Links to Go (March 22, 2017)

Preparing Our People for Witness

Engaging our neighbors and sharing the gospel with them requires relationships, apologetics, and more. Our first step needs to be a genuine interest in people and a commonality in culture that gives us sufficient authority to speak on matters of life, faith, eternity, truth, and church.
It’s going to take longer to reach people effectively, and it’s going to take relationships. And it starts with good leadership in church plants that elevate people to reach their full potential in gospel witnessing.

Immigration: My Final Word

But, as T.R. Robertson pointed out in his post this month, too many Christians are displaying bigoted fear against whole races or religions. And too many of us seek political solutions to spiritual problems.

A Statement of Confession and Commitment

A large portion of our communities is weeping. The fear of deportation is real. The anxiety of being assaulted is real. The fear of being forgotten or mistreated is real. Many people of color, women, and other marginalized groups feel increasingly alienated not only in the current national context but in much of the white evangelical culture as well. Acknowledging that pain and woundedness may take many forms, we humbly entreat Christian communities to seek healing, reconciliation, and justice.

Thoughts to Consider

10. You have a God to glorify.
9. You have a Savior to imitate.
8. You have a Soul to protect (save).
7. You have a body to “put to death”.
6. You have Virtue to acquire.
5. You have Heaven to seek.
4. You have Eternity on which to meditate.
3. You have Temptation to resist.
2. You have the World to guard against.
1. Perhaps today you have Death to meet or perhaps the Lord will return.

Five Fascinating Lessons from a “Secret” Guest in Church Worship Services

There are four points of first impression before the guests ever enter the church’s building. They are, in order, social media, mobile site, website, and the parking lot. How much attention is your church giving to these four areas? How many potential guests never show up because of the first three?

Boston Public Schools Are Adopting a More Accurate World Map

German filmmaker and journalist Arno Peters was one of the first notable figures to rail against the Mercator map. He claimed that it provides an inaccurate and Eurocentric view of the globe. The Northern Hemisphere is distorted to look larger, giving the false impression, for example, that Greenland and Africa are roughly the same size (while in reality, Greenland could fit inside Africa 14 times). In 1973, Peters released a map that compressed the upper half to depict the area of all the Earth’s continents more fairly.

Scientists Find How Using ‘Satnav’ Switches off Parts of Brain

Scientists studying what satnavs do to the brain have found that people using them effectively switch off parts of the brain that would otherwise be utilized to simulate different routes and boost navigational skills.

‘My life was ruined by a typo’

In May 2011, officers at South Yorkshire Police were informed by colleagues in Hertfordshire that they had identified an IP address from which more than 100 indecent images of children had been shared in April that year.
The IP address passed on corresponded to an internet account held by Nigel’s partner. But it had been typed incorrectly, with an extra digit added by mistake.

Links To Go (March 21, 2017)

(As always, no agreement nor endorsement implied; these articles are shared to make you think or make you laugh)

Information Avoidance: How People Select Their Own Reality

Even when people cannot outright ignore information, they often have substantial latitude in how to interpret it. Questionable evidence is often treated as credible when it confirms what someone wants to believe — as is the case of discredited research linking vaccines to autism. And evidence that meets the rigorous demands of science is often discounted if it goes against what people want to believe, as illustrated by widespread dismissal of scientific evidence of climate change.

Don’t Just Start a Church; Establish a Family

Operate as a family, not an orphanage. An orphanage is home to undernourished children and overworked caregivers. The kids do not share responsibility. Instead, the caregivers are responsible for the needs of everyone. On the contrary, in a family, every member contributes. A family is driven by responsibility. Family is a community that is responsible for one another and should be characterized by love and the fruit of the Spirit.

Why I Struggle With “Inerrancy”

I’d rather view the Scriptures, scripturally. How funny it is that we who want to restore New Testament Christianity often criticize those who use terms and words as a part of their traditions while we in using inerrancy do the same thing.

My Father’s Anger

But here’s an important distinction. Though I felt Dad’s anger, I always knew what kind of anger it was. It was the anger of, “You, my son, have done something wrong, and I am angry that wrong has been done.” But there’s another kind of fatherly anger that I never felt. It’s the anger that says, “You have done something wrong, and I am angry to have such a son who would do this kind of thing.” The first kind of anger came and left. Even minutes after discipline I knew I was welcomed into the love of my father.
But the second kind of anger sticks with you. It never really dissipates. The emotions will calm, and deed will be forgotten, but there’s just something about feeling the weight of that anger–anger directed, even for just a moment, at the father-son relationship itself–that darkens the heart. I’ve heard from many friends whose fathers were angry in this kind of way. Healing is possible, but the scarring is there.

Five Things the Traditional Church Is Doing Well

  1. The members have a deep love and concern for one another.
  2. They are loyal to the institution.
  3. They are passionate about giving to missions.
  4. They offer stability to the congregation.
  5. The members have a historical perspective that can be healthy for the church.

All Winning Is Not Winning

How do I approach somebody with whom I disagree on religious matters? Am I more concerned with making a point or making a disciple? Am I more concerned about defeating error (as important at that is) or promoting truth? Am I more concerned with people thinking that I am a really great guy or with people submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?
Am I more concerned with winning an argument or winning a soul?

Police: Robber breaks leg, calls for help, gets arrested

A robber in Virginia ruined his own getaway — first by breaking his leg in a jump off a balcony, and then by calling the authorities to help him.

