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[Cfamily]Jo Saxton Q+A: What's Holding Women Back?
« Reply #400 on: December 12, 2016, 07:17:43 AM »

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Jo Saxton Q+A: What's Holding Women Back?

Why she’s passionate about empowering female leaders.

Jo Saxton is passionate about leadership. A Londoner of Nigerian descent who now lives in the Twin Cities, Saxton is a church planter, leadership coach, and the author of More Than Enchanting. A sought-after speaker, Saxton also serves as chair of the board for 3DM, a global discipleship ministry. Saxton’s latest endeavor is “Lead Stories,” a podcast with co-host Steph Williams, in which they discuss themes like soul care; the “behind the scenes” life of leaders; and assessing leaders’ physical, relational, and mental health. We connected with Saxton to get her take on the unique experiences of women in leadership.

Why are you so devoted to equipping women for leadership?

In the Great Commission, we are all called, as men and as women, to be involved in what God is doing. He designed us to know him and make him known in the world around us. We need to be equipped and empowered to do that, and I don’t think we can do that with just 50 percent of the global population. We want to see 100 percent—both men and women—empowered to play our part in what God is doing in the world.

What do you see as some of the most common barriers that may be holding women back from taking on leadership opportunities?

The internal barriers women battle are huge. Most women leaders I know are quite skilled, but they may still lack confidence. They may wonder, Is this okay? Do I have permission to do this? Marian Wright Edelman said, “It’s hard to be what you can’t see.” When you don’t see people like you—who act like you, who have a life like you—you’ll tend to second guess and doubt yourself. That can create an internal barrier: a lack of confidence. ...

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Hispanic Evangelicals & Politics Today: My Interview with Gabriel Salguero

Rev. Salguero is the founder of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) and a pastor in Orlando, FL

Ed: Recently, a PBS prime-time special (The New Deciders) and the NY Times Opinion page (The Evangelicalism of Old White Men Is Dead) highlighted the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) as a new kind of Evangelical electorate. What do you think they mean by this?

Gabriel: First, many are recognizing that the close to six million Hispanic Evangelicals are a growing constituency that has both similarities and differences with their Anglo Evangelical counterparts.

In many ways, it is a gift to U.S. evangelicalism that elected officials and news outlets are taking note that Evangelicals are not a monolith. The diversity of evangelicalism is part of its richness. Latinos, African-Americans, Africans, and Asians are somewhat reflective of global evangelicalism. That being said, I think there is a real need for a multicultural and multiracial Evangelical conversation on a holistic gospel-centered public policy agenda. If there have been any learnings from the last two Presidential election cycles, it is that U.S. evangelicalism is increasingly diversifying and broadening.

Ed: Given this growing diversity and the recent elections, where would you place Hispanic Evangelicals in the national political conversation?

Gabriel: I'd begin by saying that the term ‘Evangelical’ cannot be reduced to a political definition. Evangelicalism is first and foremost tied together by three strong convictions: A strong belief in salvation through Jesus Christ alone, a high view of the authority of scripture in faith and Christian practice, and a commitment to sharing our faith and discipling people.

Nevertheless, convictions have implications for the public sphere. While Hispanic Evangelicals are not a monolith, and no one speaks ...

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Source: Hispanic Evangelicals & Politics Today: My Interview with Gabriel Salguero

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Bombing of Cairo Church’s Sunday Service Kills Dozens on Muhammad’s Birthday

Attack on spiritual center of Egyptian Christianity is deadliest modern terrorism against Copts.

Two dozen people were killed and twice as many injured when a bomb exploded around 10 a.m. Sunday morning during a worship service at the spiritual center of Christianity in Egypt.

The terrorist attack, with a reported death toll of 24 victims and another 49 to 65 wounded, was the worst to target Copts since the 2011 New Year’s bombing of a church in Alexandria that killed 23 people.

A worship service of mostly women was targeted in the St. Peter and St. Paul church, adjacent to the prominent St. Mark’s Cathedral and papal residence of Pope Tawadros II, leader of the Coptic Orthodox community in Egypt and worldwide.

Tawadros was traveling in Greece at the time of the attack. He will cut short his visit and lead funeral prayers tomorrow in the Nasr City district of Cairo.

So far, there has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.

“This is an unbelievable act against Egypt first and Christians second,” Andrea Zaki, president of the Protestant Churches of Egypt, told CT.

“They wanted to destroy the innocent lives of people praying, at a time we are facing great economic challenges,” he said.

“Now they want to hit our unity. But this is a time of solidarity, as we stand with the Orthodox Church and our country.”

