Archive - Practical Ministry RSS Feed

Alex & Brett Harris (Still) Doing Hard Things

Freelance writer Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra has an excellent article/interview about what Alex and Brett Harris are doing these days. Six years ago these brothers co-authors the best-selling book Do Hard Things (over 450,000 copies have sold). Today, they’re both still doing hard things, but in very different ways. Alex is in his third year of law school and Brett is caring for an ailing wife.

Both comment extensively in the article about how their background and the do-hard-things mentality prepared them for their current challenges.

“Doing hard things in one season prepares you to step into the next with momentum and purpose,” Alex said.

Continue Reading…

How should we vote as Christians whose citizenship is ultimately in heaven?

In an excellent article for election day, John Piper takes five points from 1 Cor. 7:29–31, applying each of them to voting. These are helpful reminders, especially for those of us who get absorbed with politics at this time of year. I’ve greatly summarized his commentary here–be sure to read the whole thing.

1. “Let those who have wives live as though they had none.”

The outcomes of voting “do not give us the greatest joy when they go our way, and they do not demoralize us when they don’t.”

2. “Let those who mourn [do so] as though they were not mourning.”

“We vote and we lose, or we vote and we win.” In either case, “our expectations and frustrations should be modest.”

Continue Reading…

How Should We Understand Mental Illness Through the Lens of Faith?

Two excerpts from a recent article by Dr. Michael Horton:

According to a 2013 survey by LifeWay Research, one-third of Americans agree that “prayer and Bible study alone can overcome serious mental illness.” Nearly half (48 percent) of evangelicals agree.

According to a 2008 Baylor study, 36 percent of church attendees with mental illness said that they were told by their leaders that it was the result of sin; 34 percent said they were told it was a demon; 41 percent were told they didn’t have a mental illness; and 28 percent were even told to stop taking medication.

Continue Reading…

Are Younger Evangelicals (Slowly) Joining the Sexual Revolution?

It’s commonly believed that young Christians are frustrated with the church’s “outdated” views on sex and marriage. But when you survey those who actually attend church weekly (rather than merely identify themselves as “Baptist” or “Presbyterian”), you find:

  • Only 11 percent of young, religiously active evangelicals actively expressed support for same-sex marriage. (Compared  to a strong majority of their non-believing peer group.)
  • Approximately 6 percent of  young, religiously active evangelicals expressed support for abortion rights. (Compared to 70 percent in their non-believing peer group.)
  • Approximately 5 percent of young, religiously active evangelicals agreed that cohabitation is acceptable. (Compared to 70 percent in their non-believing peer group.)

None of this is to deny that the sexual revolution continues apace. The broader culture is shifting. But younger evangelicals are, by and large, happily swimming upstream.

Read more, or listen to Dr. Regnerus’ lecture on the recent findings.

The Pastor’s Kid – Barnabas Piper

I’ve not yet seen The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity by Barnabas Piper, which releases today. But having spent a few years as one of 25 or so apprentices at Bethlehem Baptist Church, I’m intrigued by a book which (among other things, I’m sure) gives perspective on what it was like growing up in the Piper household. Today Jonathan Merritt posts an interview with Barnabas. Here’s an excerpt:

RNS: What was the biggest negative you experienced growing up in the Piper household? Greatest positive?

BP: The biggest negative was not connecting with God in a personal way. My dad’s view of, and relationship with, God is so big and so powerful that it looked like the only way to come to God. But it didn’t work for me. It wasn’t until I was out of college and things kind of fell apart for me that I encountered God’s grace and the person of Jesus in a profound way on my own.

Continue Reading…

Big Sale on Preparing Your Teens for College

Available on Amazon’s Kindle, or other e-readers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or learn more about the book.

Westminster’s Global Impact

WTS Global Impact:

Continue Reading…

Most Southern Baptist Churches Baptize Almost No Millennials

The troubling decline in SBC baptisms has entered its 7th year, per the 2013 Annual Church Profile. Kate Tracy with Christianity Today writes:

According to a recent report by a special task force of pastors, the baptism drought in America’s largest evangelical denomination—which counts 15.7 million members and 5.8 million Sunday worshipers—is worst among millennials.

In last year’s Annual Church Profile, 60 percent of the more than 46,000 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) reported no youth baptisms (ages 12 to 17) in 2012, and 80 percent reported only one or zero baptisms among young adults (ages 18 to 29). One in four Southern Baptist churches reported zero baptisms overall in 2012, while the “only consistently growing” baptism group was children under five years old.

The task force report acknowledges five weaknesses:

Continue Reading…

Under 40? Got Student Debt? Good Chance You’re Poor

About 4 in 10 U.S. households headed by someone under the age of 40 have student debt, the highest level ever, according to a study. The median debt level is about $13,000.Walter Hamilton writing for the LA Times:

College graduate heads-of-household under 40 with student debt have a median net worth of only $8,700, according to the analysis by the Pew Research Center. That’s a fraction of the $64,700 the same group without college loans is worth.

They’re not  all drowning in student debt–the median student debt for this group is about $13,000–it’s that “because of the other loans they’ve taken out, the median total indebtedness of college graduates under 40 with student loans is $137,010…compared to $73,250 for their counterparts with no college debt.”

Continue Reading…

What Are Some of the Key Issues Facing Youth Ministry Today?

A great discussion between David Plant, director of youth ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City; Cameron Cole, director of youth ministries at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama; and Liz Edrington, who is pursuing her master’s degree in counseling from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando.

HT: Collin Hansen, who has more info.

Page 2 of143«12345»102030...Last »