Links to Go (July 27, 2015)

Majoring in the Minors?

Where are those who know that hope and salvation will never be found in a determined vote but only in the empty tomb?
Where are the glossy professional ads telling me that Jesus saves and the church will love me despite my brokenness?
Where are those who will courageously meet me where I am and tell me that I am loved with a love so extreme that only it can heal my wounds?
Where are those who will take me to the cross and tell me why it matters?
Where are those unafraid to show me, not a political party, but Jesus?

The Grieving Process of Miscarriage

Time will certainly lift the weight of sorrow that seems so crushing in the present, but clinging to him in the midst of it will produce a surprising harvest of spiritual wisdom and deep-rooted joy. This is perhaps the greatest lesson I have learned from my miscarriages.

What You are Wearing to Church

My answer to you is that it is “all” right as long as motives are pure. If your desire is to put on a pant suit or full-length church dress because you believe that brings honor to your Savior, then, please do so. But be careful not to pass judgment on the young mom across the aisle who wears jeans and a tattered t-shirt. Spend more time preparing your heart for the message that the pastor will be bringing, rather than ironing your attire. Spend more time praying for the worship leader, rather than choosing just the right jewelry for your Sunday outfit. And above all else, bring with you a pure heart, ready to gather in the King’s house and welcome all in, regardless of how they are dressed.

Study Finds Experts Overestimate Their Knowledge

In five different tests, researchers at Cornell University and Tulane University presented fake facts about finance and geography to participants in the lab. Self-professed experts were more likely to claim they were very knowledgeable about concepts and places that didn’t exist. This tendency, called “overclaiming,” occurred even when participants were warned that some of the concepts they were encountering would be fake.

Lakers Introduction Presser Takes Awkward Turn After Kobe Bryant Question

Most of the presser was forgettable—typical fare for a ceremonial gathering. Then somebody asked what seemed like an innocuous question about Kobe Bryant, and the wheels immediately fell off.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin posted an Instagram video of the moment. A reporter asked if Bryant had reached out to any of them, and stuff went from zero to awkward real quick.

Links To Go (July 23, 2015)

Top Ten Reasons for Pastors to Avoid Politics

Pastors, by all means think about politics and study about politics so that you can preach and call people to politics according to Biblically grounded principles and insight into the major trends of our time.
But leave the actual politics to actual politicians and political scientists.

5 Tips for Spotting Fake News

Hoax stories like these are likely to become more common as hoaxers become more sophisticated, warned Dan Gillmor, a journalism professor at Arizona State who specializes in digital media.
“That means we all have to pay more attention, all the time, and take nothing immediately at face value,” Gillmor wrote.

Does God Really Have a ‘Special’ Relationship with America?

While the American people might certainly reap the benefits of Christianity’s influence on the world more than others do in some ways, we have no solid or authoritative basis for affirming any kind of special relationship between Yahweh and the U.S.A.

Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Parousia– The Problem with Prognosticators

So what about all that discussion of the final future in the OT and NT? What is the point, and what does it reveal? My answer is simply– God reveals enough about the future to give us hope, so that we may have great expectations, but not so much that we could reduce these prophecies to a basis for calculations or prognostications.

The Sunday Worship Killer

Criticism can detract and deject the worshiper. We all must seek to limit it to healthy bounds. It may be the case that you attend a church where the Word isn’t preached, the Sacraments aren’t administered, and worship is absent. If that is the case, it is time to move on. However, if you attend a church where the Word is preached, the Sacraments are rightly administered, and worship is present then delight in worshiping God. You are meeting with the Triune God of the universe. Don’t let our adversary tempt you to do something less. The worship critic stands in judgment over everyone and everything else, the God-adoring worshiper rightly kneels in unity with her brothers and sisters humbly before her King.

The key to better work? E-mail less, flow more

What the researchers found was that the typical diversion caused by an e-mail was 9 minutes and 30 seconds in length. Now that was just the time spent on the e-mail itself. After that, it still took the participants of the study another 16 minutes to resume their primary task. That’s a lot of lost time.

Links To Go (July 16, 2015)

What we know about illegal immigration from Mexico

Even as border apprehensions dropped, deportations of Mexican immigrants reached a record high in 2013 of 314,904, up from 169,031 in 2005. This is due in part to a 2005 shift in policy that has increased the chances of being deported following apprehension in the border region, instead of just being sent back without an order of removal.

How the Gospel ended My Same Sex Relationship

Beloved brothers and sisters, if this battle rings true for you, I want you to know that I get it, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you have a VERY hard choice to make. I’m sorry because I know it doesn’t feel like a choice at all. I’m sorry because more people may judge you for trusting Christ and repenting than for “accepting your real self.”
I know how much you want it to be ok, but you’ll have to decide some things. Foremost, you’ll need to decide what the authority guiding your life will be. Will the Bible be your authority as it has been for Christians of all ages, or will the shifting winds of culture win the day? If the former, you need to hunker down and genuinely study what the Bible has to say. Read those on both sides of the debate, and pray that God would get you to truth, even if that truth is earth shattering. Jesus is worth the soul-searching anguish that may be awaiting you.

