Category Archives: links

Links To Go (March 27, 2019)

Don’t Mistake Transfer Growth for Evangelism

This kind of growth is not evangelistic, however, and it is imperative for pastors to be honest about the nature of such growth. If pastors lack such honesty, they may take measures that are effective at growing a church but not reaching the lost. The fastest way to grow a church is usually through appeals to people who are already following Jesus. It’s intuitive: The people looking for churches are already Christians. Those who are far from Christ ignore our advertisements, our events, and our seeker-friendly sermons.


3 Reminders When You Feel Social Media Burnout

  1. God Made Us for Community.
  2. God Made Us for Intimate Connection With Him.
  3. God Made Us for Eternity.

When You Can’t Escape Busyness

When we fear our busy circumstances, we believe the lie that life can only keep going because of us. We believe in our performance, well-planned schedules, and ability to hold things together. We deny God’s power at work within us when we think our circumstances are simply too much. When we set our minds on our abilities and fear our circumstances more than we fear God, sin will result. When the pressures of life take away our ability to perform, we’ll react in the weakness of our flesh.


‘Speak English’: Houston-area elected official apologizes after speaking out against Lina Hidalgo

Tice said that if Hidalgo delivers updates in Spanish, she should also deliver updates in other widely used languages in the Houston area.
“You got 300,000 Muslims [in the Houston area], so lets go ahead and speak some Arabic,” he said.


Iditarod musher loses lead after dogs band together and quit on him

Musher Nicolas Petit lost a huge lead in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Monday when his dog team refused to keep going after he yelled at one of the animals.
A dog named Joey had been fighting with another dog on the team and jumped it during a break on the way to the Bering Sea checkpoint of Koyuk.
“I yelled at Joey, and everybody heard the yelling, and that doesn’t happen,” Petit told the Iditarod Insider website. “And then they wouldn’t go anymore. Anywhere. So we camped here.”


Ohio Man Honors 17th-Century Monks by Consuming Only Beer During Lent

There are no strict rules about what Catholics can and can’t give up for the Lent: Observers of the holy season can choose to abstain from everything from fried foods to social media. This year, one Ohio man is making the extreme pledge to give up food entirely, consuming only beer during Lent, Cincinnati news station WKRC reports.


BA flight lands in Edinburgh instead of Düsseldorf by mistake

A British Airways flight destined for Düsseldorf in Germany has landed in Edinburgh by mistake, after the flight paperwork was submitted incorrectly.
The passengers only realised the error when the plane landed and the “welcome to Edinburgh” announcement was made.


Links To Go (March 13, 2019)

Modern-day ‘sticks and stones’

You see, when we stand face to face, rather than keyboard to keyboard, we can see the humanity of the other person. We can have an actual dialogue, ask questions and come away with an understanding of each other’s position.


Who We Are Instead

How can we be salt and light if we side with political power? How can we have a single-minded allegiance to God, while grasping on to earthly structures? Forgive me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t God demand and command allegiance to Him alone and not to a fallen human, state, flag, or political party? Does He not introduce an alternative Kingdom called the Church?


Do 47 Percent of Christian Millennials Think Evangelism Is Wrong?

In summary, the way we phrase evangelism and the definitions we import into polls carry significant weight on how people respond. What’s more, since the Barna definition of practicing Millennial Christians included practicing Catholics, practicing mainline Protestants, and practicing Evangelical Protestants, different versions of evangelism might be acceptable to Millennials of different Christian denominations. And indeed, that is what the data showed, with practicing Catholics the least positive toward evangelism, and practicing Evangelical Protestants the most positive toward evangelism.


The Weakness and Strength of Being an Autistic Christian

The Autistic Christian ought not to retreat from the Church and the Neurotypical Christian ought not to shun those who have trouble socializing. Sadly, I have seen both. I have seen and experienced being rejected, ostracized, and treated as if I don’t exist by Christians who seem to feel it is easier to ignore people who are different than embrace them. It’s discouraging and painful to have been treated as non-existent or rejected as a bad person even by pastors simply because I have difficulty with social skills and eye contact.


