The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, Giving God Room, and What It Means to Be Quarrelsome – Points of Interest  for April 4, 2022

Jonathan Leeman – An Ecclesiological Take on “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill”

“Pragmatism is a results-driven orientation, especially results that can be measured, like dollars in the plate or bodies in the pew. It throws overboard almost everything else the Bible says about being a church in pursuit of those numeric goals. Little by little, churches value leaders more for their giftedness than their faithfulness, their charisma more than their character.”

Rebekah Matt – Give God Room

“Rather than trying to control and manipulate a situation in order to bring an end to our problem, we’re to give God room in order to work in his own perfect timing.”

“Examples abound in the Bible of those who impatiently attempted to orchestrate a solution to their problem, even though they knew they ought to wait on the Lord: Abraham, Jacob, Saul, David, and others, including Sarah… Clearly, the Bible tells us we’re not to respond to challenges with worry or a desire to manipulate or control … but how, then, do we glorify God in the midst of difficult situations and great stress?”

Will McKinney – What Does Paul Mean By “Quarrelsome”?

“Simply put, a quarrelsome man argues about foolish controversies. He doesn’t have the sense to realize that what he is talking about will not be profitable. He continues to tread into conversation topics that breed division, not unity. He focuses on secondary or tertiary issues of the faith in an argumentative fashion; he frequently wants to argue and discuss these things.”

“At times, it’s important to discuss controversial or challenging topics. How a man addresses these topics will show his character. When they’re discussed, they should be done while showing consideration for others (Titus 3:2).”

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Michael Krahn is the Lead Pastor of the EMMC church in Aylmer, Ontario, where he has served for the last 13 years. He has been married to Anne Marie for almost 27 years and together they have three daughters (19,18,15). You can find more of Michael’s writing at www.michaelkrahn.com or connect on social media at @Michael_G_Krahn (Twitter), pastor.michael.krahn (IG), and Michael.George.Krahn (Fb)

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My Dumb Phone, Avoiding Mis- and Disinformation, and the Dawning of the Metaverse — Points of Interest  for March 28, 2022

Dru Johnson: Spiritual Lessons from My Dumb Phone

Despite much evidence that our use of smartphones is really REALLY bad for us, many – and I include myself – struggle to consistently manage our usage. Articles like one from an early adopter of reversing the current trends are helpful. Check out the whole thing and challenge yourself to make real changes.

“Scripture commands weekly stillness—Sabbath. Our bodies are designed for the daily stillness of sleep, where we trust the sovereignty of God to uphold all things together… And yet, my phone was becoming my main source of mental burden. It’s always on.

The number one benefit for me [of switching to a ‘dumb phone’] became clarity of mind and time to think. A month in and I feel much more coherent in my own headspace. After my body fully realized that there’s no need to pull out my phone for anything, I began attending to smells, sounds, and sights more than before. My prayers have also increased, and more in the mode of intercession than pleading for personal favors… In unremarkable ways, moving to a low-tech phone eased my terror of stillness by forcing quiet into a dozen little junctures of my day.”

Patrick Miller: How to Avoid Misinformation and Disinformation Online

Wedded to our smartphone usage is our obsession with social media. This combination of hardware and software is dominating our lives. Many seem hopelessly addicted. Take note…

“Every social media algorithm is designed to pinpoint successful posts (i.e., posts that attract engagement such as comments, likes, or shares) and put them in front of as many people as possible. This keeps users on the platform longer, which means more ad revenue. Emotionally gripping posts are great for business. Who cares if they’re true?”

“‘I can’t trust anything’ cynicism is not the answer to the abundance of untruth online. Instead, we must love truth by seeking it out. Christians should be known as those who seek to understand context in the face of decontextualization, who seek truth in the face of disinformation.”

Gene Veith: The Goal Is to Make the Metaverse our “Primary” Reality

You may be hearing talk of the “metaverse”. If you’re not sure what the metaverse is, there’s some good info here. The following quote is from a board member of Mark Zuckerberg’s company, Marc Andreessen:

“Reality has had 5,000 years to get good, and is clearly still woefully lacking for most people; I don’t think we should wait another 5,000 years to see if it eventually closes the gap. We should build — and we are building — online worlds that make life and work and love wonderful for everyone, no matter what level of reality deprivation they find themselves in.”

