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One-on-One with Elmer Towns on His New Paraphrase “The Bible by Jesus”
« Reply #720 on: November 23, 2017, 12:01:11 AM »

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One-on-One with Elmer Towns on His New Paraphrase “The Bible by Jesus”

An extended sermon in the words of the Savior


Elmer Towns has a new book that will raise some questions and spark some discussion. He spoke with The Exchange about “The Bible by Jesus” recently and this is what he had to say.


The Exchange: So how did this book come about?


Elmer Towns: About 15 years ago I was having devotions in Psalm 37 in the Hebrew text and I decided to pray through it using the first person. So, instead of saying, Fret not yourself because of evildoers, I prayed, I will not fear… It was so refreshing to look at each psalm, including those like Psalm 23 which is, of course, a first-person psalm: The Lord is my Shepherd…


So, the next day I repeated it with Psalm 27 and the day after that, Psalm 1. Well, it turned into a 150-day program that I had no idea would turn into a book. But when a friend heard what I had written, he insisted that we publish it. And we did. And it was received very well.


The Exchange: So that was a book on the Psalms, but how did this one about Jesus come about?


Elmer: It didn’t happen immediately. I next covered Proverbs. And then Job. My friend, Lee Fredrickson, got the idea about the Gospels going. We worked on his idea until the present volume came about.


The Exchange: And it is a paraphrase?


Elmer: Yes. People know about Ken Taylor’s Living Bible and Eugene Peterson’s Message. This is the Bible as studied by Towns/Fredrickson in the original languages and then paraphrased as if it were Jesus himself talking. So, for example, John 1:1 begins, I am God the Son, who is from the beginning.


The Exchange: You come from a pretty traditional background—will some think that you are changing the Word of God?


Elmer: Yes. I knew Ken Taylor for many years, since the 1960s. When he first started ...

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The Dead White Man Who Could Fix Our Race Problem: Oswald Chambers
« Reply #721 on: November 24, 2017, 12:01:04 AM »
The Dead White Man Who Could Fix Our Race Problem: Oswald Chambers

As a black woman wrestling with racism in America, I lean on a Scottish theologian’s four key insights.


Oswald Chambers didn’t know Lecrae and John Piper. Or your church leader or mine. He didn’t know about tensions today between white evangelicals and black evangelicals. Or between Democrats and Republicans, left and right. Even if he did, he’d still say the same thing:


“If your life is producing a whine, instead of the wine, then ruthlessly kick it out.”


That’s classic Oswald Chambers—more direct than diplomatic. More practical than politically on-point. The 20th-century Scottish evangelist and theologian known for the best-selling devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, writes with raw clarity and common sense wisdom that, according to biographer David McCasland, “makes you feel like he’s reading your mail.”


What, then, would Chambers say to believers on the 100th anniversary of his death this month about the never-settled, twisty knot of race in America—the whole mess of it, from church politics to racial infights, alt-right marchers to kneeling football players, Confederate statues to immigrant bans, from red states and blue states to MAGA and Twitter trolls, ad infinitum?


Chambers wouldn’t be surprised by any of it. “Over and over again in the history of the world,” he observed during the crisis of World War I, “man has made life into chaos.” In America, that’s surely true regarding race—the genetically irrelevant concept that has gripped the nation’s psyche from its slave-holding beginnings. If a nation and its churches can have an original sin, the scandal of racism—with its plundering of black lives (and also red, yellow, and brown)—qualifies among the world’s absolute worst.


Into this cauldron ...

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Source: The Dead White Man Who Could Fix Our Race Problem: Oswald Chambers

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/Vt38qOtxT3k/dead-white-man-fix-our-race-problem-oswald-chambers.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/79828.jpg?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/october-web-only/john-piper-lecrae-white-evangelicalism-gives-me-hope.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/october/open-letter-to-john-piper-on-white-evangelicalism-and-multi.html
https://www.amazon.com/Oswald-Chambers-Abandoned-Author-Highest/dp/1572930500/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1510163828&sr=1-1
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/race-is-a-social-construct-scientists-argue/
https://www.nationalgeographic.org/interactive/slavery-united-states/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/november/dead-white-man-fix-our-race-problem-oswald-chambers.html
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The Jesusy Movement
« Reply #722 on: November 26, 2017, 12:01:04 AM »
The Jesusy Movement

Sure, all kinds of Christians love Jesus. But he’s especially central in evangelical piety.


Some years ago Francis Quinn, then Roman Catholic bishop of Sacramento, and I were talking about evangelicals who were converting to Catholicism. I was a Presbyterian minister at the time, serving a small church in Sacramento. I can’t remember the occasion of our conversation, but I do remember one his remarks. He said that when evangelicals move into Catholicism, “I hope they bring Jesus with them. We Catholics need more Jesus.”


