Thursday Roundup (3/23/17)

Want to know more about Islam and how to reach out to Muslims? My popular “Islam: Understanding and Apologetics” online class is beginning next Thursday, March 30. The live class meets on three successive Thursdays at 7:30pm EST, but it’s also recorded. Click here for more info or to register!

Today’s video takes a look at the difficult topic of church discipline. It can seem more judgmental than loving, so why would Jesus command it? The Answers for Ambassadors podcast considers Part 4 of Your Best Life Now, in which Joel Osteen discusses how to deal with pain and disappointment. And I have an unusual number of excellent links this week, ranging across loneliness and celibacy, the Ten Commandments and the Apocrypha, Christian satire, The Benedict Option, and more!

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“[Prayer] turns ordinary mortals into men of power. It brings power. It brings fire. It brings rain. It brings life. It brings God.”
~ Samuel Chadwick

Latest Video

The idea of “church discipline” doesn’t sound very kind or loving—in fact, it mostly just sounds judgmental. But the Bible tells us that discipline is a necessary part of a healthy church body. Listen to find out why.

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Answers for Ambassadors Podcast

In Part 4 of “Your Best Life Now,” Joel Osteen discusses how to deal with pain and disappointment. His counsel to forgive and move on is good, but are we forgiving for the right reason? And what if we don’t have the strength to just move on?

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

You need to read this practical, biblical piece on ministering to lonely single people.

Relatedly, Sam Allberry, a same-sex-attracted minister in the UK, has written a challenging and gospel-oriented meditation on how celibacy can fulfill your sexuality.

And perhaps not altogether unrelatedly, this is an excellent piece on how the newly prominent alt-right moment is a product of male marginalization. “Because it is not friendly to them, many men do not like postmodern society. They have been taught they have no innate call to leadership of home and church, and accordingly have lost the script for their lives. They have been encouraged to step back from being a breadwinner, and do not know what they are supposed to do with their lives.”

Jordan Standridge’s tribute “to the unknown pastor” could be broadened to apply to many Christians whose Kingdom work will only be apparent in the light of God’s praise on the final day.

Ray Ortlund writes a thought-provoking and helpful summary of the four things which each of the Ten Commandments does.

Should the Apocrypha be in the Bible? Tim Barnett makes a good argument which I hadn’t heard before, based on Jesus’ words about “the blood of all the prophets… from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah” in Luke 11.

This interview with John Piper about Christian use of satire brings out some convicting considerations about Babylon Bee-style satire.

If you’ve been reading about Rob Dreher’s The Benedict Option, I’d encourage you to consider this rebuttal from Michael Brown. I think the two men actually disagree less than it might appear, but Brown’s perspective can help us avoid a preemptive cultural surrender which forgets that we are called to be “in the world,” though not “of it.”

This is a fascinating piece on how science which, for ideological reasons, refuses to consider differences between the sexes is harming and even killing women. “It was not until 2014 that the National Institutes of Health announced that female animals must be included in all animal and cell research. But for some academics whose political consciousness was formed in the era of second-wave feminism, this evidence has been angrily rejected on ideological grounds. The common argument put forward has been that this research will be used to justify the unequal treatment of women.” Believing themselves to be wise, they became fools…

The H.E.L.P. Crisis Pregnancy Center is a great Christian organization in my area which provides support for pregnant women. Among other things, they have an RV which parks outside abortion clinics, offering ultrasounds, Christian counseling, and practical support which stretches far past a woman’s decision to choose life for her unborn child. They badly need a new RV and are currently about $8,000 away from their goal. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to this very worthy cause! (Select “Medical Department/RV expenses” from the dropdown menu.)

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