The Equality Act Accelerates Anti-Christian Bias

The Equality Act fails to make meaningful status/conduct distinctions. It treats the Christian baker who objects to using her creative talent to design a same-sex wedding cake the same as an individual who would stupidly, and bigotedly, deny an LGBT person a booth at a restaurant. In short, the Equality Act equates Christian ethics with hatred and bigotry.


Stop asking ‘how are you?’ Harvard researchers say this is what successful people do when making small talk

Start with a question that will build up to a conversation that meets the A.C.T. criteria:

  • A – There’s authenticity
  • C – There’s a connection
  • T – There’s a topic that will give them taste of who you are

Why people think their phones are listening to them

Basically, companies that thrive on our information, like Google, Facebook and, increasingly, Amazon, are able to thoroughly understand our likes and interests based on the data we give them. They’ve become so effective at doing this that we’ve created elaborate conspiracy theories to rationalize how powerful their services truly are.


What Google knows about you

What Google collects:

  • The terms you search for.
  • The videos you watch.
  • Voice and audio information when you use audio features.
  • Purchase activity.
  • People with whom you communicate or share content.
  • Activity on third-party sites and apps that use Google services.
  • The ads and content you view on Google’s sites, as well as interactions with that content.
  • Chrome browsing history you’ve synced with your Google Account.
  • Location data, which Google can either gather directly via GPS data or infer from other sensors and data, including IP addresses, nearby Wi-Fi routers and Bluetooth beacons.

Facebook backtracks after removing Warren ads calling for Facebook breakup

Facebook removed several ads placed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign that called for the breakup of Facebook and other tech giants.
But the social network later reversed course after POLITICO reported on the takedown, with the company saying it wanted to allow for “robust debate.”
The ads, which had identical images and text, touted Warren’s recently announced plan to unwind “anti-competitive” tech mergers, including Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram.


Are People Using Mobile Devices In Public Getting More Thoughtless?

Am I being unreasonable wishing that people didn’t broadcast their phone conversations, play their videos in public without headphones or hold up traffic as they take selfie after selfie in the search for the perfect pose?
With the number of people doing one or more of the above on the rise, I’m left wondering if I have an outdated view of how people should behave in public or if it’s just that more and more people are ignorant and oblivious of the world around them.


Passenger jet turns around after mother FORGETS her baby

One of the controllers can then be heard asking a colleague: ‘This flight is requesting to come back…a passenger forgot her baby in the waiting area, the poor thing.’
They then said: ‘OK, head back to the gate. This is totally a new one for us!’


Family says Fort Lauderdale funeral home displayed wrong body at woman’s wake

7News spoke with another family who had the funeral of their loved one earlier this month. They said they have reason to believe the body they buried on March 2 may have been Newman’s. They believe the funeral home swapped the bodies.


Links To Go (March 8, 2019)

What if The Foundation of Discernment is Hope and Not Suspicion?

I’m convinced that we’ve gotten this wrong and because of it the gift of discernment has now become synonymous with the “gift” of being a jerk. True discernment will spot error. And it’ll call error out. But that’s not the intention of the search.


Giving Up For Lent

Fasting isn’t something we have to do for God. It’s a gift God has given us, when we need to understand that our weakness isn’t something we need to fear, because of his strength on the cross.


Small, Struggling Congregations Fill U.S. Church Landscape

In some ways, however, those numbers mask deeper evangelistic issues. When evaluating churches based on the number of conversions per 100 attendees, 67 percent had fewer than 10 per 100 people attending their church. Around a third (35 percent) had fewer than five new commitments for every 100 people attending their worship services.


The Most Sinful States in America?

The point, though, is that this study is primarily about culture, economics, class, homogeneity, and regional histories. It deals with external crimes and vices. But it doesn’t get at what the Bible means by sin: the condition of the human heart. Our internal sinfulness can manifest itself in these external sins. But it need not.


