7 questions for meaningful conversation with believers (Steve Burchett): We’ve got to move dialogue with believers beyond a superficial level if we are going to really know and encourage one another. But where do we even start? Here are seven questions you might ask. They might be useful in a variety of settings, such as when you have someone (or a family) over for supper, when spending time at the park, or when you’re on a long car ride together. Read more at For the Church.
Be gentle so that God may grant repentance (Wyatt Graham): In our contemporary world, political discourse and cultural norms have created an atmosphere where vicious, groupish attacks are the norm. Some Christians have adopted this pagan mindset, assuming that the meaner and stronger they are, the more orthodox they are—the more faithful. Read more at WyattGraham.com.
10 reasons why pastors bear scars from church conflict (Chuck Lawless): I grieve when I see wounded pastors (even those whose own actions contribute to the pain). In too many cases, those wounds create scars that are difficult to overcome. Here’s why. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
8 insights from Jesus’ development of spiritual leaders (Dan Reiland): There are hundreds of books on leadership, and dozens on developing leaders. I love and appreciate many of them. But it all stems from the master developer who invested deeply in his team. Jesus did 8 things to develop spiritual leaders. Read more at DanReiland.com.
10 ways to challenge and stretch your faith (Chuck Lawless): Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Still, many of us have a stagnant faith that has not been challenged in years. We don’t know God better, and we don’t trust Him much more than we did years ago. If that’s where you are, maybe these ideas will help you challenge your faith. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
How to be more public about your faith (Tim Keller): There are at least three major reasons for evangelistic unfruitfulness. There is a lack of sensitivity—countered by the humility that comes from knowing we are undeserving sinners. There is a lack of courage—countered by the boldness that comes from knowing we are unconditionally loved. Finally there is indifference. We look around us and see people struggling to find meaning, satisfaction, hope, confidence. The biggest reason we keep our mouths shut is that we’re failing in love for them. But the gospel produces love (Gal. 5:6). Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
Our culture of contempt (Arthur C. Brooks): People often say that our problem in America today is incivility or intolerance. This is incorrect. Motive attribution asymmetry leads to something far worse: contempt, which is a noxious brew of anger and disgust. And not just contempt for other people’s ideas, but also for other people. In the words of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, contempt is “the unsullied conviction of the worthlessness of another.” Read more at The New York Times.
CHURCH / PERSECUTION
7 benefits to coming opposition (Ed Stetzer): The church of Jesus Christ has always resembled her King best when she was in a place, not of dominance, but of yielded weakness. A quick glance through our history unmistakably reveals that when we become powerful, we behave in counter-kingdom ways. We baptize the world’s operating systems and use its muscle to advance our own comfort, security, and prominence with precious little thought given to the mission of our Founder. Rare indeed are history’s examples of the Church in power becoming a kingdom advancing enterprise. The power of God’s kingdom flows exclusively through yielded human weakness. It is constricted by the vanity of human might. Read more at Christianity Today.