Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Monday Links and Bullets 10.31.11

It’s an exciting day.  Here are this week’s links for you to read.  Hope you find something worth while here!

MONDAY LINKS

LINK OF THE WEEK

–Ever wonder about the Amish?  This book review gives some good insight and good things to think about.

CHRISTIAN FAITH

–Nice story here about Latinos and evangelical churches.

Five signs of declining church health.

Seven reasons why Halloween judgment houses miss the mark.  This made me think, although I am not sure I agree with all of this.

–This is a great read about why Old Testament passages really are quoted properly in the New Testament.  It’s a quick read, but I found it very helpful.

REALLY CREATIVE VIDEO.  Watch it.  It takes just a couple minutes.

BULLET THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK:

  • I learned something last night I had never heard before.  It was about the Jews and their expectations of the Messiah.  Josh McDowell said that the Jews anticipated two different Messiahs, coming at different times.  Jesus came and showed them it was supposed to be one Messiah, coming twice.  I always just thought their was confusion on the Messiah in general, never knew it was a firm belief there would be two messiahs.
  • Fairly busy for a Monday, but I’m looking forward to the day.
  • The Browns, in my opinion, do not have a professional level offense.  I don’t think it’s McCoy.  I think it’s more coaching than it is the QB.
  • I’ve been really challenged to think outside the box on how to spend free time.
  • I’m looking forward to a couple warmer days.  High 50’s in November – I’ll take it!  And for the record, it’s time to set your expectations for the weather a little lower.  That time of year.
  • I’m praying hard for a friend who’s facing a difficult situation with his family and the loss of a loved one.
  • I’m praying hard for a family connected to our church grieving the loss of their mother.
  • I’m praying that for men, women, and children, we will be strengthened in our identity in Jesus Christ.
IPAD 2 CONTEST:  The rules and quiz are posted here.  If you have questions, please e-mail:  burkholder.kevin@gmail.com.  The winner will be announced in next Monday’s Links and Bullets post!  Entries are due by Sunday night at 11:59!!

Contest Rules, Instructions, and Quiz

This week marks the two year anniversary of writing Monday links and bullets.  I have a lot of fun writing my blog.  So I’m celebrating that God has helped me keep this commitment.  Some lucky winner is going to win an iPad 2 or equivalent help with a bill that needs paid.  Here is what you do:

Answer the 20 questions below.  If you get 15 correct, you will be entered in the drawing to take place next Monday, November 7. Entries must be e-mailed to: burkholder.kevin@gmail.com or sent to my inbox on Facebook.  I will reply to let you know if your entry qualifies.  If it doesn’t, you may correct the appropriate questions and re-submit.  Entries will be not be accepted past 11:59 p.m. of Sunday, November 6.  Entries submitted next Sunday will NOT be guaranteed to be reviewed or confirmed, so take your chances by waiting.

Husbands and wives may enter separately, ONLY if they are willing to verify they did their own work.  No cheating!

QUIZ

All answers can be found by going through the past year’s entries.  This quiz should take an hour or less.

1.  In a March Monday post, I shared an article asking whether God mandated genocide in the Old Testament.  Who wrote that article?

2. Give the date of a Friday post comparing casual sex to the ancient practice of concubines.

3. Who did I tell Lexi was playing in the New Year’s Eve football game she was asking about?

4. A July Friday post talked about parenthood.  What was my 2nd point in the thoughts I offered that day?

5. On what Monday this spring did I share that a couple from our church was landing with three kids they’d adopted from Laos?

6. I linked to an article in August with a link titled “the biblical servant pastor”.  When you click on the link, what’s the title of the website you’re taken to?

7. What Monday did I link to a one minute clip of a comedian going off about striking out in slow pitch softball season? (Hint: it was sometime in slow pitch softball season)

8. In the early part of the year I posted an article saying what you’ve read about Christian divorce rates is wrong.  Give the date I posted the article.

9. I reviewed Red’s new album when it came out in 2011.  What did I say about the album was “very identifiable for me as I listened to it”?

10. What was the date of the first “Friday Link Highlight” article?

11. On what Monday was the link of the week entitled “wrestling with homosexuality”?

12. How many links and how many bullet thoughts were included in the first ever post on this blog?

13. An October Monday post talked about a boomtown in North Dakota.  What is the first name (only name given) of the first person described in this article?

