How do you become a Christian

If someone came to you and asked how to become a Christian, what would you say to them?

That’s a question every Christian leader needs to be able to answer with confidence. If you’re not sure how you would answer, you need to study and learn to respond.

Links to Go (January 21, 2019)

Gen Z More Likely to Head to College, Maybe Away From Church

College has become more attainable for Generation Z as more are finishing high school than previously—especially among Hispanic and black teens.
In 2002, 60 percent of Hispanic and 71 percent of black students finished high school. In 2017, those numbers had jumped to 76 percent among Hispanics and 77 percent among black teenagers.
In all, 8 in 10 students graduated from high school in 2017.


Learn How to ‘Adult’ Before You ‘Missionary’

While we challenge young people to live lives of eternal significance, our counsel must also include:

  • Join a church. (As a member.) Submit to elders. Serve faithfully. Do jobs nobody else wants.
  • Make a budget. Limit your expenditures. Live below your means.
  • Get a job. Develop a good rapport before the watching world. Make yourself useful to other people. Contribute to society.
  • Tithe. Give above a tithe. Save money. Pay off your loans.
  • If you want to get married, stop playing juvenile dating games and get married. Learn to love a spouse, raise children, and die to self.
  • Exercise. Eat right. Lose weight if you need to lose weight. Gain weight if you need to gain it. Pick a goal and strain to reach it.
  • Read your Bible every day. Know it by heart. Master it, and be mastered by it. Abide in Christ.
  • Pray fervently. Make disciples locally. Preach the gospel in your Jerusalem.

4 Practical Ways Your Church Can Be Pro-Life

Your pro-life voice will have more credibility if you have consistently, in your preaching, your church’s outreaches, and in the way you apply the Scripture, championed the human dignity of all vulnerable people groups. To be a pro-life church is not simply to communicate why abortion is wrong one Sunday a year, but it is to apply the sanctity and preciousness of human life all year long and wherever human life is threatened.


7 Secrets to Staying Employable Past Age 50

Here are SEVEN SECRETS for staying fit for employment after age 50. The best time to put these tips into practice is NOW, even if you are still fully employed in a job you plan to keep until the day you retire. That way, if the rug gets pulled out from under you, you will be ready for your new future.


Nearly three-quarters of Republicans say the news media don’t understand people like them

The deep divides between Republicans and Democrats in feeling misunderstood by news organizations is largely in line with partisan divides in trust in national media and perceived fairness in news coverage. As seen in previous findings, Republicans are far less likely than Democrats to say they have a lot of trust in the information they get from national news organizations and are more likely to think the news media tend to favor one side.


How Wrong Should You Be?

An article from a team led by University of Arizona cognitive scientist Robert Wilson provides an answer: 15 percent. The researchers argue that a test is optimally difficult if the test-taker gets 85 percent of the questions right, with 15 percent incorrect. Any more than that, the test was too easy. Any less, the test was too hard. They call it “The Eighty-Five Percent Rule for Optimal Learning.”


Twins get some ‘mystifying’ results when they put 5 DNA ancestry kits to the test

Last spring, Marketplace host Charlsie Agro and her twin sister, Carly, bought home kits from AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA and Living DNA, and mailed samples of their DNA to each company for analysis.
Despite having virtually identical DNA, the twins did not receive matching results from any of the companies.


Links To Go (January 18, 2019)

Racism and The Dying American Church

Unfortunately, instead of fading away, slavery and the racist ideology that allowed it became more deeply entrenched into American’s daily lives, churches, and economic systems. The practice of slavery required decisive and dramatic action to end it. If we think that any sin, much less racism, will just fade away, whether in our individual lives or congregation, without identification, repentance, and continuous vigilance to remove it, we are kidding ourselves and do not understand the nature of sin.


7 Things Every Leader Needs to Quit Immediately

  1. Measuring success compared to another’s success.
  2. Pretending to have all the answers.
  3. Trying to be popular.
  4. Leading alone.
  5. Acting like it doesn’t hurt.
  6. Trying to control every outcome.
  7. Ignoring the warning signs of burnout.

Where is Christianity headed? The view from 2019

If there is a theme in what lies ahead for the church as we enter a new year, it is that the white Western Christian bubble that has powerfully shaped Christianity for the past four centuries is now beginning to burst. Future expressions of Christian faith will be shaped by its interactions with non-Western and nonwhite cultures. This will present challenges to the established church in the U.S. but may hold the keys to its revitalization.


Hypocrite, Sinner, or Struggler… and how to tell the difference

When I sin, do I repent?
Do I confess (acknowledge) my sin to God and even to trusted others?
Do I make excuses for my sin? Blame others, or circumstances, or rationalize how it is not really my fault?
Do I commit to do better?
Do I have an action plan to overcome my sin? Plans from Scripture or developed with guidance from family, friends, or shepherds?
Do I work the plan?
Do I have accountability for how I am doing?
Am I getting better, making progress?


