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Charity Navigator's Overhead Overhaul
« Reply #312 on: September 24, 2016, 07:00:11 AM »

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Charity Navigator's Overhead Overhaul

New charity guidelines put  ‘support expenses’ in a better light.


The pie graph showing Operation Blessing International’s expenses (above) is almost completely bright blue. Just two tiny slivers show that less than 2 percent of its budget goes to administrative and fundraising costs.


Those slivers make up the ministry’s overhead—a necessary component of charity work that has long been questioned by donors and downplayed by nonprofits.


But new metrics from Charity Navigator, the country’s top charity-rating site, represent ongoing efforts to de-stigmatize overhead in favor of a broader picture of financial health.


Operation Blessing is a humanitarian aid group with a budget of $250 million. Like most nonprofits, it emphasizes efficiency and assures donors it will “leverage every dollar of support to bless as many people as possible.”


That reassurance is necessary because a third of US donors believe charities can’t be trusted to handle money well, according to aChronicle of Philanthropy poll.


Donors are most concerned that nonprofits spend too much on themselves. In the 2015 poll, 40 percent said leaders are paid too much; 37 percent said too much was spent on salaries or other administrative costs. And though 68 percent said they gave based on a charity’s effectiveness, half said they preferred organizations with low overhead.


But the negative perception of overhead spending has started to shift. Philanthropy experts have backed away from the longtime go-to measure of nonprofit financial health. And the country’s largest charity-rating system recently adjusted its financial metrics, including reducing requirements for administrative expenses.


“Overhead does matter, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that donors look at,” ...

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Manga Mania
« Reply #313 on: September 25, 2016, 07:07:46 AM »
Manga Mania

The Japanese Bible series has sold more than the Jesus Storybook Bible. So why is it not taking off in Japan?


A teenage romance, the star-studded appearance of a celestial messenger, the Annunciation in orbs of white light: On every page, the five-volume Manga Messiah Bible series depicts the gospel with engaging cartoon visuals, reaching younger and traditionally less-accessible audiences worldwide.


The series has been well received the world over, with more than 8.3 million books in print in more than 37 languages and with 5 more translations on the way. The popular illustrated Jesus Storybook Bible, by comparison, has sold 2 million copies in nine years.


Yet the books—written by Japanese for Japanese—have not been as effective of an evangelistic tool in Japan.


Manga is a style of cartooning wildly popular among both adults and children in Japan. One-third of all publications in Japan are in manga form, according to Roald Lidal, founder of the Christian graphic novel producer NEXT. Even Japanese security, health and safety, and emergency evacuation information and signage are done in manga.


“That’s what people read,” he said. “The top three manga magazine publications in Japan sell 10 million copies weekly.”


Usually, presenting the gospel in a popular medium is good evangelism, said Paul Nethercott, a longtime TEAM missionary to Japan and social media coordinator for NEXT. “One vitally important aspect of effective cross-cultural mission work is a contextualized expression of the gospel. [This] series contextualizes the gospel for Japan as well as anything I know of.”


Since 2010, NEXT has distributed about 250,000 manga books and more than 700,000 booklets in Japan—where other Christian literature by comparison barely breaks the 10,000 mark. But not all of those numbers are ...

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Gleanings: October 2016
« Reply #314 on: September 26, 2016, 07:05:46 AM »
Gleanings: October 2016

Important developments in the church and the world (as they appeared in our October issue).


How to govern your church effectively


For the first time, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability surveyed leaders from more than 500 churches what makes their boards effective. Here’s what they said:


California accommodates Christian colleges


Faith-based schools like Biola University will be exempt from California’s proposed anti-discrimination law, Senate Bill 1146. Earlier versions of the bill would have prevented colleges that received state funds from enforcing codes of student conduct related to the school’s beliefs on sexual identity, including teaching that marriage is between a man and woman and organizing bathrooms by biological sex. A state lawmaker removed the most contentious aspect of the bill following outcry from religious leaders, saying schools instead must disclose their exemption when reporting expulsions related to morality codes.


