Thursday, July 4, 2013

All Around the Web - July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

PBS - Author Jeff Chu, Evangelical Leaders React to Closing of Exodus International | Featuring Dr. Russell Moore.

Yet other conservative evangelical ministries are not convinced that closing Exodus reflects a change in perspective from Christians.

"I think it's easy to overblow this story into a parable of evangelical shift. I don't think that's the case. I see this as the end of a church ministry that had been confused for some time about its own views," Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, told the PBS NewsHour.

Moore thinks the utopian and therapeutic approach by Exodus was reflective of an American culture that wanted a quick and easy fix to something that ultimately is non-negotiable.

"In terms of the morality of human sexuality, we don't have the option to evolve, we have the option handed down to us by Jesus. This isn't a teaching that we can negotiate away each generation, it's something that has been given to us," said Moore.

John Stonestreet - Can Pastors Be Patriotic? |

Joe Carter - 9 Things You Should Know About Independence Day and the Declaration of Independence |

1. July 4, 1776 is the day that we celebrate Independence Day even though it wasn't the day the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did that on July 2, 1776), the day we started the American Revolution (that had happened back in April 1775), the date on which the Declaration was delivered to Great Britain (that didn't happen until November 1776), or the date it was signed (that was August 2, 1776).

2. The first Independence Day was celebrated on July 8, 1776 (although the Declaration was approved on July 4, 1776, it was not made public until July 8), but for the first two decades after the Declaration was written, people didn't celebrate it much on any date. One party, the Democratic-Republicans, admired Jefferson and the Declaration. But the other party, the Federalists, thought the Declaration was too French and too anti-British, which went against their current policies.

6. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the only two presidents to sign the document, both died on the Fourth of July in 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration. Adam's last words have been reported as "Thomas Jefferson survives." He did not know that Jefferson had died only a few hours before. James Monroe, the last president who was a Founding Father, also died on July 4 in 1831. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only President to have been born on Independence Day.

7. John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress at the time, was the first and only person to sign the Declaration on July 4, 1776 (he signed it in the presence of just one man, Charles Thomson, the secretary of Congress). According to legend, the founding father signed his name bigger than everyone else's because he wanted to make sure "fat old King George" could read it without his spectacles. But the truth is that Hancock had a large blank space and didn't realize the other men would write their names smaller. Today, the term "John Hancock" has become synonymous with a person's signature.

USA Today - 'Instant churches' convert public schools to worship spaces | The church in America will likely return to the house church approach likely out of necessity and convenience.

Thom Rainer - How Much Time Do Pastors Spend Preparing a Sermon? |

The results were fascinating to me. Here are some key points I found in the study:

  • Most pastors responded with a range of hours. I took the midpoint of each range for my data.
  • 70% of pastors’ sermon preparation time is the narrow range of 10 to 18 hours per sermon.
  • Keep in mind that these numbers represent sermon preparation time for just one sermon. Many pastors spend 30 or more hours in preparing messages each week.
  • The median time for sermon preparation in this study is 13 hours. That means that half of the respondents gave a number under 13 hours; the other half gave a number greater than 13 hours.
  • Most of the respondents who gave a response under 12 hours indicated they were bivocational pastors.
  • If the sermon was part of a series, the pastors indicated they spent even more upfront time to develop the theme and preliminary issues for the sermons to be preached.
  • Many of the pastors are frustrated that they don’t have more time for sermon preparation.
  • A number of the pastors indicated that finding consistent and uninterrupted sermon preparation time was difficult.

HT: Kevin DeYoung
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