Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 437700 times)

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2016, 12:41:59 AM »

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someone acquires a title that properly belongs to the people of God as a whole. For example, in Exodus 4:22?23, God calls Israel his ?son? and his ?firstborn.? Then in 2 Samuel 7:14 (see also Ps. 2:7), he names each king in the line of David his ?son.? Psalm 89:26?27 also calls the Davidic king God?s ?firstborn.? Further, Israel as a whole is the Lord?s ?servant? (Isa. 41:8?9; 49:3), yet the Messiah is also the Lord?s ?servant? (Isa. 49:5?6).

Identity / a collective becoming a singular.

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[Cfamily]Don’t Force the Celebration at Funerals
« Reply #33 on: February 24, 2016, 12:00:11 AM »
Don’t Force the Celebration at Funerals

In college, I told my friends that I wanted the Jars of Clay cover of “All My Tears” played at my funeral: “When I go don’t cry for me / In my Father’s arms I’ll be.” I disliked the thought of my loved ones saddened at my death, since I knew I would be “in a better place.” For Christians, the phrase is no mere euphemism; our death brings us to Jesus, sin clawing at our heels no more. In my youthful zeal, I thought my funeral should be a joyous celebration.

I wasn’t alone. Many funerals today are not about mourning death but a “celebration of life.” As our culture discards all-black attire and other formalities of a traditional funeral, families create more personalized—and often more upbeat—experiences to honor the deceased. Earlier this year, the BBC reported on the trend of “happy funerals,” noting that Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” had become the UK’s most popular song played at memorial services—replacing Verdi’s Requiem.

After celebratory memorial services, we are encouraged to “move on,” comforted by memories and knowing that the person we’ve lost is no longer in pain. But this positive focus can afflict and baffle people deep in grief.

As Daily Mail columnist Bel Mooney wrote last year, “Even though modern, cheerful funerals can be hugely touching and beautiful, a part of me wonders whether they show how petrified people are of death, and of the long agony of bereavement.”

Jesus knew more than anyone that we can’t glory in the Resurrection without grieving the Crucifixion.

Christians understand the impulse to celebrate even as we mourn. A life that was well-lived commends Christ to a watching world, and the hope of eternal life proclaimed at a funeral preaches the gospel. But a joyful focus on the Resurrection—and the push to celebrate—can overshadow the truth about death.

In assuring ourselves that death has no sting (1 Cor. 15:55), we can deny that the sting of death is still felt. Christians both grieve and rejoice (2 Cor. 6:10); we live in the tension of resurrection hope and sin-cursed death.

Jesus, the one who sustains every life, was not immune to the ravages of death. In John 11, Jesus learns that his friend Lazarus has died. He goes to his grieving friends and does what anyone would do: he cries.

Jesus knew that while death is not the final word for the deceased believer, it brings a full range of heartache to those left behind. Jesus’ response shows us that the gospel promise does not exempt us from sadness over death.

He knew more than anyone that we can’t glory in the Resurrection without grieving over the Crucifixion. In order to know the Good News of Easter, we have to endure Good Friday and Holy Saturday first.

We all know the truth, but still we feel the pain. We feel it when we watch our loved ones lose physical and mental capacities. We feel it when we no longer have that warm hand to hold or shoulder to cry on or tiny baby to nurse. Even our bodies ache as we say goodbye.

Death is real, it is sad, and Jesus himself felt it.

With every death we endure, we experience the inherent tension of sorrow and joy on this side of eternity. For the non-Christian, the pull to redeem some aspect of death is especially strong. If we celebrate the life of the deceased, throw a party in their honor, or refrain from too much sorrow, then maybe the reality of death won’t sting as much. The unknown state of a loved one’s soul, coupled with fear over death itself, make “celebrations of life” appealing alternatives to the grief of funerals.

Source: Don’t Force the Celebration at Funerals

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[Cfamily]How to Cope with Change
« Reply #34 on: February 25, 2016, 12:00:10 AM »
How to Cope with Change

How to Cope with Change


I had a conversation with a friend the other day about my upcoming career transition. “Has it been uncomfortable?” she asked.

“Hmm, kind of like wearing sandpaper underwear,” I said.

After four years as CEO at MOPS International (which stands for Mothers of Preschoolers), I’m making a change in order to do ministry in partnership with my husband and another organization.

My time at MOPS has been such an incredible privilege, and I will forever be a raving fan of the transformational impact MOPS can have on a young mom’s life. So why the change?

