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Dr. Benjamin Quinn posted an article at the Intersect Project about Mr. Eugene Smith. Dr. Quinn and Walter Strickland dedicated their new book on work and vocation, Every Waking Hourto Mr. Eugene, because in their words: “he’s the most humble and faithful worker we know.” Dr. Quinn goes on to write:

Mr. Eugene will turn 90 years old this September. Serving on the janitorial staff at Southeastern for now 36 years is, believe it or not, his second career. After the furniture store where he’d worked for many years went out of business, Mr. Eugene applied at SEBTS; we have never been the same.  We dare say Mr. Eugene is the godliest person on campus. While Southeastern is honored to employ beloved faculty and selfless staff, it is 36 years of faithfulness and gratitude that sets Mr. Eugene apart. He has emptied garbage cans and rolled up water hoses at Southeastern longer than we’ve been alive, and no one recalls hearing the first whine or whence from him. He is a model of humility, and he beautifully shows the face of Christ at work each day.  In short, Mr. Eugene is who we want to be when we grow up.

Art Rainer recently posted at his blog about 5 lies that leaders believe that ruins their family.

I read and listen to a lot of leadership material. If I had to guess, I bet you do as well.

And though we read and listen to a lot on being a successful leader, some of the most influential ideas are not heard but observed. We watch the actions of other successful leaders in our companies and organizations, and we start mimicking them.

 

But we must be careful what we mimic. Not everything we see is good. Family is sometimes sidelined and eventually injured. And often what we were observing was not directly tied to success anyway. The family is hurt for nothing.

Walter Strickland posted an article at the Intersect Project website arguing that Proverbs 31 is for men, too. Walter writes:

Mother’s day is quickly approaching. Here are two items to add to your “to-do” list:

 

  1. Make sure to give your mother something that is an expression of your love for her.
  2. Crack open your Bible and reconsider the relevance of Proverbs 31 for your life.

 

As Benjamin and I wrote Every Waking Hour, we reassessed the virtuous woman, and we were delighted to discovered that Proverbs 31 isn’t just for women. Her example is helpful to each of us, especially as it pertains to work and vocation.

 

The virtuous woman is a sterling picture of work. The virtuous woman is presented as the personification of economic savvy and wisdom at the end of a book that implores readers to seek understanding. The word “economic” here is used in a broad sense, in reference to the web of relationships that people inhabit on a daily basis. For example, the virtuous woman inhabits three of Martin Luther’s four vocational spheres — namely, family, workplace and society.

 

Scripture highlights the completeness of the woman’s wisdom in a 22-line acrostic poem that demonstrates her thoroughly wise ways from beginning to end (or from A to Z). Thus, her example is far more than a checklist for men to impose on a potential spouse; she is an example of wise living for men and women alike, although she takes on the particularities of femininity and motherhood.

 

Here are three things you can learn from the virtuous woman.

 

Dr. Bruce Ashford recently shared 12 books every pastor, professor, or student should read about Christianity, politics, and public life.

Here are twelve books I recommend to pastors, professors, and students who wish to be Christian witnesses in politics and public life. I will describe each book and then rank its level of difficulty on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most difficult. Level 1 is the category for a book you could give to any friend or family member. Level 5 is the category for a book that might be required in a PhD seminar.

 

At his blog, Dr. Chuck Lawless recently listed 10 pastoral thoughts about Mother’s Day

This coming Sunday, many of us will celebrate Mother’s Day in our church. If your church is planning to honor mothers, here are some pastoral thoughts to keep in mind.

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Spence Spencer recently posted an article discussing how Francis Schaeffer helped call people back to an understanding that Jesus is Lord of all life. Spence writes:

In the Alps of Switzerland, a wise man once lived out his religion as faithfully as he knew how. He was not a hermit who sought isolation, but an evangelist who invited many people into his home to converse and try to think God’s thoughts after him.

 

That man was Francis Schaeffer. That home was called L’Abri. Schaeffer’s vision for Christians was faith that brings the gospel to bear on every aspect of life.

