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Interview: Don’t Miss Steven Curtis Chapman’s Point
« Reply #472 on: February 19, 2017, 07:07:58 PM »

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Interview: Don’t Miss Steven Curtis Chapman’s Point

Even his happiest, most heartwarming music has been fueled by tragedy and pain.


With five Grammys, dozens of Dove Awards, and over 11 million records sold, Steven Curtis Chapman is one of the most decorated artists in Christian music history. Now, 30 years since the release of his first album, the songwriter has published a memoir, Between Heaven and the Real World (Revell), in which he opens up about marital difficulties, the death of his 5-year-old daughter, and other painful experiences. Music journalist Steve Turner, author of Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts (InterVarsity Press), spoke with Chapman about times of discouragement that have fueled his faith and music.


You’re candid about your shortcomings in the book. Did you worry about sharing too much?


I didn’t want to skim the surface. Often, in the church, we’re very good at presenting a story that shows us in a favorable light. We’re supposed to have it together—particularly someone like me, who has been making albums and doing shows for years.


It’s always been a commitment of mine to say, “Don’t miss the point. Don’t hear my songs—like ‘I Will Be Here,’ that I wrote for my wife—and think, ‘I wish my husband would write a song like that for me. Those guys must have an almost-perfect relationship.’ ” That song wouldn’t exist but for the fact that we have struggled, and it’s been really painful.


I’m not telling these stories just to shock people or to wear my heart on my sleeve. The two words that guided me were “honesty” and “honor.” I wanted to be transparent while at the same time honoring my wife, my parents, and my family. I hope and pray I’ve achieved that.

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How the Prophet Habakkuk Built an Anti-Fragile Faith
« Reply #473 on: February 20, 2017, 07:12:21 PM »
How the Prophet Habakkuk Built an Anti-Fragile Faith

Lessons on worshiping a consistently unpredictable God.


My son, Luke, is a brilliant soccer player. Even at a young age, he had fantastic control skills and a powerful kick. Luke is also a brilliant artist, appreciating the beauty of the world around him and translating that onto paper with pencil and paint. Unfortunately, this combination was lethal. Luke’s team members had no idea whether he had his eye on the ball or was observing a falling leaf or a pink-petaled daisy. One minute he would be dedicated and deft, the next distant and distracted. By the time he turned five, it was made clear to my son that he had no future in the cutthroat world of our local boys’ soccer team. Unpredictability, it seems, makes relationships, trust, teamwork—and coming out on top—virtually impossible.


We all know that God never lets us down, that he is utterly reliable and consistent. The Bible teaches that God is immutable; unchanging in his nature, character, and purpose. He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” and does not “change like shifting shadows.” He is our Alpha and Omega, beginning and end; his love endures forever. So what do we do when he seems distracted? What do believers do when the circumstances of our lives make God seem erratic, distant, and unpredictable?


In Scripture, God’s people do not always experience God as predictable. God is more likely, it seems, to surprise and shock us. We ask him for one thing, and he gives us another. How can we trust a consistently unpredictable God who continually confounds our expectations?


Talking Back to God?


Economist Nassim Taleb describes how governments face a similar dilemma in the face of what he calls “black swan” events. These are incidents that nobody can predict; ...

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News: Egypt’s Anglicans Face ‘Existential Threat’ … from Fellow Protestants

Cairo bishop resists efforts to deny his church independence.


Egypt’s top Anglican leader is accusing its top evangelical leader of attempting a “hostile takeover” to prevent Egyptian Anglicans from achieving state recognition as an independent national church.


The dispute first surfaced in 2001, but this past summer Egypt’s High Administrative Court ruled against Anglican independence. This means the Anglican Diocese of Egypt must function as a full member of the Protestant Churches of Egypt (PCE).


Representing 18 denominations, the umbrella group coordinates the registration of marriages, deaths, property ownership, visas, and other legal—but not doctrinal—matters.


“The most important thing for me is the unity of the Protestant community,” said Andrea Zaki, president of the PCE and a Presbyterian pastor. “I don’t want it to be divided. This would weaken Protestants, and not develop the strengths we have.”


The Anglicans originally filed their case against the Egyptian government. The PCE says soon after, the court obliged them to join as defendants in the Anglican effort at independence.


After the June 2016 ruling, Anglican bishop Mouneer Anis filed a new suit in a lower court. Zaki followed up with key Egyptian agencies to apply the ruling, and the Ministry of Interior informed the Anglican diocese in September that it needed PCE approval for a visa application for an overseas worker.


At a December court hearing, Anglican attorneys addressed procedural faults in the June ruling. That court did not address their petition for the Egyptian president to recognize their denomination as independent, as they believe the law gives him the right to do.


“We were in Egypt before the Protestant church formed,” said Anis, ...

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Source: News: Egypt’s Anglicans Face ‘Existential Threat’ … from Fellow Protestants

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/aQFox8bLOuM/egypt-anglicans-face-existential-threat-fellow-protestants.html
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News: A Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split
« Reply #475 on: February 22, 2017, 07:04:43 PM »
News: A Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split

Chuck Smith’s successor says he is expanding founder’s vision. Other leaders say he’s diluting it.


