links to 4 items worth your time

1. God, Creation, and Cancer: Wrestling With the Difficult Questions [required reading]

“… cancer is not evil. At least, not any more evil than the weather, with its potential for deadly blizzards and hurricanes. I see cancer as a messy, ugly, yet necessary byproduct of the ever-changing planet we find ourselves inhabiting. … That the very blueprints for life — that is, DNA — can and do change, and rather often, makes me immensely grateful to God for having the audacity to create this universe as he did. We live in a world not ruled by an iron fist, but guided by a gentle whisper.”

2. So What is a Good Parent to Do? by Jim Martin

“A few suggestions …”

3. Top 10 Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology in 2018

“Some of the artifacts were made in previous years, but only announced in 2018.”

4. True Story

“For Christians the world is a different kind of mystery, one crackling with possibility and saturated with God’s goodness.”

links to 5+ helpful articles

1. Where Americans Find Meaning in Life

“… after family [69%], Americans mention a plethora of sources … from which they derive meaning and satisfaction: One-third bring up their career or job, nearly a quarter mention finances or money, and one-in-five cite their religious faith [20%], friendships, or various hobbies and activities.”

2. Do You Have a Healthy Personality? [required reading]

“A limitation of … early theories, however, is that many of them were not systematically tested. Recent research however, has begun to determine the personality profile that leads to optimal health and growth.”

3. New Jersey Teacher Wears Same Dress for 100 Days to Promote Sustainable Fashion

“… North Americans now are sending 12 million tons of textiles to landfills each year. … 95 percent of the discarded items could be recycled.”

4. A Man’s Last Letter Before Being Killed on a Forbidden Island

“Mr. Chau was trying to accomplish the impossible. The people on North Sentinel have not accepted anyone outside their society.”

5. Ichiran Ramen Is the World’s Best Restaurant for Eating Alone

“Guests are not only encouraged to eat alone — dining solo is required and enforced by Ichiran’s interior design.”

More. LOL

links: this went thru my mind

Church, culture, demographics & multi-racial: The Changing Face of the American Church

“If you ask, would you like to have a multiethnic church, everyone says, ‘that would be wonderful’ … When you ask, what are you doing to make that happen—that’s when you hear the crickets.”

Contentment, life, meaning, significance & stimulation: What If Having an Extraordinary Life Isn’t the Point?

“What we are called to do every day, right where God has placed us, is rich and rewarding. … Sometimes, the best way to change the world is to live extraordinarily in what looks like an ordinary existence—to radically love and serve those around us every day, no matter where we are.”

Pornography & repentance: * Men and Porn (a four-part series; parts 1, 2, 3 & 4)

“The tips and suggestions below are based on my research into cognitive psychology over the years as well as from reported experiences of men who have quit using porn. Again, there’s no silver bullet. What works for one man, may not work for you. You need to be ready to experiment and try different things.”

Water: Water is the New Oil: How Corporations Took Over a Basic Human Right

“Water has become a commodity …and the world’s poor are paying the price. … Twenty percent of the world right now does not have access to clean water. Twenty percent of the world also happens to live on less than a dollar a day. And it’s interesting to look at how much those two groups overlap.”

links: this went thru my head

 

Apps, books, reading & technology: Oyster: The Netflix Of Books

“Oyster … is already being called the ‘Netflix for books.’ That’s a lofty moniker, but the app may just live up to the hype – it offers access to over 100,000 books for $9.95 a month!”

Conspiracy theories, culture, fear, paranoia & suspicion: Suspicious? In ‘United States Of Paranoia,’ It’s Not Just You

“… polls show a great deal of Americans — in some cases a majority of Americans — believing in secret cabals.”

Facebook: * How to See What Your Facebook Profile Looks Like to Others; * We Post Nothing About Our Daughter Online [required reading]

* “After all, you might not want the entire world to know of your woe-filled past relationships.”

* “The problem is that Facebook is only one site. With every status update, YouTube video, and birthday blog post, Kate’s parents are preventing her from any hope of future anonymity.”

Faith, finances, money & security: Give Us This Day Our Lifetime Supply of Bread? [essential reading]

“I’m only trusting in God if I pray, ‘Give us this day our daily bread,’ and then thank Him that I have had bread to eat at the end of that day.”

Gossip: 5 Alternatives to Gossip [required reading]

“One of the chief reasons why it’s hard to resist gossip is that we often can’t see any alternatives.”

