Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 435756 times)

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[Cfamily]Mary’s Perfume Points Us Toward the Cross
« Reply #1232 on: April 15, 2019, 01:00:11 AM »

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Mary’s Perfume Points Us Toward the Cross

Her extravagant gesture exemplifies utter devotion.

“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3).

In a scene of generous hospitality and intimate fellowship, Jesus, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus have gathered in the afterglow of Lazarus’ return to life (John 12:1-11). Lazarus is reclining at the table with Jesus. Martha, ever the active servant, is serving food. Artists depicting this scene reach instinctively for the warmest possible palette of colors and pain themselves to depict facial expressions of an almost unimaginable degree of warm-hearted tenderness.

Then Mary offers her gesture of devotion to Jesus, lavishing a full pint of exquisite perfume over Jesus’ feet and upending conventions of decorum by unfurling her hair to wipe them. Just a few days before, Jesus, Mary, and Martha were confronted by the stench of Lazarus’ decaying body. Now, with Lazarus, they are basking in the aroma of luxurious perfume.

Following three years of ministry in which observers responded to Jesus in such oppositional and awkward ways, what a remarkable picture of true devotion this is—Mary’s unashamed, humble, extravagant gesture. Nothing here resembles a grudging obeisance to a distant deity or an agreeable, but half-hearted engagement in typical religious protocols. This is whole-hearted adoration of a loving Lord.

Just a few verses into the story, we can already sense God’s call to each of us to follow Mary’s lead, to become disciples of utter of devotion to Jesus. Korean songwriter Chung Kwan Park invites worshipers to identify with Mary's adoration by singing: “to my ...

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[Cfamily]What the Kingdom of God Is Like
« Reply #1233 on: April 16, 2019, 01:00:13 AM »
What the Kingdom of God Is Like

The kingdom was central to Jesus’ teaching, but it can be divisive for his followers.

When you think of the word kingdom, what do you think of? For many, the term conjures images of medieval knights, fair maidens, and castles inhabited by white-bearded monarchs. Or we imagine hard-fought epic battles involving mythological figures and creatures (think Gandalf and Gollum), or all these things in a favorite video game.

Now for some Christians, it is this otherworldly quality that makes the idea of the kingdom of God so attractive; other believers prefer a real kingdom, a here-and-now realm you can sink your teeth into. Some long for a far-off kingdom, while others seek a nearby kingdom: two visions in quiet competition with one another. Even though Jesus said that every kingdom divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:24), the truth is that his followers have been pretty nearly divided about the kingdom, especially in the past hundred years or so.

Let’s go back to the first set of Christians I just mentioned: those who see the kingdom of God as something falling outside of their own day-to-day reality. For these, it’s not that the kingdom isn’t real; it’s just that it’s real only on the inside. Such might agree with the 18th-century writer Louisa May Alcott when she writes, “A little kingdom I possess / Where thoughts and feelings dwell.”

Today we hear similar sentiments when people say things like, “The day I came to believe in Jesus is the day he set up his kingdom in my heart.” This conception of the kingdom as a personal reality may or may not rule out a corresponding objective kingdom reality, but the emphasis is on the soul, the interior life.

Other Christians identify the kingdom not as an internal reality at all, but rather as something public, something ...

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[Cfamily]Baptism: The Point of No Return
« Reply #1234 on: April 17, 2019, 01:00:13 AM »
Baptism: The Point of No Return

A story from Somalia.

The pastor’s wife approached him, with tears in her eyes, and handed him his cell phone. As apprehension spread throughout the congregation, the pastor listened for quite some time, turned off the device, bowed his head, and handed his cell phone back to his wife.

“Pastor H is dead.”

A secret gathering

I was working in Mogadishu, Somalia, when my wife called me on the shortwave radio about a meeting invitation. After approximately six months, our team of eight was feeding 50,000 people per day, resettling refugees, running mobile medical clinics, and trying to stay alive in the context of a famine and war zone. I was sure there was no room left on my calendar to add another engagement.

But Ruth went on to say that I and one other Westerner had somehow been granted permission to sit among some of the giants of the faith in the world of Islamic persecution. These were men who represented generations of Christian leaders who lived among Muslims and were part of the faith-family attempting to love Muslims in Jesus’ name. This secret meeting was to be held in a remote part of Kenya.

With just enough time to fly to Kenya, see my family there, and change clothes, I made it to the meeting. Being with those heroes of the faith throughout the Islamic world was humbling. Particularly impressive were some close friends from Iran.

One pastor sitting next to me was asked to give a 15-minute testimony.

He testified for over two hours.

He talked about what God was doing in his country, especially since the Shah was kicked out of Iran and a conservative form of Shia Islam was installed. He bore witness eloquently and specifically. Believing that he was in a safe space, he shared feelings, dreams, and information that he dared ...

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[Cfamily]At Notre Dame, Good Friday Came Early
« Reply #1235 on: April 18, 2019, 01:00:13 AM »
At Notre Dame, Good Friday Came Early

The cathedral’s famous Gothic form, which proclaimed Christ in shape and structure, will never die.

Gothic architecture has long reached where Christian missionaries would go but are not permitted: the minds and hearts of the faithless. The world’s grief over the flames at Notre-Dame de Paris revealed its power as far more than architectural style.

For the great medieval commentator William Durandus (d. 1296), the Gothic church took the shape of Christ’s body: the chancel the head, the transepts the arms, the altar the heart. And if the Gothic church symbolizes the body of Christ, to see Notre Dame burn this Monday was to experience Good Friday early.