What would Chuck Smith do?


Three years after the Calvary Chapel founder’s death, church leaders continue to look to his legacy to defend competing views of the movement’s future.


Smith’s son-in-law and successor at California flagship Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, Brian Brodersen, left the Calvary Chapel Association (CCA) this past fall with plans to build on Smith’s vision—but from outside the fellowship that “Pastor Chuck” began.


“As I look at the current situation within Calvary Chapel, I don’t see this separation as negative but rather [as] necessary for God’s work to be expanded,” announced Brodersen, who launched a broader, looser body focused on international missions called the Calvary Chapel Global Network (CCGN).


His statement likened the split to the biblical example of Paul and Barnabas going different ways based on different understandings of mission.


However, a CCA council member compared Brodersen’s departure to a different biblical example: Mark leaving Paul’s authority.


Brodersen’s congregation maintains CalvaryChapel.com, and still includes the association’s 1,700 churches in the new CCGN unless they opt out. The CCA council stated they “cannot endorse” Brodersen’s network and recommended that churches leave it.


What he sees as growing Smith’s vision, they see as diluting it.


“Pastor Chuck left us a glorious legacy. Yet the new [CCGN], established by Brian Brodersen, now threatens that legacy,” the CCA council stated in late November. “Such a network will ultimately de-emphasize our Calvary Chapel distinctives … and will cause confusion.”


A post on Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa’s ...

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http://calvarychapelassociation.com/updates/
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http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/march/tale-of-two-calvary-chapel-movement-split-chuck-smith.html
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Theology for Life (Ep. 12): Rhetoric and Preaching the Gospel
« Reply #476 on: February 23, 2017, 07:06:04 PM »
Theology for Life (Ep. 12): Rhetoric and Preaching the Gospel

Dr. Theon Hill is Assistant Professor of Communication at Wheaton College.


What is rhetoric, and why were the early prophets breaking all the rules when it came to communications? What does the Bible have to say about rhetoric? Rhetoric which is good is that which pushes people towards God and tells the truth.


What is the role of rhetoric in the public square and in enacting justice? Hill explains that rhetoric shapes our identity. How we describe and term things in our world helps shape that around us and how people see the possibilities.


Hill discusses what he is learning about the rhetoric of the Black Church in the 1940s and 1950s right before the Civil Rights Movement. Hill reminds us that the Church served as a foundation for the Movement.


How do we need to think about language, communications, and the gospel today? Language defines how we see the world and deeply shapes our identity. Language carries with it a set of ideas. How do the communications methods we use either reflect or deflect the gospel?


What should the Church avoid in terms of rhetoric? Hill explains that his motivation for studying rhetoric is that he got tired of bad preaching. The Church needs to give more attention to our communications and the reality around us. How then do we persuade Christians that the things they say are unhelpful to our witness? We not only need to consider our rhetoric, but we must seek to understand what others are saying, even if it comes across as different or offensive to us.


How does rhetoric help us to love? Rhetoric in its purest form, Hill says, is not about ourselves, but it is to serve others. Jesus was a wonderful example of the effective use of rhetoric to point people to God.


Where do Christian communicators struggle, and where are we doing well? Ultimately, we must be authentic and make ...

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Source: Theology for Life (Ep. 12): Rhetoric and Preaching the Gospel

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/H7o6hdO21QM/theology-for-life-ep-12-rhetoric-and-preaching-gospel.html
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http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/february/theology-for-life-ep-12-rhetoric-and-preaching-gospel.html
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A Journey of Evangelism in Scripture: The Temple
« Reply #477 on: February 24, 2017, 07:10:35 PM »
A Journey of Evangelism in Scripture: The Temple

History reflects a God who deeply longs to be with His people.


From the beginning of time, God’s desire and design is to dwell in and amongst His creation. God’s dream manifests a world of perfect harmony—a world where God is the natural habitat of humanity.


Yet we know the story all too well: man and woman rejected God and chose their own path, resulting in alienation, brokenness, and death. God walked in the cool of the garden and called out to a hiding Adam, “Adam, where are you?”


Even though Adam shunned his Maker, God promised to send a rescue. The enemy would eventually be defeated and God would fully be with His people once again: “The offspring of a woman will crush the head of the serpent” (Genesis 3:15).


From that moment on, history reflects a God who deeply and passionately longs to be with His people. One of the ways He does this is through the Temple. The Temple takes many forms and these forms profoundly inform our evangelism.


Temple Past


The first Temple was built by Solomon and completed in 939 BC. The Temple housed the Ark of the Covenant (which was the structure carrying the presence of God and the Ten Commandments through the wilderness and into the Promised Land). The Temple was also the place where priests offered blood sacrifices in atonement for the sins of the people of Israel. Time and again, the Israelites turned away from God but they could be cleansed from their iniquities at the altar of the Temple through animal sacrifice.


