Thinking Out Loud

February 10, 2010

Wednesday Links

But February made with shiver
with every link that I’d deliver…

Time for another look at some things that caught my eye this week.   Recommendations can be sent anytime during the week to the e-mail address on my “about” page.

  • I like a book trailer that really makes me want to read the book, and that’s what I found in the promo vid for the comic novel, The God Cookie by Geoffrey Wood.
  • Not so sure about this one, though.  A somewhat backdoor approach to outreach by under the website Satan Hates Life.  Tell me what you think.
  • Got King James Version Only friends?  Here’s some material to help you make a rational response to their issues — if rationality will help at all — from the blog Gazing at Glory.
  • Blogger Rich Dixon thinks we’re only considering two-thirds of a popular quotation from Augustine.   Check out his thoughts at Bouncing Back.
  • Pornography.   It’s not just a guy thing anymore.   Here’s an article from Rachel Zoller at Focus on the Family, Girls Snared by Porn and Cybersex.
  • Speaking of which, writing Monday’s Jewish-flavored post uncovered this page of recommended internet filtering software.   (The referrer liked the K9 (free) program.
  • New Blog of the Week:  Downhill Both Ways.  Let’s just say the author, who most of you know, uses more than 22 words to tell a story.
  • Here’s a flashback to October, a Tullian Tchividjian post about How to Identify A Reliable Preacher.   “…if we are going to grow we need to be sitting at the feet of reliable carriers of God’s truth.”
  • Afraid?  Anxious?  Worried?  Fearful?   Check out this short post at Justin Taylor’s blog at The Gospel Coalition.
  • You shouldn’t be a manipulator.  But neither should you be manipulated.   Sometimes manipulation comes disguised as the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.   Check out the discussion at Resolved To Worship.
  • A sad story out of Florida last week where two young street preachers were murdered, as reported in the Palm Beach Post.
  • Jim Daly.  Get to know that name.   He replaces another J.D., James Dobson, as the voice — he’s been president since ’05 — of Focus.   Here’s the 411 on him from The Wall Street Journal.
  • Okay, so here’s the deal, I like to end each Wednesday Link List with a cartoon, and this week is no exception, with one from The Back Pew by Jeff Larson.   But does anyone know why there’s two versions circulating out there for this week’s cartoon? ????

December 16, 2009

Link Time!

Once again, free of charge, here are a few things you might not have known were just a link away…

  • Jeff Goins at the blog, Pilgrimage of the Heart, noted that his webzine Wrecked for the Ordinary, showed much interest last week on this topic, “Is The Cross The Wrong Symbol for Christianity?”     Before I even got to the article, I made the following observation at his blog:

    I remember years ago hearing people talk about recovering the towel and the basin as the symbol of Christianity; the idea was that the core concept of following Christ is to follow him as he washed his disciples’ feet.

    The discussion was still going on today here.

  • Did you hear the story this week about the eight-year old boy sent home from school for drawing a picture of Jesus on the cross?    Asked to draw something that reminded him of Christmas, the boy drew a simple crucifix — pictured at right — with an ‘X’ in place of each eye to show that the person on the cross had died.   The school sent him home citing concerns of violence and ordered a psychiatric evaluation.   You can read the original Taunton Gazette Dec. 14 report here, and the latest update on the story here from Fox News.
  • Here’s an internet archives classic:  A much younger looking 22-Words blogger Abraham Piper, pictured alongside his personal testimony — “When I was 19, I decided I’d be honest and stop saying I was a Christian…” — offers advice for the parents of prodigals in this 2007 article at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website.  (22-Words regulars might notice the resemblance between him and his son Orison)
  • Sadly the Alltop blog aggregator is rapidly losing its usefulness when overtly commercial sites like Best Travel Deals are accepted.  Currently however, if you’ve never checked out the site, you can scan the titles of the last five posts at top blogs in the Christianity, Church and Religion categories.
  • A few nights ago I ended up at a YouTube video containing the Casting Crowns song, Prayer for a Friend, when I was suddenly reminded of a CCM classic song by Debby Boone, Can You Reach My Friend? also on YouTube.  While both are homemade vids,  these are both great compositions.  How much time do we spend crying out for friends — both current and long lost — who have not yet crossed the line of faith?
  • While the Grand Cayman Islands may not be the place to picture Christmas done up with snowmen and sleighs, they really do the lights thing to the max.   Zach and Cory, who attend Thabiti Anyabwile’s church,  post a few pics  at the appropriately named blog, Life in Grand Cayman.  (See sample at the top of this blog post.)
  • Got more Christian books and Bibles lying around than you know what to do with?   In the United States, check out a program called Bare Your Bookshelf, where you can directly ship up to four pounds of books to someone in need.   In Canada, consider a program that gets large container loads of Christian resources to missionaries overseas at Christian Salvage Mission.    (Read the history and then click on “area coordinators” to find the closest contact to you.)
  • Our cartoon today is from Mike Waters at Joyful Toons:

HT – for the Taunton, Mass. student story to Tom Bauerle at WBEN radio in Buffalo, with additional links from David Mercier at the blog Redeem The Time.

