Links To Go (July 24, 2018)

5 Things That Give Pastors A Bad Name With Unchurched People

  1. Speaking weird
  2. Pretending to be something we’re not
  3. Being known for what we’re against, not what we’re for
  4. Being Experts on Things We’re Not Experts On
  5. Claiming Privilege

Evangelism: Just Do Something

I’m not saying these new resources are better or worse than the older methods, like revivals and evangelistic visitations. I don’t know what the “best” method is. But I do know that you should do something. And if these new resources are something you haven’t tried yet, then that’s a great way to begin.

Black Millennials are more religious than other Millennials

In recent years, a number of Pew Research Center surveys have shown that Millennials in the United States – young adults born between 1981 and 1996 – are generally less religious than older Americans, based on our core measures of religious commitment. This holds true for black people, in that black Millennials tend to be less religious than older blacks. That said, black Millennials are considerably more religious than others in their generation, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

It’s impossible to lead a totally ethical life—but it’s fun to try

There’s no need to feel bad about failing to live a perfectly ethical life. That would be counterproductive. Feeling guilty doesn’t actually make us more moral. Oxford University ethicist Carissa Veliz explains in Practical Ethics that guilty feelings about wrong actions don’t make us more inclined to do better.
Not only that, feeling guilty is a selfish response. It’s more self-involvement, which is pretty much the opposite of ethical living. Veliz argues that guilt is only a boon for guilty people’s egos, and will make you more likely to look away from injustices. The ethical response to bad acts is considering how to right them, rather than thinking about your personal feelings.

Delete your account

His new book, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, examines how a technology designed to bring people together (remember Mark Zuckerberg’s ongoing dream of “connecting” the world) has instead helped tear apart humanity’s delicate social fabric. People, he argues, are becoming angrier, less empathetic, more isolated yet tribal, and sadder, crazier even. With every post and scroll, users feed a system built to influence behavior, in a sort of reward feedback loop. And as the 2016 elections demonstrated, the same system that’s used to sell you deodorant online can also be hijacked to wreak havoc on your political system. Lanier, who hasn’t been on social media for years, now likes to refer to Facebook and Google as “behavior modification empires.”

Why Dogs and Humans Love Each Other More Than Anyone Else

That, by itself, says something about the bond that humans and dogs share. We live with cats, we work with horses, we hire cows for their milk and chickens for their eggs and pay them with food—unless we kill them and eat them instead. Our lives are entangled with those of other species, but we could disentangle if we wanted.
With dogs, things are different. Our world and their world swirled together long ago like two different shades of paint. Once you’ve achieved a commingled orange, you’re never going back to red and yellow.

He just graduated from college and wants to be an astrophysicist. Oh, and he’s 11

He can’t vote. He’s not even old enough to drive. But William Maillis already has a college degree.
William, 11, walked across a stage Saturday to receive his Associate in Arts degree from St. Petersburg College in Florida.

Links To Go (July 20, 2018)

What Ever Happened to Evangelism?

Every other issue will be easier. You dig wells, the world will pat you on the back, you feed the hungry, the world will say “good job.” But if you proclaim Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation from sin and hell, you will face opposition. Naturally, we want to take on easier challenges.

Understanding gives way to compassion

In the Church, we are tempted to think that our unity is from shared life experiences: we all feel the same way about how short a woman’s skirt should be, which political figure to support, or whether homeschooling is bad or not. But those experiences are not what truly give us unity in the body. The most significant experience which we have in common is being baptized into the body of Christ; in being made to drink of one Spirit. That unity may foster shared opinions, but then again, it may not.

From the Ears to the Brain to the Heart

So what is the right way to listen to a sermon? With a soul that is prepared, a mind that is alert, a Bible that is open, a heart that is receptive, and a life that is ready to spring into action.

Give Your Children All of Your Attention. Some of the Time.

Being a parent will always involve juggling competing demands and responsibilities. It’s neither possible nor desirable to give our children undivided attention all day. But let’s plan to give our children all of our attention some of the time, and let’s see our necessary distractions as opportunities for our children to learn skills for real life in God’s world.

Texas shrimp industry crippled by immigrant visa cap

Hance says lacking 750 people from Mexico or Central America is crippling the Texas seafood industry.
She says the industry will lose $1 million a day because the government won’t allow these workers into the country.

Doing it completely and totally wrong

It’s possible to do everything wrong and do very well. In fact, sometimes that’s the only way to do very well.

