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10 Guest Preaching Tips
If you want to be asked back.

5 Things A Pastor Should Do Before Leaving His Church
Just to be clear, I’m not contemplating it myself.

Pastors and Vacations
Excellent advice.

Sola 13 Conference Dec 6-7 in Lansing
Mohler, DeYoung, Piper, Crump, etc.

Five Ways to Tell if Humility is Real or Fake
David J. Bobb, Ph.D., is author of Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America’s Greatest Virtue, just published by Thomas Nelson.

Introducing Blueprint: New From Ligonier Connect
I’m very excited about the potential of this for local churches.


Why You Should Celebrate Your Undone To-Do List

If you’re anything like me, you keep imagining the seemingly unattainable Nirvana of a totally completed To-Do list. Every item ticked, crossed off, deleted, and crushed under my feet.

For most of us though, the everyday reality is an ever-growing To-Do list – not just running to stand still, but running to sink further into the sand – and all the frustration, disappointment, and self-flagellation that accompanies it.

Well, I think I may have just found a way to turn this daily self-torture into a cause for praise and rejoicing.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer makes a To-Do list every day, prioritizing what’s most important each day. And instead of getting overwhelmed by the long list of items left unfinished at the end of each day, she celebrates the fact that she never finished her list.

“That would mean spending lots of time on relatively unimportant tasks,” Mayer explained. ”If I did [get to the bottom of the list] it would be a real bummer,” Mayer said. “Because think about all those things at the very bottom of your to-do list that really shouldn’t take time out of your day.”

Genius!

Now, just have to explain this new approach to the “Honey-Do list” to my wife.

See also: The Amazing History Of To-Do lists And How To Make One That Actually Works 


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10 Times It’s Wise to Hold Your Tongue
“I talk too much. Way, way too much. But God is committed to teaching me when to hold my tongue. With that in mind, let me share ten situations with you where I’m learning it’s better to refrain from talking.”

Thoughts on Preaching and Logos 5
Some tips from Zach Nielsen. I share his penultimate paragraph frustration too.

The Top 5 Reasons Your Church Could Land in Court
Child abuse has topped the list for seven of the past eight years.

5 Signs You Need to Quit Blogging
Looks like a continue for a bit longer.

Garbageman Wins CNN “2013 Hero of the Year” Award
And a little bonus of $250,000.

What Anxiety Does to Your Brain and What You Can Do About It
Also read Bob Kellemen’s Anxiety: Anatomy and Cure


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Turning the Pages
Kara welcomes the earlier, darker, and longer evenings of Fall and Winter as opportunities for more family reading, and also supplies some book recommendations.

When Abortion Hits Home
An advocate for free abortions on demand and without apology, recently wrote an apology for her own abortion.

Suggestions for Crafting Message Statements
A message statement is a one-sentence summary of a sermon. It is one of the hardest yet most necessary elements of sermon preparation.

If you could go back in time, what would you tell 18 year old you?
R. C. Sproul Jr. gives ten answers.

Tornado Mediations
Barry York refelcts on his daughter’s close escape from Sunday’s tornadoes, and also on those who did not.

Is New York City on the Brink of a Great Awakening?
The article overstates the case, but it’s still encouraging to take a step back and be encouraged by the longer and bigger picture.


ChristCare v Obamacare

It’s easy to criticize Obamacare, both in its principles and practices – in fact, it’s doing a good job of criticizing itself these days. But what about the far more difficult work of constructing an alternative? There’s no question that at least some of the motivation behind Obamacare was good – the desire to reduce costs, widen access, and help those with pre-existing conditions. So how would a Christian healthcare alternative (ChristCare?) grapple with these problems? Let me propose twelve biblically based principles.

1. Charity: As part of our Christian duty to love our neighbor as ourselves, ChristCare would provide some level of healthcare for those who are uninsured or uninsurable. Although none would be denied basic healthcare, a just distinction in services offered would be made between those who are sick and poor through no fault of their own and those whose personal choices have made them ill.

