Sky Links 8-26-16

Photo by longboard CC 2.0

Jesus wept.
-John 11:35

Stop Saying This To People Who Are Suffering

Tim Lawrence wrote a post about a cliche that people, even Christian people, say; that they should not say, because it is unhelpful, and it is often hurtful.

That trite phrase, that you should stop saying is, "everything happens for a reason".

Tim wrote this:
When a person is devastated by grief, the last thing they need is advice. Their world has been shattered. This means that the act of inviting someone—anyone—into their world is an act of great risk. To try and fix or rationalize or wash away their pain only deepens their terror.
Instead, the most powerful thing you can do is acknowledge. Literally say the words:

I acknowledge your pain. I am here with you.
Note that I said with you, not for you. For implies that you're going to do something. That is not for you to enact. But to stand with your loved one, to suffer with them, to listen to them, to do everything but something is incredibly powerful.
Read Everything Does Not Happen For A Reason, by Tim Lawrence

What Are House Churches? A Primer 

Years ago, I thought that house church people were just bitter rebels.  After finding out that's not true, the common one that I have heard is, "House churches are not real churches!"  Buzzzzz - Sadly, that is wrong too.

Dave Barnhart wrote:
I’ll confess that when I first heard about the idea of house churches, I thought, That’s not real church. I thought the only reason a congregation would meet in a house instead of a larger traditional or contemporary church would be because they couldn’t afford a building or they didn’t have the vision or ability to grow into a “real church.” I knew, of course, that the early church started in homes. What I didn’t understand was why anyone in a free country would continue to do so when larger churches with exciting youth programs, riveting preachers and spectacular worship music are not hard to find.
Now, here I am, starting house churches.
What Are House Churches?, by Dave Barnhart

Why Millennials Can't Stand Coming To Church

It is still true that the church sometimes is the greatest barrier to people finding God.  The Millennial generation, people roughly in their 20's and 30's are, by and large, and perhaps more than the preceding generations, not interested in church.  And it is not because they are just a bunch of bad apples.

Last year, The Barna Group did some research on and here is what they found:
Among those who say church is not important, most are split between two reasons: two in five say church is not important because they can find God elsewhere (39%), and one-third say it’s because church is not personally relevant to them (35%). One in three simply find church boring (31%) and one in five say it feels like God is missing from church (20%). Only 8% say they don’t attend because church is “out of date,” undercutting the notion that all churches need to do for Millennials is to make worship “cooler.”
A significant number of young adults have deeper complaints about church. More than one-third say their negative perceptions are a result of moral failures in church leadership (35%). And substantial majorities of Millennials who don’t go to church say they see Christians as judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), anti-homosexual (91%) and insensitive to others (70%).
Are you listening and do you care?  I hope so.  Read What Millennials Want When they Visit Church, by David Kinnaman

Why Calvinism is Wrong

Roger E. Olson reviewed a new book by Jerry L. Walls, called, Does God Love Everyone?  The Heart of What's Wrong With Calvinism.  From the post:
In Does God Love Everyone? however, Walls does an excellent job of driving home the Achilles Heel of five point Calvinism which is that a believer in it cannot say to any group of people or any individual: “God loves you, Christ died for you, and you can be saved.” Of course, John Piper and some other five point Calvinists argue that they can say that to any group of people or to any individual. However, the “explanation” of that basic evangelistic statement, if made by a five point Calvinist, is so tortuous as to be laughable. As one five point Calvinist explained the first part of it “God loves all people in some ways but only some people in all ways.” And Piper argues that Christ’s death on the cross benefits even the reprobate—those God has predestined to hell—with “temporal blessings.” As I have said many times that amounts to giving them a little bit of heaven to go to hell in.
Does God Love Everyone? Review of New Book about Calvinism and Arminianism, by Roger E. Olson.  Roger also has a book on this subject, titled Against Calvinism (2011)