Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 440064 times)

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[Cfamily]The Micro-Premie Dilemma
« Reply #432 on: January 12, 2017, 07:14:34 AM »

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The Micro-Premie Dilemma

Does NICU technology change our pro-life obligations?

Just like when God created the world in Genesis, our first assessment of new life comes down to breath. Moms wait for that telltale cry when a newborn sucks in his first gulp of air. Doctors often measure viability—whether the baby can survive outside the womb—by their ability to breathe.

Back in the 1960s, babies born at 36 weeks or earlier regularly died of respiratory distress syndrome because their lungs were not ready to function on their own. Doctors now understand that these young babies need surfactant in their lungs—like a lubricant that keeps their tiny air sacs from sticking shut—and technology has brought us an artificial substance to help.

Because of this development, babies born earlier and earlier have better odds of survival. Recent research shows that over the past 20 years the survival rate for babies born before 28 weeks has doubled. Babies born as young as 22 weeks—that’s more than four months early—still have a slim chance.

Step into any neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in America, and you’ll see how modern medicine has advanced the pro-life cause. Babies whose survival was once declared impossible now live, grow, and thrive. My own twins—born at 31 weeks and six days—were saved by such technology.

But these developments have also raised new moral and ethical questions. As a pro-life Christian, of course I believe life begins at conception. But when do I believe life is viable? Do we take our cues from medical science here?

The Supreme Court declares abortion legal for all non-viable fetuses, meaning that the earlier a baby can survive the harder it becomes to use viability as a pro-choice argument. The NICU proves that life begins far earlier ...

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Source: The Micro-Premie Dilemma

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Patricia Heaton: My Career Floundered, Then Flourished Because of Faith

Q+A: The star of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ and ‘The Middle’ reveals the prayer that changed her life.

Patricia Heaton has a career that most women in Hollywood can only imagine. With Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle to her name, she’s headlined not just one but two wildly successful sitcoms. All the accolades of fame have followed: seven Emmy nominations, two Emmy wins, a star on the Walk of Fame, and fans across the globe.

Never shy about proclaiming her Christian faith, Heaton has decided to use her influence to help the poor around the world by highlighting the work of World Vision. I spoke with Heaton by phone about her career, World Vision, and how practicing the Christian faith is like keeping sober in Alcoholics Anonymous.

By any standard, your career has been tremendous. To what do you attribute your success?

When I moved to LA, I was 30—no agent, manager, or car, and one commercial to my name. If someone today came to me today and said, “Hey I’m a 30-year-old woman who’s not a model. I don’t have an agent or a manager or a car. Do you think I should move to LA?” I would say absolutely not. So my example is a little strange. I feel like God really held [back] any success until I was at a breaking point.

[After returning to LA from a mission trip to a Mexican orphanage], I woke up the next day and I had this deep sense of peace I’d never felt before, and it made me realize that up until that point, my entire identity was in my success or lack of success as an actor. That’s when I realized I needed to give that thing over to God and ask him what he wanted me to do, not what I wanted to do. I said to him literally, pretty much out loud, “I will go back to Mexico or to whatever mission field you want to send me to, but I have a few auditions here in LA so ...

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Source: Patricia Heaton: My Career Floundered, Then Flourished Because of Faith

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No Middle Ground: Evangelical Leaders Reject Compromise on LGBT and Religious Rights

Scores sign statement against SOGI protections.

Compromises designed to safeguard both religious freedoms and LGBT rights won’t fly among many of America’s most influential conservative Christians.

Leaders from nearly 90 evangelical seminaries, publications, ministries, and churches—as well as Catholic and Orthodox clergy—signed a statement last month rejecting any legal efforts to protect sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).

“[We] believe that proposed SOGI laws, including those narrowly crafted, threaten fundamental freedoms,” they wrote as part of the “Preserve Freedom, Reject Coercion” campaign, hosted by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

The declaration follows months of conversations among Christian college leaders around the Fairness for All strategy, which would bring religious leaders and LGBT advocates together to try to secure satisfactory legal protections for both. Parties from each side of the conversation are convening this weekend for a conference at Yale University.

As CT reported, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) spearheaded discussion of a potential nationwide Fairness for All law—modeled after a well-regarded compromise enacted in Utah in 2015—among its members and partners.

