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[Cfamily]Texas Church Grieves Two Leaders Shot by Visitor in Disguise
« Reply #1504 on: January 01, 2020, 12:00:19 AM »

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Texas Church Grieves Two Leaders Shot by Visitor in Disguise

Armed security guards protected the Fort Worth-area flock against “evil” in the pews.

The West Freeway Church of Christ, a close-knit congregation of about 280, didn’t get to finish its Sunday morning worship assembly.

So Monday night—roughly 30 hours after a gunman killed two beloved Christians during the Lord’s Supper before an armed member fatally shot him—the suburban Fort Worth church came together.

A standing-room-only crowd squeezed into the church fellowship hall, next door to the closed auditorium where the shooting occurred, to grieve, pray and sing “Amazing Grace,” “Precious Memories,” and “It Is Well With My Soul.”

“What happened yesterday is not something that we will ever be able to explain,” minister Britt Farmer told church members, who shared hugs and tears before the special gathering as canine officers made sure the building was secure.

“There is evil in this world, and evil took two of my dear friends yesterday,” Farmer added. “Not a bullet from a gun—evil. Not ideology—evil.”

But the preacher, occasionally overcome with emotion that made it difficult for him to speak, declared that he would not let evil win.

“The battle belongs to God!” he said to amens and applause.

Farmer praised his family—all four of his adult children traveled home after the shooting—and his spiritual family for the support they have shown him.

“You are incredible, and I love you, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart,” he said.

Mike Tinius, one of the church’s five elders, wrapped an arm around Farmer and led the church in prayer.

“With all of our hearts, we ache. And with all of our hearts, we love,” Tinius said to God. “What we feel as loss, we know ...

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Source: Texas Church Grieves Two Leaders Shot by Visitor in Disguise

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Notable Books for 2019: A Brief Survey of Some of Last Year’s Best Christian Books

It is that time of year once again to reflect on some of the noteworthy books that have been published during 2019.

It is that time of year once again to reflect on some of the noteworthy books that have been published during 2019.

Nearly one million books of all kinds were published over the past 12 months by hundreds of different publishers. Still, with all of these publications, more than 25 percent of adults in this country recently indicated that they had not read a single book during this past year.

Perhaps from the list below, a few of these good people will find an inviting title to jump-start their reading patterns in 2020.

Similar to what we have done in this survey in previous years, we will provide a broad-brush overview of some of this year’s best Christian books, representing more than two dozen different publishers.

Frankly, publishers seemed to have released more quality works in 2019 than in recent years. It would have been quite easy to make this lengthy list even longer than is already the case. I am sure that I have missed good books deserving attention.

In addition, some reading this list will have their own preferences. Still, I trust you will find the list helpful. I have now been providing this list in some form for several years. I appreciate those who continue to encourage me to publish the list each year.

Biblical Studies

Readers will be blessed by James M. Houston’s and Bruce K. Waltke’s The Psalms as Christian Praise (Eerdmans). Profound insights may be found in Christopher J. H. Wright’s Knowing God through the Old Testament (IVP). I gladly recommend The Messianic Vision of the Pentateuch (IVP), by Kevin Chen. Kenneth A. Mathews has penned a careful exegetical study on Leviticus: Holy God, Holy People (Crossway).

Skepticism and the Problem of History: Criteria and Context in the Study of Christian ...

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Source: Notable Books for 2019: A Brief Survey of Some of Last Year’s Best Christian Books

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[Cfamily]Interview: To Touch or Not to Touch?
« Reply #1506 on: January 03, 2020, 12:00:20 AM »
Interview: To Touch or Not to Touch?

In an era of anxiety about personal boundaries and sexual signals, Jesus shows us how to minster to others with care and sensitivity.