I bet you have felt these same inner urgings at different times in your life. God is whispering something. You feel it deep in your heart, and you know there’s new coming. It’s a bittersweet ending mingled with the exciting undercurrent of next. It’s change.

Here’s something else I bet you have felt: the uncomfortable space in between, the moments of second guessing and questioning. God am I hearing you right?

I know there are people who love the very thought of change and run toward it with open arms, as if to a friend they haven’t seen in a while. I am not one of them. I read my favorite books over and over again. I order the same foods at my favorite restaurant. I love to watch movies so many times that I can recite the lines. Why? Because I find comfort in the predictable. I like to know what’s coming and how it will turn out. Some people would say that’s boring—I prefer the word familiar. This is why, for me, change is downright itchy.

Here’s what I know: God is a lot more concerned about my wholehearted obedience than he is about my comfort. He wants my devoted trust and my dependence to be on him, not on my comfortable surroundings. It’s in the moments of discombobulated uncertainty that I hold his hand a little tighter and lean in a bit closer. It’s in these moments that God has taught me a few things about change.

1. God Always Has a Next

We see it all around us. Each day ends as the sun gently sets, and a new day soon dawns. Friends move away, and new ones come. Our babies become children who become teenagers who become adults who have children of their own. We step into a ministry, and then, in God’s timing, he opens a new door.

We can know this in our head, but when change comes, even change we initiate ourselves, it can cause an angsty fear to rise up. It has been helpful to remind myself that change is God’s idea, he orchestrates it, and it never takes him by surprise. Since he doesn’t fear it, neither should I.

Source: How to Cope with Change

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[Cfamily]On Dying and Reckoning with the Prosperity Gospel
« Reply #35 on: February 26, 2016, 12:00:49 AM »
On Dying and Reckoning with the Prosperity Gospel

Kate Bowler is a Canadian professor at Duke Divinity School who researches the prosperity gospel movement. She’s also 35, a wife and mother, and critically ill with cancer. In a widely shared New York Times piece “Death, the Prosperity Gospel, and Me,” the author of Blessed reflected on her research and how it informed her convictions on suffering and faith. (Read CT’s book review.) “I’m never very theologically declarative,” said Bowler. “I’ve really tried to hold off on doing that in order to make enough space for people to make up their own minds. But in this case, it was just a lot more personal. I don’t have a lot of pretension anymore.”

Bowler recently spoke with Christianity Today’s assistant editor Morgan Lee about how Americans define suffering, what she would embrace from prosperity gospel theology, and how she copes with the loss of control that suffering brings. “It’s very bizarre to be eclipsed by a disease you barely knew existed a couple months ago,” she said. “It’s been a really intense year.”

In what ways have your feelings changed towards the prosperity gospel movement since your diagnosis?

I’m one of the many people who wants an answer when there is no answer, who wants to demand things of God when God does not always connect the dots for us. Even more, I relate to their desire for certainty.

Prosperity gospel makes everyone feel special. It makes everyone feel uniquely chosen. Every detail of your life is God’s ultimate concern. I’ve seen that do wonders for people.

Getting over not being special has been hard. I have to get used to being as beloved by God as everybody else. You want to feel like your personality, your efforts, and your theological insight counts for something. It doesn’t. I just have to be as beloved as everybody else.

Is there anything in the prosperity gospel movement that you find tempting to embrace and hold onto at this point in life?

The prosperity gospel does expectation beautifully—the hope that God can always do more, the desire to see transformation before your eyes.

I love their spiritual tenacity. They work harder than most people that I know, spiritually speaking. They really believe that God is making a difference in their everyday life, and they’re willing to put in time praying, serving others, acting as if their life is a ladder to somewhere.

I love their language of specificity. They really do believe that God is in the details of their life. Now what that means, of course, is that they work backwards from their biography to God’s intent looking through their lives for evidence of God’s favor. And that can be its own prison.

What is lovely about that is we do want to know that God counts the hairs on our heads, loved us since we were born, and cares about our family more than we could even imagine. Those kinds of comforts, prosperity gospel rightly foregrounds.

Given some of these strengths that you can see in the behaviors of the people that are involved in the movement or even the theology themselves, what keeps you from fully embracing it?

People who die are not necessarily just worried about dying. They’re worried about the people they’re leaving behind.

Prosperity gospel makes God into a kind of monster. It creates the problem that it tries to solve. It says we can always know the will of God because God has given us a special kind of faith which we can use to act. What that means is every single thing in your life becomes your fault or your reward. That’s a terrifying place to be.

