Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 435791 times)

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[Cfamily]The Danger of “Christian” Infamy
« Reply #1176 on: February 22, 2019, 12:00:13 AM »

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The Danger of “Christian” Infamy

Fallen flesh doesn’t like simply being sent. We’d rather build our own tower for our own glory.

Last week, the Send Institute ran a poignant piece by John Davidson that argued for the decoupling of church planting and entrepreneurship. Davidson writes, “Rather than framing planting as ecclesial entrepreneurship, the church would be better served if we framed it biblically. The way to do that is by calling it what it is, apostolic ecclesiology.”

He argues that the business nomenclature that characterizes entrepreneurship stands in stark contrast to the simple sentness of the biblical apostles and those who follow in their patterns. I’m a big fan of John Davidson.

Simple sentness.

Is there anything our world needs more of?

Our present missiological matrix necessitates a wholesale change in the normative ambition of kingdom disciples. This begins, at least in part, by the posture of both those leading existing churches and those starting new ones.

The public perception regarding this work might be at an all-time low. There was once a day when the mention of the word “pastor” conjured images of maturity, wisdom, and tender care. These days the term is more often conflated with abuse of power, predatory behavior, or chauvinism.

Much of this we’ve brought on ourselves. The siren’s call of the grandiose platform, international audiences, and the adoring fans, has lulled far too many of us from the simple course to which we were called.

For many, there may have been a time when “simple sentness” was the passion of our hearts. God captured our very souls with the good news of Jesus and we longed for others to experience his grace.

But something happened. Simple sentness wasn’t enough, so we continually grappled for more. In reality, Jesus wasn’t enough. As with most ...

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[Cfamily]Emerging Adults: Apathetic or Indifferent to Matters of Faith?
« Reply #1177 on: February 23, 2019, 12:00:09 AM »
Emerging Adults: Apathetic or Indifferent to Matters of Faith?

A call to spiritual care among our twenty-somethings.

According to research, many emerging adults (those between the ages of 18 and 29) experience a spiritual slump in the years after high school. When comparing 18 to 23-year-olds with the teenagers below them, the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) reported significant declines in the number of emerging adults viewing their faith as “very or extremely important” in shaping daily life.

In addition, only 35 percent of conservative Protestant emerging adults indicated that they felt “extremely or very close” to God, down from 48 percent among teenagers in this same group.[1]

A recent LifeWay Research survey demonstrated that, among young adults between the ages of 23 and 30 who attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year in high school, only 39 percent considered themselves to be “devout Christians with a strong faith in God.”

At the very time when emerging adults are making some of the most important decisions of their lives—decisions about identity, worldview, vocation, relationships, and faith—the spiritual life seems to fade into the background.

Perhaps not surprisingly, spiritual practices also reflect this downward trend. In addition to widely publicized drops in church attendance, a host of other spiritual disciplines become less prominent in the emerging adult years, including daily prayer, Bible reading, Sabbath observance, religious singing, reading of devotional materials, and personal evangelism.[2]

Interestingly, the research does not point to a strong hostility among emerging adults toward matters of faith.

Instead, it points to a growing indifference.

Sociologist Tim Clydesdale has indicated that for those just out of high school, faith is rarely ...

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[Cfamily]Back by Popular Demand—Church Signs!
« Reply #1178 on: February 24, 2019, 12:00:11 AM »
Back by Popular Demand—Church Signs!

It's been far too long, back their back!

It’s been way too long since we ran some good church signs. They never cease to end, though, and I think we all enjoy seeing them. So tweet me some good ones and we will get this feature started again. In the meantime, enjoy the ones below.

Thanks to @sethwaldrop and Oakland church for the reminder that we are both body and spirit! Neglecting either is a fool’s task.

Thanks to @ufmikeg (aka Michael Graham) for the reminder that cultural mainstays like the Hokey Pokey can indeed teach us life lessons (though we cannot neglect important things like proper spelling for pleasure pursuits!).

And thanks to @kylewillyou for submitting this excellent play on words. Time to put on the armor of Christ, people!