14. “Boys Who Can Shave” was the title of a Friday Link Highlight in what month?

15. A Monday post in springtime contained a link titled “And I worry about what?”  What was the article about?

16. I asked early in the NFL season this year if the Browns were point shaving.  Name the date of the post.

17. I posted some thoughts at the end of a pretty big Sunday in Christianity. Give the title of the article.

18. How many of the Final Four did I get right?  How did I do in the pool I was in?

19. I posted a specific Scripture quote in a Monday bullet thought.  What was it?

20. Write a four sentence paragraph telling your thoughts on the “On My Mind #2” entry. (The only requirement here is you show some thought.  You don’t have to do this if you are confident you have 15 of the first 19 correct!)

Friday Link Highlight #1 – A Surprising Abortion Statistic

There were a couple of links that drew significant interest this week from Monday’s post.  Here is the first, regarding a surprising a statistic about abortion.

The majority of women who have an abortion . . . 

Here are some of my thoughts:

1.  Are you surprised by this?

I certainly am.  I never in a million years would have guessed this to be true.  When I think of abortion, I usually think of the young expectant mom in a panic making a bad decision to get out of another bad decision.  If there is not an element of surprise in this for you, I’d sure love to hear how you’re approaching the issue – it would be helpful.

2. Money is a really powerful factor.

We will see this more and more as the years progress, but think about the current landscape.  Politics are really all about money. Money and debt seem like they’re daily headlines somewhere around the globe.  Current issues to be decided in November have money at their core. In a recession, what are people worried about?  MONEY.  So, to hear that women (and agreeing husbands) are killing unborn children in order to save money, while terrible, is not a shock.

3. If you are a Christian, do your values challenge you when it matters?

If you’re claiming to follow Jesus, the Bible is clear that certain values will follow.  Do you value life?  Do you value God’s Word? Would you have an abortion if you didn’t think you could afford having another child? Or, worse yet, would you have an abortion if the thought of another child impeded your ways of living and caused you to sacrifice?

What about matters that don’t involve life and death?  Do we make choices based on our faith that cause us to do the right thing when it hurts?  If abortion is extreme, what about the challenges that come when faced with the decision to lie, cheat, watch a filthy show or movie, or keep a rumor going?  These are sins in God’s eyes as well and we do well not to point the finger too quickly at mothers having abortions to save money.

Romans 12:1-2 challenge believers to offer their bodies as living sacrifices.  The rest of the chapter describes really challenging ways we can live that out.  Will you be challenged today?

IPAD 2 CONTEST:  My two year anniversary of writing this blog is coming up.  To celebrate, for those who read this blog my wife and I will be giving away an iPad 2.  The drawing will be November 7.  The contest and rules will be available next Monday October 31.  You will have one week to complete a 20 question quiz about the past year of blog entries.  Those e-mailing at least 15 correct answers will be entered in a drawing for a new or refurbished iPad 2.  Winner will be notified November 7.  There will be no restrictions for who can win (other than my wife!).  If you don’t prefer the iPad 2, we will help directly pay a bill that would help you out.  This contest is nothing more than a challenge to freely give away something I really want.  I really hope whoever wins or gets some free help is truly blessed by it!

Friday Link Highlight #2 – Top 10 Preaching Mistakes

There were a couple of links that drew significant interest this week from Monday’s post.  Here is the second, sharing the top 10 preaching mistakes (in the author’s opinion).  It’s interesting to me that this post garnered so much interest, but I’ll share the link and offer a few comments.

Top 10 Preaching Mistakes

A few thoughts:

1. Our human nature is to justify ourselves.

It’s easy for me to look at this list and say to myself: I don’t do any of these!  That makes the day easier, and it feels better to say that article must be for someone else.  Pride comes calling, we don’t want to admit the hint of any thought of weakness.  C’mon . . .

