What an amazing week for news, resources, and helpful articles for living out a faithful life and ministry! This week’s review is bursting at the seams. So, let’s get to it—
This week, we begin with news and culture, and this week, it begins with a retraction. It turns out the story posted last week about 11 planes missing from Libya was not true. A story I wish was not true but is all too real was highlighted by Denny Burk—the sad account of a girl taken hostage by ISIS. On the homefront, we remembered the events of September 11, 2001. Ari Fleischer gave us an insider look at the events of that day. And atheist Bill Maher made clear what President Obama won’t admit–ISIL is a Islamic and radical Islam has no counterpart in Christianity. Alex Duke makes us ask if we’re prepared to minister to a Ray Rice in our church and Joe Carter shed more light on the issues with an accounting of sad statistics on intimate partner violence. While we lost a wonderful example of Christianity in Truett Cathy, we also saw signs of spiritual awakening in Japan. If you know anything about the history of mission there, this is an amazing thing!
Thinking about theology and Christian living, Dane Ortlund helpfully reminded that Jesus did more than die to save us. Jonathan Akin reminded us that the battle for the Bible isn’t over. Nick Batzig had some helpful comments on confessing our sins to one another. John Piper gave some insightful and practical advice on how to decide on your next job. As we think about living in this world with it’s increasing intolerance of evangelical Christianity, Michael J. Kruger reminded us that this is not anything new.
Finally, in church and ministry, Tony Payne talked about a rationale for a ministry manifesto. Payne’s fellow Aussie Simon Roberts gave some tips on how to read the Bible in the church (which is kind of important if you didn’t know–1 Tim 4:13). Mez McConnell wrote an article showing prayer support as essential basic for church planting (this looks like the beginning of a whole series of “basics” posts which will be really helpful). Erik Raymond gave some advice for those feeling disconnected from church and Christine Hoover offers some advice to churches on how to interact with those visiting your church for the first time. What about those who seem to be struggling spiritually? Sandy Grant and Tara Sing give some really helpful advice on making hard phone calls. Finally, Gavin Ortlund was again helpful by interviewing seminary president and preaching instructor Bryan Chapell on the use of sermon illustrations. The result: use them to help understanding not just to impress.
BONUS: How to get the most out of The Week in Review
Let’s be honest, unless you have too much time on your hands, you’re probably not clicking through each link and reading the entire article. I get that. So, why do I post these each week? The internet is a vast landscape of information on just about everything. Even these Week in Review posts barely scratch the surface of the information posted. But I post that which I found especially helpful. But again we ask, “How can I read all of this?” My suggestion is not that you not try.
The best thing to do is develop some kind of capture system that allows you to tag or save the articles that look help and come back to read them when you have time or need. I love Evernote for this process. I usually skim an article first. If it’s not that great or helpful, I move on. If it looks like it’s something of immediate need or interest I read the whole thing. If it looks good but I don’t want to spend time with it, I use a “clipper” app for my browser to capture the post into a folder on Evernote so I can find it later. Maybe you’ll just bookmark it in your browser or copy and paste it into a Word document. But I love the cross-platform access that Evernote allows–I can look at the article on my laptop, Kindle, and iPhone. Pick a system that works for you. But here’s an into to what I’ve found helpful:
Here’s a more in-depth look by a committed Evernote user: