Links To Go (August 21, 2015)

Pastor Creflo Dollar: If You Don’t See Why I Need a $65 Million Plane, You Just Don’t Get the Bible

He explained to his congregation that anyone who questions his desire just doesn’t understand the Bible:

See, don’t get upset when the world says stuff and talk about stuff, and all that. They’re just looking through the wrong lens. They don’t understand.
“What does a preacher need with an airplane?” They don’t know! They’ll never know because they’re not looking through the Word. They will never know! They’ll never, never, never know.

That still doesn’t answer the question of why Dollar needs a private airplane…
His argument boils down to nothing more than “Gimme money because the Bible!”

I want a bigger Bible

The more voices we have access to, the bigger our Bible gets — the more we see what is there, behind our cultural blinders.
I can’t wait for the day there are commentaries from cultures all over the world. I can’t wait for the day publishers don’t just translate English sermons and books into other languages but also give us access to global evangelical leaders who have been translated into English.

Homosexuality: If Gay Marriage is Contrary to God’s Will, Shouldn’t It Be Illegal? Part 1

So there’s a line. That is, there are some sins that are properly criminalized by the government. Indeed, these sins really should be criminalized for government to be good government. And there are sins that only God can deal with — that are outside of the legitimate purposes of government.

My Kingdom Come Or Thy Kingdom Come?

Jesus’ vision for completing the Great Commission never consisted in platforming a few hyper-anointed megapastors to pack an auditorium with their electrifying sermons, but in empowering ordinary believers to carry the gospel with them into the streets.

NEW RESEARCH: Divorce Divides More Than Just Families

The survey of 1,000 U.S. adults finds only a minority would call divorce a sin even when:

– There’s adultery (39 percent).
– The two people no longer love each other (38 percent).
– One spouse has abandoned the other (38 percent).
– One spouse is abusing the other (37 percent).
– A spouse is addicted to pornography (35 percent).

The homeless man at our door

He showed up at Impact! Church soon after we moved into the Parker Street community and has never left. He refuses to go to an assisted living facility and has never done anything violent to warrant the authorities assigning him to one. He claims that he is our security detail and spends every day “guarding” the front doors of Impact! Church. Sometimes he sits outside the door, but when it gets especially hot he sits right inside the door. He welcomes folks to Impact!, talks to them about God and invites them to church. Every Monday morning I meet with him so he can critique the worship service and sermon from the previous day. His best friend is a 7-year-old girl named Lauren – the child of an Impact! leader. Lauren and Dutch love to watch Disney movies on her iPad. The technology amazes Dutch. At night he arranges a few cushioned chairs together in our sanctuary to form a bed. We always make sure that Dutch has plenty of clothes, food, medicine and hygiene products. Dutch basically lives at Impact! Church 24/7/365 because he has no where else to go.

The question no parent wants to ask

However, the story of segregation in our country presents us with a difficult question. I don’t have an answer for it, so I’m simply going to let it hang:
As Christians, what kind of lesson are we teaching our kids, when we leave the worst schools to the poorest children?
To put it another way, if education is about moral formation, isn’t the decision to evacuate the worst schools and leave them to the poor kids–isn’t that a kind of formation too?

Twenty-five Really Weird Things Said to Pastors and Other Church Leaders

I must admit, however, I was surprised when I asked church leaders on Twitter to share some of the more unusual comments they have received. I was first surprised at how many responded. But I was most surprised at the really strange things people tell pastors and other church leaders.

Bolt of lightning strikes plane during thunderstorms at Atlanta airport (Video)

The powerful bolt hits the back of a Delta plane, dissipating into beads of lightning, and igniting something on or around at least one of the plane’s tires. The passengers — who might not have even known they were struck by lightning — were safe because the plane’s metal exterior acts as a Faraday cage, which distributes the electrical charge around the outside of the plane without affecting the inside.

Links To Go (August 19, 2015)

3 Reminders for Christians During the Election Season

  1. No politician or political party can offer hope or redemption to our world.
  2. May we refuse to allow the Church to be divided by political party or candidates.
  3. May we remember that every “issue” we talk about is not an “issue” but a fellow human being.

