Links To Go (August 30, 2016)

Links to articles that made me think or made me laugh… Tim

Why Man and Woman Are Not Equal

The New York Times’s Gail Collins told NPR unequivocally that the most important primary finding of her brilliant book America’s Women (which faithfully sits to the left behind Leslie Knope’s desk in every Parks and Recreation episode), is that the most powerful and important influence women have had on our nation’s founding, growth, and success is this: They make men behave. All their other important contributions are secondary.


Colin Kaepernick is American—and Right

Colin Kaepernick protesting during the anthem isn’t anti-American; it’s affirming the very freedom America represents and giving us a real-time example of how you leverage your influence to change things for the better. In an age where pro athletes are seen as petulant, aloof, selfish babies, he chose to use his visibility and his platform to actually give a damn and to actually say something about something of importance. Crucifying him for this is missing the point of this country spectacularly.


Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away

“When people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can,” Mueller tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can’t write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them.”

Saved by faith alone? yes! no!

My thoughts here are not so much focused upon delineating the nature of saving faith as they are upon emphasizing the need to be quick to listen and slow to speak. If, however, I were to venture a brief paragraph about faith, I find the first position self-defeating. For example, one of the proof texts for “belief alone,” Romans 10:9-10, prescribes going beyond mere belief to do something – namely confess Jesus is Lord with one’s lips. Thus, if such “belief alone” can encompass the saving action of confession, why not also the saving action ascribed to baptism within the New Testament?


“Is it Wrong?” Why There Are Other Questions You Need to Ask

Christian living is not about “rule-keeping.” There are more questions that need to be asked than just, “Is it against the rules?” Christian living is about walking by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), walking by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26), and walking in the light (1 John 1:7). Which means we are called to a higher standard and we have to ask more mature questions than just, “Is it wrong?” or, “Is it lawful?” or, “Is it against the rules?”


A Not Surprising Marriage Report

  • Couples spending $20,000 or more increase their odds of {divorce} 3.5% over couples spending $5,000 – 10,000.
  • Those that spend approximately $1,000 have the greatest odds for a longer marriage.
  • More the prospective grooms, spending $500 – 1,999 on an engagement rings decreases divorce rates by 1.3% over those spending $2,000 – $4,000.

A conclusion is that the more you spend on your wedding day you are increasing your chance for divorce.


Evangelism in Post-Christian Western Europe: Six Insights

  1. Migration is God’s gift to the Church.
  2. Culturally-relevant churches are harvest churches.
  3. “Fresh expressions” are an innovative means of outreach.
  4. The Church thrives where it is outward-focused.
  5. Denominations and networks are collaborating for a greater harvest.
  6. A new apologetic is emerging that is emotion-based.

Aging with grace

As I begin to count the few white hairs that are becoming manifest and debate about buying a box of hair color, not that hair dye is intrinsically bad, what is my motivation? Do I want to buy into what the world says is of value or what God values? Do I want to just age gracefully (aka looking younger than one’s stated age) or age with grace, taking joy in this time of life and not try to push back the clock, as if that were possible? Proverbs says Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised and Gray hair is a crown of glory. After all, isn’t my age part of God’s sovereign plan for my life? He decided the year of my birth. Not a decade before. Not a decade after. And if every hair is numbered, that includes the ones that are no longer black.


Angered over Sap, Man Cuts Down Tree, Sending It onto His Own Apartment House

A man in Luzerne County cut down his neighbor’s tree over the weekend because he thought it was ruining his car. The tree ended up hitting his own apartment house.


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Marriage Inside Out

blog tour
CIOTo promote this year’s Summer Blog Tour, we’re giving away one set of Church Inside Out, both book and workbook. Just leave a comment below then enter over HERE.

Richard May continues our blog tour today:

SEEING INSIDE OUT

The years that our marriage was a disaster, each of us believed that a change in behavior or attitude of the other person was the key to our happier future. At some points we could have said that the change in the other person was the key to our future relationship status. We were thinking Outside-In. We nearly divorced.

She had a list of things that needed to change about him. He needed to be more organized, dead-line efficient, trustworthy and connected. That’s the short list. Since she is a nurse, she had a care-plan for each of her marital health goals and she was determined that he would be a compliant patient.

He had only one thing on his list of things she needed to change. She needed to quit being so negative about all those things she wanted to change about him. By the time the worst came, he lost hope in her ever being more positive; the marital health would increase exponentially, he conceded, if she would just be less negative.

