It’s easy to be discouraged about the ups and downs of attendance, especially as our ministries have been forced to rely on technology during this season. How can we utilize this time to make the most of attendance trends? This quote particularly challenged me: “Make a shift in your thinking. Rather than thinking about how to get students (or people in general) to attend a gathering, emphasize engagement.”
I’ve shared an article like this before, but they always challenge me more than I expect. Here, Ray Ortlund shares advice to young pastors, focusing on the “basics” of ministry. As I consider my desire to remain faithful where God has called me, these words not only challenge me, but encourage me to continue on.
So many of us struggle to have a healthy understanding of Christ’s view of us. In this article, I was reminded of just how complete Jesus’ work on the cross was. I think this is a great approach on the topic- looking to Christ and drawing the implications for our lives from there, instead of focusing on us alone.
One of my prayers for the families in the student ministry is that they would make the most of this extra time with their teens. The family is the most basic and practical structure of society. God has established the family to be the means by which discipleship takes place. Yet, most of society seeks to counteract what God’s purposes. “The reason that people don’t know what to do at home is basically the same reason that family life appears unappealing to many…The bigger reality is that the social structure of the modern world is built this way, built against families. In the face of all this, it’s no wonder that families strain and break and that young people have second thoughts about starting families of their own. The family is a square peg in the world’s round hole.” Needless to say, this may be one of the most important articles you read during this Corona Season.
Tim Challies shared this article on his A La Carte post Monday. The headline seems like something from science fiction, but I think it reveals truths about what we value. The parameters of the experiment are explained in the article and the results are very fascinating, to say the least.
Certainly, it’s no secret that America has been heading in a more secular direction for quite some time. What’s surprising to me is just how quickly this is happening. Look at this research recently released from Barna, “A slim 51% majority of Americans believe in the most basic biblical attributes of God — down from 73% three decades ago.”
This week, the stories of Rhett and Link from the hit YouTube show Good Mythical Morning started to make their rounds in Christian circles. I’ve been watching their videos for a few years now, and while it’s nice to have some answers about the events from their past that they swept under the rug, it breaks my heart to see what’s happened. When people walk away from the faith, it can be hard to understand what’s going on. This article, by D. Michael Clary, helps shed some light on the situation and how to think through it.
Since I’m touching on the hot topic issues of the week, this article by Todd Wagner gives his take on how to think through the COVID-19 outbreak in the world. It’s hard to tell right now how much is media hype and how much of this is a real threat- only time will tell- but as Believers, we need to think through all of this with an eternal perspective. Wagner leads us to do exactly that.
Tim Challies wrote this article a few weeks back, so I wanted to share it with all of you. Challies is part of the inspiration behind this blog, so I think this article is a good chance for you to get an inside look behind why I started this side project. Even though I still have a ways to go in consistently posting and sharing new content, my hope is to inspire others to take the leap and start writing for themselves. Challies’ article shows a great place to start.
I’m starting this week off with a short and sweet article from Ed Welch about hospitality. As I think about these issues in terms of the big picture, I’m reminded of just how much of these things are fixed in the small, every day things. Gospel-centered hospitality is rooted in the conversations shared between people. Welch summarizes it well, “The extroverts among us seem to make it look easy. The more shy might be intimidated by the potential awkwardness or silence. But loving pursuit is neither easy nor natural to anyone. All of us need both humility and help from Scripture in order to navigate the early stages of a helpful conversation.”
As I’m just a few months out from my daughter being born, this article really touched me. What does it look like to bless our children before bed? How can we make sure the last thing they hear from us is a word which stirs their heart’s affections for the Lord? John Piper gives us things to think about in this episode of “Ask Pastor John.”
This week, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission released a summary of research conducted by the Barna institute concerning the issues facing many U.S. Pastors (you can find the original report here: https://www.barna.com/research/whats_on_mind_americas_pastors/). The ERLC report helps distill some of the information, but the point is still the same: the biggest concern facing pastors today is a concern over the gospel. If you’re a pastor, or if you’re a church member, this article is worth taking some time to read- the insight into the issues facing pastors is incredibly useful!
Tim Challies shared this on his blog this morning- it’s a great deal. If you need a new Bible, this is hard to pass up!
Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times about the roles of men and women in society. Despite culture’s best attempts to redefine gender roles, it seems there is something wired deep within us which causes men and women to prefer specific roles within the home. Here are a couple highlights:
- “The fact that home life doesn’t look all that different from half a century ago surprises researchers, because in most other ways, attitudes about gender roles have changed a lot.”
- “If young people can’t even envision a model of what men’s time at home might look like, that’s evidence that our beliefs about gender are really strong and sticky,” said Joanna Pepin, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin and an author of the recently published study, with Brittany Dernberger, a sociology doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland. “That’s yet another thing that’s getting in the way of social change.”
- “Norms about what men are supposed to do also have an effect, researchers say — starting in childhood, when boys do fewer chores than girls do. Masculinity is strongly tied to earning an income and avoiding things that are considered feminine.”
God’s truth shines through, even in a time of confusion in our culture.
I love coming across new things which challenge what I’ve always taken for granted in my understanding of the Bible. This article was one of those resources. Pop quiz: Did it start raining when Noah brought the animals upon the ark and God sealed the door? You’ll have to read to find out!
When we talk about “preaching” the gospel in Scripture, does it mean only pastors are qualified to share with others? By evaluating a sermon from Charles Spurgeon out of Acts 8, Denny Burk reminds us that all Christians are to be known as those who proclaim, or preach, the gospel (even students!).