Links To Go (April 15, 2019)

When the Bible Confronts Your Confirmation Bias

Proverbs 18:17 forces us to stay silent until we know the truth. This means doing something counter-cultural in the social media era–don’t share stories or your opinion about a story until you have investigated its truthfulness. “This sounds true to me” is not enough. “I’ve heard of other stories like this” will not suffice. Allow the story to be cross-examined. Hear the other side of the story so clearly that you can articulate it yourself. Only then should you speak up and Solomon has plenty to say about how you do.

Must women really keep silent in the churches?

Paul does not want anything to happen during corporate worship that would upset the headship principle that he so carefully exhorted them to obey in 1 Cor. 11:2-16. For that reason, he enjoins women in this context to refrain from the judgment of prophecies. He’s not commanding an absolute silence on the part of women. Indeed he expects them to be praying and prophesying.

Can We Touch?

The research is clear on that fact that people both need and react well to physical touch—in controlled environments. There is no evidence that people like to be touched any less than in previous generations, only that negatively received touch is more openly vocalized. What’s new is that people who didn’t appreciate being touched in previous decades, or who were always made uncomfortable by it, especially from people in positions of power, are empowered to process the fact that it’s not something they need to put up with. They have platforms for speaking up, channels for recourse, and supportive listeners to cushion the blowback.

The Democratic Electorate on Twitter Is Not the Actual Democratic Electorate

In reality, the Democratic electorate is both ideologically and demographically diverse. Over all, around half of Democratic-leaning voters consider themselves “moderate” or “conservative,” not liberal. Around 40 percent are not white.

Why airlines make flights longer on purpose

In the 1960s it took five hours to fly from New York to Los Angeles, and just 45 minutes to hop from New York to Washington, DC. Today, these same flights now take six-plus hours and 75 minutes respectively, although the airports haven’t moved further apart.

7-Eleven owner sends shoplifting teen home with food instead of calling 911

As Singh’s employee called 911 and had a dispatcher on the phone, the boy told Singh why he was stealing. “He said, ‘I’m stealing for myself. I’m hungry, and I’m doing it for my younger brother,'” Singh told ABC 13.
Singh asked his employee to hang up.
“I said, ‘Well that’s not food. You’re stealing gum and candies. That’s just something for munching,'” Singh, who has owned the store for five years, told CNN. “I said, ‘If you’re hungry, ask me. I’ll give you food.'”
According to a user on Facebook who witnessed the scene, Singh packed up chicken wings, sausage rolls, a whole pizza and a 2-liter bottle of soda for the teenager.

A Prayer for Friday (April 12, 2019)

Hosanna, oh God. Blessed is He that comes in Your name.

May we go into Your presence with rejoicing and praise. May we follow Your Son with confidence as He leads us into the Most Holy Place.

Blessed be the King who comes to us as a Prince of Peace. May His reign ever increase, in our lives and throughout creation.


Links To Go (April 12, 2019)

It Turns Out that Sexual Liberation Isn’t All that Liberating

The collective message that’s been delivered is something like this — singleness is exciting, religion is oppressive, and marriage is where you “settle down” (sometimes for good, sometimes for ill).
In reality, singleness is often stressful and lonely, religion provides community and purpose, and married people enjoy the excitement of more sex and the joys of unified child-rearing.


But in many ways the more dangerous form of racism isn’t that loud and stupid kind. It isn’t the kind that announces itself when it walks into the arena. It’s the quiet and subtle kind. The kind that almost hides itself in plain view. It’s the person who does and says all the “right” things in public: They’re perfectly friendly when they meet a person of color. They’re very polite. But in private? Well….. they sort of wish that everyone would stop making everything “about race” all the time.

Kyle Korver privilege post: Lessons from Jazz guard’s article on racism

I’m not trying to be rude or sound overly critical, but Kyle, as a person 14 years younger than you who has seen you interact with black people in intimate and intellectual ways the majority of white people never experience, it’s a little disheartening to see you are just now deciding to acknowledge the racist history of the United States.

“Where Are You From?”

Therefore, I have adopted a new identity: Citizen of Heaven. As my identity is found in him, and as my eternity will be found there also, I rest in the assurance that I do have a home. That home is wherever I am in his presence, wherever I remember his all-encompassing and never-ending love.

Why are We Losing the Next Generation?

I know I am not perfect and that like you, I slip up from time to time, but when our only consistency is our inconsistency in these and other areas do we really want the next generation to follow where our footsteps are leading? If we are talking out of both sides of our mouth, can we expect them to become anything different?

