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I personally needed to read this post.

J. Michael Thomas:

Anne Lamott, in her book, “Traveling Mercies” retells an old story about a man getting drunk at a bar in Alaska. He’s telling the bartender how he recently lost whatever faith he’d had after his twin-engine plane crashed in the tundra.

“Yeah,” he says bitterly. “I lay there in the wreckage, hour after hour, nearly frozen to death, crying out for God to save me, praying for help with every ounce of my being, but he didn’t raise a finger to help. So I’m alone with the whole charade.”

“But,” said the bartender, squinting an eye at him, “you’re here. You were saved.”

“Yeah, that’s right,” says the man. “Because finally some dumb Eskimo came along.”

It seems that often times we just don’t get when God is trying to help us out.

The rest here.

Dr. Thom Rainer, the president and CEO of Lifeway Christian resources, has been studying the generation (called the “Millennials”) born from 1980-2000.  He and his son have a forthcoming book.  In the mean time, he has shared several broad generalizations.

What are the Millennials like?

First, they are a hopeful generation. In our study, about 96% of Millennials indicated that they can do something great. A generation of optimists, for sure! One conclusion might be that Millennials are naïve and disconnected. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Millennials, largely, are realists who know that all is not well in the world. But, they believe they can have a role in changing it and making a difference with their lives.

Second, they are a relational generation. Perhaps this is why social networks like Twitter and Facebook are thriving in our culture. Millennials want to communicate and connect with others, there is no doubt about it. Relationships at work and with friends are valued highly, but so also are family relationships. I was encouraged to find that 9 out of 10 Millennials said their parents had a positive influence on them.

Third, they are a generation of learners. I’ve already mentioned that they value education, but more should be said. There are reasons why Millennials are receiving undergraduate degrees at a rate that surpasses all previous generations. Many in our study indicated two main reasons why they frenetically pursue education: parents and pragmatics. Millennials listen to their parents’ advice, especially regarding education. But Millennials also desire to get ahead, and one factor that separates them from each other in the work force is education.

Fourth, they are a less religious generation. I have to admit that this aspect grieves me, but motivates me as well (imagine the missiological implications!). Only 13 percent of the Millennials considered in our study said that spirituality of any type was important to them. One out of ten. Most Millennials don’t even think about religious matters at all. This generation is not antagonistic toward religion, especially Christianity, but rather agnostic toward all aspects of religion.

Read the whole thing here.

HT: Challies

Do you have a big goal for 2011?

Chris —  January 1, 2011

I agree with Tony Reinke that an emphasis on goals is more helpful than focusing on resolutions.  This in mind, he has written a post that challenges me personally.  He reflects on writing goals and being responsible with his health: both areas to which I relate.

To “resolve” is to determine to start doing (or to stop doing) something. It’s all about habits, really—breaking bad habits and starting good habits. I don’t set resolutions. The reason I don’t is because I find that my habits usually change only once I have a goal in view. So I tend to put the emphasis on goals. I tend to get better results by setting a target first. That’s why I am not a resolution guy, more of a goal guy.

In 2010 I set out with one big goal: to write a 55,000-word book. So on January 4, 2010 I sat at my desk, opened a new Word document on my computer, and began writing a book. It was really frightening at first, but as the days and months passed and the book began to take shape, I started to realize the incredible potential of 12-month project.

The lesson I learned from the experience is that 365 days is a period of time long enough to achieve one BIG goal. I guess I knew this. I’m reminded of this importance of long-range goals by a quote that I keep on my computer desktop from Mark Dever. He says, “Young men tend to overestimate what they can accomplish in the short term and underestimate what they can accomplish in the long term.” Over time I have discovered the deep wisdom of those words

Read the rest here.

Collin Hansen:

As the end of the year approaches, we eagerly look forward to 2011 and make resolutions. The challenges of 2010 fade as we dream of new possibilities next year. But it’s also worthwhile to reflect on what’s changed in the last 12 months. The discipline allows us to transcend the constant, daily internet noise and take stock. So I’ve compiled a list of the top ten theology and church stories from 2010 in the United States. This list includes many of the most-read and most-discussed stories on TGC’s site. But I’ve also applied subjective analysis of stories that have shaped evangelical life, thought, and mission. Before the calendar turns, let’s take one last look back on 2010.

