Links To Go (April 24, 1015)

Bread, Wine and the Purpose of It All

So today, may you eat something as average as bread and drink something as mundane as wine. May you be reminded at the God who has injected meaning and life into everything you see and touch. And may we all honor God by loving each other well.


Five Ways Church Members Hold the Church as a Financial Hostage

Hear me clearly. Most church members give to their local churches freely, joyously, and without stipulations. But almost every church has one or more members who attempt to use “their” funds for their own needs and preferences.


The Static Church View and the Growth of a Church

We are a restoration church. We seek to restoration 1st century Christianity to a 21st century suburb area. We practice the same faith that Christians have practiced for thousands of years, but we also practice changing those elements that culturally connect with the people we are seeking to renew in God. If a leader cannot imagine the church for the next ten years, how it will look different, how it will behavior different, and what will be the future, this leader has taken on a static view of the congregation, and has denied the restoration culture within the churches of Christ.


Aspiring to the Great Commission Is Not Enough: Knowing the Gospel Doesn’t Mean We’re Sharing It

So rather than making our primary focus inviting younger adults to church, let’s first seek to tell them about Jesus and the good news of the Gospel that Jesus died on the cross for our sin and in our place. When they grasp that, they’ll get the church part. They’ll understand they can’t love Jesus and despise His wife. They’ll get that. But let’s first bring them Jesus.


How Miscarriage Led to My Crisis of Faith

God provided comfort through the suffering of his Son. I wasn’t alone in my pain. He wasn’t leaving me to my own. He began to reveal to me that he understood and he loved me dearly. I didn’t have anywhere else to go but to him, and he answered my cry in the wilderness. It was comforting for me to realize that it was okay to be in a wilderness. Jesus didn’t go to the cross cheering and clapping his hands. He was sorrowful—sorrowful for this world and for the pain and separation from his Father he knew he’d have to endure. It was okay to weep. Through my tears I had great hope because I knew that I wasn’t praying to a dead Savior. He rose and was indeed interceding on my behalf.


What Have I Left Behind?

One of our conscious thoughts should be that we are an ‘aroma’. Consumers spend billions of dollars a year in the fragrance industry to have a pleasing aroma. Christians, let’s try to be aware that we are to be the ‘fragrance of Christ’. What are you leaving behind that will influence the hearts and minds of people in your path?


5 Ways to Bless Someone This Sunday

How do we move from a Christianity focused on ourselves, to a Christianity where we consider “the interests of others”? It doesn’t happen overnight. We must be purposeful. We must take small steps to change our way of thinking. We must break old habits, and look for ways to bless others. It all begins with us. Don’t wait another week. Here are five ways you can bless someone this Sunday.


Thunderstorms

God has instructed us, not about the origins of thunder, but about his existence and his character. I can hear the rumbling and recognize whoever created the process and set the rules in order is surely powerful and mighty. However that doesn’t tell me about God’s nature and character. It isn’t enough for us to know we have a powerful God. Power alone won’t draw us to him or create our devotion. In fact, power alone often causes us to draw back or keep our distance.
God has revealed that he loves us, desires us, and sacrifices for us. His revelation tells us about his clear plans, his heart’s desire, and his consistent expectations.


How Ralph The Homeless Man And I Made Someone’s Day

See, the homeless man, while important, blessed another in the process by simply not being where he should have been. And….the homeless man and I gave a boss an opportunity to praise an employee when such wasn’t on his docket. We just created an Employee of the Day award…that homeless Ralph and me.


Man fires 8 gunshots into his Dell PC after Blue Screens of Death push him over edge

“I just had it,” Lucas Hinch, 38, told The Smoking Gun (via Ars Technica). Apparently the PC had thrown up one too many blue screens of death in recent months, so Hinch took it into an alley, loaded up a 9mm Hi-Point pistol that he’d purchased on Craiglist, and let the bullets fly.


