Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 633356 times)

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[Cfamily]A Sacred Romance in the COVID-19 Pandemic
« Reply #1648 on: May 21, 2020, 01:00:20 AM »

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A Sacred Romance in the COVID-19 Pandemic

God is always speaking to us every moment of our lives. It is not that he isn’t speaking; we just may not be listening.

On New Year’s eve Andrew and Starbeth were dreaming of a beautiful outdoor May wedding overlooking the Hudson River. They asked me to officiate at their ceremony at sundown so they and their guests would see the sun gradually descending toward the water at the beginning of the procession. “I hope it doesn't rain,” I replied with a grin, and Andrew laughed nervously.

In hindsight, it is ironic to think that a little spring rain was the worst we feared when a global pandemic was looming. Little did we know that New York City would soon become the epicenter of the novel Covid-19 outbreak; that hospital tents would be pitched across Central Park; and that a naval fleet would tie up in New York Harbor to replenish the city’s dwindling resources a month before the wedding.

Starbeth’s dream wedding quickly turned from a cute, quirky musical in La Land to a dystopian apocalypse in Zombieland.

Simone Weil, the late French philosopher, once wrote, “There are only two things that can pierce the human heart. The one is beauty. The other is affliction.” In the modern age most of us seek to avoid the latter at all costs and hope only for the former.

Yet perhaps there is a certain poignant beauty found in affliction also, something we are missing, and that only an event as radical as a pandemic can teach us. As a minister serving in New York City in these unprecedented times, this is precisely what I am witnessing.

As the city shuttered and social distancing protocols were put into place, we knew a wedding cancellation was inevitable. We discussed alternatives, but rescheduling proved difficult because Starbeth was an essential healthcare worker serving on the frontline at the height of the outbreak. ...

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[Cfamily]Martin Luther Helps Us See Divine Love in Pandemic Suffering
« Reply #1649 on: May 22, 2020, 01:00:20 AM »
Martin Luther Helps Us See Divine Love in Pandemic Suffering

The German reformer would call COVID-19 an "alien work of God."

If we could ask Martin Luther how to make sense of the current pandemic, he would likely encourage us to view it as the “alien work of God.” The phrase appears in his earliest lectures on the Psalms and again in his lectures on Romans and Hebrews, where he develops the defining contours of his evangelical theology. It directly informs the advice he gives in his much-quoted “Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague” and is central to the way he interprets suffering and misfortune.

Luther believed that God is utterly sovereign over all things, including suffering of various kinds. God is even sovereign over the Devil, whose diabolical plots in the world the Wittenberg reformer took quite seriously. Luther was very honest about the reality of suffering in the world, along with the pain and despair that it causes—there is nothing Pollyannaish about his theology.

But Luther firmly believed that God is good. God’s very nature is ardent, self-giving love—this is foundational for Luther. Human beings, on the other hand, are deeply sinful and strongly prone to self-deification in all things. Even Christians have to engage in a daily, life-or-death battle with the “old Adam” (or “old Eve”), which they can only win by divine grace. Many are also prone—as he himself was prone—to see God as an angry judge who is easily provoked to wrath. Luther knew firsthand that when such souls experience suffering, they nearly always view it as divine punishment for sin.

The phrase “alien work of God” was Luther’s pastoral response, putting all of these beliefs and concerns together and offering some comfort in the midst of overwhelming suffering. The term ...

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Meet the ‘Gang Pastor’ Behind Cape Town’s Viral Coronavirus Cooperation

Australian banker turned South Africa missionary explains what making the international news and Trevor Noah means for ministry.

Somehow, an Australian-born investment banker in England went to South Africa and got mixed up with the “Americans.” The gang, that is, in one of Cape Town’s most dangerous shantytowns.

And with them, the Hard Livings and Clever Kidz.

