this went thru my mind

 

Church: Church Steps: How People Move Through the Steps by Matt Dabbs [required reading]

“…  thinking in steps, not in programs. … All of us should be thinking … ‘how can I help someone get to the next step?'”

Church, discipleship & the missional movement: Problems With Missional by Matt Dabbs

“There have been some posts addressing the problems with the missional movement. Here are a few you may want to read.”

Church unity: The Dangerous Center Aisle of a Church by Ron Edmonson

“Would you join a church that couldn’t get along with itself?”

Football: A Conversation With James Franklin

“James Franklin … is the starting quarterback for the University of Missouri … He is the fourth child of Willie and Pam Franklin. His father, a well-known minister in the Dallas area, was once a standout receiver for the University of Oklahoma and played in the NFL for the Baltimore Colts. … “

Free will: Free Will as a Reflection of God by Neal Whitlow

“… what if our free will wasn’t just a curious experiment during God’s creative process? What if there was no highly debated executive decision on the part of the Trinity who decided to breathe life into a man who had the freedom of choice to defy the perfect and holy Creator of the Universe and go his own way? What if our free will was actually the result of being made in the image of God?”

Islam: Survey of Islam by Dr. Timothy Tennent

Legalism & Phariseeism: 6 Warning Signs We’re Becoming Accidental Pharisees by Larry Osborne [required reading]

“I’ve found that becoming a modern-day, accidental Pharisee is a lot like eating at Denny’s. No one wants to go there. We just end up there.”

Patience: Jesus as Oprah by Richard Beck

“No worries. Jack’s a Christian. His Lord commands him to be patient.”

Privacy, porn & social networking: Parasite’ Porn Websites Stealing Images and Videos Posted by Young People

“A study by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) reveals that 88% of self-made sexual or suggestive images and videos posted by young people, often on social networking sites, are taken from their original online location and uploaded on to other websites.”

Same-sex issues: Let’s Face It by Carole Lattin

“… “the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. It’s holiness … the goal is to lay down the lesser love of homosexuality and embrace the greater love of Christ’s atonement.”

this went thru my mind

 

Character & image: How to Pay More Attention to Character than Image by Jim Martin

“Image … is not a substitute for character.”

Church attendance & spiritual development: What Counts: Part 2 by Dan Bouchelle [required reading]

“Here are some common bad consequences of churches with truncated understandings of our mission …”

College-bound: Five Suggestions for That College Care Package by Maureen Herring

“Five intangibles that I believe we need to send in these packages are faith, independence, acceptance, challenge and hope.”

Culture: Welcome to America, Please Be On Time: What Guide Books Tell Foreign Visitors to the U.S.

“Flipping through a few of the many English-language tourist guides provides a fascinating, if non-scientific and narrow, window into how people from the outside world perceive America, Americans, and the surprises and pitfalls of spending time here. Of the many pieces of advice proffered, four of the most common are: eat with your fingers (sometimes), arrive on time (always), don’t drink and drive (they take it seriously here!), and be careful about talking politics (unless you’ve got some time to spare).”

Disagreement: Why You’re Wrong and I’m Right by Dan Rockwell

“I never intentionally think stupid ideas or chose wrong options. Do you? I always choose what I think is right. Research indicates that the act of choosing strengthens my opinion that my choice is right. Even if I’m wrong, I’m right, or at least it feels that way.”

Grief & comfort: Why You May Never Heal by Caleb Wilde

“Instead of saying that the end of the grief process is detachment and healing, I think we should say that the healthy end of the grief process is adjustment. It’s adjusting to the fact that your loved one is no longer here to share life experiences with you. It’s adjusting to the loss of the future, but there’s never a detachment from the past.”

Health: CDC Recommends Hepatitis C Testing For All Boomers

“The agency decided to target people born from 1945 through 1965 because they are five times more likely than other adults to carry the hepatitis C virus. About 1 in 30 boomers is infected and thousands die each year of cirrhosis and liver cancer.”

Hiking: World’s Best Hikes: Epic Trails

“… 20 hikes … the holy grails of trails across the world.”

