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[Cfamily]One-on-One with Pastor Vance Pitman on the Tragedy in Las Vegas
« Reply #672 on: October 05, 2017, 01:00:58 AM »

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One-on-One with Pastor Vance Pitman on the Tragedy in Las Vegas

My friend Vance pastors Hope Church in Las Vegas.

This morning I wrote on how we can respond to the recent tragedy in Las Vegas. Today, I also had the opportunity to chat briefly with Vance Pitman, senior pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas. Below is what we discussed.

Ed: What’s going on with the churches in Las Vegas in the aftermath of the shooting? How are they mobilizing to respond?

Vance Pitman: The churches in Las Vegas have a great spirit of collaboration. Many churches are hosting prayer services and prayer vigils throughout the day. We’ve opened our campus up all day for prayer and have encouraged our people to go to a blood bank and donate blood. There is a huge need right now.

We’ve mobilized some of our trained/certified trauma grief counselors to be on site at Mandalay Bay in response to their request to counsel those experiencing the horror of this tragedy. We will also be addressing this from our pulpit on Sunday and dedicating our service to helping God’s people and our city process this tragedy from a biblical worldview perspective. I’ve talked to other pastors who will be doing the same thing. Every pastor with whom I’ve spoken has said we are in this together and want to serve one another.

Ed: How did you first respond when you heard this morning? What scripture or prayer has encouraged you today?

Vance: Today is actually my birthday. When I woke up to my phone buzzing continuously, my first thought was, “Are these all birthday texts?” Then I picked up my phone and read the horror of what was taking place. My heart broke for my city. I thought of all the families that were in crisis who had no idea this would be their Monday morning. I immediately thought of Psalm 46:1. We can run to God in moments of crisis ...

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[Cfamily]Understanding Worldview and the Flag
« Reply #673 on: October 06, 2017, 01:00:56 AM »
Understanding Worldview and the Flag

Michael Lee joins the conversation on Kaepernick’s protest

Following the widespread NFL protests last Sunday, Ed wrote a thoughtful post in which he expressed that he found “such protests disrespectful” and questioned whether the playing of the national anthem was a proper time to protest. Not stating explicitly whether or not the protests were disrespectful, John countered that “during the anthem is the right time and place for such demonstrations.”

Also disagreeing with Ed, Charlie then responded, “By kneeling, these guys are not dishonoring the flag or the anthem. They are raising the moral argument that our nation has failed the ideals of the flag and the anthem.”

This week, Ed asked me at the office, “Who do you think is right?” I hesitated to answer because, as I told him, it’s more complicated than simply framing it as to who is right and who is wrong. And, frankly, there are more important questions to ask. This is my attempt to offer another perspective and add to the conversation.

Understanding Cultural Meaning(s)

The word “dog” is an arbitrary symbol or a sign that points to a certain category of animals with certain characteristics. It is arbitrary because we could have used “og” or “bzn” or any combination of sounds and letters to serve as a symbol to which we can assign meaning. So today, most would say that identifying a Pomeranian as a cat instead of a dog would be wrong because it violates the broad understanding and agreement over what the symbol “dog” should mean.

Besides words, gestures also convey meaning. As a third-culture person who immigrated to the U.S. as a child, lessons on cultural relativism came early and often. My earliest memory has to do with eye contact. ...

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[Cfamily]House Passes #TheyFeelPain 20-Week Abortion Ban
« Reply #674 on: October 07, 2017, 01:00:54 AM »
House Passes #TheyFeelPain 20-Week Abortion Ban

This time, pro-lifers have more reason to hope that fetal pain bill will become law.

Backed by the Trump administration, the US House of Representatives passed a bill today banning abortions after 20 weeks—the first step toward the federal abortion restrictions many pro-life advocates have hoped to see from their new president.

The House voted 237-189 in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which targets late-term abortions at the point where pro-life advocates argue that babies can feel pain in utero.

If the measure sounds familiar, that’s because the House approved similar bills in 2013 and 2015, but failed to get enough support to make it through the Senate. Unlike those years, when a Democratic president was likely to veto such a law, President Donald Trump has pledged to endorse the ban.

“The administration strongly supports H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and applauds the House of Representatives for continuing its efforts to secure critical pro-life protections,” the executive office of the president said in a statement.

However, the bill faces slim odds in the Senate, where Republicans hold only 52 seats.