The Spiritual Discipline of Hospitality

Practicing hospitality extends the welcome of God. We can do this whether we live in an apartment, a duplex, a small frame house, or a sprawling suburban home. We can serve a bowl of soup, a hamburger, or a steak. Our emphasis is the graciousness with which we welcome others.
Nothing will alleviate our self-consciousness like focusing on extending the grace of God through our hospitality. This focus is not on what others will think of you, your house, your furniture, or your meal. The focus is on allowing others to experience the grace of God in your home.

On Further Review– Why Gay Marriage Can’t Be Christian Marriage

At the end of the day either we realize that gender matters, and gender difference is essential to a real Christian marriage, or we totally change the definition of what counts as marriage, what counts as husband and wife, what counts as mother and father Biblically speaking. It is in no way surprising that in the most individualistic and narcissistic culture on the planet, that Americans would like to be able to even choose their gender, their own biology. But in fact you can’t do that, and since gender matters Biblically speaking when it comes to Christian marriage, you also do not have Biblical permission to redefine marriage, husband, wife, mother or father.

Why Gay Marriage Proponents Can’t Appeal to the Abolitionist Movement

It’s imperative that we understand these differences as we assess how the church through the ages has interacted with slavery. This is not to imply that slavery in the first century was a pleasant thing. But the race-based, chattel slavery practiced in the United States is in a different category. There is no way to defend such an abomination from Scripture, and those who sought to do so revealed their deep-seated racism.

Five Signs It Is Time to Give Up with a Critic

A wise leader looks for truth in a critique and sees the critic as a person formed in the image of God and a brother or sister in Christ, if the person is a believer. A loving leader seeks to win the person over with kindness and grace.
However, there are times to move on.
There are times that investing in constant communication with a critic is just bad stewardship.

Resources For The Bereaved

There are probably thousands of posts, poems, writings, and articles on the internet concerning the experience of bereavement. There is also an enormous amount of books available on the subject. Here are a few writings that I thought were especially helpful and encouraging. Some I simply resonated with, some brought a new thought or idea to my heart.

When Success Leads to Failure

We taught Marianna that her potential is tied to her intellect, and that her intellect is more important than her character. We taught her to come home proudly bearing As, championship trophies, and college acceptances, and we inadvertently taught her that we don’t really care how she obtains them. We taught her to protect her academic and extracurricular perfection at all costs and that it’s better to quit when things get challenging rather than risk marring that perfect record. Above all else, we taught her to fear failure. That fear is what has destroyed her love of learning.

Share This With All The Schools, Please

You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down- right away- who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.

Parents Drive 93 Miles, Realize They Forgot Girl, 3

The child had apparently been left at the rest stop—which included a playground, per Sky News—around midday. “None of them had noticed she wasn’t there” in the vehicle, an officer says. The BBC reports the girl’s father called police at 3pm. By that point, the family had traveled 93 miles and were more than halfway to their destination.

Links To Go (August 11, 2015)

Missing the Target: Some Brief Thoughts on Target’s Cultural Capitulation

After all God’s good design, which includes our gender, is not meant to restrict, but to enable us to flourish.Ultimately, God has created boys and girls for more than toys. He’s created them for a purpose far greater than Mattel or American Girl Doll. He’s created every boy and girl for himself, to display his image and glory in the world. And he has created them as male and female.And no Target sign can change that.

Police kill a white teen, and the silence raises questions

Racism and unconscious bias result in a disproportionate number of black deaths at the hands of police, activists contend. According to a Washington Post database, blacks account for 25 percent of people shot dead this year by police.
But the Hammond death is important because it speaks to the broad issue of how police use deadly force, Jenkins says. “In cases where they are doing it excessively, that is an issue that in some respects is beyond race.”

The One Role for a Woman in Church

What if, instead of obsessing over our place in the church, we simply set out to humble ourselves as much as possible? What if, dear sisters in our Lord Jesus, we opened clenched fists and opened our arms to those who need us, ministering in the beautiful, glorious ways that God has gifted us to minister? What if we spoke when we should and we were quiet when silence will bring Him the most glory? What if we stopped making church a battle of wills and started making it the fulfilling of His will alone?