August 12, 2009

How They Began: First Blog Posts

Filed under: blogging, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:10 am

A couple of well known blogs — plus a few you may not know — got their start the same day as this one.  But then Jon Acuff cheated by reposting his first 40 items with different dates.  Anyway, these blogs all more or less started around the same time. These blogs are linked in the blogroll at right. Here’s a flashback to the first posts at:

abraham piper22 Words (Abraham Piper)

I’d like to be an interior designer and plan restaurants without a single bad place to sit. It shouldn’t be that hard.


Rene Descartes walks into a bar. Bartender says, “You gonna have a drink?” Descartes replies, “I don’t think I am,” then disappears.

jon acuffStuff Christians Like (Jon Acuff)

We do some things really well and we do some things less than really well. But when we pretend we’re perfect, people see right through it and won’t believe anything else we say. And that’s the point of this project. I want to be honest and upfront and hopefully a little funny about the issues the church and Christians struggle with sometimes. I want to say, “Whoa, whoa, please don’t judge me or God by Christian radio.” I want to admit the times we’ve dropped the ball on issues or ideas that people called to love their neighbor should have knocked out of the park. I want to blow up misconceptions and preconceptions about what it means to be a Christian.

Just a Thought (Rick Apperson)

We as God’s children, have the opportunity to share His love with the world. We are a peculiar people….ones that God called for His glory. We should be consumed with the things of God. The passion David displayed is possible in our own life as well. God should consume us…be our all in all, our everything. Will you let Him be your everything?

Christ, His Work and His Word (Jim Upchurch)

One of the primary aims of this blog is to point others to the greatness of Christ by describing how he serves his people. Of course, he didn’t do this because we are just that special. Christ serves his people for his own glory and for the glory of the Father. For example, the Scripture says in Philippians that Christ humbled himself, even to the point of death on the cross. “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). When Christ serves us, we get joy and he gets glory.

The Well (Kathy Bousquet)

“So he built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.” In a time of famine, Isaac didn’t run, didn’t seek for greener pastures, didn’t do the natural thing — he stood firm and trusted God.

He worshipped — he built an altar
He prayed — he called on the name of the Lord
He found a well — he unstopped it, dug it up
He drew from the well — he prospered in that place!

The springing up from below, in contrast to the outpouring from above, is associated with private encounters with God where you alone are the sole recipient of His attention. This “inner baptism” involves the digging out of plugged up wells and the breaking down of emotional dams that block the flow of the underground springs of the Spirit that every believer has been granted.

This last one demonstrates what should be the goal of every blogger; if you’ve considered starting one of your own, this is good advice:

Girl in Glass House (Cynthia)

To begin properly, I must begin thoroughly! If the goal is to become transparent and aware, than I must fully understand what that means to my life. The dictionary describes these two attributes as follows:


So sheer as to be almost invisible, allowing light to freely pass through
Easily detected or recognized
To be candid, frank


Having knowledge in a keenly responsive way
Being fully conscious of ones surroundings

These blogs all started in 2008 and are regularly linked here.  We’ll do some more of these sometime, suggestions welcomed.

April 26, 2009

Around the Blogosphere – Lots of Links

  • Gene Appel both followed Bill Hybels as lead pastor at Willow Creek and then preceded Bill’s return.   This article fills you in on where Gene is today.
  • Abraham Piper is away for a few days, so a rather large number of guest bloggers are living within the word-length constraints of filling in at 22 Words.
  • Flickering Pixels (Zondervan) author Shane Hipps gives four reasons in this short YouTube clip why he feels we can never achieve real community in the blogosphere.  His reasons are compelling — especially the idea that we tend to be part of blogs wherein we already share common ideas — but see the next item also.
  • Despite Hipps’ assertions (above), there is no escaping the gut-wrenching reality as blogger  John Saddington at Human 3rror   pours out his heart following the news from his wife’s OBGYN that their expected baby’s heart isn’t beating.     Read this, and then say a prayer for John and family.
  • Israel Houghton (“Friend of God”) has a new music video which you can watch here.
  • I don’t usually link to Stuff Christians Like because all Jon’s posts are great and I wouldn’t know where to begin; but this one from a few weeks ago (but just in time for the start of the American football season) really got to me, and I’m not even a sports fan!   (BTW, if you’re searching for humour (US-‘humor) of a Christian nature, Jon invited readers to suggest sources on this post.   You might even want to copy and paste all the comments.)
  • erin-betheaCanadian blogger and YWAM missionary Rick Apperson posts some short but pointed devotional thoughts every other day at the blog Just a Thought.   His blog doesn’t have a huge following, but we’re about to change all that, okay?    Right now I want to focus on a series of “Five Questions” he’s doing, mostly with people you already know, but also this one, with actress Erin Bethea who stars in the movie Fireproof.  Now we just need to get the guests to give longer answers!
  • Another Canadian — this one currently pastoring in the U.S. — Gerrard Fess at the blog Deep Thoughts by the G-Man,  suggests that when pastors relocate to a new community there are fourteen people they should get to know.
  • Just to clarify, my purpose with the Saddleback story (no pun intended) yesterday was to promote thought and discussion.  I’m totally in favour of the concept, just wondering about the long-term implications.   The “Signs” lyrics (not to mention Veggie Tales) may have suggested that I was being more judgemental than I was.