The Temple in Jerusalem was the central place of worship and the place where God could be encountered. The Lord said:


Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise, therefore, and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the ...

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http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/75651.png?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/february/journey-of-evangelism-in-scripture-temple.html
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As a Special Needs Parent, I Thought I'd Hate ‘Speechless’
« Reply #478 on: February 25, 2017, 07:03:09 PM »
As a Special Needs Parent, I Thought I'd Hate ‘Speechless’

Why I was wrong—and what the ABC comedy reveals about conviction and forgiveness.


When I first saw the trailer for ABC’s Speechless, it was shortly after my son was diagnosed with autism, and I was prepared to self-righteously hate it. It conjured the first and only memory I have of my child being mocked: As my son head-butted the side of a car-shaped grocery cart, an older boy in line behind us did the same. Declan thought he was being included in a game. I knew he was being excluded from one.


This is the sort of tone I feared Speechless might strike—one that generated humor by merely playing at inclusion. The 30-minute sitcom features JJ DiMeo, a 16-year-old boy who is rendered speechless by cerebral palsy, and the other DiMeos as they grapple with life as a special needs family in Newport Beach, California. Its premise reads like it should be a drama a la Parenthood. From the get-go, however, it promised to move against the sentimental current that drives most other shows about kids with special needs.


Based solely on the trailer, Speechless seemed uncomfortably irreverent to me, siphoning humor from the special needs community. As I’ve continued to watch it, though, I’ve realized this careful irreverence actually enables Speechless not only to depict the challenges of a special needs family holistically but also to raise broader questions about metaphorical voicelessness and privilege. To accomplish this, the show’s creators tap into the vestiges of a fading form of humor—namely, humor as a form of grace. This unexpected tone won me over as a viewer and empowered me to find a similar grace in my own life.


By the time I hate-watched one episode of Speechless, the sticker shock of my son’s diagnosis had worn off. We were still walking through the heavy moments ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/rLWQ3GEb_xA/as-special-needs-parent-i-thought-id-hate-speechless.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/75699.jpg?w=460
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u55WK6AbaM
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/february-web-only/as-special-needs-parent-i-thought-id-hate-speechless.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=rLWQ3GEb_xA:eyQ3T4pzM4c:yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=rLWQ3GEb_xA:eyQ3T4pzM4c:F7zBnMyn0Lo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=rLWQ3GEb_xA:eyQ3T4pzM4c:F7zBnMyn0Lo
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=rLWQ3GEb_xA:eyQ3T4pzM4c:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=rLWQ3GEb_xA:eyQ3T4pzM4c:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=rLWQ3GEb_xA:eyQ3T4pzM4c:qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=rLWQ3GEb_xA:eyQ3T4pzM4c:gIN9vFwOqvQ
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=rLWQ3GEb_xA:eyQ3T4pzM4c:gIN9vFwOqvQ
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=rLWQ3GEb_xA:eyQ3T4pzM4c:bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/rLWQ3GEb_xA
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CFamily

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Give Your Kids the Gift of Absence
« Reply #479 on: February 26, 2017, 07:08:26 PM »
Give Your Kids the Gift of Absence

Time and attention are not the only ways to bless our children.


When we first moved to Connecticut five years ago for my husband’s job, I decided that I would go without childcare. Our kids were six, four, and two at the time. I wanted to be their source of stability in the midst of their dad’s new job, a new town, new friends, and a new house.


In the years since then, I’ve learned that time is not the only gift we give our children. In fact, I’ve learned that, while parental presence is certainly crucial to children’s development, so too is parental absence. I used to think my children’s wellbeing depended entirely upon my presence, but now I believe that it is equally important to entrust them to the care of other people.


Just a few weeks ago, my husband and I had planned to leave town for a weekend away. The childcare we had in place fell apart at the last minute when my extended family came down with the flu, so I texted a babysitter to see if she could help. “That would be great!” she said. And it was.


That weekend, the babysitter and her mother—who happens to be our kids’ Sunday School teacher—sent me photos of my kids climbing in the nooks of trees near an old train tunnel and one of my daughter Penny (who’s afraid of dogs) sitting with a contented smile next to our babysitter’s dachshund. The next time I saw the mother, she asked if she could “steal our children” again because they’d had so much fun. What began as a source of stress—scrambling for help—turned into an unexpected gift, and in our absence, the kids enjoyed themselves, demonstrated courage and resilience, and became more connected to our community.


Christians talk frequently about the importance of presence, but ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/qYyk9jWN2y4/give-your-kids-gift-of-absence.html
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http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/february/give-your-kids-gift-of-absence.html
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=qYyk9jWN2y4:SKXXOEtaoAE:F7zBnMyn0Lo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=qYyk9jWN2y4:SKXXOEtaoAE:F7zBnMyn0Lo
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=qYyk9jWN2y4:SKXXOEtaoAE:V_sGLiPBpWU
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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=qYyk9jWN2y4:SKXXOEtaoAE:qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=qYyk9jWN2y4:SKXXOEtaoAE:gIN9vFwOqvQ
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/qYyk9jWN2y4
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