 

For Schaeffer, confronting the ills of culture was not simply done through direct proclamation. It was also accomplished by contributing to the world in a way that reflects the moral order of the universe. Creation is meant to be true—that is, the work people do is meant to point back to God.

 

Dr. Bruce Ashford recently wrote an article discussing how to think biblically about politics.

When Christians want to answer the question, “What is a Christian view of politics?” it can be tempting to come up with a quick answer by limiting our research to a couple of Bible passages that explicitly address the Christian’s relationship to the governing authorities. Or, alternatively, it can be tempting to jump immediately to Bible passages that address religious liberty, the value of human life, the nature of marriage, or some other public policy issue.

However, if we conduct our investigation by looking only at a few isolated passages, we will miss the Bible’s richest and most profound teaching. We will miss its fuller perspective on culture and politics; we will misunderstand those isolated passages because our perspective does not arise from within a fully-formed Christian worldview. Similarly, if we allow our minds to leap to specific issues of public policy, we will be trying to build a “house of policy” without having first laid a foundation.

The only way to overcome a fragmented perspective on politics is to allow the Bible’s master narrative to shape our thinking. Isolated passages shouldn’t be understood, and policies shouldn’t be crafted, in ways that are divorced from the bigger picture. So we’ve got to go back before we can go forward: we need to understand politics from within the Bible’s master narrative—the true story of the whole world.

Cas Monaco posted at Intersect project this week on how to steward the Gospel well, giving a framework for both the energized and the overwhelmed. Cas writes:

As a budding missiologist, I am being trained to research and analyze the church and culture within a sound biblical framework. Since I’m on staff with Cru, I put my learning into practice as I interact with city leaders and kingdom citizens participating in the Great Commission across the country actively.

 

We collaborate with all sorts of leaders who seek to steward the gospel well. Many pastor or partner with churches in the urban core. Some serve Millennials by helping them to navigate the precarious path between faith and work. Others encourage actors, artists, filmmakers and authors. One thing these believers have in common, whether Cru staff, educators, civil servants, financial analysts or computer programmers, is passion and a longing to make a difference for God’s kingdom in their field of influence or their neighborhood.

 

As we dialogue with followers of Jesus, we reflect on the rapidly changing culture and consider how we can effectively express the gospel in word and deed.

 

At Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer recently discussed dissertations that are needed today.

The function of graduate work is to make specialists out of generalists. There is nothing wrong with being a generalist, but generalists are aggregators of knowledge. Specialists have an opportunity to add to the realm of human knowledge.

Ph.D. study refines the specialty of the specialist, revealing knowledge the generalist learns later.

If these assertions are true of knowledge in scientific and historical fields, they are no less true regarding the religious Ph.D.

Here are a few thoughts about why you should consider seeking a Ph.D. today.

Aaron Earls recently wrote a blog post about how American Christians are confused about what it means to be a Christian. Aaron writes:

Before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, but through Me.”

 

He claimed to be the exclusive way to salvation and eternal life with God. But according to Pew Research, most American Christians believe they have found a different path.

 

Self-identified Christians were given a list of items and asked which ones were essential to being a Christian, which ones were important, but not essential, and which ones were unimportant. For most weekly church-attending American Christians, the essentials of being a Christian means doing some good things, believing in God, and … that’s about it.

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Bruce Ashford recently posted an article at his personal blog discussing how there is no social transformation without representation, and what we should expect in a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States. Dr. Ashford writes:

The British cultural critic G. K. Chesterton once noted, “Seemingly from the dawn of man all nations have had governments, and all nations have been ashamed of them.” What is true of “all nations” in relation to their governments is true of many “Americans” in relation to the Supreme Court majority.

 

During the last half of the twentieth century, we the people experienced a social transformation being imposed upon us by a number of justices on the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). These judges were able to impose their social views upon us by employing what is called a “living document” view of the Constitution. This imposition, no matter how well-intended, undermines our democratic republic.

 

Most proponents of the “living document” view contend that the constitutional framers specifically wrote the Constitution in broad and flexible terms so that future judges could reinterpret it in light of “the times.” In effect, justices who employ this view from the Supreme Court bench are able to take things out of the Constitution that they do not like and insert things they do.

