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[Cfamily]A New Q&A on Facebook: Join Me Each Tuesday at Noon CST
« Reply #440 on: January 20, 2017, 07:11:36 AM »

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A New Q&A on Facebook: Join Me Each Tuesday at Noon CST

I love technology. At any given time, I always have access to my cell or my laptop. All of the cool features help keep me to stay organized and allow me to do more and do it well. But if I’m honest, one of the main reasons I love technology is that is helps me develop, sustain, and grow relationships with people from all over. It gives me touchpoints with people at moments when, 10 or 20 years ago, that would not have been possible.

I am always looking for new and creative ways to use technology to equip and encourage others in their walk with Jesus and in their mission to show and share Him with our broken and hurting world. At the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, for example, we will be launching weekly podcast shorts and hour-long webinars in the coming months. We will be delving deeper in creating videos to equip you in your mission and online resources for leaders and lay Christians.

One of the things I began with the start of this new year is hosting Facebook Live Q&As on my Facebook page on Tuesdays at 12:00 pm CST. If you are a church, ministry, denominational, or organizational leader (or just interesting in listening in and asking some questions), I invite you to make this a regular part of your week. We cover topics related to church leadership, culture, church planting, evangelism, and more.

This coming Tuesday I want you to join me as I answer questions related to our witness. What challenges do church leaders have as we seek to mobilize our churches in evangelism and witness? How do we deal with these challenges? What’s really preventing our people from sharing their faith?

I’d love to have you join me and chime in with your questions and comments! Just head over to my Facebook pagetomorrow ...

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Source: A New Q&A on Facebook: Join Me Each Tuesday at Noon CST

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[Cfamily]America's Abortion Rate Hits All-Time Low
« Reply #441 on: January 21, 2017, 07:46:25 AM »
America's Abortion Rate Hits All-Time Low

Less than 1 million pregnancies terminated for first time since 1975.

The abortion rate in the United States declined to an all-time low, while the number of lethal procedures dropped below a million for the first time since 1975, according to a new report.

The Guttmacher Institute reported Tuesday (Jan. 17) the rate fell to 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women 15 to 44 years old in 2014, which is a decline of 14 percent since its most recent survey in 2011.

In its census of all known abortion providers in the country, Guttmacher found abortions totaled 958,700 in 2013 and 926,190 in 2014.

The abortion rate reached its zenith at 29.3 in 1980 and 1981, and the total number of abortions peaked at more than 1.6 million in 1990, according to Guttmacher.

Pro-life advocates welcomed the report, and pointed to the work of pro-life citizens and legislators as a reason for the dramatic decline in abortions and their rate.

"The falling abortion number is due to the ceaseless advocacy and ministry of the pro-life community in neighborhoods all around this country," said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). "The pro-life movement advances by calling out to consciences with the truth of what unborn human life is and matching that call with real ministry to women in crisis.

"While a lower rate is undoubtedly good news, the violent taking of the life of even one unborn child ought to cause us to weep and redouble our efforts to protect every human life and contend against the predatory abortion industry," Moore told Baptist Press in written comments.

Americans United for Life (AUL), the country's leader in helping state legislators pass pro-life laws, cited such policies, as well as technology, in explaining the trend.

"Research ...

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Retraining Our Minds on the Things of Christ: Thoughts as We Draw Closer to Inauguration Day

Four Questions to Ask Ourselves as We Adjust to a New Political Reality

I have recently posted a number of articles on politics, in particular about where Evangelicals find themselves as the new President of the United States is inaugurated and how our witness has been damaged as a result of this election (Rebuilding Our Witness: Part 1, Part 2).

Regardless of how you voted, it’s just obvious that this has had a negative impact on the reputation of Evangelicals.

Of course, this topic is front and center for me with the inauguration of President-elect Trump later this week. I am even co-hosting a panel discussion on Tuesday, January 24, at 7:00 pm CST that you can attend in person or via livestream (Fractured).

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Christianity has taken a blow for the worse in this election, and likely antagonism toward Christians will continue to rise in our nation, because the fundamental pattern remains unchanged. (Of course, not in the form of martyrdom and death as in many other countries of the world, but in other real and tangible ways.)

When I say Christian reputation has taken a blow for the worse, it’s not because of who won or lost. It’s because of how the Church acted before, during, and after the process. It was, in fact, quite far from the shining moment of the Christian faith in America. And yet we must move forward. The gospel, and the Person the gospel speaks of, compels us to move forward and once again shine brightly in the world.

