Showing posts from September, 2015

How to Cut Toxic People out of your life - from the Art of Manliness (not the full article)

What we’re talking about here is true toxicity — the kind that infects, metastasizes, and takes over your life. Here are a few classic signs of toxic people: Toxic people try to control you. Strange as it might sound, people who aren’t in control of their own lives tend to want to control yours. The toxic look for ways to control others, either through overt methods or subtle manipulation.Toxic people disregard your boundaries. If you’re always telling someone to stop behaving a certain way and they only continue, that person is probably toxic. Respecting the boundaries of others comes naturally to well-adjusted adults. The toxic person thrives on violating them.Toxic people take without giving. Give and take is the lifeblood of true friendship. Sometimes you need a hand, and sometimes your friend does, but in the end it more or less evens out. Not with the toxic person — they’re often there to take what they can get from you, as long as you’re willing to give it.Toxic people are alway…

Justin Bieber: I Just Wanna Honestly Live Like Jesus

Pop superstar Justin Bieber has opened up about his faith, his past troubles and his new desire to “live like Jesus.” The 21-year-old gave a long interview to Complex magazine, and was frank about his lifestyle and the controversy that has surrounded him for the last few years because of his, at times, rowdy behavior. He explained, “I could say it over and over again, I’m changing and doing this with my life” but said he knows that people need to “start seeing something tangible.” And Bieber said that a major part of this change has to do with his renewed Christian faith, At this point, my faith has gotten me to where I am. My faith has brought me to a whole other level. I love talking about my faith. I think that with Christians, they’ve left such a bad taste in people’s mouths. Just like, overly pushy with the subject, overly churchy and religious … You ever flicked on a channel and a late-night church show is on? Sometimes it’s like, “You better do this or you gon’ die and you gon…

Samaritan's Purse working with Refugess in Greece etc.


The Age of Ambition Our focus on reaching more people could take our attention away from those God has placed in our midst. Chris Nye | posted September 19, 2015

This past spring, in Leadership Journal, pastor-of-pastors and writer Eugene Peterson was asked what concerns him most about the current state of the pastoral vocation. If I could be so bold as to summarize his response in one word it would be “ambition.” His distress over the concept of ambition amongst pastors seems to be connected with it as a priority. "I'm alarmed that we measure things by what the world counts as important," he said. One can imagine the "things" Peterson speaks of: numbers, money, influence, sex appeal, and power, just to name a few. The evangelical landscape is marred with scars of our ambition: burned out ministers, adulterous pastors, isolated leaders, and the collapsing of organizations that got out of hand by over-reaching. We are guilty of this sin, for sure. The evangelical landscape is marred with scars of our ambition: burned out ministers, adulterous pastors, isolated leaders, and the collapsing of organizations that got out of…
Martin Luther was summoned before a tribunal of bishops, cardinals, papal legates and the emperor himself, and ordered to recant his teachings on faith and freedom or face imprisonment and even death. We can only imagine the pressure he felt to give in to their demands. Luther was given one night to make his decision. He spent the night in prayer and deep thought and deliberation. By morning he knew what he would do. He would take a stand. Brought once again before the tribunal he was again ordered to recant and they then waited for his response. Luther replied: “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason, I cannot and will not recant anything. I am convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the word of God. Acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. Here I stand! I can do no other! So help me God!”
还有一箱 - One more box (Chinese) 

OCC Boxes in China

The Old One - a horse story

A brother and sister had made their usual hurried, obligatory pre- Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents with their small herd of horses. The farm was where they had grown up and it had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine, which topped the hill behind the farmhouse. Through the years the tree had become a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the countryside. The young siblings had fond memories of their childhood here, but the city hustle and bustle added more excitement to their lives, and called them away to a different life.

The old folks no longer showed the horses, for the years had taken their toll, and getting out to the barn on those frosty mornings was getting harder, but it gave them a reason to get up in the mornings and a reason to live. They sold a few foals each year, and the horses were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day's end.

Angry, as they prepared to leave, the young couple co…
Dadeville, Alabama councilman Frank Goodman is pushing for a new local ordinance that would outlaw sagging pants, because, he says, God told him to. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Goodman said ever since he took office in 2008, he’s wanted to pursue legislation to prohibit “anybody walking around with their pants down with underwear that is showing,” explaining, “That is something that has never struck my fancy.” Recently though, he’s decided to revisit the law, because of what he says is the voice of the Lord. “I prayed and asked God to show me what I should do, and the way I should go about it. What would God do? Did God go around doing this? He would show me this saggy pant—it’s one of the things He did not do. It is not in His orders to do that to gain eternal life. Another council member has suggested that the new ordinance also apply to women and girls in “short shorts or a short skirt, leaving nothing to the imagination.” Though The Daily Beast story notes that many loc…
Malala Yousafzai & Kylie Jenner. Both turned 18 recently. One was given a Ferrari and spent thousands on facial modification. The other was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, survived a gun shot to the face by the Taliban due to corruption in her country, and opened a school for Syrian refugees to combat the lack of education for youth around the world. What's upsetting is the media is only covering one of these stories as "breaking news."

