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

Monday Links and Bullets 11.28.11

Here are this week’s links and bullets.  Enjoy some good reading and be challenged!

WEEKLY LINKS

LINK OF THE WEEK

–A great brief read about being truly thankful.

THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

The value of prayer.

–Still not sure what to make of this guy, but I like this response.  How about a little Tebow on a Monday?

–PLEASE take five minutes and have a better idea why you can trust the New Testament.

THINGS I FOUND INTERESTING

This is really too bad, but I guess it usually happens when something goes wrong.

The spoiled children of capitalism.

The great Thanksgiving hoax.  Very interesting if nothing else.

Restaurant seafood certification.  Weird, I know.  But it makes sense.  Read it.

BULLET THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK

  • I guess Black Friday was last week.  Did I miss something?  Seriously, I do think it says a lot about our culture when we basically skip Thanksgiving and focus just as much the lust for things.  I’d never say it’s wrong to go out and shop, but if we dedicate more time and emotional energy to that than giving thanks, c’mon!
  • Was your Thanksgiving more than food?
  • Any plans this Advent season to be a blessing or share the love of Christ?
  • I’m hoping this week to get a solid grasp on preaching and teaching ministry for the rest of the year and the first several weeks of next year.  Prayers appreciated!
  • If you went to a church service yesterday, what was the sermon about? How will it affect you today?
  • A few offensive weapons and the Browns could be really good.  They are getting better and will be a tough out the rest of the year if they keep playing like yesterday.
  • OSU – Michigan game was really good.  If I was a Michigan fan, I’d be happy, but nervous for the future.
  • I am doing a lot of searching today and finding a lot of satisfaction at really deep levels
  • Definitely a great weekend hanging out with family.  A bit of a difficult adjustment into a long Sunday, but hey . . . it’s life!

Have a great Monday everyone!

Friday Link Highlight 11.25.11 – When Freak Things Happen

Here is the link that drew the most interest from Monday’s post this week:

http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/Teenage-hockey-player-struck-by-puck-dies-111411

A few thoughts to go along with this:

1. I really hate it when things like this happen.

It’s gut-wrenching to know that freak accidents take people’s lives.  The coach was quoted in the article as saying this is “unheard of”.  There are times when freak accidents grab our attention and break our hearts.

2. No one ever said life is fair.

The bottom line is that there is nothing preventing anything like this from happening to us or anyone we know.  Drunk drivers cross the center line.  People are irresponsible.  Or, sometimes we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Live sporting events, random gun attacks, thrill seeking – all come with their possibility of things going terribly wrong.

3. God is sovereign.

I believe in a God who knew exactly what day this young man would die.  I don’t believe in a God who smiles when things like this happen.  Instead, I think He grieves, knowing that death was never supposed to enter the world in the first place.  Sad? Yes.  But, praying for every bit of good to come out of this trial for this family is the right response.

Enjoy a great Friday everyone!

On My Mind #9: Christianity: Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

A lot of people talk about how arrogant Christians are.  How narrow, simple-minded, uneducated, radical, fill in your favorite knock, etc.  To hear a lot of people tell it, Christianity must not be all it’s cracked up to be.  But let me ask a couple questions:

If Christianity is so bad, why on earth have I developed friendships with people that are truly loving? Truly loving to the point that we encourage each other with good things and hold each other accountable when necessary.  We share hard truths and we share the journey of life.  What could be so bad about that?

If Christianity is so bad, why have I changed so much?  Can’t be God.  Oh that’s right, it must have been my own effort that’s responsible for things in my life I never would have had the desire to change on my own.  And that desire to change?  Guilt, that’s right.  Good old fashioned guilt can go a long way in making someone change.  Could never be God.  He’s mean, vindictive, and always too hard to please.

These Christians, they care about each other so much.  What a waste of time that must be.  Why would they do that?  They give a lot of their money away to support great causes, their churches, and each other.  A lot of Christians give out of their own means to help those in need, or to support other Christian missionaries.  What a big waste of money that narrow minded thinking leads to.

