Monday, March 17, 2014

All Around the Web - March 17, 2014

John Stonestreet - Remaking God's Image




Thom Rainer - Eight Ways to Spot Emotionally Healthy Pastors and Staff
1. Does the person constantly compare himself or herself to others?
2. Does the person have a victim mentality?
3. Do you hear about forgiveness when talking to this person?
4. Does this person need to be the center of attention?
5. Can this person say “no”?
6. Is this person high on the “drama meter”?
7. Does the person have a record of giving back and giving his or her all?
8. Does this person know that joy is a choice?

Boundless - How can I deal with the hurt of my girlfriend's sexual past?
So how might these principles play out practically? First, a little encouragement: The emotional, spiritual and sexual intimacy that grows in the context of a loving, godly marriage often goes a long way in itself toward healing past hurts and crowding out feelings connected to past sin. Your feelings will change, especially as you pray for the Lord to change your heart and deliberately fill your mind with the truths of Scripture.

Having said that, you will have to step up to the husbandly plate, as it were, to love your wife well through this. If you decide to marry her, it sounds like her issues with guilt and shame will mean not only that you need to get past these feelings of hurt in your own heart and mind, but also that you will need to be consistently, actively, visibly gracious to your wife on these issues. You will need to get to a place, with the Lord's help, where you are genuinely at peace with these issues, because it sounds as though you will need to remind your wife pretty regularly that God has forgiven those sins, remembers them no more, and delights in her — and that the same goes for your own feelings and view of her.

Along those lines, I would suggest that you not talk details about your girlfriend's past. If you know general categories (i.e., she has had sex with other men or somehow has been sexually involved with other men), it will not be good for your soul to hear a lot more or for hers to revisit all the details. And you don't need details to decide whether to marry her. In fact, the most gracious (albeit difficult) response you could have would be to tell her that the details don't matter because that's not her anymore and those sins are forgiven — by God and by you. What a wonderful way to set a grace-filled, Gospel-centered tone for your new life together!

Finally, be sure to remain physically pure in your dating relationship with your girlfriend. Remember, her past involves sin by her, but she was also grievously sinned against by the guys involved. Begin now to build trust and separate yourself from those guys by obeying Scripture in this (1 Timothy 5:2) and showing her what unselfish, godly care of a sister in Christ looks like in a dating context.
I'm sure all this is a lot to think about. Seek counsel from Christians you trust, and do your best to approach this decision and your feelings biblically. Whether the two of you end up married or not, I will pray for wisdom, healing and grace for you both.

USA Today - Sacred and secure: Churches balance safety issues
It's a house of God and — like other houses — safety and security should be a concern.
That's the message security expert Tina Lewis Rowe brought to a Feb. 27 gathering of 150 faith leaders and law enforcement officers in Minnesota.

"When I talk about church safety, I'm not talking about a SWAT team for your church," Rowe said. "I mean just someone who is alert and ready to help at a moment's notice."

While local places of worship report a small number of crimes, tragedies elsewhere underscore Rowe's key point: Preparation is key.

"We live in an age where we ought to be aware of what's going on around us," she said. "If something looks dangerous, it probably is and we need to take some action about that."

Rowe points to statistics from church security expert Carl Chinn, who was a responder in a standoff involving a gunman and hostages at the Focus on the Family ministry in Colorado in 1996.

From 1999 until September, there were 723 "deadly force incidents," including abductions and suicides, at faith-based organizations in the United States. About 38 percent of those incidents resulted in death.

Breitbart - Study: States That Voted for Obama Have Most Income Inequality
The top five states with the highest income inequality rates all voted to reelect President Barack Obama, though no state boasted a higher rate of inequality than Washington, D.C. This ia according to a study released this week by MoneyRates.com.

The study used data from the Bureau of Labor statistics to measure how many times more money the top-earning income bracket of a state made than bottom earners. Researchers compared the top 25th percentile earner to the bottom 25th percentile earner and divided the sums into each other, then ranked states by number. California, in which a top 25th percentile earner makes 2.55 times more than a bottom 25th percentile earner, is by far the most unequal state, followed by New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and President Obama's home state of Illinois.

In Washington, D.C., however, a top 25th percentile earner makes 2.6 times the amount of money a bottom 25th percentile earner makes, which represents the biggest gap in the nation. Maryland and Virginia both make the top ten group of biggest gaps in income, and Maryland experienced the largest gap increase in the past decade of any state: 12.05%. Breitbart News has previously reported that eight of the 13 wealthiest counties in the U.S.A. are in the D.C. region. Texas and Louisiana are the only red states in the top ten.

How Batman Begins should have ended:

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