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[Cfamily]3 Reasons Election Season Is Good For You
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2016, 12:00:12 AM »

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3 Reasons Election Season Is Good For You

Election season is here, and you’ve probably already heard loads of grumbling about candidates and our political process.

The primaries are only just starting. But like an echo following the American presidential candidates on the trail, our collective eye-rolling and ear-plugging has become as reliable as the campaign ads themselves.

The despair is not without merit.

Donald Trump leads national polls despite having made his fortune (though he hasn’t even done that) by profiteering off the vulnerable and elderly through his casinos and strip clubs. And, Hillary Clinton demands “religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” in order to accommodate her beliefs—all while potentially facing a criminal indictment. No wonder citizens are donning sackcloth and ashes.

Amid the lament, however, thoughtful citizens have opportunities to celebrate what is good about this presidential campaign. This can be taken too far, of course. But we can assume a healthy posture between venerating and vilifying this election season for three reasons.

Election Season Propels the Economy

We will spend more money on the 2016 presidential election than we spend on school construction for at-risk children.

I fabricated the statement, but it reflects the kind we constantly hear during election season. We think elections are too expensive, too highly influenced by a few mega-donors, and far less worthy than other places we could invest our money. But an underreported reality of election spending is the churn it has on our economy.

Dollars invested in elections don’t evaporate. They are investments in democracy. When we hear about candidates raising hundreds of millions of dollars, our shock comes largely from what we believe is “lost money.” What if we had spent that on education, green energy, or . . . [insert your favorite cause]?

Election coffers aren’t a black hole, though. Ask restaurateurs and hoteliers in Iowa and New Hampshire how they feel about election season. Or bumper sticker and button makers. Or junior staffers and canvassers working with campaigns. Or television stations selling airtime or newspapers selling subscriptions and clicks. Elections are big business. They employ thousands of people directly, fuel the businesses of thousands more indirectly, and create serious economic value, no matter our affection for politics.

Deploying the billions in funds raised for elections are people like my Iowan friends who own a promotional product company that makes many of the shirts, signs, stickers, and other swag adorning our bodies, lawns, and cars during election season. Elections matter to my friends and to their 47 employees.

Election Season Reminds Us of the Beauty of Democracy

In places like Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Russia, North Korea, Cuba, and Zimbabwe, voters have little to no voice in determining the future of their countries. In many instances, dissent is not only forbidden, but squelched. The global political landscape is often unrelentingly bleak.

For instance, a political catastrophe is currently taking shape in the small capital city of Bujumbura, Burundi. Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, obtained a great deal of power over his 10 years in office. Facing a term limit, Nkurunziza refused to give it up, running for a third term in defiance of Burundi’s constitution. Late last year, Burundians witnessed a failed coup, suffered under a surge in violence, and over 100,000 people fled from their country.

Source: 3 Reasons Election Season Is Good For You

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[Cfamily]Thinking About Expository Preaching—Part 1
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2016, 12:00:10 AM »
Thinking About Expository Preaching—Part 1

I preach through books of the Bible not because that method is mandated or modeled in the Bible, but instead because of what the Bible is. Because the Bible is the Word of God without error and inspired throughout, it requires us to treat the words, phrases, and sentences accordingly. Thus, the Bible is best taught using an approach to preaching that explains what God has inspired, looking at the words and phrases in the process.

Because the Bible’s inspiration is word-for-word, the words of the Bible should set the agenda for the message taught or preached in a gathered worship service. In other words, this message should largely be the explanation of the inspired Word of God in the order and in the format that the Holy Spirit inspired the authors to write.

Thus, the preferred form of preaching is that which is driven by the text and where the text sets the agenda.

This provides for several benefits.

First, it brings you to passages you normally would not want to preach.

