The Early Bird Gets The Link

Hope you are having a great week.

I Am the Daughter of a Pedophile

Like most children, they had remained silent because they loved him and didn’t want him to get in trouble. The truth was becoming clear. This supposed man of God, this loving father, this doting grandfather had played us all. The shock and disbelief turned to anguish and despair as the magnitude of the situation began to set in. The father I thought I’d had all my forty years of life was a lie. I was the daughter of a pedophile.

Are We Really in Danger of Making an Idol of the Family?

The idolatry of the family can be a real problem, either from the church that ignores singles and gears everything toward married couples with children, or from the individual whose practical commitments underscore the unfortunate reality that blood is usually thicker than theology.

FOUR KEY ATTITUDES THAT ARE KILLING CHURCH ATTENDANCE

These reasons are sound. But behind many of these reasons are attitudinal issues. These attitudinal issues are really the sources of the problem. And there are four attitudes in particular that have a devastating effect on church attendance.

God Is Bigger Than Your Problems

When the promises of God seem powerless to quiet our fears, soothe our grief, lift our worries, or motivate our obedience, we need to do more than simply hear his promises again. We need to behold the God who gives them.

When a Gay Activist Comes to Jesus

One of the most irreconcilable clashes in modern society is the conflict between Christianity and LGBT rights. At best, the two sides misunderstand each other. At worst, each fears that the ascendency of one means the zero-sum defeat of the other.

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The Early Bird Gets The Link

Drove into work this morning and we had snow flurries in Little Rock, all those on the east coast and northern part of the states can roll their eyes now. With that being said here are your links for the day.

Disordered Anger Comes from Disordered Loves

We have an angry society, don’t we? If you doubt it, just turn on the talk shows at night—any of them. Folks on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News are equally indignant and losing their minds over, well, <insert topic here>. The issues change by the day, but the anger doesn’t. People seem queued up and ready to be angry—in the classroom, at work, on Twitter, and (as always) on the freeway. Paul’s words in Ephesians seem timelier than ever:

How Do I Pray for Healing and Honor God’s ‘No’?

“Pastor John, how much confidence should we voice in petitioning God for physical healing? It somehow feels wrong or cheap to pray, ‘God, heal this person — but if you don’t that’s okay; your will be done.’ I feel less genuine in my asking God to move on someone’s behalf when I’m constantly also acknowledging to myself that he might not, and I must acknowledge it. Could you give an example of how to rightly pray in confidence and with authority on someone’s behalf for healing while remaining in full submission to the mystery of God’s will?”

What Are the “High Places” in the Old Testament, and How Does That Apply to Us Today?

The “high places” is a shorthand term for places of pagan worship, usually (though not always) on hills or mountains to bring them closer to their false gods. They were centers of idolatry. The greatest time of compromise for God’s people in the Old Testament, the Israelites, was when in addition to worshiping Yahweh, the only true God, they worshipped false gods too.

It’s Time to Put Up or Shut Up About Discipleship

Pastors, if we don’t personally practice discipleship outside of our pulpits, then we’re working against our own mission statements. People will pay more attention to our example than our pithy sermon outlines or mission statements. Although most pastors aren’t in a discipleship group of any kind, for various lame reasons, you can and should change that.

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The Early Bird Gets The Link

 

When Conservatism Isn’t Enough

But the path we take if we hope to arrive at this destination can’t be the same well-worn paths of our predecessors. It’s as if the path they took has been ravished by a horrific storm. The sociological, political, and cultural realties of our day have pushed trees over the path—they’ve marred our ability to walk the same way. And, they make it futile to try to walk that path anyway. Of course, we could climb over broken limbs and under hanging branches, but the journey would be slow, cumbersome, and unhelpful. Better to create a new path to the same, inalterable destination.

Are Those in Hell Aware of God’s Presence?

Do You Work When You Should Rest?

The gospel is an ingenious work of salvific engineering. The Engineer knew what he was doing. The gospel turns out to be good news to us in precisely the ways we need most. If we trust it, the gospel simultaneously frees us from the despair of trying to save ourselves through our own effort, while also working to free us from the despair of slavery to our remaining sin.
However, the best news for our souls often doesn’t feel like good news to our flesh.

A Cultural Icon Passes

Stan Lee has impacted the lives of several generations, through the creation of stories, it is amazing to see people react to his passing.

What Expressive Individualism Does to Sin

To resist the expressive individualism of our day does not mean that we deny the beneficial aspects that come from these and other relationships. What we are to resist is the reframing of relationships around self-fulfillment as the goal. Once we recast our relationships in the light of expressive individualism, something changes in our interactions, our goals, and our orientation toward one another. The self takes center stage.

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The Early Bird Gets The Link

Hope y’all had a great weekend. Here’s some links to start your week.

Your Truth is Too Small

When it comes to skeptical challenges against the Christian faith, though, I find an interesting thing going on: Without exception, as far as I can recall, they’re based on small truths, partial truths.

Four Categories to “Act the Miracle”

So much of the Christian life comes down to the matter of identity. At heart, who are we? Who or what has the right to define us? What is our deepest identity? Identity is at the core of many issues, not the least of which is same-sex attraction. In her book Gay Girl, Good God, Jackie Hill Perry offers four “categories” to guide our thinking about identity as we “act the miracle” of sanctification. Though she applies them specifically to Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction, in various ways they pertain to every believer and every temptation.