And me? I’m a pastor.  That must really be terrible.  It must mean my family hates people and all I do is try to convince people they’re wrong.  If all that’s true, why do I love my job (calling) and the church I lead so much?  Why does it thrill me to see people change, grow, and learn?

That’s right, that must just be a farce.  No person could truly love others in the same manner they love themselves.  Or even try to, or ask forgiveness when they fall short.  Christians who practice forgiveness and move forward in life miss out on all the fun of holding a grudge and sowing seeds of anger.  Right?

Christianity gives you hope when a loved one dies?  Who would want to take a pass on the hatred of life that comes when we lose a loved one?  Who would want to be filled with hope of eternity when we can run the here and now medications of drugs, alcohol, and other fleshly pleasures?  Puhlease.

So as we celebrate Thanksgiving, I’m not sure why you would.  You either should celebrate the fruits of your own labor or you should wallow in how miserable you are.

Because no God would ever have control to bless you with anything.  Those Christians might tell you He does and that you should thank Him.  But what do they know?

Monday Links and Bullets 11.21.11

Another Monday means another set of links I’ve gathered throughout the past week, with some bullet thoughts below.    I’ll be back Friday with the most clicked link of the week and a few thoughts.  Wednesdays I usually write an “On My Mind” piece.  You can read all past articles by clicking the categories on the side.

LINKS OF INTEREST

LINK OF THE WEEK

This is a 14 minute video worth watching.  Enough said.

STUFF ABOUT TEENAGERS

Realities about teen porn consumption and how to help.

Realities about 7th-12th graders and sexual harassment.

THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

What forgiveness is, what it isn’t.

–Is God a moral monster? Good theological tidbit here.

MISCELLANEOUS

The face of modern slavery.

–Outcry about the use of pepper spray on a US campus.

–Tsunami recovery: pictures from the air.

I hate things like this.

The Red Sox are going from bad to worse in their front office?

Crazy story about what’s legal somewhere else.

BULLET THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK

  • I will be interested to see how the Browns play on the road this week against a Bengals team they almost beat.  I think 17-13 will be the final either way.  Certainly a thrilling win yesterday – gotta take those!
  • It’s weird trying to discipline our foster daughter.  You take a stern tone with her and she just smiles at you like she’s so cute.
  • Is there room in your life to minister to those who are sick with sin?  Is there room in your heart, your calendar, and your pocketbook to reach out to people who may not find inclusion in other places?
  • Isaiah 42:1-9 made for a great study last night.  It is God’s glory to take broken people and repair them.
  • I am thrilled to hear our youth and youth leaders had an outstanding retreat this past weekend.  I am praying for the lessons learned to find deep roots and bring about great change for those involved!
  • I’m excited for some special opportunities for ministry this week.
  • There is deep satisfaction in taking problems before God.  He WILL help you see through them.  While it can be helpful, it doesn’t always take another person to be involved with your problem.
  • Go Bucks!  This season has been terrible.  The least they can do is beat Michigan!

Have a great week everyone!

Friday Link Highlight 11.18.11 – Spiritual Maturity

Here is this week’s most clicked article from my Monday post:

http://thecripplegate.com/5-signs-of-maturity-in-a-believer/

Also, here is an article I wrote on our church’s blog today regarding the same topic:

http://gosschurch.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/whose-responsibility-is-spiritual-growth/

A few thoughts from the first article as you think about this topic:

1.  New believers are immature.

That’s truth and that’s great for us to know.  There is no guarantee that the maturing process for a Christian will happen overnight. I Peter 4:8 is a powerful verse I’ll ask you to check out on your own time.

2. Immaturity shouldn’t be tolerated any more than bratty children should be tolerated.

There’s not much else that needs said on this one, but I’d just add that Christians should be intentional in helping people of all ages grow in their faith in Jesus Christ.  Question:  If you had a friend who just became a believer, what would you do to help them grow?

3. Reliance on Scripture

Believer: do your rely on Scripture more and more in your daily life?  The answer to that is a helpful evaluator. We should look into our hearts and figure out where we’re still trying to do it our way, rather than God’s.  Scripture provides an answer in many of those cases.

Have a great Friday everyone!