An Interview With an Iranian Pastor – An interesting article on God’s work in a challenging ministry field.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Anonymous Youth Pastor’s Letter to a Parent - Trevon Wax writes, “This is not a real letter, but a compilation of frustrations I’ve heard recently from those who work in student ministry. It is intended to prompt conversation on the responsibilities and roles of youth pastors, their relationship with parents, and the expectations we have of students.”
5 Alternatives to Gossip - The Bible says, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts” (Proverbs 18:8, 26:22). The choice morsels are those little bits of food that are hard to say “No” to and, once swallowed, have a lasting effect on our hearts.
20 Quotes from Walking with God through Painand Suffering – Tom Reinke writes, “Tim Keller has written one of the year’s most important books (a line I seem to recite annually). His newest — Walking with God through Pain and Suffering — is a wise, Christ-centered, comforting book for readers who hurt, and offers counsel to readers who anticipate future suffering. It’s a book for everyone, and it releases tomorrow from Dutton.To mark its arrival, I pulled my favorite quotes from the book and narrowed the list down to my top 20.”
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Friday, September 27, 2013
15 Questions to Help Christians Follow Jesus on Social Media - Christians sometimes forget that they are to always represent Christ. Social media is no exception. These questions provide a good checklist for personal, spiritual evaluation of our social media activities.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Debatable: Is Football Too Violent for Christians? - This series of articles (Debatable) raises tough questions for Christians to consider and encourages prayerful, biblical response. This one is a hot topic.
Jesus Is Not Your Sin-Manager – “Christians are not called to shuffle the decks with our sin. We don’t assume it’s here to stay. We don’t set up programs and practices to rubber-stamp our sin. We don’t expect our friends to only nod empathetically when we tell them that we spoke unkindly, ate greedily, or watched covetously. We’re not able to coast in our spiritual life, rarely reading Scripture, rarely praying. We don’t approach our church family as if they exist only to affirm us.”
20 Ways to Know If You are Too Busy - We are addicted to "busy". This is a simple list of diagnostic questions and suggestions for addressing our busy lives. It won't get much better until we acknowledge that our busyness is sin and say so to the Lord.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
The Essential Ingredients of a Growing Faith – (Post by Andy Stanley). “It’s the fall of 1995 and I’m sitting in a friend’s basement with the original North Point staff hashing out the mission and strategy statement for our newly formed church. It was within the context of this lengthy discussion that the subject of spiritual formation first surfaced.”
Don't Cancel That Short-Term Mission Trip - The author writes, “Books like Revolution in World Missions and When Helping Hurts have many youth pastors and church leaders ready to throw out the baby with the bathwater of short-term trips. We calculate the $3,000 it costs to send a student to Honduras for a week and start to squirm thinking about all the good we could do with those funds in Honduras—if only the student stayed home.”
Why Do Good Things Happen? - The good things in the world present as much a riddle to us as the bad things. Both beckon us to ultimate questions. The only reason we would obsess exclusively about the issue of pain and evil, while never pausing to consider the other side of the coin, is the near-sighted sense of entitlement to which we’re all naturally prone. We take the good things for granted, as if they are the norm or the default, and the bad things shock our senses as the inexplicable exceptions.
Six Questions That Will Radically Change Your Marriage – These are simple and easy to follow.
Use the Bible to Prove the Bible - “I have heard this many times. It can come from Christians or non-Christians, but it is mainly on the lips of unbelievers. The idea that the Bible itself is inadmissible as a testimony to itself. If I were trying to use the Bible to prove the validity of the Bible, from the perspective of many outsiders, this is circular reasoning. However, this statement is not only wrong, but completely misunderstands its own argument and, ironically, makes the very circular reasoning assumptions that it accuses believers of.”
Do You See Who Your Children Really Are? – If parents embraced this biblical view, there would be a massive reorienting of our family priorities.
The article begins, “Believe it or not, your children’s first and foremost identity is not to be your children. Your children were created for a far greater identity—an identity that will last into eternity. Inasmuch as they embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, your children were created to be your brothers and sisters. And so, every child in your household should be seen first and foremost not as your son or your daughter but as a potential or actual brother or sister in Christ.”
How to Mourn with the Parents of Stillborn and Miscarried Children - We struggle with what to say and what to do. This article gives simple, helpful direction.
Five Tips for Sharing the Gospel with Family and Friends - It may be our toughest mission field.
Suffering Service - An article on depression: “I feel like there’s a weight around my neck, a fog blanketing me. People seem to talk slowly, and my brain functions on just two cylinders. I go to sleep okay at night, but I am awake again at 4am, and by the time I get out of bed I will still be tired. A cup of coffee clears the mist for an hour or two, but then I am back deeper in it than before. Little problems are starting to feel insurmountable, and I often wonder, ‘Can I deal with this?’”
Crazy Busy – In this brief review of Kevin DeYoung’s book, Crazy Busy, Tim Challies shares several good points made by the book. “Busyness is a funny thing. We have a love/hate relationship with it, so that when we are not boasting in it we are apologizing for it, and when we are not overwhelmed by it we are wanting more of it. We hate what busyness does to us, how it keeps us from friends and families and how it skews our priorities. On the other hand, we love that it validates us, as if the fact that we are busy someone proves our significance.”
