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A Pastor’s Restoration Process: Journey to Healing Through the Eyes of Those Closest, Part 3 - Greg

“True restoration focuses on destroying the sin, not destroying the person.”

Ed: Greg, why is restoration so hard?

Greg: I think restoration is hard because there initially is the shock of the exposure of sin. There is shame in the pastor, the leaders, and the church. The process of repentance is long and the wounds to the church are deep.

Ed: What did you say to Darrin in the process?

Greg: Early in the process we talked about who was affected, who was hurt by Darrin’s choices and his sin. We wanted to make sure that he fully understood the consequences of that sin in other people's lives.

I have been part of several restorations and I have seen many pastors who are confronted about their sin not understand the root of it. We asked Darrin to come clean, to really meditate on and figure out, with counselor’s help, what had happened in this situation.

Beyond that, my role has been to encourage him that while his sin is bad, he is not, and that God loves him and that God has a future that is good. It's been two parts to the process. First, let's acknowledge it. Second, let's acknowledge God's grace in the middle of it as the repentance continues.

Ed: What does it look like to be a spiritual father?

Greg: I remember when I became a physical father for the first time. I didn't think I was ready, to be honest with you. I was just a young man and didn't see myself as a particularly great candidate to be a father.

I think spiritually it's the same. When I was asked to be a part of Darrin’s restoration and especially when he asked me to be his pastor, I knew what the responsibility was. I knew that it was very important in his process to have a father in his corner, especially in light of the difficult relationship that he had had with his father and that his father ...

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Source: A Pastor’s Restoration Process: Journey to Healing Through the Eyes of Those Closest, Part 3 - Greg

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[Cfamily]Interview: Why Character Is Making a Comeback
« Reply #1273 on: May 24, 2019, 01:00:12 AM »
Interview: Why Character Is Making a Comeback

Character formation isn’t just an individual process, says Anne Snyder. It requires institutions.

In a media landscape awash in flame wars and polarizing punditry, it’s a bit surprising that the topic of character formation is making a comeback. “Building character” is the stuff of childhood chores and onerous school projects, completed out of duty and little delight. Yet according to new research presented in the book The Fabric of Character, published by the DC-based Philanthropy Roundtable, character formation is a top concern among today’s leaders and charitable givers across the ideological spectrum. According to researcher Anne Snyder, anyone paying attention to social trends in the West recognizes that “the conditions under which good character is forged are in trouble—weakened as much by the decline of traditional institutions as by a culture that promotes ‘I’ before ‘we,’ pleasure before purpose, self-expression before submission to a source of moral wisdom beyond oneself.”

In the book, Snyder highlights several institutions—including schools, neighborhood renewal projects, and the Boy Scouts—as case studies of how organizations strengthen the moral fiber of their members. Snyder, the newly named editor-in-chief of Comment magazine, recently spoke with CT about why faith-based institutions are particularly good at teaching character.

When I hear the word “character,” I think of the dad in the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip who is always making Calvin shovel snow because it builds character. It’s not a sexy topic. Yet as you note, there seems to be a resurgence of interest in it. Why?

I started this particular project for the Philanthropy Roundtable in early 2016. I used to joke that Donald Trump is a huge gift to my work ...

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[Cfamily]Why Jesus Couldn’t Do Miracles in His Hometown
« Reply #1274 on: May 25, 2019, 01:00:09 AM »
Why Jesus Couldn’t Do Miracles in His Hometown

The lack of signs and wonders in Nazareth says more about Jesus than about people’s lack of faith.

Off the shores of the Philippines, a fisherman discovered a very large, misshapen pearl. It was not pretty. It looked more like an amoeba, with blobs and folds everywhere. He took the unusual find home and stowed it under his bed.

When he moved ten years later, he had no use for it, so he gave it to the local tourism office. It turned out to be the world’s largest pearl, with an estimated worth of roughly $100 million.

It’s easy to miss the value of something when it bears no resemblance to what we were thinking. Scripture tells us that the good news of the kingdom is like a priceless pearl (Matt. 13:45). But what if it doesn’t look like any pearl we’ve ever seen?

There’s a story in the gospels about a time in Jesus’ ministry when he returned to his boyhood stomping grounds of Nazareth. The reception was less than stellar, because he didn’t look like the hope anyone expected.

There’s no place like home

Mark tells us that Jesus and his disciples visited his hometown on a Sabbath. He went into the synagogue and started teaching in a way that stunned his listeners. People were shocked that this man they had known since childhood had the audacity to say the things he did, as if he had the authority and credentials to do so. It was offensive.

