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Digital Detox! A Challenge!

“For the majority of human history, people lived without the distractions of endless shows to stream or never-ending scrolls on devices glued to their faces that never turn off and never cease to distract. While there are many enjoyments to be had in this digital age, we largely don’t need any of them.

The effect of being connected to thousands of people on our phones is a neglect of the people living under our roof and next door. We are missing out on enriching relationships with people who could be part of the network and support system we need to bear our burdens, know us, and be known by us. I would start by deleting social media apps from your phone and restricting this kind of engagement to mornings or evenings.

From there I would suggest unsubscribing from most cable, dish, and streaming platforms. No one needs to have the appetite for television at the level many of us have today. It should give us pause that today someone can consume seasons of a TV show in a few days that a previous generation took many years to enjoy. The time gained from spending less time with our phones and shows can be better spent cultivating relationships with flesh and blood human beings.” (from Redeeming Warriors by Josh Holler)

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2020 in technology

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Attitude Transplants)

Can we talk ourselves into being happy about an unsavory task? Maybe. But those situations really highlight our attitude at the moment, don’t they? I’m reminded of the great quote by Chuck Swindoll when he said:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Satire from the Babylon Bee: Where Do You Get Your Theology?


NASHVILLE, TN—A new LifeWay Research study released Wednesday confirmed that over 92% of Christians get all of their theology from cliches on bumper stickers.

The study found that most theological ideas held by American Christians are just cutesy sayings they saw on a bumper sticker one time. Researchers believe rather than reading books, listening to good sermons, and seeing what the Bible has to say, most believers now just read bumper stickers, nod, and say, “Yeah, that sounds pretty good.”

“Whatever simplistic platitudes they happen to see on bumper stickers, Christian coffee mugs, and inspirational posters make up pretty much the entire American Christian theological diet,” study lead Jim Gardner said further stating that many Christians felt “good or very good” about their theology diet after reading a bumper sticker or two every day. “Yeah, Christians don’t study theology anymore. They read a bumper sticker and immediately believe it as gospel truth.”

Favorite doctrines of American Christians included the following:

Cleanliness is next to godliness
If it ain’t King James, it ain’t Bible
Jesus saves – everyone else rolls for damage
Love the casserole, hate the calories
God helps those who help themselves
God won’t give you more than you can handle
When God locks you in the trunk, he at least gives you a snorkel
Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship
God answers knee-mail
Hipster Jesus loved you before you were cool
Son-screen prevents sin-burn

At publishing time, LifeWay study representatives had confirmed that “Don’t drive faster than your guardian angel can fly” was voted the favorite Bible verse of American Christians.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2020 in satire

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Asking the Right Question)

Yes, asking the right question is very important in life! If we followers of Jesus lived our lives with a kind of contagious curiosity, we just might make others curious about spiritual things. And when they ask the right questions, we can be there with the answer!

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Self-Commendation (A Study of 2 Corinthians 6:3-10) Part 4 (Conclusion)

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

Let us continue our study of several verses in chapter six:

Self-Commendation (A Study of 2 Corinthians 6:3-10): Part 4

II. The Specifics of Self-Commendation (vv. 4-10)

We’ve thought about Paul’s list of the 28 items he gives showing how his behavior and mindset in ministry commend him. We’ve seen some of his difficult circumstances in which he served. We then noticed the positive qualities which marked Paul’s work. Let’s notice the last section of those items:

These nine couplets show the ministry contrasts which Paul experienced. He does not sugar-coat the challenges he faced, but pairs them with the positive aspects of serving Christ. If we only had his list of the positive parts of ministry, they would be: glory, good report, genuine, known, living on, not killed, always rejoicing, making many rich, possessing everything! But we don’t get to choose only the positive. Paul’s ministry — and ours — includes very negative items: dishonor, bad reports, charges of being an imposter, regarded as unknown, dying, beaten, sorrowful, poor, and having nothing. It should come as no surprise when ministers drop out and become insurance salesmen.

