this went thru my mind


Atonement: Thoughts on Penal Substitution [don’t be put off by the title; this is “required reading” for all]

“I need God’s honor to be satisfied. I need the cross not only for the sake of my personal relationship with God but because I want to live in a world where the crucified are resurrected. Penal substitution is part of the rich mystery — just not in the oversimplified, canned version that has come to predominate our youth group-shaped church.”

Baptism: Why I Believe Baptism Actually Is ‘Essential’ by John Alan Turner

“Baptism isn’t the thing. Baptism is supposed to point to the thing. The thing is your faith in Jesus Christ. But sometimes people are like dogs. When you point to a ball, a dog usually just looks at your finger.”

Clutter: The Simple Guide to a Clutter-Free Home by Joshua Becker

“Consider implementing the four steps found in this Simple Guide to Keeping Your Home Clutter-Free.”

Depression: 10 Lessons From Two Days of Filming by David Murray

“I’ve just finished two days of filming various Christian counselors for the HeadHeartHand Media documentary on Depression and the Christian. .. Here’s what I carried away from these interviews.”

Fear: Breaking the Peek-A-Boo Cycle by Ron Edmonson

“The deepest danger of fearful leaders is they create fear-driven cultures.”

Forgiveness: 9 Forgiveness Links by Chris Brauns

“Below are 9 forgiveness links …”

Imagery: Five Bible Images You Probably Misunderstand by Joel Hoffman

“… we get a better sense of the original beauty and intent of the Bible by moving past a naive understanding of the words to the metaphors that they represent.”

Jobs: Who Really Creates Jobs? by Nick Hanauer

“Business leader, Nick Hanauer, presented … [this] speech at the TED conference. … Hanauer, a very successful business owner/creator, argues that business owners don’t create jobs. … But, if not them, then who does create jobs in our nation?”

Kingdom: Subversive Kingdom: A Conversation with Ed Stetzer by Trevin Wax

“What are some ways Christians commonly misunderstand the nature of God’s kingdom? Why is it important that we get this right?”

Margin: * How to Create More Margin in Your Life by Michael Hyatt; * A Healthy Schedule by Joe Thorn [both of these posts are required reading]

* “Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating. Margin is the opposite of overload. If we are overloaded we have no margin.”

* “I’ll skip the details and just say that it became evident that I was doing too much, resting too little, and had allowed boundaries between work and family to weaken. This made me less effective at work and at home. It wasn’t just that I was working too hard, but that I had also started listening to the devil’s lies.”

Meetings: Make Meetings Amazing by David Staal

“Consider four “pieces” to meetings that could bring about major changes in your church, community, or even the world.”

Small groups: * Five Obstacles Facing Small Groups by Thom Rainer; * The Five Deliverables of Small Groups by Thom Rainer

“… there are … challenges and obstacles that hinder transformation in and through small groups.”

“For a church to have transformational small groups, it must first recognize how its small groups will equip participants for the mission of God and the cause of Christ. Today I examine how the activity of community within the context of small groups results in transformed lives.”

Worldliness: “Worldliness” According to Paul by Tom Gombis

“It seems to me that the parallels between the “worldly” Corinthian community dynamics and contemporary American tribalized evangelicalism are endless.”

this went thru my mind


Books: Why Do Old Books Smell? by AbeBooks [2 min. video]

“Walk into a used bookshop and you will encounter the unique aroma of aging books. The smell is loved by some, disliked by others, but where does it come from?”

Benevolence: Early Christian Charity [9 min., 30 sec. video clip of speaker, Dr. John Dickson]

“… an overview from the time of the New Testament up to Constantine.”

Comfort: How Not to Minister to the Hurting by Joe McKeever

“You will not believe what some people say to a bereaved parent or the family member of someone tragically injured.”

Elders meetings: A Noble Task by Tim Woodroof

“We don’t expect much of elders’ meetings anymore. We do not attend with the anticipation that God’s Spirit will show up or lives will be transformed or the gates of hell might quiver and fall because we meet. … To be fair, we come by this lack of imagination honestly. We’ve learned to be modest in our hopes.”