2. Responsibility: ChristCare would call people to take personal responsibility for leading a healthy lifestyle. It would prioritize health education, disease-prevention, and financially incentivized accountability.

3. Reality: We cannot all get access to every medical treatment. Just because a drug is available does not mean its affordable. Just because something can be done does not mean it should be done. We need to recognize that we are mortal, that we are not going to live forever, and we must also learn to live with some measure of pain and discomfort at times. Otherwise, we could easily spend every last cent on medical treatment. ChristCare would propose realistic basic levels of care for different ages and illnesses.

4. Liberty: Although basic levels of care would be available for all, ChristCare would allow people the freedom to choose the level of health care and cost that suit their situation and circumstances.

5. Morality: ChristCare would not fund birth control or abortion. It would also reduce expenditure on diseases that have been brought on by sexual immorality, drug abuse, and other sinful choices.

6. Efficiency: ChristCare would be vigilant in driving down waste, inefficiency, and corruption in the provision of medical services and the associated administration.

7. Locality: As the “cultural mandate,” Babel, and the Great Commission demonstrate, God opposes centralization. Probably due to the increased dangers of corruption, God encourages the spread and sharing of power. Churches, schools, and other local organizations would be encouraged to be involved in health education and even the provision of some basic services.

8. Fallibility: While holding doctors and nurses accountable for serious malpractice, ChristCare would accept that a level of mistakes and errors are always inevitable in a fallen world and would implement policies that would minimize lawsuits and reduce excessive compensation payments.

9. Simplicity: Obamacare’s major accomplishment to date has been to make an already complicated healthcare system even more so. My wife is a doctor and even she is frequently baffled by the complexity of the American healthcare system. For even the simplest of procedures there seems to be a blizzard of paperwork and bills. ChristCare would aim for a streamlined simplicity.

10. Honesty: Hospitals seem incapable of estimating even to the nearest thousand dollars the cost of routine operations and even of basic tests like colonoscopies. Ask for a quotation and you’re told you have to phone about a dozen hospital departments to figure out everyone’s slice of the pie. This lack of transparency means that patients cannot compare prices in a way that would create a competitive market. ChristCare would be open, honest, and transparent about costs in order to drive prices down.

11. Equity: Without going down the Obamacare route of national price controls, there needs to be some way that patients can get redress when overcharged for medical services. Recently my wife had to take our baby to the local children’s hospital. She was there for about 20 minutes, questioned by a nurse for about 5 minutes, and the baby examined by a doctor for about 2 minutes before being given the all clear. Cost? $750! Thank you. Don’t mention it. ChristCare would establish independent mediators to advocate for patients and establish fair pricing.

12. Spirituality: ChristCare would take the spiritual dimension seriously and provide holistic care for the body, the mind, and the soul.

These are only principles of course; the practical details would take a huge amount of time and thought to work out. (See Dr Carl Ellis Jr.’s Alternative HealthCare System  for a much more detailed proposal). However, by measuring every proposal and practice against these principles, I believe we would get much closer to a universal and affordable healthcare system.


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What your Facebook Updates say about You, Your Faith, and Your Mental Health
“Not only could researchers predict a participant’s gender based on Facebook updates with 92 percent accuracy, they also could measure emotional stability and neuroticism.”

5 Things to Do Before You Leave Your Church
Thabiti gives advice on how to close the door gently. And once you’ve left, here are 7 Things to Look for in a Church.

10 Surprising Social Media Statistics
Some of these really are staggering.

How Monk Mode is the Key to Insane Productivity
The most productive people structure solitude into their working lives.

35 Lessons from 35 Years as a Pastor
Tom Ascol: “As I recently reflected on the last thirty-five years I wrote down some lessons learned and convictions I’ve come to or continued to hold. Here are thirty-five of them.”

The Godward Struggle of Ordinary Parenting
Been there. Am still there.