Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 439444 times)

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[Cfamily]I Called Off My Engagement. I Didn’t Feel God’s Peace.
« Reply #1352 on: August 05, 2019, 07:01:20 AM »

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I Called Off My Engagement. I Didn’t Feel God’s Peace.

Looking for the right fit in a spouse is often less important than praying for the Spirit’s blessing.

I gave the ring back on a warm night in November. My boyfriend and I had just returned from a weekend of camping with friends. I can’t remember what started our fight that night, but it had been simmering for a while. “Sometimes I think the only reason you want to marry me is because he didn’t want you,” my fiancé said. I wanted to hate him for those words, but the truth was, he was right. My interest in another man had been unrequited, and in the absence of hope, I let my feet wander and gave myself to someone I sinfully considered second best. After I recognized my selfishness, I gave his engagement ring back.

For months, I carried shame about my failure, especially as we continued our relationship and I tried to sort out my heart. He was an honorable man from a wonderful family, but by February, I knew a wedding was not in our future. I could not find the peace I needed, and the hitch in my spirit was too strong to ignore.

Prior to that engagement, I had spent a lot of time waxing eloquent about the decisiveness of love. I believed strongly that it was a choice. As a single female nearing her mid-30s, I also believed many men in the church saw themselves above that choice and were looking for some elusive “spark” that would never materialize. “Just commit!” I thought and said often. But when I came face to face with my own inability to cross the mountain of commitment in front of me, I also came face to face with my own inadequate counsel. There’s more to marriage than a “spark,” but there’s also more than simple commitment.

Less than a year later, I met the man I would marry. Neither of us felt a “spark,” at least at first, no ah-ha ...

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[Cfamily]South Carolina Foster Ministry Opens to Catholics for the First Time
« Reply #1353 on: August 06, 2019, 07:08:32 AM »
South Carolina Foster Ministry Opens to Catholics for the First Time

Despite a federal waiver backing its Protestants-only policy, Miracle Hill continued to face legal challenges.

In late May, the Jay Scott Newman received a visitor in his study at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, South Carolina.

Reid Lehman, the CEO of Miracle Hill Ministries, sat down to tell the priest that Lehman’s evangelical agency, the largest provider of care to the needy in the Upstate— the 10-county westernmost region of South Carolina— was changing its policies.

For the first time in its 82-year history, the ministry planned to allow Catholics to serve as volunteers and employees in its vast network of homeless shelters, thrift stores, and drug-recovery programs. More importantly, it would allow Catholics to serve as parents to foster children in its government-funded foster care agency.

The change marked a 180-degree turn for a ministry founded on fundamentalist Protestantism that has separated Catholics and Protestants in this region of the South for generations. That separation may explain why the priest and the CEO had never met, though the church lies only 3.5 miles from Miracle Hill’s offices and Newman has been its pastor since 2001.

But a lawsuit and a bruising public controversy over the ministry’s refusal to work with anyone who was not Protestant had finally brought them together.

In February, a Catholic mother of three who was denied an opportunity to volunteer at one of Miracle Hill’s children’s homes sued the federal and state governments, accusing them of allowing the ministry to discriminate on the basis of religion.

Aimee Maddonna’s lawsuit challenged a US Department of Health and Human Services exemption that allows all foster care agencies in South Carolina to disregard a regulation barring religious discrimination in federally funded foster care ...

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Source: South Carolina Foster Ministry Opens to Catholics for the First Time

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[Cfamily]Rural Youth Ministry: Are We Ready for the Next Wave?: Part 2
« Reply #1354 on: August 07, 2019, 07:11:17 AM »
Rural Youth Ministry: Are We Ready for the Next Wave?: Part 2

We need to close the gap between younger and older generations.

In Part 1, I talked about the Jesus Movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s that helped increase the youth ministry movement around the nation. The rural youth ministry that I oversee began as a result of this movement.

In some ways, I believe that we are starting to see a new movement of God happening within the youth, but in looking back at what happened during the last movement, I think we need to prepare for this new wave to avoid creating even more separation between the generations.

As I visit churches in rural communities, one of the things I notice is the lack of teenagers in the Sunday morning worship services. Some of these churches have an active youth group during the week, but without the younger generations engaging in the main worship service, these churches are looking at a major decline in attendance (perhaps even extinction) in the next 10-20 years.

When we look back at what happened during the youth movement in the 1970s, I think we can see the beginning of what we are experiencing in the church today. Teenagers need ministry that is focused on some of the specific issues they face in life, but in the process of creating organized youth ministry, we have separated them from the adult community of the church and they are no longer connected to the church body as a whole.

