Thinking Out Loud

October 19, 2014

Give Me This Mountain

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:30 am

Numbers 14:24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.

I thought it would be refreshing to include another Graham Kendrick song here as we head into another week. This song is based on a story in Joshua 14 where Caleb boldly comes before the Lord and asks for victory in battle.

Instead, I ended up posting an entire devotion on it yesterday at Christianity 201!  (Click the link to read it in full.)

Here’s the song.

 

October 14, 2014

Unconditional Election Resolved

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:11 am

Andrew Culverwell from another era of Christian music.

Years ago I thought of this piece, but at that point nobody had posted it online.  I think it resolves the whole issue of election:

When I say ‘I found the Lord’
Here’s what I mean
I was a lost and lonely sheep
I guess the Lord found me.

See what I mean? Everybody’s happy now.

October 7, 2014

Microblogging Tuesday

Filed under: Humor, Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:13 am

We’ve done Microblogging Monday a few times, but it always seems like we’re ripping off Happy Monday from Master’s Table. (That link takes you to one that’s a week old because yesterday Happy Monday went all serious on us!)

Anyway, here are some thing collected during the week that aren’t needed for tomorrow’s link list.


First, this forthcoming book cover…

Doctor Who Meets Duck Dynasty

… strikes me as Dr. Who meets Duck Dynasty and it seems appropriate that a redneck TARDIS would be an outhouse.


This one was from Postsecret…

Pens from Postsecret

…perhaps you’ve been that person.


 

This one is from NakedPastor.com…

Horse Drawn Carriage

…and gives new double-meaning to the term Amish Fiction.


I was going to press pause in my recent abduction of images from InterVarsity’s Twenty One Hundred Productions, but we had Chinese food on Sunday and it brought it all back to mind…

Lunar Calendar

…click the image to visit their Facebook page.


It’s been awhile since we visited For Heaven’s Sake…

Movie Titles Creed

…a comic Mike Morgan started in 1991. Clicking the panel takes you to another one I like.


This next one is of unknown origin…

Presbyterian Pentecostal Worship

…Nothing like denominational profiling, huh?


Finally, a poach from Happy Monday itself: Generally, each week there is a comic panel from Coffee With Jesus…

Coffee With Jesus - Singer

…which is also available in book form from IVP and makes a great Christmas gift.

September 26, 2014

The Rise of the Anons

Twitter page

Let me begin today by saying you don’t have to be on Twitter to read Twitter feeds. I did this for the longest time before jumping in myself.  (If you’re familiar with these, be sure to read the last paragraph.)

One thing Twitter has brought us is the creation of accounts that either are pretending to be someone well known, or simply represent broad categories, in our case perhaps youth pastors or church secretaries. These anonymous accounts are sometimes called anons.  While anonymous blogs also exist, Twitter seems a medium most suited to this.

We don’t have space today, but in addition to what follows there’s a Fake Mark Driscoll (@NotDriscoll, somewhat dormant the last two weeks) and I couldn’t find the one purporting to be Steven Furtick’s $1.75M house (yes, a house Tweeting) but there is Not Steven Furtick (@FakeFurtick) but again, some of these arise during a period of headlines and then go quiet for awhile.

One such account is Chet Churchpain (@Churchpain) who for some reason uses Rainn Wilson (from The Office) as his image; interesting only because of Rainn’s strong religious views.  Sample:

  • I don’t know if I’d ever have become a Christian if not for that “God Answers Knee-Mail” church sign. So inspirational.
  • So, Hillsong United is not an Australian soccer team?

We devoted a whole article here last year to Church Curmudgeon (@ChrchCurmudgeon), though he’s now gone from 63,000 followers to 72,000. Some of his best pieces lately transform his love for coffee into hymn parodies:

  • Drink up, drink up your coffee Ye soldiers of the bean! Each drop will wake and keep you Sustained by your caffeine!
  • Coffee, coffee, how I’ve drunk you How I’ve brewed you o’er and o’er Coffee, coffee, precious coffee O for beans to brew you more.

though I liked this one, too:

  • As a measure of thanks, I sent Bono some free Gaither tapes.

Bad Church Secretary (@ChurchSecretary) is what its name implies.  Today:

  • When pastors do it all day its called Outreach and Discipleship but when I do it they say its “Slacking on Facebook & making personal calls”
  • You can cover up errors in tweets after they are posted, but as soon as you scroll they show up under the White-Out.

