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

Tuesday Rambling 3.31.15 – Rambling About the Government and Religious Freedom

US_Capitol_Building_at_night_Jan_2006

Don’t we all get irritated about the government? In some way shape or form it’s almost impossible not to see the faults of our leaders in various ways and at various times. Today, at your choice, endure some of my rambling about our government.

  • I saw this yesterday: it seems like some in government are more interested in leveling sanctions against Indiana than Iran.
  • I truly believe our federal government will make specific attempts to limit religious freedom.
  • I would not be surprised if there is a LOT of activity on this front in the next 3-5 years.
  • I am convinced that those trying to limit religious freedom have no idea of the consequences of their actions.
  • Many influential people (read any article about the furor in Indiana) are acting out of total misinformation.
  • Indiana has passed a law that mirrors a federal law passed by Bill Clinton in 1993 and everyone is screaming that Indiana is discriminatory toward gays.
  • It seems that one’s view of marriage may become a litmus test for how much “religious freedom” the government (or culture) will permit.
  • It is TOTALLY POSSIBLE for a Christian to have a respectful attitude toward gays. I wish the media would tell these stories. I believe they represent that majority experience between Christians and gays in our culture.
  • You read that right. Acts of disrespect and hatred toward gays and the “fears of discrimination” espoused by those seeking to limit religious freedom do happen, but I believe they are the MINORITY experience of the way gays interact with Christians.
  • It is staggering to think that basic freedom to hold a traditional view of marriage is in serious danger.
  • To respond? I am truly in prayer for revival.
  • God has used many events historically to provoke revival. It is NOT beyond Him to act in specific and powerful ways in the face of this tide of opposition.

Monday Challenge 3.30.15 – Captive to Terrorists, Suffering and Love, the Facts of Religious Liberty

Parents_of_Chibok_kidnapping_victims

Good morning. It’s Monday yet again. The articles you find here today come from a variety of perspectives and topics. Be challenged! I’ll be by on Friday with the most clicked link from today’s post.

Captives of Boko Haram

This article is challenging, yes, but that’s the point of a challenging post. You’ll find great insight into the reality of captivity to terrorists.

Question: What did you learn by reading these accounts?

Suffering and Love

How do we react to the accounts of suffering available to us in overwhelming numbers? Let love form in us.

Question: How did this article help you link suffering and love?

Religious Freedom

When it comes to religious freedom laws, know your facts. The media greatly mis-characterize these laws.

Question: What facts do you know about these laws?

Jonah – and ourselves

This quick read about Jonah helps us understand ourselves.

Question: Which of the four points spoke loudest to you?

 

Friday Feature 3.27.15 – 8 Myths About Education

IMG_0031.JPG

The most clicked link from Monday’s post made me think a lot about education. It apparently made you think too. Here it is:

8 Myths That Undermine Educational Effectiveness by Mark Phillips.

Please read the article to gain the author’s perspective.

Then, here are a few of my own thoughts:

1. Whatever your view, can we all admit that evaluating educational outcomes is a complex process?

Limited thinking really hurts such important and necessary public discourse. Especially on topics such as education, evaluating all education through your location, context, or experience misses the larger complexities.

2. Money matters?

I was honestly surprised to hear that some people thought money didn’t matter in education. Of course it matters. The more money in a district, the more fully rounded an education experience can be.

3. The church is guilty of #4 at times.

Read the point and then compare it to our attitude as believers. We must think about context and dynamics without trying to take a cookie cutter approach – either to education or ministry!

Think. Did these myths challenge you? Does it lead you to want to research these claims more fully?

Act. Applying these truths about education can encourage us to avoid making mistakes by looking too narrowly at other life endeavors such as relationships, faith, and church. Another great specific action step would be to talk to an educator and see what they think about the article.

Think and Act 3.25.15 – Selfishness Part 2: The ANTI-selfishness

ANTI-

So last week I outlined ten ways I can get selfish.

This week, part two. I could list many thing for anti-selfishness. Tonight, I want to focus on one:

Praise God for the opposite of your selfishness.

Here are a couple examples:

  • I praised God today that I didn’t get cut off at a yield that I frequent. I tend to get upset when drivers cut me off so I praised God when it didn’t happen!
  • I praise God that I got in and out of the store yesterday in a time frame that fit my schedule.
  • I’ve been trying to recognize the days the kids do pretty well overall and give thanks (notice I’m not saying perfect days exist).

See, if you’re like me at all, it’s much easier to notice when things DON’T go right than when they do. So…for me a key anti-selfishness tool is praising God for things that go right. The more I do that the less the times it goes wrong stand out.

It’s as simple as this: the more God is the center of my thinking, the less I get stressed by the little things. I hope this challenge to my thinking and approach serves as a helpful challenge to yours.

Think. What insignificant things frustrate you? How can you praise God for the opposite?

Act. Praising God and centering your mind on Him is an anti-selfishness tool any believer can use at any time!

Tuesday Rambling 3.24.15 – Why and How Do You Listen?

ear_by_nikita_stock

Tuesday – Time to ramble. This week I’ll focus on a quote I heard recently. Here we go:

  • Heard this recently: Do you listen to understand or do you listen to respond?
  • I wish I had this perfect! Obviously, it is better to listen with an ear to understand, rather than to respond.
  • I struggle most with listening due to the amount of conversations I have in any given week.
  • It’s hard to stay focused, especially in shorter conversations.
  • I have been in meetings and situations where hours have been wasted due to the lack of effective listening.
  • If you listen to respond the conversation is about you. Sounds similar to what happens in the typical internet comment section debate.
  • If you listen to understand you open up the possibility of effective communication.
  • No one will walk away from a conversation with us feeling heard until we do our best to listen.
  • How? How do I listen to understand? How does someone know I’m doing that?
  • Ask questions. If you can’t relate to what someone’s saying, ask them to describe.
  • Show someone you’re interested. Balance how much you talk about yourself or your point of view: do you listen more than (or at least as much as) you talk?
  • I have certain people who stick in my mind because they listen really well. When I talk to them I feel like they’re trying to understand. Their body language and the types of questions they ask give away the honest heart they have to understand what I’m saying.
  • How about a challenge today to begin listening to understand? What if everyone we talked to really felt like we were listening?