Dog driving tractor causes motorway tailbacks

Drivers in Scotland had a ruff journey this work to morning when a dog drove a tractor onto the M74 motorway near Abington in South Lanarkshire.
The bizarre incident was reported by Traffic Scotland who tweeted: “M74 (N) J13-RTC due to dog taking control of tractor… nope, not joking. Farmer and police at scene, vehicle in central res.”
It was reported that the dog had leaned on the controls of the tractor, taking it from a field on to the road.


Links To Go (April 21, 2015)

America Is Not the Future of the Church

As Evans quotes G.K. Chesterton, “Christianity has had a series of revolutions, and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.”
The church may be “dying” here, but from the Amazon to the Sahara to the Ganges, it is very far from dead.


A Biblical Argument (Sort of) in Opposition to the Bible as Tennessee’s State Book

Christians who get themselves in positions of governing power, and then start pulling such stunts, become an affront to Christianity. It damages the name of Christianity. It wastes time and energy. It unnecessarily offends. If you feel so obligated to offend in the name of Christianity, please offend us by praying for your enemies, seeking good for those who do ill to you, forgiving seventy times seven, giving to any who ask of you, turning the other cheek, and caring for the poor, marginalized, and ostracized, all that radical stuff that is actually in the Bible.


I’m Kimmy Schmidt, Minus the ‘Unbreakable’

It was so hard for me to understand my own feelings that when I watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt I hollered with laughter when Kimmy’s bunker-mate said: “Yeah, I’m doing good. Sometimes I get mad for no reason. Like the other day I smashed one of those Kia Sorrentos.” Yep. That is so life after a cult. You’re alive, you’re okay—maybe—but then you have these inexplicable bouts of severe negativity, and you don’t know why. It took me two years unpredictable, unwieldy emotions before I asked for help in therapy.


A Holy People

The church in our day is known for many things; some great, some laughable, and some embarrassing. But what will our individual local churches be known for?
Slick services? Music cranked to eleven? Disney-fried children’s ministries? It’s easy for a church to become known for a product, but we are more often known for the people—the actual church. What will the living and breathing church, not the commodities we produce, but the people that fill the pews, what will we be know for?
We will be known for being mean, angry, and “get off my lawn” kind of people? Are we perceived as gossipy, grudge-holding, hypercritical holier-than-thous? Our doctrine matters, and so does our doctrine in animation—in life and in the culture of our churches.
We ought to be known for being holy people.


How Shauna Niequist helps Christians turn kitchen tables into sacred spaces

The second is that food is a symbol for the whole material, tactile, messy, loud, smelly world God made. I love this world. I love the sounds and smells and textures, and they seem to me to be just as divine as the ideas and beliefs we hold about God. A lot of modern Christianity is about your head—right beliefs that don’t engage our senses or connect us to the world God made. Food gets us back to caring about material, tactile life, not just brains and ideas.


How to Love Where You Are

Quitting jobs the minute they get challenging or boring doesn’t lead anywhere. And here’s a sobering thought I waited to say until after I had wooed you with unicorn jokes: Every job has boring parts.
It’s true. There’s no such thing as a perfect job where you just sit around all day watching entire seasons of shows on Netflix and eating bottomless bowls of queso. (That’s not your dream job? Fine, we’re different.)
What if, regardless of the job you have right this second, there was a way to enjoy it more?


No Cigar: Obama’s Cuba Critics Are Dead Wrong

The adoption of a new approach is long overdue. Washington’s current strategy has been in place for some fifty-five years, yet it has spectacularly failed to achieve its objective of bringing down Cuba’s communist government. One wonders what the proponents of staying the course hope to accomplish. Do they believe that the fifty-sixth year—or the maybe the sixtieth or eightieth year—will be the charm? At some point, persisting in a policy that is clearly not working constitutes nothing more than being obstinate. We reached that point in our Cuba policy several decades ago.


