links: this went thru my mind

Here are links to five articles that I’ve found to be interesting and helpful reading.

Achievement, expectations, humility, service, success & the will of God: God’s Not Looking for Heroes

“We don’t all need to be heroes. Jesus is the Hero. The Hero came 2000 years ago. So He’s already the Hero. He’s not looking for heroes, He’s looking for co-laborers. The challenge is, most people want to be co-stars, not co-laborers. If you actually understood what it was to be a co-laborer, you could labor wherever you are.”

America, culture, individualism, materialism, nationalism, patriotism, values & war: American Values Are Not Necessarily Christian Values

“… [there can be] no excuse for conflating country and church. We can appreciate and even respect the nation in which we reside, but we must not forget that our status is as foreigner and exiles. (1 Peter 2:11)”

American Sniper, cinema, deception, distortion, evil, film, movies & payback: Clint Eastwood’s Sniper, and the American Messiah [essential reading]

“This is the problem with the white-hat black-hat narrative of Hollywood: when ‘they’ do what ‘we’ do (though ‘they,’ of course, poor saps, are just not as efficient in their killing as ‘we’ are) it is evil, but when Americans do it, it is heroic. Eastwood’s Kyle insists he is doing what he does because he does not want terrorists in our neighborhoods here. Yet he participates in the invasion of a country that had nothing to do with 9/11; a country who was headed by, no doubt, a despot but a despot who had furthered his hold on power by the support of our own country; and when those people fight back because they don’t want foreign invaders in their streets, it’s ‘evil’ like Eastwood’s Kyle has never yet imagined.”

Anger, bitterness, forgiveness, hatred & resentment: A Holocaust Survivor, Spared From Gas Chamber By Twist Of Fate

“Anger doesn’t get you anyplace. Hate doesn’t get you anyplace.”

Attention span, authority, church, commitment, Facebook & social media: 5 Ways Facebook May be Harming Your Church

“What effect does ‘social media’ technology have on the way we view church? What effect does it have on the way we conceive of life in the body of Christ?”

links: this went thru my mind


Acappella singing, instrumental music & public worship gatherings: The Argument against Musical Instruments in Worship

“Some, not many, church groups do not believe in the use of musical instruments in public worship. The major example is the Churches of Christ. No less than one of their foremost scholars, Everett Ferguson, takes up his case against the use of instruments in public worship (The Early Church and Today, vol. 1). What are the arguments against the use of instruments?”

Benevolence: Care for the Socially Vulnerable in the Early Church—Aristides (2nd century)

“When a poor man dies, if they become aware, they contribute according to their means for his funeral; if they come to know that some people are persecuted or sent to prison or condemned for the sake of Christ’s name, they put their alms together and send them to those in need. If they can do it, they try to obtain their release. When a slave or a beggar is in need of help, they fast two or three days, and give him the food they had prepared for themselves, because they think that he too should be joyful, as he has been called to be joyful like themselves.”

Children, multi-generational church & senior adults: Why Should a Pastor Take His Children to Visit the Elderly in His Church? [replace the word “pastor” with “Christian” it’s applicable to all; great article]

“My burden grows that the multi-generational local church is fading into the past. This should not be. The best way for us to fight against it is to do the things that cause young and old to grow in Christian love and affection for each other.”

Faith: Uzzah was Only Trying to Help!

“…  in the kingdom, we must leave the God-matters to God.”

Racism: American Idols: 3 False Beliefs That Can Blind White Men To Their Privilege

“The problem is, for many of us, our world view is based on the mistaken belief that these three things are already part of reality.”

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.”

this went thru my mind


Children & faith: The Real Reason Kids Abandon Faith by Daniel Darling

“As a child of the church, I believe this is less a matter of having the right curriculum or perfect ministry. I think perhaps there is something in the DNA of a generational believer that isn’t present in those who freshly come to faith as an adult.”

Clothing & corporate worship assemblies: Worship: Dressing for the Assembly by Alexander Campbell

“… let him change his apparel, sell his finery and gold to those who can afford no higher honors, no brighter glories — give the proceeds to the poor, and dress himself according to the Christian mirror, in the plainest and most unassuming garb …”

Death: How We Die (In One Chart) by Sarah Kliff

“The first thing to notice here is how much our mortality rate has dropped over the course of a century, largely due to big reductions in infectious diseases like tuberculosis and influenza.”

Evidence, theories & truth: Evidence, Theories, and Truth by Marc Cortez

“Here’s a great illustration for introducing the relationship between evidence, theories, and truth. It does a nice job of showing how evidence should lead us to refine our theories such that they come closer to the truth, even while remaining somewhat imperfect.”

