Links To Go (March 13, 2019)

Modern-day ‘sticks and stones’

You see, when we stand face to face, rather than keyboard to keyboard, we can see the humanity of the other person. We can have an actual dialogue, ask questions and come away with an understanding of each other’s position.

Who We Are Instead

How can we be salt and light if we side with political power? How can we have a single-minded allegiance to God, while grasping on to earthly structures? Forgive me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t God demand and command allegiance to Him alone and not to a fallen human, state, flag, or political party? Does He not introduce an alternative Kingdom called the Church?

Do 47 Percent of Christian Millennials Think Evangelism Is Wrong?

In summary, the way we phrase evangelism and the definitions we import into polls carry significant weight on how people respond. What’s more, since the Barna definition of practicing Millennial Christians included practicing Catholics, practicing mainline Protestants, and practicing Evangelical Protestants, different versions of evangelism might be acceptable to Millennials of different Christian denominations. And indeed, that is what the data showed, with practicing Catholics the least positive toward evangelism, and practicing Evangelical Protestants the most positive toward evangelism.

The Weakness and Strength of Being an Autistic Christian

The Autistic Christian ought not to retreat from the Church and the Neurotypical Christian ought not to shun those who have trouble socializing. Sadly, I have seen both. I have seen and experienced being rejected, ostracized, and treated as if I don’t exist by Christians who seem to feel it is easier to ignore people who are different than embrace them. It’s discouraging and painful to have been treated as non-existent or rejected as a bad person even by pastors simply because I have difficulty with social skills and eye contact.

The Equality Act Accelerates Anti-Christian Bias

The Equality Act fails to make meaningful status/conduct distinctions. It treats the Christian baker who objects to using her creative talent to design a same-sex wedding cake the same as an individual who would stupidly, and bigotedly, deny an LGBT person a booth at a restaurant. In short, the Equality Act equates Christian ethics with hatred and bigotry.

Stop asking ‘how are you?’ Harvard researchers say this is what successful people do when making small talk

Start with a question that will build up to a conversation that meets the A.C.T. criteria:

  • A – There’s authenticity
  • C – There’s a connection
  • T – There’s a topic that will give them taste of who you are

Why people think their phones are listening to them

Basically, companies that thrive on our information, like Google, Facebook and, increasingly, Amazon, are able to thoroughly understand our likes and interests based on the data we give them. They’ve become so effective at doing this that we’ve created elaborate conspiracy theories to rationalize how powerful their services truly are.

What Google knows about you

What Google collects:

  • The terms you search for.
  • The videos you watch.
  • Voice and audio information when you use audio features.
  • Purchase activity.
  • People with whom you communicate or share content.
  • Activity on third-party sites and apps that use Google services.
  • The ads and content you view on Google’s sites, as well as interactions with that content.
  • Chrome browsing history you’ve synced with your Google Account.
  • Location data, which Google can either gather directly via GPS data or infer from other sensors and data, including IP addresses, nearby Wi-Fi routers and Bluetooth beacons.

Facebook backtracks after removing Warren ads calling for Facebook breakup

Facebook removed several ads placed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign that called for the breakup of Facebook and other tech giants.
But the social network later reversed course after POLITICO reported on the takedown, with the company saying it wanted to allow for “robust debate.”
The ads, which had identical images and text, touted Warren’s recently announced plan to unwind “anti-competitive” tech mergers, including Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram.

Are People Using Mobile Devices In Public Getting More Thoughtless?

Am I being unreasonable wishing that people didn’t broadcast their phone conversations, play their videos in public without headphones or hold up traffic as they take selfie after selfie in the search for the perfect pose?
With the number of people doing one or more of the above on the rise, I’m left wondering if I have an outdated view of how people should behave in public or if it’s just that more and more people are ignorant and oblivious of the world around them.

Passenger jet turns around after mother FORGETS her baby

One of the controllers can then be heard asking a colleague: ‘This flight is requesting to come back…a passenger forgot her baby in the waiting area, the poor thing.’
They then said: ‘OK, head back to the gate. This is totally a new one for us!’

Family says Fort Lauderdale funeral home displayed wrong body at woman’s wake

7News spoke with another family who had the funeral of their loved one earlier this month. They said they have reason to believe the body they buried on March 2 may have been Newman’s. They believe the funeral home swapped the bodies.

Prayer aids

I’m feeling the need to grow in my prayer life. What are some things you’ve found helpful?

