Six-Pack (46)

After an unscheduled blog break, it’s good to be back at it.

From a small stockpile of articles that had collected, here comes the latest Six-Pack of faith-focused or ministry-minded pieces with enough room for some who-knows-what!

If you need an easy in, start with the *Picks of the Week*, and move from there.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter ( @JasonBandura ) to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) Would You Know a Revival if You Saw One?
Justin Taylor shares this clip and video from J.I. Packer. For anyone craving revival in their here-and-now, there are some great thoughts here on what to desire and how to discern it.

2) An Atheist in the Pulpit (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Plenty of the tone in this piece makes suggestions I disagree with. Even still, there are enough fascinating descriptions of the movements between faith and doubt to make it well worth the read.

3) Why Fewer Churches Offer Vacation Bible School
It all appears to come down to one word.

4) Ten Things I’ve Learned about Pastors
Thom Rainer highlights a list of things he’s learned about pastors over the past couple years. Any what you’d expect? Any that surprise?

5) Why MLB Hitters Can’t Hit Jennie Finch
This SI piece breaks down reaction time and why baseball’s best can’t touch fastball’s first lady.

6) Stunning: Comparing US and World Covers for Time Magazine (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Well, this brief and picture-filled piece is disturbing, if not slightly expected.

Pleasure to be back with you, friends. Enjoy the Six-Pack, and may your final week of August be wonder-filled!

YOUR TURN: Which link above was most intriguing–why that one? Direct others readers to the best of the bunch. Your input makes this post better!

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page.]

Saturday Six-Pack (33)

After a week away, we return with our Easter edition of the Six-Pack.

So find a seat and a few minutes. It may be that one of these ministry-minded or faith-focused articles is just what you need today. If not, I’ve attempted to include enough who-knows-what to fill the gaps.

If a half-dozen options paralyzes you, begin with my two *Picks of the Week*, and move from there.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter ( @JasonBandura ) to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) Twelve Ways to Keep Your Church Small
If you are looking for fresh ways to limit the attendance or participation in your church, Don Nations offers a dozens ways you may not thought of before.

2) Failure as Necessity (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
In this video, Seth Godin is interviewed on why he sees failure as such a powerful experience. One of his lines: “If I fail more than you, I win.”  If you like the idea of “winning”, this interview is worth a listen/watch.

3) Ten Reasons Why We Struggle with Creativity (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Some great insights (via Psychology Today) await any who wish creativity flowed more freely.

4) 9 Things You Should Know about Duck Dynasty
I confess I have never watched an episode of this show. But I have numerous friends who love it. For those who wish they knew more about the show and its bearded wonders, the Gospel Coalition provides this nine-course meal.

5) Everyday Idolatry: Amused Apathy
What is expressed in our addiction to entertainment and our fear of boredom? Jonathan Storment tackles that one here.

6) Are Leaders Made or Born?
Forbes Magazine offered this piece, addressing one of the most common leadership questions they receive. If you think you are a leader or you wish you were a leader, it’s a quick and useful read.

Blessings on you, my friends.  May your weekend be refreshing in rest, play, and worship.

YOUR TURN: Add a line below to direct other readers to the best stuff above or to highlight the piece that gave you something worth keeping.

Your input makes this post better!

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page.]

Saturday Six-Pack (28)

Welcome to the weekend and to the latest Six-Pack of recent gems I wanted to pass on. Typically ministry-minded or faith-focused, be prepared for a bit of who-knows-what as well.

If six choices overwhelm you, begin with my two *Picks of the Week*, and move from there.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter ( @JasonBandura ) to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) Balancing Acts (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Two of the “pastor books” that generated big buzz in 2012 were Andy Stanley’s “Deep and Wide” and Timothy Keller’s “Center Church”.  This interview, from Christianity Today, gives both authors some space in which to respond to questions tied to those contributions.

2) A Circle of Honour
By regularly giving people praise and recognition, we reflect Christ’s ministry and the relationship of the Trinity.  So says Robert C. Crosby in this piece for Leadership Journal.  How could you be a more steady source of such positive forces?

3) They Cuss in E.T.?! WTF!
Is violence now more permissable than swearing or nudity in our movies? Psychology Today explores the evolution of “what goes” in our entertainment.

4) The Top Five Career Regrets
Regardless of how you earn your paycheck, you’ve almost certainly dreamed of other jobs, perhaps even that “dream career” that isn’t yet yours.  Or maybe you’re in that job already, just looking to give your best and taste of the resulting satisfaction and success.  Whatever your specifics, it never hurts to learn from other people’s mistakes.  This HBR post offers you that opportunity.

