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[Cfamily]Whispers of Disruption: A New Move of God in Our Time
« Reply #1224 on: April 07, 2019, 01:00:12 AM »

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Whispers of Disruption: A New Move of God in Our Time

Three trends that may indicate the beginning of kingdom breakthrough.

“Who’s ever lost money investing in real estate?”

This was the single question that stood as the foundation of many people’s ‘all-in’ attitude for real estate investing in the early 2000s. My wife and I were certainly all-in, cashing out all other forms of investments to buy multiple homes.

For some years, it seemed like a no-brainer. Every deal followed a predictable pattern—I made money when I bought the house, I made money as I rented the house, and I made a lot of money when I sold the house.

Before the housing crash that marked the beginning of the Great Recession, most of us investing in real estate knew disruption coming—we just thought we had years to prepare for it.

Little did we know that the world was about to change quickly. The writing was on the wall—whispers of credit default swaps, bundled toxic assets, unsustainable growth patterns in homes…only fools believed things would go on as they were before, but disruption came quickly and when it did, there was no escape.

There is much to learn about the spiritual condition of America from the days leading up to the Great Recession. As a person who loves big data, I want to believe that we can interpret the future based solely upon data points available to us now, but this assumption is very much like the question “Who’s ever lost money investing in real estate?”

As a person who literally lost almost everything in the market crash, I’ve grown suspicious of what we can learn merely from data. There are variables, disruptive and life changing, variables that can quickly crush our trend analysis and usher in a new normal in the blink of an eye. I believe that we should always hold our data ...

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[Cfamily]Iraqi Christians in the US Face Deportation Again
« Reply #1225 on: April 08, 2019, 01:00:10 AM »
Iraqi Christians in the US Face Deportation Again

Some Chaldean detainees lost their chance to fight to stay. But it’s still unclear if their home country will let them back.

Hundreds of Iraqi Christians detained in immigration raids are once again at risk of deportation after losing their chance to keep fighting their cases in court.

On Tuesday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals closed the book on Hamama v. Adducci, a class-action lawsuit filed in June 2017 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of 1,400 Iraqi natives, including more than 100 Detroit-area Chaldean Christians, who were detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and told they would be repatriated to their home country.

After the raids two years ago, a district judge granted an injunction to protect the detainees, many of whom have lived in the US for decades, and let them present their cases in court. Last December, a Sixth Circuit panel overturned the protections, and this week the full court declined to hear further arguments, allowing the government to resume deportations as soon as next week, Michigan Radio reported.

The ACLU argued that sending the Christians back would put them in danger of torture or death. The historic Chaldean Catholic Church had been the largest Christian group in Iraq, which now ranks No. 7 on Open Doors’s list of countries most dangerous for Christians.

Iraqis’ claims of imminent danger have for decades persuaded the US and Iraqi government to allow them to stay in the US, despite lapses in immigration documents and even felony convictions. (After paying their debt to society, most convicted felons from Iraq have lived under what are known as final orders of removal, meaning that if they leave the US, they are not permitted to re-enter. Many of those swept up in the 2017 and 2018 raids had final orders of removal from crimes committed in the 1980s and ’90s.)

Metro ...

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[Cfamily]How Single Women Help New Moms Make It Through
« Reply #1226 on: April 09, 2019, 01:00:11 AM »
How Single Women Help New Moms Make It Through

Their unexpected ministry cuts across life stages.

It’s no secret that married couples in local churches need to reach out to the singles in their midst. “Doing life alone” can be exhausting, says Holly Stallcup. But the Scriptures “consistently paint a picture of interconnected community … where we find ourselves in day-in and day-out partnership with others.”

Bridging this single-married divide is particularly important for women. Although married women are called (rightly) to extend friendship to their single counterparts, there’s another ministry that often goes unnoticed: the outreach that single women extend to young mothers, in particular.

Hannah Wong, visiting lecturer at Baylor University, sees potential for profound encouragement in being “the person who says [to a young mom], ‘I see you!’ and more than that, ‘I’m paying attention!’”

Wong is in her early 40s and has spent years in relationship with many friends who have married, had children, and sometimes given up careers to stay home. She views her friendship with these mothers as a ministry that’s “deeply connected to what Jesus did.”

