must go hungry.”

Church & the Lord’s Supper: Picture of the Week: Pompeii, House of Sallust, Atrium by Seth M. Rodriquez [required reading]

“In 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, Paul describes an extremely dysfunctional church event. When the church gathered to observe the Lord’s Supper, there were divisions and factions (v. 18-19) due to the fact that people were not sharing food with those who were hungry and were eating before the others arrived (vv. 21, 33-34). What could have possessed them to act in such an unloving way during one of the holiest events in the life of their church?”

Facebook: Scary Facebook Setting You Have to Change Now! by Kim Komando

“All the person has to do is search for any mobile number using the site’s mobile search function. If you have your number on Facebook – or have the Facebook app on your phone – your name will pop up. … When the security researcher went public with this information, Facebook said it’s a feature, not a bug. That means it probably won’t be fixed.”

Humor: Fellowship Triage by Larry Carter

“I love this time when we roam around the auditorium looking for everyone we haven’t seen for a few days. We greet and grin, shake and howdy, and otherwise say ‘Hi’ to a whole bunch of people. There are some rules, though, some stages of the fellowship time. I call it triage. I determine, based on certain criteria, exactly how I’m going to approach each person during this sacred time [fellowship time].”

Money, personal finances & savings: The Conversation You’re Not Having, But Should Probably Start by Joshua Becker

“* 50% of Americans have less than one month of savings saved for emergencies. * One in four Americans has no savings at all. * More than 30% of households earning over $100K still live paycheck to paycheck. * Among indebted households, the average amount of credit card debt tops $15,000. * The average U.S. household debt is 136 percent of household income. * 57% of households do not have a budget. * Almost half of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets. * In one survey, money more than sex, children or in-laws—was the most common conflict for American couples.”

Preaching: When You Preach a Lousy Sermon by Justin Buzzard

“… we must always remember that God doesn’t need a good sermon to do his work. I felt my sermon was terrible, not at all up to my standards, but I still preached the text/the gospel, I still got on base. And, God still used the sermon. That’s always amazing to me, to hear that people were still deeply helped by my lousy sermon.”

Work: “All-Consuming” Work, parts 1 & 2

“God says to us you don’t need more time to serve and worship me – you just need to realise that all time is for serving and worshipping me.”