In Case You Missed It

Trevin Wax posted an article at The Gospel Coalition showing that we should stop assuming our neighbors are hostile to our faith.

Some of the headlines are ominous. The value of religious liberty is on the decline. Many Americans consider normal Christian beliefs to be “extreme”—Christianity’s foundational truths (such as, Jesus is the only way to God) or Christianity’s moral vision (Jesus’s strict sexual ethic). In some quarters, our faith is no longer merely strange; it’s bad—detrimental a free and pluralistic society.

 

The evil one would love nothing more than to have these recent developments shut up Christians or to stir up in us a fear of rejection.

Dr. Jamie Dew recently posted about how to turn your children’s mistakes into learning experiences by asking them “What did you learn?” Dr. Dew writes:

What is your first reaction when your children make a “childish” mistake? By “childish”, I mean something like spilling milk, dropping your phone in the toilet, throwing a golf ball through a window, or ripping the wallpaper off the wall. I’m not referring to malicious acts of the will like hitting a brother, lying to a parent, or refusing to obey. Let’s consider those kinds of things later. For now, let’s think about our response to childish mistakes that kids make. The kind of mistakes that kids make because they are kids.

 

I’ll admit it, if I’m not careful, my first reaction to these kinds of mistakes is anger. With four kids, there have been plenty of moments when something went wrong and I responded in a way was is understandable, but not helpful. So, how do you respond? Do you have a default way of responding? Most of us do.

 

At The Wardrobe Door, Aaron Earls shared 8 ways churches can capitalize on Pokémon Go.

Pokemon Go has quickly become a cultural phenomenon and, whether you realize it or not, that’s a big deal for churches. Let me explain. The app mixes the popular video game with an augmented reality form of geocaching. In essence, you travel around in the real world, trying to catch Pokemon that show up on your smartphone. The game shot to the top of both iPhone and Android app charts, as millions of people around began their quest to “catch ’em all.”

 

Here’s why churches should care. Part of the game features going to PokeStops, which are real life buildings and landmarks that allow players to obtain needed items. Churches are often used this way. In fact, every church we drove past this weekend was a PokeStop or gym—from a gigantic megachurch to a tiny fundamentalist church. So what can a church do to capitalize on this? Here are some practical steps to hopefully move the gamers from your steps to your pews.

 

This has lead to some interesting situations for many unchurched gamers. Some exclaimed how this would be the first time in years they have been to a church.

 

My friend Chris Martin of Millennial Evangelical noted how he saw several young guys sitting on the steps of a downtown church because it was a Pokemon Gym. (He has also written a helpful post on why pastors and church leaders should care about Pokemon Go.)

 

So what can a church do to capitalize on this? Here are some practical steps to hopefully move the gamers from your steps to your pews.

At Dr. Dew’s blog, Dr. Steven Ladd posted an invitation to Logic. Dr. Ladd writes:

One of the great joys I have in academic life is teaching an undergraduate course in traditional logic. It is also called formal, predicate, term, or syllogistic logic, but because Aristotle’s method for making valid arguments was the earliest treatment of the subject (Prior Analyticsand De Interpretatione in Aristotle’s larger work Organon), his method developed into the traditional version taught for centuries also known as Aristotelian logic. All refer to the same discipline, however, and it has generally been taught to young people (middle school age) as the way to develop clarity in the reasoning process.

 

Nothing could be more relevant in the twenty-first century, especially for Christians seeking to engage a world increasingly hostile to the worldview found in Scripture.

Walter Strickland shared a helpful post on his blog giving some thoughts for church gatherings after #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile & #Dallas.

Dear Pastor/Church Leader,

 

It has been said that the thoughtful Christian holds the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.  The events of this week have gripped our hearts and made us cling to the promises of Scripture.

 

Church leaders from Sunday school/small group leaders to senior pastors are asking the question, should these events be mentioned in our Sunday morning service?  If so, what does that look like?

 

Matt Capps shared the following post on his personal blog: “This is my son.

This is our precious son.

 

We have taught him about MLK, and that Americans have not always been nice to brown skinned people.

 

But, it breaks my heart to think that one day I will have to fully explain to him the complex brokenness of our world.