Faith & politics: “Hide It Under a Bushel? Yes!” by Bryan Dyer

“… American Christians should keep faith hidden in the public sphere in order to preserve that identity’s integrity. If Christian identity is just another brand loyalty, then it is pointless.”

Graciousness: Graciousness: Daring to Live a Graceful Life by Jim Martin

“… the final act of grace is graciousness.”

Groups: Six Tips for Keeping New Small Groups Healthy by Brett Eastman

“Here are six tips for keeping new small groups healthy so they can make the impact God wants …”

Ignorance: Amazing Grace: Is Ignorance of God’s Will an Excuse? by Jay Guin

“… all my life, Church of Christ preachers have argued that ignorance of the law is no excuse. I’m a lawyer. And ignorance is not an excuse – in civil court. But when we begin applying American legal principles to Christianity, well, we just might be legalists.”

Internet: Why One in Five U.S. Adults Doesn’t Use the Internet by Amy Gahran

“… one in five U.S. adults still does not use the Internet at all …”

Meetings: A Problem-Free Meeting by Dan Bouchelle

“I think every church should periodically have a problem-free meeting where we simply assess our gifts and strengths and then use the results as a basis to inform our ministry plans. What has God given us? What are we able to do well? How do we steward these strengths well in our context? We would doubtlessly be more effective in our service if we focused on these matter rather than spend all our time trying to shore up our weaknesses. Let’s change the self-talk of our churches by focusing on God’s power in us rather than our weaknesses.”

Poverty: “David Lipscomb and the Poor” (parts 1 & 2)

* “The sealing testimony in behalf of Jesus Christ being the Son of God is his own estimation, as divine to the disciples of John, was, ‘The poor have the gospel preached to them.” The world to-day needs this same sealing testimony, that it may believe that, Jesus is the Son of God. Every preacher that pretendedly, in the name of Jesus Christ, seeks the rich and the learned and the fashionable to preach to, instead of the poor and simple-hearted and unpretending, by that course nullifies the power of the great truth, that Jesus is the anointed one that was to come into the world to save the world. Such a preacher is no co-laborer with God; no true minister of Christ, but a servant of the wicked one in the livery of Heaven.”

* “Do we create spaces, relationships and opportunities where the poor feel welcome? Given our upper middle class buildings and fashionable dress and expensive stuff, it is little wonder that the poor are generally uncomfortable.”

Unchurched Christians: Better Conversations Between Churched and Un-churched Christians by Rachel Held-Evans

“While too many among the ‘churched’ seem unwilling to change, too many among the ‘un-churched’ seem unwilling to compromise.”

this went thru my mind


Fear: Fearful Unto Death by Wade Hodges

“What do you do with a gospel that makes old men and women fearful unto death? I say you call it false and cast it into the depths of hell, where it belongs and where there is plenty of room for it.”

Gasoline prices: Gas Prices — How Do They Work?

“Many stand accused, including oil companies, the president, Congress, and speculators on Wall Street. Others assume that the earth is just running out of oil. The reality, economists say, is fairly simple.”

Humor: Marginalized

“Oh, my hand.”

Illustrations: Why “The Bible is our Instruction Manual” is the Worst Metaphor in the History of the World by Leslie Keeney

“While this worldview has been very successful at creating a comfortable, well-fed society, it has the added advantage of being simple. … The problem with this metaphor, however, is that it just doesn’t work.”

Jimmy Carter: President Jimmy Carter Authors New Bible Book, Answers Hard Biblical Questions

“Jimmy Carter served as the 39th president of the United States, founded the Carter Center and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. President Carter is also a Sunday School teacher and has followed that avocation since his earliest years. In this interview, HuffPost’s Senior Religion Editor Paul Brandeis Raushenbush spoke to President Carter by phone about the hardest questions presented in the Bible: from gays, science, the role of women, slavery passages and more.”

Leadership: 20 Essential TED Talks for Future Leaders

“… here we’ve collected some of the best videos for anyone, young or old, hoping to hone their leadership abilities.”

Life: The Map & the Plan by Jon Acuff

“I want a plan. I want a 10-year vision with details and steps and instructions. I want to map out the next 40 years of my life and know exactly where I am going and how I am going to get there. And every time I pray about that desire, every time I ask God for that, his answer is really simple: “No.” … You don’t need a perfect map for your life. You’ve already got a perfect Messiah. And, though it feels impossible to believe sometimes and doesn’t match your expectations, he’s got a plan more wondrous than you can even imagine.”