Zaki plans to attend funeral prayers, and believes President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi may do the same.

Sisi immediately declared three days of national mourning.

“Terrorism targets the country's Copts and Muslims,” he said in a statement carried by Ahram Online. “Egypt will only be made stronger and more united in such circumstances.”

Women may have been the majority of victims because many churches divide the sanctuary by gender, with women on the right. ...

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Source: Bombing of Cairo Church’s Sunday Service Kills Dozens on Muhammad’s Birthday

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[Cfamily]Practicing Advent in a Time of Turbulence
« Reply #403 on: December 15, 2016, 07:07:48 AM »
Practicing Advent in a Time of Turbulence

As our nation deals with division and distrust, how do we approach this liturgical season?

Never before have I been so eager for Advent to begin. This past church year began with the San Bernardino shootings. We saw the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Terence Crutcher, the ambush of police in Dallas and in Baton Rouge, and the horror of the Pulse nightclub massacre. We witnessed the growing Syrian refugee crisis, the continued violence of ISIS, water contamination in Flint, as well as deadly earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires all over the world. And of course we walked through a presidential election, which revealed and continues to reveal deep divisions, hostility, and distrust within our society.

It’s been a rough year. Collectively, we’re all aching. Advent could not come soon enough.

For me, there have been years in which practicing Advent took discipline; I had to hold myself back from leaping to the Christmas merriment. This year, I could not jump to a holly jolly Christmas if I tried. This year, I know in my very bones that I need this space to stop and grieve the brokenness, disappointment, and darkness. This year, I collapsed into Advent like I was falling into the arms of an old friend. There, I’m held by my local and global church community as together we mourn, wait, ache, and sing “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel.”

My friend and mentor, Father Kenny, recently said to me, “You can’t continue in turbulence for long. After turbulence, you need still waters.” I think we could all collectively use some still water.

But what do the “still waters” of Advent look like?

Eastern and Western liturgical traditions both celebrate Advent, but our practices have a slightly different flavor and focus. In Eastern Orthodox churches, Advent ...

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Source: Practicing Advent in a Time of Turbulence

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[Cfamily]Reversed Thunder: A Tribute to Thomas C. Oden (1931-2016)
« Reply #404 on: December 16, 2016, 07:00:35 AM »
Reversed Thunder: A Tribute to Thomas C. Oden (1931-2016)

Finding faith was about returning to Christianity's roots for America's most influential Methodist theologian.

Thomas Clark Oden (1931–2016) was born when Herbert Hoover was president and died after the election of Donald Trump. His long and productive life cut a major swath across the landscape of American social, political, and religious history. He was one of the most consequential evangelical scholars and theologians of our time.

A son of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, Oden grew up singing the songs of Woody Guthrie to the strums of his five-string banjo. He cared deeply about the things Guthrie sang about: social injustice and radical politics. As a young Methodist minister, Oden read the Bible out of modern naturalistic premises, assuming that religious truth could be reduced “to economics (with Marx) or psychosexual motives (with Freud) or self-assertive power (with Nietzsche).” By the 1960s Oden had become one of the most prominent figures of the American religious left, embracing ecumenism, pacifism, Rogerian psychologism, and (what he would later call) the “fantasies of Bultmannianism.”

What drew Oden from this world to become one of the most influential advocates of classical Christianity in our time? There were several pointers along the way, including teachers like Paul Ramsey and Albert Outler, evangelical friends like Carl Henry and J. I. Packer, and his beautiful wife Edrita, “who helped me hear God’s footsteps,” he said. But no one had more influence than his “irascible, endearing Jewish mentor” and Drew University colleague Will Herberg. Oden recounted a key moment in their relationship in his 2014 autobiography: “Holding one finger up, looking straight at me with fury in his eyes, [Herberg] said, ‘You will remain theologically uneducated until you study ...

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Source: Reversed Thunder: A Tribute to Thomas C. Oden (1931-2016)

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[Cfamily]Growing Up in Ministry
« Reply #405 on: December 17, 2016, 07:12:09 AM »
Growing Up in Ministry

The grace of Jesus was not just offered to orphans and widows or rebellious pastors’ kids; it was for me.

I didn’t want to go to India. The morning we were supposed to leave, I snuggled deep under soft covers in Colorado Springs, breathing in the scent of fabric softener and listening to my mom make chocolate chip pancakes. I didn’t like anything I’d heard about India; everyone said it was humid and I’d have to buy different clothes. I wanted to go to normal school with normal friends and cute boys. I wanted to be popular and have the kind of life I watched kids having on TV shows. When I finally crawled out of that comfortable bed, I cried a little.