Let me share a few questions for us to consider over the next year as we adjust to a new political reality and how we can best respond.

1. How do I interpret my candidate's loss in light of scripture?

There were a lot of candidates in this election— and yours probably lost, either in the primary or in the ...

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[Cfamily]The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
« Reply #443 on: January 23, 2017, 07:05:23 AM »
The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner

What Paula White’s Washington moment implies for the prosperity gospel’s future.

Donald Trump discovered Paula White the same way legions of fans and followers did: on television.

Fifteen years of prayer, visits, and friendship later, the Florida preacher now serves as the top spiritual adviser for America’s president-elect and, essentially, his guide to the country’s religious conservatives.

Her behind-the-scenes counsel became news as Trump prepared for the presidency. It was White who arranged a meeting at the Trump Tower for fellow televangelists (including Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, David Jeremiah, and Jan Crouch) to anoint him in prayer back in 2015. She defended the sincerity of his faith to fellow Christians, and continues to network Trump with members of his evangelical advisory board to discuss appointments and policy going into office.

“I’m the bridge-builder,” said White, pastor of New Destiny Christian Center near Orlando, in an interview with Christianity Today. “It really, truly is the board and the wisdom of so many great men and women of God.”

But White’s involvement carries major baggage, especially for evangelical leaders who have for years lamented the endlessly positive health and wealth theology associated with her ministry (even doing so in rap). Critical voices within the church worry that White’s political prominence will push the prosperity gospel mainstream—or prove that it’s already there.

“The massive congregations and television and Internet audiences that people like Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Paula White, T. D. Jakes, and others enjoy show us that this theology is already mainstream,” said Leah Payne, who directs the Center for Pentecostal-Charismatic Theology Practice at George Fox University. ...

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Source: The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner

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[Cfamily]Trump Inauguration’s Bible Reading Is Not in Your Bible
« Reply #444 on: January 24, 2017, 07:01:23 PM »
Trump Inauguration’s Bible Reading Is Not in Your Bible

Why it’s good for Protestants to hear from the Apocrypha.

When Cardinal Timothy Dolan moved to the podium to pray at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, his prayer may have struck you as oddly familiar.

The passage he prayed from is very similar to Solomon’s prayer for wisdom in 1 Kings 3. But, it’s not the version Protestant Christians know, because it’s not in the Bible that we read.

It comes, instead, from the Wisdom of Solomon, a book included in the Catholic and Orthodox churches’ Old Testament, but not included in Protestant churches’ Old Testament.

Wisdom of Solomon is one of the books found in a collection of early Jewish writings that Protestants call “The Apocrypha.” The books included in this collection were mostly written between 250 BC and AD 50; some within the land of Israel, others in a diaspora context (Jews living outside of Israel); some in Hebrew, others originally in Greek. The collection includes historical books (1 and 2 Maccabees), wisdom texts (Wisdom of Ben Sira, Wisdom of Solomon), liturgical works (Prayer of Azariah, Song of the Three, Prayer of Manasseh), historical fiction (Tobit, Judith, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon), prophetic literature (Baruch), apologetics (Letter of Jeremiah), and a much more “religious” version of Esther. While these are all Jewish texts, it was the reading practices and canonical debates of Christians that resulted in these representative texts becoming identifiable as a “collection” at all, because they are drawn from a much larger body of Jewish literature from the period.

Catholic and Orthodox Christians read the books of the Apocrypha as part of their Old Testament. They sometimes refer to these as the “Deuterocanonical” books—a ...

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Source: Trump Inauguration’s Bible Reading Is Not in Your Bible

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[Cfamily]God Wants You to Get Some Sleep
« Reply #445 on: January 25, 2017, 07:25:36 PM »
God Wants You to Get Some Sleep

Our restless generation is missing out on the spiritual benefits of shuteye.

Goodnight kittens. Goodnight emails unwritten. Goodnight clocks. Goodnight inbox… Goodnight worrying about weight loss. Goodnight demanding boss. Goodnight test for which I need to cram. Goodnight Instagram.

So goes Goodnight Smartphone, a modern-day rewriting of the classic bedtime story Goodnight Moon. The invention of the light bulb has kept Americans awake at least one or two hours later, and now today’s glowing devices are interrupting the six or seven hours of shuteye adults average each night.

