Pro tip: When you hear extremely good news or extremely bad news about COVID-19, wait at least 24 hours before broadcasting it over social media, as it will almost invariably get countered or retracted in that time. (Case in point: asymptomatic transmission is very rare; 24 hours go by and actually, that’s not what we meant.)
Today’s Kindle deals include some D.A. Carson, some Paul Washer, and some other good picks.
Westminster Books has some good deals on books for kids.
Joe Carter digs into that oft-repeated statistic that Christian men watch more pornography than their non-Christian counterparts. “The problem with the survey … is not necessarily that it is wrong, but rather that it can give the wrong impression. A statistic that implies a significant majority of Christian men are consumers of porn is alarming. But it becomes less surprising when you realize many of those ‘Christian’ men surveyed are nominally Christian or reject traditional sexual ethics.”
Here’s a timely call to be careful with our assumptions of others. “There have been a lot of trending words and phrases since the start of 2020; words that would not have made complete sense to us just a half a year ago: social distancing, new normal, flattening the curve, 6 feet apart. I believe as we begin to come out of the haze and fog of this Corona Virus, one of the words that may not be talked about often, but needs to be in the forefront of our minds, is the word ‘assumption’.”
“Often I can focus too much on the depravity in the world. I name it- somehow hoping it will give me some form of control. I might sink further into the Bible’s history of reckless judges, the days of Noah, or perhaps look ahead to grim prophecies of the last days. Yet sometimes I dwell in the reality of evil. I forget that as much as depravity is real, hope in Christ is real. If these times of unrest can convince us of the presence of sin, should it also not root us further in the sure hope we have in our salvation from it? If the curse of the serpent is real, isn’t also the serpent crusher?”
There is some bad language in this one as it describes the social media uproar related to a case of mistaken identity. But I think the story is important in showing just how quickly social media can create a mob.
“For three weeks I’ve been standing in the hallway as our church members enter the building for Sunday service. My job is simple: drop a squirt of hand sanitizer into outstretched hands. I have seen hands hardened by callouses and hands spotted with age. I’ve seen tiny fingers on soft baby hands, and I’ve seen scars, wrinkles, freckles, and the various shades of skin that God has made. Every open hand that is offered up to me belongs to someone who sees a new protocol like a dollop of hand sanitizer as a minuscule price to pay for the chance to sit in this building, to look into the faces of our family eternal, to worship together.”
Here’s counsel on walking through the fog of life. “Each of us is making our way through the fog right now. We don’t know if we’re walking toward a cliff or toward a ladder. Politics has exchanged truth for sound bites. Protests have erupted in our cities and a pandemic haunts our daily lives. So we cling to our tribal divisions for answers and distrust anyone outside our circle of visibility.”
Church leaders will benefit from this one. “Pastors, deacons, and other church leaders. Step up and lead. Prayerfully seek the Lord. Run to his word. Build consensus among your leaders, but don’t wait too long. Even people who don’t like the direction of their leadership will follow leaders who will make a decision.”
Will I trust God even when the way is unclear and even when I do not understand? Is my faith deep enough to say, “I don’t understand, but I know God is good.” Is my faith in an outcome, or is my faith in God?
Jesus is not trigger-happy. Not harsh, reactionary, easily exasperated. He is the most understanding person in the universe. The posture most natural to him is not a pointed finger but open arms.—Dane Ortlund