People have varying levels of comfort with physical touch. Some are happy to receive hugs from friends—or even total strangers. Others would prefer that everyone else keep their hands to themselves. Throw in the taboos surrounding evangelical purity culture and the wider social reckoning with unwanted sexual attention, and it quickly becomes a challenge to discern, in individual cases, whether touch is a welcome gesture or a violation of personal space. How can believers minister well in this environment? Lore Ferguson Wilbert takes up this question in Handle with Care: How Jesus Redeems the Power of Touch in Life and Ministry, which builds on her 2016 CT Women article, “Public Displays of Christian Affection.” Writer Abby Perry spoke with Wilbert about her book.

Sometimes it’s tough to know when physical touch is appropriate in a friendship context. How can friends make touch a healthy part of their relationship?

I’m careful not to impose blanket rules along the lines of “this is how you should touch” or “this is how you should hug.” These already get us into lots of trouble. Ultimately, the solution is the same for everyone: seeing the person sitting in front of us as an image-bearer of God. The most important question is how we care for the person in front of us. As I say again and again, my emphasis in Handle with Care is not on handling but on care. At its core, that changes how we touch within friendships, whether same-gender or cross-gender.

You argue that neither purity culture nor an ethic of consent offers a sufficient perspective on touch, especially as it pertains to sexuality. What are the gaps that you see?

Our world is so over-sexualized. Because we are sexual ...

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Source: Interview: To Touch or Not to Touch?

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[Cfamily]Christianity Today’s Top Testimonies of 2019
« Reply #1507 on: January 04, 2020, 12:00:24 AM »
Christianity Today’s Top Testimonies of 2019

The Christian conversion stories that CT readers shared most.

In each print issue, Christianity Today devotes the back page to stories of Christian conversion—from the quiet to the highly dramatic. If you missed any, here are CT’s 2019 top testimonies, including some online exclusives, ranked in reverse order of what readers read most.

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– Compiled by CT editors

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Source: Christianity Today’s Top Testimonies of 2019

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[Cfamily]Gospel Fluency in a World of Improv
« Reply #1508 on: January 05, 2020, 12:00:20 AM »
Gospel Fluency in a World of Improv

What is it that you? long for? as a pastor, evangelist, or Christian leader?

What is it that you long for as a pastor, evangelist, or Christian leader?

My heart desires to see zealous followers of Jesus among all peoples. I would love for all believers to live out the abundant life (John 10:10) provided by Jesus as evidenced by the inner transformation (2 Cor. 5:17) made possible by the gospel (Acts 3:19; Joel 2:13) and the resultant good deeds that proceed from a life surrendered to Jesus (Heb. 13:16; James 2).

I long for a day when cultural Christianity will give way to a gospel-fluent Christian life as evidenced by both immersion and fluency in the gospel as the norm.

In 2017, Jeff Vanderstelt published a challenging book called Gospel Fluency, in which he wrote very practically about speaking the truths of Jesus into everyday life.

As simple as this appears, it is not an easy task for Christians to apply the gospel to their everyday lives. Jeff states that God wants us as believers to be able to translate the world around us and the world inside of us through the lens of the gospel—the truths of God revealed in the person and work of Jesus. “Gospel-fluent people think, feel, and perceive everything in light of what has been accomplished in the person and work of Jesus Christ” (Vanderstelt 2017).

Immersing Yourself in the Gospel

In 2007, my wife Lara and I accepted a call to Open Baptist Church in Gaborone, Botswana, where we served for four and a half years alongside a wonderful pastoral team.

This was an exciting time in our lives, yet we had much to learn.

Lara had grown up in one home her whole life and now in her second year of marriage was making a cross-cultural move to the beautiful (and hot) country of Botswana, far away from all she had known and from all our friends and family. ...

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Source: Gospel Fluency in a World of Improv

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At Reinhard Bonnke’s Memorial Service, Thousands Celebrate His Massive Harvest in Africa

African and Pentecostal leaders honor German evangelist during three-hour Orlando funeral.

ORLANDO, Fla. (RNS) — Reinhard Bonnke, the German evangelist known as “The Billy Graham of Africa,” was lauded at a memorial service today as “a giant and a general in the army of God.”

The Pentecostal pastor died December 7 at the age of 79 in Orlando, where he moved his international ministry, Christ for All Nations (CfaN), in the early 2000s. He retired as head of CfaN in 2017, citing declining health.

