In Case You Missed It

Recently at his personal blog, Dr. Jamie Dew shared 10 reasons why a family mealtime is vital. Dr. Dew writes:

I grew up in a home that was broken. My parents split up when I was 7 and it had a devastating blow on me as a young boy. In particular, one result was that it significantly decreased the amount of time that I had together with my family. We had our moments when we would all be together, but I remember far more occasions when we were off in our own directions. Looking back, I realize that it could have been far worse than it was. But still, it wasn’t ideal. There simply wasn’t enough time that we sat together as a family to enjoy and benefit from the offerings of a healthy family.

 

Now that I’m married with four kids of our own, we strive to make the time where we as a family can sit and just be together. The place this happens most is around our kitchen table. Like most families, we have our evenings along the way where we must eat out or apart from each other. But we do try to avoid that as much as possible.

 

Statistically, it is easy to find support for a family mealtime. But those of us who grew up without it honestly don’t need statistics. In my opinion, there are several obvious reasons why a family mealtime should be a high priority for our families.

 

Aaron Earls recently posted an article at his blog, The Wardrobe Door, discussing the value of potential lives.

Potential is notoriously difficult to quantify. By it’s very definition it is not yet realized. Despite it not being readily availably, it has value and factors in to decisions like the player a sports team drafts or the neighborhood in which you live.

 

Investments are built on potential. We ask, “Can this become something much more than it is right now?”

 

Recently, two examples of potential dominated the news cycle, but many handled them in diametrically opposite manners.

 

Earlier this week, Barnabas Piper wrote this post discussing 7 lies parents often tell their children. Barnabas writes:

We all lie to our kids. Sometimes it’s on purpose and for what we deem a good purpose. Sometimes it’s because we so want them to believe something, to feel better, to overcome a challenge, or to work through pain that we will say anything to try to help. Sometimes it’s because we’re idiots and just don’t realize what we’re doing. Here are seven of the most common lies parents tell kids.

 

Greg Mathias posted an article for the Center for Great Commission Studies discussing feeble prayers in our chaotic world.

Living in a new normal doesn’t feel so normal. The word tragedy is too much a part of my vocabulary these days. I have searched for other words, but tragedy describes best the world events constantly swirling around us. Istanbul, Brussels, Paris, Boston…the list could go on. We live in a chaotic and fallen world. In a world where the new normal is one tragedy followed by another tragedy followed by yet another. It can be overwhelming. Strike that, it IS overwhelming.

 

For Christians, this normal is not surprising, but that does not minimize the fact that we are constantly faced with new tragedies. Each and every tragedy evokes a response. No matter the tragedy, the most immediate response ought to be prayer. Often, though, prayer feels small compared to the massive tragedy in front of us. Even so, we should pray. We need to pray.

 

The question is, how are we supposed to pray in the midst of chaos when our prayers seem so feeble? Here are my thoughts on how to pray in the midst of our new and tragic normal.

 

J.D. Greear posted recently about 3 truths Christians must fight to remember. J.D. writes:

Throughout Scripture, God’s people are told to remember. This may seem odd if you look closely at when God says it. For instance, all throughout the book of Deuteronomy—Moses’ farewell sermon to Israel—God tells his people to remember what just happened. If you had been in slavery for 400 years, were miraculously rescued by walking through the dry floor of an ocean, and had seen bread fall out of heaven and water flowing out of rocks, do you think you’d forget it?

 

Apparently, yes. Israel’s times of spiritual wandering were always marked byspiritual amnesia. Not that they literally couldn’t recall what God had done, but that his mighty works weren’t prominent in their minds. The same is true of us.

 

Dr. Bruce Ashford posted an article at this blog titled: “Make America Happy Again (Or, How the Beatitudes Slay the 7 Deadly Sins)“.

Recent surveys have confirmed what we already know: Americans are not happy. Anger, anxiety, and depression are on the rise in our country. An NBC News survey revealed that half of Americans are more angry than they were last year, and a significant percentage of Americans become angry at least once a day because of something they saw on the news. And the anger is bipartisan: both Republicans and Democrats both feel this way.

 

Other surveys reveal that Americans are also depressed, as indicated by a rise in suicides and in prescriptions for depression medications, and anxious because of stagnant wages, deteriorating 401(k) retirement plans, lost wars, racial unrest, terror acts, an increasingly polarized society, and the toxic nature of our public discourse.