The need to be “observed and understood,” says Wong, is experienced by everyone, but singles and young mothers feel it with unique intensity. As a single woman in the church, she feels called to be a witness who can speak words of affirmation over those whose work is difficult, relentless, and often unseen.“Once a friend said to me, ‘You must think I’m so impatient with the kids!’” says Wong, who then told her friend, “What I was thinking was, Good gosh, how are you so patient? I’ve got to tell you, you were a lovely, patient person ...

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[Cfamily]‘Best of Enemies’: Overcoming Fear With Love
« Reply #1227 on: April 10, 2019, 01:00:11 AM »
‘Best of Enemies’: Overcoming Fear With Love

Taraji P. Henson says her faith influenced her decision to play Ann Atwater, the Christian woman who got the head of the Ku Klux Klan to consider integrating Durham schools.

Oh absolutely,” Taraji P. Henson told Christianity Today when we asked if her faith in God informs her choice of roles as an actress and influenced her to take on the challenge of playing Ann Atwater in Best of Enemies. “I look for projects that are going to transform people … and spark intelligent conversation.”

For Henson, it is especially important to look for films that will “push envelopes [in a way to] make you want to do something good to change a bad situation.”

It is no surprise, given these sentiments, that Henson was enthusiastic about playing civil rights activist Ann Atwater in this historical drama about the integration of Durham, North Carolina, schools in 1971. What may surprise audiences of Best of Enemies is not how much it praises Atwater but how hard it strives to humanize and complicate her antagonist, Ku Klux Klan leader Claiborne Paul (C. P.) Ellis, played by Sam Rockwell.

Scriptwriter and director Robin Bissell echoed Henson’s assertion that the film is more about personal transformation than about institutional changes. Bissell states that as a white male he was not sure he would be the best person to represent the depth and scope of the violence of the Klan toward African Americans. Consequently, he tried to focus the story more narrowly on how Ellis was able to “breakthrough” his own prejudices and, especially, how Atwater’s faith empowered her to see a salvageable core of humanity that could be reached beneath Ellis’s exterior of hate.

Best of Enemies depicts the firebombing of an African American school and the systematic inequalities of segregation. But the two most frightening scenes in the film may well be incidents of violence ...

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[Cfamily]New Witnesses
« Reply #1228 on: April 11, 2019, 01:00:11 AM »
New Witnesses

God is doing a new thing in the millennial generation through his witnesses.

In a contemplative and reflective frame of mind, I was trying to discern what God is doing across this land. For example, a decade ago, during the financial crisis that led to the Great Recession, I happened upon a series of sermons on holiness by David Platt. I knew God was working with a new generation.

Now, in the midst of a very noisy culture, I asked God the same question again: What are you doing across this land? Delightfully, I am discovering that God is already doing new things from the arts, to calling, to declarations. He is doing something new!

When we participate in worship, we are greeted with lyrics with different depth. Consider the following smattering of samples from a group of 30 years olds…


Lord you search me, how you know me You perceive my every thought from afar In all my wandering, still you love me
King of glory you pursue my anxious heart
Even when I'm not, you're faithful
Even when I doubt your truth holds
Even when I'm lost you won't let me go
When my heart is dry your grace flows
No matter where I run, I'm not far from home
Yea, I may be weak but you're able
Even when I'm not, you're faithful
Even when I'm not, you're faithful (Eric Neider—Faithful)


In the morning when I rise to meet You
In the morning when I lift my eyes
You're the only One I wanna cling to
You're the first thought on my mind
Let our voices rise
All creation cries
Singing out an endless alleluia from this moment on
Join with Heaven's song Singing out an endless alleluia!
In the moments where You go unnoticed in the ordinary day to day
Countless miracles of life around us Point like arrows to Your name (Cory Asbury—Endless Alleluia)

And every knee will bow in a great surrenderAnd ...

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[Cfamily]Hong Kong Pastor Facing Prison Preaches the Sermon of His Life
« Reply #1229 on: April 12, 2019, 01:00:09 AM »
Hong Kong Pastor Facing Prison Preaches the Sermon of His Life

The Baptist leader, convicted for his role in the Occupy Central and Umbrella Movement protests, takes the stand with a biblical defense for human rights and civil disobedience.

A Baptist pastor in Hong Kong turned the stands of a Hong Kong courtroom into his pulpit, quoting Scripture and calling for justice in the name of God, after he and eight other activists were convicted Tuesday for crimes related to their involvement with pro-democracy Occupy Central and Umbrella Movement protests.