This is frightening stuff. We already know that living virtually is destroying our humanity and yet our digital overlords are intent on making our use constant and all-encompassing. Will we go along?

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Michael Krahn is the Lead Pastor of the EMMC church in Aylmer, Ontario, where he has served for the last 13 years. He has been married to Anne Marie for almost 27 years and together they have three daughters (19,18,15). You can find more of Michael’s writing at www.michaelkrahn.com or connect on social media at @Michael_G_Krahn (Twitter), pastor.michael.krahn (IG), and Michael.George.Krahn (Fb)

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Missionaries in Ukraine, Failing With Screentime, and “Doing Business” With the World – Points of Interest for March 21, 2022

Vasyl Ostryi: To Stay and Serve – Why We Didn’t Flee Ukraine

Here is a first-hand account from missionaries on the ground in Ukraine.

“We have decided to stay, both as a family and as a church. When this is over, the citizens of Kyiv will remember how Christians have responded in their time of need… We will shelter the weak, serve the suffering, and mend the broken. And as we do, we offer the unshakable hope of Christ and his gospel.”

Tim Challies: When Parents Feel Like We Are Mostly Failing Most of the Time

Over the last year, I feel like I’ve made progress on managing my screen time, but every so often I realize that I’ve fallen into the same bad habits. Does it work the same way for you? We also struggle to manage our kids’ screentime, and in this article, Tim Challies tells us why that is. 

“Most of us hesitate to properly manage our children’s use of their devices at least in part because we don’t care to manage our own. There’s nothing intrinsic to being a parent that gives you the right to watch endless amounts of YouTube while capping your kids at a half hour. Though we hate to admit it, much of our children’s behavior is learned behavior. If you want to know who they’ve learned it from, you should probably start with the person in the mirror.”

Robert Rothwell: Can Christians “Do Business” with the World?

I’m seeing some church leaders promoting a separate Christian marketplace or numerous Christian “micro-economies” to remove and protect the church from the world and its systems. While this might seem to have some merit on the surface, and while we should indeed distance ourselves from obvious evil and we do business, these ideas don’t seem to hold up in light of scripture. There are several good quotes below, but the whole article is worth reading. 

“Paul’s clarification on the matter shows that he does not want us to remove ourselves from the world. He wants us to associate with sinners—not in endorsing or joining in their sin, but in making ourselves available to them so that they can hear the gospel… Therefore, because we are not to separate from the world into a Christian ghetto, we have to participate in the world’s economy and do business with our non-Christian neighbors. There is no way around it.”

“Jesus commended the paying of taxes to the very authorities He knew would soon crucify Him. The Roman Empire was not merely non-Christian—it was anti-Christian… Since Jesus and Paul would never tell us to do anything that involves us in sin, we may deduce from these passages that Christians are not morally responsible if their tax dollars are used for sinful purposes. And if we are not morally responsible for what the government does with our tax dollars, we are certainly not responsible for what companies do with our purchasing dollars.”

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Michael Krahn is the Lead Pastor of the EMMC church in Aylmer, Ontario, where he has served for the last 13 years. He has been married to Anne Marie for almost 27 years and together they have three daughters (19,18,15). You can find more of Michael’s writing at www.michaelkrahn.com or connect on social media at @Michael_G_Krahn (Twitter), pastor.michael.krahn (IG), and Michael.George.Krahn (Fb)

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Darryl Dash on Ministry Hacks and David Hood on The Trucker Convoy – Points of Interest for February 21, 2022

This is a weekly roundup of pieces I read on other sites around the web. Click on the titles to open the articles in a new tab. Happy reading!

Darryl Dash: You Can’t Hack Your Way to a Faithful Ministry

These are some good observations by my friend Darryl Dash. I can attest to the fact that, as Darryl says here, suffering helps. It is never pleasant but it always accomplishes whatever God has sent it to accomplish.

