Cynicism

[I bet you have never read an article about cynicism.  And that is interesting because we live in a society which abounds in cynicism.  It is everywhere and if we're honest, that includes within us.  Reading the following article by Jonathan Storment brought to mind the 1 Cor. 13:7 passage which reminds us that love: always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. I read this to include the fact that love always gives the benefit of the doubt and always thinks the best of. The Amplified Bible says: ... is ever ready to believe the best of every person.  This article appeared first at Patheos.com as: The Giant Hole in Cynicism. RMF]

The Giant Hole in Cynicism

Patheos BannerJonathan StormentJonathan Storment

[There is] a radical difference between cynicism and joy. Cynics seek darkness wherever they go. They point always to approaching dangers, impure motives, and hidden schemes. They call trust naive, care romantic, and forgiveness sentimental…They consider themselves realists who see reality for what it truly is and who are not deceived by “escapist emotions.” But in belittling God’s joy, their darkness only calls forth more darkness. —Henri Nouwen

“All is well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” –St. Julian of Norwich

One of the shepherds at the church I serve is a man named John Willis. He is a renowned Old Testament scholar, professor, churchman, and friend. He and his wife Evelyn are two of the best people I know. They are in their 80’s and right now they are in New Zealand teaching a short course and continuing their tradition of handing out cookies to every student. John and Evelyn Willis do not do what they do for money or power. They do it because of who they are, and who God has made them into. Continue reading

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Make your bed – life lessons from SEAL training

U.S. Navy admiral and University of Texas, Austin, alumnus William H. McRaven returned to his alma mater last week to give seniors 10 lessons from basic SEAL training when he spoke at the school’s commencement.  Admiral McRaven is commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command who organized the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.  The ten life lessons gleaned from his SEAL training are at once simple and profound.   Here’s the video of the full speech with the transcript below.  RMF

ImageAdmiral William McRaven

Admiral McRaven’s 10 lessons from his years of experience as a U.S. Navy SEAL

I have been a Navy SEAL for 36 years. But it all began when I left UT for Basic SEAL training in Coronado, California.

Basic SEAL training is six months of long torturous runs in the soft sand, midnight swims in the cold water off San Diego, obstacles courses, unending calisthenics, days wihout sleep and always being cold, wet and miserable.

It is six months of being constantly harassed by professionally trained warriors who seek to find the weak of mind and body and eliminate them from ever becoming a Navy SEAL.

But, the training also seeks to find those students who can lead in an environment of constant stress, chaos, failure and hardships.

To me basic SEAL training was a life time of challenges crammed into six months.

So, here are the ten lesson’s I learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life. Continue reading

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Truth seeps out

The following is an article by Matt Walker, who writes for Battle for Truth. I appreciate Walker’s observation that within comments which were intended to convey a different message, a powerful message, paradoxically as Walker points out, has emerged.  The Battle for Truth article can be found HERE.   RMF

ImageImageMatt Walker

The Paradox of Emily Letts’ “Positive Abortion Story”

by Matt Walker

In recent weeks the story of Emily Letts’ abortion video, which was produced with the intention of relieving people of their moral guilt after choosing abortion, has gone viral.

Letts is an abortion counselor at Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey, which is where she had her abortion. After her abortion video won the “Abortion Care Network’s Stigma Busting” video contest, it spread to news outlets nationwide.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Heather Wood Rudulph, Letts was asked why she filmed her abortion.

“I searched the Internet, and I couldn’t find a video of an actual surgical procedure in the clinic that focused on the woman’s experience. We talk about abortion so much and yet no one really knows what it actually looks like,” Letts said. “I could have taken the pill, but I wanted to do the one that women were most afraid of. I wanted to show it wasn’t scary – that there is such a thing as a positive abortion story.” She goes on to say that her abortion was the right thing to do because it was right for her. Continue reading

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In Leadership which comes first – Mission or People?

