Subject: Culture and Institutions
Summary: Organizations of all kinds, from government to business to non-profits, need outstanding leaders.
Report: Jim Collins is a business professor, consultant, trainer, researcher and author. Among his books are best sellers BUILT TO LAST, GOOD TO GREAT: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t, and HOW THE MIGHTY FALL: And Why Some Companies Never Give In. A frequent speaker at the Willow Creek Association Leadership Summit, his insight and understanding into leadership and organization transfers to organizations and leadership situations of all kinds. Many of Collins’ insights relate strongly to Christian concepts about leadership and service.
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The site contains MPGs, video, articles, evaluation instruments, illustrations and many more resources for leaders of all kinds. Discover more about level 5 leaders and hedgehog concepts. One particularly interesting and useful concept expounded on at the site involves the area of self-management. Other topics include culture, leadership, organization, social sector, and technology. Use this site to improve your organization, your leadership, and your service to others. Click here for the website.
Summary: With over 94, 000 public and private elementary, middle, junior high, and high schools with a combined enrollment of 57.2 million students, churches can partner with schools to provide services and support, influencing schools and communities for the cause of Christ.
Report: Jeremy Del Rio makes a case for why churches should become involved on their local elementary, middle, junior high, and senior high school campuses. (Read his article at http://www.ymtoday.com/articles/article.php?aid=2651.) The challenge sounds impossible until one remembers that there are 300,000+ churches in our country.
In our society, the school is one of the prominent battlegrounds for our culture. Outside of family, schools powerfully shape the lives of students in dynamic and lasting ways, for good or for bad. Everyschool.com is a coalition of Christian ministries aiming at proclaiming the gospel to every junior high and high school student in our nation. Churches are encouraged to adopt local schools and find ways to support the campus and develop an outreach to students, faculty, and administration.
In an economy like the present one, schools are often unfunded and understaffed. Committed Christians can provide mentorships, tutoring, resources, supplies and other worthwhile and meaningful support to their local school. The Internet site provides guidance and other resources to help churches and Christian organizations make a difference on local school campuses.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 ESV
Link to www.everyschool.com here.
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Education and Development
Resource: Kenda Creasy Dean, “Faith, nice and easy: The almost-Christian formation of teens,” The Christian Century Magazine 
Summary: In our churches, teenagers are too often offered Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD) rather than historic, orthodox Christianity – resulting in a weak, unformed and uninformed faith that in only tenuously Christian.
Report: In this article, Kenda Creasy Dean – associate professor of youth, church, and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary – exposes how too many of our churches are offering teenagers a banal form of Christianity: not historic, orthodox Christianity, but Moralistic Therapeutic Deism masquerading as Christianity. The principle tenets of MTD are these:
- A god exists who created and order the world and watches over life on earth.
- God wants people to be good, nice and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
- The central goal of life is to be happy and feel good about yourself.
- God is not involved in my life except when I need God to solve a problem.
- Good people go to heaven when they die.
By contrast, some congregations pass on to their teenagers a vibrant Christian faith by intentional discipleship in the context of a church and family life where adults model their faith and actively mentor teenagers. Citing a 2003 study by the Lilly Foundation, Dean notes that these congregations:
- Portray God as living, present and active
- Place a high value on scripture
- Explain their church’s mission, practices, and relationships as inspired by “the life and mission of Jesus Christ”
- Emphasize spiritual growth, discipleship, and vocation
- Promote outreach and mission
- Help teens develop “a positive, hopeful spirit,” “live out a life of service,” and “live a Christian moral life.”
The article – a good resource for parents and youth pastors – is based on Dean’s book Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church. 
 The article is available at http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=8654.
 The book may be purchased at Amazon.com.
Resource: Jennifer Roback Morse, “What is the Essential Purpose of Marriage?” Ruth Institute, July 15, 2010. http://www.ruthblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Jul15_10.mp3
Do folks really want to redefine marriage? If so, let’s be able to explain the obvious definition and purpose to them. Jennifer Roback Morse, on her tour with National Organization for Marriage, gives us a ten minute take away in order to do just that. At each stop along their trip she answers other questions for those who need this enlightenment. You and I might be better able to articulate about this covenant between a man and a woman by listening. Additional, brief comments are available at the Ruth Institute (http://www.ruthinstitute.org/).
Resource: Manning, Margaret. “Mining the Gaps”. RZIM, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
Summary: When cognitive dissonance occurs between belief and experience, coupled with the willingness to let go of comfortable assumptions, we have “the opportunity to find the treasure of new insight and understanding” as well as the “beauty of a more faithful devotion”.
Report: Cognitive dissonance is internally felt uneasiness or tension when our values and beliefs don’t line up with what we experience in life. How does one reconcile the gap between what we have expected life to bring us, what God would do for us, and what we actually experience? Margaret Manning explores John the Baptist’s expectations at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and the dissonant gap he experiences as he sits in the cold prison cell: “Are you the expected one, or shall we look for someone else?” (Matthew 11:3; Luke 7:20) Her challenge is to let go and “dive deep to mine for what is most precious and most valuable: treasures that are only found in the deepest places of dissonance”—those hidden in the darkness (Isaiah 45:3).
Resource: Le Fanu, James. “The Last Days of the Façade of Knowing”. Evolution News and Views: Discovery Institute.
Summary: Ever since the discovery of the Double Helix within the science realm, there has been the supposition that the “secret of life” would be discovered and so therefore be knowable but the reverse is taking place as science progresses.
Report: Since the 1970s there have been hundreds of genomes of various living things sequenced. The expected results gained by comparing the different sequences would be the provision of “raw material for evolutionary transformation.” Instead scientists have found they know “vastly less about such matters” for as each genome has been sequenced, it has compounded the puzzle. The genetic information accounts for the “nuts and bolts of the proteins and enzymes of the cell of which all living things are made” but what it hasn’t been able to provide is the vast diversity in form. In other words, what makes the bee different from the flower or the elephant different from the mouse? LeFanu has a different stance on the simple elegance of the Double Helix—perhaps “it is simple because it has to be simple . . . [it has] to replicate the genetic instructions every time the cell divides.”