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[Cfamily]Andy Stanley: Jesus Ended the Old Covenant Once and for All
« Reply #1048 on: October 24, 2018, 01:00:14 AM »

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Andy Stanley: Jesus Ended the Old Covenant Once and for All

A brief response to Robert Foster on my book, ‘Irresistible.’

I want to thank Robert Foster for reading and engaging with my latest book, Irresistible. To begin, I’d like to clarify a few points.

First, I’d like to put to rest any fears that my truncated quotation of 2 Timothy 3:16 in the book was intentionally shortened. Foster correctly notes that I only quote the first half of that verse. My purpose was to point out the OT is God-breathed and inspired, useful for many purposes, and I completely agree with the rest of that verse. In fact, that’s one reason I wrote Irresistible, to show that the fulfillment and end of the OT leads us to Jesus, and Jesus gives us a new ethic, one that calls us to sacrificial love and good works that make our faith irresistible to the world.

So I agree that God’s Word—both Old and New—is given to equip us for all sorts of good works, and I wish more Christians took that message to heart.

Foster provides three points to help us understand the function of the OT for Christians today:

  1. The OT can help Christians understand the implications of the gospel for our lives.

  3. The OT can illuminate Christians’ understanding of God’s way in the world.

  5. The OT can provide a foundation for Christian moral conduct.

Let me make it simple and clear. I fully agree with points 1 and 2 in this list and have said as much elsewhere. The OT is useful for helping us understand the implications of the gospel for our lives, but it must be read in context and understood as God’s Word to Israel. The OT provides us with examples, illustrations, and a rich history of God’s relationship with his people. All of this serves to illuminate the good news of the gospel. If we want an example of faith, look at Moses or Joshua. Or look at ...

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Source: Andy Stanley: Jesus Ended the Old Covenant Once and for All

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[Cfamily]One-on-one with John C. Maxwell on ‘The Maxwell Leadership Bible’
« Reply #1049 on: October 25, 2018, 01:00:10 AM »
One-on-one with John C. Maxwell on ‘The Maxwell Leadership Bible’

"Most great leaders in Scripture were called to leadership from obscurity."

Ed: Why have you dedicated your life to teaching leadership, and why do you believe leadership skills are so important?

John: Since July 4, 1976, I’ve known that leadership was the area I was called to speak into, and the past 40 years have just confirmed that calling in me. As a leader myself, I know firsthand how good leadership lifts everything around it, while bad leadership can sink an organization, team, or individual in a heartbeat.

Simply put, everything rises and falls on leadership.

Ed: I am always cautious to remind peopel that the Bible is not your leadership guide— it’s the story of God’s redemptive plan. Yet, there is much about leadership in the Bible. What are some of the most important things about leadership you’ve learned from the Bible?

John: First and foremost is that God calls all of us to be leaders. We read stories of great biblical leaders, and often what we lose sight of is that most great leaders in Scripture were called to leadership from obscurity.

Noah was just a faithful man. Abraham was a nobody. Joseph was a sheltered kid. David was a little shepherd. Even Jesus, the greatest example of a leader in all of history, began his life in the middle of nowhere, sleeping in a straw-filled feeding trough.

Yet despite those humble beginnings—or perhaps because of them—biblical leaders were able to do great things through their obedience to God and his call (or purpose) for their life.

Second, I’ve learned that leadership isn’t a one and done deal. It’s a journey. Again, if you go back to the lives of Abraham, Joseph, David or Jesus, you become keenly aware that none of them rose to prominence overnight.

There were years of consistent obedience before ...

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Source: One-on-one with John C. Maxwell on ‘The Maxwell Leadership Bible’

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Preoccupied with Love: Introducing the Amplify 2019 North American Evangelism Conference

Instead of being preoccupied by problems, we can be preoccupied by the promise of redemption.

Do you ever feel distracted?

No, really. It’s an honest question. Do you feel like there are too many things going on at any given moment to really focus on what matters most?

Welcome to the club; or rather, welcome to the church.

You see, we live in a world full of distractions. There are so many things vying for our attention on any given day, week, month, or year. Many of us juggle work, family, church, and other community activities, sure, but lately there’s a whole lot more than that to keep us busy.

Most of us know that every time we turn on the news, we’ll likely find ourselves being hit with a whole flood of ugliness and evil. On a global scale, we see millions of refugees without a home, civil wars, terrorism, religious persecution, and human trafficking. In the United States, domestic poverty, animosity, the mistreatment of women, racism, and a whole range of seemingly insurmountable ideological divisions plague us without rest.

