All Around the Web – Babylon Bee

Babylon Bee – 7 Keys To Being A Feminist Husband

Babylon Bee – Disney To Remove Problematic Kiss From Classic Movie, Snow White Will Now Remain Dead

Babylon Bee – Police Shootings Drop To Zero After Mass Hiring Of Stormtroopers

Babylon Bee – Report: Melinda Gates Filed For Divorce After Discovering Windows 95 Launch Video

Babylon Bee – CIA Replaces Waterboarding With 12-Hour Lectures On Intersectional Feminism

Babylon Bee – Husband’s Binge Of ‘Executive Actions’ Leads To Shaky Poll Numbers After First 100 Days Of Marriage

Babylon Bee – Stacey Abrams Graciously Accepts Pulitzer Prize For Upcoming Romance Novels

All Around the Web – May 8, 2021

Funny Christian Memes - Beliefnet

Carl Trueman – Polemic by Beauty

Together for the Gospel – A Conversation on Providence

Denny Burk – SBC Presidential Candidates Discuss the Issues

Crossway – What Your Marriage Desperately Needs

Trevin Wax – “Range” and the Generalist vs. Specialist Debate

Kentucky Today – COVID’s US toll projected to drop sharply by the end of July

Kentucky Today – Facebook board upholds Trump suspension

Not the Bee – Coke is pausing its woke “diversity” plan after extreme backlash and the resignation of its chief lawyer

Babylon Bee – Evangelical Flips Through Book Of Revelation To Figure Out When Trump Will Be Back

Babylon Bee – The Babylon Bee Fact-Checks 10 Controversial Statements From President Biden

Babylon Bee – Biden: ‘With Enough Vaccinations, I’m Prepared To Authorize The Use Of Sparklers On The 4th Of July’

Babylon Bee – Nation’s Baptists Begin Exodus To Promised Land Of D.C. Where Dancing Is Now Banned

All Around the Web – May 7, 2021

65 Christian Jesus Memes That Are so Funny, You'll Swear It's a Miracle

Andrew Walker – What We Lose in the Decline of Cultural Christianity

John Stonestreet – The Supreme Court Doesn’t Get the Last Word

TGC – Disclosing Past Sexual Sin in a Dating Relationship

Church Answers – How the COVID Shutdown Changed our Church

TGC – 6 Principles for Building a Youth Ministry

F&T – The Solution to America’s Theological Salad Bar

Crossway – His Ways Are Not Your Ways

Cripplegate – What to do with evil news

Chuck Lawless – 12 Ways for Your Church to Stay Connected with High School Graduates and College Students

Not the Bee – Cops show up to Nova Scotia restaurant to investigate reported lockdown violation, but it turns out it was just a mannequin sitting at a table lol

Not the Bee – Check out this mind-boggling portrait of a modern George Washington

Babylon Bee – ‘I Have Changed My Mind And Do Not Want A Divorce From This Amazing Handsome Man,’ Says Glossy-Eyed Melinda Gates After Receiving Vaccine

Babylon Bee – Curb Accuses Woman Of Multiple Instances Of Vehicular Assault

Babylon Bee – 10 Ways To Feel Morally Superior To Everyone When Masks Are No Longer Required

Babylon Bee – Biden Relocates 20,000 National Guard Troops To Inner Cities To Snipe Menthol Cigarettes Out Of People’s Mouths

All Around the Web – May 6, 2021

16 Christian Memes that are funny because they're true | Christian Funny  Pictures - A time to laugh

Trevin Wax – 10 of My Favorite Quotes on Writing

Canon Fodder – How Far Back Can We Trace the Fourfold Gospel?

John Stonstreet – Evangelicals & Casual Sex

Stand to Reason – The Claim about Homosexuality in the Film 1946 Is Irrelevant

Evangelical History – How to Counter Anti-Evangelical Hostility

F&T – Has the Pandemic Forced the Church to Rebuild Her Identity?

Chuck Lawless – 12 Signs You’re a Positive-Attitude Church Member

F&T – Why Pastors Should Use More Historical Illustrations in Sermons

Tim Challies – We Always Glean Among the Sheaves

Scientific American – Flu Has Disappeared Worldwide during the COVID Pandemic

The Alabama Baptist – Surveillance in China poses threat to religious groups

Babylon Bee – Vaccinated Man Licks First Doorknob In Over A Year

Babylon Bee – Dems Propose Fighting Obesity By Switching To Communism

Babylon Bee – MLB Umpire Ejects Catcher For Making Multiple Racist Gestures

Babylon Bee – Couple Spends 3 Hours Picking Movie One Of Them Will Fall Asleep To In 12 Minutes

All Around the Web – May 5, 2021

To be More Than Just Christian Memes, Bible Verses Need Their Context.