Called by God into a life far from his Christian but comfortable existence, Andie Steele-Smith has recently won international acclaim as the “gang pastor” crossing rival lines. Serving the last five years in 2018’s second-highest homicide city, he has led murderers and drug lords to cooperate amid the coronavirus pandemic as a new distribution network for soap and emergency food delivery.

In addition to endemic crime, Cape Town counts 10 percent of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in all of Africa, and 60 percent of South Africa’s cases.

With both mass media and the masses desperate for good news amid the pandemic, his story has been told by the Associated Press, the BBC, CBS News, and even earned a quip (at the 12:30 mark) on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, himself a South African from Johannesburg.

CT spoke with Steele-Smith, who attends Hillsong’s Cape Town campus, about his calling, the spiritual impact of his ministry, and whether “15 minutes of fame” makes the situation better or worse:

You started out as a successful investment banker. How did you end up in South Africa?

I grew up in a strong Christian home and church, but until I was about 40 years old, my life was all about building my own empire.

Around 12 years ago, I visited San Diego to buy a coffee company. Invited to what I thought was a megachurch, little did I know it was a Christian rehab center. The Holy Spirit convicted me, and I spent the rest of the ...

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[Cfamily]What’s Up with the Ascension?
« Reply #1651 on: May 24, 2020, 01:00:21 AM »
What’s Up with the Ascension?

Seated at the right hand of God, what’s Jesus doing up there?

Fellow church members occasionally ask: “If all our sin was dealt with when Jesus died on the cross, why must we still confess it?”

The answer is partly found in an oft overlooked aspect of Christian belief—Jesus’ ascension. According to the New Testament, God raised Jesus from the dead, and then, 40 days later, took him up into heaven (Acts 1:9–11). Romans, Hebrews, and 1 John all describe the ascended Jesus actively working for his people in God’s heavenly presence. Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25 identify Jesus’ present activity as intercession. In 1 John 2:1–2, Jesus serves as an advocate before the Father.

But why do God’s people need an advocate? Is the Crucifixion not enough for our salvation? I would answer no. The single event of the Cross is not sufficient—only the person of Jesus is sufficient. If all we had were the Cross, then we’d have no salvation. As important as Jesus’ death is, Christ’s saving work involves more. We need Jesus’ ongoing ministry of intercession for our salvation. Hebrews identifies Jesus’ ongoing intercession as key for Jesus “to save completely those who come to God through him” (Heb. 7:25). To reduce Jesus’ saving work merely to his dying ignores this important aspect of Jesus’ present ministry for his people.

Salvation isn’t accomplished just because Jesus died but because he was also raised and ascended into heaven. There, continuously interceding for us, Jesus maintains the New Covenant better (permanently better) than the Old Testament sacrifices and priests maintained the old. Hebrews and 1 John describe Christ’s heavenly ministry using concepts drawn from Old Testament ...

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[Cfamily]Bible Museum Must Send One More Artifact Back to Iraq
« Reply #1652 on: May 25, 2020, 01:00:30 AM »
Bible Museum Must Send One More Artifact Back to Iraq

Auction house covered up false purchase history for Gilgamesh tablet, US Attorney alleges.

Another ancient document is causing controversy for the Museum of the Bible after a federal government prosecutor filed a claim that a six-by-five-inch clay tablet was stolen from Iraq. The US Attorney’s Office of Eastern New York says that Hobby Lobby legally purchased the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet for $1.6 million to loan to the museum, but the papers documenting the artifact’s purchase history were false.

“In this case, a major auction house failed to meet its obligations by minimizing its concerns that the provenance of an important Iraqi artifact was fabricated, and withheld from the buyer information that undermined the provenance’s reliability," said US Attorney Richard Donoghue, who filed a foreiture claim on the Gilgamesh tablet on Monday.

In an official statement to Christianity Today, the Museum of the Bible announced it has cooperated with the investigation and is cooperating with authorities to return the tablet to Iraq. The museum also said Hobby Lobby will sue the British auction house that sold it the tablet. The Museum of the Bible identified the auction house as Christie’s.

