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

Monday Links and Bullets 1.28.13

Last Monday of January.  I know it will be much colder Friday when February arrives, but February brings the hope that January has passed.  Here are this week’s articles I’d like to share (links) and some thoughts of my own you’ll find below (bullets). As always, be challenged and enjoy!  I’ll be along Friday with the article that got the most attention.  Here we go . . .

WEEKLY LINKS

Link of the Week

Here is a good read by a local Akron columnist.  This attacks a problem of the information age – often we think that whatever we read is true.  Read this article and challenge yourself with how you think.

Free Music

Here is a link to a free set of songs I found enjoyable.  I’d never heard of the Gray Havens, but these songs are enjoyable (in my taste, anyway!).  They sound like someone very famous in my opinion.  I’d love to know if they caught your ear in a similar way or not.

Also, hearitfirst.com has a free new song every Tuesday.  Can’t beat the price!

Roe vs. Wade

What if January 22, 1973 could speak?

“I’ll take this burden to my grave.” Both women in the landmark cases that legalized abortion now want it reversed.  This is worth your time.

Identity

Your identity is NOT found in your marriage.

Live with awe!

BULLET THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK

Family:

  • It was an honor to do the funeral for my wife’s grandfather.  He lived a notable Christian life and lived Mark 12:28-34 very well.
  • The days keep flying by, don’t they?  We are trying our best to schedule some important dates for the calendar year.
  • We are going to try something new beginning in February.  We want to get ahead on grocery shopping, instead of always feeling behind.  So, we’re planning a big bomb of a trip the first week of every month for the staples that we know we’ll need.  Hopefully, this way we won’t run out of things as often.  Can less trips to the store be a bad thing?

Faith:

  • I was recently challenged by a friend regarding the idea of church.  He compared church to marriage.  In marriage, you don’t want every day to be a performance in order to keep the relationship together.  You need space to find what works, and you need the assurance that at every mis-step, your spouse is not going to leave you.  His view of church was much the same, that church leaders and members should agree to live in supporting, challenging, maturing covenant.  That really challenged me.
  • I preached the passage yesterday which commands us to love God and love neighbor.  It seems almost impossible for me to have this right, but I’m asking God for the grace to keep improving.  I just know how quickly I can consider my own needs and wants ahead of others.  I can’t describe how challenged I felt trying to preach that.  Wow.
  • God is really with us in times of trial.  Please don’t ever forget that.

Sports:

  • My call for the Super Bowl: Baltimore 28, SF 27 in an epic game.  I like a lot of what both teams are doing, and I’ll be excited to see the result.
  • Pitchers and catchers report soon.  Can baseball ever start soon enough?
  • If you are hoping for someone to beat the Heat for the NBA championship this year, don’t.  I think they’re going to win it easily.

Miscellaneous:

  • I am praying for the violence in Akron to stop.
  • I am curious at how religious leaders are portrayed in the local paper.  Last week, a very influential man at Akron’s Haven of Rest (Rev. Curt Thomas) passed away.  His life and funeral received good press.  I wonder if he was directly linked to comments opposing evolution and gay marriage if the events would have been covered as much.  I think our media wants the fruit of the Christian life without the Bible that drives it. What I wish they understand is that the deeds they laud so much are only the humble fruit of the realization of sin and what Christ can accomplish through us as we repent.
  • Money challenge: be your own credit card.  If you save enough money, you won’t have to go into debt for unexpected expenses.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday Link Highlight 1.25.13 – Please don’t have an identity crisis!

Check out all the links from Monday’s post here.  This week’s most clicked link was written by a friend of mine:

Do you have an identity crisis?

PLEASE read this article.  It’s short, but powerful.

A few of my own comments:

1.  People who know who they are have power.

Yes, I agree with Josiah on this one.  There is a steadiness, a power, in someone who knows who they are and displays a consistency in decision making because they know who they are.  There is no reason to be blown around by the wind.

2.  People who know who they are attract others.

Whether in dating/marriage, leadership, or in general relationships, I am definitely attracted to people who have a good sense of knowing who they are.  Doesn’t this make perfect sense?  The more un-centered someone is, the more likely they will be to frustrate you, because you won’t know how to track them. People who are all over the road are difficult to love because they are so inconsistent in what they do and say – sometimes even down to a day to day basis.  Gives me a headache just thinking about it.

3.  People – know who you are!

If you are NOT in Christ, please see Jesus as someone who can forgive you and redeem you.  When that fact takes hold in your life, it brings about a self-confidence and self-assuredness that no amount of drama, comparing, wanting-to-be-like-someone-else can every bring about.  When Jesus is the center of your life, your decisions will change, your course will change, your ability to handle criticism and conflict will change, and God will be glorified.  If you ARE in Christ, please let that identity change you every day.  May you give God glory for His grace, and may the love of Jesus Christ will you in powerful ways as you interact with those around you.

Have a great weekend everyone!

On My Mind #51: Here is a practical, direct way to help the Newtown community.