Houston-to-Dallas high-speed rail: Full Speed Ahead for 205 MPH Bullet Train Between Houston and Dallas? 2020 Set As Target Date

“Tracks would ‘go over, under or around car and pedestrian traffic’ to take advantage of the bullet train’s 205-mile-per-hour capabilities, and would stop in College Station — and perhaps a few other locations between Houston and North Texas — for minimal interruptions. Although no timeline has been announced for phase one … a second phase of the project would link Austin and San Antonio to the system along the I-35 corridor.”

Morality & the national budget: Grandpa’s Using Your Credit Card: Why the National Budget is a Moral Issue by Ron Sider

“…  basic economic facts underline the importance of a governmental role in combating poverty. Tens of thousands of private programs provide important food assistance each month.  But altogether they only provide 6 % of the total monthly food assistance; government provides 94% each month. There are five major federal government poverty-fighting programs. If the 325,000 religious congregations nationwide decided to take over these five programs, each congregation would need to increase their annual budget by $1.5 million.”

Oil & the Keystone XL pipeline: When This Oil Spills, It’s ‘A Whole New Monster’

“‘I learned that this is a whole new monster than what folks in Texas are used to dealing with. … This is not a regular crude oil pipeline. This is something completely different. It’s not being treated differently.'”

Perspective: Celebrating Our Somersaults by Rachel Held Evans [required reading]

“The Olympics reminded me that sometimes we just gotta step back for a minute, catch a glimpse of the big picture, and celebrate one another’s somersaults.”

Sharing faith: * New Research: Churchgoers Believe in Sharing Faith, But Most Never Do by Ed Stetzer; * Three Reasons We Should NOT Share the Gospel by Chad Hall

* “… 80 percent of those who attend church one or more times a month, believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, but 61 percent have not told another person about how to become a Christian in the previous six months.”

* “I believe there are positive and poor motivations for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.  In this post, I want to focus on three poor reasons that might stir us to share our faith. … Insecurity … Arrogance … [and] Narcissism …”

Speech & action: There Are Consequences to Demonizing Those You Do Not Like: Reflections on the Family Research Council Shooting by Ed Stetzer

” … if the left calls everyone who disagrees with them on homosexuality ‘haters’ … the loss of credibility is substantial. … [And] if those who support a traditional view of marriage remain silent as gay teenagers are bullied into suicide or suffer physical violence and act as if nothing is happening, they should not expect to be taken seriously when they decry violence against one of their own.”

this went thru my mind

 

Art: Lego-Brücke

“[Pictured] here [is the result of a] four week transformation [of] a 250 square meter [area of a] bridge with … ​​Lego bricks.”

Bible translation: C.S. Lewis on the Nature of Scripture

“The same divine humility which decreed that God should become a baby at a peasant-woman’s breast, and later an arrested field-preacher in the hands of the Roman police, decreed also that He should be preached in a vulgar, prosaic and unliterary language. If you can stomach the one, you can stomach the other. The Incarnation is in that sense an irreverent doctrine: Christianity, in that sense, an incurably irreverent religion. When we expect that it should have come before the World in all the beauty that we now feel in the Authorised Version we are as wide of the mark as the Jews were in expecting that the Messiah would come as a great earthly King. The real sanctity, the real beauty and sublimity of the New Testament (as of Christ’s life) are of a different sort: miles deeper or further in.”

Chik-Fil-A, LGBT & the culture wars: * Christian Resources for Thinking About Homosexuality; * What Exactly Did Dan Cathy Say to Land Chic-fil-a in Hot Water?; * Five Reasons the Church Failed Yesterday; * Learning to Speak: Chick-fil-A & our Inability to Dialogue; * Do Corporations Have Souls?

* “My basic question is ‘What attitude should Christians adopt as we consider our interaction with the LGBT community?'”

* “‘We don’t claim to be a Christian business,’ Cathy told the Biblical Recorder in a recent visit to North Carolina. He attended a business leadership conference many years ago where he heard Christian businessman Fred Roach say, ‘There is no such thing as a Christian business.’ ‘That got my attention,’ Cathy said. Roach went on to say, ‘Christ never died for a corporation. He died for you and me.’ ‘In that spirit … [Christianity] is about a personal relationship. Companies are not lost or saved, but certainly individuals are,’ Cathy added.”

