Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 440096 times)

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Can ‘The Resurrection of Gavin Stone’ Raise Christian Movies from the Dead?

The church-friendly comedy aims to replace cringes with laughs—but does it succeed?

Like many faith-based films, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, the newly released comedy created by Dallas Jenkins, Walden Media, Vertical Church Films, and WWE Studios (yes, that WWE) occasionally made me wince. The film’s premise is standard fare for a Christian audience: a non-believing TV celebrity gets sentenced to community service at a suburban church, where he gets to know a set of quirky small-town Christian neighbors who will inevitably change his life.

For all its predictability, though, Gavin Stone also has charm. More than cringing, I found myself laughing aloud—and for the right reasons. And the filmmakers clearly want audiences to know that they empathize with criticisms of awkward Christian movies. Leading up to its release, for instance, the film’s creators sponsored a Babylon Bee post spoofing bland evangelical flicks with “the predictable conversion scene and subsequent end credit worship song.” The sponsored-post text even conceded that “faith-based films don’t have the best reputation” before making the humble suggestion: “Take a chance … go see The Resurrection of Gavin Stone.

Admittedly, part of what makes the film refreshing is that Jenkins and his crew actually aim beyond the more familiar genres into which Christian movies fall—morality fables (Courageous, War Room), miracle dramas, cultural revenge fantasy (God’s Not Dead), or biblical historical fiction (Risen). Yet instead of trying to impress skeptics or fulfill evangelicals’ expectations for message-driven movies, Gavin Stone aims to avoid being taken too seriously—and unlike typical inspirational fare, it gets closer to showing an evangelical culture that ...

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[Cfamily]Refugees Welcomed Me
« Reply #457 on: February 05, 2017, 07:16:46 PM »
Refugees Welcomed Me

I was plunged into a world all-too familiar with trauma and death. Thank God.

A few years ago, I saw my mom’s fear of refugees dissolve. While visiting me and my family in the Midwest, she sat in as I taught an English literacy class for East African refugee women, mostly from Somalia and Oromia. We were learning the language to describe our families, and we all went around the room saying how many children we had (the numbers were high—5, 8, 4—because Muslims view children as a gift from God).

When I introduced my mother, my class started probing. They asked how many children she had. “Three daughters,” she said, explaining that I was the middle child. No sons? The women seemed a little sad for her. My mother told them that she did, in fact, have a son, but that he had died in childhood as a result of a car accident. The women immediately expressed grief for her—a few even got up to hug my mom.

Then, despite various cultural and language barriers, one by one the women in my class shared how they too, had lost children, through sickness, famine, and war. One woman shared how six of her children died in a refugee camp. This woman, and every other person there had been touched by profound loss.

Our English class was transformed into something else. As the women hugged my mom and enfolded her into their circle of grief and resilience, she stopped seeing them as refugees. To her, they were grieving mothers, just like herself.

A few days ago I sent a brief text message to Maryan, a Somali, Muslim, neighbor, and friend. I told her I was thankful for her, I was sad about everything happening in the news, and I wanted her to know she was always welcome.

Later, the phone rang: “I haven’t had time to listen to the news,” she said. “What’s going on?” ...

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Offline Tes Johnson

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #458 on: February 06, 2017, 01:30:28 AM »
If God accepts me as an alien to Him - why should I not accept a neighbouring counrty and why should'nt a neigbouring country accept me ?

Surely  I have no discrimination against my neighbours - indeed I should love my neigbours ?

Does'nt that Giod Love attract other nations to God ?

Surely if God does not accept other nations - then He will not accept me and I am simply speaking against myself....

Therefore I have buried myself..


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[Cfamily]We Won't Know Until We Get to Heaven: A Snapshot of By The Hand Ministry
« Reply #459 on: February 06, 2017, 07:19:20 PM »
We Won't Know Until We Get to Heaven: A Snapshot of By The Hand Ministry

Faith-based after-school program takes kids from inner-city Chicago by the hand.

