Know Your “Why”

I partner with churches across the country for all sorts of events. One critical factor for creating a successful event is defining what success looks like. It sounds obvious, but I’ve discovered that it’s often overlooked. I can’t tell you how many times an event organizer is unable to articulate what they want to get out of their event. (And it’s a lot harder for me to help them make their event a success if they can’t or won’t communicate what “success” looks like.)

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Facebook Login from a Standalone PWA

I’m a computer nerd. Formerly a professional one. I still use my programming skills in my magic. I wrote my show control software, and do several routines that involve custom programming. Occasionally I encounter technical problems problems where my Google skills don’t turn up a clear solution. If I do find a solution, I’ll try to document it for future Googlers to find. This is one of those posts.

So, if you’re trying to integrate Facebook login into a PWA running in standalone mode, read on! Everyone else will probably want to turn away now.

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What’s Your Reason for Believing That?

One of the things that really bugs me about social media is the number of people who believe and pass on obviously false information. I’m not talking about opinions I disagree with. I’m referring to the factually incorrect, completely disconnected from reality memes and links that clutter my feeds. I constantly feel the urge to post replies like “What are your reasons for believing this is true?” (Or, in more frustrated moments, “How can you possibly be this gullible!?”) But of course, I rarely post those sorts of things, or I wouldn’t have any friends.

It bothers me even more when churches engage in this kind of sloppy non-thinking. We must be prepared to answer the question, “What’s your reason for believing that?” Or, as the Apostle Peter put it, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)
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Making Jesus Relevant

I hear and read a lot about the need to “make Jesus relevant.” While I understand what people generally mean when they say that, I really hate that phrase.

First, Jesus is who he is, regardless of what you, I, or the culture would prefer. We can’t “make” Jesus anything, and to attempt to do so is claim that we have authority over God himself. Second, there’s no need to “make Jesus relevant.” He is relevant to every human on the planet. Period. We are all, without exception, sinners who are lost, helpless, and deservedly hell-bound apart from Jesus. How could he possibly not be relevant?
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Reminders of What Matters

In my comfy living room, I have a big screen TV. (Because I’m an American, and that’s what we do.) Above it, I have photos from some of my travels. I put them up because they mean more to me than some random pretty thing from a store. There’s one in particular I want to share with you. It’s from one of my early trips to Central America in the early 90’s. I honestly don’t remember which trip it is from, so it could have been from anywhere from Mexico through Honduras. I took these trips with Compassion International. I was working as a volunteer with them at the time. I went to see their work with children who were living in poverty in order to help me be a better advocate for children in need.
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The Hidden Beauty of the Local Church

The church is the metaphorical body of Christ. It consists of all followers of Jesus; and crosses denominational, racial, and national lines. The local church is a geographic segment of that global body. It is, in a very literal sense, God’s hands in the community where it is located. And it is a beautiful thing. (Don’t get me wrong it’s also a mess, but it’s a beautiful mess.)
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Us vs. Them

Racism is immoral. It’s the antithesis of the teaching of Scripture. It’s socially unacceptable. And it’s just incorrect. There is simply no basis in fact for believing one race is inferior to another.

Even those of us who abhor racism still tend to find ways of dividing ourselves up into “us” and “them.” It gives us a way to feel superior to “them,” whoever they are.

“They” could be liberals, conservatives, foreigners, refugees, addicts. “They” aren’t worthy of our respect. It’s OK to refer to “them” with dismissive and disrespectful labels, like right-wing, left-wing, radical, extremist, nuts, libtards, teabaggers, and so forth. It’s OK to feel superior to “them.”
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Absolute Offense

The word "values" against compass.

Our culture no longer believes in moral absolutes. Everyone decides for themselves what’s right or wrong. This leads to a major social problem. A shared moral compass plays an important role in a society. If everyone is free to do what is right in their own eyes, how can society function?

It occurred to me that something else is replacing the role of morality as a guiding force in our culture: offence. It is no longer the adherence to a moral code that guides us. Instead, it is the avoidance of offending someone.
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Outrage

Outrage Word Cloud

Though it isn’t the kind of thing I typically deal with here, I want to address a cultural issue, outrage. It’s everywhere in our culture. And it’s not a coincidence. It’s by design. There are a lot of people, entire industries even, who want you to be outraged, because that’s how they get their money and power. The news media want you outraged so you’ll tune in so they’ll have good ratings to keep their job and get paid more by their advertisers. Politicians want you outraged because it motivates you to get to the voting booth and give them power. Bloggers want you outraged so you’ll click through to their site so they’ll get ad impressions, which is how they make money. Lobbying groups want to keep you outraged, so you’ll vote their way, or put pressure on politicians.
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