Youth Group Boy (@YouthGroupBoy) is also self-evident, though much of the premise seems to be the boy missing youth group.

  • Don’t tell my ymin “I’m not coming tonight,” instead say “I’m going to try and make it, but I’m not sure.” Give some hope to be crushed later.
  • If there’s one thing I want my youth minister to know it’s how the old youth minister did things.

The other side of this coin is Then My Youth Said (@thenmyyouthsaid):

  • Me: I’m excited, our interns start working on Sunday. #ThenMyYouthSaid: Good, you can finally get back to sleeping in your office all day.
  • Youth praise band paying worship music before Bible study tonight #ThenMyYouthSaid: “We need backup dancers.”

Which brings us to Bible Student Say (@BibleStdntsSay), a Twitter account that remains anonymous by necessity (though we think we know the college in question). These are actual quotations from remarks or essays:

  • “Society tries to integrate science into the Bible, saying that the universe couldn’t be created in 6 days. Genesis turns it on its head.”
  • “Contrary to these beliefs, an atheist believes that the future is controlled by our human people.”

(We need to devote an entire column to this one, and the author really needs to write a book.)

Then last night we met Yael (@YaelHeber), who was taking shots at our Calvinist friends. Actually, I’m not entirely sure she’s anonymous, it could be her real name but the Tweets had the feel of an anon:

  • I tried to be Reformed, but I apparently don’t like to argue enough. My application was rejected.
  • When people tell me they are reformed, I want to ask which prison they were in.

But wait…there’s more.  Part of the fun of playing this game is that many of the anons follow each other, which leads many new discoveries. Click following at the top of their page and… you’ll know what to do…

September 23, 2014

Book Series Review: Biblical Imagination by Michael Card

Michael Card - Biblical Imagination Series - IVP

After reading Mark: The Gospel of Passion, I really trust that a generation or two down the road, when people have moved on past Michael Card’s music, this set of four commentaries on the gospels by the veteran Christian musician will still be read and enjoyed.

Full disclosure: I obviously haven’t read the entire series of four books, but I believe Mark to be representative of all four of the Biblical Imagination series, published over the course of four years by IVP (InterVarsity Press).

The format is somewhat reminiscent of the Daily Study Bible series by William Barclay. In the case of Mark, there are sixteen chapters and most have at least three subsections, while a few have at least double that. So reading devotionally each subsection a la Barclay, this would give you 63 days of reading, excluding four introductory sections.

But reading an entire chapter at once is most rewarding.  While Card acknowledges one place where the chapter division is rather awkward, he does manage to find beauty in the way Mark arranges his stories from the life of Christ. In chapter five he notes three people are held captive, “one by demons, one by disease and one by death.” In chapter ten, four questions that are put to him by various individuals or groups. And there are some recurring themes, such as the imagery of bread.

Some of this is standard commentary fare, but then this is where the “imagination” part of the series title kicks in and where the heart of Michael Card, the artist, is most evident. For a sample of this, click to this excerpt from the story of The Transfiguration, which I posted yesterday at C201.

The other option is to read the books — and keep them on your bookshelf — as commentaries. It’s in the fulfillment of that objective that I find the enduring quality of his writing.

With each of the four books in the series, completed by this spring’s release of John, there is a companion CD available. Two weeks ago here we looked at the CD which corresponds to the book of Mark. (The books are shown in the graphic above in the order in which they were released between 2011 and 2014.)

I was struck by the readability and practicality of Michael Card’s approach. He goes deep in many places, but it doesn’t frustrate or intimidate the reader, and in the case of Mark, like Mark himself, he moves quickly from scene to scene.

Do I have any complaints? Only that having the one book and CD is causing me to covet the rest of the series!

 


 

Books and CDs were provided to me by the Canadian distributor for InterVarsity Press (IVP) who know where they can send the remaining titles if they so choose!

Michael Card - CD series based on the Gospels

Postscript: Note that the books and CDs each have distinct titles:

John: A Misunderstood Messiah
John: The Gospel of Wisdom
Luke: A World Turned Upside Down
Luke: The Gospel of Amazement
Mark: The Beginning of the Gospel
Mark: The Gospel of Passion
Matthew: The Gospel of Identity
Matthew: The Penultimate Question

September 18, 2014

Evangelism Styles in Conflict

Filed under: evangelism, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:00 am

There’s an audio term, presence, which reflects the degree to which the listener is made to feel that they are right there, experiencing the sound in an intimacy and proximity that makes them part of what they are hearing.