Paul’s instructions to wives, husbands, children, fathers, slaves and masters in the Letter to the Colossians begins with this: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (3:17).

The pursuit of a whole, healthy, holy relationship begins, not with the adjustments of a spouse, but with the commitment to a mindset; the mindset that everything done will be done because Jesus wants it done. Any growth starts inside the mind and heart of a husband or wife. Moreover, since the motivation is about what Jesus wants, then, no less-than-desirable response from the other spouse changes the behavior. After all, it’s not about them; it’s about Jesus.

Someone asked leadership guru Zig Ziglar about marrying the wrong person and he replied with this:

“I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person, but I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy and successful. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s possible that you did marry the wrong person. However, if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. On the other hand, if you marry the right person, and treat that person wrong, you certainly will have ended up marrying the wrong person. I also know that it is far more important to be the right person than it is to marry the right person. In short, whether you married the right or wrong person is primarily up to you.”

Choose your mindset. Your mindset will guide your behavior and that will create renewed feelings about your spouse and your marriage.

We tried the experiment of developing a strong relationship by getting the other spouse to behave like we wanted. It was a failed experiment. It was an outside-in attempt. Start in your mind and heart. Decide you will be who you ought to be regardless of the behavior of your spouse. For us, “being the right person” means doing what Jesus wants. Do everything, including marriage, in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father.

That’s an Inside-Out marriage.


08 Richard May - picRichard May and his wife JeannaLynn together run WGHJ Ministries: a full-service, spiritually focused marriage mission center with international impact by coaching couples, supporting couples in ministry, and providing marriage related resources for churches, universities, organizations, and communities. You can get more information on their website: www.WGHJministries.com; or follow their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WGHJMinistries.

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Links To Go (August 26, 2016)

This couple didn’t tip their Latina server. They left a hateful message instead.

The message on the receipt rattled Sadie Karina Elledge, but it made her grandfather see red.
Instead of leaving a gratuity on Monday, a couple eating at the Harrisonburg, Va., restaurant where Sadie works scrawled: “We only tip citizens.”
The dig was aimed at Sadie, 18, who was born in the United States but is of Honduran and Mexican descent. So, John Elledge took a photo of the grease-stained receipt left for his granddaughter and posted it on Facebook.


Mercy In a Mean Time

his is something we should take very seriously. I’m not talking about whether you vote for an elephant or a donkey, but whether you follow the Lamb. I’m talking about the attitude of your heart. What is your general disposition toward…
The poor?
Those in need of health care?
Immigrants (documented or not)?
America’s vast prison population?
If your attitude is one of indifference, distrust, disgust, anger, or moral superiority, may I suggest that you are being carried by the spirit of the age toward meanness as you fly away from mercy.


The Tragic Transgender Contagion

Let’s be clear: The vast majority of kids who experience a period of discomfort with their biological sexual identity eventually desist. Indeed, the number may well be over 90 percent. In other words, kids who are growing and learning about life and themselves sometimes endure a period of confusion. This should shock exactly no one. What is shocking, however, is the insistence that this period of confusion should be treated as a period of confirmation — and that medical intervention is the logical and tolerant next course.


Research: Few Pastors Asked to Perform Same-Sex Weddings, Less Than Half Allow LGBT to Serve in Church

More than 100,000 same-sex couples have tied the knot since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages nationwide last year.
But for preachers, being asked to do a same-sex wedding remains rare.
A new survey by Nashville-based LifeWay Research found 11 percent of Protestant senior pastors have been asked to perform a same-sex wedding.


A C-SPAN caller asked a black guest how to stop being prejudiced. Here’s how she responded.

McGhee told him that people of all races and backgrounds hold such prejudices, some unconsciously, so for him to be able to say it outright, was “one of the most powerful things that we can do right now in this moment in our history.”
Then she offered him some ideas for how he could begin to allay those fears. She urged him to get to know black families, to not form opinions about people of color from the evening news, to join a black church (if he’s religious), to read the rich history of the African American community and to start conversations within his own community about race.


4 Interesting Facts about the Production of the King James Translation

But sometimes the historical nitty-gritty surrounding an artifact that has been venerated for so long gets lost in the fog of adulation. So here are 4 interesting facts you may not know about this most revered of translations.