2. For me, I struggle the most with . . .

Assuming and confusing (and probably all of these at times).  I probably assume too much knowledge of the text and therefore fail at times to give proper context and help.  Regarding being confusing, I have felt confused by my own messages some weeks so I’m sure there can be a tendency on others’ behalf to lack clarity in following the message from the starting point to its conclusion.  These are things I’m aware of and think about on a regular basis.  Other honest and helpful feedback is welcome.  Seriously!  I’d just rather you e-mail than comment publicly. Please e-mail burkholder.kevin@gmail.com

3. What do you expect of the preaching you listen to?

Don’t expect entertainment, a certain length of message, or for the message to be “just the way you would do it”. Those are mistakes we can all say we’ve made.  But here is the one thing you should do: come ready to hear God’s Word and apply it to your life.  Listen as if you are trusting the message has been prayed over and labored over. Listen as if you know the pastor wants nothing more than for God to use his message that day.  And even though it might not be exactly what you would do or apply to you in every way, pray for its application to be vivid and active as the Holy Spirit works among those who are hearing it.

Have a great Friday everyone!

IPAD 2 CONTEST:  My two year anniversary of writing this blog is coming up.  To celebrate, for those who read this blog my wife and I will be giving away an iPad 2.  The drawing will be November 7.  The contest and rules will be available next Monday October 31.  You will have one week to complete a 20 question quiz about the past year of blog entries.  Those e-mailing at least 15 correct answers will be entered in a drawing for a new or refurbished iPad 2.  Winner will be notified November 7.  There will be no restrictions for who can win (other than my wife!).  If you don’t prefer the iPad 2, we will help directly pay a bill that would help you out.  This contest is nothing more than a challenge to freely give away something I really want.  I really hope whoever wins or gets some free help is truly blessed by it!

On My Mind #5: A Sin We Don’t Think Much About

It’s a sin I’ve been struggling with over the past couple weeks.  It’s called anxiety.  And yes, it’s a sin.  Let me explain.

I’ve been edgy about a lot of things over the past couple weeks.  Not worth going into details, but there have been a lot of things lurking below the surface.  Tough conversations, decisions I don’t like, trouble with others, things I just don’t understand, very poor communication, unknown future events — suffice it to say there’s been plenty pressing my mental capacity (leave the jokes alone for now please).  Please note this is not a rant about church life either.  Much of this is personal life oriented.

But it’s my response to these pressing things that has me quite disconcerted.  If someone came into my office looking for counsel, I’d eventually get around to saying something like this: “Well, you need to put more trust in the Lord.”  And that wouldn’t be wrong, it’s just that right now I’m not doing a very good job of following that counsel.  That qualifies me for the league of hypocrites.

Here are four specific things I’ve been convicted regarding.  I hope these challenge you as you think about the ways you get stressed, pressed, depressed, or completely messed (rhymes intended):

1. When I am frustrated because people are not doing what I think they should do, I am not trusting God.

This is very true.  A lot of times decisions just get made in ways I don’t think they should.  People don’t do things I think they should, and  sometimes they do things I think they shouldn’t.  And it frustrates me.  And it’s an idol, because somehow in my frustration I’ve made it my problem instead of God’s.  I’ve made their issues my issues instead of letting them be God’s issues.

2. Difficult situations are not worthy of frustration when there is an opportunity for the Lord to work.

In any difficult situation there is always something to learn.  Problem is, it’s easy for me to lash out, say something dumb, regret it, then get depressed.  Sometimes all of this happens before I do the things I should: take a step back, pray, see how I might learn.  At times I take more comfort in my viewpoint, frustration, and effort to solve something than I do in handing it over to God.  Sin.

3. Trusting God with the future is really difficult. 

But it’s sin when we try to make our own paths.  It’s also sin when we get frustrated that the way we saw something going wasn’t quite what God had intended for us.  We need to move past the frustration of unknown circumstances (as quickly as possible) to prayer for trust, reassurance of hope in God, and fighting against worry.  Great resources for this are Matthew 6:25-34; Romans 11:33-36; and John 14:1-4 just to name a few.

4. God is really sovereign, whether I believe it at the moment or not.

In chaos, it is really hard to accept that God knows what He is doing.  It’s easy to lash out at people; it’s harder to calm yourself before the Lord and ask Him to handle it and tell Him you trust Him.  This isn’t easy to type, and it may not be easy to hear.  But it’s true.

To be clear, I do believe people need to accept responsibility for their actions or for doing things that may add frustration to a situation.  Even in that there are ways to learn and help individuals grow.

Anxious about anything? Ask God for the help to avoid the human reaction and look for the heavenly purposes.  I know I am.