Laudable Linkage

Here are a few good reads found this week:

Ordinary Chores, Extraordinary Love: Imaging God’s Care for Us, HT the Story Warren. “If God himself works every single day in billions of small, repetitive ways to care for his creation and his children, then maybe our mundane to-do lists are more important than we realize.”

There Are No Insignificant Christians, HT to Challies. “The person sitting in the other pew at church is more glorious than you realize. It is easy for us to look at some of the other people in our church and think, ‘I am glad they are part of this church, but they are not that significant.’ If we feel like that, it exposes a biblical blindness on our part that we need to correct as soon as possible.”

Top 10 Things I wish Worship Leaders would Stop Saying. Yes! I don’t hear all of these, but the ones I do hear bug me. I wrote a post on #3 a while back: God does so much more than show up.

The Body Is Bigger Than You Think, HT to Challies. “One of the best things that could happen to the rank-and-file churchgoing Christian is to get a better sense of the bigness of the Body of Christ. The Church is bigger than your church. The kingdom is bigger than your denomination. God’s people are all over the world, united by a shared love for Jesus and confession of his lordship.”

Four Ways to Help Your Children Love the Church More, HT to Challies. “It pays to ask the question, before our children drift away, how we can help them love the local church. Here are a bunch of ways we might do that.”

The Scariest Story and the Greatest Hero. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie mentioned, but I appreciated these thoughts on helping kids navigate and learn from scary things.

Laudable Linkage

Here are some of the good reads found this week:

5 Effects of Expository Preaching, HT to Challies. “To publicly herald God’s Word is an act of worship (2 Tim. 2:15), and a stewardship for which we’ll give an account. Here are five ways expository preaching beautifies Christ’s bride.”

Growth: Potential vs. Actual. A tale of two fig trees, one flourishing and one not, and what we can learn from them.

3 Ways to Turn Against Your Pastor, HT to Challies. “How do otherwise good Christians turn against otherwise good pastors? Here are three very common ways it happens.”

Not as the World: Finding Peace in Motherhood, HT to The Story Warren. “The sun dips and light filters through the back window, washing my kitchen in a warm shade of orange. It would be peaceful, except for the teething baby screeching in his highchair. The sizzling of a half-cooked dinner on the stove. The drumming in my head from sleeplessness. Fading light reminds me that the day is closing, but my responsibilities are endless.”

Why We Must Teach Our Kids Safety Skills, HT to Challies. “Young people are growing up in an increasing godless world, while also in deep need for wisdom and discernment to navigate it. More than ever, they need to know how to traverse the dangers around them.”

Truth and Story, HT to The Story Warren. “‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein…’ Psalm 24:1 (ESV). This verse applies to books and readers, too. This is the foundation of why we read to the glory of God, because we have Him to thank for excellent literature.”

I’ve read parts of The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Poems and Devotions, but not the whole book. Hope’s review mentions an interesting article about who collected and edited the prayers in the book.

I heard a great message from Adrian Rogers on the radio yesterday while working in the kitchen. The overall message was about burdens, but the section on today’s broadcast was about restoration after one has fallen. The audio is here and an outline and transcript are here.

Ministry Beyond Church Membership

When we knew we were going to move from GA to SC several years ago, we checked into churches and schools as well as housing long before time to go. One church had a Christian school that we liked. But on our first day visiting the church after our move, the pastor announced his resignation due to health problems.

We continued visiting for a while to make sure the school would be a good place for our kids. But we didn’t feel we could make a decision about the church until they chose a new pastor and we could see what kind of man he was and what direction they were going.

So we continued to visit around. We finally settled our choice between this church, still without a pastor, and one other. At this second church, we were invited to attend a membership class to learn what the church was all about. The class was supposed to run about four weeks, if I remember correctly. But the class discussions stretched the length of the class out for several more weeks. We got to know a few people and were asked to participate in various church functions.

In the meantime, the first church called a new pastor. We went back to that church a few times and met with the pastor. Both churches were good, but we felt this first church was a better fit for us.

My husband called the pastor of the second church to let him know we wouldn’t be attending any more. The pastor asked if they had done anything wrong that would cause us not to join there. No, my husband said. Theirs was a fine church. We just felt the first church was where we should be at this point in time.

Any time we ran into the second pastor in town, the encounter felt a little awkward. We hadn’t meant to “lead them on.” In hindsight, perhaps we should not have attended the membership class until we knew we were ready to take that step. On the other hand, the class was presented as the best way to learn about the church. We also didn’t feel we should have abstained from church fellowships, the Missions banquet, etc., until we joined. Going to those events is part of getting to know the church.

