Weekly Points To Ponder – June 6, 2014


Points To Ponder

Missouri principal wows crowd, angers atheists with guarded ‘God’ references – Foxnews.com

A Missouri high school principal who garnered thunderous applause and a starring role in a viral video for a commencement speech in which he repeatedly invoked God in ways to dodge First Amendment objections has atheists seeing red.

Lebanon High School Principal Kevin Lowery can be seen on a 3-minute YouTube clip reminding graduates that the nation’s motto of “In God We Trust” can be found on U.S. currency and in Francis Scott Key’s original version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Lowery also wryly noted during the May 23 commencement that even though “God is reflected in the very fabric” of the nation, it would be inappropriate to mention The Almighty at a secular ceremony.

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Mission Trends: 4 Trends for Churches to Consider – The Exchange

Despite what many think, the church in America is not dying (and no serious researcher thinks that). However, there are some challenges and changes to be considered.

When we consider missiology, part of the discipline includes considering how churches relate to their culture. Since we live in changing times, it’s worth thinking through what current cultural changes mean for future church engagement of that culture.

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Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow, Revised & Expanded [Kindle Edition] – FREE

How do I pray? How do I study the Bible? How do I worship? How do I serve? How do I become a good steward? These are the questions every Christian should be asking. The answers are what every Christian needs to know.


WHY CHRISTIANITY WITHOUT CHRIST IS TOXIC – Verge Network

Alan Hirsch says, “…Folks, Christianity without Christ: dangerous, toxic, evil even…It’s non-sense and it’s dangerous stuff. Who wants Christianity without Christ? And the only way you get Christianity with Christ is to do discipleship, because that’s how Christ gets into us.”

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Fathers, Are You Blessing Your Children? – Children Desiring God

Fathers, do you and other men in your church regularly speak blessings over your children? Do you wish that you did, but perhaps need some help getting started?

Pastor David Michael started blessing his daughters every night when they were 7 and 10 years old. He had seen The Blessing, a film featuring Gary Smalley and John Trent (copyright©1991, Thomas Nelson), and was inspired and challenged to be a blessing to his family. As he considered the calling and responsibilities of fatherhood, he felt moved to pronounce Aaron’s blessing from Numbers 6 over his girls.

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Weekly Points To Ponder – May 30, 2014

Points To Ponder

Joseph: His Role in a Bigger Story – Grace To You (John MacArthur)

Joseph’s sudden and shocking promotion to the right hand of Pharaoh was neither karma nor compensation. The betrayal of his brothers, the indignity of slavery, and the injustice of his imprisonment were all experiences ordained by God in preparation for a monumental rescue operation.

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How Your Church Must Be Unique -www.vergenetwork.org

No matter the denomination, socio-economic makeup, ethnic mix, city, or geographical region, a church must have Jesus as her foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11) and her chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19-21). At the same time, a local church is a unique expression of God’s Church. Tim Keller speaks of the local church’s uniqueness in his book, Center Church:

Church models are in one sense unavoidable. The spiritual gifts and callings of a congregation’s leaders, together with their social context…will necessarily mean every church tends to be naturally better at fulfilling some metaphors [of the church] and doing some kinds of ministry.

While the foundation of a church must not be unique, the culture and ministry practice must be for at least three reasons.

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On The Common Beliefs of Teenage Americans – Christianitymatters.com

Christian Smith, professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame, oversees a continuing studying of the religious beliefs of teenagers called the National Study of Youth and Religion. After interviewing hundreds of teens about religion, God, faith, prayer, and other spiritual practices, Smith and his colleagues have identified the common beliefs that the average teenager holds.

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Re-Examining the Divorce Controversy – The Recovering Legalist

I will never forget the phone call I got from a church in Rome, GA about 16 years ago. Someone on the other end of the line was part of a search committee looking for a new pastor. They had gotten my resume and were impressed enough to give me a call. Everything was going well until they asked a very pointed question, “Bro. Anthony, does your wife have a spouse that is still living?” I responded coldly, with squinted eyes and through clinched-teeth, “Yes, ME.” Unfortunately, this would not be the last time something like that happened.

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‘Frozen’ characters are Disney’s hottest ticket – Foxnews.com

Editor’s Note: I’m posting this because I am a father of a nine year old girl who just can’t get enough of Frozen!