H.R. 36 criminalizes abortion once a fetus has reached 20 weeks, except in cases where the procedure is necessary to save a mother’s life or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

The law would subject those who perform (or attempt to perform) an abortion after 20 weeks to a fine, up to five years in prison, or both. (Over 90 percent of abortions take place much earlier in a woman’s pregnancy, before 14 weeks, based on Centers for Disease Control data.)

States across the country have moved toward similar abortion restrictions in recent years, with Texas upholding its own “fetal pain” law despite state ...

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[Cfamily]How We’re Encouraging Chicago Church Planters This Fall
« Reply #675 on: October 08, 2017, 01:00:33 AM »
How We’re Encouraging Chicago Church Planters This Fall

Join us this month at Progressive Baptist Church in downtown Chicago.

Autumn in Chicago is a stunning blend of historic skyscrapers and some of nature’s finest green spaces. The college students are flooding back into the city from their summer hiatus. Young families spend weekends doing sports and visiting orchards, squeezing out every ounce of the summer before the winter hits.

For pastors and church leaders, fall is when ministry kicks into high gear. This is especially true for church planters. Why? Because church planters have the same amount of planning and work to do as pastors of existing churches, but with less resources and a smaller leadership team.

Those of us who have planted and pastored churches know that fall tends to be when growth happens. It’s also the time when two other things happen:

  1. Casual attenders start volunteering (setting up, greeting, assisting, serving, etc…).

  3. Faithful volunteers join leadership (small groups, Sunday teams, planning, etc…).

So much happens in the fall that church planters need to be mindful that as much as they give out, they also need to take in.

That’s one of the reasons why a few of us in the Chicago area decided to start the Chicagoland Church Planting Alliance (CCPA). We want to make sure that church planters are being encouraged and cared for as they experience the different seasons of church planting.

CCPA is a multi-denominational group that encourages church planters in the Chicago area. (See The Need for Multi-Denominational Church Planting Networks in Our Cities.) Although we don’t plant churches together, we champion church planting and gather church planters and leaders together for learning, networking, and prayer.

On October 24th, CCPA is having our third gathering and we want to focus on helping Chicagoland ...

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[Cfamily]Lamenting Las Vegas: How Country Music Marks an American Tragedy
« Reply #676 on: October 08, 2017, 01:00:34 AM »
Lamenting Las Vegas: How Country Music Marks an American Tragedy

After a mass shooting, we can find solace in an art form steeped in Scripture.

Sunday night, Jason Aldean was performing at an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas when an assailant opened fire from a hotel window 32 stories above.

On Monday night, country legends like Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, and Keith Urban were singing at a vigil for the nearly 600 people who were wounded or killed in the attack. Rising country star Maren Morris had already released a song in honor of the victims.

“I never knew when would be the right time [to release it]” Morris wrote of “Dear Hate,” which was recorded last year. “But I realized today that there’s never a right time.” Her lyrics seem painfully applicable:


You were there in the garden like a snake in the grass

I see you in the morning staring through the looking glass

You whisper down through history and echo through these halls

But I hate to tell you, love’s gonna conquer all.

In the past few days, media pundits and others have tried to unpack the role of country music in the attack. As Hayley Geftman-Gold, a newly fired CBS executive, recently learned, jumping to conclusions about country musicians and fans isn’t wise. Certainly the “Republican gun toters” that Geftman-Gold publically derided were in fact part of the scene on Sunday night, and yet the crowd and the performers were both more heroic and more diverse than she gave them credit for being.

At another level, we’re still trying to understand why this community was involved in the first place. The people in the crowd were all country fans—but reportedly, so was the shooter. Was he the sinister outsider of many middle-American nightmares, or was he turning on his “own people”? If so, why?

These sociological and ...

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Source: Lamenting Las Vegas: How Country Music Marks an American Tragedy

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[Cfamily]Turkey Offers to Free Jailed American Pastor in Clergy Swap
« Reply #677 on: October 09, 2017, 01:00:54 AM »
Turkey Offers to Free Jailed American Pastor in Clergy Swap

Andrew Brunson used as leverage to get US to extradite exiled Muslim leader Fethullah Gülen.

Turkey’s president has for the first time confirmed publicly that an American pastor jailed for the past 12 months is being held as a political hostage.

In a speech at his presidential palace last Thursday, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an openly called on the United States to exchange pastor Andrew Brunson for Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish citizen living in exile in the US since 1999 who is accused of masterminding last year’s failed coup via his international network of followers.