20 Differences Between the Psalms and Modern Worship Songs by By Adrian Warnock, Jubilee Church London

There is a major difference between many modern worship songs and the Psalms. Too many modern songs speak only of the love of God, and he is seen only as a gentle and loving friend.
It’s not that the worship songs are wrong. It’s just that they can almost completely miss a different side of God’s character. I want to explore that a little today before we focus in another post on an event that happened in 2 Samuel 6 that shocks the modern reader.
In the Psalms, God is described as someone who:
1. judges (Psalm 1:6) 2. is full of wrath (Psalm 2:5, 12) 3. breaks the teeth of the wicked (Psalm 3:10) 4. is a God of honor and righteousness (Psalm 4:1-2) 5. hates all evildoers and destroys liars (Psalm 5:5) 6. disciplines (Psalm 6:1) 7. feels indignation every day (Psalm 7:11) 8. is majestic and full of glory (Psalm 8:1) 9. rebukes and blots out the wicked (Psalm 9:5) 10. stands far off and hides himself even when someone is in trouble (Psalm 10:1) 11. tests us, and pours burning coals on t…
I, I am  Yahweh,
and there is no other Savior but Me.
12 I alone declared, saved, and proclaimed—
and not some foreign god among you.
So you are My witnesses”—
this is the Lord’s declaration—
“and[b] I am God.
13 Also, from today on I am He alone,
and none can deliver from My hand.
I act, and who can reverse it?”

Isaiah 42:11-13

Excerpt from why-i-go-church-even-when-i-dont-feel-it

Relevant Magazine Article by Trudy Smith
So I’ve slowly learned that going to church can be about something other than moral requirement, fear of punishment, social connection, getting spiritually fed, or even looking for likeminded people with whom to pursue justice in the world. Going to church can be about holding this space in which to experience the grace of God together, learn together, fail and forgive and stumble forward together. I’ve benefitted from the sacrificial commitment and consistency of countless people who have welcomed me into community over the years, and now I recognize the invitation for me to do the same thing for others: to hold that space even on days when I don’t seem to personally benefit from it. When the songs don’t do anything for me, when I don’t want to talk with people about the difficult week I’ve had, or when I’d rather sleep in instead—it is then that I am invited to go to church anyway. Not because God or anyone else is judging me by my attendance…

Excerpt from The Next Culture War - by David Brooks for the New York Times

Consider a different culture war, one just as central to your faith and far more powerful in its persuasive witness.
We live in a society plagued by formlessness and radical flux, in which bonds, social structures and commitments are strained and frayed. Millions of kids live in stressed and fluid living arrangements.
Many communities have suffered a loss of social capital. Many young people grow up in a sexual and social environment rendered barbaric because there are no common norms. Many adults hunger for meaning and goodness, but lack a spiritual vocabulary to think things through.
Social conservatives could be the people who help reweave the sinews of society. They already subscribe to a faith built on selfless love. They can serve as examples of commitment. They are equipped with a vocabulary to distinguish right from wrong, what dignifies and what demeans. They already, but in private, tithe to the poor and nurture the lonely.
The defining face of social conservatism could be …

Yes, God Is Calling You to Be a Missionary Sometimes, the most overlooked mission field is right where you are. from Relevant Magazine by Alan Briggs

A few weeks back, I was drinking a good cup of fresh roasted coffee at a local café, waiting for a friend to arrive. The folks at the bar, who obviously frequent the place, were sharing about a friend struggling health problems. They were passing around a card for him, organizing meals and getting the word out to visit him. These café regulars developed into a caring community. Something in all of us longs for this feeling of connection to a place and the people who inhabit it. People everywhere are longing to be locals again. Signs of localization are everywhere from “Buy Local!” campaign posters to gentrification of forgotten places in cities to the rise of fixie bikes parked at the coffee shop. An urban studies theorist, Richard Florida, says, “The 20th-century American dream was to move out and move up. The 21st-century dream seems to be to put down deeper roots.” I started to crave roots when I was living out my dreams on the peaks and open waters of New Zealand. I came. I explor…
Continuing on means being faithful to the actions of where my feet are today—whether walking three steps forward or even two steps back. It's a winding path of trial and error—taking the initiative, dreaming big, but starting small and acting on it daily. It's realizing that every faithful interaction toward your passion is a piece of a grander story, but you live them out one at a time.
But we're on the trail toward that mountain peak, and let’s stay committed to getting there with everyone else who is on that same mission. So on the days when our feet hurt or the pack is heavy and we just want to turn around, let’s keep ourselves focused on the destination while at the same time celebrating the mile marks or even celebrating more steps in front of us.
Because life ought not be a sprint. Let’s keep dreaming while also pacing ourselves, and simply choosing to take a few more steps every day.
- Jenna Lee Nardella