Corpse Trials and Other Perils of Church Politics

We’ve all been there before: You’ve just ascended to the papacy, one of the most powerful positions in the world, but the people still retain reverence for your predecessor. Oh, and also, some other people are trying to murder you and usurp your shiny new papal throne. What’s a ninth-century pontiff to do?
If you’re Pope Stephen VI “Or Possibly VII, We’re Not Sure” of Rome, there’s only one obvious answer here: Dig up your predecessor’s corpse and force it to stand trial for a handful of trumped-up charges.


Clinton, Trump Supporters Have Starkly Different Views of a Changing Nation

Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump disagree on a range of policy issues, from terrorism to free trade. Yet they also have more fundamental differences over long-term changes in the country and the next generation’s future prospects.
A new national survey finds that Trump supporters overwhelmingly believe that life in America is worse than it was 50 years ago “for people like them.” Fully 81% of registered voters who support Trump say life has gotten worse, compared with just 11% who say it has gotten better (6% say it is about the same).
Most Clinton supporters take the opposite view: 59% say life for people like them has gotten better over the past half-century, while 19% think it has gotten worse and 18% see little change.


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Book giveaway and new blog tour post

blog tour
CIOTo promote this year’s Summer Blog Tour, we’re giving away one set of Church Inside Out, both book and workbook. Just leave a comment below then enter over HERE.

Peter Horne continues our blog tour today:

SEEING INSIDE OUT

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Perhaps you’ve heard that verse before.

We use it to tell other people to stop judging us. “God knows what’s in my heart.”

We use it to judge other people, because although they look good God, and I, know what’s really going on in their hearts.
Sometimes we use it to include people who have a lot of tattoos, or whose clothes are shabby… “the Lord looks at the heart.”

Sometimes we use it to excuse our laziness and lack of action. “I know I could have cooked a meal for that person who just had surgery. I’d have liked to but just didn’t get around to it. Well, God knows my heart.”

In reality, we all judge on appearance more than we’re usually willing to admit. Although we know and quote 1 Samuel 16:7 we often live in opposition to this principle.

We make all sorts of judgments about people based on appearance:

  • Football fans – we like people more or less depending which team they support;
  • Professional attire – we presume people are more educated and capable the more formal their dress;
  • Skin tone – we all tend to more quickly trust others who look more like us;
  • Hemlines – women in general are more regularly judged by appearance and people associate values with clothing choices us as the length of a woman’s dress.

Because we know people make judgements based on appearances we then begin to accept them and play along. We may even try to use those judgements to our own advantage.

“It’s not a coincidence that many politicians wear red-coloured ties with light shirts and darker suits.

“Red is the power tie,” said Mark Woodman, a trend analyst who studies colour in Laurel, Maryland, in the US. “There’s something about red that always comes back to strength and passion.” (BBC)

When it comes to playing along there’s not much we can do about our skins. We all ‘play along’ to some degree in regards to clothing, but accepting skin colour as a reasonable basis to make judgements about a person is dangerous. Viewing a presidential candidate as passionate because he wears a red tie pales in significance compared to initially regarding someone with dark skin as dangerous or assuming that someone with white skin would ‘fit in’ better to our office atmosphere.

It’s difficult to see people inside-out when society, and perhaps our human nature, trains us to see others outside-in. Notice in the opening verse that God states that it’s completely natural for even the great prophet Samuel to judge people by appearance. But as we grow in spiritual maturity we must desire to see others as God sees them.

The apostle Paul expresses the same thought this way:

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…     2 Corinthians 5:16-18

Reconciliation has many different applications. Primarily all humanity needs reconciliation with God. But given the history of the United States no one can claim to be reconciled with God while neglecting racial reconciliation. Given the tragedies we’ve witnessed around this country recently, the church can’t preach forgiveness while standing on the sidelines pointing fingers at violence and injustice in others.

Christians should be leading the way in practicing reconciliation because we regard no one from a worldly point of view.

  • Can we continue to describe churches as black and white if we no longer regard others from a worldly point of view?
  • Can we tolerate education systems with disparate graduation rates running along racial lines?
  • Can we remain silent while African-Americans fill our jails at a disproportionate rate?

Do we really believe that in Christ the old has gone and the new is here? Or is it too easy for us to rationalise the points above? Do we really see people differently because of Christ, or have we just memorised a couple of feel-good Bible verses?