 

In the midst of our anger, depression, and anxiety, Jesus offers the Beatitudes. “Beatitude” is the blessedness, the deep happiness, of being in right relationship with him and allowing him to work in and through us, even in the midst of the worst of circumstances.

In Case You Missed It

In this post, J.D. Greear he shares why he is running for President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

It is with this spirit of grateful humility that I am accepting the nomination for presidency of the SBC. When I was approached by several older SBC leaders asking me to consider this role, quite honestly, it took me by surprise. I know that the Holy Spirit often speaks through his Church (Acts 13:2), so we took their counsel seriously. As my wife, our pastors and leadership team, and I prayed, we sensed that God had indeed done things in our hearts and in our midst that may have prepared us for this. We believed we were supposed to at least make ourselves available. If it “seems good to the Holy Spirit and to the people of the SBC,” we are willing (Acts 15:28).

Amy Whitfield recently posted an article explaining what it’s like to be a parent in this new day of Presidential politics. Amy writes:

In 1988, I turned twelve. It was an exciting time to watch democracy in action, and it opened up a new world for me. That was the year George Herbert Walker Bush won the road to the White House and became the 41st President of the United States.

 

A daughter of the Reagan era, I had admired my president for eight years as most children do. But I couldn’t tell you why. I can read the history books now and tell you what was great about Ronald Reagan, but memory doesn’t allow me to actually miss him. I can only remember knowing three things for certain: he loved jellybeans, my grandfather liked him, and his wife wanted me to say no to drugs. At that age, it was really all I needed to know.

 

But by 1988 things were different. For the first time, I was old enough to understand what I was seeing and to select a candidate that I liked. I participated in a mock debate in my class, and I tried to actually comprehend the issues and the process. I learned about the differences between the two major parties. I learned that the primary and general elections are not the same thing. I learned that the Electoral College is not, in fact, an actual college.

 

Sure, there were some issues that popped up, introducing names like Willie Horton to frighten me about prison furloughs. And there were the usual zingers like Lloyd Bentsen declaring of Dan Quayle, “You, sir, are no Jack Kennedy.” But there was a certain decorum to the process that made it easy for a young armchair political strategist to follow. I was enthralled. Six years later I registered to vote on my birthday, declared my college major in Politics and never stopped taking it all in.

 

In 2016, there is again a twelve-year-old in my house. It’s another year to see democracy in action. But as I watch through her eyes, very little looks familiar to me. And our conversations have taken a different shape.

In this post, Jamie Dew explores why it’s so important for Dad’s to spend quality time with their sons.

I suppose I am moderately handy. I’m not the kind of guy that can do any kind of project around the house, but I know how to do a few things. I’m thankful for this “skill” since it tends to save our family a lot of money when I’m able to fix things, build things, or paint things.

 

But even more importantly, I’m thankful the way I learned to do the things that I do. Whether it’s fixing a broken window or knocking out a wall in our kitchen, in each case I’m reminded of my dad. I didn’t learn how to do these things in a vacuum or by watching Youtube videos (though I have watched my share). I learned how to do these things as a boy by going with my father on service calls for properties that he owned.

David Jones shares three things the New Testament teaches us about how to deal with wealth and poverty. Dr. Jones writes:

What did you do yesterday? Perhaps you went to work, made money, paid bills and drove past the homeless person on the way home. Or, maybe you sent in yet another resume, looked at your dwindling bank account and wondered if you can make it another month.

 

So when we talk about wealth and poverty, we’re not talking about theory. We’re talking about life. As a result, it’s critical that we think biblically about these issues.

 

In a recent post, we saw what Jesus taught about wealth and poverty in the Gospels. Today, let’s complete our look at the Bible’s teachings on this matter by looking at the rest of the New Testament.

 

John Bloom recently published an article at Desiring God discussing God’s rehab for the weak, weary faith.

I’m not sure how God feels about our having favorite books of the Bible.

 

It’s not like any of his words are throw-aways. Perhaps such preferences betray certain kinds of immaturity in us, not being able to see more glory in books we consider somewhat boring or confusing. But I must confess, I do have my favorites. And the epistle to the Hebrews is one of them.