* “Yesterday’s campaign, while I don’t think it should be considered or called ‘hate,’ neither can it be called love. … People felt hate and we ignored that. … By rallying behind CFA, Christians put an issue above people. … Once again, the mass actions of Christians built another wall of distrust between the Church and the GLBTQ communities. … Yesterday’s hoopla surrounding CFA did nothing to prove that Christians don’t hate gay people.”

* “The issue is not homosexuality. We do the same with Muslims and Hindus, with Atheists and Agnostics. We do it with Christians that think differently regarding heaven and hell, baptism or remarriage, or those who get a little too charismatic when their favorite worship song is played. We do it with anyone who we view as ‘the Other.’ The real issue is us. We struggle to ‘put skin’ on the words and message of Christ with anyone who thinks differently than us. Too often, we demand conformity prior to connection.”

* “In light of the Chick-Fil-A ‘Appreciation Day’ I’m wondering, ‘When did corporations become moral guardians for our society?'”

Communication, ministry & relationships: Conversations Skills that Transform by Kevin A. Miller

“… they have scores of digital ‘friends,’ but what’s missing is analog—a slow, listening, face-to-face presence.”

Death & the hereafter: Immediately after Death, What Happens?

“Following a sermon one day a person waited around until everyone had left and he asked me this: ‘My father was a Christian; he died last week; we buried him Monday. Where is he now?’ And pastor after pastor has told me this is a very common — monthly — question they get from the grieving. Matthew Levering … explores how three representative scholars — N.T. Wright, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Aquinas — explain the so-called intermediate state.”

Drugs: Houston Area ‘Major Player’ in Synthetic Drug Market

“… the Houston area is the No. 1 spot in Texas when it comes to people getting poisoned by synthetic compounds designed to mimic the effects of marijuana and methamphetamines.”

Illegal alines & immigration: Immigration: Justice, Mercy, and the Great Commission by J. Lance Conklin

“…  are those entering the U.S. illegally breaking into a house to steal a T.V., or are they stealing a loaf of bread to feed their family?”

Introverts: Eight Things to Help You Understand Introverts by Thom Rainer

“I am an introvert. … I hope these eight statements will help you understand us a little bit better.”

Knife-sharpening: * Testing a Knife’s Sharpness;  * Stoning Your Knife;  * Honing Your Knife

Three brief videos by Bob Kramer, master bladesmith.

Olympics: Eric Liddell – A True Champion

“Eric Liddell is best known as ‘the man from Chariots of Fire’ (cue slow running) but there was much more to him than that!”

Parenting & texting: Control Your Kids’ Texting

“My kids are glued to their smartphones. … Is there a way I can turn off texting on their phones during a certain time?”

Politics & faith: A Third Party Candidate by Scott Elliott

“… many Christians have fallen into [a] … political trap. They ‘treat their religion as a kind of politics and their politics as a kind of religion.’ Politics becomes an idol, and hope rises or falls based on the outcome of the coming election. Christians on both sides of the aisle are guilty of bowing to an elephant or a donkey, thinking they have the answers to their problems. The truth is neither the Republicans nor the Democrats possess the solutions to that which plagues humanity, but there is a third option.”

Preaching: * Preaching: Raiding or Reading?; * It’s Not About You – Or Is It?

* “Bible Raiding. This sort goes to the Bible to find support for an already-decided-upon idea, to get answers from the Bible on the basis of a surface reading of the Bible … and lets what the preacher wants to say and what the preacher believes establish what is to be preached. … Bible Reading. This sort goes to the Bible to see what it says and what it says shapes what the preacher preaches and teaches. …”

* “Whether we like it or not, therefore, it is ‘about us’ – which raises all the more intensely the question of how we can also be certain that it is not only and primarily about us, but ultimately about the God we worship in and through Jesus Christ.”

