Check out

A Web of Wisdom
Jeremy Walker’s magnum opus on Social Media & the Internet

Top Ten Sentence Slip-ups
Why couldn’t my english teachers have taught it so simply and succintly?

What does a pastor do when he can’t preach on Sunday morning?
It’s gonna happen, so you’d better get ready.

Battling discouragement as a pastor’s wife
“Several years ago, I experienced what appeared to be a fairly sudden onset of significant discouragement. It both surprised and scared me that, despite my best attempts, I couldn’t shake it on my own. And it wasn’t going away.”

Porn has no one but itself to blame
Sex isn’t selling. Tim Challies explains why.

Whole Church, Whole Gospel, Whole World

How Racism is Bad for our Bodies

In How Racism is Bad for our Bodies, Harvard researcher Jason Silverstein argues that “Stop and Frisk” is a large-scale threat to public health. Whether you agree with him on that particular issue or not, he does link to some stunning evidence on how discrimination increases the risk of depression, the common coldhypertensioncardiovascular diseasebreast cancer, and mortality. His article especially focuses on the impact of discrimination-related stress:

  • Being a racial minority leads to greater stress: In a study of 30,000 people, 18.2 percent of black participants experienced emotional stress and 9.8 percent experienced physical stress. Comparatively, only 3.5 and 1.6 percent of whites experienced emotional and physical stress, respectively.
  • This stress leads to poorer mental and physical health. This is not only because stress breaks the body down. It is also because stress pushes people to cope in unhealthy ways, especially when they are socially disadvantaged.
  • Just the fear of racism alone switches on the body’s stress-response systems: In a college experiment, when Latina participants thought they were interacting with a racist white partner, they had higher blood pressure, a faster heart rate, etc.
  • When conditions of social injustice affect this many people, and prompt poor health outcomes, risk passes down generations: At a time when the first generation of African Americans born in the post-Jim Crow Era is only 40 years old, it is probably not accidental that current life expectancy among African Americans resembles that of White Americans 40 years ago.

If we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, Christians ought to be at the forefront of fighting discrimination in every sphere: political, ecclesiastical, cultural, legal, etc. But is fighting against racism enough? Is that going to remove these horrendous consequences quickly enough? Is there anything more positive we can do to improve the health and even extend the lives of African Americans, Hispanics, Scots (just kidding), etc.

Some, like Dolphus Weary, have argued persuasively for a sensitive and careful positive discrimination when employers have the opportunity to offer a job to equally qualified candidates.

While that’s a controversial issue, surely we can practice positive discrimination on a personal level. Is there anything we can do today in our interactions with people that will make them feel more loved, more accepted, more valued, etc.  It might be just an extra smile and thank you at the checkout. Maybe we can do or say something positive online. Or how about an encouraging word to a colleague, or even a complete stranger?

You never know, it could save (or extend) a life.

12 Sermon Introductions

For RSS and Email readers click here to view video.

  1. The “Pay Attention” Introduction
  2. The Contextual Introduction
  3. The Background Introduction
  4. The Example Introduction
  5. A Contrast Introduction
  6. A Topical Introduction
  7. An Advantages Introduction
  8. A Seasonal Introduction
  9. A Question Introduction
  10. A Quotation Introduction
  11. A Statistical Introduction
  12. A “What would you do?” Introduction

For other videos in the How Sermons Work series click here.

Check out

Why do we recite the Apostle’s Creed?
Kim Riddlebarger answers.

4 Ways we Need to Grow in Evangelism
J.D. Grear and his church staff identified four ways in which his church could grow in evangelism.

The Value of Higher Education is More Than Getting a Job
“If you can take advantage of the amazing opportunities that a college education offers, not for job training, but for life training, you will help to ensure that, no matter what the world throws at you, you will be able to adapt and turn your challenges into opportunities. Start thinking about those required classes outside of your area not as a burden, but as a chance to help future-proof education and yourself.”

Ruth: More than a Love Story
“The book of Ruth is first and foremost about the covenant faithfulness of the LORD to ensure the arrival of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Teaching Resources for Equipping Counselors
Few people give away so much helpful free stuff as Bob Kellemen.

9 of the Best Ways to Boost Creative Thinking

Children’s BIble Reading Plan

This week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first year of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Jason Henry, a missionary in Mongolia, has very kindly collated and produced the second year of morning and evening readings in Word and pdf.

And here’s the first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

And here are the daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books. Further explanation of that here.

Old Testament

New Testament

May God bless you and your children as you study the Word of life.

I get what I deserve

Have you ever dealt with someone who will not take responsibility?

No matter what happens, someone else is always to blame.

They have a deep sense of injustice over the way life is unfolding for them.

They feel unfairly treated in every area of life: work, school, relationships, sport, family, etc.

They’re not prepared to work particularly hard in any of these areas, and yet expect to have the best job, the best results, the best friendships, the best scores, etc.

The core belief is “I deserve better.”

How do you deal with this? How would you help this person?

I want to change their core belief to, “I get what I deserve.” I feel this would make them take responsibility and stop blaming everyone else when things don’t work out.

“If I don’t get a job, it’s because I didn’t look hard enough. If I fail my exam, it’s because I didn’t study hard enough. If I don’t have any friends, it’s because I’m not friendly to others. If I don’t win, it’s because I didn’t train hard enough, etc.”

I want to burn into their soul, “I get what I deserve. I get what I deserve. I get what I deserve.”

Because that’s generally how the world works. At times we might suffer a bit of unfairness, and at other times we might enjoy more success than we worked for. But, in general, hard work is rewarded and laziness is punished. We get what we deserve.

And yet. And yet. I hesitate. At least I hesitate to press this too hard.

Because I don’t want to undermine the principle and power of GRACE.

I want this person to be converted to Christ. I want them to embrace salvation by grace, I want them to enjoy the magnificent mercy of being saved despite what we deserve. I want them to experience the exhilarating exchange of “I got what Jesus deserved, and Jesus got what I deserved” (2 Cor. 5:21).

I want them to get the principle and power of GRACE in salvation more than anything else in the world.

Yet I also want them to get the principle and power of JUSTICE in vocation, education, etc.

How do I balance this? How do I prioritize? How do I avoid the “dangers” of grace? How do I avoid the dangers of justice? A life is passing, attitudes are hardening, habits are setting, worldview is engraining.

Can someone help me here?