I know it can be frustrating to feel like you’ve invested time in people who visit your church, only to have them join somewhere else.

But if I had a chance to speak to the pastor or anyone from the second church now, I would love to tell them your ministry counted, even if we didn’t join. The teaching, kindness, invitations, and conversations were not wasted. They still ministered to us.

Most pastors and church members know that, deep down. They are kind to people for the Lord’s sake, not just to gather church members. Yet I understand the potential for frustration and disappointment.

Our pastor in GA used to faithfully visit people and talk to them about the Lord. He once commented that when someone he talked to became a Christian or decided to get back into church, suddenly relatives seemed to come out of the woodwork to fold the person into their church. He was tempted to think “Where were you before now?” But he knew the principle that one person plants the seed, another waters, but God is the one who brings a soul to Himself (1 Corinthians 3:5-9). While experiencing a pang that his own church was small, ultimately he wanted the new believer or reclaimed backslider to be where God wanted them, where they could best get established and grow in Him. And I’m sure most ministers and church members want the same.

The last time we searched for a new church, we noticed that not many people greeted first-time visitors. The pastor always made it a point to meet us (with one exception). But often only one other person spoke to us beyond a nod. Perhaps they think the occasional new face is just passing through. It’s usually after a few visits, especially to smaller services like Wednesday prayer meetings, before people seem to loosen up. I don’t think they are consciously thinking, “We”ll see if they’re going to stick around first before we open up to them,” but it can feel that way. I know greeting strangers in church feels awkward except to the most outgoing extroverts. One of the hardest things for me to do is greet someone I don’t know. I’m usually fine once I get started, but that initial contact can be daunting. But it’s always worth it.

So many churches sound the same on their websites. Even churches with almost identical statements of faith can have vastly different personalities and emphases. My husband said that “no” concerning a potential church is relatively easy to come to, but a “yes” takes longer. Sometimes on the very first visit, we can tell a church is not for us. But other times, it takes a while to really get a feel for where the church is and where it’s going. I suppose it’s an embarrassment of riches that in most American cities, we have so many options to choose from.

No church is perfect, of course. None will tick every little preference. Church visitors know that.

But as they seek the place God has for them, where they can best grow and serve, they might have to try several places. Choosing one doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything “wrong” with the others.

So as people come through our doors, we welcome them, we minister to them as unto the Lord, we want God’s best for them. If they don’t stay in our church, they’re still “family,” if they are believers. If they don’t know the Lord, we lovingly try to point them to Him. We hope they all stay on. But if they don’t, we want to be able to rest in the fact that we’ve helped them draw closer to Him in the time they were with us.

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

Laudable Linkage

Here is the latest round-up of good reads found this week:

Hearts Painted by the Word Again and Again, HT to Challies. “The job of painting the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is never-ending. I heard once that they paint it end-to-end, but by the time they get to the end—however many years that may take—it is time to start over.” I love the analogy drawn from this!

When Working for God Becomes the Goal. “It is not God’s design or will that any of His children find their personal worth in what they achieve. God never tells us that if we fail to ‘make a difference’ or ‘leave our mark’ in some profound way that we are insignificant. But this ambition to ‘leave a legacy’ through measurable success is mainstream in some cultures. It has a glittering appeal to those who have a genuine heart to serve Christ and be good stewards of their gifts.”

The Silent Sin that Kills Christian Love, HT to Challies. “Perhaps the test of faithfulness in a day of moral degradation will be our love for people across chasms of difference. Faithfulness isn’t in showy displays that we hate all the right people. Faithfulness isn’t in adopting a contemptuous posture toward the current president or the former one. The way of the cross rejects the path of sneers and jeers, whether in the form of elite condescension or populist passion.”

Mothering with Humility, HT to the Story Warren. “I didn’t have much choice but to be completely transparent with my seven-year-old son. A few minutes earlier, his concerned little face had peered down the stairs, trying to figure out why I was responding angrily to something his dad had said. Now, I found myself trying to calm him down and convince him to apologize to his older brother, with whom he was furious.”

Parents, Just Go to Church. “Getting to church is hard. But that’s part of the value of attending church every Sunday. It sets the tone for the Christian’s daily struggle to live in personal relationship with Christ.”

