In Case You Missed It

This week at the Peoples Next Door blog, Keelan Cook posted about how our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult.

David Roberts, a blogger at Vox.com recently wrote an article titled, “How our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult.” For a secular piece, Roberts is rather prophetic in his tone about the shape of society and its relationship with relationships.

Now, I want to be clear that this is a secular work. I am not recommending it wholesale. Roberts uses evolutionary theory and other things to ground his conclusions, and I am not there with him on some of that. However, I point out this article because it provides an excellent look into the culture around us. Pastors, church planters, and even local church members can benefit from reading this, as they try to engage the community around them.

Aaron Earls responded to the Starbucks “red cup” controversy in this post: “We All Got What We Wanted from the Red Cup.”

Yes, we’re all tired of talking about it. The color of coffee cups has dominated social media feeds and water cooler discussions for the past few days. But whether we care to admit it or not, everybody involved got what they wanted out of the Starbucks red cup controversy. While you may have lost track of who exactly is outraged at whom, the winners in this latest cultural kerfuffle are obvious.

At Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer writes about overcoming the discipleship deficit.

The topic of discipleship is one of increasing importance among many believers, and rightfully so. This topic deserves our attention even more today as church leaders realize there is a “discipleship deficit.”… This appears to be a trend across the spectrum of churches. Believers were failing to engage in taking the next step of their spiritual journey, and with regards to the steps that they were actually taking, there was somewhat a sense of dissatisfaction. Converts were being made. Churches are securing “decisions.” But far too few are growing into mature disciples of Christ.

At the Southeastern Literary and Art Magazine (SLAM), Ashley Burchett discusses editing style and mechanics.

“Imaginative writing has its source in dream, risk, mystery, and play. But if you are to be a

good—and perhaps a professional writer, you will need discipline, care, and ultimately even an obsessive perfectionism. As poet Paul Engle famously said, “Writing is rewriting what you have written.”

—Janet Burroway, Imaginative Writing

This quotation from the seventh chapter of Janet Burroway’s book Imaginative Writing is one of my favorite insights Burroway offers. If, as poet Engle notes, “writing is rewriting what you have rewritten,” then editing exists as a vital stage in the writing process, a stage to be revisited again and again and again. The following editing checklist includes the steps I take to edit style and mechanics in my academic and creative writing.

And finally, be sure to check out this interview with SEBTS Vice President of Student Services, Dean of Students and Professor of Theology, Ethics & Culture Mark Liederbach.

Mark Liederbach is the vice president for student services and dean of students at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as professor of theology, ethics and culture. Liederbach shares about growing up in a Catholic family, how he ended up teaching at a Baptist seminary and what projects he is currently working on.

In Case You Missed It

Recently a team of students from SEBTS went on a short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic. After returning from the trip, SEBTS student Shaq Hardy offered his reflections on his personal blog.

The short amount of time that I spent in the Dominican Republic doing ministry to and with Haitians was much needed in helping me see the call of the Great Commission in a better light. Going into this trip I honestly thought God was going to give me a completely different look on the need for the gospel around the world. Especially being an African-American who has never really had international missions on his radar because of the issues I see that still need to be fixed in America within the community from which I came. However, that is not what happened…Instead of giving me a new outlook on missions and how missions should be done, God has used this trip in my life to simply pull the lens with which I use to see missions back and show me more and more the necessity of GOing.

Matt Rogers recently published a helpful article addressing why local churches should work to strategically send teams to plant churches around the US and the world.

Anyone who has ever led a church to plant another church knows that sending is costly. It requires immense effort and intentionality to send well and will likely leave the sending church with a void in leadership and less money with which to operate. Not to mention the fact that local churches will send some of their best people – those who are deeply connected to the life of the church and who are loved by many. So, why send? Why should local churches (established churches and young church plants) work to strategically send teams to plant churches around the US and the world?

Karen Swallow Prior recently wrote an article at The Gospel Coalition answering the question: “What might medieval Catholic poet Dante Alighieri teach Protestants today?” According to Dr. Prior: a lot, actually.