Parrot’s Cries of ‘Help, Fire’ Bring Firefighters to Burning House in Idaho

“Once the captain did his walk-around, he could hear something or someone inside yelling, ‘help, fire, help, fire,'” Islas said. Crews went into “rescue mode” and called for backup, thinking that the calls for help were coming from an elderly female, Islas said.
When firefighters couldn’t find anyone in the house, they started using thermal imagery technology, which detected no people, but rather, a parrot sitting on a table, Islas said.


Links To Go (April 17, 2015)

Why Following Your Heart Is a Really Bad Idea

Therefore, we should follow the Great Heart Surgeon. This would be a great campaign movement: Don’t follow your heart; follow Jesus. Follow His Word, and His Holy Spirit that has been given to us as believers. “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever (John 14:16).”


Three Cheers for Celibacy

Paul’s teaching on celibacy makes it clear that he expected people to want to have sex and to not do it – and that this lifestyle of celibacy was to be preferred over marrying in order to act on the desire to have sex. This kind of attitude toward sexual desire and sexual activity provides a way of relating to those with same sex attraction that is dignifying to them and faithful to Scripture. But we cannot pull out the celibacy card only when advising our gay and lesbian friends how to live a Christian life – it must be held up as a normal way for Christians to live, no matter one’s sexual orientation.


Faithfully Delivering the Gospel

Christians are to simply be minimum wage table servers, taking the masterpiece from the award winning chef and bringing it to the tables. It would be just as absurd to edit the gospel as it would be for a waiter at a five star restaurant to sprinkle on some hot sauce, pull off some asparagus and dump some Splenda in the soup. We just need to faithfully deliver the goods with reverent zeal remembering it is not us that converts but God and his means is the powerful gospel of Jesus.


Seven Reasons We Hate Free-Range Parenting

Think of it this way: There were always stranger abductions, but they were always extremely rare, perhaps 2 or 3 per 1 million children under 12 in the U.S. each year. However, in the 1970s, you most likely only heard about local cases, and because these were rare, you would hear about one every few years in a moderately large metropolitan area. This made it sound like what it is: an unimaginably terrible thing that thankfully almost never happens. Very occasionally, a case would catch the imagination and make national news, like the Lindbergh baby. But these almost always happened in big cities like New York, or to rich people, so people didn’t imagine that this was a risk that faced them.


Why I Wear The Exact Same Thing to Work Every Day

The thought of reclaiming the driver’s seat can feel overwhelming, but even small changes can make a huge difference. The simple choice of wearing a work uniform has saved me countless wasted hours thinking, “what the hell am I going to wear today?” And in fact, these black trousers and white blouses have become an important daily reminder that frankly, I’m in control.


Rutgers’ Lord Nelson, only horse ever to be penalized in college football game, dies at 42

One of Lord Nelson’s duties during his 37-year Rutgers career was carrying the school’s Scarlet Knight mascot during football games. It was against Army in 1994 that Lord Nelson was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after he broke free and raced down the sideline at Giants Stadium.


Great-grandmother, 92, hits mugger with mobility scooter

He saw the contents of Ms Seabrook’s basket, mounted on the front of her scooter, before grabbing Ms Mason by the arm and reaching for her carrier bag. Ms Mason shouted “Oh, no you don’t,” and hit the accelerator of her scooter.
The would-be thief was knocked to the ground before the great-grandmothers, both of Swindon, Wiltshire, sped off.


Links To Go (April 15, 2015)

Dangers of Consumer Church

We can tell people to practice self-denial, but when everything we do caters to their felt needs as consumers (from their placement in small groups, to their participation, or lack thereof, in worship), our practice contradicts the teaching. It’s no wonder so many well-meaning church goers find the call to a cruciform life utterly incoherent.


Christ Builds His Church, We Make Disciples

When Jesus builds His church, He does the building by using disciples just like you. He has the authority to send you, and He goes with you. Through very imperfect people God works to create His perfect and beautiful Bride, the Church.
Pray that God’s will be done, and that He would build His church. Then stand on your feet, roll up your sleeves and by the power of the Holy Spirit, go and make disciples.


Are You Weak Enough for God to Use You?

