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

Monday Challenge 8.31.15 – Praying Destruction, Harsh Review, Sports – Life and Death

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Good morning. If you wanted one more Monday in August, you got it! For me, that means one more Monday to share some challenging articles. Check ’em out. I’ll be back on Friday with a look at the article that gets the most clicks. Enjoy – and be challenged!

Praying Destruction

Practically praying against Planned Parenthood. Stephen Altrogge has a balanced, reasonable article applying some of the Bible’s most difficult statements.

Question: How does this article help you square praying against people vs. praying for their salvation?

Sports, Life, and Death

What happens when the distraction isn’t a place of escape? Barnabas Piper shares some good thoughts regarding sports and reality.

Question: Should escape pretend reality doesn’t exist?

A Harsh Review

Shouldn’t Christians just be nice? This review of the Christian film War Room doesn’t pull any punches. I’d suggest honest conversations can help drive toward deeper meaning.

The review itself will help you think through these types of films and how they cover spiritual issues.

Question: Is the review too harsh? Should we show a little more support to fellow Christians?

War and Religion

This article will challenge you to think about the Church’s influence during the Civil War.

Question: Does history help you connect with present national and moral struggles? Did religion make the war worse?

Friday Feature 8.28.15 – Is There Any Demand For Same Sex Marriage?

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After a bumpy summer of blog consistency, this week’s Monday traffic was admittedly low. Nonetheless, I’ll offer up a Friday Feature for those who may enjoy the read. The most clicked link on Monday’s post has Joe Carter asking a good question:

Is there any demand for same sex marriage?

Please, check the article out. Don’t just trust what I have to say. After you’ve read Carter’s logic, go ahead and peruse some of my own thoughts.

1. I know stats can say what they want, but . . .

Alright, I know some who don’t trust stats, as they can be off. Think or a moment. What if these stats were off by huge margins, more than the generally accepted percentage? The author still has a point.

2. Think about the Supreme Court decision.

If you support same sex marriage, do you think the Supreme Court ruling is proportional to the demand from society? Said another way, did the justices respond to a vast outcry from American citizens demanding same sex marriage?

Think. How do you form your beliefs about what is best for society?

Act. Action? Hmmm…first, give some honest thought to your positions. Second, if you oppose same sex marriage, keep looking for ways to point out the facts and do so in

Think and Act 8.26.15 – Longtime Christian Friends

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Tuesday we gathered to celebrate Jerry’s 40th birthday. I’m not there yet! Later this year we will celebrate Craig’s 50th birthday. Our friend Brett turned 50 last year. Next year I’ll be 40, Brad will get closer, and Ryan…well doesn’t he look good with all that hair?

I’m sure these guys wouldn’t mind me writing a blog post about them. We’re friends, and we’ve been friends for a long time. As best I can remember, the six of us in some way shape or form have met together on Tuesday mornings for ten years, maybe more.

Of course I have other friends, and I don’t mean to slight any of them in this post. Pictures sometimes make me think. So, let me present a loose collection of thoughts about longtime Christian friends.

1. We’re committed.

Friendship takes commitment. Anything in your journey with Christ takes commitment. Don’t expect otherwise. Commitment means hard work, and gritty conversations. It means discomfort and hard times. Did I say we’re committed?

We spend time together. Not just on Tuesdays. We spend time a couple times per year out of town and away from our families. We have fun and simply share life. We each get a free breakfast from each other at IHOP (or a round of golf!) on our birthday. But that takes commitment.

2. We don’t agree on everything. We count that a strength.

Well, at least I count it a strength. I can say I have learned A LOT from these guys. And much of what I’ve learned comes from realizing they don’t do things the way I do and don’t believe exactly as I do. That’s not easy, and sometimes we (I?) get a little riled up as we work through things.

We know how to forgive if necessary, move forward, communicate well, and do so honestly. Did I mentioned we’re committed?

3. We support each other.

Whatever member of our group is going through trial, he can be sure the prayer and encouraging texts will come. We’ve traveled through many seasons of life and ministry. Do you think we stop and think about our disagreements when our kids have struggles, when the trials of ministry weigh heavily on us, or when we’re in a season of sickness or loss?

I bet you know what that takes. That’s right, commitment.

Think. Do you benefit from long term Christian friendships?

Act. Let your friends know you’re thankful for them. Enjoy the benefit of committing to people through seasons of life. And, risk the hurt that may come when those relationships change. I guarantee the joy will outweigh the hurt.

 

 

Tuesday Rambling 8.25.15 – Planned Parenthood Protest

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Today I’ll ramble a bit about Akron’s Planned Parenthood protest from last Saturday.

John Piper had a more extensive collection of thoughts on the Minneapolis gathering. You can read that here.

For now, time to ramble:

  • Participating in this rally stirred my emotions, my soul.
  • I would agree with Dr. Piper’s comments about the somberness of the event. It seemed that way to me in Akron as well.
  • After mentioning this protest in my sermon last Sunday, I had several people tell me they didn’t even know a protest was going on. I won’t speculate as to why people seemed to have little awareness of an event.
  • The protest sent this message: the protest shouldn’t stop with the event. I couldn’t agree more. If you sense outrage at the things Planned Parenthood is shown to be doing via the internet videos, please continue to make people aware of exactly how their tax money gets spent.
  • Let your elected representatives know exactly how you feel about the issue.
  • I agreed with the Beacon Journal’s estimate of about 300 people attending the Akron event.
  • Out of those 300, I noted one (1) African American, a black pastor who spoke as part of the event. It’s possible more attended, but even so the percentage would have been low.
  • African Americans comprise about 13% of the U.S. population, but participate in about 33% of the abortions performed here.
  • I’m not saying you have to go to a protest to be pro-life and other pro-life groups I support network well with the African American community.
  • All this to say my heart breaks for my black brothers and sisters who lose so many valuable lives.
  • The bottom line? Many women, fearful and susceptible, agree to abortion after receiving pressure and hearing tales of “limited” options. Too many of those vulnerable are of African descent.
  • It encouraged my soul to hear prayers for forgiveness, healing, and hope. In a time of moral outrage, we must continue to pray for those who perpetrate.
  • We must also pray that justice will find them should they fail to cease this vicious behavior.
  • Lord Jesus, come soon!

Monday Challenge 8.24.15 – Katrina 10 Years Later, Killing Comparison, The god of Sexual Freedom

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Good morning! Yes, it’s Monday. Yes, I am writing and sharing. I have felt all over the place this summer (probably because I have been all over), but hopefully today marks the beginning of some sort of routine.

I hope you find the articles below challenging. Enjoy!

Katrina 10 Yrs. Later

Some interesting Hurricane Katrina during/after photos. Ten years is quite a while.

Question: In what ways do you remember large destructive events such as Katrina?

The God of Sexual Freedom

This article explores what the Planned Parenthood videos mean to us. Very challenging.

Question: How does this article challenge your thinking about sexual freedom?

Demand for SSM

Is there demand for same sex marriage? Thinking through the numbers can put the movement in perspective.

Question: Does this information challenge how you think about same sex marriage?

Myths of Loneliness

Check out these powerful myths (and corresponding truths) of loneliness.

Question: In what ways do these truths help you combat the myths of loneliness?

Killing Comparison

This article does a fantastic job of using Bible truth to kill comparison.

Question: How are you tempted to compare yourself to others? How does this article help?