1. The skills kids need to avoid getting fooled by fake news [essential reading]
“The effect of misinformation on children is hard to measure … equipping them to deal with it as a moral imperative.”
“We know that repeated exposure to hate speech can increase prejudice … It can also desensitize individuals to verbal aggression, in part because it normalizes what is usually socially condemned behavior. … you don’t have to be this unhinged to be moved to violence by incendiary rhetoric. … when one group feels threatened, it makes it much easier to think about people in another group as less than human and to have little empathy for them — two psychological conditions that are conducive to violence.”
“We worship what we think we need. Idolatry always looks for something created to replace the Creator.”
“BioLogos is starting a podcast that will convey the harmony between Christian faith and current scientific discoveries to a new audience.”
“It doesn’t just matter that we worship Jesus. It matters that we worship him with other people.”
“Generation Alpha, also known as the ‘children of millennials,’ is the first generation born entirely within the 21st century. … Gen alphas have birth dates starting in 2010.”
“Usually, panels are warrantied for 25 to 30 years and can last even longer. But as the solar industry has grown, the market has been flooded with cheaply made Chinese panels that can break down in as few as five years … Solar panels are just one part of the problem of old electronics, which is now the fastest-growing category of waste.”
“The Trump administration has promised vast changes to U.S. science and environmental policy—and we’re tracking them here as they happen.”
“Pretty much everybody thinks they have integrity. … And then you turn around five or ten years later and your habits aren’t lining up with the type of person that you thought you were.”
Here are links to five articles that I’ve found to be thought-provoking and helpful reading:
Alliances, Bible interpretation, Israel, politics & war: Why Evangelicals Should Think Twice about Equating Modern Israel with Israel of the Bible
“Ancient Israel was not supposed to have a standing army. They weren’t supposed to stockpile weapons. There were no taxes to fund a permanent military. Israel’s rulers were forbidden from amassing large numbers of horses (Deuteronomy 17:16-17)—which was about as close as you could get to an arms race in the ancient Near East. Israel’s king was not supposed to make foreign military alliances. God stipulated that Israel should remain militarily weak so they would learn to trust him for protection.”
Benevolence, community, evangelism, & outreach: Instead of a Coffee Shop How About a Laundromat?
“… what would be a good third space for a poor neighborhood like the one surrounding our church? A place that would serve the neighborhood but could also be a place where people would spend time talking and forming relationships? My idea has always been for our church to run laundromat.”
“After a dramatic religious conversion, young soldier Nicholas Herman decided to devote his life to following God and learning more about Christ. He joined a monastery and took the name Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. There, he spent the rest of his life working in a kitchen and repairing his brothers’ sandals. But during his decades of doing seemingly menial jobs, Brother Lawrence discovered a profound truth about having a relationship with God: Experiencing His presence can—and should—happen everywhere.”
God’s character, justice & vengeance: Deconstructing the Bully God – N.T. Wright
“… love, faced with rejection, overcomes it with yet more love.”
Non-violence & violence: Does the Bible Teach Total Non-Violence? [essential reading]
“If you honestly, carefully, and with an open mind study the following passages, I believe you’ll agree that the teaching against violence for Kingdom people is as clear as any teaching in the Bible could ever be. I’ll break this sampling of passages (the list isn’t at all exhaustive) into three categories, Old Testament, teachings of Jesus and teachings in the rest of the New Testament.”
American exceptionalism: What “American Exceptionalism” Means to Me
“True American exceptionalism is saying ‘We did wrong; we apologize and promise never to do it again.’ Unfortunately, and very ironically, true American exceptionalism is becoming the exception.”
Assessment, bucks & butts, church & statistics: Counting Correctly: Create the Right Scorecard for Churches
“Fifty years ago, many churches had signs posted within the building showing weekly numbers on them: worship service attendance, Sunday School attendance, offering total, and even how many people brought their Bibles. We live in a different age now. … Among our churches, we need to ask if we are reaching people. We need to ask if we are discipling people. Are we reaching our goals or are we falling short? These are important questions to ask and important things to count. … What percentage of people in the church are serving? How many are serving inside and outside the church? How many are in small groups? How many are being trained into leadership in groups and in the church?”
Church giving, contribution, electronic giving, technology & the offering: Church Giving Tops $50 Billion A Year In U.S.—And Its Future Is Not A Collection Plate
“Churches are no different than any other operation in that they need to be relevant and convenient …”
Depression, emotions & seasonal affective disorder (SAD): 9 Ways To Cope With Seasonal Affective Disorder
“Roughly 10 to 20 percent of Americans report feeling tired or sad when there are fewer hours of daylight in the winter month. … While many people can still function even if they’re feeling a bit melancholy, for some, winter brings a clinical form of depression called seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD.”
