Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 440080 times)

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[Cfamily]Pew: Here’s How Badly Soviet Atheism Failed in Europe
« Reply #520 on: May 14, 2017, 07:01:10 PM »

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Pew: Here’s How Badly Soviet Atheism Failed in Europe

In 18 nations across Central and Eastern Europe, religion is now essential to national identity.

“Believing and belonging, without behaving.”

This is how the Pew Research Center summarizes the surge of Christianity in Europe around the fallen Iron Curtain roughly 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“The comeback of religion in a region once dominated by atheist regimes is striking,” states Pew in its latest report. Today, only 14 percent of the region’s population identify as atheists, agnostics, or “nones.” By comparison, 57 percent identify as Orthodox, and another 18 percent as Catholics.

In a massive study based on face-to-face interviews with 25,000 adults in 18 countries, Pew examined how national and religious identities have converged over the decades in Central and Eastern Europe. The result is one of the most thorough accountings of what Orthodox Christians (and their neighbors) believe and do.

Pew surveyed citizens in Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine. (Pew did not survey citizens in Cyprus, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovakia, or Slovenia.)

“Religion has reasserted itself as an important part of individual and national identity in many of the Central and Eastern European countries where communist regimes once repressed religious worship and promoted atheism,” Pew researchers stated. “Today, solid majorities of adults across much of the region say they believe in God, and most identify with a religion.”

While a minority in the region, Protestants are strongest in Estonia, where 20 percent identity as Lutheran; Latvia, where 19 percent identify as Lutheran; Hungary, where 13 percent identify ...

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[Cfamily]The Cross-Resurrection Contradiction
« Reply #521 on: May 15, 2017, 07:26:05 PM »
The Cross-Resurrection Contradiction

At the heart of Christian faith is a commitment to a God who enters into suffering.

One of the fears many people have when they think about evangelism is that they will be asked questions about Christian doctrine and belief for which they don’t have adequate answers. One of those questions is: Why would a good God allow suffering to exist?

I understand the fear (and often the stunned silence) that might follow a question like that. It’s a big question! Yet, the reality is that no one—no Christian, or person of another faith or even no faith—can fully and completely answer a question like that. It is simply too deep; the mystery is too great.

Although the question of why may be shrouded in mystery, the question of meaning is not. As Christians, we have a great deal to say about the meaning of suffering, the way God attends to it, enters into it, and ultimately redeems it. About that we have much to say.

So a better question might be: Given the reality of suffering, where is God, and what does God intend to do about it?

At the heart of Christian faith is a commitment to a God who enters into suffering. Frequently, in evangelism, our conversations focus on explaining who Jesus is as divine; and yet, especially in the context of suffering, we need to help people understand who God is by focusing on who Jesus is as human. When we do that, we see that the crucified Jesus is the revelation of God.

The crucified Jesus stands at the center of our understanding of God, and the cross stands at the center of God’s relationship with all of creation. God’s compassionate love for the world takes on the form of suffering. As we walk with those who are suffering, hoping and praying that they might experience the saving love of Jesus Christ, we do well to remember that the atonement offered ...

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[Cfamily]Trump to Liberty Grads: Outsiders Change the World
« Reply #522 on: May 16, 2017, 07:02:14 PM »
Trump to Liberty Grads: Outsiders Change the World

Most white evangelicals are happy with the leader Jerry Falwell Jr. calls their “dream president.”

Update (May 13): President Donald Trump told a roaring crowd at Liberty University’s commencement to follow their Christian convictions, even when it means feeling like an outsider or taking a stand against the establishment.

“Being an outsider is fine. Embrace the label because it's the outsiders who change the world and make a lasting difference,” Trump told the Lynchburg, Virginia, campus during his first visit as president Saturday morning. “Be totally unafraid to challenge entrenched interests and failed power structures. Does that sound familiar, by the way?”

In front of a record-setting crowd of about 50,000 attendees, the newly minted politician winked to his support from evangelicals—repeatedly bringing up religious freedom and identifying with their position as Washington outsiders by critiquing the “broken” system and leaders “who think they know everything.”

“In America we do not worship government, we worship God. We do not need a lecture from Washington on how to lead our lives,” he said to the graduates. “As long as I am your president, no one is ever going to stop you from practicing your faith or from preaching what is in your heart.”

Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr., a member of Trump’s faith advisory board, has buddied up to the president and recently attended a White House dinner and Rose Garden ceremony announcing the president’s executive order on religious liberty.


Liberty University has a lot to celebrate this weekend. At a ceremony honoring its 18,000 graduates, America’s largest Christian college will be the first to hear commencement remarks from President Donald Trump.

Liberty president ...

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Source: Trump to Liberty Grads: Outsiders Change the World

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #523 on: May 16, 2017, 07:03:48 PM »
It all boils down to how does one define a 'Christian?'
Is attendance once a month sufficent to give the label 'practising Christian' or should the label ' nominal Christian' be applied.

How well do these 'practising christians' know their bible and their doctrine?
How do they 'practise' or live out their Christianity?


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[Cfamily]Teams in Mission: Are They Worth It? (Part Two)
« Reply #524 on: May 17, 2017, 07:09:43 PM »
Teams in Mission: Are They Worth It? (Part Two)

TEAM missionaries research teamwork.

Read Teams in Mission: Are They Worth It?, Part One (Disappointments with the Team; Restoring the Team).

Be a Real Team

In global missions practice, team is a nebulous and often misused term. Lewis asks an important question: “While the idea is admirable, what is the difference between a team and a group?” (2015, 415). In interviews with regional directors, country leaders, and teams around the world, I sought to identify a common definition for team. There were almost as many definitions as there were interviews, but the most common way to define team was this: any group of missionaries who happen to live in the same location is a team.