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[Cfamily]Southern Baptists Want to Expel Churches Over Abuse
« Reply #1179 on: February 25, 2019, 12:00:14 AM »
Southern Baptists Want to Expel Churches Over Abuse

President J. D. Greear announces a batch of new proposals, reiterating that congregations that cover up incidents have “no place” in the SBC.

After a Houston Chronicle investigation uncovered hundreds of instances of criminal sexual abuse within its churches, Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) president J. D. Greear said the denomination needs to “repent of a culture that has made abuse, cover-ups, and evading accountability far too easy.”

Already, Southern Baptists are taking action to change their church culture, debuting this week new policies and plans to improve organizational awareness of abuse cases and train leaders to address them.

The news report drew particular attention to at least 35 pastors and volunteers who continued to work in Southern Baptist churches after being convicted or credibly accused of sexual misconduct.

At a meeting of the SBC executive committee on Monday, Greear called on the denomination to examine 10 churches who were “alleged to have displayed a wanton disregard for the seriousness of abuse” to see if they indeed meet the standards for SBC churches set forth in the Baptist Faith and Message.

Notably, the list includes Houston’s Second Baptist Church (in recent years, the third-biggest church in the SBC) and Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, where C. J. Mahaney is senior pastor.

While the SBC can remove churches that harbor predators under its existing policy, the committee wants to now explicitly name mishandling of abuse as grounds for expulsion. If approved by the delegation at the SBC Annual Meeting this year and next year (amendments require two consecutive votes), this requirement will be added to the SBC Constitution as one of the qualifications for churches:

Has not been determined by the Executive Committee to have evidenced indifference in addressing sexual abuse that targets minors and other ...

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[Cfamily]One-on-One with Kristen Padilla on Women in Vocational Ministry
« Reply #1180 on: February 26, 2019, 12:00:14 AM »
One-on-One with Kristen Padilla on Women in Vocational Ministry

Author of ‘Now That I’m Called’ on how churches can better engage and deploy women in vocational ministry.

Ed: Tell me about your book Now That I’m Called: A Guide for Women Discerning a Call to Vocational Ministry.

Kristen: Now That I’m Called is a book written out of two beliefs. First, God calls women to gospel ministry. Second, the church of Jesus Christ needs God-called, theologically-trained women engaged in gospel ministry. Thus, the book is primarily written as a resource to aid and encourage women who are discerning a call to vocational ministry. Second, the book is for pastors and church leaders who want to know how to help women called to ministry in their churches and who want to begin to formulate a theology for women in ministry.

Ed: Why did you write your book?

Kristen: I felt God calling me to ministry at a young age. I grew up as the daughter of a Southern Baptist pastor, who, for most of my life, ministered in small churches and in rural areas. As a female in the SBC, I was faced with a dilemma: How could God be calling me to ministry when I saw no women in full-time vocational ministry within my context? Long before I could articulate a call to ministry, when I was 7 or 8, I cried real tears to my parents, “Why didn’t God make me a boy so I can be a preacher?”

Even at that age I was experiencing the angst between a God-given desire to preach the gospel and my gender.

During my teenage and college years, my parents and church were supportive and affirming of God’s call on my life to gospel ministry, but there were simply no resources and no one to guide me through that discernment process. Also, I was often faced with the questions, What will you do? and Where will you serve?

As I describe in my book, it felt like I was in a dark room with my arms outstretched trying to find the ...

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[Cfamily]From Mars Hill to Harvest: Hope for a Wounded Church
« Reply #1181 on: February 27, 2019, 12:00:09 AM »
From Mars Hill to Harvest: Hope for a Wounded Church

How Christians care for one another when their leaders fall.

Last weekend was the first time Harvest Bible Chapel gathered for worship without James MacDonald as its senior pastor.

Days after firing the church’s founder, the elders of the Chicago-area multisite congregation announced more changes. The executive committee—the top leaders on the elder board—would also be resigning within months. A task force had been formed to review church structure and processes. This week, the elder board winnowed from 30 people to 9.

At Harvest, concerns had lingered for years after the church’s dismissal of three elders in 2013, alleged mismanagement, and negative reports swirling around MacDonald. As leaders and members pray and plan for a healthier church culture, they’re also left lamenting the hurt, confusion, and discord that’s led to this point.

