Thursday Thanks (21-25)

fiveEach week (I aim for Thursday), I’ll use this space to list five things (items, experiences, people, whatever) for which I’ve been recently grateful. Consider it my “blessings count”. Ann Voskamp’s famous challenge to list 1000 gifts seemed daunting — I’m committing to 500, a two-year venture from when I started last month!

1) Gift Cards
Some people consider them a lazy gift; I consider them a gold mine. Last week, I enjoyed 90 minutes of carefully selecting a couple blocks at Chapters as well as a precious date with my wife at a great local restaurant – all paid for by a couple good friends. Gift cards rock!

2) Sports
It is a fantastic time of year for sports lovers. March Madness ended just in time to make way for the NBA and NHL playoffs. My viewing habits are considerably lighter than they were in my younger years, but a few moments here and there along with the highlights are more than enough for this guy to follow the drama and the storylines. Great fun!

3) Travel
Next week presents me with the unique opportunity to attend the Pepperdine Lectures for the first time. The event is said to be one of the finest in our fellowship, in terms of presenters and teachings. And Malibu isn’t hard to take either!

4) Bikes
Today marked the first bike ride of the year. Our three girls and I re-familiarized ourselves with the path near our home. They felt considerably heavier than they did last summer, so I best put some more peddling on my weekly routine.

5) Candles
Who doesn’t love the flickering of a flame? A single candle burns nearby as I compose this list, and I am amazed at the calming, peaceful effect that little light can generate.

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  • Did any of this week’s list especially strike a chord with you?
  • What’s one thing you’re particularly grateful for this week?

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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!

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