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

Think and Act 9.7.16 – NBC, The Ark Encounter, and Bill Nye

arkencounter

In case you didn’t hear yet, a Christian group called Answers in Genesis opened a life-size Ark Encounter in Kentucky in July.

Think a bit with me. A title of “Think and Act” might lend itself to that, yes?

1. NBC covered the opening of the attraction.

Well, good for them. The attraction, site, and opening certainly proved newsworthy. Any attraction capable of drawing thousands upon thousands of visitors in its opening weeks should make the news.

 

See the spot on NBC News here.

2. What about the opposition?

After the story aired, this site complained that not even a soundbite from the opposition made the telecast. In all honesty, looking at this from a simple presentation of the news, they may have a point. If an atheist attraction drew thousands and thousands, received national news coverage, and viewers heard not a single believer’s voice of opposition, I’d assume creation supporters may feel slighted.

3. NBC eventually aired Bill Nye’s disagreement. 

Check it out here.

Some points in the article actually give an accurate presentation of the “young earth” creation viewpoint. Hey, at least the clearly explained viewpoint made a national news source.

What I hope spurs thought lies in how NBC presented opposing thoughts. I don’t have time to pick apart the way this comes across, so I’ll highlight one sentence:

“Scientists, however, say there’s no evidence to suggest an epic, worldwide flood occurred within the past 6,000 years.” This sentence comes directly after one explaining some scientists remain open to a global flood event. “Scientists” really means the kind of scientists who agree with Bill Nye.

In reality, many high level scientists believe in a young earth and their presentation of rational evidence can be found at answersingenesis.org

4. A respectful exchange.

Nye gives a good example here of how we should disagree in our culture. He showed up, took the tour, and avoided a public opportunity to shout down his opponent. I don’t agree with his beliefs and I wonder why believers teaching their children their beliefs bothers him so much, but I appreciate how he conducted himself in public toward someone with whom he obviously has little intellectual common ground.

I wonder how many believers would do the same at a blatantly atheist exhibit covered by the news.

Think. How do you process coverage of opposition to believers’ viewpoints?

Act. Act in love, listen to understand, show respect, and pray for opportunities to speak the truth!

Think and Act 7.20.16 – When Churches Partner With Local Schools

classroom

Guest Blogger Sarah Klingler!

Sarah Klingler is a local wife, mother, and runner who gains a unique look into the body of Christ through her position on staff at Love Akron. You can read more about Love Akron at their website. Allow Sarah today to share her passion for church/school partnerships with you. As always, think, then act!

Local ministries are doing an amazing job of meeting the needs of the marginalized – those living in poverty, those struggling to find a job after being incarcerated, or those who are looking for help leaving behind a life of addiction. Did you know that there is an institution in our community where the local church can serve the poor, feed the hungry, minister to the homeless, welcome refugees, and care for orphans all in one place? Where is this, you ask?

Neighborhood schools. Every church is planted in a neighborhood; every neighborhood has a school or schools; every school has needs that simply can’t be met by administrators and staff alone.

What are some reasons churches should consider forming a partnership with a school?

1. There is such a wide array of ways that a church can help.

People sitting in the pews have so many diverse talents and gifts, and a school can use all of them. From tutoring to lunch room monitoring to organizing a clothes closet to helping teachers create bulletin boards to helping with small maintenance projects. The list of opportunities at your neighborhood school is nearly endless.

2. Creating a partnership between a church and a school provides benefits to both partners.

The staff, administration, and students will be blessed by the church’s consistent presence, their meeting of needs that are specific to that particular community, and their encouragement. The volunteers will be blessed by the relationships that are formed, the improvement that is seen in students’ skill levels and behavior, and the appreciation expressed for the impact they are making.

3. It really is a wonderful opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to be salt and light in the community.

There should be no hidden agendas going into these partnerships. We recommend simply starting with the question, “What can we do to help?” Schools can feel comfortable with the church’s presence, and we can trust that God will work in the hearts and minds of all those who are impacted. This might be some students’ or staff members’ only tangible experience with the Church, perhaps their first or only experience with Christians. What an amazing opportunity to introduce Christ in this way- through both service and love.

Think. Try to imagine all of the issues and problems in your community. Now think of the school as a microcosm of society. Imagine teachers trying to teach a classroom full of students of different ability levels, different backgrounds, with different family issues. What an impact the local church could make in coming alongside of educators and families. Take a look at just one example of a working partnership here. https://youtu.be/KhxBCiqtu7E

Act. Did reading this resonate with you? Do you wish something like this could happen in your own church? Talk to your pastor. Call a friend in the education world and hear the challenges and needs they have. Find out about organizations that are working to equip churches to form these partnerships. Locally you can reach out to LoveAkron.org.

Think and Act 4.27.16 – Think With Me About Grief

grief-927099_960_720

Right. Grief. Everyone’s favorite topic.