 

I love Hebrews for many reasons. I love how it radiates with the transcendent glory of God the Son. I love its magisterial grasp of how the old covenant is fulfilled and surpassed by the new covenant. And I love the beautiful, compelling portrait of the cloud of witnesses, who by their remarkable examples call us to live by faith in the unfailing promises of our faithful God.

 

I also love Hebrews because it is a letter to weary Christians, some of whom are standing right on the cliff’s edge, tempted to “throw away [their] confidence, which has a great reward” (Hebrews 10:35).

 

I’ve been there: weary, disillusioned, full of doubts about the reality of it all, seriously wondering if being a Christian was worth the fight. I too have wondered if it’s all just a house of cards, if life on earth really is just an anomalous, absurd blip of desperate turmoil in a purposeless universe destined to burn out.

 

And gazing at the cliff’s edge, God used this precious book to keep me from tossing over my confidence in him, the Great Reward. I trust he will pardon my partiality for Hebrews.

In Case You Missed It

Bruce Ashford recently posted at Canon and Culture discussing the question: “Are we voting for a Pastor-in-Chief or a Commander-in-Chief?” Dr. Ashford writes:

More than any race in recent memory, the 2016 election cycle has caused Americans to debate whether or not a presidential candidate’s moral failures should affect his or her viability for office.

In the Democratic primaries, the debate centers on Hillary Clinton in general, and her email scandal in particular. Polls tell us that a large portion of the population perceives her as dishonest and untrustworthy. In the Republican primaries, the debate centers largely on Donald Trump’s candidacy, as he has been criticized for bragging about sexual exploits with women other than his wives and for employing rhetoric that many consider demeaning and unprincipled.

Often, the debate is framed in terms of a question: “Are we supposed to be voting for a Pastor-in-Chief or a Commander-in-Chief?” When asked in that manner, the implied answer is, “Of course we are not electing a pastor-in-chief, so stop whining about a presidential candidate’s track record in matters of morality.” But this question poses a false dilemma, and its formulaic answer is simplistic and unhelpful.

At his personal blog, J.D. Greear recently addressed the biggest questions he gets on Geneis 1 and 2. J.D. writes:

The opening chapters of Genesis are incredibly rich. (If you haven’t noticed, they’ve been bouncing around my head quite a bit recently. Consider Exhibit A and Exhibit B.) But I’ve found that it’s nearly impossible to bring up Genesis 1—regardless of the setting—without certain key questions coming up. For some people, these are the onlyquestions that matter. As you’ll see here, I don’t think that’s the case. But they’re important questions nonetheless.

Recently Karen Swallow Prior published a piece describing what it’s like to be in the middle of a life story, but you just want the spoilers.

This is how it begins:

A faded cotton gown that barely covers me as I lie on a hospital bed, one breast uncovered while the technician glides a probe across my cold flesh.

She stares ahead at the monitor, hunting for telltale signs of death, chatting blithely about her daughter and shopping at Target, and I gaze upwards at dull white ceiling tiles.

At the Peoples next Door, Keelan Cook recently discussed two reasons you should be a missionary.

A few days ago, I described three things that should keep you from going to the mission field right now. They were all character issues, and frankly they are very important. The damage that can be done to the missionary and family, the team they are going to work with, and the work itself on the field is jeopardized when people go who do not possess the necessary character outlined in the pages of the New Testament. It is a big deal.

But I do not want to leave it there, because that is only half the picture.

At the Intersect Project website, Amber Bowen posted: Love the Word: Redeeming Jacques Derrida (The Philosophical Blacklist)

If given the choice, would you prefer to read God’s word or to hear him speak? Which would make you feel closer to God? Which would give you greater sense of certainty?

My guess is that we would prefer the latter. Even those of us who are wholeheartedly committed to the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture would intuitively say that hearing God’s voice would make us feel we are truly in His presence and have perfect clarity of what He is saying. I often wonder if we subconsciously consider the scriptures sufficient for the time being until the day when we will have true, unmediated access to God by physically seeing his face and hearing his words.

Why is it we intuitively think that hearing God’s voice would somehow be superior to reading his word? I believe the best person to help us answer this question is a contemporary, post-structuralist philosopher named Jacques Derrida.