Senses, sense of smell & worship: The Aroma of the Knowledge of God: How the Sense of Smell Inspires Worship and Awe
“… despite its meager number of occurrences in Scripture, the way biblical authors employ the sense of smell is truly remarkable. Here are three broad patterns regarding the sense of smell in Scripture …”
Church, church attendance, churchlessness & secularization: Secularism Grows as More Christians Turn Churchless
“There are tens of millions of active believers in America today. But the wall between the churched and the churchless is growing higher and more impenetrable as more people have no muscle memory of what it means to be a regular attender at a house of worship. How these people think, pray and use their time is shifting away from a faith-based perspective. As a result, a churchless or secular worldview ‘is becoming its own social force.'”
Ebola, faith, fear, hysteria & panic: How Christians Should Respond to Ebola in the United States [required reading]
“Never did I expect or think that my mom would contract the disease, be airlifted to Emory University Hospital or undergo the ordeal she did. We are exceedingly thankful for God’s mercy and kindness towards us in all the ways he provided to secure mom’s recovery and health. In recent days we’ve heard and seen more news of other American contracting the virus and even here in the United States. Unfortunately there is a high degree of panic about this virus, even among Christians. But this isn’t the way it should be, especially for those of us who follow and trust Christ. For Christian’s this ‘panic’ about Ebola isn’t warranted. Let me explain …”
Ministry, mission & outreach: Competency Three: Find and Cultivate New Partners in Mission
“The first work of conversion for us to have a credible witness in the world will be our own. And here is our salvation: to believe with everything we have that God’s power and significance in the world can be fully expressed in the form of a servant.”
Ministry & preaching: The Metric of a Prophet [required reading]
“‘How will the prophet measure success? In a world where the church is increasingly taken with corporate metrics of growth and success what is the metric of the prophet? … It’s found in [Ezekiel] 2.4-5: “The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says.” And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them.’ … They may listen. They may not listen. But the one thing they will know is this: A prophet lived among them. … This … is the only thing you can control. That when people look back at their lives they remember your words and life. They remember, perhaps from a long time ago, that they once knew a person who spoke truth to them. In a world full of thorns and scorpions they once knew a child of God. A man or a woman who spoke words of judgment and words of grace. They remember a prophet once lived among them.”
Spiritual formation & worship: When Worship Becomes Formative
“… worship is designed to accomplish four things: First, worship redefines our identity. Second, worship reorders our affections. Third, worship repatterns our imagination. Finally, worship reorients our life in the world. How does this all happen? What is going on in the worship that leads to these four elements? What are we doing in worship? What are we to be doing when we gather for worship?”
NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (June 15) in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. To find previous group discussion guides, look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous issues.
Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of this morning’s sermon.
To hold up the ways of God our Father before all who seek to be like Him when they grow up.
These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this sermon.
• I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (Psalm 122.1 NRSV)
• … and the Lord … said, “This is what you are to … tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” … The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” (Exodus 19.3-6,8a NIV)
• … watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children. (Deuteronomy 4.9-10 NIV)
• In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established … Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” (Isaiah 2.2-3a NRSV)
• … you can glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ together with one voice. (Romans 15.6 CEB)
• Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. (Ephesians 6.4 The Message)
Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump, to help the conversation begin. Choose one to discuss.
1. Tell us of something important you saw modeled by your father, a parent, or guardian.
2. Complete this sentence as you understand him now: “God is ____.” What makes you think so?
These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this sermon.
1. Read Deut. 4.1-40 aloud with each group member reading a single verse. What’s emphasized?
2. Read Ps. 122. What emotion is noted in vs.1-2? What action (v.3-5)? What expectation (vs. 6-9)?
These questions assist our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us in our encounter with God’s word.
1. If a man is a Christian father, what are his highest priorities before the Lord to his children?
2. Name some society/”life” barriers to more involvement on your part with our church family?
3. Name the greatest barriers within you to greater/consistent participation in church life?
4. What benefits and blessings accrue to children when Christian parents are sold out to Christ?
5. List your priorities based on your beliefs. Then list your priorities based on time spent. Pray.
These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid in living out today’s message in the coming days.
1. Consider what your current level of interaction and service with our church family is conveying to, and doing for, yourself and others. Maximize your committed involvement.