Good Reads 09.28.16 (on: reputations, thankfulness, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On our reputations: Christ Our All: Image Maintenance in an Age of Emojis by Owen Strachan

This does not preclude any response to critics. At times, one must speak up. There are real falsehoods that deserve a response. But we will never be able to undo opposition in a total and final sense by our own strength. Important as it is for us to engage in select discussion, there simply is no ultimate vindication of ourselves we can accomplish. Only Jesus can clear our name. Only Jesus can overcome our enemies. Only Jesus can quiet hate, and destroy evil, and right every wrong ever done to his people (and every wrong we ourselves have done, sadly). (click here to read more)

On being thankful: Lay Aside the Weight of Thanklessness by Jon Bloom

In parents like these, we see an image of God’s heart for us. God does not command and exhort us to thank him because he loves to hear the “magic words” or watch us perform a mere divine courtesy. He’s after our spiritual health and prosperity. He does not want us to be spiritually sick and poor. He tells us that thanklessness is a sign of unbelief (Romans 1:21). But thankfulness is a sign of faith, evidence that we really see his grace and feel its effects. That’s what he wants for us. (click here to read more)

On praying for pastors: Top 10 Ways to Pray for Your Pastor by Michelle Leslie

Does your pastor have time to get alone with the Lord for his personal relationship with Christ? Maybe he’s struggling against a particular sin or striving to be more committed to prayer. Pray that God will grow your pastor in Christ as an individual. (click here to read more)

On church and helping people see the awesomeness of God: They Unchurched the Church by Erik Raymond

As the discussion went on I was able to figure out why he had so thoughtfully engaged with this experience. He went to church looking for something. You might say he was a seeker. In his case, he was truly seeking to learn about God. He wanted to see how Christians worshiped. But notice the painful irony: the church in its effort to be relevant to the unchurched was actually irrelevant to this seeker. They had unwittingly unchurched the church. At the time of his visit my friend wanted answers to some important (and extremely relevant) questions he had. He went to what seemed like the right place—a Christian church with a lot of people. However, what he found was a ecclesiological Potemkin village. This church’s unhealthy quest relevance led them to a startling place of irrelevance. (click here to read more)

 

Good Reads 12.30.15 (on: prayer, the little things in life, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On when life leaves you feeling drained: Drained? Receive His Fullness by Kristen Wetherell

Christmas can leave a good number of people feeling more empty than full. And not only Christmas but many aspects of life. Parenting children. Budgeting monthly finances. Maintaining a healthy, vibrant marriage. Making appointments on time. Meeting the boss’ expectations. Running errands within a packed schedule. Caring for family and friends who are grieving.

The feeling of being drained is not hard to come by. But it’s not altogether surprising, considering our imperfect planet is occupied by limited, transient human beings whose needs seems to know no end. (click here to read more)

On how the small things over time make big differences: Your Whole Life Has the Same Shape as a Single Day by Mark Altrogee

Small, seemingly insignificant things we do every day shape our weeks, months, years and our lives. It might not seem like much to read your Bible for a few minutes and pray for a few minutes. But do it every day and it will shape your life. It might not seem like much to write in a journal a few things you are thankful for, but do it every day and you will wind up with a lifetime of thankfulness. (click here to read more)

On praying for your pastors: Four Reasons You Should Pray for Your Pastors Daily by Jason Allen

As a pastor, few things warmed my heart more than church members telling me they prayed for me daily. Their simple act of prayer both encouraged and reassured me. It encouraged me to know they were standing in the gap for me spiritually, and it reassured me to know they loved my family, the church, and me enough to do so. Now that I a member of a local church, God has been impressing upon my heart the importance of praying regularly for my pastors. (click here to read more)

On praying for your enemies: A Call to Pray for Our Enemies by JR Vassar

God has given human government to execute justice upon the ungodly (Romans 13:3–4). There is “a time for war, and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:8). We live in a war-torn time, and that should sadden us. Most Christians believe that there is such a thing as “just war.” But even just war is tragic (a sign of sin’s destructive power in the world) that grieves God and must not be called for in a cavalier manner.

I am grieved that some influential pastors and Christian leaders eagerly call for the bombing of regions that will inevitably lead to the destruction of human life (innocent image-bearers who suffer as collateral damage), and do so without tears and a broken heart. (click here to read more)

On praising God during hard times: How Can We Praise God During the Hard Times by Casey Lewis

You see, those who have repented of their sin and believe in Jesus, as their Lord and Savior, no longer have to fear God’s punishment because Jesus has taken it for them. Of that, we can be certain not only because God’s Word tells us, but also because God is unchanged. There will never come a day when God will change His mind about how we are saved or who is saved. For that, we can be thankful even while facing hardships. (click here to read more)