Fellowship: Fellowship: No “I” in “Christian” by Brad Morrow

“The reason that individualism is not a good thing (one might say “evil”) is because this is precisely the tool that Satan uses against God’s Church in attempt to render it/us ineffectual.”

Health care: * Why Christians Should Be OK with the Supreme Court’s Health-Care Call by Julia Stronks; * A Few Thoughts On the Affordable Care Act Decision and Health Care in the US and the follow-up article);For Uninsured in Texas, Supreme Court Ruling Adds to Uncertainty; * Evangelicals & Health Care by Michael Bird

* “We should resist the temptation to make this the lynchpin on which we base our upcoming election decisions.”

* “I’m no expert, I’m not an overtly political person, and I think about 90% of political debate is bluster and posturing. But I am on the front lines when it comes to health care, and I thought I should share some thoughts on yesterday’s historic decision by the Supreme Court regarding the Affordable Care Act (aka ‘health care reform’).”

* “When you don’t have insurance, nobody listens to you … In Texas — where 25 percent of the population lacks health insurance, the highest uninsured rate of any state, according to the Texas Medical Association …”

* “… the question is why the opposition to universal healthcare and why is the conservative evangelical constituency among the most vocal in opposition to it?”

Hunger in America: Children At Risk Of Hunger In Every County

“Select a year and your state in our interactive map below and start learning more about the residents struggling with hunger in your community and the food banks that serve them.”

Nationalism & patriotism: * Flags in Church? by Chad Hall; * Idolatrous Worship by K. Rex Butts

* “… does nationalism belong in church? I think not. When we strike patriotic tones in worship, we dishonor God, disobey scripture, and misunderstand the relationship between God and country.”

* “I get the patriotism, I really do. I understand why Americans are proud to be so. I am an American too and there are many great things about living in America. But …”

Sea of Galilee: Kinneret Invaded – by Leeches

“Leeches have invaded Lake Kinneret’s shores – for the second time in seven years. Standing in the water for as little as two minutes will cause your legs to be covered in hundreds of leeches. These particular types are not blood-suckers, making them relatively easy to remove once one is out of the water.”

Unhealthy organizations: Considering (and Surviving) Unhealthy Christian Organizations by Ed Stetzer, parts 12 & 3

“… how does an organization move from unhealthy to healthy? Well, it is not simply something we can “will” into existence. Instead, it is a process.”

this went thru my mind


Evangelism: Creating a Positive Method of Evangelism by Paul Smith

“… in my estimation we have far too many methods of evangelism that are primarily negative in the focus and the goal. … The problem with this method of evangelism is that it is so unbiblical.”

Gaming: The Neurology of Gaming [infographic]

“Some are against video games and thing there use should be limited. Others say there is nothing wrong with playing video games and recommend jumping in with both feet. After reading the info below, I think we find, once again, balance wins out.”

Hospitality: Society, Hospitality, and the Kingdom by J. Daniel Kirk

“The Kingdom of God which comes and announces glorification to the humble is supposed to be reflected on earth.”

Individualism: Not an Individualistic Gospel by Ted Gossard

“If we speak of the gospel only in individualistic terms, then it will be supposed, and we may even think the same, that the gospel has nothing to do with anything other than individuals’ relationship with God. … But we need the gospel as it’s presented. A gospel that is for and applicable to all of life.”

Marriage: Why the Real Challenge to Marriage is Heterosexual by John Seel

“… the case of traditional marriage. It does not face a homosexual crisis as much as a heterosexual one. Don’t place the blame on politics, Hollywood or a beleaguered minority. The problem lies with the vast number of Christians who fill church pews week to week. Their views on the pattern and power for marriage are no different from the surrounding culture. Their reality of failure is also no different.”

Ministry: Five Secrets Pastors Refuse to Tell by Thom Rainer

“… most people don’t realize pastors have their own secrets. These spiritual leaders refuse to share their thoughts or pains for fear that their own ministries will be damaged. So they keep the secrets. And they hold the pain to themselves. As I have spoken to pastors across the land, many have confided in me their hurts and secrets. I don’t think they would mind that I share these secrets with you, as long as I don’t identify them with any one pastor by name.”

Productivity: 37 Tech Shortcuts From the Experts

“Fly through your daily tasks with these 37 proven productivity boosters.”

Satan: Having the Devil of a Time by Ben Witherington

“Satan is no de-clawed cat or paper tiger in the NT. Indeed, 1 Peter 5.8 says he is a roving, roaring lion looking for someone to devour. … On the other hand, 1 John 2.13-14 says Satan can be overcome by believers, and that he flees when he is resisted if one turns to God.”

Twitter: Twitter Dynamos, Offering Word of God’s Love by Amy O’Leary

“… proverbs are powerful draws on Twitter.”