That reception impacted Christ’s work outside the synagogue:


He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 6:5–6)

It’s a little jarring to read that Jesus was unable to perform any miracles that day. What happened? At face value, it sounds as if the people’s lack of faith was his kryptonite, as if it weakened him or robbed him of his ...

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Source: Why Jesus Couldn’t Do Miracles in His Hometown

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[Cfamily]Court Rules Against Gang Members-Turned-Evangelists
« Reply #1275 on: May 26, 2019, 01:00:16 AM »
Court Rules Against Gang Members-Turned-Evangelists

Ex-members say they’re uniquely equipped to reach gangs. Former Latin Kings continue to fight Illinois restrictions they believe hamper their right to share the gospel.

Two sets of brothers—Elias and Saul Juarez and Ruben and Oscar Sanchez—said they just wanted to minister to gang members and help the men they worked with leave this lifestyle behind. But they blame an anti-gang lawsuit in their home in Elgin, Illinois, for holding up their work for nearly a decade.

Last week, an Illinois appellate court rejected the brothers’ claims that the state had infringed on their religious freedom rights while enforcing the Illinois Streetgang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act (STOPA).

The case began back in 2010, when the city of Elgin sued more than 80 alleged members of the Latin Kings, trying to undermine the gang with a measure that authorized police officers to detain and search any gathering of two or more gang members.

Among the targets of the lawusit were Elias Juarez, Ruben Sanchez, and Oscar Sanchez—ex-members of the Latin Kings—as well as Saul Juarez, who was never in a gang. According to their attorney, the suit impeded their ministry by preventing them from organizing events like an anti-gang parade and outreach to warn young people about gangs.

The Juarez and Sanchez brothers argued they were also barred from sharing their faith with existing gang members without fears of being arrested. They claimed that the lawsuit violated the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act by restricting their ability to evangelize.

But the court last Monday concluded otherwise: “The lawsuit here did not constitute a substantial burden on defendants' religious exercise. … Defendants were still able to communicate their faith to Latin Kings gang members after the complaint was filed in this case.”

Oscar Sanchez claimed that the lawsuit had prevented him from ...

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Source: Court Rules Against Gang Members-Turned-Evangelists

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[Cfamily]Strangers in the Land of Startups
« Reply #1276 on: May 27, 2019, 01:00:10 AM »
Strangers in the Land of Startups

A US missions agency is changing the way Spain’s tech hub engages its influx of migrants.

An entrepreneurial hub on the coast of southern Spain houses more than 600 global companies in shiny, modern buildings, with rows of palm trees reflected in walls of windows. The Andalusia Technology Park, or Parque Tecnológico de Andalucía (PTA), is a bit like the country’s version of Silicon Valley. It includes tech startups, multinational companies like Oracle and Accenture … and a 90-year-old US-based missions agency called Christar.

Christar’s international team left its Dallas-area headquarters two years ago for this tech park in Málaga, Spain, eager for the chance to engage social innovation opportunities alongside the public sector. But God had another mission in store for them.

“It’s the best time zone in the world to connect with the rest of the world, there’s a good international airport, and the cost of doing business is no more than doing it in Richardson, Texas,” said Brent McHugh, who became the team’s director in 2013 and oversaw the move to Málaga.

The popular tech park’s business and innovation center was also looking for ways to develop social corporate responsibility, so McHugh hoped to partner with their tech-minded global neighbors—most of whom had no other exposure to evangelicals.

But just as Christar was getting settled, the refugee crisis was in full swing, with thousands of migrants pouring into Europe from the Middle East and Africa. While the continent initially welcomed these newcomers, within months key ports of entry began shutting down. By 2018, the new country of choice was Spain, coming straight through Málaga.

“I pulled back from day-to-day refugee ministry—then God decided to provide ...

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Source: Strangers in the Land of Startups

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As Violence Escalates in Burkina Faso, Family of Slain Missionary Keeps Serving

Mike Riddering died in the attack that brought about a new era of terrorism in the West African country. Now his relatives are working to bring about revival.

Burkina Faso used to be one of the most peaceful nations in the world. The small West African country of about 19 million people has seen a handful of coup d’etats over its short life, not unlike many of its neighbors, but is consistently ranked among the most conflict-free nations in the world, according to the Global Peace Index.

But that changed quickly just a few years ago when Islamist violence began to surge, starting with a shocking attack in Ouagadougou, the nation’s capital. On January 15, 2016, 28 civilians were killed by terrorists who opened fire at a cafe and then a hotel across the street. Among them was 45-year-old US missionary Mike Riddering.

