Thursday, May 29, 2014

All Around the Web - May 29, 2014

Russell Moore - Questions and Ethics: Which ethical issues is the church missing?
Russell Moore discusses some of the most pressing ethical issues the church should be addressing, such as pornography, social media and the prosperity gospel.

Thom Rainer - Nine Heartfelt Things Pastors Would Like to Say to Their Church Members
  1. “When you criticize a family member, you hurt me deeply.” Please understand that neither my spouse nor my children are employed by the church. Do your best to treat them as regular church members, and do not place unreasonable expectations on them.
  2. “I will have bad days, and it will show at times.” A pastor is supposed to be “on” all the time. But it is difficult. I know there are times I speak out of turn. I know there are times when I’m too tired to listen well. I will try not to show my bad days, but I will slip at times.
  3. “Not all of my sermons will be ‘home runs.’” I wish they were. But with the number of different messages I have to prepare and preach in a year, I won’t always be the stellar preacher you want me to be. Indeed, I won’t always be the stellar preacher I want to be.
  4. “I am sensitive about my salary.” There are few people who work in a place where everyone in the organization is the boss. That is the nature of church work. But when you make disparaging comments about my pay and my related work, it cuts me to the core.
  5. “I struggle when the church numbers are down.” I know I shouldn’t. I know I shouldn’t derive my worth based on attendance and offerings. But when attendance declines or offerings drop, I question my own leadership at the church.
  6. “I would love a true friend in the church.” I’m talking about someone who would let me be myself, someone who wouldn’t mind if I let my hair down. It seems like everyone wants me to put on my pastor face all the time.
  7. “Please don’t criticize me or ask me to do something right before I preach.” I put many hours into sermon preparation. I have prayed with intensity about the message. Please don’t tell me the worship center is too cold right before I preach.
  8. “I cannot show up at every place all of you would like me to be.” I jokingly told a pastor friend that I wish I could be omnipresent, and he laughed and agreed. I love you church members, but it is physically impossible to be all the places you expect me to be.
  9. “I hurt deeply when good people don’t defend me.” Every leader will have his or her critics; and that is certainly the case with pastors. I don’t expect to be immune from criticisms. But what hurts me the most is the silence of “good” members when I am attacked unfairly. Please say a kind word about me in response to the negativity you hear. Don’t let the few critics dominate the conversation.

The Christward Collective - Was Christ's Death Divine Child Abuse?
And that leads to our final point. Some may argue, "But even if Christ knew and willingly offered Himself, in our penal system, we would say it isn't right for one man to bear the penalty of death for another." That is true, because no mere man owns himself. Therefore, we don't have the right to substitute our own lives in the place of another, enduring the justice that is their due. No man can justly offer Himself for another, because he is not his own. He was created by God and so he belongs to God. But Christ is His own. He is the owner of His own life. He is the Creator and He may choose to die for others if He so chooses, because it is His life. He is wholly unique as the Godman. He said, "I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again" (John 10:17-18).

He willingly bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, was wounded for our transgressions, and was crushed for our iniquities. Upon him was laid the chastisement that brought us peace. And with His stripes we are healed. He was our substitute and this was no divine child abuse. It was a gift—a gift of infinite and eternal value.

BreakpointHow Homosexualism Gained Popularity
Over at First Things (May 2014) R.R. Reno writes, "homosexuality plays a very important symbolic role in the moral imaginations of heterosexuals." And it's not the role you might think.

"When it comes to sex and transgression,” Reno explains, “their [homosexuals'] freedom from moral censure guarantees ours. Which is why gay rights are so very popular among the American elites who can't imagine themselves as anything other than good people."

Reno shows restraint, for the popularity of gay rights isn't limited to the elites; it extends to a growing segment of common folk. In fact, according to Gallup Politics, 54 percent of Americans now believe that homosexual relationships are "morally acceptable." (Among 18 to 34 year olds, the percentage is 74!) What’s more, since 1996, approval of same-sex “marriage” has doubled, to 53 percent.

These are people, like the elites, who believe, or want to believe, themselves good, and equate the social approval of homosexualism with the moral acceptance of their own sexual peccadilloes.

The Detroit News - Doctor: Detroit abortion stats 'like some Third World country'
Nearly one-third of all pregnancies in the city of Detroit end in abortion, a statistic public health officials blame on rising poverty and dwindling access to affordable contraception.

Of an estimated 18,360 pregnancies among Detroit residents in 2012, the most recent year for which data are available, 5,693 ended in abortion, or 31 percent.

During that same year, an estimated 160,219 pregnancies were reported in Michigan, with 22,699 abortions.

That translates into a Detroit abortion rate — the number of abortions by population, including women who weren’t pregnant that year — of 37.9 per 1,000 women aged 15-44. That’s up from 27.5 per 1,000 women in 2001.

It’s a staggering three times greater than Michigan’s statewide rate, which declined from 12.6 abortions per 1,000 women during child-bearing years, to 11 per 1,000, over the same period.
Genesis 1-11
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