Catholics certainly don’t ignore Jesus—he hangs crucified at the front of most of their churches, after all. And they believe it is his very body and blood that they receive in every Mass. But as the good bishop noted, Jesus isn’t necessarily at the center of most Catholic daily piety. For many Catholics, that place would be occupied by the Virgin Mary or perhaps one or more of the saints. Other Catholics are enamored with the magisterium or the church’s tradition. But it would be hard to argue that the Catholic faith is “Jesusy.”


That term was coined by writer Anne Lamott soon after her conversion. In a period of dark despondency, one night she lay in bed, when “I became aware of someone with me, hunkered down in the corner. … The feeling was so strong that I actually turned on the light for a moment to make sure no one was there—and of course, there wasn’t. But after a while, in the dark again, I knew beyond any doubt that is was Jesus.”


For the next few days, she says, “I had the feeling that a little cat was following me, wanting me to reach down and pick it up, wanting me to open the door and let it in.”


A week later, she found herself in church crying uncontrollably at the singing of hymns. She left ...

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Source: The Jesusy Movement

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Top 10 Misquoted Lines from C. S. Lewis
« Reply #723 on: November 27, 2017, 12:01:11 AM »
Top 10 Misquoted Lines from C. S. Lewis

Our love of Lewis's words doesn't mean we always get them right.


C. S. Lewis, described by some as the “patron saint of American evangelicals,” is a very quotable writer, and evangelical Christians love to invoke him in sermons, social media posts, and casual conversation. However, you cannot always believe what you read. Expressions credited to him on social media and elsewhere aren’t always actually found in his writings. Over the last several years, William O’Flaherty has collected a growing list (over 70 at last count) of quotations attributed to Lewis that will be the focus of an upcoming book, The Misquotable C.S. Lewis, to be published by Wipf and Stock in mid-2018. While uncovering the questionable quotations, he discovered not all of them are the same type of misquote. While most are sayings falsely attributed to Lewis, a few are very close to what he actually said but are worded incorrectly and some are simply removed from their context, leading to misunderstanding.


These are O’Flaherty’s ten most common Lewis misquotes:


10. "Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars—let go to move forward.”

This is one of those motivational quotations that encourages a person to keep going despite his or her circumstances. Presently it is not known who created it. A variation is referenced in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible. That version reads, “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” In the book, it is credited to “Author Unknown.” Having Lewis’s name associated with this expression likely makes it more noticeable. After all, if someone as great as Lewis said it, then you might be more likely ...

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Source: Top 10 Misquoted Lines from C. S. Lewis

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http://andynaselli.com/lewis-patron-saint
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1998/september7/8ta054.html
http://www.essentialcslewis.com/2017/08/31/exploring-c-s-lewis-misquotes-and-misconceptions-podcast-recap/
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Our December Issue: Being Shrewd Samaritans
« Reply #724 on: November 28, 2017, 12:00:59 AM »
Our December Issue: Being Shrewd Samaritans

We’re learning more than ever about good giving.


One of my favorite musicians was about an hour into his set at a recent concert. His typically pithy stage patter began to lengthen, and it was evident we’d come to the part of the show required of any credible Christian act today: the charity sales pitch.


He eloquently argued the case for child sponsorship with impressive originality. But his story followed a familiar structure. First, shatter the listeners’ worldview by showing them overwhelming injustice they feel powerless to address. Then present the listeners with a way out—your solution. Finally, tell a story that validates your solution and empower the listeners to go forth and wield it for good.


Every marketing director worth her salt knows this fundraising formula. Studies have shown that it works. Studies also tell us that tales of impoverished girls generally raise more money than stories of boys and that donors are most reluctant to open their checkbooks for grown men.


That fundraisers make emotional entreaties should not make us cynics about charity. So do marketers who sell us iPhones and frozen pizzas, yet we still buy such things. But unlike a phone, which we can evaluate and decide to keep or return, charity has few feedback loops. For most of us, it’s impossible to determine if our investment produced real results. So the classic fundraising story serves as both sales pitch and satisfaction survey all in one. If we feel good about our donation, we tell ourselves it made a difference.


Until now. In recent decades, the nonprofit world has made dramatic strides in evaluating the effectiveness of the programs we give to, especially when it comes to international giving. We’re learning what actually works, like certain forms of child ...

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Source: Our December Issue: Being Shrewd Samaritans

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http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/79899.jpg?w=460
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0148296309001702?cc%3Dy
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257672821_Eliciting_Donor_Preferences
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/december/our-december-issue-being-shrewd-samaritans.html
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What Student Ministry Really Needs? Homework.
« Reply #725 on: November 29, 2017, 12:01:09 AM »
What Student Ministry Really Needs? Homework.

Teens should take Bible study as seriously as school and sports practice.


I’m frequently asked what discipleship resources I recommend for teens. My answer is simple: Give them the Bible itself. Ask students to be students of the Scriptures.