I’m preaching through the book of Matthew right now, and we recently came to chapter 19. Jesus has very strong words about marriage and adultery being the allowable exception for divorce. It is a hard passage to preach, as Jesus is quite forthright; His commands are countercultural for our day. Thus, as I preach through Matthew, I am forced to stand before my congregation with conviction, raising a view of marriage that Jesus said the world would not be able to handle. I do that because the text brings me there, just as the text might bring me to racism, consumerism, or other issues that challenge modern listeners.

Second, the authors of the Bible, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, actually have themes or purposes to what they communicate.

As I preach through Matthew, Jesus is making his path to the cross and the writer is reminding us of the countercultural values of the Kingdom. In other words, Matthew did not just haphazardly collect and write down these passages.

I am being more faithful and helpful as a preacher if I communicate to my people what Matthew said. This does not mean it has to be a boring, running commentary. But I would be ignoring part of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration if I did not preach the text as the author—and Author—delivered it.

Next, it teaches people how to read the Bible.

The Bible is not best read as a series of unrelated passages. Our preaching should encourage a better way to look at Scripture. By preaching through books of the Bible, I show people they can open books of the Bible, read them, and trace the thoughts and the arguments presented. In other words, by preaching expositionally I can actually teach people to read the Bible well and better.

As I often remind the people at my church, the Bible is not written to you, nor is it about you.

If we solely read the Bible devotionally, we can end up under that impression. Instead, the Bible is written for you.

It’s written for you to follow the point, trace the ideas, and apply the truth. Thus, preaching through books of the Bible teaches you to receive the message in that way.

Fourth, it teaches how we value the Bible.

When I preached on Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, I explained that he did so in the midst of an elaborate situation where mourners were there, where the highway from Bethany to Jericho was in a place that can’t be missed, where the Pharisees would see this as the moment to turn against Jesus. (You can watch that here.) In discussing these details, listeners learn that when Jesus heals, the details often point to other realities. It reminds people the details of the Bible are to be valued because of the very nature of the Bible.

Finally, it cautions my congregation and I against making the Bible mean what we think it should mean.

When we come to the Bible with a preconceived notion then apply scripture out-of-context to evidence our point ("proof texting"), we undermine our credibility. You may feel you've scored major points; that is until your people go back to their own Bibles and say to themselves, “That’s really not what it said.”

Never preach in such a way that if your people dig deeper they would find you took a verse out of context. Or, let me say it this way: Never preach in such a way that when you get to heaven and meet the apostle Paul he says, “That’s not what I meant, and it was obvious from the context.”

I find my approach to preaching aligns with Tim Keller’s approach, and he probably explains it better than I do. At Christianity Today he recently said that the majority of preaching in the church should be verse-by-verse, and should be expositional. In my view, it should be specifically verse-by-verse exposition working through books of the Bible, as that's the best way to teach and shape a congregation.

However, verse-by-verse exposition is not the only way to preach God’s word and be faithful.

More on that next time...

Source: Thinking About Expository Preaching—Part 1

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2016, 01:26:52 AM »
I?m preaching through the book of Matthew right now, and we recently came to chapter 19. Jesus has very strong words about marriage and adultery being the allowable exception for divorce.

That must be actual adultery and not spiritual adultery. otherwise we would all be divorced  :D

I find it hard to find a difference myself and I wonder if getting married is adultery against God ?

what do you think ?

Reading through God's inspired Word I see plenty of examples of spiritual adultery and the consequences of it

Except we all commit this sin ...

Then I hear people say "we as Christians no longer come under God's Judgement ....."

How do you respond to this ?

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2016, 12:13:24 PM »
That must be actual adultery and not spiritual adultery. otherwise we would all be divorced  :D

I find it hard to find a difference myself and I wonder if getting married is adultery against God ?

what do you think ?

Reading through God's inspired Word I see plenty of examples of spiritual adultery and the consequences of it

Except we all commit this sin ...

Then I hear people say "we as Christians no longer come under God's Judgement ....."

How do you respond to this ?

