Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 440299 times)

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America’s Largest Christian Adoption Agency Lets LGBT Couples Foster in 1 of 35 States

After ACLU lawsuit, Bethany Christian Services shifts foster care placement policy to comply with Michigan’s new requirements.

Bethany Christian Services, the largest Christian adoption and foster agency in the United States, will begin placing foster children with same-sex couples for the first time after a legal battle in its home state of Michigan.

When Michigan’s attorney general declared this month that foster agencies contracting with the government can no longer decline to work with LGBT families, Bethany opted to change its longstanding policy rather than lose the opportunity to help find homes for the thousands of vulnerable children who live there.

The legal fight in the Great Lakes State, pushed forward by a 2017 lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), is one of a string of battles challenging faith-based agencies’ significant involvement in foster care and adoption nationwide—forcing officials to balance the religious convictions of these ministries with the rights of protective parents.

“We are disappointed with how this settlement agreement has been implemented by the state government. Nonetheless, Bethany will continue operations in Michigan, in compliance with our legal contract requirements,” a spokesman for the Grand Rapids-based organization said in a statement. “We are focused on demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by serving children in need, and we intend to continue doing so in Michigan.”

Bethany, which has been in operation for 75 years, emphasized that its mission and Christian beliefs have not changed. The shift only applies for placement in foster care and foster-to-adopt programs in Michigan, and will not affect policies for infant adoption, international adoption, or foster placements in the 34 other states where Bethany operates.

Practicing Christians have been ...

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Source: America’s Largest Christian Adoption Agency Lets LGBT Couples Foster in 1 of 35 States

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[Cfamily]Serving at Church
« Reply #1249 on: May 01, 2019, 01:00:08 AM »
Serving at Church

How to decide what and when.

Do you serve at church on top of working and possibly serving with other ministries? A lot of people ask me if I serve at church. Honestly, I wrestle sometimes trying to decide whether I should or not. If this was 10 or 12 years ago, my whole life was spent in the local church serving in our high school and college ministries.

Now things are a little different since I travel more than ever before, work long hours, and have a 4-year-old and a daughter on the way.

I know this is a question that some people have wrestled with and so I wanted to share a few guidelines that have helped me in the last 10 years.

First and foremost, no matter what we do, our service should bring glory to God. Everything we do can help to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ in some way. Acts 1:8 says that we are to take his word from Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

However, does that mean we should take every opportunity that comes our way to serve? Here are a couple of questions to ask that may be helpful in deciding when to serve and when not to serve in your church:

1 – What are your areas of strength, passion, or gifts?

There are 20 spiritual gifts according to Scripture given specifically for the upbuilding of the body of Christ: administration, apostleship, compassion, discernment, evangelism, exhortation, faith, giving, healing, helping, interpretation of tongues, knowledge, leadership, miracles, prophecy, servanthood, shepherding, teaching, tongues, and wisdom.

What are the activities that you enjoy doing? Things that give you energy? How has God gifted you? What does it mean to have a passion for something?

It’s not always related to being gifted. Passion is what drives you to do your best because you care. It ...

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Offline John

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #1250 on: May 01, 2019, 03:01:11 PM »
An interesting article with many helpful points/ideas, but it misses one important area of service.

                                         Regular, reliable attendance at church.

Are you one of those who can be depended to attend on Sunday? Even when the popular speaker isn't there and an unknown or worse a known 'bad' preacher is coming?
 Are you one of those faithfull servants who notives and enquires after those who are missing?
 Are people concerned when you do miss a sunday?

What about the prayer meeting?  Yes your church will have one, do you attend it, regularly to engage in corporate prayer for your church, minister and the world?


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[Cfamily]How Do We Reconcile Easter Beliefs with the Easter Bombings?
« Reply #1251 on: May 02, 2019, 01:00:09 AM »
How Do We Reconcile Easter Beliefs with the Easter Bombings?

A Sri Lankan priest reflects on celebrating the Resurrection amid the tragedy of last week's attacks.

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

-John 20:19-23

Easter Tragedy

We finished our Easter Day Eucharist as usual and shared coffee and cake to celebrate the day of resurrection. There were smiles all around and laughter among the people gathered. After all, this Day of Resurrection, is the day that made us Christians.

The resurrection of our Lord and Master is the highlight of the Christian calendar. It was nothing unusual for us to expect more crowds in church that day. For 40 days we prepared ourselves to celebrate this feast. I even spoke to the choir the day before about the significance of the Easter greeting and the use of the Gloria and the word “hallelujah” after a hiatus of 40 days. It is a joyful, glorious day. In fact, it is such an important festival, that according to the Church Calendar, the festival of Easter is celebrated for 50 days!

Once we completed our rounds of greetings, I began to prepare to take Communion to the sick and invalid of my parish, as I had promised earlier. I went back home, checked my phone, and was surprised by the number of missed calls. Given the holiday, I thought they might have been calls to wish me a happy Easter. ...

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Some Great Evangelism Articles: My Judgmental Look at the 2019 EPA Higher Goals Contest

The top five pieces on evangelism in descending order.

I was asked to be a judge this year for the 2019 Evangelical Press Association Higher Goals Contest for the area of evangelism.

There were around 29 articles written by gifted men and women on various aspects of evangelism. In all honesty, I tend to like almost anything about reaching people, so picking 5 is a challenge. (Can I give everyone a participation trophy?)

While I applaud all those that competed, I want to highlight the top five in descending order. I will also attach the link to the article so that you can go and check them out.

#5 — "Salvation Bracelets in Africa? No, Thanks” by Melanie Clinton

Some people don’t see the need for good contextualization. They believe people need to stick with telling the truth and preaching the word. I’m all for telling the truth and preaching the word. Here’s the problem, though: I can speak the truth and preach the word in English all day long, but if I’m speaking to a group of French-speaking West Africans, it does me no good.

