Category Archives: Resources

Quote of the Week

 

books-768426__340

The busier we are, the more important we seem to ourselves and, we imagine, to others. To be unavailable to our friends and family, to be unable to find time for the sunset (or even to know the sun has set at all), to whiz through our obligations without time for a mindful breath, this has become the model of a successful life.

(quote from Sabbath by Wayne Muller found in The Power of Full Engagement, p. 39)

Quote of the Week

books-1163695__340

God is at work in all the places we already inhabit. He is bigger than the arena of our own immediate church programs and ideas about evangelism. He is a prodigal God recklessly working in people and situations of all types. If we truly believe God is at work in the world, we must take the time to pay attention, listen, and discern what God is doing in the lives of those around us.

( taken from Prodigal Christianity by David Fitch & Geoff Holsclaw, p. 29.)

Quote Of The Week

books-1163695__340

I wondered if when we take Christian theology out of the context of its narrative, when we ignore the poetry in which it is presented, when we turn it into formulas to help us achieve the American dream, we lose its meaning entirely, and the ideas become fodder for the head but have no impact on the way we live our lives or think about God. This is, perhaps, why people are so hostile toward religion.

-Donald Miller, Searching For God Knows What, p. 58-59.

Around The Web

Unknown-1

Is It Okay To Doubt Your Faith? A World-Class Doubter Says “Yes!” “Doubt’s are a normal part of life,” John Dickson says, author of the book A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible. The book is his tribute to doubt. In it he helps people who aren’t quite sure about the Bible, God, Jesus, and faith see how their doubts don’t have to be avoided.

What Death Has To Say To Today’s Graduates – Some might think it odd to take a long walk through a cemetery the Sunday before college graduation. Yet the liberal arts teach that we must look back to look forward—and not just back to four transient years, but to the minds, the hearts, the legacies of those who came before.

A Reminder Of The Good In Sports – Every now and then we need a reminder of the good found in sports. In these days of corruption, cheating, self-aggrandizing, and criminal behavior, it’s so easy to become disenchanted.

Your Paper Brain And Your Kindle Brain Aren’t The Same Thing Would you like paper or plasma? That’s the question book lovers face now that e-reading has gone mainstream. And, as it turns out, our brains process digital reading very differently.

Jesus Isn’t Looking For Flashy – As a follower of Jesus, I didn’t see this coming. This call to be a disciple of the mundane–changing diapers on a big kid, suctioning, stretching limbs, giving meds.

The Bachelorette, The Currency Of Sex, & The Spirit Of Divorce – Married peoples of the earth, remember, you’re displaying something much more powerful than yourselves by staying married. Your covenant to one another displays not just your own love, but testifies to the covenant keeping grace of God that Christ has for his bride the church.  

Sometimes We Just Need A Little Help

Around The Web

Unknown-1

 

 

 

 

Another Good Reason For 911 – An 81-year-old North Carolina Army veteran touched an emergency operator earlier this week when he dialed 911 — not because he was hurt, but because he was hungry.

Introverts In The Dearest Place On Earth – Roughly a quarter of the population has a preference toward introversion. These folks (and I am one of them) prefer to focus on the inner world of ideas and experiences, tend to direct energy inward and receive energy from reflecting on thoughts, ideas, feelings and memories. It was not so long ago this approach was prized in leadership and churches. Times, however, have changed for the introvert.

Why Islam Grows? Why do seekers choose Islam, and not something else? Why not, for instance, Christianity?

Don’t Hold Your Hair Back When You Throw Up – Transparency And The Christian – Do we know who we are? Or do we keep our real selves a secret known only to us? Often we live lives so guarded that we, ourselves, don’t even know who we are. We are so scared of what people will think of us that we hide everything ugly, everything dishonorable, everything that stinks . . . or just all the puke in our hair. We throw up and remove all evidence that it ever happened. We are too scared to be transparent.

Can You Miss God’s Will For Your Life? – It seems that the Bible teaches that, yes, you can miss God’s will. It also teaches that no, you can’t miss God’s will.

The Most Important Thing Outside The Bible That I Have Ever Read The central problem of our age is not liberalism or modernism, nor the old Roman Catholicism or the new Roman Catholicism, nor the threat of communism, nor even the threat of rationalism and the monolithic consensus which surrounds us….

A Class-Act Speech – This could very well be one of my favorite sports moments!

Around The Web

Unknown-1

Don’t Kill That Quote – Quotes are like lozenges, great for savoring but terrible for just straight-out swallowing. Learn how to savor good quotes.

What Would Jesus Read? – In her wide-ranging and productive new book, What Would Jesus Read?: Popular Religious Books and Everyday Life in Twentieth-Century America (University of North Carolina Press), Smith argues that historians should give more attention to the experiences of readers and the ways in which religious books were useful to them and engaged their “daily lives in immediate, material ways.”

Biblical Marriage Has Always Been Counter-Cultural – In first century Roman Empire, when the New Testament was being written, the idea that a husband should sacrificially love his wife was shocking. In 21st century America, the idea that a wife should lovingly submit to her husband seems just as shocking.

