Thinking Out Loud

February 21, 2018

Wednesday Link List

This is a thing. See below for the Billboard story or click the image here for a video story.

Welcome to our 10th Anniversary Week Wednesday Link List! First off, if the pictures which usually accompany this list is your thing, be sure to check out all ten posted in our Sunday Microblogging feature. Let the games begin!

Remembering Billy Graham

  • UPDATE: This morning subscribers received a health update on Billy Graham in this space, but the story shifted and early this morning we learned of his passing at age 99. CT has a feature remembering his life
  • Tributes pour in on Twitter, Billy Graham was the #1 trending subject this morning. Follow the live feed.  Now on to the link list as it appeared earlier today…
  • Heaven’s Real Estate: So what’s the deal, do we each get a house or do we just get a room?
  • Liturgical Lament: “44% of Evangelicals have never heard of The Book of Common Prayer.” These and other stats on liturgical worship in the latest from Barna Research.
  • Religious Freedom Issue? You’d have to wait longer than eight days to circumcise a male in Iceland as their Parliament is debating banning the practice altogether.
  • After going it for several months as both a local church teaching pastor and the President of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, David Platt decided to go full out with the latter role. “I don’t believe I can choose between preaching and leading in the local church, and mobilizing and shepherding people in global missions. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that if I am going to serve in this way in the local church, then I need to serve in different ways for the cause of global missions.” …
  • …Also from the Biblical Recorder, three Evangelical council advisors to President Trump,  Ronnie Floyd, Jack Graham and Richard Land have just released a new book on The Faith of Donald Trump and here’s a shocker, “Floyd, Graham and Land say they don’t know whether Trump has trusted Christ as his Lord and Savior. But they’re certain he has heard the gospel. All three recounted a conference call on which Trump said, perhaps jokingly, that he hoped a specific policy initiative would help him get into heaven.”
  • Quotation of the Week: In which the author notes that popular blogger Tim Challies affirms Is Genesis History Director Thomas Purifoy’s attempt to make Young Earth Creationism a Reformed distinctive and then takes Martin Lloyd-Jones out of context, there’s this. “I would like to see us put our focus on what classical Christianity regarded as the central matters within the doctrine of creation: for example, creation ex nihilo, the goodness of creation, and the imago Dei. These issues distinguished Christianity from its rival alternatives, properly ordered the Creator/creation relation, and substantively contributed to Christian theology and worship.”
  • Late for Lent: Admittedly, that was so last week, but if you haven’t decided what you’re giving up, this article pulls no punches and offers you a serious agenda for the remaining 33 days.
  • Every week we watch a live stream church service where are constantly amazed at the “culture of applause” which permeates their church culture. They clap for music, for the announcements, for sermons. They applaud things that wouldn’t warrant it in other churches. So while the theme is somewhat different, I had to include this piece: Ministers and the Lust for Applause
  • Money Matters: Four ways in which some churches are guilty of poor stewardship.
  • …Also at Christian Post, the head of the Seventh Day Adventist Church tells local church pastors to steer clear of politics in the pulpit.
  • I believe in a God who heals and is able to do exceedingly above anything we could ask or expect; however, with mental health issues we also need to recognize the value of medical science. Problems with BCM, the Biblical Counseling Movement.
  • KidMin: The 2018 Children’s Ministry Conference runs April 30th to May 3rd in Brighton, Michigan
  • Movie Review: This guy saw the movie Samson rather like a bad haircut.
  • I have deliberately avoided anything related to guns and school shootings here, though to see the disillusionment and disappointment on the face of the students yesterday afternoon when Florida decided to table any debate on an assault rifle ban was one of the saddest things I’ve seen. Later in the evening, it got me thinking. Don’t believe it’s within the realm of possibilities for a U.S. government to break up the NRA? Check this out. They broke up Bell Telephone in 1982, an act described as, “the breakup of the biggest corporation in American history.” So yes, it’s definitely possible.
  • Leadership Lessons: Here are 7 ways local church pastors and associate pastors can do better at connecting with their church kids and teens.
  • The notion of “spiritual but not religious” under the microscope: “Those words are organized religion in themselves, a thought-structure of the vilest duplicity. Their pithiness shapes our thoughts, organizing our hearts to believe we can do Christianity alone. They say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’
  • Essay of the Week: Jasmine L. Holmes, the daughter of Voddie Baucham talks about growing up as a stay at home daughter. She also talks about her husband: “He equips me to make my own choices, even when I’m afraid. He deals with every growing pain that I should have had ten years ago and am just now having. He removes the shameful burdens that I’ve operated under for a good half of my life. He pushes me harder than anyone I’ve ever known, even when I fight back. He’s helping me grow up. Not for him, like I always thought I should, but for myself. For the pursuit of holiness and wholeness. He won’t let me stand quietly in his shadow, and he won’t let me take the easy way out.”
  • Youth Ministry/Church Life: Your game plan when a kid has been a victim of sexual abuse.  
  • Not the Canada Corner: Rather, for readers elsewhere, a full and complete explanation of the angst the ‘attestation’ on the Canada Summer Jobs application has unleashed for churches and Christian charities.
  • Lakewood Church (Joel Osteen) Associate Pastor John Gray defends the riches of wealthy pastors. ” [I]f they have saved their money and want to do something nice for their spouse or they want to live in a home, you’ve got one life.” So basically he’s saying: YOLO. (7 minute video.)
  • Going back to the well: The Charlotte Observer, as the hometown newspaper, hauls out the Jim Bakker/PTL Club story one more time, just in case anyone’s new to the neighborhood.
  • Read carefully because I’m only going to say this once: A Lutheran transgender pastor who has re-identified as ‘Peter’ is walked to the baptismal font by the area bishop for a renaming blessing. Got that? Church council member Daniel Stoll told the Huffington Post, “[Gay and trans individuals] have every right to be their authentic selves as anyone. God didn’t make a mistake.” 
  • ♫ New Music: This one should be to the liking of many of you – Seth & Nirva perform an unplugged version of We Won’t Back Down.
  • Tweet of the Week: A good news story.
  • Steps to Stardom: Justin Bieber’s early years are the subject of a museum exhibit in his hometown. (Or click the image above for a video coverage.)
  • Certain Evangelicals just shouldn’t do interviews with major news media. Like Joel Osteen, Jerry Falwell, Jr. falters in front of the camera, in this case trying to defend the indefensible (aka ’45’) with CNN’s Erin Burnett.
  • Finally, death is just around the corner: “A new app, We Croak, notifies you five times a day that you could die at any moment.” A writer at The Guardian tries it for seven days.

