Morning Brew 01/31/13

Preaching to the Collective Heart – “to preach to the heart means to go right for the commanding commitments of people’s lives that drive their desires, thinking, feeling, and action.”  Tim Keller presents how he engages people’s collective culture in his preaching, what he refers to as people’s “commanding commitments”.  Always good food for thought from Keller.  

Sex Trafficking at the Super Bowl – It’s a sad reality that our big cultural celebrations, like the Super Bowl, World Cup, and Olympics, lead to thousands of women and girls being trafficked into the host city for the games.  Justin Holcomb digs a little deeper beyond to the statistics and down to the heart of the issue, which is the hearts of men.  

We Must Move In Grace – Matt Chandler shares an excerpt from his book on how grace-driven effort is fueled by Christ’s performance on our behalf.  I like his last point where he says, “Grace-driven effort is violent. It is aggressive. The person who understands the gospel understands that, as a new creation, his spiritual nature is in opposition to sin now, and he seeks not just to weaken sin in his life, but to outright destroy it.”

The Un-American Church: Discipleship Community – “‘Discipleship’ should be understood in terms of “mission” because we exist to make, mature and multiply disciples. The very nature of “discipleship” is always striving to bring people closer to Jesus, no matter where they might be at on the spectrum. Discipleship is joining in the missio dei, the mission of God.”  Good word from Brent Thomas on the primacy of community in spiritual formation and discipleship.


Morning Brew 01/30/13

The Price of a Stolen Child – A long article in the New York Times Magazine about child sexual abuse, child pornography, and the devastating effects on two separate women.  This a real long read, it took me about 20 minutes, but it is well worth your time to get a glimpse at how sexual abuse and sexually exploited victims live.

Dan and Me – Shane Windmeyer, the Executive Director of Campus Pride, a national LGBT camps group, tells the story of how Dan Cathy, the President and COO of Chik-Fil-A, reached out to him after the giant firestorm around his comments about gay marriage and the picketing and anti-picketing last year (remember that?).  So many good things here, I applaud Cathy and Windmeyer’s civil dialogue and admire Cathy’s willingness to learn and stretch his faith to understand LGBT issues.  I, like Cathy, may not agree with the LGBT lifestyle and call it a sin, we should be able to sit down and talk about our differences with out tossing rocks at one another.

How to Avoid Brain Meltdown & Increase Theological Vision – Jonathan Dodson, founder and all around smart guy of Gospel-Centered Discipleship, shares their vision for 2013, some thoughts on their long form approach to their articles, and their theological vision for their articles.  Not only does it give us a peek at what is coming for the next couple months, but leaves you some good nuggets for reflection.

“For Now” – Luke Simmons, pastor at Redemption Church Gateway, shares what he calls the Brett Favre Principle for church planters and pastors.  Strikes a chord with this Packer fan, and is a good reflection on how saying, “For now,” doesn’t mean we’re always limp-wristed and indecisive.

Morning Brew 01/29/13

Trust Your Gut: Lesson Learned From Haguenau and Macy Falls – Any article that references Band of Brothers, Dick Winters, or Easy Company will automatically make the Morning Brew.  The Art of Manliness blog shares a good story on trusting our gut and examining our motives.  If you have never checked out the Art of Manliness blog, do it.  I consistenly find the articles edifying, knowledgable, helpful, and (of course) manly. 

Five Church Planting Dangers – Tim Chester wrote this for the Gospel Coalition blog a couple weeks ago, but this article is his expanded version of that article.  Really helpful advice for church planters and church planting teams on what can distract you from mission and fidelity to the gospel and God’s Church. 

Paul’s Church Planting Strategy – Ed Stetzer is blogging through his essay on the classic book, Paul’s Missionary Methods, by Rolland Allen.  In this part, he talks about Paul’s focus on places of influence to ignite church planting movements.  An interesting discussion, and I’m not sure we need all church plants to follow Paul’s example, but we certainly need many of them to do this. 

The Art of Neighboring – Hugh Halter waxes a little bit on Pathak and Runyon’s book, The Art of Neighboring.  I highly recommend this book, and Halter does a great job of distilling the books message down to loving our neighbors, as Jesus commanded, and not loving them to get something out of them (i.e. making them Christians, being best buds, etc.). 

