This Week’s Top Three (April 29, 2020)

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’s Top Three (February 19th, 2020)

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!).

This Week’s Top Three (February 12, 2020)

Seth Stewart absolutely hits the nail on the head with this article. This is a powerful reminder of why I do what I do. This quote says it so well: “I love student ministry because while our culture has so little hope for the next generation, God’s hope for them and his plan for them has no limits.” If you’re working with students, are raising students, or care about the students in your church, this article is well worth your time.

Ray Ortlund gives a powerful reminder about staying faithful for the long term in ministry. This idea has been on my mind for some time now, especially since I’ve started my first full-time ministry position. I want to be faithful. I want to stay and learn. I want to grow and use what God gives me to establish strong foundations for students. This article makes me want those things even more.

Have you ever met a High School Senior who still didn’t know what he or she wanted to do with her life? Have you ever wondered what has caused such a trend? John Basie begins an excellent evaluation of the ever growing job market in this article.