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Germans Are Welcoming Refugees as a Way to Honor Luther’s Legacy
« Reply #624 on: August 19, 2017, 01:00:55 AM »

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Germans Are Welcoming Refugees as a Way to Honor Luther’s Legacy

Asylum seekers and immigrants are big part of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary in Germany.


As a young man, Martin Luther had a persistent, obsessive fear that he was cast out from God’s grace and that it was his own fault. He saw himself as a figurative refugee from the love of God. “My sin lay heavy night and day,” he wrote.


Later, he would lament, “To be convinced in our hearts that we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God by grace alone is the hardest thing.”


Then, after nailing his 95 Theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517, Luther became an actual refugee from his homeland. Roman Catholic leaders were seeking his life, and he was forced to flee and hide.


Five hundred years later, the Reformer and German icon is strikingly relevant for the issues facing Germany today. Millions of Germans feel attached to Luther and, to many of them, his example urges their country to welcome refugees.


“Luther was so human,” said Markus Ziener, a veteran journalist with the influential German newspaper Handelsblatt who now teaches at a university in Berlin. “Because he struggled, the rest of us who struggle can identify with him and find him very approachable,” Ziener said.


Luther’s quest for the grace of God led him to study theology, the Bible, and the writings of Augustine, and he met a merciful Christ he couldn’t wait to tell others about.


So when Luther wrote his 95 Theses, he was driven by a few simple, democratic ideas—for example, that the grace of God is available to every believer and that everyone is equally free to access that grace through faith. Because they were already assured of God’s love through his unmerited grace, Christians were then to help others in need. According to Luther, “God does ...

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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/rKL-PSQch7M
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Parents of Prodigals: Let God Work on Your Anger and Fears
« Reply #625 on: August 20, 2017, 01:00:46 AM »
Parents of Prodigals: Let God Work on Your Anger and Fears

An excerpt from 'Hope for the Prodigal.'


Having a prodigal in our lives can expose us—in a good way—although the exposure doesn’t always feel beneficial at the start. We might not be prodigal ourselves, but ultimately, the crisis shows where we may have gone off the rails or developed false beliefs. God may allow or ordain circumstances that expose our attitudes and beliefs, revealing our deep need for God’s ongoing help.


When my son Christian was still in high school and going through his rebellious season, I (Jim) was senior pastor of Real Life Ministries, as I am now. Our town, Post Falls, Idaho, has a population of about 35,000, and our church has about 6,000 people, so we have a fairly large presence in town. Christian was known in high school, in the community, by the police, and by the church. Christian embarrassed himself and my wife and me publicly on many occasions. It was painful. His DUI and arrests for that and other things put us all in a poor light.


When a prodigal leaves home (or church), chaos and tension can enter a family. It’s much like a hurricane sweeping through. The prodigal leaves and others are left to clean up the mess. Some people try to ignore the problem; some become angry and blame others. Some give in to depression, and in grief over the broken relationships, they withdraw and isolate themselves. Some people live in regret—they dwell on what they wish they’d done or hadn’t done. For me, though I had been sober for many years, the temptation to retreat into alcohol was the strongest it had ever been.


When Christian was going through his difficult season, Lori and I disagreed on how to parent him and sometimes argued about it. The crisis exposed weaknesses in our marriage and in us as individuals. ...

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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/2p_bE6safp8
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Interview: Keith and Kristyn Getty: Singing Isn’t Just for Sunday
« Reply #626 on: August 21, 2017, 01:00:56 AM »
Interview: Keith and Kristyn Getty: Singing Isn’t Just for Sunday

Why congregational worship is a feast we prepare all week long.


The Christian musical landscape includes dozens of widely known worship leaders and recording artists but comparatively few hymn writers. Of these, Keith and Kristyn Getty are preeminent. Their songs are enormously popular (over 40 million people sing “In Christ Alone” in church services each year, according to their website). And in June, Keith—who is from Northern Ireland—became the first contemporary Christian musician to be honored as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, an award given by Queen Elizabeth II. Over the last decade, the Gettys have been leading seminars around the United States for pastors and ministers of music. This teaching work forms the foundation of their book Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church. Steve Guthrie, associate professor of theology at Belmont University (and head of the school’s Religion and the Arts program), spoke with Keith about reinvigorating the Christian practice of singing, in congregations and families alike.


With so many difficult issues facing the church today, why give special attention to congregational singing?


As evangelicals, we take the Bible as our authority. And when we look at the Bible, we find that, actually, the second most common command is to sing. It wouldn’t come up that often if it weren’t extremely important to God. Yet when Kristyn and I started studying this, we realized we couldn’t find good books on singing for ordinary people.


In 2013, we did a series of leadership lunches where we would ask the participants: “What’s the first question you ask about music in church?” And we got a whole range of answers, from production to musical style to personality to presentation. ...