Six months after the premiere of “Frozen,” Disney’s Oscar-winning, blockbuster animated film, an adoring public just can’t get enough of the princess sisters from the icy kingdom of Arendelle.

The success of “Frozen” swelled Disney’s second-quarter earnings to four times what they were last year, thanks in part to stellar home video sales and a chart-topping soundtrack. “Frozen” merchandise flies out of Disney stores as quickly as it arrives; a “Frozen” skating spectacular from Disney on Ice is set to tour rink arenas in the fall; and a Broadway musical is in the works.

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Weekly Points To Ponder – May 16, 2014

Points To Ponder

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Christopher Columbus’ lost ship, the Santa Maria, may have been found – Daily New

It’s the biggest discovery since 1492!

A world-renowned explorer believes he’s found Christopher Columbus’ long-lost cargo ship, the Santa Maria, which was wrecked in a storm more than 500 years ago. An expedition funded by the History Channel tracked down what it says is the skeletal remains of the ship, which foundered in the Caribbean in 1492.


Top 25 Worship Songs for May 2014 – CCLI.com


Surfer Bethany Hamilton on losing arm in shark attack: Jesus is my stronghold – Foxnews.com

At age 13, Bethany Hamilton was thrust into the spotlight after losing her arm in a shark attack. Several best-selling books, a few movie deals and one wedding later, the 24-year-old has become an inspiration to people all over the world.

The Hawaii native sat down with FOX411 to discuss how her faith in God helped her move on from the attack and get back on her surfboard.


The Church Needs More Tattoos – RusselMoore.com

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) often tells audiences, “Republican Party events need more people with tattoos.” It struck me, as I heard him say this, that this is kind of what evangelical Christians ought to be saying about our churches. It struck me further when I read this tribute my former student Spencer Harmon wrote about his new wife and her past that this is precisely the issue facing the next generation of the Bride of Christ, the church.

Weekly Points to Ponder – May 9, 2014

8 Reasons It’s Easier Not to Attend Church Today – Thom Rainer

I’m not certain it’s all bad news. Sure, the majority of congregations are experiencing declines in attendance. And many more churches are growing at a pace that is slower than the growth of the community in which they are located.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that attendance declines are good. Such trends mean fewer people are engaging with believers, and fewer people are being exposed to the gospel.


Is Motherhood the End of Beauty? – Girl Talk

For a bunch of college girls, it was a shocking sight. Our friend, and the mother of twins, showed us her stretch marks and we, rather impolitely, stared back in dismay. Did pregnancy really carve such strange designs into a woman’s body?

“You will all look like this some day,” she warned, laughing at our expressions. “Of course, mine are worse, because I had twins, but if you get pregnant, you will get stretch marks.”


COURT: AMERICAN FLAG IS A RACIST SYMBOL – Politicalears.com

Rows and rows of our war dead are rolling over in their graves at the official proclamation that the flag they died for is a symbol of racism and oppression.

Morgan Hill, California: Members of a local TEA Party gathered to wave American flags in front of Live Oak High School which has become the epicenter in a new American battle; the battle over the American flag.


Federal Gov’t Issues Warning to State That Wants to Opt Out of Common Core – TheBlaze.com

The U. S. Department of Education said in a letter to Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz that the state must prove its own standards are just as challenging, or else risk of losing its waiver from the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law and have its federal funding in jeopardy.

“Because the [Indiana Department of Education] will no longer implement those standards, IDOE must amend its [Elementary and Secondary Education Act] flexibility request and provide evidence that its new standards are certified by a state network of [Institutions of Higher Education] that students who meet the standards will not need remedial coursework at the postsecondary level,” the letter says.


Top 10 things Not to say to Church Newcomers – What You Shouldn’t Say to Your New Church Guests – Sharefaith.com

With the record number of visitors for Easter Sunday, no doubt you are experiencing a big increase of returning guests. In the days ahead, hospitality is key and an overt presentation of the tenets of your church is vitally important. Visitors need to be able to make an educated decision on whether your church is right for them. Messages that focus on key doctrines, intentional announcements on various ministries and upcoming events, and handing out a more specialized bulletin with accommodating information, will all be helpful to that end. But for this segment let’s focus on the unfortunate things that are sometimes communicated, both verbally and nonverbally, that can hurt any effort to welcome returning guests.

