Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.
1. Many Christians were raised to be suspicious of Hollywood entertainment, but all of the warnings seem to have done little to curb what people watch, except, perhaps, to add a patina of shame to any admission of viewing. (17)
2. Storytelling—be it literature, theater, opera, film, or re- ality TV—doesn’t aim at our rational mind,…It aims at the imagination, a much more mysterious and sneaky part of us, ruled by love, desire, and hope. When people, against their better judgment, find themselves hooked on a show, we can trace the line back to find the hook in their imagination. (19)
Today, courtesy of social media, the ministry of presence is even more needed and relevant than it was a generation ago. Most of the people in our congregation have all the friends, followers, contacts that anyone could want. Yet someone with whom they can enjoy an honest conversation of some degree of depth is rare.
This is why the spiritual leaders of our day must be those who sit, eat and live among the people we seek to serve. It’s not enough to sit in our office and fire off emails, newsletters or blog posts. We must be among our people—loving them and encouraging them with our pastoral presence.
2. Think through your questions ahead of time.
If your group consists of nothing but very mature Christians who have known each other for years you may be able to get away with little preparation. But that’s not the make up of most groups (and if so, it’s probably time to mix things up a little for the sake of newcomers and those just starting out as followers of Christ). Make sure your questions are crisp and clear. If you aren’t sure what you are asking, you can be sure no one else will either.
This next installment of “What our Gathered Worship Should Look Like” has been helped by the internet storm caused by Victoria Osteen (wife of Joel Osteen of “Your Best Life Now” and prosperity gospel fame) because of comments she made in a recent service at Lakewood Church in Houston, TX. In exhorting the audience to participate, she laid out a case for why they ought to be motivated to do so. In sum, she said, affirmatively: “You’re not doing it for God, you are doing it for yourself, really.”
Stephanie’s has a two-year-old whom she loves to pieces, but who whines a lot. Ashley has five children at home under the age of nine. Both wrote to ask “how do you stay patient with young children?” I can certainly relate. Impatience is a common temptation for us as moms. So, as I always do, I asked my exceptionally patient mom (she raised me after all!), and wrote down a few of her suggestions.