This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      What I Learned About Marriage by Losing My Husband: Good luck not tearing up reading Gaye Clark's poignant letter to her deceased husband.

2.      Be a Gospel Neighbor: Aaron Menikoff on a topic I think is so important for the church, "The requirement for hospitality gets to the heart of neighboring. It’s even a qualification of elder leadership... Paul has a similar message in Romans 12:13–14: “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” Paul demands a spirit of generosity to all: the brother or sister, the stranger, and even the enemy! Faithful pastors and Christians alike will strive to be good neighbors. They’ll open up their homes to people around them. Such hospitality is not without cost (it takes time and money)."

3.      Which of the Ten Commandments Still Apply? YouGov and Deseret News reports that 60% of Americans agree that seven of the Ten Commandments still apply. The three below 60%? "You shall have no other gods before me," "You shall not use the name of the Lord your God in vain," and "Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy" (the only commandment below 50%). 

4.      What Dostoyevsky's Prostitute Can Teach Us About Love: If you've ever read Crime and Punishment (which I recently had the joy of re-reading), this is powerful connection between the cross and the book. Mark Galli connects Sonia's reaction to the Christ, "Raskolnikov later meets a young woman, Sonia, who has been compelled by poverty to become a prostitute to support her family. He is immediately drawn to her, and after he learns that Sonia had been friends with Lizaveta, he feels compelled to confess his murders to her... When it dawns on her what he has just confessed, “...What have you done—what have you done to yourself?” she said in despair, and, jumping up, she flung herself on his neck, threw her arms round him, and held him tightly." Raskolnikov is not the only one who is shocked by Sonia’s gesture. The reader is as well... There we see the meaning of the Cross and the revelation of the deepest nature of God. Jesus did not consider the glory of divinity as something to exalt in, but decided to bear the yoke of human nature. He showed himself not only to be a man of sorrows, but also a God who has borne our griefs; not merely a man wounded for our transgression, but also a God bruised for our iniquities (Isa. 53). He saw the grievous sin of humankind, and the Cross is the sign of his “violent, hysterical weeping” for us."

5.      Death Valley Sunup to SundownThink Death Valley is ugly? Think again. This is stunning.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       What the Bible Teaches About Sexuality: David Powlison on the threefold vision of sexuality in the Bible, " The Bible discusses many forms of sexual immorality and sexual victimization. A vision for fidelity does not drive honesty about infidelity and betrayal underground. Prudish? Not Scripture. Squeamish about the sordid details of human life? The biblical authors frequently (though not always) eschew photographic description and details when they speak of sex. They often model a certain delicacy of generic description."

2.       Making Space for your Neighbor: Dexter Culbreath encourages us to reach out to those God has placed near us, " Let’s be real. We are the ones holding ourselves back. We are not fans of failure, nor do we want to subject ourselves to the messiness of investing into the lives of others. So, what do we do? We wait to see how it goes with others before we stick our necks out there. As with many things, fear drives our hesitancy."

3.       Your Smartphone is Making You Stupid, Antisocial, and Unhealthy. So Why Can't You Put it Down? Ouch, this is a painful read by Eric Andrew-Gee. He reports that the evidence is "in a growing body of research by psychiatrists, neuroscientists, marketers and public health experts. What these people say – and what their research shows – is that smartphones are causing real damage to our minds and relationships, measurable in seconds shaved off the average attention span, reduced brain power, declines in work-life balance and hours less of family time. They have impaired our ability to remember. They make it more difficult to daydream and think creatively. They make us more vulnerable to anxiety. They make parents ignore their children. And they are addictive, if not in the contested clinical sense then for all intents and purposes."

4.       6 Ways to Discourage Your Pastor: Paul Levy with a pointed, but accurate list. His fourth reason is, "Speak to others in the congregation, but not the leadership. This way word gets back to leadership through others, 'Some people are saying...'"

5.       Mr. Graham and the Reasonable Man: How do we navigate these incredibly difficult discussions around law enforcement and African American men? The More Perfect podcast takes us back to the beginning of what would become an important precedent in courts' interpretation around how to rule on these cases.

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

This past weekend we finished a brief sermon series on neighboring. Neighboring, as we see it in Luke 10 is at the heart of God and ought to drive our hearts. 

The bad news is that it's hard to be a good neighbor today. The good news is that there are so few good neighbors, when you neighbor well it stands out. 

Here are a couple of resources to help encourage us to take simple steps toward neighboring with God's heart.