From Lutheran Satire:

YouTube Preview Image

Around-the-Horn[1]Are All Christians Hypocrites? Yes, Maybe and No
The revelations about Josh Duggar have brought to the forefront a much broader discussion about Christians and hypocrisy.

In Search of An Honest Atheist
From Sam Storms, who will be the New Wine speaker at St. Andrew’s in 2016:  But again, do honest atheists exist? Many profess to be atheists, but my question is whether or not these people, in the depth and quiet of their own hearts, honestly believe there is no God.

Is America Post-Chrsitian?
The language of a post-Christian America is used in two divergent circles, both of which are built on faulty assumptions.

A Requiem for the Boy Scouts
The Boy Scouts were doomed the moment the national leadership decided to preserve the organization at the cost of the values and ideals that gave it birth.

How Do I Respond When People Leave My Church?
All of this is a process of wading through emotions to get down to that foundational truth, but it helps to have it ever handy: People and the church don’t belong to me. 

First-Century Copy of Mark’s Gospel Discovered?
From Denny Burk: To have a first-century witness to the text of the New Testament is unprecedented.  That a fragment of Mark was found in Egypt is even more astonishing. That would seem to require that the original was probably penned decades before.

Decline and Schism in Religion
From Ross Douthat: Given the current divisions within the [Roman Catholic] church, it should worry them particularly because — or so I suspect — a declining church may be more likely to suddenly come apart at the seams.

A Short, Candid Sermon About Faith and Life – from Denzel Washington
As often happens on a campus with strong religious ties, the commencement speaker began with a personal story about life and faith – with a hint of the miraculous.

How Christianity Made Children Human 
From Eric Metaxas:  So many of the ideas and values we take for granted today are historical innovations, brought about by the rise of Christianity.

Hopefully coming to Mt. Pleasant.  Click here to learn more.

Around-the-Horn[1]David Letterman’s Long Shadow
From The AtlanticThe departing host might be the last true innovator in late-night comedy.

Village Sermons
From George Burder: 52 plain and short discourses on the principal doctrines of the Gospel.

New Wine at St. Andrew’s in 2016
Sam Storms speaks at the next New Wine.

Wolf Hall and the Protestant Reformation
If you watched the PBS series Wolf Hall, you may be interested in this article on the main characters and what became of them.

The Best Idioms from Around the World
Amusing

Louis CK’s Saturday Night Live Opening Monologue Was Awesomely Offensive
From Mollie Hemingway: Louis CK told jokes about racism, the Israel-Palestine conflict and child molestation. They were offensive — but also funny. Deal with it.

Pew and the Three American Worldviews
From Ross DouthatI’ve played with the idea that we have three major worldviews sharing space in American culture, which you might label biblical, spiritual and secular respectively.

Millennials, Screwtape, and the Homo-Tsunami
As the sexual controversies of our day continue to unfold, the need of the hour is for believers to understand what is actually going on, and how we got to this place.

Learning from Mistakes
From David Brooks: If you could go back to 1889 and strangle Adolf Hitler in his crib, would you do it?

When Hope and History Rhyme
From Tim Keller: Christianity, however, understands history to be under the control of God, who is moving it purposefully toward a great and irreversible climax.

The Compassionate Truth About Judgement
One of the greatest stumbling blocks to Christianity, especially among those who are drawn to the idea of a loving, compassionate God, is the Bible’s teaching on judgment.

Christian Zionism: On the Rise in Unlikely Places?
An interesting read from Gerald McDermott

 

Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to announce that we are bringing our New Wine Conference back to St. Andrew’s April 14-16, 2016!

What is New Wine?

New Wine is an opportunity for the St. Andrew’s family along with other friends from many other congregations to gather in an encouraging environment to get recharged and refreshed in our faith. Our time together with revolve around worship, Word and ministry.

Our theme this year is, God’s Empowering Presence and I am pleased to announce that Sam Storms has agreed to be our speaker. Sam is currently the Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City. Sam is on the board of both Desiring God and Bethlehem College & Seminary, and also serves as a member of the Council of The Gospel Coalition. Previously, Sam has also served as the President of Grace Training Center at Metro Christian Fellowship in Kansas City, and as associate professor of theology at Wheaton College. Sam has also established Enjoying God Ministries, which serves the larger church. Many of you will be familiar with Sam through his books, several of which we stock in our bookstore, Common Grounds.

Who Should Attend?

YOU!

Whether you attend by yourself, with your friends or your family, you need to be here. While the conference is held at St. Andrew’s we expect folks from churches across the region to participate. Our last New Wine Conference had folks from 27 different churches participating!

What’s the Program?

Worship ::

Everyday will begin in and end with times of extended worship led by praise team members from across our community.

Teaching ::

You will have many opportunities to hear His Word. Each day begins and ends with a plenary session. In between there will multiple breakout sessions offered. These sessions will be led by a variety of gifted Christian leaders.

Ministry ::

At New Wine, you will have opportunities to experience the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. There are regularly scheduled times and trained ministry teams to lead people into times of healing, equipping and release.

Is There Anything for Youth and Children?

Yes!

High School ::

Grab a coffee or water and come on over to the youth venue for worship, talks and small groups – but most importantly lots of space to meet God.

Middle School ::

An action-packed program of worship, talks, discussion groups, seminars, crazy games, and all the other usual New Wine madness!

Preschool & Elementary ::

a fun-filled weekend that includes great teaching, crazy games, arty crafts, plus the chance to make new friends and catch up with old ones.

