recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      Few Churched Teens are Devout as Young Adults: Aaron Earls has been unfolding this important LifeWay Research study recently. He shares, " Those who stopped attending church for at least a year are more likely to say they believe in God, but are uncertain about Christianity (17 to 8 percent); say they consider themselves spiritual, but not religious (13 to 5 percent); say they’re uncertain about their belief in God (7 to 3 percent); and say they don’t believe in God (6 to 1 percent)."

2.      4 Ways to Avoid the Church Dropout Danger Zone: Aaron Earls responds to the findings about young adults dropping out of church with some helpful advice: "Most parents don’t realize the impact their words and actions have on their teenagers. They wrongly assume their children aren’t listening and wouldn’t care. If parents make church a priority for the family, students will pick up on that. If parents treat church as if it is simply another activity to take or leave, students will pick up on that as well."

3.      Faithful with a Few: Jen Oshman with an important question for each of us, "How will you respond to the few? Every Christian must confront these questions because every Christian has a ministry, from the senior pastor to the children’s minister to the lay mentor who disciples young adults over coffee."

4.      The Importance of the Bible's Best Description of Salvation: Julie Canlis shares, " Paul says something far more often: He uses the phrase “in Christ” 165 timesThe Bible’s favorite way of describing our salvation is one we rarely use. For Paul, salvation was simple: It was being joined to Jesus Christ."

5.      5 Lessons Jordan Peterson Has Taught the Church: Esther O'Reilly has read Peterson deeply and has great insights on what the polarizing sociologist can teach us: "1. The Church must authentically meet men’s emotional needs… Peterson speaks with a voice that is at once authoritative and encouraging to men. He offers tough love that tells men they aren’t living up to their potential, without swinging to the other extreme and shaming them for it. He praises and exemplifies distinctively masculine virtues. And crucially, these virtues do not exclude emotion."

6. How PreachersNSneakers Exposes All Christians: Brady Shearer takes a look into the popular Instagram account that calls megachurch pastors out on their expensive shoe tastes. 

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       Are Christian Men More Abusive: An eye-opening recent study concludes that committed evangelical men are the least abusive while uncommitted evangelical men are the most abusive, 'Sociologist Christopher Ellison and his colleagues found that women who were married or cohabiting were significantly less likely to report abuse if they regularly attended religious services. According to their study, 'compared with a woman who never attends religious services, a woman who shares similar demographic characteristics but attends several times a week is roughly 40% less likely to be a victim of domestic violence.' Not surprisingly, they also found that 'men who attend religious services several times a week are 72% less likely to abuse their female partners than men from comparable backgrounds who do not attend services.'"

2.       How do we Motivate others Toward God? Kerilee Van Schooten shares a variety of ways we can spur others on toward God. Four of her eight motivations are: rapport; curiosity; relevance; and challenge.

3.       The Sanctification Gap: Ed Stetzer on the disturbing reality that a number of Christians don't take growing in holiness seriously: "'A Christian must learn to deny himself/herself in order to serve Christ.' 64% of churchgoers agree with the statement 19% disagree with the statement... The 19% is what should concern us as pastors and leaders (and the rest who did not know or answer). The essential, biblical mandate to follow Jesus and deny ourselves to serve Christ is not affirmed by almost 1 out of every 3 participants. We say we want the life of Christ and believe in Him for salvation, but we can’t seem to get past the denial hurdle."

4.       Hard Truths About Retirement: Christian Financial planner Chris Cagle says of the first of seven truths, "You can lose meaning and purpose without work.  This is a real and present danger in retirement. God created us all with an intrinsic need for work – to provide for our families and also to productively contribute to the world around us."

5.       No Progress for African Americans: The Economic Policy Institute just released a devastating report that after 50 years, ‘there has been no progress in how African Americans fare in comparison to whites when it comes to homeownership, unemployment and incarceration…”

6.       Symphony of Light: Take in this incredible Kauai timelapse

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       Every Interview with Every Football Coach in 90 Seconds: Football season is upon us. Jon Crist nails every word ever spoken by a football coach. In a minute and a half.