Advocates of the Fairness for All approach argue that evangelicals and other faith groups end up with greater protections when actively involved in crafting legislation; if left up to the courts to weigh the rights of either side, Christian-run institutions and businesses—from churches to bakers—risk more severe restrictions.

Presidents and professors from 16 CCCU member schools and affiliates are among the signatories declaring that “any ostensible protections ...

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Source: No Middle Ground: Evangelical Leaders Reject Compromise on LGBT and Religious Rights

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[Cfamily]The Truth of Scorsese’s Faithless Characters
« Reply #435 on: January 15, 2017, 07:07:19 AM »
The Truth of Scorsese’s Faithless Characters

In an interview with CT, ‘Silence’ director reveals why he is drawn to ‘wretches.’

I’ve heard a lot of sermons. And thus I’ve heard a lot of illustrations drawn from movies. Most of them have pointed to “Christ-figures”: the William Wallaces, the Eric Liddells, the patriotic battlefield heroes, the martyrs, and the rebels against our cultural “Matrix.”

But I wasn’t prepared, one Sunday morning, 15 years ago, when the pastor of my Presbyterian church referred to The Lord of the Rings in an unexpected way. “I see myself in Gollum!” he exclaimed.

Gollum! Not Frodo, the suffering hero. Not Samwise, his faithful friend. But Gollum—the jealous, scheming, miserable wretch!

It takes a humble heart to identify not with the hero of a story, but with the villain, a figure of moral weakness. I remain impressed by my pastor’s confession of sympathy for a power-hungry devil.

I remembered it again a few years later, when I first read Silence, that excruciatingly suspenseful novel about missionaries in Japan.

In Sh?saku End?’s story, two Jesuit priests—Rodrigues and Garupe—travel into territory hostile toward Christianity. Fellow Jesuits have been persecuted and killed there, so they’re eager to see if their teacher, Father Ferreira, is still alive. Troubling rumors surround Father Ferreira’s disappearance. Some say he may have apostatized, meaning he might have collapsed under pressure and publicly abandoned Christian faith.

You may already sense this story’s resemblance to Heart of Darkness. (Call it Apocalypse Now II: The Jesuits.) Will these agents go undercover and find a genius who has turned traitor? Has he become the very monster he was sent to evangelize?

You will also hear echoes of The Lord of the Rings: Like a suffering ...

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Source: The Truth of Scorsese’s Faithless Characters

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[Cfamily]16 Scholars, Authors, and Celebs Evangelicals Lost in 2016
« Reply #436 on: January 16, 2017, 07:00:38 AM »
16 Scholars, Authors, and Celebs Evangelicals Lost in 2016

Remembering Thomas Oden, Peter Wagner, Cliff Barrows, Gordon Lewis, and others.

A collection of CT obituaries and tributes in 2016, listed in chronological order.

Antonin Scalia: Devout Christian, Worldly Judge

A faithful man lives out his faith on the bench with restraint.

Charles C. Ryrie, Theologian Whose Study Bible Shaped Dispensationalism

The 90-year-old scholar leaves behind a legacy beyond Dallas Seminary.

Don McClanen, Founder of Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Vision of Oklahoma basketball coach 60 years ago now reaches 2 million annually

The Humble Coach Behind Celebrity Christianity

Remembering the tenacity and ironies of Fellowship of Christian Athletes founder Don McClanen.

Jerry Bridges’s Pursuit of Holiness Has Come to an End

The beloved Navigators author and Bible teacher died Sunday.

Gary Smalley, Author Who Helped Christians Make Love Last Forever

Speaker was one of Focus on the Family's favorite experts on marriage and relationships.

Kenneth Bailey, the Scholar Who Made Jesus Middle Eastern Again

The late scholar helped Western Christians see the Bible through a cultural lens.

Jan Crouch, Cofounder of Trinity Broadcasting Network

The 78-year-old started the world’s largest religious cable network with her husband.

Robertson McQuilkin, College President Praised for Alzheimer’s Resignation

Author of ‘A Promise Kept’ left Columbia Bible College short of retirement to care for his ailing wife.

Gordon Lewis: Irenic Apologist

Remembering one of the great early evangelical philosophers.

Tim LaHaye, Author Who ‘Left Behind’ a Long Legacy

Jerry B. Jenkins: ‘Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul.’

Jack Chick, Cartoonist Whose Controversial Tracts Became Cult Hits
This ...