It was bitterly cold, typical for Chicago during the December holidays. It was also Christmas in the City, when By The Hand takes kids into downtown Chicago to see the Christmas lights, shop at the flagship Old Navy store, and eat at a nearby McDonald’s.

As the children bustled into the store, I stood on the first floor, far enough from the entrance to escape the cold snap of swirling wind with each turn of the revolving door. Familiar faces of kids, parents, staff, and volunteers from By The Hand formed a parade of bright smiles and big hellos, full of holiday cheer.

I was on the lookout for Lavonshay—a former student with whom we’d lost touch for about ten years. Lavonshay had contacted me during the early fall and said he wanted to do something with his life. That’s code for wanting to make some changes. Since then, I’d seen the 22-year-old several times. He came to the club and, after talking for a while, we decided that Year Up would be a good next step for him. There were limited spots available, but if accepted into the program, Lavonshay could complete a one-year IT training program and be among the 85 percent of its participants who landed a living wage job at completion. He applied and was accepted!

Lavonshay and I were meeting on this frigid night because he had called earlier in the day to say he didn’t have a winter coat. While we have coats at By The Hand, they are for younger children—not a 22-year-old.

It wasn’t long before Lavonshay walked into Old Navy and greeted me with a warm smile—and a big hug. We dashed off to the men’s coat section and within 15 minutes picked out exactly what he needed for the cold winter and his exciting new opportunity.

Shopping ...

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Theology for Life (Ep. 9): False Intimacy: A Discussion on Pornography, the Brain, and Our Faith

Dr. William Struthers is Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College.

What do we understand about addiction, and what do we have wrong about addiction? One of the hallmarks of addiction, according to Dr. William Struthers, is that you’re craving something that doesn’t give you what you need, and you’ve lost your ability to make your own decisions. There is, however, a difference between dependency and addiction; we can be dependent on something, but not addicted to it.

There’s a generation coming up, says Struthers, who’ve come of age with the Internet in their homes and have a dependency to pornography—it’s a self-medication. If we use a medical model, the young people today have almost an inoculation to pornography, it’s like a dead sexuality. They get little bits of it and it makes it difficult to enjoy true, embodied sexuality.

How does pornography serve as a contrast to God’s intent for sexuality? We’ve taken sex and intimacy and made them synonymous with a very specific kind of emotional and physical experience, says Struthers. But sexuality, instead, plays itself out in a lot of different ways across the human experience. We need to change the conversation and instead start to ask the question about what it means to be a sister or a brother.

Struthers says that for many people, we can’t conceptualize sexuality without it having an erotic component to it. But the goal, he says, is not to keep ourselves immune to all things of sexuality; we want, for example, to appreciate the beauty in others, in our husbands or our wives.

We need to step back, instead, and take a serious look at the issue of sin and purity. Although our children, for example, may be inexperienced, they are not pure, Struthers explains. We need to help our ...

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Source: Theology for Life (Ep. 9): False Intimacy: A Discussion on Pornography, the Brain, and Our Faith

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Missions Sunday: A Passion for Souls: Our Continued Journey in Global Missions

Missions supporting church sought greater stewardship and member mobilization

Real spirituality always has an outcome. There will be a yearning and a love for souls. – Oswald J. Smith

Having applied four times for service in overseas missions, Oswald J. Smith, founder of The Peoples Church in Toronto, Canada, was turned down each time due to his lack of qualifications and chronic health issues. Initially discouraged, he eventually began to sense God’s call upon his life to “be a missionary to the whole world” and resolved that, “Even if I live in one place, I must reach beyond my local parish to the world” (Neely 1982, 79).

He took that calling seriously and spent the remainder of his life appealing to North American masses to develop a heart for local revival and global missions. Some of his more defining statements in the early part of the twentieth century (e.g., “Why should anyone hear the gospel twice, before everyone has heard it once?”) have left a mission legacy that continues to define the core aspects of The Peoples Church today.