When a DNA Test Shatters Your Identity

Both 23andMe and AncestryDNA have warnings about uncovering unanticipated information about family in their terms of service. They also allow users to opt in or out of finding genetic matches, and 23andMe has another warning in the opt-in screen.

“We don’t tip terrorists” – Texas restaurant receipt goes viral after racist customer remark

Even though he acknowledges the racially charged note, he says his faith in Jesus Christ is encouraging him to move forward despite his negative experience.
“I just had to think…what would Jesus do in this situation,” he said.

Saints lineman helped save man trapped in car that fell from New Orleans parking garage

Loewen said that the driver, who was alone in the car, had his legs pinned and was completely stuck in the front passenger seat. He quickly realized he wouldn’t be able to drag the man out, so he gathered about 10 other people and got the car flipped upright with the man inside.
Loewen then ripped the door off its hinges and started speaking with the man, who they helped “sit up comfortably” while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
“He didn’t say much, he was just thanking us all. I hugged him and told him he was going to be OK, and then I prayed with him,” Loewen told the Times-Picayune. “I couldn’t tell how bad his injuries were, but there was a lot of blood and broken glass.”

A storm ruined her beach wedding. Then a total stranger saved the day

As Gonzalez looked at her ruined wedding decorations, a woman appeared outside her car, soaking wet from the rain. Though a complete stranger, she offered to host the wedding in her beachfront home.
“She said, ‘just give me 10 minutes and I’ll have everything set up,'” Gonzalez recalled. “So we started telling all of our family and friends to go into this woman’s driveway, even though we had no idea who she was.”

Love the immigrant

As I’ve said before, I think Christians in the United States need to react with compassion toward immigrants. That’s not about policies nor practices; it’s about attitudes. Even if you think there should be a hardline, zero-tolerance approach to illegal immigration, your attitude toward immigrants should be one of compassion.

Listening to some people talk about immigrants, you’d think that the majority are conniving scoundrels seeking to take advantage of legal loopholes. Such people do exist. I remember talking with some young men in Argentina who would come to the U.S. every year as tourists, then go work illegally in the ski areas here in this country. They were merely taking advantage of the system.

There are even criminals who take advantage of porous borders to commit crimes. Again, these do exist.

But the majority of the people coming to our southern borders are desperate people trying to find a way to survive. They aren’t trying to take advantage of anybody or anything; they are looking to protect their families as best they can.

Does that mean they should automatically be given amnesty? No, I’m not saying that. I’m saying that whatever your views toward immigration policy, your view toward immigrants should not be one of hatred, disdain, or resentment. If it is… you’re wrong. As a Christian, you’re wrong. As an American, a Democrat, a Republican, or whatever, you may be fully justified. But if, as a Christian, your attitude is not one of love and compassion… you’re wrong.

Even if you advocate for building a wall, closing the borders, and deporting all aliens, I’d beg you to look on these people as neighbors, as people made in the image of God, as huddled masses yearning to be free… and look on them with love.

Links To Go (July 18, 2018)

91-year-old man beaten with a brick asks God’s forgiveness for his attacker

Rodriguez told KABC that he is thankful that she was arrested, but he doesn’t resent her or the other men involved. He said any punishment should come from the law.
“May God forgive her for what she did to me,” he told KABC.
He wishes God’s blessings on the woman and himself, he added.

Baby Boomers Are Returning to Church

One of the most significant longitudinal studies (a study over many years) ever done provides a treasure trove of information for church leaders.
And one of the most significant findings is the increasing number of baby boomers becoming more involved in religious activity like churches.

I’ve Been Fired. Now What?

  1. Your ministry is not over until the Lord says so.
  2. You will never regret being extraordinarily gracious.
  3. You made some mistakes, too. They aren’t perfect; neither are you.
  4. Pray.

To be resilient, face tragedy with humour and flexibility

An important component of cognitive flexibility is accepting the reality of our situation, even if that situation is frightening or painful. To remain effectively engaged in problem-oriented and goal-directed coping, we must keep our eyes ‘wide open’, and acknowledge, rather than ignore, potential roadblocks. Avoidance and denial are generally counterproductive mechanisms that can help people for a while, but ultimately stand in the way of growth, interfering with the ability to actively solve problems.

