Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 439434 times)

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[Cfamily]And Now, the Star of the Show....
« Reply #1336 on: July 20, 2019, 01:00:09 AM »

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And Now, the Star of the Show....

How we inadvertently create a cult of personality around our preachers. 

Here is the “most effective” and terrible sermon illustration I’ve ever used:

One day my wife and I were arguing about something—the exact subject has long been forgotten. In the course of the argument—probably when she was getting the best of me—I became so frustrated that I hit our dining room wall with my fist. The wall didn’t move, of course, but I expected to at least put a hole in the drywall. As fortune (or providence) would have it, the place I decided to punch with all my force was backed by a two-by-four stud. Let’s just say it hurt.

We both fell silent after that, and I set about sweeping up the kitchen and dining room (we were remodeling at the time). It became immediately apparent that there was something wrong with my hand, as I could barely hold on to the broom with my right hand.

My wife noticed that I was in pain and that my hand didn’t look right. She gently lifted my hand to look at it. “I think it’s broken,” she said. “We need to get you to the emergency room.” Her diagnosis was soon confirmed by the medical staff at the clinic.

From the point where she looked at my hand, there was no anger, resentment, or moral superiority on her part—all of which would have been justified. She was just concerned about my welfare. She very well knew that there was some part of me that was striking out at her when I hit the wall, but instead she focused on the fact that I vented my anger elsewhere than at her and was in deep pain as a result of my foolishness.

I used this illustration in a sermon on grace. It was the final illustration, tailored to drive home the truth that God treats us with kindness and grace even when we show ourselves ...

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Pompeo: Why We’re Hosting the World’s Biggest Event on Religious Persecution

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explains to CT why the State Department invited 100 nations and 1,000 participants to its second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.

This week, the US State Department invited more than 100 countries to come to DC and discuss how to stop the dramatic decline of religious freedom worldwide.

CT’s global director, Jeremy Weber, interviewed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on what has changed between last year’s first-ever ministerial on international religious freedom (IRF) and this week’s second, bigger event.

CT: Why hold a second ministerial on religious freedom?

Pompeo: This is America’s first freedom, and we want to work to make sure other countries understand how central it is to the individuals that are in their country to have the opportunity to worship as one chooses or chooses not to worship, and to know that their government is not going to restrict, impose, impede, or punish those activities is central to human dignity. And so we believe that here at the State Department, we can lead this conversation. We can encourage other countries to recognize this most fundamental human right. And when we do so, we will make life better for millions and millions of people around the world.

What successes came out of the first ministerial?

We saw a couple of things. First, we saw a marked increase in the level of discourse around this as a central right. Lots of conversations. It spurred satellite groups and others to hold similar related conversations inside their own countries. In November of 2018, we sponsored something with the United Kingdom; in February 2019, the United Arab Emirates hosted a conference to discuss the challenge of promoting interfaith understanding. The list is long. There were examples in Taiwan and other places where the elevation of the conversation has taken place. And we’ve actually seen governments continue ...

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The 13 Persecuted Christians Chosen by the State Department to Share Their Stories with the World

At this week's second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, 30 survivors from 19 countries from all faiths were given a global platform in Washington DC.

At this week’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, billed as the largest human rights event the US State Department has ever held, 30 people were invited to share theirs or their loved ones’ stories of religious persecution.

Below are the 13 Christian survivors from 13 nations, followed by the non-Christian survivors.

Christian survivors of religious persecution:

China: Ouyang Manping is the wife of Pastor Su Tifan, who on December 9, 2015, was placed under administrative detention after law enforcement raided the Three Living Stone Church.

Cuba: Reverend Mario Félix Lleonart Barroso is currently the pastor of the Iglesia Bautista de Waldorf (Baptist Church of Waldorf), where he ministers to the Latino community. While in Cuba, he planted and pastored Baptist churches in the province of Villa Clara and in Havana. In 2016, after years of being harassed, detained, and arrested multiple times because of his faith activities, Pastor Leonard, his wife, Yoaxis, and his two daughters sought asylum in the United States. They arrived in the United States on September 11, 2016.