Dante’s masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, has been rightly called “one of the essential books of mankind.” Hundreds of extant early manuscripts and printed editions attest to the popularity of the work in its own age. Its treatment by the world’s great artists, musicians, and writers over the past 700 years proves its continued lure. It has been translated into English countless times and featured regularly on lists of the world’s best books and best poetry…While The Divine Comedy most clearly reflects the Catholic faith of the poet and his medieval world, it hints at some principles the Reformation would bring to bear on the church two centuries later.

In a recent article at the SEBTS Women’s Life blog, Lesley Hildreth addressed some of the lessons she has learned in order to help missionary trainers assist women to live more effective missionary lives.

In 1999 my husband Scott and I were appointed with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention to serve as career missionaries in Western Europe among unengaged peoples. At the time our two children were five and three years old respectively. Our family was confident of the call God had placed on our lives, however we had no idea how this calling would unfold in a cross-cultural setting. Before surrendering to the call to missions Scott was serving as pastor of a rural church in Alabama and I was a stay at home mom. We had no idea what a “people group” was but we knew we had to obey and that God would equip us for the work to which He had called us. Once we arrived in Germany, God used a relationship I established with another mom to force me to examine my heart and subsequently shape the way I would look at other women who needed Christ. A changed heart and a renewed love for others shaped the way I lived out the gospel in that cross-cultural setting and continues today as I work to equip other women to live on Mission with God.

In a recent blog post, Aaron Earls addresses why this world still matters to the Christian. Aaron writes:

“If Christians believe that the afterlife is such a wonderful thing, why don’t they just jump in front of a truck?”

That was a quote posted on Twitter by a prominent atheist blogger. Non-Christians have a huge misunderstanding of the Christian perspective on this life. More than likely, that is because many Christians have a huge misunderstanding about the Christian perspective on this life.

While we are constantly longing for the completion and fulfillment of our hope that is to come, we should recognize that this world, though fallen, is still good. It still has value to God, so it should still have value to us.

This week at The Gospel Coalition, Andy Naselli published two articles addressing scripture memorization:

  1. 14 Reasons to Memorize and Entire Book of the Bible
  2. 11 Steps to Memorizing an Entire Book of the Bible

As he discussed in the posts, Andy memorized 1 Corinthians over a period of about 16 months recently. On Thursday, he shared this video recorded earlier this summer in which he recites 1 Corinthians for a sermon at his church, Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.

In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week at The Gospel Coalition, David Gundersen reviewed a great new book by SEBTS Theology professor John Hammett: “40 Questions and Answers about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.” Gundersen writes:

I can heartily commend this book not only for its good research, clear writing, and sound doctrine, but also because Hammett’s pastoral heart shines throughout…he heeds Paul’s admonition to “teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1), continually asking how Christians should obey, approach, celebrate, and appropriate these two sacred ordinances as means of grace inaugurated by the Lord of the church until he comes again.

Dr. Russell Moore (President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) published an article at The Washington Post pondering the question: A year after Ferguson, have white Christians learned anything?

The answer to racial injustice is precisely the way the Hebrew prophets once framed the answer to all social evil. It means working for courts and systems that are fair and impartial. But it doesn’t stop with policies and structures. It must also include people who are transformed, not just by greater social awareness, but also by consciences that are formed by something other than our backgrounds.

Dr. Thom Rainer posted a helpful article listing nine steps to using social media and blogs without losing your ministry. Dr. Rainer writes:

After nearly a decade of involvement in social media and, later, the blogosphere, I have seen the best and the worst. Allow me to share what I have learned from the best in ministry who are active in this realm.

Bekah Stoneking, an Ed.D. student from SEBTS, wrote a guest post at Ed Stetzer’s blog yesterday giving three reasons why your teaching style matters.

To be good stewards of the students in our care, to teach them well about God’s truths, and to equip them to participate in His mission, we must understand why our teaching styles matter.

Finally, all this week SEBTS graduate Aaron Earls has been running a series of guest posts at his blog ‘The Wardrobe Door‘ written by four ladies who share why they are pro-life.