Links To Go (November 17, 2015)

What is the Missional Church? (Part 5)—Forgetting Missions

Reasons Why Missional Churches Do Not Do Missions
First, in rediscovering God’s mission, many have discovered its personal dimensions only.
Second, in responding to God’s mission, many have made everything “mission.”
Next, in relating God’s mission, the message increasingly includes the hurting but less frequently includes the global lost.
Fourth, in refocusing on God’s mission, many are focusing on being good news rather than telling good news.
Last, in reiterating God’s mission, many lose the context of the church’s global mission and needed global presence.

Hating Queerness Without Hating the Queer

Mohler talks a lot about the rise of what he calls “the autonomous self”—the idea that people should be able to determine who they are and make their own choices about how and when they have sex. This is the basic premise of every gay-rights movement, but it’s fundamentally at odds with the way Mohler and certain other evangelicals see the world. “[People] want to know why biblically-minded Christians can’t buy into the modern concept of sexual orientation as it’s presented, or an understanding of gender as entirely socially constructed,” he said. “But the distinction is actually more fundamental: It’s whether or not we are autonomous selves who define our own identity, or whether we’re creatures who are defined by a creator.”

Why a friend is suing me: the Arlene’s Flowers story

I’ve never questioned Rob’s and Curt Freed’s right to live out their beliefs. And I wouldn’t have done anything to keep them from getting married, or even getting flowers. Even setting aside my warm feelings for them, I wouldn’t have deliberately taken actions that would mean the end of being able to do the work I love or risk my family’s home and savings.
I just couldn’t see a way clear in my heart to honor God with the talents He has given me by going against the word He has given us.

If Richard Dawkins Is Right

Matthew: Awesome. But Luke, can you just remind me, what’s the point of all this? I mean, what exactly do we get out of this?
Luke: Come on, Matt, it will be so much fun. We’ll watch people being brutally martyred, and we’ll know they’ve been deceived by our dishonest fiction! What’s not to like about that?
John: I agree with Luke. This is definitely worth years of effort on our part. Count me in.
Mark: Me too.

5 Ways the Bible Supports Open Theism

  1. The Lord frequently changes his mind in the light of changing circumstances, or as a result of prayer.
  2. God sometimes expresses regret and disappointment over how things turned out—even occasionally over things that resulted from his own will.
  3. At other times God tells us that he is surprised at how things turned out because he expected a different outcome.
  4. The Lord frequently tests his people to find out whether they’ll remain faithful to him.
  5. The Lord sometimes asks non-rhetorical questions about the future and speaks to people in terms of what may or may not happen.

When the Pope Ordered the Death of Adolf Hitler

The only person with the prestige and freedom to act was the pope, but asking the pontifex maximus for the go-ahead to put a bullet in someone’s brain was a tall order. Ultimately, not only did the pope say yes when approached, but he also established a robust intelligence apparatus and kept pushing parties to get on with it.

Most Americans believe in heaven … and hell

Roughly seven-in-ten (72%) Americans say they believe in heaven — defined as a place “where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded,” according to the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study.
But at the same time, 58% of U.S. adults also believe in hell — a place “where people who have led bad lives and die without being sorry are eternally punished.”

7 Encouraging Trends in Global Christianity

With more conflict over religious liberty in the United States and high-profile martyrdoms around the world, it would seem Christianity is in global peril. But that’s not the case, according to a new report.
Published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, the findings of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary provide an optimistic picture of Christianity heading into the heart of the 21st century.

Seven Myths of Contextualization

Leading meetings in a way that people understand should be a priority for pastors and leaders. But let’s make sure contextualization never makes us look and act like something other than what Christ has redeemed us to be – blameless and innocent, shining as lights in the world as we hold fast to the word of life (Phil. 2:15-16).

Church, Stop Doing so Many Good Things

In most church situations you will do more by doing less. That is, once the strategy to walk more faithfully in line with the gospel at a given time in the life of a church is clear, those priorities should focus and reshape everything you do congregationally. All that you do should be consistently evaluated for how it is strategically leading toward the goal. The trauma of changing the focus of a congregation by removing ministries and tactics in which the church has previously engaged is lessened by clear vision and strategic focus, and it replaces the former with a new way to serve and contribute. The purpose of shrinking the number of things a congregation does is to expand that focus and excellence of what it chooses to pursue as a community of faith.

How to Make Sure the Church Stops Growing

If we want to see the church grow today like it did in the days of the apostles we must be sure we have the genuineness that comes from a life transformed in Christ, the relevance of a message presented in line with the culture’s advances, and a message of substance that comes when we emphasize the word of God.

Church attendance for the poor in health

Teaching on attendance should be rooted in devotion rather than doom. When attendance is organic, arising out of our love for the Lord, rather than our fear of hell, we find happier and more productive Christians.

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