Thursday Roundup (4/6/17)

Today’s video looks at how Islam’s conception of God is different from the Bible’s. The Answers for Ambassadors podcast considers Joel Osteen’s call for Christians to live generously (and why—which turns out to be important). The links of the week cover filthy rags and perfectionism, grey hair and Down Syndrome, “the strange persistence of guilt,” and much more!

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“We have no real sense of the terror and awesomeness of God, for we think intimacy with God is an inalienable right rather than an indescribable gift. There is nothing amazing about grace as long as there is nothing fearful about holiness.”
~ Dale Ralph Davis

Latest Video

Both Islam and Christianity teach that God relates to man in certain ways. For example, God is understood as our creator in both religions. However, Christianity teaches one additional way in which God relates to us, and, in consequence, one additional way in which we relate to God—and it might be the single most significant difference between the two religions.

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Answers for Ambassadors Podcast

We should give generously, but why? In Part 6 of Your Best Life Now, Joel Osteen says we should “live to give.” His emphasis on generosity is very biblical, but his reasoning misses an important element of the promises of God.

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

This word of encouragement is addressed to pastors, but it applies to all who labor for the Kingdom of God (which should be all of us!). “God does not view your labors as ‘filthy Rags.'” We must guard against self-righteousness and pride, but that should never lead us to denigrate what God himself praises!

Our churches need more grey hair. Wise advice from Denny Burk.

An excellent piece from the mother of a girl with Down Syndrome. “In a recent NPR interview with host Krista Tippett, the Irish poet Michael Longley made the statement, ‘Poetry is useless.’ He waited a few beats before he explained, ‘Poetry is without use, but it is valuable.’ As I listened, my mind moved from poetry to people.”

Faith Chang writes a lovely note of encouragement for the Christian perfectionist.

David Brooks on the strange persistence of guilt: “American life has secularized and grand political ideologies have fallen away, but moral conflict has only grown.”

Jasmine Holmes is talking to women here, but the principle is true for all of us. “As important as that to-do list is, anyone can do it. Only you can grow and learn and thrive through the unique challenges and lessons that come from accomplishing it. Only you can love your kids the way you can; know your husband the way you do; share your heart because it’s yours. You are more than sparkling countertops, and you’re more than an overflowing clothes hamper. You are the daughter of a King who is glorified through your service unto him and your rest in him.”

I found this piece on the place for professionalism in the pastorate thought-provoking.

Pray for American pastor Andrew Brunson, currently being held in a Turkish prison on trumped-up charges.

Speaking of trumped-up charges, shortly after being charged with 15 felonies by California prosecutors, the Center for Medical Progress last week released another chilling video of a Planned Parenthood director. Timothy Brahm has a helpful summary of the salient points.

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