Morning Brew 01/28/13

People Are Awesome – Click through to see a video of regular people doing insanely cool things.  It is amazing how God has designed the body to accomplish things we cannot imagine possible.

Waiter Hailed As Hero – A waiter stands up and refuses to serve a table that makes disparaging remarks about a 5-year old Down’s Syndrome boy at a restaurant.  A small sample of standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Women Now Able to Serve in Combat – The Gospel Coalition takes a look at the question of, “Should women serve in combat?” and examines some biblical texts.  I’d be interested to get your take, but I cannot agree with this move.  Men are called to be the protectors of women, and it seems cowardly and a pragmatic decision that abdicates the God-given responsibility of men.  I’m not saying women can’t fight, but they shouldn’t have to.

A Little Perspective Please – The Darkness to Light blog shares that 97-99% of the time, kids are telling the truth about being sexually abused or exploited.  A little perspective, since even when someone is convicted for abusing a child, often the community surrounding fails to really believe the victim, especially if the offender is a respected member of the community.  Stand up for our victims, they are telling the truth and need our help, support, and love.

Morning Brew 01/25/13

Who Governs the Church – A pertinent post for our church, Waukesha City Church, as we are in disucssions right now about elders and deacons and what are their roles in the church.  I appreciate the Gospel Coalition’s focus on uniting churches of different polity to cordially debate differences and remain united in the gospel.

JJ Abrams Set To Direct Next “Star Wars” Film –  As a Jedi, I approve.  The Force is strong in JJ Abrams.  This is probably the best score that could have happened for Star Wars VII.  If history tells us anything, directors other than Lucas score big.  Empire Strikes Back was directed by Irvin Kershner and was a perfect fit for the darker mood of the story.  There is no better way to reset the operatic and fanfare-like bluster of a new Star Wars film than to bring in the guy who managed to breathe new life into Star Trek.  I highly anticipate hilarious plot spoofs to come out in light of Star Wars snagging Abrams, and they better not disappoint. 

You Can’t Microwave People Into Maturity – Erik Raymond looks back on goals he has set for himself and reflects on how patience and persistence will pay off with goals and with people.  When we are convinced God is giving the growth, we will not grow frustrated but trust in His timing and the Spirit’s work. 

Confessions of a Failed Church Planter – This is an incredibly honest post from Jason Brooks on Ed Stetzer’s blog.  What kept ringing in my head was Jeff Vanderstelt asking, “Are you secure enough in your relationship with Christ for your church plant to dail?”  That is one of his major tests for your readiness to plant a church.  Jason is in that place now, and shares his story of how church plants that fail are heart-breaking but part of the cycle of church and churches.  Not every plant succeeds, and that is okay. 

Evening Brew 01/24/13

Ah, the smooth and jolting evening brew.  Perfect for the late meeting, insomniac, self-inflicted cram session, or post-dessert chaser.  Make sure to enjoy a nice scone with it, since eating a regular dinner with coffee is nasty.

493 Churches To Watch – Not sure why 493, but has put together churches to watch, study, and learn from.  Interesting enough, but is a little on the time-consuming side if you want to click through to each church.  File this one under the “view when hyped up on red bull” category.  Note to planters and pastors in Wisconsin, there are only THREE Wisconsin churches on the list.  There is a big task ahead. 

The Mars Volta Breaks Up – These guys were pretty much the only Prog Rock band I could stand.  I remember a friend of mine from High School, Patrick, loved this band and introduced me to them.  Sad to hear of their break up, but all good (and weird) things must come to an end. 

On another note, Patrick was the guy, in the year 2000, I went to see a band I had heard a little about, was playing at the Pabst in Milwaukee, and sounded pretty good.  That band was the White Stripes.  My musical tastes were never the same again after that night.  They are the only band I have seen in concert more than once, and both shows were incredible. Jack White is so cool. 

Each Gram of DNA Holds Half a Million DVDsI was blown away by the cool process used by the molecular biologists, but how amazing that one gram contains that much information.  How amazing is the design of our God?  Maybe if we managed to collect 2 billion DVDs, we might be able to build a human out of them.  The science sounds sketchy, but I’m sure it would(n’t) work. 

When He Feels Far Off – “He is near not because we feel his nearness, but because he says he is near.”  A great small article from the Gospel Coalition.  Even when God seems a million miles away, we can trust that He is near. He is with us and is for us.