The Apostle Paul said it this way: “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Cor 12:9). You see, if we brag on our strengths, people may look at us and think, “I wish I were more like that … but I can’t be.” But if we brag on our weaknesses, that makes people think, “Wow, I have access to the same power that guy does!” Christians aren’t people who boast about their superior morality; they are beggars telling a bunch of other beggars where to find bread.


Trade in the American Dream for a Better One

Dream a bigger dream than the American Dream. You didn’t think there was one? Let me challenge you to think again. Look at the problems debt has caused in our nation and in personal lives. What would your life be like if you could learn contentment? The Apostle Paul said that he had learned to be content in whatever situation he found himself. He wrote: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”


10 Ways to Simplify Your Life

For Michelle and I, minimalism helps us have a margin of time and money to work on projects that we feel called to do. “Living simple” isn’t what we glorify and celebrate—minimalism is a tool and a means to an end. We can’t afford to live the traditional, idealistic “American Dream” and still pursuing God’s calling on our life. We can’t have both, nor would we want both.


7 Ways to Create Time to Think

  1. Make it part of your job.
  2. First things first.
  3. Reframe circumstances by asking “Why?” five times.
  4. Create a “thinking hour.”
  5. Hibernate.
  6. Get moving.
  7. Have loose and tight goals.

Seattle firm raising pay of all staffers to minimum $70,000

The idea began percolating, said Dan Price, the founder of Gravity Payments, after he read an article on happiness. It showed that for people who earn less than about $70,000, extra money makes a big difference in their lives.
His idea bubbled into reality Monday afternoon, when Price surprised his 120-person staff by announcing he planned over the next three years to raise the salary of even the lowest-paid clerk, customer-service representative and salesman to a minimum $70,000.


Links To Go (April 14, 2015)

The Transgender Agenda

How will we teach and model sexuality in a way that strengthens and clarifies real marriage and family life, honours singleness, recognises brokenness, accepts those who ‘don’t fit the box’, and challenges sinfulness with truth and love?


Kids Aren’t the Priority. Marriage Is.

Strong marriages make for strong families, and it’s worth it to invest in our marriages so that we don’t lose intimacy with our spouse in the busy years of parenting. The kids, as treasured and valuable as they are, will leave. The spouse is the one who is meant to stay.


Why You Need to Sing Loudly in Church

As we head to church on Sunday — as overworked dads, stressed out mums, grandparents struggling with health, and young people looking for wealth — we can, with integrity and relief, go with repentance and thanksgiving to the One who has created us, forgiven us and who lives within us. How can we not sing?


Why Are We So Afraid of Silence?

Do you know those people who seem to carry with them an inner stillness? The ones who seem serene and quietly solid and peaceful? They’re getting harder and harder to find. Most people I know (myself included) are overstimulated and overwhelmed—like the whole mass of humanity is a six-pack of cola shaken and poised to explode.


The Makers of ‘Left Behind’ Are Crowdingfunding a Sequel. Prepare Yourselves

For $200 you can “Be one of the ‘raptured’ by having your image featured on the ‘Missing Persons’ wall in a special, limited edition Left Behind 2 movie poster!” For $500 you can have your name listed in the credits. For $750 you can “be included on a wall in the background of the film as one of the raptured missing persons.” For $2,500, you can be an extra. Sadly, yet totally unsurprisingly, the $7,500 level—which lets you get an actual speaking role in the film—is sold out.


Alaska 737 returns to Seattle after napping worker awakes in cargo hold

A sleepy Sea-Tac Airport worker who used the cargo hold of an Alaska Airlines 737 for a nap was awakened in a panic when the flight took off for Los Angeles, Alaska Airlines officials said.
Flight 448 departed at 2:39 p.m. but immediately after takeoff the pilot reported hearing banging from someone underneath the plane, the airline said in a statement.
The captain declared an emergency and returned to the airport, where a Menzies Aviation ramp agent was found inside the front cargo hold. The ramp agent was taken to Highline Hospital to be checked out and was later released.