Trevin Wax – When Breaking Out of the Echo Chamber Doesn’t Stop Polarization

For the Church – 4 Reasons Preachers Plagiarize

John Stonestreet – Biden Scraps the ‘Protect Life’ Rule: We Need Cultural Change, Not Political Games

Randy Alcorn – We Must Learn the Skills to Resist Sexual Temptation

9Marks – Church Membership Among Former Mormons

Chuck Lawless – 7 Reasons I Work Out at a Public Fitness Center Almost Every Day

Esther O’Reilly – What Will Become of Atheism?

Crossway – 3 Reality Checks for Your Marriage

F&T – Churchgoers Working on Sunday Could Spark Outreach Opportunities for Churches

TGC – The 5 Movements in Isaiah

Politico – ‘I’d Never Been Involved in Anything as Secret as This’: The plan to kill Osama bin Laden—from the spycraft to the assault to its bizarre political backdrop—as told by the people in the room.

Babylon Bee – Dems Committed To Utterly Destroying Black Man’s Optimism About Race Relations

Babylon Bee – Biden Admits His First 100 Days Were A Failure Since America Hasn’t Been Completely Destroyed Yet

Babylon Bee – Elizabeth Warren Barred From Entering Country Thanks To Travel Ban On Indians

Babylon Bee – 10 Common Things Your Husband Says — And What He’s Actually Thinking

Simple Tips for Improving Your Preaching

After a dozen years of preaching over a hundred sermons a year, I’ve learned a thing or two about the art of homiletics. There is nothing I enjoy more as a pastor than to open the word of God to the people I’ve grown to love and to share with them some of what I discovered over the past week. To boil all of that down in 30-40 minutes remains a challenge, but a blessed one. I have witnessed the ongoing affects of the gospel as revealed in God’s Word. As I look back at my own experience and reflect on areas I continue to focus on, here are a few simple tips to improve preaching.

Keep Growing as a Preacher

The first thing to know is in preaching is there is always plenty of room to grow. Like discipleship, let it be said that though you have yet to arrive as the greatest preacher in Christian history, let it be said that you continue to grow as a preacher with each passing year.

This requires learning from the tips below and adding your own list. Ask others for insight and advice on how you might improve. Ask fellow preachers. Hold each other accountable. Listen to a variety of other preachers and explore what is effective for them.

Voice Variation

Monotone preaching is the quickest way to put one’s parishners to sleep. When we think of monotone voices, we imagine Ben Stine’s character in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Although such preachers continue to bore their congregation, most preachers have a habit of a less severe monotone. Often, this is the first thing I notice about preachers. Whether their voice carries or is soft, it rarely changes.

Learn to include two types of variation into your presentation. The first is the speed of your voice. There is a time to speak fast and to speak slow. Both are a way of emphasizing something. Choose wisely when to use either. The main point is to use variation in speeds throughout the sermon.

Similarly, use variation with inflection. At times, it is necessary to raise your voice and other times it is best to lower the voice. Both are powerful. Yet when one only uses one or the other, it loses its power.

Find a quality preacher that does well with this and learn from them.

Watch/Listen to Yourself

The worst part of preaching class in seminary was the requirement to watch and evaluate myself. Our voices are hardly recognizable to ourselves and our mannerisms are inescapable. That is precisely the point. We can be ignore from behind the pulpit what cannot be ignored before it.

As painful as it can be, watch yourself and if video is unavailable, listen to your own sermon. Given modern technology, either should not be difficult.

Work on the First Sentence

Most sermon textbooks suggest focusing on both the opening and closing portion of the sermon. This is good and wise, but I suggest one should work on the first and last sentence of the sermon. An engaging opening sentence draws the audience in immediately. If it takes a 2-5 minute introduction to pull the audience in, you may have already lost them. Work on that opening sentence as well as the closing sentence.

Point to Christ

The most important part of a sermon is its Christological connection. Just as every part of Scripture is about Jesus. More important than illustrations, exegesis, and application is articulating what the text says about Christ. Let it be the result of proper exegesis, but it must be made clear in the sermon. I have found that this connection to Christ is the most anticipated and remembered portion of the sermon.

How dare we speak to Christians without saying much about Christ?

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All Around the Web – May 4, 2021

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Joe Carter – 9 Things You Should Know About Child and Infant Mortality

Joe Carter – Survey: Half of U.S. ‘Christians’ Say Casual Sex Is Acceptable

Reformation21 – Robert Jermain Thomas – First Protestant Martyr in Korea

Justin Taylor – Is Being Gay Genetic?

John Stonestreet – Is Christian Cohabitation the New Norm?