3 Important Life Skills Nobody Ever Taught You

  1. How to Stop Taking Things Personally
  2. How to Be Persuaded and Change Your Mind
  3. How to Act Without Knowing the Result

Hipster whines at tech mag for using his pic to imply hipsters look the same, discovers pic was of an entirely different hipster

The stock photo giant checked the model release and lo! The guy in the image wasn’t even the same dude who was complaining. “He’d misidentified himself,” Lichfield said. “All of which just proves the story we ran: hipsters look so much alike that they can’t even tell themselves apart from each other.”


Links to Go (February 27, 2019)

African United Methodists Won’t Trade Bible for Dollars

But with all due respect, a fixation on money seems more of an American problem than an African one. We get by on far less than most Americans do; we know how to do it. I’m not so sure you do. So if anyone is so naïve or condescending as to think we would sell our birth right in Jesus Christ for American dollars, then they simply do not know us.


How can we take a Biblical stance on cultural issues without appearing hateful or bigoted?

The bottom line is there is not much we can do to avoid being considered haters or bigots. No matter how tender, compassionate, and courteous we try to be, the world is in rebellion against the truth of God’s Word. The Bible clearly states that God has created us male and female, homosexual behavior is a sin, and it’s wrong for a man to dress like a woman. The world has come to believe Satan’s lie that homosexuality is a gender instead of a behavior. But we can’t alter God’s truth. No matter how tactful we try to express it, the truth goes against the grain of popular opinion.


An Agenda for Moderates

The problem with today’s left-wing and right-wing ideas is that they are both based on a scarcity mind-set. They are based upon us/them, friend/enemy, politics is war, life is conflict.
They are both based on the fantasy that the other half of America can be conquered, and when it disappears we can get everything we want. They are both based on the idea that if we can just concentrate enough power in the centralized authoritarian state, then we can ram through the changes we seek.


Seven Benefits to the Coming Opposition

So, how can the coming opposition be an advantage to the mission of Jesus Christ in North America? Here are seven ways that we can anticipate finding a kingdom blessing in the loss of our earthly status:

  1. Opposition Reminds Us of What Matters
  2. Opposition Weeds Out the Frauds
  3. Opposition Raises Up Prophetic Voices
  4. Opposition Moves People to the Margins
  5. Opposition Enhances the Need for Genuine Discipleship
  6. Opposition Unites Believers
  7. Ultimately, Opposition Increases, not Diminishes, the number of Jesus’ Disciples

When God Doesn’t

What do we do when we feel as if God has forgotten us? And just as difficult, how do we deal with those in our lives who allow their brokenness to cause our own? It’s a difficult lesson when you’re an adult and nearly impossible for children but it’s happening all around us. Church, we have a responsibility to help those struggling.


Workism Is Making Americans Miserable

The economists of the early 20th century did not foresee that work might evolve from a means of material production to a means of identity production. They failed to anticipate that, for the poor and middle class, work would remain a necessity; but for the college-educated elite, it would morph into a kind of religion, promising identity, transcendence, and community. Call it workism.


The tech giant fighting anti-vaxxers isn’t Twitter or Facebook. It’s Pinterest

Even still, Pinterest seems to be the first social media company that is willing to take responsibility for the content on its pages–beyond industry mainstays like banning violent or pornographic images, perhaps–recognizing that the truth of content is as integral to a user’s experience as the interface that serves it.


Why Are Bots Unable to Check “I Am Not a Robot” Checkboxes?

So why is all this hard for a bot to beat? Because now you’ve got a ridiculous amount of messy human behaviors to simulate, and they’re almost unknowable, and they keep changing, and you can’t tell when. Your bot might have to sign up for a Google service and use it convincingly on a single computer, which should look different from the computers of other bots, in ways you don’t understand. It might need convincing delays and stumbles between key presses, scrolling and mouse movements. This is all incredibly difficult to crack and teach a computer, and complexity comes at a financial cost for the spammer. They might break it for a while, but if it costs them (say) $1 per successful attempt, it’s usually not worth them bothering.


