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!

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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.