The needs are indeed great.

Even as Christians, its easy to find ourselves getting lost in this fray. We love Jesus and want to serve him faithfully, but perhaps struggle figuring out how to help a world that (sometimes) feels like its crumbling down around us.

In short, we’re preoccupied by problems.

And so, many of us find it easier to retreat from all that’s happening around us. We’d so much rather hide in the safety of our homes, Christian churches, and closed-off social circles rather than engage with the difficulty and darkness.

But despite these temptations, many of us do find ourselves asking how we can help. More practically speaking, the question is often asked: Is there actually anything that can help fix what’s so clearly broken about our world? ...

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Source: Preoccupied with Love: Introducing the Amplify 2019 North American Evangelism Conference

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[Cfamily]Interview: Joy Davidman: The Woman Who Wanted Something More
« Reply #1051 on: October 27, 2018, 01:00:11 AM »
Interview: Joy Davidman: The Woman Who Wanted Something More

Patti Callahan uses historical fiction to trace the transformative journey of C. S. Lewis’s wife.

Patti Callahan is the author of over a dozen critically acclaimed novels. Her new book, Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis, lifts Davidman from behind the shadow of her famous husband, shining a spotlight on her spirited personality, her accomplishments as a writer, and her profound wrestling with the mysteries of God and life. Novelist Rachel McMillan spoke with Callahan about her take on this remarkable romance.

It was easy to tell that Joy Davidman is a major passion project of yours. Why come out with this book now?

Timing is such a mystery. Years ago, I’d hit a dead-end in the work I was doing. Creativity and writing have always been my worship, my simple way of understanding God and the world as best I can, and yet after 12 novels, I was floundering with how to proceed. One night, with a group of my writer pals, someone asked, “What would you write about if you could write about anything?”

“C. S. Lewis’s wife, Joy Davidman,” I said without any forethought. I hadn’t consciously admitted it to myself even once. “But I don’t write historical fiction.”

My friend’s face broke into a broad smile. She said, “If you don’t write that, I will.”

Well, that was all I needed. I believe Joy tapped me on the shoulder. Her brave personality, her indomitable spirit, and her no-holds-barred attitude joined me in my writing room. I felt, bone deep, that I needed to tell her story in a narrative that would bring her to life beyond the factual biographies (which are interesting and informative) and her public image as the dying wife of C. S. Lewis.

I want the world to know the woman not behind Lewis but next to him—the ...

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Source: Interview: Joy Davidman: The Woman Who Wanted Something More

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Died: Focus on the Family’s H. B. London, Who Inspired Pastor Appreciation

The popular “Pastor to Pastors” host passed away at 81 due to cancer.

Over more than 60 years of serving pastors and serving as a pastor himself, former Focus on the Family vice president H. B. London Jr. built up better spiritual supports for clergy and popularized the annual pastor appreciation month held each October.

London dedicated his final years in ministry to pastoring a church in a retirement community in Southern California, where he preached his final sermon, aptly titled, “Pastors Are People Too,” on October 7. He died last week at age 81.

“It seems ironically appropriate that H. B.’s homegoing takes place in October, as this is Clergy Appreciation Month­­—a movement which he tirelessly championed for many years,” said Focus on the Family president Jim Daly in a tribute.

During London’s two decades at Focus, he built up new ministries to reach church leaders and their families, “cultivating an unprecedented role as ‘pastor to pastors’ which he has tirelessly filled ever since, even amidst his recent health struggles,” Daly said, referencing London’s interview series with pastors.

The ministry began promoting Clergy Appreciation Month as a national observance in 1994, just a few years after the former Church of the Nazarene pastor joined Focus at the request of founder James Dobson, his cousin.

“I've never known anyone who worked harder than H. B., that was the indefatigable energy that he had because he loved his work and he loved pastors,” said Dobson in a statement reported by CBN. “H. B. wanted to do everything that he could to help them cope with the trials and struggles that were coming their way.”

As the vice president for church and clergy, a division he founded, London, ...

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Source: Died: Focus on the Family’s H. B. London, Who Inspired Pastor Appreciation

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[Cfamily]Ten Years from Now, How Secularism and Church Diversity Intersect
« Reply #1053 on: October 29, 2018, 12:00:08 AM »
Ten Years from Now, How Secularism and Church Diversity Intersect

The geographical epicenter of our faith shift from its centuries-old home base in the West.

