This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.        Best Hike in Every State: Looks like my bucket list just grew. Tell me if you've gone on any of these hikes. They look great.

2.       When Grumbling Meets Gossip: Tim Challies helpfully clarifies the difference between grumbling, gossip, and disputing. He concludes, " There will be times when we disagree with others. There will be times when we need to confront other people for their sinful actions or attitudes or to dispute with others to contend for the truth and guard the gospel. But both must be handled with love and grace. Both must be seen as opportunities to further unity rather than further disrupt it. Both must be seen as threats to our calling to shine as lights in this dark and needy world."

3.       When Churches Can't Do Everything: I love when people enthusiastically bring their ideas and their willingness to serve to the church. But a church can't do everything. Kevin DeYoung gives excellent advice to congregants bringing their ideas to church leaders, explaining why they might receive a no, and how to receive that no.

4.       How Your Church Can Grow Young: Three of the foremost experts on Millennials and Gen Z in the church, Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin offer helpful advice, " What really stood out was the way the churches made young people feel like family. In fact, the phrase like family surfaced as the most common term young people used to describe their church in our interviews and field visits."

5.       The Most Populous Cities in the World From 1500-2018: You'll want to watch this through a couple of times to track some intriguing information. For instance, watch trends in Europe, Asia, and the Americas over the centuries.

Keep Giving Thanks

Keep Giving Thanks

Before Thanksgiving, my aunt’s rotary club hosted a speaker from the University of Arizona Center on Conflict Resolution who presented tips on how to navigate a Thanksgiving conversation that avoids conflict. What a low bar we’ve set for ourselves: our definition of success is simply escaping a holiday gathering without offending someone.  Thanksgiving ought to come not from that superficial posture, but from a heart that is engaged and transparent.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Not a “glad-I-survived-that” kind of Thanksgiving, but one that truly allowed you to stop and cultivate gratitude in your heart.

Before we move on to Christmas shopping and parties, I want us to stop and pause just a bit longer and consider how we can nurture a heart of thankfulness.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       Church Hunters: Jon Crist's mockumentary skewers church shopping with a smile.

2.       What If I Can't Find the Perfect Church? Josh Buice shares why "Nonattendance was not an option for the early church and it shouldn’t be an option for the modern church."

3.       The Challenge of Really Loving Your Church: Jonathan LaBarge offers not-so-easy wisdom: "Father Cyprian wrote, “No one can have God for his Father, who does not have the Church for his mother.” There will be many times when we will have to say to the church, “I do not much like you right now, but I do love you.”"

4.       Diagnosing and Mortifying the Sin of Complaining: Geoffrey Kirkland reflects, "Everyone does it. It’s all around us. In fact, it’s so normalized and pervasive that we hardly even recognize when it actually occurs. The sin of complaining is one of those “respectable sins.” That is, it’s one that’s hardly spoken about, seldom preached against, and still less frequent, a sin with which Christians persistently wage violent war. Complaining is ugly. Complaining is one of the most commonest and frequent sins that’s almost as easy to find and common as the air we breathe."

5.       How We Spend Our Days: How the average American adult spends their days. An infographic. Lots of fascinating gems in here: religious and spiritual activities are doubled by shopping which itself is doubled by personal care.