2.       How Do I Stop Worrying? David Powlison offers sage advice. Third of his six steps is that we ask ourselves, "Why am I anxious? Worry always has its inner logic. Anxious people are “you of little faith.” If I’ve forgotten God, who or what has edged Him out of my mind and started to rule in His place? Identify the hijacker. Anxious people have fallen into one of the subsets of “every form of greed.” What do I want, need, crave, expect, demand, lust after? Or, since we fear losing the things we crave getting, what do I fear either losing or never getting? Identify the specific lust of the flesh. Anxious people “eagerly seek” the gifts more than the Giver. They bank treasure in the wrong place. What is preoccupying me, so that I pursue it with all my heart? Identify the object of your affections."

3.       Offer Thanks: Josh Buice: Paul offered thanks and appreciation to others, so should we.

4.       Hope in the Midst of a Recidivism Nightmare: Whatever your political stripe, we all must agree that the situation of imprisonment in America needs to be fixed. Marian Hatcher tells briefly about her hopeful story in Cook County and shares, " Among the nation’s 2,700 drug courts, Cook County is considered in the 10 model programs for prisoners. The jail has seen an 81 percent drop in felony convictions three years following prisoner release for those who have gone through their drug court program."

5.       The Problem of Nice and the Promise of New: Michael Lawrence on the allure of nice, "These days, there are lots of different kinds of nice. There’s the polite but detached tolerance of “live and let live” nice. There’s the socially conscious and politically engaged nice. There’s religious nice in many different denominational and faith-community forms. There’s “spiritual but not religious” nice. There’s even what’s known in my town as “Portland nice,” a sort of non-confrontational, “let’s not make anyone feel uncomfortable, even though we’re silently judging and dismissing you in our minds” nice. But for all the different kinds of nice, the appeal of nice hasn’t changed much in the last two thousand years. To be a nice person, a good person, a person who’s becoming a better person, is to feel good about yourself."

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.     Misspellings by State: What word does each state struggle to spell? Rhode Islanders struggle with liar. Four struggles struggle with pneumonia. Louisiana and Arkansas struggle with animals: the chihuahua and the giraffe. New Hampshirites concern me with their need know how to spell "diarrhea” frequently (note to self: next time, bring immodium) Most hilarious is perhaps the south, not doing itself any favors, needing help with the very difficult words: "angel," "gray," and "nanny."

2.     The Pervasive Selfie: Phil Cooke shares, "Teen Vogue magazine reports the average millennial focuses about one hour of every week to selfies. (Shooting them, editing them, retouching them.) Writer Matt LaBash reports that, “In 2015, the social scientists at Luster Premium White, a teeth-whitening brand, calculated that at their current selfie rate, your average millennial will take up to 25,700 selfies in a lifetime. Considering that the average lifespan is only around 27,375 days, that amounts to taking nearly one selfie per day, no small feat when subtracting all the years that people are too young or too old to operate a camera phone.”...The advertising magazine Adweek, indicates: 74% of all photos on Snapchat are selfies."

3.     If only I had been saved by merit! Tim Challies exposes our hearts, "If I had earned my salvation, I could negotiate with God for more favor, for more privileges, for more benefits. I could hold up my list of accomplishments and demand fair compensation. I could compare what has been given to others and make the case for why I am deserving of all that God has given them and more besides." 

4.     Six Things You Need to Know About God's Wrath: Colin Smith tackles this difficult but important topic: “At the core of the human problem is that we are sinners under the judgment of God, and the divine wrath hangs over us unless and until it is taken away.”

5.     The Shift in America's Morality: Christianity Today reports on a recent Gallup poll about America's ever-shifting morality: "Of the 19 issues queried about, Americans have become more liberal on 13 of them (with 10 hitting record highs) and stayed consistent on 6—most notably abortion, which 43 percent of Americans and 34 percent of Protestants deem morally acceptable."