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Source: 16 Scholars, Authors, and Celebs Evangelicals Lost in 2016

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Theology for Life (Ep. 6): What's Really Going On in the Book of Philippians, and What Can We Learn about God and Ourselves?

It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

In this week's episode of Theology for Life, Lynn and I discuss Philippians 2 and the themes within: joy, unity, partnership, etc.

What does it mean to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling? What does it means that we participate in Christ’s suffering? What role does a community play in our own salvation? What is God’s role in all of this?

The word ‘salvation’ is critical as we look at Philippians and, often, people may see this through just one lens. But what does it really mean, and how do we ‘work it out’?

Lynn and I discuss the importance of God’s role in our salvation, our role in spiritual growth, and how God’s power is the foundation of our work. If we are embodied creatures and can work in God’s strength, what does this mean as we shine like lights in the world, reflecting the glory of God?

Also, this past Sunday I preached on Philippians 2:5–8 at Moody Church. You can watch/listen to Knowing Jesus: The Great Humblinghere.


Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, is Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.

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Source: Theology for Life (Ep. 6): What's Really Going On in the Book of Philippians, and What Can We Learn about God and Ourselves?

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[Cfamily]News: Churches Challenge Nigeria Forcing Pastors to Retire
« Reply #438 on: January 18, 2017, 07:00:48 AM »
News: Churches Challenge Nigeria Forcing Pastors to Retire

New law requiring resignation after age 70 or 20 years in pulpit would affect 90 percent of evangelical pastors.

The surprise resignation of Nigeria’s highest-profile pastor has exacerbated a debate among West African Christians on the merits—and limits—of pastor tenure.

Last weekend, Enoch Adeboye resigned his role as general overseer of the 5-million-member Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Nigeria (though not as overseer of its international presence in 192 nations). He cited the nation’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and its newly-introduced Governance Code for his action.

Section 9:3 of the code stipulates that leaders or founders of nonprofit organizations—including churches and ministries—must hand over leadership to a non-family member after 70 years of age or 20 years of being in charge. Adeboye is 74, and has been leading his megachurch since 1981.

The law, which is designed to guarantee financial accountability, went into effect in October 2016. If fully implemented, 90 percent of the populous West African nation’s evangelical church founders and leaders would be required to step aside.

Affected prominent pastors would include David Oyedepo of Living Faith Ministries Worldwide (1 million members); Mike Okonkwo of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (500,000 members); Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy (400,000 members); and Sam Adeyemi of Daystar Christian Centre (300,000 members). Countless other pastors with smaller congregations would also join the massive wave of forced resignations across the oil-rich nation.

Nigeria’s evangelical community responded with outrage over both Adeboye’s resignation and the FRC’s financial rule, setting off heated debates over pastoral succession.

Many condemned the regulations, alleging they were designed to meddle in church ...

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Repealing Obamacare without a Replacement: How It May Hurt Small Church Pastors and Church Planters Near You

ACA repeal/replace has a lot of implications.

It seems that President-elect Trump is moving full force toward a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), tweeting out that “The ‘Unaffordable’ Care Act will soon be history!”

The Problems of Obamacare

Admittedly, we would find few people who would say Obamacare has been a great success, especially as premiums have soared in recent years. Even Bill Clinton’s comments, later walked back, reveal the widespread dissatisfaction.

When I recently posted on my Facebook page, “I'm interested in the implications of the repeal of Obamacare (ACA) on pastors and church planters. Anyone got any thoughts?” I got quite a few responses, some of which focused on the tremendous increase in premiums.

One person even said, “Over the last 3 years my premium has almost doubled (a 90% increase) for a deductible that went from $500 to $6,000. If my math is right, that's an actual increase of over 1,200% should I have had to use it.”

So, yes, Obamacare has been bad for many and many of the claims about it were false. (For example, Politifact named one promise the “lie of the year.”)

Furthermore, it is disliked by many people of faith, particularly Evangelicals. There are many reasons for this, but a key one is the unnecessary and (in my view) foolish fight the Obama Administration picked with people of faith. (Hint: don’t pick a fight with a group named “Little Sisters of the Poor.”)

Those high premiums, and failed promises, have hurt a lot of people—including small church pastors and church planters.

But, it is here now, so there is more than one side to the story now.

Repealing Has Implications

Many people may be unaware of the impact that such a ...

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Source: Repealing Obamacare without a Replacement: How It May Hurt Small Church Pastors and Church Planters Near You

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