One of the favorites from my picture file from 2011: Adam and Eve at the Creation Museum win an award for the Best Placement of Lily Pads.

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February 14, 2018

Wednesday Link List

I knew Redeemer University College in Canada was a smaller school than some, but didn’t expect to see it reflected in the way job functions like this one are integrated. Dutch frugality?

 

It’s a Valentine’s Day edition of the Wednesday Link List and even though we have absolutely nothing Valentine-related, we hope you will love this week’s list.


Is there a shot you can get to prevent this?


The Canadian in me loved this one.


Euphemisms for death based on obituaries by state, sourced by Mental Floss in 2016 based on 2015 obits. (Click image to link.) Of interest to us here was Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Arkansas. (Boy, talk about being led down the internet rabbit trail…)

February 7, 2018

Wednesday Link List

Stryper guitarist Michael Sweet said, “I can tell you this: if you kind of take the best of a handful of STRYPER albums and you kind of roll it up into a big, old fat burrito, that’s what you’re gonna get with this album.” God Damn Evil releases April 20th. More details at this link.

Here we are once again with Link List #396. Thanks to those of you who sent suggestions, and those of you who produce your own roundups from which we steal only the best… Many of these are double links, so if the topic is of interest, be sure to click both parts.

Mismatched billboard ads? Nope. It’s intentional, promoting a new sermon series at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, Georgia. Click here for details.

“Bring your children to Church. If you don’t hear crying, the church is dying.” Read more at this extended Facebook caption.

While other articles at Thinking Out Loud may be used on your blog, please respect the unique character of the Wednesday Link List; it is the exclusive property of paulwilkinson.wordpress.com

January 31, 2018

Wednesday Link List

“What’s great about the official Dave Ramsey card is that it always gets declined,” Ramsey said on his radio program. “Try to buy a new fishing reel? Declined. Try to book a family vacation you can’t afford? Declined. Replace a shredded tire you failed to budget for? Yup, you guessed it—declined.” Details at Babylon Bee.