How did this occur? As I’ve looked into this, I have read commentaries about how this “revival” was unlike other revivals in the past, so some churches rejected it and some even rejected the people it was bringing to their doors. One person told the story of how hippies were coming to the churches straight from their communes along the east coast. They were dirty with long hair and long beards. They didn’t want to ...

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Source: Rural Youth Ministry: Are We Ready for the Next Wave?: Part 2

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[Cfamily]One-on-One with Greg Laurie on Evangelism, Culture and Crusades
« Reply #1355 on: August 08, 2019, 07:23:45 AM »
One-on-One with Greg Laurie on Evangelism, Culture and Crusades

“The primary way that God has chosen to reach unbelievers is through the verbal articulation of the gospel.”

Ed: What have you learned from 30 years of preaching the gospel?

Greg: You know, I once asked Billy Graham a similar question. I said, “Billy, if an older Billy could speak to a younger Billy, what would he say?” He answered, “I would tell him to preach more on the cross and the blood of Christ, because that is where the power is.”

After 30 years of preaching the gospel, I have come to understand Billy’s words. Too often, we are tempted to edit God’s word, especially in today’s culture when anybody at any point can be offended by anything you say. But any gospel that promises forgiveness without telling you that you must first repent is not the gospel. And any gospel that offers a hope of heaven without warning of the reality of hell is not the gospel. The gospel is Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead, and as Paul said in Romans 1:16, there is power in this message.

Now, what would an older Greg say to a younger Greg? I believe he would say, “Less is more, keep it simple.” So I try to make the message as simple and clear as possible without compromising the truth of the gospel.As Spurgeon said, I try to make “a bee-line to the cross.”

Ed: How has evangelism changed over the past 30 years and why is it still important today?

Greg: To understand how evangelism has changed in the past 30 years, we have to understand how culture has also changed. As I mentioned earlier, we live at a time when you get major pushback if you say anything critical. You know what the irony is? You can say whatever you want critically about followers of Jesus Christ, and that is acceptable in our culture.

English author and theologian G.K. Chesterton saw this coming in the early ...

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Source: One-on-One with Greg Laurie on Evangelism, Culture and Crusades

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[Cfamily]We’re Not from Here
« Reply #1356 on: August 09, 2019, 07:17:40 AM »
We’re Not from Here

In the same way Dorothy longs for Kansas, the Church longs for the New Jerusalem.

When people ask me where I’m from, I think to myself, That it’s a tricky question. Do I answer where I currently live, where I currently moved from, or where I was born? In all honesty, I think they are trying to locate the accent they hear from the words coming out of my mouth. So, I answer, “Memphis, Tennessee.”

Truthfully, I’m not from Memphis. I’m actually from Munford, Tennessee. But most people wouldn’t have a clue where Munford is located. It is a town about 30 miles north of Memphis.

Munford was a small town. Growing up, there was no McDonalds, Walmart, or BP Gas Station. Everything was mom and pop. It wasn’t until years later, after I had moved, that Munford began to commercialize. Munford was your typical small southern town—simple, conservative, religious, connected, and friendly (still to this day I tell my wife about the “index finger” wave). This was the cultural environment in which I was raised and in which I became a Christian.

At the age of 15, I sensed a call to vocational ministry and began to lay out my future plans; I planned to attend college, then seminary, and finally land at a church serving God in some capacity. Participating in several overseas mission trips as a teenager gave me a perspective of the world that was bigger than Tipton County. Thus, I never thought I would stay local.

At least my 40,000-foot plans panned out. I attended Union University, graduating with a degree in Biblical Studies. Prior to graduating, I met my wife. As newlyweds, we embarked on seminary at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Full disclosure, I was your typical Bible College, young seminarian. I was consuming so much Bible, theology, and Greek—in ...

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Source: We’re Not from Here

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[Cfamily]Review: What Hollywood Gets Right About Snake-Handling Christians
« Reply #1357 on: August 10, 2019, 07:10:11 AM »
Review: What Hollywood Gets Right About Snake-Handling Christians

The sincere portrayal in “Them That Follow” gives mainstream believers perspective on the real oddity of our faith.

mpaa rating:R


Directed By: Britt Poulton, Dan Madison Savage

Run Time: 1 hour 38 minutes

Cast: Kaitlyn Dever, Walton Goggins, Olivia Colman, Lewis Pullman

Theatre Release:August 02, 2019 by 1091 Media

If movies have taught us anything—think Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jungle Book, even Snakes on a Plane—it’s that snakes are not to be trusted. For Christians, it’s a lesson that goes back to the Garden itself.

