Ed Stetzer reminds Christians that the world does not need our moral arrogance. The world needs Jesus.

Eric Bryant recently wrote Not Like Me and Ed Stetzer contributed the insights below. Learning humility before the world and engaging unbelievers as people in relationship and not objects to be won is our work.

The past few decades have seen American Christians going in two different directions. One group in the church regularly pits scorched-earth, "come out and be separate" teaching against another group proposing the "love your neighbor as yourself" command of Jesus as paramount. Some what to save America, while others want to save Americans. Many believers have been taught that we should shun nonbelievers, since any friendship with them might cause us to stumble and fall into sin ourselves. The response is to construct a protective boundary that keeps us at a safe distance from those "living in sin." It results in a subculture of churched people who are the equivalent of evangelical Amish.

While it is important for Christians to have and proclaim the moral standards as we have received them in God's Word, our challenge is to avoid arrogance. Becoming prideful of our standards can have the inadvertent side-effect of us thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.

Posted via email from Ministry Posts from Allen Bingham

Steven Johnson reminds us that hunches and collaboration is where good ideas come from

Sharon Hodde Miller shares her sense that the overshare on social networks is not God-honoring.

I am grateful for persons who state better something I have been thinking. I am trying these days to share the learning adventures I have without airing the family laundry (both biological and church family). Read the full post at EdStetzer.com and follow Sharon at SheWorships

I want to examine a particular "abuse" of tweeting/posting status updates. It is the practice of posting at (what I would consider to be) inappropriate times. No, I'm not trying to be the Emily Post of social media etiquette here to lecture you on the rudeness of tweeting during a meeting or meal. The kind of "inappropriate" I'm referring to is one that not only impacts the quality of Christian discipleship but the authenticity of our church leaders.

I began to notice this misuse of social networking when friends updated their statuses while on dates with their spouses, or even on their wedding nights. Such an anti-social by-product of social media is ironic, to say the least. Yet out of those habits emerged a more troubling one: Tweeting about deeply personal, intimate moments. Although I understand the desire to share one's life with community, Twitter has gradually become a window into private moments and experiences that, in the past, would have been reserved for God and family.

Posted via email from Ministry Posts from Allen Bingham

Jesus told us to make disciples and often as leaders we take the easy way out.

Heather Zempel, the discipleship person at National Community Church, shares an important reminder about making disciples. We have to work at making disciples just like a farmer has to work to bring forth a crop. Grabbing a "pre-ripened" disciple and showing others the fruit of your efforts is a short-cut. Do the hard work!

The last command Jesus gave his disciples was "go make disciples." There are many things we focus on in church leadership- vision, communication, relevance, preaching, programming, etc. But if there is anything we must get right, it's discipleship. The problem is that it's often easier to focus on other things because discipleship is so stinking hard.


We often look for disciples. We look for a potential leader. We hope to find someone with maturity and gifts that we can raise up. We forget that Jesus told us to go make them. Not find them. If you can't find a potential leader in your group, in your ministry, or on your team, it's not their fault. Don't blame them for being immature or needing to grow. It's your fault. It's my fault. We are supposed to make disciples. And making disciples is long, hard work.

Posted via email from Ministry Posts from Allen Bingham

Bill McKibben speaks with Krista Tippett about the moral math of climate change (via Speaking of Faith)

» Six Americas
The Six Americas of Climate Change

A Yale study identified "six Americas" when it comes to climate change. Where are you on the spectrum?

I am grateful to Dave Graybeal, Drew Theological Seminary professor, for introducing me to Bill's book, The End of Nature. He still writes with great passion about the gift of the earth upon which we live.

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Neuseway Nature Center ranked 18th most popular field trip destination in NC (via Kinston Free Press).

One of the state’s best field trip destinations is in our own backyard.

The Neuseway Nature Center was recently honored as one of the top field trip destinations for the 2009-2010 school year. According to the annual survey conducted by Carolina Field Trips Magazine, the park ranked No. 18 in its list of the top 25 locations in North Carolina.