Hhhhmm who do you love more - God or your wife? Or who do you love more, God or your child? I was always amazed that Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac(sp?). I always mused could I do that? could I sacrifice my own child? I don't think by any means this is easy stuff, but we need to cling to God, because what is the alternative?

As for judgment as Christians - I think God judges us (but not condemn), I think He disciplines us as well, as it says in Hebrews 12:6 'For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.? '


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Why Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill Will Make Christian History in Cuba Tomorrow

For the first time since the Christian church split into West and East in 1054 over issues of papal authority and the source of the Holy Spirit, a Roman Catholic pope and the heavyweight of the Eastern Orthodox Church will sit down together.

Pope Francis will meet with Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill for several hours tomorrow in a neutral location: Cuba's Havana airport. The two will end the meeting by signing a joint declaration, according to the official announcement.

The Russian church contains the majority of the world’s 260 million Orthodox Christians.

“This meeting of the primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, after a long preparation, will be the first in history and will mark an important stage in relations between the two churches,” the announcement said. “The Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate hope that it will also be a sign of hope for all people of good will.”

While the two historic halves of the church disagree on many matters, such as the Russian handling of Christians in the Ukraine and Catholic attempts to evangelize Orthodox members, the violence against Christians in the Middle East was compelling enough to persuade Kirill to consent to a meeting that Francis has pursued.

“Although many problems in relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church remain unresolved, the protection of Christians in the Middle East against the genocide is a challenge that requires urgent united efforts,” said Vladimir Legoida, spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church. “The exodus of Christians from the Middle East and North Africa [MENA] countries is a catastrophe for the whole world.”

Catholic and Orthodox Christians have a roughly equal presence in the MENA region, according to the Pew Research Center.

Francis’s ecumenism has previously included the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, as well as multiple overtures to Protestants. To good effect: a LifeWay Research survey found nearly 2 in 5 American Protestant pastors (37%) said Francis had a positive impact on their opinion of the Catholic Church, while more than 3 in 5 said they saw the pope as their brother in Christ (63%).

The pope preached the “ecumenism of blood” at an evangelical seminary in the Central African Republic in December.

“God makes no distinctions between those who suffer,” he said. “I have often called this the ecumenism of blood. All our communities suffer indiscriminately as a result of injustice and the blind hatred unleashed by the devil.”

Recent studies show that Islamist extremism is the church’s greatest threat, with the number of Christian martyrs almost doubling from 4,344 in 2014 to more than 7,000 in 2015.

Preaching unity in the face of martyrdom is not a new a message for Francis. Last July, he cited the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians by Islamic extremists.

“When those who hate Jesus Christ kill a Christian, before killing him, they don’t ask, ‘Are you Lutheran, or Orthodox, or Evangelical or Baptist or Methodist?’” he said. “If the enemy unites us in death, who are we to divide ourselves in life?”

The Orthodox church has previously reached out to Protestants, and some evangelicals hoped Kirill’s rise to the patriarchy of the ascendant Russian church in 2009 might improve ecumenical relations. But since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, religious freedom in the region has been curtailed. More than 1,100 religious communities that were recognized under Ukrainian law are no longer allowed under Russian law, and authorities are threatening all religions outside the Russian Orthodox Church, the US State Department reported in October.

Relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Kiev Patriarchate have also frayed.

CT's past coverage of Eastern Orthodoxy includes how it lost two bridges to evangelicals in 2012, a 2011 interview with Metropolitan Hilarion on Orthodoxy offering evangelicals more than an olive branch, and whether the 21st century will be the Orthodox century.