Why Study Doctrine? “Some dismiss doctrine as uninteresting, irrelevant, or just plain boring. ‘Don’t give me doctrine. Just give me Jesus! Doctrine may be cool for pastors or Bible nerds, but I live in the real world. I need practical stuff that works!’ Why study doctrine? Let me suggest a few reasons…”

Why We Go Light on Polemics, HT to Challies. “I am not saying there is never a time to do polemics. After all, Paul says that we “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor 10:5). . . . The main issue I’ve faced with polemical approaches is that they risk triggering a defensive response, where someone is overtaken by the sense that they are duty-bound to protect their community’s honor from the attacks of an outsider.”

Becoming a Better Bibliophile. “I keep convincing myself that I would be a better person if I simply buy another book.”

Laudable Linkage

Some of you have told me that you really enjoy the links I share on Saturdays. I share more through the week on my Twitter account as I come across them. That’s about the only thing I use Twitter for, as well as sharing my own posts (and my Wordle scores. 🙂 ). Then I share here the ones that particularly resonated with me or that I think readers would like. The lists here and there don’t match exactly, but they overlap a great deal.

Immovable Hope in the Wake of Hurricane Ian, HT to Challies. “Psalm 46 describes an earth-shattering ocean storm. These verses will never again be an abstraction for those of us from Sanibel. Yet we must not forget how the psalm begins. God is our refuge.”

Be Angry and Do Not Sin, HT to Challies. “The problem is that we are happy to exploit what seems to be a legal loophole. Anger, in its very nature, is self-justifying. My anger is righteous; your anger is not. So if we are to find some righteous wiggle room here, we must proceed very carefully.”

A three-part series on uprooting bitterness: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Three Battles to Fight for Personal Bible Study. “What if your life schedule has ticked up a notch and your desire for the Word has cooled and you’re rusty on your Bible study methods? If we hope to protect our daily time with God, we must keep up the fight on all three fronts. We must get ‘triple protection’ for our time with God if we hope the habit will last.”

Prioritizing Evangelism, HT to Challies. “But knowing the gospel and loving the lost isn’t enough. Just loving the lost is like crying at the bedside of a dying patient with the cure in our hands. We must administer it. What good is the medicine? What good are our tears? So speak forth the very Word of God. It’s the only medicine that can save the sin-sick souls from eternal physical damnation.”

When You Can’t Meet Every Need, HT to Challies. “I want to meet their needs and it brings me great joy to meet their needs. But I cannot meet every need for every person in the ways they want or even in the ways I would like to. It’s impossible. And so, as I was explaining this conundrum to my husband, I told him how I’ve reconciled the tension in my heart.”

You Can’t Do Everything and Not Everything Is for Everyone, HT to Challies. This is a similar idea to the article above except that one is about individuals and this one is about the church, but could also be applied to groups and organizations. “All these are valid questions to ask and think through. The problem is not in their being asked, nor in their being thought through, but in the stymying effect whatabouttery can have on actually doing anything at all.”

Mom, Jesus Is Praying for You, HT to Challies. “‘You’ve got this’ is a popular encouragement for moms. But what’s behind it? If it’s the belief that I naturally have what it takes to keep my children alive, help them flourish, and even see them come to Christ without completely losing my mind in the process—then I definitely don’t ‘have this.’ Not on my own.”

People Pleasing Is a Shapeshifter, HT to Challies. “Lo and behold, my consuming worries had very little to do with the other person at all. The anxiety was actually about me – my desire to be liked, respected, admired…and my craving to please people. Well, what do you know? I’m still a People Pleaser, after all. Apparently, People Pleasing is a shapeshifter, disappearing in one form and reappearing as something else.”

Laudable Linkage

I’ve been saying for weeks that I was behind on my blog reading. I’m almost caught up now, as evidenced by this long list of good reads.

Imagine Reading The Lord of the Rings the Way You Read the Bible, HT to Challies. “The aim of the story is really to sweep you away in the narrative, to carry you along in a story in which you are not the starring character but in which the idea is to fall in love with other characters. That’s how epic stories are meant to be read—not as tiny little morality tales, but as horizon-busting, eye-bugging, world-broadening, even life-shaping experiences.

Sometimes I Struggle With the Bible, HT to Challies. “I relate to what Mark Twain allegedly said, that ‘it ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me; it’s the parts that I do understand.’ It is comforting to know that one of my personal heroes, C.S. Lewis, shared similar feelings about the more perplexing parts of the Bible.”