“The only one way to develop a soul that has anything to offer is to walk with God through the ups and downs of life, faithfully participating in the ordinary means of grace for a long time. Such a soul comes from experiencing God’s sanctifying work in your life for years. Suffering helps. So does growing old, but even that isn’t enough. God will work in you through his Spirit, and you must respond to that work in faith and obedience. You can’t microwave or hack your way to this kind of growth. When it comes to ministry, everything you offer is a result of that deep walk with and delight in God, and no shortcuts exist to get there.”

Darryl Dash

David Hood: Reflections on the trucker convoy, freedom, and our True Hope

It is amazing, but not surprising, how quickly the heated rhetoric about the convoy has subsided in light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. This is good on some counts, as it has lowered the temperature on a situation that was in the early stages of exploding, but it is bad on others since there was progress being made by way of these heated discussions among those having them.

I really hate the phrase “Nobody’s mind is changed by arguing!” There is indeed a type of arguing that is fruitless, but who has ever changed their mind about anything without hearing an argument that was different from what they already believed?

To that end, I thought David Hood did a fine job in his article of balancing praise and cautions. Although quite long, the entire article is worth reading. Key quote:

“True freedom is living the way we were meant to with the One we were created for, and that freedom is only found in Jesus Christ. That freedom requires no laws, no judges, and no governments to uphold it. It is upheld by God in heaven and it exists regardless of earthly circumstances. We can have all of the political freedoms on Earth and still be slaves. We can have absolutely zero political freedoms and still be the freest we’ve ever been.”

David Hood

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Conrad Black, John Piper, and Divisions in the Church – Points of Interest for February 21, 2022

This is a weekly roundup of pieces I read on other sites around the web. Click on the titles to open the articles in a new tab. Happy reading!

Conrad Black: Trudeau’s wretched smear-job of truckers highlights sorry state of Canadian leadership

“The official response to the truckers protesting COVID restrictions is one of the most disgraceful political episodes in the history of Canada as an autonomous country… The truckers can win this confrontation by exposing Trudeau’s pompous posturing and his slander of the truckers as a fraud. But they can’t win by trying to intimidate the government and by so inconveniencing the public that they demand the government make concessions to end the truckers’ protests… The truckers are right to rail against authoritarian mandates, but they should remember that they have no mandate from anyone to do anything, and their hold on public support is tenuous.”

John Piper: Are Divisions in the Church Necessary?

“When we come to Christ, we are grafted in by the Spirit to one body, Jesus Christ, and members one of another, so that the command in Ephesians 4 is to ‘maintain the unity.’ Don’t create it — show it to the world… the public effectiveness of our unity is when unbelievers see on the ground attitudes and acts of love among believers.”

Paul Carter: Towards Unity Of Mind And Judgment

“The Bible has to be our common authority. If you are reading Calvin more than you are reading the Bible, then you are part of the problem. If you are reading Rushdoony more than you are reading the Bible, then you are part of the problem. If you are reading Zahn, Boyd, McKnight, DeYoung, Keller or Carson more than you are reading the Bible, then you are part of the problem. Using a scholar as a guide or a conversation partner is wonderful – but using them as a lens or a cipher leads to tribalism.”

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Harry Potter, Exercising Caution in Our Online Words, and The Confessions of Mark Heard – Points of Interest for February 7, 2022

This is a weekly roundup of pieces I read on other sites around the web. Click on the titles to open the articles in a new tab. Happy reading!

The Strange Fate of Hamilton and Harry Potter | Carl R. Trueman 

“Years ago, when teaching at seminary, I used to tell the students that moral relevance in the modern world was a cruel and fickle mistress. However much Christians accommodated themselves to her demands, sooner or later she would want more. Christian morality and the morality of the world simply could not be reconciled in the long term… Today, moral tastes have too short a shelf life for that. Indeed, embracing the moral spirit of the age is now more akin to having a one-night stand—and that with somebody who kicks you out of bed in the morning and calls the police.”

An Unexpected Reply | Phil Cotnoir

“We have far too easily divorced our online words from the stringent commands about our speech that we find all over the Scriptures. Something about the disembodied nature of the digital medium offers a kind of veil that blinds us to the spiritual significance of our words. And so the digital world is not only a far less human place because it is necessarily disembodied, but also because that disembodiment encourages us to dehumanize others as well.”