Health insurance: Uninsured in Texas and Florida

“Low-income residents of Texas … desperately need health insurance, as shown by the Census Bureau’s Small Area Health Insurance Estimates for 2011, which were issued last week. The report found that more than 25 percent of the population in Texas under age 65 (5.7 million people) was uninsured, the highest rate in the nation.”

Leadership & listening: Seven Secrets to Listening When Time is Short

“The need to feel important closes ears and open’s mouths. Listening is both humble and humbling. Talking makes you feel important. Listening to others makes them feel important.”

Suffering: The Value of Suffering

“But does that change all the many times when suffering leaves us with no seeming benefit at all, and only a resentment of those who tell us to look on the bright side and count our blessings and recall that time heals all wounds (when we know it doesn’t)?”

this went thru my mind

 

Annihilationism, conditionalism & hell: The Legacy of Edward Fudge & the Future of Conditionalism

“The inaugural Rethinking Hell conference will be held on July 11th-12th, 2014, at the beautiful Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas. This will be an historic occasion for the movement of Evangelical Conditionalism/Annihilationism, representing the first gathering of its kind.”

Anxiety, fear & worry: The Dark Doctrine All Churches Hold Dear [required reading]

“How do we become obedient to God’s stark call to refrain from worry?  Stop it.  It is a choice; not a circumstance.  It is obedience; not a mood. To ignore this strong Word from God is indeed to hold a very dark doctrine of rebellion.”

Change & conflict: The Reality of Change and Conflict

“Change invites conflict. You can’t escape that fact. But … avoiding change stifles growth. Which eventually leads to conflict. (Ever been a part of a declining organization…or church?) And … avoiding conflict allows tension to build. Which in the end creates more conflict. (Ever seen what happens when someone is silently angry with you long enough?) Therefore … In my opinion… avoiding conflict or change is impossible.”

Church & witness: Why the Church Can’t Seem to Get Traction in Society

“The reason the church cannot seem to gain traction in this mega-troubled society is we have joined the masses in trying to escape.  Ours is not the call to dodge incoming arrows of rejection; but rather for staying put in pain upon the cross that the hurting may find perfect and ultimate healing.”

Cicadas: The Return of the Cicadas [7 1/2 min. video]

“I’ve been working an a 1-hour documentary on cicadas since 2007 …”

Consumerism & minimalism: Living With Less. A Lot Less.

“Our fondness for stuff affects almost every aspect of our lives. Housing size, for example, has ballooned in the last 60 years. The average size of a new American home in 1950 was 983 square feet; by 2011, the average new home was 2,480 square feet. And those figures don’t provide a full picture. In 1950, an average of 3.37 people lived in each American home; in 2011, that number had shrunk to 2.6 people. This means that we take up more than three times the amount of space per capita than we did 60 years ago. Apparently our supersize homes don’t provide space enough for all our possessions, as is evidenced by our country’s $22 billion personal storage industry.”

Dignity, modesty, respect & swimwear: Jessica Rey – The Evolution of the Swim Suit [9 1/2 min. video; required viewing]

“… he had to hire a stripper to wear it.”

Meaning, significance, and work: God at Work: Not in Vain

“The things we do with our life will find their way, through the resurrecting power of God, into forever. Your work is important, not just because you can contribute to church, but because you get to partner with God! The resurrection of the world means that some of the best ministries, don’t have the word ministry in them!”

Ministry: The Pastor’s Job Description

“Three pastoral acts are so basic, so critical, that they determine the shape of everything else. The acts are praying, reading Scripture, and giving spiritual direction. Besides being basic, these three acts are quiet. They do not call attention to themselves and so are often not attended to. In the clamorous world of pastoral work nobody yells at us to engage in these acts. It is possible to do pastoral work to the satisfaction of the people who judge our competence and pay our salaries without being either diligent or skilled in them. Since almost never does anyone notice whether we do these things or not, and only occasionally does someone ask that we do them, these three acts of ministry suffer widespread neglect.”

this went thru my mind

 

Change & Churches of Christ: A Major Change in the Church Among Us by Terry Rush [required reading]

“Such fruit … prompted a significant number among us to approach the eleventh hour with great fear that I haven’t done enough. How many times I have been called out in the night to hear this verse. The cure for it is found in two things: (1) praising God, and (2) making Jesus more prominent.”