Steps to See Others Inside-Out

  1. Remind Yourself Frequently: When you find yourself saying, “Typical, black drivers are always cutting me off.” or “Well, that’s no surprise, Indians are taking all our jobs.” Find ways to talk back to yourself. Remind yourself that each person is an individual with struggles and bad habits just like yours. Remind yourself that God loves them too.
  2. Understand that skin color is more than skin deep: People of different ethnicities experience the world in different ways. When we intentionally try to ignore skin color we ignore important aspects of that person’s life. Seeing people inside-out means acknowledging that a black male will most likely have different thoughts about dealing with the police than will a white female. The outside influences the inside. [I’ve written further on this topic HERE.]
  3. Ask Questions: Spend time with people from other ethnicities and cultures. Don’t tell them what the people in the news are doing wrong. Listen to their experience with the issues that interest you. Don’t argue! A simple ice breaker might go something like this, “What’s something about your experience living in the US that you think would surprise me, or I wouldn’t experience?”
  4. Make New Friends: If you live in a racially diverse community, and all your friends come from the same race as you, it’s time to develop some new friendships. It’s hard to demonstrate that you’re an agent of reconciliation if your friends are all one color.
  5. Be Color Brave: Encourage your church to address issues of racial reconciliation. If you live in an area with single race churches, then speak up for unity services and other forms of cooperation. Don’t pretend that race-based churches provide an acceptable status quo. Push for your church to embody the truth that “the Lord looks at the heart.”

It has taken the United States centuries to reach this point in race relations. While prejudice may never disappear from our society, Christians have an opportunity and challenge to demonstrate a better way. We can show the world what a difference it makes to move through life Seeing Inside-Out.


Peter Horne moved to the United States from Australia in 1999 to pursue training for ministry. Having filled the roles of children’s minister, youth minister, and college minister in various locations around the US and Australia, he now gladly serves as the minister for the Lawson Rd Church of Christ in Rochester, NY. You can find more of his writing on his blog: www.aussiepete.wordpress.com. He also writes to equip multi-ethnic churches at www.culturalmosaic.org.

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Links To Go (August 17, 2016)

I am not Homosexual… or Heterosexual or Bisexual or Any-Other-Kind-Of-Sexual

Additionally, I’m uncomfortable with the relatively young concept of “sexual orientation.” I don’t believe the content or implications of the Scriptures support the idea that each person has a fixed, immutable set of sexual desires that they are born with. The Bible speaks about homosexual and heterosexual behavior and the desires that drive those activities, but it never implies that some people are heterosexual and some people are homosexual. Rather, I believe the Bible teaches that 1) we all possess a sexuality, and 2) that sexuality has been distorted by sin. If we are going to claim any sexual orientation, it needs to be our orientation to sin. We are all inclined to dishonor God by abusing our bodies in unlawful activities. Whether the object of our desire is a male or a female or an inflatable pool raft (saw that one on the news!), we are all fallen people with broken sexualities.


If pedophilia is a sexual orientation, now what?

Pedophilia as orientation exposes the inadequacy of this kind of moral reasoning. It shows that you cannot give a moral assessment of sexual behavior merely on the basis of the actor’s perceived orientation. Sexual attractions can be misdirected and wrong. But the wrongness of the attractions cannot be determined simply by whether or not they come naturally to a person. There are many patterns of sexual attraction that feel natural to people but that are nevertheless morally wrong. The moral assessment of both orientation and the behavior that comes from it must be made on other grounds.


Are We Talking Past Each Other? 3 Tips For Talking Faith With Friends & Neighbors

There are three key things I find helpful when communicating gospel truths with those far from God.

  1. Expose what people worship
  2. Assume nothing
  3. Create Nathan moments

Millennial Perspective: Stop Doing Announcements

As a starting point for standards, I think each message needs to fit into at least one of these three categories:
A.) Does it impact 80 percent of our audience?
B.) Is it a direct next step from teaching that would add value to our audience?
C.) Is it a key on-ramp to a ministry?


Welcome to Manu’s basketball familia

Even after achieving NBA stardom, Ginobili and Scola never cared much for posh travel. During a game in 2010, Tyson Chandler, then with the Mavs, approached Ginobili between free throws. He had seen Ginobili park his minivan before the game. “You drive a minivan?” Chandler asked. “I thought I was the only one!” Ginobili laughed. “I have twins,” he told Chandler. “Scola drives one too!”


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