The Bible Never Ignores Our Feelings

Healing the Wounds of Shame

I heard a counselor describe it this way: Guilt is like a stain on a shirt. The stain may be difficult to remove, but it can be washed. Shame, by contrast, would be a disfigured face. It feels like a permanent part of who you are, and it prevents you from ever attempting to draw near to others.
Shame says, “I am defective. I am damaged. I am dirty. I am ugly. I am worthless. I am pitiful. I am insignificant, unlovable, unwanted.”
Christian counselors say the person held captive by shame needs three things, and they are all in the story from Luke 8 of the bleeding woman who touches Jesus’ robe and is healed.

Broken, Authentic, Surrender: The Problem of Christian Jargon

It’s easy, perhaps even necessary, to mock Christian jargon from time to time. As George Orwell said decades ago, jargon first obscures—and then prevents—thought and communication. And that’s intolerable if we are, in Paul’s words, to be transformed by the renewal of our minds.

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The Early Bird Gets The Link

Happy Friday! As I drove in to work this morning I was listening to Vet a new album by DA Truth. Worth the listen! When you get a chance put on some fresh tunes, you can stream from Spotify or Apple Music or buy the album and support the artist.See the source image

Does Jesus Commend Dishonesty in Luke 16?

Over a dozen email questions have arrived in the inbox from listeners who want to better understand Jesus’s parable in the first half of Luke 16. Isn’t Jesus celebrating dishonesty? Matt in Oklahoma writes us: “Hello, Pastor John! How do you understand and explain the parable of the dishonest manager in Luke 16:1–13? This one is a real head-scratcher for me. What does it mean? And what are the implications for Christians today?”

A Biblical Theology of Cities

Developing Healthy Leaders in Underserved Contexts

Listen to this podcast! “In some contexts, we can’t assume students have access to certain resources (like books and online material) due to financial or language issues. We can’t assume every aspiring leader in underserved contexts has a basic theological understanding of key doctrines. And often our illustrations and applications of ministry principles don’t connect well in poor or dangerous places of ministry.”

Is an Elephant Running Your Life?

The Untruth of Emotional Reasoning: Always trust your feelings.
This chapter sets out to dismantle this Great Untruth by insisting that while feelings are always compelling, they are not always reliable. “Often they distort reality, deprive us of insight, and needlessly damage our relationships. Happiness, maturity, and even enlightenment require rejecting the Untruth of Emotional Reasoning and learning instead to question our feelings.”

Why Is Friendship Hard for Men?

Many factors combine to make friendship difficult for men. Personally, time for friends seems unrealistic in light of work or family responsibilities. Culturally, we don’t have a shared understanding of what friendships among men should look like. We also find ourselves connecting more digitally than deeply. We’ve lost a vision for strong, warm, face-to-face and side-by-side male friendship.
But God made us for more. He made us in his own image, the image of a triune God who exists in communal love. Therefore, friendship is not a luxury; it’s a relational necessity. We glorify God by enjoying him and reflecting his relational love with one another. If you are a man who has struggled to go deeper with other men, here are five concrete steps to cultivate deeper friendships.

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The Early Bird Gets The Link

Hope you are having a good week.

Jesus’ Surprising Response to Doubt

If you are doubting your faith, maybe you need to spend less time reaching for greater heights of faith by sheer willpower.

How God Changes Our “Why Me?” Questions in Suffering

Something to think about in the tough times.

3 Things American Citizens Could Learn from Christian Missionaries

Instead, missionaries generally do three things that we—everyday Americans—ought to imitate in our coffee shop conversations, Facebook updates, blog posts, and other forms of public discourse.

The Identity Merry Go Round

Pretending something is that isn’t is a kind of theft. Emile Ratelband, and all of us, should live honestly. Truthfulness is a much better improver of life than living a lie.

8 Reminders Before You Comment on Social Media

Going off half-cocked is now widely perceived as a virtue, and the disinclination to do so as a vice. Moreover, that poorly informed and probably inflammatory statement of Your Incontrovertibly Correct Position must be on the internet . . . or it doesn’t count towards your treasury of merit.

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Don’t know about you, but I am glad we don’t have to watch campaign commercials anymore. Maybe we should make the Wednesday after an election a national holiday. Here are your links for today.

5 Things Christians Should Do After the Election

Fortunately, there are a few more things we Christians can do, small steps we can take to make things better for ourselves and our country.

Apostasy and How it Happens

On occasion we wonder if an individual really has been converted. And sometimes we have an inexplicable, ill-defined sense that something is missing. But we cannot read the heart. Even so, we hear of friends—whose faith we never doubted—turning away from Christ.

Apostasy is the old, vigorous word to describe this abandonment of Christ. The New Testament church was familiar with it. It was a major concern of the author of Hebrews.

Voting Your Faith

This was an interesting article. “The only way for a Christian to ensure that their decision on who to vote for reflects the teachings of Christ and the values of the Bible is to allow these teachings and values to fundamentally shape their character and mindset over a long period of time, and in community with other disciples,” Boyd says.

Why God’s Work in You Sometimes Hurts and Doesn’t Make Sense at First

Some insights from CS Lewis.

God Knows What You Don’t Have

What exactly does Paul mean when he promises, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)?