The Wednesday List Lynx is now doing endorsements.

Welcome to our State of the Christian Union address #395. Still fighting whatever it is that hit me last week, so a shorter list this week. 2018 is one month down, eleven more to go!

Preoccupied with Optics: This ad from a church in Phoenix appeared on Craigslist. Full story at The Old Black Church blog.


You remember Hahhah in the Old Testament? That woman always makes me laugh! CBD is taking advance orders on a book about her from Jill Eileen Smith.

January 24, 2018

Wednesday Link List

Not usually accused of lying down on the job, Steven Furtick makes a point in a recent sermon at Elevation titled, ‘The Pillow and the Promise.’ Source: 3-minute YouTube highlights reel.

Canadian megachurch pastor Bruxy Cavey illustrates four different models of salvation as wife Nina looks on. Is preaching lying down the next big trend? Source: 10-minute video on YouTube, Understanding Salvation.

Lloyd the Llink Llist Llama crashes the party for the third time. And it’s always January.

Midweek already! Welcome to link list #394. This was the list which simply wouldn’t stop growing. It could have easily been double the size it is. There is some excellent content here, and until you eat everything on your plate, there’s no dessert.


The website Church Pop thinks the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has the best 404 page, given that St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost things. Read more at churchpop.com


Bonus video! Just for those of you who continued this far!

January 17, 2018

Wednesday Link List

Panama Clerical Shirt: What pastors wear on vacation.

These lists are different each week, and this time around, the first few offer some brain-stretching opportunities to think about doctrine and theology. Plus as an extra exercise in equal time, many of these are from Reformed/Calvinists sources. See…we can play nice, sometimes.

Comics: Mary Worth, 2016 (upper), Bizarro, 2018 (lower)

Digging a Little Deeper

From the creator of Thinking Out Loud, check out Christianity 201. Guaranteed distraction-free faith blogging with fresh posts every day. www.Christianity201.wordpress.com

January 10, 2018

Wednesday Link List

Not exactly Willow Tree, is it? A poster at Reddit described these three as his Grandma’s badass angel statues. (Left to right: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.)

This week’s list begins below, but we wanted to take a minute to provide you with some particular links — out of many that we looked at — for what was undoubtedly the Christian newsmaker of the week, Andy Savage.

The Iberian Lynx filling in for the semi-regular Wednesday List Lynx.

Now on to the balance of this week’s stories and opinion pieces.

That’s it for this week. Keep those cards and letters coming in folks; preferably by 6:00 PM on Monday. Speaking of the first day of the work week, the closing graphic is from Happy Monday at Clark Bunch’s blog.

 

January 3, 2018

Wednesday Link List

English to English translation of KJV text proves too difficult for current computer technology.

This is list #391. Nine more to go!

Wittenburg Door classic

December 30, 2017

The Mind is a Battlefield

The Mind is a Battlefield. It truly is. I’m surprised there’s never been a successful Christian book with that title. Here’s a summary of some things that have appeared here at Thinking Out Loud with the blog tag “thought life.”  Each one of the titles below is a link to a larger article.

Over-Consumption of Internet Media

5 General Principles to Guide Potential Online Addiction

(this ran in March of this year; you need to click the title to see these spelled out)

  • Self Control
  • Mind, Thoughts and Heart
  • Shifting Values
  • The Stewardship of Our Time
  • Misdirected Worship

Media to Fill Your Home

(you need to click the title to see these spelled out)

  • Bible teaching
  • Christian books
  • Christian movies
  • Christian music
  • Hearing God’s voice

Phillips – Col. 3: 16-17 Let Christ’s teaching live in your hearts, making you rich in the true wisdom. Teach and help one another along the right road with your psalms and hymns and Christian songs, singing God’s praises with joyful hearts.

What will control your thought life this week?

A Day Lived Entirely for God

Several years back, a phrase from Charles Sheldon’s In His Steps became part of popular Christian culture through the acronym WWJD?. It appeared on wristbands, bumper stickers and a host of novelties and trinkets and in the crush of popularity, a few people actually bought and read the book.

Facing everyday challenges with the question ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ is a great idea, but I wonder if it’s too focused on doing; in other words, I’m concerned that it only measures action.