What Will Become of the Earth: A Nashville Bible School Perspective

Alexander Campbell was a postmillennialist. James A. Harding was a premillennialist. Walter Scott changed his mind several times. David Lipscomb was uncertain.
However, these all agreed that the most important aspect of the Christ’s second coming was the regeneration not only of the soul, but the body and the whole cosmos. They believed God will refine the present cosmos by fire and transform (renew) it into a “new heaven and new earth,” just as God will raise our bodies from the grave and transform them into bodies animated by the Holy Spirit fitted for living on the new earth. They believed, as Alexander Campbell put it, that “the hope of the resurrection to everlasting life” in “the new earth and the new heavens” was essential to the Christian vision of life and hope, central to the gospel of grace itself (Millennial Harbinger, 1865, p. 494).

11 Keith Green Songs That Changed Worship Music

Though Green was a respected musician—he was close friends with Bob Dylan—his legacy as recording artist transcends his songs. He implemented a then-unheard-of “whatever you can afford” pricing system for some of his music (even if it meant giving it away)—all the way back in 1979. And, long before TOMS, he embraced the “buy-one, give-one” model, requesting that Christian bookstores that sold his album give another to the customer for he or she to give to a friend.

By being frugal financially, Ryan Broyles believes he has set up future

He knew NFL players, and athletes in general, go bankrupt. He saw athletes blow through millions. He was determined not to have that happen to him.
He came up with a budget. Broyles said he and his wife, Mary Beth, have lived on $60,000 a year, “give or take”, throughout his career. Everything else has gone to investments, retirement savings and securing Broyles’ post-football monetary future.
Broyles wanted to make sure his NFL career, however long it lasts, really did set him up for life.

Police say hungry dogs seeking cupcakes left on stove cause small fire in Pennsylvania home

Police say it appears the dogs were trying to get into the cupcakes and not only knocked off the stove’s control knobs, they also turned on the stove, causing the fire.

Links To Go (August 7, 2015)

Links to make you think. No agreement nor endorsement implied, neither with specific viewpoints nor websites cited… Tim

In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry for Lions

The American tendency to romanticize animals that have been given actual names and to jump onto a hashtag train has turned an ordinary situation — there were 800 lions legally killed over a decade by well-heeled foreigners who shelled out serious money to prove their prowess — into what seems to my Zimbabwean eyes an absurdist circus.
PETA is calling for the hunter to be hanged. Zimbabwean politicians are accusing the United States of staging Cecil’s killing as a “ploy” to make our country look bad. And Americans who can’t find Zimbabwe on a map are applauding the nation’s demand for the extradition of the dentist, unaware that a baby elephant was reportedly slaughtered for our president’s most recent birthday banquet.

There is No Pro-Life Case For Planned Parenthood

Tell the allegedly “pro-life” institution you support to set down the forceps, put away the vacuum, and then we’ll talk about what kind of family planning programs deserve funding. But don’t bring your worldview’s bloody hands to me and demand my dollars to pay for soap enough to maybe wash a few flecks off.

70 years after Hiroshima, opinions have shifted on use of atomic bomb

In 1945, a Gallup poll immediately after the bombing found that 85% of Americans approved of using the new atomic weapon on Japanese cities. In 1991, according to a Detroit Free Press survey conducted in both Japan and the U.S., 63% of Americans said the atomic bomb attacks on Japan were a justified means of ending the war, while only 29% thought the action was unjustified. At the same time, only 29% of Japanese said the bombing was justified, while 64% thought it was unwarranted.
But a 2015 Pew Research Center survey finds that the share of Americans who believe the use of nuclear weapons was justified is now 56%, with 34% saying it was not. In Japan, only 14% say the bombing was justified, versus 79% who say it was not.

Fresh Food And Fresh Starts

Jisa had a desire to grow fresh food, but also connect poor with that food. As a social worker, she was troubled by the fact that 1 in 100 adults in the U.S. in either in jail or prison. By taking her love of farming and combining it with a program to benefit women recently released from prison, her hope is that she can help these women stay out of prison, while teaching the local community about the benefits of healthy eating.

