Six-Pack (56)

Way too long away! I have missed every one of you, AND I’ve missed posting. Time to re-establish order in our post-sickness lives. Cheers to new days and new starts!

So let’s jump in: Here is the first Six-Pack of 2014 — the best pieces that have kicked off my year. As usual, selections are generally centered on faith or ministry, though we leave sufficient license to include who-knows-what as we discover it!

If six ever feels overwhelming, start with my two *Picks of the Week*, and move out from there.

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

Today’s edition:

1) My Advice to Married Couples After Divorcing My Wife of 16 Years (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Married, single, divorced, engaged, want-to-be-married, couldn’t-care-less — if you know another human being, read this. It might change the way you see or touch those lives.

2) How I Rediscovered Faith
Relevant Magazine‘s latest issue involves Malcolm Gladwell recounting a life-altering trip to Winnipeg as part of the research on his last book.

3) The Absolute Best iPhone Apps for Pastors
I do love being a pastor (most of the time), and I do love having an iPhone (most of the time). This list, from ProPreacher provides an interesting read for any other preacher trying to wield smartphones productively.

4) SATAN: Old Testament Servant Angel or New Testament Cosmic Rebel?
This is a LONG read. But if you’ve ever been interested in the person of Satan as Scripture describes him, this is fascinating stuff that will have you asking new questions and re-reading familiar old passages with fresh eyes.

5) Interview with the Ultimate Warrior (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
This is a fun article, filled with childhood flashbacks for this former WWF fan. The former superstar chats about everything from career challenges to the business side of wrestling to being in a video game still today to slamming Andre the Giant.

6) Why Atheists are Angry at God
Joe Carter, of TGC, observes that some atheists approach non-faith in a strictly logical and rational way. But he notes what he considers to be far more atheists whose stance is emotionally charged. His question: What are they mad about? That might be good to know.

May your week ahead be filled with life, as you seek the One from whom it flows!

leaveacommentYOUR TURN: Your input makes this post better!

  • Which link above was today’s best-of-the-best?
  • Why that one?

Direct others to the best of the bunch with a quick comment.

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

Saturday Six-Pack (35)

Here we are–the weekend arrives with the latest Six-Pack arriving on your digital doorstep.

Below are a half-dozen of the best ministry-minded or faith-focused articles I read this week. Here they are, with a smattering of who-knows-what.

If six options are too many, start with the two *Picks of the Week*, and roll on 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) Five Tips on Surviving Criticism
Count Donald Miller among the rest of us who have tasted criticism at some point.  Here are a few ways to handle it the next time it arrives.

2) Philadelphia Abortion Clinic Horror (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Kirsten Powers, for USA Today, offered this piece on the shocking media silence surrounding the nightmarish trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. You won’t have heard this on the news. You’d best hear it here, though you won’t enjoy the read.

3) A Word to Those Who Preach (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Kent Hughes shares this word to preachers in his commentary on Isaiah, regarding the pleasure of God in the task of preaching. Thanks to Tim Challies for sharing.

4) The New Sexual Identity Crisis
From the Gospel Coalition, there are a number of very valid points made in this finely nuanced piece.

5) Fresh Air, with Jack Levison
Scot McKnight posted this interview with Jack Levinson (done by Mark Stevens), about his new book on the Holy Spirit.

6) Former White Supremacist Sheds Hate and Embraces Christianity
The Religion News Service shared this powerful piece of the miles-from-my-experience life of Chris Simpson.

Blessings on you, my friends.  May your weekend be filled with rest, play, and worship to re-create you one more time!

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 (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 (27)

Another weekend, another Six-Pack of noteworthy pieces recently discovered online.

As usual, these articles are typically ministry-minded or faith-focused, with enough flexibility to toss in the occasional who-knows-what.

With the links more thickly packed than usual today, the six has become four. If a third-dozen options still 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) Louis Giglio… In… Then Out (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
If you’ve somehow missed it this week, Louis Giglio was selected to publicly pray for the nation and the president at President Obama’s inauguration.  And then he was essentially uninvited. Reason? A sermon he preached 15+ years ago, on the subject of homosexuality, that found its way online.  One of the best summaries I’ve read was from Skye Jethani. Mike Lukaszewski offers this “what I wish Obama had said in response” piece, and Justin Taylor has compiled three sharp bits of commentary from others.

2) Dealing with Demons (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
A missionary from the same conservative Evangelical heritage as myself describes his experience with the supernatural in Rwanda.  Thanks to Jonathan Storment for the link.

3) Churches and Malls
A recent morning blurb from HBR bounced off of this piece by Thom Rainer gives some food for thought on the future of church facilities.

4) 33 HBR Posts You Should Read Before 2013
So we missed the deadline on this title, BUT there ARE some terrific pieces to be found here.  Among them are The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time, HBR’s most-read piece of 2012 AND I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why, the most-commented-on piece of the year.

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 (26)

Happy New Year, friends!  I hope your 2013 is off to a smashing start.

The end of 2012 saw me doing some digital housekeeping, part of which was sifting through pieces I’d bookmarked over the past months as suitable Six-Pack links.  So here is a smattering of less-recent-than-usual articles that may have been missed in weeks gone by.