The clay tablet is a part of the Gilgamesh epic, which tells the story of a great king who battles with gods and tries to discover the secret to eternal life. It is considered one of the world’s first great works of literature, dating to the Sumerian civilization of Mesopotamia of more than 4,000 years ago. The epic is also famous for including a flood narrative with similarities to the biblical story of Noah’s flood. This tablet has been dated to around 1600 BC and contains the account of a dream, which is interpreted by the hero’s mother. Department of Homeland Security agents seized it ...

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[Cfamily]How the Fall Affected Evangelism
« Reply #1653 on: May 26, 2020, 01:00:33 AM »
How the Fall Affected Evangelism

Using the account of humanity’s fall in the garden, there are at least four reasons why God’s people don’t evangelize.

God’s people have always been given the responsibility to declare God’s glory and name among the nations.

Interestingly, the call of God’s people to declare God’s glory throughout the earth is something that creation, by its very nature does.

David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands” (Ps. 19:1). Jesus responded to the Pharisees, when they told him, “Teacher rebuke your disciples,” by saying, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out” (Luke 19:10).

Paul addressed the fact that God’s “eternal power and divine nature has been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made” (Rom. 1:20).

Creation seems, by both David and Paul’s account, to be batting .1000 when it comes to declaring God’s glory.

On the flip side, God’s people don’t bat .1000 when it comes to their responsibility and call to declare God’s glory and gospel to all the world.

Why is that? The short answer, temptation and sin. We know from the book of James, temptation and sin are two different—yet connected—things (James 1:13–15).

Although God’s people have been redeemed and reconciled by the blood of Jesus, and have been indwelt with the Holy Spirit, God’s people still struggle with both temptation and sin. Thus, temptation and sin suppress and prohibit evangelism.

Using the account of humanity’s fall in the garden—where we clearly see how temptation and sin take our eyes and lives off God’s glory—I want to share four reasons why God’s people don’t evangelize.

You won’t evangelize ...

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Deathbed Apology: Norma McCorvey’s Pro-Life Friends Tell Another Story

What the ‘AKA Jane Roe’ documentary gets wrong.

In February 1970 I was Norma McCorvey, a pregnant street person, a twenty-one-year-old woman in big trouble,” writes McCorvey in her 1994 memoir I Am Roe. “I became Jane Roe at a corner table at Columbo’s, an Italian restaurant at Mockingbird Lane and Greenville Avenue in Dallas.”

That short meeting with Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, two lawyers looking for the right case to strike a blow on behalf of abortion rights, transformed McCorvey’s life. The following month, Weddington and Coffee filed a lawsuit against Dallas district attorney Henry Wade for enforcing Texas’s abortion law and used McCorvey as their lead plaintiff. The case ended up at the United States Supreme Court, and on January 22, 1973, the justices overturned the law seven-to-two and legalized abortion in all fifty states.

On that day, Norma McCorvey became Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade—part symbol, part person, trapped in the maelstrom of history and the sound and fury of America’s abortion wars. When she left the abortion industry for the pro-life movement in 1994, she made headlines across the nation.

Now again, McCorvey is making headlines as the bombshell subject of a new FX documentary, AKA Jane Roe, which claims that she changed her mind a second time and reverted back to a pro-abortion position. Producer Nick Sweeney tells a story in which McCorvey’s relationship with the pro-life movement was strictly a financial one.

In a series of interviews that she dubbed her “deathbed confession,” McCorvey calls it all an “act.”

“I was the big fish,” McCorvey says in the documentary. “I think it was a mutual thing … I took their money and they’d put me out ...

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Source: Deathbed Apology: Norma McCorvey’s Pro-Life Friends Tell Another Story

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #1655 on: May 28, 2020, 07:53:08 AM »
"What the ‘AKA Jane Roe’ documentary gets wrong".

The main thing that it gets wrong is the gobbledegook ‘............’ (presumably glossolalia) reader:.

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