February 19, 2009

What if You Were The Bible’s Editor? — A Blogsteal from 22 Words

Filed under: Christianity, Humor — Tags: , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:40 pm

unique-bibles-for-teensAnything in the blogosphere worth reading is also worth stealing, comments and all.  But imagine the idea of you being named the general editor of this collection of sixty-plus books.  First, here’s how Abraham Piper* blogged it this morning at 22 Words:

How Would The Bible Be Different If You Had Been Its Editor?

I sometimes wonder what it means that everyone, even those who love Scripture most, would’ve reworded parts if they’d been in charge.

It’s almost an unaskable question, just like ‘unaskable’ is almost a word!  But here’s some of the better comments, hijacked from 22 Words and being detained here for eternity, or until A.P. writes and tells me to knock it off, whichever comes first.

  • I think I would have tried to do the book of Leviticus in twenty-two words…
  • There would be pictures
  • Oh. that’s just not a good idea for me to even think about doing. No. No way.
  • It would get stopped and restarted many times, and probably never get finished
  • The mystery would be gone. We might not have to trust God as fully, because we would (think) we understood what he was up to…
  • Song of Songs would be a LOT more clear and helpful for newlyweds …IF you know what I mean…
  • I would’ve added chapter markings right away so some guy in the 13th century wouldn’t do such a poor job of it.

*Yes, he is related.  Isn’t that rather obvious?   Piper Palin is named after him.   No, wait a minute…  it’s in my notes here somewhere…

Post your comments at 22 Words (use link above) so they can join the chorus with other readers.

December 16, 2008

If I Only Had Time To Read One Blog Tomorrow…

Filed under: blogging, Christianity, Faith, issues — Tags: , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:32 pm

…it would be this one.


If the purpose of a blog is to make one think, then Abraham Piper (yes, he’s related) would get my award.   How does he do it?   Brevity.  Concision.   Each post, with a few exceptions, is 22 Words.  (Yes, you can do more with less!)  I’ve enjoyed reading 22 Words for most of this year and though I try to restrain myself, can’t help jumping in frequently. A few times, my comments are off in a totally different direction from what everyone else is saying.   This blog has a huge following, naturally draws a large number of comments, and linking from those comments has several times introduced me to many other bloggers.

You’ll find 22 Words always at the top of my blogroll at right.

(Wanna write with concision?   Pretend you’re placing a classified advertisement and they’re charging you $1.00 per word!)

December 8, 2008

If It Didn’t Sound Like Good News, You Haven’t Heard The Gospel

Filed under: apologetics, bible, Christian, Christianity, missions — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:46 pm

bruxyBruxy Cavey, pastor of The Meeting House in west Toronto tells the story of preaching at a church on “missing the mark.”  A woman came up to him after quite upset because he didn’t talk about sin.   (The word sin means missing the mark.)  Bruxy, author of The End of Religion says that many of us are emotionally bonded to certain words and phrases

In a similar vein, he tells another story of preaching on the “kingship” of Christ, and another upset listener who says he should have talked about the sovereignty of God.   Sigh!   Can we get the point across without “those” words?

abraham-piperAbraham Piper picked up this theme at his popular 22-Words blog, where he makes this observation:

The Gospel is a storyline that can be almost infinitely retold from any dictionary.

If I believe Gospel-telling requires particular vocabulary or it’s not Gospel, I’ll be stiflingly uncreative in my ability to talk about it.

There’s a number of good replies on this, but I added this one:

If missionary stories like Peace Child have taught us anything, it’s that the search for a “redemptive analogy” is going to involve every possibility, without limits. But first, you have to know the story so deeply in your heart that it lives inside you in a place that is beyond words. Then you use whatever dialect at hand will “connect” with those you find in close proximity.

Photos:  Bruxy Cavey (top) Abraham Piper (lower)

Post title:  lifted from a tract published in the early ’80s by Mylon LeFevre

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