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.

Day 5 in Israel

Yes, there is an Arabic version of Coke Zero

Yes, there is an Arabic version of Coke Zero

I definitely should have written all of this sooner. Day 4 wasn’t when we left Galilee; Day 5 was. We headed over to Jericho, making some stops along the way.

Coffee with cardamum. Not our favorite!

Coffee with cardamum. Not our favorite!

First stop was at ancient Samaria, at the ruins of the town that Herod built called Sebaste. There we saw one of the palaces built by Omri (Ahab’s dad), as well as the temple that Herod built to honor Augustus.

Entrance to Sebaste

Entrance to Sebaste

Tony Fernández at the amphitheater in Sebaste

Tony Fernández at the amphitheater in Sebaste

Ruins in Sebaste

Ruins in Sebaste

We stopped for lunch at a place run by some friends of our guide. The food was good, plus the whole group got to try their hand at wearing traditional Bedouin garb. (We saw many Bedouin encampments along the way)

Wonderful Arabic lunch

Wonderful Arabic lunch

Going native

Going native



One of my favorite places was Jacob’s Well. As our guide said, Jacob’s Well was never lost. There’s no reason to doubt that this was the actual location.

We drew water from the well, and the guide asked if anyone wanted to try some. I jumped at the chance! Not sure who else drank some, but I definitely enjoyed drinking water from Jacob’s well. I’ll include a video that I prepared in Spanish showing the drawing of water from the well.

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Jacob's well

Jacob’s well

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.”

Day 4 in Israel

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We said goodbye to Galilee; definitely our favorite part of the trip

Back in June, Carolina and I got to go with a group to Israel and Jordan. I’m getting an account of that trip posted to this blog, little by little.

On Day 4, we switched hotels for the first time since beginning the tour. We left Galilee and would end up in Jericho.

But first we went to Sepphoris, It’s a town northwest of Nazareth built in the early first century. It’s not inconceivable that Joseph and maybe even Jesus did some construction work here. From some of the ruins, we can see the strong Hellenistic influence in the Galilee area.

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Tony Fernández at the theater in Sepphoris

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The so-called “Mona Lisa of Galilee,” on the mosaic floor of a mansion in Sepphoris. The floor depicts stories from Greek mythology.

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I was fascinated by markings left by the Romans. This is the sort of things they used to cast lots, like the soldiers did when dividing Jesus’ clothes.

From there we went to Nazareth, visiting the re-enactment site known as the Nazareth village.

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Showing how wheat was threshed in ancient times

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Model of what a tomb would have looked like

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Something authentic: a winepress at the Nazareth Village

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One of the re-enactors who works at the village

Next stop was Megiddo. We were to visit there on the day the group arrived, but their flight was delayed and we didn’t have time. I’m glad we got to backtrack and see this.

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Our guide, Nedal, at Megiddo

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Going down to the water system. Experts differ on who built this. Some say Ahab, some Jeroboam II. It was probably built by the Canaanites, then improved by the Israelite kings.

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At the bottom of the descent, where water can be found

Last stop of the day was Mt. Carmel.

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Statue commemorating Elijah’s victory over the prophets of Baal

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Panoramic view from top of church on Mt. Carmel

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Panoramic view from top of church on Mt. Carmel

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.