The Confessions of Mark Heard
If you’ve never listened to the music of Mark Heard, please spend some time with the playlist below.

“Heard had an ear for melody and a voice full of yearning, but it’s his lyrics that make his songs resonate so deeply for many. He sang of the complexities of human life — the wistfulness of nostalgia, the spectre of death, the joys and ambiguities of romantic love, the quest for truth and permanence in a culture that values neither — while pointing beyond those things to a transcendent hope, however and wherever that hope is found.”

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Tim Keller, Bill C-4, and the Breakdown of Civility Among Christians – Points of Interest for January 31, 2022

Tim Keller, Bill C-4, and the Breakdown of Civility Among Christians – Points of Interest for January 31, 2022

This is a weekly roundup of pieces I read on other sites around the web. Click on the titles to open the articles in a new tab. Happy reading!

Tim Keller on the Church Crisis That He Never Had to Face as a Pastor—But You Do

“In virtually every church there is a smaller or larger body of Christians who have been radicalized to the Left or to the Right by extremely effective and completely immersive internet and social media loops, newsfeeds, and communities. People are bombarded 12 hours a day with pieces that present a particular political point of view, and the main way it seeks to persuade is not through argument but through outrage. People are being formed by this immersive form of public discourse—far more than they are being formed by the Church.”

Have you seen this in your own church?

Bill C-4: History, Concerns, and Response – The Gospel Coalition | Canada

Good words here from Pastor Paul Carter:

“I fully recognize that a day may well come when there is a heavy price to pay in this country for faithfully preaching what the Bible has to say about human sexuality and gender. If it comes – when it comes – I will count it an honour to suffer on behalf of Christ. Until that time, and as long as the Lord gives me life and breath, I will continue to use every opportunity I have to reach out in love and Gospel concern to my fellow Canadians.”

The Church On The Other Side: Anticipations And Concerns – The Gospel Coalition | Canada

Paul Carter (again):

“During a season of prolonged conflict, polarization, and civil unrest, moderate views begin to look like cowardice, restraint begins to look like abdication, wisdom begins to look like inaction, extremism becomes the norm on every side. The end result is a breakdown in civility and the loss of any inclination toward peace. That seems to be precisely what we are now observing in the evangelical church in Canada during the latter stages of this pandemic.”

This is something I’m really concerned about as well. All sorts of new dividing lines have been introduced over the last two years. People have been leaving churches for political reasons, something fairly common south of us but not common until recently here in Canada. 

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Jordan Peterson, Deconstruction, Marvel’s Multiverse, TikTok Timeline Shifters, and the Kingdom of God – Points of Interest for January 24, 2022

Jordan Peterson, Deconstruction, Marvel’s Multiverse, TikTok Timeline Shifters, and the Kingdom of God – Points of Interest for January 24, 2022

This is a weekly roundup of pieces I read on other sites around the web. Click on the titles to open the articles in a new tab. Happy reading!

Jordan Peterson: Open the damn country back up, before Canadians wreck something we can’t fix

A scathing assessment of the handling of COVID by Canada’s politicians: 

“There are no risk-free paths forward. There is only one risk, or another. Pick your poison: that’s the choice life often offers. I am weary of living under the increasingly authoritarian dictates of a polity hyper-concerned with one risk, and oblivious to all others. And things are shaking around us.”

What do you think? Is he right?

Is Deconstruction the Same as Deconversion? A Few Reflections on Reforming the Church

Deconstruction/deconversion has been an area of interest for me for many years. And I agree with the assessment made here: 

“For many, it [deconstruction] simply means that we should ask hard questions about whether the version of Christianity we are following is consistent with the Scriptures, or with historic Christian beliefs through the centuries.”

I went through a process like this myself in my 20s and I’m glad that I did. It was long, hard, and sometimes scary work, but in the end I emerged with a stronger faith.

Marvel’s Multiverse, TikTok Timeline Shifters, and the Kingdom of God

“Just as a supernova explodes a star into trillions of nebulous particles, a disenchanted world explodes the human mind into an endless, anxiety-inducing nebula of alternative selves. No one needed theoretical physicists to propose the multiverse. The modern mind was already living in one.”

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Are People Being Hospitalized With COVID or Because of COVID?