[Pope Francis photo courtesy of Edgar Jimenez - Flickr]

[Patriarch Kirill photo courtesy of Larry Koester - Flickr]

Source: Why Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill Will Make Christian History in Cuba Tomorrow

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2016, 01:55:11 AM »
Yes saw it on the news


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[Cfamily]Viewing Black Lives Matter—Part 2
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2016, 12:00:19 AM »
Viewing Black Lives Matter—Part 2

In this part I briefly analyze #BlackLivesMatter as a movement by leveraging the words of the founders regarding: the movement’s definition, their appeal for recognition of Black-centeredness, an often overlooked core value, the movement’s funding, their guiding principles, and rebuttals to the movement’s misconceptions. My goal is to surface foundational beliefs that are not common knowledge among Evangelicals. This will afford them an opportunity to think critically about becoming co-belligerents.

Defining the Movement

Black Lives Matter is a chapter-based national organization working for the validity of Black Life.[1] It should be noted chapter policies and needs differ from chapter to chapter.[2] The movement was created by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi after George Zimmerman was acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin. According to Garza, “Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.[3]

Asking for “Black Lives” Recognition

The founders want the basic human rights and dignity restored to all Black lives. They are not saying Blacks are better than all other lives rather, they’re asking for the same recognition given to the women’s movement, Chicano liberation movement, and queer movements, be granted equally to a movement centrally focused on Black lives.[4]

An Essential but Overlooked Core Value

The founders no longer want to see the labor of queer Black women neglected by mainstream media and those desiring partnership with the movement. Two of the three founders identify themselves as black “queer women”. The fact the founders are “young, female, queer-friendly, [and] artsy” [5] sets them apart from all other civil rights movements. Naturally, the founders request all who leverage their work for branding or events invite them to the table of conversation to shape the event rather than making appeals for their marketing pieces alone. You can read how their work has been exploited on the page titled “Herstory” (in place of history).

The Funding of Black Lives Matter

Disputes have risen regarding how the Black Lives Matter movement is funded. Kelly Riddell of the Washington Times traces monies back to George Soros. Essence reported Google gave $2.35 million dollars to the movement [6], while CNN [7] reported entities such as the Ford Foundation and Resource Generation have donated to Black Lives Matter as well as celebrities.

Founder Alicia Garza expressed the need for grants given to Black Lives Matter be “flexible dollars” allowing the organization space to determine the best way to spend funds.[8] The Black Lives Matter website accepts donations but does not express any other explanation of where other funding comes from outside of sales generated from partnership with the BLCK Foundation store.

Guiding Principles and Misconceptions

Black Lives Matter operates under 13 guiding principles: Diversity, Globalism, Black Women, Black Villages, Loving Engagement, Restorative Justice, Collective Value, Empathy, Queer Affirming, Unapologetically Black, Transgender Affirming, Black Families, and Intergenerational.

The founders of Black Lives Matter refute these 11 stated misconceptions about their movement; they ignore Black on Black crime, they’re leaderless, they have no agenda, they’re a one-issue movement (Police brutality), they don’t respect their elders, they reject the Black Church, they don’t care about Queer/Trans lives, they hate White people, they hate Police officers, politically speaking their focus should be the vote, and they’re not actually a movement.

Final Considerations

The Black Lives Matter movement does not root itself in the gospel and their overall mission is not in harmony with the mission of the Church. In fact, Black Lives Matter doesn’t desire partnership with those who practice a prayer-filled non-violent approach to injustice because they “patently reject any conservative theology about keeping peace, praying copiously, or turning the other cheek.” [9] If Evangelical pastors do not, “preach a revolutionary Jesus, which focuses on the sections of the Bible where Christ challenged the Roman power structure” [10] Black Lives Matter does not want your partnership and Evangelicals should respect that.

However, Evangelicals would do well to find balance in understanding the mission of the Church does not rise and fall on the success of failure of Black Lives Matter (rather, on the finished work of Jesus Christ) all the while not completely dismissing some truths the movement highlights. As Black Lives Matter is working to address issues such as; failing public education, ending the mass incarceration of Blacks and Latinos, affordable housing, issues with food security, and reproductive justice challenges for poor women of color. [11]

Evangelicals should think through their approach (or lack thereof) to these topics and those related and consider how the gospel speaks to them. Lastly, the warranted cry of “Black Lives Matter” should at the very least receive empathy from Evangelicals who take an honest look at the treatment of Blacks throughout American history. From this empathy should arise an acknowledgement of the well-organized tactics employed by the dominant culture to suppress Black progress and economic upward mobility leading to a mobilized effort to address them with the gospel. This historical perspective will be the focus of next week’s installment.