It was excruciating to watch its spire fall. But at the risk of saying this too soon, the Gothic style represented by Notre-Dame de Paris cannot be stopped by fire. This style has given the church a theology of glass and stone, a model that has spread to Catholic and Protestant structures across the centuries and around the world.

Fifty miles from Paris, the greatest and most complete of Gothic cathedrals, Chartres, was itself born of fire, built and rebuilt after blazes in 1020, 1134, and 1194. It is no different with the delicate stonework of Reims, France’s great coronation cathedral—the result of a fire in 1208. Gothic architecture, like the art of pottery, does quite well with flames.

The Gothic style first emerged in the mid-12th century at the Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis just north of Paris. Abbot Suger’s innovation there was the equivalent, the art historian Erwin Panofsky once commented, of a new president remaking the White House in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright. And his bold architectural risk paid off.

The plain evidence for Gothic’s theological and liturgical inspiration is unavoidable. Over the door of Saint-Denis, Abbot Suger ...

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Offline John

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #1236 on: April 18, 2019, 03:41:07 PM »
I've heard lots of hypocrascy and other rubbish expressed in the news over this.

If notre dame is a national treasure then the maintence costs etc should have been paid for by the state.

Most people seemed upset by the loss of the familiar, and not of anything important in there daily lives.
It won't change how thwey live or think.


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Headwinds in Evangelism: New Challenges Secularism and Pluralism Add to Outreach

We’re still trying to figure out what the future should ultimately look like as we continue to share the gospel.

I recently came back on a flight from Orange County. Before departing from California, the pilot announced that we would be arriving in Chicago about 40 minutes early due to some powerful tailwinds.

That sounds like great news.

However, amazing as those tailwinds are, all they mean in the Chicago airports is that you sit on the runway for an extra 40 minutes instead of being in the air. The plan goes to the penalty box—the place where they put planes that get there early before the gate is open.

It’s like punishment for promptness.

Headwinds and tailwinds

But despite the penalty box, it did remind me that there are both headwinds and tailwinds to be addressed in this moment when we talk about evangelism. Now, I’ve mentioned before (and many have observed) that we are on a low ebb of evangelistic intent.

We’re in a season where many hear about evangelism in a context of criticism—often, people poke fun at the way another individual or group shares the gospel rather than actually doing it themselves. That’s a pretty significant transition in our culture

Part of this reality, I believe, is a transition in a cultural moment. We’re still trying to figure out what the future should ultimately look like as we continue to share the gospel.

In this cultural moment, there are both tailwinds (cultural realities that help our evangelistic task) and headwinds (cultural realities that make that evangelistic task more difficult).

Let me talk about some of the headwinds we’re facing.

From nominalism to pluralism

We’ve moved from a nominally Christian to a more pluralistic and secular society — and that’s a very important shift. In a sense, we’ve lost our home field advantage.

That ...

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[Cfamily]ECFA Revokes Harvest Bible Chapel’s Membership
« Reply #1238 on: April 20, 2019, 01:00:14 AM »
ECFA Revokes Harvest Bible Chapel’s Membership

(UPDATED) Under James MacDonald, Chicago-area megachurch was in “serious violation” of 4 out of 7 stewardship standards, says Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Update (April 17): Harvest Bible Chapel has lost its standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), months after controversy over founding pastor James MacDonald culminated with his firing.

The ECFA board voted today to terminate the Chicago-area church’s membership status due to “significant violations” to 4 out of 7 of the association’s financial standards, citing “direct and substantial evidence” uncovered in the past week.

The association said that Harvest withheld pertinent information about its finances and policies during earlier reviews.

According to the ECFA, Harvest failed to comply with standards around governance, financial oversight, use of resources and compliance with laws, and compensation-setting and related-party transactions [full requirements listed below in previous coverage].

The violations are serious enough that the organization said restoring Harvest’s full membership status was “not a viable option.”


Original post (March 16): Harvest Bible Chapel had its accreditation suspended this week by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), after “new information” led to concerns that spending under former senior pastor James MacDonald was in “serious violation” of 4 of the agency’s 7 standards for biblical and ethical financial stewardship.

“During the indefinite suspension, the church may not represent that they are an ECFA member or display ECFA’s membership seal,” wrote president Dan Busby in a statement released Friday afternoon. Harvest used to display ECFA’s seal prominently on its online giving page.

“The investigation has been and will ...

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[Cfamily]Suffering and Submission in Gethsemane
« Reply #1239 on: April 21, 2019, 01:00:13 AM »
Suffering and Submission in Gethsemane

Even as Jesus struggled, he was resolute about what he wanted most of all.

“He fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’” (Matt. 26:39).

When we sing the old hymn “I Am Thine, O Lord,” Fanny Crosby provides us with words to express what we want to say to God on our best days:

Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.

Certainly this is a worthy aspiration—that our desires would be so conformed to the will of God that they would become indistinguishable from his. Yet we often find our desires in conflict with his. When we said “Your will be done” as part of the Lord’s Prayer as we gathered with the saints last Sunday, we meant it ... or at least we wanted to mean it. But it was a vague notion at that point. Today we find ourselves a bit offended by what God seems to be requiring of us. His will—which requires self-denial—has come into conflict with our will that is bent on self-preservation. We’ve begun to wonder if it is really possible that our will could ever be lost in his.

It is at this point in the struggle to submit that we find companionship, hope, and help as we peer into the scene that takes place in Gethsemane, a garden on the Mount of Olives given a name that means “oil press.” As we gaze into the darkness of that night, we can see that Jesus is being squeezed like an olive in a press, to the point that his sweat is dripping off of him like drops of blood. We can see that he is sorrowful and troubled. Then we hear him say to the disciples he has brought along with him, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matt. 26:38).

This is the same Jesus ...

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