In Case You Missed It

In a post at the Intersect Project, Scott Hildreth discussed three ways Christians can flourish in culture.

In a recent post, I explained how culture is a pathway for the gospel. With that in mind, how can Christians flourish in contemporary culture? Here are a few suggestions.

 

This week Aaron Earls posted at his personal blog, The Wardrobe Door about how we need more “Thoughts and Prayers,” not less.

“Thoughts and prayers” have become an all-too-familiar restrain in American life. A somber, liturgical response to yet another horrific mass killing.

 

For those of deep faith and even sometimes those of little or no faith, those words are all we can muster after the initial shock. We share the words when no others will come. Hopefully, they come in the midst of actually empathetically thinking about the victims and emphatically praying for them. For many, however, those words are not welcome. They ring hollow for some who are desperate for specific, practical steps. Others regard them as ineffective, at best, self-deluding and hindering actual good, at worst.

 

So what should we make of the “thoughts and prayers” of millions offered up in the aftermath of a tragedy? Without a doubt, they are good. Even if you believe prayer is nothing more than talking to empty air, there are benefits to the prayers of others.

 

Brittany Salmon recently posted at the Intersect Project discussing how adoption and the pro-life cause is more than a political stance.

Our family stands out.

 

We can’t go to a grocery store without someone stopping and asking us questions about each of our children. For starters, we have identical twin daughters with bright blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. Like typical four year olds, they are feisty and sweet with a touch of sass. The amount of commentary we receive on them alone is enough to write a whole other blogpost, but to add to the excitement we also have a son who doesn’t look anything like us at all.

 

You see, our son joined our family through the blessing of adoption. He is a beautiful, strong black boy. He is smart and kind and loves to laugh loudly at his sisters. Put that combo together in a grocery store and we’re magnets for conversation starters. Some people stare. Some people are kind. But our diverse family draws attention in a homogenous world in which we tend to surround ourselves with people who think, look and act like us.

 

One day while standing in the checkout line, a well-intended fellow believer approached our family and commended us on the pro-life stance we took by adopting. I smiled and said, “Yes, we are pro-life, but our son’s birth mom is the true hero; she’s the one who should be commended for her pro-life choice. We really are the lucky beneficiaries of her brave love.”

 

In a recent article at his personal website, Bruce Ashford discussed how Socialism suppresses society.

Several recent polls reveal a troubling trend: younger Americans have positive views of socialism and Communism.

 

Although this trend has been evident for years, a recent poll found that nearly half of Millennials say prefer Socialism or Communism over democratic capitalism, with upwards of twenty percent going so far as to consider Josef Stalin was a “hero.” In another poll, found 53 percent of 18- to 29-year-old respondents viewed socialism favorably, compared to only a quarter of Americans over 55. Yet another survey found that 43 percent of respondents younger than 30 have a positive view of socialism.

 

At his personal blog this week, Chuck Lawless shared ten times when it is wise to turn a deaf ear in ministry.

Charles Spurgeon, in his Lectures to My Students, wrote about the importance of church leaders having one deaf ear in ministry. The one open ear helps you to be wise in ministry, but the deaf ear helps you to avoid being unnecessarily burdened and frustrated. Based on Spurgeon’s writing, here are times to turn a wise deaf ear.

 

In Case You Missed It

This week at the Intersect Project, Ashley Gorman shared two articles discussing smartphones, screen-time and if we are using technology well.

Your Smartphone is a Tool. Do you use it well?

Recent posts on the Intersect blog have opened our eyes to the various ways technology has impacted daily human life. Notice the term human life is used here—not Christian life, or American life, or male life, or female life, or church life, or righteous life, or unrighteous life, or any other subset of life we could think of. Technology is an equal opportunity life-changer, and rains down on the just and the unjust alike, all around the globe. The smartphone is obviously the most common vehicle of this impact.

6 Ways to Steward Your Weekly Screen Time.

In a separate post, I explain that technology is best used in moderation. Here are some helpful tips and tools to help you and your family steward your weekly screen time.

 

Throughout this week the news of the horrific tragedy which occurred in Las Vegas Sunday night has spread, and has sparked questions about how we should respond as Christians, and how we should think about these types of tragedies as Christians. Here are a few posts which might be helpful in answering any lingering questions you might have.

Russell Moore: Where Is God in a Mass Shooting?

Ken Keathley: “Killing Spree” Killers: There Is No Fear of God Before Their Eyes

Bruce Ashford: Christians, Here Are Five Ways to Respond to the Las Vegas Shootings

Scott Hildreth: Mayhem and the Mission

 

Thom Rainer shared a post at his website discussing ten ways to bring joy to your pastor.

In some ways, I don’t like the official designation of October to be pastor appreciation month.

 

I really wish we showed appreciation to pastors all the time. But like many other points of recognition, it does serve as a reminder that we are blessed by our pastors and their ministries.

 

So how can you bring joy to your pastor? My list of ten is based on the interactions I have with thousands of pastors every year. Some of the affirmations are letters. Many of them have no monetary cost. All of them will be greatly appreciated.

 

At his personal website, Dr. Bruce Ashford shared the reply to a letter written to him by a young Christian college student trying to think through the issue of abortion.

Recently I received a letter from a college student who had registered for a course in “reproductive rights” at a nearby university. Having recently become a Christian, he was revisiting the pro-choice position he’d held up until this point. In the letter, he asked for my evaluation of the pro-choice position. Given the fact that other people wrestle with this question, I thought I’d reproduce a small portion of my response to him.

 

At his blog, Chuck Lawless shared six ways for pastors to raise up the next generation of pastors and missionaries. Dr. Lawless writes:

I think most of us are missing it, pastors. My perception is that we give little attention to “calling out the called” among us; we instead lead reactively here, only talking to potential pastors and missionaries if they first come to us. I’m convinced some “called” folks remain in the pew as a consequence, neither understanding their calling nor knowing their pastor would be happy to talk with them. Here are some ways to fix this problem.

 

At the website of the North American Mission Board, Dr. Danny Akin shared five lessons he learned from Adrian Rogers.

No one has influenced and impacted my life like the “prince of preachers,” the man known as Adrian Rogers. Dr. Rogers was one of the most popular and influential preachers and pastors of the latter half of the 20th century. He was known for expository preaching, evangelistic passion, love for the nations and his uncompromising commitment to the Bible as the infallible and inerrant Word of God. His ministry spanned over 50 years, and he was pivotal in the conservative resurgence within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). I have the joy of serving at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, because of Adrian Rogers.

 

Last weekend, Southeastern Seminary hosted the 9th annual 9Marks at Southeastern conference. Here is a recap.

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted the ninth year of the 9Marks conference on Sept. 29-30 of which 747 pastors, ministry leaders and students attended and more than 900 viewed the conference via Facebook live stream. The conference centered on the topic of church leadership and attendees heard from speakers Mark Dever, Jeramie Rinne, Danny Akin, Thabiti Anyabwile, Burk Parsons and H.B. Charles.