Condemnable things

I was thinking about some of the things that the church has demonized over the years, things that we have said were “condemned” or would condemn us. Here’s some I came up with off the top of my head:

  • Movies
  • Dancing
  • “Spot” cards (with Rook cards being okay)
  • Dominoes
  • Mixed bathing (otherwise known as swimming)
  • Alcohol
  • Tattoos
  • Piercings
  • Jazz
  • Rock and roll music
  • Rap music
  • Tobacco
  • Pants on women
  • Short hair on women
  • Long hair on men

We could go on and on. And we probably will.

But I think we need to add one big taboo to the very top of that list:

  • Making laws that God hasn’t made

I daresay that’s far more dangerous than any of the other things on that list.

Links to Go (March 17, 2017)

Why you think you’re right, even when you’re wrong

In other words, if we really want to improve our judgment as individuals and as societies, what we need most is not more instruction in logic, rhetoric, probability or economics, even though those things are all valuable. What we most need to use those principles well is scout mindset. We need to change the way we feel — to learn how to feel proud instead of ashamed when we notice we might have been wrong about something, or to learn how to feel intrigued instead of defensive when we encounter some information that contradicts our beliefs. So the question you need to consider is: What do you most yearn for — to defend your own beliefs or to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?

Taxi Drivers, Refugees, and Other Good Reasons to Pray

Given the current climate of hatred and division in our nation, and of fear in the face of global terrorism, the church is living in the best of times to complete the task of the church by the power of his enduring love.
Yes, we are living in a unique time in the history of Christianity, when the kingdom of Heaven is showing up joyfully tutoring English, and living and working intentionally in our cities, showing love to an immigrant or refugee neighbor, providing a homestay or meal for an international student, and taking a taxi home from the airport.

Were Mary and Joseph Married or Engaged at Jesus’ Birth?

Returning to Joseph, he would have paid the bride price to Mary’s father at their engagement (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:27). Despite his misgivings, Joseph then obeyed the angel’s command to marry Mary (Matthew 1:20). The time of formal engagement, whether a full year or not, had passed between them. So Joseph and Mary had begun to live together except for sexual relations (Matthew 1:25). Luke’s understanding of mnēsteuō must be expanded to include both the betrothal/engagement as well as marital cohabitation.

Who will cast a stone at Jesus?

Of course, if Jesus is a sinner, he is without question the worst of them all.
If he is sinless, then he is the Divine Savior, and Eternal Judge of all men.
Here we are, 2,000 years later. The invitation to call him a sinner still stands.
Who will cast the first stone?

The Marshmallow Myth

The secret to success in the marshmallow test of life and work is not about delaying gratification. It is about discovering gratification in every situation. It’s about leveraging the unparalleled ability of the human mind to find—and focus on—small sources of gratification in any set of circumstances.

Anton Chekhov: How to Become a Cultured Person

As Chekhov says, reading this letter (or books) is not enough. Getting from where you are to where you want to be is not easy. These eight conditions are not a checklist, but a guideline—a “true north” of sorts that reveals to us the direction we must go…

A Latina comes to the defense of a Muslim couple being verbally harassed on the New York subway

A young Latina then intervenes. She asks the older woman what nationality she is and where she is from and the woman says she is from Puerto Rico. The young woman, who says she is Chinese and Peruvian, pleads with the woman in English and Spanish to be respectful to the couple. But in the bizarre exchange aboard the moving E-line train, the older woman tells her to mind her own business and stop scolding her.
“I am not asking you to be quiet. I am asking you to please respect her,” says the young woman who Univision Noticias identified as Tracey Tong, 23, of Queens.

Grown-ups Are Stupid! How to Travel + See the World Like a Child

Consider the reasons:

  • Everything is new to them
  • They possess limitless curiosity + everything is a learning experience
  • They live in a carefree bubble, without the worries of daily adult life (money, relationships, life and death)
  • They love to create
  • They don’t care what other people think
  • They act with reckless abandon – doing “just because”
  • Their default mode is “play”
  • They live in the present

An Oxford Comma Helped Decide a Labor Dispute in Maine

If often seems as if the ongoing war over the Oxford comma is likely to rage on for as long as there is a written word. Proponents of it claim that the comma is necessary in order to cut through any confusion in a sentence (it’s also the side we here at mental_floss fall on). Critics, however, say that the comma is superfluous, clunky, and maybe even a little bit elitist. But one dairy company in Maine just found out that the Oxford comma isn’t just helpful—it could also keep you out of court.

Made new

As I come to realize that my true homeland is waiting for me, my patriotism gets redefined. As I see that believers around the world are my fellow countrymen, my nationalism takes on a new look. As a Christian, the key word is NEW.

  • I am a new creation.
  • I have new loyalties, new allegiances.
  • I am a member of a new nation, a new heavenly kingdom.
  • I have new responsibilities as a member of that kingdom.
  • I have new countrymen, a new family.
  • My priorities have been made new; my outlook on the world has been renewed as well.
  • I have new hope, new joy, new peace.
  • Love has made me new, giving me a new love for my God and my neighbor.
  • I am a new creation

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:21–22)

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

“Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)

“In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”” (1 Corinthians 11:25)

“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:16–17)

“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” (Galatians 6:15)

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace” (Ephesians 2:14–15)

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22–24)

“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave” (Colossians 3:9–11)

“But God found fault with the people and said: “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.” (Hebrews 8:8–13)

“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9:15)

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3)

“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:13)

“And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.” (2 John 1:5)

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”” (Revelation 21:1–5)