There’s a similar presence to moments like the one in this video. You can feel the tension as the young pastor happens upon the fire-and-brimstone street preacher. So what’s the difference? Some of it is certainly theological, some of it is generational, and some of it seems to be simply the difference between a positive and a negative approach. Six minutes, but a great exercise for those who wish to do the analysis.

September 12, 2014

Picture Worth a Thousand Words

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:21 am

Child Abuse

September 9, 2014

What Goes into a Mind Comes Out in a Life

Spiritual WarfareI’ve been thinking about the story below and how it applies to today’s environment where both men and women struggle with online addiction. Images and ideas flood our minds and although not everyone who looks at pornography fully recreates the scenes they view, often people “act out” in less conscious, less overt ways. That’s why when people go offline, they essentially “detoxify” their minds and they start to live differently.

I thought this story was rather common and assumed everyone had received it as an email at some time or other, but when I tried to find it online, I only got one link. Maybe you need this, or know someone who does.

Let this story stay with you, it applies in so many areas of life.

We are all fighting a battle within ourselves… The illustration goes like this: There is a old Indian chief telling a story about how each of us have two rival dogs, a good dog and a bad dog. Both are always fighting each other. Sometimes it seems like the good dog is winning other times it appears like the bad dog is winning.

One of the tribal members asks, “So, how do you know which one will win?”

To which the chief replies, “It depends which dog you feed.”

“I’ll Take Religious Architecture for $300, Alex”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:37 am

Okay,  we don’t normally do puzzles and games here, but how could I resist when the category was

Religious Buildings

Print this out (or try to do it visually) and remember that the same letter substitutions work for the puzzle as a whole. Apologies to whoever created this, there was no copyright notice in the newspaper that carried it.

 

G P J N X D

G P K E G P

A Q C T K X

J C P E J A

N J O Q L J

Y X A N D X

G Q U S X U Y

W J C B D B G J

G J Y P X L E J D

A Q U J C Y X E F

C F U J O Q O K X

 

 

September 6, 2014

Christian Mom Kicks Gay Son Out of the House

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:11 am

The video linked in today’s post today’s language and subject matter that may not be appropriate for all readers. Read the description before you decide whether or not to listen.

I decided not to embed the video in question in today’s post, but you are free to click through to watch it as nearly 6 million people have as of this writing. It’s disturbing on a number of levels.

It starts out with ‘Mom’ telling ‘Son’ that he has made a choice that goes against the Word of God. Yes, she is, by all appearances what you call a ‘fine upstanding Christian woman.’ He states that being gay is not a choice. She tells him quite plainly that he has to leave. He says he will pack his things and be gone.

The video — an audio file really — runs about 5:00 and for the first half, things are being dealt with rather calmly. Then it all goes south.

My wife listened to this and noted that “one’s true personality is revealed in anger.” The rest of this is rather hard to listen to. If you have blood pressure issues, just skip the video entirely. The ‘Mom’ in the second half of the video becomes a totally different person. Which one is the real her?

But there’s more to this story. His friends posted a page at GoFundMe.com to help the boy get $2,000 in living expenses having been kicked out. Instead, the page raised nearly $94,000.

That reminded so much of a story Jesus told to help some people understand who is a real neighbor to someone in need.  There’s more compassion and caring coming from the people who reached in their wallets than there is from the ‘religious’ parent who is more concerned with heaping condemnation.

In saying this, I’m not trying to make a statement, or suggest that I am extremely gay-friendly. I do believe God has a “best,” and that’s His highest intention for humankind. But being right on the subject may not be terribly important if the response isn’t Christ-like.

If I lack love I am like a “clanging symbol.” This morning, Chip Ingram explained on his radio show that this was actually the Apostle Paul making a reference to pagans who would use a gong or symbol to wake up their gods. He’s telling the Corinthians that if they have not love, they are no better than their pagan neighbors.

I’ve often heard it said that what is key in life is not what happens to us, but how we react to it. For the capital ‘C’ Church, what matters most is not where we land the plane on the issue of homosexuality, but rather, the nature of our response.

Again, to repeat, the key questions are:

  • What best reveals the real me, the times I give a steady, level response, or the things I say in anger?
  • Who is the example of living like Jesus, the ones who condemn, or the ones who reach in their pocket to help a homeless boy?
  • What matters most, a church’s stand on a particular social issue, or the way in which they approach those their stance most impacts?

 

 

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