I’ve written much here about temptation here with respect to our thought life. For myself, a person who doesn’t commit great transgressions of moral or spiritual law, a better question might be WWJT? or What Would Jesus Think? In a review of David Murray’s The Happy Christian, I noted the following chapter outline based on Phil. 4:8… 

[the link takes you to an overview of David’s media diet and ministry diet.]

The Fruit of Your Thoughts

…If your mind is saturated with unhealthy thoughts and ideas, it will manifest itself in several ways:

In your conversation: We all have heard the Biblical principle that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Even the most guarded, careful, filtered person will let something slip that betrays where their heart is wandering. Or they may lose interest in topics that would normally engage them.

Stresses: For the Christian, having made poor choices in the area of inputs and influences will result in an inner conflict that may come to the surface in being short or snappy with the people we love or people we’re close to. The inner turmoil may simply result from a feeling of personal failure.

Distractions: A mind focused on things below instead of things above will inevitably be un-ordered, resulting in forgetting to return a phone call, missing a payment deadline, forgetting the directions to an appointment. Time allocation to responsibilities may slip noticeably.

Acting Out: Experts say that people dealing with online addictions often end up taking some action as a result of the content they have been viewing, but we tend to think of that as more overt. In fact, acting out often takes places in subtle ways that are more tangential to the addiction than direct. It’s possible that only the person themselves knows that the behavior trigger.

Reticence: Other people whose mind is otherwise preoccupied will simply become withdrawn. An unhealthy mind condition will manifest itself similar to worry and anxiety. For the Christian who senses that they are moving away from The Cross instead of moving toward The Cross, they may opt to retreat from their fellowship group or simply be less animated than is typical.

What Goes into a Mind Comes Out in a 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.”

click image to orderRelationships and the Internet’s Dark Side

(the article contains two stories of the manifestation of over-consumption of the worst the net has to offer)

…Someone once compared the things that enter our thought life to what happens when farmers sow seeds and later reap the harvest. The little verse goes:

Sow a thought, reap an action;

Sow an action, reap a habit;

Sow a habit; reap a lifestyle.

One thing is certain, whether there’s aversion or attraction, interpersonal dynamics are changed. Someone has said, “You are what you eat.” You certainly are what you read or view on television or your computer screen…

December 27, 2017

Wednesday Link List

This is the original; we actually ran the second one a few years back. From InterVarsity’s media production ministry, TwentyOneHundred Productions.

Warning: We have a lot of material this week from some really different sources concerning a variety of topics. Remember that being included in the link list does not in any way imply endorsement of the authors, their perspective or the website.

  • Essay of the Week: “We have replaced rich, robust theology in the church with emotional music and constant reminders that “God is love and loves you and He’s your personal Savior and loves your soul…” These words are great at bringing outsiders through the doors (because they’re true by and large) but poor at growing believers into mature witnesses with rich understanding of the deep things of God.” The Dumbing Down of Christianity.
  • “Find the Perfect Gift.” So it’s hard to believe this, but the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) deemed this gentle and minimalist communiqué to be ‘issue-oriented advertising,’ forbidden under a 2015 WMATA policy directive. So did U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who on December 9 rejected the archdiocese’s claim that WMATA’s refusal to post the ad violated its First Amendment right of free speech. WMATA had defined ‘issue-oriented’ to include ads that ‘promote or oppose religion.'” (Nice way of rewriting the U.S. Constitution, don’t you think?) 
  • Catholic Corner: This story was everywhere yesterday. “A Catholic Bishop and Cardinal are protecting a Catholic Governor in New York that is enabling countless sexual predators and pedophiles to escape prosecution.” Why Pope Francis needs to intervene.  
  • After the Pastor Dies: Not knowing the significance the day would have, the writer of this piece had long planned a visit to St. Andrews Chapel in Orlando. It would be the church’s first Sunday without their Copastor, R. C. Sproul
  • Is this the Right Solution? After a gunman killed 26 worshippers during a Sunday service last month, licensed handgun owners in Texas can now legally carry firearms into some churches.  
  • Bible and Science: Here’s the bumper someone posted on Reddit to introduce this article. “Both science and religion seek wisdom and clarity. We need religious interpretations of the facts modern science produces, so that our belief system can once again be adapted to our time.” Some interesting thoughts on three videos.  (Again, please read the warning in the introduction above.)
  • ♫ Praise Charts has released their annual list. You might want to guess before you click. The one I chose for #1 was actually #2, so at least I was close. This list covers all material available, not just titles new this year. Check out the Top 100 Worship Songs for 2017.
  • Quotation of the Week: He thought he’d switch things up by reading the Matthew account on Christmas Eve instead of Luke. Then he got to the part where Herod starts the killing.