During more than four decades of mass crusades in Africa, Bonnke preached in 51 of the continent’s countries and claimed to have converted 79 million people to Christianity.

About 2,000 people gathered from around the US and around the world in the sanctuary of the Faith Assembly of God for a three-hour celebration of Bonnke’s life and ministry.

More than a dozen speakers, including a number from African ministries and denominations, lauded Bonnke, for both his zeal and his personal humility. Other Pentecostal leaders—including T. D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, and Paula White—appeared on the three large screens above the sanctuary’s stage with filmed tributes.

Members of the racially diverse crowd sang Bonnke’s favorite hymns, waving their arms.

A large, red floral arrangement in the shape of the African continent was placed on an easel next to the speaker’s lectern. Along the front of the stage, sheaves of wheat were arranged in containers, symbolizing the harvest of Bonnke’s evangelism.

Between the morning’s speakers, clips of Bonnke’s African crusades—some to audiences of hundreds of thousands—played on the screen.

The best known of these was in Lagos, Nigeria, in November 2000, when an estimated 1.6 million heard Bonnke preach. In ...

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Source: At Reinhard Bonnke’s Memorial Service, Thousands Celebrate His Massive Harvest in Africa

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[Cfamily]Her Son Took up Heroin. She Was the One Whose World Unraveled.
« Reply #1510 on: January 07, 2020, 12:00:17 AM »
Her Son Took up Heroin. She Was the One Whose World Unraveled.

A mother’s meditation on sin, guilt, and the grace of self-doubt.

What will I do when my children sin? I’ve asked myself this since my first moments of mothering, holding delicate pink baby fingers in the palm of my hand, wondering how my own sins would carve out the pathways down which their baby feet would totter. I ask myself this even now when they do sin, for they are all old enough to contrive their own vices and plot their own deceits. To be human is to fall away from God’s perfection, to perish in the pits we dig for ourselves, individually and collectively—except that God himself comes down into the pit, pulls us out one by one, and makes us whole.

In A Prayer for Orion: A Son’s Addiction and a Mother’s Love, Katherine James traces out the origins and meanings of her son’s heroin addiction and his two, mercifully, nonfatal overdoses. In painful, haunting vignettes, James interweaves her life with his, telling their story from the anguished, solitary helplessness of self-doubt—and then, ultimately, the resplendent relief of joy.

Working backwards from the devastating hour of discovering her son dying, blue and unresponsive, in a stranger’s pool house, James recalls his childhood and adolescence, wrestling with essential questions of motherhood along the way. “Of course it’s not your fault, someone says even though you suspect they think otherwise,” she writes. “Who would say it’s your fault to your face? But then you get hints. You hang back as people talk about how they would never let their kid hang out with So and So.” And yet that is her own journey, to wonder aloud where he went wrong, where she went wrong, to question whether God’s providence will pull them back into the land of the living. ...

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Source: Her Son Took up Heroin. She Was the One Whose World Unraveled.

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Re: [Cfamily]Interview: To Touch or Not to Touch?
« Reply #1511 on: January 07, 2020, 12:38:28 PM »
Quote from: CFamily
Sometimes it?s tough to know when physical touch is appropriate in a friendship context. How can friends make touch a healthy part of their relationship?

I don't think it is at all.

I've read a lot of sexualised scaremongering and the attempts of Marxists in our schools to drive wedges between people, but I've never seen any evidence that ordinary people don't know when touching is right. People just get confused by the media propaganda. A famous case in England was where a toddler was seen walking alongside a busy road. A van driver stopped but was afraid to get out in case someone thought he was after the boy. The boy fell in a river and died.

You might help yourself by reading a lot less and telling people what you're feeling. In England people start off by talking about the weather because it's connected to feelings. The Holy Spirit encourages us to be with people. Next time you are with someone, slow down, be quiet, smile, look into their eyes and allow the possibility of making a spiritual connection with your heart in place beyond words. The Holy Spirit will tell you what to do.

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