May 23

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

People of faith are a remnant, not the majority

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

The Lord’s Prayer (Extended Version)

Ten Things I Learned at Church on Sunday

The Truth about Grief: What I wish I had known when I started my grief journey

Why You Can Still Bet Your Life on Christ

A Subjective Definition of “Death” Would Unleash Great Evil

Does Islam Inevitably Lead to Violence?

Is Your Pastor Happy To See You?

Ehrman–Licona Dialogue on the Historical Reliability of the New Testament.

This a long academic debate on the New Testament. It will take some time but you will get a good flavor of the discussion between those who believe and those who doubt the reliability of the Bible.

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

John Piper. A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness

Anders Erissson and Robert Pool. Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

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May 16

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

People who find Jesus bring others to him

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

Where’s Your Heart?

The Message of Islam vs. The Gospel of Jesus

As U.S. Attitudes Change, Some Evangelicals Dig In; Others Adapt

Bonhoeffer’s Answer to Political Turmoil: Preach!

Theology and Philosophy: Can They Survive in the Modern University?

The Zionist Monk Who Teaches Israelis How To Speak Arabic

From Agender to Ze: A Glossary for the Gender Identity Revolution

A Confession of Liberal Intolerance

When You Don’t Love Your Job

America’s Changing Religious Landscape

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

Colin Brown. Christianity and Western Thought

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May 09

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

In the middle of our life choices there are defining events

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

Surprising Book Facts

7 Troubling Questions About Transgender Theories

Lucado visits with students about writing craft

Where There’s Hope, There’s Life

3 Reasons You Should See Going To Church As a Privilege, Not a Chore

9 Things You Should Know About Islam

5 Surprising Spiritual Benefits of Owning Less Stuff

The Truth About Natural-Born Talent

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

I did not start any new books this week.

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May 02

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

I am Swiss by birth, German by education, and American by choice.

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

Ancient Sticky Notes Shift Secular Scholars Closer to Evangelicals on Bible’s Age. Literacy in Old Testament times was more widespread than previously thought.

My Toddler Survived Brain Cancer—Here’s What I Learned

What to remember when prayer feels like a chore

How Novels Have Marked American Religious History

12 Principles for Disagreeing with Other Christians

China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years

What is the 10/40 Window?

China Reveals What It Wants to Do with Christianity

How much did Paul’s letters cost him to write?

The Art of Imperious Ignorance

Why God’s Will Isn’t Always Clear

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

John Perritt. Your Days Are Numbered: A Closer Look at How We Spend Our Time & the Eternity Before Us

Jerry Sittser. A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss

Jerry Sittser. A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life

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Apr 27

Do we trust God even when it looks like we shouldn’t?

Bookends of 1-2 Samuel

Writers often use bookends to let us know what is most important to them. Bookends are very similar concepts or words at the beginning and end of a book. They remind us what we need to remember.

The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally one book.

The writer put two songs, one at the beginning and one at the end, to show us what we must remember when we read this book. Hannah and David each praised God for how he treated them.

Other Bookends

I have written posts on the bookends of the Bible in general, Paul’s letter to the Romans, and the Gospel of Matthew.

Hannah

Hannah was a married woman who wanted to be a mother. Her husband had taken a second wife which probably meant that they have been childless for a long time. The second wife had children and Hannah was deeply discouraged.

When they went to the Tabernacle she was so deep in prayer that the High Priest, Eli, thought she was drunk. She told him that she was not drunk but praying. Eli told her that God would grant her request.

She conceived and bore a son. She called him Samuel and gave him back to God as a servant to Eli at the Tabernacle. She visited him each year and she and her husband had other children.

She composed psalm of praise to God because he answered her prayer even though she was a poor and humble woman. (! Samuel 1-2)

David

Near the end of his life King David reflected on where he came from and how God has worked in his life.  He was the youngest son and was sent to watch his father’s sheep.  He was destined for a humble life as a minor member of his family in a small village.  God reached out to him and made him king.  As he thought about these things he wrote a psalm praising God. (2 Samuel 21)

These two songs are the bookends of Samuel.  The theme of this book is that God reaches out to the humble and needy.  He reaches out to those who need him and trust him.

The Virgin Mary’s praise to God

The Virgin Mary composed a song of praise when she learned that she would be the mother of the Messiah.  One of the curious facts of her song was that she reflected on and alluded to Hannah’s song.

Hannah was a married woman who desired a child she did not have.  Mary was an unwed teenager who faced a doubting world with her pregnancy.

Upon reflection Mary realized that a common characteristic of their pregnancies was that God was using humble people to do great things.  Her response was to praise God for how he was using her. (Luke 1:46-56)

Jesus’ parable

Jesus taught a parable about how God raised humble people.

Jesus was invited to dine with one of the religious leaders. There was a sick man there and Jesus healed him. As everyone’s attention was focused on him, Jesus talk to them about the best way to view yourself.  He told them that when they were invited to a feast that that should take a humble seat and let the host elevate them.

He was reminding them of the principle that Hannah, David, and Mary all saw in their lives.  People who are humble and trust God are the people God elevates and uses. (Luke 14:1-11)

Questions for consideration:

Have we ever had to wait a long time for the solution to a difficult problem?