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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/7VNamN_k-i0
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I’m a Rare Breed: An Elite Chess Player Who’s Open About His Faith
« Reply #627 on: August 22, 2017, 01:00:55 AM »
I’m a Rare Breed: An Elite Chess Player Who’s Open About His Faith

Why I follow Jesus publicly, even when people warn that my career will suffer.


On the small planet where elite chess players dwell, very few people worship Jesus Christ. If anyone discovers that you’re one of those “superstitious,” “narrow-minded idiots,” you’re likely to see nasty comments accumulate on your Facebook fan page. On a regular basis, I receive emails from strangers lecturing me about the dangers of following Jesus. Out of pity or disgust, they wonder how I, the world’s second-ranked chess player, can be so “weak-minded.”


I have been assured that identifying openly as a Christian will interfere with sponsorship, support, and invitations to events. I have been told that spending time reading my Bible, praying, and going to church will inevitably weaken my performance. People plead with me to at least keep quiet. They say thanking God publicly makes me look ridiculous.


So why did I make such a risky move?


Playing it Safe


The Philippines, where I grew up, is a country of God-seekers. People mention God all the time, in just about every context. Everyone believes he exists, even if they’re unwilling to claim much more than that.


As a child, I was informed that you needed to be a good person so that God would give you certain blessings, like food and jobs—which are very important in such a poor country. But this confused me, because it seemed like the bad people received more than the good people. I knew of many famous crooks who went to church, wore religious symbols, and got tattoos of Jesus or a crucifix—and they were pretty rich.


Clearly, many popular beliefs and practices were less a matter of worshiping God than of appeasing the god of luck. One legend had it that if you rubbed a particular part of a particular statue, ...

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Source: I’m a Rare Breed: An Elite Chess Player Who’s Open About His Faith

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http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/september/im-rare-breed-elite-chess-player-whos-open-about-his-faith.html
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The Centuries-Old Habits of the Heart
« Reply #628 on: August 23, 2017, 01:00:53 AM »
The Centuries-Old Habits of the Heart

How our accomodation of sin found us out in Charlottesville.


The tragic events in Charlottesville have captivated the attention of the nation, plunging us, yet again, into another period of deep soul-searching over our anguished racial history. President Donald Trump drew criticism from both sides of the aisle for his reluctance to condemn white nationalism specifically in his initial remarks.


As a scholar of political rhetoric, I understand, yet strongly disagree with Trump’s strategy in refusing to condemn white nationalism specifically. A vocal part of his base aligns with this philosophy, leaving him little incentive to risk alienating them. When former Klansman David Duke endorsed Trump during the campaign, the candidate expressed similar hesitancy in distancing himself from white nationalism.


Trump deserves strong criticism for his failure to specifically and clearly condemn white nationalism. The lure of power and votes do not justify his silence. Yet, to criticize an unpopular president is easy. Perhaps the harder, more difficult task we face in the wake of Charlottesville is to consider how we as citizens and Christians engage in a similar type of silence on a regular basis. Many of us mobilize in defense of ideals of equality every time an incident like Charlottesville occurs but quickly retreat to our comfort zones when public attention dies down. Daily battles for equality in church, education, employment, and the criminal justice system are much harder to maintain.


Trump’s silence on white supremacy was not an aberration but a cultural norm. Our disgust with his statement threatens to blind us to the ways in which the American imagination has consistently made room for the ideas of white supremacy to exist alongside core values like freedom, justice, and equality. ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/yilcfA7Nq_E/centuries-old-habits-of-heart.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/78312.jpg?w=460
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/12/us/trump-charlottesville-protest-nationalist-riot.html?_r=0
http://time.com/4240268/donald-trump-kkk-david-duke/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/august-web-only/centuries-old-habits-of-heart.html
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No, Christians Don’t See the Eclipse as a Sign of an Immediate Apocalypse (Except for a Few Odd Ones)

You will know when the end comes.


Hello Christian leads with the headline, “Greg Laurie Explains the Prophetic Significance of the Solar Eclipse and North Korea.”


Well, you can tell from the title of my article that I think seeing the eclipse as a sign is silly and unhelpful to the reputation of Christians. So, Greg Laurie, why in the world are you talking about the prophetic significance of the solar eclipse?


That’s silly.


Well, here’s what he said, quoted from Hello Christian, which quotes from the Christian Post:



 

“For me personally, I am not attaching any great significance to a solar eclipse,” he said. “There are many signs that Jesus told us to look for that would alert us to the fact that His coming is near,” he told the Christian Post. “The fact is, those signs are all around us. Only a fool would ignore the writing on the wall. As far as the solar eclipse goes, I personally don’t attach any great significance to that in particular.”