Source: On Dying and Reckoning with the Prosperity Gospel

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #36 on: February 26, 2016, 01:21:46 AM »
The problem with the prosperity gospel is the question of "humanism"

Where we take "God the Father" and we relate it now to this day and age " where Giod becomes  a suger Daddy"

At this point I post a youtube video on revival and humanism REVIVAL VIDEO

Revival originates  with and from God and not any man made event...

Humanism works well until we add the word "Christian"  [Christ-In]

Humanisn is bringing God into our wants and desires rather than "God seeing our wants and desires and answering them in
His time or saying NO" [Which is the answer] 

The prosperity gospel is humanism [looking at God from our point of view]

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2016, 12:09:47 PM »
The prosperity gospel ignores Jesus's words when he tells us that if the world hated him, it will also hate his followers and seek to treat them in the same way.


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[Cfamily]Southern Baptists Lose Almost 1,000 Missionaries as IMB Cuts Costs
« Reply #38 on: February 27, 2016, 12:00:09 AM »
Southern Baptists Lose Almost 1,000 Missionaries as IMB Cuts Costs

Six months after announcing plans to cut 600 to 800 missionaries and staff in order to balance its budget, the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) revealed today that it has lost 1,132 workers—almost twice as many as its low-end estimate.

In all, 983 missionaries and 149 US staff have accepted the IMB’s offer of voluntary early retirement or resignation. That brings the number of SBC missionaries in the field down from 4,700 to about 3,800—a return to 1993 levels.

The news “is disappointing to all of us," SBC president Ronnie Floyd told Baptist Press. Frank Page, president of the SBC’s Executive Committee, said his “heart is broken” over the large number.

“This reset is not regress or retreat,” Floyd told Baptist Press. “Southern Baptist churches must see this as a fresh calling to reaching the world for Christ. Now is the time to go forward with a clear vision and an aggressive strategy to make disciples of all the nations for Christ."

“IMB is now in a much healthier financial position,” said president David Platt, announcing a balanced 2017 budget during IMB meetings this week. Giving from churches is also up, he said.

“The stage is now set financially, organizationally and spiritually for IMB to work with Southern Baptist churches to create exponentially more opportunities for disciple making and church planting among unreached peoples around the world,” stated Platt in IMB’s press release. “IMB is committed to a future marked by faithful stewardship, operational excellence, wise evaluation, ongoing innovation and joyful devotion to making disciples and multiplying churches among the unreached.”

The cuts were part of Platt’s plan to stabilize the mission agency’s finances. Since 2010, the organization has spent $210 million more than it has received, according to an FAQ on the IMB’s “organizational reset.”

The overage has been paid through reserve funds and selling missionary housing and other property overseas, CT reported in August.

But with dwindling reserves—the IMB now has enough cash for only two more years at its current rate of spending—expenses needed to be cut.

In November, CT examined whether the situation spells the end of the full-time missionary.

“The financial realities are clear,” Platt told CT at the time. “[I]n order to get to a healthy position for a future like I’ve talked about, we have to get to a healthy place in the present.”

The IMB is partly a victim of its own success. With its centralized system, churches pool their donations and missionaries don’t need to worry about raising their own funds. But with the IMB’s growth spurt after World War II—the agency went from 803 missionaries and $8.3 million in income in 1950 to 5,271 missionaries and a $289 million budget in 2007—the finances didn’t keep up.

Reserves of $256 million in 2007 decreased to $168 million in 2015.

The SBC also reported that church giving to missions dropped in 2014, about 5 percent less than in 2013.

“God is not surprised by these financial realities,” stated IMB on its website. “He has reigned sovereign over the IMB for 170 years, and He will continue to reign sovereign over the IMB for years to come. … IMB leadership believes that, without question, God will continue to lead every one of its personnel on mission. It is expected that the 600-800 people who step aside from the IMB in the next six months will not be stepping ‘onto the sidelines of mission,’ but instead will be moving into a new phase of involvement in mission.”

Last summer, the IMB loosened restrictions for its missionaries, allowing those who speak in tongues, were baptized in a church that disagrees with the SBC’s view of baptism, are divorced, or are parents of teenagers. Platt clarified for CT what the changes meant and how they were motivated by “urgency for the gospel.”

CT reported on the Southern Baptist s(p)ending crunch, and its implications for the traditional missionary model, in its November issue.