Is patience hard for you?

What have you learned waiting patiently?

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Apr 25

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

Two fires that changed Peter’s life

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

Christianity and Korea. How did the religion become so apparently prevalent in South Korea?

The Singular Humility of America’s Only Ordained President. In 1880, James A. Garfield won the country’s highest office. He never wanted it.

5 Ways to Make It through a Difficult Season

Harriet Tubman. The “Moses” of Her People

Some couples in Canada practising prenatal sex selection in favour of male fetuses, studies suggest

How to Lead When Tragedy Strikes

10 Things You Should Know about J. I. Packer

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

I did not start any new books this week.

If you like this post, please share it.

If you like this blog, you can sign up in the upper right column for email delivery of new posts.

Apr 19

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

Two ways we might be baptized as a Christian that we usually don’t think about

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

Having a Pilgrim Mentality about Money and Possessions

When Religious Groups Do What the Government Won’t

7 Suggestions For When You Preach About Homosexuality

Trusting God And Dreaming Big

‘Evangelicals Around the World’ Wins Gold Medal in Third Annual Illumination Book Awards

Discovery: Ancient Inscriptions Suggest Hebrew Bible Older Than Many Believed

Watch: the incredible spread of the world’s 5 major religions

Is the Church Disappearing in Our Culture?

What’s Your Conscience Worth?

You Were Made to Meditate

Christian Women Worldwide Are The Most Religious … and the Most Persecuted

2016 World Watch List drawn from world headlines

The Local Church Isn’t Going Anywhere

5 Reasons Why We Need To Rest

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

Jim Andrews. Dispatches from the Front Lines: Reflections on the Glory and Grind of Pastoral Ministry

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Apr 11

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

Sometimes we just don’t understand what God is teaching us because we have our own agenda… just like Jesus’ disciples.

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

4 Responses to Cultural Change. Christians must know how to engage culture.

Q&A with Nabeel Qureshi, author of Answering Jihad

“Facing a Task Unfinished” Global Hymn Sing

Mary Magdalene’s Home Town

Why some Jews have said Yemeni Jews aren’t welcome in Israel

20 Christianese Phrases We Really Need to Stop Saying

Sex Before Kissing: 15-year-old Girls Dealing With Porn Addicted Boys

Physical Pain and a Gospel Perspective

Camille Paglia: Feminists have abortion wrong, Trump and Hillary miscues highlight a frozen national debate

Why Most of Us Hate Silence

Israeli Cafe Offers 50 Percent Off To Arabs And Jews Who Eat Together

Five Marks of Contentment

Why Musicians Need Silence in an Always-Connected World

Why Hospitality Beats Entertaining

Think Christianity is dying? No, Christianity is shifting dramatically

The Holocaust, the Left, and the Return of Hate

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz. Design Your Day: Be More Productive, Set Better Goals, and Live Life On Purpose

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Apr 07

How good things turn bad

We all have memories and memories are important.  But, memories can work against us. Sometimes we so focus on a memory or a relic from a past victory that we lose focus on what is really important.

Moses

During their wandering in the desert before they entered the Promised Land the Jewish people rebelled against God many times. One of the times God sent snakes among the people and many were bitten and died.

The people realized their sin and repented and asked God to heal them.

Moses prayed for the people and God had them make a bronze snake. When Moses held it up on a pole the people looked at the snake and were healed. (Numbers 21:4-9)

Jesus

Jesus saw this bronze snake as an illustration of his work as the atoning Messiah. When he reasoned with Nicodemus he pointed out this clear picture of his work. Nicodemus, a teacher of the Law, was surely familiar with this passage. Jesus even used the detail of the pole being raised as a cryptic reference to his death on a cross. (John 3:1-15)

Hezekiah

For 700 years this bronze snake was preserved. In the troubled history of the Jews the sacred city of Shiloh was destroyed. The Ark of the Covenant was lost for a time to the Philistines but the bronze snake was in the temple until the reign of Hezekiah.

Hezekiah was faced with a brutal, perplexing choice. People were treating the bronze snake as an idol and were making sacrifices to it. Hezekiah destroyed it during his reforms against false worship in Israel.  (2 Kings 18:4)

The snake was a relic of the repentance and healing of the people. But for some it became an idol. Good things can turn bad when they turn our focus away from God.

Question for consideration:

How do we remember the spiritual milestones in our lives? I think every prayer notebook should have a section of recorded blessing so that we do not forget. When Jeremiah lamented the Fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians, he reminded his readers that we have hope when we remember. (Lamentations 3:21)

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Apr 04

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

What were the two reasons for the Jewish Sabbath and what can we learn from them?

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

How My Husband’s Death Changed the Way I See Easter

How God became Jesus. An interview with a seminary classmate of mine.

Redeeming Theology

Tom Hanks had this to say about the residents of Gresham, Oregon. Collette lived in Gresham and attended church there for many years.

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

I have not started any books this week.

If you like this post, please share it.

If you like this blog, you can sign up in the upper right column for email delivery of new posts.

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