“We know there are many of you feeling shock and frustration—those feelings are real and understandable. We know there are many who have been grieved by these things over the past weeks, months and even years—and we share your grief,” Dave Learned, pastor of counseling ministry, told the congregation on Saturday night. “Our earnest desire is that God would, in his grace, forgive our sins, heal our wounds, and restore unity and harmony to this congregation.”

Harvest numbers around 12,000 members across seven campuses. As a result of the saga, some have already stopped attending or joined nearby congregations, including 2,000 that left around the 2013 incident. During a major transition for the congregation—and the loss of the charismatic preacher who had been its famous face and voice—more will inevitably opt to leave.

Either way, if they stay or go, the body of Christ absorbs ...

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[Cfamily]United Methodists’ LGBT Vote Will Reshape the Denomination
« Reply #1182 on: February 28, 2019, 12:00:13 AM »
United Methodists’ LGBT Vote Will Reshape the Denomination

Pulled right and left by various factions of the global church, the UMC’s decision-making body meets this weekend to pick a path forward.

One of the world’s largest Christian denominations faces potential fracture as United Methodist leaders gather to finally decide how to navigate deep divisions over gay marriage, ordination, and ministry.

The United Methodist Church (UMC) meets Saturday through Tuesday to weigh options to address the differing convictions on the issue, including some that would lead one side or the other to leave the denomination.

This special session of its General Conference, a denominational decision-making body made of around 1,000 delegates, represents the culmination of years of passionate debate about the application of scriptural teachings, particularly when it comes to issues around sexuality.

There’s a lot at stake. Beth Ann Cook, a UMC minister and clergy delegate, said the issue comes down to “how we interpret and apply Scripture in our daily lives,” and she’s praying that “delegates fully and honestly face the depth of our divisions.”

“While this General Conference is about much more than LGBTQ justice and inclusion for the United Methodist Church, we are at this juncture because of the discrimination against LGBTQ people in the church,” said Jan Lawrence, whose Reconciling Ministries Network advocates for the UMC to change its longstanding policies and language around homosexuality.

Since its first official statement on homosexuality in 1972, the denomination has tried to mark out a middle ground of grace and traditional orthodoxy, stating that “homosexuals no less than heterosexuals are person of sacred worth” while still considering “the practice of homosexuality … incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Decades later, with half the 12.5 million-member ...

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[Cfamily]Cuban Christians Unite Against New Constitution
« Reply #1183 on: March 01, 2019, 12:00:13 AM »
Cuban Christians Unite Against New Constitution

Before the vote passed, evangelicals flexed unprecedented political might in a controversial campaign opposing a new definition of marriage and other national reforms.

As Cubans voted to approve a new constitution on Sunday, widespread Christian opposition may signal a shift in political tone and a new sense of unity among the island’s churches.

The grassroots campaign—formed largely against more permissive language regarding same-sex marriage—earned Christians a measure of political clout in the island nation, but for some it’s also garnered them a reputation as enemies of the state.

“I can’t vote for something that goes against my principles,” Alida Leon, a pastor and president of the Evangelical League of Cuba, told the Associated Press. “It’s sad but it’s a reality.”

“I am voting ‘no’ because taking out that marriage is between a man and a woman opens the door in the future to something that goes against our beliefs and the Bible,” another Baptist pastor in Havana told Christian Today.

In a demonstration earlier this month, at least 100 couples decked in suits and wedding dresses gathered in the capital to renew their vows and to protest redefining marriage in the constitution.

“We’re speaking out in favor of marriage as it was originally designed,” Methodist Church of Cuba bishop Ricardo Pereira said. “It’s the first time since the triumph of the revolution that evangelical churches have created a unified front. It’s historic.”

The government and its loyalists tried to turn the vote into a litmus test for patriotism, instigating a sprawling advertising campaign to promote the new constitution. But Christians’ counter-campaign proved too big to stifle.

The opposition first erupted last year when churches began to hang banners and print flyers espousing ...

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