Four Essential Practices for Any Church Leader

  1. Take care of your mind.
  2. Take care of your soul.
  3. Take care of your emotions.
  4. Take care of your body.

Avoid the “Kiss of Death” in Your Relationship

What is the one factor that they have identified for predicting divorce? Contempt. Contempt is a mix of anger and disgust towards another person. And in the case of marriage Gottman– a psychologist at the University of Washington and founder of the Gottman Institute–studied 79 couples over a period of 14 years to arrive at his conclusion: contempt is the “Kiss of Death” in a relationship.

Groom sues bride for not looking pretty without make-up

“He said he was deceived by her as she used to fill up her face with make up before their marriage,” the papers said, quoting a court source.
“He said she looked very beautiful and attractive before marriage, but when he woke up in the morning and found that she had washed the make-up off her face, he was frightened as he thought she was a thief.
“The groom told court that he is demanding $20,000 damages for his psychological suffering.”

Links To Go (August 5, 2015)

America welcomes Christians, Jews; atheists, Muslims not so much

Nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) recognize the USA as a nation of many religions. However, that doesn’t translate to a welcome mat at everyone’s front door.
Roughly 9 in 10 Americans say it is a welcoming place for Christians and Jews. Only 67 percent say it is welcoming to atheists, usually in last place on public favorability polls.
And just 57 percent see America as welcoming to Muslims, according to the survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Why the missional movement will fail

The missional movement will fail because, by-and-large, we are having a discussion about mission devoid of discipleship. Unless we start having more discussion about discipleship and how we make missionaries out of disciples, this movement will stall and fade. Any discussion about mission must begin with discipleship.

Go Big or Go Home: How “Big” Has Invaded the Church

But the concept of “big” outside of God himself is simply not part of the gospel. In fact, the word only appears four times in the whole New Testament, most tellingly in a cautionary tale: the Parable of the Rich Fool who looks for shalom in his bounty. “I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain” (Luke 12:18). Isn’t this exactly what we do when we build big churches? We seek to “store up” the faithful—our faithful—to secure the proof that our lives of Kingdom work have not been in vain? We create a thumping worship experience to mirror the buzz of the Holy Spirit, who can’t always be counted on to show.

Exceptionally Ordinary

Do you really think God needs you or I to do anything in order to accomplish what he wills? We’re overestimating our value by 100% if we do. God uses means to accomplish his will, yes. However, he decides the means, not us. He chooses his servants, both great and small, to accomplish the tasks he wants them to do. We’re going by the wrong economy if we measure kingdom impact by worldly numbers.

Loving The Enemy: Jesus and The Early Church

We’re so comfortable with the idea of necessary violence as part of our way of living, that it is almost impossible to fathom that Jesus is calling us to a non-violent way of life as part of our kingdom witness. Seriously! Listening to some Christians defend the use of violence leaves me the impression that the Jesus they follow entered into Jerusalem with military gear and an assault rifle, like captured in the picture here.

10 Things the Church Can Learn from Community Theater

Hearing Corey’s excitement for the show and his experience in this intergenerational cast, I couldn’t help but think of the many aspects of community theater which are touchstones of good spiritual community … and which the Church may need to be reminded of occasionally.

Ushers serve as ‘doorkeepers’ to worship

If church is a place where souls are saved, he reasons, what could be more important than getting people in the doors and engaging them?
“If you come in and nobody speaks to you, you carry that mood to your seat. So when people come in, I always look them, smile and say ‘Good morning,'” says Wilson, 82, who began ushering at Perkins Square at 8, returned to it at Enon in 1957 and hasn’t stopped. “They can focus their minds on what the pastor is saying.”

Man calls police to arrest his cat for eating his bacon

The dispatcher kept her cool when she asked if the man wanted to press charges against his wife or against his cat. When the man replied that he wanted them both arrested, the dispatcher said:
“Sir, it’s not an offense to let your cat eat your bacon. And we don’t arrest cats.”
The man shockingly attempted to protest the dispatcher’s statement. He insisted that his girlfriend enabled the cat to steal his food, and thus his girlfriend should be arrested. Finally, after what people are calling an unbelievable defense, the man cut his losses and ended the call.