Archive for the Recommended Link Category

Feb 20

Tips for Eating Dinner Together as a Family

2015 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Recommended Link

This week, David Murray posted some good advice for families. In his third installment in a series on “Ingredients Of A Happy Home,” David Murray shares these six tips:

  1. Maximize the number. Yes, we have conflicting schedules, shift work, overtime, etc. Yes, there are college assignments to be done, email to be answered, books to be read, chores to be completed. But just because you can’t get everybody together all of the time doesn’t mean we can’t get some together some of the time.
  2. Maximize involvement. Don’t let the loudest or oldest voice dominate. Work to ensure that everybody gets a shot at telling about their day, their joys and trials, successes and failures.
  3. Maximize listening. Encourage careful, appreciate, and interactive listening. Ban cellphones and sarcasm. No rising from the table while someone is speaking.
  4. Maximize positives. It can be tempting for some people and for some families to just dwell on the negatives at work, at college, or even in the national situation. Sometimes it can be helpful to ask each person to list three positives from their day until that becomes more of a natural instinct. Humor and laughter are also tasty side-dishes.
  5. Maximize food. If teenagers know that they’re going to miss out on some really great food, and even better deserts, they’ll be much more likely to organize their schedule around your mealtimes. They can get microwave dinners anywhere. Worth putting extra money and effort into enticing them to the family table. Yes, godly herbs are better than ungodly steak. But godly steak is best of all.
  6. Maximize worship. Start the meal with prayer, turn the conversation towards God at opportune moments, and close the meal with prayer and a short Bible reading.

For one more source of counsel, Columnist at the New York Times, Bruce Feiler, has this to share.



Feb 14

The Plus One Approach to Church

2015 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Recommended Link

Kevin DeYoung recently published a blog, “The Plus One Approach to Church,” with some wise counsel for anyone who desires to be more connected  at any church, and it applies at DSC too. If this article doesn’t hold timely advice for you, then maybe it will come in hand in your next conversation with the next person you meet on Sunday morning

Here’s how he beings his article:

Are you just starting out at a new church and don’t know how to get plugged in? Have you been at your church for years and still haven’t found your place? Are you feeling disconnected, unhappy, or bored with your local congregation? Let me suggest you enter the “Plus One” program of church involvement.

I don’t mean to sound like a bad infomercial. Here’s what I mean: In addition to the Sunday morning worship service, pick one thing in the life of your congregation and be very committed to it.

This is far from everything a church member should do. We are talking about minimum requirements and baby steps. This is about how to get plugged in at a new church or how to get back on track after drifting away. This is for people who feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. This is for the folks who should make a little more effort before slipping out the back door.

The idea is simple. First, be faithful in attending the Sunday morning worship service. Don’t miss a Sunday. Sure, you may miss a couple Sundays during the year because of illness. Vacation and business travel may take you away from your local congregation several other Sundays too. But keep these to a minimum. Don’t plan all your cottage getaways over the weekend so that you miss out on your own church (and perhaps church altogether) for most of the summer. Don’t let the kids’ activities crowd out Sunday services. (What did Joshua say? “If soccer be god then serve soccer, but as for me and my household we will serve the Lord.” Something like that.) Don’t let homework or football or too much rain or too much sun keep you from the gathering of God’s people for worship. Commit right now that Sunday morning is immovable. You go to church. Period.

Now, add one more thing.

Read the whole thing here.

Depending on your involvement at DSC, that next thing for you may be joining us at our monthly Lord’s Supper service, held this month on February 25. It might mean getting involved in a Community Group. Or it might mean joining us for our next membership class, Knowing Christ, Knowing the Church, which is held each Spring and Fall on Wednesday nights, and during the Summer on Sundays.

Jan 9

“Hallowed be your name.” What?

2015 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Recommended Link

There’s a prayer familiar to believers and unbelievers alike that begins this way: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9). This is the first line to a prayer given to us by Christ, commonly called, “The Lord’s Prayer.”

In his article, “The Most Important Neglected Prayer,” here’s how Drew Hunter begins his reflection on this important line:

This first line of the Lord’s Prayer is one of the most familiar in the Bible. It is one of the most commonly prayed prayers in history. Yet among believers it is often underappreciated and misunderstood.After years of familiarity with this prayer I realized that I wasn’t quite sure what I was saying. I began to wonder if I was doing what Jesus had just warned about: heaping up “empty phrases” in prayer (v. 7). What are we actually praying here? What does Jesus hold so highly as to instruct us to make it our first prayer?

Drew then pursues these three questions:

  1. Is this a statement of praise, or is it a request?
  2. But what exactly are we asking God to do?
  3. What are we requesting be honored?

We can’t go wrong for better understanding anything Jesus said to us, and perhaps that’s especially true for the prayer that he gave to us with which we’re to address our Father. Read the whole article here.

Dec 20

The Great Mystery of Christmas

2014 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Recommended Link

Christian doctrine is not easy thinking stuff. In his article, “Christmas Is the Greatest Mystery,” posted at Desiring God, David Mathis reflects on the meaning of the incarnation. Here’s how he begins his article:

It is the hour that split history in half.

Until that first Christmas, he had been, from eternity past, the divine Son and second person of the Godhead. He was God’s glad agent in creation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2), and from the beginning of time, he had upheld the universe at every moment (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3).

But then came the great change — the blessed addition — at the very heart of reality. The Word became flesh (John 1:14). God became man. The Creator himself came as a creature, the Author entered into his Story as a character. Without abandoning any of what it means to be God, he took on all that it means to be human.

This spectacular truth, at the center of what we celebrate at Christmas, we call “the incarnation,” which means the “in-fleshing” of the divine Son — God himself taking human flesh and blood and all our humanness. Christmas is when he adds humanity to his divinity, and does so that he might rescue us from our soul-destroying rebellion, and lavish us with the everlasting enjoyment for which we were made.

It is a glorious revelation, and it’s also a great mystery.

Click here to continue reading.

Then, pick up a book or two at Amazon (links below) or at the Book Nook to reflect more on the coming of God’s Son, in order to magnify him more in your heart. Here are some suggestions for adults and for kids:

If you’re a sermon junkie, click here for past DSC Christmas sermons going back to 2003.


Dec 13

Joshua’s Sword and the Justice of God

2014 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Recommended Link

At the end of November we wrapped up our Equip Class on the Old Testament book of Joshua. Joshua is that book with the story of Jericho, a story famous in children’s books and flannelgraph. But not the whole story. Here’s how it ends: “Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword” (Joshua 6:21). Joshua’s sword has a lot of blood on it.

This presents a difficulty to sensitive and attentive readers. In a book filled with the gracious promises of God for his people and even careful instructions for justice for their life together (Joshua 20), what should we make of this apparent military overkill? Was God right to command this and was Israel right to carry it out? What shall we say to those who call the Bible a barbaric book, who use this as an example of how religion spoils everything?

If the Bible is true and we’re reading it right, then, yes he was. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy for us to understand.

As with any text of the Bible, we need to situation this one in its immediate context, the context of the story that is unfolding in Scripture, and in the context of the whole Bible. This specific question gives us a great exercise in biblical interpretation. Four resources will be helpful to you in thinking this through:

We should not be surprised to bump up against hard questions in the Bible. We’re fallen and finite creatures. We don’t have the whole picture and if we did we’d have a sinners take on it. Gratefully, God’s Word is true at every point and we can trust it. And gratefully its story leads to a cross where the Lord dealt fully and finally with the injustice our own sin, and a resurrection where he conquered death for those who entrust themselves to him.