Weekly Points To Ponder – May 2, 2014

Points To Ponder

 

Every Christian’s 2nd Most Important Book – Christianity.com

For Christians, the Bible is the most precious and important book we possess. In its pages are the divinely inspired words that guide us to know and love our God.

After the Bible, there are a few books that every believer should probably read, reread, and apply. On this short list would be works like Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Pilgrim’s Progress,Augustine’s Confessions, Mere Christianity, Knowing God, and Operation World. But even these great works fall behind what I consider the second most important book for every Christian.


Wounds and Warriors – Crosswalk.com

Like soldiers returning from battle, all of us bring injuries, memories and enemies back to our relationships that can sabotage our lives. We are walking wounded with battle scars, broken hearts, and snake-bitten minds. Unfortunately, these wounds are not badges of honor either. When the right buttons are pushed, a cascade of emotions, conflicts and behaviors are ejected onto our relationships, homes and our work.


Cutting The Cord – Relevant Children’s Ministry

A recent report from iKids Weekly says the U.S. population of “cord-cutters” grew by 44% between 2010 and 2013.

There are over 7.6 million households using high-speed internet for streaming or downloading videos today instead of watching traditional cable or satellite television, up from 5.1 million homes in 2010.


My Wife Has Tattoos: Marriage, New Birth, and the Gospel – Unspoken

Today is the day of my wedding. And I am not marrying the girl of my dreams.

If you would have told me when I was a teenager that my wife would have seven tattoos, a history in drugs, alcohol, and attending heavy metal concerts, I would have laughed at you, given you one of my courtship books, and told you to take a hike. My plans were much different, much more nuanced with careful planning, much more clean-cut, and much more, well, about me.


Church Take Heed! Matthew Vines’s Unbiblical Case for Same-Sex Relationships – Answers In Genesis

On April 22, 2014, a new attack on the reliability and perspicuity of Scripture was released. God and the Gay Christian is a book that seeks to teach readers that the Bible condones living a monogamous homosexual lifestyle. The author, Matthew Vines, is an openly homosexual man and a professing Christian, whose video on homosexual behavior went viral and gave Vines a platform from which to declare his views.1 Being an openly practicing homosexual and claiming to be a Christian often means the person has an agenda to attempt to make the Words of Scripture fit with his worldview. This is the case with Matthew Vines. His attitude toward Scripture is like that of Christians who believe in evolution and millions of years, and thus reinterpret the clear words of Genesis to fit their already held beliefs. It is compromise right down the line. We do pray the church realizes this!

INDIVISIBLE: One Nation Under God

Indivisible_Book_CoverBack in January of this year, a good friend of mine approached me about the possibility of our choirs combining and performing a Fourth of July program called “INDIVISIBLE: One Nation Under God”.

I want to thank Tim Williams for asking me to be a part of this great program. On June 30th, 2013, INDIVISIBLE was performed at Mile Straight Baptist Church.

The following words were written by Randy Vader, the author and writer of INDIVISIBLE.

Indivisible – united in such a way that those individual parts create one entity, individual effort contributing to the whole. Our nation has experienced the blessings of this more per- fect union. We have endured wars, economic depression, famine and natural disasters. Our Union has survived a great Civil War and played a major role in defending freedom around the world.

Indivisible – a United States preserved and protected by the hand of God. No other nation in history has been so blessed. Why America? America stands alone as the only government ever built on a creed. This creed is anchored in the belief that all of us are created equal and endowed by our Creator God with certain rights that cannot be taken away, rights that tran- scend governmental intervention; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The greatest example of INDIVISIBLE is taught to us in the Holy Bible. Paul in his letter to the Romans teaches us that God’s love toward us is indeed, by the Lord’s promise, indivisible.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

We remain a nation united by bonds of the Divine. We are a people who have learned that shoulder to shoulder we are united; hand in hand we are one. Let us live out the greatness of our beloved country, celebrate a union of many cultures sharing the unique heritage that is The United States of America, and let us boldly proclaim – “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

After several weeks of editing, I am proud to present to you “INDIVISIBLE: One Nation Under God“. I hope you enjoy!