A General Call for Volunteers

If my calculations are correct, SharperIron is now in its 12th year. That would put me in my 11th year of involvement and, as of sometime this month, my 9th year at the lead.

It’s been a ride, and sometimes I think it’s time I stepped aside. But no, we’re not there  yet. However, life changes have resulted in my having less time to be involved in the same ways I used to be. There is a need for new volunteers and some changes in the division of labor.

So I’m looking for volunteers, with three goals in mind. Read more about A General Call for Volunteers

Regeneration—Conversion—Reformation

(About this series)

CHAPTER IV - REGENERATION—CONVERSION—REFORMATION

BY REV. GEORGE W. LASHER, D. D., LL. D., Author of “Theology for Plain People” CINCINNATI, OHIO

In his “Twice-Born Men,” Mr. Harold Begbie gives us a series of instances wherein men of the lowest grade, or the most perverse nature, became suddenly changed in thought, purpose, will and life. Without intentionally ignoring the word “regeneration,” or the fact of regeneration, he emphasises the act of conversion in which he includes regeneration which, in our conception, is the origin of conversion and a true reformation as a permanent fact. A weakness in much of the teaching of modern times is in that conversion and reformation are thrust to the front, while regeneration is either ignored, or minimized to nothingness.

Jesus Christ did not say much about regeneration, using the equivalent word in the Greek (paliggenesis) only once, and then (Matt. 19: 28) having reference to created things, a new order in the physical universe, rather than to a new condition of the individual soul. But He taught the great truth in other words, the needful fact by which He made it evident that a regeneration is what the human soul needs and must have to fit it for the kingdom of God. Read more about Regeneration—Conversion—Reformation

An Autopsy of a Movement

By Dr. Caleb Verbois, The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College (Grove City, PA). Used by permission.

With Ted Cruz having dropped out of the 2016 presidential race, there will be a string of eulogies seeking to autopsy his campaign. At least some of those critiques may hit the mark. In particular, Cruz’s campaign strategy went awry in three ways.

First, Cruz consciously copied Obama’s micro-targeted campaign of voters. He has been repeatedly praised for a campaign that focused on tiny groups of voters in states like Iowa to learn exactly how to win their vote. But while that works in Iowa where there is time to prepare, it does not work once the primary calendar heats up. This focus on targeting winnable voters also led Cruz to worry too much about focusing on states he thought he could win. He had success, in the sense that he won most of the states he heavily focused on, but by “giving up” in other states he let Trump get too far ahead. The most recent example—giving up on the northeast state primaries to focus on Indiana probably doomed his campaign. Cruz was ahead in Indiana but after Trump’s victories in the northeast the polls in Indiana changed drastically. Read more about An Autopsy of a Movement

The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part 7)

Read the series so far.

God’s Transcendence versus Continuity

It is very important to notice the links between the creation accounts and ethical accounts. In one way or another all non-biblical systems of belief paint a metaphysical picture of reality that is at once unified and diverse. The unity is found in the indissoluble connection between heaven and earth, between man and the “higher powers,” or between the human animal and the Cosmos. The diversity is seen in the various ways this connection is explained. It may be explained by saying that we are merely the consequence of blind, purposeless matter coming together and developing in a certain way. Read more about The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part 7)

Making Disciples in a Millennial Generation , Part 2

Read Part 1.

What can Baby Boomer church leaders do to develop growing disciples from the Millennial generation?

1. Motivate and train older people to build growing relationships with younger people in your church.

Godly older people can be a powerful positive influence, if they don’t become isolated, bitter and alone. This is why church leaders must make ministry to senior citizens a top priority, and not just to provide aging generations fellowship with other old people. An effective senior citizens program must be much more than that. Left alone, seniors are likely to feel put out to pasture, as if their days of effectiveness for ministry are long gone. They need to be motivated and trained to spend their retirement years being proactive about building positive relationships with the next generation. Emerging generations need to hear their stories and learn the lessons of living for Christ over the long haul. In fact, I encourage church leaders all over the country to recruit older people to be youth workers. Yes, their days of playing tackle football are long gone, but one never gets too old to build relationships. The generation gap is perhaps best bridged by older people taking the initiative to develop growing, encouraging relationships with young people. Read more about Making Disciples in a Millennial Generation , Part 2

Making Disciples in a Millennial Generation , Part 1

From Voice magazine, Mar/Apr 2016. Used by permission.

We are facing a clash of generations in America. The Baby Boomers—the generation of “The Sixties,” Woodstock and The Beatles singing “You say you want a revolution”—are kicking and screaming into retirement;1 while the Millennials, the first generation of “digital natives”2 and the most-observed generation in history, are facing their 30s.3

Boomers don’t want to give up their positions of influence or control and Millennials don’t see value in Boomers’ old-fashioned methodology. Instead, the younger generation is creating a new way of doing things. This phenomenon is true with everything from pocket-sized computers (thinly disguised as cell phones) to the Church. Millennials are walking away from traditional churches en masse;4 plus, an entire new generation of pastors would rather plant new churches than minister in established, traditional churches.5 Read more about Making Disciples in a Millennial Generation , Part 1

What Is the Biblical Worldview?

Human beings are hardwired to behave on the basis of what they believe. We dream and plan, will and act, emote and communicate according to our perception of reality. Each of us possesses a conceptual filter by which we interpret the world around us and that interpretation fuels our decisions.

At first, this conceptual filter is largely innate. I observed a newborn baby girl recently who capably communicated to everyone in the room that life was good in her mother’s arms and torture anywhere else. But as we mature, we gain the capacity to develop rationally the contours of our filter. Emotions (one’s fear of heights, for instance), affections (such as one’s love for family) and life experiences (say, suffering) will continue to play a large role in determining how we interpret life. Yet we can refine and even reform our perceptions by deliberately constructing a worldview that orders our beliefs and transforms our behavior.

The Bible is predicated on the counter-cultural premise that the establishment of one’s worldview is not a matter of individual freedom. Rather, the Bible insists that God speaks and that it is our responsibility and joy to conform our worldview to what the Creator has revealed. We are called to submit to God’s counsel such that our perceptions of reality are filtered through the framework of revelation and then to ethically respond to the implications. Read more about What Is the Biblical Worldview?

The Nature of Regeneration

CHAPTER III - THE NATURE OF REGENERATION

BY THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732)

I. For the better understanding of the nature of regeneration, take this along with you, in the first place, that as there are false conceptions in nature, so there are also in grace: by these many are deluded, mistaking some partial changes made upon them for this great and thorough change. To remove such mistakes, let these few things be considered:

1. Many call the Church their mother, whom God will not own to be His children. “My mother’s children,” that is, false brethren, “were angry with me” (Cant. 1: 6). All that are baptized, are not born again. Simon was baptized, yet still “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity” (Acts 8: 13-23). Where Christianity is the religion of the country, many are called by the name of Christ, who have no more of Him than the name: and no wonder, for the devil had his goats among Christ’s sheep, in those places where but few professed the Christian religion. “They went out from us, but they were not of us” (1 John 2: 19). Read more about The Nature of Regeneration