Self-righteousness: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

“The really insidious part about this condition is that the more I go on as a Christian: the more I grow in knowledge, the more I become integrated into the Christian community, the more my lifestyle conforms to the expectations of my particular Christian group, the more separated I get from “the world” and its ways, the more I learn to act, speak, dress, and think like a Christian, the more my capacity for self-righteousness increases.”

Taxes & demographics: Study: Romney Tax Plan Would Shift Burden Toward Poor

“Mitt Romney’s tax plan would provide large tax cuts to the very wealthy, while increasing the tax burden on the lower and middle classes, according to a study … produced by researchers at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center …”

United States: Is America a Secular Nation? by Ben Witherington

“It would be nearer the truth to say that America is a narcissistic ‘who cares’ society when it comes to politics than to say it is a secular society.”

this went thru my mind

 

Change: * How to Change an Organization by Dan Rockwell; * How to See and Cure Sick Organizational Cultures by Dan Rockwell

* “[Brook] Manville said ‘The king and subject model doesn’t change cultures.’ Great leaders don’t change people; they create environments where people change themselves.'”

“Sick organizational cultures focus on themselves rather than customers.”

Evangelism: Be Where the People Are by James Wood

“You won’t make non-Christian friends by going to church more.”

Happiness: Happiness, Harvard Business Review, and the Church by Thom Rainer

“It is time for our churches to get back to being churches. Then, and only then, will people discover true gospel-centered joy.”

Homosexuality: * The Church and Homosexuality: Ten Commitmentsby Kevin DeYoung; * Talking About Homosexuality by Timothy Keller

* “Even for those Christians who agree that homosexuality is contrary to the will of God there is little agreement on how we ought to speak about homosexuality being contrary to the will of God. … So how ought we to speak about homosexuality?”

* “Homosexuality is not God’s original design for sexuality – sex is designed for marriage between a man and a woman. But that belief should have no impact on a church’s or a Christian’s desire to love and serve the needs and interests of all their neighbors, including gay people, people of other faiths, and so on.”

Hospitality: Where Saying “Thank You” is an Insult by Dan Bouchelle

“‘We don’t thank the Venda people for feeding us. It is an insult to them,’ said our South African friend who was traveling with us.”

Manners: Mind Your Mobile Manners: Top 10 On-the-Go Blunders by Christina DesMarais

“If you do anything on this list, you need to stop it right now.”

Music: An Open Letter to Praise Bands by James K.A. Smith

“… let me offer just a few brief axioms with the hope of encouraging new reflection on the practice of ‘leading worship’ …”

Parenting: 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Being a Dad by Daniel Darling

“Before I became a dad, I thought I would be a pretty good dad. … Then, a funny thing happened. I actually became a dad for the first time. I’m now a father of four and I know much less about parenting than I did before I became a parent. I’ve realized that there are certain things about fatherhood you can only learn until you actually become a dad.”

Perseverance: 3 Suggestions to Help You Persevere by Jim Martin

“The truth is that God in Christ is greater than whatever obstacle might stand in our way.”

Philemon: Onesimus and Philemon: Peter Head on the People Who Delivered Paul’s Letters by John Byron

“The most likely candidate for the job of ‘first interpreter’ of Paul’s letters is probably the person who delivered it. … In a recent paper delivered at the New Testament Seminar at Cambridge University Peter Head examined Paul’s letter to Philemon and wondered who carried the letter. Here is some of what Peter had to say as reported by Peter Malik …”

Scholarship: Scholarship as a Way of Life by James K.A. Smith

“Let me highlight three joys of scholarship as a way of life.”

Violence: “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will” by Sam Alexander

“I’m wondering in what way this can be considered living out American values.”

Worship: Is God Vain for Expecting Me to Worship Him? by Ron Cox

“… to the extent that God commands us to worship him it is not born out of any need that God has.”

this went thru my mind

 

Church: Belonging: When I Didn’t Serve God in Church by Ed Cyzewski

” Along the way, I made a crucial mistake. I began to equate work in the church building with serving God.”