5) Saved from Meritocracy  (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Western society is constructed largely on the ideal of meritocracy, the conviction that if one works hard enough, he can become or achieve anything.  While the moral of countless films and stories, the snag is that this teaching runs completely counter to the Gospel of Jesus at several key junctions. The Red Letter Christians offer this perspective on this struggle to “fit” the grand Gospel into our small system.

6) Share the Gospel and Your Life
Writing to the Thessalonians, Paul comments: “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thess. 2:8). The Resurgence offers this piece on how to go about this, the essence of true evangelism.

Blessings on you, my friends.  May your weekend be refreshing in rest, play, and worship.

YOUR TURN: Direct other readers to the best stuff above by making a comment below, or weigh in on what you read.  Your input makes this post better!

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page.]

Saturday Six-Pack (23)

Imagine: A “Saturday Six-Pack” arriving on… wait for it… Saturday!

After two weeks of lateness and a week of absence, I’ve regained my position on the top of the pile!

Here’s your weekly fodder of faith, ministry, and who-knows-what tossed in!

If you need help starting, begin with my two *Picks of the Week*, and move from there.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter ( @JasonBandura ) to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) Why Churches Should Euthanize Small Groups
Being part of a leadership team that has significantly increased our emphasis on Small Groups in recent years, this title grabbed me.  Author and pastor Brian Jones points out a few of the struggles that many of us have experienced…

2) What Legalists and Atheists Cannot Understand (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
This little piece from the Gospel Coalition revolves around a late night visit between Christian apologist Larry Alex Taunton, Oxford mathematician John Lennox and the late Christopher Hitchens, author of “God is Not Great”.  Throw in some rich references to my favourite portion of Scripture, and I freely recommend this one.

3) Fourteen Indispensable Leadership Quotes from Jim Collins
Jim Collins is recognized across the board as a voice of wisdom on the theme of leadership. Here, Thom Rainer captures a couple touchdowns’ worth of his best bits.

4) Why Women are More Religious than Men
For Psychology Today, Nigel Barber puts forth a theory that I confess to find quite weak. A strand of truth is here, but more than anything, this article served to enlighten me on why people of faith must live out their convictions or else risk observers like Mr. Barber largely missing the whole point.

5) You Are Not a Computer (Try as You May)
Here’s my favourite line from this great piece from the Harvard Business Review is this: “What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”  That opinion was shared in 1970, and it is abundantly on-the-mark today.  Some thought-provoking stuff here on how to live well within the “information age”.  If I had a third *PICK OF THE WEEK*, I’d put it here.

6) The Science of Productivity (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
I just discovered Gregory Ciotti’s site: SparringMind.  This post features a three-minute video (which I tweeted a link to, earlier today) that breaks down some of the science behind our minds work and how we might better work within that framework to be more efficient in spending our time and energy. Quite fascinating to me!

May your week be full of awareness and enjoyment of the God who already fills it with Himself and every good thing.  Blessings on you, my friends.

YOUR TURN: Direct other readers to the best stuff with a comment below, or weigh in on what you read.  Your input makes this post better!

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page.]

Saturday Six-Pack (22)

Last week’s “Saturday Six-Pack” arrived on Tuesday.  This week’s: On Monday.  Does less failure count as success?

One way or the other, here are the latest half-dozen links to feed and fuel you.

As usual, these articles are mostly faith-focused or ministry-geared, with a bit of disorderly-pile-of-who-knows-what tossed in!

If you need help starting, begin with my two *Picks of the Week*, and move from there.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter ( @JasonBandura ) to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) Women Bishops: It’s About the Bible, Not Fake Ideas of Progress
While my fellowship doesn’t have bishops, we do have women.  We also have the Bible, and possibly some fake ideas about progress.  This short piece by NT Wright hits hard on Scripture’s non-negotiable authority in the discussions of women in leadership.  And some will surprised where he goes from there.

2) 20 Top Leadership Tips… In Tweet Length
Prompted for some of the best insights he’s picked up on leadership, Ron Edmondson offers this list… in ready-form to flood your Twitter queue.

3) Does Sliding into Cohabitation Lock You In? (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
There is a common line of reasoning that sees living together as a prudent, even helpful, test-drive ahead of marriage. “Surely this ups the odds of marital success,” is the thought. Yet the research, both religious or secular in nature, consistently argues otherwise. How can something so logical be so incorrect?  For Psychology Today, here is Dr. J.R. Bruns‘ take on what is at work under this surface.

4) On the Other Side of Suffering
Philip Yancey has long been a blessing to my life. This short piece, highlighting a lesson he learned from a WWII chaplain, may be just the word of encouragement you need this morning to press on, despite a lack of the clarity or motivation you desire.