Chu Yiu-ming, leader of Chai Wan Baptist Church, recounted his testimony of finding hope in Christ after a bleak childhood and defended his calling as a minister to fight for human rights, dignity, and care for all people.

“We have no regrets. We hold no grudges, no anger, no grievances. We do not give up,” he said, speaking on behalf of fellow activists involved in a campaign to bring universal voting rights to Hong Kong. “In the words of Jesus, ‘Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; The Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!’ (Matthew 5:10)”

An English translation of Chu’s remarks to the court was printed in full in the Hong Kong Free Press.

In 2013, Chu, along with scholars Benny Tai and Chan Kin-man, launched Occupy Central with Love and Peace, a movement that led to the widespread Umbrella Movement protests the following year. Though the trio was committed to nonviolent civil disobedience, the Hong Kong judge found them guilty of “conspiracy to commit public nuisance.”

As a special administrative region of China, Hong Kong has been afforded more freedom and autonomy in than the mainland. But it does not elect government leaders directly, and Christian leaders and activists are increasingly worried about encroaching Communist control.

The 75-year-old pastor told the courtroom in Cantonese:

We strive for democracy, because democracy strives ...

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[Cfamily]If You Want to Evangelize, Try Talking About the Weather
« Reply #1230 on: April 13, 2019, 01:00:13 AM »
If You Want to Evangelize, Try Talking About the Weather

Why small talk and friendship are fundamental to faith formation.

When I was at seminary two decades ago, “spiritual direction” was a new trend. Many of us thought that it was the greatest idea we’d ever hit upon, particularly for those who had grown up around very prescriptive approaches to faith.

Spiritual direction, we learned, was like midwifery: A midwife cannot create life or control it. She can only encourage it to fruition and be present to the miracle that is already happening in someone else. In the same way, spiritual directors facilitate growth but aren’t responsible for it. Both the director and directee are in a listening posture, waiting on the Spirit for discernment and attending to the life that God is growing within.

This midwife-to-mother relationship was located, we thought, in the upper atmosphere of spiritual maturity and sought after by believers who were really striving to attain deep faith. We were all talking about it, reading books about it, and wondering where on earth to find a highly trained spiritual director.

Through twists and turns of God’s will, my husband, Matt, and I found ourselves in Scotland immediately after completing seminary at Regent College. Matt went to serve as a pastor and I went to study John Calvin, but it was there in that Calvinist land, where no one had even heard of that suspiciously Catholic term “spiritual direction,” that Matt and I began learning about the real thing. While we were homesick, lonely, and facing the financial and emotional insecurity of undertaking my PhD, the idea of “spiritual direction” suddenly tumbled from its high place in the upper echelons of spirituality and landed in our laps in a new guise: everyday friendship.

We had a small group of friends who would ...

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[Cfamily]The Gospel of AI: Evangelicals Want Tech to Remain Good News
« Reply #1231 on: April 14, 2019, 01:00:11 AM »
The Gospel of AI: Evangelicals Want Tech to Remain Good News

In a “pioneering” new statement, leaders emphasize humanity’s moral authority over emergent technology like artificial intelligence.

As artificial intelligence (AI) makes its way into social media and smart devices, markets and health care systems, military and public policy, evangelicals are raising big questions about its revolutionary potential.

With a landmark statement on AI—the most prominent consideration of the issue among American evangelicals—these leaders are putting moral and ethical concerns at the forefront as the emergent technology grows behind the scenes.

“We recognize that AI will allow us to achieve unprecedented possibilities, while acknowledging the potential risks posed by AI if used without wisdom and care,” state the authors of the new Evangelical Statement of Principles on Artificial Intelligence, unveiled today in Washington, DC. “We desire to equip the church to proactively engage the field of AI, rather than responding to these issues after they have already affected our communities.”

The statement was initially endorsed by about 65 leading evangelical voices, including Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) president J. D. Greear; pastors Matt Chandler and Ray Ortlund; professors Wayne Grudem, Michael Horton, and Richard Mouw; as well as leaders of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), which released the document. (CT’s editor in chief, Mark Galli, also signed the statement.)

Experts in faith and AI have applauded their proactive efforts to address this area, calling it “a pioneering move” for the church, as secular and government spheres have recently struggled to confront technology’s ethical issues.

An AI ‘Turning Point’

“We need a common starting point on which to evaluate the weighty ethical decisions before us about how this technology will ...

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Source: The Gospel of AI: Evangelicals Want Tech to Remain Good News

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