I Should. . . “When we’re here, sighing over “shoulds” that overwhelm, our brain space ends up reading more like a to-do list than an ongoing conversation with God. We spend less time listening to God, and more time just asking him to help us get enough done today. The words of Jesus in Luke 10:42 strike a chord when the shoulds start to drive our days.”

Harmony of the Gospels. “When you carefully read the four Gospels, you will inevitably . . . encounter what might appear to be discrepancies or contradictions between the Gospels. How should you approach apparent contradictions? The following four starting points will help readers of the Gospels approach apparent contradictions in a helpful way.”

Is Your Gospel an Urban Legend? HT to Challies. “If you talk a big game about ‘the gospel,’ but don’t live like it’s true, the people you do life with will begin to suspect you don’t actually believe it. Worse yet, they may begin to disbelieve it themselves.”

Intersectionality and My Adoptive Family, HT to Challies. “If our family took these ideas seriously — as serious proponents intend — they would suffocate our love, steal our joy, and destroy my family. Intersectionality brings the division of mother against child and son against father in very different ways than Christ does.”

The Purpose of Discipline. “God gives us His grace during seasons of discipline so that we come to know Him more deeply. His desire is for us to know Him increasingly and intimately.”

4 Truths for Your Insecure Moments. “The next time you feel insecure, remind yourself that the parts of you that make you unique are the precise parts God wants to use to fulfill his purpose through you.”

I Didn’t Want to Go to Church, HT to Challies. “Recently it took everything within me to drag myself to church (for Wednesday night Bible study). My body was tired, my mind exhausted, and my heart fatigued. Further, it meant bringing both children who, for one reason or another, always decide to act wild on those nights. Long story short, I went to church that evening.”

First Friday Prayers; Galatians 1:24. Lauren takes every first Friday of the month to share how we can convert Scripture into prayer. This time an overlooked phrase from Galatians packs a big punch.

Living With a Legacy. The Elisabeth Elliot Foundation newsletter referenced a nice article in World Magazine about Valerie, Elisabeth’s daughter, growing up with the legacy of Jim and Elisabeth (I can see the article on my phone but not on my computer. World only allows a few views before hiding their articles behind a paywall).

These verses grabbed my attention when I was in another part of 1 Timothy 6. Don’t they sound just like the spirit of our age? May we share right words with a right heart.

God Uses Flawed People

Recently I was praying for someone who had walked away from church and possibility Christianity. Humanly speaking, he had good reason. Christians aren’t always the best representatives of what they are supposed to believe.

A parachurch organization that reached out to teens in my public high school was an important influence in God’s drawing me to Himself. Years later, my understanding of Biblical doctrine led me to a place that I could no longer support them.

My husband and I had a discussion last week about an institution we had both been a part of. There were glaring problems in the policies as well as in the prevailing attitudes of individuals.

Yet my sense during my time there was not, “Ugh, this is such an awful place.” I was aware of some problems, and came to understand others later. Yet God used that place to ground me in my faith and draw me closer to Himself. How can that be?

How can it be that an organization or group of people can be used of God while so flawed?

As our church has studied through the first few books of the OT, we’ve seen that God’s people have never been a showcase of pristine saints. One man in another church we were in, when asked in Sunday School what he was learning from the OT narratives, said, “If God can use and have mercy on those rascals, there’s hope for me.”

Some of the Biblical people that God used in a major way failed spectacularly.

This doesn’t mean we set the bar low. Our goal is not to be like the lowest examples in the Bible of those who followed God. Our goal is to be like Christ. We’ll never reach that goal this side of heaven. But as we behold Him in His Word, we should be growing in grace more and more like Him.

And depending on Him, filled with His Spirit, we can show His grace and patience to those who fail and falter.

Yes, there are times to walk away from a particular person or church or institution that strayed far from what it should be and will not listen to counsel. But if we “cancel” everyone who doesn’t live and believe perfectly, we’ll have no one left.

When we stand before God some day, we’ll give an account of ourselves, not anyone else. Though others will have to give an account of their failures, we won’t be able to blame them for our own. God has promised His grace for every trial, His way of escape for every temptation, His strength in our weakness. If everyone we ever knew failed us, He never will. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

When people talk about forsaking institutional religion because it’s so flawed, I want to ask, “Have you ever read Corinthians?” Talk about a messed-up church. Yet neither God nor His apostle forsook it. They took time to correct and admonish. If the Corinthians had refused to hear and rebelled, that would have been a different story. But they took the apostle’s warnings to heart. They made some changes immediately, but I am sure their overall growth was probably a slow process.

