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Reading Roundup

November 2, 2012 — Leave a comment

Here’s my weekly Reading Roundup with some links you might find interesting. Because of hurricane Sandy’s prominence in this week’s news, I thought it a good idea to focus on links that tries to make sense of a devastating natural disaster and God’s providence and love. As the readers of this blog will know, I feel very strongly about not blaming God for our suffering.

  1. Firstly, let us start with some polarizing thoughts on the subject and how it surfaced in online conversations.
  2. I was relieved to see that not all Christians interpreted Sandy as God’s wrath. I especially enjoyed this article in ChristianityToday.
  3. Max Lucado wrote on “Where was God when Sandy hit?“. He has a nice perspective.
  4. Kent Annan gave 5 excuses to avoid after a natural disaster. A must read for every Christian.
  5. Here is a link about Tullian Tchividjian’s new book “Glorious Ruin“. I haven’t read it yet, but I assume that he works with a more Calvinistic perspective on suffering, because Tullian is a Reformed minister. It seems to be a thoughtful book though.
  6. Back here on South African soil, another lecture was given about the (supposed) proper place of Satan in your theology. Personally I can’t side with the liberals – saying that he is nothing more than a mere fictitious character. But neither can I side with the conservatives – giving Him much more credit than he deserves. I believe he is a very real enemy – but a beaten one I must add. Believing in the finished work of Christ, means that I do not fight for victory but from victory.
  7. Lastly, one for the Tech junkies out there. My friends know that I’m a passionate advocate for Android devices. Here’s a list of 25 apps to get you started – most of which I didn’t even know of.

Enjoy your weekend!

Reading Roundup

October 26, 2012 — Leave a comment

Here’s my weekly Reading Roundup with some links you might find interesting:

  1. Have you ever wondered how secularism looks like? This is actually shocking! A survey shows that people in the UK are more likely nowadays to believe in aliens than in God (?!).
  2. I think all counselors must take note of the results of an important study on the long term consequences of trauma.
  3. The Barna group did another interesting study. This time they examined whether women really are “better” Christians than men. ChristianityToday published a short list of the findings under the heading “The Spiritual Sex”.
  4. Here’s an article worth reflecting on. These two sentences sums it up for me: “Sadly, the result of hype is a church full of consumers” and “We hyp-ers are setting up our people to expect an experience, instead of teaching them to encounter their Lord.”
  5. Carbon dating is a common method used to put an age to organic material. The method is currently being “recalibrated” to give us a closer estimate of age.
  6. Here’s a list of 10 things first-time visitors to a church, do not want to hear. I think this list can actually be quite helpful in guiding members on “what not to do”.
  7. Here’s a fascinating short BBC video that shows how a baby’s face develops in the womb:

 

Reading Roundup

October 19, 2012 — Leave a comment

Here’s my Friday Reading Roundup with some links you might find interesting:

  1. We need a better understanding about what someone with depression is going through. This article shows us that people with depression find it difficult to distinguish between their emotions – especially between negative emotions like anger, sadness, guilt and embarrassment.
  2. Are you addicted to your work? A senior lecturer at Harvard Business School says it may be counterproductive.
  3. Science tells us that the old adage to “sleep on it” might actually help when you have to resolve big tasks and need creativity.
  4. Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone”. It is released in a mother during childbirth and helps her to bond with the baby in spite of all the pain. It is also one of the hormones responsible for a sexual orgasm. The results of a recent experiment show that it might be useful to harness this hormone in the fight against alcoholism. It helped people who were trying to detox from alcohol, beat the cravings.
  5. In the past I have read convincing scientific explanations for “near death experiences”. But now a neurosurgeon is creating quite a stir. He claims that he personally had one of these “life after death” experiences.
  6. I enjoyed this post about your past’s proper place, when creating your future.
  7. A new perspective on how living with chronic pain affects your memory and mood.

Reading Roundup

October 12, 2012 — Leave a comment

Here is my friday Reading Roundup with some articles you might find interesting:

  1. By now the readers of this blog will know that I have a very strong opinion about how we interpret suffering. I believe there are some things that we simply cannot reconcile with the father heart of the Lord. Hence, a very cramped Calvinistic perspective on suffering does not make any sense to me. In this article Greg Boyd answers the question “Would God kill a baby to teach parents a lesson?”. Read it! It resonated strongly with what I believe and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  2. NewScientist published a short post on “How expectations shape your life”. Again, when I got to know my heavenly Father’s heart, it really changed my expectations for life. For one, I am not afraid that the Lord will “take” (kill) my children anymore.
  3. There is always an ongoing speculation about the influence a parent can have on the earliest stages of an infant’s mental development. Well, a new study suggests that even if the baby bonds with only parent, the child will experience fewer emotional and behavioral problems in childhood.
  4. Interesting article on the treatment of OCD: “Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is usually treated as a stand-alone mental illness. A growing body of research is now finding that some cases of OCD may stem from trauma. For these patients, successful treatment may hinge on targeting the coexisting post-traumatic stress disorder.”
  5. Interesting article on why someone might relapse into a certain phobia.
  6. Why and how do we change our minds? This study on adaptability might give us some clues.
  7. I often feel stumped when it comes to pastoral cases of self-mutilation. This article gives some advice that I think is particular valuable for parents.

