Check out

Rediscovering Jesus’ Hymnbook
By Joe Holland, a man after my own heart.

The Table of Contents for What’s Best Next
Surely this will tempt you.

A Preaching Confession
Totally with Barry on this one: “All I do know is that in my breast is a greater yearning than ever to see conversions when I preach and yet an even greater shame over how small a flame it has been all these years.”

Now Anyone Can Use Getty Images For Free
Bloggers of the world rejoice.

Give Me Scotland or I Die
Give someone Scotland or I die.

2 Million Scientists Identify as Evangelical
“The media often portrays scientists and Christians as incapable of peaceful coexistence. But results from a recent survey suggest the two are not as incompatible as one might think. In fact, 2 million out of nearly 12 million scientists are evangelical Christians.”

Gone Fishin’ – A Forgotten Model of Ministry

What is a minister of the Gospel? The most common answers include models like Shepherd, Servant, Preacher, Theologian, Teacher, Counselor, Leader, and so on.

But one model that’s rarely thought about or spoken about today is the first model that Jesus used – Fisherman (Matt. 4:19).

My favorite hobby probably biases me here but I believe fishing for souls is one of the most powerful models of Christian ministry and must be re-prioritized. It’s such a perfect metaphor for both the fish (sinners) and the fishermen (pastors/witnesses) that I’ll leave you to make the obvious applications.

The Fish

Fish love water: They are comfortable there, have no desire to leave it, and will stay there even if the water is polluted and is killing them.

Fish are suspicious: They are wary, sensitive, fearful, easily spooked, and spend their life hiding.

Fish fight: They fight with passion when caught, even after being caught, and even with their last breath.

Fish are frustrating: They are unpredictable, annoying, baffling, discouraging, and even depressing.

Fish are worth catching: But when caught, what satisfaction, what enjoyment, what memories, what tales!

The Fishermen

Out of my well-justified fear of all female anglers, including my wife, please take all male pronouns in the generic sense of “humanity.”

Passionate: He loves fish and loves to catch fish. It’s all his one-track mind thinks about.

Optimistic: He goes out expecting to catch and confident of catching no matter how misplaced his confidence seems to others (especially his wife).

Opportunistic: He looks for every little window of opportunity to get to the river or the lake. He keeps his tackle handy so that every time he passes a stretch of water that looks promising he can take the chance.

Equipped: He has a good, large, and strong net with no holes in it.

Skillful: He acquires many different skills and learns many different techniques and tactics

Sensitive: He has a sixth sense, an inexplicable feeling about just when and where the fish are about to bite. This is not about intelligence or education – it’s usually the result of long years of experience.

Sacrificial: He gives up time and money to fish. He gets up early and stays out late. He invests in equipment and training

Courageous: Sometimes he has to go into difficult and dangerous places to catch the biggest fish.

Patient: He spends time casting, casting, casting, even when the fish keep swimming away.

Persevering: He goes back time and again, even when he’s failed many times before, even when everyone tells him it’s useless.

Prayerful: He knows that only God can put fish in his net.

Happy: He enjoys fishing even when he doesn’t catch anything. It refreshes and energizes him (John 4:32).

Successful: When he’s successful, lot’s of people ask him “What did you use?” “What did you do?” He’s happy to share his secret, because it is no secret. “I follow the Master Fisherman (Matthew 4:19). I stay close to Him, watch Him, imitate Him, love Him, and obey Him.”

And just in case you doubt my fishing credentials…

Fish 1

Check out

Believers in a Culture Increasingly Hostile to Christianity
Randy Alcorn’s advice on how believers should deal with a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christianity?

7 Ways to Stop Making Bad Decisions
A Christian would add a few more but these are good starting points.

Some Advice on Studying Theology
Fred Saunders: “( 1) Pick a major doctrine to focus on; (2) Master a classic text.”

If I Could Do My Ministry Over Again
Review of a 40-year ministry – what he’d change and what he’d keep.