Egypt: Demiana Kamal Youssef Shehata Hanna is a survivor victim of the November 2, 2018, attack in the governorate of al-Minya, in which armed assailants attacked three buses carrying Coptic pilgrims to the Saint Samuel the Confessor Monastery in al-Minya, killing seven and wounding 19. In addition to being among those attacked, she spoke to the assailants. She was identified with the assistance of Coptic Orthodox Bishop Makarios, bishop of al-Minya, the governorate with the highest incidence of sectarian attacks and tension. She would be accompanied by a male relative: Youssef Nady Youssef Shehata Hanna.

Eritrea: Helen Berhane was held in ...

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[Cfamily]What It’s Like When Your Wife Is ‘Christian Famous’
« Reply #1339 on: July 23, 2019, 01:00:09 AM »
What It’s Like When Your Wife Is ‘Christian Famous’

Hearing from the husbands of some of our favorite authors, teachers, and ministry leaders.

By now, the church has come to recognize the challenges faced by pastors’ wives, a role weighed with expectations, attention, and personal sacrifice. But as women rise in prominence across areas of ministry, another question comes up: What about their husbands?

There’s no template in our minds for what it looks like to be married to women in today’s generation of influential Christian teachers, writers, artists, and more.

It’s not unusual for ministry husbands to have jobs outside traditional church settings: Ann Voskamp has blogged for years about her husband, The Farmer, and Beth Moore’s mister is a plumber. “Never been a deacon or church leader,” she once tweeted, “but as I live & breathe, this Bible study ministry wouldn't exist w/out him.”

CT reached out to a handful of men whose wives are serving the church in increasingly visible ways to hear their perspectives from behind the scenes.

These husbands contribute to God’s kingdom work in their own unique ways—including by helping their spouses do theirs. In fact, Roy Prior, husband to teacher and writer Karen Swallow Prior, and Doug Johnson, husband to pro-life activist Abby Johnson, said they view their primary calling as in part to support their wives.

“The kids will always be my top priority, to make sure Abby can travel and do what she needs to do,” said Johnson. “She’s the go-getter. She has a deeper passion for something out there that’s really changing the world.”

Ministry husbands find themselves called to be sounding boards, sources of inspiration, prayer partners, and even just extra hands to keep the household running while deadlines and travel keep their ...

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[Cfamily]One-on-One with J.D. Greear on the Gospel ‘Above All’ Else
« Reply #1340 on: July 24, 2019, 01:00:15 AM »
One-on-One with J.D. Greear on the Gospel ‘Above All’ Else

“What the church needs now is what the church has always needed: a return to the gospel.”

Ed: What prompted you to write Above All?

J.D.: Evangelical Christians have always been gospel people. It’s in our very name! The word, “evangelical,” is a transliteration of the Greek word “gospel.” So, in that sense, the gospel has always been our “brand.”

But it seems like a lot of us are increasingly tempted to turn elsewhere for renewal and life and to give our energies to other agendas. I wonder if Paul’s words to the Galatians might characterize a lot of our attempts at ministry today: “You foolish (Evangelicals)! Who has cast a spell on you? … Are you so foolish? After beginning by the Spirit, are you now finishing by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:1–3).

We get engaged in a lot of things—important things—that end up keeping us from the one essential thing—the gospel.

Think about this: The gospel is the one thing in the New Testament, other than Jesus himself, that is referred to as the power of God. Not contains the power of God. Not channels the power of God, but is itself the raw, unstoppable, death-defeating power of God.

Paul referred to the gospel as “of first importance,” and put so much emphasis on it that he told the Corinthians that he only wanted to talk about one thing with them: the cross of Jesus. Most scholars say that was an overstatement; after all, his letters to the Corinthians are filled with many important instructions for the Christian life. But in Paul’s mind, the gospel was so important he didn’t mind saying it was all he wanted to be known for.

We should be known as a gospel people. We only have bandwidth in our communities to be known for a couple of things. I want that thing to be the gospel. ...

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Source: One-on-One with J.D. Greear on the Gospel ‘Above All’ Else

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You Don't Accidentally Evangelize: If You Don’t Prioritize It, It Won’t Happen

We need to bring intentionality to our gospel witness today.

Evangelism has fallen out of style.

Sure, some of us are trying to keep it at the forefront of our churches’ thinking, but stats don’t lie: While 79% of unchurched people said they would engage in a faith conversation if asked, only 39% of Christians have shared how to accept Jesus in the past six months. That’s a wide margin by any measure.