How Seriously Should We Take The Phenomenon Of “The Nones?” – I’ve always had the sneaking suspicion that the vast majority of people who call themselves Christians only view Christianity as a value system, a set of ethical ideals to aim for (or judge others by) and not as a form of life that makes a difference in everything one thinks and does. Millennials are noted for demanding “authenticity.” The growth of “nones” is greatest among them. Perhaps they are noticing the inauthenticity of many older Christians’ Christianity and want nothing to do with that.

4 Words Leaders Must Say On A Regular Basis – Leaders are always communicating, even when they are not talking. But what words must a leader say on a regular basis? Here are four words leaders must use, not merely every now and then but continually. Over and over again.

Get Organized With These 6 Tips That Lead To More Productive Days – While every entrepreneur has the same number of hours in each day, you can make your time more productive by becoming extremely organized. Here are six organizational tips that will lead to more productive days.

The Oldest Working Nurse Turns 90 Years Old

Around The Web

Unknown-1

Is Christianity Dying? – Christianity is dying. At least, that’s what major newspapers are telling us today, culling research from a new Pew Center study on what almost all sociologists are observing these days—the number of Americans who identify as Christians has reached an all-time low, and is falling. I think this is perhaps bad news for America, but it is good news for the church.

Why The Best Reading App Available Today Is Not What You Think – This is going to sound crazy. After all, I run an online content business. But the best reading app for comprehension, emotional engagement, and more is … paper.

What’s The Point Of A Professor? – IN the coming weeks, two million Americans will earn a bachelor’s degree and either join the work force or head to graduate school. They will be joyous that day, and they will remember fondly the schools they attended. But as this unique chapter of life closes and they reflect on campus events, one primary part of higher education will fall low on the ladder of meaningful contacts: the professors.

When You Want To Be A Christian But Don’t Believe In God – Should we accept a “cultural Christianity” that relishes religious ritual while rejecting religious belief? I offer both a firm “no” and an unreserved “yes.”

Do You Love Theology More Than Jesus? – In the end, each of us has a theology. (Even the act of dismissing theology in favor of Jesus is theological.) If God exists (and He does), and He has fixed attributes (which He does), then the path to loving Him is knowing as much as we possibly can about Him. 

If You See Something, Say Something – Ask religion journalists which they’ve encountered more: false witnesses and discord-sowers, or people with firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing who stay silent.

A Very Happy Brain

 

Compassionate, Courageous, Commissioned

415sXr9NiVL._AA160_

What is the greatest problem in the church today? Do we need more courage? Should we show more compassion? Or perhaps we need new methods to fulfill the Great Commission? According to Collin Hansen in his new book Blind Spots, we need all three. There is not one “preferred cure-all solution.”

It becomes dangerous however, when Christians begin to think that only courage, for example, is needed. When they develop this single solution mindset and surround themselves with others who think that courage is the solution, attend churches that believe courage is the solution, and go to conferences and Bible studies that teach that courage is the solution, there can be a tendency to “wield our chief concern like a stick useful for beating up other Christians who don’t understand the problem.”

While we all have personal strengths that we think are most needed in today’s church,  we must realize the blind spots of each strength. This is the major premise of Hansen’s book. “Your weakness,” writes Hansen, “is often the flip side of your strength.” And these weaknesses are not something that we like to discuss much. It’s much easier to turn a blind eye.

“If you’re compassionate,” writes Hansen, “you can be so concerned with what others think that you shrink from telling the truth, especially about Jesus.” In addition, if you are courageous, “you probably fail sometimes to hear and heed legitimate criticism.” And if you’re commissioned and “look to explain the good news in a way the world can understand, you may struggle to confront the culture’s values where they conflict with the gospel.”

Hansen warns us against the disunity that can arise from a Christian’s one-sided vision of what the church needs. The truth is that we need each other. The church is “the only institution equipped in this age of skepticism to enjoy unity in diversity through profligate, never-ending truth in love.” As we become aware of our blind spots, “we’ll prepare to turn from our sins, follow our Savior, receive his reward, and await his return.”

I found two things extremely helpful about Blind Spots. First, Hansen caused me to think of my own personal blind spots. I am prone to lean towards seeing the need for courage. I see a great need for a return to theological depth in today’s church. But in doing so, I am quick to look down on those who seek to develop ministries I think have a tendency to distort the gospel. The truth is that I need to practice a bit more humility and instead of quick judgments, seek to listen and learn.

Second, Hansen helped me to see how courage, compassion, and commission work together. Perhaps the greatest need of the church today is for the people of God to work together in order to boldly speak the gospel to those who need it while caring and loving them in the midst of a broken world. If we are to let our “light shine before men” (Mt 5:16), we must become aware of our blind spots, work together and seek unity.

Blind Spots is a helpful reminder of what it means to be the church for the world. There is much concern today about declining churches in the West and what to do about them. It might be that Hansen’s work here could be of value in helping us determine what church revitalization might look like. But Blind Spots is not just for struggling churches or ministries, but all believers. As the title suggests, we all are prone to be blind to our weaknesses. Therefore, we need to have our eyes opened. I believe Hansen’s book will help us do just that.