Source: Southern Baptists Lose Almost 1,000 Missionaries as IMB Cuts Costs

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[Cfamily]Viewing Black Lives Matter, Part 4
« Reply #39 on: February 28, 2016, 12:00:14 AM »
Viewing Black Lives Matter, Part 4

In the final installment of my missiological assessment of the #BlackLivesMatter movement humbly, I’d like to put on the table a plan for Evangelicals to consider as a way forward regarding all that’s been addressed the three previous weeks. The plan I’m introducing calls for every Evangelical (not leaders only) to prayerfully work towards better stewardship of the gospel in our present era.

The gospel Jesus preached consists of a balance regarding His salvific atoning work and social action with the non-believing world. It is this same gospel that addresses racism in America because racism distorts the imago dei. The plan I’m proposing is summed up in the acrostic R.A.P.I.D. I’m calling every Evangelical to Restore dignity to Blacks in America (as well as all other ethnicities who’ve had it stripped from them socially), Affirm the ethnic identity of Black Christians (and other ethnic minorities), Promote the truth All Black lives matter, Institute Ethnic Conciliation, and Develop biblical guardrails for our limited engagement with non-believers as co-belligerents.

Restore Dignity

In lieu of last week’s article on the treatment of Blacks in America, Evangelicals should now recognize the leaders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement are crying out for a restoration of the imago dei. They’re not asking for the gospel per se, and their core values do not pave a road to the cross of Christ. However, in light of the historic treatment of Blacks in America their request for a restoration of dignity rooting back to the imago dei must be granted!

Christians, it is time for us to lead the national conversation on race and we must start by affirming the imago dei of every Black life. By doing this we will directly confront the animalization and dehumanization they’ve endured for centuries often from the mouths of professing and practicing Christians.[1] The #BlackLivesMatter cry/hashtag is a starting point for gospel conversations, not the whole of the conversation. This is why Evangelicals can enter the conversation by leveraging the truthful statement Black Lives Matter by redeeming through a gospel-saturated framework that leads to the affirmation of one’s ethnic identity.

Affirm Ethnic Identities

Next, we must express a holistic interpretation of Galatians 3:26-29 by affirming the ethnic identity of Black Christians (in addition to the ethnicity of every believer) rather than ignoring or idolizing it. In this passage we see three areas humans have sinfully used to build walls of segregation; ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status. Paul says the finished work of Jesus obliterates each of these walls, providing salvation for sinners regardless of their ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status. Couple this truth with the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) and we recognize we’re called make disciples from all ethnicities who will dwell in the multi-ethnic City of God (Rev. 5:8-10; 7:9; 21).

Evangelicalism does well in creating content, conferences, and conversations focusing on two of the three (gender and socio-economic status). At the same time we regularly fumble the ball when it comes to ethnicity. We affirm the gender of believers by laying out curriculum for respectable biblical roles, stress the importance of a biblical work ethic and financial stewardship. But when the conversation turns towards issues involving the development of resources contextualized for ethnic minorities the question “why does it always have to be about race” stifles progress.

It will do us well to understand that affirming the ethnic identify of Black Christians, championing our North African Church Fathers, and creating space for contextualizing discipleship tools for ethnic minorities is not putting our ethnicity before our Christianity. (I’ve written more on this here and I challenge you to read it for further clarification).

When we fail to affirm the ethnic identity of believers, we leave room for anti-gospel movements to gain the ears of Blacks (and other minorities) by propagating a caricatured “White Christianity” that has no place and relevance for them, in order to lead them out of the church into their ethno-centric movement.

Promote “All” Black Lives Matter

Third, it's our conviction as Evangelicals to affirm the sanctity of life inside the womb by protecting it. One glaring blind spot of the #BlackLivesMatter movement is the neglect, in-large of Black lives in the womb! A key opportunity awaiting Evangelicals is for us to recognize all Black lives matter, especially those in the womb. It’s an atrocity nearly 17 million Black babies have been aborted since 1973.[2]

Being pro-life is not our only call and we must equally understand our passion for fighting for Black lives in the womb must be coupled with expressing the fact Black lives outside of the womb matter, too. We can accomplish this by strategically mobilizing believers (leaders and laity) in local churches to address the brokenness found in Black communities by working to renew the broken systems. Issues we must begin to address are: adequate and affordable housing (in light of gentrification), broken family structures, crime, education reform (grassroots to top levels of leadership), food deserts, mass incarceration, poverty, sex-trafficking, and unemployment. These are all issues the gospel addresses.