5) Why Should We Care About Advent? (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
The Advent season is underway again. In case, you haven’t yet figured out why that should matter to you, Rob Bell has a few thoughts to share, in this piece, originally posted in 2010 for Relevant magazine.

6) Six Ways to Find Time for Your Creative Work
To any whose list includes tasks that require free-flowing creative juices, The Time Management Ninja offers these six tips.

May your week be full of awareness and enjoyment of the God who already fills it with Himself and every good thing.  Blessings on you, my friends.

YOUR TURN: Direct other readers to the best stuff with a comment below, or weigh in on what you read.  Your input makes this post better!

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page.]

Saturday Six-Pack (21)

Leaning heavily on the adage “better late than never”, I give you this week’s Saturday Six-Pack… on Tuesday!

The perk? Only five days to the next half-dozen online offerings.

As usual, these articles are mostly faith-focused or ministry-geared, with a bit of disorderly-pile-of-who-knows-what tossed in!

If you need help starting, begin with my two *Picks of the Week*, and move from there.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter ( @JasonBandura ) to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) The Bonds of Freedom
There is great paradox within the Christian understanding of freedom.  This piece from Christianity Today‘s Roger Olson fleshes out the tensions that differentiate Christian freedom from the version many of us fantasize about.

2) Tracking Wonder and Making More Time to Create
This non-Christian piece from Psychology Today was my morning call to prayer.  If you need more time for living, your next move is worship.  At least, that is what I read.  For the original statement, click the link above.

3) Great Quotes on Great Leadership (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Anyone who knows me knows that I love a great quote. Tim Challies offers this list of the best bits he found in Albert Mohler’s book, “The Conviction to Lead.” (He reviews the book, which he calls “probably the best book on leadership I’ve ever read” HERE.)

4) You Asked: Does the Bible Separate Salvation from Baptism?
This brief but balanced response is offered by the Gospel Coalition to a question received from a reader, a question relevant to the whole of the Christian community, and helpfully clarifying to my Churches of Christ heritage, whose views get unnamed mention in this piece.

5) Why Should We Care About Advent? (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
In regard to Advent, there’s one question that trips up more Evangelicals than any other: “Why bother?”  Elliot Grudem, for the Resurgence, offers a handful of solid reasons on why the pre-Christmas season of Advent is full of power and potential.

6) Top Ten Gandhi Inspirational Quotes
I have long loved Gandhi. I have long loved quotes.  This LifeHack offering seemed like a no-lose way to close this installment of the Six-Pack.

May your week be full of awareness and enjoyment of the God who already fills it with Himself and every good thing.  Blessings on you, my friends.

YOUR TURN: Direct other readers to the best stuff with a comment below, or weigh in on what you read.  Your input makes this post better!

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page.]

Saturday Six-Pack (19)

On a beautiful summer weekend, you are most welcomed to this installment of the Saturday Six-Pack, a collection of stuff I’ve recently enjoyed online.  Most is faith-focused or ministry-geared; the rest is who-knows-what!

If you need help starting, begin at my two *Picks of the Week*, and move on from there.

For a more steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter to the right of this post.

In today’s edition:

1) Real Churches and Real Pastors
This is a post upon a post upon a post.  Mark Stevens started it by asking, “Are Mega-Churches Real Churches?”  Scot McKnight then added a post of response to the unfair accusations being leveled at mega-church pastors in light of a recent pastor in Singapore being busted for stealing money from his congregation.  Stevens then re-entered the discussion with a response that McKnight posted under the title, “Mega-Church Pastors: A Petersoninan Perspective,” alluding to the far-reaching influence of Eugene Peterson on what pastoring looks like.  I pastor in a nowhere near mega-church, but all of this was relevant to my journey into this role.  Maybe you too. *PICK OF THE WEEK*

2) Can You Separate Jesus from Religion?
As trendy as it is to pit Jesus against religion, the match-up is somewhat misleading, for Jesus WAS undeniably religious.  How are we to understand this relationship if it’s not a cage match to the death?  Alastair Bryan Sterne has a few ideas.

3) Four Cringe-Worthy Claims of Popular Penal Substitution Theology
Penal substitution theology is everywhere.  For decades gone by, it has been the primary lens through which most of western society has viewed and explained what took place as Jesus died on the cross.  In a nutshell, it emphasizes that Jesus died in our place, for our sins, taking our punishment.  This is valid.  However, it is not the only lens that exists for processing Christ’s death.  Many would argue it isn’t even the best one for clarity of the “big picture”.  For the Huffington Post, Morgan Guyton offers this critique of some of the misleading messages that are created by our heavy emphasis on penal substitution.  *PICK OF THE WEEK*

4) Hearing God in Permanent Silence
One believer asks a church for the deaf why they don’t pray for healing.