Children, fathers & parenthood: Fathers Disappear from Households Across America: Big Increase in Single Mothers

“Though income is the primary predictor, the lack of live-in fathers also is overwhelmingly a black problem, regardless of poverty status, census data show. Among blacks, nearly 5 million children, or 54 percent, live with only their mother. Twelve percent of black families below the poverty line have two parents present, compared with 41 percent of impoverished Hispanic families and 32 percent of poor white families. … In all but 11 states, most black children do not live with both parents. In every state, 7 in 10 white children do. In all states but Rhode Island and Massachusetts, most Hispanic children do.”

Church: Three Reasons They Don’t Like The Church (And What to Do About It) by Chris Altrock

“Some do not value the institution of church because the church doesn’t seem to add anything of practical substance to the culture–socially, morally or spiritually. … Some do not value the institution of the church because they are skeptical of any institution claiming to have a corner on absolute Truth. … Some do not value the institution of the church because they’ve been hurt by church-goers.  Or they’ve seen too many hypocritical church-goers.”

Computing: Who Owns Your Online Content? by Kim Komando

“As I’ve told you before, Facebook’s terms of service grants it the full rights to your profile picture and name to use in ads. By using Facebook with the default settings, you let Facebook use your content for just about anything it wants.”

Cross-bearing, discipleship, Mark 8-10 & self-denial: The Most Remarkable Sequence in the Bible by Richard Beck

“… Jesus has to clarify–for the third time–what following him to the cross entails …”

Disasters, God, pain & suffering: Stuff Happens: Rain on the Just and Unjust by Mark Love

“… we are given no explanation of causation. Stuff happens.”

Grit & lifeKyrsten Sinema: A Success Story Like Nobody Else’s; * Former NFL QB Jon Kitna Finds ‘Gold Mine’ at His Troubled Old High School

* “For more than two years — starting when she was in third grade — they squatted in an abandoned gas station outside the town of Defuniak Springs on the Florida Panhandle …”

* “Before he left the Dallas Cowboys to come home again, Jon Kitna had one request of the two principals who run Lincoln High School: Give me your worst students.”

Holocaust, hope, humanity, identity, love & meaning: Lipstick Love by Joshua Graves

“In 1945, Lieutenant Colonel Gonin led a group of British soldiers in liberating a large concentration camp. In his journal, he gives an account of the dehumanization they’d encountered.”

Openness: Openness by Ted Gossard

“Being open I think involves not being hard and fast on issues, or holding them in quite the same way we hold on to the gospel. At the same time, neither does it mean we have to vacillate on them. We may be just as firm on some of those issues as on the gospel, as long as we don’t hold such as having the first importance the gospel has.”

this went thru my mind

 

ALS, life, death, & meaning: I Am So Honored by Tim Stevens

“At some point, in the last few months, my focus has shifted. And I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. I have a front-row seat to watching a man praise God until his dying breath. He is a prisoner in his own wheelchair, yet does not curse God. He endures humiliating processes with the hospice nurse, yet he still smiles. He can’t walk, scratch his nose, shoo a fly away, hold a pen or say a word. And yet he still praises God.”

Children & ministry: Craig Groeschel on Children’s Ministry (parts 1, 2, & 3)

“The key elements of an excellent children’s ministry are solid safety procedures, an environment that is comfortable and aesthetically pleasing to a child, great curriculum that teaches biblical truth and how to apply it and most importantly, an amazing team of volunteer leaders who understand the vision of your ministry. … The responsibility of leading children to become fully devoted followers of Christ is one of the most daunting tasks you can face. It’s an intimidating challenge for even the most spiritually grounded. Here’s what we believe (because it’s scriptural): God has placed that task squarely on the shoulders of parents. So our role is to offer them a support system.”

Fear: Fear! Fear! Fear! by Mark Woodward [required reading]

“So how does a Christian respond to a world driven by drama and conflict …? Christians do not need an addiction to conflict. … If you are one who writes or speaks or provokes others to think or to do, be careful about manipulating artificial conflict or dramatic words to create fear. FDR said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.  Scripture is full of God’s messengers saying, ‘Be strong and courageous, and do not be afraid!’ Fear is not a harmless emotion.”

Funerals & grief: What to Say (and Not to Say) at a Funeral by Caleb Wilde

“Here’s the text of an article written by Gloria Horsley that can help you know what to say and what not to say.”

God, judgment & wrath: The Judgment Boomerang by Gred Boyd

“… sin has natural consequences that boomerang back to us. While God’s wrath has serious consequences for us, we need to understand how God uses his wrath. In the clip, Greg talks about the mistaken picture of God that allows for the fear of God, but does not make it possible to really love God.”