Yep. It’s Friday. The Friday BEFORE Thanksgiving. You know what that means, right? Yep. Most of you are looking at a weekend, a two/three day work-week, followed by a LONG weekend next week.
Between trips to the grocery store this weekend, take a look at these articles:
#1. 5 Things Mistaken for Evangelism by Mark Dever
“Additionally, the truths of the gospel are not yours, in the sense that they uniquely pertain to you or your perspective or experience, or in the sense that you came up with them. When you evangelize, you are not merely saying, ‘This is how I like to think of God,’ or ‘This is how I see it.’ You’re presenting the Christian gospel. You didn’t invent it, and you have no authority to alter it.”
What do you think? Is Dever right? What else can you think of?
#2. Is New York City on the Brink of a Great Awakening? by Joy Allmond
“20 years ago, Eric Metaxas knew practically every born again believer in Manhattan.
‘It was like a spiritual ghost town,’ the cultural commentator, thought leader and author recalled.
Yet, over the recent decades—particularly this last one—New York has seen a surge in evangelicalism. Some cultural experts believe the Big Apple to be on the brink of another ‘Great Awakening.’
Gregory Thornbury, president of The King’s College—the only free-standing Christian institution of higher learning in New York City—compares this rise in Christianity to the the great Wall Street revival of 1857.
‘I would say there is a very special moment of spiritual renaissance happening in New York City right now,’ he said.”
Fascinating. May it be so!
#3. Trophy Kids and the Great Commission by David E. Prince
“When parents and coaches turn off the scoreboards and hand out participation trophies as though recognizing winners and achievement is unspiritual, sports are stripped of the essence that makes them such a valuable metaphor for the Christian life. The desire to win and receive the prize in athletic competition is the very thing Paul latches onto as a transferable concept for cultivating a single-minded focus on the advance of the gospel (1 Cor. 9:24-27). There are eternal winners and losers (Rev. 3:21), and we are to count the cost, take up our cross and follow him because we know what is at stake. Our task demands courageous, self-sacrificial, Great Commission gospel warriors. And at its best, athletics provide Christian parents and coaches a limited but genuine theater for the examination and cultivation of Christ-honoring characteristics.
When everybody is a winner, nobody wins. When everybody gets a participation trophy, everybody loses. Christian parents and coaches ought to know that better than anyone.”
Hands down . . . the best article I read this week. How does this relate to Upward Basketball?
#4. A Church for All Generations by Tyler Braun
“Dietrich Bonhoeffer echoes Francis’ actions when he says ‘The Church is the Church only when it exists for others.’ Before any local church body can act in this way, you must first choose to live this way. The Church as a body of people exists to proclaim good news to all the generations. A place to serve and be served, to bless and be blessed, to meet the needs of a hungry, hurting world; to be a welcoming home of safety and peace, all for the glory of God.”
Is Braun right? What/Who is the church for in your opinion?
#5. What Millennials Think When Christians FIGHT (It’s Not Good) by Thom Rainer
“The issue for the Millennials was not an expectation of Christians and churches to compromise their doctrine. They simply are attracted to Christians and churches where unity is real and evident.
For almost all of the Millennials in our study, 97 percent to be precise, mutual respect was a critical issue in any relationship. And 64 percent of them expressed these feelings strongly, higher than all the other attitudes we measured.
It seems, therefore, that Christians and churches will win the right to be heard by Millennials when those Christians and churches demonstrate love and unity among themselves. And the early reporting from the Millennial generation about this issue is not too encouraging.”
Yikes. Any Millennials out there agree? What do you look for in a church?