As usual, 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) Showing Up
When you feel discouraged over a lack of fruit for your efforts, there is a certain measure of pride and satisfaction to be taken in the simple fact that you continue to show up.  So says senior pastor Mike Glenn, in regards to ministry.

2) When Are We Going to Grow Up? The Juvenilization of American Christianity (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Christianity Today’s Thomas Bergler considers how the Western world’s changing views on youth and adolescence have impacted, and in some regards stunted, our expressions of Christian faith and community.

3) Pornopoly
The impact of pornography upon society and relationships cannot be over-emphasized.  Dave Dunham, for the Gospel Coalition, makes this compelling case while spelling out some of the impacts that the average mind might not consider.

4) Have the Courage to Be Direct (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
The call to blunt conversation is particularly piercing to anyone in a leadership position; however, it is equally important to anyone who cares about simply building the life that he/she wishes to liveThis HBR piece will help you to consider what keeps you from more direct interactions, and how you might make such an impacting move more frequently in the days ahead.

5) How to Write a Joke
Jerry Seinfeld muses on how his creative process works in this short video from the New York Times. For anyone whose work involves creativity, this just may resonate. Or it may just highlight the silliness of things you worry about!

6) The Secret Structure of Great Talks
In this TED talk, Nancy Duarte reveals what makes all the difference in the world in the presenting of ideas.  The best idea in the world isn’t worth anything if it stays stuck in one’s own mind.  How to present effectively?  Here’s one woman’s take on it.

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.]

A Year in the Scriptures

A year ago, I got myself organized by formatting our church’s Scripture reading schedule to fit neatly in my Bible cover. Below are three photos chronicling my success (and other things) in this venture:
20130101-094746.jpg

2012 Reading Schedule - Pic 22012 Reading Schedule - Pic 3A few observations may resonate with anyone who has ever tried to firmly establish a good habit:

1) Starting strong is admirable, but the real learning will take place miles from the gate you so eagerly burst forth from.

2) Life’s circumstances must be factored in. The birth of our third child, on May 28, and the rhythmic irregularities of summertime both had an obvious impact on my devotional habits.  “Creatures of habit” is sometimes tossed around as a derogatory term, but I view it as fact to be utilized wisely.  Craft the rhythms on which to build the habits, and you shape the creature you become. Do this wisely, but allow enough grace that you don’t despair when life’s special circumstances “interrupt”.

3) Reassessment and readjustment are key to ongoing success. Mid-November marked a conversation with my wife, in which we collectively planned how we desired to improve the scheduling patterns of our family life. The impact of those adjustments is obvious over the last six weeks of the calendar.

For any Christian – regardless of gender, age, or experience –  some form of Scripture diet is essential. I have never yet heard of a substantial spiritual life being cultivated apart from a love of Scripture.

A recent article by the Gospel Coalition offers five highly focused and practical tips toward developing one’s devotional habits.  If you have yet to settle upon a reading plan, do yourself a huge favour and choose one.  Numerous options can be found HERE or HERE.As well, you can view the Three Year Bible Reading Plan that our church uses. (We are just now entering year two of the cycle.)

If this habit is already well-established in your life, then you need little convincing to continue. If this habit is not yet established in your life, then today, this year, our gifts to you as entry points to the deeper realms of life available to all who seek God with all their hearts.

YOUR TURN: What have you discovered in your efforts to create Scripture and prayer rhythms in your life?  Any tips on what to do OR what not to do? 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 (24)

Welcome to Wandering & Wondering!

Just in time for Christmas, it’s your latest edition of the “Saturday Six-Pack”.

Typically centered on faith or ministry, you’re sure to find some who-knows-what tossed in!

If having 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) A Circle of Honour
One of the most powerful acts you can carry out in your relationships is to initiate experiences in which those around you are appreciated, honoured, and admired… and they know it!  Great piece from Leadership Journal.

2) Seven Questions with Scot McKnight (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Here, David Kinnaman and Scot McKnight take a look at recent Barna research on Christian women today, particularly women’s levels of satisfaction within the church. Whatever your own take on women’s roles in the Church today, Scot offers compelling perspectives on the research.  Men and women alike, your comments below on this piece could start a fascinating discussion.

3) The Paradox of Advent
This reflective prayer vividly describes the real wonder of the Christmas season.  Thanks for sharing, Scotty Smith.  If you need one more worthwhile tweeter to follow, @ScottyWardSmith will do you well.

4) Six Reasons a Pastor Should Work a Month in Advance
Mark Pierce makes a few compelling (yet brief) arguments for why more pastors might wish to pursue this approach to preaching.  Read it before you wonder, “But how would I ever pull that off?”  Then Google a quote about a will and a way.  Then decide what your next step might be.

5) Best Mac Apps of 2012
For Mac-lovers who enjoy finding new programs and such, this list may provide some enlightenment. If anything, the list made me realize that I use my iPhone for a lot of things that I don’t even address on my computer.  Several of these apps were also focused on more creative folks than myself.

6) How Social Media is Destroying Productivity (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
An article featured in last week’s Six-Pack contained this line: “What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” And a poverty of attention is one of the impacts of social media. This infographic (by ChurchMag) portrays the stats most interestingly.

Merry Christmas to all of you!  May your week be unusually full of an awareness of just how very close God has come.

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.]