Saturday, February 1, 2014

All Around the Web - February 1, 2014

Townhall - Number of Babies Aborted in NYC Exceeds Capacity of Super Bowl Stadium
In New York City alone, 83,750 babies were aborted in 2010, according to the CDC’s recent “Abortion Surveillance” report. To put the figure in perspective, CNS News’ Terence Jeffrey notes that that’s more than enough people to sell out the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey where the Super Bowl will be held this year, which fits 82,500 at capacity.

Jeffrey goes on:
The 83,750 babies aborted in New York City in 2010, according to the CDC's annual "Abortion Surveillance," would also fill Madison Square Garden more than four times over. Madison Square Garden, according to its official website, has a capacity of 19,763 for a basketball game. 

In New York state overall, abortionists terminated the lives of 115,724 unborn babies in 2010, according to the CDC report. That is more people than have ever attended any Super Bowl.

Thom Rainer - Seven Reasons Very Active Members Drop Out
  1. Moral failure. The most common scenario is a sexual affair. The member who was once revered becomes intensely embarrassed and ashamed, so much so that he or she cannot face the members and friends at church.
  2. Dropping out of a group. The church member stops his or her regular attendance in a small group or Sunday school class. It is almost inevitable that, without the accountability and fellowship a small group brings, that person is headed to be a complete church dropout.
  3. Burnout. The church member is asked to do many things because he or she tackles them with such passion and faithfulness. But some of these very active members don’t know how to say no. They burnout and leave church completely.
  4. Traumatic event. A painful loss or some similar pain can cause many church members to lean on fellow Christians even more. But some react in an opposite fashion and leave the fellowship.
  5. Dropping out of a ministry. The church member’s primary point of reference and connection with the church is a particular ministry. If he or she leaves that ministry (or in a few cases was asked to leave), it is not unusual for them to see no reason to continue with the church at all.
  6. Major interpersonal conflict. Marginal church members tend to drop out at the first hint of even minor interpersonal conflict. Very active members are more resilient, recognizing that no church members are perfect. But if the conflict becomes severe, some of the very active church members will leave as well.
  7. Gradual withdrawal. Most of the time a very active church member will drop out rather suddenly. But, on a few occasions, they just gradually withdraw from involvement in the church. These dropouts had trouble articulating to me why they left, or why they slowly withdrew from involvement. As one lady told me, “It’s like a woke up one morning, and I was no longer involved in the church.”

Mars Hill - A week in the life of a lead pastor at Mars Hill | I thought this was a really insightful post. It gives all pastors something to think about as they schedule their own weeks.
Monday: review day
Tuesday: planning day
Wednesday: getting personal
Thursday:  getting out
Friday: looking forward
Saturday: and then he rested

Brian Croft - How can a pastor be certain he is regularly shepherding everyone in his church?
Though we are shepherds who will give an account for each soul in our care (Heb. 13:17), we all still have this tendency to gravitate to those we either love to be with the most or who make the most racket, thus demanding our attention.  Because of this, there are church members who unintentionally slip through the cracks.  In seeing this in the early years of my ministry, I came up with this system that has become a very effective way to care for our folks and to cut down on unnecessary and unintentional neglect.

I created a prayer guide with each member of the church broken into a 28 day chart in alphabetical order.  This is to represent the first 28 days of each month.  On day 1, I pray for those 5-6 people or families.  Then, I try to make some kind of personal contact with them that day in the form of a home visit, email, hand written card, phone call, facebook note, or text message to let them know I prayed for them on that day.  Lastly, I ask in that moment of personal contact if there is anything I can do to serve them.  For those I haven’t seen recently, I will usually call or go see them to get an update on how they are doing in general.

I repeat the same process for day 2, then day 3…all the way to day 28.  If I am faithful and consistent in this process (which I never do perfectly) I would have prayed and made contact with all those who have been entrusted in my care in one month.  Any extra days of the month I do the same thing with our missionaries and others we have sent into ministry from our church.

Gospel Coalition - How to Preach a Stale Sermon
Sermon preparation is a delight and chore for the pastor. It is a delight because we love the Word of God and the people of God. After all, God uses preaching to initiate and sustain the joyful worship of his people, which in turn glorifies God (2 Tim. 3-4).

It is also a chore. This is because sermon prep is hard work. Thorny interpretive issues, homiletical hurdles, and church family dynamics often make sermon preparation difficult.

But there is another aspect of sermon prep that is too often either assumed or neglected. I am talking about the preparation of the pastor's heart to actually preach the sermon. Preparing a sermon is not only about exegesis, reading commentaries, articulating propositions, and finding appropriate illustrations. Sermon preparation is also about personally discovering, digesting, and delighting in the truth.

This crucial aspect of preparation can be neglected or assumed. We might assume that the text is in us because we have read it, researched commentaries, and written our message. However, this is a costly leap. Instead of assuming that the text is in us, we must ensure that it is. Such subtle, oft-neglected oversight in preparation can become a foe to our preaching.

So why is it dangerous to neglect preaching the sermon to your own heart?

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