Meetings: How to Run an Elders’ Meeting by Andrew Davis

“By conduct, I mean how the meeting should be conducted, both practically and in submission to the Spirit of God.”

Ministry: The Subtle Art of Sabotaging A Pastor by Jared Wilson

“Suggest to your client that he works for the people, not the Enemy. This will not be a hard sell as they are faces he sees every day. Remind him who pays his salary. The quicker you can get your patient to see himself as a professional, as an employee, the better.”

Productivity: The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time by Tony Schwartz

“Why is it that between 25% and 50% of people report feeling overwhelmed or burned out at work? It’s not just the number of hours we’re working, but also the fact that we spend too many continuous hours juggling too many things at the same time.”

War: A War Hero Returns Home, 40 Years Later by John Blake

“… some memories may always linger. Perhaps no soldier really gets over war.”

as we approach a congregational meeting …


In just a few minutes, our church will engage in a congregational meeting. The topic on the table is the current state and future of our eldership. The preceding week, I have looked forward to this evening’s meeting and simultaneously, had this past week’s memory verse continually come to mind. That verse is:

“Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord!” (Romans 12:11 CEB)

This memory verse and the meeting this evening have converged in my mind and so, gave rise to the following four thoughts. As members and leaders dialogue this evening, might I suggest to myself and to all …

1. “Don’t hesitate.” Which means time must always be a point of true consideration. Let us make the most of this God-given moment to the glory of God and the benefit of Christ’s body. May we respect the use of the body’s time together.

2. “Be enthusiastic.” Together we serve the Great God. He has given to us amazing grace upon grace. He has stooped and sacrificed to include each of us in his family and purpose. He it is who daily enables us to reflect his holiness. These are things truly worth getting excited about.

3. “Be on fire in the Spirit.” Let us make certain any “fire” within us, or coming from us, comes from, and respects, God’s Spirit. Scripture is not silent as to what our God thinks of “unauthorized fire.”

4. “Serve the Lord.” Let us all remember our place. None of us are masters; all of us are servants. Our way is not to please ourselves, but to please our Lord. To please him is our top priority and is to be our truly good pleasure.

Amen. And amen.

“Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord!” (Romans 12:11 CEB)

this went thru my mind


Absolutely required viewingDon Tapscott on Gov 2.0 with the U.S. State Dept (75 min. video; speech begins at 2:32; he shifts into high gear at 13:14; Q&A starts at 57:00)

Archaeology: Tomb of Apostle Philip Found

Bible: How the Physical Form of a Bible Shapes Us

Church & welcome: 10 Signals That Say “You Are Not Welcome In This Church”

Church & politics: Why Last Saturday’s Political Conclave of Evangelical Leaders Was Dangerous

Claims: “We Go Only By the Bible”

Cross: The Fence of Matthew Shepard

Elders: * Effective Elder’s Meetings * They Met to Consider this Question * Elders: How Should Elders and Staff Relate to Each Other?

Generations: To stop the flow of young people leaving Churches of Christ, intergenerational relationships are vital

Notice the comment by Ed Dodds: “Change Gov 2.0 to Church 2.0 in Don Tapscott on Gov 2.0 with the U.S. State Dept and one thing you’ll discover is that ‘the young folk’ don’t practice geo-locking in their thinking; churches, employers, universities, politicians still do.” This comment/link is also referenced in the “Required Reading” link below.

Hispanic ministry: A Spanish Service Is Not Enough: It’s Time to Feed the ‘Hellenized Latinos’

Nationalism: * Baptizing the American Dream * You Might Be a Christian If…

Pacifism, violence & war: * Fighting for Peace * Jesus Christ, Faith, and Freedom * King, Lipscomb and the Spirit of War

Parenting: Turn Your Homes into Heaven

Proverbs & Twitter: Solomon Invented Twitter

Reading: 12 Reasons I Have Decided to Read One Book Per Week

Self-confidence, shame & subversion: On Subversion and Shame: I Like the Color Pink

Tim TebowThe Secrets of Tebow Hatred by Michael Medved

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