Africa is set to be the global center of Christianity for the next 50 years

The rise of Christianity in Africa is also captured outside the continent. In a reversal from nearly five centuries ago when Christian missionaries first brought the religion to to African communities, African preachers, led by “reverse missionaries,” are increasingly taking charge of the gospel in England, as Quartz Africa has reported.
In comparison, while there were three African countries (Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria) among countries with top ten largest Muslim populations in 2015, that number will be reduced to two (Nigeria and Egypt) by 2060.

The Biggest Wastes Of Time We Regret When We Get Older

  • Not Asking for Help
  • Trying to Make Bad Relationships Work
  • Dwelling on Your Mistakes and Shortcomings
  • Worrying Too Much About Other People

Exercise makes you happier than money, according to Yale and Oxford research

According to the study, three to five training sessions, each lasting between 30 to 60 minutes, are ideal per week. The mental health of those participants who exercised for longer than three hours a day suffered more than that of those who weren’t particularly physically active.

‘Shark Tank’ recap: A door-lock demonstration hilariously trips up Nashville entrepreneurs

“How much (do) you sell the deadlocks for?” Cuban asked sarcastically as five kicks came and went without producing the desired result. Bertelli backed up and charged, his body bouncing off the door.

We’re fasting today

Today we’re having a time of prayer and fasting as a congregation.

Gasp! He broke the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule about fasting!

Isn’t it about time we got over that? Yes, Jesus said not to tell anyone when you are fasting. He also, in the same chapter and the same context, told us to only pray in a closet. Ever seen that commandment violated? To be honest, I’ve rarely seen that one followed!

Have you ever let your left hand know what your right hand was doing when you were giving? Did that invalidate your generosity?

If we don’t talk about fasting (in the right way), we’ll never learn about fasting. And to be honest, we’ll rarely practice fasting.

Churches fasted together in the New Testament (Read the first part of Acts 13, for example). Fasting was one of the approved acts of worship for the New Testament church; it didn’t make it onto our lists for some reason. Part of the reason is, we rarely talk about it.

We’re doing a sunrise to sundown fast. That’s more doable for those of us who don’t fast regularly. I shared some material from a book that I’m working on, which the other leaders took and modified to share with the church. Here’s my original:

Another physical aspect of prayer involves fasting. In my experience, many Christians are uncomfortable discussing fasting. To some, it feels like a practice done by other religious groups. Yet fasting was a normal part of the life of the early church.
Jesus taught about fasting (Matthew 6:16-18), saying “when you fast”; this shows that He expected believers to fast. In the same way, He said that when He was no longer present on earth, His followers would fast (Mark 2:20). And Jesus fasted while living here on earth (Luke 4:2).
The early church fasted as part of its worship (Acts 13:2-3) and as part of the process for appointing elders in the church (Acts 14:23). Some Christians avoid talking about when they fast, but these passages show that the early church was comfortable in sharing that information. If we never talk about fasting, we’ll never learn to practice it.
So how do we fast? Here are some suggestions:

  • If you have any special health needs, talk to your doctor before fasting. If you can’t go too long without eating, consider fasting from a certain type of food. But don’t put your health in jeopardy just to fast.
  • Don’t make the mistake of trying to start with a long fast. Typical fasts in the Middle East go from sunrise to sundown. That’s probably how many fasts were done in Bible times, and it’s a good way to start. Later you can extend to a 24- or 36-hour fast.
  • Drink liquids. We do see extreme cases in the Bible where people went for a time without eating or drinking, but those are special circumstances. It’s wiser to continue to take in fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Remember that fasting isn’t just about abstaining from food. Fasting should be accompanied by prayer. Use the time you would spend eating to spend in time with God.

Fasting doesn’t make you super-spiritual nor superior to anyone else. Spiritual fasting isn’t about increased health nor weight loss. Fasting is a spiritual discipline we practice in obedience to God.

God’s magnificently varied grace

Yesterday I was in Snyder, Texas, for a Church Inside Out seminar with the Eastside Church of Christ there. Someone asked an interesting question. I was discussing the varied nature of potential ministries in the church, mentioning everything from a cookie ministry to after-school tutoring to free yard care for the elderly.

That’s when someone asked if I knew of an available resource that contains suggestions for possible ministry activities.

I don’t. I’m not aware of anything like that.

Do you know where to find that kind of information? If not, have you heard of unique ministries that people have developed? I’d love to have more to share with others.

“Serve one another with the particular gifts God has given each of you, as faithful dispensers of the magnificently varied grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:10)