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.     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."

A Culture of Victimhood

A Culture of Victimhood

As a boy I was fascinated with pain. I often wondered how the pain I felt compared to pain others felt. I mostly kept this to myself, but I remember at least on one occasion getting into an argument with friends about who had experienced the most pain.

We all shared our stories: fractured limbs, concussions, road rash, and a hernia (that was my trump card). As each story concluded the storyteller would lean back, content with his sharing of the story expecting arms to be raised in defeat. But, in fact, each of us was disappointed with the reception of our tales of woe as the next storyteller would jump in, one-upping the last teller’s story of pain with his own.

I look back with embarrassment at the immaturity and narcissism this pain one-upmanship revealed in me. And yet, is the behavior of so many today any better?