The park, which began its 15th year of operation in June, has evolved from just a campground and nature center to a destination for nearly 30,000 North Carolina students.

The Nature Center beat out destinations including Linville Caverns, Battleship North Carolina and the N.C. Museum of Art in the number of students visiting on field trips. Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury ranked No. 1 last year with over 126,000 field trip visitors.

Bobby Cox has been Neuseway’s naturalist since 1996. He said the park offers a lot of different things for field trips, including an inexpensive learning experience.

“We’re one of the cheapest planetariums in (North Carolina) you can go to,” Cox said. “Our cave exhibit downstairs in the nature center is pretty much one of a kind. We’re constantly adding exhibits.”

The park charges $1 per child for each activity during the field trip. Park officials said teachers are allowed in free and the average price is only $3 per child per trip.

The planetarium offers shows designed to follow the state’s curriculum guidelines for the third, sixth and ninth grades, as well as custom shows.   

In addition to the planetarium and cave exhibit, the park includes a train ride — the Big Daddy Express — and playground, as well as several science exhibits. A campground is also available for overnight guests.

Planetarium Director Cindy Bingham said schools have to sign up pretty early in order to reserve a date to visit the nature park — the park is already booked for October and most of November. She added every second grade student in Lenoir County will visit at some point during the school year.

“Teachers have to have a purpose for their trips. They have to meet objectives. Our site allows them fulfill those,” Bingham said. “I think we draw a lot of folks in Eastern North Carolina, especially with budget cutbacks, because we’re closer than Raleigh.”

Bingham said the park is busy with field trips year round. She added summer can be one of the busiest times of the year, with several summer camps visiting each week.

Nature center staff can handle between 70 and 80 children at a time. But Cox said there were days where over 250 people would cycle through.

Park officials reported 8,200 groups visited the park from 13 counties last year — from as far away as Greensboro.

Plans to continue expanding the nature park include an exhibit on fossils found in Eastern N.C.

“It’s probably going to be an impulsive thing,” Cox said of the park’s growth. “When we come up with an idea, if our director approves it, then we go with it.”


Justin Hill can be reached at 252-559-1078 or jhill@freedomenc.com.


Breakout box:

Neuseway Nature Park hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday – 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Planetarium Shows

Tuesday – Friday 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Saturday – 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Sunday – 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Call 252-939-3302 for more information

Kudos to Bobby Cox and Cindy Bingham (my wife!) for their work at putting this 15 year old park on the map!

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Steven Colbert announces his "March to Keep Fear Alive" hoping to take it up a scotch across America.

Jon Steward announces his Rally to Restore Sanity on the mall in DC. Take It Down a Notch America (via The Daily Show)

Where will you be on 10/30/10 ... the 36th anniversary of the Thriller in Manila! Join the million moderate march!

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Chargrill did not make the list, so you know its wrong! Consumer Reports weighs in with its Fast Food Burger Rankings (Really!) via HuffPost

Consumer Reports' October issue runs the results of their fast food burger survey, taken by 28,000 of their online subscribers. The respondents ranked 18 fast food burgers on a scale of 1 to 10, and the final results of the survey, along with a photo of each candidate, is below.

In-N-Out Burger and Five Guys shared the top honors, each earning an average score of 7.9. You may remember this same burger duo from last month's Zagat fast food survey, where Five Guys edged out In-N-Out for their best fast food burger crown.

The mega-chain trio of McDonald's, Jack in the Box, and Burger King rounded out the very bottom of Consumer Report's list, lending some credibility to this set of burger rankings (though we can't speak for some of the smaller chains in the middle -- Back Yard Burgers, Checkers, Krystal anyone?).

Below are the complete rankings from first to last, with the overall score (on a scale of 1-10) they each received. How do these burgers stack up for you?

In-N-Out Burger: 7.9

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