Today’s Challenge: Paul commends himself, but does so with complete honesty. If you are in professional ministry, do you have someone with whom you can share your deepest struggles? If not, pray that God would give you such a person!

 

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 6

 

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Self-Commendation (A Study of 2 Corinthians 6:3-10) Part 3

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

We’re now continuing our study of several verses in chapter six:

Self-Commendation (A Study of 2 Corinthians 6:3-10): Part 3

II. The Specifics of Self-Commendation (vv. 4-10)

We’ve thought about a definition of self-commendation in our first post (making sure we’re not putting a stumbling block in anyone’s path and working so our ministry will not be discredited). But what, specifically, does it mean to endure in the service of the Lord? We’ve noticed the 28 items that Paul lists showing how his behavior and mindset in ministry commend him. Let’s notice the second section of those items:

These are positive qualities that mark Paul’s ministry. When you and I are serving, are we serving in purity, understanding, patience, and kindness? Can we confidently say that we are doing our work “in the Holy Spirit” and “in sincere love”? We are to be marked by “truthful speech” and we should desire to wield the “weapons of righteousness” in the “power of God.” Those are high qualities — but they are not optional IF we wish to appropriately commend ourselves and our gospel!

Today’s Challenge: Which of those nine qualities in that second list do you need to work on? What steps will you take to tackle at least one of them? (Feel free to leave a comment below).

 

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 6

 

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Self-Commendation (A Study of 2 Corinthians 6:3-10) Part 2

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

We’re now continuing our study of several verses in chapter six:

Self-Commendation (A Study of 2 Corinthians 6:3-10): Part 2

II. The Specifics of Self-Commendation (vv. 4-10)

We’ve thought about a definition of self-commendation in our first post (making sure we’re not putting a stumbling block in anyone’s path and working so our ministry will not be discredited). But what, specifically, does it mean to endure in the service of the Lord? We’ve noticed the 28 items that Paul lists showing how his behavior and mindset in ministry commend him. Here, again, is that chart of those 28 items, Notice how we have marked the first section of those items:

I would describe those 10 items as commending oneself in difficult circumstances. Those conditions are not what any of us would want — but Paul’s honesty in those trying situations is refreshing and praiseworthy.

Today’s Challenge: How dare we think that ministry is easy, problem-free, or without opposition? Don’t hesitate to list (perhaps both for the Lord and for those you serve) some of the difficult circumstances you are facing in ministry. This is truth, not complaining. And ask others to pray that you will be faithful through these challenges!

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 6

 

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Self-Commendation (A Study of 2 Corinthians 6:3-10) Part 1

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

We’re now working our way through 2 Corinthians. Here’s my outline for several verses in chapter six:

Self-Commendation (A Study of 2 Corinthians 6:3-10): Part 1

What in the world does it mean to “self-commend”? Self-commendation is not the same as self-promotion. And this passage is critical in understanding how one establishes himself in ministry . . . and endures in serving Christ!

I. A Definition of Self-Commendation (vv. 3-4)

   >>> Negatively, it means we do not put a stumbling block in anyone’s path.   Nor do we discredit our ministry by our conduct.

  >>> Positively, it means we live and endure as servants of God (v. 4).

II. The Specifics of Self-Commendation (vv. 4-10)

We will examine these 28 characteristics of a godly, self-commending ministry in our subsequent posts.

Today’s Challenge: Paul’s view of his ministry is a healthy one — and given for our instruction! Which of the above 28 aspects of ministry do you find present in your service for Christ? Pick one that you need to focus on for the next while — and ask God to help you grow in that area.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 6

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Loopholes)

Many people look for loopholes when it comes to the gospel and the need of redemption in Christ! We don’t create our own words or definitions. We come to God’s Word as discoverers, not creators. And there are no loopholes to the gospel!

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Got . . . Comfort? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 7:5-7)

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

Let us continue our study of several verses in chapter seven:

Got . . . Comfort? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 7:5-7)

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 7

 

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