How Self-Compassion Supports Academic Motivation and Emotional Wellness

To make self-compassion a concrete idea for children, ask them to compare how they treat themselves to how they treat a friend. When we treat ourselves with the same kindness and care that we offer a good friend, we are practicing self-compassion. “By age 7, children have learned about the concept of friendship. A lot of their developmental energy is spent on learning how to be a good friend,” said Neff. So when students are feeling frustrated or upset, ask them, “What would you say to a friend in this situation?” This simple question can help students reflect on the situation and reframe their response.


Generation Z Looks a Lot Like Millennials on Key Social and Political Issues

On a range of issues, from Donald Trump’s presidency to the role of government to racial equality and climate change, the views of Gen Z – those ages 13 to 21 in 2018 – mirror those of Millennials. In each of these realms, the two younger generations hold views that differ significantly from those of their older counterparts. In most cases, members of the Silent Generation are at the opposite end, and Baby Boomers and Gen Xers fall in between.


Giant Kentucky snowman gives would-be vandal dose of instant karma

A driver tried to run over a 9-foot snowman – but the homeowners had used a massive tree stump as the snowman’s base!


Links To Go (January 17, 2019)

Most Teenagers Drop Out of Church as Young Adults

The five most frequently chosen specific reasons for dropping out were: moving to college and no longer attending (34 percent); church members seeming judgmental or hypocritical (32 percent); no longer feeling connected to people in their church (29 percent); disagreeing with the church’s stance on political or social issues (25 percent); and work responsibilities (24 percent).


What’s Shaping Your Church?

If the only thing people know about your church is that you let women lead a prayer or that you oppose instrumental music in worship or that you have an incredible children’s program, then that’s a problem. If all we ever do is bang the drum and pat ourselves on the back for standing against error, then that’s a problem. If a church is so numbers-driven that they become more concerned about rear-ends in the pew than souls in the kingdom, then that’s a problem.


A ‘Day of Pentecost Every Sunday’

Kissimmee Christian Church follows the motto: “Multiple languages, multiple cultures. One church, one eldership.” The various people groups are still able to minister and worship creatively and in culture-specific ways using their music and their language. But the result is a stronger, more biblical framework and greater unity among all those who attend the church.


A CNN analyst called out a Fox News contributor for his ‘white privilege.’ He’s black.

When Webb, a Fox Nation host and frequent Fox News contributor, said he considered his qualifications more important than his skin color when applying to media jobs, Martin accused him of exercising white privilege.
But there was a problem with that, as Webb quickly pointed out:
“Areva, I hate to break it to you, but you should’ve been better prepped,” he responded. “I’m black.”


Don’t steal metrics

Talking to a producer, he said that his goal was to make it a “top 10 podcast on iTunes.”
Why is that the goal?
That’s a common goal, a popular goal, someone else’s goal.
The compromises necessary to make it that popular (in dumbing down the content, sensationalizing it, hunting down sort-of-famous guests and doing a ton of promo) all fly in the face of what the project is for.


You’re probably not pitch perfect, but you can honor God with your gifts.

Once you agree to this leadership role in the worship, there are responsibilities that you have accepted. Congregational singing can be tremendously inspiring and uplifting or uninspiring and un-motivating; the song leader can make that difference.


Facebook Algorithms and Personal Data

Facebook makes it relatively easy for users to find out how the site’s algorithm has categorized their interests via a “Your ad preferences” page. Overall, however, 74% of Facebook users say they did not know that this list of their traits and interests existed until they were directed to their page as part of this study.
When directed to the “ad preferences” page, the large majority of Facebook users (88%) found that the site had generated some material for them. A majority of users (59%) say these categories reflect their real-life interests, while 27% say they are not very or not at all accurate in describing them. And once shown how the platform classifies their interests, roughly half of Facebook users (51%) say they are not comfortable that the company created such a list.


Handcuffed, drugged with ketamine: Truth behind Thai cave rescue

The boys parents were told their sons would be swimming to safety and in the global joy which erupted after the last of the boys surfaced safe and alive, no-one questioned the method of their extraction.
But ABC Australia Southeast Asia correspondent Liam Cochrane says in his new book, The Cave, the boys were in fact drugged with ketamine and handcuffed on their journey out of the cave.


Gender discussions in the church

One thing that seems to be catching many church leaders off guard is the fact that the gender discussions going on in the church are gender discussions, not just male-female discussions. While most churches aren’t having direct discussions about including LGBT individuals in their membership, many of the arguments being presented in conversations about the participation of women in the assembly are also being applied to those who define gender more broadly.

This isn’t a slippery slope argument (but it could lead to one). It’s a recognition that one generation speaks of gender in one way, and the next considers it in a completely different way (If we add additional generations into the mix, we begin to understand the turmoil in many of our congregations).

Some of the arguments that will find a broader application:

  • Argumentation that values experience over written revelation (or assigns equal value to each)
  • Reasoning that limits the value of the biblical record based on the culture or gender of the writers
  • Interpretation that “values Jesus over Paul” (in quotes because the meaning of the words doesn’t match the meaning of the argument)

I could go on, but I hope you’ll think about these and see what I mean. That doesn’t even mean those forms of reasoning are wrong. What it means is that the scope of application is broader than most people are thinking about.

So keep in mind, as we discuss gender in the church… we’re discussion gender, not just men and women.