Churches of Christ: Why I’m (Still) Church of Christ by Joshua Graves

“Here are my [eleven] reasons I’m still in the Church of Christ.”

Computing: VirusTotal

“VirusTotal is a free service that analyzes suspicious files and URLs and facilitates the quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware.”

Drugs: Facing My Brother’s Addiction

“For at least the last decade and arguably several years longer, my baby brother has been an addict.”

Homosexuality: * Homosexuality: When Will the Church Really Have a Conversation? by John Byron; * Stanley Hauerwas Destroyed My Hermeneutical Paradigm by Brian LePort; * From Waging War to Washing Feet: How Do We Move Forward? by Rachel Held Evans; * A Plea to Christians About Our Response to Obama & Homosexual Marriage by Dan Bouchelle

* “I am reminded of what it was like growing up in the church when divorce was still taboo.”

* “It may be possible to affirm Christian military service while denying Christians being homosexual, but many of the arguments I hear are selective at best, disingenuous at worst. I wish more Christians would be smacked by someone like Stanley Hauerwas and forced to ask themselves, ‘What is my hermeneutical paradigm for saying biblical prohibition A no longer applies while biblical prohibition B does.'”

* “I’d never before realized the degree to which my own perceptions of same-sex attraction were influenced by misinformation, stereotypes, assumptions, and misplaced good intentions.”

* “I’m not sure what this says about me, but my first reaction to the news of Obama’s new position on gay marriage was fear this turn of events would end up giving the church just one more black eye as Christians respond in ways that sound like hate to our world.”

Ideas: 99% Conference 2012: Key Takeaways On Making Ideas Happen by Sarah Rapp & Jocelyn K. Glei

“Last week we brought together 400+ leading creatives and 18 visionary speakers in New York City for the fourth annual 99% Conference, presented by GE. For two days we devoted our full attention to exploring the inner-workings of idea execution.”

Philistines: Lecture with Sy Gitin: Ekron of the Philistines: From Sea Peoples to Olive Oil Industrialists

“The excavations of Ekron radically changed the traditional perception of the Philistines, a tribe of the Sea Peoples who migrated from the Aegean in the 12th century BCE. … The excavations also provided an answer to one of the enigmatic questions involving the Philistines, why they eventually disappeared from the pages of history.”

Photography: Major Announcement: New Photo Collection by Todd Bolen

“The winning combination is the availability of high-quality photos of biblical sites, scenes, and objects for pennies per photo.”

Preaching: Gospel Bullets: “Piety vs Pugilism” in Church of Christ Preaching by Bobby Valentine

“Preaching that stressed the love of God was frequently referred to as ‘sissyism.’ Rather than being ‘real men’ these preachers were weak and feminine — they were called ‘soft.'”

Sunday school & small groups: What is the Purpose of Small Groups and Sunday School? by Trevin Wax

“The way we analyze these models depends on what we think is most important to accomplish. I’m convinced that the purpose for breaking into smaller groups is one of the most neglected areas of discipleship. And when we don’t know what our purpose is, we’re certain not to fulfill it.”

Wall Street: Capitalists and Other Psychopaths by William Deresiewicz

“A recent study found that 10 percent of people who work on Wall Street are “clinical psychopaths,” exhibiting a lack of interest in and empathy for others and an ‘unparalleled capacity for lying, fabrication, and manipulation.’ (The proportion at large is 1 percent.) Another study concluded that the rich are more likely to lie, cheat and break the law.”

Walter Wink: Walter Wink: Presente!

“Walter Wink, 76, one of the most creative and influential scholars of our day, died peacefully at his home in Sandisfield in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts on May 10 … Wink’s breakthrough insights about the contemporary meaning of the principalities and powers, and Jesus’ third way of dealing with the enemy/oppressor – neither fight nor flight but nonviolent resistance – spoke powerfully to the struggle and transformation experienced in the self-giving love of Jesus.”

[In my opinion, one of Walter Wink’s short works, Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way, is one of the most eye-opening and challenging – if not convicting and convincing – books I dare say any Christian could ever read. I highly recommend it; it’s definitely required reading. I intend to post some brief excerpts from it next week.]