Isn’t that the way for us as well? If we’re still growing in grace and the knowledge of the Lord, we should be farther along now than we were a few years ago. But we still mess up. We still stumble over besetting sins. On our worst days, we’re far from the shining testimony we should be.

This is not an excuse. We’re accountable when we offend someone or make them stumble. We need to walk circumspectly and confess our sins to God and those we sin against.

Yet we also don’t forsake God’s people as a whole because of their flaws. The church is Christ’s bride, our brothers and sisters in Him. We don’t excuse or ignore flaws. Sometimes confrontation is necessary. But we also look for the grace. Instead of writing someone off or retaliating when they fail, we pray for them and seek to point them in the right direction, remembering we’re part of the same family. We love and serve and encourage and forgive and forbear. Because He did that for us.

Peter denied Jesus. James and John jockeyed for position and wanted to call down fire from heaven on those who didn’t run in the same circles. They fell asleep instead of supporting Him, argued with Him, thought they knew better than Him. But Jesus kept working with them, and look at them a few years later. That transformation is what we long for and pray for, for ourselves and others. Thank God for His longsuffering and mercy and grace.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful (Colossians 3:12-15).

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Hebrews 10:23-25).

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

Laudable Linkage

Here are some good reads found this week:

Evaluating Evangelistic Phrases. “Sadly, much of what is called evangelism today lacks gospel clarity. Repentance and faith are often missing or muddied in many of our evangelistic endeavors. Over the years, a number of popular phrases, terms, and shorthand expressions have either watered down or replaced the Biblical response to the gospel.”

What Is the Gospel? HT to the above article. “What exactly do Christians mean when they talk about the ‘gospel of Jesus Christ’?” I especially like the definition of repentance: “To repent of our sins means to turn away from our rebellion against God. Repentance doesn’t mean we’ll bring an immediate end to our sinning. It does mean, though, that we’ll never again live at peace with our sins.”

How Valuable to Me Is My Bible Today? “What would it feel like today not to own a Bible? What if I knew hardly anyone who did? What would I be willing to do to have one for myself?” Written by our beloved former pastor.

The Paradox of Parenting and How to Trust God More, HT to Challies. “From the moment our babies leave the safety and protection of the womb, we are literally and figuratively pushing them out. They can’t stay in the nest forever, and this brings us joy and sorrow. Isn’t this the paradox of parenting? The more we want to hold on to them, the more time reveals we have to keep letting them go, little by little.”

A Common Face, HT to Challies. “One of the best things my church’s women’s ministry does is to have someone share their testimony at our events. I am often stunned at what I hear from the ordinary women around me – women who quietly go about their everyday lives while harboring beautiful, compelling stories of God’s mercy. Why do we pander and scramble to hear the famous, successful and beautiful people speak, when God’s glory is just waiting to be displayed by the sisters and brothers around us?”

Sending Love, HT to Challies. “Sending Christ-like love means moving from the busy lane of one’s own life to enter the path of another, just as Jesus did when God sent Him to earth. It’s a selfless kind of love, not one from which the giver seeks to gain. And when such love is given, it brings blessed relief, casts hope over despair, and offers a glimpse of Christ.”

Church Membership–The Biblical Basis for It and Benefits of It. I enjoyed this creative look at what the church is and does and why we need to be a part of it.

A Message for Young Women. “Somewhere out there in the great, wide world, someone is praying for you. She probably doesn’t know you and you probably don’t know her. You may not meet one another for many more years. But she’s praying for you nonetheless and has been for a very long time. She is the mother of a son.”

Resources for Bible Study and Teaching. I came to this through a link from another post on the Knowable Word site.

Incredible performance. An annual meeting of high school choirs in KY led to a wonderful tradition.

I enjoy listening to parts of Stephen Davey’s sermons on the radio while my oatmeal is bubbling. I’m thankful he puts the transcripts online so I can catch the rest. He had a series of messages about David that I particularly loved. This section from last Tuesday (Feb 8) struck me:

And as we’ve already learned, being a man or woman after God’s own heart doesn’t mean you’re sinless. David was guilty of great sin against God and others.

Why could David be called a man after God’s own heart? Was it because David was perfect? No; it was because God was David’s priority.

Being a man or woman or a young person who pursues after the heart of God doesn’t have anything to do with your perfection – it has everything to do with your priority.