“[The US] says, ‘Give us the pastor back,’” Erdo?an said. “You have one pastor [of ours] as well. The pastor we have [Brunson] is on trial. [Gülen] is not—he is living in Pennsylvania. Give him to us. You can easily give him to us. You can give him right away. Then we will try [Brunson] and give him to you.’”

But Erdo?an’s repeated demands to both the Obama and Trump administrations to extradite Gülen back to Turkey have not been successful.

Turkey has launched a massive internal crackdown over the past 15 months to identify and punish what it calls the FETO (Fethullah Terror Organization) network accused of infiltrating Turkey’s armed forces and government. More than 50,000 “suspected” judges, prosecutors, soldiers, academics, journalists, human rights activists, and police officers have been jailed, held for months in pre-trial detention.

Since last October, Brunson has been one of these prisoners. He remains jailed without any written indictment explaining his alleged charges or providing any evidence against him. Judicial proceedings remain stalled, and his lawyer continues to be refused access to the sealed file of accusations against him.

First detained ...

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[Cfamily]Use Globalization for the Gospel
« Reply #678 on: October 10, 2017, 01:00:59 AM »
Use Globalization for the Gospel

The four corners of the world are now in your neighborhood.

Although Dubai is an Arabian city on the Persian Gulf, there are still Starbucks everywhere. Within these coffee shops you find a microcosm of the city. Women—fully covered in black abaya robes and head scarfs covering every strand of hair—chatter at one table, while a mixed male and female group of Europeans with bare legs and shoulders sit at the next. Talk about a culture-clash! But no one seems to notice because diversity is all over our city.

If you look closely, you’ll find diversity in your city also. In America, I’ve met an Iranian woman in Target, a Bangladeshi at Whole Foods, and a friendly Egyptian working at LAX. We only have to open our eyes to find diversity in our own hometowns. Globalization has presented all of us with remarkable opportunities to meet people from the four corners of the world and share the good news of Jesus with them. People who know nothing of the God of the Bible are coming to a town near us. It can be our privilege to tell them about him.

There are so many ways to build friendships with internationals, who are likely craving relationship because they have left so many behind.

  • Welcome a college student from China into your home for meals on weekends and holidays.

  • Get your church involved in assisting Somali immigrants with their needs in that nearby apartment complex.

  • Be a language partner, helping an Afghan friend learn better English.

  • Take a meal to the Indian family down the street.

  • Arrange a play date with your child’s East Asian friend and invite her mother over.

  • Frequent a park in your neighborhood where Middle Easterners hang out and engage them in friendship.

  • Invite your Eastern European friend to an evangelical church to hear the gospel preached.

It’s ...

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[Cfamily]Trump Exempts Religious Employers from Birth Control Coverage
« Reply #679 on: October 11, 2017, 01:00:54 AM »
Trump Exempts Religious Employers from Birth Control Coverage

Unlike Obamacare mandate, new regulations protect moral or religious objections.

More employers—including Christian-run businesses and nonprofits—can opt out of contraception coverage required under the Affordable Care Act thanks to new rules issued by the Trump administration.

The regulations exempt employers who object to treatments like birth control pills, emergency contraception, and sterilization due to “sincerely held religious beliefs” or “moral convictions.”

With these interim final rules, Trump follows through on his promise to secure religious liberty protections for employers forced to cover medicine they oppose on religious grounds.

“It is necessary and appropriate to provide the expanded exemptions,” the rules state, countering the Obama administration’s stance. The policy came out of the Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services departments.

The New York Timesreported that the rules go into effect immediately once they’re on display at the Federal Registrar’s office.

The policy was largely shaped by former Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) legal counsel Matthew Bowman, now a lawyer with the Department of Health and Human Services, The Times said.

It’s been a lengthy legal fight to get to this point. While the Affordable Care Act always offered religious exemptions to churches and houses of worship, other religious employers had to make a case for themselves.

Hobby Lobby famously won a religious exemption for certain private companies in a 2014 Supreme Court case. March for Life sued to secure an exemption on moral, not religious, grounds the following year. (Bowman actually represented March for Life in the case.)

Meanwhile, Christian colleges, charities, and non-profits have been battling the mandate in court ever since, ...

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Source: Trump Exempts Religious Employers from Birth Control Coverage

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