Why the world is not listening to the church

For example, did you know that in the United States you can divorce your mate for any reason at all and marry someone else. That is clearly against Scripture, but I do not remember Christians in an uproar over this clearly unBiblical view of marriage. What the world hears is “divorce OK but not same sex marriage.”
The Bible sure seems to indicate you should only marry a Christian. We sure are quiet about that.
Living together? Pretty quiet, aren’t we?
Seems very inconsistent. Or hypocritical.
The rhetoric I hear most from Christians is about how our country is abandoning our Christian principles and worry/fear about what is happening to America. Guess what is not in the Bible? Allegiance to an earthly kingdom. America is not a Christian nation. Never has been. Non-believers see the inconsistency.

Planned Parenthood, Selling Body Parts, and Appropriate Outrage

There are things not to be outraged about, and there are things to be outraged about.
Watching people have discussions about how best to kill and dismember an unborn baby would be one of the things to be outraged about.

Aborted baby parts for sale: Did journalists drag their feet on Planned Parenthood story?

I realize I haven’t really critiqued the media coverage itself with this post. My inability to offer a quick, easy opinion probably makes me a bad blogger (right, Sarah?). But as much as I hate to admit it, I’m still trying to understand the complexities and separate the fact from fiction — the reality from spin — in this situation.

What Are We Offended By Today?

The biblical response to a world offended by everything and anything is love. Just as God always has more grace than sin, Christians ought to have more love in their hearts than there is intolerance and indignation in the world. Love covers a multitude of sins, and it remains the identifying mark of Jesus followers. So the next time we find ourselves offended by those who are easily offended, perhaps we should note the emotion triggered by their easily-triggered indignation. Are we angry that they are offended? Do we want to lash out in bitterness or malice? Do we want to throw up our hands in disgust?
What would it take for us, instead, to pray a brief prayer of repentance and thanksgiving, praising God for loving us in spite our offensiveness to him? Ask for the power to live as Jesus did and love/forgive those who are so easily offended.

5 Ways Mission Agencies Stretch the Truth

There is nothing new in ministry exaggeration or riding on coattails of someone else—just read about Paul’s opponents in Corinth. For those of us who report back to donors and supporters, let’s seek to tell the truth so we don’t undermine what God is actually doing.

Christians and Non-Violence: Are We Where They Were?

In Acts, there are at least 13 instances where Christians are persecuted. The most famous of all is the persecution in Acts 8, by Saul of Tarsus. What was the churches reaction? Did they rise up and fight? Did they send in the F-16’s? Surely, they didn’t “take that lying down!” They, “Went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). That was their mighty weapon against persecution…the preaching of Jesus the Christ. They didn’t use violence, but preached the peace of Jesus. The interesting “pattern” within scripture is, that no matter how extreme the persecution was, the church responded in a non-violent way. Isn’t it interesting that the more the church was persecuted, the more the church grew through a strictly non-violent, gospel saturated, proclamation to those around them?

Hey Look the Most Nightmarish Idea for Plane Seating Ever

Zodiac Seats France, an industry supplier, has patented a new seating configuration that rips out the (horrid) middle seat in favor of one that faces the rear. With “Economy Class Cabin Hexagon,” you get more neighbors than ever before—and they are right in your face.

Can you guess which of these NBA players will make more money than Tim Duncan next season?

Tim Duncan just made another huge sacrifice. The 39-year-old legend is one of the 15 greatest players of all time and is still an All-Star, yet he signed a contract for just over $5 million next season so the Spurs had enough cap space to get LaMarcus Aldridge.
This quiz should put into perspective just how much Duncan sacrificed.

Links To Go (July 9, 2015)

As always, links are provided for information and entertainment; no endorsement nor agreement is implied

Responding to Obergefell v. Hodges: The Ruling and Its Implications for Religious Freedom

Now, in the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that the Constitution requires all states to recognize marriage equality, we’ve witnessed an outpouring of prophecies that the apocalypse for religious freedom is near. These prophets of doom are just wrong, except in one crucial respect.Virtually all of the publicly expressed predictions of the threat to religious freedom are either wrong or significantly overstated

Christian churches urged to fly U.S. flag below another

First it was one church. Then a second joined. Now there’s an online presence and a campaign for people of faith across the nation to recognize that God comes first, ahead of nation, and that means the Stars and Stripes will be accorded second place, behind the Christian flag.

Why the Average American May Be Worse Off Than Greece

  • Americans actually have more debt relative to income earned
  • Greece’s debt can be wiped out, but not yours
  • Greece can print money, but you can’t

Dear Programming Director For The Trinity Broadcasting Network

So I have a request. Before you air another episode of Benny Hinn asking for more money and delivering miracles through sleight of hand and theological smoke and mirrors, could you please make sure that Mr. HInn’s crusade is held in the parking lot that I was driving through on Tuesday morning?
If Mr. Hinn really does have the ability to perform supernatural miracles for a small fee, I saw a lot of people on Tuesday who could sure use one.
On the other hand, maybe, just maybe, you, Mr. Hinn and the other preachers on your network would cool it on the magic tricks if you actually had to look hurting people in the eye. Real hurting people. Not plants pretending to feel the anointing.