Reading Roundup

September 16, 2012 — Leave a comment

Here’s my week’s reading roundup:

  1. A beautiful metaphor to explain how Christ’s righteousness becomes ours.
  2. Here is an interview with Tullian Tchvidjian (one of my hero’s). I think he did a pretty good job describing the relationship between law and grace.
  3. Another good article on the finished work of Christ.
  4. A disturbing article about apparent prosperity theology  – but I do however suspect there is a fair amount of bias in the writing as well.
  5. I absolutely love reasoning skills – and fallacies. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this article on logical fallacies in Theology.
  6. Andy Stanley on how to take into account the fact that both believers and unbelievers will be sitting in your pew.
  7. Tips on how to become a better writer.

Reading Roundup

August 31, 2012 — Leave a comment

Here’s my reading roundup for the week:

  1. study found that up to 400 cardiac arrests and 200 deaths could be avoided in Swedish patients, if healthy lifestyle changes were made. Why is that relevant to me? Because even if those people were only remotely religious you would hear them say that God “caused” the heart attack or God “took” your father/mother/husband/wife. That is what a bad theology about sovereignty does. God gets the blame for our choices . . .
  2. If you want a good excuse why you need some time to read, the Telegraph just gave it to you. Apparently 6 minutes of reading can reduce stress with two thirds.
  3. Christianity Today interviewed 170 exorcists on their methods.
  4. Is perfectionism holding you back? This is the story of my life.
  5. Will internet addiction be the drug of the future?
  6. After reading how lighting and music can influence our calorie intake in fast food outlets, you cannot help but wonder how susceptible we are.
  7. What does it take to stay married forever?

Reading Roundup

August 29, 2012 — Leave a comment

Here is this week’s roundup:

1.) Would you believe that 44% of Swedes think that Cancer is contagious? This study is shocking. And here I thought we were the only ignorant nation.
2.) A very interesting article appeared in Scientific American Mind regarding our preconceived ideas. For more about my own biases, be sure to read the perspective page.
3.) Tim Keller had a hot seat explaining his take on homosexuality. I thought the interviewer’s questions/remarks were a very good example on how the secular world misunderstands justification in Christ.
4.) I thoroughly enjoyed Roger Olson’s explanation of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53.
5.) Is this how the books of the future will look like? I hope not!
6.) Some reasons why your mother was right when she said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
7.) Some posture tips for all of us who sit countless of hours in front of computers.

Reading Roundup

August 10, 2012 — Leave a comment

Here’s my reading roundup for the week:

1.) With the recent Aurora shooting still fresh in our minds, Tim Keller tackles the problem of suffering.
2.) Time magazine reports on a research study, linking happiness with telling the truth. It turns out the Bible told us the truth about the importance of being honest (excuse the pun).
3.) Lisa Kristine gave a disturbing TEDx talk about modern day slavery.
4.) When I read the recent story on Rick Warren in Christianity Today, I once again became aware of the enormous power of small groups. I’m going to focus on this in my own ministry.
5.) Two articles – both regarding mothers and depression – caught my attention. The one is about  post partum depression and the other aboutstay-at-home-moms.
6.) A recent study has linked teen behavior problems with childhood stress. It made me think about the old adage that there is no such thing as a “problem teenager”, only a “problem parent”.
7.) When I grew up, there was an old Afrikaans song my Grandmother would always sing to me, going “Count your blessings, count them one by one”. It turns out teens that do, have a smaller risk for depression.

Reading Roundup

August 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

This week’s reading roundup:

1.) A seal dating from the 11th century B.C was recently discovered. It is possible that it depicts Samson and the lion fight. The site where it was found was close to Samson’s birthplace, several Israelite/Phillistine battlefields as well as Timnah – the place where Samson lost his heart on a girl.
2.) As a pastor I often have to help families/couples find the balance between anger and forgiveness in their relationships. This study shed some new light.
3.) Time magazine reports that psychological abuse can be just as devastating as physical abuse. It is however much harder to identify or prevent it than other abuse.
4.) Still on the topic of abuse . . . recent studies found that children who was abused – or even just exposed to abuse (i.e. domestic violence) – is more prone to develop depression later on in life.
5.) I found this to be a good article on helping the spouse of someone who is a sexual struggler. It contains some good resources as well.
6.) I wish every member of my congregation would read this article onsexual desire deficiency.
7.) A groundbreaking study in domestic violence was recently done. Every pastor who’s had to deal with this stuff, would agree with the results of causation.

Reading Roundup

July 27, 2012 — Leave a comment

My reading roundup for the week:

  1. An exciting archaeological site, dating back to the time of David and Solomon, is shedding new light into ancient life.
  2. I think parents & pastors need to take note of the prevalence of “sexting
  3. There’s an interesting new perspective regarding the Neanderthal extinction.
  4. I found this perspective on demonic possession very interesting. Although I do believe that someone can be possessed, I also believe that far too many people are hurt in a ministry of deliverance. I can totally understand why non-believers find it repulsive.
  5. Can you fathom how it would be if we actually did find the cure for HIV?!
  6. It will be interesting to see how therapy models adapt to the new findings on treating anxiety and phobias.
  7. We all need some humor. I thought these cakes were brilliant.