This is an important question, and one we need to process.

Here’s one of the pages I check on a daily basis to try to get a handle on the current situation in Ontario. If you sift through the data on that page you can better understand where we’re at and some of the possible reasons for the actions that are being taken.

Among the numerous other helpful charts there, I’m glad to see that as of today they added the following charts because they bring clarity to the “with COVID or because of COVID?” question.


Counting cases has always been somewhat subjective. There is no way to know the absolute number of cases without everyone being tested. So we’ve relied on harder numbers like hospital and ICU admissions. Now it looks like, with Omicron, hospitalizations are no longer the most trustworthy indicator either.

Almost 50% of people being admitted to the hospital are “incidental COVID positives” – meaning they are admitted for non-COVID reasons but are found to have COVID upon arrival. But let’s not discount that completely – these folks still require extra resources due to their COVID-positive status so that they don’t infect others.

On the second chart, it seems that monitoring ICU admissions is still a reliable metric.


83% of people admitted to Ontario ICUs with COVID were admitted because of COVID. So there is the answer to our question.

What sites and sources do you regularly consult to help make sense of the world as it pertains to COVID? Feel free to discuss in the comments. As always, ask anything, but keep it civil and reasonable.

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Points of Interest (2020-06-17)

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George Floyd and Me / Privilege Matters, Part 1 / Stop Preparing For The Last Disaster / Defund the Thought Police / Invisible insulation

Shai Linne – George Floyd and Me (The Gospel Coalition)

“So when I watch a video like George Floyd’s, it represents for me the fresh reopening of a deep wound and the reliving of layers of trauma that get exponentially compounded each time a well-meaning white friend says, ‘All lives matter.’ Of course they do, but in this country, black lives have been treated like they don’t matter for centuries and present inequities in criminal justice, income, housing, health care, education, etc. show that all lives don’t actually matter like they should.”

“For me, ‘life as usual’ means recognizing some people perceive me as a threat based solely on the color of my skin. For me, ‘life as usual’ means preparing my sons for the coming time when they’re no longer perceived as cute little boys, but teenage ‘thugs.’ Long after George Floyd disappears from the headlines, I will still be a black man in America.”

Rut Etheridge III – Privilege Matters, Part 1 (Gentle Reformation)

“’Black lives matter!’ is, in itself, not only an innocuous claim but a statement of absolute, ontological, moral truth. It is a claim implicitly made on page one – page one! – of God’s holy word (Genesis 1:26-27). The foundation upon which this value claim properly rests and rises, that every human being bears God’s image, is stressed throughout Scripture (Genesis 9, Exodus 20, James 2 and 3). So what does it tell us when, as Bible believers, our first or strongest response to the statement is defensiveness, reacting as if we or other kinds of people have been insulted or excluded?”

Stop Preparing For The Last Disaster (Farnam Street)

“After a particularly trying event, most people prepare for a repeat of whatever challenge they just faced. From the micro level to the macro level, we succumb to the availability bias and get ready to fight a war we’ve already fought. We learn that one lesson, but we don’t generalize that knowledge or expand it to other areas. Nor do we necessarily let the fact that a disaster happened teach us that disasters do, as a rule, tend to happen. Because we focus on the particulars, we don’t extrapolate what we learn to identifying what we can better do to prepare for adversity in general.”

“In the aftermath of a disaster, we want to be reassured of future safety. We lived through it, and we don’t want to do so again. By focusing on the particulars of a single event, however, we miss identifying the changes that will improve our chances of better outcomes next time. Yes, we don’t want any more planes to fly into buildings. But preparing for the last disaster leaves us just as underprepared for the next one.”

Doug Wilson – Defund the Thought Police (Blog & Mablog)

“And so it is not whether we will have police, but rather which police we will have. Not whether certain actions and words will be policed, but rather which actions and words will be policed. The choice is between a police that is generally accountable to elected leaders, who in turn are accountable to voters, or a police force who are accountable to no one except themselves and their own disordered ideology.”

Seth Godin – Invisible insulation

“It’s almost impossible to make a list of all the things I didn’t have to worry about yesterday. We need to work overtime to make that true for more people.”

Have your say: