Sky Links, 3-4-17

Photo: Spacebridge by longobord CC 2.0
May God himself, the heavenly Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, release grace over you and impart total well-being into your lives.
-Ephesians 1:2 (TPT)


Jessie Cruickshank shared a paper on how the church got away from the NT pattern of disciple making, where everyone is discipled equally with equal standing as disciple-makers.

Thankfully, there is new wave of impetus on discipleship in the church. Because of that new recovered interest in the subject, many rush to publish books on the best methods and curricula. While these are helpful and a great place to start, it is very important to think about the historical background and current cultural paradigm that implicitly informs and under-girds our concepts of discipleship – and discover how they are hindering our fulfillment of the Great Commission.
To draw the best picture, it is important for us to consider how discipleship has changed over time. First, we need to consider some of the history of education because how we have made disciples is directly and intimately correlated with the types and methods and ways we have thought about education. Because the church is not that much more creative than the culture, the way the culture has thought about education becomes the same way the church thinks about it as well.
Neil Cole (and others) have written about how Paul thought about and made disciples. An examination of those methods is beyond the scope of this paper other than to identify that 1) it was done as a community or town, and all persons participated; 2) apprenticeship was the main method of education; and 3) the purpose of discipleship was to increase one’s union with God in all aspects of life.
These foundational characteristics remained intact up until about 300 AD when, as we all know, Constantine entered the storyline and created the separation between clergy and laity. Suddenly and catastrophically, we abandoned the concept of equally discipling everybody and equal standing as disciple-makers. It became Clergy’s responsibility to be educated and trained, and everyone else’s responsibility to follow them. It is a concept that has only seldomly been challenged in the last 1700 years.


Are you a copy writer?  Do you read copy?  Do you create any kind of messages: hand-outs, bulletins, signs or scripts?  Typography matters a lot to the reader.  

Benjamin Bannister wrote a post illustrating why typography is so important, using what happened at the 2017 Academy Awards, as an example.
There was a major twist ending and a major snafu at the very end of the 2017 Academy Awards for the category of Best Picture. The wrong winner was declared. If you look back on the footage and analyze it, you could read on Warren Beatty’s face that something was not right just before the Best Picture winner was announced.
Let’s quickly review the second-by-second timeline of what happened:
1. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway come out to present Best Picture, but were wrongly given the envelope for Best Actress, instead.
2. Warren reads the card, then stops for a moment to read it again to be sure (which the audience thinks is supposed to be comical). He even checks to see if there’s anything else in the envelope.
3. He then proceeded to show Faye Dunaway the card with a facial expression that likely reads, “is this right?”
4. Before he could say anything to her, Faye automatically reads the card (which looks like she didn’t fully read it), and announced the wrong winner.
5. A mistake happened that has never happened in Oscars’ 88-year history.
I would imagine there are multiple redundancies so that something like this does not happen — especially at the Oscars! But there’s one thing the Academy possibly didn’t consider, or forgot, for this year’s winner cards: typography.
Benjamin Bannister, Why Typography Matters- Especially At The Oscars 

Future Christian leadership

From Christianity 9 to 5: Three Temptations of A Christian Leader, by Henri Nouwen; From: In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership (1989).
Too often, I looked at being relevant, popular and powerful as ingredients of an effective ministry. The truth, however, is that these are not vocations, but temptations.
Jesus asks us to move from concern for relevance to a life of prayer, from worries about popularity to communal and mutual ministry, and from a leadership built on power to a leadership in which we critically discern where God is leading us and our people...
...I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her vulnerable self.  That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love. The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God’s Word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.
Evernote share of the above article.

The Shack Movie

From Roger E. Olson, Finding God in "The Shack"
The movie lived up to my highest expectations and did not disappoint in any way. I have never seen a “Hollywood” movie (so not a Billy Graham film) that presented the gospel so clearly and unequivocally. That is not to endorse every sentence in the movie; it is only to say that if a person is able and willing to take it for what it (and the book) is–a parable–and not be put off by the imagery that person will hear the gospel in the movie.
Of course, were I a Calvinist, I might not think that. But, of course, I’m not, so when I say “the gospel” I mean the Arminian version of it. I do not know if Young considers himself an Arminian, but he cannot be a Calvinist. A major theme of the book and the movie is that evil and innocent suffering are not planned or willed by God even if God does permit them. They are the result of human misuse of free will. Free will plays a major role in the book and in the movie and the free will being referred to is non-compatibilist (i.e., it is power of contrary choice).
But the center of the movie is God’s goodness and love and our need to trust him in spite of what may happen to us or others.