Saturday, May 19, 2012

online meanderings: a strong gospel, ministry and family, the cross and motherhood, and more

Quote of the week. "Don’t believe the lie that struggling always to obey God is a worse lot in life than disobeying him with peace...Go to the cross for as long as it takes to die." From What is better? by Jared Wilson HT Vitamin Z.

Best new blog. Food that serves. Yes, I know I mentioned it last week, but in case you missed it, this blog is chock-full of ideas for hospitality cooking. With thanks to Jane.

Top five posts.
The gospel is big enough to fight for itself - Not clever arguments, but the gospel. Share it over and over and over. You never know when it will break through. Jonathon Parnell.

He must increase but I must decrease - "Our role is not our reward. Jesus is our reward." Learning from John the Baptist. A beautiful post by one of my favourite bloggers, Jon Bloom.

Your ministry is not your identity - "I will either get my identity vertically, from who I am in Christ, or I will shop for it horizontally." "You are most loving, patient, kind, and gracious when you realize you desperately need every truth you could give to another." A must-read for anyone in ministry from the ever-excellent Paul Tripp.

Embracing the biblical tension between family and church ministry - One of the best posts I've read on ministry and family, this post argues that the tension is healthy. "Ministry requires a life of joyful sacrifice, and our families have been called to share in that sacrifice." David Sunday.

Mothers, flee to the cross - "May my voice urge them on, my hands pull them forward as we run together. Faster, faster, hurry to the refuge of the cross." When you are not your children's refuge, but the storm in their lives. Rachel Pieh Jones.

And seven more.
On faith and doubt - This article about doubt reminds me of what helped me through my own time of questioning the faith: reading the gospel of Mark. Now I know why. Martin Ayers.

Community on a mission with a depth of intimacy - Turning the focus of small groups outward increases community inward. "We tend to form our lasting friendships through shared experiences, shared time, and shared mission." Logan Gentry HT Vitamin Z.

Reading through the prophets - I love Meredith's approach to reading the Bible - especially those tricky prophets.

Do not allow me success that exceeds my sanctification - "God is good and wise to give me the level of success he has given; in fact, he has done well to not give me any more." A helpful conclusion to a series on envy by Challies.

A letter to a 12 year old girl about the eternal destiny of those who have not head the gospel - This question came up in my Bible study a couple of weeks ago. I'm going to print out this simple, clear answer from John Piper and share it with my group.

6 things adoption has taught me - "What if God’s will for our life is found wherever someone’s need and our ability intersect?"

4 reasons to remember your creator in your youth - For young people and those who work with them. Why my husband and I are in university ministry: these are energetic, sensitive, teachable, dangerous years. I wish he'd offered more gospel-centred solutions, though! David Murray HT Challies.

For women.
When mothers day isn't a celebration, God knows. - An encouraging little post by Noel Piper. HT Ali.

An open letter to pastors (A non mom speaks about Mothers Day) - "To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you. To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you..." Read the rest. For women and their pastors. Amy.

For mothers.
Satan's desire for mothers - Why you shouldn't believe the lie that you are too good for mothering, or that mothering is too good for you. (Check out the interesting riff on "saved through childbearing": 1 Tim 2:13.) Julian Freeman HT Challies.

Motherhood. Raising arrows for the Father's hand. - "God does not share our sentimental view of motherhood...God does not tell us to desire the blessing of children because their cheerful voices will make our houses feel cozy. He tells us to desire children who will contend with the enemy in the gate." Rachel Jankovic.

For parents, kids and their teachers.
Making little evangelists - Raising kids to talk about Jesus with their friends. Some good suggestions for Sunday School teachers and parents from Belinda.

Teaching kids about God: Getting kids to multitask - A great tip for helping kids concentrate in Sunday School and Scripture classes at school. Meredith.

Children and the internet - How to help your children navigate through the joys and risks of the internet. Karen Beilharz.

A Christian classical school reading list for grades 1-34-5 and 7-8 - Some really helpful reading lists for kids, home-schooled or otherwise. Justin Taylor.

Books, writing, random facts and fun.
God's good design - A review of Claire Smith's new book on biblical womanhood. This book is fantastic and more accessible than the "big blue brick". If I wanted to discuss complementarianism with someone from the Bible, this is the book I'd use.

Marilynne Robinson - One of my all-time favourite authors writes about how you can talk about unfashionable obsessions in your writing as long as the writing is good. And hers is good - very good. (And she's working on a new novel! Woo hoo!)

Internal time - Is it better to wake up early? Why do teenagers sleep in? How do sleep cycles affect our productivity? Why are you so tired? I found this fascinating. Maria Papova.

She didn't find the joke very funny - Just one more reason I'm glad my mum taught me to laugh at myself: I'll know what to do if this happens to me.

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