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Tidbits – May 2018

“Pastor, I already know how to farm better than I do”

In an April 16 post at, Donn R. Arms recounts how, as a young pastor in a rural western town, he eagerly shared with one of the deacons about his plans to attend “the latest and greatest conferences on church growth.”

The deacon gave a surprising response; he said: “Pastor, I already know how to farm better than I do.”

As Arms notes: “It was, of course, his kind and gentle way of telling me we simply need to do the things we already knew to do rather than constantly seeking the next big thing to make our church grow.”

In praise of peppermints

“…William Dember, a professor of psychology at the University of Cincinnati, has conducted a study of the impact of the scent of peppermint on people required to do “sustained vigilance tasks.” What did he find? That the mere smell of peppermint increased attentiveness and concentration by 15 percent! ….If the mere smell of peppermints can increase concentration, think what the smell and taste can do! It appears, then, that Reformed people have been entirely correct in maintaining the custom of eating peppermints at the beginning of the sermon.”
Bert Witvoet, as quoted in the July 10, 2017 Christian Courier

The media…on the media

“It’s a business. People are like, the media has an ethical pshsss… All the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school you’re just like, that’s adorable. That’s adorable. Yeah, this is a business.”
CNN Senior Producer John Bonifield, as caught on a video published June 27 by James O’Keefe’s undercover investigative unit, Project Veritas

Write your eulogy

“…it’s time to write your eulogy — your good (eu) word (logos). What would you like someone to be able to say honestly in seven minutes? ….There should be more to your life than your résumé. If there isn’t, start working on improving your eulogy. Then work backward.”
Gary North in the March 18, 2017 edition of Dr. Gary North’s Weekly Tip

Different sorts of smart

Our children have their unique gifts, and if they are going to develop these gifts we need to help identify them. For some kids that’s easy: they are good at school, and so it is no problem to spot that they are “book smart.” But God blesses our children with a variety of talents, so there are other sorts of “smart.” As Dr. Kath Koch has put it, some kids are:

  • Music smart – some kids have a song in their heart and head from day one.
  • Body smart – good at sports, and maybe working with their hands too
  • Nature smart – love and appreciate God’s great outdoors and everything in it
  • People smart – they connect while with all sorts of people, and can empathize
  • Self smart – they understand their own gifts, and can work on their own

These are good categories to consider, but we could make up quite different ones if we wanted to. The point is that God has given our children different gifts and abilities, and instead of dwelling on what they might lack, we’ll do better to ask: “What sort of gifts has God given my child?”

Failure to launch – one reason why

“Summarizing relevant research in 2013, The Boston Globe reported a staggering statistic: Only a quarter of Americans 60 and older had discussed anything important with anyone under 36 in the previous six months! Exclude relatives and that figure dropped to a mortifying 6 percent. How alien this would have sounded to the Apostle Paul, who in Titus 2 urges older men and older women to teach the younger.”
John Stonestreet, in a May 16, 2017 commentary

To arms!

“Conversion is not putting a man in an armchair and taking him easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win victory.”
– J.C. Ryle in “What it costs to be a Christian”

Atheism explains nothing

“Atheism…is the ultimate non-explanation, ‘explaining’ by denying that explanations exist. ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ No reason. ‘What caused everything?’ Nothing. ‘What accounts for Morality?’ There is no Morality to account for. ‘Why is there Evil in the world?’ There is no real Evil in the world since there is no real Morality. ‘What is wrong with the world?’ Nothing. It just is. ‘How do we fix the world?’ We can’t fix what’s not broken.”

Greg Koukl, in Stand to Reason’s January 2, 2018 Solid Ground newsletter

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