Melanie Clinton’s article gives us a reminder that, while salvation bracelets are an evangelistic hit at the local Vacation Bible School here in America, they aren’t, in West Africa. Based upon how Africans understand color and perceive “beads,” the use of a salvation bracelet is ineffective.

Just as in Africa, we in America need to engage in good contextualization for greater gospel impact. Melanie writes, “In order to share the gospel effectively, we have to forget what feels comfortable and natural in our own culture and embrace what works in the culture we’re serving in.”

In short, engaging in good contextualization leads to greater gospel impact.

#4 — "Four Practices ...

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Source: Some Great Evangelism Articles: My Judgmental Look at the 2019 EPA Higher Goals Contest

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[Cfamily]One-on-One with Ronnie Floyd on the National Day of Prayer
« Reply #1253 on: May 04, 2019, 01:00:11 AM »
One-on-One with Ronnie Floyd on the National Day of Prayer

“If we truly want unity and peace in America, we must return to God and remember that our highest calling is to love him and one another.”

Ed: A quick glance at the news tells us America is still struggling with division and polarization. From your perspective, what is the spiritual state of America?

Ronnie: I was recently reading a Gallup poll on the emotional state of America. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised the pollsters found that Americans are among the most stressed people in the world or that nearly half of the U.S. population — 45 percent — feel burdened by worry. I definitely wasn’t surprised to learn 1 in 5 Americans experienced a lot of anger last year. But I was surprised by one detail in the poll that in itself speaks volumes: despite an improving economy, Americans are more stressed, more worried and angrier than in years past.

The report says, “The disconnect between a strong economy and Americans' increasing negative emotions illustrates how GDP and other hard economic data only tell part of the story. In fact, the levels of negative emotions in the past several years are even higher than during the U.S. recession years.”

What this tells us is that happiness and personal fulfillment are not necessarily dependent on our circumstances. Being a pastor, this makes perfect sense to me. I’ve seen it in people’s lives, and I see it in America as a whole. I believe America’s political and social problems — all the division, hostility and polarization we see every day — are actually problems of the human heart, and fixing them requires a spiritual solution. If we truly want unity and peace in America, we must return to God and remember that our highest calling is to love him and one another.

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Source: One-on-One with Ronnie Floyd on the National Day of Prayer

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[Cfamily]The Three-Letter Word That Undergirds Gospel Living
« Reply #1254 on: May 05, 2019, 01:00:09 AM »
The Three-Letter Word That Undergirds Gospel Living

Loving across our differences requires the power of paradox.

“You and Ryan seemed tired Friday,” my friend Janey said when she saw me at church. “Everything okay?” We had been to their house for a Christmas party two days earlier.

“Oh, we weren’t tired,” I said, laughing. “We were fighting.” The sky had been falling in thick flakes that Friday, the city roads a congested crawl under a whitened sky. A few more stolen moments in the car alone had afforded us just enough time for an argument.

“When are you taking your vacation days?” I had asked Ryan a few days earlier. It wasn’t exactly his answer that I had been brooding about for days and finally took up on the way to Janey’s. He did, in fact, plan to catch up while the office was quiet over the Christmas holidays. Instead, it was more that he hadn’t asked me the same question, carelessly presuming that I had no pressing deadlines.

In the middle years of our marriage, we have often encountered this recurrent place of tension—how to share domestic responsibility and how to support each others’ professional ambitions. It’s a lot of muddled, messy work, trying to figure out whose needs are being met and whose are not, especially when you try doing it on the way to a dinner party.

Marriage is often held up as a model of Christian sacrifice—and of course, there’s truth in that. In Christian marriage, we choose to love, serve, and submit to one another, even on the days that wring us out bone-tired. But Christian marriage isn’t built on mute self-sacrifice alone. Our wedding vows don’t simply bind us to politeness; they also bind us to courage. In the midst of this tension, we find deep virtue in one little word: and. ...

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Source: The Three-Letter Word That Undergirds Gospel Living

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[Cfamily]CT Women: Our 15 Favorite Prayers
« Reply #1255 on: May 06, 2019, 01:00:09 AM »
CT Women: Our 15 Favorite Prayers

Women from across the country share words that shape their prayer lives.

Today marks the National Day of Prayer in the US. With that in mind, we asked a number of women to share prayers from Scripture and Christian history that hold significance for them as pastors, professors, community developers, writers, and parents. These 15 responses give a glimpse into the prayer lives of Christian women across the country who are on their knees on behalf of families, churches, and leaders.

1. One of my personal favorites is the prayer, “Great are you, Lord, and greatly to be praised.” Augustine uses this prayer—which draws on Psalm 48—to open his Confessions. He starts not with a reference to himself or even to what God can do or has done for him but simply by admitting his awe at God’s majesty: God is a great God!

This prayer reminds us of the ultimate reason why praying is worth doing: not first and foremost because of what we need or feel but because God deserves our unstinting and unremitting praise. The wellspring of profound prayer is the greatness of the Lord.

2. The Celtic Christians who lived on the British Isles during the early Middle Ages practiced a faith that reflected simple lives lived close to the earth, absent the later pomp and hierarchy that would come from the Roman church. Many of the prayers these Christians offered in their Gaelic tongue were collected later in the 19th-century work Carmina Gadelica.

The prayers are notable for the way they invoke God in every aspect of daily life—while kindling the morning fire, making the bed, and collecting the eggs. My favorite prayer seeks God’s blessing on the cow, her milk, and the milker. It models the way we modern-day believers, too, ought to ask God to bless every part of all we have and all we ...

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Source: CT Women: Our 15 Favorite Prayers

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