This means that over 60% of people are not telling our world about Jesus—even on an annual basis. This is a sad reality. Of all the activities in the church, evangelism is most likely to be neglected and thus, we actually do need to make it great again in a world which offers us so many competing priorities.

Both evangelism and social action are part of the mission of Jesus. Jesus came to serve the hurting (Luke 4:18ff) and save the lost (Luke 19:10). We do similarly as we join Jesus in that mission.

However, in almost every era, when Christians hold the values of gospel proclamation and gospel demonstration, it is proclamation that gets lost. So, I believe in what is often called “integral mission,” but I also think we have to find a way to be sure that evangelism does not get lost.

And, in 2019, evangelism is getting lost.

I call this being an “integral prioritist.” I love mission, social action, and discipleship. These are all good things — even essential things. But I have to find a way to prioritize the thing that gets lost— to prioritize evangelism. In 2019, we all need to consider how to be sure that evangelism does not get lost.

Historical intentionality

If we go back to the 1930s and 40s and look at the Wesleyan, Pentecostal, or Baptist traditions, Spring and Fall revivals were commonplace. These were intentional times where ...

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From DC to Mecca, Should ‘Human Dignity’ Be the New ‘Religious Freedom’?

Shift in human rights language could allow for greater acceptance in the Muslim world.

In his opening remarks at the second US Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo challenged every major world religion and secular society—and also invited them in.

“We all agree that fighting so that each person is free to believe, free to assemble, and to teach the tenets of his or her own faith is not optional,” said Pompeo last week to the almost 1,000 participants from civil society and more than 100 invited foreign delegations gathered at the US State Department. “Indeed, it is a moral imperative that this be permitted.”

But do all actually agree? A change in human rights language might make the difference.

And could Saudi Arabia improbably become the next champion?

At the first ministerial last year, the State Department invited participating nations to sign the Potomac Declaration and Call to Action, validating a vision of religious freedom grounded in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

At a side event during the second ministerial, Knox Thames, the State Department’s Special Advisor for Religious Minorities, spelled out several international cooperative accomplishments. But he told CT that it would have taken far too much negotiation to get other nations to put their pen to the Potomac paper.

The panel, organized by the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI), studied six recent international human rights declarations, including the Potomac one.

RFI’s director for education, David Trimble, emphasized that each generation does well to restate the UDHR, because “language changes” and the once-meaningful 1950s concept of freedom of religion has faded with the millennial generation.

Thus, the term might need to be updated, and ...

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[Cfamily]God Blessed My Church with Migrants
« Reply #1343 on: July 27, 2019, 07:31:19 AM »
God Blessed My Church with Migrants

I don’t want to imagine my community without faithful leaders like Cesar Quintero.

Editor’s note: Last Thursday, Politico reported that Trump administration advisers had proposed dropping the US refugee cap to zero next year, to the dismay of advocates like the National Association of Evangelicals’ humanitarian arm World Relief.

The Trump administration already cut the number of refugees the US will accept by more than half of the typical 75,000–95,000 range. Another reduction, advocates say, will prevent family reunifications and leave thousands in peril. Some warn that this move would actually increase the number of asylum seekers at the US southern border.

Faced with the threat of blocking nearly all refugees, many leaders have ready testimony of how their congregations have been blessed and strengthened by migrants who fled to the US.

Eric Costanzo leads a church in suburban Tulsa, Oklahoma. Over the past decade, the government has resettled increasing numbers of refugees in their city, the largest group being evangelical Christians from Myanmar . Many have found an unlikely home at South Tulsa Baptist Church , a congregation of around 1,200 people which now has more than 150 immigrants and refugees from 30 countries involved in its programs. These refugees and immigrants serve in ministries like sewing classes, a Chinese school for all ages including families who have adopted from China, and international potlucks.

Costanzo’s church recently opened a refugee resource center where some of the refugees themselves volunteer. Other refugees and immigrants have connected the church to mission trips, partnerships, and church planting opportunities.

The Oklahoma pastor shared with CT about one leader in his church who has demonstrated the potential among immigrants and refugees ...

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Source: God Blessed My Church with Migrants

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