Can Evangelical Chaplains Serve God and Country?—The Crisis Arrives - Al Mohler discusses the challenges to Southern Baptist military chaplains, He writes, "Can a chaplain committed to historic biblical Christianity remain in military service? Does the normalization of homosexuality require that all members of the military, including chaplains, join the moral revolution, even if doing so requires them to abandon their biblical convictions?
The answer, at least from the advocates of the moral revolution, is that evangelical Christian chaplains must go—and Southern Baptist chaplains must go first.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Yes, God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle - "The circumstances in my life had become overwhelming, everything was crumbling, and my world was falling apart. To be honest, if someone had come alongside me at that point and tried to reassure me by saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” I may have punched them square in the face.
That tired, old phrase often sounds more like a taunt than a comfort. When we are down and out and feeling discouraged, hearing those words can cause us to feel like we are not measuring up. It causes us to ask, “If I am supposed to handle this, then why can’t I handle it?” The truth is, God never said He wouldn’t give you more than you can handle."
What Binds Up Broken Relationships - “It doesn't matter where you live, what you do for a living, or how you spend your free time, you have experienced, are experiencing, or will experience the wreckage of broken relationships.”
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
The Contemporary Footprint of the American Prosperity “Gospel” - The "prosperity gospel" is popular and misleading in America. Sadly, it's also one of our major religious exports to the rest of the world. It's making a mess of biblical teaching wherever it exists. There is a two-minute video worth listening to on this site.
7 Things Every Man Needs to KnowAbout Relationships – While most of the applications here are focused on dating, there is plenty for married men to learn.
How Important Is the Doctrine of the Church? | Everyday Theology - Spoiler alert! It's important.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Gay Rights vs. Religious Rights: 7 Issues to Watch - The argument is commonly made, "If you are against same-sex marriage then don't marry someone of the same sex. This issue doesn't affect you so why would you oppose it?" This article explains why it does and will affect us all.
Shellfish, Slavery and Same-sex Marriage:How Not to Read the Bible - This article comes from an Australian church leader. “While Australians wrestle with the implications of redefining marriage to include a union of two persons of the same sex, it would be a much more enlightened debate if proponents of this novel redefinition did not misuse the Bible in mounting their arguments. It would be more honest to declare their disagreement with biblical teaching, rather than pretend by shallow, ill-informed exegesis that they are following the Bible's primary theme of love. Here again, Jesus's words are instructive: "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).”
The comments section, below the article, will give you a good exposure to the non-biblical worldview and the way the arguments are typically drawn.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
The Difference Between a Christian and Non-Christian - This is a simple, clear description.
“Why is it when I think I’m right, I’m intolerant, but when you think you’re right, you’re just right?”
“Why is it when I think I’m right, I’m intolerant, but when you think you’re right, you’re just right?” - How do you respond to being called "intolerant" for expressing a biblical worldview?
5 Common Expressions I’ve Never Understood – R.C. Sproul Jr. writes, “Common sense may be more common than sense. There are any number of shorthand aphorisms in the world and in the church that shape our thinking, but don’t stand up to scrutiny, at least right away.”
Sample Contracts for ‘Twixters,’ ‘Kippers’ and ‘Boomerang Kids’ - “Social scientists have noticed that more young adults (those between eighteen and thirty years old) are putting off the responsibilities of adulthood. Adultolescence is the term that best describes this postponement of adulthood into the thirties.”
I’ve had a dozen conversations with parents about this phenomenon in the last six months. You’re not alone. Here are some resources to consider. See article…
Friday, September 6, 2013
How 9/11 Changed Americans – Then and Now - It was, as it's been dubbed, "the day the world changed." And 12 years later, with many national tragedies and attacks in between, Americans still feel its effects. Barna Group's latest survey reveals the emotional and spiritual responses of 9/11—from 12 years ago today—that have changed not only our national culture but also our national consciousness.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
5 Lies Every Twenty-Something Needs to Stop Believing – Good to know and good to share. I hear these five things often.
Out of the Mouths of Ducks - Newton Minow served as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission under President Kennedy. On May 9, 1961, Minow gave a speech entitled "Television and the Public Interest." In it, he said that the television of his day was a "vast wasteland."
It’s even a “vaster wasteland” today. Then…came Duck Dynasty.
Why Telling Your Story is NOT the Best Way to Share the Gospel - Your story still plays a part but maybe a smaller part than it did twenty years ago. The world is changing...
Recovering Confession - "Confession used to occupy an important place in the liturgy of corporate worship. But outside of a general admission that we are sinners, or the specific confession of the one "big sin" in our life, confession seems to have become something largely forgotten."
Monday, September 2, 2013
9 Things You Should Know About Chemical Weapons - Last week, the Syrian government was accused of using chemical weapons in an attack that killed 1,429 people in Damascus. Here are 9 things you should know about chemical weapons.