Grab bag

Found around the internet in the past week —

  • C. J. Mahaney blogs about “The Pastor and Personal Criticism.” But it’s not just pastors who need to understand the role of criticism in their lives (to produce wisdom and maturity).  We can all benefit from the criticism we receive:

If we could mature in wisdom without any need for correction—and how I wish we could!—I would have discovered a way to do it by now and probably written a bestselling book explaining how. But that’s not how it works. We cannot separate growth in wisdom from criticism, correction, and reproof.

  • I enjoy seeing other pastor’s offices — what books they read and how they organize their offices.  Here is a glimpse at John MacArthur’s office; and T4G has taken video of several other well-known pastor’s offices as well (with the pastors themselves giving a “tour”).
  • Al Mohler writes about “Young Souls in Transition.” These are twenty-somethings who are on the way to “full adulthood” (implying that now not only are teenagers and so-called adolescents not to be treated as adults, but so are adults who are not yet to their thirties not to be treated as adults).  He writes,

Above all, they are preoccupied with the concerns of the self. As a matter of fact, Smith, now William R. Kenan Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame, argues that this generation actually has difficulty imagining any objective reality beyond the self.

The Dogma of Darwinism is among the first principles of the worldview offered by the New Atheists. Darwin replaces the Bible as the great explainer of the existence of life in all of its forms. The New Atheists are not merely dependent upon science for their worldview; their worldview amounts to scientism – the belief that modern naturalistic science is the great unifying answer to the most basic questions of human life.

  • George Barna’s research group has identified several growing patterns in the American church, among them that the church is more ingrown and less outreach oriented.  To combat that mindset — one that will ultimately restrict or inhibit the expansion of world missions — Mark Struck has suggested 30 ways that churches can awaken their people to the worldwide need for the gospel.  Some of these will obviously work best in the church, but many of these can also be practiced by individuals.  For example,
  1. Incorporate world-aware prayers into your worship services, and encourage the formation of an accessible, missions-focused prayer group in the church (perhaps based on the book Operation World).
  2. Attend, or perhaps even host, events and dinners put on by missions organizations in your area (Wycliffe, International Justice Mission, World Vision, etc.).
  3. Visit your missionaries. Have people help them move, and regularly send teams to minister to your missionaries and potentially aid in the work. Missionaries are usually more inclined to share needs with a visiting church member than their field supervisor.
  • I have begun to amass a fairly large file on technology and its impact on our lives — both good and bad.  The technology itself may be amoral, but how we use it has multiple profound moral implications.  Among those implications is that we may often find ourselves the slaves of technology, bound by its demands and calls for our attention.  “It’s Time to Kill Multi-Tasking” is not written from a Christian perspective, but the underlying premise that technology should serve the user rather than the user serving the technology is a biblical theme.  The advice may be mostly common sense, but it is certainly worth reading as a reminder.
  • Andy Naselli has accumulated an impressive number of statements written by John Piper over a period of years to remind readers why he doesn’t own a television.  One sample (though they’re all worth reading):

Television is one of the greatest life-wasters of the modern age. And, of course, the Internet is running to catch up, and may have caught up. You can be more selective on the Internet, but you can also select worse things with only the Judge of the universe watching. TV still reigns as the great life-waster. The main problem with TV is not how much smut is available, though that is a problem. Just the ads are enough to sow fertile seeds of greed and lust, no matter what program you’re watching. The greater problem is banality. A mind fed daily on TV diminishes. Your mind was made to know and love God. Its facility for this great calling is ruined by excessive TV. The content is so trivial and so shallow that the capacity of the mind to think worthy thoughts withers, and the capacity of the heart to feel deep emotions shrivels. . . .

  • Kevin DeYoung suggests that there really is “Something We Can All Agree On.” That is, Roman Catholics, liberal protestants and evangelicals can all live in agreement on this:  “it is our view of Scripture and authority that divides us.”
  • There is, according to Tim Keller in an upcoming book, a kind of humility that is not humility, but actually a pride that inhibits fellowship with God:

There are two ways to fail to let Jesus be your Savior.

One is by being too proud, having a superiority complex—not to accept his challenge.

But the other is through an inferiority complex—being so self-absorbed that you say, “I’m just so awful that God can’t love me.” That is, not to accept his offer.

  • Here are four principles to stimulate you to be more effective in evangelism, even if you do not have the gift of evangelism:  be bold, be clear, share often, love much.
  • Mary Kassian says in a recent interview that the feminist movement is over.  And that statement isn’t good news:

Feminism, as a cultural movement, is over. This is not to say that feminism has ended. On the contrary. The only reason the feminist movement is over is that it has been so wildly successful. Feminism has transitioned from being a movement to being the prevailing mindset of the masses. Hence, a movement is no longer needed. In the feminist era, a feminist could be identified as a “feminist”—but now, the term has become superfluous. Virtually everyone is a feminist. Yet virtually no one would identify him/herself as such. Feminism has seeped into people’s systems like intravenous drugs into the veins of an unconscious patient. The majority of people in today’s churches are feminists—and they don’t even know it.

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