Grab bag

From around the internet:

  • A brief Q&A with Billy Graham revealed some reflections on aging (both how older and younger should think about it) and his life of ministry.  I statement that I found particularly interesting:

I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.

  • Every generation faces attacks on the credibility of Scripture and fundamental truths like the deity of Christ.  Our generation is no different, including the reality that some of these attacks are coming from within, from those who purport to be part of the church.  One of those critics is Bart Ehrman, and a web site has now been established to answer his criticisms.  I anticipate that The Ehrman Project will be a very helpful resource.
  • David Powlison talks about the value of small talk.  For example:

Small talk: it is either a way for me to say, “I don’t want to know you and I don’t want you to know you and so I am going to keep it light and make it as quick as possible and see you later.” Or small talk is a way to say, “I care about you. I would like to get to know you.” We can talk about a football team or the weather and it is actually an expression of two human beings making that connection, but it is because we love each other or want to know each other.

  • Discouragement and depression makes us perceive life as it is not.  Ed Welch reminds us that depression has an “odd filter” on life:

Someone says to you, “I love you.”

You hear . . . nothing. Actually you hear something. You hear a little voice in your brain that says, “I’m worthless. You’re only saying you love me because you think you have to.”

Somehow, from the mouths of other people to your ear, all words of blessing and encouragement get tumbled upside down and backward and confirm your suspicions about yourself. You are an abject failure. Unloved. Unlovable. And everyone knows it.

  • There are changes in the church in China — not only are there now a reported 80-100 million Christians in China, but even Christian materials are now being published and made available in China:  “Over the past ten years, more than 200 Christian bookstores have opened throughout China.…Currently, the total number of Christian books in legal circulation in China is approximately 600, using a broad definition of “Christian.” About 50 to 60 new titles are being added each year.…Many of the 600 titles now in print were published by one of the nine China-based Christian publishers that have emerged in the past ten years.”  In a similar note, my Dad told me that he recently was introduced to a Chinese pastor who said that his book, The Moody Handbook of Theology, is available there as well.

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