On December 14 the way we speak of tragedy changed with the unspeakable shooting at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

Following that, I got pretty disgusted that a lot of people (Christians included) used the tragedy as a sounding board for their agenda or idea.  You can read that post here.

The bottom line is that I think too many people run their mouth without ever doing anything. So, in a case of “Kevin, you should live up to your own words,” I did something.  And as a result, I’d like to share an opportunity with you.

I wasn’t sure what to do in response to this tragedy, and as I prayed about it I remembered reading an article in World Magazine about the shootings.  They had interviewed a pastor at a local church which was responding to the tragedy.  One thing led to another and I simply sent an e-mail to the church, letting them know I’d seen the article and communicating my desire to pray for them.

I never expected a reply, let alone a personal one.  But, I got a personal reply from one of the staff pastors at Walnut Hill Community Church, about 5 miles from the Newtown area.  And the pastor’s reply included a link to a fund that is being spearheaded to help with ongoing counseling for the area.  The fund is going to be overseen by its own board.  Mental health professionals are telling them that ten years of counseling will be necessary following a tragedy of this nature. So, they’re trying to raise $300,000, and you can donate by clicking here:

http://www.walnuthillcc.org/home/news/0000/00-00/reaching-out-to-sandy-hook-community

I plan to donate at some point in the near future and I encourage you to do the same.  Don’t have much money? Please commit to pray, or send a letter to this church, or another in the area.  From the pastor who responded to me there was genuine gratitude for the prayers and encouragement of outsiders.

1 Cor 12:26: …If  one part suffers, every part suffers with it…

Monday Links and Bullets 1.21.13

One more Monday in January after this one.  Hallelujah!  Here are this week’s links (articles I hope challenge you) and bullet thoughts (my somewhat organized ramblings).

WEEKLY LINKS

Link of the Week

Where have all the positive Americans gone?  A great little insight, and one that really resonated with the way I’ve been thinking.

Identity

A friend of mine has a great post about how powerful it is when you know who you are.  Thanks Josiah!

Lance Armstrong – how could we even tell if he was still lying? Good question.

Some good advice for helping girls struggling with their bodies and identities.

Christian History

Prayer and fasting during the Salem Witch trials.

Faith

Last week I posted an article about shootings in Akron.  Here’s one about prayer.  Many churches participated in this and they are extending it out another year!

This is why I like John Piper so much.  He has a great heart to teach people. These videos are both worth your time.

BULLET THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK

Life and Faith

  • Julie and I got away last weekend for an overnight.  It was a great weekend to spend time together, talk about our lives in a large scope as a new year dawns, and relax.
  • I am passionate about the Sanctity of Human Life.  Here is the first sermon I’ve preached about the topic (from yesterday’s morning service). I believe there are a number of things we can do to positively influence our national culture, but especially the areas we live.  And we should!
  • I am excited to see God doing things and moving in people’s lives.  It was awesome to be a part of praying for Kenmore last week.  Almost every hour of the whole entire week was covered in prayer at the First Glance building here in Kenmore.  Can’t wait to see what God is doing.
  • I’m really hoping to get some time blocked out for planning sermons this week.  I am really excited to look through Mark 12-13 in the next several weeks.  Many great things coming up!

Sports

  • Wow is the Super Bowl going to be luscious.  Can’t wait to see these two teams square off.  I just want to see a good game.  So many story-lines.
  • An early prediction for next year: Browns will go 8-8.
  • I haven’t watched too much college basketball.  I think that’s what February is for once football is over.
  • Three weeks till pitchers and catchers report.  ‘Nuff said.

Four Thoughts:

  • The peace of the inauguration really stood out to me.
  • I am sure people in the Brooklyn Tabernacle choir oppose gay marriage.  Why were they allowed to participate and Louie Giglio wasn’t?
  • I think gas prices should be lower.  Low $3 range is NOT exciting.  I am not conditioned to think it’s good.
  • I think most of our politicians are serving themselves and the interests that got them elected rather than the people who elected them.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday Link Highlight 1.18.13 – Thinking about Akron shootings

I posted an article Monday about Akron shootings being all too common.  It gained the most interest this week, and you can read it here:

http://akronnewsnow.com/news/local/item/68576-residents-say-north-hill-shootings-are-all-too-common

A few of my thoughts:

1. Don’t fret.

Really, I mean this.  Don’t fret.  It’s horrible that people are being shot and killed, but it’s not the predominant way most people in Akron (crime was down overall in Akron last year) are living.  There is no reason to be sucked into some drama vacuum.  But there is reason to . . .

2. Pray.

Really, I mean this too.  There is every reason to pray.  I know people who have been directly influenced by homicides. Life is never the same.  Pray for peace in our city.  Pray for peace (mental, emotional, most importantly spiritual) in the lives of the victims’ families.  Pray that God would be glorified in Akron and that crime would be reduced.

3. Invest.

The more healthy relationships people have, the more resources they have to deal with stress.  Pray for teens, young adults, gang members, etc. to find and learn how to live in healthy relationships and develop skills that can avoid violent tendencies.  That’s the tough part, but it’s the part that is crucial to helping make changes.

Have a great Friday everyone!