Ten Marks of a Kingdom-Shaped Church

  1. When the cruciform character of King Jesus shapes every major dimension of your local church.
  2. When your church perceives itself as a people redeemed and rescued from the world and evil by king Jesus.
  3. When your church knows it is governed by Lord Jesus.
  4. When your church challenges the lordless lords of our culture and country.
  5. When your church seeks to be a kingdom kind of community.
  6. When your church is known above all for loving one another and loving your neighbors.
  7. When your church establishes justice and peace within the local fellowship and then extends that justice and peace into the community.
  8. When your church cannot avoid being people of “good works” in the public sector.
  9. When your church becomes “sacred space” or “kingdom space” in your community.
  10. When your church’s spiritual disciplines foster these themes.

The God Who Redeems Your Regrets

We all have regrets but they don’t have to speak louder than God’s redemption. Flip through the Bible and you’ll meet several God followers who made disastrous choices. And you’ll see something else, every time they turned back to God; he took those regrets and exchanged them for something better.

Last Words…or Are They? Thoughts on Parenting College Students

You may have heard the frightening statistic that eighty-six percent of evangelical youth drop out of church after high school. While the dropout rate is biggest during this transitional time, it is not nearly that large. The reality is the vast majority of youth raised by evangelical parents are still evangelicals as adults. I want you to have hope and be encouraged.

6.5 Myths About Expat Life

Myth 1: Adventure
Myth 2: Living is the same as traveling
Myth 3: Feels like home
Myth 4: Expat life is always fulfilling and purposeful
Myth 5: Expat life is one of luxury, comfort, and ease
Myth 5.5: Expat life is one of suffering and deprivation
Myth 6: Expats are heroic

Ancient Ritual Bath Found Under Unsuspecting Family’s Floorboards

The discovered miqwe was carved out of rock and plastered according to the laws of purity appearing in the Halacha — a collective body of Jewish religious laws derived from the written and oral Torah. The doors on the living room floor opened to a staircase leading down to the bath’s immersion pool. Traditionally, both men and women entered the immersion pool to purify themselves after various events, like intercourse, menstruation and eating meat from an animal that dies naturally, among others, according to the Book of Leviticus, the third book of the Hebrew Bible.

Links To Go (July 7, 2015)

Amid gay pride marches, where is the ‘religious extremism’ many feared after Friday’s Supreme Court ruling?

Even as they express concern for the future of the United States, the nation’s so-called “extremists” have for the most part set an extremely good example of how to express profound disagreement with radical civility.
My hope is that the jubilant victors in the marriage debate will respond in kind.

Inequality: Where Right and Left Agree

The money affluent parents invest in their kids for summer camp, piano lessons, and trips to France has skyrocketed to nearly $7,000 per kid per year, while there’s no increase in the lower two-thirds of families. Putnam calls it the “summer camp gap.”
The amount of time parents spend reading to children has increased many multiples for middle- and upper-middle-class families, with huge implications for brain development. Meanwhile, activities for public school kids that 20 years ago were free, like football, band, and chorus, now carry a price tag.
A parent with an income of $200,000 has no problem with this arrangement. But if you have an income of $16,000, and you have two kids, two semesters can set you back $1,600, Putnam said. “Who in their right mind would pay 10 percent of their income for their kids to take part in athletics or band?”

How a Southern Baptist leader became surprising voice on Confederate flag

Moore, 43, preached his message through a 21st-century means, with a blog post, that he typed in half an hour.
“The cross and the Confederate flag cannot co-exist without one setting the other on fire,” he wrote two days after nine black chuchgoers were fatally shot in an apparent hate crime in Charleston, S.C. “White Christians, let’s listen to our African-American brothers and sisters. Let’s care not just about our own history, but also about our shared history with them.”

Who Owns the Dead?

As Knox would attest, our love for the deceased does not stop the moment their heart stops beating, so why should our care for them? For the small but growing group of people who are embracing the home funeral, proximity to the dead is the only thing that allows for anything like the modern-day “Good Death.” These people want to grieve as they’ve lived—not in an antiseptic, flower-filled reception room, but in a familiar, love-filled home.

The Power of Telling a Story

Our lives give credibility to the story of Jesus. Our service gives opportunity to share that story. But you will not make followers of Jesus in your world until you tell them the good news of Jesus. Tell your story. Tell His story. And invite them to become part of the story.

I had a couple of links to articles by Jay Guin, but his site unfortunately is not working at present. Here are the links, should the site come up:
Jesus and Paul on the Hermeneutics of Sexuality: Richard Beck, Part 2
The Future of the Churches of Christ: Direct Hit, Part 1