Stranded Amtrak train heads north to Seattle

With the help of heat, power and food, a passenger said the mood on board had remained surprisingly upbeat.
“It’s just been like a giant kumbaya party,” Dodson said early Tuesday. “Strangers are playing cards. A teenager played his ukulele to kids to get them to sleep. Ladies who have never met before were dancing in aisles.”


Links To Go (February 20, 2019)

2 American women sue U.S. claiming they were detained after speaking Spanish

“It has nothing to do with that,” he said. “It’s the fact that it has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store, in a state where it’s predominantly English-speaking.”
Suda said that the agent took their IDs and kept them in the parking lot for about 35 to 40 minutes.
Suda was born in El Paso, Texas, and Hernandez was born in El Centro, California, according to the lawsuit.


The Salvation of the World: Church vs. Babylon

In short, God’s plan is to save the world through the church, God’s covenantal, Messianic family.
What strikes me about this is how many Christians don’t share this imagination. For many Christians, the church is optional, it’s just not necessary or important. Our imaginations are political, we are students of the science of power. We will change the world by controlling Washington DC. We will save the world through Babylon and not the church.


We’ll Give Up Everything But Our Entitlement

We are so sure we would give up everything for Christ, even our very lives if we were called to, but we can’t even let go of our feeling that we deserve good things that we aren’t getting. Yes, we feel we deserve more, even in middle our pleasant, happy, comfortable, blessed lives.


Missional Partnership: Reframing the Concept of “Placing Membership”

This conversation would be about missional brainstorming to help the new person find their place as a missional partner. Such questions that could be discussed are: How could your family partner in God’s mission at Southside? What do you want to see God do within your family over the next year? What is God currently doing within your life? What are you passionate about and how could that be channeled towards God’s redemptive mission?


Elders, Anointing, and Healing

But without fail, every person we have ever anointed expressed a deeper faith in God, a willingness for his will to be done, and a peace for what was to come in the days ahead. I do believe some of that may be connected to whole forgiveness of sins mentioned in that passage.


Navigating Life With Your Desires

As a Jesus follower, I am called to put these decisions in the context of Lordship faith. Is this a decision that pleases the Lord Jesus? Does this decision reflect my surrender to him as Lord?


How Big is Your Church?

My main issue is this – when we “draw our circle” smaller and smaller we are acting in the role of God – whether we want to admit to that or not. When we say that someone is “saved” or “lost,” “faithful” or “erring,” based upon tendentious interpretations of disputed texts, we are making ourselves to be divine arbiters of heaven and hell, and that is a VERY dangerous place to be. As one of my favorite professors once said regarding his own journey of faith, “I came to realize that being God was above my pay grade.”


Is Email Making Professors Stupid?

We must also acknowledge that the real costs of administrative work are currently hidden in ways that don’t immediately show up on a university’s balance sheet. Distracted and interrupted professors produce less research and spend less time innovating in the classroom. That reality doesn’t directly impact revenue and is hard to measure as a concrete cost and therefore easy to ignore.


Alexa responds to minister’s call, orders toilet paper

In addition to the audience of more than 1,000 worshipers gathered for the congregation’s early service, numerous believers watched the sermon online through the church’s video streaming service.
One of them, Bethany Becknell, was at home with a sick child, Eli.
Her husband, Wes, attended Memorial Road’s first service with their other son, Cam.
Brookman preached about how easy it is in the 21st Century for Christians to live separate lives — and to fail to see the need for the kind of unity Paul advocates.
Even shopping has become depersonalized, Brookman said. Instead of going to Wal-Mart and interacting with other humans, one need only say, “Alexa, order toilet paper.”
From the master bathroom in her house, Bethany Becknell heard a polite female voice respond, “OK. I’ve added it to your cart.”