I don’t want to waste any space, so I’ll just jump right in with some quick reflections from a grief night we had at our church Sunday called “When the Lord Takes Away”.

1. We ultimately grieve as a result of sin.

Sometimes we grieve a loss due to someone else’s direct sin and responsibility. Sometimes we grieve due to Adam and Eve’s sin, which IS (and NO I DON’T mean this as a cliche) the reason messed up things happen.

Some of the worst situations come about when someone has sinned but justice escapes those victimized by the sin.

2. Calling grief an “inward limp” makes a lot of sense.

One of our participants likened her grief to an “inward limp”. What a great analogy. When you limp outwardly, you will do things to compensate. You may lean on a crutch or cane. You may strengthen or weaken other muscles due to the limp. Translate that to the inward affects of grief and you’ll make some great connections.

3. Believers in Jesus Christ grieve with hope.

Overwhelming stories of loss can stun us. But, what happens when hope overwhelms the overwhelming? That’s the truth of Jesus Christ. The hope of eternal life CAN apply to every day and long term struggles. Trusting in God’s sovereignty gives people shelter from doubt, fear, and worry.

I Thessalonians 4:13: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”

Think. Why does grief happen? Do you have a framework for processing your grief?

Act. If you’re struggling through grief, keep processing and finding ways to let God lead you and guide you. If you know someone struggling, do your best to help without saying too much.

Think and Act 4.6.16 – Challenging the “Us vs. Them” Culture

demrepub

Us vs. Them. Let me define the term, since I kind of made it up. What I mean by “us vs. them” is this idea that in order to support someone or something we must demonize the other side. The prevalence of this thinking in society (politics, churches, etc.), I think, not only threatens to splinter the nation but local communities as well.

Challenging questions as you think about your involvement:

  1. Can you say anything respectful about a candidate who won’t get your vote?
  2. Could you imagine a scenario where those eager to serve and lose an election could still benefit society – either locally or on larger levels?
  3. How do you view other churches? If you have somehow believed a mindset of “our church vs. the world”, you’ve believed lies. Instead, try “our church with other churches for the world”.
  4. How important is it to know why you don’t attend another church, or why you disagree with its leader? How important is it to tell others about your “differences”?
  5. Will you risk a relationship with a neighbor or a friend over politics or church affiliation?
  6. How does this phrase from I Cor. 13:7 inform your belief about people with whom you disagree: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”?
  7. When was the last time you believed or passed on things about people, issues, or candidates without any way to really verify them?
  8. Have you ever held a conversation with anyone you would be uncomfortable around based on things you heard about them?
  9. Would you pray for someone you seriously dislike?
  10. If you thought someone had motives to harm, would you pray for them?

I ask questions like these to remind that “the enemy” always represents a real human being, made in God’s image, often with strong desires to benefit society. At the very least, as believers let me ask you to pray for the salvation of those you view as opponents (if indeed they have not committed to Christ yet).

Think. How difficult do you find it to hope for the good of those with whom you disagree?

Act. Try simply starting with prayer, or if possible, a basic conversation. Totally radical! Try a simple conversation with a human being? At the very least it will help you think and pray.

Think and Act 3.9.16 – Death In Our City

2436625071_c7e948de90_o

How does the news of death in your surrounding area strike you?

Over the past month or so, some random yet shocking deaths have made news in our local area. Traffic deaths, strange deaths, heroin-related overdose deaths – all have topped headlines.

Some questions in the wake of such heaviness:

1. Does it bother you?

Of course it should bother us when human life ends prematurely. If we wear the “pro-life” label, then we should pause when we hear this type of news (or the news of any death for that matter).

2. Does it distance you, or instead bring you into the events?

What may bother me the most about my own approach happens when I attempt to separate myself from it. “Well, I’m not that messed up” or “I’m glad those problems belong to someone else” type of thinking can happen if I let it.

Instead, I should seek to both understand and pray for those involved.

3. Does compassion come before judgment?

Certainly, two men who died recently of heroin overdoses about 1/4 mile from our house made bad decisions and bore those consequences. But should that thought spring first to my mind as I process? Does that thought just make me feel better about myself? In that scenario I can build a case against them as judge and jury and put them away to a place where I don’t need to deal with the issue.

The challenge comes in considering their family, those left behind, the decisions and process of laying them to rest. My shallow thinking can actually limit my understanding regarding larger systems which contribute to the problems that lead to these sorts of deaths. Further, what about praying for the responders and police who must deal with the dead, and praying for the individual who stumbled onto the harrowing scene?

Excluding compassion in my thinking limits my response to frustration and justice. I’m glad God doesn’t treat me that way.

Think. How can we effectively process random, harsh, or difficult deaths in our area where we may not have a personal connection?

Act. Pray for these types of situations and those affected. They are real people who now must endure real seasons (if not lifetimes) of real suffering. Discuss harsh topics in a way that seeks understanding and avoids harsh judgment as the primary response.