Worship (corporate): Handling Worship Distractions by Shane Raynor

“… I try to remember is that group worship is not my private prayer and worship time. I don’t get to have God all to myself. … Worshiping with a group means sometimes interacting with the group, not tuning them out so that it’s ‘just me and God.'”

this went thru my mind

 

Brain & reading: The Brain and Reading

“… when people learn to read, brain areas designed for other skills are being converted for the reading skill.”

Culture & homosexuality: How to Win a Culture War and Lose a Generation by Rachel Held Evans

“When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was ‘antihomosexual.’ For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : ‘judgmental,’ ‘hypocritical,’ and ‘too involved in politics.’)”

Honesty: Bonhoeffer on Telling the Truth

“Under the heat of the Nazis, in Tegel prison, and surely under the cloud of having participated in a conspiracy to wipe out Hitler, and clearly how he responded in interrogations and concealed the conspiracy, [Dietrich] Bonhoeffer wrote a short essay, or a fragment, called “What does it mean to tell the truth?””

Introverts: 5 Ways I Breakout of My Introversion by Ron Edmonson

“I am frequently confused for an extrovert. On Sundays and other important days of ministry I can perform as an extrovert. I assure you, it’s not the real me!”

Parenting: So How Do We Talk About This? When Children See Internet Pornography by Amy O’Leary

“There is no set script, and no predictable moment for the conversation.”

Politics: Partisan Psychology: Why Do People Choose Political Loyalties Over Facts? by Shanikar Vedantmm

“… partisans reject such information not because they’re against the facts, but because it’s painful.”

Simplicity: The 10 Most Important Things to Simplify in Your Life by Joshua Becker

“Based on our personal journey, our conversations, and our observations, here is a list of the 10 most important things to simplify in your life today to begin living a more balanced, joyful lifestyle.”

Social networking: Here’s Why Google and Facebook Might Completely Disappear in the Next 5 Years by Eric Jackson

“Mobile companies born since 2010 have a very different view of the world.”

this went thru my mind

 

Bible interpretation: On Not Harmonizing by J. Daniel Kirk

Boredom: The Arrogance of Boredom by Dan Bouchelle

Church, comfort, learning & maturity: The Church is Not Trained to Be Disturbed by Terry Rush is so very, sadly true.

Civil religion: Why it’s unbiblical to affirm ‘In God We Trust’ by Bethany Keeley-Jonker

Coffee: 17 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Morning Coffee by Lindsey Savino

Comfort, encouragement, speech & words: What to Say When Someone is In Pain by Bev Hislop

Death & life: * If Only by Ben Witherington. Wow. * Richard Beck’s ongoing series on The Slavery of Death is required reading. Here is a link to part one and the most recent post, part thirteen. Read two posts a day and catch up.

Discipline: 5 Steps to Developing More Discipline by Michael Hyatt

Evangelism, gospel & preaching: Critical Concerns With Gospel Presentations is a three-part series by Peter Mead. Here are links to parts one, two, and three.

Facebook: The Unfaced Book World is telling.

Forgiveness: If Rwandans Can Forgive Killings, We Can Forgive the Waitress by Jeremy Cowart

Justification: New/Old Perspective on Justification is a series by Scot McKnight. Here are links to part one, two, three, four, and five.

Leadership & Joe Paterno: Leadership Lessons From Happy Valley by Tim Spivey

Meetings: 18 Rules for Creative Meetings by Brad Lomenick

Perspective: Study links regular religious service attendance, outlook on life

Reading: If you’re not reading, you’re missing out. This could be the most helpful post you’ve read in a long time – Michael Hyatt’s spot-on post entitled 5 Ways to Make More Time to Read.

Sexual abuse: * Remind Your Staff About Handling Abuse Properly by Brandon Cox * The Problem With Pederasty and the Penn State Scandal by Ben Witherington * Discounted Prices on Background Checks Through LifeWay by Erin Freshwater * Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network * The National Sexual Assault Hotline is 1-800-656-4673

Spiritual maturity: 5 Signs of Spiritual Maturity by Clint Archer