Teen’s hot dog stand gets support and a permit

According to Ebeling, Faulkner did need to make some changes to his stand. He had to get a tent for overhead protection, a hand washing station and the city also gave him a thermometer to check the temperatures of his sausages and hot dogs.
Health Department staff even chipped in to help pay for his $87 permit.
“Surprisingly, I’m like, dang the city’s not the bad guys in this situation. They’re actually the ones who are helping me,” Faulkner said. “It makes me feel kind of—not kind of—really proud that people know what I’m doing.”

Iceland is building its first Nordic paganist temple in 1000 years

The Norse gods are making a strong comeback after a thousand years in the shadows. Outmaneuvered by Christianity around year 1000, Nordic paganism is now Iceland’s fastest growing religion. From 570 members in 2002, the ‘association of the faith of the Æsir’ – Ásatrúarfélagið – now numbers 3900 Icelanders, making it the largest non-Christian religion in the country.

Die Hard at 30: how it remains the quintessential American action movie

There’s not a wasted moment in Die Hard, not a moment when the audience feels confused about who’s who or what’s going on or where the characters are in relation to each other. It seems like simplest, most banal part of a making a movie, but it must be the hardest, because the vast majority of actioners, even good ones, don’t succeed in doing it.

Links To Go (July 12, 2018)

The Message That Moved the SBC

Criswell’s 40-minute message was an impassioned plea for a return to the Word and this represented a 65-year ministry spent proclaiming the Word. He believed the Bible was a hill on which to die. And the history of the SBC ever since has proved him right. 30 years later, we’re facing the same battles today in the church. Will we tolerate liberalism and a low view of the scriptures? Or like Criswell, will we, even through tears, take a stand on the inerrant Word of God?

Trump, Immigration and the Truth

Christians should love truth more than country. They should love the poor more than money. They should worship the God of the Exodus and not bow down to those who enslave others to make an extra buck. Christians should exalt and live into the reality of God’s Kingdom and not pledge allegiance to any flag because their allegiance belongs to the cross of Christ.

Brett Kavanaugh Is a Good Supreme Court Pick and the Reason Many Voted for Trump

So, I support this nominee and I am thankful for his nomination from President Trump. And, I also acknowledge the many Christians who voted for Trump did so they could have such a Supreme Court Justice as was nominated today.
I get that for many, there is simply an irrational response to anything positive being said about President Trump. So be it. But, regardless, I am thankful a conservative court will move away from judicial and social activism.

Brett Kavanaugh Is a Troubling Supreme Court Pick for Black Christians

We need to be sure that religious freedom and free speech extends to athletes who silently protest social issues in public spaces. We need to call out the hypocrisy of NFL owners who ask athletes to “just play football” and turn around and endorse federal judicial nominations on team Twitter accounts.
To make this nomination about Roe and dough (i.e. the religious freedom highlighted in the Christian baker case) ignores other essential issues Christians should care about—including immigration, health care, and labor laws.

Did Congress Print the First American Bible?

The role of religion in the founding is one of the most controversial historical subjects in America today. Secularists and Christian America advocates tend to go to extremes, with the former arguing that Christianity had virtually nothing to do with the founding, and the latter arguing that it had everything to do with the founding. The actual history brings us to a more reasonable position: Christian principles were powerfully if imperfectly present in the political culture of the founding, but many of the major founders were not traditional Christians. It is certainly not clear that they were seeking to create a “Christian nation” of the sort imagined by Christian America partisans.

Five Reasons a Wave of Revitalization of Churches Is Likely

Here is where I take a contrarian position compared to many others, including positions I have held in the past: Of the 300,000 churches in need of revitalization, 100,000 will revitalize organically or internally, and another 100,000 will be revitalized through replanting. It’s a bold assertion, but something that could very well unfold over the next five to ten years.

Why Your Church Needs a Hispanic Ministry

We have a God given chance to really represent the gospel to Latinos. Their community can be transformed if they know Jesus, just like any other community. There is a window of opportunity to reach nearly 60 million Latinos in America today, and the number will continue to grow.
This group who will soon become the majority will be shaping American culture in the near future. The Church needs to realize the mission field has changed; it has come to America. We must embrace the call of Jesus to preach to all and take advantage of this opportunity to minister to an entire people group.

This is how you make a disciple

So I got to see John baptize his friend Charlie into Christ.
Because believers lived Jesus, prayed for him, welcomed him, talked about Jesus with him, encouraged him to stay on the journey, and a visiting preacher told just the right story to convict him. Planting and watering and watching God give the increase.