Young, Restless, and Reformed Homeboys on Lenten Fasting
“What if the best way to express trans-generational solidarity with the millions of believers who have walked before you is by eschewing Lent? That’s the argument I want to support below.”

Drones Record Dolphin Stampede and Whale Pods

How To Get A Job At Google

“G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. We found that they don’t predict anything.”

So says Laszlo Bock, the guy in charge of hiring at Google.

Parents, you may want to hide this blog post from your kids because Laszlo goes on to note that “the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time – now as high as 14 percent on some teams.”

Five Qualities
OK, that’s still not a very high proportion, and Google still looks for good grades in jobs that require math, computing and coding skills. But Google uses complex interview techniques to test for five other qualities that aren’t necessarily associated with good grades.

  1. Leadership (especially in team problem-solving)
  2. Humility
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Loving to learn and re-learn.

The least important attribute they look for is “expertise” because they believe if people have these five qualities, they will be able not only to solve most everyday problems in most areas, but they will also pioneer new and innovative approaches.

Pros and Cons of College
Given the number of graduates he must interview every day, Bock’s assessment of college is sobering:

Too many colleges don’t deliver on what they promise. You generate a ton of debt, you don’t learn the most useful things for your life. It’s [just] an extended adolescence.

Thomas Friedman, the journalist who reported this, isn’t fully persuaded.

For most young people, though, going to college and doing well is still the best way to master the tools needed for many careers.

But even Friedman wants College students to heed Bock’s advice:

Beware. Your degree is not a proxy for your ability to do any job. The world only cares about — and pays off on — what you can do with what you know (and it doesn’t care how you learned it). And in an age when innovation is increasingly a group endeavor, it also cares about a lot of soft skills — leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability and loving to learn and re-learn. This will be true no matter where you go to work.

Don’t Rely on College
Friedman’s point is don’t rely on College alone, no matter how prestigious or costly. But how will our kids learn these skills?

Continued involvement in and commitment to their family is a great place to start. Church youth groups are another good training ground. Team sports and hobbies can also be helpful forums. Part-time jobs in tough environments like Macdonalds do no harm either. Being mentored in a trade is also invaluable. And, O, for more innovative High School teachers who will brake the mold, and aim far higher than simply producing and hailing content experts who couldn’t start or maintain a conversation with an adult to save their lives.

Seminary Challenge
But this is also a challenge to Seminary students. These five qualities are also absolutely vital for the ministry and at least three or four of them cannot be learned in the classroom. That’s why previous work experience is usually so important and why ongoing involvement and service in the local church is non-negotiable.

Seminaries, like Colleges, can produce content experts. But what’s far more important is what students can do with what they know. That’s what makes someone a people expert. Or, in other words, a shepherd.

Check out

Sex Scandals in Conservative Homeschool Circles
I’ve been worried about this kind of thing for a long time.

15 Things I Wish I’d Known About Grief
After a year of grief, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve also made some mistakes along the way. Today, I jotted down 15 things I wish I’d known about grief when I started my own process.

7 Mistakes We Make In Women’s Bible Study
Not just for women’s Bible studies.

Where Preferences Go To Die
Trillia Newbell: “Why attend a church that doesn’t meet all of your felt needs? Because “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). I go to church because God loves the church, and I want to love what God loves.”

5 Reason Why You Should Read Jonathan Edwards
And start with The History of Redemption.

I Like Being 98

Onica’s Story: Hope and Help for Depressed Teens

Though only 15 years old, Onica has already suffered many losses in her life, including numerous painful bereavements and her parents’ broken marriage. Her relationship with family counselor Dr. Emilie DeYoung, who also appears in this episode, has helped her on the road to recovery and equipped her to face the future with hope. Onica also relates how God has used Alpacas in her healing. I love the powerful Christ-centered ending to this film.

Study Guide Questions for Onica’s Story (Word/PDF)

For other films in the Christians Get Depressed Too series, click here.