[1] BlackLivesMatter.Com, “About the Black Lives Matter Network”,, accessed on January 14, 2016

[2] BlackLivesMatter.Com, “Locate a Chapter”,, accessed on January 13, 2016

[3] BlackLivesMatter.Com, “The Creation of a Movement”,, accessed on January 15, 2016

[4] BlackLivesMatter.Com, “Broadening the Conversation to Include Black Life”,, accessed on January 12, 2016

[5] BlackLivesMatter.Com, “These Savvy Women Have Made Black Lives Matter the Most Crucial Left Wing Movement Today”,, accessed on January 16, 2016

[6] Lauren Porter, “Google to Provide $2.35 Million in Funds for Black Lives Matter Activism”, Essence, Wednesday, November 4, 2015,, accessed on February 1, 2016

[7] CNN, Tanzina Vega, “How to Fund #BlackLivesMatter”, Friday, June 5, 2015,, accessed on February 6, 2016

[8] Marguerite Casey Foundation, “Alicia Garza: Black Lives Matter Proves that ‘New Leaders Are Possible’,, accessed on February 6, 2016

[9] BlackLivesMatter.Com, “11 Major Misconceptions About the Black Lives Matter Movement”,, accessed on January 13, 2016

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid

Source: Viewing Black Lives Matter—Part 2

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[Cfamily]Thousands of Jen Hatmaker Fans Bought Her Book for Strangers
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2016, 12:00:11 AM »
Thousands of Jen Hatmaker Fans Bought Her Book for Strangers

I know what you’re thinking: Not another story about how anonymous people on the Internet can be so nice to each other.

Haven’t we all heard enough about the empathy and kindness within those never-ending comment threads? Aren’t we tired of all the excited exclamation points and heart-eyes emojis?

Well, it’s Valentine’s Day, and here’s one more heartwarming account of online generosity and love. It comes from author Jen Hatmaker’s blog and Facebook page, where readers regularly chime in to share affirmations, funny anecdotes, and helpful parenting tips. Since Hatmaker’s latest book, For the Love, came out last summer, something else has been happening in the comments: whenever someone would mention how she wished she could afford a copy, another woman would chime in to offer to send her one.

This kind of exchange went on so often—about once a week since the book released in August—that this month Hatmaker decided to orchestrate a campaign around it, in partnership with her publisher, Thomas Nelson, and the charity retail site Givingtons. First, any woman could request a copy of the book for herself or a friend in need. Then, at the start of this week, readers could “share the love” by paying $15 to cover the cost of another woman’s request.

“I believe that we can generously love each other, even with something as simple as a book meant to nurture souls,” the Texas writer and speaker told her online tribe. “We all take turns needing each other and loving each other.”

They had 2,250 women sign up for books, and within 48 hours, all of them were paid for. That's a total of $33,750. Over the past few days, dozens more connected on their own in the comments. The books arrive at the end of this week, a message of love—loving God, loving ourselves, loving others—in time for Valentine’s Day.

In some ways, Hatmaker’s giveaway is unremarkable. She’s a bestselling author with about 450,000 Facebook fans, and online giving has become relatively common. It’s an easy, quick, one-time response to a call to action by our friends, networks, and causes we care for.

However, this setup is still pretty unique. The most successful viral crowdfunding campaigns often have specific emotional pulls: dramatic stories presented by video, the ability to track the progress of where your donation is going, or a sense of familiarity with the person in need (think sites like GoFundMe).

Source: Thousands of Jen Hatmaker Fans Bought Her Book for Strangers

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