    I recall one family member making the lighthearted interjection, “I’d forgotten about this part.” Another questioned innocently, “Do we really need to hear this tonight?”
    …I even remember thinking in that moment about how many nativity scenes I have witnessed over the years that portray the visitation of the Magi in Matthew 2:10. The serene images of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus surrounded by the wise men humbly kneeling, offering gifts, and worshiping. There is no hint of what is about to happen. Certainly sin and death are not to be celebrated at Christmas, but Matthew reminds us that they are not to be brushed aside either. The truth is that the account of Herod’s acts convey the very reason Christ came in the first place. He became incarnate to overcome sin and death.

  • Provocative Podcast Title of the Week: Will There Be Sex in Heaven? (Greg Boyd; 4½ minutes) 
  • Provocative Article Title of the Week: The Church Father Who Cut Off His Junk. (Professional theologian; do not attempt at home.) (Some of you may already know the Origen of this story.)
  • Parenting Place: As part of its broader sex education mandate, the British government is inviting submissions concerning its plan to launch what it calls Relationships Education.
  • 📖 I wish I was on the review list for IVP, because I would definitely, after viewing the trailer, want to review a new apologetics title, God is Stranger by Krish Kandiah
  • …or even though it’s nearly a year old, also from IVP, Evangelical, Sacramental, and Pentecostal by Gordon T. Smith. (IVP titles are usually fairly time transcendent!)
  • Here’s an article from outside our usual link list sphere. The author pastored Evangelical churches for 25 years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. He is now a humanist and an atheist. His grandfather was a sexual predator who molested his mother and three generations of women. At his funeral in an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church, mourners were told, “God saved Bob and he is, thanks to Jesus, in Heaven today.” The author is not so convinced
  • …Related: Following the popularity of the #MeToo hashtag, those abused in or by churches are Tweeting on #ChurchToo.
  • Salt and Light: Indy Star and Creators Syndiate artist Gary Varvel explains his Christmas cartoon.
  • 🎬 Boundless, a Focus-on-the-Family website says 2017 was a good year for Christian films.
  • Politically one-sided: “…in recent debates in Congress over the public funding for Planned Parenthood, many pro-choice politicians and media outlets touted Planned Parenthood as a women’s health organization with abortion comprising only three percent of its business. It wasn’t surprising then that people were shocked when they heard Live Action refer to Planned Parenthood as the biggest abortion chain in America.” The role Twitter plays in hiding such truths
  • 🇨🇦 Canada Corner: Canadian churches that relied on a government grant to create student summer jobs may find that impossible in 2018.
  • Leadership Lessons: Pastors need to stop trying to be pleasers; stop trying to be popular.
  • Word of the Year: At Oxford Dictionaries the 2017 word was youthquake.  At dictionary.com, not exactly a new word, complicit. At Collins Dictionary, the choice was fake news. At Miriam-Webster, again a not-so-new word, feminism. (We liked their #5, dotard.)  Now use all four winning words in a single sentence.
  • 🇬🇧 The Queen again mentions Jesus in her annual — in this case 60th — Christmas message:

    We remember the birth of Jesus Christ whose only sanctuary was a stable in Bethlehem. He knew rejection, hardship and persecution; and yet it is Jesus Christ’s generous love and example which has inspired me through good times and bad.  

  • ♫ New Music: Remedy Drive is back with a new album, The North Star releasing on 1/18. The song is “Polaris.”   (Bonus: Watch the story behind the album.)
  • ♫ Old Music: The music group Lamb was part of the Messianic Jewish movement back in the ’70s. Joel Chernoff has been busy posting some of those songs to a YouTube channel, check out “I Will Talk to My Brothers” and “In the Morning.”
  • “If Jesus had a gun, he’d still be alive today.” Russell Moore comments on a bumper sticker
  • Finally, They were the nuns before there was the nones. I’m off to the store to see if I can score a copy of the Guns N’ Rosaries album. (The comments make it all the more interesting.)

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