Filmmakers hoping to offer a sympathetic depiction of these animals face quite the challenge. But that’s exactly what co-writer and co-director Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage manage to do in their recently released film Them That Follow.

In the hands of this capable storytelling duo, snakes are not the terror many imagine them to be, though a very real threat to life and limb. Rather, they are beautiful, albeit seriously misunderstood, creatures.

It is also difficult to paint a sympathetic picture of something as misunderstood, and often equally reviled, as Pentecostal snake handling. But Poulton and Savage demonstrate the same kind of care and concern for these people of faith as they do the serpents they handle.

Them That Follow tells the story of Mara (played by Alice Englert), the daughter of snake-handling pastor Lemuel (Walton Goggins). Early in the film, Mara pledges herself to be married to Garrett (Lewis Pullman), the spirit-filled young man being groomed by Lemuel, even though she is pregnant with the child of Augie (Thomas Mann), the wayward son whom she really loves.

All told then, Them That Follow is a coming-of-age love story. But it’s also more than that, in large part because it offers a rare glimpse into a world of Christian faith and practice that will strike many viewers as strange and unfamiliar, even evangelical Christians.

The filmmakers could have easily sensationalized this practice, but they go to great lengths to do the opposite. The camera lingers over the ...

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Source: Review: What Hollywood Gets Right About Snake-Handling Christians

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[Cfamily]Why Niceness Weakens Our Witness
« Reply #1358 on: August 11, 2019, 07:04:11 AM »
Why Niceness Weakens Our Witness

I can’t follow Christ and also succeed at being nice.

God did not call you to be nice. This statement has been rattling around in my head for well over a year now, and I haven’t been able to shake it. It has reemerged at crucial moments, not as an excuse to be snarky, angry, or rude, but because I have noticed something going on in my heart, and in the church, for a while now: A competing allegiance. A warm and inviting idolatry that has managed to wedge itself between us and true obedience to Christ.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to be nice—not just loved but needed—and it is an identity I have struggled to leave behind. I want to be accepted, and I want to be embraced. As a lifelong nice girl, I have not only felt this pressure but I have also caved in to it often. The need to be nice has influenced my ministry as well as my relationships. I have backed away from hard conversations or softened my convictions, opting instead for the wide gate of niceness.

“Niceness” is a form of superficial kindness that’s used as a means to a selfish end. I identify it as an idol in my life because I have served it tirelessly, and it has served me well in return. My devotion to it has won me a lot of acceptance and praise, but it has also inhibited my courage, fed my self-righteousness, encouraged my inauthenticity, and produced in me a flimsy sweetness that easily gives way to disdain.

As I look beyond my own heart, I see this same phenomenon everywhere. Niceness has become a social currency in our culture, one that we value highly without ever really realizing it. I once discussed this topic with Christina Edmondson, dean of intercultural student development at Calvin College and cohost of the podcast Truth’s Table, and she remarked that ...

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Source: Why Niceness Weakens Our Witness

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Homeless Christians, Fractured Culture:  Thoughts on Prayers, Laments, and Action

The tragedies in El Paso and Dayton should propel us towards both prayer and action.

Over the weekend, tragedy once again rocked our country to its core as two separate mass shootings occurred within hours of each other in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

More than that, these senseless shootings revealed a fracture that has long existed in our nation. America has walked with a limp for years now without acknowledging the underlying pain.

Unfortunately, it appears, Christianity in America has shared the same fate—taking its cue from culture on how to best handle tragedy. At times, when men and women of faith genuinely lament about tragedy other men and women of faith tend to read too much into their words.

One need only take a look at Ed Stetzer’s Twitter timeline to see responses to his call for prayer and action in light of this tragedy. The responses range from others calling him a social justice warrior or a right wing conservative.

Homeless Christians, Fractured Culture

Today, I write on behalf of homeless Christians in America. Men and women who sit and watch “conservative” and “liberal” men and women of faith bicker and pose either/or arguments for both/and issues.

Christians who call for our nation to pray and lament are met with resistant from brothers and sister in the Lord proclaiming, “Keep your thoughts and prayers.” Christians who call for our nation to rethink the way it approaches gun ownership are met with resistance from brothers in the sisters in the Lord proclaiming, “Keep your Constitutional criticism. “

How did we get here? As a Christian, what’s wrong with offering thoughts and prayers and a plan of action? As a moderate Christian, I’ve been asked to choose a side. But I care too deeply about the gospel to choose a side ...

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Source: Homeless Christians, Fractured Culture:  Thoughts on Prayers, Laments, and Action

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