Thursday, January 9, 2014

All Around the Web - January 9, 2014

Kevin DeYoung - Ten Questions for the New Year
1. Am I spending time slowly reading God’s word and memorizing Scripture?

2. Am I having consistent, focused, extended times of prayer, including interceding for others?

3. Am I disciplined in my use of technology, in particular not getting distracted by emails and blogging in the evening and on my day off?

4. Am I going to bed on time?

5. Am I eating too much?

6. Have I exercised in the last week?

7. Am I patient with my kids or am I angry with them when they disobey or behave in childish ways?

8. When at home, am I “fully present” for my wife and family or are my mind and energy elsewhere?

9. Am I making sermon preparation a priority in my week or am I doing other less important things first?
10. Have I done anything out of the ordinary to cherish and help my wife?

Thom Rainer - Fourteen Predictions for American Churches for 2014 — part one
  1. Increased church acquisitions. Smaller churches will seek to be acquired by larger churches in increasing numbers. One of the big factors is simply personnel cost. Many smaller churches can no longer afford to pay a pastor a salary and benefits, particularly health care benefits.  (75% confidence factor).
  2. Downsizing of denominational structures. Many denominational structures are becoming smaller because their churches are declining. Others are feeling economic pinches. This trend of smaller and more efficient denominational structures at all levels will only become more pervasive in 2014. (90%).
  3. Decline in conversion growth. American churches that grow are more likely to get their growth at the expense of other churches. Evangelism is waning in many churches, and fewer non-believers are becoming Christians. The negative reaction to programmatic evangelistic methods has evolved into an overreaction. Too few churches emphasize personal and church-based evangelism. (75%)
  4. More megachurches. The data are clear that there are more megachurches (average worship attendance of 2,000 or more) today than a year ago. There is also little doubt the trend will continue. The only uncertainty is whether or not the rate of growth of megachurches will continue to climb. (85%)
  5. Greater number of churches moving to a unified worship style. For years a noticeable trend was churches offering different worship styles. The most common was the offering of two services: traditional and contemporary, though the definitions of each were elusive. In the next year we will we see a reversal of that trend, as many of those same churches decide to move to one common worship style. (70%)
  6. Increased emphasis on high-expectation church membership. For decades American congregations as a whole lowered their expectations of church membership. One could be on a church roll in many churches and not even attend worship services for years. We will see a gradual reversal of that trend in 2014 as more churches move to higher-expectation membership. (70%).
  7. Increased challenges for congregations to build and acquire land due to restrictive governmental policies. American churches will experience more frustration with governmental authorities as they seek to expand, build, and acquire land. Part of the reason will be due to the authorities’ concern about traffic and congestions. Another part is the underlying concern of losing a property tax base to a nonprofit organization. In a few cases there will be outright animosity and prejudice against Christians and churches. (80%)

Ligonier - R.C. Sproul’s Commentary on John—Free eBook
During the month of January, Reformation Trust is giving away the eBook edition of R.C. Sproul’s commentary on the Gospel of John.

In John, the second volume in the St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary series, Dr. Sproul deals with major themes in his easily understandable style. This introduction to the Gospel of John is packed with insights and exhortations that will draw the reader closer to the Savior and encourage him or her to a greater depth of love and devotion to Him.

Real Clear Politics - Larry Sabato's 2014 Predictions: Obama Entering Lame-Duck Status




Daily Mail - Does owning an Apple handset make you SMARTER? iPhone users are more intelligent than Samsung, BlackBerry and HTC owners, finds survey
The brand of phone you buy can say a thing or two about your income and lifestyle, and now a new test has discovered it may also indicate how intelligent you are too.

A thousand smartphone users were challenged to take a series of online brain teasers designed to test their mental agility.

iPhone users were found to have the quickest wits of all, completing the test in 94 seconds, on average, while BlackBerry users were the slowest at 118 seconds.

The test was carried out by UK bookmaker Ladbrokes who picked the participants from a list of people who use its smartphone app.

Real Clear Politics - C-SPAN Q&A: Hugh Hewitt On His New Book "The Happiest Life" | I really enjoyed this conversation.


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