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control declared sleep deprivation a public health problem, with 30 percent of adults getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night.

You can see it in their eyes. The dark circles of a mother who hasn’t slept more than a few hours since baby was born, who squints and smiles through the fatigue that has become her new normal. The glassy eyes of a workaholic who isn’t sure if she should be embarrassed or proud of her latest all-nighter. The heavy lids of the friend whose depression or chronic pain won’t let her get a solid eight hours.

Arianna Huffington, who narrates the new Goodnight Smartphone book, has dedicated her post–Huffington Post life to getting the tired people of the world to go to sleep, rest, and take steps to prevent burnout.

The author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time and founder of the new site Thrive has been labeled a “sleep evangelist”—apt terminology given how much our zzzs impact our spiritual lives, particularly as women.

Even as Americans trade sleep for digital distractions and rest for caffeine, researchers have discovered more than ever about the significance of sleep.

Their findings ...

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Source: God Wants You to Get Some Sleep

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[Cfamily]Deadliest Winter Tornado in Decades Crumbles Baptist Campus
« Reply #446 on: January 26, 2017, 07:00:28 PM »
Deadliest Winter Tornado in Decades Crumbles Baptist Campus

The twister destroyed four university buildings, damaged dozens of others, and injured seven students.

An EF3 tornado that ripped through southern Mississippi early Saturday morning damaged nearly all of the 30 buildings on William Carey University's Hattiesburg campus and left seven students injured.

William Carey is affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention and has campuses in Hattiesburg and Biloxi.

“The outpouring of support from not only here in Hattiesburg but also around the state and out of state has just been tremendous,” university spokeswoman Mia Overton told Baptist Press, adding, “Although the William Carey University campus is closed, the university is open and we are doing everything we can to continue operations.”

The tornado was among a line of storms to hit the Southeast Saturday and Sunday, killing at least 18 people and leaving damage from Mississippi to Georgia, according to the Associated Press.

Four people died in southern Mississippi, CNN reported.

While there were no deaths on the William Carey campus, the injured included a member of the women's soccer team who lost three fingers when a door slammed on them, Overton said. A separate group of students was returning to campus as the storm struck, and it picked their car off the ground.

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported that three first-year medical students studying in the Medical Arts Building found themselves “surrounded by rubble.” In another building, a professor was in his third-floor office when much of the roof detached.

Four buildings may have to be demolished and replaced, including Tatum Court, the “iconic building in the center of campus” erected in 1914, Overton said. The university “would like to try to save” Tatum Court “if at all possible. But we don't ...

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Source: Deadliest Winter Tornado in Decades Crumbles Baptist Campus

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[Cfamily]God Doesn’t Need You to Try So Hard
« Reply #447 on: January 27, 2017, 07:11:05 PM »
God Doesn’t Need You to Try So Hard

A spiritual lesson for chronic achievers.

I almost died at summer camp when I was 11. We had all taken kayaks and canoes and miniature sailboats to a little island off the shore of the camp where we stayed for a few days in tents. I was eager to get back to the mainland. When it was time to load up, I grabbed three friends and we got a head start on our chosen watercraft, an itty-bitty plastic sailboat.

About halfway across, ominous dark clouds rolled in. Within minutes it was raining. I was in charge of the ropes that controlled our sail. The harder I pulled, the faster the boat went. Before I knew it, the metal pole securing the sail knocked me into the water. The ropes causing the sail to tighten and speed the boat along were now wrapped around my neck.

I vividly remember the darkness of the water as the boat dragged me through it. My weight pulled the already tight sail even tighter. I was the thing making the boat go fast. I was the tension. The boat was choking me.

I would pull the ropes away from my neck long enough to swim up and take a breath, but I could not get untangled and the boat could not stop. The power of the wind was so strong that I could only get a breath for a second, and then I would have to go back under the dark water and be dragged along. I wasn’t strong enough to pull the ropes off.

Before I blacked out, a counselor who saw what was happening kayaked over and jumped in and untangled me.

Someone had to save me. I couldn’t save myself.

And so it is with us.

Life is pulling us faster and faster, and we keep trying to come up for air.

We Are Not Enough

We cannot do this ourselves. We have to be saved.

If you’re exhausted from the struggle to prove yourself, you are not alone. We are so often dragged along in the darkness, unable to ...

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Source: God Doesn’t Need You to Try So Hard

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