What are you enjoying right now?
Sometimes, we need to step back and ask a question like that.
Philippians 4:8 challenges believers to think and dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable.” So the Facts & Trends staff would like to regularly share our “Favorites” at the moment.
It might be a new book or podcast we’re enjoying or something going on in our lives we want to share. Hopefully, you’ll think about things that are your favorites right now and maybe find something else to add to that list.
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor), online editor: Earlier this week, The Gospel Project hosted Gospel. Live. Ministry., a free event featuring 24 of the sharpest minds in evangelicalism sharing how the gospel impacts every area of our life. It was some of the best content available anywhere and they offered it for free.
The event hashtag #TGP15 trended nationally on Twitter as thousands of participants shared thoughts about each session and some of their favorite quotes. We live tweeted much of the event at @FactsAndTrends.
If you missed the event, there’s great news. For the next week or so, you can watch each presenter individually and download a discussion guide from SmallGroup.com. Everyone in your church can benefit from the event’s content. Go check it out.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: This week in the Facts & Trends offices we’ve been digging through the latest study from Pew Research: America’s Changing Religious Landscape. The information is fascinating, especially if you’re a numbers nerd. We’ve had some pretty in-depth discussion about what this means for the church.
Numerous articles have been written about the implications of the study, many bemoaning the death of Christianity. But is that what the numbers really say?
Our own executive editor, Ed Stetzer, wrote about this on his blog: 3 Key Takeaways From Pew’s Religious Landscape Survey. Emma Green had an astute observation of the data in The Atlantic. And for a quick summary, I recommend our own article at Facts & Trends, America’s Changing Landscape: 9 Takeaways for Evangelicals by senior writer Lisa Green.
Matt Erickson (@_Matt_Erickson), managing editor: I’ve been enjoying the new Mockingbird publication Law & Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints). The back cover sums it up well: “Far from being a reductive or antiquated distinction, understanding where one [law and gospel] ends and the other begins allows a person to see both the Bible and themselves—indeed the whole world!—in a fresh and enlivening way.”
These guys really understand the human heart and the profound difference between judgment (the law) and love (the gospel). I’d go so far as to say that reading this book just might make you a better person—not because you’ll be encouraged to redouble your efforts at moral reformation, but because you won’t.
Instead, you’ll be encouraged to take God’s grace more seriously and yourself less so. And that’s a recipe for actually improving while enjoying your life more. Not a bad deal.
Lisa Green (@lisaccgreen), senior writer: Lately I’ve been enjoying how easy it is to check out audio books from the local public library and listen to them on my phone. Using Hoopla, I can listen during my daily commute, and I don’t have to worry about returning a physical book to the library when I’m done.
This week I’ve been listening to Ed Stetzer’s Subversive Kingdom: Living as Agents of Gospel Transformation. It’s a great reminder of Christ’s example to live and interact in the broader world—not isolated in a Christian tower—and share the message of God’s transforming love.
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: A story came across my newsfeed the other day, “Florence Nightingale: Saving Lives with Statistics.” It caught my eye because I deal with a lot of statistics in the work I do. I never knew much about Florence Nightingale, until I read this really interesting biography.
She formed the Sanitation Commission, which basically told people to clean up the floors, use clean water, wash tools, and wash their hands. It’s like nobody believed you had to wash your hands, until she had the facts to back it up. She actually decreased hospital fatalities by 99 percent in one year.
Although I don’t make rose diagrams like Nightingale, I do try to help people understand spiritual topics through charts and infographics. It’s a good reminder to us as Christians, things that are so obvious to us as believers are not always obvious to others. It’s our job to help people understand the gospel—clearly.
What has made you smile so far this week? What would be your favorite today?