Thursday, July 25, 2013

All Around the Web - July 25, 2013

Russell Moore - What Willie Nelson Can Teach Us About Divorce |

I wonder how many American men and women ponder the same reality. They thought a divorce would “free” them to pursue the next phase of life, but there’s always something “accumulated.” A one-flesh covenant cannot be so easily rended. What God hath joined together can be pronounced “asunder” by a court system, and even by a family. But is it ever really over?

Maybe that’s why our church pews are filled with divorced men and women who are grieving, not just over a failed marriage or over the loneliness of being “single again,” as we so callously put it. Maybe they are grieving too because they’ve been sold a package of lies. They’ve been told a divorce means a “new start.” They’ve been told the next marriage will be the one that counts, with a whole new family in the bargain. They’ve been told there’s such a thing as an “ex-wife.”

As we minister in a divorce culture, we need to recognize that, even in the hatred and violence of divorce, a marriage cannot be simply forgotten. A covenant cannot just be packed up in boxes and moved out the door. Let’s remember as we teach about marriage, and as we love those who’ve been scarred by divorce, that this isn’t something casual. An ex-spouse may be hated, but cannot be forgotten. Whatever Hollywood and the town clerk says, there are millions of people who look in anguish at pictures of a covenant ceremony and say, with Willie Nelson, “You were always on my mind.”

First Thoughts - Are Smurfs Atheistic Existentialists? |

Watch the trailer below. At the 1:45 mark Papa Smurf says, “It doesn’t matter where you came from; what matters is who you choose to be.” . . . 

How inspiring! If only it were true.

It does matter where we come from. If God really is our creator, then we really do owe him something. Papa Smurf’s words of pseudo-wisdom only make sense if our existence is the product of meaningless forces. If we are the products of evolution, then we have to manufacture meaning for our lives. We have to choose to be someone. If we have a creator, chances are that he intended for us to be a certain someone, and maybe we should ask him about it if we’re confused.

Resurgence - Don’t Waste Your Conflict

1. Have you pro
2. Have you put it in writing?
3. Does each party have the same information?
4. What assumptions are being made?
5. Is it necessary for a neutral party to be involved or at least made aware?
6. Is each party showing love? Is each party receiving love?
7. Was listening a top priority?
8. Did communication happen between the offended parties only in a timely and direct manner?
9. Has forgiveness been asked for, offered, and received?
10. Are both parties bearing fruit in keeping with repentance

Real Clear Politics - Six Reasons Why Men Are Opting Out Of Marriage |

Barna - The State of Vacation Bible School |

Costumed skits, scavenger hunts on the lawn, puppet shows and safari-themed snacks and sing-a-longs—it’s either the best birthday party a kid could ask for or the free kids’ program the church down the street puts on every summer.

For many kids in America, summer means Vacation Bible School, or VBS. But it’s not just fun and games. Today, these kids might be gluing popsicle sticks together in a church classroom, but in the near future, these will be the next wave of emerging adults on the Church’s doorstep—deciding whether to step in or out for a lifetime.
Since as early as the 1870s, children’s summer Bible programs have committed their efforts to one goal: the spiritual development of children, who will hopefully grow into spiritually developed adults. In fact, previous Barna research indicates nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their savior do so before reaching the age of 13 (43%), and that two out of three born again Christians (64%) made that commitment to Christ before their 18th birthday. Additionally, the trajectory for a person’s lifetime habits and behaviors—including spiritual behaviors—are often set in childhood, an idea explored in George Barna’s book, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions.

Acoustic Skillet.

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