The Two-Man Men’s Fellowship – “Some years ago I knew of a young man with what was, to all appearances, a fine and stable Christian walk. After leaving home, he fell badly, and unrepentedly. His parents were utterly heartbroken. Knowing this situation led me to reconsider what I was doing with my son Josiah, who was nearing his teen years. Proactive is my watchword, when I can help it. Nothing brews a more bitter cup than regrets, and my own mistakes and follies have served up quite enough of it as it is. Josiah was around twelve, and a professed Christian. I thought: ‘What better text than Proverbs?’ And so the Two-Man Men’s Fellowship was born.”
The Man Who Can’t, Speaks – Of all the interviews Martin Pistorius has done for his book Ghost Boy the one I had to catch was a 32-minute exchange with Canada’s most listened-to, and most controversial spiritual radio host, Drew Marshall. The interview aired on February 28th, but in a first for The Drew Marshall Show, was also recorded as a Skype call, with Martin’s responses to the pre-submitted questions supplemented by a few spontaneous additions. This week the video was posted on YouTube.
America’s Next Top Preacher? – “The national contest invited students interested in preaching and teaching to submit five-minute videos for review… The ultimate goal: to inspire more young Christians to devote their lives to sharing God’s word… No one was looking for a golden ticket to Hollywood, but 40 semifinalists were chosen to work with “mentor preachers” and fly to a recent two-day training event — either at Pepperdine or at Johnson University in Kissimmee, Fla. Contestants were evaluated based on content, creativity, clarity and passion. ‘You know, there are all these reality shows on TV,’ Jeff Walling said. ‘But instead of judges, we have coaches because we are trying to say, ‘No winners and losers here.'”
How Islamic is The Islamic State – “Writings by the group’s clerics and ideologues and its English-language online magazine, Dabiq, are full of citations from Quranic verses, the Hadith and centuries of interpreters, mostly hard-liners. But these are often taken far out of context, said Joas Wagemakers, an assistant professor of Islamic Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, who specializes in Islamic militant thought. Muslim scholars throughout history have used texts in a ‘decontextualized way’ to suit their purposes, Wagemakers said. But the Islamic State goes ‘further than any other scholars have done. They represent the extreme,’ he said. It would be a mistake to conclude the Islamic State group’s extremism is the ‘true Islam’ that emerges from the Quran and Hadith, he added.”
Do Not Do This – Lee Grady on ten of the biggest mistakes people make on the mission field. Sample: “Talking down to people — You are not going overseas to teach poor, ignorant foreigners what you know. If that’s your attitude, do everyone a favor and stay home! You are going to serve. Most of what I know about ministry I learned from humble people I met in other countries. Whether you are teaching, preaching, building orphanages or feeding the poor, get under the people and wash their feet. And expect to learn powerful lessons from the people you are visiting.”
The Presbyterian Exodus Continues – “Google ‘Presbyterian Church USA’ and on the first page there are links to stories about presbyteries around the country voting on whether to amend the denomination’s Book of Order ‘to change the language defining marriage as a contract between a man and a woman to a contract between ‘two persons.’ …Asked directly if the decision to allow gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual individuals to be ordained by the 2010-2011 vote of the presbyteries was the reason the session decided to pursue leaving the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., [New Providence Senior Pastor Jeff] Ebert said, ‘Personally, I don’t think that issue would be a reason to leave.’ What Ebert considers good reasons are theological divisions on ‘the authority of the Bible,’ and defining the work of Christ, which he called ‘essential beliefs.'”
Donald Miller Talks to Pete Wilson – “Shame… at some point all of us growing up something happens where we learn –whether true or not — that we don’t belong; or there’s something wrong with us, there’s a fatal flaw, if people knew it they wouldn’t accept myself. It’s a loss of innocence… Then what happens is you cover the shame with something that you’ve figured out could get you acceptance. For me it was humor and intelligence. If I could be funny and smart then I had a reason to be in the room… Intimacy is, cut the personality tricks, cut the shame and let somebody really get to know you.”
Tyndale House Book Coming to Big Screen – “Sony subsidiary Affirm Films and Mass Hysteria Entertainment are teaming on a movie based on the memoir The Devil in Pew Number Seven. The book, written by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo with Bob DeMoss, was published by Tyndale House Publishers in 2010. Alonzo recounts her story of losing her parents when they stood up against evil within their church — a man obsessed with controlling the congregation who was determined to get rid of anyone who stood in his way.”
A Short, Final Debrief of Ash Wednesday – “There are two ways Christians have looked at matters like this historically: (1) if it not expressly allowed in Scripture, it is forbidden; and (2) if it is not forbidden in Scripture, it is allowed. Some Christian groups adopt (1) as their guiding principle; others adopt (2). Both groups I think are interested in the right thing. They want to step into the story of Scripture and make it their own. They just do so in different ways.”
Holy Days are Holidays – Do your kids know they can get a day off school the first week in September for “Nativity of Mary” day? Or November 1st for All Saints Day? In New Jersey they can. “New Jersey’s Board of Education today reviewed the list of religious holidays for which schools must allow excused absences beginning next fall. The list, which is updated annually, includes more than 120 holidays for the 2015-16 school year. Students must present a written excuse signed by a parent or guardian.” Check out what religious pluralism hath wrought in the Garden State.
- An audio podcast for ADD people: Five Minutes in Church History (with a slightly Reformed bias.)
- A Thomas Nelson book about a mom dealing with her daughter’s lesbian lifestyle was canceled by the publisher because the author didn’t specifically condemn homosexuality. The author “was told that any ‘homosexual behavior’ in the book would have to be ‘presented as a sin’ in order for her manuscript to be published, and that her daughter would need to be depicted as ‘remorseful’ and ‘taking steps to change their lifestyle.'”
- I couldn’t believe I was reading something so critical of the ESV on Tim Challies blog, but it turned out to be a sponsored post in support of the HCSB.
- A different way to look at The Lord’s Prayer.
- Churches don’t need bigger buildings, in fact they don’t really need buildings at all: The Saddleback example.
- Greg Boyd: The only sin Jesus publicly exposes is religious sin.
- The Beginner Bible turned 25 this week.
- 52 scripture verses every child should know. A basketful of free downloads for parents from HarperCollins Christian Publishing…
- …and just hours left for this free download of Josh Garrells’ new album. (At the very least, give a listen to the song Zion and Babylon.)