Institute Ethnic Conciliation

Fourth, it is the Body of Christ’s responsibility to work towards ethnic conciliation in place of “racial reconciliation." In light of the ethnic tensions we have within the household of faith, I believe ethnic conciliation will only become evident when the members of the Body of Christ stop withholding the compassion of Christ from each other. We are to be the model for God’s plan of redemption for the lost and we can only accomplish this by having grace-filled long-lasting interpersonal relationships with Christians from differing ethnicities than our own. The work of Christ has torn down the wall of segregation regarding worship to God (Eph. 2:11-22), and it's time we personify His victory by showing America and the world tangible expressions of ethnic conciliation in our local churches.

Develop Biblical Guardrails for Co-Belligerency

Lastly, the gospel proclaims the kingdom Jesus preached. A kingdom larger than the reach of movements that come and go. I believe God is calling His Church in America to represent Him with excellence by stewarding the gospel with greater care than previous generations. The gospel reaches far beyond the goals of the #BlackLivesMatter movement yet, if believers fail to live on mission, such movements gain momentum because of our lack of mobilization and stewardship.

The stewardship I’m speaking of comes with three kinds of relationships; Co-laborers, Compadres, and Co-belligerents. Co-laborers are other believers (and churches) inside of Evangelicalism we most resonate with theologically on essential and secondary issues. Compadres are believers (and churches) who affirm the gospel but differ in length on secondary issues. Lastly, Co-belligerents are non-believers who work to address communal social ills suppressing human flourishing.

The most complex of the three relationships is the third and it demands a biblical framework put in place before limited short-term agreements are entered into.

InterVaristy employed the term co-belligerents, without identifying a framework. We can advance the conversation by developing this Missiological assessment as a prerequisite to introducing biblical guardrails for co-belligerency.

If Churches or Christian non-profit organizations desire to view #BlackLivesMatter (or other non-Christian groups our movements) as co-belligerents, I challenge them to set up the following biblical guardrails as a framework before social interaction:

  1. Use Wisdom (Matt. 10:16): Plan to be evangelistic (share the gospel during interactions starting with the fact all Black Lives do Matter) yet expect hostility because the convictions of those you’re alongside may not rooted in or in pursuit of the gospel.

  2. Be Clear (2 Cor. 6:14-18): Realize your mission to steward the gospel does not rise or fall by partnering with any movement. Thus, be clear in communicating short-term participation in co-belligerency (i.e. event driven) and make sure you continue gospel-saturated work in your community after these events are over without partnership with the co-belligerents, to safeguard your gospel-convictions and distinction of the Church’s mission.

  3. Maintain Purity (Eph. 5:1-14) Be sure to abstain from any sinful activities those in your co-belligerency may practice. If you join them you’re no longer distinct in morality or mission and are in need of confession (1 John 1:8-10), repentance (2 Cor. 7:9-11), and restoration (Gal. 6:1-2).

  4. Live Responsibly (James 1:22-27): Be committed to ministering to the widows, orphans, poor in your city that are part of the systemic oppression Evangelicals in your city may have neglected in times past.

Speaking directly to #BlackLivesMatter, additionally I would challenge you and your organization to considering the below guidelines before opting to work as co-belligerents:

  1. Integrity with Branding– Will you respect their “Queer-Affirming” request regarding the shaping of events? If not and you chose to go forward in using their branding, you’re adding insult to an already expressed injury.

  2. Listen and Learn– Are you ready to listen to BLM’s concerns and critiques and think critically through their content? Will you affirm the areas they’re right on, all the while remain distinct by disagreeing with areas that are not in harmony with the gospel?

  3. Mobilize to Mission– Will you address the social concerns of your community with a gospel-saturated response regardless of the participation of #BlackLivesMatter? Pastors, will you encourage the members of your congregation to leverage their good deeds as platforms for gospel proclamation, in hopes to reduce the lostness in your community? Congregants, will you not defer the work of ethnic conciliation to Clergy (or church leaders) alone by working with diligence to build interpersonal relationships with people who from a different ethnicity than yours?

As I close this series I want to invite you the reader to remain in dialogue with me regarding the call for Ethnic Conciliation. My work with this pressing issue does not cease with this series. The goal of this missiological assessment was to mobilize Evangelical leaders and laity into collective action by employing the R.A.P.I.D. plan leading to the building of what I’m calling, The Coalition for Ethnic Conciliation. If you’re interested in joining with me and others to lead the national conversation regarding the cure for racism (which is the gospel) alongside other Evangelicals, email me at [email protected].

[1] For specific accounts read the, North America Slave Narratives published by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill,

[2], “Abortion and Race’,, accessed on January 14, 2016

Source: Viewing Black Lives Matter, Part 4

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