Here are some that I’m aware of:

  • Prayer books. As Jerry Starling mentioned in a comment the other day, most of us in churches of Christ grew up with a natural aversion to prayers written by other people. That’s hard for me to overcome, but I think it could be helpful. Not all repetition is vain repetition.
  • Fasting. Fasting has been a part of my prayer life for over thirty years, in an on-again off-again sort of way. Sadly, there have been more times when it was “off” than “on.” I want to improve that.
  • Prayer apps. I’ve been trying to use PrayerMate more. It takes two disciplines for me to do so: (1) Maintain the prayer list; (2) Actually pray using the app. Another area I need to work on.

Suggestions? What have you found that helps your prayer life?

A prayer for Friday (March 8, 2019)

O Lord Most High,

Create in me a new heart, for the one I have is so human and untrustworthy. Fill me with your Spirit, that I may learn to say no to my flesh. Restore to me the joy of salvation and take away the love of sinning. Let me set my eyes on you, for you are my refuge and my hope, my salvation and my true desire.

Lead me to the city you are preparing, my true patria, my homeland, the country where I belong. Teach me to live as an ambassador along the way, a foreigner with a purpose, an alien on a mission. Here in Kedar and Mesech, I long for the new Jerusalem. Lead me home, Father.

Links To Go (March 8, 2019)

What if The Foundation of Discernment is Hope and Not Suspicion?

I’m convinced that we’ve gotten this wrong and because of it the gift of discernment has now become synonymous with the “gift” of being a jerk. True discernment will spot error. And it’ll call error out. But that’s not the intention of the search.

Giving Up For Lent

Fasting isn’t something we have to do for God. It’s a gift God has given us, when we need to understand that our weakness isn’t something we need to fear, because of his strength on the cross.

Small, Struggling Congregations Fill U.S. Church Landscape

In some ways, however, those numbers mask deeper evangelistic issues. When evaluating churches based on the number of conversions per 100 attendees, 67 percent had fewer than 10 per 100 people attending their church. Around a third (35 percent) had fewer than five new commitments for every 100 people attending their worship services.

The Most Sinful States in America?

The point, though, is that this study is primarily about culture, economics, class, homogeneity, and regional histories. It deals with external crimes and vices. But it doesn’t get at what the Bible means by sin: the condition of the human heart. Our internal sinfulness can manifest itself in these external sins. But it need not.

3 Important Life Skills Nobody Ever Taught You

  1. How to Stop Taking Things Personally
  2. How to Be Persuaded and Change Your Mind
  3. How to Act Without Knowing the Result

Hipster whines at tech mag for using his pic to imply hipsters look the same, discovers pic was of an entirely different hipster

The stock photo giant checked the model release and lo! The guy in the image wasn’t even the same dude who was complaining. “He’d misidentified himself,” Lichfield said. “All of which just proves the story we ran: hipsters look so much alike that they can’t even tell themselves apart from each other.”

Herald of Truth in Nicaragua

Just got back from a profitable time in Nicaragua, doing several events for Herald of Truth. Traveled on Thursday, arriving that evening. Bruno Valle was waiting for me and accompanied me to the Best Western hotel in Managua, which is literally across the street from the airport.

Bruno had copies of my new book with him, the one I mentioned the other day. It was interesting to finally see the book in its physical form. That’s the first book I’ve done in Spanish.

On Friday morning, we went to the radio station where we broadcast the Lea La Biblia program. Bruno does the show live every Friday, using my recorded programs on the other days. He and I did the program in an interview style, talking about the new book and an event we would be speaking at that afternoon. The afternoon event was a Lea La Biblia training session, where I talked to those gathered about how to read and study the Bible. There were about 100 in attendance. We sold the books at cost, about $1.50. Experience has shown us that people give more value to a book they pay for, even if it’s a minimal payment. That money also allows us to keep printing books.

From there we drove to León. On Saturday morning, we led some training sessions at the Colegio Cristiano (Christian School) in León. Those gathered were from 15 congregations of the Church of Christ in the León valley, about 200 people in all. I spoke to them about evangelism and discipleship, while Bruno gave lectures on homiletics. We did about six hours in all.

Sunday morning, I spoke for the church that meets at the school, then we had another training session on Sunday afternoon, where I presented the material I had done in Managua on Friday afternoon.

Monday morning, we headed back to Managua, then recorded some videos that afternoon. Monday evening I had supper with Travis and Mindy Stewart, who work in Jinotega; Benny Baker, longtime missionary to Jinotega, also joined us to visit a bit.

Tuesday was a travel day, coming home. It was a tiring trip, but quite profitable. We did some good training (according to comments received) and distributed important literature. (Each church took home a packet of tracts.)

Bruno Valle is doing a great job in Central America. The organization was impeccable, and we had a nice mix of working with members of the church and with outsiders. Always exciting to be a part of something like that.