So, get past the clickbait headline from whatever Hello Christian is, and Greg is right—so let’s heed his counsel.


Hyped Up


Contrary to the hyped-up news stories you might have seen concerning how Christians are reacting to the eclipse, there is no concern amongst any Christian leaders I know that the eclipse is a sign of an immediate Armageddon. And it certainly isn’t anything for us to fear.


The media often attempts to find fringe people that claim to be Christian, but often have little more platform than a badly-arranged blog and a few Twitter followers to ‘represent Christianity’ to the masses, via an often-hyperbolized segment designed to make Christians look stupid.


We’ve seen this before: the blood moons, planets aligning, ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/1kFhR7-ALTI/no-christians-dont-see-eclipse-as-sign-of-apocalypse.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/78315.png?w=460
https://hellochristian.com/8747-greg-laurie-explains-the-prophetic-significance-of-the-solar-eclipse-and-north-korea
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/august/no-christians-dont-see-eclipse-as-sign-of-apocalypse.html
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‘Pakistan's Mother Teresa’ Honored With Historic Funeral
« Reply #630 on: August 25, 2017, 01:00:17 AM »
‘Pakistan's Mother Teresa’ Honored With Historic Funeral

The medical missionary who helped curb the leprosy outbreak is the first Christian woman to receive this government honor.


For the first time in Pakistan’s recent history, a Christian is being honored with a state funeral. Dr. Ruth Pfau, a German-born nun who lived in Pakistan for over 50 years and adopted it as her homeland, died earlier this month at age 87.


Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi announced the state funeral for “Pakistan’s Mother Teresa” in recognition of the Catholic physician’s monumental contribution in controlling the spread of leprosy in Pakistan.


“Pfau may have been born in Germany, [but] her heart was always in Pakistan,” Abbasi told Gulf News. “She came here at the dawn of a young nation looking to make lives better for those afflicted by disease, and in doing so, found herself a home. We will remember her for her courage, her loyalty, her service to the eradication of leprosy, and most of all, her patriotism.”


A notification issued by Atif Aziz, Sindh law deputy secretary, said that “the national flag shall fly at half-mast on Saturday, August 19,” in her honor. She is reported to be one of the only Christians and the first Christian woman to ever be accorded a state funeral in the Muslim-majority nation.


The World Health Organization set the year 2000 as the target for controlling leprosy; Pakistan achieved it four years earlier, in 1996, becoming the first country in Asia to have successfully controlled the spread of the disease—a goal Pfau achieved almost single-handedly.


“Not all of us can prevent a war; but most of us can help ease sufferings—of the body and the soul,” said Pfau, who was inspired to become a doctor after World War II. She was born into a Lutheran family, converted to evangelicalism in college, then joined the Catholic ...

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Source: ‘Pakistan's Mother Teresa’ Honored With Historic Funeral

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In the 'DuckTales' Reboot, Family Remains Scrooge's Riskiest Adventure
« Reply #631 on: August 26, 2017, 01:00:17 AM »
In the 'DuckTales' Reboot, Family Remains Scrooge's Riskiest Adventure

As the new Disney series reminds us, 'Family is nothing but trouble.' That's exactly what makes it valuable.


The past few years have been good for those nostalgic for ’80s childhoods—and for those of my age bracket, few cultural products embody that era better than the Disney animated series DuckTales. Based on the long-running Carl Barks comic series Uncle Scrooge, DuckTales followed the exploits of Scrooge McDuck, the miserly (but generally affable) Richest Duck in the World. Despite (because of?) his comfortable socioeconomic status, Scrooge’s wanderlust constantly calls him to adventure across the globe, usually accompanied by his identical triplet grand-nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie and an eclectic cast of supporting animals—er, characters.


There are countless reasons for childhood fans to look back on the show fondly. Its irrepressibly exuberant theme is surely one of TV’s greatest earworms (even if you never did figure out all the lyrics). In addition, the show’s brilliantly colored animation was coupled with writers who mined storylines from history, literature, and pop culture, placing them in settings that evoked the pulp-action feel of Indiana Jones paired with a flurry of avian puns. It was silly fun, perhaps—yet for many kids, DuckTales might also have been their first exposure to Homer or Shakespeare or Dumas or even H. P. Lovecraft. As an adult, I can still happily show my own kids the same episodes I so thoroughly enjoyed.


You can imagine, then, the mixture of excitement and trepidation among fans when Disney announced it would be fashioning a reboot of this beloved show.


The one-hour premiere, “Woo-oo!” aired Saturday, August 12, replayed the entire day on Disney XD. The new DuckTales is a remake, not a sequel, with different voice talent from the original show ...

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Source: In the 'DuckTales' Reboot, Family Remains Scrooge's Riskiest Adventure

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