For the next few days, we took the long trip to India. Each plane ride, I took the barf bag out of the seat in front of me and wrote a letter to the next person who would sit there. Most of the letters went like this:


Dear next person who sits in seat 23A,


My name is Kristin. My family is moving to India. I don’t even like Indian food.


From, Kristin

We stopped in Korea and Thailand, and then finally arrived in Maharashtra, where we drove down unpaved jungle roads until we got to the church where we’d live for the next two months. Everywhere I turned, there were orange idols on mud slabs, children living in tents, cows stalling traffic, and pigs eating sewage. The smells of roasted peanuts and garlic mutton overwhelmed my senses, burning my eyes. When we stepped out of our jeep, we found out that no foreigners had ever visited that city before, and everyone was so shocked to see us that two drivers got into a car accident.

For the next two months, I slept on a straw mat on the cement floor next to my three siblings, where we swatted away an untold number of black jungle ants and thick furry spiders. Every night, we came up with creative ways of keeping ...

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Source: Growing Up in Ministry

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[Cfamily]When a Pastor is a Growth Barrier: The Value of a Strong Work Ethic
« Reply #406 on: December 18, 2016, 07:00:36 AM »
When a Pastor is a Growth Barrier: The Value of a Strong Work Ethic

God made us to work; sin made work frustrating and difficult.

A church that breaks barriers needs a leader that breaks barriers.

Dealing with sin is of the utmost importance for a leader. But there is another issue that isn’t often discussed, and for those in ministry it goes hand in hand with confronting sin—the importance of a strong work ethic.

With sin, we cannot work hard enough to make God happy. Jesus did that for us. But when we experience joy in our forgiveness and salvation, God empowers us to work hard and accomplish things for His glory.

A barrier-breaking pastor is driven to do the work God has given him. In the beginning of Genesis, God says a lot about our work. He has made us to do work, but sin has made it frustrating and difficult.

Sin can certainly lead us to be workaholics, and we burn ourselves or our people out. But it can also lead to the opposite, a poor work ethic.

As a church leader you often do a lot of the work outside of the view of your people, and that can be a temptation toward doing less and just trying to look busy.

Ministry is hard, but God empowers us for it. Leading churches that grow takes sacrifice, focus, and hard work. Here are a few tools you can use to stay focused on your work so that you will lead your church through growth barriers.

Work All Six

Places like America have a five-day work week with everybody working for the weekend—and there are even some trends moving toward a four-day work week. I want to encourage you to work during all six days and take one full day of rest, just like God designed it.

That doesn’t mean you work every moment of every day, ignore your marriage, and skip all of your kids’ events. But a six-day week in which you are working parts of those days engaged in your context helps keep your priorities ...

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Source: When a Pastor is a Growth Barrier: The Value of a Strong Work Ethic

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[Cfamily]Why Advent Is More Jewish Than You Think
« Reply #407 on: December 19, 2016, 07:19:27 AM »
Why Advent Is More Jewish Than You Think

As a Messianic Jew, I see the rich origins of this liturgical season.

One memorable Advent, I wondered if I was going to set our kitchen table on fire when I started lighting all the candles amassed on its surface. There were four thick pastel candles on our Advent wreath and six slender primary ones in our nearly-full Hanukkah menorah, properly known as a chanukiah. My husband and I are both Jewish followers of Jesus and wanted our children to connect with the hope and history embedded in both observances. It seemed like a good idea until I realized that our kitchen table was starting to look like a campfire without the s’mores.

As a Jew, I’d grown up celebrating Hanukkah. My parents emphasized that Christmas and Easter were Gentile holidays, and as a result, I never paid much attention to them. So how did a nice, Hanukkah-celebrating Jewish girl like me come to embrace Advent?

When I first came to faith in Jesus in the mid-1970s, I assumed that seasonal pop-culture markers like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer shared equal meaning with the quiet little family at the center of the manger scene, and that Advent was the religious name for holiday TV specials that served as a countdown toward Christmas morning. Years later when I married my husband, we threw ourselves head first into the non-denominational congregations we attended during our children’s growing-up years. There, Advent was primarily the name we gave to December’s church programming: the ladies Christmas tea, the children’s Christmas program, and the all-carols service that we celebrated the Sunday before Christmas. The local Christian radio station often had Advent-themed teaching, and what I heard spurred me to do some reading about the history and purpose of Advent. Our family began using those little ...

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Source: Why Advent Is More Jewish Than You Think

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