Geoff Surratt is one of my favorite Christian leaders and writers.  When he says something it is always worth paying attention.  I found the following post from his Inner Revolution.com Blog to be particularly interesting and enlightening.  Perhaps you’ll enjoy it too.  RMF

ImageImageGeoff Surratt

Leadership: Four ways churches are doing it wrong

I have always been fascinated with leadership. I read leadership blogs, buy leadership books and watch leadership videos. I love the leadership concepts the church has leveraged over the past 30 years for Kingdom effectiveness. Lately, however, I have been struggling with the disconnect I see between some of the leadership models in the church and the leadership model Jesus presented. This struggle was brought to the forefront by Simon Sinak’s latest TED Talk. (I highly recommend watching the 12 minute talk at the end of this post). What struck me was that Sinak seems to better define biblical leadership than many pastors, including myself. To quote Jesus’ brother James out of context, “These things ought not be.”

ImageSimon Sinak

In response to a disagreement among his followers over who should be on his Executive Team, Jesus sums the model of leadership Sinek proposes this way:

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:25-28 ESV (Emphasis mine)

Every pastor preaches this models of servant leadership, but I fear several marketplace strategies we’ve adopted undermine the core of Jesus’ model. Here are four ways the church is getting leadership wrong: Continue reading

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“Free Speech Zone” yes — but at a price.

No need for me to mention the current kerfuffle over offensive speech.  You can’t visit any form of media without hearing someone’s opinion about all that is going wrong with our country.  Liberal and conservative sources don’t like it and are not shy in sharing their ire with anyone who reads or listens to their views.  It seems the only way to keep from offending someone is to remain silent.  That being said, here is an article that is about as sane as any I’ve come across regarding the issue of free speech — speech that was actually bought with a price.  The Author is Dave Ficere and his articles and writing have been featured in a wide array of media including radio promotions, devotional publications, websites, magazines and newsletters. This article appeared in the Viewpoint section of the Presidential Prayer Team’s Insight Edition. RMF

ImageDave Ficere

Double Standard Rhetoric

ViewpointDefending the right to free speech

By Dave Ficere

“I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”—Voltaire

The media and pop culture have been abuzz the past several weeks over racist remarks made privately by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and publically by Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy. Both are white. At the same time, the same media was eerily silent over racist remarks hurled at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by black Mississippi Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson during a radio interview.

Is there a double standard in America regarding free speech?
Continue reading

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Forward

The following is a poem Mom wrote as the forward to her third and final book of poems which she titled Grace And Glory.  I believe the title, “Forward,” is very appropriate in that it describes it’s “forwarding” function in the book while at the same time reflecting her attitude in life.  I hope you enjoy the poem.  RMF

  • Incidentally, this poem states my feeling regarding my life right now.  Let me assure you that at 73 the life God gives is still very full of blessings. 

ImageForward

The  winter of one’s life can be,

The sweetest season of all;

If warmed by family and friends,

And precious moments to recall.

Tis the time to be only myself,

Comfortable in my own skin;

No pretense, worry, or fretting,

Over what might have been.

For my trust is in the Father,

My burdens at Jesus’ feet;

And that is the reason,

The season is so sweet!

           Norma Furgerson

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Civility in Contentious Issues

There is no hotter topic these days than that of gay marriage.  Even secular society is concerned with it and you certainly don’t have to be “religious” to have very strong opinions about it one way or another.  And, of course, within the faith community there is no lack of very strong opinions — even to the point of dividing entire denominations with resulting court battles over church property.  Much of the discussion, even among Christians, is unfortunately not very civilized.  The following article by James Watkins which appeared in The Presidential Prayer Team newsletter deals with the the need for civility in addressing the issue.  Actually, the article contains some great guidelines for dealing with any contentious issue.  RMF

ImageImageJames N. Watkins

God, the Gospel, and Gays

ViewpointA Response to Matthew Vines

By James N. Watkins

The fight for acceptance of sex-same unions has moved from the gay community to the media to the states to the courts to “mainline” churches—and now to evangelical churches.

Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian is published by Convergent Books, owned by Crown Group which also includes WaterBrook Press, Multnomah Books and Image Books. The publisher sent out a release announcing the book will “radically change the conversation about being gay in the church. We believe it offers a thoughtful examination of Scripture on the topic of same-sex relationships from a bold, young, evangelical writer whose first calling is to promote a civil, loving, and biblically-based conversation on the subject.” Continue reading

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