Nigeria: Boko Haram split threatens Christians


A fracturing Boko Haram isn’t good news for the 218 mostly Christian Chibok schoolgirls who have been held captive since 2014. The Islamist group splintered when ISIS, to whom Boko Haram pledged loyalty in 2015, backed a new leader, who promptly promised to kill Christians and bomb churches. But the former Boko Haram leader, who retains control of the girls, refused to step down. A fresh video of the girls, along with a deadly attack on Chibok, returned international attention to their plight. Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people since 2009, making it the world’s deadliest terror group.


Israel: World Vision staffer accused of financing Hamas


A World Vision manager in the Gaza Strip has been accused of funneling millions in humanitarian aid to the Palestinian terror group Hamas. The Christian ...

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Source: Gleanings: October 2016

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CFamily

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Art Advocates
« Reply #315 on: September 27, 2016, 07:09:12 AM »
Art Advocates

A snapshot of Christian witness in the world (as it appeared in our October issue).


Dozens of children lent their fingerprints to Baylor University’s Rachel Taylor and Veronica Campbell during the students’ summer mission trip to Zambia. Their paintings raised almost $45,000 for a community of orphans near Lusaka, the capital city. A whopping 10 percent of Zambia’s 14 million people are orphans; half have lost parents to AIDS. In the majority-Christian country, 13 percent of adults are HIV-positive. “I had no idea this project would be such a success,” said Campbell. The experience helped her to see “the importance of [art] and how it can help people.”

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Source: Art Advocates

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Why God Doesn’t Let Us In On Everything
« Reply #316 on: September 28, 2016, 07:07:49 AM »
Why God Doesn’t Let Us In On Everything

An excerpt from 'Humble Roots.'


In nature, red skin signals that a tomato is ripe. But this is not necessarily true of tomatoes that have been forced to turn red. It is entirely possible, and likely, that we are purchasing and consuming unripe fruit. And there would be little way of knowing it until we take the first bite.


To be fair, part of the reason that growers gas tomatoes with ethylene is because this is what the market demands. As consumers, we want to walk into our local grocery store any time of the day, any day of the week, and pick up a red tomato.


In much the same way, we want the certainty of knowing that the answers to life’s questions are always within reach. But humility teaches us to wait for God for answers. Humility teaches us to let knowledge ripen on the vine.


In the hours immediately before his death, Jesus spends time teaching and praying with his disciples, reminding them that they must abide in him in order to bear fruit. He also promises to send the Helper, or the Holy Spirit, to enable them to learn and grow. Jesus promises them, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.”


While Jesus is concerned that his disciples grow in their understanding, he is also comfortable with them not knowing all things—in part because they aren’t ready for more knowledge yet. Jesus is also confident in the Holy Spirit’s ability to take them through the process. But this can only happen as they are connected to him, the Vine.


Proverbs 3 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” In God’s wisdom, ...

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The Inconvenience of Loving Wisdom
« Reply #317 on: September 29, 2016, 07:03:30 AM »
The Inconvenience of Loving Wisdom

Those who are afraid to test their convictions will lose the moral high ground in calling non-Christians to test their own beliefs.


A woman came to my door one day carrying a massive Bible and toting literature adorned with pictures of happy people working in a bountiful garden. She was a Jehovah’s Witness asking if I’d be interested in a Bible study.


To be perfectly honest, I did not want to do a Bible study with a Jehovah’s Witness, but neither did I want to completely reject her. It’s gotta be tough going door to door asking people to start a Bible study as a Jehovah’s Witness. So I outlined my terms:



 

I’m a Christian who believes that Jesus was God. I believe that He was crucified for our sins and was raised to life. In fact, my life is pretty thoroughly built around those things since I work for a Christian organization. But if that is not true … if Jesus was not God, was not crucified, and did not rise for the dead, then I don’t want to believe these things. Even though it would cost me everything I’ve built my life upon, if what I believe is not true, then I don’t want to believe it. So If you can say the same thing, then we have a basis for a study.



