Skylinks, 9-7-19

Bridges of God: The Church and the Rural-Urban Divide

-Charlie Cotherman 

...the principle that God uses relational bridges in the work of his kingdom is something that in retrospect looks so obvious that one wonders how missionary organizations could have ever missed it. Yet they did.

We still do.

Although the correlation between the current state of the church in America and McGavran’s work is hardly one-to-one, the reality today is that we in the church in America still need to be extremely intentional about cultivating relational bridges, especially as our nation approaches what is sure to be another divisive election season.

As a pastor of a small, rural church, I feel this need keenly. If history is any indicator, one of the most polarizing divides heading into the 2020 election cycle may again be the divide between those—Christian and non-Christian alike—who live in the nation’s rural regions and those who live in more urban areas.

When Your Identity is Wrapped Up into Your Ministry
-Ed Stetzer

My identity has too often been tied to the successes or failures of the ministries that I lead—and too frequently in unhealthy ways.
It’s easy to find yourself counting heads at church on a Sunday or eyeing up the funds that were raised on any given week, wishing that more was accomplished. I remember times when I mistakenly thought, If I can just get over 200 people this week, then I’ll finally be at peace. Evaluating our leadership capacities can take some ugly turns when done numerically based on factors that are, quite frankly, completely outside of our control.

Choosing Church: There are lots of reasons to avoid church, but here are the reasons to look again.                                                                                     -Marilyn McEntyre

There are a number of reasons not to go to church. At risk of stating the obvious, here are a few:
  • Some churches are clubby and exclusionary. 
  • Some churches offer easy, oversimplified preachments that provide scant help to those grappling with the complexities of contemporary life. 
  • Some churches' efforts to be relevant lure them into imitating popular culture in language, music, and technology, all rather less effectually than their secular counterparts. 
  • Some churches are boring. 
Here are five reasons, not necessarily in order of importance, I would give the reluctant and the skeptical to check out church, despite their reservations:
  • A healthy church will help you get over yourself. 
  • A healthy church will allow you to acknowledge guilt and experience forgiveness. 
  • A healthy church will invite you into countercultural community.
  • A healthy church will give you access to a treasury of words and music. 
  • Healthy churches are places of divine encounter.

I grew up on likes of Vineyard, Delirious? and Sonicflood. And my personal playlist has Jesus Culture, Hillsong Young & Free, Elevation, and all the rest on regular rotation.
But recently, I have come to appreciate the older songs. Not just because hearing an ancient hymn from an old pipe organ just feels holy. But because old songs have stood the test of time and they are our connection to the (lower case) catholic Church.

Barna: 'Resilient' young Christians deepening faith amid growing number of church dropouts
-Brandon Showalter

New research from Barna indicates that while a higher percentage of young people are dropping out of church, the faith of those who stay is resilient in remarkable ways.
Barna President David Kinnaman's new book, Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in a Digital Babylon, shows that — just as his 2011 book, You Lost Me, explained — young people dropping out of church remains a problem.

Carey Nieuwhof Podcast Interview with David Kinnaman, President of the Barna Group-

David busts some persistent myths about people and culture too many leaders still believe. He also shares findings from his surveys of over 100,000 young adults, what they believe, what bothers them, and how a surprising number still have strong faith, despite what you read about the next generation. Plus, David and Carey test some assumptions about where culture is headed in the future.

Godfrey Bloom: The Whole Banking System is a Scam

The Battle for Meaning
-American Restoration Institute

To state the matter simply, progressives lie. Constantly. About everything. They don’t even care if their story is plausible. Because progressives dominate print, broadcast, and social media, they turn whatever story they want to tell into conventional wisdom. Every committed progressive understands that a lie told often enough becomes the truth, so they repeat their lies. Often. Then they report on the previous day’s reported lies, repeatedly raising concerns that if true, would be serious. Of course, they’re not true---

The Charlottesville Lie
-Steve Cortez

What My Daughter With Down Syndrome Taught Me About Happiness—and Love
-Amy Julia Becker

Most people with Down syndrome report a high level of happiness with their lives. I suspect that their happiness, like Penny’s, doesn’t come from a failure to understand pain or rejection. Penny is happy in the midst of pain and rejection. Her attitude does not arise out of a lack of emotional depth or from an inability to feel rejected, abused, or depressed. Rather, it emerges out of an ability to hold onto hope in the midst of suffering, redemption in the midst of pain, and forgiveness in the midst of hurt. Penny embodies the great poem about love penned so many years ago by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians—that love is patient and kind, always believing, always forgiving.

The Heartfelt Logic of Mercy: A Prerequisite for Being Christian
-David A. Smither

“I’m not quite sure how to say this, but I think you’re crazy.” These words were directed to me by a friend I hold in high esteem.
“I respect your right to your own thoughts,” he continued, “but if you ask me, the man’s a serial offender. What he did is unforgivable.”
He was expressing his sincere bafflement at the fact that I have taken upon myself the task of corresponding with and evangelizing the man who murdered my sister more than 20 years ago.

Volkswagen e-Golf Commercial Banned in the UK

Argument/debate etiquette 

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Your heart's best friend: Dog ownership associated with better cardiovascular health

-Terri Malloy, Mayo Clinic

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Creator of the GIF says it is pronounced "Jif"
-Bonnie Malkin