Pastor Craig Groeschel on the things he wants to know about the lives of his staff members. In his words, “people in ministry have a tendency to run until they collapse. It is important to take care of staff members individually so they are continually sustained in all areas of life.”
A standout quote on the dangers of substituting our ministry with our time with God:
In ministry, it’s way too easy to substitute ministry for our time with God. Doing ministry without spending time with God is like trying to drive a car without refilling the tank. Eventually, it just won’t work anymore.
Bill Hybels once said, “The way I was doing the work of God was destroying the work of God in me.”
Joe Carter on Dan Savage’s most recent controversy:
As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after Dan Savage, a homosexual activist and anti-bullying speaker began cursing, attacked the Bible, and used a homosexual slur to refer to those who refused to listen to his message.
The concluding post in Dr. Kelly Flanagan’s three-part series on “Hope”. In Part 1, Flangan discussed how “when disappointment and hopelessness is all we’re used to, we’ll suck in and consume the first “cheap hope” that shows up (tv, relationships, etc)”. In Part 2, “Flanagan makes a critical distinction between hope as a verb vs. hope as a noun. In many ways, this distinction between (verb) hope & (noun) hope is parallel to the distinction between salvation by works & salvation by faith”. In the concluding post, with the Hunger Games story as the backdrop, Dr. Flanagan discusses the power of dangerous, rebellious hope. I couldn’t help but think about the gospel as I read these words:
You see, cheap-little hope keeps us oblivious to the possibility of big, brilliant hope, the kind that brings transformation and a hunger for freedom. So, numb the people with the pursuit of comfort and trinkets and thoughtless happiness. Give some of them drugs to make life more pleasurable, to help them escape the pain, to make the confusion of existence feel a bit more manageable. Give others philosophy and theology, so they can satisfy themselves with thinking about hope, rather than living it. Give them a little hope, yes, that is a good thing, a feeble spark by which to warm their souls, because the soul needs at least a little warmth. But keep it contained, because the flame of real hope is dangerous to the status quo.
When we are transformed by hope into a people who forsake the shackles of self-preservation for the freedom of a redemptive life, we give rise to a rebellion against a world hell-bent on keeping us preoccupied with survival, and competition, and wealth, and power. As it turns out, hope isn’t an escape from the dangers of living; hope creates dangerous living.
To live hopefully is to live heroically.
Thom Bassett on the South, the Civil War, and the Confederacy’s theological struggles to reconcile the practice of slavery, their losses in the war, and God’s sovereignty.
Nathan Bingham on 3 ways for Christians to crush their inner, prideful, control freaks.
Andrew Rozalowsky on his 28th birthday reflecting on his bout with cancer and the critical role his theology of suffering played during that time:
But, when I was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia in December, it only took a day for me to accept that very real possibility. At that point I didn’t know if I would make it to my 28th birthday. I subsequently went into remission (doesn’t equal cured) from the chemotherapy but I still don’t know if I have any more birthdays. Regardless, I see this cancer as a gift.
The reason, I believe, that I was able to come around on the news within a day was this: my theology prepared me for it. What do I mean by that? I mean that I had an understanding of a holy and righteous God, of a sinful human race, of a cursed world, and of a Saviour who bridged the gap between God and us and our world. And, by God’s grace I trusted in the Saviour, Jesus, to carry me and my family through this. It wasn’t a real shock then when I was told I had cancer. Sure I cried with my wife when I first got a phone call about the possibility, but I knew that I wasn’t exempt from the pains of this world.
Michael Avramovich on forced marriages and how they are another form of sexual abuse:
…In a related matter, last month the Daily Mailreported that a recent investigation by the British Home Office Forced Marriages Unit found that up to 400 children had been coerced into or threatened with marriage during 2011. Often the victims are 11- or 12-year-olds, with many in their early teens, and the youngest victim was reported to be five years old.
…In the typical case, a child or young woman is taken abroad, often under the pretext of a vacation, and then is forced to marry a man she has never met. The arrangement is reached by the two families.
…In the United States, the Tahirih Justice Center has determined from its survey results that there are thousands of forced marriages in the United States. The Center notes, “Tahirih has been alerted to an increasing number of forced marriage cases involving young women and girls from traditional immigrant communities in the United States.
…Forced marriages, which have led to terrible tragedies, including numerous suicides, are a form of abuse and, when minors are involved, a heinous form of child abuse.