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

Yesterday, SEBTS English professor Matthew Mullins published an article at First Things magazine about the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Dr. Mullins writes:

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. But with the 2016 elections just over a year away, the passing of the VRA has taken on new meaning. In June of 2013, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court invalidated key provisions of the VRA. In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts declared the section of the Act requiring “preclearance” from certain states and districts unconstitutional. This ruling allows these jurisdictions to make changes in voting laws with greater ease. Many have already done so, and some of the results suggest that we may have more reasons to mourn the passing of the VRA than to celebrate its passage.

Karen Swallow Prior published a story earlier this week at Think Christian about mourning Mark Zuckerberg’s miscarriages in the shadow of Planned Parenthood. In her article Karen raises an interesting point around potential life and actual life:

I can’t help but think that the contradictory ideas society holds about unborn children (who are considered babies when wanted and something else when not) owes in part to our tendency to conceive of child bearing as product- rather than process-oriented. The very term reproduction reflects such thinking. Our tendency, even within the church, to think with the product – rather than the means – in mind has dulled our understanding of a crucial distinction between potential life and actual life.

On his blog, Chuck Lawless gives 10 reasons pornography has power.

I suspect most if not all of the readers of this post know somebody who has struggled with pornography. From the teenager struggling with new desires to the senior pastor recently caught in sin, even believers wrestle with this sin. Perhaps if we understand why pornography has so much power, we would know better how to fight against it.

Thom Rainer posted an article about which books he would keep if he could only have 25 books in his minister’s library.

I began the process thinking it would be a simple exercise. I was wrong! I had great trouble narrowing the list to 25. Here are some of the parameters I used.

  • I didn’t hesitate to choose books that were simply personal preferences.
  • I decided at the onset I would strive to choose a variety of issues and topics, rather than just the 25 best books.
  • I was sufficiently lacking in humility, and put two of my own books on the list.
  • I really struggled eliminating many commentaries of individual Bible books.

Selma Wilson writes a reminder to parents: Building a yes home prepares your children to say yes to God.

Sure, children need direction and discipline. Along with boundaries, however, children crave a place to exercise physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. A yes home, with clearly established boundaries, gives them room to stretch, run, and grow with you close by.