The woman walked away, essentially telling me that she preferred what she currently believed, even if it were not true.


Intellectual honesty is a scary prospect for those of us who have built our lives around faith in Jesus’ resurrection. But if we want to engage people whose hunger for truth outstrips their satisfaction of what they currently believe, we must also have the integrity to join them. If what we believe about Jesus is wrong, then we must be willing to side with truth and walk away from falsehood.


Most Millennials, and perhaps almost anyone, can smell beliefs of convenience, people who are so entrenched in their theology that ...

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Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election: Why I Resigned My Evangelical Leadership Roles to Support Hillary Clinton

Former National Association of Evangelicals board member endorses Mrs. Clinton.


My support of Hillary Clinton in this election is a direct result of my life’s unexpected journey that put me in unique situations in WDC government circles for the past 15 years. This provided me with what I believe to be “providential” opportunities and experiences to observe Hillary professionally in her career as a senator and as the Secretary of State.


Also on a more personal level, because Hillary and I shared close mutual friends, I have had opportunities and insights that contradict accusations of her “lacking character and strong values.” I also had opportunities to witness just how deep and personal her faith really is.


Knowing what I know and believing that “to whom much is given, much is required,” as much as I wanted to continue to stay away from “politics,” I knew that I needed to contribute in the unique way I was capable of doing. So for the first time in my life, I publicly endorsed a political candidate.


The path that led to my initial introduction and volunteer work with the White House, State Department, and Congressional offices in WDC surprisingly was the election of President G.W. Bush. As a stay-at-home mom who was active in the First Baptist Church of Midland, Texas, my husband and I had supported persecuted Christians globally for many years and I saw an opportunity with GWB being elected to highlight this issue.


This resulted in me becoming the liaison and director for human rights / religious freedom advocacy efforts for the evangelical churches from the President’s hometown of Midland, Texas, which gave me my first chance to observe Hillary when she was a senator.


This was when I saw her reach out in bi-partisan efforts to work with congressional ...

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Source: Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election: Why I Resigned My Evangelical Leadership Roles to Support Hillary Clinton

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Melinda Gates: Why Women Are the Best Investment
« Reply #319 on: October 01, 2016, 07:06:52 AM »
Melinda Gates: Why Women Are the Best Investment

Women have the power to transform society. But here’s what they need to make it happen.


Melinda Gates is known for her work as the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and she is passionate about making the world a better place through intentional philanthropic investment. So far, it’s paying off. In the last 25 years, thanks in part to the work of the foundation, extreme poverty and childhood deaths have been cut in half. Maternal deaths have been nearly cut in half. Although there’s work yet to be done, Gates is convinced that if we deliver to developing countries the simple tools we take for granted in the West, we can see those numbers halve again at a much faster rate.


“There is a passage in Luke, that you do not put a light under a bushel basket,” said Gates in her CT interview last year. “You put it up for everybody to see. We at the foundation are trying to shine light on the world, on the world’s problems and inequities, so that other people will feel this calling too.”


Driven by her Christian faith, Gates is using her influence to speak out for people who often don’t have a voice, especially women. During the recent Willow Creek Leadership Summit, I sat down with Gates to talk about her work with the foundation, both globally and domestically, and why she thinks women are such a good investment.


Why does the foundation primarily focus on women? What makes women a good investment?


We know that for every marginal dollar a woman gets in her hands, she’s twice as likely [as a man] to pile it back into her family. So if she gets more income that actually stays in her hands, she spends it on the family. Men tend to spend it on other things. When a woman is empowered, she transforms everything around her because she is often the center of the family. So how do we break down some of the barriers ...

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Source: Melinda Gates: Why Women Are the Best Investment

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