 

One day I will have to fully explain our country’s disgraceful history of racial discrimination.

 

One day I will have to help him understand that we, as a country, have not fully moved beyond these racial issues.

 

Thankfully, I will also get to point him to the coming day that we read about in Revelation 21.

 

The day when our loving Father “will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, for the former things will have passed away.”

 

On that day, God will “make all things new.”

 

On that day every believer, from every “tribe and people”, will “stand before the throne and before the Lamb”, as one (Revelation 7).

 

How long, O Lord?

In Case You Missed It

Recently at For the Church, Steve Bezner shared his struggle with jealousy: “On Being Matt Chandler’s Roommate.” Steve writes:

This is a story about two young men who were friends, roommates, and pastors.

In other words, this is a story about jealousy.

In the mid-90s, I was a student at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. I was a successful student with a successful grade point average. I was leading a large college ministry. I was, simply put, on the fast track to success in the field of my choice—pastoral ministry.

My sophomore year a student transferred in who captured the attention and imagination of much of the student body.

His name was Matt Chandler.

At The Gospel Coalition, Matt Smethurst recently shared 7 ways Christian history benefits you.

Christianity is a history-anchored faith. We don’t teach a set of abstract principles or philosophical ideas; we teach the truth of a historical event. As Francis Schaeffer liked to say, if you were there 2,000 years ago you could have run your hand down the cross and gotten a splinter. How silly would it be for us to conclude, “Well, I believe Jesus lived and died and rose in historical time, and that without those historical events I’d be lost forever, but I don’t really care about history.”

Further, if you’re a Christian, then church history is your family history. Think about that. Studying church history is like opening a photo album and exploring your family heritage.

But Christian history isn’t just meaningful; it’s intensely practical, too. Here are seven ways that studying it benefits us.

Joe McKeever shared a story on his personal blog about how some often perceive pastors to be different in that they get special treatment from God. They think “You’re a pastor; you’re not like us.” Dr. McKeever writes:

Why is it, we wonder, that some people think if a preacher or a nun or priest is on board, God is somehow going to take extra care of an endangered flight?  As though He loved them more than the others.  “God is no respect of persons,” Scripture says somewhere.

No one gets by with anything with the Heavenly Father just because they are His favorite children.

Matt Capps recently shared an article discussing the beauty of congregational worship.

I have the privilege of pastoring a singing church. Week after week, when we gather for worship the sounds of God’s precious saints wash over me as I stand on the front row and prepare to preach. There have been several occasions when I have stopped singing in order to listen. On almost all of those occasions, the sound of our church family singing brought me to tears. Not because they are great polished individual singers, but because we sing corporately to a great God.

Dr. Albert Mohler recently published an article discussing why Thanksgiving is inescapably Theological. Dr. Mohler writes:

Thanksgiving is a deeply theological act, rightly understood. As a matter of fact, thankfulness is a theology in microcosm — a key to understanding what we really believe about God, ourselves, and the world we experience.

A haunting question is this:  How do atheists observe Thanksgiving? I can easily understand what an atheist or agnostic would think of fellow human beings and feel led to express thankfulness and gratitude to all those who, both directly and indirectly, have contributed to their lives. But what about the blessings that cannot be ascribed to human agency? Those are both more numerous and more significant, ranging from the universe we experience to the gift of life itself.

Can one really be thankful without being thankful to someone?

Finally, earlier this week Dr. Russell Moore gave a video tour of his personal study. Be sure to check out the video!

In Case You Missed It

1) Derwin Gray, Pastor of Transformation Church, recently wrote about Ferguson, the Cross, and reconciliation. Well worth the read. 

2) In light of the NY grand jury decision not to indict an officer who killed an unarmed Eric Garner, Russell Moore talked about the case for justice at stake and the church’s role.

3) Is the young, restless, and reformed “movement” a failed one? This week, D. A. Carson wrote about “The Underbelly of Revival: Five Reflections on Failure Among the Young, Restless, and Reformed.” Wise and balanced analysis here.

4) Matt Capps, Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship Church in Mt. Juliet and Nashville, TN, writes about the missional church at Pastors Today. Is your church missional?

5) Ed Stetzer published some important research on the church and mental illness.