From “Supporting” to “Synergistic”

I joined the staff of the mission department of The Peoples Church a few years ago, and in many ways what I discovered reflected the tremendous mission passion, zeal, and heritage that had been handed down to us as a congregation. We were at that time giving around $2 million to missions each year (which represented nearly forty percent of our total church giving). We were supporting 379 missionaries through 76 agencies, and giving priority to a three-week global outreach conference for our congregation each year. Missions was obviously a core part of our identity, and in many respects we appeared to be an above-average “missions” church.

Beneath the ...

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[Cfamily]Are You on Track if You Lead a Church of Less Than 100?
« Reply #462 on: February 09, 2017, 07:10:45 PM »
Are You on Track if You Lead a Church of Less Than 100?

Most of the time church planting is a long, hard slog.

Every church leader or pastor desires ministry to be fruitful and to influence their community. But we need to be reminded that we can no longer depend on the success of the past to be the shelter of our future.

While leadership is important, a church’s size can change frequently, depending upon other factors like changing demographics of the community or cultural shifts. But how do we respond when the previous generation was much more numerically effective than we are? What do we do when people ask, “Why don’t you have the results they had before?”

Older members of any given church typically seem more nostalgic about the past and use that as a measure of success in the future. It is important to remember, however, that culture has changed in such a way that it becomes misleading in many places to expect the numerical success of the past for a new generation.

Reaching for the Unattainable?

Several years ago, at a conference at Saddleback Church, I noticed that all the other speakers were pastoring a church between 5,000 and 25,000. However, what they also had in common was they had planted churches in another era.

At the time, I was pastoring a church whose size was far less than 5,000. When it was time for me to speak, I kept looking at Rick Warren out of the corner of my eye. I was scheduled to preach at Saddleback on Sunday, so I did not want to tick him off!

But I also had something to say.

I told listeners that conferences like this are great, but that they can also be really confusing and disheartening. When you drive onto Saddleback’s property, if I recall correctly, you drive up a four-lane highway called Purpose Drive and then you come to a stop light at Saddleback Way before parking your ...

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Source: Are You on Track if You Lead a Church of Less Than 100?

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[Cfamily]Why Your Deflated Retirement Dream Might Be God’s Open Door
« Reply #463 on: February 10, 2017, 07:24:44 PM »
Why Your Deflated Retirement Dream Might Be God’s Open Door

After losing my safety net, I see retirement as meaningful vocation, not permanent vacation.

Some of my favorite Seinfeld episodes feature Jerry’s visits to see his parents in Del Boca Vista, a fictional south Florida retirement community. In one scene, Jerry reacts to the petty politics and middle-school social dynamics among residents by saying, “These people work and wait their whole lives to move down here, sit in the heat, pretend it's not hot, and enforce these rules."

Before they passed away, my parents lived in a retirement community near Ft. Lauderdale. My visits there convinced me that Seinfeld’s take is more documentary than sitcom. Like my parents, most middle- and upper-class members of the so-called “greatest generation” could reasonably expect the sunset years and everything that goes with them: retirement at 65, a modest-but-secure income comprised of Social Security and workplace pension, and the downshift from full-time employment to days filled with golf, card games, travel, and Del Boca Vista condo board meetings.

By contrast, boomers like my husband and I will have a vastly different experience of the retirement years. Boomers were never great savers, and the recent recession further impacted our ability to support ourselves through our retirement years. A Motley Fool summary captured some worrisome stats about this age group:

59 percent are relying on Social Security to be a primary source of retirement income. (Prognosticators have differing opinions about when the government program will no longer be solvent.) 45 percent have no retirement savings. 30 percent have postponed their retirement plans because they can’t afford to stop working. 44 percent are carrying significant amounts of consumer and mortgage debt.

Though my husband and I didn’t ...

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Source: Why Your Deflated Retirement Dream Might Be God’s Open Door

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