Globally speaking, the church is at a significant crossroads right now. We’re watching the geographical epicenter of our faith shift from its centuries-old epicenter in the West to the Global South, where it continues to grow at encouraging rates.

In his book The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South, professor Phillip Jenkins argues that 60% of the world’s population of Christians right now live in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

By 2050, we’ll see these numbers shift even further; estimates indicated that there will be approximately 3 billion Christians in the world, 75% of whom will live on the aforementioned continents otherwise known as the Global South.

Despite this newfound reality, many have long considered Christianity a western religion—it’s been associated with American culture, ideals, and practices for many generations. Alexis de Tocqueville, upon his visit to the United States, observed in his famed work Democracy in Americathat “there is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.”

These words, originally written in the mid-19th century, might not ring quite so true to us as they once did over 100 years ago. Given Christianity’s dramatic shift from the West to the South, many worry about the future of the Christian faith in America.

Some find themselves asking: In light of the changing life of the church, what exactly will the nation look like ten years from now?

Let me briefly mention to trends that will grow more prominent in years to come: the rise of secularlism and the diversification of evangelicalism.

The rise of secularism

Few would doubt that America ...

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Source: Ten Years from Now, How Secularism and Church Diversity Intersect

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[Cfamily]Rethinking Our Relationship with the News
« Reply #1054 on: October 30, 2018, 12:00:09 AM »
Rethinking Our Relationship with the News

Both religion and politics have complicated it. How do we start fresh?

It was one of the ugliest presidential elections in US history. On one side was a candidate who was smeared in the press as too sensitive to be a man and too brutish to be a woman. Fake news stories, planted by opposing forces, claimed the candidate supported a march toward war. Of course, it was hard to know what to believe; this same candidate had previously used every means possible to limit press freedoms and keep important information away from public eyes.

On the other side was a man widely rumored to have abused his power to sexually assault at least one woman young enough to be his daughter, a rumor his opponent happily exploited for personal political gain. It was claimed that if this man were elected, “murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced.”

It was the election of 1800. The candidates: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

Fake news and consequent distrust of the media are nothing new. Politicians and power brokers have for centuries used the press and the gossip grapevine to manipulate the public. What is new is the speed and volume of information constantly bombarding our senses from a million different sources. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, and consequently to retreat to spaces filled with people who think and feel like we do. Media scholars refer to this as an “echo chamber,” where our existing opinions are reinforced and we are free from the discomfort of opposing viewpoints.

In our digital world of viral content and up-to-the-second breaking news, the stakes are higher, to be sure. But as Christians, we should see this as a call for greater discernment, not an excuse to disengage from the conversation or, conversely, keep adding fuel to the fire. ...

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Source: Rethinking Our Relationship with the News

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[Cfamily]America’s Hidden Mission Field: Why We Need Rural Churches
« Reply #1055 on: October 31, 2018, 12:00:10 AM »
America’s Hidden Mission Field: Why We Need Rural Churches

Some rural churches are struggling, but many still have a lot left to give.

Most Christians in the United States probably wouldn’t think to send church planters to Loving County, Texas.

But according to the 2010 U.S. Congregations and Membership Study, almost nobody goes to church there. Only six of the county’s 82 residents had ties to a local congregation, according to the study, which collected data about the number of churches and regular attenders from religious groups in every county in the U.S.

Many of the least churched regions were in rural America—where about 14 percent of the U.S. population lives, according to Pew Research. Esmeralda County in Nevada, for example, had only one church with 23 people—in a county of more than 700 people.

Counties in Colorado, North Dakota, Vermont, Maine, and Nebraska are also among the least churched in the country.

And perhaps more surprisingly, other Bible Belt counties join Loving as being among the least churched places in the U.S.—like Mississippi’s Issaquena County, Virginia’s Dickerson County, and several counties in Kentucky.

Grant Hasty, pastor of Crossroads Community Baptist Church in Stearns—located in McCreary County, Kentucky—helped plant the church a decade ago. The core congregation is only about 60 people, but they make a big impact in a county where only 1 in 5 residents are connected with a church.

They run a restaurant that serves hundreds of free meals every week, mobilize summer volunteers to make local home repairs, organize a laundry ministry, and they’ve just started a tiny homes community for people recovering from drug addiction.

Hasty says they also hope to start several new local churches. “A big church won’t work in our area,” he says. “A lot of people ...

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Source: America’s Hidden Mission Field: Why We Need Rural Churches

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