When addressing biblical illiteracy among adults, Bible teachers must start by getting them to recall what it means to be a student and learn a subject in a structured way. Adults may not even associate a structured learning approach with being a disciple of Christ. For many, discipleship is almost wholly defined by doing—sharing the gospel, volunteering, giving, or going on a mission trip.


Teens, on the other hand, know exactly what it means to be a student. They fill the role in school five days a week. Yet we often communicate to this age group that their faith is a matter of feelings and impressions, of subjective observations or experiences, rather than of earnest study.


In Jesus’ day, the term “disciple” would have been inseparable from that of “learner” or “student.” Learning a rabbi’s teachings was foundational to doing what those teachings required. And that is still the case today. We are transformed into doers of the Word by first being hearers.


Today’s high schoolers learn physics and calculus and foreign languages. They are expected to annotate literature and draw critical conclusions about its meaning. They complete hours of homework. They seek tutoring when a subject is difficult. They work hard to learn because learning points to definable future outcomes. They are disciples of their teachers, learning with great discipline the various disciplines those teachers instruct.


By contrast, when these same students show up at church to be discipled in their faith, what will be asked of ...

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http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/79895.jpg?w=460
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Rural Stories: Books to Challenge, Inspire, and Encourage the Small Town Pastor
« Reply #726 on: November 30, 2017, 12:01:14 AM »
Rural Stories: Books to Challenge, Inspire, and Encourage the Small Town Pastor

Donnie Griggs, J.D. Vance, and Winn Collier


If church history has shown us anything, it’s that stories matter. From the time of the earliest followers of the Way, stories shaped the Christian community in profound ways. The most powerful story was the gospel—God in the flesh dwelt among us, died, rose again on the third day, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and would one day return in glory to redeem creation and rule as the good and righteous king.


Throughout the millennia, the church has lived in this gospel story while also passing on the stories of those who, shaped by the story of the gospel, have themselves been part of stories worth passing on.


From martyrs to missionaries and everyday saints, their stories have inspired others to step out in faith and live into the call of God in their lives. This has been true throughout church history, and it remains true today.


Just as the story of colonial missionary David Brainerd inspired an English cobbler named William Carey to commit his life to the work of mission overseas, so the story of folks like Carey, Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, and Jim and Elisabeth Elliot inspired future generations to, as Carey said, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”


Because stories matter so much, it is significant that for decades few people (other than a novelist here and there) have cared to narrate the opportunities and realities facing pastors of small churches in small places.


For those of us who feel called to small places in America’s vast rural stretches, coming by stories that apply specifically to our experiences has been a difficult and disheartening task.


Fortunately, this is changing. People with a heart for folks in rural and small town America are beginning ...

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Source: Rural Stories: Books to Challenge, Inspire, and Encourage the Small Town Pastor

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/p4PjGjdcqI4/rural-stories-books-to-challenge-inspire-and-encourage-smal.html
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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=p4PjGjdcqI4:WV_elwr4osQ:yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=p4PjGjdcqI4:WV_elwr4osQ:qj6IDK7rITs
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Can Pope Francis Help Myanmar’s Muslims Without Hurting Its Christians?
« Reply #727 on: December 01, 2017, 12:01:02 AM »
Can Pope Francis Help Myanmar’s Muslims Without Hurting Its Christians?

The answer in majority-Buddhist Burma hinges on one controversial word: Rohingya.


Pope Francis landed in Myanmar on Monday to start his six-day visit to Southeast Asia, raising the hopes of Christians there that he will address the issues they face in the majority-Buddhist nation formerly known as Burma.


Among those welcoming the pontiff in Yangon were more than 7,000 ethnic Kachin from the conflict-torn state in northern Myanmar, who had travelled down for the occasion, according to Catholic news agency UCAN.


The predominantly Christian Kachin, together with the Karen ethnic minority, live in conflict zones along the country’s borders and have faced years of government oppression.


John Hong Khong, from Kachin, told UCAN they expected “to get peace through the Pope’s visit as we believe he will raise peace issues and push the country’s leaders for ending ethnic conflicts.”


Leading up to the visit, Myanmar’s Catholic Cardinal Bo said he hoped Pope Francis’ trip would “help heal the wounds of his country, especially for minorities under attack,” adding that the “Rohingya situation is a great tragedy [but] the country needs healing on various fronts.”


During his three days in Myanmar, the Pope will visit the current and former capitals, Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon, and meet, among others, the country’s leader—in all but title—Aung San Suu Kyi.


The Nobel Prize winner has come under pressure in recent months because of her handling of the Rohingya crisis. Since August more than 600,000 people belonging to the Rohingya Muslim minority have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh following attacks by the army which, according to the UN, amount to “ethnic cleansing”. The Pope is also due to visit Muslim-majority Bangladesh during this ...

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Source: Can Pope Francis Help Myanmar’s Muslims Without Hurting Its Christians?

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/5A0I6jm2-Xk/pope-francis-myanmar-christians-rohingya-muslims-bangladesh.html
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https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/coe/23887/
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