And that is exactly the priority that David wants to ring in Solomon’s ears for the rest of his life.

That’s what I want to ring in my children’s hearts as well. I think I put this verse somewhere in their graduation paraphernalia for each of them: “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

Laudable Linkage

IMG_0195

Here are a few posts that especially caught my eye this week. Maybe some with catch yours, too.

What to Do When Your Resolutions Start Dissolving. “We’re officially two weeks into 2022. And two weeks also happens to be the average life span of a new year’s resolution. So, even if you’re finding your big plans for “new year, new me” are already floundering, I’d like to offer you a few notes of encouragement.”

Spiritual Covid and Losing Your Taste for God, HT to Challies. “Through the pain of suffering or the false promises of sin, we can come down with a case of Spiritual COVID. We’re fatigued and grumpy, and even worse, we can’t taste anything anymore. We eat to survive, not because the food has any taste. We become sluggish in our service, bored with the Bible, less committed to the church.”

Everywhere Spoken Against, HT to Challies. “There may be a time to leave the local congregation but never a time to leave the church. I’ve compared her to an ugly bride, stumbling down the aisle toward glorification. That’s me, and that’s you.”

Our Escape Room, HT to Challies. “Finding out that you’re not the cream rising to the top is only traumatic if you thought you should be. And who are you to think you should be? A friend once told me, ‘Your problem is not that you think you’re not as good as other people; your problem is you want to be better than other people.’ Ouch.”

3 Simple Ways to Flatten Your Neighbor, HT to Challies. “Unfortunately, many in our society seem to be reverting to fourth-grade categorizations for just about everyone, and often doing so with the zeal of a crusader for a righteous cause.”

When Aslan Wept, HT to Challies. “While it is within God’s power to remove our suffering and make us feel better again, sometimes He does not. We can only trust that He’s grieving alongside us while working things out behind the scenes for our good and His glory.”

Whose Purpose Will Prevail in Your Suffering? HT to Challies. “Satan intends your suffering for evil; God intends it for good. Whose purpose in your suffering will prevail? Whose purpose are you furthering? Satan attempts to destroy your faith, while God invites you to draw near to Him and draw upon His sovereign grace to sustain you.”

Discipline: What If Scripture Isn’t Politically Correct? “Scripture has always been countercultural and while the world remains in its sinful state it always will be. This also means that faithfulness to the Biblical text will lead to cultural conflict. If some texts are ‘troubling to modern readers,’ we shouldn’t be surprised.” Beyond the subject of discipline, this article shows the problem with wrongly interpenetrating Scripture.

End of Year 2021 Book Lists. If you like adding to your ever-growing TBR list, Sherry looked through a lot of end-of-year book lists to get some great ideas.

Temperance and Play: The Weird and Wonderful Word of Wordle, HT to The Story Warren. If you’ve seen those tri-colored grids of cubes on social media and wondered what they were all about, this article explains.

And to end with a smile:

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

A collection of good reading online

Once again I’m way behind in my blog reading, but here are a few that spoke to me this week:

Success Beyond What We Can Handle. “Their success outpaced their sanctification. The level of their accomplishments rose faster than the growth of their character. Their vocational achievements came at the cost of spiritual achievements. They gained more success than they could handle and it led to great harm.”

I Need You to Read Your Bible, HT to Challies. “I need what is true and biblical and dependable. Maybe it’s just me, but ‘God’s got this!’ doesn’t have the same effect on my heart as ‘Hezekiah prayed and turned his face to the wall.’ The first is a plucky, optimistic but neutral response that flies from the mouth with good intention but little thought to the weightiness of a person’s struggle. The latter laments the person’s struggle, points them to Scripture, and says, ‘This is hard and God hears your prayers.'”

A Church Only Explained by the Gospel, HT to Challies. “When outsiders look in, they should struggle a bit to explain what makes us gather together. If they can say, “Well, it makes sense that those people would share the same church — they look alike, think alike, etc.,” we do not give confront them with the stupefying power of the gospel. The grace of God unites like no other force. Not even our natural friendships work this way.”

Your Work Is Worthy, HT to Linda. “We’re word people, we know language matters! And yet writers have generally terrible habits when it comes to how they talk about their work.”

I was looking up a song recently and found these old recordings by Bill Pearce and Dick Anthony. Bill Pearce’s “Night Sounds” programs ministered to my heart in my early Christian life. I’m glad someone put these old recordings online.

Happy Saturday!