Thursday Roundup (12/1/16)

As I mentioned last week, I’m teaching “Are the Gospels Trustworthy?” on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of next week from 7:30 – 8:30pm EST. If you’re interested, you’ll want to register now for free. And if you know anyone else who might be interested, be sure to tell them about it!

This week’s video answers a surprisingly common objection from unbelievers: How can God answer prayers if different Christians pray for opposing things? The Answers for Ambassadors podcast wraps up Chapter 3 of The God Delusion, considering Pascal’s Wager and the religious preferences of scientists. And the links of the week discuss the importance of mercy ministry, how Christianity changes our perspective on death, the ethics of homosexuality, idolatry of youth athletics, and more!

(If you receive these posts by email and aren’t seeing the video and podcast, just click the “Thursday Roundup” title to view the original post on my site.)

“Every practice and every game is an opportunity to lead our children. Often, as parents, we think we have fulfilled our duty by simply attending our children’s games and cheering. Not so! We are called to so much more. Informed by the gospel, we are called to lead our children wisely. Before the game, this [means] preparing them to keep biblical priorities in mind while they play. After the game, this [means] celebrating their expressions of godly character more than we celebrate their skill for the final score. Every moment our children spend in sports is a teaching moment.”
~ C.J. Mahaney

Latest Video

One common objection to Christian theology is that God’s prayer promises can’t possibly be trustworthy, because in some situations Christians will be praying “against” one another, asking for opposite things. How can God answer both sets of prayers? Well, before we decide whether opposing prayers can invalidate God’s promises, we need to take a careful look at what those promises actually are…

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Answers for Ambassadors Podcast

Today’s episode finishes up our consideration of The God Delusion‘s Chapter 3, looking at Pascal’s famous wager for belief in God and considering whether scientists are usually Christians (and whether it matters). Dawkins is responding to poor arguments for theism in this section, but poor arguments can still offer good lessons!

Answers for Ambassadors is available via SoundCloud or by searching in iTunes and most other podcast players. You can also direct your podcast player to the podcast RSS feed.

Best Reads of the Week

Warren Peel springboards off an odd and sad story to point out the obvious: Being a Christian radically changes how we think about death. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the story he tells of a Christian family about to be executed by the Khmer Rouge.

This is an excellent piece on the importance of mercy ministry in the local church. Mike McKinley warns of “how easy it is to hide behind theological nuance and ecclesiological carefulness to excuse our sinful lack of care and mercy.” Relatedly, I think you will be challenged (as I was) by this testimony from a man, once a young criminal but now a pastor, whose life was changed when a couple invited him to live in their spare room after his release from prison.

Andrew Wilson offers a thoughtful, biblical response to recent arguments that sinful behavior (same-sex intercourse, in particular) is irrelevant to salvation because we are saved through faith alone.

In the wake of popular Christian blogger Glennon Doyle Melton’s announcement that she has left her husband to date another woman because she needed to “live her truth,” Jen Pollock Michel discusses how “the good life has been radically redefined according to the benefit of the individual while the former measures of flourishing—God’s glory, society’s health, the family’s well-being—have been displaced.”

Thought provoking: “You Should Thank God That Your Kids Are Mediocre Athletes.” Youth athletics may not be the most common form of idolatry in American life, but it is surely in the top dozen.

Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary is encouraging for supporters of school choice, while his choice of Rep. Tom Price to head HHS suggests he is serious about repealing and replacing Obamacare. Reports that judges Diane Sykes and Bill Pryor top his list of possible Supreme Court nominees are also good news for constitutionalist conservatives. As a #NeverTrumper during the election, I have to say I’m generally impressed with the president-elect’s appointments so far.

Speaking of Trump, a depressing but insightful take from Maggie Gallagher. “Trump may seem to us to represent a decline in family values and sexual standards. But for many of our fellow Americans, mired in economic stagnation and sexual chaos, he represents an unattainable ideal, rather than a problem.”

Stuff I Like (Affiliate Link)

If you enjoy charcoal grilling, a chimney starter is an appealing way to light your charcoal without the expense or nasty chemicals of lighter fluid. Personally, I love the compact Weber chimney I use for my little grill, and there’s a full-size version too. Just fill the chimney with charcoal, light some crumpled newspaper underneath, and the coals will be ready for use in 10-15 minutes.

And remember, anytime you start shopping on Amazon.com by clicking through this affiliate link, you’ll be helping to support my work at no extra cost to yourself. If you bookmark the page that opens after you click the affiliate link, you can use that bookmark each time you shop!

Photo of the Week

Water lilies

These water lilies were in a pool at a little memorial garden in downtown Concord, North Carolina, where my wife and I used to live.

(Check out other photos at my Etsy shop.)

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