10.) Crystal Cathedral Files for Bankruptcy

The famed Southern California church made headlines in recent years due to a messy transition between founding pastor Robert Schuller, his son, and then his daughter. Still, when church leaders announced in October that they had incurred $55 million in debt, media couldn’t resist pointing out the obvious failure of the church’s hallmark “Possibility Thinking.” Lest you be tempted to rejoice in Schuller’s downfall, consider that his ministry has already spawned a thousand Crystal Cathedrals small and large across the United States and around the world.

9.) BioLogos Stirs Debate Over Evolution

National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins launched BioLogos in late 2007 with money from the John Templeton Foundation. This year BioLogos reignited the evolution debate among Christians in earnest. Thecontroversy began last spring. Venerable Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke resigned from Reformed Theological Seminary-Orlando after recording a video for BioLogos in which he said Christianity risked becoming a cult if the “data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution.” Then BioLogos picked a fight with Al Mohler, a young earth creationist. Neither side appears willing to retreat.

8.) Philip Ryken Becomes President of Wheaton College

Some stories flare hot for a day, a week, or even a month. But other developments bear the potential to simmer for decades. That’s the sort of influence beloved university presidents can wield with the support of their board of trustees. Ryken served his alma mater on its board before taking over as president in 2010. Students sported “I’m Likin’ Ryken” T-shirts to celebrate their president’s return to Wheaton. Ryken’s career change also left vacant the senior pastorate at one of the most prominent evangelical churches in the country, Tenth Presbyterian in Philadelphia.

7.) Liberty Removes Ergun Caner as Seminary President

Ergun Caner has developed a reputation as an outspoken, provocative educator, apologist, and speaker. He has captured attention with dramatic stories of his childhood and conversion. But it turns out those stories are filled with contradictions. Liberty University investigated the seminary president and demoted him this summer. But they retained him as a theology professor, leaving one major question unanswered: Was Dr. Caner raised in Turkey as a Muslim terrorist trained in jihad?

6.) Matt Chandler Fights Malignant Brain Tumor

Chandler suffered a seizure on Thanksgiving 2009 and learned his grave diagnosis later that year. His prognosis improved a great deal in 2010. He spoke candidly about his fears and doubts, but he consistently expressed faith and hope in the God who is sovereign over all things. Christians surrounded him with prayer, as at the Together for the Gospel conference in April. His model of suffering caught the attention of several major mediaoutlets, giving Chandler an opportunity to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and declare his dependence on God.

5.) Glenn Beck Grabs the Religious Right’s Megaphone

Read the rest here.

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving. If you watch what happened in this mall in Canada, you will be well on your way to the spirit of the holidays. It makes me wish I could sing!


HT: Challies

This little girl does an amazing job with the Jonah story.  Click here if it doesn’t come up below.

The story of Jonah from Corinth Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Dr. Al Mohler reflects on the bankruptcy of the Crystal Cathedral:

The news that the Crystal Cathedral had filed for bankruptcy protection made for an instant sensation. The church established by Robert Schuller, the very prophet of “Possibility Thinking,” was now forced to seek protection from its creditors, listing $55 million in debt, including a $36 million mortgage.

The Los Angeles Times ran “Cracked Crystal” as a headline. The New York Times reported that the “landmark megachurch” would continue, even as it sought protection from its impatient creditors. From coast to coast, the news traveled fast.

A statement posted on the church’s website dated October 18 was titled, “A New Chapter for the Crystal Cathedral.” It began by stating that recent financial reports “indicate the best cash flow the Ministry has experienced in 10 years.” But, after describing efforts to forestall action by its creditors, the statement read:

The rest here.

Studying Genesis with Bryan Chapell

Chris —  October 17, 2010

If you take 5 minutes to read this Gospel Coalition interview of Bryan Chapell, you will be better equipped to read the book of Genesis.

We often look to Genesis with questions about our origins. But do we sometimes miss the larger picture? Bryan Chapell, president of Covenant Theological Seminary, suggests in an interview with Bible Study Magazine associate editor Rebecca Kruyswijk that Genesis is the beginning of God’s gospel story. God turns our story of rebellion into redemption.

How do you study the book of Genesis?

I look at Genesis as the original statement of the grace principles that are in the rest of Scripture. So when I study the book of Genesis, I’m really looking for those grace connections.
The rest here.

“Chilean miner Osman Araya (right) is welcomed by his wife Angelica as he comes out of the Fenix capsule after been brought to the surface on October 13, 2010 following a 10-week ordeal in the collapsed San Jose mine, near Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, Chile. Araya was the sixth from the 33 trapped miners to be lifted from underground. (HUGO INFANTE/AFP/Getty Images)”

The rest at The Big Picture.