Nursery ::

A loving, safe and caring environment with trained, supervised care-givers

Registration

We’ll have more details soon about registration rates and we’ll let you know when registration opens.

I hope that you’ll join Jacqui and me for a great family weekend!

For the Kingdom,

+Steve

problem-53e4bb8213dae92913df99ad8a28b5ea01974ac2-s700-c85From NPR:

To my ear, though, “no problem” is absolutely the wrong way to reply to an expression of thanks — for the simple reason that saying “thank you” isn’t, or shouldn’t be, a veiled way of making an apology.

Saying “no problem” in place of “you’re welcome” always strikes me as self-defeating. I thank you for your service, or your gesture, or your generosity, or you kindness. So why are you even mentioning problems?

Granted, it may not have been fun for you to pick me up when my car broke down in the middle of the night. Or maybe you were in a hurry so the courtesy of holding the door for me grated somewhat. Still, your courtesy or your assistance are gifts given freely, not problems I’ve foisted on you — and I don’t express my gratitude to say I’m sorry for imposing. It’s my way of expressing how much I value your effort and concern, or simply your courtesy.

By saying “no problem,” it always seems to me as if what you are really saying is: “It is a problem and I forgive you for it.”

If every act of kindness is expected to solicit the embarrassed spirit of apology on the part of the beneficiary, then it’s not much of a kindness, is it?

I have the feeling that this is a fairly recent change in our verbal culture — and that it’s been accelerating. And it doesn’t really feel to me like a merely verbal shift at all, as if “no problem” has simply come to mean “you’re welcome.” To me, it feels like a culturally significant obliteration of the difference between giving and demanding, expressing gratitude and saying sorry.

Read it all.

I found this fascinating:

YouTube Preview Image

Worth the read:

For forty days, the sign out front has read, “Christ is risen. Alleluia!” Now it’s time to change it, and the other day I was wondering if there was something “Ascensiony” to put there. My first fleeting thought turned out to be inappropriate: “Christ is gone. Alleluia!”

Yet isn’t that the way we treat the Ascension? Christ is gone, so we can live as we please.

Christ is gone, and so His Word can be ignored.

Christ is gone, and we must make our own way.

Christ is gone, but He has left us rules. -OR- Christ is gone, but He taught us to throw away all rules.

But then also, Christ is gone, and so we have no comfort. Christ is gone, and we are left with ourselves – our brokenness, our misery, our failures. Christ is gone, and we have replaced him with constitutions and bylaws, synods and programs, social causes and feel-good music. Yet it all fails, and we are left empty, and finally, alone.

And there is something horrible about being alone . . . 

Read the rest.

Around-the-Horn[1]Is Christianity Dying?
From Russell Moore:  Bible Belt near-Christianity is teetering. I say let it fall.

Carl Trueman on Andy Stanley and People with Hard Lives
Forget for a moment your view (or his view) of Andy Stanley as a person – the chances are that many of us have been well served by some, or a great deal, of Stanley’s ministry – and consider the issue Trueman addresses here, picking up on Luther’s distinction between the theologian of the cross and the theologian of glory. I think he’s right.

The Perils of Pulpit Pandering
Pulpit-pandering boots God off the throne of the universe and seats itself in his place.  But, because it typically does so with a friendly smile, a pleasant demeanor, and filled-pews, pulpit-panderers get affirmation and applause. Yet blood could be on our hands . . .

5 Best Years in Christian Rock History
From Stephen Altrogge:  I’m increasingly convinced that those were the glory days of Christian rock music. In fact, I think 1995 – 2000 may have been the greatest five years in Christian rock history.  What do you think?

How Do I Know I’m a Christian
Kevin DeYoung offers up his thoughts on a question I’m often asked.

Masculinity in Crisis
From The Independent: Boys’ brains are becoming digitally rewired.

No, No, Textual Orientation
From Doug Wilson: In the recent edition of Table Talk, Scott Sauls wrote an article on the seventh commandment that contained many true and valuable observations, and which at the same time revealed the profound faint-heartness of contemporary Reformed evangelicalism. Here’s a sample.

Amtrak Derailment Highlights Left’s Theodicy of Federal Government
From Mollie Hemingway: Perhaps we politicize everything in part because we have lost any understanding of the world as fallen and out of our control.

Sex, God, And A Generation That Can’t Tell The Difference
The only thing Millennials are black-and-white on when it comes to matters of sexual morality is that you aren’t allowed to be black-and-white on sexual morality.

 

Iain-photoA thoughtful article – and well worth the read – from The Rev’d Iain Boyd.  Iain is an old friend – personally and of St. Andrew’s.  I met him while he was a cadet at the Citadel and I’ve enjoyed watching him go from college to seminary to parish leadership.  Iain is a priest in the Diocese of South Carolina where he serves as the rector at Trinity, Myrtle Beach – and he is one of the finest men I know.  

“Are they even Anglican?” “We aren’t Baptists, we’re Episcopalians.” “He’s just a Presbyterian with robes on.” As a Reformation Anglican, you would think I would get used to hearing these kinds of statements. I have to admit, even after over a decade of active leadership in Anglican and Episcopal ministries, it still surprises me when I hear people articulate a monolithic understanding of what Anglicanism is. For this reason, it’s important that we ask the question “What does it mean to be authentically Anglican?” While this question seems straightforward at first, through Anglicanism’s 450 plus years some very different answers have been offered. This series of posts will examine some of the main ways Anglicans have identified themselves through the years.

Read it all.