Good Reads 01.25.17 (on: friendships, praying for leaders, and more!)

On friendship: Friends Your Age Are Not Enough by Jaquelle Crowe

Yet while having friends of the same age is normal and natural, we miss something special when we don’t have any friends who are of different ages than us, particularly in Christian community. Christians share a bond and identity that trumps everything else — job, race, and most definitely age. If there’s no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, there should be neither old nor young (Galatians 3:28).

Age should not build walls. Jesus should tear them down. When we put aside our preference for people just like us, we broadcast the beauty of our shared union with Christ. (click here to read more)

On aging gracefully: Greater Age Brings Greater Responsibility by Tim Challies

Then there is the responsibility of example, of setting an example of the character and conduct that God commends. We expect little from children when it comes to modeling such traits. But as they grow into their teens and then pass into their 20s and 30s, we rightly expect much more. With aging we gain the special responsibility of setting an example to those who are younger than we are. Titus 2:2-3 lays out specific ways that older people are to serve as an example to younger people. “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good…” Older men are to cultivate and display specific character traits—traits that are appropriate for their age and lacking in those who are younger. Older women, too, gain new responsibilities of character and conduct that serve as an example to younger women. (click here to read more)

On prayer for national leaders: You Should Pray for Donald Trump No Matter How You Voted by Russell Moore

After all, we live in a society in which politics has become a badge of tribal identity. Many see their political “side” as the force for good, and the other “side” as the total opposite. That’s why one can take poll questions on issues and get opposite opinions, from the same people polled, based on whether the issue is associated by the pollster with one president or another. Prayer can become that way.

We can pray in a way that wants absolute success for officials we like, and total defeat for those we oppose. That’s not the way Christians pray.

Consistently, no matter who is in office, we are to pray for success. That doesn’t mean we pray for all of any leader’s ideas to be realized. But it means that we pray that he or she would succeed, would carry out an agenda that leads to the flourishing of the rest of society and, particularly, so that the church may “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (click here to read more)

On being a part of the church community: The Life-Changing Magic of Showing Up by Ricky Alcantar

We are obsessed with lifehacks and shortcuts today. Everywhere ads hit us with easy trick to grow our investments, to make dinner prep a breeze, to give us a toned body in seven minutes, to rack up credit card points. We’re tempted to believe that maybe, somehow, there’s a real shortcut there for Christian community and spiritual growth.

Certainly tips and tricks for daily life stuff have their place, but the writer of Hebrews gives us the opposite of a shortcut: “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.” (Heb 10:24-25)

That’s his charge: think about how to stir up other believers, don’t neglect just showing up week after week at church or in your small group or with your accountability partner and encourage them. No shortcuts. Just refusing to quit. (click here to read more)

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