Since the attack that killed Riddering, the violence has skyrocketed. There have been 230 attacks in three years, killing 65 people last month alone. In just an eight-day span starting in late April, gunmen killed 10 people in two separate attacks on Catholic worshipers and six people in an attack on an Assemblies of God church.

Islamists—including a coalition of al-Qaeda affiliates—are gaining momentum in the region. Earlier attacks, including the one that killed Riddering, were focused more generally on civilians. But World Watch Monitor (WWM) reported last week that the violence is becoming more focused on Christian villages and churches. A spokesperson for the Federation of Evangelical Churches and Missions told WWM that several pastors near the country’s border with Mali have fled the area and that a handful of churches have closed down.

Riddering’s family has followed the surging violence closely. His older brother, Jeff, and sister-in-law, Tammy, plan to move to Burkina Faso this summer to continue Mike’s ministry.

The recent ...

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Source: As Violence Escalates in Burkina Faso, Family of Slain Missionary Keeps Serving

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[Cfamily]Getting Married? Some Resources and Humor to Get You Started Right
« Reply #1278 on: May 29, 2019, 01:00:12 AM »
Getting Married? Some Resources and Humor to Get You Started Right

7 helpful resources provided by my audience on Twitter.

I haven’t officiated a wedding in over a decade—no, scratch that, maybe more. But I’ve just committed to performing one.

Look out, newlyweds!

So, needless to say, I found myself needing some updated pre-marital counseling resources. I took to Twitter hoping to gather insight and found some of the responses rather… comical!

Some of the suggestions included:

  1. Make them listen to one another eat a bowl of cereal…if they can do it, they’ll be fine.

  3. Please talk about thermostat temps. Our premarital counseling completely skipped this crucial issue!

  5. Have couples try assembling a piece of IKEA furniture together.

  7. Make them watch each other load a dishwasher.

  9. Have couples define when they consider a tube of toothpaste to be empty.

  11. Find out if one of the pair is a “snooze button” person.

  13. Send the couple canoeing.

  15. Have them butcher chickens together.

  17. Make the couple take a road trip together with a cellphone-jammer in the car.

  19. Have them figure out which way the toilet paper goes on the reel.

Silly though they may be, I think these responses actually provide us with some important insight. When couples are preparing for marriage, it’s easy to assume that only the big stuff really matters. It’s a given that a couple’s faith convictions, big picture life goals, and expectations for raising a family should line up but other factors are often seen as non-essential.

I think we can all agree that how a person assembles furniture or loads a dishwasher is hardly ‘essential’ to a good marriage. But what we see here is that the little stuff—seemingly insignificant lifestyle choices and daily decisions—are also important to the foundation of a healthy partnership.

That’s ...

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Source: Getting Married? Some Resources and Humor to Get You Started Right

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One-on-One with Justin Schell on Being Under-Gospeled and Finding God as He Is

"We must learn to enjoy Christ, to see the clear sunbeams of the heart of God the Father, shining on us."

Ed: How long have you been involved in Lausanne International, and what is your current role?

Justin: I have been serving as director of executive projects for the past five years. Our CEO, Michael Oh, recruited me when he was preparing to take on leadership of the Movement.

Ed: Tell me about your current roll and what you do.

Justin: I help design and launch new initiatives within the movement. In that process, we determine what the end goal is and how to get there. We wrestle over: who else needs to be at the table with us? Who needs to speak into this initiative? With whom should we partner?

Typically, it also means building a team or recruiting a long-term director for the initiative, and seeing it through to launch. Every project is different, which makes it both fun and frustrating. I've gotten to help launch recent initiatives like Lausanne Global Classroom, Younger Leaders Generation and initiatives within that, and am now working on an initiative to see affordable, robust theological education made available to anyone, anywhere. Pray for me and for Lausanne.

Ed: Tell me about the gospel and the church in your part of the world.

Justin: After serving on the mission field, I am now in Tulsa, OK. Tulsa is in need of reformation. The leadership of my church here often says that, as a city, it is "over-churched, but under-gospeled."

Being in the Bible Belt, it’s common to see men and women looking for salvation in all sorts of places – usually drastic departures from the living, good, triune God and the faith we find in Scripture.

Some confuse Christianity with being American – a cultural Christianity. So, you get a politicized, ethnocentric faith. Others have been taught that Jesus wants to make ...

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Source: One-on-One with Justin Schell on Being Under-Gospeled and Finding God as He Is

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