5) Specific Plans Do Not Always Help
For anyone who is geared toward productivity-pursuits and goal-oriented living and list-making, this article, from Psychology Today, may speak into your never-ending quest.  You don’t just need plans; you need the right kind of plan.

6) More Connected and Never Lonelier
Chaplain Mike shares a snippet from Stephen Marche’s article, “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?”  The entire article, from The Atlantic, can be read here.

Enjoy your weekend, friends, through renewing yourself and reverencing God.

Sunday Six-Pack (18)

Welcome to the weekend after a week in which even sitting to type a short blog post was an impossibility.  Here’s hoping that your weekend (a LONG weekend in Canada) allows you a chance to sigh.  Thanks for showing up for some “Wandering & Wondering”.

This week’s Six-Pack features the usual: A half-dozen of the best things I’ve read online in the past seven days.  As is the norm, most of these articles are faith-focused or ministry-geared, with a bit of who-knows-what tossed in!

If you need help prioritizing, note my two “Picks of the Week”, and roll on from there.

Today’s edition:

1) 4 Things I’ve Learned about God Through My Baby Who Was Born Blind
The Resurgence‘s Mike Anderson opens this piece like this: “It’s not often that you get the opportunity to empathize with God; I recently experienced that bitter-sweet insight when I found out that my eleven-week-old baby girl was born almost completely blind.”  His brief but sharp observations are worth a stop today.

2) Serving Communion to Former Cannibals
Tony Merida recounts the powerful story of missionary John G. Paton (1824-1907). *PICK OF THE WEEK*

3) Pastoral Advice from a Professional Wrestler
Pastor Jay Sanders reflects on one sentence of profound pastoral advice from Nikita Koloff. *PICK OF THE WEEK*

4) They Cuss in ET.  WTF?!
Is violence now more permissible than swearing or nudity in our movies?  Steven Schlozman thinks so.  And then he wonders why.

5) 24 Creativity Quotes to Bring Out Your Inner Artist
I love great quotes.  (If you do too, subscribe to my Twitter feed @jasonbandura, and I’ll keep ‘em coming for you.)  This batch may serve to fuel the quest toward fresh thinking and imaginative inventing.  Enjoy!

6) Who are the Coptic Christians?
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Coptic Christians in Egypt.  If you have but have been unclear on who these people are exactly, The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones would like to help you out, while giving you an art education at the same time.

Enjoy your weekend, friends, through renewing yourself and reverencing God.

Tuesday Trick: Ten Minutes Toward Life

Little movements can yield large results.  Slivers of time, passing comments, fleeting thoughts: We may wish to reassess our use of the term “useless”.  Is there any portion of our life that is anything other than exceptionally potential-filled?!

Barton Goldsmith recently offered this short piece on Ten Life-Enhancing Things You Can Do in Ten Minutes or Less.  Some are simple, some less so.  All have the potential to breathe into you today.

And that would be a heck of a Tuesday Trick!

Saturday Six-Pack (5)

Welcome to the weekend, and thanks for spending some time “Wandering & Wondering”.

This week’s “Saturday Six-Pack” shares a smattering of the best things I’ve recently read online.  Typically, these articles are be faith-focused or ministry-geared, but I reserve the right to live up to the “disorderly pile of who-knows-what” tagline at the top of this page!

Today’s line-up:

1) Why the Church is Losing a Generation and What We Can Do About It
Jonathan Pearson is noticing a disturbing trend, and he isn’t the only one.  Why are so many young adults turning away from “church as they know it”?  Here are a few theories, along with an invitation into this important conversation.

2) To Get Ahead, Do 21 Things that Others Don’t
This very practical, potentially inspiring, list comes from the Time Management Ninja.  If you’re looking for ways to “get ahead” in whatever way you define that, this short read will be worth your while.

3) An Interview with a Pearl
Great dialog here between blogger Jamal Jivanjee and a woman he identifies as Kat.  Some great insights here from the layers of one life into the layers of your own, as you strive to courageously follow Jesus.

4) Ambidextrous Ministry
However you serve, wherever you lead, you likely have a dominant hand.  Eric Geiger suggests that the next step forward might demand some skills from the other side.  A brief read, this one will likely get you considering at least a few possibilities within your church or life.  Dare to dream… and go left!

5) Want a Better Life?  Read a Book.
Pscyhology Today offers this piece.  The title seems obvious to any word-lover, but you may be challenged here on how you could maximize the impact of the words you choose to consume.

6) How Introverts and Extroverts Can Benefit From One Another
Michael Hyatt asks, “Do introverts or extroverts make the best leaders?”  Along that line, here are a few things worth considering.

Have a great weekend, friends–renew yourself and reverence God.