 

Beth Allison Bar recently posted at The Anxious Bench on the value of failure in graduate school:

My husband suggested once that I have lunch with a friend. She was a graduate student, and struggling in the program. “Did you tell her I almost quit?” I asked. “Oh, yeah,” my husband said. “That is why I thought you should talk with her.”

 

Graduate school is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Although I am grateful for the excellent program I attended and my superb adviser (who is still my friend and advocate), I have no desire to return to my graduate years.

 

I expected the painful work load, the never ending research projects and papers, the complete lack of sleep for days on end, and even the political drama among both faculty and students.

 

What I didn’t expect was how much I would fail.

 

Benjamin Quinn wrote an article for the Intersect Project discussing how to destroy the divide between pulpit and pew. Dr. Quinn writes:

My older brother, Brandon, serves as principal of the public high school from which we both graduated. He recently told me a story about a kid we’ll call Cory who was in and out of Brandon’s office for reasons mostly related to drug possession. As Brandon questioned Cory about the situation, he discovered Cory’s problem wasn’t drug use — it was his family.

 

Cory’s parents were using him to deliver drugs to another kid at school, who then delivered them to his own parents. Their logic was that if Cory got caught, his punishment, as a minor, would be minimal. If they got caught, it would likely entail jail time. In other words, lower risk for him than for them.

 

In one emotional conversation with Cory, Brandon asked, “Do you want out of this?” With teary eyes, Cory said, “Show me how! There ain’t no way out of this!”

 

After Brandon shared this story with me, he asked about my job as a college and seminary professor: “What do you do every day?” I told him about various theology courses and students preparing for pastoral ministry and mission work. I also expressed my great delight in my work despite its challenges.

 

Less than three minutes after telling me about Cory, Brandon said, with all sincerity, “I just don’t see how what I do is as important as what pastors, missionaries or seminary professors do.”

 

My jaw dropped, and my heart broke. How could Brandon conclude that his work is less valuable than mine? The question was a turning point.

 

Dr. Jamie Dew posted an article earlier this week discussing the role of apologetics in the believer’s life.

Over the past few weeks we’ve considered doubt. I’ve looked at the causes, and I’ve suggested that we need friends and fellow believers to help us through times of doubt and struggle. I have not, at least not until now, said anything about the role of apologetics in the life of the believer who struggles with doubt. But obviously, any discussion on doubt needs to turn to this important question at some point.

 

For me, apologetics has been a huge help as I’ve continued to follow Christ. It’s given me the opportunity to explore my questions and my doubt, and to wrestle with very difficult matters. In the end, the process has made my faith stronger. Most of us who study apologetics recognize that it has as much to offer the believer and the church as it does the non-believer. So, if you struggle with doubt, you need apologetics. But, let me clarify a few things before you set your self to the task.

 

Christopher Poirier posted a helpful article at the Intersect Project website: “The Geek Contextualization: Finding the Geeks.” Christopher writes:

Have you ever noticed how the gospel thrives in the most unlikely places? For example, in the first century, the gospel thrived not among the Jews, but the pagan Gentiles. Today, the gospel thrives not in the so-called “Christian” West, but in parts of Asia under heavy persecution.

 

So, today Geek culture seems like a very unlikely place for the gospel to thrive. But God has done stranger things. So here’s the question: How can you and I share the gospel within this community?

 

Here at Intersect, we started having this conversation with a recent post, “The Geek Contextualization: Putting the Gospel Where the Geeks Are.” This piece will now be the foundational discussion point for a series on how to engage this large, and growing, community.

 

In part one of this series, I provided a broad definition of the Geek culture. The truth is, Geek culture is difficult to pin down. Part of what makes the Geek culture so large, dynamic and full of life is that new niches, games, movies and characters are constantly expanding the culture and its fan base each and every day.

 

But just how large is this group? Answering this question is difficult, and very little research exists to quantify it. That said, here are a few things we do know