Crossway – Tithing in Financially Tight Times

John Piper – Why Did the First Humans Live for So Long?

F&T – Mother’s Day: Capitalizing on an Unexpected High Attendance Sunday

Terms of Service – 10 Facts from New Pew Data on Social Media Usage

Cord Cutters News – Consumers Will Spend More on Streaming Than Pay TV For the First Time Ever in 2024

Not the Bee – Another church in Canada has been forcibly closed for defying lockdown orders. Read the pastor’s epic response.

Babylon Bee – Flintstones Vitamins Now Available With Puberty Blockers

Babylon Bee – Civil War Soldiers Glad They Didn’t Live Long Enough To Experience Horrors Of The January 6th Capitol Riot

Babylon Bee – For Health Of White Girl Community, Biden Bans Pumpkin Spice Frappuccinos

Babylon Bee – Scholars Now Believe Father Abraham Spent Most Of His Time Putting Out Oil Lamps His Kids Left On

“Manhunt” by Peter Bergen: A Review

Image result for manhunt the search for bin laden peter

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden. Below is the book I’ve read on the hunt for him.

Well-written non-fiction, when done right, is better than fiction. Knowing the words on the page are true grabs the readers attention and the story becomes more than just a story – it becomes, because it is, real life. Peter L. Bergen, in his book Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden–from 9/11 to Abbottabad has a story to tell that is shaping history and which grabbed the world’s attention on May 2, 2011. On that day, Seal Team 6 killed the world’s most wanted (and hated) man, Osama bin Laden. In this book, Bergen tells the story of the ten year hunt for the terrorist and how he found, and how he came to his end.

This is a fast paced, well-written history from a reporter who has followed the trail the entire way. Bergen is among the few journalists to have done an interview with the mass murderer and even was able to go inside the compound that housed bin Laden up to his death and thus his credibility is secured and his research is profound.

I could not put this book down. Since the announcement of bin Laden’s death, many documentaries, specials, articles, and books have been written on Seal Team 6, the raid, bin Laden, etc. Among those that I have read, this certainly ranks up there as one of the best, if not the best, in print.

One of the most fascinating parts of the book to me regards the percentages given to the President as to how certain various insiders and administrators were regarding whether or not bin Laden was actually in the compound. Some gave the President a 40% chance that bin Laden was inside that compound. Others gave him an 80-90% chance that he was there. This makes the President’s decision all the more difficult. Bin Laden simply did not come out of the compound enough for CIA officials to get a confirmation of him. There was a man they called “the Pacer” who would daily walk outside, but officials could not get a good enough look at him. Thus bin Laden’s presence was based on circumstantial evidence. Bergen even goes on far to suggest, quoting officials, that there was more, and better, circumstantial evidence for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq than there was for bin Laden in the Abbottabad compound.

So why take the chance? Some in Obama’s administration told him not to go in. Others said to. The best explanation provided in the book for the raid came from Leon Panetta. Bergen writes:

Leon Penetta, who had been Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and before that a nine-term congressman, knew a thing or two about the realities of politics. He delivered a persuasive political argument in favor of the raid and of doing it as soon as feasible. “I’ve always used the test, Mister President, as somebody that’s been in public office: What would the average American say if he or she knew what we were talking about? And I think if you told the average American – we have the best intelligence we’ve had since Tora Bora, we have the chance to get the number one terrorist in the world who attacked us on 9/11 – I think that they would say ‘we gotta go.'” (202-203)

Bergen then adds, Hillary Clinton voiced a related point: enough people already knew about the bin Laden intelligence that it would eventually leak” (203).

Both Penetta and Clinton are exactly write. The intelligence wouldn’t get any better and this was our best chance since Tora Bora to get him and if the average American were in that room given the same intelligence, they would order the raid.

This is a great book but it isn’t without some bias. Bergen paints President George W. Bush in much more negative light than President Barack Obama. Early on in the book, Bergen notes Bush receiving intelligence regarding what would become 9/11 and then adds that he then enjoyed his long vacation in a somewhat condescending tone. Later in the book, right before the raid, President Obama is noted to have gone golfing with the less judgmental note that it was only for 9 holes. In addition, President Obama is presented as a sort of non-traditional Democrat war hawk – much like Bush. Bergen highlights the surge of troops yet fails to report that the surge was much less than was recommended to him. Nor does he mention his policies towards Russia and the downgrade of American nuclear bombs. So yes, bias is there, but it does not dominate the book and it is the main criticism I have for the book.

Overall, this is a great book that I highly recommend. This is where you want to begin to know more about bin Laden, the raid, and the story behind it all.

This book was given to me courtesy of Crown Publishers for the purpose of this review.

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