Monday, May 26, 2014

All Around the Web - May 26, 2014

Russell Moore - Questions & Ethics: How do you maintain a Christian viewpoint in a secular world?
Russell Moore advises a pastor on how to help those in his church function in a secular world but still have a holistic, Christian view with everything they do.

Thom Rainer - Nine Heartfelt Things Church Members Would Like to Say to Their Pastors
  1. Let me know you really care for me.” That does not mean you call me regularly or that you visit me on demand. It is more of a disposition, or maybe words from the pulpit that demonstrate your love for the members. We can tell if you really care for us and love us.
  2. “Teach me the Bible.” I know you are inundated with requests, and the expectations for your time are often unreasonable. But please do not let those people distract you from your time in the Word. I am hungry for biblical teaching and preaching. Please spend time studying the Word so you can teach us well.
  3. “Help me deal with change.” This world and culture are changing so fast that I find myself dealing with fear and uncertainly. Help me understand the steadfastness of God in a turbulent world. And understand that my fear of change in the church is often related to my fear of change in the world. So lead me gently as you lead change in the church.
  4. “Don’t lead too far ahead.” I do want you to lead us. But don’t get so far ahead of us that we mistake you for the enemy and shoot you in the rear. I know change is necessary, but learn the pace of change that is best for our church.
  5. “Help me deal with family issues.” Some of us are in struggling marriages. Some of us are lonely whether we are single or married. Some of us have problems with our children. Some of us are dealing with aging parents. We hurt deeply when we have hurts about our families. Show us biblical truths about these issues. And show us your pastoral heart and concern for these issues.
  6. “Be transparent.” We know you are imperfect, but the critics sometimes cause you to hide your faults. For sure, we don’t want every nitty gritty personal detail about you and your family. But we do want to know that you have some of the same struggles we do. It helps us to identify with you better. It helps us to pray for you more.
  7. “Don’t get defensive when I offer constructive criticism.” I know that this one is tough. You get so many criticisms already; many of them are petty and self-serving. But there are many of us who love you and will, on rare occasions, offer some words that we think are best for you. Hear us without being defensive. Pray that God’s Spirit will help you discern when you should listen and when you should ignore.
  8. “Pray for me.” Please let me know that you love your church members so much that you pray for us regularly. Let us know that you consider prayer for the members to be one of your highest priorities.
  9. “Give me hope.” This world confuses me. This degenerating culture scares me. Show me how God has dealt with such hopeless times in the past that they may be times of hope for me today. Show me Christ’s possibilities, His hope, and His encouragement in difficult days.

Kevin DeYoung - The Grace that Saves Is the Grace that Leads Us Home
I know, I know. The horse is already dead, so stop beating it.

As far I know my own heart, I’m not trying to pile on, dig in my heels, or even win an argument. I would like, however, to be clear.

I believe with all my heart in justification by faith alone. It is the “main hinge on which religion turns,” as I explain here and here. I cherish beyond words that because “it is finished” (John 19:30), I can know true comfort, trusting that Jesus Christ “has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil” (HC Q/A 1). I gladly affirm the scandalous nature of free grace. I need it every day. As God gives me strength, I will preach, and pray, and sing, and shout of the wonderful, matchless grace of Jesus as long as I live.

I am also compelled by Paul’s example and by Holy Scripture to declare the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).

Christianity Today - Four Ways to Help Your Child Love Reading
First, we can be readers ourselves. Kids notice us and imitate us, now and in the future. As the National Endowment for the Arts reported a decade ago, the most important predictor of whether kids grow up to be readers is having parents who read. (Note, I didn't say parents who read to their children, just parents who read.)

Second, we can read to our kids. Our children will rarely stumble into reading on their own. It will only happen if we commit to read with them, if we not only pass along the skills but the delight of immersing ourselves in a book. The pleasure of sharing an imaginative world, of relating to characters together, of learning new words, of wondering what might happen next.

Third, we can use technology to our advantage—audio books in the car, books using the Kindle App on the iPad, promising kids that we can watch the movie after we've read the book.
Four, we can integrate books into our other activities. We can talk about the characters on the pages even when the pages aren't in front of us and help our children draw parallels between their everyday lives and the lives of the people on the pages before bedtime.

Finally, we can think about practical ways to read with our kids every day, even if it is only for five minutes at breakfast (a poem, a section from a devotional book, a few pages from a chapter book) or ten minutes before bed. When we are loving a new book, we tend to get upstairs earlier and bump baths and showers to the morning just to give ourselves a little more time with the story at hand.

Fox News - Brain implant turned man into passionate Johnny Cash fan
Researchers say they were left shocked after a man being treated for severe obsessive-compulsive disorder became a passionate Johnny Cash fan after having a stimulation device planted in his head.

A report in the Frontier in Behavioral Neuroscience journal by Mariska Mantione and colleagues describe the case of “Mr. B.”, a 58-year-old Dutch man who had suffered severe obsessive-compulsive disorder from the age of 13.

As a last resort he was given deep brain stimulation (DBS), a surgical treatment involving the implantation of a medical device called a brain pacemaker, which sends electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain.

The treatment worked, the researchers said, as his anxiety and symptoms went down.


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