However, there is a critical difference between a group of missionaries who happen to live and do ministry in the same place, and a team of missionaries who work together. The difference is a common goal. It’s the failure to grasp the significance of this difference that leads to the failure of most teams.

We need to abandon the convenient notion that a team is any group of workers who happen to live near each other. What is a team? A team is group of people with a common goal that compels its members to work together. Notice the two elements that are missing from so many teams—the common goal and working together.

It’s possible to have a common goal that doesn’t compel people to work together. For example, a goal such as “to reach our city for Christ” may be too broad to stimulate teamwork. “To reach the city,” I might hand out Bibles. You might teach English. And our colleague might lead a prayer ministry. All are valuable activities, and contribute towards reaching the city. But we are not working together. We are not a team.

A real ...

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Source: Teams in Mission: Are They Worth It? (Part Two)

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[Cfamily]Evangelism is a Four Letter Word
« Reply #525 on: May 18, 2017, 07:03:04 PM »
Evangelism is a Four Letter Word

Evangelism isn’t what it used to be and is uncertain of what it should be.

I get it. Culture is changing rapidly and radically. The methods we have used successfully for decades have become ineffective, even counter-productive. Heaven? Spiritual laws? Bible verses? These no longer spark spiritual interest. Evangelism training isn’t what it used to be, but in many cases is uncertain of what it should be.

This frustration is actually good news. Good because it is causing us to reimagine how we think about evangelism (see my earlier guest post on The Exchange) and, whether we like it or not, forcing us to redesign training tools and equipping experiences.

In 2002, I purchased a new release by Michael Slaughter simply because of the title: Unlearning Church. Reading the title was a revelation in itself. Learning new or different methods without first changing the way we think is doomed to ineffectiveness. And thinking differently without retiring or radically revising standardized assumptions and approaches guarantees failure. A critical component of the learning process is to discern what must be unlearned so that new insights reveal critical implications and lead to fresh implementation.

My learning/unlearning journey continues. I’ve tried to think radically and simply. Which is why I’ve begun to think of evangelism as a four-letter word. More than one, actually.


Evangelism is not something we do as much as being authentically and consciously who we are. We are in Christ—that is our identify in every role and in every situation. Evangelism takes place when we become evidence of God’s love in and through Christ; by what we say and do; by what we do not say and actions we refuse to do.

We are never not meant to be the good news of Jesus. We can choose to hide our light ...

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[Cfamily]The Precarious Task of Praying with Presidents in a Media Age
« Reply #526 on: May 19, 2017, 07:04:14 PM »
The Precarious Task of Praying with Presidents in a Media Age

With the whole world watching, spiritual advisers face new challenges.

President Harry Truman was furious. Billy Graham had revealed the content of their private conversation to the media, going so far as to perform a “reenactment” of their prayer time on the White House lawn at the media’s request. It was the first time Truman had invited Graham to the White House, and it would be the last.

Earlier that day, Truman had sought Graham’s counsel on calming public hysteria around the Korean War effort. The meeting had gone well, according to Graham. They even discussed creating a National Day of Prayer, something Truman would implement two years later. But Graham’s unpolished enthusiasm and lack of experience with public officials cost him the ear of the President that Friday in 1950 and almost cost him his reputation altogether.

Calling the evangelist a fake, the President harshly reprimanded him. “All he’s interested in is getting his name in the newspaper,” Truman said of Graham. He did not speak to him again for years after that.

Graham’s meeting with Truman was the first of many encounters with American leaders over a span of more than 50 years. His blazing misstep with Truman, however, was a hard lesson he never forgot: When the world is watching, trust between a president and his spiritual advisors becomes even more fragile.

Billy Graham’s Mutual Respect

For Graham, presidential relationships were grounded in mutual respect. After his mishap with Truman, he never shared the details of private meetings he held with public leaders.

Though he did publicly call out President Lyndon B. Johnson on a position during one of his Crusade meetings (as Graham details in his autobiography), they became close during Johnson’s time in office. ...

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Source: The Precarious Task of Praying with Presidents in a Media Age

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[Cfamily]Is the Common Cup Still Relevant Today?
« Reply #527 on: May 20, 2017, 07:25:23 PM »
Is the Common Cup Still Relevant Today?

The Roman formula is for the faithful to receive the bread and for the priest to drink the wine.

I sat in the church where Martin Luther preached some 2,000 sermons, imagining the impact his short life had on the world. Sitting in a pew, taking in the sights of The Town Church (Stadtkirche) of Wittenberg, I could almost hear his thunderous insights mixed with stories and applications fitting for his audience in this German town in the early 1500s.

There are many symbols and stories that circulate from that historic and church-erupting time. You may have a point that crystalizes the importance of the Reformation. I have many, but a painting in this Town Church where Luther preached caught my eye and became a riveting symbol summing up for me the rediscovery of the gospel, the great gift of the Reformation.

Some Background

The church in Rome had been in trouble for over 100 years when Martin Luther pulled the trigger of the Reformation. The toxic brew of multiple issues inevitably boiled over. The papacy was corrupt. Scholarship was declining. Mysticism reared its many heads. New worlds were being discovered. German princes were restless, wanting to manage their own turf. And then a new mind called into question the Church’s control.

In the middle of this political, social, and religious upheaval, Johannes Gutenberg came up with a world-altering invention: a moveable type printing press. Now ideas could be quickly printed and dispersed for people to read and debate.

Luther was not the first to try to reform this corrupt and self-invested Roman church, increasingly under the control of one man. Many had attempted reform a century earlier, such as the Albigenses and the Waldenses. Leaders were killed: John Huss and Girolamo Savonarola were burned at the stake and, while John Wycliffe died of a stroke, decades later the ...

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Source: Is the Common Cup Still Relevant Today?

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